Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Sunshine and Showers - Part 7

Here in the UK November is the month when it really hits home that winter is on the horizon. It always seems to me that we are in with a chance of getting lovely autumn days with a few glimpses of sunshine right up until November 5th when the weather seems to change almost over night – in fact it seems to change from the moment we head out the door for the local firework display in honour of Guy Fawkes night! This year was no exception with yesterday being particularly chilly here in North London - we woke up to a frosty garden and had to crank up the heating here in the office, which came as a bit of a shock after the mild autumn days.

 

As I have said before, I am a fan of the sunshine, but I do see that there can be something really nice about snuggling up in front of an open fire and shutting out the cold and wet of the outside world. We live in a drafty little house where the temperature changes dramatically from room to room, so all of us tend to rely heavily on blankets and wraps to keep us warm this time of year. Sitting and crocheting a warm and comfy project is great for this time of year so do read on to find out what happens in this installment of the Sunshine & Showers blanket….

For the design this month I wanted to portray the idea of the autumn leaves falling from the trees. The first frost of the season has meant that many of the leaves in our garden have now fallen and we have patchy brown areas on the lawn where a carpet of gold, brown and yellow leaves are now scattered.

This month there is quite a lot of hook changing – I have marked in bold the hook you should be using for each row and have also written the instruction to change hook before each row to reinforce the need to change!

If you want to purchase a download copy of the patterns for just 95p you can access the Stylecraft Special DK version by following this link and the Yarn Stories version by following this link. Please note that step by step images in all patterns are from the Special DK version.

Yarns used this month:

Stylecraft Special DK 100g balls
1711 Spice
1065 Meadow
1027 Khaki
1709 Gold
1712 Lime
1005 Cream
1063 Graphite

Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK 50g balls 
2515 Rouge
2510 Leaf
2501 Bottle
2502 Burnt Sienna
2516 Spring Green
2504 Cream
2500 Anthracite

Equipment Special DK:
4mm & 4.5mm hook
Sewing Needle 

Equipment Fine Merino DK:
4mm & 4.5mm hook
Sewing Needle 

Dealing with yarn ends: Sewing yarn ends in as you go along makes the finishing process much easier and means that you are less likely to loose stitches or make errors with your tension.

Hook Changes:
This month there are quite a few hook chnages so make sure you take note of where they are.

Pattern Repeat:

If you have chosen to make the blanket in a differnt size you will need to calculate your stitch repeats accordingly.

The leaf shapes are made over a repeat of 16sts. To make this work with 171sts I had to calcualte the number of stitches left at the begginng of the row and at the end in order for the leaves to sit centrally. If you are chnaging the stitch count you will need to do the same.

Note: The pattern in written in UK terminology

Method

Leave the last remaining st on the stitch holder.


Row 27: (RS facing) Using Spice (Rouge) and 4mm (3.5mm) hook skip 6sts, join yarn into next st by working 1ch, (does not count as a st) 1dc into same st, * 1ch, skip next st, 1htr into next st, 1ch, skip next st, 1tr into next st, 1ch, skip next st, [1dtr into next st, 1ch, skip next st] twice, 1tr into next st, 1ch, skip next st, 1htr into next st, 1ch, skip next st, 1dc into next st, ** 1ch, skip next st, 1dc into next st; repeat from * 9 times, finishing final repeat at **, turn

Change to 4.5mm (4mm) hook



Row 28: Using 4.5mm (4mm) hook 1ch, (does not count as a st), 1dc into st at base of 1ch, 1dc into next ch sp, 2dc into each next 6ch sps, * 3ch, skip [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], 2dc into each next 7 ch sps; repeat from * 8 times, 3ch, skip [1dc, 1ch, 1dc], 2dc into each next 6 ch sps, 1dc into next ch sp, 1dc into next st, fasten off, turn.


Change to 4mm (3.5mm) hook

Undo stitch from holder (from previous month – Storm Blue) to the point where you can change yarn shade to Meadow (Leaf) on the final step of the stitch, turn.


