Category Archives: Crochet

So Have You Won? Take A Look!

Aaaaaaaaaaaand……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….time’s up! Put down your pen and face the front. No talking, please, because the Edie Eckman giveaway is now closed. (I should clarify that we’re not actually giving away Edie Eckman – her friends and family vetoed that idea – but through this blog, Storey Publishing is giving away a hefty chunk of Edie’s crochet wisdom, distilled into one marvellous new book.)

Edie Eckman Every Which Way Crochet Borders review

Before we find out who’s won, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to each and every one of you who entered. You made this giveaway a big success.

Sadly, there is only one prize. But hey, we can all form an orderly (global) queue to borrow the book from whoever wins, can’t we?

As promised, I consulted the sages at Random.org in order to select a winner. I’d love to work for Random.org: it would be my spiritual home. On Monday, I’d come to work with a shoe on my head, and on Tuesday, I’d wear my coat backwards…

Totalling the hats that were flung into the ring here and on Facebook before the final gong sounded, we have 224 entries to the contest.  🙂 And the winner? The winner is…

…which just happens to be… Joy Aitman! Congratulations, Joy! If you email me at thetwistedyarn [@] outlook [dot] com, then I can arrange with the publishers for your prize to be sent out, pronto. I’ll attempt to contact you directly, too. To everyone else, I’m sorry that you weren’t lucky this time, but there’ll be plenty more giveaways on here soon, so your turn will likely come…

And in the meantime, happy hooking/needling.

Phil  x

Edie Eckman Every Which Way Crochet Borders review

Big thanks to Storey Publishing for providing the prize.  🙂

 

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Every Which Way Crochet Borders By Edie Eckman: A Review And A Giveaway

This book review is part of a blog tour* to celebrate the publication of Edie Eckman’s new book: Every Which Way Crochet Borders.

Waaaaaaaay across the Atlantic in the US, is a woman who likes to live life on the edge. She’s based in Virginia** (which is on the edge of the US, you’ll note. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.) And this month, she’s brought out her second book about ornamental crochet borders. Y’see? Life on the edge. This woman adores borders. Can you imagine living in her house? Borders. Everywhere. I bet even her fridge has a perfect little fringe of picots across its top.***

Edie Eckman Every Which Way Crochet Borders review

But for just a few moments, I shall be serious.**** This is a book with charts and written instructions for 139 different crocheted borders. (Don’t be fooled by the fact that the numbered patterns only go as high as 125: there’s also designs A-N to top up the total.) You can apply these motifs to your crocheted, knitted, or fabric projects. That’s great, but what I really like is that the first thirty pages are devoted to the principles of creating the right border, in the right yarn, and the right colour(s) for your project. It will not tell you that your knitted washcloth must be edged with three rounds of purple puff stitch, but it will show you how to design an original border that’s just right. I like the fact that it’s not prescriptive, but instead empowers you to be creative.

Edie Eckman Every Which Way Crochet Borders review

Same design. Different colours. Big difference.

So of course, I had to have a play. Time was short and the twinnage were tetchy, so I’ve only made one border for this post. But I’ve followed Edie’s patterns/charts in other books before, so I know that they’re reliably clear and accurate.

She advocates working a base round in the same colour as the body of your project, in order to neaten away a multitude of wobbly yarny sins, and prepare for the ambitious stitchery ahead. This woman talks sense, and I wasn’t about to disobey:-

Edie Eckman Every Which Way Crochet Borders review

Ha, they’ll never see my wobblesome edges now.

I do like the fact that there’s a photographic directory at the back. Experience has taught me that I’ll never again buy a stitch dictionary without a photographic index. Look at all the pretties!

Edie Eckman Every Which Way Crochet Borders review

It was so hard to choose. But 68 is a nice number. Let’s try 68. (Yarn = Stylecraft Special Chunky. Hooks = Clover Amour: go speak to Janie Crow if you fancy some these super-speedy hooks. No that’s not an affiliate link – I just think that Jane is brilliant at what she does.)

Edie Eckman Every Which Way Crochet Borders review

The first round.

Now I’m immediately sinning by working a border that’s bigger than the fabric it encloses, but this is just a swatch, so I hope that you’ll forgive me.

Edie Eckman Every Which Way Crochet Borders review

Round two. Ding ding!

The written instructions combined with the charts should ensure that everyone is catered for, regardless of whether you’re a visual or a verbal thinker. There’s also an adapted chart that you can use if you want to work each design in back-and-forth rows, rather than in rounds.

edie beckman every which way crochet borders

Oops: never scribble reminders on your hand when you’re due to photograph said hands for a blog post. (Still, that’s not as idiotic as the time when I wrote loads of reminders on my hand at bedtime and then went to sleep… with my hand pressed against my face. Thank goodness I looked in the mirror before I went to work the next morning. Don’t try this at home, folks.)

Each design requires multiples of a specified number of stitches, but I warmed to Edie considerably when I saw that she’d included a brief note on fudging stitch counts. (Is it me, or does ‘fudging stitch counts’ sound like something you’d mutter under your breath when your mum’s visiting and you can’t swear properly?)

edie beckman every which way crochet borders

The range of designs is enormous, from very simple edges, to clever and elaborate borders:-

edie beckman every which way crochet borders

HOW cool is this?!

It’s written using US crochet terms, so those of us on the Brit-side will have to remember to adjust accordingly (unless you’re like me and show a rare disloyalty to the UK by using American crochet terms). In case you need a reminder, Edie includes a brief table of translation.

edie beckman every which way crochet borders

But between bouts of flicking through these fabulous finishes, I completed #68. Here y’go:-

edie beckman every which way crochet borders

Delightful, no?

