Tag Archives: Pattern

shawl 1 hand dyed by Kate

Happy New Year

Hello everyone,

So after the Christmas Market at Lee Valley, and for the past 6 months or so I have been very busy designing.  However it was time to decide how to publish this set of patterns and to give myself a deadline.  Initially I had thought of just publishing a book.  That would mean that I would have to have all the shawls made and photographed, , tested, tech edited, and laid out before I could publish.

Now one of the stitch groups that I belong to had just finished a Mystery KAL (knitalong) set of 6 shawls, they had got very excited when each one came along, and loved the finding of  yarns that were suitable after being given clues, either new purchases or from stash diving, and enjoyed the challenge of completing each in the month so that they were ready for the next one!

Shawl 1 commercial yarn

Shawl 1 – Commercial yarn

Claire and Jess really encouraged me to think about my shawls, so I have decided to to a similar thing.  I will be releasing 1 shawl each month on the first Thursday of the month starting in February.  They will be release as digital downloads via Ravelry.  for various techy reasons Ravelry works best for this.  This will be completed with the final shawl being released on 1st July, and the final (physical) book to be published on the 1st August.

Stephen West shawl

Stephen west shawl from Ravelry

The whole process has been really exciting, I have been inspired by knitted shawls, particularly Stephen Wests’, and the fade types, which seem really popular at the moment,  indeed I started with 6 basic shapes and ideas, and that has changed significantly over the time I have been designing them!

The shawls vary from 1 skein to 3 skein, use basic stitches, treble crochet, double crochet, slst, etc, with some little tweaks.  They start easier and become more challenging further along the journey.

I will be with you all the way. I will be publishing some technique videos – exclusive to subscribers (once I have worked out how to!) I will be visiting Ravelry daily to answer any queries on the discussion boards, there will be wonderful prizes too from my collaborators!

Some of my subscribers shawls will be pictured in the final book, because I would like everyone to see how different colour choices can really effect the final shawl.

My testers have been very enthusiasitc about the designs, and my hope is that you love them too.  To subscribe head over to Ravelry following  this linky  or click on this button to

I have had great fun designing these and purchasing yarns/collaborating with some fabulous hand dyers, I have used variously – Hand dyed by Kate, EasyKnits, Gamercrafting, Baby Long Legs, Skein Queen, as well as commercial yarns

Shawl 1 Caron Cake in pink

Shawl 1 – Caron Cake

The first shawl will require 1 x 100g skein of 4ply weight – sock, fingering, hand dyed or commercial all will produce a lovely shawlette. This pattern has also been written for and tested on Aran weight specifically using a Caron cake, 200g, which gives you a lovely chunky feel.  I now have a sale on Caron Cakes and a free shipping code if you sign up to the MCAL.

Further clues will be released soon wink

Christmas Baubles

10 Christmas Baubles Booklet

I have just finished writing a book(let), there is a sense of relief and panic, when you finally click that order now button! I have decided not to look again at my pdf, one; because I do not want to see if there are any errors and two; because there is nothing I can do now  if I do find an error!

I have been writing and editing madly over the last week and crocheting loads of Christmas baubles – The booklet will be available after Friday, and the first peeps to get a look will be at the Tapestry Crochet Christmas Bauble course on Saturday at Crates of Wool.

Christmas Bauble of a tree

Christmas Tree Bauble

This is the first time I have published a proper book – or booklet…  I typed into Google when does a booklet become a book (When it grows up – was one of the genuine answers!) hmm I think I will call it a book… it has 22 pages, 10 charted patterns, and various tutorials including how to make a magic ring, how to change colours and the invisible decrease.

I am also looking forward to the course on Saturday (10am) – there are a couple of places left,and you only need to know how to make a chain, and double crochet, it helps if you are fairly confident with holding the yarn, as you will have to hold two different colours at the same time!  All the materials will be supplied, you will need to bring a 3.5mm crochet hook, although I can lend you one if you need it!

holding yarn for christmas baubles

Holding 2 colours of yarn

There are a couple of places left, its only £18 and you get mince pies too! so contact Brigid at Crates of Wool either by email brigid@cratesofwool.co.uk or call her on 01920 463436 to confirm your place.

