A pastel Sunburst blanket for my new baby niece!

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Making blankets for babies is probably my favourite thing to crochet – in fact it was the first thing I ever crocheted, a giant granny square blanket for my future baby before I was even pregnant! There’s just something lovely about making a blanket to keep them warm and cosy after their arrival into the world, and I love giving them as presents to friends and family.  So when I found out I was going to be an Aunty again I think one of the first questions I had for my sister was ‘Have you got a colour scheme in mind? What kind of blanket would you like?’


Soft pastels of cream, yellow, pink and blue were decided on, and I had been itching to make a blanket in Scheepjes Stonewashed yarn so this was the perfect opportunity! The yarn is 70% cotton, 30% acrylic – it’s lovely and soft whilst also being durable and perfect for babies.  I opted for the XL weight (Aran I believe) – thicker yarn equals larger squares and that means you don’t have to make quite as many 😉 The colours I chose were Moonstone for the main background colour, then Citrine (yellow), Rose Quartz (pink) and Amazonite (blue). The stonewashed effect of this yarn is lovely and gives it a soft, almost vintage look.  I used a 5mm hook and the quantities I used were:

Moonstone: 11 balls

Citrine, Rose Quarts and Amazonite: 2 balls of each


The three colours meant as I was using 2 colours per Sunburst (the inner circle and adjacent round) that I could make six colour combinations e.g. Pink middle with yellow, yellow middle with blue, blue middle with pink etc. I then made 8 of each of these colourways giving me 48 squares, making a blanket 6×8 squares.


I also tried out my new blocking board for the first time with great success- it just makes them a bit more pointed and gives a slightly neater finish.


To join them I used SC (or DC in U.K. terms) with the right sides together, it gives a nearly invisible join on the front, with a ridge on the back which I quite like. I joined them all in strips horizontally and then vertically as well.  I wanted a fairly simple border, so first of all I did a round of SC in Moonstone, and where the squares met I made a hdc instead as I find there’s sometimes a bit of a dip and this bring it into line for a nice straight edge. I followed this with a hdc round in Rose Quartz before adding a shell border in yellow.



The measurements of my finished product blanket were 75cm x 98cm (including the border) with each square being approx 11 x 11cm.


And I couldn’t resist making a little toy to go with it…unicorn pattern by Kornflake Stew, made in Stylecraft Special DK, with Debbie Bliss Odin for the hair!✨🦄


I hope you like them little Kovah Willow, love Aunty Holly xxx

Christmas Crochet Wishlist 2016

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Christmas is fast approaching – I can’t wait, it’s my favourite time of year and so much fun now with the children, and it’ll be Milo’s first Christmas so even more reason to celebrate!

I get asked a lot by friends and family for Christmas present ideas, most don’t have a clue about crochet. So I thought I’d do a blog post with some crochet christmas present ideas that might interest people, not just my friends and family but maybe yours too (send them the link!)  I did a similar post a couple of years ago and it was really popular so I thought I’d do an update for 2016. I want to point out none of this is sponsored at all – it’s my own genuine opinion on some great crafty gift ideas.

Let’s start with the basics….you can’t beat some good crochet hooks.  My personal favourites are the Clover Amour ones (I’d be lost without my trusty purple 4mm!).  They cost about £6 each and would be perfect popped into a stocking or as a set.

 

Another crochet staple is yarn….where do I begin! There are some great yarn colour packs or CAL (crochet along) kits available on sites such as Wool Warehouse, Love Crochet, Deramores etc.  These are great as they contain all the yarn and usually a pattern to make a project like a blanket.  Alternatively, and this is my current guilty pleasure….hand dyed yarn! This comes in skeins and is so beautiful and unique. It’s usually produced on a small scale by individuals, some of my current favourites are by Kate Selene and Norah George Yarns – check out this gorgeous example below! (Yarn and photo by Kate Selene)

   

Another idea is a subscription box.  There’s haberdashery ones out there, and sock yarn subscription boxes, but my absolute favourite (and which I have subscribed to for the past year) is Little Box of Crochet.  There is a different project each month created by a guest designer and in your pretty box you get everything you need to make it – yarn, hook, stitch marker and usually some little extras.  Here’s a pic of November’s box, a perfectly autumnal wreath designed by Just Pootling. One-off boxes are available in their shop or why not get a subscription and have a box of loveliness pop through your door each month!IMG_5221.JPG

