If you didn’t know already, I am a massive fan of crochet bags. I love quick crochet projects that are not only fun to make, they are practical too. I love love love crochet items that have a real use. And a bag really fits into this category!
Without really trying, a crochet bag is reusable, it doesn’t take up too much room and is easy to wash (cotton works best). A crochet bag also make the perfect handmade gift. You can whip one up in no time and the recipient will have totally unique crochet to enjoy.
Some of the patterns below are free on my blog, check out my Free Crochet Patterns page. Or I have added links to buy some of the patterns.
Wildcard, Crochet Market Bag
First up is my latest design: a crochet market bag that is easy to make and looks pretty fancy. This is Wildcard, named because the mesh and bobble stitches remind me of tennis. Bobbles for tennis balls? The lacy section as the net? Perhaps I should have launched it for Wimbledon…
This kind of handmade market bag is made all in one piece. It starts out as an easy square shape, which is then transformed into a gathered holdall using a few basic crochet stitches.
My Wildcard market bag is super similar to this slouchy Granny Market Bag (available on Ravelry, Etsy & Lovecrafts). This crochet design came to life after I was contacted by a crochet magazine asking for a simple, colourful shopping bag idea. There wasn’t much time so I knew I needed ideas that would work up quickly. This bag style fits the bill perfectly.
My favourite design element is that granny stripes are worked using the corner to corner method, which means that the stripes are on the diagonal. It’s modern crochet at its finest!
This granny stripe market bag is larger than Wildcard, with deliberately loose stitches to give it drape. I use this bag when it’s my turn to go on my weekly shop; it fits loads in it! You could always go down a hook size to tighten up the stitches if preferred.
Granny Stripe Tote Bag
Whilst we’re on the subject of a granny stitch crochet bag, do you like my free pattern for a colourful hotchpotch tote? This one can made in all sorts of sizes. Check out my blog post on How to make your own Granny Stripe Purse. It also has an accompanying video tutorial for a lil purse size version too.
C2C Hotchpotch Bag
Another brilliant stitch that works fantastically well for a crochet bag is the corner to corner (c2c) stitch, aka the diagonal box stitch. Find this C2C crochet bag here.
If you know how to crochet the C2C stitch you can easily make this bag. This one is more of a recipe than a pattern because C2C is the same no matter the project. However, I have lots of C2C projects on YouTube if you need a bit of guidance.
Another Drapey Market Bag
Are you starting to see a familiar theme?! Yes yes, there are lots of granny patterns here but I make no apologies for that. It just so happens that granny is a very versatile stitch and looks great in crochet bags.
This is a teeny cotton purse that I put together so I could demonstrate how to add a zipper to a crochet bag. I also line the crochet purse with fabric too so it’s a useful tutorial for crocheters. This one is from my early days as a designer but it’s still effective and helpful.
Handmade Project Bag
Wahey, it’s another granny project (still not sorry!). This time it’s using the ubiquitous granny square. I created two video tutorials for this cute tote. One video demonstrates theJoin as You Go Technique (JAYG) so you can crochet the squares together rather than fiddle about with a sewing needle. The second tutorial shows you how to turn a rectangle of crochet fabric into this retro inspired crochet bag.
This crochet bag is a bit different to the others. The single crochet ribbing with the shell clusters are a lovely contrast that create an impactful crochet design. The bag in this pattern is small enough for kids but you can increase the size if you prefer.
The pattern shares the stitch multiples used so you can play around with different sizes. I called it We Don’t Need Roads as it’s a sort of sister project to a shlanketty shawl I designed with the same motifs, that crochet shawl is named Road to Nowhere.
A Crochet Bag for Kids
The last Granny bag (I’m obsessed!).
I created this petite crochet granny stitch bag to film the making of video tutorial. I didn’t want to make the large version as the process would have taken much much longer. Therefore, boom, new crochet pattern!
Finally, here’s another from my early days of crochet design. This easy crochet market bag pattern is perfect for scrunching up in your pocket and whipping out, ready to add a few bits on a small shop.
Looks can be deceiving with this crochet bag. You wouldn’t believe how many messages I’ve received over the years telling me one skein is DEFINITELY not enough to crochet a market bag. My response is always the same: Yes, it is! I can fit a bottle of soda water, a bag of sugar, pack of mint leaves, 3 limes and a small bottle of rum in this bag. So there.
Too Many Crochet Bags?
In my opinion, you can never have too many crochet bags. Be it a tote, market bag, purse, or other style, bags are useful and tidy away to nothing. I have them in my car, in my pockets, tucked away in my other bags, ready to grab as and when they’re needed. Phew, I admit it, I’m a bag lady!
Each jumper builds on the last. Some people sketch a lot, swatch religiously, and try everything out first before finalising a design. Eh, yes I could do that too and sometimes I do but I still have the impulse to get an idea out of my head, turning it into a physical thing as quickly as possible. In this case I have had to crochet each sweater to see how I can adapt the recipe to make it better and/or different.
I will often make something again and again. I find it an interesting challenge to analyse why a design isn’t quite right. I enjoy tweaking the fabric, tension, shaping etc to what affect that has. It’s how one gets better at the thing they do, isn’t it? It’s the same reason I come back to my fave sitches again and again too.
I love love love my two other granny jumpers but I want to try all the things. It isn’t only about striving for perfection but also seeing how different fibres and colours work together. Isn’t it fascinating how a few changes and adjustments can create a brand new look?
Therefore, this time I wondered what a looser stitch with block colours would look like. Influenced by some leftover stash from a recent scarf project, off I went and Granny Sweater No. 3 was born.
Granny Sweater No. 3
The first two blog posts have extensive information about how to crochet a granny square jumper so I am not going to do that here. Thefirst blog post (and accompanying video tutorial) is all about crochet sweater basics, with a little bit of optional maths thrown in for making it in the size you want. Then the second post is all about how I made adjustments to take my granny sweater to the next level. There are crochet charts too, which help with things like sleeve shaping and shoulder tabs.
Adjusting My Crochet Sweater
The first two sweaters use aran weight yarn and so does this one. I used Stylecraft Grace, which feels quite fine for an aran weight yarn. I also went up to a 6mm hook, therefore my gauge is different. 10cm only gives me 6.5 rows here. I used a larger hook as I wanted a looser, drapier fabric. As Grace is a light, fluffy yarn and I think it deserves a floaty kind of treatment.
Because my tension created bigger clusters my main squares are only 12 rounds. You would not believe how quickly this sweater worked up. So fast! Front and back weigh approx 75 grams each which, in jumper terms is nothing.
The shoulder tabs and sides are worked in a very similar fashion to jumper No.2. Tweak them as you see fit.
