MolliMade’s Blog

Tuesday

Damp – that’s all I am going to say about the weather.

I said I would show you some basic background stitches – we looked at granite stitch last time.

Here are two more – Mosaic Stitch and Sand Stitch. Both are simple, yet they both make excellent background stitches.

Sand Stitch is made on a  multiple of 3, plus 1.

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Row 1: *(dc, ch1, tr) in third ch from hook. Skip 2 ch. Repeat from * to end, finishing with dc in last ch. Turn.

Row 2: Ch 1. *(Dc, ch 1, tr) in each ch sp to end, finishing with dc in last st. Turn.

Repeat row 2 until long enough.

 

Mosaic Stitch:

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Mosaic Stitch

You will need an odd number of stitches.

Row 1: Ch 1. *Work 1dc and 1 tr into first st. Skip a st. repeat from * to end, finishing with dc in last st. Turn.

Row 2: Ch 1. Starting in first ch after the ch 1, *work 1dc and 1 tr in same st. Skip a st. Repeat from * to end, finishing with dc in last st. You will find that you are working into the sp made by skipping a st on previous row.Turn.

Repeat row 2 until long enough.

 

Although both these stitches look similar in the pictures here they do not look similar when you work them. I have used both a lot – especially for cushion backs, where they are decorative without being so over powering that they detract fron the pattern on the front of the cushion. Of course, you could make a cushion with one stitch on the front and the other stitch on the back …

Wednesday – again

Well, Wool and Willow is over for another year. From my point of view it was quite a good festival – by which I mean that I earned more than last year – but, sadly, only because I ran a workshop on the Celtic crochet stitches. I was delighted to see one of you ladies there – hi Maggie – and very pleased to find out that my crochet instructions are helpful.

I have no idea where I was on going through various stitches. What I will try to do now is go through a series of background stitches with you. You know the sort of thing – there are two different pattern sections and you want to do something other than dc between them. Alternatively you might be doing something in stripes – or squares – and want an interesting but not too dominant background stitch between them. That is exactly what I did in my sheep blanket:

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Sheep blanket

The white squares are all different background stitches.

Another useful purpose to which you can put background stitches is as the backing for a cushion.

One of the simplest background stitches is the Granite stitch. This is the stitch I use to make my Summer Shrugs.

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Summer shrug – showing granite stitch

 Granite stitch is worked on an odd number of stitches. It is very economical as far as the wool is concerned, and yet very warm because it traps a lot of air.

Row 1: working on an odd number of stitches work * 1ch, skip a st, 1 dc. Repeat from * to end of row, finishing with dc.

Row 2: *1 ch, skip a st, 1dc worked into the space made by the ch 1 of the previous row. Repeat from * to end, finishing with a dc.

Repeat row 2 until work is long enough.

Like I said – it is a very easy stitch. I also used it for the skirt of the bib-fronted girl’s dress:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGranite stitch lends itself to all sorts of projects  – give it a go and you will be surprised how useful you find it.

Wednesday

What is it that you find impossible to resist? For me it’s books, music and, of course, wool. I find it very difficult to go into a shop which has wool for sale and not come out with at least a small hank or ball. I’m not sure exactly what it is about the wool that is so compelling: the colour – maybe, my stash is sorted by colour; certainly the texture – preferably soft and squidgy; also the possibilities held in that little hank. Does it want to be joined with others into something sizeable, is it socks, is it a scarf – or mitts – or a cowl; is it a gift – for one of our children or grandchildren – or for one of your children or grandchildren – or even for me.  I think that is why I enjoy crochet so much – it is a continuing journey of discovery.

Dearly Beloved took photos of the stand at The Wool and Willow Festival. Looking at them I fear it is all too busy, but I thought I would share them in any case.

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Wool and Willow 2016

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Wool and Willow 2016

Friday

Do you know what I mean when I say that I need a holiday to get over my holiday! There is so much to do to catch up, even when you have done all the unpacking and laundry. Thank goodness Dearly Beloved looks after most of the garden.

In addition to all that I am exhibiting at The Wool and Willow Festival in Llanidloes, which starts at the end of this month and runs through the whole of June, so I have to get my act together with stock.

I have decided to put together a range of kits and start a subsidiary business which I shall call The Heavenly Wool Company. My daughter has pointed me in the direction of some very pretty boxes which come in three sizes. I have developed some oversized luggage type labels to put on them to show what is in them and it will all be launched at The Wool and Willow Festival.

