Thursday, 4 August 2016

Sunset Infinity Scarf

Well, I recently give birth to my wee daughter, Sophia. So, to celebrate this miracle and surprise, I'm releasing a new pattern.

As a new Blogstar for Stylecraft Yarns they sent me a lovely swag of yarn to welcome me aboard. They are all fabulous, but I love a bit of swank, so the Cabaret just had to be first worked up! You can find out a bit more about it here - Stylecraft Cabaret DK Yarn

Long colour changes are really in at the moment and I love the way this yarn works up. It's soft and smooth to work with, and best of all, it FROGS easily. (Frog? you say - pulls undone I say). No more tearing your hair out with the wispy strands that wrap so conveniently around each other with so many other soft yarns. So of course it's great to design with! I had a head cold, two active wee boys and sleep deprived/baby brain happening, so I definitely did some frogging while designing this. NO SWEAT!

Ok, enough rambling, if you're not getting it by now, I'm totally in love with this yarn, lol, so, here's the pattern, and I hope you enjoy making it up as much as I enjoyed designing it.

Keep watching this space, because I'm going to expand this design with other stitches to make a matching wrap. Think of this as a taste of the wrap. ;)



Sunset Infinity Scarf

Materials

Yarn: Stylecraft Cabaret DK
Hook: 5.5mm

Stitch Notes

Treble – YOH twice, draw up one loop, YOH, draw through first two loops. YOH, draw through next two loops. YOH draw through last two loops.

Foundation DC – you can find a left and right handed tutorial (mouse over images for the left handed version) here: http://www.crochetspot.com/how-to-crochet-foundation-double-crochet-fdc/

2Trtog – YOH twice, insert your hook into the next st and draw up a loop. YOH, draw through the first two loops, YOH draw through the first two loops. (2 loops left on hook). YOH twice, insert your hook into the next st and draw up a loop. YOH, draw through the first two loops, YOH draw through the first two loops. (3 loops left on hook). YOH, draw through all three loops.

“False cluster” – this is the main stitch of the pattern. You achieve it by working 4 chain to gain height, then you 2Trtog (see above description), then you chain 4 back to the base where you slip stitch into the main fabric. In the later rows, you are working into that stitch space formed by the 2Trtog, I’ve referred to it as a “cluster space”. It’s a false cluster because two of the stitches are actually chain rows.

Pattern Notes

This pattern is made using US terms.
This pattern is worked in Mobius or infinity style. If you haven’t worked one of these before, you can find a tutorial on how to join at the end of the first row here:

Because of the style, when you work a row, you will actually work the whole length of the scarf twice. Once for the top, and then once for the bottom. So, the fabric when you look at it will go 4, 3, 2, 1, FDC, 1, 2, 3, 4.


If you don’t want to work it infinity style, then you can work it as a straight scarf, however, I would recommend repeating the pattern from the start a second time (starting from row 1, rather than the FDC) to give it a decent width. However, it’s your make, go nuts, enjoy it. I cannot wait to see your beautiful creation!

The number of starting stitches is a recommendation only. You may go larger or smaller as you choose (depending on how many times you wish to loop it around your neck). You do need to keep it in multiples of four. I’ve got a large head, lol, and I don’t like things tight on my neck, which is why I’ve gone for the size I have. I can loop it twice around my head, I haven’t tried three, I think I might panic. ;)

I’ve made this little picture to help make it clearer where to work your stitches. <3





Pattern:

1.      Work 180 Foundation DC. Refer to the tutorial here for how to join it up: Joining an Infinity Pattern

2.      Ch4, 2Trtog over next 2 sts. Ch4, sl st into the next st.  (This is a “false cluster”). *Sl st into the next st, ch4, 2Trtog over next 2 sts. Ch4, sl st into the next st. Repeat from *for the length of the scarf. The worked shape should be like an “m” with an extra leg.

3.       Sl st up the first leg of the first false cluster. Sl st into the “cluster sp” right in the middle of the four stitches. This is the space created by the 2Trtog.

