Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Colour-Blend c2c cushion - The Stylecraft Blog Tour 2018

It's that time of year!


The Stylecraft Blogstars are on tour again, this time showcasing the FABULOUS Bellissima yarn.



Now, some of you might have worked with Stylecraft's Bambino yarns before - a sweet range of pastel colours with a soft, merino-feel. Bellissima is the same yarn texture, but in some seriously vibrant  colours. For the Blogtour, the Stylecraft team created two colour-packs:





Now I cannot take much credit for the idea behind my design - it was one of my fellow Blogstars, Helen Shrimpton (no relation - well actually, we probably are related somewhere along the line, but that's a whole other story ..) who suggested that I work with two strands of yarn held together and tried blending different colours. So thanks to Helen, that's exactly what I did to make the Colour-Blend c2c Cushion:



Want to make one? (Instructions for c2c are below the pattern)

You'll need:
Autumn Leaves Yarn pack (or 5 x 100g balls Bellissima / Bambino)
6mm hook
Pompom maker (optional)
40cm cushion insert

Side One
1. Working with 2 strands of Ash Rose, make four rows of increasing c2c.
2. Working with 1 strand of Ash Rose and 1 strand of Rio Red, make four rows of increasing c2c.
3. Working with 2 strands of Rio Red make four rows of increasing c2c.
4. Working with 1 strand of Rio Red and 1 strand of Single Cream, make four rows of increasing c2c.
5. Working with 2 strands of Single Cream make three rows of increasing c2c.
6. Working with 2 strands of Single Cream make two rows of decreasing c2c.
7. Working with 1 strand of Single Cream and 1 strand of Sugar Snap, make four rows of decreasing c2c.
8. Working with 2 strands of Sugar Snap make four rows of decreasing c2c.
9. Working with 1 strand of Sugar Snap and 1 strand of Mellow Yellow, make four rows of decreasing c2c.
10. Working with 2 strands of Mellow Yellow, make four rows of decreasing c2c.




Side Two
1. Working with 2 strands of Single Cream, make four rows of increasing c2c.
2. Working with 1 strand of Single Cream and 1 strand of Ash Rose, make four rows of increasing c2c.
3. Working with 2 strands of Ash Rose make four rows of increasing c2c.
4. Working with 1 strand of Ash Rose and 1 strand of Mellow Yellow, make four rows of increasing c2c.
5. Working with 2 strands of Mellow Yellow make three rows of increasing c2c.
6. Working with 2 strands of Mellow Yellow make two rows of decreasing c2c.
7.. Working with 1 strand of Mellow Yellow and 1 strand of Sugar Snap, make four rows of decreasing c2c.
8. Working with 2 strands of Sugar Snap make four rows of decreasing c2c.
9. Working with 1 strand of Sugar Snap and 1 strand of Rio Red, make four rows of decreasing c2c.
10. Working with 2 strands of Rio Red, make four rows of decreasing c2c.

To Join
With WS of cushions facing and working with 2 strands of Sugar Snap, make 1dc around the edges, and 1dc, 2ch, 1dc in each corner.
Fasten off.

Make pompoms with your remaining yarn and attach to the corners!

To make the c2c stitch [increasing] (UK terms - tr = dc in US terms):

Row 1: 6ch, 1tr in 4th ch from hook, 1tr in each of next two ch, turn.
Row 2: 6ch, 1tr in 4th ch from hook, 1tr in each of next two ch, sl st into 3ch, 3ch, 3tr in 3ch-sp, turn.
Row 3: 6ch, 1tr in 4th ch from hook, 1tr in each of next two ch, *sl st into 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3tr in 3ch-sp; rep from * across row, turn. 
Rows 4 onwards: Repeat row 3. 


To make the c2c stitch [decreasing] (UK terms - tr = dc in US terms):

At the end of the row, do not 6ch, but sl st across each of the 3tr you have just made.
3ch, 3tr in 3ch of block just completed, *sl st into 3ch-sp, 3ch, 3tr in 3ch-sp; rep from * across row, turn.

For a brilliant YouTube Tutorial see Bella Coco's here.

Hope you enjoy making the cushion! Find the complete list of blogstars taking part here and make sure you check out Kathryn at Crafternoon Treats' blog tomorrow for her day of the tour.

And of course, here's the link for the giveaway - it's live from 10am GMT today (9th Oct) until 10am tomorrow!! 



a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!
Sarah xx

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Cutest Crochet Creations - A book review and GIVEAWAY!!

Autumn seems to be book review season for me...