See you soon!



Rainbow Project Bag CAL

Had to get on the Blog today as I am really excited about a design I created for Women’s Weekly, the Rainbow Project Bag, being featured as a Mini CAL (Crochet along) on Facebook!

You can follow the link here Rainbow Project Bag CAL. It is a closed group, but I am an admin on the page so can add peeps, I will also be keeping up with the questions.

I didn’t manage to take many photos of this project, but I have dug out my original samples, and the yarn that was used, and will be making the square again.

The Rainbow bag is a cube shape, with 4 sides made from the motif square and a double crochet square base, which are all crocheted together.  Then a border is made around the top of the bag, and the handle grows from the border.

The motif square looks tricky but isn’t really as it  is essentially a 5 row repeat.  there is a twist, in that the bobble row is worked from the wrong side so that they pop out and look – well bobbly!

I am also really excited to see other peoples take on this bag.  At the moment it is only available as a pack from the knitting network – please note I am not receiving any credit for the affiliate links!

*Updated to say that the pattern is available on its own, from the knitting network here

Happy New Year

Happy New year to all, have you made any New Year resolutions?  Have they been broken already?  I decided quite a while ago that New Year Resolutions were a bit of a misnomer, we can resolve to do something at any time of year.  It is just that a new year gives (some of us) a blank slate – It cant be as bad as last year…  this year I will – loose weight…   go to the gym…   learn a new skill…  quit smoking/drinking… of course there is nothing wrong in these, just that we so often fail, and then think that we can’t start again till next year – in reality we can start again the very next day!

But of course we should know that we can do this at any time.  For example I was told that I couldn’t have an operation on my shoulder as my blood sugars were too high.  So I quit sugar (I’m not an angel – I always start with good intentions) I have maintained this – at the moment.  But I started quitting sugar on the 16th July, it is a constant battle – I love chocolate! – but if I do have a bit, I try to make sure it is small, and if I have a bad day (I check my sugar daily now) then the next day I try to be extra good.

It is the same with the business as in personal life, we can start with the greatest of intentions and then ‘life’ gets in the way, I have never understood that, life is everything we do so we are just living it!

Working at home doing something I love to do, makes the blurring of the edges of business vs life even harder.  At the end of last year I did a month of Full time teaching in Primary school.  I decided after that (a resolution of sorts) that I did not want to go back to full time teaching.  I am much happier doing a couple of days a week.  or odd days of supply.  I also decided that I needed to earn more money doing the things that I do love to do, teach crochet, and design awesome patterns that are accessible to beginners, and which use as little sewing up as possible!  I also enjoy going to wool shows to exhibit, and pass on my passion about crochet.

Waltham Abbey Wool ShowOf course at this time of year my focus is on the Waltham Abbey Wool Show.  As part of our business it is one of the best parts of the year.  Kate and I are really excited about this year being our biggest and best show yet.  Dedri Uys is opening the show and judging the competition, as well as launching her new Sophies Universe book.  We have 10 new exhibitors along with over 30 favourites.  Nine workshops, free skein winding, and a new Charity – Knit for Peace, so lots to see and do.

So I have decided to blog more regularly, post more tutorials, and lots more patterns – I have quite a few in the pipeline, I’ve just got to get busy making samples, testing and publishing the patterns.

I have also been reading more about business, how to succeed, so will be putting some of that to the test too.

I hope you will join me on the journey.



Am I a crochet designer?

I have been thinking about this for a while, and when I introduce myself at meetings and other places, what my job title is…am I a crochet designer?

I teach – Primary school Supply, but also crochet classes and workshops, at Missenden Abbey, Ally Pally, Olympia and Woman’s Weekly.

I write and design courses and workshops for crochet

I design patterns – this year for Women’s Weekly, DMC, Inside Crochet, Lets Knit and King Cole.

