Mixtape Medley CAL. A New Crochet Blanket Pattern

Mixtape Medley Crochet Along

Hallooooo! Happy autumn!! What better way to celebrate a new season than to crochet yourself a new cosy blanket? Fancy it?! The Mixtape Medley blanket is ideal for mixing up classic stitches that you probably already have in your crochet repertoire. The only thing that’s really different is that they’re all brought together as one, with a jazzy, stash busting colour palette.

When I was asked by Knitcraft back in April to come up with ideas for an 8 week Crochet Along I knew exactly what I wanted to do. The brief was to create a design that would introduce beginners to new stitch combinations with a palette that used a variety of different shades (not too rainbow bright, not too autumnal). Much like the rest of my design work, I wanted this to be a bit different!

When you think of classic crochet, what stitches do you come up with? Granny is there, isn’t it? Bobbles too? And I bet those who know me will immediately say Corner to Corner!! It’s all in the Mixtape Medley! And recent favourites such bold colour blocking and plaid feature as well (I’ve been calling it plaid but perhaps it’s gingham?). I desperately wanted a ripple stitch in it but that wasn’t to be. The inevitable concertina effect would have been a nightmare. Instead, I invented a new puff wave stitch. The undulating waves are most welcome, plus there’s the added bonus of delightful texture with some plump puffs!

How to find the Blanket Pattern

You’re probably here to find out more than just the back story so let me tell you what’s what. Aaaages a go I wrote a blog post to explain what a CAL actually is, it’s HERE if you’d like to find out more about crochet alongs (bear in mind it is an ancient blog post though).

This Mixtape Medley Crochet Along is hosted by Knitcraft on the Hobbycraft website in their Ideas section. Knitcraft is the yarny arm of Hobbycraft. Over the next few weeks the written pattern will be released bit by bit so that you can enjoy a few hours of crochet each week. And the best bit is that this is a free crochet pattern!! FREE! Fully tech edited and tested as well, which I love. Everything has been extremely well thought out.

OMG there’s a competition too!! If you share your progress on social media you could win £100 worth of yarn and accessories. So don’t forget to share your makes on Instagram with the hashtags #MixtapeMedleyCAL and #MixtapeMedleyComp

How to find it easily: Go HERE, scroll down a bit, you’ll see a “Go to” section, hit the “Helpful docs & software” link to download the pdfs each week they’re released.

Crochet video tutorials

At the beginning of August I travelled along the coast to a studio in Southampton to record video tutorials. We recorded videos for each stitch and included other helpful bits of information too. It was a really interesting and exciting day! Not something I’ve done before. A few weeks later, once the videos had been put together, I watched them through so I could write a script. Then, it was back to the studio to record the sound.

Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying the video tutorials are HERE! You might notice that I look a bit like deer in headlights and that’s OK. I may seem super chilled out in my podcasts (usually amateurishly filmed at home in me jammies) but that’s a completely different kettle of fish. No hot studio lights, clapper boards or people you’ve never met wiring you up with a mic n stuff. The experience of working in a studio was awesome and nerves should never stop anyone from doing something new.

In the studio!

Crocheting Together

Seeing everyone getting their boxes of yarn is so exciting! As well as being able to buy the yarn kits from Hobbycraft in super special Mixtape Medley boxes (OMG they are totally gorgeous!), you could also bust your stash and go your own way with colours. This isn’t the kind of blanket where rules apply….well some rules do (count your stitches folks!)

Multiples are given so you could easily make adjustments to make it smaller, or bigger if this isn’t big enough (it’s a single bed sized blanket). I fancy a scarf version myself and hope to make one during the CAL. Hey, you could even get your nails done to match if you wanted to!

Well blow me down! Look at these nails from @the_squirrel_collective

I think that’s it for now. If you have any questions then ask away. I’ll try and get to them as soon as I can but the idea is that you can find all the info you need on the Hobbycraft website so do go there first as details about yarn and sizing etc is all there.

