Z&R Crochet Podcast 90. No Will Power

Halloooo! How are you!? It has been an absolute age since last time.

I have been itching to get a podcast done but there have been lots of jobs and family things to do and there just hasn’t been time. But yesterday I sat down to record. Crochet fun at last!

For Episode 90 of the Zeens and Roger Crochet podcast, please click on the picture above and you will be taken directly to the episode. Or, you can go HERE to the whole YouTube channel of crochet good stuff.

Affiliate links are used in this post.

Links to Crochet, Yarn and all the good stuff:

Before I get to all the other links, the first thing I want you to know about is the Christmas in July crochet pattern bundle, which runs from the 12-16th of July and then it’s gone forever!! The affiliate link is HERE. Purchasing through this link means I get a commission on the bundle and therefore payment for my contribution, it also gets you a further freebie in my Companions cowl & wrist warmers pattern when you buy the bundle via me.

There are 44 patterns in the bundle and I have provided my Granny Christmas hat pattern, which in itself is a goodun because it’s two for one (the main hat pattern plus the mini hat tree decs/bunting). I will be sharing more info over on Instagram throughout the week (but will try not to overdo it!).

There are also loads of automatic entries into competitions to win prizes from Furls (they’re the event sponsors), there are additional discount codes and the chance to buy other discounted ebooks n stuff. I will be buying it too because there are some quality garment patterns in the bundle that I want to make! And I have a shortage of crochet stockings too, that needs to be rectified asap. It’s the bargain price of $19 dollars, which is ridiculous for 44 quality patterns!

OK, I think I’ve given adequate plugging time to the fabulous bundle so here are some links to the rest of the crochet and yarn things I talked about in episode 90…

The granny square top I’m making is inspired by Emma Escott’s top from her Romantic Crochet book. Everything Emma does as Lulu Loves is beautiful. This kind of top is quick and easy, therefore, the perfect antidote to working on fiddly stitches that give you RSI (thanks, other WIP)!

The first attempt at the granny top is being turned into a bag. It didn’t take much scrolling on Pinterest to find a guide to the best way to lay out squares to do it. I’ve saved the Pins in the Crochet Bags board and the Crochet Techniques board. I’m using King Cole Cottonsoft DK, which is a cotton yarn that I do enjoy using (unlike loads of others!). It’s also cheaper than I said it was!

If you would like to join the small but perfectly formed Patreon Gang, then pop over and have a look at what each tier offers. There are three different options to choose from. In the Granite tier we get together every month for a Zoom chat to talk about everything crochet related as well as everything else! We also have a group chat in Instagram (I’m midway through set up so it’s growing all the time!). Cheers.

MYPZ chunky mohair yarn. 8.50 Euro, not 9.50! Sorry, daft brain plucking random numbers from nowhere. I am really excited about making the Perfect Cardigan in these amazingly colourful yarns. And apologies, MYPZ is a dutch company, not danish. I’m ashamed to say my geography knowledge is poorer than it should be.

Fancy making yourself a Bucket style sun hat? I have just the pattern you need. Will I get round to making it wide brimmed? Who knows!?? I made mine from Wool and the Gang’s Ra Ra Raffia.

The Quayside CAL will quietly bubble away until the first of September when I will send off donations to the two charities I chose. You can read more about that HERE.

If you haven’t checked out my Granny square printed cards, you can do that on Etsy. You can buy them as packs or singly. If shipping prices look like they are a problem, let me know. I set it to be £6.00 or £6.50 worldwide but had a message the other day to say Etsy was charging $66!!!! What? That wasn’t me who did that!

I think that’s all for now but if I’ve missed something, give me a shout! Let me know what you think about everything, I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers. x

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Podcast ready!

How to Choose Colour in Crochet!

Bright cakes of colourful
 yarn

Colourful Crochet

Playing with colourful cakes or balls of wool is up there as one of the most satisfying things about yarn crafts. I’m sure you’d agree that colourful crochet can put a smile on anyone’s face! But having to decide which shades to add to a new crochet project can be mega stressful too. How on earth do you choose the best hues to have?! It can be a bit of a head scratcher, especially if the doubt creeps in. But, please! Don’t be afraid of the big beautiful wool, learn how to play with it instead!!

I wrote a fairly decent blog post about how to choose colour in crochet back in 2016 and I’ve just read it. It still stands and I’m pretty pleased about that. However, since 2016 my palette has definitely evolved. In that post I mention about going for random selections of colour and yep, you can definitely see that that was what I was doing. I was clearly going through an Ugly Granny phase too. Not a bad thing.