I write – this blog

I preach – I have been visiting different churches this year.

I have an online shop.

I am one of the two organisers of the Waltham Abbey Wool Show.

Since I had to design some business cards this week, I had to make a decision… Crochet Designer, Blogger and Teacher, kinda sums it all up,

I love the excitement of designing, I love receiving a brief and then some yarn, and turning it into something gorgeous, or starting from an idea/lovely yarn, to produce something that inspires me! I don’t mind the writing of the pattern, once I get started (procrastination is something I always work hard to defeat!) but quite like some of the technical work!

Sometimes I wonder about the designer bit, but I have been published in lots of magazines, and two yarn companies, so I can’t be that bad!  Or is this the typical British way of self depreciating what we do?  This year I have designed – A rug in chunky cotton, A blanket in aran weight merino, A rainbow granny square blanket, A motif cushion cover, a top and cardigan in 4ply cotton, A pair of rag dolls, a motif square bag. A cotton baby blanket, a tunisian crochet jacket and I am also planning an easter rabbit (I know sooooo early) a set of quirky amigurumi soft toys, a cardigan, a crochet along blanket, and some small amigurumi toys.  Phew!!

I love teaching crochet, it is always exciting to start a course, not knowing how it will proceed, whether people will pick up thing easily, or whether they will need a bit more help, I have also been told that I have a lot of patience and positivity when I’m teaching.

And the blogging part – I procrastinate faaaarrrr tooooo much, when I get down to it l love writing about what I do!  I love to share knowledge, give readers hints and tips, and share my passion.

so maybe my linked in profile sums it up better – Crochet Ambassador!

Missenden Abbey – Crochet for all course

So I have had a bit of a blogging break, but I have been very busy this year so far planning courses and workshops, designing for a range of magazines, and yarn companies!  I have also been doing some supply teaching at a lovely school in Enfield.

I hope to be around quite a bit during the summer, and completing some designs that I have had on the hook for a very long time!

I am also teaching again at Missenden Abbey.  I am currently re-writing my course so that it is even more appropriate for mixed ability!  It will be based on the basics (?!), but I have designed my own squares for the ripple pattern, and 3D flower centre, with extra little hints and tips along the way.Ripple pattern for Crochet for All CourseIf you have never picked up a crochet hook before, if you have some experience, maybe with lots of questions, or want to know some tips to make your crochet look more professional, This is the course for you!

It is running from Wednesday 17th, 9am – 5pm, Thursday 9am – 5pm and Friday 19th August 9am – 3pm, with wonderful lunches, and breaks with homemade biscuits and cake!  (The crochet is great too!)

If you would like to know what goes on at Missenden abbey, have a look at this post from last years Learn to Crochet course.  This is the link for more details about the course.  I look forward to seeing you!


squeeeeee! Woman’s Weekly

I really felt like squealing today – In the post was a copy of Woman’s Weekly, The WEEKLY one!  I have had several patterns published in the Knitting and Crochet Monthly but this is the first weekly one, and it is the only knitting/crochet pattern in the issue.

I did get notified by tweet earlier in the week, but in my naivety, I didn’t realise it was the weekly one!

See in the bottom left hand corner…  That’s my pattern!

2015-08-15 15.36.07

And here it is on my mannequin,

2015-01-27 09.31.50

With a close up of the ripple pattern – which I designed from scratchmain body of ripple - bottom edge

So today is a good day!  Thank you Woman’s Weekly.

Knitting and Crochet with Woman’s Weekly cover!!!!!

I am soooooo excited, when I received a copy in the post of the July copy of Knitting and Crochet with Women’s Weekly, and I am on the cover……….well not me personally but my design – it’s a remake of a Vintage crochet pattern, and really is quite easy!  I literally squealed when I saw it!

This is a link to the Women’s weekly page with the details for downloading too.  The magazine is in most retailers now, so go grab a copy and see what you think!

