Saturday, 6 July 2019

Forest Shawl - a free pattern!

I appear have arrived in an amazing crafting community! How did this happen?! From being a slightly weirdo kid at school, I now find myself surrounded by beautiful people who are kind, creative, inclusive and just bloody LOVELY. Thank you! So much! As a little gesture of love to you all, here is my Forest Shawl pattern for you. It's one of my most loved designs ever, it's so simple and yet so effective, my favourite kind of crochet. Because deep down, in many respects, I'm a bit of a lazy-arse. A bit like Hank Deluxe. But he's a cat so he has the perfect excuse. Plus he has the advantage of not having to respond to household emergencies like dusty skirting boards. Lucky cat.

So, without further witterings, here's the pattern. Make it, share it, if you're a lazy-arse like me then get someone else to make it for you, it's there to be enjoyed.

I used gorgeous Scheepjes Catona 50g balls for my shawl, the colours are so rich and pure, I love this yarn. 
Yarn A: Forest Green (8 balls)
Yarn B: Spruce (1 ball for edging)

A 4mm hook is needed. UK crochet terms are used.

You'll need to make 42 hexagons, each one measures 15cm across widest point once blocked.

Your finished shawl will measure about 56 x 170cm, it's a lovely length, just right for over the shoulders on a cool evening.

Special stitches:
etr (extended treble):  Yoh, insert hook in next stitch or chain, yoh and pull up loop, yoh and draw through 1st loop on hook, (yarn over and draw through 2 loops) twice. 

Bobble stitch: Ch4, (yoh, insert hook into 3rd ch from hook, draw up loop) 6 times, draw hook through all loops on hook, ch1, sl st into 3rd ch again to close st.

Hexagon Pattern (make 42)
With Yarn A, ch3 and ss into first ch to make ring.
Round 1: Ch1, 6dc into ring, ss into first dc to join.
Round 2: Ch3 (counts as tr throughout), tr in same st as join, ch2, *2tr in next st, ch2; rep from * to end, ss into top of ch-3 to join (join in this way throughout).
Round 3: Ss into next tr, ch3, 3tr into ch-2 sp, ch3, *skip next tr, tr in next st, 3tr into ch-2 sp, ch3; rep from * to end, join.
Round 4: Ss into next tr, ch3, tr in each of next 2 sts, 3tr into ch-3 sp, ch4, *skip next tr, tr in each of next 3 sts, 3tr into ch-3 sp, ch4; rep from * to end, join.
Round 5: Ss into next tr, ch3, tr in each of next 4 sts, 3tr into ch-4 sp, ch5, *skip next tr, tr in each of next 5 sts, 3tr into ch-4 sp, ch5; rep from * to end, join.
Round 6: Ss into next tr, ch3, tr in each of next 6 sts, 3tr into ch-5 sp, ch6, *skip next tr, tr in each of next 7 sts, 3tr into ch-5 sp, ch6; rep from * to end, join. Fasten off yarn, weave in ends.
Block motifs before joining.

Joining (refer to Layout Chart):
Join motifs tog using Yarn A. Place 2 motifs RS together and whip stitch into back loops only along 1 side of tr sts. Do not join ch sts tog. Use running stitch along one chain to next row of tr sts and join to next motif as before.

Layout Chart

Join Yarn B in any ch-6 sp on edge which forms an outward point (not where 2 motifs join.)
Round 1:  *(2dc, ch3, 2dc) in ch-6 sp, dc in each of next 3 tr along edge, htr in each of next 3 tr, tr in each of next 2 tr, etr (see Special Stitches) in each of next 2 sts, ch1, skip 2 x ch-6 sps where motifs join, etr in each of next 2 tr, tr in each of next 2 tr, htr in each of next 3 tr, dc in each of next 3 tr; rep from * around to end. Ss into first dc from start of round to join. (NB Work dc sts only between ch-6 sps on the sides indicated in red on Layout Chart).
Round 2: Ch1, dc in same st, dc in next st. *Dc into next ch-3 sp, make bobble (see Special Stitches), ch1, dc in same ch-3 sp, dc in each st to ch-1 sp, skip ch-1 sp, dc in each st to ch-3 sp; rep from * to end. (NB work bobbles into outer corners as indicated by red lines on Layout Chart). Fasten off yarn, weave in ends.

