Sunday, 9 December 2018

Pompom Christmas pudding

Last Monday my lovely friend Karen showed me how to make pompom Christmas puddings and I have been addiceted to making them. They are super simple to make, fun and look great as a garland, gift tags or just hanging on your tree. 
I've added a little holly leaves to the top just for added charm but it is not necessary so don't worry if you can't crochet, just a pompom pudding will look great. 

To make your pudding, you will need:
  • Pompom maker - I'm using one by Clover which produces 4.5 cm pompom in diamteter. If you do not have a pompom maker just cut one out of cardboard, for tutorial follow the link - https://www.redtedart.com/how-to-make-a-yarn-pom-pom-with-cardboard-discs/
  • Oddments of yarn in cream or light grey or white and burgundy or brown - I'm using Rowan Alpaca Cotton DK as it's lovely and fluffy and I had remaines of balls left, not enough to make anything else.  
  • Sharp little scissors 
  • Tapestry needle 
For holly leaf:
  • 3 mm crochet hook
  • Oddments of green DK yarn 

Let's make a pudding
  • Open up one half of the pompom maker and wind the burgundy yarn around, when the half is full, cut off the yarn.
  • Close the half of pompom maker and open up the empty half.
  • Wind the grey yarn around it so that 2/3 of it are filled, cut off the yarn and finish filling up the second half with burgundy yarn, that way the icing of the pudding will cover just the top and not form a full half of the pudding.
  • When filled, cut off yarn and close the second half. 
  • Using scissors cut aroud the wound yarn.
  • Cut approximately 50 cm of yarn and fold in half, tie this length of yarn around the pompom maker, in the ridge, making sure that the knot is in the middle of the icing part, so that the pudding hangs in the right position.
  • Seperate the pompom maker to reveal a gorgeous pompom. 
  • Trim around so it looks neat and even, but DO NOT cut off the lengths of yarn used to tie the pompom together. 
  • Knot the two ends of yarn together to form a loop. 







Leaf 

Please note the pattern is written using UK terminology, US conversions are given in brackets in abbreviation list.

Abbreviations:
dc (US sc) - double crochet (US single crochet)
ch - chain
htr (US hdc) - half treble (US hald double crochet)
picot - ch 2, sl st to first of these ch. 
sl st - slip stitch
st(s) - stitch(es)

Using green yarn make 5 ch. 
Round 1: 1 dc in second ch from hook, [1 htr, picot] all in next st, 1 dc in next st, [2 htr, picot, 1 htr] all in next st, working on the other side of foundation ch, 1 dc in next st, [1 htr, picot] all in next st, 1 dc in last st, sl st to first dc. 
Fasten off, leafing a tail off 15 cm 
  • Join two leaves together by sewing. Weave in the begining tails. 
  • Thread the long end tails of both leaves through the centre of the pompom.
  • Tie them together to secure the leaves in place. 
If you are making just one leaf to go on your pudding, make sure you leave the beginning tail long as well, feed both ends through the centre of pompom and tie to secure.  





 

Voilà!! Your gorgeous pompom pudding is ready. 


I made so many of them to gift on a present and to make into a graland. 
The garland one looks very effective on my shelf. 
To make one - just crochet a long length of chains using the burgundy yarn used for the pudding and 3 mm hook. Feed as many puddings through their loops as you like and hang wherever you wish. 













Happy making, 

Anna xx


Saturday, 10 March 2018

Birdie brooch

Last week I had the pleasure of taking over the Lovecrochet Instagram account. It was huge fun and lovely meeting so many new makers. The biggest thank you to LoveCrochet for inviting me.

I created a little bye bye gift to say thank you to all those that said hello and joined me at the LoveCrochet Instagram. I posted pattern for this brooch at the end of my takeover day, but here it is again :)
This birdie is to get you ready for warmer days. I love winter, especially the white fluffy stuff but I can’t help and dream of Spring.
The little birdie brooch is perfect little addition to your favourite cardigan or jackets…. Of course, you don’t have to wait until Spring, get crocheting now to wear it as an appliqué or brooch on your hat or scarf.


To make this lovely little bird you will need: two colours of any DK yarn, I have used Paintbox Cotton DK
3.5mm (US E/4) crochet hook
Tapestry needle
Few lengths of thinner yarn in different colours.  
 
Please note I’m using UK terms, US terms are given in brackets in abbreviation list. 

Abbreviations
Ch – chain
Dc (US sc) – double crochet
Htr (US hdc) – half treble
Tr (US dc) – treble
Sl st – slip stitch
St(s) – stitch(es)

Bird
Work 6 dc into adjustable ring, enclosing the tail as you work, sl st to first dc and pull tight on the tail to close up opening.
Round 1: ch 1, 2 dc into ever st to end, join with sl st to first st. (12 sts)
Round 2: ch 1, 1 dc into next 4 st, 2 htr into next st, 1 tr into next st, 2 tr into next st, ch 3, sl st in the base of last tr, 1 dc into next 2 st, [2 htr into next st] twice, ch 2, sl st in top of last htr, join round with sl st to first st. Fasten off

Wing
Make 8 ch.
Row 1: 1 tr into 4th ch from hook, 1 tr in next ch, 1 htr in next ch, 1 dc in next ch. Fasten off.

Attach wing to the middle of bird, so it covers the centre. I have tied few strands of fluffy yarns held together to the tail part, just to add a pit of colour and play. 

Happy crocheting 

Anna xx

Friday, 16 February 2018

Ramble mittens - tutorials

The sun appears to be shining but it's still freezing cold!! Despite the wonderful scene of snowdrops in Batchworth Lake, Spring seems to be still avoiding us.