Flight of Fancy04

Close up of the stitch pattern lovely clusters

It is an interesting challenge to re-design a vintage crochet pattern.  I have used the stitch pattern given, which is quick to work as you make the clusters into spaces, but the gauge and stretch of the fabric created were completely different to the original which was in 2ply and much, much finer.  Although in 4ply this pattern does not take very long to make, as the bottom half is created in one piece, and then the first front, back and second front. Sew up the shoulders and all that is left after that is the borders around the arms, and the long border around the bottom, fronts, and neckline which is worked continuously around.

Flight of Fancy05

Close up of neckline border

I would really love to know what you think about this pattern.  Please leave comments below or on my Facebook page.

Free Crochet Patterns – Ravelry

If you are looking for free crochet patterns (or knitting) , one of the best searchable places is Ravelry.com – I do not receive anything for promoting them, but I will give you a bit more detail. I used Ravelry more than anything else to find patterns for customers.  It is also not just for free patterns, but is also Social networking for Knitters and Crocheters, there are groups you can join, forums you can chat on, and problems that can be solved, patterns to be favourited and queued!  However don’t blame me if you lose many hours looking around, because it is inspirational too!

A small detail, the majority of users are in the US, but there are loads from the UK too as of today there are 5,270,650 users!  and at least 50,000 in the UK!

So to start you need to type in Ravelry.com  and click on the join now button.  You will be asked for your email address, where you will be sent a link, when you click this you will need to choose a username and a password. I have never received any further emails from Ravelry, so I would trust them.

Once you have signed in, you will be at the welcome page, now if you would like to watch a video with all the relevant bits click in the second box down on the right – Getting started.Getting started

If you watched the video great, you now know what to do if not… Click on the tab along the top that says – my notebook

My notebook

And you will come to your project page, this picture is of my page which has lots of projects, but if you are new, you will have nothing here.  I would encourage you to post projects, because when you search there are lots of things you can find that are really only there because others have put their projects out there.  I will post later about how to do this.  However you came here to find free crochet (or knit) patterns… 
Screenshot 2015-05-11 16.15.40

You need to first click on the patterns tab, next to my notebook.  You will come to this page.  Not too exciting, but the obsession starts here!

1 – click on which craft – Knit & Crochet, Crochet or Knit – you can change this later, but clicking here makes it your default.

2 – Type in what you would like to search for – I typed shawls, general is fine as on the next page you get to choose loads of things to filter.

3 – click on search!

Pattern search

So you will now find yourself on this page, there are several things to note, here the filters are on the left,

1 –  is Gender / Age / Size / Fit – useful for searching for the man in your life, or baby patterns, or something for yourself!

2 –  Availability, click here to filter so you only see free patterns.  Later when you have added your books and magazines to the library (which I really do recommend) you can search patterns that you have already! Notice that without any filter there are 147 pages 7.049 patterns before we add the filter.

3 – This dropdown menu helps with the sorting, You have the choices of Best Match, Hot right now, Name, Most Popular, Most projects, most favourites, most queued, Recently published, recently added to Ravelry, Rating, Difficulty, and Yarn required.  By default Best match is given, but I like to try Most projects, and Hot right now!
pattern filtersHere you can see that I have changed the filter to Free and dropdown to Most Popular.  It completely changes what you see, and can reduce the choices so that it is not so overwhelming.  here we are down to a mere 2,289!Screenshot 2015-05-11 16.19.04If you explore this a bit further you come to my favourite filters, for when you have a special skein of yarn, or you only have 5 balls of some wool…  You can do an open search, but specify the weight/thickness of yarn, and how much meterage/yardage you have!