 

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Heavenly Wool Company label background

For some reason I can’t get to the background with the name on it – my ineptitude with all things IT no doubt. However, I’m sure you can see what I am doing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thursday

France was warm and sunny. I gather that the weather hasn’t been bad here either.

Here is a picture of the finished baby blanket:

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Sheep baby blanket

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Sheep baby blanket

All the white squares are different patterns, but the sheep squares are simple dc, changing to the white Teddy where needed. I carried the coloured yarn across since the distance wasn’t too far. The face and feet are just one or two dc. The edge is a simple shell pattern worked into a row of dc in the same colour as the central square.

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Shell edging design.

If any of you would like to see any of the white square patterns just let me know and I will put them up with instructions. The waffle stitch was one of them.

Wednesday

We are leaving for France in a week and I have finally decided to make another baby blanket, but with squares. I have found a yarn (Berger de France Teddy) which looks just like sheepskin when worked. I shall make small squares and use this yarn in some of them to make sheep.

I probably won’t be here until after we return in about 10 days, since I don’t access web things on my phone. I hope you all have a constructive time while I’m away.

Friday

We have decided to visit my brother and sister-in-law in France for a short holiday in very early May. The question now is what crochet project I am going to take with me. It has to be small and easy to carry and it has to be deigned in small sections for the same reason. I don’t like granny squares very much and I don’t want to make another celtic quilt again yet.  I shall think.

 

In the meantime I have been working on a baby blanket in a waffle stitch.

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Waffle stitch baby blanket.

The stitch is very easy: ch 1.* Pull a loop through the next st – retain on hook, pull a loop through the next st and take off all 3 loops together. Ch 1. Pull loop through same st as last loop , retain on hook, pull loop through next st, take off all 3 loops together, ch 1. Repeat from * to end, finishing with dc in last st. Turn.

 

The colours I used are more to do with wanting to reduce my stash than anything else – but I am happy with them – they look quite spring fresh. Try this out – you might be surprised at how easy it is.

Wednesday

I said a little time ago that I would tell you all about a book I am planning. It will be about hooking celtic patterns, but I want to relate it to the sources of the patterns. The sources are in early Celtic art – some of them as old as 3,000 years. Actually, one pattern is 5,000 years old.

The idea is to have several chapters, each devoted to a different era in Celtic art – it wasn’t all as early as several thousand years – some of it was developed while the Romans were here and a lot of it – including the interlace – was medieval.  Within each chapter there will be a very short section on the history of that period, a picture of the item from which the stitch is taken , instructions to make the stitch – a square of it – and finally some ideas for other things you could make using that stitch. At the end of the whole thing there will be instructions to make up the pattern squares into a throw.

Before I can do anything I have to make extra squares and develop designs for other things which can be made from them.

I will start to put up pictures of what I come up with when I have enough developed.

Monday

I have finally finished the blanket. It has a wide panel of Celtic interlace down the centre, with narrower bands to the side, interspersed with bands of Celtic braid. There is a mixture of Friendship stitch and Arrow stitch round the edge.

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The single celtic stitch blanket

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Friendship stitch and arrow stitch border

 

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Side border

 

I hope this gives you the idea. The top border is rather deeper than the bottom one – but I don’t have a separate picture of it.

I must say that I am really rather relieved that it is finished because it gives me the chance to get on with some other projects that are nagging at me.

Thursday

The blanket is growing – I would like to say rapidly, but that wouldn’t be true. Unfortunately I can crochet faster than I can spin. I have run out of the wool which I am spinning from. Fortunately I can get more – it comes as roving from the National Woollen Museum of Wales in Drefach Velindre – it’s just a case of getting it, so as far as the blanket is concerned it’s a case of watch this space.

I have also made some cushions from the Celtic Quilt patterns. Here they are:

celtic braid cushion

Celtic Braid Cushion

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Interlace cushion

There will be more cushions to come.

Off to buy wool roving again!

Tuesday

 

Wet and windy here. But at least we don’t have to shovel it, like they are doing in New York!

Mental note to self – do not crochet Celtic Interlace while watching the Australian Open Tennis. I did – and had to pull back 10 rows – twice!

The light isn’t good enough to take a photo of the blanket today, but I will do one soon. It is around half done, perhaps a little less. But today my wrist is aching – too much twisting to wrap the yarn for the interlace – so I need to give it a rest for a little while.

