Tag Archives: stylecraft

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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Filed under Crochet

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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Stylecraft Blogstars Meetup, aka Not Too Shabby A Weekend

It’s much easier to write blog posts when things are going wrong, or when nothing much has happened. Comic anecdotes come more readily when you’ve mistakenly put your husband out for collection with the recycling, or when you’ve spent an insomniac half-night pondering a mysterious chicken-shaped splodge on the bedroom ceiling.

stylecraft mill Slaithwaite Spectrum Yarns Yorkshire

Here’s a clue about where this blog post is going.

Unfortunately,* things have gone catastrophically well this weekend… which was immensely fun to experience, but isn’t very funny to describe. I have lovely yarn/knitting/crochet-related things to show and tell you about, but it’s not going to be very funny. Aware of this problem and feeling desperate, I resorted to going for an extra-long run today, because my biggest idiocy generally happens knee-deep in mud and four miles from home, but even that went uncharacteristically well. I give up!

Warning: this blog post may contain scenery.

Anyway, to the point.

On Friday, I zoomed up to West Yorkshire at the wheel of the Blunderbus (replacement for the Stinkwagon) to join in with the second meet-up of the Stylecraft Blogstars at and around the Stylecraft mill in Slaithwaite.

Stylecraft mill spectrum slaithwaite yarn

The Stylecraft mill is the one behind the chimney in the distance on the right.

Shall we do the introductions first? It’s a cliché to say so (and I write that as someone who likes to take clichés out the back and beat them mercilessly) but these folk really don’t need a whole load of introduction. Let’s introduce them anyway.

stylecraft blogstars

From the left: Jane Crowfoot, me, Sarah at Annaboo’s House, Heather at The Patchwork Heart, Julia at Hand Knitted Things, Lucy at Attic24, Helen at The Woolly Adventures Of A Knitting Kitty, Emma Varnam, Sandra at Cherry Heart, Lucia at Lucia’s Fig Tree, and Kathryn at Crafternoon Treats. (Sadly, Sue Pinner wasn’t there this time.)

Living on the opposite side of the planet was NOT considered an adequate excuse for non-attendance. It’s tough being a Blogstar: you have to do stuff way past midnight.

And joining us via Skype at heaven-knows-what time of the night or day, was Angela at Get Knotted Yarn Craft (pictured on the laptop above), and Zelna at Zooty Owl. Phew, what a line-up!

yarn stories

So we met, and we shared ideas, news, over-enthusiasm, wine, a hotel, gossip, yarn, workshops, food, and a trip out to the Knitting And Crochet Guild historical archive. (More on the Knitting And Crochet Guild in a separate post, because it was fascinating.)

Naturally, we insisted on a hotel with its own helipad. One has standards, y’know.

This was a gathering where nobody batted an eyelid if you pulled out your knitting during dinner or crocheted throughout a meeting, or if you talked about yarn for an hour without even pausing for breath, or if you were observed arriving at the hotel with luggage comprising only one toothbrush and 85 knits/hooks-in-progress. Obviously, we knitted/hooked throughout pre-dinner drinks:-

Someone kindly took a photo before the yarn came out at dinner:-

These are my kinda people, and they’re probably yours, too.

It would be fair to say that we were treated rather well.

stylecraft

What? For ME? Oh I couldn’t possibly! … Actually, maybe I could, if you really insisted…

We began with an update on what’s coming soon from Stylecraft. I’m sorry, but this really is a if-I-tell-you,-I’ll-have-to-kill-you situation, until the new batches of yarns are officially released. More news to come very, very, soon.

stylecraft blogstars

Saturday was a day filled with marvellous things at the mill, including a workshop on Tunisian crochet:-

Busy. Concentrating.

It’s quite fun, once you get the hang of the strange knit-cum-crochet rhythm:-

At least they gave me exactly the right mug for my green tea:-

We admired each other’s work. Look at ThePatchworkHeart’s blankets!

And Lucia’s Fig Tree’s blanket!

(Maybe I should have brought my chair.)

It was all wonderful, inspiring, invigorating, and exciting, and I’m probably not alone in having come away with a whole hairy heap of ideas.

View from the window.

My only gripe was that it was all over far, far too soon.