Right, I’m off to work on some crochet. And maybe do my nails. Cheers. x

Drape it over your legs as you work. That’s what this pic is!

Z&R Crochet Podcast 91. Finished Objects

Hallooooo! Welcome to the Zeens and Roger crochet podcast. This is episode 91. Hopefully all the good stuff is here but I did have recording issues. I lost some video but most of it was safe. I think I will need to find an alternative method because the camera I bought especially for podcasting is not good enough!! Bah.

Aaaaanyway, it’s lovely to have you here,I hope you’re well? To watch this fabulous crochet podcast, please click on the picture above, or go here to my YouTube channel.

Links to the crochet latest:

Moorit magazine. I will talk about the name next time. It’s a fun story! How excited are you for Moorit magazine!!!?

The Granny Go Round jumper is finally complete and I LOVE it!!! It’s a pattern by Claudine of Iron Lamb.

The Decked Out shawl is in the latest issue of Inside Crochet mag. Issue 138. I used a really nice sport weight merino from Milla Mia. I have used this before in Seven Summits and One Way or Another.

The Perfect Cardigan! I am super proud of my very first garment release. It was A LOT of hard work and even more learning new skills!! You can read about it HERE. I’ve written up the Ravelry notes HERE for my crazy mohair version, which to be honest, is my new favourite thing! I have added the notes because I made adjustments. I could probably have just made a size smaller than in the pattern and it would have been fine.

I used MYPZ chunky mohair to make the floofy mohair version of the Perfect Cardigan. Super nice yarn and I want more! Not sure if I can justify the stash build but I’m sure I will find a reason.

The cobalt mohair is Drops Kid Silk, a budget lace weight yarn. This brand is perfect if you’re on a budget. I bought mine from Wool Warehouse.

Another yarn discussed are Kingcole Cottonsoft It’s pretty much the only cotton (so far) that I like using!

What I didn’t talk about and wanted to bring up was Patreon. If you would like to support my crochet adventures and join a really fun community, check it out. I am sporadic with my postings but I share behind the scenes stuff and the different tiers all have different treats n stuff.

FYI there are a couple of affiliate links used in this post. It’s no extra cost to you, it just means I get a small percentage of the cost of any yarn you buy through the links.

How to Choose Colour in Crochet!

Bright cakes of colourful
 yarn

Colourful Crochet

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

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

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

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

striped crochet mittens

Colour Evolution

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

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

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

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

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

a crochet shawl
The Grainbow Shawl

The Basic Principles of Colour in Crochet

The nutshell version: it’s all about balance.

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

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

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

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

colourful crochet blanket
Havana Nights C2C blanket.

Put it into Practice

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

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

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

Teh Perfect Crochet Cardigan
The Perfect Cardigan

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

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

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

Crochet Bucket Hat – A Free Pattern & Tutorial

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

A Crochet Bucket Hat

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

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

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

Frogging on the A30

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

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

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

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

To make a bucket hat, you need:

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

Notes & tips

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

Crochet Bucket Hat Pattern

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

And That’s it!

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

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

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

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

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

Z&R Crochet Podcast 87. Unmistakably Green

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

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

Links to Crochet Good Stuff:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Not a Natural Yarn Dyer!

A Beginner’s Yarn Dyeing Overview

I was recently sent a naked, undyed skein of King Cole merino yarn. (Disclosure: I am a King Cole ambassador; I got the yarn for free but this is not a sponsored post). Receiving the yarn was all the persuasion I needed to have a brief dalliance with yarn dyeing. And I do mean brief. My first time was dyeing with avocado skins a few weeks ago, which I found interesting but getting the right colour was tricky. The second time was with little pots of powdery acid dyes (thanks Sherrie of Ollie & Bella for recommending the dyes). Acid dyeing yarn is a messy affair and I don’t suggest you try it unless you’re willing to destroy your kitchen, clothes, and anything else within a fifteen foot radius. My kitchen is old and tatty, therefore I don’t care about the fact that it now has a rainbow of colours forever tainting my work tops. Bit dodgy for food prep though.

