Doesn’t it feel like Spring already?! That means Easter is just around the corner. You may recall that last year I came up with a cute little design for crochet Easter eggs. The surprisingly awesome thing is that it has been a really popular pattern (mostly thanks to Pinterest, not anything I’ve done). To accompany the written pattern I thought that it would be useful if I did a video tutorial. And not just any old video tutorial… my first ever video tutorial! So, it’s apparent that I need to perfect my video making skills somewhat, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
The written pattern is super straightforward and quick to do. The video is probably best viewed as a companion to the written instructions. The video also demonstrates how to embroider the stitches, which the written pattern does not (the time stamp for the decorative bit is 18.25). If I’d been more YouTube savvy I could have made two different videos but I didn’t think about that until afterward!
If you fancy having a look (afterall, Easter is coming up pretty soon) then please click on this picture to take you to YouTube! And then let me know if you’ve made some!! I would absolutely love to see. X
I was working out the design for my recent crochet wrist warmers pattern; playing with different methods and whatnot, when this one popped up. It’s basically front post and back post stitches, which ended up being too bulky for the mitts but still had something I liked. It is such an easy crochet pattern, it only takes fifteen/twenty minutes from start to finish.
If you’ve not tried Front Post or Back Post stitches before, it’s a great pattern for practising. These stitches are much easier than they sound. They’re the same as normal, it’s just where you put your hook that counts. There are countless You Tube videos out there that demonstrate beautifully.
I’m not sure if this is a crochet cuff, bracelet or other thing but whatever it is, (seeing as it’s Christmas) here’s a lovely little free crochet pattern for them!
Notes: I’ve used Paintbox Aran (I used up loads of my old Stylecraft Special dk this year and allowed myself a restock of something new!!) with a 4.5mm hook.
I’ve used UK terms with US terms in brackets.
In Row 2 I work under the bumps of the foundation chain. This makes a neater finish but it does mean it looks twisty when you come to slip stich together. Ignore the twist and join anyway, it won’t be noticed in the final piece. Just double check that you’ve not got a twist in the stitches you’re going to work into next.
Crochet over the ends as you go to allow for minimal stitching at the end.
Row 1: Chain 24 (I have wrists like twigs, you may need to go up to 26 or 28 stitches). Join with a slip stitch.
Row 2: Ch1 (does not count as a st), dc (US sc) in each st around. Join with a slip stitch to the first st. Fasten off. 
Row 3: Attach new colour to any stitch. Ch3 (counts as a st), 1tr (USdc)in each st around. Join to the top of the inital ch3. 
Row 4-6: Ch2 (does not count as a st), FPtr (US FPdc) in st at the base of the ch2, BPtr (US BPdc) in next st, *FPtr in next st, BPtr in next st. Repeat from* to the end. Slip st to the top of the first FPtr. Fasten off after row 6. 
Row 7: Attach new colour to any st. Ch1 (does not count as a st). 1dc (US sc) in each st around. Join with a slip stitch the the first st. Fasten off and sew in any ends. 
And there you have it. Easy peasy! Now go and crochet loads of cuffs, bracelets, sweat bands, whatever they are!
Happy Christmas! See you in the New Year. 2017 is going to be amazing!! X
I’ve been thinking a lot about colour over the last few months. I’m not the only one either. When I researched colour in crochet I found a tonne of articles and blog posts about it. Many of the articles have looked specifically into colour theory and taken choosing colours quite seriously (colour theory is the scientific approach in understanding how colours go together, it’s sciencey, you can even get twiddly colour wheels to help and everything). I’m not going to go into that, I’m just going to explain how I cheat at choosing my colours for crochet!
When I first started to crochet I didn’t think much beyond what colours I liked and which colours were available. That was fine but sometimes my favourite colours didn’t translate into yarn very well or I didn’t know which shade would be best with another. Thankfully, there are far more colours and shades available than there used to be (this crochet thing has really taken off).
These days I ask myself what style I’m after or how many colours will acheive a good balance for the picture I have in my head? I also approach a project from a different angle, I take inspiration from different sources rather than turning up at the shop and chucking balls of yarn in my basket. I consider more than just my favourite colours.
For me a good starting point is deciding on the theme I want, this can often be just a one word affair: neutral, bright, pastel, earth, vintage, contemporary, seasonal blah blah. Once I’ve decided this, it’s so much easier. There are lots of colours I can then eliminate.
The secret to choosing a good colour palette is probably a mixture of confidence and experience. Over-thinking can really take the fun out of it. Stop worrying and just begin. You won’t know if something works until you try it out. If it doesn’t work then that’s a lesson learned. If it does work, then awesome! Another secret is this: crochet. A lot. All the time!
Before I go into the “cheats” I use, I’m going to mention a little bit about whether to go Random or Organised; I think it could be helpful. I’m Random. What are you?
I love a bit of random. To go truly random is a risk that can really pay off. It’s also great for stashbusting. Is random really random though? It’s fun blindly grabbing yarn and putting it all together in a crochet blanket, it can lead to some very interesting results, it can also backfire tremendously! Arbitrary colour placement can sometimes get you in dodgy situations, but you might also discover that those weird colours actually look fantastic sat side by side. My only rule about placing colours randomly is not to have the same shades too close to one another. And I think I’ve broken that rule a couple of times too.
