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 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™‚

Crojo Restored – Mandala Madness!

My crojo was fast disappearing last time I wrote – my latestย amigurumi attempt, while interesting, was not enjoyable – and I am not into crochet for the struggle! I crochet to relax; to clear and calm my mind; and for the pure joy of creativity and colour! So I put down the 2.5mm and picked up my trusty 4mm. I abandoned the splitty cotton and took out my basket of Patons Cotton Blend 8ply. And then my family went away for the weekend!! Below is what followed, in pictures โ˜บโ˜บ

Picot-Edged Mandala (Designer: Marinke Slump)

Crochet Coaster (Designer: Carmen Hefferman)

Tulips from Amsterdam (Designer: Haafner Linssen)

Dreamcatcher – using the first rounds of Haafner Linssen’s Dainty Daisy mandala pattern

Rounds 1-5 designed by Edie Eckman (Motif #3 from ‘Beyond the Square’); rounds 6-8 my own

And just like that, all is well in my crochet world once more! It’s great to try new things, and I will always strive to stretch the boundaries of my crochet skills – but if a project or technique or yarn just doesn’t feel good, I’ll stop working it. Life too short!

I wish you the crochet joy in your own endeavours that I am once again experiencing. Crojo restored and on fire! And now, back to my current mandala…. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š


Tiny Hook Tales

After a few weeks of school hols and family from overseas visiting, I’m now able to return to my daily hooking habit. Hurrah! 

In the aftermath of this unintentional hiatus I find I’ve lost all momentum on my afghan blocks, which is a bit sad – but as I’m now over two years into that project I don’t suppose another few months makes any difference! Instead, this week I’m having another go at amigurumi. Behold, the body of Santa – and one arm โ˜บ

Lord, but it’s fiddly! And not relaxing in the least. I am not a friend of the 2.5mm hook – even if it is one of my beloved Clover Amours! I’m using DMC Natura Just Cotton, which I was very excited to obtain but it’s driving me batty splitting into 8 strands all the time, a bit of a horror with a 2.5mm. 

There are of course much smaller hooks to be had, but this is definitely tiny to me, and I for one couldn’t go any smaller. I’ve been trying to practice by using the same hook and yarn to make a simple mandala coaster (using Marinke Slump’s Picot-Edge Mandala pattern) but while I love the way it’s working up, I’m just not feeling the 2.5mm. I like to relax with my crochet, not fight with it!

This will definitely be my last 2.5mm piece. I may try a 4mm / dk fairy. But then again, I may not – to be honest I rather feel the call of another relaxing and satisfying Willow project โ˜บ 

Do you like amigurumi? Did you struggle at first but then fell in love? 

Until next time,

Happy hooking!


To Frog Or Not To Frog?

That was my question last night! I started Sophie’s Garden by Dedri Uys about a month ago. Progress had stalled at round 18 at the prospect of attempting popcorns in fingering with a 3mm hook – my being unfamiliar with all three elements ๐Ÿ™‚ 

I finally got stuck in again a couple of days ago, alas blissfully unaware that I’d already made a mistake! Not an earth shattering error such as an entirely missed tall front post stitch – which also happened but I caught it before too much damage done! – but one which caused all the petals to be ever so slighly asymmetrical, and which only became apparent to me after a good few more rounds.

The horror!! However, I couldn’t bear to frog all that work, so reached a pleasant compromise instead. I kept hooking until the end of Part 3, including the optional crab stitch round, to complete Sophie’s Mandala, instead of continuing with Part 4, which squares the mandala into Sophie’s Garden. All is not lost! Furthermore, it seems that while the dire consequences of one misplaced stitch are blindingly obvious to me, they are much less noticeable to anyone else. Are you your own worst critic of your work too?!

So, my Sopie taster is complete and I loved hooking her – a challenging and enjoyable project in which I learned so much! I’m now comfortable with popcorns, clusters and front post stitches, and enjoyed the crab stitch refresher. There is most definitely a Sophie’s Universe in my future ๐Ÿ˜€

Have you made Sophie’s Mandala, Garden, Universe or Extended Universe? Did you work from the free tutorials or have you invested in the recently published book? Would you recommend it? It’s my birthday next week, I think I might buy myself a wee gift… ๐Ÿ˜€

Finished Project Friday – Infinity Scarf & Mandalaย 

It was Mother’s Day on Sunday and Tamara at Moogly offered a pattern discount coupon for her newsletter subscribers. I immediately went over to her Ravelry store and bought a few, including the Melting Snow Infinity Scarf. It’s a lovely repeating pattern that’s so soothing to hook once you get going. I started it that sunny Autumn afternoon and finished it the next day. It’s the perfect width to wrap around twice, and looks lovely in a single loop too.