What I’ve done is put together a couple of videos for YouTube. The first was published a couple of weeks ago. You can watch it HERE. It’s the dyeing yarn with avocado video, not “dying”, which is what I’ve accidentally titled the episode. It’s actually a relatively safe process. I pretended it was homeschooling science and got the kids involved. Well, the youngest one helped, the eldest just came into the kitchen in search of the Flap Jacks that were being baked in the oven whilst we did the dyeing. Apart from using high temperatures in the dyeing process, it’s a pretty good project for getting the kids involved.

Recently uploaded is the acid dyeing vid, HERE. It’s a bit longer as the first section of the video is a “show and tell” of the yarn colours that were created. Then the shoddy demo of my attempts follows after. This one is not be so great for the kids (although one of mine watched from a reasonable distance).

The colours that you can achieve with the acid dyes are far more intense. I have a distinct lack of knowledge about the chemistry of colour work and it shows. I didn’t try to experiment with mixing or diluting, just jumped straight into bright primary-ish shades. The results aren’t too bad. They’re not exactly “my” colours but that’s OK. The dye is Landscapes Dyes from Wingham Wool Work, a great recommendation from Sherrie. I wasn’t scared of using it but hard core professionals use loads of safety gear during dye sessions. Gloves and breathing apparatus are strongly recommended. Please do be careful! The particles of the powders can get inside your lungs and the powders also contain other elements that you don’t want to end up in your dinner.

After a quick shout out for advice on my crochet podcast, Becca from Totnes Yarns got in touch and offered some invaluable advice, thank you so much Becca! She Recommended using an old pot for dyeing the yarn, don’t use your best pans. Some of the acid dyes contain chemicals you don’t want to consume. But also, Becca pointed me in the direction of ChemKnits on YouTube. This is a rabbit hole I do not want to go down. This is just a quick fling, not a new hobby!! But if you did want to commit, check it out.

Research was a quick glance at Google, finding blog posts about avocado experiments. For more information about dyeing with avocado I found Woods and Wool to be really thorough. And also Thoresby Cottage. Deffo worth a look. I didn’t google much about acid dyes, I had the advice from Becca, and the Landscapes dyes came with a leaflet full of excellent instructions for both simmering on the hob or blasting in a microwave. You can download guidance on safety from Wingham Wool Work too.

Michelle from Dora Explored also has a blog post about dyeing with every day household stuff. Lots of helpful explanations about processes in that blog post, including info on why you might need to give your wool a bath in vinegar before you dye, and what a mordant is. But I confess to only skim reading certain bits so missed where it said to heat the yarn again after I added speckles onto the already dyed yarn. Might be why I didn’t end up with as many speckles as I hoped. I do realize that the heat is how the yarn fixes the colour, it was just a brief moment of stupidity. The fact that I have no patience is also a reason why the speckles washed out, which you’ll see from the finished results.

Avocado blush

Wool yarn will take on dyes really well. Different fibres react in different ways, which is worth bearing in mind. As well as having the King Cole merino dk to play with, I decided to purchase a few skeins of Regia 4ply merino, another yarn specifically for hand dyeing. It worked a treat with the microwave acid dyeing. I also went digging through my own stash and came up with a mystery mini skein of a sheepy wool, and two silky looking skeins of Teeswater/Wensleydale yarn that were purchased on a holiday in Lancashire a few years ago. Please do read the blog post about that, it’s HERE. It was really quite a treat for a fan of yarn. On a personal level, reading about that holiday demonstrates that I know much more about yarn now than I did then. But judging by my tinkerings with the dyes, I’ve got a long way to go! Still very much an amateur…

Anyway, that’s it really. It’s a vast subject and this experience is barely a toe dipped in avocado blush waters. So much to explore. Have you tried yarn dyeing? What do you think? I bet you’re better at it than me!

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The blue is my favourite. Followed by the red and then the brown. Don’t like the others though!

