Category Archives: Patterns and Tutorials

Crochet Granny Square Dress for ME

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crochet granny square dressI purchased this fabbo fabric in Australia – I am normally an upcycler of fabric and can’t recall buying any fabric in a shop, other than a charity shop, for at least 20 years.  I couldn’t resist this printed cotton fabric though – it was meant to be.  I was in Australia to teach crochet and was on a trip to the craft store to help my hostess choose yarn.  I only got 1.5 metres and had no idea what I would make.  It was too good for pyjamas and there was too much fabric for just a skirt – a dress?  If they can do it on the Great British Sewing Bee, then I can do it.  Do you like my self portrait? – you can just see the camera remote in my right hand!

Now, I’ve never made a dress, I made a skirt at school, and a couple of skirts when I worked in a posh tea room in Pasadena, California over 20 years ago and needed to look smart and English rose-like on a budget.  I am not a big fan of sewing machines, I prefer hand crafts, but even I am not about to hand sew a dress!  I find it difficult to buy dresses because they never fit – so I thought this would be a way to get a dress no one else would have and that would fit me – short body, big boobs!

My friend lent me this pattern which was her mother’s – it wasn’t my size but I thought I could use the shapes to give me an idea.  I bought some amazing papery material from our local scrap store for 25p/metre.  It is used to make disposable surgical gowns so I thought I could use it to make a prototype “paper” dress.

ntage simpicity dress pattern

I cut out the pieces using the Simplicity pattern I had, pinned it together and tried it on.  Too big.  I did some cutting and snipping and made a smaller version.  I used this version to make a paper pattern from wrapping paper (all I had).

pattern2

I then used some more surgical gown paper to make a new version and sewed it up (including zip) tried it on and it fit.

surgical gown paper dressI made adjustments to my gown prototype and corresponding snip, nips and tucks to my wrapping paper pattern and then cut out the fabric.  I make all this sound easy – it wasn’t – well not for me anyway.  I could have just bought a pattern my size but where’s the challenge/satisfaction in that?  I would have still have had to customize the pattern a to fit me.

bust darts french darts

facings

back of crochet dress

The front is one piece with two darts on each side – a bust dart and a French dart (into the side seam).  The back is two pieces with a zip in the centre back seam and a small dart on each shoulder.  I know I sound like I know what I’m doing but I just learned the technical lingo from a couple of vintage (charity shop) books on dressmaking I just knew would come in useful.  Now I have the pattern it should be easy to make more, well, zips are never easy (I hate them, but buttonholes are even worse). I hand sewed the hem – the most enjoyable part of the whole process.

hand sewn hem stitch

The whole process took me three days (and evenings) but I am so pleased with the result – I may have to make a couple more with different fabric.  I did use a reclaimed zip and upcycled pink linen fabric from an blouse for the facings.  The thread was also from charity shop.  I have a strip of fabric left over – very short skirt? Although, come to think of it, my ironing board does need a snazzy new new cover.  Watch this space.practice paper dress

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Crochet Daisy Chain – Free Pattern

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crochet daisy chain on tunisian crochet dishcloth

My Mum’s headstone was installed this week – it is hand carved local salvaged red sandstone see earlier post.  I had the idea of crocheting a daisy chain to wrap around it for Mother’s day which is coming up soon here in the UK.  I searched around the web for a suitable pattern but didn’t like any I found – they were either for big daisies or small white flowers that didn’t look like daisies. So, I made up a pattern, there are probably similar ones out there, but this one I figured out myself.

I am going to make 43 daisies, one for each Mother’s Day my twin and I had the pleasure of sharing with our lovely Mum.  They are a wee bit fiddly but so very cute and versatile. My first daisy (above) is sitting on my second ever piece of Tunisian crochet – a cotton dishcloth but more on that later.

crochet daisy chain free pattern

My crochet daisy uses the magic loop method to start so you don’t get a hole in the centre of your flower. If you don’t know how to do this there are many excellent video tutorials on You tube.  For my daisies I am using…..