Sorry folks, the final gong has sounded and the giveaway has closed. But a’fear ye not, there’ll be plenty more giveaways on this site soon…

A-n-y-w-a-y, did I mention a giveaway? I do believe that I mentioned a giveaway. Would you like to win a copy of this marvellous book, regardless of which corner of planet Earth you currently call home? Yes? YES? Well read on, Macduff.

To win a copy of Every Which Way Crochet Borders, leave a comment below. To gain a sneaky additional entry, you can also ‘like’ the Yarn’s Facebook page here, and leave a comment under the Facebook post for this blog post. (For Facebook comments only, you’ll need to include some way of reaching you in case you win – your Ravelry username would be just perfect.)

The competition is open worldwide, from RIGHT NOW until noon UK-time on Saturday 25th February 2017. After the gong sounds at that very moment, all the entries will be gathered up and a winner will be chosen randomly with assistance from the marvellous yet inscrutable folks at random.org. The winner’s contact details will be passed to Storey Publishing, so that they can arrange for your prize to be sent out. Don’t worry, neither they nor I will spam you.

And if you’re not lucky enough to win, you can buy a copy right now (£13.99 in the UK, and, um, other prices in other places). Enjoy!

edie beckman every which way crochet borders

#68 rocks.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book for review, so obviously my shallow and fickle mind has been swayed by a mere freebie, and you cannot trust a single word I say.

 

∗See yesterday’s post at Not Your Average Crochet, and tomorrow, hop on over to Petals To Picots.

∗∗No, I’m really not her stalker. I just read the blurb on the back of her book.

∗∗∗With apologies to Edie if your home is actually a temple to white Scandi minimalism.

∗∗∗∗No I don’t believe that, either.

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The Knitting And Crochet Guild

Given that you’re here, and assuming that you’re not right now scratching your head and thinking “Hang on, this isn’t the blog about oxy-acetylene welding that I was searching for,”* it’s probably safe to assume that you’re partial to looking at a bit of knitting/crochet. (I used to call it ‘yarn p♥rn’, but then I noticed that a few folk were landing here via some questionable search terms – and no doubt being deeply disappointed when they arrived – so I gave that up.)

One of the best places to look at yarn you-know-what is deep in the historical archive of the much under-publicised Knitting and Crochet Guild (KCG), up in West Yorkshire. If you saw my last post about our Stylecraft Blogstars meet-up last weekend, then you’ll know that we were very kindly treated to a trip to the archive on the Friday. I sincerely wish that you could have been there with us, because it was fascinating. But I did bring back some photos to share with you. Would you like to see?

The KCG archive houses thousands of knitted/crocheted items and patterns as well as knitting/hooking tools, dating from as far back as 1826, although most are from the twentieth century. They’re all tucked away in an unprepossessing industrial unit behind a housing estate in Scholes, West Yorkshire. And as I stepped through the door with the other Blogstars, I had very little idea of what to expect.

Irish crochet lace.

I should mention at this point that this is an archive and not a museum, and so what you see when you enter is mostly shelves (and shelves, and shelves) of boxes with intriguing labels such as Vogue Knitting, 1970-1990.

There are a very few items on display, such as the vintage Singer sock-knitting machine that caught our imagination, but what you really need in this place is a guide, or better still, three guides. Permit me, please, to introduce Angharad (third from left, navy jumper), Barbara (red jumper at the back), and Alex (far right, navy jumper).

Knitting and Crochet Guild

In the archive. From the left: Kathryn (Crafternoon Treats), Julia (Handknitted Things), Angharad (awesome KCG volunteer), Sandra (Cherry Heart), Sarah (Annaboo’s House), Lucia (Lucia’s Fig Tree), Barbara (awesome KCG volunteer), me, Jane (Janie Crow), Alex (awesome KCG volunteer). Photo credit: Charlotte @ Stylecraft.

These wonderful women are volunteers at the KCG, and from deep in the archives they fetched some choice exhibits to share with us. Do I even need to tell you how grateful and intrigued we all were? Would you like to see what they showed us? Yes? OK, take a pair of white cotton gloves from the box so that you can safely handle the artefacts, and let’s begin.

I’m guessing that a fair few of you will know immediately who designed this knitwear. Yup, you’re looking at Kaffe Fassett’s ‘Foolish Virgins’, circa 1989. One of the KCG volunteers is a rare genius at matching pattern to knitwear/hookwear:-

And here’s a granny square shawl from 1955, a Vogue Knitting pattern to be worked on 2.25mm hooks in 3-ply yarn. Somebody had a lot of time on their hands to make and join all 250 squares:-

Gorgeous, no? And here with the pattern:-

It was fascinating listening to the archivists talk. They told us about samples of Patricia Roberts’ stranded designs that were held in the collection, in which you could examine the reverse and see the knitter’s progression from clueless leaver of l-o-n-g floats to confident float-trapper and all-round stranded expert.

And just look at this crochet!

It was made in 1930 by someone with disturbingly exceptional patience, and it’s stunning. The yarn is mercerised cotton at some insanely fine gauge, and the tiny squares are sewn together. Here it is with its pattern:-

Just wow.

Oh, and see this below? This was made by Queen Mary, but we weren’t particularly encouraged to photograph it because it’s not very good!

There are also hooks, needles, and other equipment in the collection.

And if you thought that circular needles were a new idea, then think again. Here’s one from the 1930s. It’s rather springy and has a mind of its own:-

As the daughter of a patent examiner, I was fascinated by the patent declarations for strange and unusual innovations, such as knitting needles with measurements along their lengths:-

I do like this crochet hook:-

Here’s a very early 20th century yarn holder. (It’d be perfect for my walking-the-children-to-school knitting.)

There is so much that I could show you.

But I’m saving the best (IMHO) for last. Would you like to see what’s inside this box?

There’s no point in asking you to guess, because it’s THIS:-

Just look!

