The All Seasons Shawl

I first posted a picture of this shawl design on Instagram over a year ago and lots of people asked for the pattern. So sorry it has taken me so long to get it written up for you! I used a 5.5cm hook for this design so the shawl is light and has lots of drape to wear as a shawl on chilly summer evenings, while still being cozy enough for even the coldest winters if worn as a scarf. This is why I have named this shawl the All Seasons shawl as I truly think that it is appropriate for all weather types. The design is simple and not too taxing, just a four row pattern repeat, but the mix of back and front loop treble stitches ensure that you do not lose interest. I really hope you enjoy making it, it has become one of my wardrobe staples.

What you will need:

  1. A 5.5mm hook
  2. 1 ball of Sirdar Colourwheel (or similar DK weight yarn)
  3. Small pompom maker (I used the yellow Clover one, which I think is 4.5mm)
  4. Scissors and darning needle.

Note: this pattern is written in UK crochet terms.

Skills needed: magic ring, chain stitches, UK treble (tr), UK double treble (dtr), pompom making (optional).

To start, make a magic ring (there are lots of awesome tutorials on YouTube for this) and into the ring work a chain 3 (counts as a stitch), 3tr, 2ch, 4tr. Pull magic ring tight. It should look like this:

tutorial 1.jpg

Row 1

Ch 3 and turn. Make one tr in the back loop of the stitch directly below your initial chain, see below for an indication of where it should go.

tutorial 2.jpg

Then make a tr in the front loop of the stitch at the base of your initial chain, see below again for positioning.

tutorial 3.jpg

You should now have three stitches in your initial row (all in the same stitch) one ch3, 1tr in the back loop of the first stitch and 1tr in the front loop of the first stitch, like this:

tutorial 4.jpg

You have three stitches until you reach the centre increase, so in the next stitch work a tr in the back loop, in the following stitch work a tr in the front loop and in the final stitch work a tr in the back loop, like this:

tutorial 5.jpg

In the centre chain 2 increase work 2tr, 2ch, 2tr.  Then in the first stitch of the other side, work 1tr in the back loop, like this:

tutorial 6.jpg

Continue over the next 3 stitches and work 1tr in the front loop of the next stitch and then work 1tr in the back loop of the next stitch. Your last stitch should be your chain 3 from the previous row. Work 1tr in the front loop of the top of the chain 3, then 1tr in the back loop. This can be tricky to find because the front loop stitch often pulls it tight, see below for an indication of what it looks like:

tutorial 7.jpg

To complete this row, make 1tr in the front loop of the top of the chain 3, see below for where it should go.

tutorial 8.jpg

Row 2

Chain 3 and turn. We are essentially going to do exactly the same thing again, just with more stitches on each side. Work 1tr in the back loop of the first stitch at the base of your chain 3, then work 1tr in the front loop of the same stitch, like this:

tutorial 9.jpg

Then work along this row alternating between back and front loop trs until the centre increase, starting with 1 back loop tr and ending with 1 back loop tr.

tutorial 10.jpg

Then work 2tr, 2ch, 2tr in the centre chain space.

tutorial 11.jpg

Then finish the other side by alternating 1tr in the back loop of the next stitch and 1tr in the front loop of the stitch after that until the last chain 3 stitch. Then work 1tr in the front loop, 1tr in the back loop and 1tr in the front loop all in the top of that chain three stitch from the previous row.

tutorial 12.jpg

Row 3

Now for the next row, we’re going to be using the double treble stitch or dtr. Chain 4 to start, then turn. Chain 1 and work 1dtr in the stitch directly below the initial ch4, using both loops.

tutorial 13

Chain 1, skip a stitch and work 1dtr in the next stitch along. Repeat until the middle increase stitch, end with a ch1 then skip the stitch just before the centre. For all of the stitches on this row, use both loops.

tutorial 14

Then work 2dtr, ch2, 2dtr in the chain 2 space. Chain 1, skip a stitch and work 1dtr, skip a stitch, chain 1 until the last stitch. Work 1dtr, 1ch, 1dtr in the top of the chain 3 of the previous row.