  • 4mm crochet hook
  • Double knit yarn (light worsted USA and 8-ply AUS) in green, white and yellow.
  1. Crochet a chain in green yarn as long as you like.
  2. In yellow, work 12 dc (sc USA) into the magic loop and join with a slip stitch.
  3. Tighten the magic loop until the hole has disappeared.
  4. Change to white, join yarn with a slip stitch.
  5. Chain 4, slip stitch in the next dc (sc USA) of the previous yellow round.
  6. Continue around until you have worked 12 petals,join with a ss.
  7. Weave in your loose ends.
  8. I used the tail from my magic loop to sew each daisy to my pre-made chain.
  9. Keep going until you get bored – sit on the grass and pretend you are 6 again!

Charity Blanket Square – Free Bike Pattern

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t 8" crochet blanket square with bike applique

Continuing my current charity crochet/knitting obsession – here is a blanket square I made to send to knit-a-square.com.  Thirty five 8″ squares make a blanket for a S. African Aids orphan.  The February challenge on the square circle forum is for members to make squares with a transportation theme.  Well, challenge to me is like a red rag to a bull.  I have made three so far but will have to stop for a while as I have 10 days to make the wee man a Dr Who themed quilt for his Birthday.  I have written up this pattern as a pdf so click here bikesquarepattern if you would like to make one for yourself or for knit-a-square.  Please don’t sell the pattern or sell products made from the pattern unless the proceeds go to knit-a-square.

Here’s last week’s squares – the traffic lights square is mostly crochet with a knitted smooth tarmac road; and, the car square is felt applique on a knitted square with crochet border.

crochet square with road and traffic lightscharity blanket square knit and crochet with felt car applique

1970s Crochet Vest – Free Pattern

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easy crochet tanktop free pattern

I designed and made this tank top for knit-a-square (K-A-S) to match the hat in my previous post.  It is inspired by one my Mum crocheted for my brother in the early 70s – I only have a black and white photo of him in his tank top but I’m sure his was bright too! My Mum enjoyed knitting and crocheting for knit-a-square so this pattern is in memory of her – from my family to yours.  Here’s my wee boy modelling for me, before we send the hat and tank top of to S. Africa to keep an Aids orphan warm.vintage retro 70s crochet tank top free pattern

This tank top/vest/slip-over is based on granny squares with the sides and straps added on – it’s very easy with no shaping at all.  I have used UK crochet terms.  If you are in the US then Uk treble = USA double and UK double = USA single.

  • 4.5mm crochet hook

  • Approx 150g UK double-knit weight yarn (USA light worsted, AUS 8-ply)

  • This fits my 7/8 year old and is stretchy and accommodating as requested by K-A-S who are collecting and distributing garments for 3-9 year old Aids orphans in S. Africa.

  • Leave at least 5 inch tails for weaving in later.

  • I spent about a week of very happy evenings crocheting this and then a few more evenings weaving in ends (labour of love)!

granny square crochet vest

The front and back are the same. The band around the bottom was added after the back and front were joined. I used dark yarn (green, black and navy) for the final double-crochet round of each granny square and to edge the whole piece – for contrast.  It’s up to you to make it bright and colourful – have fun!

  • Large Granny Square (make 2). Ch 4 and work nine rounds of a traditional granny square (ch 1 between the clusters and chain 2 at the corners). Work a tenth round of treble crochet (double USA) in each stitch and an 11th round of double crochet (single USA) in each stitch.

  • Small Granny Square (make 6). Ch 4 and work three rounds of a traditional granny square (ch 1 between the clusters and chain 2 at the corners). Work a fourth round of double crochet (single USA) in each stitch.

  • Sides – work 5 rows of treble crochet into the bottom 32 stitches on each side of the now joined granny squares (front L&R and back L&R). Crochet or sew the sides together.

  • Straps – on the top corners of each large granny square, work a row of 9 treble crochet and work a further 7 rows of treble crochet (8 total). Repeat for all four corners. with double crochet or sew front/back straps together.

  • Bottom Band – work at least 7 rounds of double crochet, for the last row, turn work and work in the opposite direction, this will make the edge less likely to curl.

  • Finishing – work an extra row or two of double crochet around the neck and armholes.

  • Weave in Ends

retro style granny square crochet tanktop vest

Easy Charity Crochet Beanie Hat – Free Pattern

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Easy Free Child Adult Crochet Hat Pattern

In honour of the recent snowfall here in Scotland (woolly hat weather), I thought I’d share a recent crochet hat I made for charity and the basic pattern I designed.   Here’s my wee man modelling the hat but it’s actually destined for South Africa to keep an Aids orphan warm and to show him/her that the world cares (well I do anyway).  The charity I made it for, knit-a-square.com, collects knitted and crochet 8″ squares to try and make as many warm and colourful blankets as they can.  500 children are orphaned through Aids in S. Africa every day – so this is a call to the world’s knitters and crocheters to pick-up your needles.  You can make a hat or a square in one long winter’s night.   They made a special appeal this month for hats and jumpers for older children, age 3-9.  Details of the appeal for 2013 can be found here. 