Still, there was still a little time before sunset to run around the town getting shots of the magnificent viaduct that cuts across the town:-

And see?

And see?

And as the sun threatened with some sincerity (I REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME!) to sink below the horizon, I grabbed a last few images of the countryside around Slaithwaite:-

All in all, a pretty good weekend.

 

*OK, I’m not really ungrateful.

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It’s Winter: Bring Yarn

There’s still time to enter the awesome yarn/pattern giveaway, right here and here! (For your bonus Facebook entry, don’t forget to ‘like’ the ‘Yarn’s overall Facebook page, not just the post about this contest.)

Wa-hey, it’s December!

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I remember my teacher at primary school telling our class that we Brits are all obsessed with talking about the weather. So it’s my patriotic duty to say right now, Man, it’s COLD! In fact, the mercury has shrunk so shiveringly low in the glass that it’s practically impossible for folk to pass each other in our lane without one of them saying, “A bit chilly, isn’t it?” and the other responding with an exaggerated shiver to imply the profound wisdom and truth of this insight. Also, it’s impossible to go out without encountering the delicious smell of woodsmoke, even at 9am.

winter berries frost

Proper cold does at least mean pretty, though frustratingly, it usually means pretty viewed at 70mph as I hurry along the motorway to work, thus forbidden by both the law and the urge to remain alive from stopping to take pictures. Sorry.

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Still, I walked back from the school run yesterday with a friend, and even our short stroll yielded some prettiness as we crunched across the frosty grass.

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I just wish we could have some SNOW! (The long-range forecast is for cold but dry, so snow is unlikely. Again.)

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Meanwhile on a knittier note, I’m proceeding with that project… or rather Mother Twisted (my mum) is. Do you remember the lavender I made for the garden portion from some Stylecraft Batik?

make lavender crochet garden embroidery

Well she’s made some, too! Thank you Mum.

lavender

…So I’m off to plant it in the crochet garden. More pictures to follow!

Stay warm, people. 🙂

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‘Head Over Heels’ Sock Yarn Review

See these?

head over heels stylecraft sock yarn review

These are happy feet.

If it weren’t for the fact that they’re pointing skywards, then they’d probably be dancing. Badly. So be glad that they’re safely away from the ground.

The reason for their joy is no doubt obvious. It involves some splendidly colourful new sock yarn. You may have heard already, but a few months ago, Stylecraft launched a range of 4-ply sock yarn called Head Over Heels. It’s 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon, and it comes in six different marvellously mountain-monikered colourways (Eiger, Everest, Fuji, Kilimanjaro, Matterhorn, and Olympus, in case you were wondering). In the photo above, the completed sock is Eiger (my personal favourite), and the sock-in-progress is Fuji.

picmonkey-collage

I was fortunate to be sent samples of both these shades earlier this year, but I held off posting about it because I wanted to thoroughly road-test the stuff before writing about it. The outcome? I like it. And so do my feet. I enjoyed the slow, leisurely shifts in colour.

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I knitted these socks (four of them, two in each colourway) everywhere, walking to collect the twinnage from school, and on trains and buses, and in the village pub. Socks-in-progress using yarn that does its own colour-changing thing make perfect out-and-about projects, because they’re much more discreet and portable than – say – an afghan. I still looked like an oddball knitting as I wandered the village, but at least I was a semi-discreet oddball.

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I brought the fourth-and-final sock to knit on the bus journey to collect my new car today (bye bye Stinkwagon!) This turned out to be a good thing, because the bus driver must have missed the bit of the training where they tell them to confine their driving mostly to the road, and instead he seemed to have just a little difficulty distinguishing between road and kerb/pavement/verge. The other project I’d brought with me was some complicated fair isle, which proved near-impossible on the top deck of a wildly-swaying double-decker bus. Top tip, people: don’t attempt complex knitting upstairs on a bus, especially when the driver is a bit reckless.

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A basic sock is just fine, however. In fact, the sock was such a good distraction during the more unnerving parts of the journey that I accidentally overshot with the foot section and have thus created a sock that would be absolutely perfect for a rather elegant giant who is possessed of extremely long but slender feet. Know anyone who’s like that? Me neither. Time to rip back a few rounds, I guess.

knitting on the tube

And I will knit them on a train, and I will knit them in the rain, and I will knit them on a bus, and I will knit without much fuss, and I will channel Dr Suess, and hope my knitting ain’t too loose.

