Accessories

Crochet A Cool Rainbow Fur Cowl And Give To Charity

My daughter has a bit of a thing for rainbows so how could I resist picking up this ball of multi coloured neon fabulousness when I saw it?
rainbow yarn ideas, ombre yarn, space-dyed knitting wool
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.
Hollow Ponds, Leytonstone, London

I thought it would be good to start the New Year with something positive. 
 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.   

Modern Granny Square Blanket

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There’s nothing I like more than a special event or occasion. Weddings, births, house warming, anything that marks the beginning of a new phase of life.
In my humble opinion, special occasions require special pressies. Easier said than done, I hear you say. I agree.
Thankfully, for me, I love an excuse to get out the yarn, cloth, hooks needles, whatever just happens to be the latest making phase I’m going through, and the chance to embark on a new challenge.
What ‘s more special than something handmade – something utterly unique that no-one else has, that you just wouldn’t be able to buy, with out having to commission.  

It was a couple of lovely old friends who were tying the knot. They’d been together a while, long enough to have already established themselves as a family with two gorgeous boys of 7 and 5, and me and my little posse were thrilled to be invited to celebrate with them.

I seem to have rather an awful lot of clever, creative friends and these two are no exception. Means only one thing – they like cool stuff. Instantly the stakes are raised. Don’t get me wrong, these folk totally get ‘handcrafted’, whatever shape or form it may take, but in this case, I felt something a little more was needed. I wanted it to have a modern twist – something for both the Designer and the Artisan.

I’d been wanting to make a chunky blanket for a while. I love ’em.

I’ve been impressed by some of the beautiful patchwork ones I’d seen, spread out  across the internet, and always thought that basic granny squares was something you could do something really quite contemporary with.

1.Feathered Hues – Design seeds. 2. Ellsworth Kelly quilt – spontaneous color.  3. Colour Explosion Quilt – Sew English Rose, Folksy. 4.Bears Rainbow Blanket – The Purl Bee.

Here’s what I Did

In a wool/acrylic mix (wearability combined with washability), knitted with two strands of DK yarn. Chunky would’ve done, but the colour choice of chunky yarns is always so restricting… and for this project I wanted some full-on colour –  

a simple two row granny square.

Hundreds of them.

488 of them to be precise.
My, clever other half came up with the excellent visual effect of colours scattering from the corner – just like a mini explosion. It looks simple and random but had to be planned quite carefully, taking into account the careful mix and concentration of colours and neutrals. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work.

When all the squares were made.


they then had to be joined together,

and all the ends had to be woven in.

I can honestly say it’s probably the biggest project I’ve ever done. At times I thought I’d never finish. Anything like this is always going to be labour intensive – that’s what makes it so special. 

Three months and 2,200g of yarn later, tadahh, and what a great sense of satisfaction.

Finished off with a simple row of charcoal single crochet, thankfully I think it works.
When my young daughter saw it she said “Mum, it looks like it’s going ‘Boom”
I think that was the effect I was after…. so I called it my ‘Boom blanket’.

Here’s to Chris and Lucy.
Hope they like it 
Wishing them many more happy, cozy years.
Cheers!

No…. Don’t Put Down Those Hooks

Ok… winter has pretty much passed (dare I speak too soon). It’s May and it’s getting warmer out there. I’m now packing away my winter Jumpers. It’ll be a while before we get the urge to make warm things, although I always regret not starting much earlier than autumn.  
There’s a wealth of cool crochet out there that’s is just perfect for summer. Some great shapes – it ‘s amazing what you can do with a bit of crochet. Here are some ideas that I think are just fab –  all with patterns, some free, some not – but still great value. 
1. Love the shape of this simple but very stylish summer shell from Lion Brand
2. Cover up with this gorgeous little summer cloche from the I Love Pompoms blog.
I bet it would look great in raffia.

   

3. How fab is this idea. Lots of potential for creativity here. Lovely free picture tutorial from Genuine Mudpie
4. Found this lovely number on Crochet Kingdom. A longer version would make an excellent beech cover-up. Just think of all those bright coloured cottons out there crying out to be made into this.

5. One for the tots. Protect their little feet in the gentlest way with these cool shoes (pattern) from TwoGirlsPatterns on Etsy

6. Is this not the slickest crocheted bag you’ve ever seen? You too can make one. Get the pattern from Etsy’s IsWoolish
And there’s much, much more out there..

New Year, New Arrivals, New variation – Stripey Chukkas

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A little something for the New Year new arrivals.
 Two new versions of my Little Chukka boot…. in stripe. I’ve been dying to try a stripey version of these. Knitted in two rows of each colour – a nice stripe width, it’s also easy to change colour without floating yarn or finishing off. You may need to juggle the colour variations slightly depending on the size you make.
We’ve still got plenty of cold weather to come before the spring, so this makes a great gift.
You can find the pattern HERE.