More About the Yarn
Stylecraft Grace only comes in 8 colours. When there is a limited range it can be quite nice because most of the agonising over which colours to choose is gone. I used Ocean for the main body as that’s what I had most of. Therefore, I had zero concerns about playing yarn chicken. The sleeves are Long Grass, and I used Petals, Hibiscus and Storm for the ribbing.
I bought the Ocean and Long Grass shades last winter when I had planned to crochet a jumper for one of the kids. It never happened… The other shades are left over from a recent commission that’s coming out in a few months.
I like it. It’s less than a fiver per 100 grams and seeing as I’m a big fan of mohair, I like that it has 10% mohair mixed with (5%) wool and (85%) acrylic. This Granny sweater would be a good project if you’re tempted totry mohair for the first time. It’s one that’s not too arduous to frog if you need to (but still a bit of a bugger, so don’t get too smug).
The Main Body
The Front has stripes of granny clusters added to either side of the square. I added four rows on each side. A square of 12 rounds plus 4+4 rows of stripes in total creates a (blocked) width of 50cm (20 inches).
The back needs additional height as well as the width, so work around three sides of the main square here. I did three rounds and then added just one stripe on either side.
I know I’m glossing over this quite quickly but there’s more detail about these adjustments in the Blue and Black jumper post. Hopefully, I can support the words with this basic diagram too:
The front panel has five rows of shaping to create the tabs and rounded neckline.
For the Back I only added two rows for the tabs. It doesn’t need much at the back, just a bit so the jumper hugs the top of your shoulders rather than riding up the nape of the neck.
Granny Stripe Sleeves
My sleeves measure 51cm long (20 inches approx) with an upper arm depth of 22cm (8.5 inches). The wrist circumference is 22cm as well. Oh, and my sleeves only weigh 53 grams each.
The change here (from my original version) is that the increases are more frequent. There are only 26 rows of granny stripes (plus the foundation row of US single crochet) for this jumper’s sleeves. I wanted to see obvious shaping and the way to do that was to work increases every three rows.
To be honest, I also fancy some batwing style sleeves too, I wonder if I’d achieve this by increasing every row? Hmm…Granny Sweater No.4 anyone??
Due to the loose drape created by using a 6mm hook, I went down to a 5mm for the ribbing. I didn’t want floppy cuffs and neck! I don’t think anybody does.
Unlike my colourful stashbusting version you’ll notice that I added the ribbing at the end here. It doesn’t really matter which order you do it in. However, if you do it at the end and mess it up, at least you can frog it at this stage without unpicking the entire thing.
You’ll also notice in the picture below that I’ve worked a foundation in the same colour as the ribbing. It looks sooooo much neater when you do this.
Look at the image below. Around the neckline, I actually worked one round of US sc stitches in the main body colour, followed by a round of the ribbing colour. This is about little finishing touches to ensure it looks tidy.
Make a Sweater Lickety Split
And that’s about it. I think this one is a winner. I cannot tell you how satisfying Granny sweater No.3 was to make. There are so many things going for it.
The yarn is a bargain and you don’t need loads.
It is a crochet sweater that’s ridiculously quick to make.
It’s bang on trend. Crochet, especially granny crochet, is totes down with the kidz.
The boxy nature means you don’t have to get a perfect fit.
Now you can practice yoga and fall over a bit…
I hope you’ve found these blog posts useful. WIthin them you have the means to make the perfect sweater just for you. As much as I love an official, graded pattern I also love making things up as I go. The idea behind these posts is to encourage you to do the same. Embrace winging it and let me know what you think!
So good I made it twice, here is my second Granny Square Jumper!! I’m here to write about it again as, not content with leaving things as they are, I made adjustments which I think you will find useful.
If you’re a beginner crocheter, you can make this sweater with the resources I have provided. However, it’s not just some granny squares stitched together. There is shaping (at the shoulders and sleeves), nice ribbing, and techniques that will up your skill level.
If you like this granny square sweater, perhaps you’ll like my other crochet ideas. Please peruse my free crochet patterns page. And if you really really like what you see, you can buy me a Ko Fi! Although, it’ll most likely be tea because I’m not a coffee drinker…
Ok, so, it would be easy for me to say that this is just the same jumper as my original stashbusting sweater but that’s not technically true. Here are the things that I tweaked:
I used different yarn – a merino DK held with mohair lace weight.
I only used two colours.
The main body granny squares are smaller, allowing me to add width later by using a few rows of granny stripes at each side. This also made room for a slightly deeper neckline because….
I changed the shoulder tabs – fronts are longer than the orginal, and different to the back tabs.
The plan for this blog post is to talk you through these changes so they’re not scary. I have drawn up some rudimentary charts, which will help visual learners, and hopefully I won’t bamboozle you with information overload!
Using Mohair Yarn
As I’ve mentioned above, I used different yarn to make this black and blue fluffy jumper. The original is made with aran weight yarn with wool content. Rather fortuitously, my gauge is the same.
Whilst this black and blue sweater/jumper was also intended as a stash buster (using yarn I had leftover from other projects), I wasn’t sure there was enough of the black so ordered more. I vastly overestimated and have ended up with the same amount that I started with. A little bit more, in fact. So much for stash busting!
If you’re daunted by the fluffy stuff, fear not, read my blog post with some top tips for using mohair yarn. Ultimately, please don’t be scared. This is actually a really good project for mohair yarn because the stitches and design are simple. And holding the mohair with a non fluffy yarn, eases any anxiety too.
I used Drops Kid Silk, I had loads of Cobalt blue in stash from a neglected then rejected design idea.
Merino DK Yarn
I chose to use West Yorkshire Spinners Bo Peep Luxury Baby DK (double knit). The black (Incy Wincy) is leftover from a knitted jumper that went into a Vivienne Westwood inspired Sex Pistols jumper that was the husband’s Christmas present (I didn’t knit it, I asked MiL to do it!). There was leftover Drops Kid Silk black mohair from the same project as well.
More blue (Space Hopper) was purchased as I think I only had one ball in stash. This shade went beautifully with the Cobalt mohair.
I sometimes find that merino can be quite heavy, this one is lovely and light (probably because it’s a nylon mix). It doesn’t create a cumbersome jumper, which can be a bit much for an item of clothing.
Two Colours of Yarn
As a stashbuster, the choice of yarn was made for me. I didn’t have to worry about colour because black and blue were what I had and that was that.
The best thing about only using two colours is that for the main squares, you can float the yarn. No snipping, no time spent sewing in loads of ends, huzzah! Obviously, float along what you decide is the wrong side of the granny square.
