Wednesday, 1 July 2015

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Vintage Crochet Granny Square Repair Tutorial


A word of warning before I begin. Repairing crochet is time consuming! I'm talking super sloooooow. You could probably crochet a new blanket faster than some take to repair but then you wouldn’t have the stories, history, sentimentality, fuzzy well-loved texture and downright awesomeness that a vintage crochet blanket brings. 

Someone took a lot of time, effort, love and, if they were anything like me, several colourful swear words to make that blanket once, so repair is the way forward.

I always feel a little sad when I see a lonely threadbare crochet blanket in the window of a charity shop so if you see one, rescue that poor thing, bring with home and give it some attention!



For this tutorial I am using a granny square. This method will work just as well for granny stripes and pretty much any other crochet pattern.

Supplies needed:

  • A sad blanket.


  • Yarn. Remember that stash of brightly coloured (probably cheap) acrylic yarn that you bought when you first learnt to crochet and don’t use anymore but don’t have the heart to get rid of? IT JUST FOUND ITS PURPOSE PEOPLE! Most of the old blankets I have seen / fixed are acrylic as any pure wool will have been long since destroyed by moths or are still kept as family heirlooms and won't pop up in a charity shop. Drag out those yarns that you now, as a total yarn snob, are embarrassed by and give them a cuddle. You missed them really. Don’t deny it.


  • A crochet hook. I tend to roughly gauge the size that was used by eye (generally a 4 or 5mm) and go down a size. It’ll stretch over time and you don’t want your repair sections to be baggier than the original after a few washes!


  • A large eye needle. Cheapy plastic ones tend to be the easiest for a job like this.


  • Small sharp scissors.




Carefully clean the wound. 

Slow and gentle is the way forward here.  You may find the old yarn is felted around itself or knotted into a total mess and you don’t want to make it any worse! Carefully snip away any of the damaged areas. More often than not you will need to cut away more than you think so don’t panic! It will look worse before it gets better.  Work your way back to a level where the original yarn is strong enough to hold. Be careful not to un-twist the loops of the original crochet you wish to keep.



Thread your yarn through your needle and then take the needle through the loops you wish to keep WORKING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION to which you would normally crochet.

If you are right handed, thread the yarn from left to right. If you are left handed, thread the yarn from right to left.

This yarn will be your working yarn from which you will crochet your new stitches.

You want to make sure you have carefully picked up all the loops from the old crochet stitches and that you have threaded your new yarn through them all.




If you are repairing a larger section, such as in this case, complete the rounds of your new section.



Attaching the new to the old:

Pick up the end of the yarn you threaded through the original loops. Make a slip knot and attach to your new square. Crochet your first 3dc cluster (UK trebles!).



Remove your hook and thread your working loop through the needle. You may wish to pull your loop up a bit longer for this.



Pass your needle back through the original stitches above, be careful not to push too hard or you may split your working yarn and get in a tangle!



Pull the needle, loop and any excess yarn through (a bit of brute force may be required!), reinsert your hook and pull your yarn tight again.





Complete your next 3dc cluster.



Remove the hook, thread the loop through your needle, pass back through the original loops, and repeat all the way round. (Don’t forget your ch3’s in the corner clusters!)



Done!



It is fiddly and time consuming so don’t rush yourself.

It is also VERY easy to misalign your clusters and not notice until the corners that your square isn’t square! I totally didn’t do that when taking these pictures for this tutorial … honest! HA HA FAIL.



This blanket lives with my friend Leila in a gorgeous little yurt in Devon. If you wish you visit it in all its repaired glory, you can! The yurt is available to rent here ;) 
Continue reading Vintage Crochet Granny Square Repair Tutorial

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

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How to crochet a flat border around solid granny squares (sort of tutorial, sort of pattern!)



When I finished crocheting the squares for the main body of my Totoro pixel blanket, I already knew I wanted a simple plain matching double crochet border to finish it off.

(ta dahh blog post for my Totoro blanket is coming soon but if you haven’t already seen it online, pop on over to my facebook page to see the pictures!)



Now normally when I finish a blanket, I launch straight into the border with a bit of a gung ho attitude and don’t stop to think about. After all, frogging is my friend. However, given the sheer SIZE of my Totoro blanket, the thought of getting half way round and finding the damn thing had a ruffled border and having to frog hours’ worth of work filled me with dread so I did something highly unusual. Well, 3 things to be precise.