I have learned an enormous amount from playing with random colour palettes, which has been, hands down, the best part of my crochet adventure!

So how has it evolved from there? The short answer is I dunno, it just happened! Hmm, what about a longer answer that might actually be helpful?

striped crochet mittens

Colour Evolution

My crochet adventures started in 2010 without much of a clue. Colour consideration wasn’t top of the list. I was too busy darting into yarn shops; grabbing balls in a panic! I didn’t belong and didn’t want to outstay my welcome. What a way to start a mindful hobby! It’s obviously absolute nonsense but I know others feel the same. That’s just anxiety talking, stamp that sucker down and be proud.

[OMG! Side moment: the penny has just dropped about why I was making Ugly Grannies! It was all the panic bought yarn being used up! Not quite the same mentality as my Nanna’s make do & mend approach, but kind of similar… Aaannyway…]

After a lot of years mucking about with different yarns I realized that I have two very definite colour personalities and I am so happy about that. My ultimate goal is to tinker and play to see where a mash up of both might lead. I love modern brights, love em! They are great in smooth merinos and fluffy mohair, and let’s not forget; perfect for top quality acrylics but I am also head over heels for natural tones and yarns too. I need toothy wool with bits of straw, and it’s exciting to use yarn when I know it has been spun just up the road from me. Just because I love crazy brights doesn’t mean I can’t also love an undyed alpaca. Natural, earthy colours aren’t boring, they are classics to be revered. They are the cool kids; the brights are kawaii cute.

What I will say is don’t expect to have it down pat right from the start. Using colour in your craft means having a certain amount an expressive freedom and you need to explore that to discover what works for you. I have always been guided by my mood, by the seasons and by what everyone else is up to. Who isn’t?! Trends have a role to play in this whether you like it or not. We absorb fashions like osmosis, we’re all influenced whether we know it, or not.

Essentially, it’s about getting knee deep in a lifelong experiment of matching colour with crochet. If you want.

a crochet shawl
The Grainbow Shawl

The Basic Principles of Colour in Crochet

The nutshell version: it’s all about balance.

You want to know more? Um, I’m not sure how to expand on the original blog post where I say balance warm with cool, and light with dark. Balance out your brights with a neutral, plop in a navy amongst your pastels. If you don’t want to bung them anywhere, think about their placement, even distribution is a safe bet.

If you use these principles as a basic starting point you won’t go far wrong. In 2016 I hadn’t refined the colour palettes I was using, instead, I just chucked all the balls in the air to see what landed where. Sometimes literally. Now I like to think my choices are more deliberate.

Whilst (arguably) using more polished palettes in 2021 I am not a fan of too many rules. Therefore, please don’t feel like you have to dutifully follow some strict formula. Ultimately, go with your gut. If it works for you and it makes you happy, then that’s a winner!

And just to contradict myself with another side note, I do have one rule when working with colour for crochet. The stitches of crochet don’t always look their best in colour-pooling yarns. Where this might create brilliant stripes in knitting, it creates a blocky pixel in crochet and I’m not keen. I will always bear that in mind if purchasing a non solid colour base.

colourful crochet blanket
Havana Nights C2C blanket.

Put it into Practice

I like big stripes of crazy colour combos but also a whole hotchpotch of them fighting each other too. If in doubt, try this: use your go to shades but swap out just one samey ball of colour for one that you’d not normally go for. Nothing bad will happen, honest! If you’re feeling queasy about diving straight in make a swatch first. Then perhaps make a smaller project like a bag or hat. Big blankets and garments can follow later.

This is part of a process, a journey if you like (ugh, I hate that word!). It’s not an overnight change.

Obviously Instagram is a great source of inspiration and I love to mindlessly scroll through Pinterest too but you’ll find it in nature, architecture and places you hadn’t even thought of.

Teh Perfect Crochet Cardigan
The Perfect Cardigan

As long as you remember that it’s all about balance then you won’t go far wrong. Also, use of colour in crochet is totally subjective! What I think looks awesome isn’t going to work for everyone. There are times when I’m not fussed about that thing other people say is the bees knees. It really doesn’t matter. Conversely, someone else will put together a crochet colour palette that will blow my mind! I wish that I’d come up with it! Wistful envy pops up to say hello but I try to remind myself that others feel that way about my dodgy choices sometimes too! A full circle of different ideas.

Each time you put a load of shades together you’ve learned more about what works and what doesn’t. And if nothing else it’s a very good excuse to buy more yarn. Keep going.