Moorit: More than just a Crochet Magazine

@cardinecaffery.design

Moorit:: Of Shetland sheep or their wool: of a mid-brown colour, between fawn and dark brown. Of a garment, etc: made of moorit wool.

The Crochet Community has spoken, Moorit magazine is happening! We are getting a crochet magazine for crocheters, like no other that has been seen before.

Yarn lovers have chatted dreamily over the years about what it’d be like to have a high end crochet publication. Imagine, if you will, a cool crochet magazine that is collectible, beautiful, and features artisanal designs that you just have to make. It shouts from the rooftops that crochet is second to none! But here’s the thing, there are whispers about crochet, assumptions and rumours. …ugly stitches, they whisper at yarn shows….. gasp, squeaky acrylic!…. Shh, old ladies!… Pah! It is a reputation that us dreamers fight with fervour to shake. Modern crocheters understand that there’s more to the hook and yarn than the humble Granny square (and I’m saying this as a champion of the Granny). We love it for it’s rhythmic stitches and limitless twists and turns. In recent years, more and more designers are coming through who brilliantly showcase the very best that contemporary crochet has to offer. This is an exciting time.

Many of us have often wondered if a magazine would ever happen. Sadly, we didn’t really think “when,” it was more a wistful “if”. Alyson Chu is going to make sure it happens though. Did you see the huge success of Alyson’s Kickstarter campaign?! That’s how much we need Moorit! The first goal was smashed within two days. After two weeks, it has been totally obliterated. That speaks volumes! If you haven’t already, please go and read about Alyson’s vision on the Kickstarter page, you’ll learn about the detailed plans she’s working hard to bring to life, the designers who’ll be featured in Issue 1, and get a feel for the gorgeous aesthetic.

With a Masters degree in publishing and a passion for crochet, Alyson realised she had the skills and experience to make it a reality. Not just a dreamer but a full on innovator! It’s the right time and the right place. Yessss!

I was listening to her chat with Fay from the Crochet Circle Podcast the other day (you can watch the interview HERE), and it was awesome how she said [paraphrasing a bit] “If not me, then who?” She wasn’t going to sit back and wait for some else to do it. It might never happen. She told herself the same when she approached knitwear designer Jeanette Sloan about Bipoc in Fiber too, a website that highlights the creative work of Black, Indigenous & People of Colour within the yarn world. Alyson’s ambition and enthusiasm is gloriously contagious. Love it!

As well as the interview with Fay, do also check out the interview from Knitsonik. I really enjoyed reading this chat about crochet history and Moorit’s connection to Scotland. And I’ve just started reading the 1847 book, Miss Lambert’s “My Crochet Sampler” because of this interview! (you can find it online as a free digital download).

Moorit designers for Issue 1. I wish I’d given Alyson a better headshot…

I am so excited about Moorit. What an amazing opportunity to show crochet design at its very best. I can’t deny that it’s also about absolute privilege to be a part of issue 1 with one of my designs. I am chuffed to bits…. and waiting to get dragged back from my front row seat. Gulp! On a personal level I want to push myself and my skills as a designer for Moorit. For others, I want to challenge how they see crochet. This is crochet enrichment.

Just in time for autumn, Moorit will be here in September. It will focus on crochet garments and accessories for everyone, using beautiful fibres to do it. Issue 1 focuses on women’s wear but there will be designs in there that aren’t exclusively female. Come September we’ll have this plush publication in our hands. I literally cannot wait to leaf through its pages. Crochet is beautiful, it is time to celebrate! Don’t you think?! Yesss!!

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@cardinecaffery.design

Crochet Cowls, The Ultimate Winter Accessories

I was at the very cold and windy beach yesterday when I realised how much I LOVED the crochet cowl I was wearing! Sat securely & snuggly around my neck, it wasn’t going anywhere. The best thing about a cowl is that there are no flappy scarf ends, breeze whipping them about my face! Neither will it slowly work itself free and slide to the ground. A crocheter can also hook up a handmade cowl pretty quickly.