tutorial 15.jpg

This is a four row pattern repeat. To continue work row 2 three times, followed by row 3 once. Your shawl should be made from three rows of solid alternating tr stitches followed by one row of dtr stitches with chain spaces between them, like in the picture below.

tutorial 19.jpg

Helpful tips

When you work your first solid alternating tr row after a dtr and chain space row, you should alternate the back and front loops as normal, so work in the back loops of the chain stitches to maintain the pattern, some examples are indicated below.

tutorial 17.jpg

Also, when you work your first solid treble row after the dtrs, remember that the fifth chain of the initial chain 5 on your dtr row should count as your last back loop tr. Once you have made this stitch you can end the row as normal in the fourth chain with a front loop tr, back loop tr and then another front loop tr.

On the rows where you alternate between back and front loop trs, your first and last stitch on each side of the triangle will always be a back loop tr (this does not include the three stitches worked in the very first and last stitches of each row, or the centre increase.) Check this at the end of every row to make sure you haven’t made a mistake. See below for indication of what I mean here.

tutorial 18b.jpg

Keep going until you reach the size you want, or you run out of yarn (don’t forget to leave some for the pompoms if you want some) and end with a dtr row. Make three pom poms in your usual way and then tie them to the two ends points and the middle increase space. Cut the ends to blend with the rest of the pompom, there is no need to sew them in if securely knotted.

When I make these I make 9 pattern repeats and it measures approx 145cm along the top and 65cm down the middle increase line. This yarn makes a light, cozy shawl and the 5.5mm gives it lots of drape. I really enjoy making these shawls and have sold lots at markets as well as to friends. They’re easy and mindful to make and only take a few days to finish- I really hope you enjoy it!

tutorial 20.jpg

Juliet xx

Advertisements

Muddy Sunny

20180205_092343.jpgYesterday morning, after I had dropped my little boy at playgroup, I decided to pop down the road to the beach. The weather was bitterly cold with a nippy wind, but that sunshine was too good to resist. On this particular day there was a fair amount of mud and even though this path runs alongside farm land and is nearly always muddy, my spur of the moment decision meant that I was completely unprepared in the footwear department! Luckily on my way towards the beach the mud was completely frozen, so I managed to negotiate it pretty easily, however the journey back wasn’t quite as easy as it had started to melt by this point. I ended up walking so slowly to avoid slipping over, I’m sure I looked hilarious!

20180205_092506.jpgThis is a route I have walked lots of times before as it is very close to where my husband grew up and indeed where his mum still lives. I have memories of us as teenagers walking these paths together, oh how time flies! This particular field is mainly covered in grass at the moment, but during the growing season it’s usually filled with crops.

20180205_092804.jpgAs I made my way through the mud I started to notice that as the ice was melting it was making these beautiful shapes. What do you see in the picture above (apart from a whole lot of mud of course)? I noticed that one of the pieces looked a bit like a feather… or maybe a leaf?

20180205_093206.jpgI have lived near the coast for nearly all of my life and must have had hundreds of trips to the coast, but I still get a jolt of excitement when I get that first glimpse of the sea in the distance. It’s almost an instant thing that as soon as I’m there I feel all the tension and stress of everyday life leave my body, I’ll never get bored of that feeling!

20180205_093931.jpgI spent a lovely hour wandering along this beach, soaking in the sun and watching the wildlife (there are usually some interesting birds around here, but I didn’t manage to get any good photos of them). I am trying to make a conscious effort to have more mindful moments like this in my day, where I just take some time out to reset. We could all do with remembering to do this sometimes, I think.

xx

Hello February!