That’s not the fault of the yarn, of course, so let’s get back to the review.

So as you can see, the stuff knits up nicely, and I didn’t come across a single knot. Yay! This is a personal thing, but I wish, wish, wish, that more lusciously variegated yarns would be made WITHOUT PINK! Why, why, why, does everything have to include blimmin’ pink?! Thank you for letting me get that off my chest. And yeah, I’m probably in the minority.

running and knitting in public

And I will knit whilst on a run, and I will knit out in the sun…

It’s reasonably soft, and being superwash, it’s pretty tolerant of your washing machine’s general grudge against all fabrics. As you can see from the images below, the length of the repeat varies between colourways, so you can find the yarn that best suits your project, whether you’re knitting socks or crocheting a shawl.

stylecraft head over heels sock yarn review

Images in this collage courtesy of Stylecraft.

  • Head Over Heels is available from major shops and online sellers, and comes in 100g balls. In the UK, it’s typically priced around £6.50-£7.00, so cheaper than many sock yarns.
  • Needle recommendation: 2.25mm-3.25mm.
  • 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon.
  • 100g = 400m.
  • Gauge: 28 stitches / 36 rows.
  • No, it’s not hand-dyed by eunuchs under the light of a full moon, BUT it’s way more affordable than eunuch-yarn could ever hope to be. And it’s soft.

So what are you waiting for?

log fire wine knitting hygge

 

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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.

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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:-
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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?
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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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Over To You

On Sunday, this blog quietly turned three, which gives me an OK-ish excuse to wheel out pictures of the cake that the Stoic Spouse secretly had commissioned ahead of this site’s first blogiversary, in 2014. (Way back in the mists of time, he also proposed via a cake. Are you spotting a theme in this man’s primary means of communication? If he ever decides to ditch me, it’ll probably be via an ‘I want a divorce’ cake.)

blogiversary blog cake knitting

The blogiversary cake was large, and rather delicious. I wish I could have given you each a slice because your kindness, generosity of spirit, and humour, have made this blog. Also, it was damn fine cake.

Seriously though, thank you. Whether you’re a loyal long-termer, or whether you only came across The Twisted Yarn at 3am this morning because you’d already read the rest of the internet and this was the only thing that remained, I really do appreciate your visits, and your comments.

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Anyway, I was thinking about how quite a few of you are bloggers yourselves, whilst others are on the look-out for interesting yarn-related stuff to read. So I thought, why don’t we all have a little party right here on this page? If you’re a blogger, feel free to shout out loud about what you do via a comment at the end of this post. If you’re a reader and you know of a blog or two that the rest of us should definitely be reading, please tell us why!

Meanwhile, this year’s Stylecraft Blog Tour has just kicked off, promoting lovely new shades in chunky and aran ‘Special’ yarn. Emma Varnam has shared her blanket, and Jane Crowfoot has taught us about colour. Still to come, are Keep Calm And Crochet On, Sue Pinner, Annaboo’s House, Hand Knitted Things, Cherry Heart, The Patchwork Heart, Crafternoon TreatsStylecraft’s own blog, and Le Monde de Sucrette. Oh, and I’m in there too, on 31st October to be precise. Hurrah!

So let’s hear about your blogs!    ↓Comments!↓

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Foraging

What’s a girl to do on the hottest day of the year? Well, besides writing up the pattern for a nice warm, fluffy cowl, I celebrated the road-melting heat on Wednesday by putting on the oven to bake courgette cake and beer bread, before going for a 9-mile (that’s 14.5km) run in the blazing midday sunshine.

sock tease

Stupid? Possibly. But the really stupid thing was being so obsessed with drinking lots of water in the hours pre-run that I forgot to eat. “Oops,” I thought, forced to stop as I waited to cross the road but swaying slightly in a way that would have looked like drunknenness had I not been wearing lycra and a steely glare.

T'was hot. PHOTOS FROM A WALK ON ANOTHER DAY, BECAUSE I CAN'T RUN PROPERLY AND SHOOT.

