Wayward Sisters. An easy Crochet Shawl Pattern

Wayward Sisters, a Granny Stripe Crochet Shawl.

Wayward Sisters, a Crochet Shawl Pattern

We three met on the cusp of autumn. No thunder, lightning or rain, just glorious September sunshine and lots of crochet goss. It was the perfect weather for a weekend in the Cotswolds for three people obsessed with the same thing. Crochet!

The crochet shawl pattern I’m sharing here was borne from our weekend. Practically whipped up the whole thing whilst we were there, it’s that easy! Crocheting granny stripes is a doddle and just the thing needed to relax the brain.

The free pattern is below. Or, if you’d prefer, you can buy a downloadable PDF that isn’t littered with waffle and ads. The PDF can be found on Ravelry, Etsy and Lovecrafts.

Try my other Free Patterns here.

(Btw this post contains one affiliate link for the yarn if you want to directly check out the yarn I used)

One Wayward Sister

Wayward Sisters

We all convened on a Friday afternoon when the sun was at its warmest. I can’t speak for the others but driving through picturesque English towns and country lanes to find an old barn to stay in felt proper exciting. The idea of a weekend away to literally focus on crochet, work on projects, and generally have a good time was much needed.

The last time I met up with Fay (of Fay H Designs and the Provenance Craft Co.) was in the early summer. She was vending at the John Arbon Textiles Mill Open Weekend and I was teaching a crochet class. Over the years, we’ve always managed to have quick chats at yarn festivals but I don’t think we’d ever sat down to have a proper chinwag. As we caught up she proposed the idea of a weekend away with crochet and friends. She and Michelle (of Dora Explored) had already been brewing plans for this so it was an easy Yes from me. Hovering over Google Maps, we poked a finger on the map, somewhere equidistant for all three of us, it landed on the Cotswolds. That’ll do nicely, thank you.

I met Michelle (of Dora Does and Dora Explored) for the first time three years ago. Rather fortuitously, she was in Devon for a family holiday and I recognised her IG pics so knew she was literally ten minutes from my house. We met up for tea and cake, with me being v late, dragging two kids who just wouldn’t get dressed that morning. We chatted for ages and I knew I’d found someone just as obsessed with crochet as me!

Yarn Everywhere

The funniest bit upon arriving was discovering that we had all brought a car full of yarn. Bags and bags, stacks of boxes, WIPs and secret projects! Yarn everywhere!

Despite bringing half my yarn stash I didn’t want to work on anything already begun. My new granny stripe crochet shawl has been on the agenda for the longest time but it has never been a priority. Ultimately it was the right balance of fun, relaxing and new. It fit in really well with the chilled atmosphere where there was zero pressure. Sometimes that’s just what everyone needs.

So the weekend went thusly: wake up, do a bit of crochet, wander round the garden picking pears, apples and sloes. Find some walnut trees (good for yarn dyeing), go back inside for a spot more crochet. Have a cup of tea. Go for a walk, go into town, have a pub lunch sat alongside the river Thames. Sniff out any yarn shops (hmm, half a one). Do a bit more crochet. Have some wine, do some crochet at a different tension…

I’ve shared a few photos here. There was a creepy old shed that I loved. It had great angles and light but my photography skills aren’t up for taking advantage of such a backdrop. The town of Lechlade was a great host. Amongst the interesting shops there was an antique place stuffed full of crazy taxidermy. What a fab weekend.

The Chosen WIP

After all that, you will want the pattern for a crochet shawl, right? I’m so happy to share this as I want you to enjoy the fun of relaxing crochet.

I made this crochet shawl because it was repetitive, methodical and I could trust it to do as it was told without me using too much brain power. In my holiday yarn stash were several (already wound) cakes of Cascade 220 Fingering yarn. Quite honestly, there were a few different projects I could have started with it . There’s still plenty left so, no doubt, you’ll see designs with related colour palettes at some point. But because a granny stripe crochet shawl had been on the To Do list for a while, it easily won as the thing to make.

Soothing Granny Stripes

Oky doky, before you begin, please know that this is a very easy single row pattern repeat. Once the first couple of starter rows are out the way, every row is the same. This is Easy Crochet at its finest! Adding stripes of colour in the mix stops too much monotony and really lifts the shawl. But ultimately, we’re just talking stripes of wonderful granny clusters.

When I started working on the shawl I felt almost embarrassed. I felt like I should be working on something impressive and fancy. I was with professionals who take this art very seriously!! But this was when it dawned on me why I like the granny stitch so much. It’s because it is the ultimate in comfort crochet. This shawl is the very definition of comfort crochet! It’s not out to impress, it only wants to make you feel good.

Do you often return to your favourite stitches? This could be why. Our favourite stitches make us feel safe and relaxed. That’s perfectly OK. I don’t always want or need crochet that soothes me but when I do, Hello Granny!

Colourful crochet shawl

Crochet Shawl Pattern

Here we go! Things you will need are: a 4mm hook, 3x50g skeins of Cascade 220 Fingering for the Main Colour, and 6 contrasting colours. I used approximately 20g of each.

Pattern Notes

  • The pattern is written in UK terms. The main stitch is a UK treble, which is a US double crochet. 
  • Contrast colours (CCs) are used three times each with 18 stripes of colour in total.
  • In established pattern, the CCs are placed every fourth row.
  • Rather than sewing in ends, I attached tassels to hide colour changes. Knot the loose ends together first before attaching tassels.
  • The PDF contains a chart with crochet symbols to follow.
  • The PDF also has a table charting where the colour chances are and where they are.
  • The PDF written pattern is available on Ravelry, Etsy, and Lovecrafts.

The Instructions

Work the first 4 rows in the MC, then change colour to a CC for the first time on the last st of Row 4. Then work a CC every 4th row. 

Chain 4 and join with a slip stitch, or make a magic circle.
Row 1: ch4 (counts as 1tr and 1ch here & throughout), 3tr, 1ch, 1tr, turn. [1 cluster of 3 tr + 1 st at either side]
Row 2: ch4, 3tr in first ch-sp, 1ch, (3tr, 1ch, 1tr) in last ch-sp, turn. [2 clusters + 1 st at either side]
Row 3: ch4, 3tr in first ch-sp, 1ch, 3tr in next ch-sp, 1ch, (3tr, 1ch, 1tr) in last ch-sp, turn. [3 clusters + 1 st at either side, increasing by 1 cluster each row]
Row 4: ch4, 3tr in first ch-sp, 1ch, *3tr in next ch-sp, 1ch; rep from * to last ch-sp, (3tr, 1ch, 1tr) in last ch-sp, turn. 
Rows 5 – 76: Rep Row 4.

Comforting Crochet Shawl

To Tassel or Not or Tassel?

Are you a fan of tassels? The jury is still out for me. The tassels are there because I couldn’t be bothered to sew in the ends. That’s all. As much as they add lots of mood lifting colour, I am tempted to undo them and add a less jazzy border. It’ll be simple to do, and if it happens and I shall come and report what I did.

And there you have it. Did you get beyond the tangenty gas-bagging?!

To give you a crochet shawl pattern I have to tell a story behind its construction. I enjoy telling the tale of how a design comes about. I just hope people enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them!

Anyway, with that, the Wayward Sisters came together, worked some magic, and then bid each other farewell. Until next time…

Cheers. x

Fay’s fruits. Nuts, innit?!

The Life of (Crochet) Riley

The Riley Sweater

Say Hello to the Riley Jumper!

Or would you call it a sweater? I will probably use them interchangeably here but they are essentially the same thing. Here in the UK, Riley is a jumper. To my US chums and other worldly friends, I think it’d most likely be a sweater. Whatever you call it this is a crochet pullover (?!) that is sure to keep you warm as the season changes and the weather gets a bit more chill.

Get Your Hands on the Crochet Pattern

As usual, rather than make you jump through hoops, I’ll leave the info right up top. To get a copy of Riley (V2), pop over to Ravelry, Etsy or Lovecrafts, whichever is your fave place to shop for crochet patterns. This jumper is size inclusive for nine different sizes.

The crochet pattern is written and available in both US & UK terms. I don’t always get round to doing this (soz See My Vest) but given that this one uses a few different stitches (in a fun way) I thought it would be helpful for all makers.

Riley crochet sweater by Zeens and Roger
Riley, a Crochet jumper by Zeens and Roger

The Life Story of Crochet Riley

The incarnation I’m giving most of the attention to here is not the first Riley jumper. No it is not. Last year I was asked by Inside Crochet magazine if I was interested in designing a cosy sweater of simple construction with some lovely wintery colours in it. I think they asked me because they know I love chucking loads of random colours together to create peculiar rainbow palettes.

The first Riley

Riley was, at first, a frosty mornings sort of jumper. Something warm and cosy for January temps when the skies threaten, or promise, snow (yay, snow!). The colours didn’t go as far as bleak mid winter vibes but they weren’t totally into fiery fiestas either. I finished Riley V1 last October and in January of this year it was the front cover star of Inside Crochet magazine! It looked fab, it really did! It still looks fab. I will no doubt wear it again and again, much like I did last winter. But there were things I wanted to change…

Riley on the front cover of Inside Crochet!
Riley, a fun crochet jumper!