*Ch4, work the first two parts of a treble into the same space. Work the first two parts of a treble into the “cluster sp” of the next false cluster. YOH, draw through all three loops. Ch4, sl st into the “cluster sp”. Repeat from * for the length of the scarf.

4.      Do as for round three – this time though, the stitches will be offset, so you will end up making what looks like a triangle to start with, but as you work the fifth row, it will stand up and form a diamond.

Sl st up the first leg of the first grouping of the last row. Sl st into the “cluster sp” right in the middle of the four stitches.

*Ch4, work the first two parts of a treble into the same space. Work the first two parts of a treble into the “cluster sp” of the next group. YOH, draw through all three loops. Ch4, sl st into the cluster sp. Repeat from * for the length of the scarf.

5.      Sl st up the first leg of the first grouping and into the “cluster sp”. Ch4, work 3 tr into the same space. *Work 4tr into the next “cluster sp”. Repeat from * for the length of the scarf.


You now have two options. You can sl st into the fourth ch of the starting group for the round, hide your ends, and wear your scarf with joy.

OR

In the near future you can purchase (for less than the price of a cup of coffee) the pattern that will develop this beginning further into an infinity wrap. ;)

I hope you enjoy making this pattern as much as I have enjoyed designing it.
Happy Hooking!
xoxo


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Blogstar!

Have you ever had a dream come true? How about, two, or three, or four? How about two at once? For all the reality of it around me, I'm sitting here in a state of wonder and awe, and more than a little fear. How blessed can you get? When does the bubble pop?

Ok, ok, I'm babbling, but it's a happy thing. Just over two weeks ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, our third child (I have two beautiful boys too). Three miracle children that we were told we would never have without a lot of help from IVF - and yet here they are without that help. So, there are three dreams that came true right there. Hubby is a fourth. In December this year we will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We started "dating" at 15 and we never looked back. I know EXACTLY how fortunate I am.

Now I have another dream starting to come true and I cannot believe it. The start of my "design career". I have signed an agreement with Stylecraft Yarns to become an official blogger for them - part of their "Blogstars" group and I'm now even listed on their blog site - Stylecraft Blogstars I'm SO excited.


On the weekend the other members of the Blogstars group and the fabulous staff at Stylecraft had their inaugural get together to discuss future directions, preview new yarn, and to get to know one another. Being on the other side of the planet and having just given birth, oddly enough I wasn't able to attend, but thanks to their fabulous blogging about their experiences it feels like I did. I think, however, that if I could have been there I would have been in a permanent state of shock and awe. These ladies are my crochet heroes! I would have been too star-struck to say a word! (For someone who can talk underwater with a mouthful of marbles, that's quite a feat! Lol.)


From Left to Right we have -
Back Row: Sandra Paul (Cherry Heart), Julia Marsh (Hand Knitted Things), Helen Kurtz (The Knitting Exploits of Josie Kitten), and Sarah Shrimpton (Annaboos House)

Front Row: Kathryn Senior (Crafternoon Treats), Heather Leal (The Patchwork Heart), Phil Saul (The Twisted Yarn), Lucy (Attic24), and Sue Pinner (Shropshire Scrapper Suz).
Missing from the get together: Jane Crowfoot (Janie Crow), Emma Varnam (Emma Varnam) and Me!

Most of these ladies I have followed for some time, but there are some new names there for me too. Such talent, such usage of colour and shape and imagination.... I'M STAR STRUCK!

If you read their fabulous posts about their weekend experience I know you will get excited too. An upcoming CAL, a new range of yarn, giveaways and new patterns... oh my! These ladies are not only #Clevercrafters, but they're also #Cleverteachers - they'll bring us along in their yarny journies. I cannot wait to see what they come up with next. 

In that vein, and maybe a bit vain lol, keep an eye out here too. I'm working on a new FREE design using the Stylecraft Cabaret in the Sunset colourway, it's in testing and I need to get some decent photos. Following this there will be a second pattern that uses the first as a starting point. I've also got some other ideas for a swag of yarn that Stylecraft sent to me to play with. 