 

One of the other things I have been doing in the interim is weaving on a base of crochet. I have made a scarf and a blanket. here is a picture of the scarf:

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Working the scarf is easy – you make a base of trebles and then weave between the stitches down the length of the scarf. Make the scarf a little longer than you need it – as you weave it will shorten slightly. You are welcome to copy the picture, but if anyone wants a written pattern let me know and I will send one. The blanket is a little more difficult since it is very easy – you are reading someone who knows – to make mistakes in the weaving and end up with more rows of a particular colour than you intended.

Have fun with your crocheting. Next time I will tell you about a book I am planning.

Friday

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all have a good one.

I finally finished all the mermaid’s tails and they were safely delivered to their new owners. For the time being at least I don’t want to see another tail!

What are you planning to do this New Year. I have ordered some roving – unspun but prepared wool in quite this strips – from The National Woolen Museum of Wales and am planning on a single bed quilt in Celtic patterns of braid and interlace. Since my spinning is not fast I imagine I shall spend some time on this particular project. Her is a picture of the stitches I am planning to use:

celtic braid cushion

This is the Celtic Braid. This is one I did earlier and made into a cushion, but this stitch looks good with the Celtic Interlace. You can make the interlace panels any width you like, so I night make on smallish one on each side with a larger one in the middle.

 

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When I have worked a chunk of it I’ll show you all a picture. I think it will all be cream, since I don’t think I shall dye the woven wool.

Monday.

Beautiful sunshine – lovely.

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I finished the mermaid’s tail – and am now half way through the next one. Here is a pic of the first one. I have decided that it is easier on my state of mind if I work 2 trebles every time when working the mesh row. That means that I always have a group of 2 trebles to work the scale into on the next row – instead of only one when I forget to do 2! Saves a lot of pulling back. Put it down to age, or thinking of too many things at the same time, or whatever else I might be doing.

I hope the recipient enjoys it. I now have to make another 4!

 

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I promised I would go back to going through some bobbles from the Quilt pattern.

Essentially all bobbles are is a group of stitches made in the same place in the row below and pulled together at the top. You can make them in a variety of ways though – sometimes they the have different names, such as Puff stitches, or Popcorn stitches.

Plain bobbles are made when you part finish your stitches – usually an odd number – keeping the last loop on your hook. When you have part worked the number of stitches you want in your bobble you simply wrap the yarn round your hook and pull a loop through all the loops on the hook. The number of loops will always be the number of stitches plus the loop on the hook to start with. The most common number of stitches in a bobble is 5 but you can work them with 3 or 7 if you wish.

Popcorn stitches are made when you make the number of stitches you want into the same stitch in the row below (this will usually be an odd number – 5 or 7 is quite common), completing each stitch as you go. When all 5 (or 7or your chosen number) are complete you take the hook out of the ‘live’ loop – the one on  your hook – and put it into the first of the group of 5. Pull the live loop through this stitch, thus drawing up the complete group. You have now made your first popcorn stitch. If you want your popcorns to ‘nest’ you will have to make a number – again odd, I normally use 3 – of your basic stitches before you start on your next popcorn.

Puff stitches are made when you pull up a number of loops in the same stitch, wrapping the yarn round the hook before you pull up each loop, but without working any of them. Then you wrap the yarn round the hook and pull the loop through all the loops on the hook. This stitch looks much smoother than any other bobble type stitches: this could be just what you need in a particular situation. If you want your puff stitches to stand out in a row you will need to make a chain and skip a stitch between each puff.

It is also possible to work some of these stitches, especially the popcorn stitch, across two rows, by working a ch 1 and miss a stitch on the row below where you want the popcorn to be, and then working the popcorn into this space – i.e. two rows below the row you are working on instead of one row.

Like most things crochet, try it all out -play with it – to find out the differences between the stitches and the one you prefer.

Enjoy your experimenting. We will look at post stitches again next time.

 

Another Friday.

and that’s all I’m saying about the date.

I have not forgotten about the bobbles and the Celtic Quilt patterns – I’m still writing them all down so that they can be sold in the local wool shop. The Quilt is on display there – and getting lots of appreciative comments.

However, I have recently been asked to do some work in Crocodile Stitch. I had never actually worked anything myself in crocodile stitch, so checked online to see what other people said about it on the basis that there is always somebody who knows more about something than you do. What a rat’s nest of different ways of doing it I found, all of them from north America. Eventually I worked out what suited me best and the first project (a mermaid tail footwarmer) is well on its way.

