Thursday, 12 September 2013

Beginners Guide to Granny Squares

Good Morning all - Well the weather certainly is changing and soon the nights will be drawing in

How about making use of all the oddments of wool that you have been stashing and meaning to crochet, and turn it in a beautiful warm blanket ready for you to snuggle under in the Winter months

This blanket is made up with basic granny squares and then joined with a dc stitch. I have finished it off with an easy edging of trebles.

Once you have mastered the basic stitches in crochet, you can create a granny square.

These can be used in a variety of projects - one on its own could be a coaster, you can make several and join them together to make a scarf, or lots and lots together can make a gorgeous blanket

Below is the instructions for a basic granny square

The first thing you need to do is create the centre of your square - I have used the chain method below but in my blanket above I have used the magic ring method - this simply means that you have control on how small you make the centre hole - I have pulled the wool tight so there is no hole in the middle - but this is purely down to personal choice

Top tip - when practising making granny squares use a bigger hook than needed - this will allow you to see your stitches more easily. Once you are confident that you know what you are doing you can then use the correct size hook for the weight of yarn you are using, so for example, if I was working with DK (usually a 4mm hook), I would work with a 5mm or even a 6mm hook

Make a chain of 5 or 6 - The more you do the bigger the centre hole will be, and join with a slip stitch in the first chain (the one furthest away from the hook)

Top tip - make the chain slightly longer if you are practising, as it will be easier to work the trebles into a larger hole - a 10 chain would give you a large enough hole to do this

We now need to create our first row, which will consist of four sides and four corners that we will make as below

Work a 3ch - when working with rows or rounds of trebles you always need to do a 3 chain first - this will give the height to your round so that the first stitch doesn't look all bunched up - no-one will know that it is a chain and not a treble as once the first set of trebles are done, it simply blends in.
You do count it as your first treble though
Right as this is a square, we now need to create our four corners, the sides on this row will create themselves by the 3 trebles that we will work and the corners will be created by a 3 chain

So, as you have just made a 3 chain (as we mentioned, this will count as our 1st treble), work a further 2 more trebles into the centre hole
That's the first side completed
Now work a 3 chain - that's the first corner and then work 3 more trebles into the ring
As below, you will see that you now have 2 sides and 1 corner of your square

Next comes a 3 chain (2nd corner) 3 trebles into the ring (3rd side) a 3 chain (3rd corner), 3 trebles into ring (4th side) and a 3 chain. To make the 4th corner simply join this chain to the 3rd (top) chain in the first 3 chain that we made in this row
Below I am joining them into this stitch

 You should now have a square as below

We now want to make the next row and you will see that this is when our sides lengthen - this is because we are going to be working 2 sets of trebles into each corner and this will create another space down each side - this is how granny squares grow

Top tip - I personaly like to do a stitch into the corner first so I put my hook through the corner, yarn over and pull the loops over - it just makes it neater when you do your first 3 chain, but again this is my preference and not essential

Work a 3 chain - it is the same principal as before (this will be your 1st treble) and work a further 2 trebles into the same space
We now have to make this row bigger than the previous one, otherwise it would just grow into a cylinder shape and we want it to lay flat - This is done in the corners of each row so we need to work a 3 chain and then 3 more trebles into the same space as the first 3 trebles we worked
So you will see below we we now have the first corner

Now work a 1 chain - we do this so that when we do the next row we will have room for our 3 trebles to lay nice and even in. This 1chain is creating a space down the side of our square
We finish the other sides by working 3 trebles, 3 chain and 3 trebles into same space (2nd corner completed) then a 1chain (to make our side space) 3 trebles, 3 chain and 3 trebles into same space  (3rd corner completed) then a 1chain (to make our side space) 3 trebles, 3 chain and 3 trebles into same space (4th corner completed) then a 1 chain and as before we join this row by a slip stitch into the top of the 3rd chain of the first one worked in the row
You can now see, that by working into the corner twice we create a space and our sides grow

As you will see by the picture above, the last stitch worked is awkwardly placed just to the left of the space, to get a nice smooth transition from one row to the next work a slip stitch in each of the trebles to the left and then work a single stitch in the corner by inserting hook, yarn over and pull through loops

So above I have worked a slip stitch in the top of the three trebles and worked a stitch in the corner, I can now carry on as per previous round starting the row as always with a 3 chain

On the row just worked you now have the four corners and this time two spaces along each side, each row that you complete will create another space down each side - this is one way that you can count to make sure that each square you do has the same number of rows in it

