Wednesday 30 September 2015

Drops Garnstudio Knitting Pattern; Singlet 'Madeline' number 136-7

This was a really easy pattern to knit, it is all done in stocking stitch and grew very quickly.

I actually started it on holiday and the first week sat on the beach in the sunshine knitting it, then the second week I got to wear it! It looks lovely with leggings or jeans.

It is worked in an aran yarn, which you might think would be too thick for summer, but because it contains cotton it is fine. You begin by making the front and back top part of the bodice separately, then you put them both onto circular needles where you knit in the round.

Increases at each side create lots of width which in turn gives the lovely dropped side point when it is worn.

The only problem I had was that the edge kept rolling up and as I was on holiday it wasn't possible to block it, which might have helped,  so I added an extra row of crochet edging around the bottom edge and it seems to have cured it. I did one double crochet into each stitch.

I didn't use the recommended yarn as I had some Stylecraft 'Malabar' in my stash to use up. It was lovely to work with and is 78% cotton 22% silk, which gives it a lovely soft feel and a sheen to the surface.

Link to buy the Stylecraft Malabar yarn I used:

My video about this project:


Monday 28 September 2015

Crochet Photo Star - Free Pattern

I've finally finished writing the pattern for the crochet photo star.

This is an all year round pattern and can be used for wall art photo frames but is also ideal as Christmas decorations for tree or wall, or to give as gifts.

This is the first pattern I've ever written, even though I've been knitting and crocheting for over 50 years and wow was it hard! Creating the Photostar was easy, it took just an hour to design, but writing down the instructions so that a novice could understand proved to be quite a feat so I take my hat off to those who create patterns on a regular basis.

Download Pattern by clicking here

If you have any problems or questions please do get in touch. 

I would also love to see photos of your finished items, please share them here or on my Facebook page

There is also a video tutorial here:  

The pattern is free to download, however please do read the terms of use at the bottom of the pattern before you begin.

Happy crocheting!

Update October 2015:

I noticed an error in the pattern so have corrected the written pattern and added an error message to the video. If you downloaded the pattern prior to October please either download v3 above, or simply add 1 extra treble in the starting ring - there should be 18 sts not 17 as mentioned in first pattern - sorry about that, I said this pattern writing wasn't easy!

Having made quite a few now it suddenly came to me that you could perhaps add a chocolate coin instead of a photo, might be nice for the children at Christmas.

Friday 25 September 2015

Stiffening wash for small crochet and knitted items, especially decorations

I've put together a quick video of how to make a stiffening wash for those small items that need to be a bit firmer, especially Christmas decorations and the like.

The wash is made from Children's craft PVA glue, mixed with water; 1 part glue to 3 parts water. I have tried it 50/50 but I find that it gets a bit too thick and you can get lumps of dried glue forming between the stitches.

With this more watered down method you don't see any of the glue once it has dried and if you do need your item even firmer, simply do more coats once it has dried until you are happy with the firmness.

I use an old padded mailing envelope covered with a bit of cling film - cling film so that the item doesn't stick to the bag - and then pin your work into shape, pushing the pins into the envelope.

I find using the envelope method gives a firmer base to work on. Some people use a folded towel, which does work but it can sometimes be a bit too soft and your work can get bent.

Whatever works best for you is the way to go! 

Remember - always do a small test on your fabric or yarn before stiffening, you wouldn't want to spoil your hard work by causing shrinkage, damage or colour loss.


Happy crafting!


Wednesday 23 September 2015

Drops/Garstudio "Call it Spring" and "Mykonos" - my next projects

Drops "Call it Spring" Pattern number 159-4 and "Mykonos" 152-22 

These are my next planned projects.

"Call it Spring" I plan to do in a mint green and the "Mykonos" in the same white as I think it looks super for summer. Both in Drops Cotton Light.

DMC Crochet Tunic Top Pattern number 15092L/2

This is my review of the pattern and tips on making the crochet top.

I found it a lovely pattern to do, it does need LOTS of concentration, not the sort of thing you do while watching the TV (well not for me anyway!). Having said that I really enjoyed it and although I would agree with the pattern recommendation as being for an 'experienced' crocheter, I would say if you are confident to try - have a go. All the stitches are basic ones, double crochet, chain, trebles, so it is just a matter of concentrating and keep reading the instructions.

The sleeves are small cap sleeves with a lovely decoration around the edges.

You do need to wear it with something underneath, such as a t.shirt or camisole/vest, unless you are very young or very confident :) It could look nice with a contrast colour underneath such as a black top.

It is hard to write out some of the things I found as a crocheted it, so to help I've made a video showing various parts of the work as I went along and my tips on working them, scroll down to see the video.

One criticism I have of the pattern is the tension recommendation - it says that the tension check is to do one pattern repeat and then gives measurements for each size. However,  a pattern repeat is 14 very complicated rows, so you have to do a lot of work just to check your tension, it is a shame there is not an easier way.

Link to pattern:
Link to the recommended yarn:

Close up
Sleeve decoration
To help anyone thinking of doing this DMC tunic top pattern, I've done a  help video with a few tips:

Happy crocheting!