Now there are three reasons why, to me, this is the most amazing piece of knitting ever:-

  1. It just is. How stunning? How original?
  2. Only slightly behind knitting and crochet (and well ahead of running) in the list of stuff-I-love is geology. I’ve even let it sneak into this blog a little, eg here. My idea of a heavenly day out involves walking up a mountain and poking about in the strata. So, knitted rocks? I’m in love.
  3. This objet was knitted by none other than Jan Messent. Have you heard of her? She’s here. She’s more into embroidery than knitting these days, but I first discovered her when I found an old book of her eccentric knits/crochet in a second-hand bookshop. I was intrigued by her crocheted/knitted gardens, and they were part of the inspiration behind my ridiculous chair project. Look, here’s a shot of some of the work in her book:-

From Jan Messent’s ‘Have You Any Wool?’ (1987)

So yeah, I was very happy to see this stunning creation in the archive.

The Knitting and Crochet Guild website is right here. You can join for a mere £25 per year, and access a whole wealth of history, information, and expertise. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

 

∗In which case, you’d be better off trying here. You’re welcome.

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About A Chair

[whispers] It’s done.

Let me tell you a story.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

Once upon a time (an embarrassingly long time ago), there was a young psychologist who lived alone in a flat in Oxford. She loved her home very much and was happy there, but she didn’t have much spare cash, so not being able to afford an antique overstuffed armchair on castors, she went instead to Ikea, where she bought a Poäng chair:-

The chair served her well over the years, and was sat in without obvious complaint by a long succession of friends, family, and a couple of boyfriends.

crochet ikea poang chair cover cottage

Eventually, she moved out of her lovely flat and got married. The chair came too. (Well, it didn’t come to the actual wedding: she didn’t love it that much.) Her husband grew fond of the chair, which was fortunate because for his bride, it was pretty much a case of ‘Love me, love my chair’. But the Stoic Spouse understood that, and all was well.

crochet ikea poang chair cover

The chair accompanied the not-quite-so-young-now couple through a succession of house moves, before coming to rest in their long-term home. And still, the faithful chair accommodated bottoms of all shapes and sizes, with almost no complaint apart from the occasional creak.

crochet embroidered yarn seagull ikea poang chair cover

By now, the definitely-left-their-youth-behind-some-time-ago couple had two small children, and the chair accepted its fate of being climbed on and used as part of a den.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

Which brings us up to about a year ago. After so many years of loyal service, the chair was understandably looking the tiniest bit shabby around its edges. So like many things in the house – including the building itself – it fell victim to yarn-bombing. Frankly, anything in this house that’s not moving is vulnerable to being yarn-bombed. That’s why guests don’t tend to stay very long.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover cat pond

The let’s-face-it-middle-aged-now psychologist had once designed a crochet bag shaped like a cottage, and in a moment when reason abandoned her, she decided that it would be a good idea to make a larger-scale version to cover the chair. There was probably wine involved in this ridiculous impulse.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

So she set about crocheting the cottage, and also a garden which would form the seat of the chair. (There were a few knitted bits too, such as the pond and the picnic blanket.) And when her hooks and knitting needles weren’t up to the job, she picked up her darning needle and embroidered flowers, and leaves, and little rows of vegetables, and a pigeon, and a door-knocker, and…

This work took some time. I have no idea how many hundreds (thousands?) of hours have gone into this chair cover. Then one day (yesterday, as it so happens), she was busy attaching a small embroidered seagull to the roof of the cottage. She fixed its feet in place, wove in the ends, and then she realized…

…It was done.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

Not just the seagull (which had been fiddly enough – do you know how hard it is to capture the essence of seagull in yarn?) but the whole thing. Done. Finished. Complete.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

She stood back to look at her work, and she thought, ‘That, my friends, is completely and utterly bonkers. I shall not be making another.’

crochet poang ikea chair cover

Just a chair… that I spent a year crocheting all over.

So shall we take a tour? The roof is crocodile stitch (see my tutorial), and walls are a brick stitch that I improvised, loosely based on equivalent stitches used by others. That rambling rose took flippin’ ages to embroider:-

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover roses flowers

The garden was fun, and provided plenty of blog-fodder along the way.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover

The lavender came out quite well:-

crochet garden lavender embroidery

There was cake:-

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover cake

And flower-beds and veg-beds that took an age to make.

crochet cottage garden ikea poang chair cover flowers

The rambling rose needed a sturdy trunk:-

And whoever was to sit on the picnic blanket needed a good book:-

And just to make it realistic, there’s a pigeon in the vegetable patch:-

pigeon

The pigeon is rather small, and was a tad fiddly to make:-

crochet pigeon

Want to see the back? It’s very plain:-

So, whilst I’m not about to rush off and make another one, I’ll grudgingly concede that this yarn journey has been rather a lot of fun.

crochet ikea poang chair coverMany of you have shown huge encouragement along the way. THANK YOU for your loyalty and kindness, you crazy enablers! I hope that the result has put a tiny smile on your face.

Meanwhile, I don’t know how much each tiny weeny little yarny stitch weighs, but the fact that the cover alone (minus cushion) weighs 2.5 kg (5lb, 6oz) should give you an idea of just how many stitches went into this beast. Quite possibly over a million.

All sorts of yarn was pulled into service, especially anything green. There’s hand-dyed merino and there’s mass-produced acrylic. But I do want to thank my friends at Stylecraft, because there’s a lot of Stylecraft Special in this thing, especially DK-weight amongst the flowers and pond, and their chunkier weights for the back of the cover.

crochet garden knitted

Anyway, to conclude this family saga, the psychologist showed the Stoic Spouse the finished chair, and encouraged him to sit in it. But although he admired it and said nice things, he refused to sit, claiming that the chair cover might get damaged if people used it. The psychologist pointed out that she’d made it practically bomb-proof, and it was designed to be used. Still, the Stoic Spouse refused. The psychologist, being a reasonable sort, offered him a choice between sitting in the chair, and divorce. The Stoic Spouse chose divorce.