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Revival, a jumper design by HGDC. All the crazy colours in lots of neutral grey.
The best crochet cardigan. A JW Anderson inspired crochet cardigan.
A cardigan inspired by the Harry Styles / JW Anderson number
A colourful crochet purse
https://zeensandroger.com/2018/08/20/hotchpotch-c2c-crochet-bag/
Colourful crochet.
The Making of ZZ Block. My C2C baby blanket
How to Choose Colour in Crochet

Crochet Bucket Hat – A Free Pattern & Tutorial

How to Crochet a Bucket Hat: click the pic for the YouTube tutorial

A Crochet Bucket Hat

The promise of summer is here! To celebrate, how about a crochet hat pattern!? Using just one roll of raffia, you can make a straw hat that’s perfect for protecting yourself from summer sun.

An impulse purchase has led to me having a roll of Wool and the Gang’s Ra Ra Raffia sat in my stash for about two years. I thought that one day inspiration might strike for it to become a cute clutch or little tote. Nope, it was a hat that won out in the end. This was due to some fine weather that was forecast for last weekend. A beachy time in Cornwall beckoned and I needed a hat! Alas, the hat wasn’t finished in time for Cornwall; such a shame because photos against a backdrop of sandy beaches would have looked awesome (although I did get some fab photos of my Perfect Cardigan)! Actually one version of the hat did get finished in time but I ended up frogging it half way down the A30. It was too big.

The tangled ball of papery yarn did not look quite so fancy anymore. Thankfully, it worked just as well after being ripped back. With some tweaks and adjustments, the second hat was completed yesterday and it fits like a dream!

Frogging on the A30

Seeing as I’m off work this week I have found some time to film a crochet hat tutorial and write up the crochet pattern. It’s called the Bucket hat because that is exactly what it is! Other name suggestions were “Kick the Bucket” and “Bargain Bucket.” Not sure either of those are the best names though…. What about the Blossom Bucket? Did you watch Blossom on telly back in the 90’s?! That’s a blast from the past!

Yesterday was a beautifully sunny day so me and the boys took a stroll down to the river for a few snap shots. The eldest was paid a few quid to be a photographer for me. Unfortunately, there aren’t many river pics included here because the river’s beaches were busy with loads of people. There was lots of joyous laughter and cheerful frolics going on. Those guys were definitely making the most of the first day of June.

The boy did a great job as chief photographer; he didn’t seem to mind when more shots and more angles were demanded. But I guess you don’t want a massively long story and to be honest, it doesn’t need one. So here follows the pattern….

Next book on the reading list. Haven’t started it yet.

To make a bucket hat, you need:

  • 1 roll of Ra Ra Raffia in Desert Palm (affiliate link).
  • 4mm hook
  • Stitch marker or 2.

Notes & tips

  • The pattern is written in UK terms but, honestly, it’s dead easy to convert: UK htr stitch = US hdc. UK dc = US sc.
  • My head measures 57cm – about average I guess…
  • Every two stitches measures approx 1cm.
  • You can make a hat smaller by missing out the last increase round, this will reduce the size by 4 sts.
  • You can make your hat bigger by working an extra (4 st) increase round.
  • Raffia has a bit of stretch to it. If it feels slightly tight at first, worry not, it will give after wear.
  • Made top down, the hat is worked as a spiral, increasing as you go.
  • Use the stitch marker to note the first st of each round, move after each round.
  • Watch the YouTube tutorial HERE.
Channeling the 90’s with a Blossom style hat!

Crochet Bucket Hat Pattern

  • Rnd 1: 8htr into a magic ring.
  • Rnd 2: inc around – 16 sts.
  • Rnd 3: *1 inc, 1htr; work from * 8 times – 24 sts.
  • Rnd 4: *1 inc, 2htr; work from * 8 times – 32 sts.
  • Rnd 5: *1 inc, 3htr; work from * 8 times – 40 sts.
  • Rnd 6: *1 inc, 4htr; work from * 8 times – 48 sts.
  • Rnd 7: *1 inc, 5htr; work from * 8 times – 56 sts.
  • Rnd 8: *1 inc, 6htr; work from * 8 times – 64 sts.
  • Rnd 9: *1 inc, 15htr; work from * 4 times – 68 sts.
  • Rnd 10: *1 inc, 16htr; work from * 4 times – 72 sts.
  • Rnd 11: *1 inc, 17htr; work from * 4 times – 76 sts.
  • Rnd 12: *1 inc, 18htr; work from * 4 times – 80 sts.
  • Rnd 13 – 22: htr around with no increases.
  • Rnd 23: Repeat rnd 3 – 120 sts.
  • Rnd 24- 27: htr around with no increases. (Any more rounds than this and the brim will curl in on itself).
  • Finish by making 3dc stitches followed by 3 slip stitches. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Half way hat. Before the brim was started. Finger indicates last increase round.
Crochet Bucket Hat
Side view of a crochet bucket hat.

