I’ve been involved in textile design and embroidery for many years, and recently become passionate about crochet too. I was originally an art teacher and embroidery tutor, then created a small business publishing greeting cards. It became a successful family partnership and we are finally handing the reins over to our daughter and stepping back a little. Now is the time for me to enjoy exploring and learning -and sharing - all that this wonderful world of textiles can offer me.
Those of you who are familiar with my crochet patterns, will know that I love Granny Squares. They feature in almost all of my designs in some form or another, and more often than not are joined with some form of Join as You Go method.
In the Beach Walk Blanket above, I used Continuous Join as You Go (or CJAYG) for the centre squares. Likewise for the Winter Season Blanket below.
And the centre squares of my new Moody Blues Blanket had a CJAYG join done in the beautiful variegated James C Brett Stonewash, below.
Now, I hear lots of people groan when it comes to CJAYG, and I have to admit that was me as well, until fairly recently.
The written instructions always seemed so complicated, and it wasn’t until I came across a video tutorial by Hooked by Robin, that it all became clear. I realised just how straightforward it actually is, once it clicked in my brain.
So, when I was writing up my patterns, I would point people in the direction of that video as an extra guide. But there is a slight difference in our way of working the CJAYG. The stitch size is different, and she uses more chains in her pattern than I do, so although helpful for some people, it was confusing for others.
Yup, it was long overdue for me to make my own video tutorial, and as I’m currently writing up the pattern for the Moody Blues Blanket, now seemed a good time.
And yes, I’ve done just that! I roped in my obliging husband to draw up a grid to show the layout and direction of working, and I’ve just filmed the video tutorial.
and I hope it helps to explain this really great joining method in as simple a way as possible.
By the way, I’m not a professional video maker you understand – I’m just an old woman with an iPhone, so I hope you cut me some slack!!
The other thing is that I’ve saved the grid my husband drew up, as a pdf file for you to download and print, if you like. I think it will be useful to have at your side when doing the CJAYG, as it’s easy to lose your direction of travel when joining the squares.
There is a right handed and and left handed version to choose from below
Hello again. Here we are halfway through March already and my first blanket of the year is done and dusted.
It’s a celebration of the blues this time, something which I had to challenge myself to do, as the colour blue has not featured much in any of my designs to date. I can’t really say why, as it’s a colour I wear a lot myself, but it’s out of my comfort zone when it comes to designing with colour.
However it’s a favourite of many of you, as you were quick to tell me, so I collected together every shade of blue in my yarn stash, and put on my thinking cap. I had decided early on that I would add a contrasting colour to provide a balance for all the blues, and chose shades of pink for this.
The thing is, once I started I came to really enjoy working with this colour palette, and I’m very pleased with the result. Proof that it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes.
The blanket progressed well, and a few weeks ago I put the final stitches in. As always, the next step would be to publish the Yarn List, and then knuckle down to the pattern writing.
But the fates were against me, and following a recent agonising trip to A&E after an accident with my knee, I was left immobilised with torn ligaments. That meant my upstairs studio was out of bounds, so pattern writing has had to be put on hold.
It’s so frustrating, but I have to be patient and let things heal. The studio is ready and waiting for me when my knee allows me to get upstairs, and meantime I’ve managed to put together the Yarn List for you.
So let’s have a chat about that today.
Many of you have asked for the Yarn List, especially if you are on the other side of the world from the UK, as deliveries can take quite a while. So that’s why I’ve published it today.
As you can see, there are a lot of colours – but that’s par for the course for me and my blankets, as many of you will know already. It’s mostly Stylecraft Special yarns though, which is the likeliest yarn for people to have in their stash, so hopefully you may already have some of the colours. I’ve put the actual amount used of each colour in the right hand column to help you decide if you have enough already in your stash.
There are three blues which look very similar – all the denim shades are close in tone, but I think they are all useful in the blanket, and provide the main type of blue tone which sets the colour palette. The colour reproduction in the peg photos is not brilliant, and they look almost identical, but there is in fact a difference.
You will see that some of the colours, Cream and Soft Peach for example are only used in small quantities whereas others, particularly those where the amounts are printed in red in the above list, use up almost the whole ball.
This is where you need to consider your tension. If you have a tendency to crochet quite loosely you may use a little more yarn than I did. In that case you might be safer ordering an extra ball of these colours so that you don’t run short. That’s up to you.