Row 29: (RS facing) Using Meadow (Leaf) and 4mm (3.5mm) hook 3ch (counts as 1tr) 1tr into each next 5sts, * working along previous row 1dc into each next 13sts, skip next dc made on Row 27, working in front of 2 previous rows 3tr into next dc made on Row 26, skip 3ch made on previous row; repeat from * 8 times, working along previous row 1dc into each next 13sts, skip next dc, working into Row 26, 1tr into each next 6sts, changing yarn shade to Khaki (Bottle) on the final step of the last st, turn. (169sts)




Row 30: Using Khaki (Bottle) and 4.5mm (4mm) hook, 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into st at base of 1ch, 1dc into each next 4sts, 2dc into next st, 1dc into each st to last 6sts (including 3ch made at beginning of row), 2dc into next st, 1dc into each next 5sts working final st into 3rd ch of tch, changing yarn shade to Gold (Burnt Sienna) on the final step of the last st, turn. (171sts)

Change to 4mm hook

Note: On the next round you will be working the first and last stitch of the row as half treble crochet. It tends to be the norm that the 2ch made at the beginning of the row would count as a half treble stitch, but in this pattern I have not counted them in order to make the blanket edge firmer and so that stitches don’t get lost from row to row.

Row 31: Using Gold (Burnt Sienna) and 4mm (3.5mm) hook 2ch (does not count as a st) 1htr into st at base of 2ch, * 1ch, skip next st, 1tr into next st, 1ch, skip next st, [1dtr into next st, 1ch, skip next st] twice, 1tr into next st, 1ch, skip next st, 1htr into next st, ** 1ch, skip next st, 1dc into next st, 1ch, skip next st, 1dc into next st, 1ch, 1htr into next st; repeat from * 10 times ending last repeat at **, turn.


Change to 4.5mm (4mm) hook

Row 32: Using 4.5mm (4mm) hook 1ch (does not count as a st), skip st at base of 1ch, 2dc into each ch sp to last st, 1dc into top of next st, turn. (171sts)


Change to 4mm (3.5mm) hook

Row 33: Using 4mm (3.5mm) hook, work as for Row 31 changing yarn shade to Khaki (Bottle) on the final step of the last st, turn.


Row 34: Using Khaki (Bottle) and 4.5mm (4mm) hook work as row 32, changing yarn shade to Lime (Spring Green) on the final step of the last st, turn.

Row 35: Using Lime (Spring Green) and 4.5mm (4mm) hook 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc onto each st to end, fasten off. Do not turn.

Note: On the next row you need to work into the back loop of the chain that runs along the top of the stitch rather than underneath the whole chain as you usually would. Working into either the front loop or the back loop of the chain means that part of the chain is left unused and this can create some really nice textural effects. In this case I used the method so that a ridge remains on the Right Side of the work along the top of the last row. Working into the front or back loop can make the stitches feel quite loose, but your tension should even out over the following few rows.



Row 36: (RS facing) Using Cream (Cream) and 4mm (3.5mm) hook join yarn into back loop of the first st by working 1ch +2ch (counts as 1tr), 1tr into back loop of next st, 1htr into back loop of each next 2sts, * 1dc into back loop of each next 3sts, 1htr into back loop of each next 2sts, 1tr into back loop of each next 3sts, 1dtr into back loop of each next 3sts, 1tr into back loop of each next 3sts, 1htr into back loop of each next 2sts; repeat from * 9 times, 1dc into back loop of each next 3sts, 1htr into back loop of each next 2sts, 1tr into back loop of each next 2sts, turn.

Change to 4.5mm (4mm) hook

Row 37: (WS facing) Using 4.5mm hook, 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end working last st into tch made at the beginning of the last row and changing yarn shade to Graphite (Anthracite) on the final step of the last st, turn. (171sts)


Row 38: Using Graphite (Anthracite), 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end working last st into tch made at the beginning of the last row and changing yarn shade to Graphite on the final step of the last st, turn. (171sts)

Row 39: work as Row 38, place last st on holder

Work another piece to match

Sew in yarn ends

Each piece should measure approximately 21cm from bottom edge x 92cm wide

 
It is hard to believe that there are now less than 7 weeks until Christmas and that we will be working on set 8 of the Sunshine and Showers patterns very soon. The patterns for November features (what I hoped would look like) a snowflake design and I used the warm pink shades to emulate the feelings of cosy festive days at home.  

Pattern set 8 will be published here on Tuesday 5th December.

With thanks to the team at Crochet Now magazine.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Stylecraft Blogtour 2017

I am always saying how surprised I am at the speed at which time passes by me. I am always saying things like 'Where did that week go?' or 'Is it really that time already?' and I invariably start our newsletters by saying that I can't believe that another week, month or season has flown past me yet again. I think as I get older the days and weeks are quicker - I suppose it has a lot to do with how busy we are and how much time we spend in another world with our crochet hooks, but nevertheless it still amazes me when time whizzes by!

