Patterns

Make Your Own Facemask

Make Your Own Face Mask - Free Pattern

So here we are, Spring 2020 – The UK on lockdown.
Who’d have thought, as we celebrated New Years Eve, that just a few months on, we’d be immersed in this weird and worrying situation. Only venturing out into the big blue Covid19 yonder for essentials, exercise and work to minimise the spread of a highly infectious, potentially deadly virus so that our front-line heroes are able to deal with a Global Pandemic like nothing we’ve ever known.
We’re doing our bit to stop ourselves becoming sick or unwittingly spreading the virus – social distancing, hand washing, cleaning, sanitising like never before. 
Some people are wearing face masks. 
In parts of America and Europe, politicians and scienticts are encouraging citizens to wear face masks in public as an act of social responsibility. There is now discussion here in the UK on whether we should be wearing them too.

Can A Face Mask Protect Us From Covid 19?

Whilst nothing can be totally effective, this article from New Scientist  states that, overall, the evidence suggests there may be a small benefit to wearing some kind of face covering. 
But this pandemic has stretched resources,  Personal protective equipment is in short supply and what ever surgical equipment there is should be reserved for our front line workers. One way round this problem is to make your own.

So What Makes A Good Face Mask?

 According to the CDC a good face mask should:-
  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shapYou can read more about it in their advice HERE
There are lots of patterns out there already – some good, some basic and there are some great tutorials. Not all of them meet the above criteria, and as pattern-making is a particular area of my expertise, I wanted to do my own to make sure that it met the required standard. 
Free Face Mask Pattern

What's The Best Fabric To Use?

Choosing the right material determines your best chances of blocking viruses. A good homemade mask uses a material that has a high thread count and is dense enough to capture viral particles but breathable and comfortable enough that you can tolerate it.
In 2006, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh shared with the CDC guidelines for making an effective face mask if surgical masks and N95 masks were unavailable during a viral outbreak. They found that good quality T shirt fabric is best. You can read it HERE . It makes a lot of sense, as the weave (or knit to be precise) of cloth is denser and of a more intricate construction.
I’m a bit  of a perfectionist (and a bit busy too –  shopping for those in my community who are isolated, trying to work and to homeschool my 11 yr old, aside from the epic task of drafting, editing and publishing). It took me a while to arrive at something I was happy with. I ended up with a couple of patterns that worked well –  that we’re snug fitting with a pocket for a filter. I chose to use one that is easy to make, and comfortable.
Free Face Mask Pattern
…. and in the current circumstances it would be rude not to share, don’t you think.
You can download and print it on 3 A4 sheets and join it together (It’s simple – there are registration marks to help with this).
You don’t need to be “Sewing Bee’ standard to make it – basic sewing skills will do. All you need is an old T shirt (it will work with woven cotton too), a sewing machine and thread. You could even hand sew it, if that’s your thing. It’s a good practice project for a beginner and it doesn’t need to be perfect.
It incorporates a space with an opening in the lining for a filter. This can be made from a piece of unused hoover bag or even a coffee filter and can be replaced and disposed of or washed. A wire can also be sewn in for a close fit over the bridge of the nose.
It’s currently a free pattern but if you can and want to show your appreciation, perhaps you could make a small donation to the NHS via my Just Giving page.
PS. Non-sewers, how could I forget about you guys. My non-sew version is coming next. Watch this space.

Crochet A Cool Rainbow Fur Cowl And Give To Charity

Cool Kids Crochet Rainbow Fur Cowl

My daughter has a bit of a thing for rainbows so how could I walk past this ball of multi coloured neon fabulousness when I saw it and resist picking it up?

There are some lovely patterns out for all manner of spaced-dyed cardigans, jumpers, dresses and accessories, but I was looking for something a little different… and I wanted a quick project, and one that’s nice and easy but still a little bit of a challenge for you folks who are new to crochet but want to push it juuuust that little bit further. 