Block Forest Shawl to shape, then fling it on around your shoulders and listen to the gasps of admiration as you walk serenely and gracefully through the crowds. Or something like that. I like to flounce around in mine, a bit of dancing too when there's no one home, just me and the cat and Goat on the stereo... Enjoy your shawl! xxx Esme xxx

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Come With Me On An Underwater Adventure...

Gosh, it's been a while since I last sat down to ramble on about recent crochet adventures. So much has been happening over the last few months, all of it exciting and challenging and thrilling and so on! And never far from a hook...

So, my main BIG news is that the wonderful YARN 7 by Scheepjes is out now, and it is an absolute underwater beauty... it's all about the Reef, and the entire bookazine explores this theme in such an inspiring way. There are 17 crochet and knitting patterns and a couple of fascinating Artist's profiles too... 

Here it is! Isn't it gorgeous? Don't even get me started on how lovely the texture of the paper is... I'll save that treat for another day ;) You can tell from the front cover that it's going to be fab-u-lous inside... so let's dive in and explore! 

First up, one of my absolute favourite patterns is this Kelp Forest Sweater by Ana D. Look at that stunning ripply seaweedy-kelpy pattern. So lovely. I'm always on the lookout for simply-styled, boxy crochet sweaters, and this is SO on my summer-make list. Ana's version is made in Scheepjes Secret Garden yarn which is pretty scrummy with its silk blend. I cannot be trusted with such fine yarn as no doubt I'll spill pasta sauce down it, so I'm going to try this pattern with a 100% cotton and see how I get on... will let you know...

So that's a very good start! Next up on our sub-aquatic journey is...oooh the Hydra Blanket by Mark Roseboom aka The Guy With the Hook. 

Now, I am usually a bit of a monochrome lover when it comes to home decor, but oh my lord SWOON massively big-time over this design. Mark has come up with this incredible swirling-water motif which just looks hypnotic. The yarn here is a mix of Scheepjes Stone Washed and River Washed (yes, I think he pretty much went for every colour!) and the end result is AMAYYYZING! Love it.

Swimming on a little further... Have your fingers turned to prunes yet? Sticking with the watery theme quite aptly I feel, I do not know what they put in the water in Gloucestershire where my Other Half's family come from. But whatever it is, it seems to produce girl babies. We now have 5 nieces over on that side of the country. 5 nieces and no nephews. Just girls. Fab girl gang. So, I got to thinking, maybe they'd like some cute little fish to play with... they could create their own aquarium actually there are so many of them... and what could be cuter than this Fantasy Clown Fish by Matt from A Boy And Bunting. The pattern is great because it gives different yarn suggestions to make big fish, little fish, any size of fish. Scheepjes Maxi Sweet Treat, Catona, Cahlista, anything goes.

...aaaaand finally, it was great for me to be involved in this beautiful bookazine in 2 ways... firstly, I jumped in (see, the theme just keeps on giving!) and worked as one of the text editors... wow, there's a steep but splendid learning curve I must say! OK, I crochet like an obsessive and I spent 16 years working as an English as a Foreign Language teacher, but still. Lots to learn. Still learning. Won't ever stop learning I think! What an opportunity Scheepjes gave me, how wonderful to be asked.
Secondly, my Pompom Ripple Wrap pattern features here too!

I absolutely love this pattern: it's an elongated half-moon shape in Scheepjes Colour Crafter. There was a lot of maths involved in this design to create the shape, maybe a bit of swearing over too many numbers, but in the end I'm so pleased with the simple black and white stripes, and of course the 25 pompoms just make it so fun. You can adapt this to make it less pompommy and more urban chic if you like- I actually made one in light and dark blue stripes with no pompoms and have lived in it ever since. It gets comments! If you make one, use #pompomripplewrap on the socials to share your colours and styling!

So, thanks for coming with me on this tail of fishy wonderment. OK, I'll stop now :)
You can buy this gorgeous bookazine from Wool Warehouse in the UK, or go to the Scheepjes website for outlets. xxx 

Monday, 25 March 2019

Diamond Hearts... and Crochet Magic...

There's a buzz in the world of crochet at the moment! Sounds like an oxymoron, I know, but it's really happening! Forget crochet doilies for a minute (I do love a pretty doily, just not right now) and come with me on an adventure into geometry and style and contemporary wonderment... If you're a crochet fan and haven't heard of mosaic crochet, then you're in for a treat. 