And That’s it!

Such a quick and easy hat to crochet! You can wear it with the brim turned up or turned down. I added four rounds to the brim in the end. However, it did look good with just three rounds. Try playing around with different rounds to see which you prefer. This sort of hat is very forgiving (I am a big fan of forgiving crochet, it hides a multitude of sins!).

OK, I think that’s it for now. I will let the photographs below do the talking. But before you scroll on, if you enjoyed this fabulous pattern, please support my crochet work by buying me a Ko-fi or, join the Patreon community. You would be very welcome! Thanks ever so much! x

Don’t forget to share your makes on Instagram #zeensandroger

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Crochet a hat for summer
Not quite Blossom
Crochet Bucket Hat
Tiny dot of a buzzard
Making hay whilst the sun shines
A crochet hat ready for summer sun
Zeens and Roger crochet bucket hat

Made it this far? Haha, well done!! But also, thank you. xxx

My First Garment Design! The Perfect Cardigan.

A Crochet Cardigan

For the longest time I have been too chicken to venture into designing crochet clothes despite having loads of brilliant ideas. Honestly, there are so many sketches and swatches stashed around the house that have been waiting for me to bite the bullet. Past me has made way too many excuses about why it was never a good time to get those garment ideas down on paper. After a drawn out period of procrastination though, voila! My very first, fully formed, crochet cardigan pattern!!

It turns out that garment designing is a wee bit trickier than a shawl or scarf pattern. This is one of the reasons that it was on the back burner for ages. But, with a bit of research and a lot of hard work, I have fulfilled a huuuuge ambition to up the ante with my crochet skills… I bring you the Perfect Cardigan!

The Pattern & Yarn

OK, here I’m putting the good stuff here because I know you don’t want to scroll through the life story of a crochet cardigan to get to the pattern.

For the foreseeable future the Perfect Cardigan is available exclusively on Lovecrafts. This is because they gave me yarn support to make the design. I used Paintbox Yarns 100% Wool Worsted Superwash, which was lovely to work with (this is an affiliate link by the way). The colours are similar to, if not the same as, the usual vibrantly colourful Paintbox colour palettes. They are modern, bright and beautiful shades of yarn that I use all the time.

Go HERE for the Perfect Cardigan crochet pattern.

The Perfect Crochet Cardigan!

The Perfect Cardigan

Over the last couple of years I have been on a mission to perfect my garment making skills. I want crochet to be the very best it can be. First, there’s learning the basics of construction. It’s essential to just crochet crochet crochet; I have made other designer’s patterns, been involved in pattern tests, and eventually made up garments from scratch using simple stitches and some basic number crunching. (I’ve begrudgingly learned to respect maths but it’s still not my friend). It took a while but now is the time to go for it.

Last year I made up my first crochet cardigan based on the infamous JW Anderson cardigan (it is all over Pinterest, I’ve seen loads of people make their own versions and even Mollie Makes magazine interviewed me about its popularity (issue 128 if you’re interested) . Then I made a new (better) version for my sister’s Christmas present. The first version was oversize and not quite right in terms of decent construction but it set things in motion. Whilst too overwhelmed to write up more than a basic cardigan recipe, it gave me the kick up the bum to do what scared me: write my first crochet garment design!

Basically this stripey crochet cardigan is an evolved and much improved version of the first incarnation. It’s a comprehensive written pattern, with links to videos to help you make it. Everything you need is there to make your own size with advice to adapt it a bit too, should you want to.

Garment Grading

A big stumbling block was the maths. I am not a numbers person! How on earth do you grade a pattern so that it is inclusive of lots of sizes?! There are loads of free resources online but they are mostly for knitting and sewing. There has never been much out there for those wanting advise for crochet design. Quite frankly, I didn’t have the time or inclination to Google everything and piece it all together.

Coming in at just the right time was Heather from HG Crochet Design. I tested Heather’s first garment design, Revival, which led to an opportunity to beta test her grading workbook, aimed specifically at crochet designers. You can check that out HERE (this is an affiliate link to Heather’s products). I won’t give a naff sales pitch but I will say that I found it very helpful for spreadsheet formulae, which you need for pattern grading and calculating yarn amounts).

Not So Perfect

Behind the scenes things weren’t totally perfect. The making of the cardigan was a breeze, the grading took plenty of concentration, but pattern writing is a bane in the otherwise brilliant job of a crochet designer.