I’ve worked out that for this jumper (an approximate size 3), I used:
7x50g blue DK
5x50g black DK
4x25g blue mohair
3x25g black mohair
As a general rule, every 100 grams of the DK merino uses a 25 gram ball of mohair. However, meterage is 112m per 50 gram ball of the DK (therefore 224m per 100g) and the meterage for the mohair is 210m per 25g ball. There’s a little bit of an imbalance so an extra ball of mohair is a good idea, to make up the shortfall.
The amount needed will vary depending on the size you make and how much adjusting you do. You will need more than me if you’re making a larger size. I have not done the maths to find out precisely how much for each size.
Cropped Granny Sweater
Two large granny squares are the basis for the main body panels of both sweaters. For this version, the two main squares are four rounds fewer than the colourful jumper. This is so the final sweater doesn’t have the length of the extra rounds but it has the width because I add granny stripes to each side of the front square.
Front and back granny squares have 19 rounds. The front square then has 5 granny stripes at each side. 19+5 is equivalent to a 24 round square for the width, which is one round more than version 1 (cos, why not?!). I added the shoulder tabs to the top, working into gaps between stripes, and gaps between clusters. See pics and charts below.
The back doesn’t have separate side stripes, instead, I crocheted around three sides of the square five times to get the same amount of extra sides and also add it across the top too. Hopefully this is not gobbeldegook!! It’s difficult to put into words but I think the charts are my saviour.
You can use the maths from the original post to work out gauge and measurements if you’re not keen on eyeballing.
If you make a sweater with the more basic elements, like I did for the original, by the time you’ve added shoulders and a waistband, the sweater is longer than it is wide. For version no.2 I wanted a more cropped style. In order to achieve this there are the additional steps, discussed above. They are arguably more tricky to wrap your head around but I absolutely love the result.
The first jumper has the same number of rows for both front and back shoulder tabs. It’s super easy to do it this way because it means you don’t need to think about maths and stitch placement too much.
However, what would happen if you attached different length tabs (front v back) to main body granny squares? Let’s say 8 rows for the front tabs and 3 rows for the back tabs. Your front body panel would be 5 rows longer than the back panel. This difference needs to be accommodated.
Below I have included the basic charts. I think they are the easiest way to show you all the shaping shenanigans. The charts are truncated so they show you the intention without literally showing every row. The real life jumper has 8 rows of front shoulder tabs (repeat the last two granny stripes rows of the chart to get 8) and 3 rows of back shoulder tabs (samesies as the chart).
Shoulder Tabs Clusters
The important bit is that shoulder tabs should end up the same width across at their last rows. Or thereabouts. I don’t think it matters if there is one stitch difference (mine were!). If there is more of a difference then it might be worth going back to the drawing board.
FYI, My shoulder tabs end measuring approx 16cm.
To begin, the first row of my front tabs has 7 full clusters, plus the end stitches. After four rows of shaping/decreasing and four rows of even granny striping, the tabs end with 6 full clusters and 1 stitch either side = 20 stitches.
The back tabs start with 6 full clusters plus the ends. These tabs are only three rows but because of a little manipulation/decrease at the neckline, I ended with 5 full clusters and 2 stitches at either end, that’s 19 stitches. I’m happy matching 20 stitches to 19. You can’t tell on the finished garment.
However many clusters you choose to add, make sure the width (no. of clusters per tab) isn’t going to create a massive neck hole.
Front Main Body
The first chart (below) is for the front of the jumper. Make the granny square first, then join as many stripes you want to either side. That’s the black and blue section of the chart. Then work the shoulder tabs. I have only shown one tab here but it gives you the picture of what you need to do for both. Don’t forget that more is explained in the colourful granny square sweater post, go check it out.
Back Main Body
The second chart shows the back. Now, here is where it gets more than just a tweak, we’re making different adjustments to ensure everything is the same size and will fit together. You can see that rather than working some side stripes, the chart shows three worked sides of the square (chart has three rows/rounds, in real life I did five). This is to accommodate the different lengths of the front and back shoulder tabs. So, five additional rows along the top of the back, plus 3 shoulder tab rows = 8, which equals the same as the front tab rows.
Crikey, at this point, I feel like I need to say “Thaaaat’s Numberwang!”
Granny Stripe Sleeves
Sleeves remain the same, thank goodness! But because they are stripes, you still have loads of ends to sew in. I started using the ends to sew the sleeves together but it was a major faff so decided to sew them all in first and then sew together using a length of the DK. There’s no need to use the mohair as well when you’re sewing your pieces together.
Ready to Wear Crochet Sweater
And everything else is the same! When writing out the differences it feels like it’s quite complex but in real life, once you have the hook in your hand and the yarn gliding through your fingers, it’s actually a lot simpler. In no time whatsoever you’ll be wearing your new handmade jumper! And it will look great!!
Please share your makes on Instagram by tagging me @zeensandroger and using #ZeensAndRoger
Also, there’s Ravelry too. Adding your project there is super helpful as it helps others see what designs look like when made by others.
I didn’t mean to make this granny square sweater! Honest! I have other projects to work on but bright colours and my favourite stitch called to me. This quite often happens. I have a list of designs I “should” be working on when something else catches my eye. Usually, it’s quick and easy makes because I’m craving mindful crochet rather than brain-busting designs.
So, that’s where this granny square sweater comes in. I have just finished an intense commission which involved a lot of head scratching maths. Anything with the granny stitch is a counteractive remedy to the hard stuff so, because I have a very frazzled brain right now, this is a relatively basic “recipe” rather than a full on graded pattern.
It’s not quite as evil a recipe as on a Bake Off final, by which I mean, I do provide plenty of information! However, I haven’t written a round by round, row by row pattern. With my helpful video tutorial and charts below, you won’t need them.
It’s an eyeballing, intuitive project, that you can make up as you go along without worrying about getting the calculator out.
This “recipe” for my granny square sweater is for those who enjoy a laid back kind of project. I would love for you to have the confidence to make it up as you go. Play with placement of increases for sleeves, explore ways of basic shaping. Add length, add width. Shoulder tabs can be different too. Don’t like my crochet ribbing? Try a different one.
However, there are techniques here that will improve beginner crochet skills. The ribbing is fancier than a bog standard one, it is also attached with a Join-As-You-Go technique, which I love. There are shaped shoulder tabs for a nice neckline, and the sleeves aren’t just straight tubes. None of these things are set in stone. You can do what you want.
Also, the more you mess about with crochet by winging it, the more you understand the fibres you work with, and how crochet stitches behave. Crocheting your own clothes will become easier and your skills will grow. Therefore, just get started with experimenting and playing…
I would say that 95% of stash used here is Paintbox Worsted Superwash (200m per 100g) and Paintbox Wool Mix aran (180m per 100g). There are a couple of other brands in there too. They have slightly different yardage/metreage but in the final jumper, you can’t tell. My fave is the wool mix aran, it’s much softer than the worsted superwash.
