Tag Archives: tutorial

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

C2C workshop

Crochet Workshops at Olympia Knitting and Stitching Show – Broomstick and C2C

I had a wonderful time at Olympia, I gave 2 workshops at the Knitting and Stitching show, Broomstick Crochet and Corner to Corner or C2C crochet.

Broomstick crochet

The Broomstick Crochet is an old favourite – you use a large knitting needle, along with some 4ply yarn.  I think I have done it 5 times now, but there are always different questions, and of course different people doing it.  Sometimes I feel apprehensive just before we get started, but as I get into my stride I realise why I do it.  I just love watching other people learn something!

New one for me was the Corner to Corner Motif.  While it is not a difficult thing to do, there are a few tricksy bits.  Understanding that you work diagonally, how to mark off the pattern, using different colours in a graph – all make for interesting learning.

All the ladies did well, bearing in mind that you have to learn in 1 hour!  some just learned the technique for C2C, using one colour and others managed the whole square including a border!

The previous night, I made a video to show how to crochet the whole motif.  The complete video is just over half an hour, but does show increases, decreases, colour changes and following a chart.  I would love to hear whether this video helps, I have talked through the video, where my other ones are silent with subtitles.  Unfortunately I have had to divide into two videos, with limits on Youtube!

Here they are,,,Enjoy!


Missenden Abbey – the return!

Copy of 2015-08-18 13.59.51Tuesday was a new experience; I was an Artist in Residence at Missenden Abbey.  It was lovely to go back with a different thing to do, I set up a little stand with some of my work, and had a few bits and pieces to sell, and two courses to promote.  Then I sat alongside and started to crochet – I chatted with people as they came up to me and trying to catch people eyes as they came along to coffee (I know MORE coffee!) or lunch.

I was able to work on a new beginners course, I have to shorten my existing course, which was 11 sessions this summer, to 7 sessions for the weekend, I also realised that I was using other peoples patterns, when I could use my own!  So for these last 2 days, I have designed a simpler flower block, and a small ripple block that I can use to teach (the granny square is one of those patterns that if it was a poem would be by anon, most people that crochet know how to make one, so can’t claim it as my own!) I am also in the process of joining and making a border so that there is a project to be completed by the end of the course.

2015-08-18 15.07.42   2015-08-18 15.06.48

I am also creating a design your own Amigurumi course where we will be learning how to make some basic shapes and then using these shapes to make our own animals, dolls, monsters or aliens!


I had some lovely chats to people, gave out leaflets, crocheted while people were doing their courses, had some lovely mushroom soup for lunch, and had plenty of coffee!

Learn how to Crochet – Granny Square – Round 3 and more

So you have completed Round 1 and Round 2, now you can learn how to crochet round 3 and the further rounds of your granny squares.  (if you missed them click on the links above)

granny square round 3

We start a new colour in the same way that we did for round 2. Make a slip knot, remove from hook, insert hook from front of square, on a corner space, place slip knot back on the hook, pull it through to the front of the square (adjust how you are holding the yarn) and chain 3. This is your beginning chain – often called the turning chain, although in this case we are not turning!

Make two more treble stitches which is your first cluster, chain 2, then make three more trebles IN THE SAME SPACE… this is your beginning corner.

Then chain 1, and make  three trebles in the NEXT chain space (in the previous row) chain 1, and make the next corner – that is 3 trebles, 2 chain and 3 trebles all in the same space.

repeat this step (in bold) until you have made all 4 corners and all 4 sides, and slip stitch to the top of the chain you made at the start of the round.  see the video below.  the way this would be written is

(3ch, 2tr, 2ch, 3tr) in corner space, *(1ch, 3tr, 1ch) in next ch sp, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr) in next 2ch sp, repeat from * two more times, (1ch, 3tr, 1ch ) in next ch sp, slst to top of starting chain.

For the fourth and further rounds, you repeat the established pattern, making one more treble cluster on each side.

So for round 4:

Start a new colour in the same way that you did before –  Make a slip knot, remove from hook, insert hook from front of square, on a corner space, place slip knot back on the hook, pull it through to the front of the square and chain 3. This is your beginning chain

Make two more treble stitches which is your first cluster, chain 2, then make three more trebles IN THE SAME SPACE… this is your corner.