So, unless you have been on a 2 week holiday or the joys of half term school break have meant youve been zoned out for the last 15 days, I would be really surprised if you didn't already know all about this year's amazing Stylecraft Blog Tour. Over the course of the last fortnight Stylecraft's incredibly talented Blogger team have been presenting you guys with their daily posts, not only talking you through their own yarny creations and musings, but also offering you all the chance to win an AMAZING yarn pack on a daily basis! With all the blogs to follow and exciting projects to feast my eyes on every day, I really cant believe that the 16 day blog tour is now coming to an end and that it is finally my time to write a blog post! Where did that time go?


The focus of this years Blogtour has been Stylecrafts fabulous new additions to the Batik yarn range - Batik Elements. Stylecraft put together 4 glorious colour palettes for Bloggers to pick from (shown above) and if, like me, you have been following the posts I am sure you will agree that there have been some mighty fine projects posted along the way.

It has been a real treat to have a daily invite into the world of one of Stylecraft's Blogstars, but if for some reason you have missed the posts, here is a list of them:


Date: Monday 16th October
Yarn Pack: Desert
Project: Maple Shrug


Date: Tuesday 17th October
Yarn Pack: Country Garden
Project: Corner to Corner Moss Stitch


Date: Wednesday 18th October
Yarn Pack: Rainforest
Project: Jewelled Pebbles Blanket


Date: Thursday 19th October
Yarn Pack: Desert
Project: Sophie Wrap


Date: Friday 20th October
Yarn Pack: Lagoon
Project: Learn to Knit Wrap


Date: Saturday 21st October
Yarn Pack: Lagoon
Project: Spanish Moss Scarf


Date: Sunday 22nd October
Yarn Pack: Desert
Project: Hibiscus Coast Granny


Date: Monday 23rd October
Blog: Attic24
Yarn Pack: Lagoon
Project: Water Lily Cushion


Date: Tuesday 24th October
Blog: The Twisted Yarn
Yarn Pack: Rain Forest
Project: October Cushion Cover


Date: Wednesday 25th October
Yarn Pack: Desert
Project: Ripply Scarf and mitts


Date: Thursday 26th October
Yarn Pack: Lagoon
Project: Ripply Lap Blanket


Date: Friday 27th October
Yarn Pack: Lagoon
Project: Security Blanket


Date: Saturday 28th October
Yarn Pack: Country Garden
Project: Bee Cosy Slipper Socks


Date: Sunday 29th October
Yarn Pack: Desert
Project: Desert Irony Poncho


Date: Monday 30th October
Yarn Pack: Country Garden
Project: Granny Square Table Cloth
 Please note that the yarn giveaways on all the blogs have now ended.

So today it is my turn to reveal what I have managed to do with my yarn pack, or rather what I haven't managed to do!

Well, after working in the region of 10,000 stitches and sitting for hours stitching I actually have nothing complete to show you! Ughh! But I must explain, because all is not quite lost........

When embarking on this project I wanted to show you just how far a pack of this yarn would go and therefore what an amazing prize a free pack would be for the winner, so I decided to set myself a challenge and design and make a garment using the Lagoon pack.

It all started so well!

I have been on the look out for a nice funnel neck sweater, but actually fancy one without sleeves. Below is an image from The White Company of the kind of thing I mean and a couple lower down from Gap which pretty much fit the bill.




I decided to start by making the garment back using the shade 'Krypton'. There are 4 ball of this in the yarn pack, so it was logical to use this shade for the main part. I made a fabric using treble crochet (US double crochet) on one row and double crochet (US single crochet) on the next row. I loved seeing how the colours worked whilst crocheting and I have to say the really bright green patches in this shade combination made me really happy every time I can to them!


I worked out that one ball of yarn would work almost 10 pattern repeats over 99sts, so I worked 26 repeats for the back. For the front I decided to use the same stitch combination, but used the remaining yarns in a stripe formation. The yarn works really nicely for stripes and I really enjoyed doing the colour changes and seeing how the stripes were working out.


I did a little bit of shaping for the front neck and all was going really well and I was on course - that is until I started adding the funnel neck……

The images possibly don't show just how much of a mess this neckline is! I think the problem is that I have used too many stitches and there is simply too much fabric at the base of the neck front. The 'funnel' leans forwards and creates a bagginess around the front.



The neck really needs to be redone, but I am now concerned that the neckline shaping that I worked when I made the front of the tunic is in fact wrong too and I am not sure if I can face working and reworking both the neckline and the front.