The result of all that is that this morning I asked my wonderful long-suffering husband to take some photos of me actually working the stitch so that I can go through them here with you – using UK terminology.

The crocodile stitch pattern is worked over two rows. You first set up a foundation mesh, and then on the next row you work back into this mesh to make the scales. The scales ‘nest’ between each other, so a fully written pattern would take four rows.

I worked this stitch using trebles and chunky yarn, with an 8mm hook. Where I wanted to merge colours or didn’t have the relevant colour in a chunky I used two DK yarns together. It really doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent. Usually this stitch is worked in trebles, but if you want a tighter piece you can use half trebles.

Start off with a chain of the relevant length (multiple of 6) and work a row of dc. On this row you will work the first foundation mesh:

Row 1: Start with 2 ch (acts as first tr), and work a row of *2 ch, skip 2 sts, 2 tr into same st, 2 ch, skip 2 sts, 1 tr.  Repeat from * until you get to the end, finishing with a tr in the last st. Turn. The light turquoise is the new mesh row. This photo is worked on a base of other scales, but if you follow the instructions you will have no difficulty working the mesh into your dc row.

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Each scale on the next row will be worked around the pair of trebles, with the scales ‘anchored’ by a slst into the single treble.

 

 

 

Row 2: Ch 1. Work 5 tr around the first of the pair of trebles. This is technically a post st, because you are working around the post of the stitch – the upright bit – rather than into the top. I found it easiest to  think of it as a series of trebles worked into a chain space. If you turn your work sideways, with the mesh row on the right, you will see what I mean.

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The 5 tr will fill the space on the stitch.

 

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First side of scale complete.

You then have to work 5 tr around the second of the pair of trebles. This can seem fiddly. It is easier to do if you wrap the yarn first. Some of the N American instructions show this as a back post stitch – but I don’t see it that way, and actually found that description very misleading. It is certainly worked around the second upright, but if you turn your work so that the mesh row is to the left, it is worked from the front. As you turn your work the first set of 5 trebles will turn back onto themselves – this is OK and the turn will not be noticeable.

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Starting the second upright.

Your hook will be pointing back to the start of the row, the mesh row will be on your left, and the upright part of the second treble of the pair will be in front of you. Sounds complicated, but once you’ve done it you will see what is meant. Work 5 tr.

You will then have completed your first scale. You now ‘anchor’ it to the rest of the piece by working a slst into the top of the single tr in the mesh row. This tr will almost certainly be immediately under the left edge of the scale.

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Here you can see the complete scale and the hook starting the slst into the single tr in the mesh.

Continue working in this way until you get to the end of the row, anchoring your last scale to the final single tr. Turn.

You now need to start working the mesh row for the second row of scales. Start with 2ch and work a tr into the base of these. This makes your first 2 tr, which will be the base for the last scale on the next row. Work 2 ch. Work the single tr into the space between the two sides of the first scale. Do not forget to ch 2 between each set of trebles, i.e. 2 tr, ch 2, 1 tr, ch 2. Look at the first photo again:

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Working a mesh row into scales.

Continue across the row, working pairs of trebles into the space between scales and single trebles into the centre space of each scale. Finish with a pair of trebles into the far end of the last scale.

Work the next row of scales in exactly the same way as you did the first row: 5 tr into each side of each of the paired trebles, and slst into the top of each single treble.

You will find that on this row your scales sit further out from the first row of scales. Don’t worry about this – since the scales nest the following row will follow the line of your first row.

If you need to increase it is very straightforward to add a scale at either each end or alternate ends. If you want a new scale work an additional pair of trebles on the mesh row and then work back into them in the normal way.

If you want to work this stitch please be aware that it is VERY yarn hungry – allow a lot of spare yarn.

I will post a picture of the finished project as soon as it is done.

Have fun.

 

Friday

I think I’m not going to put the date on the top of these posts any more. I just feel horrified at how long it is since the last post when I do.

I have been really busy since I last posted, partly with family – a Golden Wedding – and visitors. However, I have also been experimenting with a lot of three dimensional textured crochet – Aran patterns and so on. The result is a double bed quilt which I feel really pleased with.