Drops/Garnstudio knitted Bolero Jacket - Pattern number 130-12

This is my experience of using the Drops/Garnstudio free pattern for the knitted Bolero Jacket Pattern number 130-12

This is a short Bolero jacket and although the pattern is not a difficult one I did find myself undoing it several times. There are lots of different panels made with simple stitches such as stocking stitch, reverse stocking stitch, garter st etc. but I kept forgetting which I was doing and would knit when I should be purling or purl when I should be knitting. Concentration is definitely needed for this pattern!

The pieces are made into a curved shape by making short rows: You do a row half way, then turn around and go back, then the next two rows are knitted normally, then you repeat the process. It is quiet effective and easy to do.
Once the pieces are finished the two sides are sewn around the back piece, the pattern gives really good instructions on how to do this, with diagrams showing which piece joins where.

The sides and back have a pretty half diamond pattern running through them.


The two side pieces were a bit difficult to join as each had a point from the pattern (as shown below), I joined them by folding back the point, but wonder if I did something wrong, although I'm sure I followed the pattern carefully. I did change the sleeves slightly as I wanted them a bit different to the pattern.

You can also see my video here:

I used Drops Love You 5 which is an aran yarn, 100% recycled cotton. The recommended yarn is Drops Paris, but Love You 5 is listed as an alternative.

Hope I've helped you decide if this pattern is for you!

Happy knitting!


Tuesday 22 September 2015

Writing patterns

Hi all,

I've been away this last week but haven't been idle! I'm working on writing a pattern for a crochet Christmas decoration which will hold a small photo of a loved one, or without a photo if you want - it works just as well as a decoration.

Wow, I never thought writing a pattern would be so hard! Designing it was easy and within an hour or so I'd created quite a few, but when it comes to actually writing out the instructions so that a novice can follow it is proving to be much harder than it sounds. I take my hat off to all you pattern writers!

So bear with me and the pattern and tutorial video will be available soon - I appreciate that Christmas is just around the corner when it comes to knitting and crocheting items so I will be as quick as possible, hopefully early next week.

Happy crafting!

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Haze jacket by Drops Design/Garnstudio, Free Pattern Number 150-22

"Haze" Jacket from Drops/Garnstudio, knitted in Drops Big Delight 100% Wool.

This is knitted diagonally starting in the bottom corner, on circular needles so you can fit on all the stitches. A really easy pattern as it is knitted in garter stitch (all rows knit) the varigated yarn making the pattern, plus being a thick aran yarn it grew very quickly.

I loved doing this and would definitely do it again. The back is really effective and is created by starting the back pieces in the corner on two stitches and the putting both sides on the needles, by decreasing at the centre it makes the effect of the yarn into a 'V' shape.

Lovely and warm for an Autumn evening, I've had lots of compliments on it.

Remember being wool that you need to take care when washing or it will shrink!

Pictures show front and back view:

Lots of colours to choose from, this one is greys and creams. Free pattern

Video of the finished item and some details of how it was worked:


Tuesday 8 September 2015

Cute Amigurumi Unicorn

This is a little Unicorn spotted by a good friend who fell in love with it but she couldn't crochet - so I made it for her.
Really cute and easy to do, pattern is easy to follow and well written.

I love it when people make free patterns and share them with everyone - a big "thank you" to all you free pattern writers!

Free pattern here:

Here is my finished Unicorn, it stands about 6" high, I used up lots of odds and ends of yarn to make it.


Monday 7 September 2015

Daisy centre granny squares - crochet tutorial

I've been asked how I made the daisy squares which I featured on Facebook. They are quite easy to do and very effective, having a pretty daisy flower centre.

I've made a video tutorial, hope it helps you to make them and that you enjoy having a go, don't forget that it can take a bit of practice to get it right, but it is worth it in the end.

Happy crocheting!


Sunday 6 September 2015

Drops/Garnstudio free pattern for the crochet top 'Shy Violet' Pattern number 162-15

This is my experience of using the Drops/Garnstudio free pattern for the crochet top 'Shy Violet' Pattern number 162-15

I really loved doing this pattern, it was the first Garnstudio/Drops pattern that I'd ever done and I wasn't disappointed.

The patterns are written well and if you do have a problem you can submit a request for help, I found that any questions I had were answered within a few hours.

Crocheted in what they call 'top down', you start at the shoulders working the sleeves at the same time, then join the pieces at the sides.

I used the recommended yarn - Drops Safran, which is a cotton yarn, 4 ply. I used peach colour. The yarn is soft and has a silky feel, was really nice to work with and didn't split like some cotton yarns do.

I did find that the side seams were a bit tight, might have been my tension but I added an extra chain stitch on each turning chain section just to help ease the tightness.

The pattern repeat is 7 rows and the instructions are given in diagram form which to be honest I can't get on with, so once I've studied the pattern I always write it out into a notebook writing the instructions for each row stitch by stitch.  (e.g. 1 dc, 10 treble in next stitch etc.)

Below is a video of the finished top

Happy Crocheting!