If there’s a particular aspect of crochet you want to learn, if you want to brush up on your skills or if you’re a total beginner, crochet workshops make great presents.  I’ve both been gifted and also run crochet workshops and there’s usually someone nearby that runs them.  I can’t not mention my fabulous friend Jane at Tea & Crafting in London for any of you living in the capital (they run a whole variety of craft classes) and I’m currently putting some together in Sherborne at The Slipped Stitch for any of you who might live down here in Dorset. But wherever you live, ask at your local yarn shop or look out for knit & natter groups – many of whom crochet as well as knit, there’s plenty of people running lessons out there.  Not crochet related but there’s a fantastic local quilting course I’ve been dropping big hints about to my hubby 😉

Crochet books are another great idea – it’s worth checking if there’s a particular one your recipient is after but here are a few of my well-loved favourites as well as some I’m putting on my Christmas list (I’ve linked to Amazon for ease but obviously they are available elsewhere too)

Crochet classics:

Around the Corner – Crochet Borders (by Edie Eckman)

200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans (by Jan Eaton)

For Amigurumi fans:

Edwards Menagerie

Edwards Menagerie Birds

Let’s Go Camping (by Kate Bruning)

Zoomigurumi

New this year:

Star Wars Crochet Pack

Corner to Corner Lap Throws (by Repeat Crafter Me)

Crochetterie: Cool Contemporary Crochet for the Creatively-Minded (by Molla Mills)

Alternatively how about a crochet magazine subscription- I currently subscribe to Simply Crochet which has a good range of projects and interesting articles with designers I admire and I love it arriving each month and sitting down with a cup of tea to read it.

Lastly how about a new crochet tool….there’s not as many crochet gadgets around as I’d like but here a few tools which are useful.

A yarn swift or winder – for any skeins you buy which need to be wound into cakes first, this little gadget is quick and easy to use.

 

Some people prefer the more traditional swift design:

 

Another handy item for your craft corner is a blocking board.  These seem to have become a lot more popular this year with various independent makers out there producing them.  These beautiful wooden boards come with pre-measured holes drilled into them, enabling you to block your crochet squares to the right size and make them perfectly uniform.  DaisyBoo are a popular supplier (from what I see on Instagram), and I’ve recently ordered one for myself from an independent maker on Facebook – R Hills Wood Turner, which I’m very excited about and I can’t wait for it to arrive (mainly because I have a WIP that’s been in a project bag for a year which desperately needs blocking!)

 

Another great item is a yarn bowl.  I have a lovely one made in Cherry wood, and there are gorgeous ceramic ones out there as well.  The idea being that you put your yarn into it while you’re working and it feeds out through the hole in the side, without rolling around all over the floor while you work.  Again Etsy is a great place to shop, and one shop I can’t help swoon over is Earth Wool Fire – each bowl is a true work of art – just look at this one below! (pic by Earth Wool Fire)

 

 And finally, I couldn’t not suggest some stocking fillers…

As well as hooks, another pocket size addition could be some cute stitch markers.  Instagram favourites Korutumi Crochet and Pedros Plaques make adorable ones (and also really unique polymer clay handled hooks)

 

And how about some pompom makers! I love the Clover ones but there’s loads of brands out there and they are really affordable, cute and useful item to have (no more cutting out cardboard circles like we did at school!).

 

I hope this has given you a few ideas – I’ll be sending the link to my hubby (just in case he hasn’t noticed those huge hints).  What would you add to the list? What’s on your crochet wish list this year – I’d love to hear!

Happy shopping!

Holly x

Last Dance on the Beach Crochet-along

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I’ve seen some beautiful Crochet-along’s in the last few years but when I saw the first photos of the CAL by Scheepjes in memory of Marinke (A Creative Being) I knew I had to join in.  This isn’t the first one I’ve done (let’s not mention the Lilypond blanket I STILL haven’t finished from last year) – I think its the camaraderie and collective experience which make these special – it’s fascinating to see how different people approach the same project, especially those that have come up with their own colour ways.