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I shall gradually put details on here of how to make the different squares. For now I will just say that the basics for these patterns are post stitches, bobbles and crossed stitches – often mixed together. Next time we will look at how to make bobbles.

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Thursday May 20 2015

What a nice day. A project finished, jobs done which have been hanging on for too long and the sun is shining – and my husband has just put a mug of coffee on my desk. Aaaaaah.

I did a day long crochet workshop for one of the (relatively) local branches of The Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers last Thursday. They were a lovely group of people, with skills ranging from absolute beginners through to those interested in Fair Isle and Post Stitches. Several people who were not in this group asked me about Post Stitches – not so much how to do them as what they are.

Post Stitches are  stitches where, instead of working into the top of the stitch in the row below, as you normally would, you work around the upright post of the stitch. You can either put your hook into your work from the front to the back and round to the front again, yoh, pull up a loop and take it off in the normal way – a Front Post Stitch or you can put your hook in from the back, round the front to the back again, yoh, pull yarn through and take off in the normal way – Back Post Stitch. You will see as you do both of these that the stitches are pushed to the front and to the back respectively.

Because you will be working further down the previous row these stitches need to be higher than the body of stitches you are working. For example, if you are working in trebles you need your post stitches to be double trebles so that the work does not pull down when you make your post stitches.

These stitches are the basis of all Aran style stitches like cables. They make lovely ribbing – I like to do 1 or 2 Front Post stitches and 1 or 2 Back Post stitches in turn for a rib. If you have never tried post stitches do

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try them – they are very useful. The basket weave of this little bib  dress is created with post stitches – 4 front post double trebles (fpdtr) and then 4 back post double trebles (bpdtr) – in alternating blocks. It looks very complicated, but is actually very easy.

Try it – you may be surprised.

 

 

Monday May 4 2015

Bank holiday Monday – and the sun is shining! I hope it is where you are too.

I have finally managed to get my shrug pattern down to one of the shops I supply. I have been asked for the pattern for this shrug ever since I first designed it – it has been popular – but I have always held back because I never end up making the front infill – or the edge – quite the same any twice running.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have finally put the most basic infill design into the pattern and suggested that people might like to play with the infill edging. I hope you will – and let me know what you do with it. The pattern will be in the shop very soon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShrug Red 2Which edge do you prefer – a firm dc edge before the infill or a more loopy edge after the infill? And do you like scallops/shells or plain loops for the infill? Or a mixture? And should there be one button, two buttons or a self coloured bow? Do let me know – it would be good to get feedback.

Next time I will start to put a free pattern up here – with a chart if I can get a good enough photograph.

Have a good day.

 

 Monday April 27 2015

I am shocked to see how long it is since I last blogged. Oooops! My excuse is that I was swamped with making items for Wonderwool.

I went on Saturday – it continues to be a really good show. It has expanded to three halls, with more in the third hall this year. There was a little more in the way of made up items this year, which was interesting, since I had always thought that Wonderwool is a show for people who want to make their own and simply buy the materials from the show. Not that the ready made stands were that busy, but some were there for the second or third time, so it must be worth their while.

I now have my Diamond Jacket available as a kit. Now that the rush to get things ready is over I shall put up both the jackets (the second is white and turquoise in a size small) and the kit.

I also have my chain link cowl available as a kit. If you are interested you are welcome to name your colours and I will send the kit in those colours.

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At Wonderwool I was very taken with the silk and camel yarn from Bluefaced.com. It retains all the lustre of the silk and takes on the colour of the camel. It is a simply gorgeous yarn and tomorrow I shall order some. When it arrives I will post a picture.

I have also been working on the pattern for the shrug – there are lots of them on the Womens’ page of the site here. It is almost ready. However, one of my pet hates is patterns which have not been properly checked and which then contain mistakes – so I need to go through it very carefully first.

Although cold at night, the weather seems to have turned sunny again which is wonderful. I have finished weeding the couch grass out of the flower bed which contains the lily of the valley. It (the lily of the valley, not the couch grass) is growing well and about to come into flower. I think it is a beautiful plant – and smells wonderful. I am hoping to get some star jasmine to climb up one side of the arch at the entrance to the garden – that (the star jasmine) is supposed to smell great too.

I shall be back soon and will get back to crochet instructions then.

