Granny Square Bag. Free Crochet Pattern & Video Tutorial

Only two weeks after the last crochet tutorial (an asymmetric cowl), here are two more! I know, bonkers!  But sorry, I’m flooding you with grannies at the moment, I swear I do have other ideas.

My YouTube channel is HERE.

This tutorial is based on a granny square bag I made a couple of years ago. The original blog post can be found HERE.  There are lots of details in that post that will be super useful. However, it is a slightly different  version. I’ve made this new one a bit less fussy.

There are two videos. The one above is how to put the bag together. The one below is how to make the Join As You Go Grannies. I start by making a granny square and then at the time stamp of 5.25 I begin to join them together.

Please see below for some accompanying pictures…

If you fancy supporting my crochet adventures, I would be utterly and completely full of gratitude. You can do this by supporting me on Patreon. I understand that you can make one off payments as well as signing up monthly, whatever floats your boat. Thanks ever so much!

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The Shoreline Crochet Bag. New Wave Yarn from WATG

I recently got my mitts on a yarn kit from Wool and the Gang for their newly released New Wave yarn. I was sent the Shoreline bag crochet kit as a free gift so I could try it out and tell you what I think… Here’s the story….

Once upon a time there was an email that was sent to my inbox. It was Anna from Wool and the Gang. Would I like to try a new crochet kit using yarn made from cotton and whazzed up plastic bottles? Yeah, alright then, that sounds fun! And so that’s what happened.

The first thing you’ll notice in the top photo is that there are knitting needles rather than a crochet hook. This is because I was sent a knit kit for the I Got You bag by mistake. Oops! Once I got in touch with Anna from the WATG team, I was swiftly sent the pattern for the Shoreline bag, a pretty wooden hook and the extra ball of yarn needed so that I could get started in earnest on some crochet. Whilst I waited for the additional crochet essentials I thought I’d try a few rows of the knitting pattern. I had the tools, so why not? I’m pleased to report that I learned a posh new stitch from following the pattern, which made me ridiculously happy. I just did what I was told and the fancy stitch magically appeared on my needles! I almost wish that I’d kept quiet and made the knitted bag pattern instead because it would have been a fantastic achievement for me as a relatively basic knitter.

Knitting and crochet. Both equally beautiful.

I got to choose the colour I wanted (there are 12 shades in total). I picked Seaweed green, a shade which reminds me of a Kelpie’s mane. A few of the colour names in the collection are named after seasidey things (seashell, oyster) and that’s because there’s a definite sea theme going on. The patterns have been inspired by fisherman’s tales which I think is lovely and harks back to a time when the ocean wasn’t filled with nasty plastic.

I mention plastic because nearly half (47%) of the yarn composition is plastic. In each 100gram ball, there are three plastic bottles (lids and all). The rest is cotton, which forms the outer mesh of the yarn. The plastic inside is a different tone to the outer and together they create a marled effect. You’ll also notice it has a great stitch definition when worked up.

The Shoreline bag works up really quickly, it’s a very easy stitch repeat and one that can be done in front of the telly (the best kind of crochet, yes?). I finished mine in a couple of days. It actually wasn’t until I’d fastened off the last piece that I realized I’d done something a teeny bit wrong. It took me that long to notice that the pattern was written in US terms and not UK terms (I don’t think the pattern tells you which it is). Now here’s the thing, I’m a bit fluid in my use of UK and US terminology. In my head I call a UK double crochet a “single” but I use the UK term “treble” to mean a US double…. It doesn’t make sense at all. Due to this silly, confusing habit of mine, I didn’t even question the use  of “single” and “treble” stitches in the pattern.  Essentially what I’ve done is use the wrong stitch for my bag, I’ve used US doubles/UK trebles. It should be a US treble instead. Whoopsy! Do you know what though? It doesn’t really matter! There was absolutely no way I was going to frog the whole thing just to make it properly. That would be plain daft. The most important thing is I’ve got a bag I can use and in it right now is yarn for my next project!

Random things that don’t fit elsewhere:

  • I used 3ch not 4 as my turning chain
  • The pattern is written for the absolute beginner. So much so, it’s almost unconventional in the style format for a crochet pattern. Super broken down into all the steps.
  • I should have gone down to a 4.5mm hook. My tension was quite loose.
  • I want to know what a garment would feel like in this yarn. I’m curious.
  • It’s mostly knitting patterns in the range. I’d like to see more crochet designs.
  • Both the needles and the hook came in little plastic wrappers. Not necessary and quite the antithesis of the WATG objective for New Wave yarn. Hmmm.
  • Free WATG patterns are available HERE. There’s at least one with New Wave yarn.