Adjusting a Handmade Garment

Here’s the thing, designers are never satisfied. There is never a moment when a design is as perfect as it could be. Designers are always striving to make one last tweak, one extra adjustment. Unfortunately there comes a time when you must accept that it is time to step back and say a project is finished. I had to do that with the first Riley but when August came to an end and I stumbled upon my leftover stash of chunky yarn, I had this idea that I needed to make an autumn version. So I did. But with tweaks.

The main differences between 1 & 2 are the colours, the stripe depth, and the sleeves.

If there are any changes you feel you want to make then go for it! Crochet, and making your own clothes in general should always have an element of freedom to change if that’s what you want. We all have different bodies and making adaptations to suit personal preference is all part of the joy of handmade.

Main Design Tweaks

Colours? So yes, mostly I had yarn in stash leftover from jumper number one but I swapped out three or four colours to liven up the palette. Simple. Job done. Obviously makers can choose their own shades should they wish, it’s great that handmade has this flexibilty. Go for whatever colours you want!

The body count (stitch count of the body that is) remains the same. It’s the stripes I changed. I wanted to know what more stripes looked like. Stripes that weren’t so deep so that I could squeeze more in and therefore get more of a colour party happening.

The depth of stripes is also up for mixing and matching but obviously has an impact on the amount of yarn required for each. More stripes means more texture, which is a win in my book. This is achieved by the front post stitches. Everytime a colour changes occurs, they are introduced and it creates superb little ridges and pops of colour. Another win, don’t you think?!

In the pattern I have only given the yardage/metereage for what I have done. I’d be here for weeks if I worked out every possibilty, Not prepared to do that I’m afraid. But the option for playing around is there if you want.

The last, and biggest, difference between versions is the sleeves. Upon giving Riley V1 its first proper bath, it stretched a little bit further beyond my initial blocking. Not horrendously, just enough that the sleeves (always the overstretch culprits!) covered hands almost to the finger tips. This didn’t surprise me in the slightest as it was intended to be a slouchy fit and as per the brief, long, digit tickling sleeves were part of the remit. Nevertheless, day to day wear? Bit annoying if sleeves are in your breakfast so I knocked off a few rows to accommodate.

Colourful crochet sweater

More on the Sleeves

I’ve also changed the stitch count on the sleeves a little bit. Not so much that it’s obvious, it’s important to keep the oversized nature of them. But here was the problem: I struggled to squeeze my arms into my favourite winter coat. There was way too much bulk in the upper arm.

My advice would be to read the measurements of the sleeves in the crochet pattern to determine what you want to go for. You don’t necessarily have to rely of the size you’re making if you want a snugger fit. However, do note that the upper arm depth is already a couple of centimetres smaller than the original.

I’m hoping Riley V2 fits inside my fave coat now. At the beginning of the year, when I forced my arms inside that coat, I had the bulky appearance of a muscle man. We’d been watching Henry Cavill in the Witcher and I looked just like him, I swear! So yeah, sleeves are improved.

Chunky, Woolly Yarn

For both jumpers I used Re:Treat by West Yorkshire Spinners. (This is an affiliate link which means rather than Lovecrafts getting all your money a percentage of it comes to me instead with no extra cost to you).

The colours are gorgeous and very modern. I really liked using a roving yarn in the design, just the glide through the fingers was enough for me to be sold but once worked into a fabric it is also incredibly warm. I would definitely recommend giving this yarn a go, but if you wanted to use something else, try visiting Yarn Sub. Here’s a direct link to the Re:treat in case you fancied checking out some alternatives.

The Photoshoot

Photo shoots for my crochet designs are sometimes great fun, sometimes not. As has happened before, I rather bossily turned a lovely family weekend walk into a crochet fashion shoot (see the Dreckly mittens blog post – one of my fave posts ever by the way. I was in a very silly mood that day!) I did it for the January Hues hats too, and others, so it is a bit of a habit. It’s not always fun for the kids as they get fed up with their mother stopping countless times for good light and taking “just one more” picture in case all the others are a disaster. The husband also has to take a big sigh every time I expect him to read my mind about how the composition should be set up. He’s often the designated pusher of (camera) buttons.

I did think about sharing some additional pics of where we were but this would be a very long blog post if I did that. Maybe there needs to be a separate one for those? It is a very pretty part of Devon, all we need to do is walk a little bit out of town and there’s countryside. A story for another day I think.

Anyway, I very nearly forgot to say! Riley has nothing to do with the ubiquitous “Life of” I’m afraid. Riley is named after British artist, Bridget Riley. It’s all the stripes you see. Google her name and you’ll see what I mean. She’s cool.

PS If you have scrolled to the bottom looking for the pattern, the links to my shops are at the top! But since you’re here: Ravelry, Etsy, Lovecrafts is where you will find my crochet designs. And don’t forget to share your makes on Instagram!

Zeens and Roger wearing a Crochet jumper
Living the Life of Riley.
Use up leftovers on the Hepworth Mittens

Crochet Mittens

And finally, as a PPS, you can also get the crochet pattern for the Hepworth mittens (named after another female artist, Barbara Hepworth). You can find them on Ravelry here.

PPPS. Cheers! xx

Z&R Crochet Podcast 101. The Curse of the Creative

Fancy Watching a Crochet Podcast?

It has been a while but here is Episode 101, the latest crochet podcast which, you can watch over on YouTube now! I hope it’s worth the wait. It’s chock full of lots of different yarny projects so I think (I hope), you will enjoy spending some time with me.

To watch the episode, you can find it by clicking on the picture above, or popping across my YouTube channel HERE.

The list below is representative of the topics discussed in this latest crafty chat but if there is anything missing please do give me a shout…

Perpetual Dawn for The Fibre Company

Notes & Links to the Crochet Good Stuff:

A couple of blog posts that might interest you are: Working with Mohair Yarn which has a few tips on working with the fluffy stuff. And another, which is an easy guide to How to get Gauge for crochet clothes.

The cotton bucket hat is my latest free pattern. You can find it on the blog right HERE. There’s lots more detail on that blog post about the yarn I used and the pattern itself.

More is to follow about the Farmer’s Field cowl so no actual links yet. I’m feeling self conscious about it. Is it good enough? I like it, I am pleased with the eyelet details. Having a few wholes makes the yarn go further and is a bit different from my usual Corner to Corner crochet patterns.

I did mention about the John Arbon Knit By Numbers yarn though, that is now a C2C cowl but was once an early version of Harvest Moon. Check out crochet podcast episode 36 with that old edging!

The Granny Square Market features in issue 149 of Inside Crochet magazine. Since recording I have already started working on a V stitch version. The release date for it on my own online sales platforms will be at the end of October.

Have you seen Perpetual Dawn yet? It’s a granny square shawl designed by yours truly for The Fibre Company’s “By Hook” Collection. There’s nothing quite like a giant granny project is there?! And I like how this one looks very grown up. I don’t know if you remember but I used their yarn before in the Foragers’ Shawl.

Happy Crocheting. Cheers! X

Granny Market Bag for Inside Crochet magazine
An easy Crochet cotton bucket hat
A cardigan with no name. Yet
A new crochet design in progress
Farmer’s Field
Summer ripe figs.
Destined to be crochet socks
Cotton Crochet Bucket Hat
Blocking swatches

See My Vest. Modern Crochet Fashion.

Crochet Vest

It is a relief and a delight to get to the stage where I release my second official crochet garment pattern. Wahoo! (My first official garment pattern is the Perfect Cardigan published last year). This new design is See My Vest, a granny stitch crochet vest pattern. It’s also known in the UK as a tank top.

Buy the Vest Pattern

It’s important that you have choice here. I know certain platforms aren’t for everyone so the answer to that is that you can purchase the pattern from Ravelry, Etsy and Lovecrafts.

Size Inclusive

See My Vest comes in 9 different sizes. It has been graded and tested and I can confirm that it looks great in each size. Please check out Ravelry or the Instagram hashtag #SeeMyVest to check it out for yourself.

See My Vest Features

I have really enjoyed working on this crochet vest pattern. It’s a project I have worked on to continue learning about designing crochet clothes. A couple of months ago I signed up for an online class run by Nomad Stitches about garment construction and grading. I needed a project for “homework” and thought this vest would be quick and easy. In many respects it has been but a sleeveless garment is far from being a breeze to grade and write up. I did it though! Another goal achieved! Feeling quite chuffed about that. The course really helped and added to the grading information I had already gathered from the Workbook written by Heather of HGDC.

Made using acrylic DK yarn this is a great top for stash busting yarn you already have in your collection. I didn’t enjoy sewing in the many many ends for the Hotchpotch version but it looks so good! I’ve made a couple of stash busters during the design process and also a crochet vest all in blue. The bonus of making it in one colour is the lack of ends. Just a couple of them to sew in, yay!