Friday April 10 2015

I have been promising for days to talk you all through Foundation rows. A Foundation row is a way of starting an item with the starting chain and the first row working as one. It has a number of advantages: it is a great help to those people who work so tightly with their chain stitches that they find it hard to work back into them; it is far more even than a chain row; it never goes baggy at the bottom because you worked under only one loop; it helps you feel you are getting somewhere with your work quite quickly; it gives you an even base for the rest of your work; it is much easier to count than chain stitches. You can also work any height of stitch this way. Here we are going to work double crochet, but it works equally well with any other stitch.

However, some people find that perceptually they have difficulty with it. If you imagine that when you are working a normal row you start at the right and work to the left, you simply need to imagine you are starting at the front and working away from yourself with a Foundation row and you should have no difficulty.

Foundation double crochet:

Ch 2, pull yarn through the first ch made – 2 loops on hook. Pull yarn through the first of these – this is the start of your chain row. (You will find it useful to hold this stitch with your left hand – I put my thumb nail on it.) Pull yarn through remaining two loops – this is your first dc.

Pull a loop through the first stitch on your chain row – the one you kept your thumb nail on – 2 loops on hook. Pull yarn through the first of these loops – the chain row, pull yarn through the remaining two loops – the dc row.

Continue in this way until you have enough stitches. Two things may help you – think of it as working away from you rather than from side to side, and hold the chain row with your LH while you work the dc – it makes it much easier to find it again.

If you want to work a different stitch which involves wrapping the yarn around the hook, do so before you put the hook through the chain row to start the next stitch. So working a treble crochet would involve starting with 3 chain, yarn round hook, work into the first of these (the one you made first) and pull a loop through – 3 loops on hook. Yrh and pull through the first of these – your chain row, work a treble in the usual way – your trc row.

I hope that makes your lives easier.

 

Thursday April 9 2015

We had a lovely time thank you – and I did finish the jacket.

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Here are a couple of photos of it:

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It will take me a little time to get it into the shop – if you want to buy it or have a similar one made just email me and we can go from there. This one is 100% cotton and is a medium/large.

It is a beautiful sunny day here – I hope it is the same where you are. This is my favourite time of year – all the spring flowers are out, there are lambs frisking away in the fields and the hedgerows are showing green again: promises of summer to come. It inspires me to create too.

I am working on the idea of a single pattern with no different size instructions in brackets – so no temptation to read off the wrong size details – which will make up into several different sizes.

One of the advantages of crochet is that there are three main variables which you can play with to get the size you want, apart from your own personal tension. They are the yarn weight, the hook size and the stitch size. At the moment I have made the jacket above using DK cotton, a 3mm hook and trebles for both rows of the main diamonds. However, by changing only the weight of the cotton – to 4ply – I can get a size small. By changing the first of the two rows of the diamond to half trebles and using the DK weight yarn I can get a medium. I am experimenting.

I hope to have the results of all my experiments available for people to see at Wonderwool, which is at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells on the last weekend of April. If you haven’t been to Wonderwool you really should – it is a wonderful mix of everything wooly, at all stages of its development – fleece, washed yarn ready to spin, spun but undyed yarn and a gorgeous array of dyed yarns in every colour and weight you could possibly desire. The materials to process your own yarn are also there – spinning wheels, carders, blending boards, looms – you name it and if it is to do with wool it is there.

One word of warning – leave your credit card at home and just take cash, or you will spend more than you want to, the temptation is so great.

Next time, in the ‘how to’ of this blog, we will be looking at Foundation rows – how the work your foundation chain and your first row as one. When you have mastered it you will never go back to simple chains.

See you in a couple of days.

Sunday March 29 2015

Hello again.

I must show you this:         IMAG0009

My husband took it from my phone onto his computer, then sent it to me as an email. It is my current work in progress – WIP – and I am hoping to finish it while we are away. I couldn’t resist showing it to you now that I finally have it on my computer.

Tomorrow my phone has to go into the shop !

 

Sunday March 29 2015

I was wrong about my husband tell me it’s only nine months to Christmas Day. But he did tell me it was only nine months to Boxing Day on Thursday!

I have been struggling with trying to put up a picture of my work in progress – a jacket – this afternoon. I have successfully take a photo with my phone but although I have tried several times I cannot get the phone to upload it to my computer. Even my techno husband can’t tell me what is wrong. No doubt a savvy five year old could – but I don’t currently have any handy! So you will have to put up with a picture of one OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    of my shrugs.

This is a pattern I make a lot – it is quite popular in the shop I sell to and I am almost ready to type in a pattern – which will be for sale when I do.