Friday 4 September 2015

Joining granny squares using crochet to make a flat chain stitch seam

Have you ever tried to join granny squares and found that the seam is thick or bulky and your work will not lay flat? 

This tutorial will show you how to keep the squares flat and create a flat join with a decorative chain stitch between the squares like this (right side):

and this is how it will look on the wrong side, a dotted line:

It was hard to get a close enough video of how to do this because you really need to be working on a flat surface and I had to hold the work to the camera, but hopefully it will help you understand how to do it and you can than have a go - practice makes perfect so don't give up if you find it hard to begin with.

Happy crocheting!


Thursday 3 September 2015

Garnstudio / Drops Free Patterns

The vast array of FREE patterns available from Garnstudio never ceases to amaze me, they are often unusual designs too, away from the run of  the mill stuff.

You can find everything from accessories such as shawls, boleros and bags to dresses, cardigans, jumpers etc. Both in knitted and crochet patterns.

There are lots of children's clothes and toys too.

I don't think I will ever have to buy another pattern again as the ones available for free are fabulous.

If you haven't discovered Garnstudio and their wonderful "Drops" yarn then pop over there now!

I will be sharing my experiences of all the things I knit from their patterns, so check back soon.

I've already done 3 items - a knitted jacket, crochet top and a hat, which I will review soon. I am in the process of making a knitted bolero and a cardigan - the cardigan is knitted all in one on circular needles, fronts and back all in one piece.

Happy knitting ..... and crocheting!

Find me on Facebook: and Ravelry:

French knot emboridered eyes for toys and amigurumi

A quick video tutorial on how to add little eyes to soft toys using the French knot technique.

It does work well as the eyes tend to be a better more rounded shape and size than trying to embroider them by over sewing.

I find that weaving the start and end of the thread through the stuffing to hide it makes for a better finish that trying to over sew any were on the toy - that often leads to the thread showing through and spoiling the effect.

See also my tutorial on simple knotted eyes:

Happy sewing!


Kids Craft - Making Bookmarks from old envelopes

Do you need a quick and easy craft to do with the children?

We made these bookmarks using old envelopes or paper bags.

You don't have to use new envelopes any old one will do and it is worth saving old Christmas or birthday card envelopes as they are often coloured so are even better.
See my tutorial video:


Knitted Teddy Bears in king Cole Luxe Fur Yarn

I really loved knitting these teddy bears and did one each for all my grandchildren.

I first saw the pattern online and thought they were so sweet I went in search of where to buy the pattern and yarn.

The King Cole Luxe Fur is a super yarn to work with and is very soft and makes wonderful toys.

I did this video to share some tips and ideas on using the Luxe Fur Yarn. It is easy to knit with but a bit hard to see the stitches through all the fur!

This video is more about how they were made:

I used Beaver and Silver Fox

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Crochet Amigurumi Minion

Crochet Minion

I made this for my eldest grandson, he was thrilled with it - he's a mega minion fan!
It is a free pattern and really easy to follow, I used up some bits of yarn from my stash to make it, it doesn't take much at all.

It was all done in double crochet or chain stitches.

You can find the pattern here:

Happy Crafting!

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Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle Bookmark

My seven year old grandson love the 'Turtles' and also loves reading, so I made this bookmark for him.

I didn't have a pattern so just made up what I thought might work.

I began with a magic ring and made a small ball shape, once I got down to what would be the neck edge I worked only on the back half of the head and continued down in treble stitches to make the bookmark body. When I got to the end I worked a treble, half treble and a double crochet, repeating the same on the other side to make a fin shape.

The fin/arms were just a few double crochet stitches into about 5 chains, shaping the ends to make it pointed.

I stuffed the head and then joined the seam to the bookmark body.

The bandana was a bit tricky but was done in double crochet and chains for the eye area, joined with a slip stitch in the middle to give a goggle effect.

When it was finished I stuck two googlie eyes to the head with PVA glue and then the bandana over them, I was lucky enough to have some green ones which gave an even better effect, but any eyes would do, or you could embroider some -  do make sure the eyes showed through the bandana before the glue dries though. I then stitched the bandana in place.

I hope these instructions might help you make one, maybe one day I will write a full pattern, but that is something I've never done - maybe time to learn :)

Happy crafting!

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Crochet Amigurumi Hedgehogs

If you love Amigurumi I think you will love this. I found this pattern for little amigurumi hedgehogs on Ravelry, it is a FREE pattern made by Kati Galusz.

These were such fun to make, I ended up making 7 in all and will probably make more!

They were really quick to make too and I used a part ball of beige double knitting from my stash, but as I could not find any eyelash yarn in the shops near me so I chose to use King Cole Tinsel instead.

The yarn was a bit difficult to use as it is hard to see where you are putting your crochet hook, but as the pattern for the hedgehog 'spines' does not require exact counting it made it easier.

I have made a video, not so much as a tutorial as the pattern does all that, but it is about how I go on with working the pattern and a few tips plus the finished hedgehogs. You can see the video here:

This is the link to Kati's pattern on Ravelry:

Happy Crafting!

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