I really hope you like it. It has some good features that I reckon are very pleasing indeed. The most common comments from testing was how fab it was that this is a seamless garment. You don’t have to sew any thing other than a couple of inches at each shoulder. Not bad, hey? The second most popular comment was that it was just so easy to adjust. In the pattern I have included some different, easy to follow options for making tweaks. Thus, you get to create your own unique garment. And there are charts! Another winner!

Crochet to Fit You

Whilst working on the grading I applied zero ease, meaning that I based the measurements on standard sizing without adding or taking away any room. So it’s not completely fitted but is not boxy either.

During the testing phase, myself and the See My Vest testing gang chatted about fit quite a lot. Shock, horror, guess what? We are all different shapes and sizes, with our own individual preferences for how we like to wear our handmade clothes. I was very lucky that in the testing group there were makers who loved the vest so much that they made two vests! They experimented with adding additional rows at the neck or back, they added or removed rows to the straps. To create different looks some made a smaller size to get negative ease (this creates a fitted look). The versatility is my favourite thing. As I have already mentioned, there are options within the pattern that tell you how to make alterations. I am a firm believer in tweaking, adjusting, and playing around to get a handmade garment that is unique and perfect for the wearer.

One of the things that helps with crochet fit is to make sure you have done a gauge swatch. Conveniently, I’ve got a blog post for that! The idea behind this post is that it’s an overview of the important bits without any major deep-dive. More of a tldr solution for people like me who are too lazy to read for more than a couple of minutes! I hope this isn’t revealing too much about my bone idle nature…

Getting the Vest Just Right.

There are four See My Vests in my house right now and potential for them to multiply. The first one was the ultimate in stash busting. Rather than sewing in ends, I knotted the ends and snipped them short having used the magic knot method. I don’t have a tutorial for this but it’s on my list of things to do.

Sample number one was made differently to the pattern so don’t zoom in on the pic below! The ribbing was added after as I suppose I wasn’t certain how the vest would be constructed at first. I also abandoned the idea of including this image in the final pattern. Not only is it not accurate, I also don’t have a clue how to instruct people to “chuck as much colour at it as possible. But not too much. Balance it by eyeballing. Add less in this bit, add more here…”. How do you write that professionally, in a document that people will pay money for?

Dithering over the placement of the shoulder straps was a bit of a thing. In the second sample I moved the positions of the straps but they fell off my shoulders. (I still have to rip the shoulders back and redo them because the yarn used in that top are my faves and to be treasured for a long time).

The yarn came in the form of Christmas presents from two fabulous people. Amanda, who is Queen Ambrosia on Insta sent me a beautiful, soft bundle of Polwarth DK minis all the way from Australia. The vibrancy of those shades are gorgeous and brought to life by the contrast of the creamy yarn that my long time podcasting pal, Claudia, sent to me from sunny California. Claudia has been on a mission to create yarn especially for crocheters. It’s a Z twist yarn with a textural quality I’ve never seen before. OMG it’s like butta! It works really well in the ribbing for this vest and I can’t help squidge it for comfort whenever I wear it.

Then I made the blue one, which is basically what the final pattern is. A low scoop neck crochet vest. But the pattern has options to make adjustments too! So I made a fourth sample. I added additional rows so make the scoop a little higher and returned to colour city with lots of different yarns thrown in to make a crazy rainbow.

This is the first sample. It went through a couple of changes after this.
Sample 2. Playing around with shoulder placement. Bit too wide and they dropped off my shoulders.

Crochet Community

When making something like this, I am not sure that I could do it entirely on my own and to claim as much would be dishonest. We all learn from each other and it would be remiss not to thank the amazing group of testers who made sure my first and second drafts got turned into a very clear third draft, with charts to boot. Thanks guys!

Same goes for the tech edit. This bit is essential for each and every designer. It’s best done by someone else as you can’t spot all the inevitable mistakes when it’s your own work. It’s not so bad for simpler patterns and you can sometimes edit your own work for those. But garments are a different kettle of fish and I think it’s an extremely valuable step in the process. So thank you Michelle for being brilliant, and reading me like book. She knows when I’m trying to cut corners and tells me so!

So that’s it. I really hope you enjoy making a crochet vest for yourself. Please let me know what you make and share pics on instagram or Ravelry etc. After all it isn’t much of a crochet community without you too!

Cheers. x

The blue one
Match with flouncy fabrics

Miu Miu Inspired Crochet Granny Stripe Scarf

Granny Scarf

What do you make when you have a couple of balls of yarn going spare? A crochet granny scarf of course! This one is directly inspired by the super pricey Miu Miu scarf that I have seen online over the last few months. It is a very simple crochet scarf made using the striped granny stitch. Super easy and quite speedy. And this one will cost you a great deal less money than £350!

Who gets that £350 I wonder? Is it the maker of those designer scarves? I doubt it. We seem to have Fast Fashion churning out crochet garments and accessories everywhere at the moment. It gives me the ick. Crochet is such an undervalued skill.

As well as cheap fast fashion, there are designer items at prices which would reflect the makers time but I am still dubious about where the money is going. I suppose that’s something to explore for another day. The subject is huge and complex. What we can do today is make these items ourselves so no profits end up lining the pockets of those in fast fashion. However, I am not an authority on the subject so won’t go on a rant but something is off about the practice. What do you make of the latest crochet fashion trends?

Aaaaannyway, let’s crack on with the crochet…

A Simple Crochet Project

This is a crochet scarf that is great for a beginner or someone who just needs something mindless and mindful to work on. I made this granny stripe scarf in no time at all. Perhaps a couple of evenings. Something like that.

It’s just two 100g balls of Fluffy Day that I got from Hobbii (gifted). It says it’s an aran weight yarn on the label but I would liken it to a plump DK. It has a halo akin to a mohair yarn or brushed alpaca but it’s actually 100% brushed acrylic. This amount of yarn gave me a scarf that measures approx 62 inches in length.

I used a 4mm hook here but it doesn’t really matter with this project. You can use any yarn you have and a hook size that gives you a drape you like. If you’re going to go wildly off piste with a much finer or chunkier yarn, then this will affect the width of the scarf you make. Add or remove multiples of 3 stitches to change the width.

Crochet Granny Stripe Pattern

The following patterns uses UK terms. Fear not, where I write “tr” (UK treble, I mean a US” dc” (double crochet). The “htr” is the same stitch as “hdc”. Easy as pie!

Row 1: 43ftr, turn. [Ftr means foundation treble and it is brilliant. I have a tutorial HERE.]
Row 2: 1ch, 43htr, turn.
Row 3: 1ch, 2tr in the first st, *miss 2 sts, 3 tr in next; rep from * to end finishing with 2tr in the last st, turn.
Row 4: 1ch, 1tr in the first st, 3tr (called a cluster) in each space along, 1tr in last st, turn.
Row 5: 1ch, 2tr in the first st, *miss cluster, 3 tr in next sp; rep from * to end finishing with 2tr in the last st, turn.
Rep Rows 4 & 5 for as long as you want.
Next Row: 1ch, htr in each st to end, turn.
Last Row: 1ch, 1tr in each st to end. Fasten off and wear your scarf when it’s cold.

You might also find this crochet chart useful, if you read charts then this one is quite straightforward. So straightforward that I haven’t drawn a key (cos I forgot)…

It’s deceptively simple and I think sometimes this is the best sort of crochet. The simplicity is very modern and the grannies hark back to the 70’s. Love that juxtaposition! What do you think? Let me know by making one. Cheers. x

For more free patterns from me please go HERE.

Z&R Crochet Podcast 99. Fluffy Mission

Hi! Welcome to the Zeens and Roger Crochet Podcast. This is episode 99!! To go directly to the episode, please click on the above pic or go HERE to my YouTube channel for all podcast episode and crochet tutorials.

Please see below for any links to yarn, crochet patterns and other good stuff.

All the Crochet Good Stuff:

See My Vest is coming soon. It is still in the testing phase. I will let you know as soon as possible when it is ready.

Hobbii Fluffy Day yarn features in one of my granny vests, and I have made a Miu Miu inspired granny stripe crochet scarf too. I need to find the time to put together a blog post and video tutorial for this scarf because it is super easy and looks great.

Speaking of blog posts. I did actually manage to get one out this week. If you are curious to have an overview about gauge in your crochet garments, go HERE to read my tips and tricks. Gauge is soooo important!!

I finished the Rockmore cardigan by Ana D. It is from issue 39 of Pompom Quarterly,

I am using Get Your Fluff On by Hobbycraft for a new cardi design. Will keep you posted.

You can watch my books vids HERE and HERE. I split it into two because it would have been quite long as one.

I will be at the John Arbon Textiles Mill Open Weekend in June. More on this on the next episode because I don’t feel like I have given you enough info about this!

Mind the Gap self striping yarn by Trailing Clouds.

Join the small but perfectly formed Patreon gang. Free patterns and Zoom chats await!!