It is an understatement to say that this pattern was a struggle to write! Oh lordy, how often I would stare into space thinking it was beyond me! Actual (fleeting) terror was experienced…. about crochet! Yes, it’s daft but I really wanted it to be good. Perfect, even. Writing a pattern for a one size item is OK, just boring, and sometimes slightly taxing on the brain. Bring in all the different sizes and then it’s a juggling nightmare! The first draft was ugly and made no sense. Luckily it was only seen by my tech editor who quickly, and kindly, pointed out the atrocities (thanks, Michelle!).

Panic was to blame for not seeing wood for the trees. I wanted to call it the Cardigan of Nightmares, or, My Worsted Nightmare but no, who wants to buy a pattern with negative connotations like that? So it’s called the Perfect Cardigan because, briefly, it felt like it was anything but. However, it is also called the Perfect Cardigan because after that perceived drama, it is actually a blinkin’ good crochet cardi!

An Easy Crochet Cardigan

An excellent crochet pattern should be tech edited and tested by a variety of makers. Not all patterns require both but one or the other is good. All sizes of this stripey crochet cardigan have been tested by crocheters with different skill levels, (apart from the size 9, there were no takers for size 9). There has been some brilliant feedback and I cannot thank testers enough. THANK YOU!!! I won’t mention the grab and run people but know that you will be remembered!

Because of the gang of awesome testers, I know that the Perfect cardigan is easy to make for crocheters who have never made a garment before. Hearing that feedback was music to my ears!! A crochet pattern that is easy to follow, well, need I say more?! The aim of the design is to have a wearable wardrobe item that looks great but is also fun to make.

Most techniques in the pattern link to a video tutorial. Those techniques have been carefully considered so the cardi is seamless (figuratively as well as literally!). None are difficult but maybe some of them are different to what’s seen in other patterns. Those who are new to crochet and/or garment making shouldn’t be short changed on the good stuff! Also, I will help you! Ask me questions and I can explain or point you in the right direction.

Crochet Construction

Talking about techniques, employing methods that are easy to do but look good is the aim of the game. I can’t stand a single crochet rib so it’s not here, instead it’s a stitch that is a firm favourite and based on the half double crochet (that’s htr for UK peeps). Oh, by the way, the pattern is written in UK terms but don’t let put you off, it is dead easy to switch terms, I promise!

This is a bottom up cardigan, worked in once piece so there is no seam down the sides. Don’t worry it is all explained in the pattern. It adds to shaping on the cardigan too in a kind of bomber jacket way. Before you make your version, check out the measurements, you might decide to try a longer version. No problem! Playing around and experimenting is one of my favourite things about crochet. I quite fancy a version with really deep cuffs…. perhaps all in one main colour with contrast colour ribbing. You don’t have to make yours stripey either. There are lots of possibilities and you could make them all!

There are lots of other ways for adapting the design too: make it long, super crop it, have stripes, don’t have stripes, make wider ribbing etc. I love that a maker has so much freedom to explore options. Crochet is fabulous for this sort of thing. But you know, make the actual pattern, that’s fine too!

And there you have it, the Perfect Cardigan! I hope you like it. I reckon I’ve probably mentioned most things about it but if you do have any questions, please feel free to ask. One of the things you’re paying for in a pattern is support.

Although I’ve mentioned where to find the pattern up the top, HERE is the link again.

Have you made crochet garments before? Are you a crochet designer wanting to give garments a go? Hopefully I’ve reassured you rather than scared you away! Let me know! Cheers. x

Are you on Instagram? Use #ThePerfectCardigan

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Z&R Crochet Podcast 89. Nostalgic

Hi welcome to Zeens and Roger. The latest crochet podcast is number 89!! To watch the episode you can click on the above image, or go to my YouTube channel HERE.

Crochet Good Stuff:

In this episode I finally have Quayside in my possession again!! It has proven to be a real boon in this chilly spring. It’s a crochet shawl that I am really proud of. As you may know, it featured in a craft book compiled by Wool on the Exe last year. As it was a charity project, I want sales of the pattern to continue to raise funds for charity. I have chosen CALM and the Disasters Emergency Committee. To find out more about what and why please read the blog about the Quayside shawl HERE. You can buy your copy from Etsy, Ravelry or Lovecrafts. I’m also running a casual CAL, more info is in that blog post. If you would like to contact me about one of those 5 free copies, please email me (no questions asked) at zeensandroger@gmail.com

I am making the Granny Go Round jumper, which is by IronLamb.

My Granny square card prints are available on Etsy HERE

Have a listen of the Making Stitches Podcast. This is a lovely audio podcast that I have been lucky enough to feature on recently.

If you would like to join the Patreon community, you can do so HERE. Thank yoOooOooooOoo.