Then chain 1, and make  three trebles in the NEXT chain space, chain 1, make three trebles in the next space, and then make the next corner – that is 3 trebles, 2 chain and 3 trebles all in the same space.

repeat this step until you have made all 4 corners and all 4 sides, and slip stitch to the top of the chain you made at the start of the round.  see the video below.  the way this would be written is

(3ch, 2tr, 2ch, 3tr) in corner space, *(1ch, 3tr, 1ch) in next ch sp, (1ch, 3tr, 1ch) in next ch sp, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr) in next 2ch sp, repeat from * two more times, (1ch, 3tr, 1ch ) in next ch sp, (1ch, 3tr, 1ch) in next ch sp, slst to top of starting chain.

See video  below…


Follow the link here to a pdf of the pattern –My Granny Square. I would love to see your grannies so post in comments or let me know on Facebook!  This is how to make grannies with lots of different colours, which makes it easier when you are learning to find the right spaces, later I will show you how to make a single colour granny square.

Learn how to Crochet – Granny Square – Round 2

Ding!  Ding!   So by now you may have a little pile of Round 1’s of your Granny Square and wondering what you will learn how to crochet next?

We are going to change colour.  There are lots of different ways of doing this, the most secure of which is as follows:

  • Make a slip knot, make the loop a bit bigger than your hook, then take it off the hook.
  • insert your hook in a corner space, from the front to the back, put the slip knot back on your hook, and pull the loop through to the right side, trying to keep the knot part at the back of the square.
  • Using the loop as your working loop, make 3 chains.  the first one secures the yarn in place.

first 3ch, Right handed

LH Granny pics 05

First 3ch, Left handed

After joining the second colour of yarn in one of the chain 2 spaces

(these are all corners, at this point). I like to join mine before the yarn end I just left so that I can crochet over the ends as I go, but there’s no “right” corner to join to—after all, you have a symmetrical shape, no matter which way you rotate it)

  • make 2 trebles, then 2 chains, and make 3 trebles. You’ve just made a corner!

    3ch, 2tr to start – right handed

    LH Granny pics 07

    3ch, 2tr to start – left handed

  • Next, ch1, and skip the cluster in the previous round.
  • *In the next corner space, (3 trebles, 2 chains, 3 trebles). 1 chain, skip the previous round’s cluster. Repeat from * twice more and join to the top of the first actual treble stitch you made with a slip stitch – in the video this is really clear (about 5.10).
  • make a chain and fasten off.
  • Congratulations you have made round 2!

DSCF4837   LH Granny pics 8

This would be written in pattern form

Round 2:  attach new colour, ch3, 2tr, 2ch, 2tr in chsp, *1 ch, 3tr, 2ch, 3tr, in next chsp, repeat from * twice more, slst to join, fasten off.

If you have started to make some squares using these posts, I would love to see them, post comments below!


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!

3 things you need to know about Crochet UK vs US…

I thought that since I mentioned in the last post that there is a difference between UK and US crochet terminology, I thought that now would be a good time to explain the differences.

So why do I need to know the difference, I crochet in the UK?

The difficulty is there are a lot…and I think when I was selling books it was well over 50% of Crochet books on sale have US terminology, Crochet is really BIG over the pond…

The other main reason is that the majority of free patterns on the interweb are in American terms.  There are lots of BIG American companies that have reams of free patterns.

So the 3 things you need to know are stitch terminology, hook sizes and yarn thicknesses.

No. 1.  Stitches are the easiest!  the American terminology is usually one less than ours, some stitches are the same… If you want to know whether your pattern is UK or US the key stitches are sc or hdc – only US patterns have that, and htr is a UK pattern.  If the pattern has neither of these stitches, then you might have to look at the hooks or yarn to see which it is!