The shrug is made in granite stitch and is very versatile – I have a wedding one, several party ones with glittery yarn and several ordinary ones in different colours. They are all available to buy in my shop – look under womens’ fashion – or you can order one to be specially made in the colour and size of your choice.

I shall be away for a few days now, so no more blog. See you all after Easter, by which time I hope to have my phone problem sorted.

Wednesday March 25 2015

 

My husband hasn’t told me that it’s only nine months to Christmas yet – but no doubt he will!

One of the reasons – in fact the main reason – why to date there have been so few pictures on this blog is that John (the aforesaid husband) takes all my pictures and I have found it a hassle getting them on here. When it comes to the way computers work I am illiterate – I did warn you earlier.

However, today I decided that I had to find out how to take pictures on my phone and get them up here. The following picture is the view from my bedroom window, which was taken as part of the learning process.

my learning picture

It was actually quite easy. The result is that I am now able to make the page look much prettier. I need to work out how to centre the picture now – and remember what I have learned so far.

 

No FAQ today, but tomorrow we will look at Foundation Chains.

 

Tuesday March 24 2015

What a lovely few days of weather we have had. Today, though, it’s showery again.

But at MolliMade it’s all go. I am working on some new designs in cotton for the summer and experimenting with changing sizes by changing stitch height only. There is, as usual with a new design, a lot of pulling back, but it’s starting to come now. As soon as I have something worth showing I will put it up here for everyone to look at – and comment on.

 

The day’s FAQ.

Q: What is a turning chain?

A: The difference between the various basic crochet stitches is one of height rather than width. The shortest stitch is a slip stitch, which adds virtually no height at all and is primarily used to link things. Next comes the Double Crochet (dc) which is about as high as most normal thickness crochet hooks. The treble Crochet (tr) is twice as high as a double and the half treble (htr) is in between the double and the treble. A double treble (dtr) is twice as high as a treble.

Your hook, however, is the same height whatever you are doing. The turning chain is what you do to bring the hook to the correct height for your next row.

The number of chains used in a turning chain varies with the height of the stitch – you will clearly need more to gain the required height for a dtr than you will for a htr for instance. The number of chain you will need for an average tension is as follows:

dc    1ch (none if you have a loose tension)

htr   2

tr     3

dtr   4

These figures are an average though – a lot depends on your personal tension. A tight tension means you will need more chain to gain the correct height, a loose tension means you will need fewer. If you find that you work pulls down at the sides work an extra turning chain; if there is a bulge at the end of every row work one fewer turning chain. You may find that you only need to make these smaller adjustments every second or third row.

Despite what some pattern companies would like you to believe, a turning chain should come at the beginning of a row, not the end.

 

Keep working at it and you will find that you have a perfectly even edge.

Thursday March 12 2015

Damp day, but I have some great news to share with you all.

MolliMade is soon to start selling buttons. These are no ordinary buttons – they are painted wooden buttons and they are very pretty. At the moment I am selling them on Ebay under the name La Boutonniere – The Button Lady so if you are eager for them right now pop over there. They will be on here very shortly, but here is a preview of three of them:

Purple and red buttonCut-out buttons30mm 4 holes pink roses

Our FAQ today is:

Q:  ‘I find it really difficult to work back into my starting chain’.

A:  Starting chains can be difficult to work into and the row you work back into them is probably the most difficult row in crochet. If you find that this is always a problem try working your starting chain in a hook which is a full size larger than the one you plan to use for the piece you are starting. Then when you work back into these chain stitches with the normal sized hook you will find it is much easier.

Alternatively you might like to try to work a Foundation Chain – which is the starting chain and the first row all worked as one. Sounds good? Watch out for the instructions here, very soon.

 

Tuesday March 3 2015

A rather belated Happy St Davids Day to you all.

I have been working on a series of FAQs to help my students and I thought some of you might be interested. I will go through one each time I post – which will, I promise, be more frequently. They are all based on questions I have been asked by my students.

Q: 1. I can’t get straight edges – it gets narrower.

A: This is because you are not working into the very last stitch.

The spaces you work into in all other stitches in a row do not appear in the last stitch. Instead you will see 2 strands of yarn sloping down to the left. You work UNDER these – and will see your work straighten as you do so. It will be easier to do this when you have made turning chains. What you have effectively done is work into the last of the turning chains.