You could use other yarns and fibres if that’s what you have in stash. The beauty of this jumper is that it is adaptable. Ultimately, the main body is a granny square so you just make it until it’s the right size. The sleeves would require more faffing but I quite enjoy the tinkering to get them just how I want them. More info on sleeves is further down the post.
Using acrylic? It’ll be grand for a few wears and washes without blocking (instead, use fabric conditioner and tumble dry so it doesn’t come out squeaky). Just know that it will grow and stretch a little bit upon wearing it. Usually, it’s not a drastic change but eventually, over time, acrylic sort of gives up and becomes flatter and more plasticky than its original fluffy self. That’s my experience anyway.
Using cotton? I can’t give much advice on a cotton version I’m afraid as I never make cotton garments. It’s just not my bag. There’s no bounce in the fibre. It stretches and drapes differently to wool and, so far, I’ve not required that for my designs. If I’m making a jumper I want warm wool. You may wish to make swatch to try it out (see below).
Choosing Colours for your Crochet
Yarn amounts (stash, leftovers) may have an influence on where you place the colours. The more colours you have, the more higgledy-piggledy and awesome it’s going to look. The fewer hues, the more “arranged” it will look. There are about 24/25 colours in mine. Some colours only feature once or twice as were only a few grams left of them.
I had the stash and balanced it all out following my gut. A couple of tips: don’t put all your brights together and evenly place the darker colours throughout. You can read more about how to choose colours for your crochet in another of my blog posts.
How much stash have you got? Use the smaller amounts early on in the squares, have you got enough for a sleeve row? You only need small lengths for the shoulder tabs too. Think about where to use the yarn in clever ways.
How Much Yarn do you Need to Crochet a Sweater?
How much yarn will you need to make your Granny Square Sweater? Oh crikey, how long is a piece of string? It depends on so many factors! The biggest one, however, is it depends on the size you’re making. There’s more info on sizing further down.
Most of the yarn I used is from Paintbox Yarns (aran & worsted, as I mentioned earlier). The worsted is 200m per 100 grams. I’m going to use this to work out how many metres I used. My jumper weighs about 810 grams, which means I used approx 1620 metres. You get this figure with the following equation: weight of the garment divided by the weight of a full ball, multiplied by the meters (or yards, if you prefer) in one full ball. Note that you will probably need more than this in reality as it’s made up of around 24 colours and you’re going to use various amounts of each.
The problem is that as it’s lots of leftovers, of many different colours, giving amounts for other sizes is difficult. Even giving specific amounts for the size I made is nearly impossible because I made no notes on my stash. Eek, sorry. But if you’re a hoarder like me, you’re gonna have loads of stash to use, yes?!
All I can give you is this, if you want to have matching ribbing on the cuffs, waistband and neck, ensure you have at least one full 100 gram ball of yarn for that. Maybe get two balls to be absolutely sure because I probably used approx 1 full ball of green but haven’t worked out how much exactly cos in my stash it was two partially used balls and some went in the main body of the jumper as well). Sorry again!
How to Size your Granny Square Sweater
So, as you know by now, this is a recipe rather than a fully graded pattern, which means you might need to do some work! I will help you as much as possible here. And I will make sure it’s not painful. However, we are all making unique versions, right?
The absolute easiest way of making a jumper that’s going to fit you is to dig out your favourite fitting jumper and use that to work out how big to make your square. Take into account that your granny square sweater will stretch with wear (whether you’ve blocked it or not). Therefore, when I made mine, I made it approx 2 cm smaller than my favourite jumper, knowing it would stretch to become a similar size. There’s a slight risk of it stretching more than 2 or 3 cm but that’s ok for this project. We’re not after a fitted garment that’s super precise. This is a laid-back way of clothes making.
It’s worth mentioning, that the larger your square, the more it’s going to stretch. If each stitch stretches and you have more stitches, well, it’s going to make a difference. Fancy working up a gauge swatch, just in case?! Keep reading…
More Accurate Sizing
Ok, so I’ve popped this lil chart here as a useful guide to show a pretty standard width of a sweater with 10cm positive ease (positive ease = additional roominess in a garment, the opposite is negative ease, which makes a garment fitted against the body).
If you’re not sure about using your fav garment to measure against, you can always use this instead. You want your final granny square to be about this size in width. You can findmore info about standard garment sizes on the Craft Yarn Council’s website.
Width of granny (cm)
At this point, you need to know that adding shoulder tabs and a waistband is going to add length to your jumper so the end result is that the sweater won’t actually be a square. Bear it in mind. With 4 rows of shoulder tabs and, just shy of 5cm for the waistband, my jumper is approx 57cm in length.
This can be intimidating, I totally get it. And, although I’m totally winging it, I do have a good understanding of how washing and wearing a garment can alter the clothes you make. This is actually big big subject and I don’t want to scare you off by writing a massive essay about it.
Simply put, blocking means to wash or steam your woolly items and then (gently or aggressively, depending on the situation) pin out to stretch the item as it dries. It will then be fixed in its new state.
Spend a few minutes to work up a granny square that measures about 15cm (6 inches) and pop it in warm water (with a dash of detergent – I use wool wash soap for my handmade garments). Rinse, blot in a towel, then pin onto foam blocking boards and wait patiently for it to dry.
I didn’t mention it in the video tutorial but I pinned out and steam blocked my main pieces before sewing them together. It’s a really quick blocking method. I have a steamer but the steam function on an iron works too. For me, this helps for more accurate sewing. The pieces are less likely to bunch or pucker.
The picture below shows what crochet looks like on the blocking boards. If you have a cat, it is pretty much guaranteed that they will want in on the blocking action.
Arghh, Maths! How Gauge Affects Size
I’m going to assume that you’ve read my quick blog post about gauge. My gauge for this project (after blocking) is about 8.5 rows per 10cm. If you don’t want to eyeball the granny square like did, you can use a formula to work out how big to make it instead. Using the measurement from your size in the chart above, multiply it by the row gauge (8.5) and divide by 10 (cos that’s how many centimetres get you 8.5 rows).
It turns out my eyeballing is surprisingly accurate. Check this out: 53.5 (size 3 as per the size chart) x 8.5 / 10 = 45.475. I worked 23 rounds of grannies. 23 x 2 =46!! Wowsers! (I’ve multiplied by 2 because we go around in a square, not rows. From the granny’s centre to the top, it’s 23 rows, from the centre to the bottom, it’s 23 rows).
And I know, I know I said you wouldn’t need a calculator. sorry about that. But technically it’s true if you’re winging it!
Make Your Granny Squares
You probably already know how to make a granny square but if not, I show you how in the video tutorial. I like to turn mine every round so that there’s no dreaded twist.