All this is happening as I feed my daughter every few hours, teach her to self settle, help my eldest with his homework and my middle child with his speech.... It's all happening here for us just now, so many dreams coming true....

I hope all your dreams come true too!
Happy Hooking
xoxo

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Joining an infinity pattern

Now, like most things in crochet, there's more than one way to skin a cat. This is by no means the definitive way, but it is how I am working the Sunset Infinity Scarf and Wrap. I much prefer to work this way than to create a fabric and then twist and join when it is done. Especially when using colour varying yarn.

In my pattern I used foundation double crochet, and I recommended putting a stitch marker into the very first ch worked (you start with a ch4, then work back into that first ch). I recommend keeping that stitch marker while working the entire scarf or wrap. It helps you realise when you have completed a full round. In this method of infinity work, you first work along the top of the stitches, but when you come back to your stitch marker, the twist means that you are then working into the bottom of that foundation row. How? Well, read on. ;)

So, when you reach your required number of stitches, you should have two ends the same length. Take great care doing this (I managed to get my brain in a twist, but then again I've got a cold and I'm 8.5 months pregnant lol). With your work lying flat, take one side and flip it over so that the bottom becomes the top. See below. The stitch marker was at the bottom when I finished working the round, but I have flipped it over so that now it sits at the top. This is a half twist of the scarf.


Now, slip stitch into that first chain (ie the one with the stitch marker). 


Now, work along those initial chain stitches using slip stitches until you reach the third one.


You can see where the red end has now overlapped the blue end in a way as I've worked the slip stitches along those chains. Now, being very careful not to flip your work, rotate it so that you can slip stitch into the bottom of the last foundation double crochet that you worked. In effect,  you are joining the other side of the ends. 


You can see the stitch marker is back at the bottom again because I've rotated the entire fabric, and I've slip stitched back onto the red side. I'm now ready to begin working the first round. The row will head off to the left working along the bottom of the FDC and follow the twist so that when I come back to the stitch marker, I'll actually be working on the top of the FDC again. Sound trippy? it's basically a figure 8. So each row that you work, will in fact be twice the length of the original row because you are working BOTH SIDES in one go. Like this...


Here I am back at the "beginning" point. I've worked all along one side, but as I come back to the stitch marker, the next stitches presented to me to work are actually the opposite side of where I started. The hook is pointing at where I started with the red stitches.

So, I hope that this has all made sense to you, and you're ready and raring to go and try this method of working infinity style garments.

Happy Hooking
xoxo

Friday, 20 May 2016

Celebration Square

I've got that app on Facebook that brings up your old memories for that particular date. Two years ago today I had shared a post from my page Get Knotted Yarn Craft saying that I was excitedly preparing for my second son's first birthday, and looking forward to reaching 200 likes on my page.

In 2016, I'm excitedly preparing for my second son's third birthday and the arrival of our daughter in just over five weeks. To top it off, overnight my page reached 10 thousand likes!! I'm so excited and thrilled, and so very grateful to you all for your support, encouragement and loyalty. So, to say thank you, here is my new pattern - Celebration Square! I can't wait to see yours! Happy Hooking. xoxo

Celebration Square
by Angela Armstrong
Copyright Get Knotted Yarn Craft

Material

Yarn: DK
Hook: 4mm

Stitch Notes
YOH: Yarn Over Hook

Standing Stitches: you can find a great tutorial here – http://www.petalstopicots.com/2013/10/crochet-standing-stitches/

FPDC: you can find a great tutorial here for left and right handers – http://www.crochetspot.com/how-to-crochet-front-post-double-crochet-fpdc/

FPHDC: is worked the same as a FPDC, except using the HDC stitch instead.