The talented group of Marinke’s friends who designed the patterns put together three fabulous colour options – I was instantly drawn to the Dance in the Sea pack, a vibrant mix of green and blues, very me! But after pausing to consider it, I opted for the Dance in the Rain kit – the more neutral palette of greys, blues and browns suits our home colour scheme and there’s only so many blankets in my usual colour choices that I can have lying around the house. NThe Dance under the Stars kit was very bright and colourful and fun, and I’ve seen some gorgeous finished blankets on the Facebook group but I have to say I am definitely more in love with the cooler colours of the spectrum as opposed to the oranges and reds (maybe its because I don’t wear these colours as they clash with my red hair!)

Anyway I am so glad I ordered my kit early, this CAL proved amazingly popular and kits sold out all over the place!  I used the Colour Crafter kit which was lovely and squishy, but the merino looked gorgeous and I definitely want to work with it in the future (maybe when I don’t have small children with grubby hands! ).  The pace of this project was perfect – 4 (of the same pattern) squares each week, for 12 weeks, followed by a week for joining and a week for the border.  Producing 4 squares a week made it possible to work on other projects at the same time – I always have a multitude of projects on the go at any one time otherwise I tend to lose interest.  And thankfully that didn’t happen with this blanket! The textures and variety of patterns kept it interesting and exciting, and I couldn’t wait for the pattern release each Wednesday. So here are some pics of the squares – I ended up swapping the rib stitch square for Tinca’s square which was an alternative from the Facebook group and very pretty.

  

I chose to single crochet my squares together rather than use the flat slip stitch join…I loved the texture of the blanket and wanted a bit more of a defined divide between the squares, but I went with the border recommended – a lovely, simple linen stitch solid border – totally perfect to finish off this blanket!


And so the big reveal!….I totally love this blanket and I’m so pleased I kept up with the CAL, this is definitely a blanket to treasure. A big thank you to all the designers who were involved in this project. xx

Crochet Watermelon Cushion – pattern

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Watermelons seem to be everywhere this summer, and my lovely friend Jane from Tea & Crafting is watermelon-mad! Since last summer I know she’s been intending to make some watermelon bunting, but with two small children and her own business she (understandably) hasn’t had the time! So when a special birthday for her was coming up this year I couldn’t resist crocheting her something watermelon-related.

Here’s a really simple crochet pattern I’ve written down in case you want to make your own watermelon cushion.

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Materials:

Round 16″ cushion insert

King Cole Big Value Chunky – 1x ball each of Bright Pink, Moss and Green

6mm hook

Black toggle buttons (I used 19mm buttons)\

Black embroidery thread (to sew on buttons)

Green buttons (if you want an opening for your cushion insert so it’s removable – this is optional)

Needle for sewing in ends

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Pattern: (US terms)

Front of watermelon:

[This is worked in rounds, not a continuous spiral, so we slip stitch join at the end of each round to where we began the round]

  • Round 1: Using your pink yarn, ch3 (counts as a stitch) and then HDC into the 3rd chain from your hook.  Do this 6 more times (into the same chain) which will give you 8 stitches in total. Join with a slip stitch to the chain at the start of the round (Do this at the end of each round).
  • Round 2: Ch2, HDC into same stitch.  2HDC into each stitch, and join with a slip stitch to the 2ch at the start. (16 stitches)
  • Round 3: Ch2 (counts as HDC), HDC in same stitch. 1 HDC in next stitch, *2HDC, 1 HDC* until end (24 stitches)
  • Round 4: Ch2, HDC in next stitch, 2HDC in next stitch, *HDC in the next 2 stitches, 2xHDC in the next stitch* until end (32 stitches)
  • Round 5: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 3 stitches, *2xHDC, HDC in next 3 stitches* until end (40 stitches)
  • Round 6: Ch2 (counts as a HDC), HDC in next 3 stitches, 2HDC, *HDC in next 4 stitches, 2HDC* until end (48 stitches)
  • Round 7: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 5 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 5 stitches* until end (56 stitches)
  • Round 8: Ch2, HDC in next 2 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 6 stitches*, (until last 4 stitches) 2HDC, HDC in last 3 stitches (64 stitches)
  • Round 9: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 7 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 7 stitches* until end (72 stitches)
  • Round 10: Ch2, HDC in next 3 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 8 stitches* until last 5 stitches, 2HDC, HDC in last 4 stitches (80 stitches)
  • Round 11: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 9 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 9 stitches* until end (88 stitches)
  • Round 12: Ch2, HDC in next 4 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 10 stitches* (until last 6 stitches), 2HDC, HDC in last 5 stitches (96 stitches)
  • Round 13: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 11 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 11 stitches* until end (104 stitches)
  • Round 14: Ch2, HDC in next 5 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 12 stitches*, (until last 7 stitches), 2HDC, HDC in the last 6 stitches (112) Change to light green (moss) yarn
  • Round 15: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 13 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 13 stitches* until end (120 stitches)
  • Round 16: Ch2, HDC in next 6 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 14 stitches* HDC in last 7 stitches (128 stitches)   Change to dark green (Green) yarn
  • Round 17: Ch2, HDC in same stitch, HDC in next 15 stitches, *2HDC, HDC in next 15 stitches*