To keep warm I decided to design these lovely Ramble mittens, well, one reason is to keep warm, the other is that I really wanted to try out the crochet waistcoat stitch and one more reason was a chance to play with the new Willow & Lark yarn.


These cosy mittens are worked from the cuff, which is worked flat then seemed. Stitches for the body of the mittes are worked in raw ends of cuff, which is worked in waistcoat stitch. The colourwork pattern is worked using Fair Isle technique. The stitches are picked up for the thumb at the end.
The mittens are finished off with embellishment worked using double crochet (US sc) around the colourwok pattern, picture tutorial included in the pattern.
The cuff and first 8 rounds of the pattern are written, the rest charted

The pattern for Ramble Mittens is free and available at:

 I have create a picture and video tutorial which are below. The picture tutorials are also included in the pattern.

Waistcoat stitch is just fantastic!! It looks like a knit stitch, in fact it's also referred to as the crochet knit stitch.
It is a beautifully tight and firm stitch that’s perfect for mitts, hats, bags and anything that requires dense fabric and it doesn’t twist the work like a standard dc (US sc). I absolutely love it as it looks fantastic and makes a nice change from a standard dc and if that wasn't enough, it is also great for working Fair Isle colourwork.
The only difference from working a standard dc is that you work wst into the body of the stitch, in between the strands (the V) of the stitch below.

Before you start working in waistcoat stitch it is important that you get a pointy hook and remember to keep a relaxed tension, don’t pull your stitches too tight, you will have to work into them on the next round.
1 & 2: Inset the hook in between the strands of the stitch (between the V) as marked by red lines in pic 1.
3: Yoh and pull up a loop, 2 loops on hook.
4: Yoh and pull through 2 loops. One stitch made.
Continue repeating the 4 steps throughout.






Waistcoat stitch video 

                             
                                   In the video MC stands for main colour and CC for contrast colour

How to work crochet Fair isle
Waistcoat stitch is perfect to work crochet colourwork as it doesn’t twist the work therefore the colour changes look better.
1: To get a neat colour change we need to change colours one stitch before: For example; if the fourth stitch needs to be a different colour, change yarns on the third stitch. Work to one stitch before colour change, stop the last stitch when you have two loops on hook.
2: Drop colour A and finish the stitch with colour B.
3: Work next stitch with colour B, but because we need to go back to colour A on the next stitch, finish this stitch with colour A, ready for next stitch.
Continue repeating the 4 steps while following the chart.

Tip – To avoid yarns twisting, make sure you keep your colour B to your right and colour A to your left.



Fair Isle video

Carrying yarn
When working Fair isle you need to carry the yarn not in use with you all the way around, but only carry the yarn on the rounds that it’s required. The neatest way to do this is to catch the yarn every other stitch when not in use.
1: When inserting hook to work wst make sure that the yarn to be stranded is placed on top of the hook at the back of work.
2: Work wst as normal, enclosing the strand in the stitch. Continue repeating the 2 steps, enclosing the yarn not in use every other stitch.




Happy crocheting,

Anna x



Saturday, 3 February 2018

Inherited knowledge and talent - Tabula Rasa post by me



I felt compelled to write about the inspiration behind the name of the De Anima shawl and about what it means to other people and questions it raises. I have asked designers and overall very talented people, whom I admire a lot, to write from their prospective about Tabula Rasa and whether they believe that we, as people, are born as a blank canvass or whether we genetically inherit knowledge and creativity.
I want to thank them all for contributing by writing such personal insights. If you would like to read the blogs again here are the links:


Today is the final day of Tabula Rasa posts and I thought I’ll give my two cents on the matter.
Tabula Rasa refers to the idea that we are born without built-in content, a ‘’blank slate’’, and that all we know comes from experience and perception. It is a truly fascinating concept, and I very often ponder it when I teach knit and crochet. We acquire skills through practice, some of us are taught those skills at a young age, but do we possess them already in our unconscious mind? The same can be said for talent… do we acquire it or are we simply born with it? In western philosophy the concept of Tabula Rasa originated in treatise of Artistotle - De Anima or On the Soul (hence the name of the shawl).
I tend to agree more with Pluto and his Theory of Forms that the human mind is born with ideas. I believe that we genetically inherit instinctive knowledge, like a new born who innately knows how to suckle onto mother’s breast. In the same way as you can observe in animals, like cats with hunting or elephants with geographical knowledge. Based on that, what other information is passed down, which can be later reinforced through teaching? Form the first day we rely on parents, our surroundings, then later on teachers and people around us to help us develop and enhance that knowledge. Do we naturally possess creativity/talent in the same way we possess instinctive knowledge?  

Teaching knit and crochet gives me the perfect opportunity to observe all stages of ability. In a group of ten people who never tried crochet, you will have four that instantly show natural ability and will be crocheting within half an hour with ease. Then you have few that just can’t get to grips with it. We are all wired differently and predisposed to be good at different things. However, maybe knitting and crochet are not the best examples of talent as we can learn how to do it and obviously enhance our knowledge and ability through willingness and lots of practice, but let’s take photography for example. Everyone can learn the rules of staging a good photo but only few have a natural eye for capturing a truly amazing image. You can have twenty photographs of the same person taken by different people but only one will capture the person’s soul and encapsulate the mood of the subject.

How much of that wiring and ability we possess is in part down to any knowledge we inherited? I’m not sure, but maybe I have a romantic view of it that we do pass more that we think down to the next generation. 



Anna xx