20180203_100821.jpgOh how I have been enjoying these sweet little flowers of late.  January was a tricky month for me this year, over and above it being grey and damp and rainy and generally January-ish, this year came with some extra struggles. I have been on a long and very tricky mental health journey for the past 10 years of my life and over the last year I decided to concentrate on getting better – no distractions and no more avoidance of how I have been feeling. It was a difficult decision to make and came with some sacrifices for sure, but I know it was right to focus on taking everything apart piece by piece in the hope that I can be rebuilt in a better way by the end of the process. It’s all been pretty hard, but January was the hardest, I hit some places that I haven’t been in a while. But oh my goodness, February already feels like it’s going to be so much better… it’s still winter I know, but there’s a subtle hint that spring is around the corner…

20180203_095817.jpgIt goes without saying of course, that craft has been a huge part of this process, for giving me a much needed colour injection, for switching off my brain and for generally allowing me some time to be myself. It always amazes me how many people I have met both online and in person who use craft of all kinds to help them deal with both mental and physical illness. The above picture is my rainbow granny blanket which I have recently decided to work on again, the repetitive motion of the granny square never fails to soothe the soul.

20180203_100252.jpgI have also been doing a bit of knitting which I have to say I have really enjoyed. I used to be pretty good with two sticks (although I have never been able to conquer socks!), but it’s been a while since I’ve worked with them so I thought a simple garter stitch shawl was just what I needed. Rather excitingly I am using my own hand dyed yarn here, a green and purple mix which ended up having some blue and grey hues too. It’s so soft and squishy (It’s a DK weight yarn) and is working up really well into a nice wide triangle scarf. I’m planning to add a crochet border to it too for a pretty finish and because my knitting skills are not up to the challenge!

IMG_20180202_211721_187.jpgI also had the idea for this snuggly purple and green chunky poncho pop into my head during January. I had bought this lovely Hobbycraft yarn a while ago and it has just sat on the shelf waiting for the perfect project to come along ever since. I’m really pleased with how it has turned out, it’s exactly how I had imagined it and it’s super warm and comfortable to wear.

Thanks for reading my little crafty catch up, I’ll be back soon xx

Out of my comfort zone

A few months ago I decided that I needed to do something to take me away from the corner of my sofa (where all of my yarny endeavours usually happen) and out into the Wide World. I had been toying with the idea of perhaps trying to sell some of my crochet makes in person locally, but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it as I didn’t want to fork out a load of money for a pitch at any of the large markets around here.

Then one day someone told me about the Draper’s Yard in Chichester town centre. It’s a quirky little yard behind a craft shop open to makers, artists and any other artisan small business owners. I was quite excited about this little find and decided I should visit to see if my woolly makes and I would fit in there. I instantly loved the vibe, full of creatives and artists from all kinds of different disciplines. Right at the back are a collection of huts which businesses can rent on a more permanent basis, and then at the front near the entrance are some tables available to hire for the day. This means there is an eclectic and varying amount of sellers there at any one time, which I think only adds to how special it is. I was soon convinced that I should give it a try. Of course, being that I am the Queen of Procrastination I didn’t book a table on my first visit, I went back there a few more times and then when I was feeling particularly brave one day, I went for it!IMG_20171118_092147And here it is, all set up last Saturday and ready to go! Now I know, this isn’t the very best table design you will have ever seen. In all honesty I was so busy making all the bits for the sale (I only gave myself 2 months, which with two young children to fit into the equation is no mean feat!) that I didn’t really think much about how to display it all on the day. 20171118_151121 (1).jpgI can confidently say that I ignored most of the retail golden rules, you know things like have items at eye level, displaying items at lots of different heights, displaying items so people can instantly see the overall effect, etc. But you know what, I sold some things and received some lovely feedback from people too, so I’m going to call it a success! Plus the weather was freezing and very damp, so not many people were out. In fact a lot of my fellow sellers on the day left at lunch time because of this, but I wanted to stay for the full day, even though I had to spend about an hour under several blankets warming up when I got home!20171118_151105.jpgI also decided to play it safe with the items I made as I wasn’t really sure how well anything would be received. I concentrated on things that I enjoyed making/didn’t take up much time rather than anything with groundbreaking design or complex construction. In hindsight, I wish I had been a little braver and shown my creativity a little more, but you live and learn!