It’s here at last – the pattern has just been uploaded to my Etsy shop and all the NINE accompanying videos are on my You Tube channel. You will find the links to these videos included in the pattern.
For all who rushed out and stocked up on the yarns as soon as I posted the list in my last post, THANK YOU for your patience. I hope you have a lot of fun making this blanket.
Now here is some information for anyone who bought the original pattern in its last incarnation – because remember, this is a remake of an older pattern. The new pattern is a completely rewritten version, not just a simple update with new yarn colours. So it will not be available free of charge to anyone who purchased the old one on Etsy. However, I am happy to let you have the link to the videos, so that you can use them along with your old pattern. If you would like the link, please log in to Etsy and send me an Etsy message. I’ve managed to create a link, but only via Etsy, so please don’t email or message me on Facebook or Instagram – just Etsy.
For those who purchased the old pattern on Ravelry, the full pattern update has gone into your Ravelry library automatically.
For those who asked if the new pattern is much different to the old one, this is a photo of the new one while it was being made, lying on top of the old one. You will see that they are very similar.
Finally for today, here is the direct link to the Vintage Florals Blanket on ETSY and on Ravelry.
Hello again! Let me introduce you to my new crochet design – the Blair Atholl Blanket!
So, Blair Atholl is a small village situated in one of the most stunning areas of Scotland, Highland Perthshire.
It’s less than an hour and half’s drive from where we live and we’ve been popping up there several times a year, for a long time now.
The village lies between two fast flowing rivers, the Tilt and the Garry. It is surrounded by the hills and mountains which form the southern part of the Cairngorm National Park. These hills are not like the empty barren mountains of the remote highlands of Scotland. They are densely tree covered in parts, heather clad in others and full of colour at all times of the year, but especially in Autumn.
So you get the idea. When I’m up there, the colours of the countryside seep into my soul and stay with me when I’m back home. I’ve got hundreds of photos of the area, and for a long time now I’ve wanted to make a blanket inspired by these rich tones.
It took a while though, not because of the colours. They were easy. It was the design which eluded me. Not granny squares – too busy. Not squares at all in fact, nor hexagons nor any other geometric shape. I felt it needed to have an organic feel with colours blending through each other, and finally I came back to the stitch I’d used for my Copenhagen blanket a few years ago, the interlocking block stitch.
It makes a thick cosy blanket with a real tweedy effect, perfect for my Highland theme, and I was able to blend all my Blair Atholl colours with ease.
I’ve now finished the blanket and will be taking it back to Blair for it’s final photo shoot before I write up and publish the pattern. (Update – it’s now published! You will find the links to my shops below).
But before I go, a lot of people have been asking about the yarn and colours I used, and so I’ve put together a Yarn List for you ahead of the pattern, to let you get organised.
As usual there are a lot of colours, but you may already have some of them in your stash, so I’ve listed the actual amount of each colour I used. That way you can gauge if you have enough of each colour, but bear in mind I have an even tension in my work. If your tension tends to be looser, you might use a little more yarn.
The size of my blanket is approx 39 ins x 60ins (I think), but don’t quote me on that as I don’t have the measurements to hand, so I’m going by memory. It’s easily adaptable to be bigger or smaller if you want, but of course that means you’d need to adjust the yarn amounts.
Anyway, here is the Yarn List –
The yarn is available from http://www.woolwarehouse.co.uk. It’s a UK website, but they do have a good reputation for fast overseas shipping at a reasonable rate (and with the pound so weak internationally at the moment, it’s even better!).
Meantime you will find me soaking up these beautiful colours in the countryside around Blair Atholl in the next few days!
My bags are packed……xx
UPDATE: And I’m delighted to announce that the pattern is now, finished, checked and PUBLISHED!
I’ve had a lot of fun constructing this pattern, and the reader is taken on a wonderful virtual walk with me around the Scottish Highlands, while I tell the story behind the colours of each section of the blanket.
As well as the written pattern, there are LOTS of photos, colour charts, and info on the yarn. Plus special links to THREE very detailed video tutorials, only available via the pattern.
You will maybe learn a little about my favourite part of my home country too!
Here we are again – another day, another new pattern. That’s what it feels like anyway!
