Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Little Mitts

The Little Mitts. Perfect for those times when it's not quite cold enough for full-on gloves.
Or when you need your fingers to be free (trying to find money for the parking meter, shopping, crocheting at the bus stop - you get the idea).


I picked up this lovely butter-soft yarn from my recent trip to Yarndale and knew it would be just the thing for a small project.


  I tried a few different stitch ideas before opting for my current favourite - recognise it?


Yep, you guessed it - it's the same one I used for my Enormous, Squishy Blanket!  I think it works really well and shows off the colours, without creating something too chaotic. 


If you fancy making your own, then the pattern is quick and simple and only uses one skein. And if you'd like to use your own yarn, or change the fit - it's no problem-  I'll tell you how to adjust the pattern at the end of the post.  


The Little Mitts - UK pattern (US below)

You'll need:
1x 50g/ 135m/ 150y skein of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend DK yarn (70% extra fine Merino, 30% silk)
3.5 mm hook
Or desired yarn and hook to match.

Stitches:
ch = chain
dc = double crochet
htr = half treble crochet
tr = treble crochet
sl st = slip stitch  

LEFT mitt (RIGHT in [brackets] - rows 9 and 10 differ only)

Chainless foundation 40 stitches (for how-to see here) (must be an even number of stitches) OR ch 40, join with sl st, ch1, turn, 1dc in each st. Join with sl st to 1st st, turn.
Row 1:  1ch, (1htr, 1tr) in next st, sk st, *(1dc, 1tr) in next st, sk st repeat from *, 1dc in last st, sl st to 1ch, turn.
Row 2:  1ch, (1htr, 1tr) in 3rd st from hook, sk st, *(1dc, 1tr) in next st, sk st repeat from *, 1dc in last st, sl st to 1ch, turn.
Rows 3 - 8: repeat row 2
Row 9: 1ch, (1htr, 1tr) in 3rd st from hook, sk st, *(1dc, 1tr) in next st, sk st repeat from * 8 [6] times, 7ch, sk 7 sts, **(1dc, 1tr) in next st, sk st repeat from ** to end, 1dc in last st, sl st to 1ch, turn.
Row 10: 1ch, (1htr, 1tr) in 3rd st from hook, sk st, *(1dc, 1tr) in next st, sk st repeat from * 7 [9] times, 6dc in ch1-sp, sl st **(1dc, 1tr) in next st, sk st repeat from ** to end, 1dc in last st, sl st to 1ch, turn.
Rows 11 - 29: repeat row 2. Fasten off, weave in ends.


The Little Mitts - US pattern  

You'll need:
1x 50g/ 135m/ 150y skein of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend DK yarn (70% extra fine Merino, 30% silk)
 3.5 mm hook 
Or desired yarn and hook to match.  

Stitches:
ch = chain
sc = single crochet
hdc = half double crochet
dc = double crochet
sl st = slip stitch    

LEFT mitt (RIGHT in [brackets] - rows 9 and 10 differ only)

Chainless foundation 40 stitches (for how-to see here) (must be an even number of stitches) OR ch 40, join with sl st, ch1, turn, 1sc in each st. Join with sl st to 1st st, turn.
Row 1:  1ch, (1hdc, 1dc) in next st, sk st, *(1sc, 1dc) in next st, sk st repeat from *, 1sc in last st, sl st to 1ch, turn.
Row 2:  1ch, (1hdc, 1dc) in 3rd st from hook, sk st, *(1sc, 1dc) in next st, sk st repeat from *, 1sc in last st, sl st to 1ch, turn.
Rows 3 - 8: repeat row 2
Row 9: 1ch, (1hdc, 1dc) in 3rd st from hook, sk st, *(1sc, 1dc) in next st, sk st repeat from * 8 [6] times, 7ch, sk 7 sts, **(1sc, 1dc) in next st, sk st repeat from ** to end, 1sc in last st, sl st to 1ch, turn.
Row 10: 1ch, (1hdc, 1dc) in 3rd st from hook, sk st, *(1sc, 1dc) in next st, sk st repeat from * 7 [9] times, 6sc in ch1-sp, sl st **(1sc, 1dc) in next st, sk st repeat from ** to end, 1sc in last st, sl st to 1ch, turn.
Rows 11 - 29: repeat row 2. Fasten off, weave in ends.  


To adjust the pattern for your own yarn / fit.

This pattern is very simple and is based on a tube of crochet stitches, big enough to fit your hand, with a hole for the thumb:
Make a chainless foundation (see pattern for alternative) an even number of stitches to fit the widest part your hand. Follow the pattern for a few rows until you reach the desired length for a thumb-hole. In this row, work a few repeats of the pattern, so that the seam is at the edge of your hand, then when you're ready to make a thumb-hole, chain an odd number of stitches and skip the same number of stitches before continuing with the pattern for the rest of the row. On the next row, work around until you reach the chain-space and double crochet (or US sc) one less stitch than the chain into the thumb hole. Skip the first stitch after the hole and continue with the pattern for the rest of the row. Now continue making rows until you've reached the desired length.