When I’m making a blanket that’s going to be random I like to choose a minimum of seven colours. Fewer than that and it’s going to be tricky mixing up the colours effectively. More than fifteen colours and you might lose any colour balance you’re trying to acheive. Blankets where I’ve used over thirty colours have looked like a dog’s dinner. They’ve also looked pretty good too if you’re after something you’d find at Granny’s house.
Don’t want to risk random? Then everything needs to be worked out before you even pick up your hook. I’ve already confessed that I’m Random so to be properly organised you probably shouldn’t listen to me. I’m talking colour wheels, yarn pegs, pre-made crochet squares a la Attic 24 and The Patchwork Heart. It’s really not my area! I’m pretty envious of these super organised people, I don’t know why it doesn’t work for me. Oh yes, it’s because I’m lazy!! Instead of taking the time to organise my yarn stash, you’ll most likely find me sat in a tangle of mismatched balls, whilst umming and ahhing about what I’ve got enough of, to eek out into a small blanket.
If you’d rather be in control of colour choices then Attic 24 and the Patchwork Heart are definitely the crochet folk you need to visit. You’ll learn about matching warm and cool colours so that the balance brings out the best in all shades. You’ll find out about whether you prefer contrasting or complimentary colours too. Maybe once the decision has been made, you could get fancy and choose an ombre style, go for block colours or get your rainbow on! Of course, you’ll then get lost in a sea of crochet and colour, but that’s not such a bad place to be.
Ways to Cheat the Crochet Colour
It’s time to get cheaty. If you’re still struggling with colours then here are a few pointers to help. If you can’t be bothered with a methodical approach and you don’t have the time for a potentially hazardous risk then these tricks might be the ticket.
This is controversial. Find a blanket someone else has made and copy it! Loads of blogs (including mine) will share the brands of yarn and colour choices so that it’s easy to do. I would add that if you do this then please alwayscredit the creator. If I’ve been inspired by someone I will always say so. Copying is a good starting point if you’re a beginner. Gradually you can move away from this once you’ve got more confidence. Copying will become less literal, the original design will be more of an inspiration. An homage or something! Look at blogs, Ravelry, Pinterest, Instagram etc.
These are the colours from Attic 24’s Harmony blanket but with a different granny square. Read about ithere.
2. Find inspiration from pictures. I love finding pictures in magazines and using them as a starting point. What’s particularly brilliant about this is that current magazines will have on-trend colours (if that’s what you’re after). Even a picture of a person in a room is great. You’ll see the colours of the decor or the clothes the person is wearing. Craft magazines are perfect, they’ll be completely switched on with regard to colour palettes and tonal balance. Also look at books and illustrations.
Here is myFireplace blanket, inspired by fireplace tiles (a special request from my sister in law and a great idea).
This green curiosity was surprisingly inspired by Meg and Mog. I’m not sure I’m keen. It was an interesting experiment!
3. Go back to nature. Look at a garden you like, where’s your favourite place to be? What mood does that place evoke? Take a picture of a scene that’s good and use it. The seaside seems to be an inspiration for many, as does woodland. Maybe some city lights could conjure up a good bunch of colours. I can’t remember doing this if I’m being honest. I know it’s a thing, I’ve seen it!
4. Let technology help you. Design Seeds is a big one. Lots and lots of ready to use colour palettes. Or you can create your own with Playcrafts. The palette builder on Playcrafts is fabulous (I got lost in there once. Hours of entertainment). Imagine if a big yarn brand had something like this, it would be amazing! They also have the Colour Play generator, which is interesting. You can sort by hue, saturation or value. There are apps aplenty that do palette builders too. I’ve got one called Real Colours. I’ve been testing lots of pictures from my phone gallery! Based on colour theory, which I mentioned earlier, is the Adobe colour wheel. It was fun to tinker with but I’m not sure I’d want to use it all the time. Don’t forget there’s Random.Org if you want to generate a list of colours or something similar. Phew, technology is good innit?!
Anyway, who am I to tell you what to do?! You can do what you like. That’s the beauty of crochet! There are endless possibilities and the freedom to play and have fun. If there are any cheating ways I’ve missed, do let me know. I’d love to hear about more ways in which I can cut corners!
One of the great things about crochet is that there is constantly new stuff to learn. I’m always completely bowled over when I stumble upon a new technique, pattern, colour combination… all the other things. Actually I think what astonishes me most is that it still has the ability to surprise me!
I learned to crochet six years ago (Nanna tried to teach me when I was little; I didn’t get on with it). After six years I still love crochet and I still love it when it teaches me something new. A lot of it is probably my childish pride but I don’t care, it makes me happy. It makes me squee when I accomplish something that’s new to me. I’ve found a hobby that continually delights me! And that’s the point, these things are new to me but they might not be new to somebody else. They’re discovered by somebody and we’re lucky enough that these crochet tips and tricks get shared for us all to find and gleefully enjoy.