Hard on the heels of the Touch of Frost blanket comes the Bonfire blanket. Whew, it’s been intense this past few weeks, writing the patterns, then checking and proofreading. My eyes are feeling it from the time spent at a computer screen, and I’m DESPERATE to get back to actual crochet and embroidery, but I can only do one job at a time, as I think I’ve mentioned before, so it was all systems go until the pattern was complete. But hey, that’s another one in the bag!
The links to the pattern are at the end of this post.
Crochet hook here I come!
If you are familiar with my Instagram account, you will already know that this blanket was inspired by a needlepoint piece I made a few months ago.
(Needlepoint is a form of hand embroidery which is worked on a firm canvas, usually in a geometric design of some kind. I tend to work on quite a fine canvas with stranded cotton threads).
This little emdroidery had in turn been inspired by the patterns created by crocheted granny squares, perfect geometric forms. I worked out a stitched version of a granny square which could be done on tapestry canvas with embroidery cottons, and put together a small framed piece worked on a background of spray painted canvas.
There is a whole story behind the crochet-to-canvaswork and canvaswork-to-crochet themes I’ve been exploring lately, which I’ll go into in more detail in another post soon.
But meanwhile, back to this pattern….
The strong colours on the black canvas background really appealed to me, and it was inevitable really that I’d come back to it at some point with the idea of creating a blanket with the needlepoint design as the inspiration.
It was a delight to pick the colours and see them popping against the black, and there was continuing joy when each square was created. I don’t think there are any two squares the same in the whole blanket.
It was while I was working on it that the idea of bonfires and Hallowe’en came to mind and the more I thought of it, the more it seemed appropriate for October nights and pumpkin lanterns.
The section of plain black, dotted with random spots of colour came to be showers of sparks rising up into the night sky, and the colours deepen as they get further away from the fiery centre. I love it.
And this blanket marks a family crochet milestone, because these squares in the photo above were beautifully crocheted by my rookie crochet HUSBAND no less! He painstakingly learned how to make a granny square, starting with a lesson by me, followed by hours of concentration, unpicking and starting again until he got it right. The result was a collection of squares which were identical to mine and which meant I could push through the blanket quickly.
A friend has dubbed him the Hooker Husband (he was a little alarmed at first before the meaning of hooker was explained to him in this context!)
And before you ask, sorry no he doesn’t come with the pattern!
This is a fine pattern for a beginner to tackle as it’s basically just granny squares and some granny stripes, but has enough colour changes to keep everyone interested.
Here is the page in the pattern which includes the Yarn List for your information, with the amount of each I used on the right and where it can be bought from.
I’ve used Stylecraft Special DK throughout, which means it’s a yarn that’s easy to obtain and may even be in your stash already. Some of the colours need only a small amount so it would be great if you could use up bits and pieces you already have.
As you can see, Beth and Veronica at http://www.simplyyarn.co.uk are putting together a pack with all the colours to help with ordering if you are in the UK. They will send overseas on request, but sadly the shipping charges are rather high. It’s best to enquire from them.
I think you will love this blanket, judging by the response on social media and there is plenty of time to crochet it before the nights start to draw in and Autumn is upon us.
You can find the pattern on Ravelry HERE or in my Etsy shop HERE
Now it’s over to you. There is plenty of time to make this in time for Autumn and Hallowe’en, although I’d quite like Summer to stay awhile yet! 🎃
Hello, and welcome to my new blog post, all about the Touch of Frost Blanket – my Christmas Crochet pattern for 2022, written in July – during the hottest temperatures on record in the UK!
It just so happens that as I type this, it’s a sweltering 30 degrees here on the east coast of Scotland. I know that further south it’s much hotter, but it’s unheard of here, and liable to melt my frosty blanket!
The story behind the designing and making of the blanket starts back in December of last year though, when it WAS cold and frosty. It seemed a good time to look for inspiration, when all around was immersed in Christmas themes, and I began by thinking of a colour palette for this new project.
The first piece of inspiration came when a well known garden and plant catalogue popped through the letterbox one morning. Just the kind of glossy magazine to lose yourself in for a little while, with coffee in hand.
One of the pages took the theme of silver and gold together, with pale grey, white and cream. I think it was for summer flowers if I remember rightly, but the colours sparked off an idea…….