I hope you have fun making your own Little Mitts!
Enjoy your week,
Sarah xx  

Monday, 7 November 2016

The Enormous, Squishy Blanket

It's that time of year when scarves, gloves, boots and warm coats come out of hiding.
And inside the house, there's a need to find the winter duvets, hot water bottles and of course, the blankets.

Ah, yes. The blankets.


Regular readers will know that my success with blankets is very limited. I make a good start, but that's all it ever is - a start.
The problem for me is that I get bored, I lose interest.
And it goes into the WIP pile of stuff and never re-surfaces.


Until now.
You see, I've discovered that if you choose really big squishy yarn, you get a really big squishy blanket in no time at all.
And using this principle, I've already made 2 (yes, 2!!) blankets for my next book.

This is my 3rd:

 

Isn't it a beauty?  I found this yarn from B&M homestores, but you could use any yarn you like.


And you can make this any size you like, too. Simply adjust the number of chains in your foundation and alter the number of rows you complete.


Enormous, Squishy Blanket Pattern (US pattern below)
 Finished size : 140 x 180 cm

UK pattern:

Stitches used:
Chain = ch
Double crochet = dc
Half-treble crochet = htr
Treble crochet = tr
Skip stitch = sk st

I used 27 x 150g balls of Cable Knit super-chunky yarn and a 15mm hook. (4 x blue, 5 x cream, 9 x coral, 9 x grey)

Chain 69 (any odd number of stitches will work)
Row 1- 64: ch1, (1htr, 1tr) in 2nd stitch from hook, sk st, *(1dc, 1tr) in next st, sk st; repeat from *. 1dc in last st. Turn.
Fasten off, weave in ends.

Colour changes: Rows 1-2: Cream Rows 3-4: Blue Rows 5-6: Cream Rows 7-8: Blue Rows 9-10: Cream Rows 11-21: Coral Rows 22-43: Grey Rows 44-54: Coral Rows 55-56: Cream Rows 57-58: Blue Rows 59-60: Cream Rows 61-62: Blue Rows 63-64: Cream


US pattern:
Stitches used:
Chain = ch
Single crochet = sc
Double crochet = dc
Half-double crochet = hdc
Skip stitch = sk st

I used 27 x 150g balls of Cable Knit super-chunky yarn and a 15mm hook. (4 x blue, 5 x cream, 9 x coral, 9 x grey)

Chain 69 (any odd number of stitches will work)

Row 1- 64: ch1, (1hdc, 1dc) in 2nd stitch from hook, sk st, *(1sc, 1dc) in next st, sk st; repeat from *. 1sc in last st. Turn.
Fasten off, weave in ends.


Colour changes: Rows 1-2: Cream Rows 3-4: Blue Rows 5-6: Cream Rows 7-8: Blue Rows 9-10: Cream Rows 11-21: Coral Rows 22-43: Grey Rows 44-54: Coral Rows 55-56: Cream Rows 57-58: Blue Rows 59-60: Cream Rows 61-62: Blue Rows 63-64: Cream



The Mister despairs. Where on earth are all these big blankets going to live, he wonders?

I ignore him, of course and plan to make more ginormous blankets in every colour of the rainbow.

Enjoy your week!
Sarah xx   

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Granny Wrap : The Stylecraft blog tour

We're nearly at the end of the Stylecraft Blog tour 2016 and I am thrilled to be marking the 1st of the month with today's post.

**** congratulations to Emma Foster for winning the Stylecraft giveaway!! ****
   

A little while back, myself and my fellow Blogstars were set a challenge from the Stylecraft team - to do something fabulously creative in knit or crochet with their flagship yarn, using Special Aran or Chunky (including new shades as chosen by their Facebook followers).

How super! I agreed, of course and chose the Special Chunky Parchment pack - aren't these colours lush?! And it really is very, very soft and squidgy*.  

 *technical yarn term

Colours from top, L to R: Pomegranate, Gold, Parchment, Spice, Saffron, Empire, Storm Blue, Sage, Pistachio, Pale Rose

But what to make....? I toyed with a few ideas, but decided on a mega-wrap. (As someone who feels the cold and has children who insist on leaving doors and windows open, I'm all about big shawls and blanket-y things at this time of year).

I wanted to make something incredibly simple that would show off the gorgeous colours and be quick and easy to make (my favourite sort of project) And so a half-Granny design seemed perfect.


It took a bit of jiggling with the colours and a fair amount of frogging to get the right combination, but I'm really pleased with the result. I decided to leave out the Pistachio and Saffron in the end, too- but I shall certainly use them for something else (hat or mittens, methinks).






And if you want to make a lovely, big, cosy wrappy-shawl to keep away those winter chills, then hooray!  

You'll need 8 balls of Stylecraft Special Chunky and an 8mm hook.     