T’was hot. PHOTOS FROM A WALK ON ANOTHER DAY, BECAUSE I CAN’T RUN PROPERLY AND SHOOT.

A plan was required. I needed blood sugar. Fortunately it’s August, so nature is busy producing food faster than other nature can eat it. A feast of blackberries, elderberries, and bullaces was surely just around the corner. Time to forage.

Oxfordshire in August. Unless you're actually TRYING to find some fruit.

Oxfordshire in August. Unless you’re actually TRYING to find some fruit.

But I was wrong. Obviously I was running along at such enormous speed (ahem) that I may have missed a few delicacies, but for the next mile or so I didn’t see a single thing to eat. Not even a beech tree. (You can eat beech leaves if you’re desperate, but I can tell you that they taste revolting.) So I carried on, getting slower and wobblyer as I went.

Beech.

Beech.

I passed a few houses (some of them beautiful thatched cottages, but I don’t think you can eat thatch, especially thatch that lawfully belongs on top of someone else’s home). And then, overhanging a high wall, was the branch of an apple tree, laden with fruit. I wanted one of those apples so much. There may as well have been a serpent offering me the snack and a sign saying ‘Eden welcomes careful drivers’.

But. The branch was so very high. And I am so very short. And the wall didn’t look like a climber. And there weren’t any handy sticks available to lob at the apples. Defeated, I moved on.

So tasty. But so high up...

So tasty. But so high up…

I did eventually find some blackberries, but they were right beside the busiest road on my route, and I’d paid far too much attention in childhood to my mother’s warnings about the dangers of polluted roadside fruit. That said, I grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, so I inhaled so much lead on the walk to school each day that it’s amazing that thieves haven’t stolen my head. All that lead would explain why I’m so heavy, anyway…

Those blackberries looked shrivelled, grim, and dusty. I ate a very few, just enough to ensure a bit more energy and a bit less life expectancy. They were… oddly gritty. But they were fuel at least, and they kept me going for the next couple of miles.

Not the finest. :-(

Not the finest. 🙁

It was quite near the end of my run when I came across a small patch of disused ground, covered in the most exuberant brambles you could imagine. The blackberries were huge. I dived in. The blackberries tasted sweet and gorgeous. But three unfortunate things should be pointed out here:-

Thing the first: Spiky overgrown brambles and lycra running gear are not a winning combination. It seems there’s a reason why marathon routes hardly ever pass through bramble patches.

Hedgerow damsons. Conspicuously absent when I needed them.

Hedgerow damsons. Conspicuously absent when I needed them.

Thing the second: Eight hungry miles into a nine mile run and a bit shaky with low blood sugar, my ‘table’ manners may not have been the best, and blackberry juice does tend to stain rather impressively on both skin and clothes. Fortunately I was wearing a purple top so I should at least score one point for that. My skin isn’t naturally purple, however…

Elderberries! Also missing from my run. :-(

Elderberries! Also missing from my run. 🙁

Thing the third: This was a respectable neighbourhood that I was running/foraging in. The sort of neighbourhood where, just as I stumbled out of the blackberry bushes, swearing loudly at the thorns that were tearing at my lycra, my face red (from the run) and purple (from the blackberries), panting from the exertion of the run, and not entirely steady on my feet, just at that exact moment, an extremely serious-looking and smartly-dressed woman of – at a guess – 80 came round the corner, striding fast despite the fact that she also carried a walking stick. She looked at me. I looked at her.

Clouds: also conspicuously absent whilst I ran.

Clouds: also conspicuously absent whilst I ran.

For a coward like me, there was only one possible thing to do.

I made a run for it.

 

 

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Giveaway Winners? Giveaway Winners!

So, to the Stylecraft giveaway. Do we have some winners? WE HAVE SOME WINNERS, OH YES!

Wow, a big fluffy THANK YOU for the 232 entries you submitted here and on the ‘Yarn’s Facebook page, and for the enthusiastic/kind/funny/interesting comments that you left in your entries. And THANK YOU to Stylecraft for providing the prizes.

So that means that the pattern for THIS COWL will be coming next post...

So that means that the pattern for THIS COWL will be coming next post…

So at midday on Sunday, the giant gong sounded, signalling the end of the giveaway. Did you hear it? I guess not, given that it’s made of yarn – a fatal design flaw that I should probably have foreseen – and is thus almost completely silent.