But what he doesn’t yet know, is that in the divorce settlement, I shall make sure that the only piece of seating he ends up with is this chair, so he will have to sit in it!

The end. (We’re not really getting a divorce, by the way.)

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Finishing Touches

No, really: I’m practically done.

All that remains after a year or so of work on that completely crazy project is to sew/crochet the thing together in its final setting. I know that a fair few of you have generously walked this journey by my side, for which I can only thank you for your extreme patience. In a few days’ time, I’ll be able to photograph and show you the finished object in situ. I just hope that it’s been worth the wait. In the meantime, here are a few shots of the finishing touches that I’ve been adding over the past week or so. They’re all additions to the garden, because that’s where I’ve been able to go wild, so to speak.

I made some terracotta pots, and planted them with flowers that may or may not be tulips. For reasons that will be clear when you see the finished thing, everything in the garden has to be fairly flat, so they’re not particularly tall pots.

crochet flowers in pots

They were made by single-crocheting round and round, increasing by one in every stitch in the soil colour, then switching to the terracotta colour and adding a couple more rounds without increasing stitch count.

I used my Stylecraft Special shade-card to choose the colours. Just for the record and in case you’re crazy enough to want to replicate something like this, the soil is ‘Dark Brown’ and the pot edge is ‘Copper’.

And there are flowers in ‘Turquoise’, too.

Someone suggested a cat. So meet Gemma. (Stylecraft Special, ‘Black’, whilst we’re on the subject.) Don’t worry, she’s not going to catch that fish.

The real Gemma is a sweet animal whom the twinnage and I often pause to stroke on our walk to school.

I’ve replaced all the messy-embroidered lily pads with neater crocheted ones.

And I’m making some pebbles for the edge of the pond, just so that all the newts and frogs can climb out easily.

It feels quite meditative, working round and round to create these little stones.

So that’s about all. I ‘just’ need to do a bit of sewing to join this ol’ beast together. Y’know, I might almost miss it once it’s done. Almost.

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Rhubarb!

All right, all right, you lot. I can see how titling a post ‘Finished Object’ might have given the teeniest impression that I’d finally finished that project. Sorry. But your comments have also nudged me to get on with final push towards completion, so thank you. Though when I do weave in the last end, I’ll be posting under a considerably more hysterical title than ‘Finished Object’. Look out for a post titled OMG, OMG, IT’S DONE, IT’S DONE, IT’S DONE! SQUEEEEE!!!!!!!! Unless the finished job looks a bit rubbish, in which case you’ll find me sitting on the floor in the corner, nursing a bottle of gin.

crochet embroidered cottage house

A detail…

Anyway, thank you for stirring me back into yarny horticultural action. In case you’re new to this ludicrous thing, it’s… hard to explain. Far too long ago (I’m not even sure that Europeans had arrived in the Americas yet) I had one of those ridiculous ideas that really should have been taken out back and throttled immediately. But instead of thinking Nope, that’s a stupid idea, I decided to go ahead. You see, after designing/making this bag in the shape of a cottage, I started dreaming a little bigger. Because if you can make a small bag look like a cottage, why can’t you do the same to a large piece of furniture?

crochet embroidered cottage house

With a bit of manic effort, I got the cottage part done fairly speedily, but as many of you will know, I got a bit lost in the garden, for a while. No longer! Look, I’ve finished another flower bed!

crochet garden knitted

And just to add to the veg patch, I’m rather pleased with this rhubarb. (Stylecraft Batik ‘Raspberry’ is pleasingly perfect for the stems.)

crochet rhubarb

The problem is – and it’s a big problem – that as I finish each section, I look at previous sections and think Hmm, that could be better. So I started crocheting lily leaves for the pond, instead of the messy embroidered ones.

knitting crochet pond garden

And now I’m thinking, Hmm, I never really have been happy with the water. So I’m wondering about crocheting something in a colour that’s a little more murky. Meanwhile, I can’t leave this thing around without some small child parking their toy cars on it or moving diggers in to begin building work. Sigh.

But I have a target: it shall be done and shown here by the end of this month. There, I’ve said it out loud. I have a confession, though: there’s an even more ambitious idea swilling around in the fevered backwaters of my brain.

crochet garden knitted flowers

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All Aboard The Stylecraft Blog Tour Bus For A Giveaway And A Free Pattern!

Have you been following this year’s Stylecraft Blog Tour? Yesterday, designer/author Sue Pinner showed us her marvellous Spinning Top crochet blanket pattern.

Six new shades have been added to the aran and the chunky Stylecraft Special acrylic ranges, and the fine fibrous folk at Stylecraft have mixed these up with some of the existing shades to make a couple of different ten-ball colour packs that they’ll be selling for a while. Over the summer, they kindly gave a few of us yarniacs a pack to try out. (Did I mention that this yarn-blogging thing is SOOOO TOUGH?!) This year’s blog tour gives a dozen of us the chance to show off what we’ve been making with our yarn.

I chose the ‘Parchment’ pack in chunky weight. Look!Stylecraft Special Chunky blog tour
Anyway, welcome to Day Eight of the blog tour. At an unfeasibly early hour this morning, I was woken by a rumbling sound, which turned out to be the colourful Stylecraft blog-tour-bus squeezing its way down our driveway, and parking beside the Stinkwagon. Hurrah! Heaven knows what the neighbours thought, although they’ve witnessed crazier (especially that time when I yarn-bombed our house).

stylecraft blog tour blogstars

The blog-tour-bus! In the courtyard at our house!

So clad only in my third-best pyjamas, I rushed outside to greet the bus.