The beauty of mosaic crochet is in its ability to draw shapes and lines and patterns, whilst being a very simple technique once you've grasped the basics. The other great bonus is that by using 2 strands of yarn which you keep attached for the entire make, there are very few ends to sew in, something which can drive makers to utter exasperation (and yes I am speaking from experience of end-weaving fatigue!)

So here is my latest mosaic design, this is the Diamond Heart throw, a real labour of love. It's made from some really stunning yarn: Scheepjes Colour Crafter is superb value for money given that it is incredibly soft and 'grown up' for an acrylic. The range of colours Scheepjes produce is just breathtaking too. This Diamond Heart uses shades Tynaalo and Verviers, but I am already plotting another version in a deep mustary yellow background with a deep grey diamond running through it. Heavenly, don't you think?

The hours and hours of sitting and stitching, well there's plenty of time to muse on words and potential names for the design coming off the hook. The diamond part of the name was easy, but what about the heart? There are no hearts to be seen! So, the name is borrowed from a beautiful song by Marissa Nadler, a singer who I find so mysterious and beguiling. I got to thinking about diamond hearts and I came to the conclusion that maybe we all need a diamond heart? A beautiful sparkling heart, full of love and tolerance, but also resilient and strong. (As a mum to teenagers, I feel my heart needs to have all these qualities on a daily basis!)

Here's the link if you'd like to purchase my Diamond Heart Throw pattern, and thank you for reading my ramblings about something so close to my (diamond) heart. 

Just before you go, here's Hank Deluxe making himself very at home, he is a discerning cat who only lounges on super-quality yarn and design... he does a very good smug face, doesn't he? 

Monday, 25 February 2019

Diamonds are forever...

Sometimes I am excited about a new design. Sometimes I am very excited about a new design. This time, however, I am quite literally beside myself! Just look at those diamonds in diamonds, with negative space diamonds all over! Just so many DIAMONDS! You see, totally over the top excitement.

This particular 'mosaic crochet' technique is pretty straightforward, once you have mastered the basics. There are very few ends to sew in as well, I know, total bonus right?!! as you use each yarn for 2 rows then switch colours. I could go on at length about all this, I have turned into a bit of a mosaic bore, but best to get the pattern written.

And there really is some feverish pattern writing-coffee swigging going on every evening at the moment, going to get this pattern out there just as soon as I can. Will work harder and drink more caffeine!

And of course, I cannot NOT mention the gorgeous hunk of a cat, Hank Deluxe, who likes to pose shamelessly when the camera comes out. What a beautiful furry lump he is.

More soon!
Esme xx

Saturday, 26 January 2019

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not...

Ahhhh Valentines Day. Some of us love this special day, some of us want to run for the hills. I am a bit of a Valentine dodger really, it gives me the fear every year. 
However, my love for everything crochet is far stronger than my fear of the Day of Love, so I am thrilled and delighted to share a little heart pattern with you! It's super easy, and you could use these hearts to adorn a card, make bunting, I don't know, stick one on your special person's face while they're asleep, the possibilities are endless...

You will need:
Any yarn at all, and any suitable hook. Make them tiny, make them massive, it's up to you.
I used a mercerised cotton and a 3.5mm hook for mine. UK crochet terms.

Round 1: Ch4, (3dtr, 4tr, ch1, 1dtr, ch1, 4tr, 3dtr, ch2, ss) in first ch made. Pull loose end from start to close the central hole.
Round 2: Ch3, 2dc in each of first 3 dtr, 1dc in each of next 4 tr, 1dc in ch-1 sp, ch1, 1htr in bottom dtr, ch1, 1dc in ch-1 sp, 1dc in each of next 4 tr, 2dc in each of next 3 dtr, ch2, ss in ss from Round 1, fasten off yarn.

There you go, a very quick and easy way to show someone that you love them and have taken time to make them a gift that is worth far more than any tat you can buy in the shops. Right, enough words of love and romance from me, enjoy the pattern!
Esme xx

PS I do love my family, just in case you think I'm a hideous cold-hearted person. xx

Monday, 7 January 2019

January... I'm just not sure about you...