And that's about it really for creating a Granny square - the rest is up to you - you can make them as big or as small as you like

Top tip - if you want to create a big blanket, but like me, don't relish the thought of joining lots and lots and lots of squares, make each square bigger, that way you won't have so many to join

You can also change the look of your squares too
In the picture below, all the squares have the same amount of rows in, but if you change the number of chains you do in the round then you can create a different effect

The purple square was made using the method I have just shown above

With the blue square, instead of 3 chains to create the corners, I only did a 1 chain and I didn't do a 1 chain to create the space, I simply worked the 3 trebles into each space - This gives a much closer weave to the square

With the yellow square, I still did the 3 chains into each corner, but I also did 3 chains in between to create a larger space and the weave is much more open and it grows quicker too

Top tip
When you first start out making granny squares, you may find that you struggle with your tension - this will come with lots and lots of practise, but if you find that your tension is really tight, try doing an extra chain, or if the opposite is happening and your work is all baggy and mis-shapen, try doing fewer chains - at first it really is all about tension but I promise that it will come with practise

Happy Crocheting and as ever if you need any help just let me know


Monday, 9 September 2013

Crochet Hand Gel Cover Pattern

Good morning everyone

I have finally written up my Hand Gel Cover pattern and have posted it below

Please note that this is my own pattern for your personal use, so please do not copy or re-produce it in any way

These will make super little tree presents for Grannies, Mums, Sisters, Dog Lovers, New mums or Aunties and are so quick and easy to make

I have written the pattern in UK crochet terms and in such a way that hopefully novice crocheters can understand - I am however nearly always on hand to give advice so just message me below if you have a query and I will do my best to help you

List of things you will need

Oddments of wool - I have used DK cotton (Personally I think cotton works best for this project as it keeps it shape better than acrylic and doesn't bobble - this can happen due to how many times it will be put in and taken out of your bag !)

4mm Crochet
Stitch Marker
Wool Darning needle
Swivel Clip
Keyring Ring (Split Ring)

Right - let's begin

Firstly make a slip knot and work a further 12 chain - Form a ring by doing a slip stitch in the first stitch(the one furthest away from the hook)

Top Tip - when you make a foundation chain, try and make it fairly loose as not only will it be easier to work with, there will be more give in it and it will slip on and off the bottle better

Next - ch 1(this doesn't count as a stitch) and work 12 dc's into the ring (do not join them as this project is worked in a continuous round) -12sts

On this next row we need to increase to allow for the shape of the bottle so we will end up with an 18st round
To do this we need to increase stitches evenly around the row
Work a dc into the first stitch of the previous row and place a stitch marker in the stitch

Work another dc into the same space as you have just done one (this is our 1st increase) then do 1dc in the next stitch and continue in this way 5 times more (2dc into same stitch then 1dc) so you will now have 18sts in your round and hopefully you will have got back to the stitch marker as below

That's the hard bit done but before you continue it's wise to just try your work on the bottle just to check that it fits

The next is personal choice - if you want to use a stitch marker and place at the beginning of each round that is fine, but I find that for me, I just keep going round until I have it the length I need - the great thing about this method is that there is no beginning or end - just keep going round and round
Work in dc (just 1dc in each stitch) there is no increase or decrease in this part

At regular intervals, keep checking to see if you have worked enough stitches - the top of the bottle should be the same height as your work and when you have reached this part, make sure that you finish to the left hand side at the back of the bottle

Top tip - this may sound strange me saying what I did above, as I have just said there is no beginning or no end so you would think there is no back or front, but I like to have the tail of the ring(that we made at the beginning) towards the back - not essential, but it makes it look neater - even when the tail end has been sewn in it can show slightly so no-one will see if it's towards the back of the work

We now have to make the flap to keep the bottle safe and snug
Work 8dc along your work (make sure you have taken the bottle out)
These 8 stitches will form our flap so we will only be working on these now

ch 1 and turn your work and go back along the row working 8dc (1 in each stitch) making sure that you work into the stitch that is to the base of your first chain
Work a further 6 Rows in this way (ch1 and 8dc along row)

Top tip - I prefer a deep flap so 8 rows in total works for me, but you can do less if you want, just make sure that before you start your decrease, the flap actually covers the top of the bottle completely

We now need to start decreasing so that the flap comes to a point ready for the button - I suppose you could just continue straight, but the flap would curl up at the sides so it really is worth decreasing and it's not hard - I promise