Spike Stitch: you can find a great tutorial here for left and right handers– 
http://www.crochetspot.com/how-to-crochet-spike-stitches/

Arched Cluster: Work the first part of a FPDC around the 2nd FPHDC of round 4 (ie, YOH, draw up a loop in the FP style, YOH and draw through the first two loops). Sk1, draw up a loop in the middle DC of round 6 (3 loops on hook now). Sk1, work the first part of a FPDC around the 3rd FPHDC of round 4 as before. (4 loops on hook now). YOH and draw through all four loops. DO NOT CLOSE WITH A CH – this occurs in the pattern itself.

Pattern Notes
This pattern is made using US terms.

In DK this should make a 6” square. In Worsted or Aran it should be 8”.

Each round is finished with a sl st into the first st, and then tied off. The next round is then started with either a standing stitch, or by joining and chaining to make the required height.

Colour changes and choices are up to you. I changed colours with every round and used three colours, I've indicated my colour changes as colours A, B and C at the beginning of the relevant rows. 

Stitch counts are for one side of the square only, rather than the total for the round.

Pattern:
1.        (Colour A) Magic Circle. Ch3 (counts as DC). DC, ch2. [3DC, ch2] 3 times. DC. (3DC per side)

2.      (Colour B) Standing DC into any corner sp. *3DC in next 3 sts. Into the corner sp work: [2DC, ch2, 2DC]. Repeat from * three times omitting a DC in the final repeat. (7DC per side)

3.       This round is worked alternatively in rounds 1 AND 2.
(Colour A) Standing *SC in the first DC of any side. Sk1, FPDC spike around 1st DC of R1. Ch3. FPDC spike around 3rd DC of R1. Sk1, SC into last st of R2. Into the corner sp work: [2SC, ch2, 2SC]. Repeat from * three times, omitting a SC in the final repeat. (6SC, 2FPDC spike, 1 x ch3 sp; per side)

4.      (Colour B) Standing *HDC in the third SC in round 3, of any side. Ch1, Sk1. Push the chain from R3 to the back and work 1DC into the next 3 sts of round 2 (ie in front of the chain). Ch1, sk1, HDC in next 3 sts of round 3. Into the corner space work: [2HDC, ch2, 2HDC]. HDC into the next 2 stitches. Repeat from * three times. (10HDC, 3DC, 2 x ch1 sp; per side)

5.      (Colour A) This round is worked entirely into round 3.
Standing *FPHDC spike around the first FPDC spike of any side in round 3. Ch3, sk3, FPHDC spike around the next FPDC spike of round 3. Ch3, sk2, FPHDC spike around the last SC of R3. Ch4, sk all corner sts. FPHDC spike around the first SC of the next side. Ch3, sk2. Repeat from * three times. (4FPHDC spike, 3 x 3ch sp; per side).

6.      (Colour B) Tuck the chains on the corners of round five, behind the corner stiches of round 4. Tuck the chains on the sides backward as well. This round is worked entirely into round 4, with the chain stitches tucked behind, and the FPHDC skipped over with chains.
Standing *DC into the middle of the three central stitches in round 4. DC in next. [Ch1, sk1, DC in next 2] twice. Into the corner sp work: [2DC, ch2, 2DC]. DC in next 2, ch1, sk1, DC in next 2. Ch1, sk 1, DC in next. Repeat from * three times. (15DC, 4 x 1ch sp; per side)

7.      (Colour A) Standing *FPDC spike around the first FPHDC spike of any side in round 5. Sk1, SC into the next. Ch1, arched cluster over the next 5 sts. Ch1, SC in next. Sk1, FPDC spike around the next FPHDC. Ch1, SC into the next 4. Put a stitch marker into the first st of the next side. Into the corner sp of round 6, work: [2 spike DC, ch2, 2spike DC]. SC in next 4, Ch1. Repeat from * three times. (4 FPDC spike, 1 Arched cluster, 4 spike DC and 4 x ch1 sp; per side)

8.      (Colour A) Standing SC in any st. Work 1SC in each st (cluster counts as 1) and in each ch sp. Into the corner space work: (SC, ch2, SC). Repeat for all sides. (23SC per side)