I’d been thinking long and hard about what to make with this yarn, as it ideally had to incorporate all ten shades. Also, I was in the mood for a spot of crochet. So I designed this scarf, ably modelled by my headless friend, here:-

free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogstars

Would you like the FREE pattern? OK, I’ll pop it at the end of this post.

The finished scarf turned out well, but along the way, my goodness there was a lot of growling, and ripping out, and setting a poor example of emotional self-regulation in front of the children.

img_0335

Then, the night before I finished it, I was across the road in the village pub with a group of friends, celebrating the birthday of one of us. (Hmm, that was the sentence that grammar forgot, wasn’t it?) Three of us were knitters/crocheters, so a certain amount of yarnery was going on around our bit of the table. But the poor birthday girl – an avid and skilled knitter – didn’t have any yarn with her! Horrors! Yes of course we offered to sprint home and fetch some for her. But do you know what she did (and I swear she did this voluntarily)? She picked up my scarf-in-progress, which was at the time looking very hairy due to the number of ends I’d procrastinated about weaving in, and she wove in all the ends! All of them!

So I pulled out a sock-in-progress from my handbag and knitted a bit of that instead. (What?? You think that I ever leave the house with only one WIP?) Technology and lighting were against me on the photo front, but here she is:-
20161025_220058_resized
J, I owe you big-time. And I hope you enjoyed your birthday.

So at last the thing was nearly done, and the next day whilst slightly hungover I worked a simple scalloped edge around it. What do you think?
img_0428
But now, I have a… difficulty. I want to show you a picture of the thing laid out, so that you can see how the flared end tucks through the slit near the other end to make a loop. But laid out flat, it presents a photographic problem. There’s no other way of saying this: it looks undeniably phallic. So, um, let’s mess things up a bit.

free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogstars

ANYWAY, would you like the chance to win a big squooshy pack of all ten shades of Stylecraft Special Chunky that I used to make this thing? You would? Well that’s a coincidence, because the kind folk on the Stylecraft tour bus happen to have a pristine new pack of yarn all ready to post out to one lucky winner. The competition is open worldwide, but you’ll have to hurry, because it’s only open from 1000hrs to 2359hrs TODAY, UK time, so put down your knitting/hooking for a moment and hurry, hurry, hurry!

Click here to enter!

And so, as the day draws to a close, the tour bus will rumble colourfully on to its next destination: Sarah at Annaboo’s House. It’s clocking up a lot of miles, that bus. Fortunately it’s very environmentally-friendly, existing as it does only in my imagination.

Just in case you’ve missed any, the full list of participants in the blog tour is: Emma Varnam, Jane Crowfoot, Keep Calm And Crochet On, Sue Pinner, Annaboo’s House, Hand Knitted Things, Cherry Heart, The Patchwork Heart, Crafternoon TreatsStylecraft’s own blogLe Monde de Sucrette, and of course this very blog.  

free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogstars

So would you like the FREE PATTERN to make this beast? Yeah? OK, then. Here it is. I’ll put a photo-tutorial for some of the stitches up within the next few days, too.

I’ve also listed the pattern on Ravelry, here.

The Candy-Pop Scarf

Please note: pattern instructions use US terms. (Fellow Brits, I’m sorry: it’s the only area in which I’m not loyal to our land. I’ll post a UK version shortly.)

Dimensions of finished work: 99cm (39”) in length, by 18cm (7”) for most of its length, narrowing slightly before flaring out at one end.

Hook: 6mm.

Gauge: 16 sc sts to 10cm/4”.

Yarn: Stylecraft Special Chunky ‘Parchment’ pack, comprising one 100g (3.5oz) ball of each of the following shades: Parchment (1218), Pomegranate (1083), Sage (1725), Pale Rose (1080), Saffron (1081), Spice (1711), Empire (1829), Gold (1709), Pistachio (1822), and Storm Blue (1722). Now given that this is a whole kilogram (35oz) of yarn and the final scarf only weighs 225g (8oz), you can most certainly reduce the number of shades if you wish to, especially as some of them only make a brief appearance in the pattern.

Ends: Lots of colour changes potentially mean lots of ends to be woven in. Unless this is your idea of a rollicking good time, there are a couple of ways to minimise the weaving. First, when you’re working in colour A, and then have only one row of colour B before returning to colour A, you don’t need to cut colour A because the edge of your work will be concealed. So in the pattern, I’ve encouraged you to travel up the side of your work using a sneaky slip stitch to resume working in colour A. Don’t tell anyone I said that, though. Second, where possible, you can crochet around your yarn ends once you’ve started a new colour. It’s not always possible to do this, e.g. if your new colour is being used to work a chain, but it’s possible most of the time.

Abbreviations:-

St(s) = stitch(es).

Ch = chain.

Ss = slip stitch.

Sc = single crochet.

½dc = half double crochet.

Dc = double crochet.

Tc = treble crochet.

YO = yarn-over.

Sc2tog = decrease by single crocheting 2 stitches together.

Yarn colours are given in capitals. Continue in current colour until instructed to change.

Right, let’s get started.

the twisted yarn free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogtour

SAGE. Ch 120 stitches fairly loosely.