I thought this might be fun.

Rainbow Fur!
What to do with it though?
Texture is HUGE at the moment and this fur effect can be knit or crocheted quite easily.
This great yarn fur could potentially be made up into all sorts of wonderful shapes and styles and perhaps that’s another future project – but for now I’ m sticking with something simple… and quick…. a project that uses only one 100g ball. 
A gorgeous little crocheted rainbow fur cowl….  

My simple cowl, I posted a while ago now is one of my most popular patterns..

…and all the little girls are wearing cowls these days. they’re just so easy, and warm, and stylish.
I made if for my now 6 yr old and it was designed with youngsters in mind, but who’s to say it can’t be for a grown up. We can wear bright colours too yeah?
In fact, it can be made up in any DK yarn in any colour and doesn’t have to be space dyed either. Looks just a good plain. 
Get an eyeful of this gorgeous teal wool
Great for when we’re all fed up of the darks, and neutral tones we’ve seen through the winter months,  and for the onset of Spring with a fleece or hoodie and Autumn when we’re not quite ready to put on a heavier jacket.
Just think of those lovely colour combos you can get your teeth into.

2015 was a tough one –  for people all over the world, and I’m perpetually in awe of those that give up their time and put their own lives at risk to help people in need. I thought I’d try do a little bit from this end and donate this pattern to p/hop (pennies per hour of pleasure)  – a charity knitting project that raises funds for the incredible emergency medical aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

You can read about the work they do HERE

and HERE is where you can get the crochet pattern.   

Graduated Stripe Buggy Blanket

Another new baby in the ‘hood….a boy.  
Seems that there are lots of boys being born round here at the moment. 
Means only one thing….
…yep, another blanket.  

This time I had hardily any time to whip one up. 
Wait…. I really shouldn’t say that – handmade items are NEVER ‘just whipped up’. 
So a nice simple stitch in an easy to do and contemporary graduated stripe. This can be made in any DK yarn. I used Stylecraft Life DK in classic, but not traditional baby colours. It is one of my favourite wool mix yarns and has a real quality soft feel. What’s more it washes and wears well and doesn’t break the bank. 
 Cream, Fern and Blue Haze – Perfect for a boy ….or a girl.

This is a great project for beginners.
I’ve made an easy to follow pattern with a chart for those more visually inclined, plus a guide to the graduated stripe pattern.
You can get it HERE

US Version
UK Version

Here Comes Christmas…… Fluoro Flakes

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Did anyone just mention Christmas?….. Yes it’s nearly here….. and, believe it or not,  I’m pretty organised this year, for a change…. At least i think I am.
Just one little thing though – my tree’s looking a bit bare… still. Every year i try to make new ornaments for it, but this year I’ve been too busy getting organised.
 I needed to give it a quick boost.
 Here’s what I came up with….

Funky crochet Christmas decorations, make your own 'Conran Shop' style tree decorations
… a slightly different twist on the crochet snowflake that, let’s face it, is everywhere these days. 
This one is has a more modern, slightly ‘Scandi meets Conran Shop” inspired twist and instead of traditional white is, yes, you guessed it…..fluoro. 
It still has that handmade quality and sits nice and quirkily on a real tree but also works with something more contemporary.  
Nice and simple, and those colours are fab. Crochets up in just two rounds. You can make a good few of them in one evening, easy peasy – and it’s still not too late. As a special Christmas treat I’ve included a free pattern.
 HERE’s how to make them.
Happy decorating.