*** GIVEAWAY CLOSED ***

But you won't hear me complaining. This is the second book I've been lucky enough to receive to review - and I must tell you, it's a cracker!!




Alison North is someone I've known for aaaaaages on Instagram, under her name of @KornflakeStew and she is an amazingly talented amigurumi designer. For the last few years, her sweet little creations have been flying off her hook and into her Etsy shop but now, you can find a whole new selection of cute characters in her new book, 'Cutest Crochet Creations'.

I really like the book - not just because the patterns are sooooo sweet, but because it's put together in an easy-to-follow format, which is perfect for new and experienced crocheters alike:




The first section covers everything you'll need - materials, yarn and accessories - and then describes all the basic stitches with illustrations to help. Alison then shares her crochet tips for amigurumi-making; everything from changing colours to fitting safety eyes and assembling the pieces together. Again, helpful photos guide the reader.



And then there are 16 original patterns - all of them equally ADORABLE!!! 
I chose to make Boris the Bear, because he looked like a serious sort-of chap:



I found the pattern easy to follow - the instructions are written in US terms, but this is easy to get used to and it didn't pose a problem at all. I liked how there were close-up photos to show me where parts should be positioned, or how to make certain stitches and I found the instructions for assembly very well-explained.


Congratulations, Alison - it's a fabulous book!

Alison has kindly sent me an extra book to GIVEAWAY!!!
All you have to do is enter below and a winner will be drawn at random on the 29th September 2018. Open worldwide.

Good Luck!

As a part of the Blog Tour with TUVA publishing, I received a copy of Alison North's book to review and a copy to giveaway. 
All views this blog post are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Monday, 20 August 2018

Granny Square Flair: A book review

Shelly Husband is no stranger to the humble granny square. In fact, she's something of a granny-meister (if such a thing were to exist).



Over the last few years, Shelley has taken this most traditional of crochet motifs and designed hundreds of beautiful versions - publishing them for free and in book collections. Her latest book, 'Granny Square Flair' is different in that not only is this her first ever print version, but all the designs are created using neutral, cream yarn. Shelly wanted her readers to be able to add their own colourways to their motifs and create truly personal projects. That said, her love of colour still pervades throughout, as she cleverly asked fellow crocheters to take a square and make it using yarns and colours of their choices. Which is how I became involved - but more on that later.

Shelley's squares in cream

'Granny Square Flair' (written in US and UK terms) features 50 patterns, varying in difficulty and complexity and is intended for a crocheter with basic skills. The beginning of the book includes everything you need to know to get started; information on choosing hooks, yarns and colours, how to read patterns and charts and a brilliant tip for creating seamless crochet!


The next section contains the patterns. Each one has a difficulty rating and a guide to how much yarn it will use. There is a photograph of the square and a chart underneath (very helpful for the visual learners out there). Alongside are the written instructions, which are clearly described and easy to follow. At the bottom of the page are the coloured versions of the squares; either made by Shelley herself or by the  group of crochet friends she asked to help. These include Dedri Uys, Julie Harrison, Mandy O'Sullivan, Marianne Dekkers-Roos, Sandra Eng and many more - oh and me, too!

I chose the 'Bloem' pattern (p.64) to work on and decided straight away that I would supersize mine using Stylecraft Special XL in Cream, Duck Egg, Sage, Petrol and Graphite. And wowsers!! It worked out brilliantly! It would make THE perfect blanket and with squares this big, would be a pretty quick project too. I found the pattern easy to follow and had no difficulty understanding the instructions. It's rather nice, isn't it?!

'Bloem'

After the patterns, you can find the project section, where Shelley has 11 new designs to make with the motifs. There are blankets and wraps, cushions and coasters - a great selection of stylish and modern pieces and there are tips and advice for designing your own projects, including how to choose patterns and layout and how to calculate the amount of yarn you will need.

Melbourne Wrap

Blues Sampler Blanket

And so, I would like to congratulate Shelley on a truly fabulous book - her fresh, modern designs will inspire many crocheters to make their own beautiful creations.

You can find 'Granny Square Flair' here (UK) or here (US).
Shelley's website, with details of all her other books is here.

As a thank you for being part of Shelley's Crochet team, I received a copy of her book to review. 
All views this blog post are my own.

Enjoy your week,
Sarah xx



Wednesday, 8 August 2018

A Very Little Llama

Inspired by everything llama at the moment, I realised that one of my previous patterns could be easily adapted to fit the bill...