1/ I googled it. Well, to be fair, that isn’t unusual for me, but what was unusual is that google did not supply me with any answers. What? Google why you fail me??? I just wanted to find a quick pattern or tutorial that told me how to add a border to solid granny squares that stayed flat. A bit like this tutorial that I used for my large granny square blanket border which kept everything nice and flat.

I tried various phrases: “how to crochet a flat border solid granny squares” “solid granny square border” “solid granny square border pattern” “double crochet border” blah blah blah. I got nada. Zip.  There were plenty of lovely granny square borders and plenty of double crochet borders but no direct patterns or tutorials for the effect I wanted. Damn. This meant I would have to engage my own brain for once!

2/ I had to think about it logically. Again, not one of my strong points.

3/ I made a test swatch. A TEST SWATCH! This literally never happens. Ever. I shy away from making clothing because of the need to faff around with swatches (and I reeeeeeallly want to make some clothing!) Ugh.

I felt like a proper grown up crocheter.

Needless to say that given I couldn’t find what I wanted on google, I thought I would save my test swatch and write up the pattern here just in case there were any other frequent googlers like me who were also looking for the same thing and coming up empty handed!

I did download a trial version of some fancy crochet chart symbol software but after 5 minutes, I gave up and scribbled with a big fat marker pen on some scraps of paper by my desk. If only I had some washi tape and cute accessories I could have photographed it all arty and deliberate like BUT I don’t so I have no cover for my laziness.

If there is anything in my crappy drawings that doesn’t make sense, please feel free to ask in the comments section!


Firstly, here is the pattern I used for my solid squares; 2 rounds, nice and quick.




Nothing new there, just a standard solid crochet square.  (Although, if I am going to nit pick, for my squares I did standing double crochets instead of chain3 ‘s but I didn’t know how to draw that in chart form haha FAIL)

For the border, I basically applied the same premise as in the aforementioned Granny Square border tutorial and did a bit of dc2tog action.

I did {2 double crochet, chain 3, 2 double crochet} in the corners, a double in every double from the square below and then, a double crochet 2 together over the chain spaces on the long straight sides. Does that make sense? I’m guessing not because I am useless at explaining things.  Hopefully this chart makes more sense than me!!





Once I had done my dc edging, I followed with a round of crab stitch to give it a nice, simple corded edge.

Done!



 xx


Continue reading How to crochet a flat border around solid granny squares (sort of tutorial, sort of pattern!)

Thursday, 30 April 2015

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Baby Blanket Ta Dahhh (plus border edging pattern)

A couple of weeks ago I set a new record for myself. I started and completed a baby blanket in 3 days. THREE DAYS. That sounds fast, however, the reality was that I didn't leave the my seat in that entire time, have left a permanent butt grove in the sofa and am now suffering from chronic tennis elbow (more about that in later posts haha!) 


Crochet is normally a relaxing happy pastime but not this blanket! I was in a panic to finish and can safely say, I will never churn out another blanket so fast ever again. I am maintaining that this particular blanket has nothing to do with my TERRIBLE time management and is in fact down to her being born prematurely. That is my official line. I will gloss over the fact that I knew she was going to be premature and that I also knew weeks in advance that she could have been born any day….

When I posted the photos on Instagram, I had a lot of people asking about the pattern and my border so I will tackle both those things in this post!





Firstly the pattern. It is from MyPicot.com, this square doesn’t seem to have a name but it is very pretty! The direct link to the pattern is here – I initially found the written instructions a little tricksy (no idea why, clearly I was having a brain fart day) so instead followed the chart that is available in the downloadable PDF.

I continued my square until it was roughly the right size I wanted and then stopped.

The scalloped edging was a little too flouncy for my liking so I squared it off.

The border is 2 rounds, the first round was to square off the scallop, the second round was a round of crab stitch.



I have drawn a rough chart for you to see the stitches I used for the squaring off. If you need any help, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below and I will do my best to help!



A word of warning if you follow my instructions for the edging: YOU WILL NEED TO BLOCK THE BLANKET. There is no escaping the blocking I’m afraid. I hate blocking with a passion so I can only apologise for this! Haha!



You may find that going down a hook size will help avoid the need to block but as I was rushing (and therefore not thinking) I used the same size hook for the entire blanket so haven’t tested it myself.