Reverse/Back of watermelon:

Using the same pattern above, use light green yarn for Round 1, then change to dark green for rounds 2-17.

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You will have two circles of the same size (check that they reach the seams of your cushion insert when you lay them over it – they should reach if you stretch them a bit.  If they are too small, add another round of dark green)

To add the pattern to the back of the watermelon (light green lines, as in picture above) insert your hook into the hole at the centre of the circle and pull up a loop of light green yarn.  You are then going to chain stitch to the edge, so insert your hook again a couple of rounds up and pull up a loop and go through the loop on your hook.  Keep the yarn under cushion while you work and finish off when you get to the end, but don’t pull too tight as it will pinch the edge of the circle in.  Leave an end to weave in.  I did this 6 times to make the lines radiating out from the centre as above.

At this point stitch your black toggles onto the front of the cushion using black embroidery thread.  I’ve used 5 but you can add as many as you like, alternatively large black sequins would look good.

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Weave in ends.

 

Joining the sides together:

The sides of your cushion are joined by single crocheting them together (or DC in UK terms).  You can either join all the way round, or if you want the cushion pad to be removable, join 3/4 of the way round and then create buttonholes on one side only (see pic below).  Space these according to how many buttons you want to use.

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I wanted a neat finish so joined all the way round mine.  With the wrong sides together, join your dark green yarn, ch1 and then SC through both loops of both the front and back pieces of your cushion (going under 4 loops in total – see picture below), continue to SC all the way round, join with a slip stitch, finish off and weave in ends.

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And voila! One very cute, bright and tropical watermelon cushion!

Happy Birthday Jane and I hope you like your cushion!xxx

Eat Sleep Love 

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This morning I spent a lovely couple of hours at Eat Sleep Love in Blackheath.  Their Blogger’s Breakfast was a great opportunity to meet some local mums and of course check out this new baby and nursery store! 

  
I remember being pregnant the first time round and dragging my heavily pregnant self to John Lewis to try and test drive some prams. Now don’t get me wrong, I love John Lewis…but the baby section at Bluewater is busy! You end up loitering while waiting for a sales assistant to become free, which is fine, but when you’re heavily pregnant with swollen ankles you really can’t be doing with it and it turns into a struggle rather than an enjoyable experience.

This is why I think Eat Sleep Love is onto a winner – it’s a by appointment consultancy, where you can browse the whole shop by yourselves, test out the prams, furniture and baby carriers, and have Laura and her team’s experience and full attention. Don’t worry I’m not being paid to write this I just think it is a brilliant idea and wish it had been around when I was pregnant!

They have also handpicked a great selection of baby and nursery accessories…here’s some of my favourites…

    (Well I think this was Pip’s favourite!)

  Some very cute toy storage by 3 Sprouts!

And I really loved their knitted baby clothes! Laura’s mum hand knits them all in Baby Cashmerino ✨ (mental note to work on my knitting!)   

  
   
I couldn’t leave without buying one of the dinosaur toy baskets for Milo…well it was supposed to be for him, I think Pip might have other ideas… #secondchildproblems 

  
A big thank you to Laura from Eat Sleep Love, her team and Joolz for inviting us and making it such a child friendly (and Mummy-friendly!) morning – it’s the first event like this I’ve been to with both my little ones and it was surprisingly really relaxing (we won’t mention the baby vomit Milo…..!). A big recommendation from me to other mums and mums-to-be 💗

  

 

Crochet Easter Basket

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I love Easter – I’m not religious, but for our family it’s an opportunity to do lots of craft activities with Pip, and means that Spring is on it’s way and the weather will soon be a bit warmer – fingers crossed….no sign of it yet!