You may remember The Very Little Giraffe (a random teacher gift my daughter asked me to make)? Well it struck me that the shaping was pretty llama-esque and with a little tinkering around with the ear placement, and the addition of a blanket and tassels, a llama it could be ...



It's the perfect small project for using up all those odds and ends of yarn - hooray!!

A Very Little Llama Pattern (UK)

(For US, dc is the same as sc and dc2tog is the same as sc2tog).

Abbreviations:
ch = chain
sl st = slip stitch
dc = double crochet
dc2tog = double crochet 2 together**
sts = stitches
**to make the dc2tog stitch using the invisible decrease method:
Insert hook into the front loop of the first stitch.
Insert hook into the front loop of the second stitch (3 loops on hook).
Yarn over and pull yarn through the first two loops (2 loops on hook).
Yarn over and pull through both loops.


You will need:
Yarn and hook of your choice (any weight yarn and hook to match will work)
I used a 3mm hook and small amounts of Rico Ricorumi in Beige (55), Tangerine (26), Wine Red (29) and Fuchsia (14)
Toy stuffing
Black / brown embroidery thread for nose and eyes
Stitchmarker - mark the first st of each round



Head
Stuff as you go.
In Beige:
Rnd 1: 6dc in magic ring or 2dc, 6dc in 2nd st from hook (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 dc in each st around. (12 sts)
Rnds 3 - 4: 1dc in each st around.
Rnd 5: (1dc, 2dc in next st) repeat around. (18 sts)
Rnds 6 - 8: 1dc in each st around.
Rnd 9: (1dc, dc2tog) repeat around. (12 sts)

Stitch eyes and nose.

Rnd 10: dc2tog around. (6 sts)

Fasten off and sew closed.

Ears (make 2)
Rnd 1: 6dc in magic ring or 2dc, 6dc in 2nd st from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: (1dc, 2dc in next st) repeat around. (9 sts)
Fasten off. Sew to head


Neck, body and legs
(Leave long tail at beginning for stitching to head and stuff as you go)
Ch 6, join with sl st to first ch.

Rnd 1: 1ch (doesn't count as st), 1dc in each st. (6 sts) 
Now in continuous rounds
Rnds 2 - 5: 1dc in each st.
Rnd 6: *1dc, 2dc in next st; rep from *, 2dc. (8 sts)
Rnd 7: 2dc, *2dc in next st; rep from * three times, 3dc. (11 sts)
Rnd 8: 3dc, *2dc in next st; rep from * four times, 4dc. (15 sts)
Rnd 9: 4dc, *2dc in next st; rep from * six times, 5dc. (21 sts)
Rnds 10 - 13: 1dc in each st.

Front leg
Rnd 14: 1dc, dc2tog, dc 4, then cross to the other side (see pic) and 4dc back to stitchmarker. (10 sts)


Pictures from Giraffe Pattern






Rnd 15: dc2tog around. (5 sts).
Fasten off and sew closed.

Back leg
Rnd 14a: 1dc in each st around. (10 sts)
Rnd 15a: dc2tog around. (5 sts).

Fasten off and sew closed. 
Stitch between the legs to close the hole.
Stitch head to body.

Tail
Make a knot in the yarn and stitch it into place. Separate the strands to create the tail.

Blanket
In Tangerine
Rnd 1: 6dc in magic ring or 2dc, 6dc in 2nd st from hook. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: *2dc in first st, 2dc in next st, 1dc; rep from *.  (10 sts)
Rnd 3: In Fuchsia, 1dc, 2dc in next st, 2dc in next st, 3dc, 2dc in next st, 2dc in next st, 2dc. (14 sts)
Rnd 4: In Red, 2dc, 2dc in next st, 2dc in next st, 5dc, 2dc in next st, 2dc in next st, 3dc. (18 sts)
Fasten off, but leave a long tail for stitching in place

Halter
Make a chain long enough to fit around the muzzle and join with sl st. Make another chain to fit around back of head and join with sl st to other side. Stitch in place.

To finish:
Add tassels of yarn to tips of ears and sides of muzzle. Add pompoms or any other decorations you like.



And that's it!
Enjoy your teeny llama,

Sarah xx



Saturday, 7 July 2018

The (not my idea) t-shirt yarn bag



I cannot take any credit for the idea behind this bag - you see my good friend, Sharna made one and shared it on Instagram and I loved it.

Find Sharna's inspiring Insta feed here and her blog here

A quick search through my stash at home revealed lots of odds and ends of t-shirt yarn and a deeper dig unearthed some wooden bag handles, too.