I have to say that the tunic looks far better on my studio dummy than it does on me, but I am still really disappointed not to have had this garment and the pattern ready for you today, especially as I had bought some really scrummy buttons from Maggie at The Textile Garden and that I have spent a ton of my spare time trying to get this garment done!


When things go wrong I tend to put them away somewhere and let them rest for a bit, so this almost complete tunic is heading into my cupboard for a while, but I haven't been put off designing my Funnel Necked Tunic, especially as it is my aim over the next year or so to add some crochet garments to my portfolio.

If I am lucky this post may have inspired you to use the fabulous new yarns from Stylecraft. Maybe not to attempt my incomplete tunic, but possibly to follow some of the projects that other Blogstars have presented over the last 2 weeks. I am amazed at how much knitting and crochet the bloggers have presented us with and I hope you might head over to a yarn pack stockist and grab yourself a hoard of lovely yarn. If you want to be in with the chance to win a 'Lagoon' pack you can follow the link below. Raffle starts at 10am this morning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

With many thanks to Stylecraft and the Blogstars team who are working hard to inspire knitters and crocheters across the globe!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Sunshine and Showers - Part 6

So, this post is hopefully better late than never! I am so sorry to those of you who have been waiting for this month's post. We had a little bit of a hiccup here yesterday which delayed things a little……

The design for this month's pattern is all about autumn. We are still getting warmish sunny days here, but as the leaves are dropping and the mist is starting to descend in early evening here in North London there is no mistaking that we are definitely within the throws of autumn. I think October really is autumn at it’s best – here in the UK it tends to be relatively nice weather this month, before the grey murkiness and drizzle of November and December set in! I have said before that the Spring and Summer are my favourite months, but there is something special about October, I suppose because you can still be surprised by a really warm beautiful day and of course can go for long walks kicking through fallen leaves!

When I think of October I think of Halloween and all things pumpkin related, so it was no surprise to me that as soon as I sat down to work on my design for this month the very first thing that came to mind was to make crochet bobbles in pumpkin colours! I really love crochet bobbles as they are almost perfectly round and sit much more pronounced from the background fabric than their knitted equivalent.

Last month you started a new blanket strip, which you should have made twice over. This month you are working onto the top edge of that strip.

If you want to purchase a download copy of the patterns for just 95p you can access the Stylecraft Special DK version by following this link and the Yarn Stories version by following this link - please note that step by step images in all patterns are from the Special DK version.
Yarns used:

Stylecraft Special DK 100g balls
1078 Petrol
1067 Grape
1709 Gold
1027 Khaki
1063 Graphite
1065 Meadow
1711 Spice
1722 Storm Blue 

Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK 50g balls
2503 Cobalt
2518 Thistle
2502 Burnt Sienna
2501 Bottle
2500 Anthracite 
2510 Leaf
2515 Rouge
2535 Bluebell

Equipment Special DK:
4.5mm hook
Sewing needle

Equipment Fine Merino DK:
4mm hook
Sewing needle

Dealing with yarn ends: Sewing yarn ends in as you go along makes the finishing process much easier and means that you are less likely to loose stitches or make errors with your tension.

Hook Changes:
This month you will work using 4.5mm (4mm) hook throughout

Pattern Repeat:

The bobbles are made over a pattern repeat of 8sts. The bobble counts as one stitch and there are 7sts between each bobble.

To make the bobbles sit centrally you will need to allow some stitches at the beginning of the row for the lead into the repeat and the lead out at the end of the row

Note: The pattern in written in UK terminology

Method:

Undo last st and rework to the point where you can change yarn shade to Petrol (Cobalt) on the final step of the st, turn

Row 11: (RS facing) Using Petrol (Cobalt) & 4.5mm (4mm) hook, 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each st to end, turn (171sts)

Row 12: 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end, changing yarn shade to Grape on the final step of the last st, turn (171sts)

Row 13: Using Grape (Thistle) 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each st to end, turn (171sts)

On the next row you are going to make some bobbles!

Bobbles are a little fiddly to make, especially as they are made with the Wrong Side of the work facing you. This means you need to keep an eye on your stitch count and also need to move your yarns from back to front to avoid having yarn left on the incorrect side of the work.

I love bobbles and especially like them when they are worked in different shades to the background yarn colour, however, if you find making bobbles in this way too tricky you could always stick to working in just one colour to create textural bobbles.



Row 14: Using Grape (Thistle) 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each next 4sts, 1dc into the next st until the last step of the stitch so that 2 yarn loops remain on the hook. Bring yarn to the front. Draw Gold  (Burnt Sienna) through the last step of the stitch leaving a yarn tail of approximately 15cm (6in). Yarn loop on hook is Gold (Burnt Sienna).