STOP PRESS: I am thrilled to announce that several of these hats have already been crocheted for the appeal from this pattern, so please let me know if you make one for them too.  Here’s additional photos of second and third hats I’ve made using the pattern but with just two colours and a contrast stripe. I have floated the yarn between stripes – so fewer ends to weave in.

easy quick free DK wool yarn pattern

 

red blue crochet hat striped

My wee man is eight next month so I made this hat to fit him but, basically, older kids need adult sized hats – this hat would fit an adult too – it fits me and I have a big head – 22″ circumference.  If you use/like this pattern, please consider making an extra hat for knit-a-square or make a small monetary donation to them, thanks –

Free Crochet Beanie Hat Pattern

Important Info….

  • I used approx 35g of UK double-knit weight yarn in total although I used loads of tiny balls in different colours.  I believe this is equivalent to US “light worsted” and AUS “8-ply” yarn.  Apparently, the brighter and more colourful the better for the recipients.
  • 4.5 mm crochet hook.
  • I used UK treble crochet stitch (trc) for the whole hat except the last two rows which are UK double crochet (dc).  These stitches are called double crochet and single crochet in the US.
  • I made each round a different colour, this makes it easy to count rows and stitches and means you can have fun and use up teeny tiny balls of yarn.  Complete each round with a slip stitch (ss) in to the top of the first (chain 3) stitch of the previous round and leave a tail at least 5 inches long for weaving in later.  Start each new round in a random place around the hat by joining yarn with a ss and chaining 3 for your first stitch.  This means the joins will not be visible and will make it easier when you are weaving in ends.  I am not going to tell you to join every round with a ss and join new colour for each stripe – you can remember to do that yourselves!

Pattern

  1. chain 4, join with a slip stitch (ss)
  2. round 1: trc 12 sts into the centre of the chain 4 ring, join with a ss.
  3. round 2: join new colour, starting with a chain 3 for the first stitch, make 2 trc sts into each of the previous 12 sts (24 sts total), join with ss.
  4. round 3: make *2 trc sts in the first stitch and then 1 trc in the next st* repeat all the way round (36 sts total).
  5. round 4: make *2 trc sts in the first stitch and then 1 trc in the next 2 sts* repeat all the way round (48 sts total).
  6. round 5: make 1 trc in each of the previous 48 stitches (keeping the total 48)
  7. round 6: make *2 trc sts in the first stitch and then 1 trc in the next 3 sts* repeat all the way round (60 sts total).
  8. rounds 7- 17: make 1 trc in each of the 60 sts of the previous round.  If you want to make the hat slightly smaller, work fewer rounds here.
  9. round 18: double crochet (sc USA) in each st of the previous round.
  10. round 19: turn the work so you are working with the inside of the hat facing you and make one more round of dc in reverse as it were (this helps stop the hat curling and makes a slightly chunkier looking edge from the right side).

If you spot any mistakes in the pattern or need clarification, let me know, I made up the pattern as I went along and wrote it up afterwards so it’s not tested!

Weaving in Ends

Weaving in ends is much better than simply laying the old yarn along the work and crocheting over it – these pull out and can be seen.  Weaving in ends is a bit of a fiddle but sooo worth it.  This link explains how to do it.

How to Make a Crochet Seaside Stripes Blanket

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seaside stripes crochet 100% cotton blanket  One of my bestest pals is having a significant Birthday soon so I wanted to make her something special.  Unfortunately, she’s allergic to wool, my yarn of choice; but, when I saw some lovely teal-coloured cotton yarn in a local store I immediately thought of her – just her colour.   She loves stripes and seaside colours so I thought I’d make her a little crochet cotton blanket to keep her cozy while watching TV or reading – she feels the cold!