Likewise, if you fancy buying me a ko-fi, then you can do so HERE. Thanksssss!

I think that’s it for links this time around and there’s no photos this week as I’ve had no time to snap any. I hope you enjoy the episode. Don;t forget to leave a comment on YouTube, and give a thumbs up and subscribe if you haven’t! Many thanks for being part of this brilliant crochet community! x

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Quayside: A Crochet Shawl Pattern

This is Quayside, a modern, contemporary crochet shawl that I designed last year.

Back in the summer there was a Call for Submissions from Wool on the Exe, a yarn shop in Exeter. Crocheters and knitters were asked to come up with designs that would be collated and turned into a book. The brief was to come up with concepts relating to all things Devon. I loved this, it immediately sparked lots of ideas and crochet inspiration!

My design was inspired by Exeter Quay. It’s a popular meeting place for noisy nights out, or a quiet stroll on a sunny Sunday morning. The solid striped sections of the shawl/wrap represent the paths alongside the grey waters of the river Exe. I added houndstooth stitches to reflect the movement of the water. When I was at uni I hung out at the Quay quite a lot. Mostly getting drunk and staggering around on a Saturday night (cobbles don’t make it easy to walk. Neither does knocking back too many beers). But then later it was more about strolling on a Sunday with a teeny baby in a pram. I don’t live in Exeter itself anymore but I’m still not that far away.

The book was released last year and is full of crochet, knitting and other yarn related projects. Proceeds went to Knit for Peace and local community projects.

Chosen Charities

Quayside is now available to purchase as an individual pattern on Ravelry and Etsy. It will also be on Lovecrafts in a day or two as well. As it was initially for a charity enterprise, it’s only fitting that it continues to raise money for causes that need support. Therefore, I have chosen two charities and will donate £2.00 to each, per sale of Quayside. I hadn’t worked out precise platform fees when I posted on Instagram this morning so originally stated £1.50. I needed to make sure I could cover those fees. Thankfully, I still can!

The two charities I’ve chosen are for very good reasons. The first charity is CALM (the campaign against living miserably). Last year my step sister’s son, Adam died by suicide. Very sadly, my step sister is not the only mother I know who lost a son to suicide last year. If we can help another young man, any man, any person from feeling like that that’s their only escape, well, that’s good! It is Mental Health Week this week, which feels like appropriate timing for the pattern’s release.

The second charity is the Disasters Emergency Committee. Covid 19 is devasting India right now and help is desperately needed. The decision for this choice was cemented when someone told me the other day that “they had brought it upon themsleves” Um, what?! I’m still stuck for words on this.

You can also donate directly to either charity. If you’ve got a few extra quid, I urge you to do so, please. Ta very much!

Let’s see how it goes. Certainly, I will stick to this plan throughout the summer and then see how it goes from there. Hope that sounds OK? Let me know what you think!

Let’s do a Crochet Along!

Also to continue across the summer, how about a CAL?! It has been a while since I ran a crochet along and this seems like a good reason! The Quayside CAL! If you would like to take part, all you need to do is purchase the pattern and get cracking!

The idea is that you’re making a fab crochet shawl at the same time as lots of other makers. You are helping to raise money, for not one, but two charities! There are no real CAL rules, just choose your favourite yarn and a matching hook. Use the hashtag #QuaysideCAL and I will share your crochet progress and projects whenever I can. I’ll definitely want to write a follow up post here, and I’ll post on Insta over the next few months. I’ll say a provisional end date of September 1st but flexibilty is fine by me. Crochet is supposed to be mindful, it actually helps with mental health, it’d be silly to have tight deadlines.

You can use pretty much any yarn but perhaps nothing heavier than a DK or it’ll be huuuge! My version is made using Gwlan Cambrain wool, a woolly 4 ply. You can also buy it from Wool on the Exe (I’d better mention that as they’re the team who chose the yarn for the project!).

Right, I think that’s it for now. If you have any questions, add them in the comments and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks ever so much. x

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Snapshot. I didn’t have time for proper photos yesterday – sorry!

Z&R Crochet Podcast 88. I’d Never Do That!

Halloooo! How are you? I hope you are very well indeed. I’m a bit achey on my arm as I had my second Pfizer jab yesterday. Luckily I don’t feel too grotty today. Aaannnyway, let’s talk about crochet! Fancy a crochet catch up!?

For Episode 88 of the Zeens and Roger Crochet Podcast, please hit the pic above or go to my YouTube channel to find all the podcasts and tutorials.

A link to episode 87 is here (in case you wanted to do a comparison of pre and post blocking of my green jumper). I’ve linked to the notes as there are suggestions for similar patterns – none of which, I’ve made. But they might be up your street.