Anyway, we’re at the end of this fisherwoman’s tale (I’ve been fishing  more than once, it’s true). I’m always dead impressed with the WATG yarn and kits, it’s clear that loads of thought goes into each line they produce. I still wear my Foxy Roxy scarf in the dead of winter. When it’s super cold it’s the only scarf that keeps out the biting wind. I’ve tried out their silky eucalyptus in the form of  Tina Tape (I still can’t help calling it Tina Tapeworm), and my first try was Take Care Mohair, a mohair yarn that hasn’t been topped by any other I’ve tried. That’s all pretty good if you ask me.

Right, it’s all getting too gushy round here. I’m gonna stop singing praises and go and get my hooks out. See ya! x

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The lighting when taking this pic was not good. The colour of the yarn is much more like the close up shots.

xxx

Book Review: Crocheted Birds by Vanessa Mooncie

I have been given a newly released book to review! How exciting is that?! The publisher, GMC Distribution sent me Crocheted Birds by Vanessa Mooncie. Have you seen her crochet taxidermy book too? It’s amazing and I knew this one would be just as good. It’s the sort of book where I mostly just enjoy looking at the pictures rather than actually make something from its pages. But do you know what? To write a proper review I felt that I had to make at least one thing from it. That seemed like the right thing to do.

I decided to make one of the smaller garden birds because I thought it’d be a bit quicker than the giant swan or magnificent barn owl. As it’s Christmas, it was the robin that had to get made. He was probably not the best choice for speed; lots of colour changes make it a fiddly project but I gave myself some quiet time to do nothing but crochet this birdy. If I’m going to do amigurumi, I need complete and utter silence. There is a lot of stitch counting!

I kind of messed up the tension; the head is tighter than the body because it’s worked in the round and not in rows (the body is worked in rows). The book has a whole page on tension and says it’s vital check gauge. I should have done was I was told. I didn’t. I never do.

I’m not certain that checking gauge would have made much of a difference anyway because I wasn’t necessarily looking to make a life size bird and definitely wasn’t looking to buy more yarn. Therefore I made it in some dk I had in stash; not the 4ply I was told to use (don’t worry, there are dk patterns in this book as well as 4ply projects).

A couple of times I was confused by what colour went where but this book has charts as well as the written patterns. Whenever I got in a flap I just consulted the chart and it sorted out any confusion. I am deffo a fan of using a written pattern and chart simultaneously.

What I will say is that you do need a lot of extras. You’ll be no good with just your hook and some wool. I seemed to be OK on that front as I’m a massive craft hoarder and thankfully had poly fibrefill to stuff a plump bird, wire for strong legs and black beads for inquisitive eyes. I didn’t reinforce his tail like I was supposed to as I’ve lost my fine wire. It’s somewhere, I’m just not entirely sure where that somewhere is.

One thing I’d quite like to know more about is how to display the birds once they’re done. They look beautiful in the photo set-ups but I wouldn’t be certain about how to recreate that at home. Perhaps a page on that would have been useful. I did spot glass dome wotsits in Ikea the other day though!

I can see that with practice, I could make really amazing ornithology following the patterns here. Vanessa’s birds look so beautiful and mine just looks a bit stressed/mildly anxious.

What do you reckon? Are you up for making a flock of birds? I’m gonna make the budgie next! I can tell you that I’m glad there isn’t a seagull here. I was walking through town yesterday, minding my own business and one of the cheeky sods swooped down and nabbed the croissant I’d been enjoying. I won’t tell you what I shouted at it…

Check out some pictures from the book below. And watch episode 44 of my crochet podcast (watch from 25.35) because I chat about my robin quite a lot.

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A Christmas Wish List for Crocheters!

Before we begin, please let me be clear to my family & friends, this isn’t my personal wish list. Don’t literally get me this stuff! Chances are, I have caved and already bought these things for myself…

Right, anyway, this really is very simple. You have a lover of crochet in your life and you need/want to get them something for Christmas. Take a look at this list and I’m sure you will find something that they will LOVE.

You’d think this was a post containing those affiliate links, it’s not. I’m just making things up as I go!

1. Yarn

Goes without saying. Make it good stuff though, yeah? Think along the lines of posh(ish), high end commercial yarn or a gorgeous skein (or two) of indie dyed. Take a look at the sort of thing your friend/family member likes to make and try to match up a bit. If they only like to make baby blankets, the likelihood is they won’t be into a hank of speckled 4ply. Get them quality DK instead. If they’re into making shawls or socks then the indie dyed hank/skein would be brilliant. Find a local yarn shop and chat to the owner to get some help if you need it, or if that’s not possible then you probably won’t go wrong in a John Lewis haberdashery department. Don’t forget that mini skeins make great stocking fillers!

