Free Pattern: Frank Mandala

This week I’m delighted to share my new pattern, the Frank Mandala (named by my daughters, after my husband, who is of course wildly flattered!). Suitable for adventurous beginners as it includes bobbles (photo tutorial link supplied) and back loop stitches, it’s also perfect for any hooker who just needs a quick fix of happy! You can add it to your Ravelry queue here, or download directly here. Enjoy!

In other hooky news my square obsession has continued right through the past week, and I am playing swift catch-up on the block a month CAL in which I’m participating. I have learned something new from each and every one of these squares and I am so excited by the myriad possibilities that our glorious craft offers us, fellow hookers!

Each of these designers is very talented and they have all inspired me greatly in my own design endeavours. Check them out on Ravelry! Clockwise from top left:

Sunrise Beach by Jen Tyler (paid pattern)

Passion Flower by Karen Smith (currently free)

Grumpy Grandad by Sadie Cuming (currently free)

Macey Ann by Pam Knighton-Haener (currently free)

I have used Paintbox Cotton DK in all of the above projects. As a lovecrochet.com affiliate I am happy to promote this lovely, durable and versatile 100% cotton yarn which is available in no less than 56 colours! Check it out here โค

I will be taking a crafty detour tomorrow and getting back to my knitting – hopefully I’ll be able to get beyond the gauge swatch in my first sweater and make some headway with it before Spring! What’s on your needles / hook this week? Do share, I love to read your comments and respond to every single one ๐Ÿ™‚

Free Pattern: Maya Square

Happy Tuesday, hookers! Or Monday night if that is where you still are ๐Ÿ™‚

I had planned a longer post today detailing the latest carryings on in my novice knitting journey, but instead I’ve spent my yarn-related time this morning publishing my new pattern on Ravelry, and closing out with all my lovely testers. Hurrah!

The Maya Square (named for my eldest daughter), is now available as a free PDF download. The file includes a full list of stitches used (US terminology), additional notes and clear, detailed pattern instructions.

You can add the Maya Square pattern to your Ravelry queue here or download the file directly by clicking this link: Maya Square.pdf

May I take this opportunity to draw your attention to my other free square pattern, the Winter Sun Square. Somewhere in the future I see an entire multi-block Hooks and Hills blanket in my mind’s eye! Of course, this will not happen overnight – oh real life, how you do interfere with my crochet life…! ๐Ÿ˜€ – but it all starts with a single square, right. And now I have created two ๐Ÿ™‚

If you make one or both of these patterns, please let me know how you go. I welcome all questions and comments. Enjoy โค ๐Ÿ™‚

Winter Sun Square

wp-image-1480039945I have had a lovely few days working with several fabulous pattern testers and am delighted to release my very first crochet pattern today!

I used an 8ply/dk cotton blend yarn with a 4mm hook and my square measures 14cm / 5.5 inches. Cotton / cotton blend is recommended for best results. Gauge is not important. Skill level is advanced beginner. The pattern has been thoroughly tested, and is error free and easy to follow. The file includes a full list of stitches used (both UK and US terminology), additional notes and clear, detailed pattern instructions.

You can purchase the Winter Sun Square Pattern for $1AUD via Ravelry hereย or download the files directly here:

I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire design process – not just the creative aspect (which has been sooooooo much fun!!) but also working with my brilliant pattern testers before finalising the documents ready for release. I’ve even enjoyed the tech stuff!I can’t wait to do it all over again ๐Ÿ™‚

A final word to the lovely fellow hookers who offered to test my pattern. I’ve been blown away by the care, attention to detail and energy invested in your feedback. Thank you so much!

Crochet Pattern Testers Wanted!

wp-image-1480039945I have finally written up an actual crochet pattern (begone, procrastination and doubt!!) and I would like to release my firstborn into the world as soon as possible ๐Ÿ˜€ย 

However, I’d really like a couple of lovely fellow hookers to test it first. It’s a nine round block called ‘Winter Sun’. I’m thinking intermediate level as there are a few front posts, but that said, if you’re an adventurous beginner, I’d say go for it – I’ve found the best way to increase my crochet skills has been to attempt patterns with stitches above my current capability, and learn as I go! I’m a huge fan of standing stitches, but I’ve also included alternative chain starts.

This PDF pattern includes a list of stitches used (US teminology), a couple of additional notes, and – what I consider to be, but I’m hoping you’ll correct me if I’m wrong! – clear and detailed instructions including stitch counts for every round (because I love patterns that have those!).

Pending positive feedback / minor revisions, I’ll then make the pattern available here as a free PDF download, which will be closely followed by a pattern for yesterday’s ‘Winter in the Glen‘ square.

If you’d be at all interested in testing this pattern for me, please doย get in touch. I will respond swiftly to any questions and would appreciate your feedback very much ๐Ÿ™‚

Granny Squares are the New Black!

This past week it’s been all about squares around here. Maybe my crochet subconscious is getting excited about International Granny Square Day next month? ๐Ÿ˜

First up, I returned to the 2014 Look at What I Madeย Block a Week CAL, which I started way back in 2015. After seven blocks I lost momentum and as there are over forty blocks in total, returning to it got a bit daunting! Dipping my toe back in withย Popcorn Paradeย by Melinda Millar. I’m encouraged to note that my skills have improved a lot over the last couple of years, and it worked up really quickly.