This year we don’t have any major plans but we will be joining some of our friends for a walk around Greenwich Park.  Pip loves the idea of the Easter Bunny so this year she’s going to don some bunny ears and give out some eggs to our friends…giving me the perfect excuse to make her a little Easter basket! 

I’ve developed a bit of an addiction to t-shirt yarn, it’s fantastic for bowls and baskets, I’ve even used it to make a rug. Zpaghetti is one of my favourite brands but I couldn’t resist buying some Scheepjes Noodle Print yarn recently.  They have some great designs but their floral ones are perfect for spring and Easter.  

So here’s a picture of the Easter basket I’ve created, I wanted it to have a rounded bottom (all the better for storing more eggs) and not be too large as Pip is only little, so it has to be manageable to carry.

  

Here is my free pattern in case anyone wants to make a similar one 🙂 

Crochet Easter Basket Pattern:

Yarn:

Colour 1: I used a blue shade of Hoooked Zpaghetti

Colour 2: Scheepjes Noodle Print (floral)

I used a 10mm hook.
(US terms, if you are using UK terms do a double crochet instead of what I’ve called single crochet here)

Make a magic ring using colour 1, 6 single crochet into the ring and tighten (6 stitches)

  1. 2sc into each stitch – make sure you place a stitch marker in your first stitch (12)
  2. Sc in first stitch, then 2sc in the next. Repeat *sc, 2sc* around. (18)
  3. Sc in each stitch (18)
  4. Sc in each of the first two stitches, then do 2sc in the next. Repeat around (24)
  5. Sc in each of the next three stitches, then 2sc in the next stitch – repeat around (30)
  6. Sc in each stitch around (30)
  7. Sc in first four stitches then 2sc in the next, repeat around. (36)
  8. Sc in first five stitches then 2sc in the next, repeat around (42)
  9. Sc in each stitch around (42)
  10. Sc in each stitch around – do not complete final stitch, instead after pulling up a loop, finish the stitch using your other colour yarn (this is the point of colour change)
  11. Sc in first five stitches, then sc two together (sc2tog) – repeat around (36)
  12. Sc in first four stitches, then sc2tog, repeat around (30)
  13. Sc in each stitch (30)

To make the handle:

From where you are on the round, Ch 20 (if you want a longer or shorter handle then just adjust the chain length), slip stitch to join in the 15th stitch around from where you currently are (it will be opposite where the chain started).

Once joined, continue to sc around the basket until you get to where the chain started. Then 20sc around the chain you previously made (this thickens and strengthens the handle). Once done, continue around the other side of the bowl with sc.

Finish off and weave in your ends.
I hope this is straight forward to follow but any questions please do leave me a comment below, and if you do make one using this pattern I would love to see it, so do send me a picture or tag me on Instagram (@holly_pips)

Xx

Green Granny Circles Blanket

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Well hello 2016! I’ve finally managed to find a bit of time to write a new blog post – Christmas and New Year are always busy but on the 2nd of January little Milo arrived! One day late (he obviously didn’t want a New Years birthday) and he’s now 7 weeks old! 

  
So understandably there’s not been as much time for crochet but I have managed to squeeze in a bit here and there.

My best friend’s little boy turns 1 this month and as a birthday present I wanted to make him a blanket – big enough for his cot or for snuggling on the sofa.  My friend’s only request was that it be green to match his new room when they move house, so I started having a think about how I could combine lots of different shades to make a pretty, but boyish blanket.

One pattern I love is granny circles.  Now I know I’m not the first person to do these and I’m pretty sure they must be called something else but this is what I’ve always known them as, and after having a look around I couldn’t find the pattern written down anywhere so I thought I’d write it down here for anyone who is interested. These aren’t sunburst squares as they don’t use puff/cluster stitches.

  

   

(Please excuse my slightly wonky square!)
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Granny circle pattern: (US terms)

Chain 5, slip stitch to join into a foundation ring.

Chain 3 (counts as dc), 11 DC into the ring. Slip stitch join to top of ch3 (12 stitches)

Change colour, join new colour between any two dc’s. Chain 3, dc in the same space. 2 dc in the next space along, and continue around with 2dc’s in every space. Slip stitch join to top of ch3 at start of round (24 stitches)

Change colour, join in any gap between the pairs from the previous round (ie not in between two stitches themselves). Chain 3 (counts as dc) 2dc into same place making a cluster of three. 3dc into next gap and continue around, slip stitch to join as before.

