Saturday 29 November 2014

The one with the crochet balls

So I found a couple of polystyrene balls which I've had in a box for yeeeears and I decided to do something festive with them.

I was thinking along the lines of homemade Christmas baubles for the kids' teachers, but actually, these would look great displayed in a big bowl too. 

The first ball is made using good old double crochet in continuous rounds. A few increases and decreases help create the shaping- you'll need to use a stitch marker so you know where the beginning of each round is. 

The second uses joined rounds and a few different stitches and techniques, but is just as simple to make.

Fancy making one, or two? 
Then here's what to do...

(Oh and BTW if you're quick, you can still use the fab 10% discount code, ABXMAS off RICO Creative Cotton from Black Sheep Wools. It's valid until 2nd December 2014...)

I used:
2 x 70mm polystyrene balls (if you haven't got these, then you could try stuffing them firmly with toy filling instead),
Odds and ends of Rico Creative Cotton Aran from my stash: Red (05), Orange (74), Light Green (40), Light Yellow (63), Turquoise (36), Candy Pink (64), Fuschia (13)
4mm hook,
Stitch marker
Ribbon for hanging loop.

[This pattern is written in UK terms. US equivalents are given below]

UK double crochet = US single crochet
UK treble crochet = US double crochet

ch = chain
sl st = slip stitch 
dc = double crochet
dc2tog = double crochet two together*
sts = stitches
* how 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.

Striped Ball
Worked in continuous rounds.

I changed colour every round. You'll find that this isn't at the beginning of the round where stated in the pattern, so use a stitch marker and you won't lose your place.
To make the colour change, work the last dc until you have 2 loops on your hook. Yarn over in the new colour and complete the stitch. Make the next stitch a slip stitch (not too tight as you'll need to work into it on the next round) and continue for a few more stitches. Knot the ends of your old and new yarn together and you're done! (And there's no need to weave in your ends- they'll be on the inside, so won't show.)

Work in the following colours: Orange, Candy Pink (from Rnd 2), Fushcia, Yellow, Fuschia, Turquoise, Green, Yellow, Red, Turquoise, Orange, Fuschia, Green, Turquoise, Yellow, Candy Pink, Red, Yellow, Fuschia, Green, Orange.

6dc in magic ring, OR ch2, 6dc in 2nd ch from hook.
Rnd 1: 2dc in each st (12 sts)
Rnd 22dc in each st (24)
Rnd 3: (dc 2, 2dc in next st) repeat around (32)
Rnd 4: dc 32
Rnd 5: (dc 3, 2dc in next st) repeat around (40)
Rnds 6-15: dc 40
Rnd 16: (dc 3, dc2tog) repeat around (32)
Insert polystyrene ball and continue to crochet around it

Rnds 17-18: dc32
Rnd 19(dc 2, dc2tog) repeat around (24)
Rnd 20(dc 1, dc2tog) repeat around (16)
Rnd 21: dc 16
Rnd 22: dc2tog around (8)

Sew closed. Add hanging loop.

Star Ball
Worked in joined rounds

Change colour every round in the following order:
Turquoise, Fushcia, Yellow, Green, Red, Yellow, Turquoise, Candy Pink, Fuschia, Green, Orange, Yellow.

You'll need to know a few extra stitches here, in addition to the ones above:
tr = treble crochet
sk st = skip stitch
beg tr cl = beginning treble cluster*
tr cl = cluster**

* to make the beginning treble cluster stitch:
Chain 2, then make 2 trebles, leaving the last part of each tr unworked (3 loops on hook). Yarn over hook and draw through all 3 loops.

** to make the treble cluster stitch:
Make 3 trebles, leaving the last part of each tr unworked (4 loops on hook). Yarn over hook and draw through all 4 loops.