Happy New Year! All that fresh start let's shake off the old and start with new adventures stuff to think about. Yes. I do get it and I have made resolutions: 
1. to make more curries.
2. to not feel overwhelmed by stuff all the time. Simple!
Good resolutions, huh?!
...but it's horrible cold-dark, just feel bleh. 
So, to combat the crappy gloomy mind-cloud, I am going all out NEON NEEEEEEON!!!!!
Check out this colour combo!

I mean, seriously, if that doesn't perk up the Jan spirits, I don't know what will. Mosaic crochet does its magical thing again. You may have noticed, but I am in love with this technique... more on this delightful topic soon. xx

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Ding Dong Merrily...

As the inevitable roll (stagger?!) towards Christmas starts again, my mind turns to all things crochet-crafty-festive. Thought I'd share this cute decoration pattern with you; I hang these jingly decs up all over the place, windows, over the fireplace, even a few together as a garland look sweet and twinkly, merry and bright (see, I am trying really really hard to muster up the spirit even in November).

So, without further ado, here's my pattern. Hope you enjoy it!

You will need
Any cotton yarn you fancy (pic shows Scheepjes Catona 'Royal Orange')
A 3.5mm crochet hook
A cheap thin metal bangle
A bell decoration, or anything to hang in the centre
Some twine/ribbon

It's easy to crochet around something like a bangle, just take it slow to keep your stitches even.

Round 1: Attach yarn around bangle, then make 59dc around, ss to first dc to join.

Round 2: *skip 3 dc, (3tr, ch2, 3tr) in next dc, skip 3 dc, ss in next dc: rep from * 6 more times, ss into final 2 dc. Fasten off, weave in ends.

...and there you have it! Just tie your bell to the twine or ribbon, and attach the twine/ribbon around the bangle at the top where you made the final 2 ss. If you want, you can starch these, or paint on a thin layer of 50% water/50% PVA glue to the back to give them a bit more structure.

Enjoy, have fun, try different yarns (maybe some glittery yarn oooh there's my next make right there!), experiment with colours, more stitches, y'know, just enjoy the playing around. It's too early for me to even... urh... say happy Christmas, but for now, happy calm-before-the-festive-storm. xxx

Monday, 24 September 2018

Hexagons are the new circles... or something...

Playing around with yarn, creating, letting the mind have a wander, it's all good isn't it? My youngest has recently been studying tessellation at school, and I thought it was such a cool topic that I joined in too. Circles becoming a hexagon, well, I was unaware they could do that before! And the yarn here in my new rug design 'Blue Lagoon' is super-lovely to work with. It's a heavy duty cotton by Hoooked called Spesso. There is of course no give in it whatsoever so it's tough work with a 10mm hook. Calloused hands, pah, I do not care. I have a wonderful new yarn in my life (and a rather fabulous rug too)...

The pattern is out now in Issue 75 of Simply Crochet Magazine!

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

cool cool colours... in hot hot heat...

Oh my, it's like the Sahara in Suffolk at the moment. We are in the hottest part of the UK, no rain for almost 8 weeks. Pathetic pale Brit that I am, I am keeping out of the sun and finding dark dingy corners of the house to work in. But just notice, if you will, my colour choice of late, it's all cool greens, with cool soothing names like Moon Stone and Tiber... the new Scheepjes River Washed shades (such as the aforementioned Tiber) are very beautiful. I hear the sound of running streams, I see dappled light on babbling brooks, if only there were an actual river to jump in right now... I'd be right there...

Friday, 22 June 2018

Forest Shawl

Take the wonderful hexagon. It's a fabulous shape, right? It's loved by crochet fans everywhere for its delightful tessellating qualities and speed of flying off the hook. Oh, and what goes on within those 6 sides can be amazing. 

We often walk in the woods and forests near our house and I felt inspired by the light dappling through the leaves. Time to design. The yarns for this new Forest Shawl (yes, an obvious name but it is apt I guess!) had to be Scheepjes' Catona as even the names were perfect: Forest Green and Spruce. 

One hexagon with a certain off-kilter repeat in it. On its own, well, it's perfectly fine. Add it to many others...and... there's the pattern! Swirling leaves appear. The beauty of repeat. The beauty of crochet. This pattern is out now in Inside Crochet issue 103 should you desire some forest vibes in your life...