I started counting up how many there were in my crochet collection. A LOT!! And they all get worn at this time of year. The ice cold weather this week isn’t set to rise above 3 degrees. A warm cowl is the first choice crochet accessory that I’m going to reach for.

Whether fancy 4ply or super chunky, there are all sorts of styles you can try. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner crocheter as there are loads of easy cowl patterns to try. It doesn’t have to be fancy stitches or anything, you could smoosh together four largish granny squares (5 inches would do it) and that’s a cowl. When I say smoosh, I mean sew them together in a row and then join ends to create a circle. Voila, a cowl has been made.

This blog post is also a blatant excuse to share loads of my designs to tempt you into getting the yarn and hooks out. Of course it is….

My renewed enthusiasm for keeping warm in the winter means I am about to go rummaging to find yarn to make a new cowl. It will be released as a free pattern when it’s done. Keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, I will share my latest design. It’s called Companions, which is a cowl and wrist warmers pattern set. There are still a few days where you can get 25% off on Ravelry and Etsy. Last day of the discount is the 13th Feb. I am so so pleased with this stripey set. Ridiculously pleased. Every aspect works: the yarn, the pattern, the style. It’s exactly what I had imagined. This is the cowl I was wearing yesterday at the beach (the wrist warmers were left at home as I didn’t want them getting mucky whilst rooting through pebbles, looking for seashells!).

With that plug out of the way, there are plenty of free crochet patterns and tutorials you can try. I’d say that they were suitable for beginners who fancy a quick project that’s simple yet effective. A corner to corner chevron? It’s all in the colour work. Here’s the YouTube tutorial to show you how. The same pattern can easily be turned into a hat too. It’s good to have options!

I got the idea for a C2C chevron from the granny chevron I designed which, in turn came from a big floofy version I did. (I am currently obsessed and delighted with how ideas beget ideas – it’s fascinating).

https://zeensandroger.com/2018/09/27/c2c-cowl-hat-a-free-crochet-pattern/

Have you made any? They don’t have to be small and simple. You can make elegant, double looping infinity scarves, or massive super chunky things that envelope your entire top half. There are loads of variants in between.

A couple of years ago I was asked to design a cowl that looked like a shawl for the front cover of Mollie Makes magazine (yep, still proud of that moment). I wanted it to be a bit different to my other designs so added the triangle shaping. A shawl that’s not a shawl! It turned out to be one of my most popular designs ever. It’s for sale on Ravelry, Etsy and LoveCrafts.

I see triangle cowls popping up more and more in the knitting and crochet community. I’ve got more than one design now too and another one due in a future magazine. That one is cute, perfect for early spring!

Right, rather than a overly detailed breakdown of each and every one I will just add some more pictures and let you peruse at your leisure. There’s also a scarf and cowl bundle on Ravelry which is worth looking at. Yes, I know they’re all mine. It’s a starting point.

Do have a favourite crochet cowl out there? Which one? Hopefully there’s something here to inspire you to get crocheting. Let me know how you get on.

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https://zeensandroger.com/2019/06/22/asymmetric-granny-cowl-free-crochet-pattern-and-tutorial/

xxx

Z&R Crochet Podcast 85. Mittens and Wrist Warmers

Hello! How are you? Felt like podcasting so here I am! Please click on the pic above to go directly to the episode of crochet chat or hit the link for all, HERE.

There’s a lovely book Giveaway this episode. I meant to time it with a Wool on the Exe February Make Along but completely forgot to talk about the MAL soooo….

Links

Just in case you’re still interested in the Dreckly Mittens, here’s a link to Dreckly goodness.

I’m totally in love with Companions, my new stripey set of crochet wrist warmers and cowl. There’s 25% off until the 13th Feb on Ravelry and Etsy.

Wool on the Exe. Mustn’t forget (as I did in the episode), the team at WOTE are running a Make Along this month for the patterns in the book that I’m giving away.