Once you have two granny squares that are the chosen size, add shoulder tabs to the top. I also demonstrate this in the vid. It’s a Granny stripe method with a touch of shaping so that the neck is a nice, rounded shape. See below for the charts.
On the bottom of the granny squares, work a row of UK dc (US sc) stitches. This is the base upon which you’ll work the waistband ribbing. Use the same colour that you’ll use for the ribbing.
By the way, at any point during this process, you’re going to have to sew in the eleventy bajillion ends. Hahahahahaha! Quite honestly, looking back, I don’t know how I did it without crying.
Add Shaped Shoulder Tabs
This is the next step beyond the most basic of boxy crochet garments. There is absolutely nothing wrong with basic square shaping for a crochet sweater. I make ’em sometimes. But here, let’s go one step further and add shoulder shaping. This creates a scoop neckline, which will sit nicely across your clavicles!
Of course, this is open to adapting in different ways. To keep it simple I have kept the front and back the same. I won’t mention too much more on this because I demonstrate how you can tweak this in another version of this gloriously colourful granny square sweater. Find out more in my Black and Blue Granny Square Sweater post.
Below is a chart showing the tabs attached to the main body (the granny square). I chose to add four rows for mine. You have the left and right tabs there. I should have drawn them mirrored. I didn’t. Oh well, it is still very useful to see them visually.
Please note that the number of clusters on the charts aren’t the same as the number I actually added to my size. This is an example of stitch placement and you will want to add additional clusters depending on your size.
And by the power of Photoshop, it should look like this! Sort of…
Shoulder Width: How Many Clusters?
The number of clusters you add for you shoulder tabs is possibly/probably going to be different from mine. The first row of my tabs had 6 full clusters rather than the 3 shown in the chart.
If you would like accurate measurements then Ysolda Teague has detailed charts for sizing. There’s a bit of jiggery pokery to calculate the specifics so you may wish to eyeball it instead. And seeing as that’s what this crochet sweater is all about, let’s do that! Go grab your fave jumper again and measure the shoulder widths.
According to your gauge, how many clusters can you crochet to fit in that width?
Ok, so you’ve got the main body done. Now for the sleeves. They’re worked flat, in rows.
I want shaping here, very basic shaping. Luckily, arm length can stay the same regardless of the size of the main body so what I’m sharing here is going to work for the majority of folks. Of course, it’ll be different if you’re not using aran or worsted yarn. Obvs, things will vary if your tension is different so work more or fewer rows if needed.
My sleeves measure 46cm without cuffs, I worked 41 rows. Decide how long you want your sleeves and work as many rows as you want. And don’t forget that the cuffs add to the length too. They are 4cm so in total, I have 50cm length sleeves. This works for me and my arms. I’m a fan of 50cm sleeves!
Begin by working a foundation row of UK double crochet (US single crochet) using the ribbing colour. Check out my video tutorial for the foundation start. You need multiples of 3 plus 1. I worked 43 stitches for the beginning of my sleeves. After the first row of grannies appear, it measures approx 27cm at the wrist, and after you’ve worked 41 rows, the width at the other end (upper arm) measures 40cm. You might need to make yours narrower or wider than mine. Add or remove multiples of 3 stitches to change the sleeve width. Treat every 3 stitches as 2cm, so you’re adding or subtracting 2cm if you change the stitch count.
If you worked 43 stitches, the first row will have 13 granny clusters, plus the two ends.
Then add the JAYG cuffs. To be honest, you can add ribbing before or after you’ve constructed the jumper. I wanted them blocked at the same time so added them before. I’m not sure if I’d do this again but it worked in the way I wanted.
Next is a pic of the sleeve chart. Sorry for the hand-drawn nature of all my charts in this post. It was the quickest way of doing it!
Below is a not particularly tidy way of demonstrating where I put the increases at the ends of each row. There are more regular increases at the beginning before I decided I didn’t need as many to get the shape required. Play around with increases as much as you desire to create different sleeve shaping.
Only after making this chart did I realise I only crocheted 41 rows not 42. Oops.
I decided to add ribbing for the cuffs and waistband before sewing the pieces together. I was happy with my measurements of everything and knew I wouldn’t need to make further adjustments. If you’re not sure, add these after you have sewn the main pieces together. That way, if you need to adjust the depth of the ribbing, you only need to undo those sections and not the whole thing. I added the neckband once everything else was constructed.
For this granny square sweater, I opted for my current favourite crochet rib stitch. It looks fabulous and is an interesting technique that’s more sophisticated than basic rib stitches. It’s still Back Loop Only, like a lot of ribbing but this time with a two row pattern repeat.
With the wrong side facing you, attach the yarn to where you want the ribbing and chain 8 for the cuffs, 10 for the waistband and for the diddy neckline, chain 6.
Working down towards the foundation/base I used a yarn over slip stitches (yoslst) and on the way back up on the next row it’s just a simple slip stitch. Once again, you can see a demo of this in the video tutorial.
As a written pattern, the ribbing looks like this:
Chain 10 (for example) Row 1 (w/s): Working in back bumps, yoslst in second ch from hook, yoslst to end, sl st in next 2 sts of foundation row, turn. [9 sts] Row 2 (r/s): Miss 2 sl sts, 9sl sts BLO, turn. Row 3: ch1, 9yoslst BLO, turn. Rep Rows 2 & 3 to end.
Sew Everything Together
Remember to sew on the wrong sides to keep the right side as neat as possible. Use whip stitch, mattress stitch, whatever floats your boat.
1. Lay the front and back panels together (right sides together) and sew shoulder tabs together first. 2. Then, sew flat, the sleeves to the shoulders. Get them nicely lined up so that the centre of the upper sleeve is in line with the middle of the shoulder seam. 3. Fold everything in half and sew the sleeves and body in one fell swoop. 4. Add a round of UK dc (US sc) stitches around the neckband so there’s a foundation for the ribbing (matchy matchy with ribbing colour please). 5. Add neck ribbing (and cuffs & waistband if you left them to the end) and sew the ends to close.
Then, gently handwash and block if using wool yarn (yep, blocking again! I was thorough). The weight of itself should be enough to ensure it stretches appropriately. Once the excess water is gently squeezed out and blotted with towels, I didn’t bother to pin it out, just relied on the wet heft of it to stretch itself. [jeez, wet heft!] If using acrylic, wash in a machine (not forgetting fabric conditioner to avoid the squeaky squeaky) and tumble dry.
And there you have it. A Granny Square Sweater!! That was a lot of words, right?! Eek, my longest blog post I think.
Please do let me know when you make yours, I would absolutely love to see. Upload your project to Ravelry and tag me onInstagram. #zeensandroger
BTW, This post contains an affiliate link, which means, if you buy through the link I set up forLovecrafts.com, I get a small percentage of what you spend (at no extra cost to you).