Crochet Tension: How to Get Gauge for your Garments

What is Crochet Gauge?

First off I want to tell you that the concept of gauge (or tension) is actually pretty easy. It is most important for handmade garments but it is super useful to have a basic understanding for any crochet or knitting that you do. So, what is it?

Basically, gauge is measuring how many stitches and rows you have within a specific area of crochet or knit fabric. Most commonly, 10×10 cm (4×4 inches) is used. Making a small swatch of at least 15cm (6 inches) square will mean you can use a tape measure against that swatch to count how many stitches and rows you have over 10cm. Making the swatch slightly bigger means it’s more accurate. Those stitches in the middle of your swatch will be a better representation of the stitches in a garment, as opposed to the ones around the edge.

If you want the garments you make to work out as a designer intended, then I’m very sorry, you really must make time to work up a lovely swatch! Ignoring this important step before you start on the project itself, and you are at risk of messing it up!

Meeting gauge is matching the measurements given in a pattern. To do this more successfully, start with the same yarn weight that is suggested in the pattern and use the recommended hook size. You can’t use any yarn you want. It just doesn’t work that way!

How to Measure Gauge

OK, so you know what gauge is now (I hope!) but how do you measure it? It can sometimes be difficult to find precisely where a stitch begins and ends (fluffy yarns are my foe here). For the longest time I didn’t really think this was an issue and just kinda guessed at it. However, since I’ve started designing and grading crochet garments I have come to rely heavily on accuracy. You need to as well.

Below is a paragraph on blocking. Before you get out your tape measure, do you need to block your swatch first? Yarn changes after wearing and washing. I block everything apart from 100% acrylic. I will tell you more in a sec.

To measure stitches, lay out your measuring device (ruler, tape measure, whatever) then count how many stitches you have in a 10cm / 4 inch length. Do the same for rows. Put the first end between two stitches rather than at the beginning of one. The spaces between stitches count towards the measurement. This is more relevant with lace patterns and heavier yarn weights because the spaces between stitches will most likely be bigger.

Not Meeting Gauge

As I suggested above, you are basically going to mess up your project if your rows and stitches don’t match those in the pattern you’re following. It is literally the most important step in crocheting handmade garments. Yeah, I know it’s not exciting but come on, suck it up. You can do it!

If you meet gauge and have the same as the pattern then Bingo, get crocheting asap! If not then, sorry, you are mostly likely going to have to swatch again. How many stitches did you get? If you have fewer stitches than you need per 10cm, try going down a hook size. If you have more stitches, then go up a hook size.

If it’s a drastic difference then perhaps the yarn isn’t suitable for the project and you need to have a rethink. For example, it is not recommended to use a 4ply for a DK pattern. Don’t buy Chunky/Bulky when the pattern says to use Worsted! I’ve been there, I understand, but we are in an age where there are loads of yarns to choose from, loads of patterns. Please match the yarn weight and yardage/metreage to the pattern.

Crochet’s Golden Loop

I did not know this had a name until recently! I was aware that, depending on the person, the working loop on the hook has a different tension, and I had heard the names for each, but apparently, the trio of Yanker, Rider and Lifter are known as the Golden Loops. They will determine the height of your stitches. If you’re not meeting gauge on your row height, this is probably why. None of them are right or wrong but if you’re aware of your crochet style you can make adjustments to the change gauge, and therefore, row height.

Are You a bit of a Yanker?

You’re a Yanker if the loop on your hook is tight from drawing the hook down and close to the work.

Enjoy being a Rider?

Your hook is held level with the fabric as you pull through. Neither too tight or too loose. Arguably the most balanced.

Maybe you’re a Lifter?

This is me. I lift my hook upwards as I work each stitch, especially when crocheting quickly. It’s the reason I get quite tall stitches.

Blocking your Swatch

I briefly mentioned blocking a moment ago, this comes into play for swatching too. If using natural fibres a pattern will probably suggest gently washing and pinning a swatch out to dry. Or, if it doesn’t but it says to block the final thing, please assume that you’re blocking the swatch too. Yep, it does mean things take longer. Once again: sorry!

Once it’s dry you then take gauge measurements from that. Natural fibres act differently to acrylic and will stretch and drape differently once washed and dried. I don’t block acrylic because it doesn’t behave the same way. It keeps its shape quite well for the most part. I have killed acrylic swatches in the past by aggressively steam blocking. I don’t want to melt 20+ hours of work, thanks very much. If it’s acrylic blended with natural fibres then I will risk a gentle steam blocking. Just be very very careful!

Top Tips for Great Gauge

  1. Replace your tape measure on a regular basis. The cheaper, plasticky ones will stretch with lots of use and therefore lead to incorrect numbers.
  2. Make your swatch at least 15cm square. I have heard of people only measuring 5cm and doubling it. For a garment, NO! Don’t do that, it allows more room for error. Big bad No!
  3. Wash and block it (unless 100% acrylic).
  4. Set your tape measure to start evenly between two stitches. That seemingly inconsequential space adds up when multiplied.
  5. Swap to a bigger or smaller hook size if you aren’t meeting gauge.
  6. Watch how you crochet. Are you a Yanker, Rider, or Lifter? This will affect row height.
  7. Burn it into your brain that swatching is always part of the garment making process.
  8. Use the recommended yarn weight. Look at the yardage/metreage per hundred grams for matchy matchy figures.

Dodgy Gauge

There are a few consequences of ignoring gauge. The biggie: hours and hours have been potentially wasted because you’ve made a garment that doesn’t fit. You might also run out of yarn, which means you have to buy more. But what if the shop doesn’t have the same dye lot anymore? You end up with half the left sleeve is a different shade of grey. Plus, you ordered even more yarn to get free postage and now you have loads of leftovers that will sit in the cupboard for three years.

Then you have to start all over again!

Mixtape Medley Crochet Blanket Pattern – US terms!

Mixtape Medley Crochet Blanket. A great crochet pattern to learn new stitches.
Mixtape Medley Crochet Blanket

The Mixtape Medley Crochet Along has been such an exciting CAL and I cannot tell you how thrilling it is that so many of you have taken part in making this crazy crochet blanket pattern. There have been some brilliant brilliant brilliant versions made and it is such a lovely thing to see. Check out the Instagram hashtag #MixtapeMedleyCAL to see a variety of colour combinations that will make you swoon.

It’s about time I shared the pattern here on the blog (keep scrolling – it’s below!). I thought it would be a good idea to publish my biggest crochet project to date, right here, using US crochet terminology.

As well as scrolling down in this post, to full pattern with the US terms, you can find the UK pattern broken down in its CAL parts on the Hobbycraft website HERE. There are links to the video tutorials there too (I use UK terms in the videos).

If you’d like a glimpse into how I designed Mixtape Medley, I talk about it HERE in a Youtube video about designing crochet and getting your work published.

Yarn and Other Things you Need to Know

You need any DK (or similar) yarn. That’s in the number 3 category. I used Knitcraft Everyday DK 50 gram balls (100% Acrylic, 137m/150yds) in the following colours:

Purple (YA) x 3 balls, Mint (YB) x 4, Hot Pink (YC)  x 2
Beige (YD) x 5, Orange (YE) x 2, Teal (YF) x 2
Light Blue (YG) x 4, Brown (YH) x 2, Peach (YI) x 3
Barbie Pink (YJ) x 2, Red (YK) x 2, Blue (YL) x 2

I used a 3.75mm hook as my tension is quite loose. A 4mm (G/6) works great too. 

Blanket Measurements

This blanket measures 125cm x 195cm / 49 x 77 inches

Stitch Tension/ Crochet Gauge

Whilst tension isn’t a major issue it does have an affect on the amount of yarn used. The shade Peach for example, uses nearly every scrap of yarn of the three 50g balls listed. You would run out if your tension is looser.

If you’ve got the energy, make this small swatch to check you gauge.
Row 1: Using a Foundation Start (see Special Stitches), work 25fdc sts, turn – 25 sts
Row 2: 1ch, hdc to end, turn.
Rows 3 – 17: Rep Row 2.
10cm should equal 14 rows /19 sts

Notes for Mixtape Medley

  • Changing colour: change yarn on the last pull through of the st before the new colour is needed.
  • For colour block/plaid rows, carry non working yarn along the row, working over the yarn as you go. Remember to regularly untwist your yarn to prevent tangles!
  • C2C rows can sometimes pull in slightly. You can adjust the tension by going up a hook for these sections. Although, I didn’t bother.
  • It’s a lovely big blanket and is a generous single bed size.
  • To adjust the size of your blanket, use multiples of 36. This blanket uses 6 multiples of 36 (plus 1) to get to 217 stitches. Add or subtract 36 stitches to make adjustments to the size.
  • The Hobbycraft video tutorials use UK terms but provide a really good visual so they’re still valid and helpful.
  • At the bottom of this page you’ll find a printable PDF to download for free!! ….
  • If you have enjoyed all the Mixtape Medley delights thus far and appreciate the work that has gone into the project, then I would totally do that happy dance if you bought me a Ko-fi!