This is really easy to remember as its 1-2-3. Individual stitches on the first round, then groups of 2, then groups of 3. I guess there’s nothing to stop you continuing this pattern if you wanted to make them larger e.g. groups of 4 then 5 etc, although I’ve not tried this myself. 

Nb. I dont ch1 between clusters as you do with granny squares, just move along to the next space and continue.

To square off the circle, join the colour that you want to be your joining colour – I used one colour to join all my squares (in this case Stylecraft Special DK in Stone) – in between clusters.  Ch3, then 2dc in same space. 3dc in next space along. Then 3tr in the next space (this will be a corner), ch3, then 3tr again into the same space. 3dc into the next two spaces then repeat the corner. Continue around ending with a corner, then slip stitch to join back to the start.

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For this blanket I used the following shades of Stylecraft Special DK

– Duck egg, Sage, Storm Blue, Pistachio, Lime, Grass Green, Kelly Green, Mocha, Walnut, and Stone. (One ball of each apart from 2x Kelly Green and 3x Stone)

With a 4mm hook.

The new shades from Stylecraft are lovely,particularly the Kelly Green (the dark green you can see in the pics). I added the browns to break it up a bit, and because I thought a totally green blanket might be a bit much…I may be wrong of course 😉 

This blanket is made up of 120 squares (10×12) so I put together 12 different colour combos for the rounds and made 10 of each. With little crochet time at the moment (2 children under 3) I found it easiest to make them up in batches of the same colours and try and get a group of 10 done each evening. Of course sewing in the ends takes the most time!

  

  
Once completed I used join-as-you-go to join them all up row by row.  In hindsight I should have done a continuous j-a-y-g and saved myself time sewing in even more ends….

  
But anyway after a few evenings joining them together I was ready for my favourite part – the border! Firstly I did a round of sc in Stone to neaten up the edges (this meant it blended in neatly), followed by hdc rounds in graduating green shades – Pistachio, Sage, Lime, Grass Green and Kelly Green. This gives a nice solid edge and brought the emphasis back to green after using Stone as the main joining colour.  For the final round I wanted something a bit special. I narrowed it down to leaf edging, bobbles/pompoms or a simple picot.

  

Leaf edging – *sc, skip 2, 4tr, picot, 4tr, skip 2*

Pompom edging pattern from Once Upon a Pink Moon

The picot edge was a bit simple for this blanket in my view, and while I would happily add a Pompom edge to nearly anything (they’re just so cute!) as this is for a one-year old I think it would have just resulted in lots of fingers and toes getting stuck in the border! The leaf edging was definitely in-keeping with the green theme and a quick straw poll on Instagram told me lots of people agreed (thanks for the feedback guys!)

  
A quick block of the border later and tada! One finished Green Granny Circles blanket ready to be gifted to a very special little boy 💚

          
Finished dimensions are (inc border): 45.5″ x 37″

Crochet Christmas Stockings

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A few weeks ago my lovely sister-in-law gave me a bag of various yarn that her neighbour had passed onto her.  In return I wanted to make something for her using some of the yarn, and after I remarked that some of it was very Christmassy in colour I suggested I make her two boys a Christmas stocking each.

There’s a lot of crochet stocking patterns out there, many of them free (just take a look on Pinterest!) but once I saw this Granny Square Christmas Stocking Pattern by Maggie Wheldon on http://www.bestfreecrochet.com I knew I wanted to try it!

  
I wanted the stockings to be fairly big so I made 6-round squares (as opposed to the 3-rounds in Maggie’s pattern), doing 2x rounds in each colour (I used just less than 100g of red and green yarn, and less than half a ball of white).  It was also easier to sew the squares together than crochet them. It’s a very straight-forward pattern and the only slightly more complicated bit is fitting the heel – you’re essentially sewing the last square into a hole with three sides.  I sewed the top of the square flat with the rest of the stocking and that then meant 1.5 sides to sew on each of the down side of the squares (if that makes sense!).  This seemed strange to me initially but it gives a bit of bagginess to the heel of the stocking which looks really nice, and a bit more ‘sock-like’ than if the stocking was totally flat.

The white cuff at the top is very simple as well – as I was making a much larger version I did 12 rounds for the cuff to keep it in proportion.