If you thought this was completely brilliant and amazing, please consider buying me a ko-fi!
I don’t need a new crochet hat, I have plenty of hats, but when is that ever an excuse? As a crocheter compelled to make stuff, hats are pretty good palette cleansers in between more complex projects. They are also great stash busters and I am definitely a fan of a decent stashbuster.
The idea behind this crochet hat is to use my pretty leftovers of mohair yarn from all the fluffy adventures I’ve been on over the last couple of years.
Before you read on for the pattern and its details, I have also made a YouTube video tutorial, which you can find HERE. During the editing process I noticed that I tell everyone I used a 4.5mm hook to make the hat, I didn’t. I used a 5mm. Please ignore “Tutorial Zeens”, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Well, mostly she does, everything else is good information….
Notes on Making your Crochet Hat
A Crochet Rib Stitch
I wanted to keep things simple but also use the best kind of crochet rib stitch. There are lots of hats crocheted in this kind of method but often I see a half treble (US half dc) worked in the back loop only. I love a htr back loop only but not for a rib. There are better options that are tidier and more effective, like the one I’ve used in this pattern.
For this hat I opted for a yarn over slip stitch (YO sl st) worked in the back loop only (BLO). It worked just as I wanted it to. It’s a stitch that would look great in fishermans’ rib style jumpers (must make one of these).
The blips of contrast colours were a selection of all fluffy yarns in my stash leftover from previous projects. Mine range from laceweight to DK weight to chunky.
You can get fluffy yarn across all budgets and I threw everything into this hat regardless of weight or brand. The Christmas before last I made mohair and brushed alpaca scrunchies for my nieces. The leftovers are in this hat. The summer of that year I made a colourful cardigan out of MYPZ chunky mohair. (oh lordy, I called it DK in the video – another mistake!). I also had fluff from other projects too. Let’s chuck it all at the hat!
The colour changes are pretty lazy. Working with two strands all the time, whenever I wanted to introduce a new shade, I popped the one I didn’t want out of the way and laid a new strand with the one still in use. Then I swapped back when the contrast colour ran out, or whenever it felt right. When not in use, I floated most of the main colour across the wrong side of the work. Sometimes, if they were overly long, I’d snip them and rejoin later.
Crocheting a Hat to Fit
I worked 70 rows of 40 stitches. The piece of fabric measures 23 (the hat’s depth) x 47cm (the hat’s length). My head measures 56cm, which is quite a few centimeters more than the length of the hat. This is because you need negative ease in a hat so it stretches to fit. Standard negative ease is about 5-6cm for a hat. Mine is a little more than that as it will stretch out further upon wearing. Essentially my own head is “blocking” it out as I wear it.
Blocking? Simply put, blocking means to wash or steam your woolly items and then (gently or aggressively) stretch out the item as it dries. It will then be fixed in its new state. I have no intention of properly blocking the hat. I have no intention of washing the hat at all (unless it falls into a muddy puddle or something) so I don’t think blocking is too urgent. It depends on your own personal preference for a project like this. Yes, a gentle steam block will even out stitches. And yes, it will create additional length and width by being stretched out. It depends on how particular you are as to whether you want to do it properly. This is a quick win crochet hat so I’ve just eyeballed it.
By all means, if you’re a harcore perfectionist, make up a swatch, wash it and leave to dry. You can then measure how many rows and stitches there are over 10cm (4 inches). From these measurements you can work out Gauge.
Here’s my unblocked gauge: 18 sts and 15 rows per 10cm. It varies a little bit here and there when the different weights of yarn are applied.
Crochet Ribbed Mohair Hat Pattern
Things You Need
100g of DK yarn, I used West Yorkshire Spinners “Bo Peep”, which comes in 50g balls.
25g kid silk mohair, laceweight. I used Drops.
Lots of different contrasting colours of various mohair, brushed alpaca, or similar.
You will need extra of everything for the pompom. If you’re shopping for the whole shebang, add 3x 50g dk and 2x 25g laceweight to your shopping basket for the main body of the hat.
5mm hook. This is me going up a hook size than I’d normally use. I found it too fiddly to get the hook into the Back Loop Only (BLO) with a smaller hook.
Chain 41 Row 1: In the second chain from hook YO sl st, YO sl st to end, turn. [40 sts] Row 2 – Row 70 (or however many rows you need for a bigger/smaller noggin): 1ch, YO sl st BLO to end, turn. [40 sts]
This finished piece measures approx 23 x 47cm.
When changing colours, ensure ends are all on the “wrong side”. I didn’t worry about sewing them in. I am going to let their flyaway fibre structure do the work for me. Mohair never wants to let go so I’m pretty sure none of these contrast colours will work themselves loose. If in doubt, feel free to tie ends together before tidying up the ends with a pair of scissors.
When you fasten off, leave a long tail for sewing. Sew up the side using a whip stitch, do this wrong side out. I have demonstrated a way of doing this in the tutorial that ensures it’s pretty much invisible. Using the same length of yarn, run the needle along the top circumference of the hat, going in and out of the rows. Gently but firmly pull to close. Then, secure everything in place by working the needle around the gathers, back and forth, again and again to lock it all in place. Tie off but don’t snip just yet.
Tiddly Om Pom Pom
I am not going to write a step by step process for pompom making. I am not good enough! But you will hear my delight in the video tutorial when I made the one for the hat. I have every confidence that you will be better than me at making a pompom. But at least I didn’t break the yarn this time. Be careful when tying off the pompom as I have a tendency to break the yarn by pulling too hard!
When attaching your big fluffy sphere to the hat, be firm with the tying so the pompom won’t loosely flap about atop your head. Once secure, I also tied all loose ends together and then snipped to trim rather than sew them in. No one has time for that, especially you aren’t going to see them.
If you don’t want to make a fool of yourself like I did you can always buy a ready made one?
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.
(Btw this post contains one affiliate link for the yarn if you want to directly check out the yarn I used)
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
Replace your tape measure on a regular basis. The cheaper, plasticky ones will stretch with lots of use and therefore lead to incorrect numbers.
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!
Wash and block it (unless 100% acrylic).
Set your tape measure to start evenly between two stitches. That seemingly inconsequential space adds up when multiplied.
Swap to a bigger or smaller hook size if you aren’t meeting gauge.
Watch how you crochet. Are you a Yanker, Rider, or Lifter? This will affect row height.
Burn it into your brain that swatching is always part of the garment making process.
Use the recommended yarn weight. Look at the yardage/metreage per hundred grams for matchy matchy figures.
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.
Oh Christmas sweater, oh Christmas sweater, how lovely are your pixels!
Sweater? Jumper? Either way, here we have a free crochet pattern (borderline recipe) to satisfy your festive corner to corner compulsions.