Moorit magazine. Eeeek sooOoo excited!!

John Arbon Textiles’ Yarnadelic comes in 25g and 100g skeins. Here’s the birthday podcast. I’m not an affiliate but with the lengths I go to to plug it, you’d be fooled into thinking I am!

Paintbox wool mix – This is an affiliate link, I recently set it up to see if it would be a viable finger in a pie. From each sale generated through the link I get a minimum 5% of the sale. The wool mix is my current fave aran weight yarn. It’s often on sale.

Color Pop Sweater by My Square Hat. I’m a big fan of it’s unique construction.

Longdog Yarns – a US based indie yarn dyer

Mr B Yarns – A UK indie yarn dyer

Beehive Yarns – A UK indie yarn dyer.

Move the Needle – a book by Shelly Brander

Instagram, Pinterest, Ravelry, Etsy, Lovecrafts

Cheers! x

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JW Anderson Crochet Cardigan. Version 2!

Thanks to some very keen crocheters out there, my first version of a crochet JW Anderson cardigan has been super popular. Thanks for that! I’m not sure I need to explain at this point but I will: it’s the one that was made enormously popular by Harry Styles. Pretty sure you’ll know about all the cardigan by now, whether knitted and/or crocheted.

[FYI I recently signed up to the LoveCrafts affiliate program so I have linked to the yarn mentioned in this blog post (further down). I have no idea if it’s worth it yet but it won’t make any difference to your wallet whatsoever – just mine!]

Anyway, here’s a pic of my first one….

The First Cardi

I wrote about the first version HERE back in October. There is a lot more detail on that post and it includes the recipe so that you can make one too. I made a video for YouTube too, that’s HERE.

My sister saw it and asked me to make one for her Christmas present. Initially I said “ugh, No”. I couldn’t be bothered to make another! Then my conscience got the better of me and I decided I should go for it. I thought about the changes I could make and it was enough to make me enthusiastic about knocking one out again.

The Second Cardi

The only reason I’ve made it again is because one of my sisters requested it for Christmas. She still hasn’t seen it yet because the rules of Covid have meant that I’ve not seen my family this Christmas. I posted it last week but apparently it takes a long time for parcels to get from one end of the island to the other.

My sister is smaller than me. Let’s say she’s a UK 8. I think. With my lockdown lard, I’m edging back to a 12. Because of the difference I did some maths based off the measurements from my first cardigan (see first post). This new cardi isn’t oversize on me but it probably will be on her. I actually prefer this fit to massively oversized (I do not require additional bulk on top, thank you very much).

After I saw this picture I took off the buttons and re-positioned them. I hadn’t noticed they were wonky at first! Oops!

Yarn

Colours: I bought new yarn rather than doing a random stash dive. I chose to use Paintbox wool mix aran. You can get it from Lovecrafts HERE (this link takes you directly to the wool, which is one of my fave yarns to work with). If you purchase by hitting the link, it means I will get paid a small percentage of the sale. There’s also a button somewhere about the place (on this blog) that is linked to my affiliate program, so if you spot that, give it a click to peruse more yarn!

I used one of each in the following colours: Buttercup yellow, Lipstick Pink, Light Caramel, Royal Blue, Bubblegum Pink, Marine Blue, Raspberry Pink, Grass Green, Paper White, Blood Orange, Coffee Bean, Ballet Pink, Dusty Rose, Spearmint Green, Washed Teal and Dolphin Blue.

When using the same colour in two different places it’s easiest to wind off enough so you can work the two squares without more tangle (rather than working both ends of the same ball, which I’ve done in the past). Just make a separate ball that’s big enough to make a square.

You can use other yarn like DK but it will affect the size. How about swatching!? Make a square, measure, multiply by nine (the amount of squares that equal the width around in this garment). Will that fit you? You may wish to add or remove two or three stitches and add or subtract a row or two. Experiment, work it out to find the size that suits you. The ultimate corner cutting is to find a sweater in your wardrobe that fits as you want this to fit and get the tape measure out.