And so, inspired by her totally marvellous idea, I decided to come up with my own original design pretty much completely copy it.

If you'd also like to be cool like Sharna and strut around with a copy-cat bag like me, then here's what to do:


You'll need around 350g-ish of t-shirt yarn oddments, a 15mm hook and D-shaped wooden handles (approx 17cms width) find similar here. (Some of my t-shirt yarn was a bit thin, so I worked holding two strands together to even things up a bit.) 

Pattern UK terms (US below)

Make Two

Rnd 1: 4ch (counts as 1ch and 1tr), make 7tr in 4th ch from hook. Join with sl st to 3rd ch. (8sts)

Rnd 2: 2ch, 1tr in same st (counts as tr2tog), 1ch, [tr2tog, 1ch] in each st around. Join with sl st to 1st st. (8st, 8ch)

Rnd 3: Beginning in any 1ch-sp, [2ch, 1tr (counts as tr2tog), 1ch, tr2tog] in 1ch-sp, [tr2tog, 1ch, tr2tog] in each 1ch-sp around. Join with sl st to 1st st. (16sts, 8ch)

Rnd 4: Beginning in any 1ch-sp, [3ch, 1tr, 2ch, 2tr] in 1ch-sp, 2tr between the next two sts, 2tr in 1ch-sp, 2tr between next two sts, *[2tr, 2ch, 2tr] in same 1ch-sp, 2tr between the next two sts, 2tr in 1ch-sp, 2tr between next two sts; rep from * around. Join with sl st to 3rd ch. (40 sts, 8ch)

Handle/joining

Rnd 1: (this will vary slightly, depending on your handle). Beginning with one of the squares, in any 2ch-sp, [1ch, 2dc] in 2ch-sp, 1dc BLO in each st over handle, 2dc in 1ch-sp
Now put the other square, with WS facing the WS of the piece you are working on. Make 1dc in the same 2ch-sp and the corresponding 2ch-sp of the square behind, then work your way around the two pieces, joining them by working 1dc BLO of front square to join FLO of back square. Make 3dc in the 2ch-sp space and repeat around, making 1dc in the first 2ch sp where you started.
Now you will just work across the back square. Make 2dc in the same 2ch-sp, 1dc FLO in each st over handle, 2dc in 1ch-sp.

Fasten off, weave in ends.
(Or if you're really lazy like me, tie the ends in a knot on the inside of the bag and snip them.

Job done.
Enjoy your bag - it really is the perfect summer accessory!



Pattern US terms 
Make Two

Rnd 1: 4ch (counts as 1ch and 1dc), make 7dc in 4th ch from hook. Join with sl st to 3rd ch. (8sts)

Rnd 2: 2ch, 1dc in same st (counts as dc2tog), 1ch, [dc2tog, 1ch] in each st around. Join with sl st to 1st st (8st, 8ch)

Rnd 3: Beginning in any 1ch-sp, [2ch, 1dc (counts as dc2tog), 1ch, dc2tog] in 1ch-sp, [dc2tog, 1ch, dc2tog] in each 1ch-sp around. Join with sl st to 1st st. (16sts, 8ch)

Rnd 4: Beginning in any 1ch-sp, [3ch, 1dc, 2ch, 2dc] in 1ch-sp, 2dc between the next two sts, 2dc in 1ch-sp, 2dc between next two sts, *[2dc, 2ch, 2dc] in same 1ch-sp, 2dc between the next two sts, 2dc in 1ch-sp, 2dc between next two sts; rep from * around. Join with sl st to 3rd ch. (40 sts, 8ch)

Handle/joining

Rnd 1: (this will vary slightly, depending on your handle). Beginning with one of the squares, in any 2ch-sp, [1ch, 2sc] in 2ch-sp, 1sc BLO in each st over handle, 2sc in 1ch-sp
Now put the other square, with WS facing the WS of the piece you are working on. Make 1sc in the same 2ch-sp and the corresponding 2ch-sp of the square behind, then work your way around the two pieces, joining them by working 1sc BLO of front square to join FLO of back square. Make 3sc in the 2ch-sp space and repeat around, making 1sc in the first 2ch sp where you started.
Now you will just work across the back square. Make 2sc in the same 2ch-sp, 1sc FLO in each st over handle, 2sc in 1ch-sp.

Fasten off, weave in ends.
(Or if you're really lazy like me, tie the ends in a knot on the inside of the bag and snip them.

Job done.
Enjoy your bag - it really is the perfect summer accessory!

Have a great weekend,

Sarah xx