Crochet Abbreviations

ch = chain, ch-sp = chain space, dc = double crochet, folls = follows/following, 
fdc = foundation double crochet, hk = hook, hdc = half double crochet, 
lp/s = loop(s), rem = remain/ing, rep = repeat, sc = single crochet 
sl st = slip stitch, st/s = stitches, tr = treble crochet, yrh = yarn around hook, 
YA/YB etc = yarn A/yarn B etc, JAYG = join as you go, 
C2C = corner to corner crochet, RS/WS = right side/wrong side

Special Crochet Stitches

Foundation Start (fdc): ch4 (counts as a st), yrh, insert hook in 4th ch from hook, yrh, draw through, yrh, draw through 1 lp (to create 1 ch into which the next st will be worked), yrh, draw through 2 lps, yrh, draw through 2 lps. Work next fdc (foundation double) into the 1ch created and the lp behind it.  

Bobble stitch: (made on the wrong side of blanket):
[yrh, insert hook into st, yrh, pull through, yrh, pull through 2 lps] five times in same st, yrh, pull through all 6 lps.

Puff stitch: [yrh, insert hook into st, yrh and pull up yarn] three times in same st, yrh, draw through all 7 lps on hook. 

hdc join:  (joining a round with a hdc means you finish in the very centre of a corner):
yrh, insert hook into 1st st of round, yrh, pull through, yrh, pull through all 3 lps. 

Mixtape Medley CAL Crochet Blanket
Mixtape Medley is a Hobbycraft collaboration for a 2021 Crochet Along

Mixtape Medley Blanket Pattern

Week 1

Row 1 (ws): With YA and 4mm hook, 217 fdc, turn – 217 sts. 
Alternatively work 219ch and work 1 dc in 4th ch from hk and 1dc in each ch to end.
Row 2: 1ch (does not count as a st here and throughout), dc to end, turn. Change to YB.

BLOCKS

Row 3: 1ch, 9hdc in YB, *9hdc in YC, 9hdc in YB; rep from * to last 10 sts, hdc in YC to end, turn.
Row 4: 1ch, 10hdc in YC, 9 hdc in YB, *9hdc in YC, 9hdc in YB; rep from * to end, turn.
Row 5: rep Row 3.
Row 6: rep Row 4.
Row 7: rep Row 3.
Row 8: rep Row 4 changing to YC on last st, turn.
Row 9 -14: continue in pattern, repeat the last 6 rows but switch colours around to begin with YC followed by YB.

BOBBLE ROWS

Rows 15 & 16: with YD, 1ch, hdc to end, turn.
Row 17 (ws): with YE, 1ch, 4sc, 1bobble, *8sc, 1 bobble; rep from * to last 5 sts, 5sc, turn.
Rows 18 & 19: with YD 1ch, hdc to end, turn.

Week 2 

JAYG C2C

This C2C section represents the next 6 rows of the blanket: Rows 20-25. 
Working on the diagonal, each row is anchored with a slip stitch to the main body of the blanket.
You may wish to use a 4.5mm hook for this section.
Increases
Row 1 (rs): with YF, 6ch, 1dc in 4th ch from hk, 1dc in each of rem 2 ch (1 block made), miss 2 sts of main blanket, 1sl st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn – 1 block
Row 2: 3ch, 3dc in 3ch-sp, 1sl st in ch-sp of first block, 3ch, 3dc in same sp, turn – 2 blocks.
Row 3: 6ch, 1dc in 4th ch from hk, 1dc in each of next 2 ch, *1sl st in 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in same ch-sp; rep from * once, miss 2 sts, 1sl st in next st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn – 3 blocks
Row 4: 3ch, 3dc in ch-sp, *1sl st in next 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc; rep from * to end, turn – 4 blocks. 
Row 5: with YG, 6ch, 1dc in 4th ch from hk, 1dc in each of next 2 ch, *1sl st in 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in same ch-sp; rep from * to end, miss 2sts, 1sl st, in next st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn – 5 blocks.
Row 6: rep row 4 – 6 blocks.

Work even as folls:
Row 7: 3 sl sts across dc sts and into 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in 3ch-sp, *1sl st into next 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in same 3ch-sp; rep from * to end, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, in next st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn – 6 blocks.
Row 8: *3ch, 3dc in ch-sp, 1sl st in next 3ch-sp; rep from * to end, turn – 6 blocks. 
Row 9: Rep Row 7, changing to YF on fourth sl st into first ch-sp.
Rows 10 – 71: rep Rows 8 & 9 to last st, alternating between YF & YG every four rows.
Row 72: Rep row 8.

Decreases
Row 73: 3sl st across dc sts and into 3ch-sp, *3ch, 3dc in 3ch-sp, 1sl st into next 3ch-sp; rep from * to end, turn – 5 blocks.
Rows 74 – 77: rep row 73. 
Fasten off and sew in C2C ends (and all other ends so far)!

Row 26: with RS facing, attach YG in corner, work 217sc across main blanket: 1sc in top of the 3 vertical dc sts and 3sc around the bar of horizontal sts, plus an additional 1sc st at the beginning.

HOUNDSTOOTH

Row 27: with YH 1ch, hdc to end, turn.
Row 28: 1ch, 1dc, *1sc, 1dc; rep from * to end, turn. 
Row 29: with YI, 1ch, 1sc, *1dc, 1sc; rep from * to end, turn.
Row 30 – 33: Rep Rows 28 & 29 alternating colours.
Row 34: with YH rep Row 28 once more.
Row 35: rep Row 27.

BOBBLES x 3

Rows 36- 38: with YB 1ch, hdc to end, turn. 
Row 39 (ws): with YJ, 1ch, 4sc, 1bobble, *8sc, 1 bobble; rep from * to last 5 sts, 5sc, turn.
Rows 40 – 42: rep row 36.
Row 43: with YE, 1ch, *8sc, 1 bobble; rep from * to last 10 sts, 10sc, turn.
Rows 44 – 46: rep row 36.
Row 47: with YK, rep row 39.
Row 48 – 50: rep row 36.

Week 3 

PLAID

Row 51: with YL 1ch, 4hdc, *change to YG, 4hdc, change to YL, 4hdc; rep from * to last 5 sts, 5hdc in YG, turn.
Row 52: 1ch, 5hdc, change to YL, 4hdc, *change to YG, 4hdc, change to YL, 4hdc; rep from to end, turn.
Row 53: rep row 51.
Row 54: With YL 1ch, 5hdc, change to YD, 4hdc, *change to YL, 4hdc, change to YD, 4hdc; rep from to end, turn.
Row 55: 1ch, 4hdc, *change to YL, 4hdc, change to YD, 4hdc; rep from * to last 5 sts, 5hdc in YL, turn.
Row 56: rep Row 54.
Rows 57 – 59: rep rows 51- 53.
Rows 60 – 62: rep rows 54 – 56.
Rows 63 – 65: rep rows 51 – 53.

CLOSED SHELLS

Row 66: with YJ, 1ch, dc to end, turn.
Row 67: with YH, 1ch, 3dc in first st, miss 2 sts, 1sc, miss 2 sts, *5dc in next st, miss 2 sts, 1sc, miss 2 sts; rep from * to last st, 3dc in last st, turn. 
Row 68: with YE,1ch, 1sc in first st, *miss 2 sts, 5dc in sc, miss 2 sts, 1sc in next st; rep from * to end, turn.
Row 69: with YK rep row 67.
Row 70: with YA rep row 68. 
Row 71: with YB rep row 67.
Row 72: with YJ, 1ch, dc to end, turn. 

Week 4

PUFF WAVES

Row 73: with YF, 1ch, hdc to end, turn. Row 74: 1ch, 3sc, 3hdc, 2dc, 3ddc, 2dc, 3hdc, *5sc, 3hdc, 2dc, 3ddc, 2dc, 3hdc; rep from * to last 3 sts, 3sc, turn. 
Rows 75 & 76: with YI, 1ch, sc to end, turn.
Row 77: 1ch, 4dc, 3hdc, 5sc, 3hdc, *2dc, 3ddc, 2dc, 3hdc, 5sc, 3hdc; rep from * to last 4 sts, 4dc, turn.
Row 78: 1ch, 4dc, 3hdc, 5sc, 3hdc, *miss 3 sts, 1ch, (1puff, 1ch) three times in next ddc, miss 3 sts, 3hdc, 5sc, 3hdc; rep from * to last 4 sts, 4dc, turn.
Row 79: 1ch, 1sc in each st and 1ch-sp to end, turn. 
Row 80: 1ch, sc to end, turn.
Row 81: 1ch, 3sc, 3hdc, 2dc, 3ddc, 2dc, 3hdc, *5sc, 3hdc, 2dc, 3ddc, 2dc, 3hdc; rep from * to last 3 sts, 3sc, turn. 
Row 82: 1ch, 3sc, 3hdc, miss 3 sts, 1ch, (1puff, 1ch) three times in next st, miss 3 sts, 3hdc, *5sc, 3hdc, miss 3 sts, 1ch, (1puff, 1ch) three times in next st, miss 3 sts, 3hdc; rep from * to last 3 sts, 3sc, turn.
Row 83: rep row 79.
Row 84: rep row 80.
Row 85: rep row 77.
Row 86: rep row 78.
Row 87: rep row 79.
Row 88: rep row 80.
Row 89: With YF, rep row 81.
Row 90: 1ch, hdc to end, turn.