Time to Make Warm Stuff

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I can’t believe that within the space of a week the seasons  shifted from Summer to Autumn. That quickly.
Two weeks last Thursday was hot, and I mean late 20s, but now it’s positively chilly. Ok,….it’s September, and all the signs have been there for a while – southbound geese, that familiar damp chill at the beginning and end of the day, and the mornings and evenings getting slowly darker. Yes, there’ll still be the odd sunny day…thankfully. but let’s face it – it’s time to fold away the Tshirts, and to reluctantly box away the sandals, in the realisation that the fabulous summer we’ve had this year is drawing to a close. It’s time to rifle through that Jumper drawer and panic that you have nowhere near enough woolies to see you through to the spring. Last winter was coooold and long. This year I plan on doing a lot less shivering.
It’s time to wrap up.
It’s time to get those needles and hooks going. 
It’s time to make warm stuff.
So…. where to start?…is the question. How about something small… and quick and easy. What is turning out to be THE accessory of the decade, it seems,….

 …..A nice chunky knitted cowl to start off the chilly season. The featured pattern provides instructions for a three colour stripe but can be easily changed – different colours, more stripe variations, or simply just plain. Perfect as a quick project for those with a boredom threshold like mine, ie low. Knits up in a couple of evenings and it’s versatile…. can be worn however you like. 
Looks so cozy doesn’t it. It is.
Like My Facebook page and get the Free Pattern HERE

Baby Brights….Buggy Blanket

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I’m hoping that those of you who have downloaded the pattern of the Buggy Blanket featured in my last post are enjoying making it as much as I did. In fact I enjoyed working with that particular stitch so much, I wanted to do another one straight away. It’s rather addictive, and it just so happened that one of the mums in my neighbourhood was having a baby. Another perfect excuse.
So…..as a follow on from my last post I thought I’d provide you with a new update of my latest buggy blanket to show how versatile the pattern is. I can’t believe how popular it’s been – it seems we’re well and truly ready for the new, Mid-Century-look pastels – I thought as much. 
Having said that, let’s face it – not everyone likes the softer, paler shades….so how about a different, bolder colourway? 

I am equally fond of brights and was curious to see how it would look, so I thought I’d experiment with another variation of the pattern in brighter colours.
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Here I chose some real tropical zingers. I used Stylecraft Special DK in Saffron, Aspen and Silver and King Cole Comfort Baby DK in Sorbet. They are good quality acrylic yarns, which are soft, and which wear and wash well – so important with a newborn.  This time I left out the black accent which I thought may have been a little too much in this case. I just continued with the same colour of the stripe. Works just as well. Great summer colours.


We’re midway through a heatwave in sunny London at the moment. Right now, blankets are out of the question, but heatwaves here are few and far-between and don’t last for long. The warmth of the orange yellow and turquoise-blue shades will carry nicely on through to the autumn, and beyond. 

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The beauty is that you can use any DK, or if you have a stash of 4ply you can use a double strand. For the more creative among you, the options for different stripe and colour combinations are many. What would you do? – would love to hear your ideas.
As mentioned in my previous post, I have donated this pattern to charity.

P/hop is a charity knitting/crochet project that raises funds for the emergency aid organisation Medicins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders.




Designers donate their patterns to P/hop, which are then available for you to download. The idea is that you decide the amount you wish to pay based on the amount of pleasure you get from knitting or crocheting your P/hop pattern. There is no fixed amount – it’s up to you what you pay. You can get more details HERE 

The pattern comes as a downloadable PDF with clear instructions and easy to follow charts for those of you who prefer something more visual.

Make special gift to give to a Newborn and, at the same time, turn your enjoyment of crochet into vaccines, midwives and malaria treatments . 

 Get the pattern HERE via P/HOP and adapt.

Retro Baby….Buggy Blanket

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I was recently very excited to hear that a couple of good friends of mine, old college pals, were expecting a baby. As well as being absolutely thrilled to bits for them, I’d been wanting an excuse to do a baby blanket.
These are discerning friends… and certainly no slaves to fashion or fads. This one had to be special.
I chose crochet, because, let’s face it, there’s nothing cooler at the moment than wrapping your precious little bundle in something blatantly unique and handmade. I wasn’t sure ‘Homespun’ would be their style so I decided to go for luxury, as in good quality artisan.
Most important of all – colour.  We’ve seen lot’s of lovely things done for babies in ‘brights’ over the last couple of decades, and they are still fab,…. but this time I fancied a change…..