I collected together as many Winter and Christmas themed images in soft neutrals, white and gold that I could find on Pinterest, to make an inspiration board, and the colour palette began to take shape.
But I wanted a little touch of green and red in amongst the white as well, to represent winter berries on a snow white landscape, and above all the sparkle and glitter of frost and ice.
It was lovely to work with pure white for a change, and the choice of sparkle yarn in James C Brett Twinkle, was a good one. I can just see the blanket glittering and twinkling away, by the light of flickering candles or fairylights. Not too close with the candles though!
The first thing I came up with was the Holly Square (it’s a different pattern from the Holly Square of the Noel Nine Patch blanket from last year, by the way), which set the tone for the rest of the blanket, and then I teamed it with a Snowflake Square, to build up the centre section.
I was really happy with the slightly different border round the squares, which tied the whole centre together rather well.
The blanket grew from the centre, as most of my blankets tend to do, without any formal planning past the first stage. I just figured out each section as I came to them. The little Holly Border in Section 3 was a real favourite.
Thankfully the blanket itself was finished long before this hot weather arrived, and I’ve been spending the last few weeks writing up the pattern, and editing the video tutorials which accompany it. I’ve had a good laugh at some of the ‘outtakes’ – everything from sneezing husband with hayfever, to camera stand toppling over and landing at my feet with phone still attached, to being buzzed by first a bluebottle and then a wasp.
Anyway it’s a wrap, as they say in movie circles, and I can finally say that the pattern is published and can be found in my Etsy shop here, or my Ravelry store here. The five accompanying videos are on my YouTube channel, and can be accessed via a link in the pattern.
have put together a Yarn Pack for this blanket, available from their website. It includes all the yarns needed, plus a very useful wooden Shade Card. You can opt to buy just the yarn pack, or I believe you will also be able to get one which includes a printed copy of the pattern as well. Overseas customers are invited to enquire about shipping charges to their country.
It’s a little unusual for me to be so ahead of myself, with a Christmas project ready for publication in July. It’s usually September when that happens, but this year with my planning getting under way right in the middle of the Christmas holidays, I was months in advance.
I had intended leaving the publication date until September, but that wasn’t what you wanted! The consensus was ‘let’s have it now’ and why not? It will give you loads of time to have it ready for the Festive Season without having to rush.
So maybe it is 40° in the shade, but Christmas is only a few months away after all!
My latest project has been born out of necessity, to keep one step ahead of the game when it comes to the thorny problem of discontinued yarns.
When I publish a new pattern, the Yarn List which accompanies it is exactly the yarn and colours I’ve used to make the blanket. This is fine to begin with, but unfortunately the pattern can outlive the yarn, and after a year or two some of the original yarns start to disappear, as manufacturers decide to discontinue them.
This has been the case with the Spots n Stripes Blanket. It was originally done in Stylecraft Batik, which is a favourite of mine. However, three of the colours have now been discontinued and I’m often asked if I could suggest some alternatives.
So to begin with, here are my suggestions for alternatives if you want to use this lovely yarn.
Instead of the discontinued Plum, use RASPBERRY.
Instead of the discontinued Violet, use HEATHER.
Instead of the discontinued Lupin, use MINT.
I don’t think these substitutions will significantly alter the look of the blanket at all, and hopefully Stylecraft will not be dumping any more of them any time soon!
HOWEVER, the main reason for this blog post, is to jump ahead and make a NEW version of the Spots n Stripes blanket, in a yarn which is much less likely to be discontinued, to future proof the pattern as it were, in case the Batik yarn disappears altogether.
I’ve chosen Stylecraft Special DK and matched the colours as far as possible to the original blanket. They are stronger in tone, but that isn’t a problem in my eyes. It makes a very punchy, bold colour scheme which is perfect for the contemporary design.
I used SS in Midnight for the broad borders because I wanted as a big a contrast as possible to the bright centre, but if you don’t like working with just so dark a colour, you can instead use SS French Navy.
So here comes the YARNLIST. Note: for anyone who already has a stash of Stylecraft Special, I’ve listed the actual amount by weight, of each colour I used. That should help you decide if you have enough of that colour in your stash already.
This is for anyone who already has the pattern, but wants to update the colours. You can copy this Yarn List without having to buy the pattern again.