Crochet terms UK-USNo. 2.  Hook sizes, this is where I can see no rhyme or reason!  generally in modern UK patterns we use metric (mm) for hook sizes, this is an International measurement that suits most crocheters, and to be fair some American patterns have started to use mm for hooks, but mostly it is a series of letters… there are some numbers, and there are some missing! The middle column in the chart below is if you have older – vintage patterns, or some hooks that you have inherited and is useful to convert.  (As I am aiming for general crochet lovers and beginners here I have not put in the thread/steel hooks conversions)

Crochet hook conversion

No. 3.  Yarn, now the American yarn system is beginning to be used over here in the UK, but there is still much confusion.  I have taken some of this information from the Standard Yarn weight recommended by the craft Yarn Council in America, who have generated the standards.  The Uk terms are what I have found works over the years of converting yarns when customers came into our shop with an American pattern!

UK-US yarn conversion

Please click here to find printable pdfs.   US-UK hook and stitch conversion charts    US-UK yarn conversion

Hope these UK-US conversion charts etc are useful, I have collated them from around the Interweb, and by my own experience, and they have been pretty reliable – if you find them useful please comment.

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!

New Yarn…

On Tuesday I got up really early, really, really early, to get on a train to Birmingham for Stitches (as its known in the trade) or the Craft, Hobby + Stitch International Spring Show.  I was really excited this year as I had been invited to the launch of a new yarn from DMC, Natura XL.

I wandered around the exhibition for a while then went to see the fashion show, this year the focus was much more on sewn garments than knitted, but here are some photos, the first are from Lion Brand, and the others are from Creative World of Crafts.stitches lion brand

I also noticed that the American yarns are now becoming more available, Lion Brand has been to a couple of shows, and this year Creative World of Crafts were here showing of Bernat, Caron, and Lily and cream which I have been waiting for, for a long time!  It is great to have a good squoosh of the yarns that I have seen in patterns for the last couple of years and had to try and substitute!stitches creative

Back to the DMC workshop, we were given a brilliant goodie bag, with a set of bamboo needles, with ceramic ends, a bamboo crochet hook with a painted end with sweet flowers, and some of the new yarn, along with a shade card and press release!
2015-02-24 11.27.12

We were introduced to the yarn and then the best bit we were able to play and chat!  I started with a lovely soft green, and while we had been given a couple of patterns to look at, I decided to make some wrist warmers.  I completed them at the next Chain ‘n’ chatter on Friday, and have taken some piccys to help.  Any comments on the pattern would be most appreciated.2015-02-20 14.43.02

This is the pattern I created, my hands are 19cm at the widest part of my hand and 17cm around the wrist.  There is no shaping, they are slightly on the large side after a few uses, so I would recommend 1 row shorter for the same size that I made, and adjust amount of rows as necessary for smaller or larger sizes.  It is an easy pattern, made with one ball of DMC Natura XL and a 7mm crochet hook.

Make 18 chains.

Foundation Row:  Double crochet in the 4th chain from hook, *treble crochet in next chain, double crochet in next chain , repeat from * to end.

Row 1:  chain 2 (counts as first tr), *double crochet in next stitch, treble in next stitch, repeat from * to end, make last dc in the top of the turning ch (each treble will be made in a double crochet and each double in a treble crochet)

Repeat Row 2, until you have completed 13 more rows – 15 in total.  (you can make these smaller or larger depending on your hand size)

Fasten off with a long end, which will be used to sew up.2015-02-20 11.03.00

Working with an over sewing stitch, fold sides together so that the chains are visible (like picture)2015-02-20 11.07.28

Working from the right side, over-sew in first stitch, and into next 7 stitches, over-sew in 8th stitch (you may want to pass the thread through the stitch to secure it) .2015-02-20 11.12.12

Then weave the end through the next 3 stitches on one side (thumb hole made) over sew the next three stitches, and fasten off, sew in both ends.2015-02-20 11.33.18

Please enjoy this free pattern, and let me know in the comments what you think.

Learn to crochet!

This week crochet was in ‘The News!’  although I think if you blinked you missed it…

Apparently the top 3 how to searches on Google, were:

1.  Draw

2.  Kiss


You can click here to see the evidence!  Linky

So to celebrate I will be posting tutorials showing you how to crochet, also for those of you who crochet already, I will be posting other tutorials on techniques and other things I have picked up on my crochet journey.

DSC01835Have a Great Christmas.