Fun Crochet Things:

Paintbox Worsted superwash wool. This is an affiliate link that, with no extra cost to you, can get me a small percentage of the cost. It’s the usual fabulous colour palette that I really enjoy playing around with.

I briefly mentioned Moorit. If you caught that and wondered what I was on about then go HERE.

I made Granny square printed cards!! I love them so much. Please pop to Etsy to have a closer look. Or have a read of the post I wrote about them.

I am making not one, but two Granny Go Round jumpers!! I’ve enjoyed making them so far. They are winners! Although I’d forgotten I’d actually talked about them a little bit last episode, oops!

Fancy supporting the podcast?! Then feel free to buy me a Ko-fi. Or become a member of the Patreon Gang. This Saturday is our second Zoom chat. Our first meet up was ace, come and join us!!

If you would like to have a look at my other work, there’s a Free Patterns page here on the blog. You can also go to Ravelry, Etsy, Lovecrafts and / or Ribblr.

Other places you can find me: Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter. These last two, hmm, I read tweets but rarely tweet myself. I use FB to share the latest videos and blog posts. I also share any interesting articles I’ve found online.

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Granny Square Prints – Pretty Art Cards

As a full on crochet addict I am always on the look out for fun items that are related to my favourite craft. I’ve got a nice collection of project bags, buttons and pins, even mugs that are clear indicators of my stitchy status but sometimes there’s not a lot of choice out there. Instead, images and ideas often come flitting in and out of my head for ways to come up with my own creations. Most things end up as a bit of a dream, or the project gets pushed back to the bottom of the list. Crochet cross stitch patterns have been on there for a while (I WILL get round to doing these, they’re half made already!). Exploring different crafts, yet staying true to my first love pleases me greatly.

The latest bright spark of an idea are these printed greeting cards. I’ve shocked myself by actually pulling my finger out and sorting them out, ready for release! I did it! There are real life granny square print cards for sale of Etsy!! I LOVE them!! The link will take you to a set of four but they are also available individually.

If you’re a Patron you get a nice discount on the set. Go HERE to Patreon to find out more. x

I’ve had a printing kit for a while and have, over the years, half halfheartedly messed about with the carving tools without getting very good. That isn’t enough to stop me from having a go though. In my kit I have multiple blades for cutting, shaving and gouging pieces of negative space from small lino sheets you can buy online. There’s also printing ink and a roller. The intricate motifs you can achieve from hand cut prints is amazing. I’m pretty bad at it yet I still get results that make me super happy. I like the imperfections and (in my case) rudimentary qualities. It’s not supposed to be perfect, that’s not the point. Have you tried lino cuts/printing before? It’s very satisfying.

Because I couldn’t find anything to buy that fit the bill, over the Christmas holidays I started playing with ways of drawing, painting and printing crochet granny squares. This is when I dug down deep into the craft cupboard to retrieve the printing kit. It’s not easy, I sliced though parts of the lino I didn’t want to slice through, or hacked off chunks that shouldn’t have been hacked off. Also, being a lazy creature, I went for abstract crochet stitches rather than go for precise realism. The idea of hand drawing every single twist of a stitch, getting perfect symmetry throughout? No, thanks, haven’t got the patience.

There have been a few incarnations. The one below is one of my first attempts at a granny print. It’s OK. I like it but it’s a bit rough. I was going to sell those ones as originals but there was a needling feeling that they weren’t quite good enough. I tried again. Second time around and everything is sooooo much better, I’m tremendously pleased with the balance of inky silhouette granny and rainbow colours. I had learned from the first goes to get the paint smoother and pay a bit more attention to carving the print (whilst still being lazy of course). And this time I felt they were good. I’m really proud of them. So much so I took photos of my four favourites and ordered prints! Prints to sell! I added them to my Etsy shop yesterday and I’ve already sold a few. Loads of people have added them to their shopping baskets (come on people, please hit “buy!”). One person has noticed the silliness in the product description too, I was having a funny five minutes at the time…

This probably won’t be a permanent thing, there is actual crochet that needs doing, but it is important to learn new skills and have a go at different things, don’t you think? Is there anything you fancy having a go at? And have you spotted any good crochet merch? If so, please let me know!

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The first print – a bit dodgy.

Z&R Crochet Podcast 87. Unmistakably Green

Hey! I’m back already, surpriiise!! For Episode 87 of the Zeens and Roger crochet podcast please click on the pic above to go directly to the episode, or go to my YouTube channel HERE.