9.      (Colour C) Standing *SC in the third st of any side. [Ch1, sk1, SC in next] 10 times. Into the corner space work: [SC, ch2, SC]. SC in next, ch1, sk1. Repeat from * three times. (14SC, 11 x ch1 sp; per side)

10.   (Colour B) Standing *SC in the first ch sp of any side. [Ch1, sk1, SC in next] 11 times. Into the corner space work: [2SC, ch1, 2SC]. SC in next, Ch1, sk1. Repeat from * three times. (17SC, 12 x ch1 sp; per side)

11.     (Colour B) Standing *SC in any stitch. Work 1SC into each SC and 1SC into each ch sp. Into the corner space work: (SC, ch2, SC). Repeat for all sides. (31SC per side).

I hope you enjoy making this square as much as I enjoyed designing it. xoxo
Copyright Snazzy Cuddles

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Mandela Mandala

I believe in kindness, that we should love one another, and that we should stand up for what we believe in with grace and dignity. These are all qualities embodied by the late Nelson Mandela. He's one of my heroes. So, I decided to make a mandala in tribute to him.



My first task was inspiration. Had other people made mandalas in his name? Yes they had, and there is a wide variety out there. However, as Google does, it found some other images of mandalas that were line drawings, and one just called to me, so I decided to use it loosely as a base of inspiration.


found here: http://www.123rf.com/photo_12227481_mandala-round-ornament-pattern.html

With this design in mind, I looked through my stash, found myself a colourful palette, and started hooking. At this point I have to thank my testers Courtney and Oona for persevering through the edits in this pattern. When I get excited about something, sometimes my pattern writing skills cannot keep up with my hooking ones {giggle} and being seven months pregnant isn't helping with the thought process either. Having said that, the pattern should be straightforward now. There's a mini tutorial on the final page for round 11 - so you can choose whether to print it or not.



So, what do you think? I started with a flat center, but I changed my mind and put popcorn stitch in the center, it balances it out a bit more, but I still like the original center. You'll get to see the popcorn one once I release the square version. That will be one of a dozen squares that I'm still in the process of designing. I hope to run a BAMCAL (block a month crochet along) with them.

I made mine using DK yarn, and it's 14 inches (about 36cm) across. Courtney made hers with worsted yarn and it came in at a lovely 22 inches (about 56cm) across.

I'm really pleased with how it has come out, and I hope that you like it too. You can find it here in my pattern store: Click here to purchase the Mandela Mandala

Happy Hooking!
xoxo

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

May the fourth be with you! - Top Ten Star Wars Patterns

Hello everyone, it's the fourth of May today - Star Wars Day! What, you say? Say it aloud - May the fourth be with you. Giggle.
How could I not post about one of my favourite cinema sagas? So, today I've rounded up my ten favourite Star Wars patterns on Ravelry.

1. Well, we just have to start with a cuteness factor! This sweet wee scoodie by "Smushed Squirrel" is free in both baby and adult sizes. Soooo cute!


You can find the baby pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-yub-nub
and the adult one here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/yub-nub-scoodie

2. For seriously awesome Star Wars loving, you can't go past Courtney Laube of Spin a Yarn 32 and her amazing blanket. Another fabulous FREE pattern. Head over here for your copy: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/a-galaxy-far-far-away

3. For a bit of lighthearted fun these Lightsaber Cozy's are a great idea. Fast and easy gift to make, and bound to be appreciated by anyone who's ever had an uncomfortable moment while eating an Ice Block. The pattern is in three different sizes to accomodate different aged hands (great thinking)

and you can find the pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lightsaber-ice-pop-cozy

4. If you want to express your dark side a little, then how about this fabulous Tusken Raider hat! What a beauty - guaranteed to scare the local bully at thirty paces I think. ;)
And you can get your FREE copy here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tusken-raider-hat-with-scarf-thingies

5. & 6. The next two patterns are from Nancy J of DefectiveGeeks. So very clever and richly done too.