It’s the first time I’ve used Caron Cakes and I’m really happy with the yarn. This one is Cookies & Cream and I have half a ball left (any project ideas for a half cake would be welcome!). It was fun waiting for the colours to change. I have a couple of balls of Rainbow Sprinkles too and am currently torn between hooking up a fitted, cap-sleeved shrug or a bag…oh happy decisions, decisions!

Speaking of rainbows, this week I’ve also finished another of Haafner Linssen’s patterns from her beautiful book Mandalas to Crochet, currently one of my favourite crochet books. This one is called Starry, Starry Night. 

Makes me smile to look at it ๐Ÿ™‚ I was going to get right back into finishing my block blanket today but I think I’ll be unable to resist starting another of these mandalas first – they are such a lovely crochet fix! I have put a sticky note on ‘Bewitching Basketweave’, which looks like it will be an interesting make. It has a lot of post stitches which I’m developing a real liking for through my work on Sophie’s Garden. More on that next week ๐Ÿ™‚

Wip Wednesday – Sophie’s Garden

This week I’ve both started and finished (!?) a project – an infinity scarf in Caron Cakes which I’m delighted with, and will share later in the week. I also decided to increase the size of my block blanket, so that’s going to be a wip into next week now. I promised myself I wouldn’t start anything else major until the blanket was finished. However! I just couldn’t wait any longer to begin Sophie’s Garden!

Sophie’s Garden became Sophie’s Universe, which I now know without doubt will be my next big project because I’m just loving hooking this!! I’ll be working the Universe in dk – I’m currently eagerly and most impatiently awaiting my first delivery of Stylecraft Special DK!! – but my Garden is in fingering (Moda Vera Gelato and Patons Regal 4ply Cotton) with a 3mm hook.

It is such a beautiful, clever and intricate pattern, with the most amazingly detailed, helpful instructions. I am in awe of the amount of effort and loving care that clearly went into its creation. Concentration and focus is required and it’s not something that can be done when I’m tired or in the company of small children – a little limiting given I’m a stay at home mum to a preschooler plus one school age! But I’ve found my Sophie window in the hour after my daughters go to bed, and I will patiently hook (and frog haha) a little Sophie love each and every evening, for as long as it happily takes โ˜บ

WIP Wednesday – blocks and mandalas

As usual, I have multiple wips going on, but this week my focus is on two in particular. The first is a blanket for my preschooler, using thirty patterns from Jan Eaton’s gorgeous 200 Crochet Blocks. I’ve been working on this for many weeks now, and on Monday I finished number thirty and have now started adding an off-white round of dc (US) to each block, after which I’ll start the joining. I chose all the blocks randomly every couple of days and mixed colours from my palette of ten on a whim, so I have no idea how it’s going to turn out! Also, while in theory each pattern is for a six inch block, my tension on more intricate designs is tighter and I’ve had some trouble achieving uniform sizing. However, I’ve added rounds and / or substituted stitches as needed, and blocked religiously,  if with varying degrees of success. So, we’ll see! I hope to finish the blanket within a week or so; meantime here are nine of my favourites:Today I’m not feeling blocks though, I’m feeling mandalas! I’ve started another from the gorgeous Mandalas to Crochet by Haafner Linssen. This one is called Starry, Starry Night and I’ve chosen a rainbow palette, always a firm favourite of mine. I’m using Patons Cotton Blend 8ply and a 3mm Clover Amour hook.

Other work in progress includes this blog and my new Facebook page! I haven’t spent anywhere near as much time on either as I’d anticipated. I’m ever conscious of maintaining the joy though, and that means the actual hooking always comes first, if I have to choose! However, I’m getting organised, and have a great many plans. And I am mindful that nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished (Lao Tzu) ๐Ÿ˜Š