Pattern (UK terms)
Ch4, join with a sl st to make a ring.
Row 1: ch3 (counts as tr here and throughout), 3tr, ch2, 4tr. Turn.

Row 2: ch3, 3tr between the first 2 stitches of previous row, (3tr, ch2, 3tr) in ch2-sp, 3tr between last 2 stitches of previous row, 1tr in top of ch3. Turn.

Row 3: ch3, 3tr between the first 2 stitches of previous row, 3tr between each 3tr cluster to ch2-sp, (3tr, ch2, 3tr) in ch2-sp, 3tr between each 3tr cluster along other side, 3tr between last 2 stitches of previous row, 1tr in top of ch3. Turn.

Rows 4-  46: repeat row 3 Fasten off, weave in ends.

Colours: Rows 1-4: Sage 5-6: Empire 7-9: Gold 10: Pale Rose 11-12: Storm Blue 13: Empire 14: Pomegranate 15: Spice 16-17: Sage 18: Parchment 19: Storm Blue 20-22: Pomegranate 23-24: Gold 25-26: Pale Rose 27: Sage 28: Empire 29: Spice 30: Pomegranate  31-32: Storm Blue 33: Sage 34: Parchment 35: Pale Rose 36: Pomegranate 37-38: Empire 39: Gold 40-41: Spice 42: Sage 43: Parchment 44: Storm Blue 45-46: Empire


Now, I like my shawls plain, but you could certainly add pom-poms or tassels with the leftovers to bling things up a bit, if you like.

I hope you enjoy making your mega-wrap. Don't forget to share your pictures - you can find me at all my favourite social media accounts.

And why not check out the other Blogstars to see what they've been making, too - Yesterday's blogger was the fabulous Phil at The Twisted Yarn and tomorrow you can see what Katherine at Crafternoon Treats has been up to.

Enjoy your week and keep warm.

Sarah xxx

Monday, 24 October 2016

Louisa Harding Yarn review

The super people at Laughing Hens asked me if I'd like to try some of the lovely yarn they sell.
 Of course, I said, I'd love to.
 And so they sent me a ball of this:
Louisa Harding Pitturissimo Aran in shade 206 'Vita'

Now, multicoloured yarns are not everybody's cup of tea, but I've always had a bit of a thing for them 'cos I am a lazy crocheter at heart - this won't surprise any of you who are regular readers - take a look at my Very Lazy Blanket, for starters....

This yarn does all the hard work for you- no faffing around with colour changes, or joining, or sewing in lots of ends. 


Here you can see the colour runs. They're fairly short, varying from 4 - 8 cms in length and cycle through bright oranges, reds, blues and browns, with green being the most prominent colour.

But how does it crochet up, you wonder?
 Here's a few different things to show you, using a 6mm hook:

 Linen stitch (1dc, 1ch repeat)


This stitch works particularly well with multicoloured yarns as the colours change so frequently. I'd be interested to see if anyone manages to colour pool with this yarn (I ran out of time to try) - although I'm not sure if the colour changes are too short?
Let me know if you do...

 A granny circle:


Me likey - the colours appear a little more random, but really pop.

 A traditional granny square


This is quite a busy design and probably a bit too fussy for such colourful yarn.

 Circles


I absolutely LOVE how these turned out - aren't they fun??
What should I do with them, though?!!

 Here's the yarn details:
 Aran weight Superwash Fine Merino with Bamboo 75% Viscose 25% 
Suggested needles/hook 5-6mm
 100g / 150 m
 Suggested tension 18-16 sts x 24-22 rows
 Available from Laughing Hens here

 Overall, this yarn is really lovely- it's beautifully soft, and super squishy and I don't think it's likely to be itchy, as some woolly yarns can often be. It will be perfect for those funky winter knits: hats, scarves, gloves - anything to keep you warm.

 So what will I be making with mine? Well, it's going to be a scarf, made with the Granny Circle motif and maybe a slightly bigger hook, to create more drape... Do let me know what you make with yours!

 Have a happy week,
 Sarah xx  

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Autumn Storm Shawl

Here in the U.K. the weather has changed; darker evenings, damper mornings and a distinct chill in the air mean that Autumn has most definitely arrived.
 
 
 
And so I felt the need for a big ol' shawl-type-thing. 
Something I could drape around my shoulders to keep the shivers at bay and wrap around to completely cocoon me in warmth.
 
 
And I came up with my Autumn Storm Shawl*
 
 
*Actually, I cannot take any credit for the name. I ran a little Instagram competition and had lots of amazing suggestions- this is the one I chose and it's pretty perfect, I think.
 
 
Crocheted in the most lovely Deramores Vintage Chunky yarn, this Shawl is a simple and speedy project, despite its size.
 
If you'd like to make one, then you can find the pattern here
I can promise it'll keep you super-snug.
 
 
 
Happy crocheting,
Sarah xx