GRANNY BLOCKS

Row 91: with YD, 1ch, sc to end, turn.
Row 92: 1ch, 4dc, *miss 1 st, 1ch, 3dc; rep from * to last st, 1dc in last st, turn.
Row 93: With YK, 1ch, 1sc, 3ch, miss 3 dc, *1sc in ch-sp, 3ch, miss 3 dc; rep from * to last st, 1sc, turn. 
Row 94: with YD, 1ch, 1dc in first st, 3dc in ch-sp, *1ch, miss sc, 3dc in ch-sp; rep from * to last st, 1dc in last st, turn.
Row 95: with YC, rep row 93.
Row 96: with YD, rep row 94.
Row 97: with YL, rep row 93.
Row 98: with YD, rep row 94.
Row 99: 1ch, 1sc in each st and ch-sp to end, turn.

Week 5

BLOCKS

Row 100: with YB, 1ch, dc to end, turn.
Row 101: 1ch, 9hdc in YA, *9hdc in YG, 9hdc in YA; rep from * to last 10 sts, hdc in YG to end, turn.
Row 102: 1ch, 10hdc in YG, 9hdc in YA, *9hdc in YG, 9hdc in YA; rep from * to end, turn.
Row 103: rep Row 101.
Row 104: rep Row 102.
Row 105: rep Row 101.
Row 106: rep Row 102 changing to YG on last st, turn.
Rows 107 – 112: continue in pattern by repeating the last 6 rows but switch colours around to begin with YG followed by YA

BOBBLE

Rows 113 & 114: with YD, 1ch, hdc to end, turn
Row 115 (ws): with YH, 1ch, 4sc, 1bobble, *8sc, 1 bobble; rep from * to last 5 sts, 5sc, turn.
Rows 116 & 117: with YD 1ch, hdc to end, turn.

JAYG C2C

This C2C section represents the next 6 rows of the blanket: Rows 118-123. 
Increases
Row 1: with YK, 6ch, 1dc in 4th ch from hk, 1dc in each of next 2 ch (1 block made), miss 2 sts of main blanket, 1sl st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn – 1 block.
Row 2: 3ch, 3dc in 3ch-sp, 1sl st in ch-sp of first block, 3ch, 3dc in same sp, turn – 2 blocks.
Row 3: 6ch, 1dc in 4th ch from hk, 1dc in each of next 2 ch, *1sl st in 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in same ch-sp; rep from * once, miss 2 sts, 1sl st in next st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn – 3 blocks
Row 4: 3ch, 3dc in ch-sp, *1sl st in next 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc; rep from * to end, turn – 4 blocks. 
Row 5: with YJ, 6ch, 1dc in 4th ch from hk, 1dc in each of next 2 ch, *1sl st in 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in same ch-sp; rep from * to end, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, in next st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn. – 5 blocks.
Row 6: rep row 4 – 6 blocks.

Work even as folls:
Row 7: 3sl sts across dc sts and into 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in 3ch-sp, *1sl st into next 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in same 3ch-sp; rep from * to end, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, in next st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn – 6 blocks.
Row 8: *3ch, 3dc in ch-sp, 1sl st in next 3ch-sp; rep from * to end, turn – 6 blocks. 
Row 9: rep Row 7, changing to YK on fourth sl st into first ch-sp.
Row 10 – 71: rep Rows 8 & 9 to last st, alternating between YJ & YK every four rows.
Row 72: rep row 8.

Decreases
Row 73: 3sl sts across dc sts and into 3ch-sp, *3ch, 3dc in 3ch-sp, 1sl st into next 3ch-sp; rep from * to end, turn. – 5 blocks.
Rows 74 – 77: rep row 73. 
Sl st to corner, fasten off and sew in ends!
Row 124: With RS facing, attach YJ in corner, 217sc across main blanket: 1sc in top of the 3 vertical dc sts and 3sc around the bar of horizontal sts, plus an additional 1sc st at the beginning.

Week 6

HOUNDSTOOTH

Row 125: with YE 1ch, hdc to end, turn.
Row 126: 1ch, 1dc, *1sc, 1dc; rep from * to end, turn. 
Row 127: with YB 1ch, 1sc, *1dc, 1sc; rep from * to end, turn.
Rows 128 – 131: Rep Rows 126 & 127 alternating colours.
Row 132: with YE rep Row 126.
Row 133: rep Row 125.

BOBBLES x 3

Rows 134 – 136: with YI, 1ch, hdc to end, turn. 
Row 137 (ws): with YF, 1ch, 4sc, 1bobble, *8sc, 1 bobble; rep from * to last 5 sts, 5sc, turn.
Rows 138 – 140: rep Row 134.
Row 141: with YL, 1ch, *8sc, 1 bobble; rep from * to last 10 sts, 10sc, turn.
Rows 142 – 144: rep Row 134.
Row 145: with YG, rep row 137.
Row 146 – 148: rep Row 134.

PLAID

Row 149: with YK 1ch, 4hdc, *change to YC, 4hdc, change to YK, 4hdc; rep from * to last 5 sts, 5hdc in YC, turn.
Row 150: 1ch, 5hdc, change to YK, 4hdc, *change to YC, 4hdc, change to YK, 4hdc; rep from to end, turn.
Row 151: rep row 149.
Row 152: with YK 1ch, 5hdc, change to YD, 4hdc, *change to YK, 4hdc, change to YD, 4hdc; rep from to end, turn.
Row 153: with YD 1ch, 4hdc, *change to YK, 4hdc, change to YD, 4hdc; rep from * to last 5 sts, 5hdc in YK, turn.
Row 154: rep Row 152.
Rows 155 – 157: rep rows 149 – 151.
Rows 158 – 160: rep rows 152 – 154.
Rows 161 – 163: rep rows 149 – 151.

Week 7

CLOSED SHELLS

Row 164: with YH, 1ch, dc to end, turn.
Row 165: with YB, 1ch, 3dc in first st, miss 2 sts, 1sc, miss 2 sts, *5dc in next st, miss 2 sts, 1sc, miss 2 sts; rep from * to last st, 3dc in last st, turn. 
Row 166: with YL, 1ch, 1sc in first st, *miss 2 sts, 5dc in sc, miss 2 sts, 1sc in next st; rep from * to end, turn.
Row 167: with YG rep row 165.
Row 168: with YE rep row 166. 
Row 169: with YI rep 165.
Row 170: with YH, 1ch, dc to end, turn. 

PUFF WAVES

Row 171: with YA, 1ch, hdc to end, turn. 
Row 172: 1ch, 3sc, 3hdc, 2dc, 3ddc, 2dc, 3hdc, *5sc, 3hdc, 2dc, 3ddc, 2dc, 3hdc; rep from * to last 3 sts, 3sc, turn. 
Rows 173 & 174: with YG, 1ch, sc to end, turn.
Row 175: 1ch, 4dc, 3hdc, 5sc, 3hdc, *2dc, 3ddc, 2dc, 3hdc, 5sc, 3hdc; rep from * to last 4 sts, 4dc, turn.
Row 176: 1ch, 4dc, 3hdc, 5sc, 3hdc, *miss 3 sts, 1ch, (1puff, 1ch) three times in next st, miss 3 sts, 3hdc, 5sc, 3hdc; rep from * to last 4 sts, 4dc, turn.
Row 177: 1ch, sc in each st and 1ch-sp to end, turn. 
Row 178: 1ch, sc to end, turn.
Row 179: 1ch, 3sc, 3hdc, 2dc, 3ddc, 2dc, 3hdc, *5sc, 3hdc, 2dc, 3ddc, 2dc, 3hdc; rep from * to last 3 sts, 3sc, turn. 
Row 180: 1ch, 3sc, 3hdc, miss 3 sts, 1ch, (1puff, 1ch) three times in next st, miss 3 sts, 3hdc, *5sc, 3hdc, miss 3 sts, 1ch, (1puff, 1ch) three times in next st, miss 3 sts, 3hdc; rep from * to last 3 sts, 3sc, turn.
Row 181: rep row 177.
Row 182: rep row 178.
Row 183: rep row 175.
Row 184: rep row 176.
Row 185: rep row 177.
Row 186: rep row 178.
Row 187: With YA, rep row 179.
Row 188: 1ch, hdc to end, turn.