For instance here I have a beautiful skein…look at it just sitting there really pretty (and it’s really soft and squidgy too…)2015-02-24 15.00.25So to search for inspiration on Ravelry, I would just click on the pattern search button with nothing in the search bar.  Then I use the filters – gender /age / size / fit, meterage and weight, you can use 1 – Jump to a filter, to go there or 2 – scroll down the page to find the filter.  3 – Tells you which filters you have applied.

search filtersYou can then click further through on a project to find the pattern.  This might be a Ravelry download, (it will be if it is a design you pay for) or there might be a link to a website where the pattern is available.Screenshot 2015-05-11 22.28.23

Bear in mind that all the patterns posted are from very different people, and so the quality of the patterns varies.  However most of the patterns I have used (especially if you find the most popular ones) have had no problems!

So go and enjoy, any questions below in the comments, explore, have fun, click all over the place (you can always use the back button!) and don’t blame me if you lose a couple of hours!

Learn to crochet – Granny Square – Round 1

Ding ding!  That’s what I think of when hearing Round 1!  Would you really like to learn how to crochet?  Would you love to know how to make a Granny square?  This is the post for you.  If you are starting to crochet for the very first time, check out these two posts, which talk about how to hold your hook and yarn, and how to make a chain.  Then you will be ready to start here.  For those in the know I am using UK terminology (if you are in the US, I will post later about the differences)

The basic treble-crochet granny square is easy to learn how to make and is a great way to use up some of your yarn stash.  You can use grannies for much more than blankets—with just a few you’ve got the start of a bag, or a colourful headband, coasters, placemats, etc.

Firstly, Yarn and hook.  for the video and when I teach, I use a Double Knit acrylic yarn (Stylecraft Special DK) and a 5mm hook.  Any double knit will be ok, but i have found that this has the perfect mix of stretch and firmness.  You may be recommended to use a 4mm hook, but I have found that using a larger one is better for beginners, as there is a tendency to crochet tightly when you start.

Next a little summary of the basic crochet stitches – don’t worry I will use proper english for the explanations, then put the pattern as it would be written at the end of this post
sl st :: slip stitch – insert  hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch, then through the loop on your hook.
tr :: treble – yarn over, insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (three loops on hook), yarn over and pull through two loops on hook (two loops left on hook), yarn over and pull through remaining two loops.
ch ::chain – yarn over and pull through loop on hook.
and we will be using a chain to start 🙂

Here is a video to watch, then there are photos and an explanation, and lastly the pattern as it would be written.

(This seems not to be working automatically from WordPress as it has does in other posts… so click anywhere here to go to the video on Youtube 

To get started, make a slip knot in the yarn and chain 4, and join with a slip stitch to form a ring.

DSCF4830   LH Granny pics 1

Once you make the ring, chain 3 —this will count as your first treble stitch This is really important, these 3 chains are the same as a stitch… Make 2 more treble stitches into the ring. This is your first 3 treble shell.

DSCF4831   LH Granny pics 02

Then chain 2 stitches, and make 3 more trebles into the ring – make sure that every stitch you make goes into the first ring that you made. (2nd shell)

Repeat this 2 more times – Chain 2, and make 3 trebles into the ring, Ch 2, and make 3 trebles into the ring,

DSCF4832   LH Granny pics 03

Finally, chain 2 and join yarn with a slip stitch to the 1st treble stitch you made (side note – usual instructions are to slip stitch to the 3rd chain of the starting chain – this is my method, but either will work) Fasten off by making a chain, snipping the yarn and pulling it through the working loop. You’ll have a nice little starter square.

DSCF4833  LH Granny pics 4

This would be written as follows…

With first colour, 4ch, slst to make a ring

Round 1:  3ch, 2tr in ring *2ch, 3tr repeat from * 3 times, 2ch, slst to join, Fasten off.

(when you see a * you repeat just that little bit for however many times specified, then continue with the rest of the line of the pattern)

Wow that’s short isn’t it!  don’t worry, watch the video to get the hang of making this first round, and make loads (you are going to want to make many, many granny squares very soon!  They are ridiculously addictive.  The pattern will gradually make sense we are in no hurry here, and you will learn to read the pattern as we go along.

Please leave comments, I would like to know what you think of the videos especially, as I have chosen to use captions rather than talk!  Now get that yarn, and get hooking your first granny square!