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.
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.
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 Woolto 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.
Wool yarn will take on dyes really well. Different fibres react in different ways, which is worth bearing in mind. As well as having theKing 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!
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).
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!!
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 andEtsy. 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 fromthe 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).
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 ascarf and cowl bundle on Ravelrywhich 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.
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.
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!]
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
Somehow it is November already! I honestly don’t understand. Do you think you’ve managed to get more or less crochet done this year?! To be honest, I haven’t got a clue what’s been going on over the last few months. If you fancy doing some crochet with your feet up, please may I join you? All you have to do is pop over to my YouTube channel and we can have a catch up! If you want you can hit the pic about which is linked to the episode. Cheers!
Before you explore all the fabulous links, don’t forget to enter all the crazy GIVEAWAYS on this episode! I will be drawing winners on the 6th of December so you need to watch before then to be in with a chance. The early bird n all that…
I can’t say why I decided to jump on the Harry Styles cardigan bandwagon, I feel way too old for this sort of game. Am I woollen spun mutton dressed as soft worsted lamb? I can’t help it, sometimes I am filled with creative urges and can’t rest until I have rummaged through the yarn stash to find what will satisfy them.
Let me first state a disclaimer: I have not intended to create a step-by-step pattern/tutorial. Think of it more as a chat with detail. If you have crochet experience and you want make yourself a chunky-ish crochet cardigan then there is enough information written here, and discussed in the YouTube video(click on the pic above to go to the episode), to ensure that you can make it happily. You’ll be tangled in yarn, but hopefully, you’ll also be happy. I assume you know crochet and are not brand new to my absolute favourite of crafts.
EDIT:: I madea second cardigan HERE, go check it out! Many changes have been made and you might be interested to see. Thanks
Right, I’m not going to fuss. Let’s just get straight on it. Please read on for all the good stuff.
You Will Need:
Loads of aran weight yarn in the colours of your choice. Whether working as individual squares or all in one piece, you’ll want 12 grams per square (I weighed a couple of swatch squares and they weighed 11 point something).
I used a 6mm hook. Normally I’d use a 5 or 5.5mm hook for aran weight as I have a loose tension but I wanted this cardi to have a drapier finish.
5 buttons. (Mine are 3cm diameter).
Needle for seaming together and weaving in a bajillion ends.
Fun Cardi Facts:
My finished cardigan measures: Length: 55cm / 21.5 inches. Width of body: 63cm / 25 inches. Sleeve length: 58cm / 23 inches. Sleeve circumference: 36cm / 14 inches. I am a UK size 10 and this would still have lots of positive ease if you’re a UK 14. After that I reckon the fit would change and you should consider adjusting your square sizes. Any smaller than a size 10 and you might find it’s too big so make each square smaller.
Each square is 18 stitches by 13 rows. To size up or down, it’s about 1 row and 2 stitches per cm (just under half an inch) so add or subtract that amount to change the sizes.
My squares are 5×5 inches.
The stitches I used were mostly UK half trebles (US hdc). Where I write “HT” on the chart below, that stands for Hounds Tooth stitch (must make a tutorial for this myself but there are loads on YouTube already), “FLO” stands for front loop only. I am linking to ascarf tutorial of mine HERE. It uses the same technique.
For the animal print squares I went to Lottie & Albert for inspiration. Lindsay has afree chartthat creates a much larger piece of crochet with tr stitches rather than htr. I made up my own chart for the cardi (below).
I began my pieces with afoundation half treble (US hdc). This was a good base to then begin the colour work of the squares. Using the same colour as the ribbing helps to ensure it looks like a cohesive join too. Multiply the number of stitches per square by the amount of squares. Working on one giant piece like I did? Then it’s a foundation of 162. The sleeves were 54.
The ribbing is made in a similar way to the FLO stitch I use. Again, use the scarf tute HERE. I chained 13 for the waist band and 10 for the cuffs. Cuffs are 26 rows, no idea what the waist band is and there’s no way I’m counting them all (soz!) but it’s about 4 inches shorter than the main body piece. This brings it in to make it a better shape. It’s a technique I’ve robbed from my mate Heather of HG Designs Crochet.
The button band is a starter of 9ch and is worked onto the cardigan directly using an interesting technique that should be part of every crocheter’s repertoire. Rather than me type out an explanation, I suggest you watch the vid, it’s all there.
Attach sleeves. Use plenty of stitch markers to help with easing them in. Double check you’re not going to sew them on inside out like I did the first time!
Sew on buttons.
You don’t have to shape at the neck like I did. But if you find it terribly flattering and can’t live without it, once you hit the last/top squares at the neck (the triangley ones indicated above), it’s a simple matter of one decrease per row. I say “simple”, I actually made it much harder for myself by having both squares be patterny. If you don’t fancy a decrease on the animal print colour work, or the hounds tooth square. Change them to a plain htr. It might save your last semblance of sanity.
Last Few Bits:
OK, I think that’s it. Please do let me know if you have any questions. I’ll try and help if I can but as I said before, this is aimed at those with at least the basics of crochet under their belt.
You wouldn’t believe the amount of work that goes into even doing this kind of casual outline of a pattern. Come and join me onPatreon and/or buy me Ko-fi !! Thank you!!
Making tassels is like stepping into a fairy ring. You can make hundreds and only mere minutes will have passed. It turns out that making a video tutorial for tassels is pretty much the same. It took no time at all to make! For the video tutorial, please click on the picture above, which will take you to where you want to go. Or Go HERE for all my YouTube videos.
Boldly and confidently, I shall also add links to my Patreon HERE, and KO-Fi HERE. Both help to support my crochet adventures and go towards improving the quality of the content I put out. Cheers! x
Are you a tassel fan? It’s a highly addictive yarn sport!