If you’re thinking about purchasing the pattern from my Etsy shop, I’ve already added this update to the pattern.
You can find the pattern in my Etsy shop, Woolthreadpaint.
Hello again. Here we are in cold and snowy April, after a warm and sunny March. But at least the cold weather has kept me indoors and I’ve been able to write up and publish this latest pattern collection in record time!
I’m sure many of you have seen the Little Gem blanket over the past few years. It has featured a lot on, not just my Instagram feed, but on others too. It became a real favourite and is actually still available as a free pattern on my blog from a year or two ago.
However, the inevitable happened and one by one some of the yarn colours used in the original pattern were discontinued by the manufacturer. Then a whole range, the Batik Elements disappeared.
It became obvious that the free pattern, which still listed the discontinued colours, had to be updated.
So I decided to write another pattern, working in some new replacement shades, and at the same time adding some improvements to the pattern itself.
But why stop at one?
The Rosy Gem Blanket was next. A softer palette of colours, inspired by roses rambling over an old stone wall, bringing together reds and pinks, interspersed with soft greens and warm greys.
I must say I fell in love with the colours of that pretty blanket!
The Spiced Gem blanket then jumped on to my hook, as soon as the Rosy Gem was finished. I have to admit that initially I didn’t spend a lot of time selecting the yarns for this one, and once the first centre section was completed, I had some doubts about the colour palette.
It was a toss up whether it would be consigned to the ‘samples’ drawer, but I decided to stick with it and see how it would turn out.
I’m SO glad I did! The colours did it themselves, without my planning. The retro orange just pops against the bitter chocolate brown. It definitely has a seventies vibe about it, but I think the time is right to revisit these retro shades and the reception it got on Instagram and Facebook just proved it!
Once they were finished, both new colourways found their natural homes in places in my house – the Rosy Gem on the duck egg blue kitchen sofa and the Spiced Gem on that roary orange chair in the studio, of course!
Now, all three colourways are published together in one collection. I’ve found some pretty, variegated yarn from James C Brett which replaces the Batik Elements somewhat, (although the rich elements colours were such a joy).
The actual Stylecraft Batik yarns are still available, although with some shades discontinued. But who knows what’s next for the chop?
Anyway, over the weekend I’ve written up the pattern collection, and I may be being rash here, but when I finished it this afternoon, I was….done.
I read it over a couple of times, but I’ll be honest and say that I just wanted it off my hands. So, while the evening meal was cooking, I uploaded it to Etsy, with all the faffing that entails, took a deep breath and pressed ‘Publish’.
I hope it reads well, that there aren’t any major typos, that the colour charts are easy to understand. I BELIEVE it’s all OK, and any typos that do surface will be easy to fix. Perhaps I should have taken more time to go over it, but hey ho, it’s done now.
It will be a pattern which hopefully you can revisit and make more than one blanket from, and that the yarns will be available for the foreseeable future.
I now have a To Do list of other blankets which need to have some colours updated. I also have ideas brewing for two or three brand new patterns, including a Christmas one for 2022. It’s good to be busy.
Hello again, from the depths of winter in bonnie Scotland. January usually seems an interminably long month with short dark gloomy days and long cold nights, but this year we’ve had a fair amount of sunshine and the weeks are going by pretty fast. I can’t complain.
It’s been helped along as well, by my latest crochet project. This perfectly formed little beauty took precisely eleven days, start to finish and was an absolute joy to make.
Firstly, because the pattern is a simple one. There were no head scratching moments trying to work out the maths of getting parts to fit and I could spend my evenings in rhythmic delight, letting my hands take over from my brain.
Secondly, I’m pretty sure you know by now that Stylecraft Batik is a favourite yarn of mine.
I love it for the feel – there’s 20% wool in the mix, although it’s still easily machine washable – and for the watercolour effect of the dyeing. It makes the colours blend as if from a paintbrush and gives a really soft overall look.
I’ve used it exclusively in blankets before and also mixed it with other yarns as it blends so well, but I have been wary to make another design which depended solely on batik, because Stylecraft have been sadly discontinuing certain colours now and again without warning.