2. Magazine Subscription

There are loads to choose from so this is hard. If I narrow it down to UK subs that makes it easier. Inside Crochet magazine would be my choice, it has contemporary, stylish designs and also embraces the traditional. I also enjoy Mollie Makes as an all round crafty mag. Then there’s Simply Crochet and Crochet Now, both have a good mix of content.

For high-end there’s Pompom Quarterly but I get cross with Pompom. It says there’s crochet on the front cover but there’s rarely any inside of its pages, just a lot of (amazing) knitting patterns. I got a subscription for Christmas a couple of years ago. For the entire year, there was only one crochet pattern. Still, the pictures were pretty…. Fingers crossed some amazing crochet designs get featured soon. Come on Pompom, crochet is awesome!

Toft and Scheepjes both feature crochet in their seasonal magazines too. For the US, I’ve been told that Interweave is a good choice.

3. Clothes!

I got myself an early present in the form of a sweatshirt from Stitchers Tees. You can choose from hoodies and t-shirts as well. I love mine!

A sneak peek of a new cowl that’s coming out later in the week in issue 108 of Inside Crochet!!

4. Pins/Badges/Buttons etc

A fabulous stocking filler idea! Enamel pins are super popular right now. Try Joanne Hawker or Lanabou for craft related accessories. Crochet Luna has an impressive array of crochet buttons, many of which adorn my project bags. I also recently bought myself a pretty brooch from Shirley Rainbow. I know that it isn’t crochet but neither is the cross stitch bauble from Stitchsperation!! I don’t care, they’re still crafty and gorgeous!

Love my new cross stitch bauble from Stitchsperation. I went off piste with the design and did a free form Christmas tree.

5. Project bag.

Loads of makers on Etsy sell handmade bags you can store your crochet projects in. One that is most definitely on my Christmas list is a Floofhunta bag from the Yarnistry shop (navy medium or large with rose gold please!).  Or, look at the beauty below from Handmade by Yael.

Love this bag from Handmade by Yael.

6. A pattern

You can buy patterns from an independent designer (like me!) all over the internet. These are mostly digital downloads, which you can choose to gift. You just need the email address of your crochet loving pal so it gets sent to them. Try Ravelry, Love Crochet or Etsy, and now there’s the Making Things app, which is a monthly subscription where a maker can get their hands on loooadds of crochet & knitting patterns. I’ll be finding out more about this soon; I’ll be sure to pass on the info.

7. A Fancy Hook

I always see people using Furls hooks, I’ve not tried one before but they’re supposed to be very good to use and ergonomic too, they’re like the designer hook, I guess. Or there are handmade hooks. I’ve seen beautiful hooks whittled from wood (want!). For example, drool over Knitbrooks twig hooks, and squee over Make.E’s hooks which are  wrapped in funky Fimo designs.

Hooks by Knitbrooks

8. Tickets to a Yarn Festival

There are yarn festivals all over the country and all over the world. Buy a pair of tickets. Day pass, weekend, whatever. Throw in a fancy hotel too! ;p

9. Stitch Markers/Progress Keepers

Another stocking filler. Lots of people make and sell these in online shops. You can quickly end up with a large collection!

10. Yarn Bowl

I’m not fussed about yarn bowls, I quite like my yarn bopping about all over the place as I work, but I know not everyone feels the same. Keep your woolly bits in check by keeping your balls in a bowl.

11. A Granny Square Print

Swoon! A Granny Square print from Kirsten Sevig

This is stunning! I love this so much! Such treasure. The artist is Kirsten Sevig of Striped Pear Studio. I love the sentiment behind it too. The original painting was made for a crochet loving friend of the artist. The friend, Susan, founded Granny Square Day over on Instagram!

12. A Workshop or Retreat

Workshops are wonderful things; fab community get-togethers for like minded makers where you learn a new skill. There will be a small business near you running crafty workshops. They’re great fun! Some will only be a couple of hours and cost just a few quid or you could splurge and book a weekend retreat for proper indulgent crochet time.