I’ve recently found a few fabulous crochet techniques and I thought it would be a really good idea to collate them all together. It also got me thinking about the ones that blew my mind in the past. So they’re here too. Some are more common knowledge than others but I didn’t know them at one time, maybe you don’t either. Let me know what you think and let me know if there are some crazy crochet secrets that I’ve missed.
The Standing Start.
Check out Moogly for how to seamlessly start a crochet project without “ch3 (counts as first stitch).”
2. The Chainless Foundation.
I love this. As this tutorial at Steel and Stitch says, there’s more elasticity using this method. And miraculously, you do away with fumbling over a foundation chain.
3. Stop your Chains Twisting!
If you want to chain the old fashioned way, here’s how to stop the twist! You’ll need it for a project like an infinity scarf. I haven’t tried the chainless foundation for something which is joined together (an infinity scarf) so I don’t know if it’d work. Sometimes the old method is a good method.
4. The Invisible Decrease.
Planet June has great amigurumi tutorials for techniques that create wonderfully neat crochet creatures. The invisible decrease is ace; it’s one of my favourite amigurumi secrets.
5. Finishing off your Amigurumi.
This saved me from having lots of stuffed toys with ugly bottoms. Quite literally for this fawn (not that you can see his bottom in the picture below). Have a look here(at the technique, not fawn’s bum).
6. The Perfect Crochet Circle.
This can be done in a couple of different ways. It’s all aboutmixing up the stitches or as this tutorial demonstrates: you don’t always have to work in a continuous round for amigurumi. Interesting…
7. Work under the Bumps.
This one, I learned near the beginning of my crochet obsession and I still think it’s fab. I used to go into just the one loop of each chain, which felt like cheating. And trying to work in the top of a foundation chain is just asking for trouble, so under the bumps it is (unless, you know, chainless…)
8. Get Tidy Edges.
I only found this one a few days ago so I haven’t tried it yet. It looks great! My edges tend to look messy even when I make an effort to be extra neat. Felted Button has a great tutorial to rid you of unsightly borders.
Not to be confused with the Join As You Go method, which still results in lots of ends to sew in, The Continuous has only two ends to sew in and it’s really easy! Honestly, if you haven’t done this before, it’s life changing. I’ve tried a couple of different methods and the one over at Patchwork Heart is the best.
11. The Fancy Continuous Join as you go.
I really really want to do this. You can save time and be pretty! It’s the Continuous Flat Braid. Same as above, but fancy!!
12. The Neat Granny Border.
If you’ve gone to the effort of stitching all your granny’s together, the least you can do is make sure they get a beautiful border too. Too many clusters around the edges can cause a bit of a ruffle. Pop over to Bunny Mummy’s guide for how to crochet a flat border.
And that’s it for now. As I’ve been writing this, I’ve spotted more but do you know what? I reckon I’ll have to do a sequel!
I have a silly number of Works in Progress at the moment. Here is the cat, sleeping on one that I left on the sofa.
She’s sleeping on this; the never ending half circle I’m trying to work out. I think I’ve mentioned before about trying to work out patterns and how it’s done. My method is Trial and Error because I know no other way. So, with that in mind, I have, in fact frogged several rows this morning. Too many stitches were causing it to get ruffled. I don’t know how/where to increase the stitches in a nice, even way at the minute. Too many, not enough, blahhh. Whatever I try, it doesn’t want to mirror the initial semi circle of colour. I’m tempted to bin it. Bin the idea and move on. So. Much. Frustration!
Anyway, this is more like it. An actual finished item. Woot! I loved making this. It was so quick and easy. I didn’t follow a pattern, I made it up and was surprised at how speedy the process was. If I were to have another go, I’d make the fabric pieces wider. I think there’s room for expansion. I took a load of photographs as I made it; I’m tempted to write up a tutorial. I might also buy a new pair of handles and have a second attempt.
New skill alert! I’ve tried Tunisian Crochet this week. A little bit addictive actually. I’m slow and not sure what goes on if I drop stitches but I did order a set of bamboo Tunisian crochet hooks so I can get properly stuck in. This hook is one I got from my Nanna. I keep meaning to ask her if she ever used it. Anyway, it’s slightly too small. And the freebie I got from a magazine is slightly too big.
Yesterday I struggled with colour changes. I really want to make pictures in crochet. It isn’t as easy as I thought it’d be. It’s mucked up the tension, making it skewed. Poo. I think I’ll benefit from some practise but I also think that Tapesty crochet might the way to go instead. Any advice?
Whilst messing about with the Brightoween and Tunisian projects yesterday another idea popped into existence. I had to try it immediately.
I’ll try and get this finished for next week although I’m well aware that I say that sort of thing quite often. I’ve got a crochet pattern/tutorial in handwritten scribbles that I’d said I’d publish this week. That’s really not going to happen. Not yet anyway.
This idea is a lot more simple than the other not-yet-ready pattern. I think it’ll be a fun one so stick around for a future blog post.
Then there’s this, which is related to the c2c geometric square cushion I made recently. I really hope this one looks like my imagination tells me it will look.
And now I need to go and make dinner before collecting Eldest from Judo. I really hope that some of these WIPs will actually be finished at some point soon. Today is not the day.