All in all though, I am pleased with how it went for a first attempt. I have booked to be there again on 17th December and am planning to bring some more exciting items as well as a bigger variety. I will also be investing in some display props, I’m thinking a little tree for my baubles and maybe some wooden crates to give height/interest. It seems being out of your comfort zone, if only for one day, is a lot of fun.

Juliet xx

Sharing and creativity

blue sky

Hello again! Wow, it has been a while hasn’t it? How have you been, I hope all is well.

The last few months have been an odd time for me and my maker career. I’ve really struggled to come on here and talk about crochet and the creative things I have been up to and so I’ve ended up just staying quiet.  The truth is that I don’t really have a lot of confidence in my abilities with yarn and hook, I do it like so many of us, as a form of therapy to help with my anxiety and never really intended to make it anything more than that.

But then I became aware of this amazing online community of makers and designers who dedicate their life to working with yarn and a big piece of me was desperate to get involved. It’s a dilemma though isn’t it? Suddenly making public something that has been a personal thing that you do for yourself for so long. I have certainly struggled with it, because for me it opens up opportunities for comparison, competition and self doubt.

Instagram is particularly challenging for me and my tendency for self doubt. It’s so easy to get caught up in counting the followers and comparing amount of likes. I know also that a lot people, myself included, are struggling with potential ‘shadow banning’ or at least strange limitations on their account which affects visibility and therefore growth. This kind of thing seems very unfair and can be disconcerting, particularly when you see other user’s accounts dramatically gaining followers, likes and popularity; it leaves you wondering what you did wrong.

Social media is a bit of a double edged sword though and I have always known this, which is why I stopped using Facebook when I was 19 and haven’t gone back. It can make you feel amazing when a photo you post gets tonnes of ‘likes’, it’s life affirming and encouraging and makes you feel justified that you are doing the right thing. Popular accounts are mimicked, their photos studied and replicated to try and create that success for others. This quest and constant need to try new things to increase followers or to get that elusive re-post (where another account posts your photo because they love it so much) is addicting and ultimately, I think, destroys or at the very least damages creativity.

What I have come to realise is this. Instagram and other forms of social media aren’t everything. There are other ways to share your passion with others and connect with people and blogging is certainly one of them. Don’t get me wrong, Instagram has it’s place and I wouldn’t ever want to stop sharing my crochet on there. I think I just need to remind myself not to get caught up in the hype and popularity of it all and try and maintain a semblance of who I am and what I’m about while on a social media platform. To achieve a balance is what it’s all about.

So to help with this balance I will be on here a lot more often from now on, because I truly think blogging is a special art form which we are at risk of losing to instant gratification type platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. When I first started this blog I was so excited to share all my ideas with people and to have them share ideas with me. I have always loved writing too, so it seemed the perfect step for me and I know it still is. Blogging is something I want to have as part of my weekly routine and so I will be on here much more often from now on, sharing my crochet patterns and makes as well as other projects and thoughts about life.

I really hope you will join me.

Juliet xx

Post half term catch up

20170520_140029 (1).jpgAs a mum with a husband who works in a school, life for us very much moves in motion with the academic year.  We have just had our half term break which means we all experience a shift in routine, for hubby and the kids it’s a chance for some well earned wind down time and for me it signifies less crochet time some serious adventure time. Our half term was super busy, lots of trips and experiences as well as some quieter moments too.  The above shot was taken during a picnic, I spotted this beautiful blue butterfly fluttering round this bright pink flower and couldn’t resist a photo!

So here’s a little round up of what I’ve been up to recently.  There was a forest walk…

20170527_153825.jpg

a beach trip…

20170601_162631.jpg

where I was able to try out my new crocheted beach bag.