Blanket Stats:

Yarn: Rooster Almerino Aran
Hook size: 5.5mm

Time: 3 crochet intensive days where I only took pee and sleep breaks LOL
Continue reading Baby Blanket Ta Dahhh (plus border edging pattern)

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

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Walter Blanket Ta Dahhh!

Last month I finished my Walter Blanket!

I am so pleased that I actually finished, not only that but that I finished in a reasonable timeframe – that’s two firsts for me right there haha!



I started this blanket just after Christmas as a treat to myself. It is not often I crochet something and get to keep it, normally most of what I make is gifted to other people – I only have a couple of finished blankets that I use in my own house. 

So Walter is special. Special because he is mine and special because I made him using my favourite slightly-more-expensive-than-I-can-reeeeally-justify Rooster Almerino yarn.





The pattern for Walter is from issue 60 of InsideCrochet magazine, the pattern can be found here.  

Although it is worth noting that I found the stitch in one of my many crochet books, 250 Basic Crochet Stitches where it is called Interlocking Shell Stitch.



I found I needed a few balls more to finish than the magazine recommended; the pattern did mention that the yardage would be tight. When I began the blanket, I thought I would add a border, however as you can see, by the time I finished the edges were so beautifully straight I left it as is.

Blanket stats: 

Yarn: Rooster Almerino DK
Hook size: 4mm
Time: HOURS AND HOURS I daren't add it up! Haha! Each colour stripe took approximately an hour so if you wanted to count them.... >_<


So, erm, TA DAHHH!! :D


Many thanks to Tonia from The Periwinkle for letting me steal the photo she took of Walter from her own blog!
Continue reading Walter Blanket Ta Dahhh!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

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Crochet Kindle Cover ta dahhh and pattern!

My lovely fella treated me to a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday (no more squinting at my phone when reading in bed at night HOORAY!) and so I quickly whipped up a puff cover for it to stop it from getting scratched and knocked as I am a clumsy sod.

Crochet Kindle Cover


For Christmas I made my mum a puff stitch scarf using All About Ami’s Puff Stitch Pattern and had a little left over yarn – it is so squishy and the puffs are perfect for cushioning my kindle when I plonk it on the side.


The Puff Stitch Scarf I made for my mum


I altered the pattern ever so slightly so the fit was more snug - my kindle cover is made from 11 puffs instead of 12 for the scarf.




The pattern for my Kindle cover is as follows:

Aran weight yarn and a 5.5mm hook

Chain 24

Row 1: In the 4th chain from your hook, work your first puff stitch. Then *ch1, skip next ch, puff* repeat 10 times. (11 puffs)

Row 2: Ch3, turn. *puff in next ch sp, ch1* repeat 10 times ending on a puff in your ch3 sp from row1. (11 puffs)

Repeat Row 2 10 more times.

First side of your kindle cover complete!

Make another side panel the same way and then sew both panels together.  Done!





Credit to All About Ami for the puff stitch pattern.
Continue reading Crochet Kindle Cover ta dahhh and pattern!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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Crochet Classes in North Devon

Fancy learning how to crochet in person? I can teach you!

Throughout 2015, I will be running monthly crochet lessons in Ilfracombe, North Devon at my favourite local yarn shop (who also has the MOST amazing homemade cakes I might add) The Periwinkle.



I will be teaching lots of various classes from beginner lessons right up to advanced so whether you are a complete novice who has never so much as touched a crochet hook before, want to brush up on your skills or fancy meeting like-minded people and to pick up some tips, The Periwinkle is the place to be! 

With free tea, coffee and cake thrown into the mix what’s not to love?!




I also attend the monthly Crochet Drop In Club at The Periwinkle where I am available for trouble shooting and brain picking ;)




For the full list of classes, dates and times, please visit the Workshops Page or the Clubs Page on The Periwinkle’s website.

You can also find The Periwinkle on Facebook and TripAdvisor.

Continue reading Crochet Classes in North Devon

Thursday, 12 February 2015

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Crochet Granny Square Tutorial



USA TERMS

Make a slip knot. Insert hook and tighten knot onto hook. Wrap the yarn around your hook and pull it back through the loop you have on your hook. This forms a chain stitch.



Chain 4 stitches. If you look at your chains, you will see the front of your chain is formed with little v’s.


Insert hook into first chain (the one by the slip knot) and catch the yarn at the back with your hook (this is called a “yarn over”) then pull the yarn back through the chain and through the loop on your hook. This is a slip stitch. 