I have finally managed to put together a video for you so that you can make your very own crochet Christmas sweater / Christmas jumper using the C2C crochet stitch. It’s super easy to make if you’re familiar with the corner to corner stitch. I would argue that this is an intermediate project and suitable for beginners who are patient and keen to learn a few new techniques.
Below, I have broken down all the essential info you need to make your own crochet jumper but please beware, I haven’t written this as a traditional pattern. It’s a guide, similar to the JW Anderson cardigan that I worked up last year. Actually, tell a lie, this one has waaaay more detail. The video tutorial is HERE. I have also created an ad-free PDF you can download including charts for 9 sizes. You can find that HEREon Ravelry and HERE on Etsy.
Yarn, Hooks and other Things you Need
To make a jumper of your own, you will need Paintbox Woolmix Aran [this is an affiliate link so if you buy via the link I receive a minimum of 5% of the cost]. I bought 10 balls of the main colour for size 3, Vanilla Cream, and used nearly all of it! The numbers below are estimates based on the weight of the sample size.
Est. yarn weight in grams
Also required are a few metres of each of the five contrasting colours for the motif section. You could always use just one colour for the motif if you don’t want to buy whole balls of each colour just for a few metres.
I used a 3.75mm hook. I have average tension. This hook, with this particular yarn, creates a closed fabric that is not so tight that it feels stiff.
Oh, and stitch markers are helpful. I use them to pin pieces together.
Ideally you want to print out the C2C colour chart. Grab a pencil for crossing off each row as you go.
A decent needle for sewing everything together is also required.
Grading & Sizing your own Crochet Christmas Jumper
It is pretty important to make sure your Christmas sweater is going to fit before picking up a hook and buying loads of yarn. Let me try and provide you with as many tools as possible to work out a size that will fit you.
The sample I made is nearest to a UK 12 but after a bit of wear I suspect it may stretch to a 14. I broke the rules and didn’t block! If you are in between sizes you may wish to make the smaller size.
First things first, it is a very good idea to work up a swatch. You can use this swatch to determine how many C2C blocks you’ll need to work. Bear in mind that every 6.5 blocks is a measurement of 10 cm (4 inches). This will help you work out how many C2C blocks across you need your jumper to be. Work up a C2C square that’s 12×12 blocks to ensure you have a decent amount of fabric to get an accurate measurement. To be fair, you might get away with 11×11 if you’re feeling lazy!
A useful trick is to find a favourite jumper and measure it. How many blocks will you need to get the same width and length?
To fit Bust (inches)
28 – 30
32 – 34
36 – 38
40 – 42
44 – 46
48 – 50
52 – 54
56 – 58
60 – 62
To fit Bust (cm)
71 – 76
81 – 86
91.5 – 96.5
101.5 – 106.5
111.5 – 117
122 – 127
132 – 137
142 – 147
152 – 158
Width (back) in cm
Length in cm
Body Blocks across
Body Blocks down
Corner to Corner Chart
Stitchfiddle is such a good tool for creating crochet C2C charts. If you’re making a different size to mine you can find the charts in the ad-free PDF on either Ravelry or Etsy. Or try creating your own design chart. Be careful, chopping and changing design ideas is addictive and before you know it, you’ll have lost hours by fiddling about!
Working the Corner to Corner Stitch
If you’re an absolute beginner, then this actually isn’t too bad of a C2C project. However, I do assume you have the crochet basics under your belt. I don’t plan on writing specific corner to corner instructions, instead, I demonstratehow to work a swatch in thevideo.
The basics of of corner to corner are that you build up each row one block at a time. When it’s time to stop building your blocks, you decrease until you reach the opposite corner. However, none of the pieces are exactly square. After building enough blocks to reach the first corner, you then work even by only increasing on one side to create the rectangle shape. Decreasing is my fave bit as it’s the race to the finish line!
Crochet Sweater Pieces
The pieces of your Crochet Sweater are made separately and sewn together.
The front and back are the same except for the colourful motif on the front. As you know from diligently watching all of the video, I made my front panel upside down to get the colour work done & dusted before the easy stuff could commence. This is why the charts are upside down.
Once you have the corner to cornering done, you can work a Join As You Go rib. I love this bit! Check out the video for the demo on how it’s done. I’ll try and remember to add the timestamps on YouTube for all these useful sections.
For the front piece I snipped the yarn from the main body piece and reattached to the right top corner. Work 3 sc in each vertical block and 2 sc in the bar of the stitch that lays horizontally. When working the back you can just turn, you don’t need to cut the yarn.
Snip again (both front & back) to reattach to the top right side. I think I decided on 11 stitches for the ribbing, so chain 12 to begin. All hdc (UK htr) sts are worked into the front 3rd loop of the st below.
Row 1: 1hdc in 2nd ch from hook and the rest of the chains to end, slip stitch in next 3 stitches of main body, turn to work back up the ribbing.
Row 2: Miss 3 sl sts, 11hdc in front 3rd loop of sts, turn.
Row 3: 1ch, 11hdc in front 3rd loop of sts, sl st in next 3 sts of main body, turn.
Rep Rows 2 & 3 across. You might end on Row 2 or Row 3 depending on how many stitches your foundation row is. It doesn’t matter which!
My sleeves (size 3) are 23×28 blocks. Look at the chart below and you’ll see how many blocks wide to make your sleeves. Don’t worry too much about sleeve length for different sizes. I often make the sleeves the same length across several sizes because our arms aren’t drastically different in length. If you know you have shorter arms, or they’re longer than average, then allow for that, add or remove a row. However, you will want wider sleeves if you’re after a bigger jumper.
Sleeve Length (from under arm to wrist) in cm
Sleeve depth at underarm in cm
No. of Blocks for sleeve length (cuff not inc)
No. of sleeve blocks across (total)
Make 2, obvs. I worked a foundationless chain of 25 stitches and worked 22 rows in hdc (UK htr) in the front third loop. It’s in the vid but you can also find the foundationless start HERE as a separate video tutorial.
My wrists are a skinnyish 14cm circumference. Add 2 rows for every centimeter.
Sew the cuff ends together to get them ready to ease into the sleeve.
Whatever your size jumper, make the waist band approx 10cm (4 inches) smaller than the circumference of the main body of the jumper. Reducing the circumference here brings the jumper in to create a bit more shaping. I worked 11 stitches for 120 rows of ribbing for my size 3, hold it up against the main body to check you’re happy with the length of yours. This was very much an eyeballing task.
Work the ribbing in one length to go around the circumference of the jumper, then sew the ends together.
All your pieces are finished, now it’s time to put it all together. So near yet so far! Exciting stuff!