Begin with a magic ring OR, chain 4 and join with a sl st to make a ring.
Rnd 1: beg tr cl, ch 3, (tr cl, ch 3 repeat x 4) into ring [you should have a 5-pointed star shape] join with a sl st to top of ch 2. (25 sts)
Rnd 2: ch 1, (dc 3, ch 2 in each ch-3 space around) join with a sl st to first dc. (25)
Rnd 3: ch 1 (dc 3 then dc 2 in each ch-2 space around), join with a sl st to first dc. (25)
Rnd 4: ch 3 (counts as tr), 2tr in next st, (tr 1 in next st, 2tr in next st around), 2tr in last st, join with a sl st to top of ch 3. (38)
Rnd 5: ch 3 (counts as tr), tr 1 in same st, sk st, (2tr in next st, sk st around) join with a sl st to top of ch 3. (38)
Rnds 6-7ch 3 (counts as tr), tr 1 in space between 2tr sts, (2tr in each space between 2tr sts around) join with a sl st to top of ch 3. (38) 
Insert polystyrene ball and continue to crochet around it.

Rnds 8-9: ch 1, (dc 1, ch 1 in space between 2tr sts around) join with a sl st to the first dc (38)
Rnds 10-11: ch 3 (counts as tr), tr 1 in each ch-1 space around, join with a sl st to the top of ch 3. (19)
Rnd 12: ch 1, dc2tog around, dc 1 in last st (10)

Sew closed.

And that's about it.

Enjoy making and have a fab week,

Sarah x

Wednesday 12 November 2014

A BIG Crocheted Christmas tree (Free pattern)

'Could you design us a large, free-standing, crocheted Christmas tree?' the lovely Lesley from Black Sheep Wools asked me.

Sure can.

I used one of my favourite yarns, Rico Creative Cotton Aran, as the colours are bright and it's sturdy stuff.

If you'd like to make yourself a large, free-standing, crocheted Christmas tree, then head on over to Black Sheep Wools, where you'll find the FREE pattern (yes, free- it IS Christmas, after all) AND there's a jolly super 10% discount code to use on Rico Creative Cotton Aran if you use the code 'ABXMAS'. It's valid until the 2nd December, too.

Have fun making and do show me if you make one- I love to see what you've been up to!

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Sarah xx

Saturday 1 November 2014

Beginner's Guide to Crochet

So here it is.

It's been a long time in the planning and making and now my book is available to pre-order worldwide (from here and lots of other wonderful retailers) and is due for release in April.
Perfect for complete beginners and experienced crocheters alike, it includes twenty new projects to keep your hook busy. 
(And might I add, it's a rather big book, being some 120- odd pages long, so good value for money, too.)

Here's a reminder of some of the projects in progress:

Oooo, something using Moss stitch.

Bertie Bear. What a cutie.

Granny stripes and pompom trim? Could it get any better?

Yes it could. Humungous pompoms.

And a humungous project using mahooooosive yarn.
Traditional Grannies too.

And sweet little hearts.

Here's the official blurb:

You want to learn crochet, but have no idea where to start? You would love to set to work on some gorgeous yarny creations, but find patterns and charts confusing and scary? Then let author Sarah Shrimpton guide you through the basics, with this book you'll learn to crochet and complete your first project in just one day! 

To top this, did you know there are actually only a handful of stitches you need to learn to be competent at this super-yarny craft? It’s what you do with them that can create something as simple as a dishcloth or as complicated as a teddy bear. 

Beginner’s Guide to Crochet comprehensively teaches all the basic crochet techniques, skills and stitches to get you started. Each new technique is explained with accompanying photographs and diagrams and is followed directly with a project utilizing those skills. Later projects combine several techniques and stitches helping you to develop your skill set and tackle more complicated projects.

There are 20 modern projects, plus a section dedicated to 'extreme crochet', using t-shirt yarn to create larger-than-life crocheted creations. The author's chatty, informal style will take you on on your journey from newbie to fully-fledged crocheter in no time. 

Before you know it you'll be crocheting everything from scarves and hats to the obligatory granny blanket with ease, and making fantastic homemade presents for friends and family.

With crochet becoming incredibly popular, newbie crocheters are increasingly looking for entry-level content that contains all the basic stitches alongside attractive, accessible projects.  

The 20 projects include a cafetiere cosy, trellis scarf, teddy bear, a tablet cosy and of course, no crochet book would be complete without the staple granny blanket. Plus a section dedicated to 'extreme crochet', using t-shirt yarn to create larger-than-life crocheted creations. There is a distinctly modern feel to the projects and the author's chatty, informal style takes readers' on their journey from newbie to fully-fledged crocheter with ease. 

It's all rather exciting, really!
I hope you like it.

Happy weekend to you all,
Sarah x