We need to decrease one stitch at each end of the row so the next row is as follows

ch1- turn your work - decrease 2 together - this is done by inserting your hook in the first stitch, yo and  pull 1st loop through, but before you complete this dc, you simply put your hook in the next dc, yo and pull 1st loop back over (so you will have 3 loops on your hook), yo and then pull all 3 loops over leaving you just 1 loop - work 4 dc (1 in each of the next 4 stitches) - you will now have 2 stitches left on this row, so decrease these two together with the above method - 6 sts

Next row - decrease one at each end again so ch1, decrease 2together, work 2dc (1 dc in the next 2 stitches) decrease in the last 2 stitches - 4sts

Next row - ch 1, decrease in the next 2 stitches and then decrease in the next 2 stitches again - 2st

Next Row - ch1 and decrease the last 2 stitches together, cut yarn leaving enough to sew in comfortably, then yo and slip stitch the two loops off pulling yarn back through to secure

Top tip - If you are making one to fit a different size bottle, it is always best to have a even number of stitches in the flap so that as you decrease you are finally left with 2 stitches making the top of the flap neater

To neaten off the flap, lay your cover face down - rejoin yarn at the base of the flap at the right and work dc stitches evenly up the right hand side of the flap

Once you have reached the top, you will need to make a loop for the button

Create a chain - I have done a 7ch as my button is medium size but this will really depend on how you crochet and you may find that you have to unpick it a few times before you get the loop the right size - noting that the wool will stretch slightly so don't make it too big or it may slip off

When you are happy with the chain, secure it to the left hand side with a slip stitch

Continue to work dc down the left hand side and try to do the same amount of stitches as you did on the right so that it is nice and even. When you get to the bottom of the flap, break off yarn and slip stitch pulling yarn through to secure it

Put the bottle back in the cover to see where you need to place the button and then carefully remove the bottle, trying to keep the button in the right place and sew button on securely

If you would like your bottle to hang from your bag then all you need to do is fit a ring and clasp on it - I tried several ways and most were time consuming, so in the end I decided on this method

Get a ring (like the ones that you get on key rings and opening it up slightly,  feed it through the stitches at the back - this is entirely up to you how many you go through but try and keep it central

Finally attach a swivel clip and you will now have clean hands where ever you go

I have made this for one of the smaller bottles that you can buy but most of them have roughly the same cap size so it's really just a case of making a longer body to fit the bottle
If however you want to make it for a much bigger bottle just work along the same lines but using more stitches and make sure that the neck increase is even

Happy Crocheting and remember if you want any help you only have to ask

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Repairing a missed stitch in your granny blanket

Have you ever been crocheting a HUGE round of your blanket and realised that on the previous row you have made a mistake - Big sigh !
If you're anything like me, I sit there pondering, thinking "no-one will know" and then try and carry on but something niggles away in the back of my mind and try as I might, I just can't carry on.
So many times I have spent ages and ages unpicking it and re-doing it, until I suddenly had a brainwave and came up with a solution
So if that has happened to you, next time you may just want to give this a go

On the blue row I have noticed that I only did 1 treble in the space - not too bad if my square was still relatively small and easy to unpick, but I need to repair it without unpicking it

The first thing you need to do is to unpick the row that you are currently working on, making sure that you go back far enough to be able to comfortably work on the mistake

 Now this is the scary bit - you need to cut to the left of the mistake. 

Unpick the stitches to the left and make sure that you secure the stitch so that it doesn't come undone.
You also need to unpick to the right making sure that you have enough yarn to be able to re-join a new bit of yarn to it

 The yarn on the right hand side is long enough to join a new piece on to it

Starting with the joined yarn on the right hand side, crochet the right amount of stitches in each space- In the picture previous to the one above, you will see that the left hand stitches only has two trebles in it so when I reached this part I only needed to work one treble (so there were 3 in total in the space) and join the work with a slip stitch to the top of the row

All you need to do now is continue working on your project and once you have sewn the ends in, no-one will ever know that you had gone wrong

I hope this will help you, if you find like me that you can't carry on your project 

Happy Crocheting

Good morning all

Well I have finally bitten the bullet and am entering into the world of blogging
I have been sitting here tweaking and playing and haven't really got a clue what I am doing
but I am having a lot of fun trying
Over the next few days/weeks/months depending on how I take to it, I hope to share my passion of crafting with you
Let my journey begin.......