Using Gold (Burnt Sienna), work 5 incomplete treble crochet stitches into the next st, leaving 1 yarn loop on the hook after each stitch so that 6 loops remain on the hook.
Bring Gold (Burnt Sienna) to the front. 


Pick up Grape (Thistle) and draw through all yarn loops, pulling the yarn across the back of the bobble. Yarn loop on hook is Grape (Thistle). Tighten the working yarn – do not pull too tightly as you can loose the stitch at the top of the bobble.


Using Grape (Thistle) 1ch (does not count as a st), 1dc into each next 3sts, 1dc into next st, weaving in Gold (Burnt Sienna) yarn as you work the stitch ** 1dc into each next 3sts, changing yarn shade to Gold (Burnt Sienna) on the final step of the last st; repeat from * until a total of 21 bobbles have been made (5sts remain), ending last repeat at **, 1dc into last st, turn. Cut Gold (Burnt Sienna) yarn.


Row 15: (RS facing) Using Grape (Thistle) 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each next 5sts, 1dc into st at top of bobble, * 1dc into each next 7sts, 1dc into st at top of bobble; repeat from * to last 5sts, 1dc into each next 5sts, changing yarn shade to Khaki (Bottle) on the final step of the last st, turn (171sts)



It is a good idea to check that your stitch count is correct as the end of this row!

To help you count your stitches use the following guide:
  • Count 5 sts at the beginning of the row before the first bobble
  • 1 stitch at the top of the next bobble
  • [7 stitches before the next bobble, 1 stitch at the top of the next bobble] x 20 times
  • 5 stitches at the end of the row after the last bobble = 171 sts

Stitch count from here to end of this set of pattern will remain at 171sts.

Row 16: Using Khaki (Bottle), 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each st to end of row, changing yarn shade to Graphite (Anthracite) on the final step of the last st, turn.

Row 17: Using Graphite (Anthracite) work as Row 16, changing yarn shade to Meadow (Leaf) on the final step of the last st, turn

Row 18: (WS facing) Using Meadow (Leaf), 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each next 9sts, changing yarn shade to Spice (Rouge) on the final step of the st, * bring yarn forward and make a bobble (MB) as for Row 14 changing yarn shade back to Meadow (Leaf) once the bobble is complete (make sure that yarn tails stay on the wrong side of the work), 1dc into each next 3sts, 1dc into next st weaving in Spice (Rouge) yarn as you work the stitch, 1dc into each next 3sts, changing yarn shade to Spice (Rouge) ready for next bobble; repeat from * until 20 bobbles have been made (9sts remain), using Meadow (Leaf) 1dc into each st to end, weaving in the tail end of Spice as before and changing yarn shade to Graphite (Anthracite) on the final step of the last st, turn (171sts)



Again it is a good idea to check that your stitch count is correct as the end of this row.
  • To help you count your stitches use the following guide:
  • Count 9 sts at the beginning of the row before the first bobble
  • 1 stitch at the top of the next bobble
  • [7 stitches before the next bobble, 1 stitch at the top of the next bobble] x 19 times
  • 9 stitches at the end of the row after the last bobble = 171 sts
Row 19: (RS facing) Using Graphite (Anthracite), 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each next 9sts, 1dc into st at top of bobble, * 1dc into each next 7sts, 1dc into st at top of bobble; repeat from * to last 9sts, 1dc into each next 9sts, changing yarn shade to Khaki (Bottle) on the final step of the last st, turn (171sts)

Row 20: Using Khaki (Bottle), 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each st to end of row, changing yarn shade to Grape (Thistle) on the final step of the last st, turn.


Row 21: Using Grape (Thistle) work as for Row 20, do not change yarn shade.

Row 22: (WS facing) Work bobble row as for Row 14.

Row 23: Work as Row 15, changing yarn shade to Petrol (Cobalt) on the final step of the last st, turn.


Row 24: Using Petrol (Cobalt), 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each st to end, turn.

Row 25: Work as Row 24, changing yarn shade to Storm Blue (Bluebell) on the final step of the last st, turn.

Row 26: Using Storm Blue (Bluebell), 1ch (does not count as a st) 1dc into each st to end, place last st on a holder.



Work another piece to match

Each piece should measure approximately 13.5/14cm from bottom edge x 92cm wide



The image above shows the pattern for next month, which will be published on the 7th November. 

With thanks to the team at Crochet Now Magazine.