  • -1. Ch1. Sc all stitches. Turn.
  • -2. Bobble garland edging. [Ch6. Work 5dc into the 3rd ch from hook, omitting the last YO-and-pull-through for each of these 5 stitches, ending with 6 loops on the hook. YO and pull through all 6 loops. Make a tight ss around the base of the bobble. Ch3. Sc into the 4th st along] repeated to end of row, although final ch3 after the last bobble is worked into the 3rd st along, because you’ve reached the end of the row. (30 bobbles.)
  • 1. You are now going to turn your work and make further rows on the other side of the starting chain. So proceed to the other side of the starting chain by working a sneaky ss at the end of the row. Ss into first ch. Ch1. Sc all sts across the row. Turn. Cut yarn. (120)
  • 2. PISTACHIO. Ch1. [Sc, sc2tog, sc] repeated to end. Turn. (90)
  • 3. Ch1. Sc all sts. Turn. Do not cut yarn.
  • 4. SAFFRON. Ch1. Sc in every st. Cut yarn.
  • 5. PISTACHIO. Switch to other end of row to resume working in Pistachio, working a ss in the end st. Work as row 2 until 2 sts remain. Sc these last 2 sts. Turn. (68)
  • 6. As row 4.
  • 7. STORM BLUE. As row 3.
  • 8. As row 2. (51)
  • 9-10. Both as row 3.
  • 11. As row 2 until 3 sts remain. Sc, sc2tog. (38)
  • 12. [Ch5. Ss into next-but-one st of previous row] repeated to end. The end of the final chain loop will have to be worked into the next st, not the next-but-one st. Turn. (19 loops)
  • 13. Ch3. [Ch1. Sc into the chain loop from previous row] repeated to end of row. Turn. (38)
  • 14. As row 2 until 2 sts remain. Sc in each of the last 2 sts. Turn. (29)
  • 15-16. As row 3.
  • 17. As row 2 (after the initial ch1) until 5 sts remain. 5sc. (23)
  • 18-20. As row 3.
  • 21. As row 4.
  • 22. GOLD. 1sc, [1 bobble, 1sc] repeated to end, pushing the bobbles through to the front and back of the work alternately. Cut yarn. (To create each bobble, work 5 dc into the same stitch, omitting the last YO-and-pull-through of each dc. You will then have 6 loops on your hook. Finally, YO and pull through all 6 loops. Push the bobble through to the correct side of the work. The sc into the next st anchors the bobble.) (11 bobbles, 6 on one side and 5 on the other)
  • 23. STORM BLUE. Working from the side where you left the Storm Blue yarn, ss into edge of previous row so that you can use this yarn for the present row. Ch1, sc into first stitch. [Ignoring the next st from previous row, work a dc into the same-colour st from the row-before-last that’s directly below this bobble on the reverse side of that bobble. Then work a sc into the next st from previous row, i.e. the st after the one you ignored] repeated to end. Turn. (11 vertical bars, 6 on one side and 5 on the other)
  • 24-25. As row 3.
  • 26. As row 4.

the twisted yarn free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogtour

  • 27. PARCHMENT. As row 4.
  • 28. PALE ROSE. As row 12. Cut yarn. Turn. (11 loops)
  • 29. PARCHMENT. As row 13, but finishing with a ch1 after the last sc. Turn. (23)
  • 30-34. As row 3. (23)
  • 35. As row 3, but on the 4th and the 4th-from-end st, increase by working 2 sts where usually you’d work one. (25)
  • 36. As row 4.
  • 37. PALE ROSE. [Ch5. Ss into next-but-one st of previous row] repeated to end. Turn. (12 loops)
  • 38. Ch4. (4th ch = the first st of current row.) [Sc into the chain loop from previous row, ch1] repeated to end of row. Turn. (25)
  • 39-41. As row 3.
  • 42. POMEGRANATE. Bobble row! As row 22. (12 bobbles, 6 on each side)
  • 43. PALE ROSE. As row 23. (12 vertical bars, 6 on each side)
  • 44-47. As row 3.
  • 48. POMEGRANATE. Ch2. ½dc all sts. Cut yarn.
  • 49-51. PALE ROSE. Resume with yarn from row 47 using a sneaky end-of-row ss, as before. Then work as row 3.
  • 52. [ss, sc, ½dc, dc, tc, dc, ½dc, sc] repeated 3 times, then ss. Cut yarn. Turn.
  • 53. POMEGRANATE. Ch4, [tc, dc, ½dc, sc, ss, sc, ½dc, dc] repeated 3 times, then tc. Turn.
  • 54. As row 53. Cut yarn.
  • 55. PARCHMENT. As row 52, but do not cut yarn. Turn.
  • 56-58. As row 3.
  • 59. As row 4.

the twisted yarn free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogtour

  • 60. SAGE. As row 3.
  • 61. Ch3. Dc into 1st st. [Ch1, dc] repeated to end. Turn.
  • 62-65. As row 3.
  • 66. As row 61.
  • 67. As row 4.
  • 68-70. PISTACHIO. As row 3.
  • 71. As row 61.
  • 72. As row 4.
  • 73. SAGE. As row 4.
  • 74. POMEGRANATE. As row 4.
  • 75-76. PISTACHIO. As row 3.
  • 77. As row 4.
  • 78. SAGE. As row 3.
  • 79. SAGE. As row 4.
  • 80-86. PARCHMENT. As row 3.
  • 87. As row 4.

the twisted yarn free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogtour

  • 88. SPICE. As row 3.
  • 89. As row 4.
  • 90. PISTACHIO. Ch3. 2dc into 1st st. [Miss 2sts then work 3dc into the next st] 7 times, 2dc into the last st. Cut yarn. Turn. (25)
  • 91. SPICE. Ch3. [3dc into next gap between clusters from previous row] 8 times. 1dc into last st. Turn. (25)
  • 92. Ch3. 2dc into 1st gap between clusters. [3dc into next gap] 7 times. 2dc into last st. Cut yarn. Turn. (25)
  • 93. POMEGRANATE. As row 91. (25)
  • 94-96. As row 3.
  • 97. SAFFRON. Bobble row! As row 22. (12 bobbles, 6 on each side)
  • 98. POMEGRANATE. As row 23. (12 vertical bars, 6 on each side)
  • 99. As row 4.
  • 100-104. SPICE. As row 3.
  • 105. As row 4.
  • 106-112. PARCHMENT. As row 3.
  • 113. As row 4.

the twisted yarn free crochet scarf pattern stylecraft blogtour

  • 114. SAGE. Ch1. Work sc into 1st 11 sts of row only. Turn. (11)
  • 115-116. Ch1. Sc into all 11 sts. Turn. (11)
  • 117. EMPIRE. Ch1. Sc into all 11 sts. Cut yarn. (11)
  • 118-120. Resuming with SAGE, as row 3. (11)
  • 121. EMPIRE. Bobble row! As row 22. (5 bobbles, 3 on one side and 2 on the other)
  • 122. SAGE. As row 23. (5 vertical bars, 3 on one side and 2 on the other)
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Just finished row 122.

