New stitches: popcorn stitch

The popcorn stitch seemed a bit scary to me. I’d read the how-to description in a few patterns, but I just couldn’t visualise what I was supposed to do.

Luckily I dived into the Lost In Time shawl without reading the whole pattern first, so I was already fully committed by the time I got to the line ‘1 popcorn stitch in each dc’. Also luckily, this pattern came with photos alongside the how-to, so I was able to make my first popcorn at last.

As with most things, I’m really not sure why I was worried  – it’s so simple and looks really good!

You just place 4 stitches into one stitch 

Remove your hook

Go through the top of the first stitch in the cluster of 4

then pick up the loop you dropped

And pull it through

Simples!

Here’s my first ever row of popcorns.

I’m assuming they will pop more as I go on and get more comfortable with the stitch, but this shawl is for myself so I’m not frogging back just to make it ‘perfect’. It might actually be fun to keep it as a record of my progress!

Have you used the popcorn stitch before? Any tips for making it more pop-y? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

New stitches: puff stitch 

And also WIP Wednesday. I love a twofer!

I’m making a Puff Scarf, which uses a TON of puff stitches, as the name suggests.  These are the squishiest stitches I have ever squished! I loves them!

Here’s how to make your own squishy goodness (am I saying squish too much??)

Yarn over, go into the space, and pull up a loop to the height of a stitch (dc in this case)

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yarn over again

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go into the same stitch and pull up another loop

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Do it again

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And again

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Now there are 9 loops on the hook. One final yarn over, and pull through all 9 loops

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Then it’s just a chain to secure it, and you’re done!

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Do it enough times and you’ll end up with a super squishy (I just can’t stop saying it!), beautiful scarf. I’m using a Mixed Berry Caron Cake and so far it looks like this

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I’m probably very late to the puff stitch party, what have other people made with it? What do you think of my scarf? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

Tangle of the week – B’Twined

This is another tangle that I love, love, LOVE, but still haven’t quite perfected yet. My lines always come out a little wobbly, and getting them to meet up is difficult!

Instructions (click on the photo to see it clearly) can be found here.

There are a few different ways I do this tangle. For the card up at the top of this post, I left in the basic grid lines that start it off. I didn’t draw in the diagonal guide lines for that one and I think it shows; most of the ‘arms’ are more curved on one side than the other.

Obviously you can also leave in the diagonal lines if you like

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But that looks pretty messy to me, so I never do.

You can also remove all of the guidelines if you draw them in pencil rather than pen.

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A more subtle difference, which might be difficult to explain, is the way the arms overlap each other. In the instruction photo you can see that Pegi draws every arm facing one direction first

Diagonals

And then every arm going the other way

Diagonal 2

Which produces a B’Twined that looks like this:

See how each cross has 2 arms that are on top and 2 that go underneath others.

But an alternative is to draw them in a zig zag pattern

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Which produces this:

Now it looks like there is one upper layer of crosses with all arms on top, and one lower layer with all arms running underneath. It’s a subtle difference that probably nobody would notice unless it was pointed out to them, but I love the fact that I can produce more than one thing from a single tangle.

What do you think of B’Twined? Have I inspired anyone to give tangling a go yet? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

New stitches: Love knot

Okay, I’m in love.

I have to thank  Claire from Once Upon A Yarn for introducing me to this stitch. She said it was beautiful with certain yarn, and she was right!

There was the usual learning curve, of course. On my first try I struggled to get each extended chain stitch the same length, and ended up with this very lumpy foundation row:

 

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I frogged and tried again. This time I managed to get most of the foundation row the same size, but my next rows got progressively bigger and ended up stretching the foundation row.

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More frogging. My third attempt did work and I got a few rows in…

before realising that this beautiful spangly Soukie is actually not the ‘right’ yarn for love knots. It looked stringy and a bit scrappy, which I was really not expecting from such lovely yarn, and the sequins kept catching so it was difficult to get the stitches the same length. So I frogged the lot and chose another skein from my birthday stash.

Enter Lily Sugar ‘n’ Cream in Batik Ombre. Now this is the right yarn for the job. Suddenly the love knot made sense and I whizzed through, whacking out 10 rows in around half an hour. I mean, it helps that it’s 60% gaps. You’ve got to love a stitch that lets you make something up so quickly.

Plus, just look at it:

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Unrelated to the love knot; I adore this yarn. The solid colours are gorgeous all by themselves, but the transitions from one shade to the next are equally beautiful. I find myself wishing the colours would take just a bit longer to change so I can enjoy the intermediate shades some more.

So this is my first attempt to make something more spring/summery for the shop, as stocking nothing but winter hats and scarves will probably not get me very far for the rest of the year. It’s going to be a light, lacy scarf, which I think will look FABULOUS. But then, I am a little biased.

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What do you think of the Love knot? Do you like my scarf too? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

New stitches: C2C crochet 

My Google game is weak.   I read six or seven blog posts about “C2C” crochet before bothering to look up what it meant.

In my defense, I’m still without internet at home. But this weekend it finally happened – I discovered what C2C means (corner to corner) and even read up on how to do it. And then saved it to my laptop so I could follow it when I got home, and not end up with another pic-not situation.

For the yarn: I had started to make a scarf with one of my Caron Cakes, but I was feeling entirely uninspired by it. A whole 200g of yarn in straight rows of single crochet? I don’t think so! So I frogged it and started my very first C2C attempt.