The point of a turning chain is to raise your hook to the height of your stitches. The number of turning chains you will have will depend on the height of your stitch. If you have a standard tension you will have 1 in dc, 2 in hdc, 3 in tr and 4 in dtr. If you have a very loose tension you will need fewer turning chains, if you have a very tight tension you will need more.

If you find that your work gets narrower you will find it helpful to count the stitches on every row. That way you will know when you still have a stitch left to work into. After a time of doing this you will start to be able to see the stitches without any trouble.

Be patient with yourself – it will get easier.

Good morning folks. Windy here, but dry. What do you have?

I was working on a scarf this morning and wondered how many of you know how to avoid holes at the edge? You know the ones – if you are working in trebles they are the holes you get by counting your initial 3 chain as the first stitch and then working into the second stitch – which leaves a gap.

This is very easy to fill – and still leave your stitch count the same. You simply work into the first stitch (the one right by the starting chain) but do NOT complete the stitch – just take off 2 loops, leaving 2 loops on the hook. Then go to the second stitch and do the same. Then and only then, finish both stitches together. You are effectively making a tr2tog without decreasing. You will find that no unsightly gaps appear at the beginning of your row and you can still keep your sides straight.

One suggestion: COUNT. I know it’s boring, but it also helps to keep your work accurate, without unintended increases or decreases.

Have fun, and keep crocheting.

 Thursday January 22 2015

Been a busy week so far but today I am home (for most of the day at least).

I wonder how many projects you all have on at any single time? At the moment I have three: I am making myself a pair of socks, using my own hand-dyed wool; I am making a short cardigan using the pattern I talked about last Saturday from Inside Crochet and I am making a fluffy red scarf for my middle grandson. He insisted on fluffy and red.

Did you know that there are significant advantages to be had from working several projects at a time, mostly in the strain on your hands. It is very easy when you knit and/or crochet a lot to get repetitive strain injury in the wrists, hands and fingers. Using ergonomic hooks – the ones with the bulbous handles – can help, so can working more than one project at a time. Different stitches will work different muscles and tendons and can help to prevent RSI. The alternative is to take an injury enforced break of several days just when you really want to crochet – not my favourite way of dealing with the problem.

I would love to know what you are all doing.

Happy crocheting.

Just discovered I add to this blog from the top – I did warn you! The ‘missing’ post is under the first one. It said I was feeling ill – had a tummy-bug – but I now feel much better. At least, I was feeling well enough this morning to do some cleaning.

This is my current project:

Paretially completed cardigan using post stitches for the rib and popcorn stitches for the body.

Project 1 grey/blue cardigan

Hi there. I’m Margaret and I run MolliMade. I would like to share with you some of the things that make me want to get up in the morning.

I have a husband, John, four children and eleven grandchildren. I crochet a lot for them – in fact I try many of my ideas out on them.

This process of blogging is strange to me. Yesterday’s Calvin and Hobbes cartoon asked Calvin to express something in his own words: they were yakka, foog, mog and so on. Mine for blogging have so far majored on stuck, muddled and thick (that’s me). So far John has patiently sorted me out, but there may be times when I may have to ask you to bear with me in my muddle.

We were talking about getting up in the morning:

1. Yarn! All yummy and soft and colourful and squishy yarn really gets me going. I started to dye my own and love it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I think before I post any more pics I shall have to edit them – these were taken on the garden table and the edge of the paper shows – it didn’t in the tiny pics I started with. However, you can see what I’m doing.

I have 5 100 gm hanks of laceweight yarn to dye and haven’t chosen the colours yet. My favourites are always the pinks and blues though – as you can see.

2. Snow.  I just love snow – looking at it and walking in it. We had our first snow of the winter this morning – around an inch of it. Everything looked wonderful, all fresh and unsullied. I know other people have had loads more – but this is our snow, so I enjoyed looking at it. Temperature warmed up though and it’s mostly gone now.

3. Hyacinths – or any sweet smelling flower. These are blue and sitting in the middle of my dining room table. They smell wonderful. I have started a(nother) jigsaw just so I can spend time near them – well, that’s my excuse anyway.

What do you enjoy doing? I would love to hear from you.

Thursday 15 January

What a night – the wind here was horrendous. I hope you are all well and safe.

I seem to have a tummy bug – cramping and cold. I shall be back in a couple of days when it has cleared up. I have a project I want to share then.

 

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