  • 123-125. As row 3. (11)
  • 126. As row 4. (11)
  • 127-130. PALE ROSE. As row 3. (11)
  • 131. As row 4. (11)
  • Now go back to row 113, and from the opposite end of the row, work the same 11-st pattern you did for rows 114-131. When you’ve finished this, there should be a 3st-wide gap in the middle of rows 114-131.
  • 132. PARCHMENT. Ch1. Sc the 1st 11 sts. Ch3 across the gap, then sc into the 11sts on the other side. (25)
  • 133. As row 3. (25)
  • 134. Ch1. Sc2tog across 1st 2 sts. Sc until 2 sts remain. Sc2tog. Turn. (23)
  • 135. As row 3. (23)
  • 136. As row 134. (21)
  • 137. As row 134. (19)
  • 138. As row 134. (17)
  • 139. As row 134. Cut yarn. (15)
  • 140. STORM BLUE. As row 134. (13)
  • 141. Ch1. Sc2tog twice. Sc until 4 sts remain. Sc2tog twice. (9)
  • 142. GOLD. Bobble row! As row 22. (4 bobbles, 2 on each side)
  • 143. STORM BLUE. As row 23. (4 vertical bars, 2 on each side)
  • 144. As row 141. (5) Cut yarn and pull through.
  • Weave in ends before working scalloped edging.
  • Edging. SAGE. Begin at end of row -1 (i.e. the bobble edging row). Work around the edge of the piece, finishing at the opposite end of row -1. Cut yarn. Then work all the way around the inside edge of the gap in the middle of rows 114-131. Cut yarn. Here’s how to work the scallops:-
  • Scallops: Sc into end st of row. [Work 5 ½dcs into a row-end st about 2 rows further along. Then sc into a row-end st roughly 2 rows further along] repeated all the way around. The spacing of the scallops is a bit of a judgement call. And when you’re working the inside of a curve, stretch each scallop out over slightly more rows. When you’re working the outside of a curve, work each scallop over slightly fewer rows.

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Back In The Crochet Garden

Dear blog,

I’ve neglected your regular silliness business, what with all those giveaways and other stuff.

So I thought it was high time to drop in on a project that’s been slowly (very slowly) progressing in the background whilst I’ve been on here chattering about other things.

Yes, if you’ve been reading here a’while: you’ll know the one. The over-ambitious furniture-related one that began with a house, and which is now slowly (oh-so-slowly) acquiring a garden. It’s so close to the sewing-up-and-revealing stage that I’m starting to have even more ambitious ideas about how to embellish its craziness. Would you like to see the latest additions?

I’ve been crocheting all sorts of flowers and shrubs, making it up as I go along, but a lot of the leaves are longer-thinner/shorter-wider versions of this. Also, I’ve made lavender (using Stylecraft Batik, in shades that couldn’t be more perfect for lavender if they tried):-

make lavender with yarn

Planted in its new home, it looks like this:-

make lavender crochet garden embroidery

And stepping back for yet another gratuitous shot, here it is again with the picnic blanket in the background:-

crochet garden lavender embroidery

Would you like to see a little more around the rest of the garden? There aren’t many bare patches left to fill (which is more than can be said for my progress on the real garden that I’m supposed to be redeveloping). Here’s a selection of views, taken as we stroll across the lawn and beside the pond.

crochet knitted circle pond garden

The flower beds are nearly full:-

crochet garden embroidery flowers

…though this one is still my favourite:-

crochet garden embroidery flowers

And the vegetable garden is neatly regimented. I’m particularly proud of the cauliflowers:-

crochet vegetable garden cauliflower lettuce carrot

Let’s have one more shot…

crochet garden embroidery flowers

Meanwhile, there’s still time to sponsor me for the Oxford Half Marathon that I’m running on 9th October in aid of the wonderful Nasio Trust and their work supporting disadvantaged children in rural Kenya. More details are in this blog post. So how’s training going? Well… the good news is that I’ve already run the whole distance (13.1 miles / 21.1 km) in a training run a couple of weeks ago. BUT the less-good news is that I’ve had a horrid cold-cough for the last 10 days, and I currently can’t run very far without hacking a cough that suggests most of my disposable income goes on tobacco. (No, I don’t smoke.) I’m determined to complete the race this Sunday, and to do so running, but this one’s gonna hurt. I will, however, definitely be able to run faster and further if lots of people are generous enough to sponsor me for this for this fabulous cause. Any amount, large or small, will make a real difference to children’s lives. A huge THANK YOU to those of you who have sponsored me already from both near and afar. The page where you can do so is right here. Many thanks.

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So Who Has Won Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium?

Another week, and another giveaway closes. I’m truly sorry that this one was UK-only but don’t worry international folk, there’ll be plenty more sharing-the-yarn-around to come.

So, do you remember me introduciing this marvellous book that’s just been published?

edward's crochet imaginarium book review toft

Within these flip-book pages, you’ll find everything you need to design and create the unique monster of your dreams – or nightmares. Up to you.