Now, I’m going to give you a very important pointer that would have saved me about an hour, and five re-starts if I had known it:

The first square in a new row might come out at this angle

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But no, you’re not building the item by connecting squares at the corner like that. You need to pivot that square so it’s lying next to the existing square, like this

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If this is really obvious to you and I’m just special, then carry on and we’ll pretend it never happened. But just on the off chance that someone out there thinks the same way I do (you poor thing!) I hope this helps when you try C2C for the first time.

So I eventually figured it out and got going, aiming for a square blanket.

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But at the exact point that photo was taken, I realised I wanted a scarf, not a blanket. Of course I’m not going to go for the standard square when making my very first C2C goodie!

So I frogged it some more (but thankfully didn’t have to go all the way back to the beginning) and started making it more rectangular.

It’s actually not that difficult making rectangles rather than squares. Just make sure you actually stop when you get to the end of a row rather than carrying blithely on and having to undo a square after every single row. Y’know, just a hypothetical situation.

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After just one weekend I had almost finished my scarf.

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And this is my finished beauty

Here’s my thoughts on C2C

Pros

  • It has that gorgeous ‘woven’ pattern from the alternating direction of the stitches.
  • It makes up pretty quick once you get into the rhythm.
  • It’s only chains, slip stitches and double crochet so a lot simpler than it looks.
  • There are these wee spaces between the squares, which are giving me all kinds of ideas about buttons and ribbons. Watch this space.

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Cons

  • This technique eats yarn. I got halfway through and had to frog it again (almost back to the beginning. Sigh) to make it thinner, so it would actually be long enough to class as a scarf and not just an oversized table mat.
  • Somewhat related, you have to be absolutely sure how wide you want your object to be. By the time you realise it needs to be thinner/wider you might have a bajillion rows to undo so you can alter it.
  • It’s the same block of stitches repeated forever more. Kinda boring after a while.

 

Overall I absolutely love C2C, but wouldn’t want to make a king-sized afghan from it. I’ll definitely be making more, small-ish C2C goodies for the shop at some point in the future.

Anyone else tried C2C? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

New stitches: pic-not

I’m fully moved in to my new flat now, but unfortunately the internet is not, and earlier this week I used up my data allowance. So when the time came to crochet a picot border on my star blanket, I wasn’t able to Google ‘how to crochet picot stitch’.

But I’d read some instructions a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t actually try it out at the time, even though I’m definitely a kinaesthetic learner when it comes to crochet, but I was sure I would remember it anyway. It’s a simple enough little stitch.

I mean, my memory never lets me down…right?

Wrong (of course). The only part I remembered accurately was that a picot usually involves 3 chain stitches. So here’s what I did:

Two single crochet

Slip stitch in the next stitch

Chain 3

Slip stitch in the same stitch as before

Which I think looks quite pretty, but is not a picot stitch.

Of course I made it almost halfway round the blanket before getting some internet access at the library and discovering that I was doing it wrong.  So now I’m dithering about what to do; rip it all back and do an actual picot border, or just carry on with my pretty, made up stitch.

What do you think? Picot or pic-not? And has anyone else ever accidentally made something up? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

New stitches: fpdc, bpdc, dragon scale

There were going to be lovely photos with this post, but I have managed to break my shiny new phone after having it for a week. Well done, me. So please excuse the fuzzy rubbish photos – hopefully I’ll be able to update them with better ones soon.

***

I’ve only been crocheting for a couple of years. I’m still at the stage of learning how many new stitches I still need to learn!  Just this year I’ve discovered three new-to-me stitches:

  1. Front post double crochet (fpdc)
  2. Back post doucble crochet (bpdc)
  3. Dragon scale stitch

I have also used front and back post half double crochet (fphdc and bphdc respectively) so technically I’ve learned five new stitches in just over two months!

The pattern I was following used fpdc and bpdc alternately, to create a gorgeous lined texture:

I love the look of it, but I’m also quite interested in experimenting with maybe just using one or the other, alternating with a regular double crochet stitch.

I also wonder if you can fp and bp into the same stitch to increase, or if that would just make a mess. There’s only one way to find out*, so keep an eye out for my experiment posts in the future

Dragon scale stitch

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This is fast becoming my favourite stitch of all time. How could it not be, it’s just gorgeous! I mean technically it’s called crocodile stitch. But I don’t want to be a crocodile; I want to be a dragon.

This one works by creating a row of V-stitches (double crochet, chain one, double crochet all in the same stitch), and then double crocheting 5 stitches down the first post,

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chain one, and 5 stitches up the second post.

20170312_165548So basically, a fancy way of using fpdc!

It took me a few goes to understand where I was supposed to put my hook and how to get the second lot of 5 to face the other way, but when I got it I just whizzed through. Dragon scale looks far more complicated than it actually is – another reason to love it!

Does anyone else have a favourite stitch? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

*Okay, so there’s youtube. But that’s no fun!

Tangle of the week – Heartline

Valentines day has gone, but I think Heartline could work just as well for Mother’s Day cards. I do love my Mum after all.

Zentangle Heartline I love you
One of my better attempts

I’ll be honest, I struggle with this tangle. It’s one of those tricksy ones that are actually much harder than they look, but I like it so much I’m determined to figure it out. 

Here are some of my earlier attempts if you need a laugh today:

Zentangle Heartline tangle
Numbered in order of attempts

I have somewhat improved since then, but I certainly still need to keep practising!
If you want a go, you can find the step-by-step guide  here.

Who laughed at my scribbles? Be honest!

Hannah

xXx