I’ve also finished all the Willow squares for my latest baby blanket, twenty in all. Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of this pattern (from the excellentย 200 Crochet Blocksย by Jan Eaton). I weaved as I went – lesson learned! – and it was so great to be able to just get stuck in to the joining! Hope to finish up within the week.

Finally, yesterday I designed my own granny square! I’m so drawn to create my own designs and always have ideas roaming my mind, but I tend to overthink and wait, then wait some more. This time, I just grabbed my hook on impulse and this is what happened. So chuffed with it! Will write up the pattern in the week and share. It’s called ‘Winter in the Glen’ as I was just back from a walk in the village with my daughters and my original colours were inspired by it (we went for ice cream ahhhh too funny in winter – as a relatively recent Scottish immigrant I still find subtropical winters a huge novelty and delight!). I then worked through my notes in rainbow hues and it made me smile. Crochet makes me very happy ๐Ÿ˜Š

One last thing – what is the difference between a ‘block’ and a ‘granny square’? Is it just the size or is there some more precise definition of each? I must research in preparation for the big day next month ๐Ÿ˜€ Do you have plans for International Granny Square Day?

Corner to Corner Crochet Bag

I am finding being a mum somewhat challenging at present and am intensely grateful for my chosen forms of therapy: running – my half marathon training is on track – and of course, crochet ๐Ÿ™‚ My girls are almost five and almost seven, and my joyous relief at being beyond the baby and toddler years and associated mental health issues (Post Natal Depression) is slightly tempered by the dawning realisation that with each new childhood era come new challenges which suddenly make teething and toilet training seem like a walk in the freaking park!

But I digress from the purpose of this post, which is to share with you my new bag! Let me just retrieve one more chocolate Hobnob from the back of the vegetable drawer in the fridge…

Ahhh, that’s better ๐Ÿ˜€ So, I taught myself Corner to Corner – C2C – crochet last week using thisย YouTube tutorial, and loved it. It hooks up into a nice solid fabric which I thought would be good for a bag. I experimented with a worsted-weight variegated yarn (Moda Vera Florentine Collection in Bruno) and a 6mm hook – one size down from the ball band recommendation, to add density.

I kept increasing until the width measured about 11″ and then decreased on one side only until the long side measured about 14″ , at which point I began the decrease on the other side. Thus emerged a rectangle measuring approximately 14″ by 11″. I folded the rectangle in half lengthways and sewed the short edges together.

Being impatient, rather than waiting for my D-shaped handles to arrive, I decided to use the 5″ hoop handles I already had. I centred the hoops and used four stitch markers so I’d know where to fix them in place. I went all around the opening of the bag in sc (US), including a single crochet around the hoop at each stitch marker. I then stitched the hoops securely in place on the inside. It was tricky and next time I will wait for the D handles!

However, there was an unexpected bonus – the hoops add extra structure to the bag and it stands up sooooo nicely! At the moment I am using it as a mini project bag. It contains myย needle caseย – aย Moogly pattern, and my rendering of it was actually featured in Tamara’s newsletter this week which was fun to see! – ย scissors, and a paper bag for collecting ends after weaving in. It’s the perfect size for storing block wips – perfect as I’ll be starting anotherย baby blanketย soon ๐Ÿ™‚

This was a fun little project that worked up quickly and made me smile. If you haven’t yet learned C2C, go for it! It’s easy to learn, works up fast and has so many possibilities ๐Ÿ˜€

Corner to Corner Crochet

It’s Friday, and I finished a project! Woot! So glad I left my colour zone and got all impulsive in the yarn section of the dollar store. It doesn’t match anything in the house, but as I said to my husband, we can always redecorate… Anyways it’s looking all bright and buzzy on our bed right now and I love it! Took some pics outside earlier – weather is still horribly overcast, so rare for there to be so little sun and blue sky in this part of the world (subtropical), but these colours still zing and fairly cheered me up. 

I’ve had a lot of fun learning Corner to Corner Crochet, or C2C, for this project. I used this You Tube tutorial and I loved it. Crystal clear instructions from both the spoken and visual perspective, and I absolutely recommend it if you’ve never tried C2C.

Briefly, on the making of the cushion cover: for the front, I made nine Willow blocks from the fabulous 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton – of course you could use any square. I joined them using sc (US) worked from the front, then added an sc edging. For the back, I simply made a C2C square the same size as the front, allowing for an sc edging. For the edging, I worked 3 sc into each C2C block. Then I joined back and front using sc.

Tip: I struggled to determine which C2C side is right side. Let me save you the googling – C2C is fully reversible ๐Ÿ™‚ It pays to pick your sides straight up though and put a stitch marker (or paper clip, or loop of yarn) into the back of your work – makes it quick and easy to see which side to weave into (as you go, right? Right? lol).

C2C is easy to learn and opens up a wide and wonderful world of design opportunities, particularly in terms of pixel art – my head is bursting with ideas for new projects! Much to research and much fun to be had!

Do you like C2C? Have you created any pixel crochet?

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I share Book Depository affiliate links for my favourite crochet books. I only recommend books that I love and have purchased myself. Please visit My Crochet Library for further info ๐Ÿ™‚