Make sure all sewing is done on the wrong side of your jumper. Pay attention. Double check. Triple check that right sides are facing each other. It is guaranteed I will get this wrong at least once in any garment I make! Unpicking is par for the course for me but please try and do better than my efforts!
Below is a visual image of the steps of construction. Basically, sew the shoulders together first. I went for 10cm at each shoulder tab and I’m happy with that. More or fewer stitches will be required depending on what size you make.
Then sew the open sleeves to the shoulders. I don’t need to spell it out to make this evenly, equally spaced and at the centre of the shoulder. Fold the whole lot over, right sides facing, so you can sew the arms and body together. Voila!
Next up is to attach the ribbing on the sleeves and waistband.
For the sleeves, gather them at the wrist by creating a foundation round of sc stitches (UK dc) around the opening. Work 1 sc over each bar of the horizontal dc (UK tr) stitches and 2 sc into each of the vertical blocks. This brings in the sleeves a bit to make it easier to attach the ribbing. Then use plenty of stitch markers to hold the cuff in place whilst you sew it on. You will probably find the video useful for this bit.
Easing in the waistband is far easier. Use stitch markers to hold it in place here too.
Overview: How to Crochet a C2C Sweater
Much like the GB Bake Off final, I have taken away some of the instructions. Please refer to the charts to determine how many blocks across & down you need to work to make your size. And watch the video to see how to make everything! Purchase the ad-free version on Ravelry or Etsy.
Step 1: Make a gauge swatch! 12×12 blocks should do it.
Step 2: Make your C2C pieces – 1 back, 1 front (both the same number of blocks), sleeves x2.
Step 3: Add join as you go ribbing to the tops of the main body – see video tutorial.
Step 4: Make ribbing for cuffs and waistband. Work the waistband so that it’s roughly 10cm (4 inches) shorter than the main body of your jumper.
Step 5: Sew shoulders together.
Step 6: Sew sleeves to shoulders.
Step 7: Fold in half, right sides facing, sew along sleeves and down body, both sides.
Step 8: Add the foundation to the sleeves and ease in the cuffs.
Step 9: Ease in waistband. There’s no need for a foundation round here.
Step 10: Blocking? You can if you want. A light steam block is my recommendation but I’m going to let the wearing of it do the job.
How did you get on with your C2C Christmas sweater!?
Well, hello and good day! Or, if you’re from the West Country, alright me ‘ansome?!
There are unsubstantiated rumours that the Ottery St Mary born poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge would often greet people with “Alright, me ‘ansome” as a way of saying hello. Whether he actually addressed people with this local greeting is a mystery; it’s fun to think that he might have but my money says it’s a made up lie!
Ansome is a crochet hat pattern that is essentially two hats in one. Having made a hat with my new obsession, the puff stitch, I had plenty of yarn left to make a second hat. Both hats start with the same pattern but end up as two different styles.
The written pattern for Ansome is available on Ravelry HERE and Etsy HERE. There is 25% off until the last day of November.
Crochet Puff stitches
Ansome is now available on Ravelry & Etsy but it has been a couple of months in the making. For a while I have been sketching lots of designs using different sorts of crochet puff stitches. The first idea came to me at the beginning of the year. That one turned into the Wheatfields shawl, which is now a fully fledged pattern in its own right. You can find it HERE and HERE. It’s a fabulous combo of hand dyed 4 ply merino and lace weight mohair.
Working up puff stitches is really calming and rhythmic and they are awesome in all kinds of projects. They look fancy but are relatively fun and easy to do. However, do make sure you have a good crochet hook. I used a Knitpro hook, which is not normally my first choice as my hands are too big for the short handle, but it does have a good hooky bit! It helps when pulling through all the loops so try some out before you begin your project.
Potentially there are more puff stitch designs waiting in the wings for me but I think I will revisit those next year. For now I’m happy to focus on these crochet hats, which have come together in a way that felt like a breeze. They’re just meant to be!
We’re in November now and headed towards chillier weather in the northern hemisphere. When is a better time to release a hat pattern!? It has worked out quite nicely; I don’t think I had any intention of coming up a hat design. It wasn’t on my list of things to do but sometimes things just work out that way.
The catalyst was a single picture shared on Instagram. I saw a collection of Devonia mini skeins from John Arbon Textiles and fell a little bit in love with the colours. Instantly I knew they should be a crochet hat. So I made one!
Devonia is what I call a proper woolly wool. Warm, comforting and with the essential sheepy smell that I could breathe in all day. It’s a combination of Bluefaced Leicester (an all time fave) and Blueface Exmoor (from Devon, proper job). It also has Wendsleydale & Romney lustre breeds, which, if I’m right, add the shiney sheen that I always think looks super pretty and works really well with crochet.
I am very lucky in that, when I left a comment on the IG pic, to say it was a stunning combo of shades, the super smashin team from JAT asked if I would like to try them. This doesn’t happen everyday. I have no idea why they are willing to support my crochet adventures, I just know that I am very grateful to get the yarn support. Thanks Sonja!!
Maybe it is because it isn’t the first time. Remember the Grainbow shawl from a couple of years ago? And the infamous Dreckly mittens? That’s a triple whammy of JAT yarns: Knit By Numbers, Yarnadelic, and now Devonia! How about Harvest Hues next!?
Devonia comes in DK and 4 ply weights, and 25g minis and 100g skeins. That is one of the best things about JAT yarns, lots of options and versatility. For Ansome, you need 100g of DK for the main colour plus your colourful minis for the contrasts. Oh and I almost forgot! One of the reasons that the guys were sharing Devonia pics is because there are news shades that have just been released. I used Wood Smoke as my main colour, which is one of the new ones.
Having that much yarn meant there was too much left over to do my usual trick (hide it in the cupboard and struggle for stashbusting ideas). There was only one thing for it, if JAT can have all the options, so can I! Ansome mainly refers to the star of the show, which is the puff stitch hat but the remaining yarn was calling out too. It wanted to be striped up as a “plain” crochet hat. So there are two patterns here and you can make both!
The pattern has three size options and there’s freedom to add more rows if you want extra slouch. I made the medium size for both hats and the puff hat has just a little bit of slouch as there are more rows. A few subtle changes like that and you have two different styles of crochet hat! How good is that?!
The puff stitch hat was blocked too, and that added to the drape. Unsure about blocking crochet hats? I certainly was. So I did what I normally do and guessed. I blew up a balloon inside Ansome to what seemed like my head size and then gave the hat a light spray of water. Once it had dried, boom, perfect hat!
And that is pretty much all you need to know about these new crochet hat designs! Can you think of anything you’d like to know? If so, please do get in touch. In the meantime check them out of Ravelry HERE and Etsy HERE.
Ta very much. I would end by using a Devon way of saying goodbye but I can’t remember any phrases.