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted a review with a contest to win a copy of this fine book. The contest finished yesterday at noon, so it’s high time we found out who’s won, don’t you think? And just in case you don’t get lucky this time, the book is now available to buy in all the usual places – Amazon.co.uk for example.

Edward's Crochet imaginarium

Between here and Facebook, we had 55 entries. The usual Twisted procedure applies: I’ve numbered every entry so that we can consult the oracle that is random.org. So, random.org, pray tell us please who has won this marvellous book? What’s that you say? Number 20? Hurrah!

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…And consulting my list, I’m happy to say that…

The winner is GEMMA!

Congratulations Gemma! I’ll be in touch today to ask for your address, which I can then pass on to the publishers so that they can send you the prize. Happy hooking!

Also a huge thanks to everyone else who entered, and to Pavilion Books for generously providing the prize.

 

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Giveaway Review: Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium

And another review with a giveaway! Wa-hey! (This is part of a blog tour organized by Pavilion Books – more on that at the bottom of this post.)

So I’m guessing you’ve noticed that there are lots of knitting and crochet books around these days. Like, loads. If you’re as untidy as I am, you probably trip over a pile of them every single time you stand up to water the cat. (See those bruises on my shins? They’re knit-book-related injuries. Life is tough.) Some of these publications are more genuinely ground-breaking than others, it has to be said. But this week, a new crochet book has come out that really is clever in its originality. Meet Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium, by Kerry Lord, published by Pavilion Books in the UK.

edward's crochet imaginarium book review toft

It’s a book about crocheting toys – monsters, specifically – but you get to design the toy. Do you remember those picture books from childhood where all the pages were split horizontally into three so you could interchange the head of a police officer with the torso of a scientist and the legs of a farmer? Well here’s a pattern book that works on the same principle. Genius, huh?

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You’re given the generic pattern for a delightfully pot-bellied torso and a head, and then you flip through dozens of options to choose the style of the legs and feet, the arms and hands, and the embellishments for the head. The pattern for each element is provided opposite its picture, and the spiral binding ensures that the book actually stays open where you left it, at least until your children discover it…

A pretty cool idea, huh? Dang, why didn’t I think of that?

The is the third book by author Kerry Lord, who also runs TOFT yarns in Warwickshire in the UK. So I grabbed some pure wool DK-weight TOFT yarn, and started hooking.

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My monster options were chosen by the twinnage, who are five. I have to say, the book really caught their imaginations and I witnessed some entertaining intra-twinnage debates about the relative merits of webbed feet versus claws. I loved the way that they were thinking this through together, and my hard/cynical ol’ heart melted just a tiny bit…

edward's crochet imaginarium kerry lord toft review

…Which leads me to the thing that I like most about this book. Lord is aiming to be inspirational rather than prescriptive. She wants you to let your imagination off the leash so it can scamper freely all over the place and cause joyful mayhem. In addition to all the potential configurations of body parts, she offers suggestions for making use of colour in your monster, and adding a tail, or hair, and how to make your monster in different sizes. Why, for example, should your monster have only four limbs? And have you considered making it spotty? And there’s a charming gallery of suggestions to inspire you.

edward's crochet imaginarium kerry lord toft review

But this is The Twisted Yarn, and if you’ve loitered in these ‘ere parts afore, you’ll know that I’m prone to getting nit-picketty in my reviews, because nothing is perfect and I want you to know all the pluses and all the minuses before you decide to part with your hard-earned cash. The book is billed as being suitable for anyone, whether they’re a beginner or an expert. I think a beginner would struggle a little though, particularly because the book could’ve used a tad more copy-editing. There are errors and omissions in the patterns that really aren’t a problem if you’re used to working from crochet patterns, but if I was a complete beginner who was still trying to work out which was the business end of the crochet hook, I would have struggled. For example, the generic body pattern doesn’t tell you how to begin, but instead starts with an instruction to work into loops that are already there. Do you see what I mean? No biggy if you’re experienced enough to know what to do anyway, but very confusing if this is your first ever pattern. The wording of the instructions takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you get yourself on a wavelength with the author, you’ll be fine. And there are little minor errors. (I’m not surprised – the amount of work that must have been gone into producing this book just boggles the mind.) An example: foot pattern number twenty talks about hands and fingers, because it’s clearly been copied and pasted from the hand pattern of the same design.

Who cares, though, when you’ve got such an inspirational resource? Just maybe put this book on hold if you really are a total beginner, OK?

edward's crochet imaginarium kerry lord toft review

Now for the giveaway. I’m really sorry but unlike normal, this one is for UK readers only. (If it’s any consolation, you’ve still got plenty of time to enter the KnitPro/Knitter’s Pride needles competition here, regardless of which portion of the planet you call home.) But UK folk, if you would like to win a copy of Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium, leave a comment below. And if you’d like an additional entry, hop over to Facebook, ‘like’ The Twisted Yarn’s page, and leave a comment with some way of contacting you if you win (eg Ravelry username). OK? The contest is open RIGHT NOW until noon GMT on Sunday 25th September 2016. When the giant gong sounds to announce the end of the giveaway, I shall consult the oracle that is random.org to determine the number of the winning entry. I’ll then contact that person to request an address which I will pass on to the publisher so that they can send out the prize. OK?

THIS REVIEW IS PART OF A BLOG TOUR ORGANIZED BY PAVILION BOOKS.

edward's crochet imaginarium kerry lord

I DIDN’T PAY FOR THE BOOK, OR THE YARN. PLEASE ACCEPT MY USUAL DISCLAIMER ABOUT MY FLIGHTY, FICKLE LITTLE HEAD HAVING BEEN TURNED AT THE MERE HINT OF A FREEBIE.

So tomorrow, mosey on over to The Little Room Of Rachell to see her review. And if you fancy travelling back in time, go take a look at yesterday’s review at Crochetime. Enjoy, my fine fibrous friends. 🙂

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