African Flower Blanket 🌸

I love crocheting African Flowers – they’re such a pretty design, and I’ve made a whole host of Heidi Bears designs using them – they’re also quick and easy to make in batches. 

My latest blanket is destined for a new baby girl, and they wanted something in pale grey, pink and white – we added in a pale yellow too as I find this design works best with four colours.

I used Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran yarn in Stormy Grey (4 balls), Blush Pink, Banana Cream, and Paper White (1.5 balls of each).

As the blanket is 6×6 squares I made them in batches of 6 at a time, with each group having a different colour combo in the middle/petals. By doing them in batches I managed to get this whole blanket completed in 2 weeks – a good job too as the baby has arrived!


If you’re looking for a good pattern to square off your African Flowers I can recommend this Made in K-Town blog post.

I didn’t get time to measure it before it was collected but it came out roughly 1 metre square and was lovely and cosy due to the Aran thickness.


For the joining I used a flat slip stitch join which have a nice neat finish. I went down a hook size to do the border (I used 5mm for the squares and then a 4.5mm for the border) which was made up of a row of double crochet (sc if you’re using US terms) but making htr’s (hdc) into the point where the squares join. I then followed this with a round of htr in the back loops only, of white, then yellow, then pink.

Anyway here’s hoping it is very loved in its new home, and keeps baby V all warm and snuggly….

‘Colourful Crochet’ Blog Tour

Welcome to the Colourful Crochet blog tour!

Last month the lovely Marianne (aka @marretjroos on Instagram and the lady behind the maRRose blog) asked me if I’d possibly like to review her brand new book – how could I refuse?!


Marianne’s new book ‘Colourful Crochet’ is an absolute delight. It has more than 20 new crochet projects, ranging from lovely cushions for the home, snuggly baby blankets and also fun items of clothing. Unlike some other books, these are all projects I would actually make and have in my home – there’s no ‘filler’ projects in there making up page numbers.

As the title suggests the projects are bright, colourful and cheery, interspersed with photos of the super smiley Marianne modelling her creations – it can’t fail but a bring a smile to your face!

The project that particularly caught my eye was Marianne’s ‘Inez’ Hexagon Blanket. Her colour choices are superb (you can see it on the front cover of her book) but what I really like is that she’s used a join-as-you-go puff stitch to join the hexagons together.  I’ve used join-as-you-go before but never with puff stitch and I think the effect it gives is brilliant. I’ve given it a go with a palette of purples but this pattern is so versatile it could be used with any colours and any size yarn.


The pattern instructions in the book are very clear and concise, and are all marked with a skill level of Easy/Intermediate/Challenging, so there really is something for everyone.


Some other favourites from the book (which have been added to my extremely long list of projects I want to make) are the chunky circular Boho cushion, the beautifully textured cobblestone blanket, and the stunning geometric triangle blanket.

Colourful Crochet is now available to buy on Amazon here – but Marianne has given me an extra copy to give away to one of you lovely lot! So to be in with a chance of winning pop over to my Instagram page to enter!

Wishing you all a colourful week!

Xxx

A pastel Sunburst blanket for my new baby niece!

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

Last Dance on the Beach Crochet-along

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

Crochet Easter Basket

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

Crochet Christmas Stockings

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

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

Winter Sunshine Blanket

As you may know there’s exciting news in our house – we’re expecting an addition to the family….a little brother for Pip! So this summer has been spent on DIY, moving rooms around and very little blogging!

I did manage to get a weekend to myself and booked myself on to a crochet retreat – a whole weekend of crochet with fellow crocheters…bliss! And as part of the weekend there was ALOT of yarn supplied.  I have to admit this was part of the attraction, and it was also great to try out different brands which I haven’t used before.  Which is how my latest blanket came about.

Baby boy is due New Years Day (yep….really) and while it’s a nice and festive time of year, here in the UK it can also mean lots of wet, windy, cold grey days.  So I decided to make a bright, happy blanket for the little guy, to bring a bit of sunshine to those grey days when we’re out walking with the pram.

I’ve also ways loved the Sunburst pattern, and when I saw the Paton’s yarn at the retreat I knew these were the colours for me.  

The yarn is Paton’s Merino Extrafine Aran. It’s gorgeous and squishy and I love the bright colours.  Using the three blue shades I alternated the order to make six different sunburst rounds, and made six of each, for a blanket of 6×6.  I then did the final round in the bright sunshine yellow to square them off, before joining them with a pale grey.  This join is done by SC (US term) the rows together with wrong sides facing which gives a ridge effect on the front of the blanket.  I joined them all horizontally and then vertically to keep the process simple.

  

  
Onto the border….I wanted to add some size to it and use the existing colours – here’s the border order:

HDC round in grey, DC light blue, DC turquoise, DC royal blue, DC yellow and then finished off by going round one final time this time with crab stitch (also known as reverse SC) in yellow, which gives a nice solid edge.

  
This finished dimensions are  27″x 27″ and I used a 4.5mm hook.  

  

   
   

I’m so pleased with the finished blanket and I can’t wait to wrap the little guy up in it this winter!

X