I’m liking the growing resurgence in pastel colours, not the sugary style that instantly springs to mind  –  this time the more subtle, subdued shades including, grey, stone and all manner of creams. It coincides nicely with the rediscovery of our love of 50s and 60s vintage, and when well combined can look gorgeous.

New pastels, retro pastels, mid-century pastels,

Finding the right colours can be tricky. Yarn companies, have never been known for being at the cutting edge of fashion – although they are slowly catching up, so you have to be canny and mix ‘inter-brand’ with those of a similar weight and composition. For a yarn that’s very washable and quick to dry but which wears well and holds it’s shape nicely, a wool/acrylic mix is ideal. I used Stylecraft Life. Beautiful and soft, good quality, it comes in a nice selection of shades and is pretty reasonably priced. I chose Mint and Silver. The ice-cream yellow I wanted was a little more hard to find so I used Wendy Jubilee in Vanilla, a beautiful soft dk yarn which is the same weight and composition as the other.

Marc Jacobs A/W 2012-1013
The pattern is a bold stripe, bordered by finer bands of the same colour. with a fine black accent to give it that quirky mid-century feel. Crocheted in one of my favourite stitch styles, and similar to that used by the fabulous Marc jacobs in his Autumn/winter 2012- 13 collection. A small pompom on each corner gives a nice luxury finish. Check out this fabulous simple tutorial from ‘I Like Big Bows‘ on how to make mini pompoms
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Measuring approx 78cm x 76cm it’s the perfect portable size cover for the buggy, and for carrying around. 
Its lace-like construction makes it a light cover in the summer months, but thick enough to slip inside the foot-muff for extra warmth when the weather gets colder.
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I don’t get the chance, very often, these days, to give to charity, but I do try to as often as I can. In these times of austerity our charities are struggling more than ever to raise much needed funds, and so I have decide to donate this pattern to a worthy cause.

P/hop is a charity knitting/crochet project that raises funds for the emergency aid organisation Medicins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders.




Designers donate their patterns to P/hop, which are then available for you to download. The idea is that you decide the amount you wish to pay based on the amount of pleasure you get from knitting or crocheting your P/hop pattern. There is no fixed amount – it’s up to you what you pay. You can get more details HERE 

The pattern comes as a downloadable PDF with clear instructions and easy to follow charts for those of you who prefer something more visual.

Make special gift to give to a Newborn and, at the same time, turn your enjoyment of crochet into vaccines, midwives and malaria treatments . 

 Get the pattern HERE via P/HOP



For the fabulous origami bow pictured above, you can find the instructions at :-
http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-bow.html

Back into the woods….Bear Hat no.2

I can’t believe we’re already heading into Winter. Seems like only weeks since we were looking forward to the Summer.
Now the days are getting shorter and colder over here in the northern hemisphere I thought it would be nice to give you another version of my Bear Hat… let’s call it an update.

Cosy Knitted Bear Hat, Bear Trapper Hat, Bear Hat pattern
This one is a slightly different fit to suit the style and a little more versatile – possibly more suitable for a boy as well as a girl, having said that, a few older girls – even women have  expressed a keen interest.

I’m sticking with the the double strand of fur/eyelash and 4ply yarn as it’s such an excellent combo for cold weather  – not heavy and ultra warm, with the Trapper style flap this time, to keep those little ears cosy. Well, I say little ears – it comes in sizes up to adult. Who says only the kids should get to wear the fun stuff?

It knits up on big needles in only a couple of evenings, and makes a great pressie. There’s plenty of time to start making them for Christmas.
Watch out for the 120g pack of eyelash yarn in your local UK 99p Store. It crops up every now and again  – an offer far too good to miss.

Hat can be made to order. For information contact thredHED