Before I get into the knitty gritty, I am taking a moment to tell you that I have a Ko-Fi account HERE. Perhaps you would like to give me a few quid! I’d be very happy if that happened. Thank you.

And if you fancy joining the Zeens and Roger community on Patreon then you can go HERE. Each month I like to offer one of my “paid for” patterns for free, and give an additional treat too. That’s usually an exclusive video of crochet chat, a crafting tour or something similar. I’m also working myself up to do a few live events across the year too…. Anyway, back to the crochet cardigan! …..

Ch Ch Changes

Hook size: This time I went for a 5.5mm, I like the tension it gave on this yarn.

Measurements: It’s 50cm (just under 20 inches) deep and 50cm wide, a boxy square! Sleeve length is also 50cm. The sleeve circumference is 31cm (12 inches).

Square size: each square is roughly 11x11cm (approx 4.5 inches) depending on the stitch used. Balancing out different stitches throughout means things won’t get too wonky (so don’t layer all your FLO squares on top of each other, they’re not as tall). But this cardigan is not about precision, it’s OK if it looks rough around the edges. To get the squares this size, each square is 15 stitches by 12 rows.

Buttons: Due to it being a smaller garment, I decided to drop a button rather than squeeze on 5. I also bought smaller ones, these are 25mm buttons. In these pics I hadn’t paid too much attention to button placement, my squares misaligned. I cut the buttons off and did them again. Remember to pay attention!

Button Band: It’s chain 8 and work 7htr (that’s US hdc stitches) for the band. Therefore, when it comes to making the button holes you need to do: 3htr, miss 1 st and chain 1, 3htr.

Decreasing at collar: I started the decreases earlier here because they’d have been too high on the neck. Check out the chart below, you can see where the sides come in just after the half way mark of the piece. To decrease each row, literally all I do is to stop one stitch short of the end, or skip one at the beginning of the row. You could do a different decrease if you wanted, whatever floats your boat.

Plaid

I got bored fiddling with animal print on cardi number one but definitely wanted a few squares that were different to the others. Plaid was the option I chose.

The circled ones (below) are the two I used as my guide. Each square on the grid represents a stitch. You swap yarns depending on what colour is due next, with three in the play at once. I drew a couple of others to show that if your squares have a different amount of rows and/or stitches, you may need to muck about to find a pattern that fits. Note, a half treble (US hdc) stitch is taller than it is wide.

Blocking

There are few different blocking methods. Here I steam blocked because the yarn has acrylic content (if all wool then I wet block). Not gonna go into the details of differences, that’d take too long. In this instance, pin out on a towel on the carpet, get some hot steam on it. I use the steam function on my iron. Every time I do this I brick it, thinking I’m going to melt hours of work! Never touch the iron to the work!

Some people will block before sewing everything together and others prefer to block the finished article. I’ve not explored which is best but I blocked the separate pieces this time. You can stretch it out as you pin which affects the size and shape of your crochet.

Are you willing to block it to size? I blocked this one but didn’t block the first version. Pretty sure I didn’t block my swatch for the first one either. This means that my first garment is even bigger now after a few months of wear (the weight of it has left it to stretch out on its own). I blocked this one as it was a gift for someone else and I didn’t want any surprises for my sister. Maaaaaybe it’s not an essential requirement but I think it is better to block.

Sleeve after blocking
In the rush to get it finished, I made mistakes throughout. It all adds to the look!

The End

And that’s it! Never making another patchwork cardi again! I am done.

I did get a few questions about the first one so it might be a good idea to read the comments section on both posts to see if there’s good stuff in there. Or, please do ask a question if you think of one. But all the elements should be included within these posts if you want to make your own. You just have to read it all! But that means if you want to make a different size you will be able to work it out with the information I’ve given you. Honest!

If you make one, please let me know on Instagram @zeensandroger #zeensandroger

Cheers x

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