Thanks to everyone who left comments on the last episode. It was very heartening to know that so many are keen on a monthly newsletter. I’m going to whirr it round in my brain for a while to work out the best way to get this to you.

Links to Crochet Good Stuff:

Paintbox Yarns can be found HERE. It’s an affiliate link so if you buy via the link I will get at least 5% of the sale. The cardi I made and the new cardigan I will make next are both going to be made in Paintbox yarns. One is the aran wool mix, which I absolutely love and the other I’ve not used before. It’s worsted weight 100% wool superwash. I have had a squidge and it seems nice so far! The cardies evolved from the JW Anderson cardigan that I made last year.

The granny square mug is from Made By Love on Etsy.

I used Cascade 2020 superwash in Tree Top to make my green jumper. Here are a couple of turtle neck crochet sweater patterns if you fancy: The Chainette Turtleneck was one I first spotted. Then I saw the Millennial Jumper, which is a pretty close match. Or there’s the Elsa Polo neck, which I’m sure I spotted made with mohair too. That would look amazing!

Heather’s Grading Work Book is HERE. Once again, it’s an affiliate link and I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale. As you may know Heather is the garment designer behind HGDC. I’m sure you know the Revival jumper, a modern granny masterpiece! Pre-orders are open until the 1st of April. Check it out asap cos there are early bird discounts! There are two different levels, which I think is pretty neat. One has more of a personal touch from Heather but there are limited spaces so grab a space while you can!!

Ribblr, a new platform for crochet, knitting and sewing patterns. I joined and am learning slowly. I’ll let you know the things I learn. Probably at my usual snails pace!

Join the Patreon community! There are now tiers: Moss, Linen and Granite (they’re all the same crochet stitch but with the different names! I thought it was funny…). There is lots of extra content on Patreon, pop over and have a look. The first Zoom meet up for those in the Granite tier is this Saturday the 27th at 11:00am GMT.

If Patreon doesn’t float your boat then you can always buy me a ko-fi! Or buy one of my patterns… You can find me in all the usual please: Ravelry, Etsy, LoveCrafts. Thank you so much.

A new WIP that I am working on. Not one, but two Granny Go Round Jumpers by Iron Lamb! Ok, technically I’ve only started one but there will be two eventually.

Feel free to follow me here: Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook.

Sorry, not many photos to share this week as I haven’t taken pics of my new jumper, the little;e cotton bag or my new WIP!

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Z&R Crochet Podcast 86. Jumpers

Hello, welcome to the Zeens and Roger Crochet Podcast! This is Episode 86 (not 85 like I say, with blissful ignorance, on this episode). I have crochet sweaters (jumpers) on the go in this episode as well as a couple of magazine features that you might be interested in. One is my latest design in Inside Crochet, called Ostara. It is the most perfect cosy cowl for this time of year. The other is a C2C blanket in issue 107 of Simply Crochet. On the back page is a little article I wrote about one of my favourite makes too.

Crochet Good Stuff:

The Color Pop Sweater by My Square Hat

Yarns used in the jumper are: Longdog Yarns (Twilight and Wild Child), Jasper on the Elba base is Mr Bs from Birdstreet UK and Beehive Yarns: Cemetery Gates.

For further info on Dora’s new e-book, go HERE. It’s well thought out and really useful. If you want a hand to hold whilst you start to make your first crochet garments, or want to go that step further from basic jumpers then this is for you. Dora/Michelle sent me a copy as a gift but I wouldn’t gush about it if I didn’t think it was legit.

Check out my jazzed up Patreon with all it’s Tiers!! I’m so pleased. It’s really good value, especially if you’re often tempted by my patterns!

Or, if you’re not up for bargains and glorious extra content, you can always support me on Ko-fi. Thank you!

You may have missed my yarn dyeing videos, HERE is the blog post I wrote (it has links to the vids too)

I am on Lovecrafts, Etsy and Ravelry. You can also join me on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram

I bought the Chainette Turtle neck by Knits and Knots. I’m using Cascade 220 superwash for my my green jumper and I bought it from Wool Warehouse. Its Tree Top green. It says it’s a DK but I think it’s an aran or worsted, especially as other DKs have an much higher meterage.

Here is my first top tips blog post from a few years ago. I’d like to write a sequel or update the ones there. Do you have any suggestions please?! I would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment here or over on YouTube. Cheers.

If you fancied a shopping spree, I am just popping this Lovecrafts Affiliate link. Just in case… it is no extra cost to you but for me, I get 5% of the sale. More (I think it’s 15%) if you’re a new customer.

I think that’s it for now, if you have any questions, give me a shout! Thank you! xxx

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The results of my yarn dying.