13. The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater

Books!! A book can be tricky because there are so many to choose from. Too many, even. Not every book will please every crocheter. Unless you know their style then it might be best to avoid a pattern book and go for memoirs instead. A few months ago I got The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater it’s a collection of essays about being a crafter. It’s mostly knitting orientated but crochet gets a look in too. Having just looked on Amazon I can see a whole load of yarn related memoirs! A Stash on One’s Own sounds good…. eh, I don’t know if I want to go down this rabbit hole. Ooh, I remember getting Dead Men Don’t Crochet a while back, a crime/murder mystery that’s also about crochet. I couldn’t finish it, it was too daft but you might think it’s great! 😀

I’ve got to stop there I’m afraid. I know there are loads more ideas out there but I’m going to rein it in before I get carried away. Have I missed out of any obvious ones? Let me know! x

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C2C Cowl & Hat. A Free Crochet Pattern

Just a heads up, I got the yarn for this pattern for free from Hobbii, a yarn company from Denmark. During some correspondence I asked if they’d been interested in collaborating in my Corner 2 Corner CAL. Rather happily, they said yes! How great is that!? They are going to give away four balls of Happy Sheep wool as one of the CAL prizes!! OK, on with the show…

As part of the C2C crochet along that I’m hosting this autumn, I thought it’d be a nice idea to have a free pattern on the table. When I first mentioned the idea of a CAL a lot of people told me that they’d not tried the C2C stitch before. I think a few people had tried it and were put off by the (only slightly) weird start (honestly, you get over it pretty quickly!). I decided a free pattern might coerce these fab people into giving C2C another chance. I thought that a video tutorial to accompany it might persuade a few others too…

So, free patterns. Here we have a cowl and a hat using 4 x100g balls of aran weight yarn. The colours and pattern have a funny eighties vibe about them; I’m thinking shell suits and ski jackets, therefore the name of this set is Apres-Ski! I made the cowl first, had loads of yarn left over so thought I’d better squeeze in a hat too. Follow the same chart for the cowl and the hat. For the cowl you just sew up the rectangle (I used mattress stitch) and for the hat, you add some FP/BP stitches along the bottom and gather the top. Easy peasy!

The design is pretty simple, no complicated colour changes or carrying of yarn. Not too much anyway! I drew up the chart on Stitch Fiddle. It’s a been a few years since I stumbled upon Stitch Fiddle and since I’ve been using it, it has become much much better and more advanced. Seeing as it’s a free programme, this is fantastic [and before you question my motives, I am not affiliated with the site, I just use it a lot and like it]. The chart is below but I think I can also share it via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, so I’ll do that too.

If you would like to support my crochet adventures, please consider supporting me on Patreon. It would mean the world. Thank you. x

Notes & Things you need:

  • 5mm hook
  • 4x colours aran weight yarn. I used 4x 100g balls of Happy Sheep Woolpower
  • Needle for sewing in ends
  • Not much time. These things are super speedy!
  • Optional: 10cm pompom maker
  • Pattern is written in UK terms but in the video I use both UK & US speak. A UK treble = US double
  • I changed my colours around a bit but if you want both hat and cowl to be identical, there should be just enough yarn of your chosen main colour to do that.
  • Find the video tutorial HERE

Pattern:

Row 1: 6 ch, 1 tr in 4th ch from hook, 1 tr in next 2 st, turn. [1 block]

Row 2: 6 ch, 1 tr in 4th ch from hook, 1 tr in next 2 st, ss into the 3 ch-sp of previous row, 3 ch, 3 tr into same 3 ch-sp, turn. [2 blocks]

Row 3: 6 ch, 1 tr into 4th ch from hook, 1 tr in next 2 st, *ss into next 3 ch-sp of previous row, 3 ch, 3 tr in same 3 ch-sp; rep from * to end, turn. [3 blocks etc]

Row 4 -11: Continue increasing as Row 3

Row 12: Repeat Row 3, ending with 1 ss in the last 3 ch-sp (ie. do not make the last block), turn.

Row 13: Ss along the next 3 st and into the first 3 ch-sp, (3 ch, 3 tr) in same ch-sp, continue making blocks in each 3 ch-sp to the end, turn.

Repeat Rows 12 & 13 until Row 28.

Row 29: Ss along the next 3 st and into the first 3 ch-sp, (3 ch, 3 tr) in same ch sp, continue making blocks, end with 1 ss into the last 3 ch-sp, turn.

Rep Row 29 to end. To finish ss across the last 3st and into the corner. Fasten off.

Mattress stitch the ends together and voila! A cowl is made!

Turning it into a hat

Round 1: Attach your chosen colour to any stitch along the bottom and chain 3 to count as your first st. Make 2tr into the horizontal bars and 1tr into each of the 3 vertical stitches of the blocks (see hastily hand drawn chart below). Double check you have an even number of stitches. I had 70st.

Round 2. 2ch (doesn’t count as a st), *1 front post tr, 1 back post tr; rep from * around and join to the first st, no turn.