As I did for previous giveaways in these ‘ere parts, I allocated each entry a number, and then used the random number generator at random.org to pick the winners. Would you like to see the results?

Well, of the 232 entries, 136 were for the UK contest, and 96 were for the non-UK contest*. Let’s find out who’s won the UK prizes (£10-worth of Stylecraft vouchers) first…

Wa-hey! Rolling the 136-sided dice, we have…

ran5

So who is the mysterious, shadowy Person 19, and the equally mysterious Person 96?

Step forward into the spotlight, Rainbow Junkie, and Sue Jameson! Congratulations! Would you like to make a speech? No, please don’t cry! I’ll be in touch to request your contact details (unless you get on the keyboard to thetwistedyarn@outlook.com first), and will then pop your prizes in the post. Happy yarn shopping!

Now for the non-UK contest. Two winners each win two Stylecraft bags and Stylecraft keyrings. Where’s that 96-sided dice when you need it? Ah, here it is. OK, ready?

ran6

Look! It’s entrant 5 and entrant 75! So who are the people hiding behind the numbers?

Take a bow, Jan Wilesmith, and Sandy! Again, I’ll be in touch today to request your contact details so that I can post those happy prizes out. Congratulations!

And to everyone else, I’m sorry that you weren’t successful this time, but I have plenty more Stylecraft vouchers sitting here just longing for a good home, so there’ll be more giveaways coming soon.

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Prizes!

∗ The teeny-weeny number of entrants who forgot to say whether they were UK or non-UK were placed in the non-UK category, as the UK prizes aren’t valid in the rest of the world whereas the non-UK prizes are just fine and dandy anywhere.

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Stylecraft Batik Yarn Review

It’s about time I published a review of Batik, Stylecraft’s brand new yarn. (Disclaimer: I didn’t pay for the yarn, so clearly my fickle head has been turned by this freebie and not a single word of the following is to be trusted.)

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I wanted to thoroughly road-test the yarn before I wrote this, so I got the knitting needles out and started designing something that incorporated all sixteen shades:-

lav2

You know what you need in the heat of August? A nice warm, fluffy cowl, that’s what. So I designed one, just in case the sun disappeared behind a cloud and it started to SNOW. Stranger things have happened. The cowl pattern will be available very soon, in case you want one too.

IMG_9618

We were away for ten days, you see, first staying in a cottage in the wilds of the North York Moors, and then – after a seven-hour drive – staying with dear friends in their beautiful old south west Wales cottage. The perfect opportunity to knit without guilt. The perfect opportunity to let my imagination off the lead, so that it could scamper about in the undergrowth and come up with lots of nature-inspired patterns.

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I knitted everywhere.

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And then I re-knitted, over and over again, because I kept changing my mind about the pattern. But that was part of the fun.

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Anyway, let’s talk about the yarn.

IMG_9100

Batik is a DK-weight (i.e. light worsted) blend of 80% acrylic and 20% wool. Just to cover the basics, it’s available in 50-gram balls, with a recommended hook/needle size of 4mm (US size 6), gauge 22 sts per 10cm/4 inches. But that’s not what you came here to read, is it?

IMG_9126

There are 16 shades in the range, and they do work rather well together.

IMG_9231

The yarn has a painted effect, each shade mottling with white. I think this makes it ideal for fairisle/stranded colourwork – much better than solid colours – but the mottling effect is not subtle, so I needed to make sure that for each section of the pattern, I picked two shades that really really contrasted, to avoid the pattern looking like a blurry muddle.

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There’s a high degree of twist to this yarn, which was a deliberate decision by the folk at Stylecraft HQ to create a product that’s ideal for crochet as well as for knitting.

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And I have to say that it’s a pleasure to work with, although I do hope they expand the colour range further. If you want a very affordable (£1.99 in the UK) acrylic-based yarn, I absolutely recommend Batik. It looks good, the colours are rich and intense, and Stylecraft are super-hot on the consistency and quality of their products (I saw their testing lab) so you can trust what you’re getting.

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Right, I’d better go and write up that cowl pattern, hadn’t I? Is it snowing yet?

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