Whether the Queen catches your eye, or the AT AT takes your fancy, both of these are a must have in any collection!
You can find Queen Amidala here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/queen-amidala---red-invasion-dress
and the AT AT walker here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/star-wars-at-at-walker

7. The list is filling fast, and really, there are so many fabulous patterns for Star Wars fans out there. I like this one because not many people think of characters other than the main protagonists, and I love the amount of detail in him. This is Blizz the Jawa by MostlyNerdyCrochet, and he's just fabulous.

You can pick up your FREE copy of his pattern right here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/blizz-the-jawa

8. When I saw the name of this site, I laughed so much I snorted! R2D2 by Let's All Get Knitfaced is fabulous. How can you have a Star Wars collection without one of the quiet heroes?



You can find out how to make him right here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/r2d2

9. I've yet to see the latest Star Wars movie (NO! Don't tell me what happens, lol), but there are lots of patterns out there for this wee guy, so he seems to be rather a hit! 


Head over here and start on your FREE copy today: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bb8-from-star-wars

10. Finally, last but not least - I've saved the most comprehensive one of all. Unlike the others this is a PAID pattern, but I truly believe it's worth the money.
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/star-wars-crochet/patterns
A collection of 12 patterns, this book is available on Amazon.com . If you want to have a great collection, then this is the place to go. ;)



Happy Hooking, and May the Fourth be with you!!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Alternative take on the Spiked Cluster Stitch

In a couple of my patterns now, I've used something I call the spiked cluster stitch. Most tutorials that you find on the web have five prongs, but I only want three for mine, and I want them all working into the same row.

I've been looking everywhere for a tutorial to link to, but I cannot find one done in "my way", so I'm going to torture you all with my alternative version. ;)

This stitch is used in my Million Dollar Shawl Pattern, and in a soon to be released square pattern. So I thought it was appropriate for me to "get the word out there" in advance of the new release. So, without further ado, here's my version. xoxo


Spiked Cluster Stitch


Spiked cluster stitch sounds scary, but it really isn't. It's just a combination of spike stitch, which you work several times in various ways in this pattern, and cluster stitch. It appears in Row 43 of the "Million Dollar Shawl" pattern and in round 10 of my soon to be released square.

There are two things to note, firstly, you skip a stitch. You will work sc before and after, but you do work into previous rows between them. It may help, to start with, to put a stitch marker two to the left of the last stitch you work in to show where you resume working your sc's as it becomes hidden by the bulk of the cluster when it's done. Secondly, from above, as you count the <<<<< shapes - there are two << for the cluster stitch because you finish it with a ch1, but you will count them as one, so be careful when working the next row that you don't work into both the eye and the ch. 

Each pattern is different, so you will need to read the requirements of the particular pattern you are using this method with. To start with, you will SC into x number of stitches. {See image 1}.

Image 1


Take a look at the rows below and work out which row it is that you have to work into. {image 2}   

Image 2

Visually look to the space of the stitch you are going to skip, follow it down two rows, then count two further spaces to the right. YOH, insert into that space and draw up a loop. {image 3}.  
This is very specific for the shawl pattern. In other patterns you will need to look to what the designer specifies. In my square pattern, you are directed to the exact stitch you will work into. 

Image 3

To help with tension, bring the hook right back up to the top of the work to make that spike long enough not to pull. Otherwise, you will end up with a dip in your work. YOH. {3 loops}

Insert the hook into the space directly below your skipped stitch and draw up another loop {5 loops}, again bringing it to the top of the work. {image 4}. 

Image 4

YOH, count two to the left of where you drew up the last loop, insert the hook and draw up another loop. {7 loops} and bring the hook to the top of the work. {image 5}  

Image 5


YOH and draw through all 7 loops. {image 6}

Image 6

CH1, to close the stitch and create an “eye” {image 7}

Image 7


The next sc that you work into should be just peeking out from under the last loop. {image 8}.

Image 8

 This is why you might want to put a stitch marker in, as it's usually hidden by the third post of the cluster. 

So there you have it, Spiked Cluster Stitch - done my way. ;) Maybe we should call it a tripod stitch? LOL.

Happy Hooking
xoxo