    
This forms a centre ring into which your first round of the granny square stitches are worked.


Round One


Chain 3 stitches. This chain of 3 stitches will act as a mock double crochet stitch.



Wrap the yarn around your hook (yarn over) and then put your hook directly through the little hole of the centre ring, (see photo) catch the yarn at the back of your work with your hook (yarn over) and bring the yarn back through the ring.

You will have 3 loops on your hook. Yarn over again and pull the yarn through the first 2 loops on your hook, leaving you with 2 loops on your hook.

Yarn over for a final time and pull through the remaining 2 loops on your hook. This is a Double Crochet stitch.




Make one more double crochet into the centre ring hole. (yarn over, put hook through hole, yarn over, bring back through centre ring, yarn over, work off 2 loops, yarn over, work off final 2 loops) This forms your first double crochet “shell”

Chain 3.



Then double crochet 3 more times into the centre ring.

Chain 3.




Double crochet 3 more times into the centre ring.

Chain 3.



Double crochet 3 more times into the centre ring.

Chain 3.



Slip stitch (insert hook into stitch, yarn over and pull yarn back through stitch and loop on hook) to the top of the chain 3 mock double crochet stitch you made first.



You will now have 4 sets of double crochet “shells” and 4 spaces formed by your chain 3’s in-between them.

Slip stitch into the top of the next 2 stitches to creep along towards the chain 3 space, ending with a slip stitch directly into the space ready to continue on to the second round of your square.



Round Two

Chain 3 (counts as first double crochet) then double crochet 2 more times directly into the space from the round below.



Chain 3 and then, working into the same space, double crochet 3 more times. This forms your first corner.



Chain 1. Then working into the next chain space from the round below, 3 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet.  Second corner formed.



Chain 1.

Then, in next chain space, repeat the same again: 3 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet. Third corner formed.



Chain 1.

In next chain space, 3 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet. Fourth corner formed.



Chain 1 and join with a slip stitch to the top of your first chain 3 mock double crochet stitch). As with the last round, slip stitch along the top of the next 2 stitches and then into the chain 3 space to start the next round.




Round Three

Chain 3 (counts as dc) 2dc, ch3, 3dc into same space. First corner formed.



Chain 1. Working into the chain 1 space from the round below, 3 dc. First side formed.



Chain 1. Then 3 dc, ch3, 3dc into next chain space. Second corner formed.



Chain 1, 3dc, ch1 into next chain space. Second side formed.

3dc, 3ch, 3dc into next chain space. Third corner formed.



Ch1, 3dc, ch1. Third side formed.



3dc, 3ch, 3dc into next chain space. Fourth corner formed.



Ch1, 3dc, ch1. Fourth side formed.

Join to first Ch3 with a slip stitch.



If you wish to continue with the same colour, then slip stitch across the top stitches until the corner space as in rounds before.

If you wish to change colour then do NOT slip stitch across the stitches but instead cut your yarn after the first joining slip stitch leaving a long tail for weaving in and pull yarn back through the slip stitch.




Round Four (and how to change colour)

Changing colour:

Make a slip knot with your new colour of yarn.



Insert your hook into any chain 3 corner space of the round below and place the slip knot on your hook at the back.



Bring your hook back to the front, yarn over and chain 3 stitches with your new colour.





2dc, ch3, 3dc in same space. First corner formed.



Ch1, 3dc, ch1 in next chain space.



3dc, ch1 into the next chain space.  First side of 2 “dc shells” formed.

3dc, 3ch, 3dc into corner space. Second corner formed.



Ch1, 3dc, ch1 in next chain space.

3dc, ch1 into the next chain space.  Second side of 2 “dc shells” formed.

3dc, 3ch, 3dc into corner space. Third corner formed.

Ch1, 3dc, ch1 in next chain space.

3dc, ch1 into the next chain space.  Third side of 2 “dc shells” formed.

3dc, 3ch, 3dc into corner space. Fourth corner formed.

Ch1, 3dc, ch1 in next chain space.

3dc, ch1 into the next chain space.  Fourth side of 2 “dc shells” formed.



Join with slip stitch to top of chain 3.

Subsequent rounds


Continue as before, each time forming the corners with 3dc, ch3, 3dc and the sides will grow by an extra dc “shell” each time. Have fun!


Continue reading Crochet Granny Square Tutorial