Remembering…. Crochet Poppy

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In Flanders Fields
 John McCrae, May 1915 
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
It’s that time of year when we especially remember those people who did, and still do, make the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the lifestyle and freedom we have today.
We buy the paper Poppies and they’re great for a couple of days, but then they fall off, or get squashed and are forgotten about.
I was told some pretty disturbing tales of fighting in a war, first-hand, from my grandfather when I was young. I’m very thankful he did – they’ve stayed with me, and they give me the reality check I need when i complain about the injustice of  everyday trivialities, like my toaster not working.
Why not get yourself a bigger, blousier, in-your-face version by making this distinctive Crochet Poppy corsage. It’s pretty easy for anyone who has a basic knowledge of crochet. The pattern I’ve devised provides written instructions, also step-by-step, photo instructions and stitch charts for the more visually inclined. It’s not free, but that is so that I can donate the proceeds to the British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Doing it this way not only makes more of a statement, but saves wasting paper and manufacturing on a new Poppy, and uses up yarn that may otherwise be thrown away. You can wear it year after year , although PLEASE, when you do, make sure you give your usual donation.

The Poppy can also be used as an embellishment, or in other decorative ways.

You can get my Poppy crochet pattern HERE

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. 

Baby blanket in bright colours, alternative colour baby blanket pattern
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

Keep ’em Cosy…Girls Legwarmers

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Okay, so it’s March, and great – yes, spring is definitely on it’s way, but here in the UK that doesn’t really mean too much weatherwise. It can still be really quite cold. Just last Tuesday we had a corker of a day. Beautiful sunshine – a real teaser of summer days to come. It was great..everyone was out…off to the park, tidying up their front gadens. Those of you who live in my lovely East London neighbourhood, that strange woman you saw skipping down the street – that was me. That’s how chuffed I was to see the sun. …..But, and it’s a big but, I did say it was a teaser. It’s now damp and drizzly…and cold…we’ve had snow this week, and it’s not forecast to warm up any time soon. Argggghhh. Just when you thought it was time to cast off those woollies. Stop right there – what were you thinking?
Even more keen to embrace the shedding of the clothes are our little ones. Now they’ve had a taste of that sunshine, they don’t want to wear their boots anymore. There’s no point replacing the tights they’ve already grown out of because they’re not going to fit next year either. So here’s a simple free pattern to cover that gap between legging and socks and to keep their little ankles cosy. Kiddies legwarmers. The simplest of patterns – knits up quickly in any DK yarn, looks great, and is a good pattern for beginners. Can be knitted on normal or circular needles – whichever you choose. The number of rows and stitches are the same – only diiference is a seam to sew up at the end, which is pretty straightforward. The pattern is to fit a 3-5 or a 6-8 yr old. See pattern for details.
 Pictured here in one of my current favourite funky fluoros.  Those colours are here to stay for a while so use ’em and abuse ’em.

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This style is knitted in New Fashion DK by Woolcraft in shade ‘Melon’.

An Old Favourite……..Girls Crochet Snood

Hats, scarves and all manner of accessories are now beginning to appear everywhere and I’ve noticed that the seasonal renewed enthusiasm for knitting and crocheting woolies is starting to build momentum, so I thought it would be a good time to post this. I’ve been meaning to for a while now but somehow it didn’t seem right when it was 21 degrees, even though I knew there would be people shivering on the other side of the world.
Anyway, here it is….. the junior version of my oh-so-basic crocheted snood, which I featured on my blog last year with every intention of providing a pattern. The adult version has been very popular and I’ve had a good few requests for the version for little ones that I pictured in the original post. It is crocheted in the latest chunky style and knitted in a circle so there are no seams to sew up et the end. Super quick and easy to make and great for beginners. Can be made up in as little as just one evening.

The kids snood (or cowl or tube scarf as they are otherewise known) is starting to hit the streets and the shops. It’s perfect for cosying up the lttle one as the journey to school gets colder, and so practical – no fastenings or bits flapping around and so easy to take on and off.

..And here’s an idea for something a little bit more quirky. Fluoro accessories are super-trending this season. Why not make it up in fluorescent yarn – there are some great neon-yarn colours out there at the moment, and let’s face it – no one can carry off these brights better than our little ones.
The pattern may be adjusted for variations in width and depth and best of all it’s still freeeeee…
Here it is…….
Click Here For Pattern

Item can be made to order. For information contact thredHED