  
The finishing touch for me was adding a couple of pom-poms dangling from the cuff – one medium and one small.  If you’ve not used them before I can really recommend Clover Pompom makers- they make the whole process a lot easier!

  
And tada! Two finished stockings in alternate colour-ways for my two nephews! Pip has been dropping (not at all subtle) hints that she’d like one too, so these might not be the last of these I make!

  
X

Christmas C2C Crochet Blanket

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A few weeks ago the most adorable pictures started popping up on my Instagram feed.  The very talented Sarah aka Repeat Crafter Me started releasing the patterns for her Christmas Character Afghan and while I managed to resist for a couple of weeks, I just knew I had to try out some of the squares she had written. 

I’ve made C2C blankets before but only in single colours or stripes so this was my first time making a ‘graphgan’.  Quite a few people have been asking what yarn I used and for tips on the colour changes.  I used multiple small balls for the different colours so I didn’t have to carry the yarn through too much. For some instances I did – if it was just once pixel of a colour before reverting to the other colour it’s easier to just crochet over your second colour.

  
I used Stylecraft Special DK yarn for all my squares – it’s DK thickness, and I used a 3.5mm hook.  I also did the traditional C2C method using DC (US terms, or TR in UK terms) rather than the modified version Sarah (Repeat Crafter Me) recommended. She was however using Aran yarn so as mine was thinner I opted for the normal stitch.

Here are the squares I made and the Stylecraft Special DK shades needed:

  Santa: Matador, White, Silver, Black

  Elf: Aster, Green, Matador, Gold, Soft Peach, Fondant and Black

  Snowman: Cloud blue, White, Black, Matador, Green and Spice

  Gingerbread Man: Matador, Walnut, Gold, White, Black and Green

  Rudolph: Sunshine, Walnut, Mocha, Gold, Matador. Black and White

  Sleigh: Sherbert, Matador, Sunshine, Green, White and Black

  Christmas Tree: Green, Greengage (a variegated yarn), Sunshine, Aster, Matador and Brown

  

 
Stocking: Silver, Matador, White, Green, Fondant, Claret, Aster, Sherbert and Sunshine

  Christmas Pudding: this square was designed as an alternative by Elemelo Crafts – Repeat Crafter Me designed a wreath but I already had the Christmas tree square which was very green so I chose the Christmas pudding (it’s hubby’s favourite!). Other alternatives are on RCM’s blog.  Colours for this one are: Turquoise, Brown, Matador, Green and White.  I also added in some black pixels at random to make it look like raisins in the pudding.

As suggested on Sarah’s blog I did a SC edge around each square which made joining them easier. Just when I thought the pattern couldn’t get cuter, Sarah released a header and footer banner pattern to top and tail the blanket.  Here are the pics of mine made up:

  

  
Yarn: White, Matador, Meadow, Turquoise, Sunshine and Black.

I can’t tell you quantities of yarn used as I was using up my stash but White, Matador and Green were the shades used most, and I didn’t use more than 3 balls of White and 2 balls of Matador.

Joining:

I chose to crochet my squares together – wrong sides facing each other and SC along the edge.  This gives a raised ridge join which I liked for this design.  I did this for all the squares and then to join the header and footer.  To make sure I evenly spaced the header and footer I found it helpful to use stitch markers to hold the pieces together (in theory you should have the same number of SC on both but in practice it’s tricky adding SC to C2C blocks).

  

Border:

As if the blanket wasn’t festive enough I decided to add a Candy Cane effect border! Firstly I did a round of White SC around the outside of the blanket, followed by a round of Green HDC to make the colours pop.  Then onto the Candy Cane border – I’d seen this method on Pinterest ages ago and after a bit of searching found these instructions here.  I just changed the colours to White and Matador – and also added 2 extra chains to the corner spaces to stop it curling up.  This border did make the edges of my blanket ruffle a bit (might be worth trying it with 3ch instead of 4?) but blocking sorted most of this out.

  

And Voila! Here’s my finished blanket! Pip loves it and I can’t wait for her to curl up under it at Christmas and we can watch movies together.  It’s bigger than I anticipated ( 46″x56″ ) so it’ll easily cover her bed, which is perfect for Christmas Eve!

   
 A big thank you to Sarah aka Repeat Crafter Me for designing such a brilliantly fun and festive pattern – this is going to be a Christmas heirloom in our house!x