20170601_152715.jpg

Hubby and I enjoyed a night away without the children, something we haven’t done in a couple of years. We chose to stay in Winchester where we visited the Cathedral…

20170530_114839_001.jpg

and the Great Hall…

20170530_160550 (1).jpg

which holds King Arthur’s Round Table (now known to date from the 13th century, but still very impressive)…

20170530_153215.jpg

We went to the Living History Festival at the Weald and Downland Museum, a place which is very special to us. My husband and I had our marriage here 4 years ago and we visit it often, particularly when they are holding an event.  We saw musketeers…

20170604_144900.jpg

and Knights fighting…

20170604_153459.jpg

and an amazing horse drawn fire engine…

20170604_155427.jpg

which raced to put out a fire in a tiny wooden house…

20170604_154956.jpg

And lastly my daughter and I enjoyed a day together on Monday, which really was so special as we don’t often have this time just the two of us. We went out for a drink, some shopping and then a picnic lunch where we did some crafting in the park together…

20170605_132545 (1).jpg

Such lovely memories of a super special week.  I hope you’ve gained some special memories lately too.

Lots of love,

Juliet xx

 

Spring Forward blanket stitch: Tutorial

This tutorial is written in UK terms.

Skills needed: Slip knot, foundation chain, UK Treble stitch (US Double crochet stitch)

Begin by chaining a multiple of 3 plus 1 plus 3 stitches.  (This is so that you can begin and end each row with a single treble stitch, which will make your edges straight.  For this example I have chained 34.)

Row 120170511_113457_001.jpgWork a single treble stitch in the 5th chain from the hook, I’ve indicated above where your first stitch should be.  Then work one more treble stitch in the next stitch along.

20170511_113627.jpgNow you are ready to work your first slanting treble stitch.  Begin working this stitch in the stitch before your first treble as indicated above.

20170522_115743 (1).jpgWork the first part of this stitch around your two existing trebles.  This can be a bit fiddly, but just ensure you insert your hook into the chain stitch from the front (the same way you do normally) and then pull the loops loosely around your treble stitches. You are essentially working the treble stitch in the same way as normal, just pulling it around two existing trebles.  You should have three loops on your hook.

20170511_113903Then yarn over and pull through two loops, you should have two loops left on your hook.

20170511_113927.jpgThen complete your stitch as you would do normally by pulling a loop through the last two loops on your hook.  You now have a slanting treble around your two initial treble stitches!

20170511_114016.jpgSkip one chain stitch and work a treble stitch in the following chain, as indicated above.

20170511_114318.jpgWork another treble in the next chain along.  Then work another slanting treble by inserting your hook into the skipped chain, as indicated above.

20170511_114420_003.jpgWork the start of your slanting treble around your two trebles loosely, as above.  You should be left with two loops on your hook once you have done this.  Then finish the stitch as normal, just as before.

20170511_115028.jpgContinue this way until the end of the row.  You should be left with a single chain at the end of the row, see above where I have placed my needle.

20170511_115240.jpgWork one treble stitch in this last chain and fasten off.  Now we are ready for the second row so turn your work.

Row 220170511_115628.jpgOnce you’ve turned your work, attach your new colour **.  Chain 3 in the top of the first treble stitch.

20170511_115856.jpgThen skip one stitch, and work 2 trebles in each of the next two stitches, just like we did for round 1.

20170511_115923.jpgIn the skipped stitch, begin working your slanting treble over your two trebles in exactly the same way as before.

20170511_115951.jpgFinish your slanting stitch the way you complete a normal treble.

20170511_120316.jpgContinue working this way until the end of the row.  You should be left with a single stitch, as indicated above.

20170511_120410 (1).jpgWork a single treble stitch in the last stitch.  If you’re adding another colour then fasten off.  Turn your work and repeat row 2 until the blanket is the size you want.  That’s it!

** Note: if you do not want to change colours every row, then simply chain 3, turn your work and complete row 2 in the same way as written using your original colour.

20170522_142547.jpgAnd this is how your blanket will work up.  It makes a lovely fabric which is light and airy so really good for this time of year, but substantial enough for you to feel secure with it wrapped round you.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful, if you have spotted any errors (this is my first ever written tutorial after all!!) then do let me know!  This stitch is fully reversible and has a lovely rhythm to it, so I really hope you enjoy trying it out.

Speak soon,

Juliet xx

p.s. If you decide to make a blanket with this stitch and you’re on Instagram, then do use the hashtag #springforwardblanket and tag me in your pics, I would LOVE to see them!