That being said, I was tempted again this time and I’m so glad I was. One of the shades I’ve used, Lupin has been discontinued but I’ve kept it in because lots of online yarn stores still have stocks. You just need to Google search “Stylecraft Batik Lupin”
I’ll go into more detail in a minute, but I can say that my intention is to future proof the blanket with an alternative version in a different yarn, which will be included in the pattern, and which I’m about to start right now! Come back in another eleven days!
Anyway, this little blanket started life in its first form a number of years ago, and was actually the very first granny square design I’d ever attempted. A lot of learning went on in that blanket!
It had always been a favourite of mine, I think because it fitted right in with my crazy kitchen colours and looked right at home beside my painted chairs.
Thanks to the encouragement of my social media friends, I decided to make a second one as my post Christmas project, and this was in order to write up a pattern and gauge yarn quantities. There have been a couple of colour changes from the original because, as I said some shades are no longer available, but I actually think it looks better now than before.
Now, the thing about this one of course, is that being simple it’s PERFECT as a project for a new crocheter. I intend the pattern to be as easily explained as possible, with lots of photos and tips. But that shouldn’t put off the experienced guys either. It’s such a happy little blanket I’m sure anyone would love it.
Back to the Batik yarn – as I said, the shade Lupin which is a beautiful blue (see that square at the top left in the photo above) has been discontinued. Why oh why?! But there are still stocks out there, so I’ve put together the Batik Yarn List and quantities for you now in case you want to get ordering.
Once Lupin has gone though, I can step in with the suggested alternative of the Wisteria shade. It’s a lilac colour but I’ve made a sample square and it fits in nicely with the blanket as well. So all will not be lost.
Anyway, here is the Yarn List. By the way, I’ve also listed the actual amount used of each colour in case you already have some in your stash.
Batik is available from many different yarn stores online and the price can vary from one to another. If you are overseas, then I’m informed that the best website is http://www.woolwarehouse.co.uk for speed of delivery and reasonable shipping charges. However, they have no stocks left of Lupin.
There we are then. Version one of Granny’s Secret Garden Blanket is finished and the Yarn List published. Now my next task is to make version 2, and this will be the one where I’ll be photographing, videoing and writing up as I go along, so the pattern for both won’t be available until that is done . There will also be a yarn list coming for it soon.
I better get started! Bye for now xx
PS Watch this space – as soon as the pattern is published, I’ll put a link to it.
Hot off the press……..The Second Version of the blanket is finished, the pattern has been written up and today it went live in my Etsy shop.
Version 2 uses Stylecraft Special DK in similar, but brighter shades to the Batik version. I think I really like both versions just as much.
I know that Stylecraft Special is a staple for a lot of you crocheters, so I’m pretty sure there will be some stash raiding going on for this blanket. I know of one lucky person who already has all the yarn needed in her stash for the Batik version!
For those of you buying the yarn from scratch, Veronica of http://www.simplyyarn.co.uk has put together yarn packs for both versions, and you can find them in the Woolthreadpaint shop on her website. This is just for customers in the U.K. though I believe, as she doesn’t ship overseas as standard – although you could always ask.
And here is the all important link to the pattern in my Etsy shop –
I’m so happy to say that the pattern for the Cherry Blossom blanket is now in my Etsy shop.
It’s been pretty intense over the past few days as I put the finishing touches to the pattern, but at last I could check and proof read no more and with a deep breath, I pressed ‘publish’ and away it went into the ether, ready to plop into lots of peoples’ virtual shopping baskets (hopefully).
I’m so glad I did make this second version of the blanket, as the first one – conceived and crocheted back in the days when I was just starting out on my crochet journey – really deserved to be improved, to have its rookie faults corrected and to be finally finished.
I stuck closely to the colours of the original, and the design too, but added an extra border picking up the dark shades from the centre and this new border really finishes it off beautifully, I think.
It’s funny, I’m always been drawn to shades of pink as a colour palette, but rarely use it in my work. However, I think I’ve found the perfect companion for the pinks, in the subtle tones of grey and brown. They stop it all becoming too sugary and sweet.
And I’ve fallen in love with the perfect combination of the Scheepjes Colour Crafter shade, Verviers and the new Stylecraft Special colour, Warm Grey. They are quite simply made for each other. You can see them together in the edging below.
You will find the full Yarn List in my previous post and the all important pattern link is HERE
I think this is going to become a real favourite of mine because of the colour shading, and I do hope you love it too. xx