Rounds 3 & 4. Repeat Row 2

Fasten off. With a needle and yarn, gather the other opening to close. Attach a pompom (please watch Episode 39 of my podcast where I make the pompom and sew it on to the hat, as I chat).

Slightly embarrassing …but I’m pretending to hold a ski pole!

And before I go I just wanted to say thanks to Hobbii, they have been great. The emails we exchanged felt really friendly and warm. They were totally up for coming on board the CAL and I got a free row counter (and sweeties!) in my parcel!

I’d love to see your makes. Tag me on Instagram @zeensandroger and if you’re joining in with the CAL, don’t forget to use the hashtag  #c2cCAL18

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hatcowl;p

Crochet Bobble Edging: Video Tutorial

Finally!! I promised this months ago and here we are, I have pulled my finger out and made a tutorial for my crochet bobble edging. Rejoice!! It’s over on YouTube, the pic above is the link but feel free to travel HERE to the whole channel.

You can add this edging to pretty much any blanket, scarf, cushion etc. If the multiples don’t work then I’m all in favour of wangling it so that they do! Crochet is not offended by mild cheating. But for you sticklers out there it’s mults of 3, plus 1 and the corners [my corners are (2tr, 2ch, 2tr)].

For the swatch in the video and the rainbow edged striped blanket pictured here, I used Lucy’s Attic 24’s Granny Stripe tutorial. For more details of making a rainbow edged blanket I have a tutorial for that too! It’s HERE.

Just in case you want to know, I used some random acrylic dk and a 3.75mm hook, which might be a bit small if you have a tight tension.

I first came up with a version of it when I made Sandra’s Cherry Heart A Touch of Spice blanket. (This seems like a lifetime ago!). At the time I made a photo tutorial. It’s just ever so slightly different but it will help here if you want pics.

I’ve also used it on my crazy chevron blanket

 I’m currently slogging through it on this rainbow edged blanket

What do you reckon? I can tell you that it’s time consuming, and on a giant blanket you might get a bit miffed of having it take so long. However, it’s worth persevering as it looks great!

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Hotchpotch C2C Crochet bag

Do you like my new crochet bag!?! I love love love it!! It is made using the corner to corner stitch (or C2C as it’s often called) and is based on the Granny Hotchpotch bag I made a couple of months ago. I don’t think I wrote a blog post about that bag, which is a shame because it is lovely. Here it is…

The idea for both bags is for them to be the ultimate stash busters. You know the sort of thing, all those scraps you saved and don’t know what to do with but don’t want to throw away. I tied loads of them together using the magic knot and just got hooking.

Both the bags are made using my leftovers of Paintbox Simply Aran acrylic but you can use pretty much any yarn you want. It’s a hotchpotch of stuff, see?!

Below I will add a photo of the notes I scribbled to give you a better idea of what’s what. I’m not writing a specific pattern for this one. But before you disappear I will tell you where to find what else you might need/want…

  • For a video tutorial on how to make a small version of the granny bag go HERE. I give a bit of advice about lining (and zips!) too.
  • To hear me gush about the C2C version, go here to YouTube
  • To hear me go into a bit more detail about the granny version go HERE
  • I bought the bag straps from Amazon. Blue ones HERE. Brown ones HERE
  • Adding the handles is just a question of a few stitches through the holes. You will probably need to reinforce these by stitching through a layer of lining too.
  • Lengths of yarn: I saved the shorter ones for each end of the ball as that’s where the shorter rows will fall. Some in the middle might’ve been 4 or 5 gram balls (at a guess) but keep ’em all different for the best look.
  • I have started a board on Pinterest especially for Corner to Corner crochet – I love it that much!
  • For a more thorough C2C bag pattern I have one for sale in Ravelry. It has photo tutorials on the C2C stitch, how to line the bag and add the magnetic clasp.
These are the ones I have on Ravelry. There are 3 bag designs in one pattern.
I haven’t got a muffin top usually. It’s just bulky material as this top is actually a dress!

Right, the notes are extremely basic but I reckon you’ll be able to glean most of the info you need from them. Give us a shout if they befuddle, baffle or bemuse.

If you make a bag of your own, don’t forget to get in touch to tell me all about it! #zeensandroger @zeensandroger over of IG. Sharing a free pattern, no matter how casual it may seem, takes a lot of work. Seeing credit given will always put a smile of the desginer’s face. 😀

You may be interested to know that I’m going to host a C2C Crochetalong in the autumn. I will come back with more info about that nearer the time. All I know is that it’ll be a blast! Cheers. x

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xxx