GRANNY BLOCKS

Row 189: with YD, 1ch, sc to end, turn.
Row 190: 1ch, 4dc, *miss 1st, 1ch, 3dc; rep from * to last st, 1dc in last st, turn.
Row 191: With YF, 1ch, 1sc, 3ch, miss 3dc, *1sc in ch-sp, 3ch, miss 3dc; rep from * to last st, 1sc, turn. 
Row 192: with YD, 1ch, 1dc in first st, 3dc in ch-sp, *1ch, miss sc, 3dc in ch-sp; rep from * to last st, 1dc in last st, turn. 
Row 193: with YJ, rep row 191.
Row 194: with YD, rep row 192.
Row 195: with YK, rep row 191.
Row 196: with YD, rep row 192.
Row 197: 1ch, 1sc in each st and ch-sp to end, turn.

Week 8

JAYG C2C

This C2C section represents the next 6 rows of the blanket: Rows 198- 203. 
Increases
Row 1: with YH, 6ch, 1dc in 4th ch from hk, 1dc in each of next 2 ch (1 block made), miss 2 sts, of main blanket, 1sl st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn – 1 block
Row 2: 3ch, 3dc in 3ch sp, 1sl st in ch-sp of first block, 3ch, 3dc in the same sp, turn – 2 blocks.
Row 3: 6ch, 1dc in 4th ch from hk, 1dc in each of next 2 ch, *1sl st in 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in same ch-sp; rep from * once, miss 2sts, 1sl st in next st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn – 3 blocks
Row 4: 3ch, 3dc in ch-sp, *1sl st in next 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc; rep from * to end, turn – 4 blocks. 
Row 5: with YB, 6ch, 1dc in 4th ch from hk, 1dc in each of next 2 ch, *1sl st in 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in same ch-sp; rep from * to end, miss 2sts, 1sl st, in next st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn – 5 blocks.
Row 6: rep row 4 – 6 blocks.


Work even as folls:
Row 7: 3sl sts across dc sts and into 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in 3ch-sp, *1sl st into next 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3dc in same 3ch-sp; rep from * to end, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, in next st, 3ch, miss 2 sts, 1sl st, turn – 6 blocks.
Row 8: *3ch, 3dc in ch-sp, 1sl st in next 3ch-sp; rep from * to end, turn – 6 blocks. 
Row 9: rep Row 7, changing to YH on fourth sl st into first ch-sp.
Row 10 – 71: rep Rows 8 & 9 to last st, alternating between YB & YH every four rows.
Row 72: rep row 8.

Decreases
Row 73: 3sl sts across dc sts and into 3ch-sp, *3ch, 3dc in 3ch-sp, 1sl st into next 3ch-sp; rep from * to end, turn – 5 blocks.
Rows 74 – 77: rep row 73. 
Sl st to corner, fasten off and sew in ends now.
Row 204: With RS facing, attach YB in corner, 217sc across main blanket: sc in top of 3 vertical dc sts and 3sc around the bar of horizontal sts, plus additional 1sc st at beginning.

BOBBLE ROWS

Rows 205 & 206: with YD, 1ch, hdc to end, turn.
Row 207 (ws): with YF, 1ch, 4sc, 1bobble, *8sc, 1 bobble; rep from * to last 5 sts, 5sc, turn.
Rows 208 & 209: with YD 1ch, hdc to end, turn.

BLOCKS

Row 210: 1ch, 9hdc in YE, *9hdc in YJ, 9hdc in YE; rep from * to last 10 sts, hdc in YJ to end, turn.
Row 211: 1ch, 10hdc in YJ, 9hdc in YE, *9hdc in YJ, 9hdc in YE; rep from * to end, turn.
Row 212: rep 210
Row 213: rep 211
Row 214: rep 210
Row 215: rep 211 changing to yarn J on last st, turn.
Rows 216 -221: continue in pattern, repeat the last 6 rows but switch colours around to begin with YJ followed by YE
Rows 222 & 223: with YA, 1ch, dc to end, turn.

THE MIXTAPE MEDLEY BORDER

Continue around the rest of the blanket and join with a sl st to the first st, do not turn. 
If you are just a few stitches out on the sides, don’t worry, it won’t have an effect on the overall look.

Rnd 1: With YD, 1ch, sc to end – 217 sts, work along the side of the blanket as folls: 1sc in first dc, 2sc in 2nd dc (& further dc sts), work 3sc for every two rows in hdc, 1sc in each sc row. For C2C sections, work 3dc across vertical dc sts and 2sc in horizontal posts. – 334 sts.

Rnd 2: 1ch, 2dc in first st, dc to next corner st, *(2dc, 1ch, 2dc) in corner st, dc to next corner; rep from * twice more, 2dc, join by working 1hdc into the first st, do not turn.

Rnd 3: 1ch, 2dc in corner sp, dc to next corner, *5dc in corner sp, dc to end; rep from * three more times, 3dc in first corner sp, join with sl st to first st . 

Fasten off and sew in the many many ends!

Mixtape Medley Blanket
Mixtape Medley lounging at home.

Wahoo, you are done! How does it feel? Honestly, I was so pleased when this one came off the hook. It was many months of planning and swatching. What a relief and a joy to see it finished.

You’re probably down at the botom of this page to find a totally free PDF that you can download and print. Well, you can find that just below. It’s one document with the pattern fully laid out week by week (obvs you can ignore the weeks and work it up as quickly as you like but they’re useful markers).

You are also most welcome to pop HERE to my Ko fi account. That’s if you fancied buying me a lil treat! Or check out my other patterns on the Free Pattern Page here on my blog, as well as Ravelry, Etsy and Lovecrafts.

Cheers! xxx

The downloadable PDF is here:

Mixtape Medley
Mixtape Medley Crochet Blanket. Blocks, bobbles and C2C, oh my!

Easy C2C Crochet Cowl. Free Pattern

Corner to Corner Cowl

This c2c crochet cowl pattern featured in a Mindful Makes supplement from Mollie Makes magazine a few years ago. I had forgotten about it entirely. The other day, however, I was chatting with a couple of fellow designer friends and both of them said they intended on revisiting past patterns this year. It’s a really good New Year intention and I fancy jumping on that bandwagon! (Most designers have a backlog of projects they sit on that aren’t quite ready for whatever reason).

With the feeling of the January doldrums rolling in, I have found the perfect pattern to revisit. It’s a gentle introduction to the crochet c2c stitch, which is ideal for a beginner crocheter, or it’s also a really nice pattern if you’re just looking for something easy and calming to work on for a few hours.

Please pop down to the bottom of the post for a quick C2C guide.

What you need to Crochet a Cowl

I used a variegated, colour changing yarn: King Cole Cotswold Chunky (80% acrylic/20% wool, 100g/130m per ball). You will need four balls in Broadway (2381), which should leave some leftovers, I used the leftover to make pom poms. I wish I had a photo of them against the cowl to show how lovely they looked!

A 5.5 mm (US I/9) crochet hook. If you find your fabric is a bit stiff try a 6mm.

Don’t forget a darning needle to sew in any ends and sew the ends of the cowl together.

Additional Info

Finished size: 43 x 40 cm (17 x 16 inches). 

Abbreviations (UK terms – see notes below on swapping to US terminology):
beg beginning, ch chain, ch-sp chain space, dc double crochet (US SC), prev previous, rep repeat,  ss slip stitch, st(s) stitch(es), tr treble (US DC), yrh yarn round hook.  

Tension
Tension is not particularly important for this project. If after a few rows, the fabric works up a bit stiff, try going up a hook size to create looser stitches.

Special Stitches: The Crab stitch
This is used to snaz up the edging a bit. Essentially it’s a double crochet stitch worked in reverse. Crocheting from left to right can feel slightly skewy at first but once you have a consistent rhythm it’s actually quite good fun to do. And it’s quick!
Here’s how to do it: Insert hook in the st to the right, yrh and pull through st, yrh and pull through both loops.

Notes

  • Make your cowl by crocheting a long rectangle and sewing ends together.
  • Once the main piece is complete, the crab stitch is added to both lengths before pinning out and steam blocking the fabric. (I like blocking as I think it improves most crochet but you can probably get away without doing it here).
  • 1 block = 3ch and 3tr.
  • C2C is incredibly versatile and keeping the stitch plain showcases its beautiful texture. But there’s nothing stopping you from adding stripes of different colours, or how about adding a fancier border to give it a whole new personality?!
  • You can make it as long or as deep as you like by adding more rows before reaching the second corner. In addition, chuck in more rows before starting to decrease to the final corner.
  • The pattern is written in UK terms but, I promise, c2c is the easiest of stitch patterns to swap to US terms. Just remember that the main pattern is US double crochet stitches and not trebles. When you work row 1 of the edging, that’s a foundation of SC stitches you’re working, not dc.
A cosy corner to corner crochet cowl

C2C Crochet Cowl Pattern

Row 1: Ch6, 1tr in 4th ch from hook, 1tr in next 2 sts, turn. [1 block]

Row 2: Ch6, 1tr in 4th ch from hook, 1tr in next 2 sts, ss into the 3ch-sp of prev row, ch3, 3tr into same 3ch-sp, turn. [2 blocks]

Row 3: Ch6, 1tr into 4th ch from hook, 1tr in next 2 sts, *ss into next 3ch-sp of prev row, ch3, 3tr in same 3ch-sp; rep from * to end, turn. [3 blocks etc]

Row 4 -18: Rep Row 3. [18 blocks at Row 18]

Row 19: Ss along the first 3 sts and into the first 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3tr in 3ch-sp, continue making blocks in each 3ch-sp to the end, turn. [18]

Row 20: Repeat Row 3, ending with 1ss in the last 3ch-sp (ie. do not make the last block), turn. [17 blocks & dec by 1 block each row]

Rep Rows 19 & 20 six more times

Row 33: Ss along the first 3 sts and into the first 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3tr in 3ch-sp, continue making blocks ending with 1ss into the last 3ch-sp, turn. [17 blocks].