I selected the five colours that were most “her.” I would have liked a brown or yellow sand-coloured yarn to add a a bit of warmth to the overall scheme but they didn’t have one.  I chose to make it random stripes so that I could enjoy “choosing” which colour would look good next  – I thought I’d get bored with a pre-determined sequence.  It was fun to make,  it’s so soft, and, I know she’ll love it.

crochet beach blanket on antique teak garden bench

Here’s How I Made it….I hope this passes as a Pattern!

My finished blanket is 32 x 46 inches approx – so it could easily be a large baby blanket or a toddler-sized blanket; or used as a “throw” for the back of a sofa.

  • 4 mm crochet hook for main body and 3.5mm hook for border.
  • 10 x 50g balls of 100% cotton dk weight yarn (3 x silver, 2 x blue, 2 x teal, 1 x cream, 1 x putty, 1 x sage green).
  • Chain 120 sts to start.
  • I worked 103 random colour rows of treble crochet (UK) double crochet (USA). Leave at least 6 inches tail when you join new colours for weaving in later (I used the method advocated by blogger CraftyMinx.  It will try your patience but is sooo much better that just lying the old tail along the top of the previous row – ‘cos they pull out easily – especially with cotton ‘cos it’s so slippery)!  I mostly changed colour every row but I occasionally worked two rows in the same colour to keep things extra random.

stripey crochet picnic blanket - silver, sage, blue, taupe and teal

  • For the border – I used a 3.5mm hook and, for the first round, I worked three stitches for every two rows of (treble UK)/(double USA) crochet on the sides.  This was to tighten up the sides and help stop the sides getting stretched out in use.  I worked the stitches into the actual stitches of the treble crochets rather than the spaces – this was fiddly but much neater.  Where the sides were indented I used a treble instead of a double to even it out.  For the second round, I worked all double crochets (single USA).

Let me know how you get on with yours!

Hand Knit Mod Skinny Tie

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hand knitted mod tie and union jack dr marten bootsI had a request from my friend’s 15 year old son, to knit him a tie.  Since he is an appreciative laddie with impeccable taste I was happy to oblige.  I’m not sure how to describe his style since labels never quite fit, but he’s certainly mod-inspired and he wanted a black square ended knitted tie.  It’s all finished and ready to give to him when our families unite in a couple of weeks for a holiday in Brighton – where else – (we live in Scotland and they live in Ireland).

I’ll try and get a few snaps of him sporting his tie on location as it were.  I did have to visit the optician to get my first pair of reading classes – I’m at that age – to make sure my old eyes were up to the task – black is not an easy colour to knit especially when you live near the North pole and light is scarce even in summer!

If you’d like to knit a similar one, here’s what should pass as a pattern:

  1. My tie is approx 57″ long, 1  3/4 wide at the widest part and 1  1/4 at the narrowest.
  2. 35g 4-ply yarn (I used pure wool yarn as it is springy and can be eased back into shape if it gets stretched).
  3. 2  3/4mm needles (old UK 12) – I used two sock double pins as they were nice and short – I have tight tension you might need to use smaller needles.
  4. Cast on 15 stitches
  5. Slipping the first stitch of each row (to give you a neat edge) knit every row (garter stitch) until the tie measures approx 20″
  6. Decrease one stitch at beginning of next row by slipping the first stitch, knitting the second and then passing the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch (Sl, K1 psso). knit to the end of the row until you have two stitches left, then slip both these stitches on to the right hand needle and then knit them using the left hand needle (this is known as SSK).
  7. You should now have 13 sts.
  8. Continue in garter stitch for another 20″
  9. Repeat decreases as above and continue garter stitch on these 11 stitches for another 17″.
  10. Cast off.hand knitted mod tie gift wrapped with RAF mod buttons

My “client” requested his tie be 60″ (5 feet) long but since a knitted tie is very stretchy I knitted it 3″ shorter as it will stretch when tied and also from use. He also requested a label on the back to tuck the thin end into. designer "Pringle" label hand sewn into hand knitted tie I used an old label from a Pringle sweater left over from my upcycling endeavours.  I made a custom “mod”  label with upcycled buttons and hand printed R.  Happy Belated Birthday R.

I soaked the tie in warm water to relax the stitches and then rolled it up and squeezed gently, I then laid it out on a towel and patted it dry.  I laid it on the floor overnight to dry after I had gently eased it back to the intended length of 57″.  This is called “blocking” and can be repeated later if the tie gets too stretched with use.  Blocking only works with animal fibres.