Row 34 – 49: Rep Row 33 (decreasing by 1 block per row).

Ss into each of the last 3 sts and into the corner.

Edging
Work along the length of the piece.
Row 1 (a foundation row to work the crab stitch into): Ch1 (does not count as a st), 2dc in horizontal bars of each tr, 1dc in each of the 3 vertical tr, do not turn. [80]

Row 2: Ch1(does not count as a st), crab stitch along to end. 

Fasten off and reattach yarn to the other side. Rep Rows 1 & 2. Fasten off.

crocheting the crab stitch
crocheting the crab stitch

Blocking and Finishing

For extra drape it’s good to block your work. Pin the crochet onto foam blocking boards, (I used to lay a towel down on the carpet to pin on that but please don’t do this because you might ruin your carpet or poshest towels). Then, using an iron or steamer, carefully steam block ensuring not to melt any acrylic fibres. Hold an iron too close to acrylic and you’ll have ruined all your hard work. Once it’s dry, fold it in half with the right sides facing. Then, using a mattress stitch or whip stitch, sew the short ends together. Turn right side out.

Voila! You now have a finished corner to corner crochet cowl to snuggle into! Wahey!

If you enjoyed this free crochet pattern, please feel free to check out some of my other free patterns HERE.

How to Crochet the C2C Stitch: A Guide

This is just a quick glance at the Corner to Corner stitch. I hope you can see that the C2C stitch is just about building blocks. As the name suggests, start in one corner, make loads of lovely blocks and then decrease to finish at the opposite corner.

Although it might look tricky, it is actually one of the easiest and quickest crochet stitches to work up. The down side though is that it is the very first few stitches that can discombobulate. I know cos I remember learning!

Basically, each block is made up of three chains and 3 UK tr (US dc) stitches. When building blocks row by row, the first block of the row is in an increase and worked into a chain of 6. Each subsequent block is then anchored to the work by slip stitching into a 3ch-sp of the previous row.

Once you have the width you need, you can either decrease from this point to create a square, or carry on working rows without adding a new block every row. Continue the increases but balance them out by ending one block early on the other end of the row (a decrease). This keeps the block count to the same number of blocks per row for as many rows as you need.

Decrease to the other corner by chaining 3 at the beginning rather than 6. Finish with the row with a decrease too, and make 3 slip stitches across and slip st into the neighbouring block’s 3 ch-sp to get to the start of a new row.

Clear as mud?!

If time allows I would love to record a tutorial for this one day. A super simple beginner’s vid. But in the meantime, I do have a video tutorial for a different c2c cowl (the Apres Ski hat & cowl set) I made a few years ago. It has colour work and I assume you know the basics when talking through how to make it.

8 Top Tips for Working with Mohair Yarn.

Lots of different mohair yarns

Mohair Yarn is the Fluffiest!

Over the last couple of years the popularity of mohair yarn has grown monumentally. Creating the very best of halos, it is the ultimate in warm and fluffy yarn.

Yarny projects can be expensive due the mix of fibres used (mohair is angora goat, with a blend of silk), costs can go stratospheric when holding the yarn double. Therefore, spending money on, and using, mohair can take quite the leap of faith, especially when it’s not always the easiest to work with (hello frogging!). But it’s brilliant and totally worth the risk. Soft, warm and fluffy, the comfort levels are to the extreme!

My fave, holding mohair with a non fluffy yarn.

Alternative Yarns to Mohair

Mohair isn’t compatible with everyone. Affordability aside, it can cause allergies and itching, which is no fun at all. Fluffy yarn is fluffy yarn and the tips below apply to yarns that are others fibres too. Over the last few months I’ve tried a few alternatives and you definitely can get the floof without using mohair. Alpaca is great and easily available. The yarns similar to mohair are often brushed alpaca. You can also get brushed acrylic too but I’ve not tried that yet. The options are quite plentiful. Would a blog post about the ones I’ve used be helpful?

Anyway, if you have decided on a fluffy crochet or knitting project then check out these useful tips…

Crocheting with mohair yarn

Fluffy Yarn Top Tips

Frogging Yarn

Let’s start with a painful one because if you make a mistake in your project then frogging (undoing all your beautiful stitches) is a frustrating and sometimes impossible process. If you find that you have to rip back your work, do it slowly. Really really slowly. Never rip/yank/tug. Doing so will tighten the grip of all those flyaway fibres and you will end up with a horrible knot. Or it will break because you’ve pulled too hard. Instead, slowly coax each stitch apart at a snail’s pace. It seems ridiculous but it’s worth being super patient over.

Lace-weight on its own is hardest to undo. Chunky yarn is a bit easier. When held double with a non-fluff yarn, it’s almost tolerable! It’s best done “fresh,” the longer you leave it, the more likely it is that the fibres will felt together.

I’ve heard that putting it in a freezer before frogging helps but I haven’t tried it.

Choose Simple Patterns

This tip helps to avoid any fractious frogging. Complicated stitches are easy to mess up and difficult to undo. The main star of the show when using fluff is the fluff itself, therefore a simple garment or shawl shows off the yarn without any distractions.

Go Up a Hook/Needle Size

With all that crazy halo, stitches can be hard to see. So, for example, try a 5.5mm instead of a 5mm. A larger hook/needle is often required for mohair patterns anyway but do play around to see what you prefer. I found it also creates a nice lacy look too. Plus the flyaway fibres sort of fill in gaps.

Hold the Yarn Double

After trying a few different ways of using mohair and brushed alpaca, I have discovered that this is my favourite way of using it. A gossamer lace-weight held with a merino 4ply or DK produces a beautifully soft fabric that feels super luxurious.

I used this method in the Wheatfields shawl and I love it!

a crochet shawl made with mohair yarn and 4ply merino
The Wheatfields shawl is Austermann lace-weight mohair held with a hand-dyed 4ply merino from Flyy Dyed Yarns.

Use Stitch Markers

If I can get away with not using stitch markers then I will. I am lazy, life is too way short for undoing, moving, and rejoining a stitch marker. Or worse, multiple stitch markers! However, they are really useful for when stitches are hard to see. Use the stitch markers!

Try Budget Yarn First

If cost is an issue, try a cheaper yarn to experiment with (and a smaller project ). If you like it and you’re happy, move on to bigger goals. The Drops brand have both mohair and alpaca yarns that are budget friendly. I recently made hair scrunchies with a yarn from Flying Tiger that was perfect for a cute hair accessory. It was about £2.25 for a ball of 25 grams (the standard sized ball for mohair yarns). I used a scrunchie pattern from Lottie & Albert’s new crochet book.

crochet hair scrunchies made with different types of mohair yarn
Trying different types of fluffy yarn. Going clockwise from the top: Mustard (“curry”) is Drops mohair, the green is chunky kid silk from MYPZ, lilac and peach both Flying Tiger, the Coral is brushed alpaca silk, the teal (“verdigris”) is Rowan Alpaca classic

Buy an Extra Ball of Yarn

If budget allows, it might be useful to buy an extra ball for swatching. When designing, I will buy an extra ball so I have the freedom to work up a few swatches without the fear of using up yarn that will go into the final sample. I can play around with hook sizes and stitch patterns to see what works and what doesn’t before getting stuck into the actual sweater or shawl.

Or, buy one ball first, swatch it and see if you actually want to use it before buying a sweater quantity! It might save a few quid if you learn that it’s a bit too scratchy against your skin.

Try Simpler Stitches

This one is for those of you who might want to design with mohair and is personal preference rather than a hard and fast rule. With a larger hook size than normal the stitches work up looser and drapier. A loose single crochet stitch or perhaps an extended SC look really effective, much more than you might think. By all means, go for different stitches if that’s your aesthetic but the nature of the yarn is that it does the talking and overly intricate stitches confuse things too much. Think small, dainty stitches as opposed to treble heavy. Whatever floats your boat.

And those are some tips I’ve come up with from my adventures of working with mohair yarn. Oh, and alpaca fluff too! I hope you find them useful. Have you got any tips you’ve like to share? Perhaps I’ve missed something that would be super useful to add. Let me know in the comments below!

Cheers. x

I used a chunky mohair from MYPZ to make this version of the Perfect Cardigan.