The Scrappy Lappy

The Scrappy Lappy

 

I’ve been sadly neglecting this blog over the last year, mostly because I was ridiculously busy with a demanding job, but I’m b-a-a-a-ck. I’ve unfortunately had to leave my job due to some ongoing health issues (yeah, I’m looking at you, stupid neck pain), but the upside is that I can concentrate on my beloved crochet.

One part of my health issues has been dealing with some really sucky anxiety and depression, which has had a huge impact on my well-being.  I’ve found crocheting to be one of the best therapies around, and quite honestly don’t know what I would have done without having it as an outlet in both a creative / artistic fashion, as well as emotionally.  Try checking out the #craftastherapy hashtag on social media, and you’ll see that there are many of us out there using our craft to help our mental health.

Another way I’ve been trying to address the black dog is to try and do something kind for others, which is how the Scrappy Lappy came about!  If you’re like me, you probably have an embarrassingly large stash of scrap yarn, in quantities too small for most projects.  Well, how about using that up and making a warm, cheerful lapghan for someone in a nursing home or who spends a lot of time in a wheelchair?  It costs you nothing when using up your own scraps, and I’ve found friends are happy to donate their scrap yarn to me, too.  There are so many organisations around that would be most grateful for these, so I hope you’ll consider having a go at making one – they work up SO quickly and are so warm and snuggly, although working on this one in the extreme heat of an Australian summer was rather toasty work, I can tell you!

The inspiration for the stitch / yarn options for this came from the fabulous Jayda InStitches  and she has a full YouTube tutorial on how to make it, which you can find HERE.   The entire blanket is made from easy half-double crochet stitches, and uses 2 strands of yarn at once.  I used a 7mm hook and found it coped well with a range of yarn weights, but most of what I used was 8ply / DK weight.  

I would very highly recommend using a magic knot to join your yarns together, unless you’re the type of person who loves sewing in hundreds of ends!  You can even make a “Magic Ball” of yarn in advance, so you don’t have to knot as you go.  Coralie over at Stitch-n-Smile has made up a great tutorial HERE  on how to do this – just make sure you get those knots really secure and follow the instructions.  I found the mantra “over one and under 2” helped me make sure I was tying the knots correctly.

You can see below the Magic Ball I’m currently using on my lavender fields inspired Scrappy Lappy.  For this one I’m keeping the grey-ish beige yarn as the base throughout, and using it along with my magic ball of gorgeous greens, blues, pinks and purples.

For my Rainbow Scrappy Lappy I had 2 magic balls made up – one was made up of greys, silvers, off whites and pastels, and the other was made up of the bright rainbow colours, and I also used a few yarns that had a bit of a metallic sparkle, just to give the blanket a bit more bling and happy vibes – I mean, who doesn’t love glitter?  A navy border just finished it off, and I truly hope it brings some cheer to whoever ends up with it – it’s destined for a local nursing home as soon as I’ve finished a few more off to take a whole bunch of them along.

The recommended size for a lapghan is around 100cm X 120cm, and with the bigger hook they really don’t take much time at all to whip up, and it’s easy, mindless crochet that you can do while watching TV, or listening to an audiobook (yeah, I’m a huge fan of audiobooks!)

So, if this has inspired you to Kon-Marie the living crap out of your yarn stash and create something that will be sure to spark joy in someone, break out the stash, put on a good book and get cracking!

And, as always, shares and pins are much appreciated – I’d love to see the #CraftAsTherapy and #CrochetForCharity movement growing by leaps and bounds!

I’ll definitely be posting more about both, so do stay tuned xxx

 

Festive Christmas Bunting

Festive Christmas Bunting

Supplies

Red, white and green yarn, I used acrylic 8 ply

4mm crochet hook

Yarn needle, scissors

Round 1

Using GREEN yarn, make a magic circle.  Chain 3 (this counts as your first dc), then do 11 more dc into the ring.

You will end up with 12 stitches in total.

Slip stitch (ss) into the top of the original chain 3 (see image 4) and fasten off using an invisible join to keep things as neat as possible.

Use a yarn needle to weave in your ends (image 5). Pull the magic ring tight and sew that end around the first round (see image 6)

Crochet bunting tutorial

Crochet bunting photo tutorial

Round 2

Attach RED yarn in any space between stitches (see image 7 and 8 above), NOT into the top of a stitch, and chain 3.  DC in the same space, then do 2 dc in each space around.  You will end up with a total of 24 stitches.

SS into the top of the starting chain and fasten off with an invisible join.

Please note that if you prefer to do this round into the top of the stitches instead of into the spaces you can, I just like the star-like look of crocheting into the spaces) This next round is where we are going to start turning our circle into a triangle by adding corners and using different height stitches.

Crochet bunting photo tutorial 3

Round 3

Attach WHITE yarn in the top of any stitch, chain 3, then do 2 more dc in the same stitch.  Chain 2, then do 3 more dc in the same stitch (this is our first corner of the triangle).  See images 12 and 13 above.

[skip 1 stitch, do 3 hdc in the next stitch, skip 1 stitch then do 3 sc in the next stitch, skip 1 and do 3 hdc in the next stitch, skip one and do 3 dc, ch2, 3dc in the next stitch]  Repeat [  ] 2 more times around.  Slip stitch into the top of the starting chain 3 and fasten off.    You should now have a slightly rounded looking triangle (see image 14 below)

Crochet bunting photo tutorial 4

Round 4

Attach GREEN yarn in any corner and chain 3.  Then crochet one more dc, ch2, 2 dc in same corner.  Then dc in each stitch until you get to the next corner and repeat the 2dc, ch2, 2dc in that corner.  Continue around, doing same in 3rd corner and long the straight side.  Slip stitch to top of starting chain 3 and finish off.  See images 15 and 16 above.

Rounds 5 and 6

Attach yarn in any corner, chain 1, sc, ch2, 2sc in same corner.  See image 17 above. SC all the way around doing the 2sc, ch2, 2sc in the other 2 corners.  Repeat for Round 6 and finish off.  See image 18 below

Crochet bunting photo tutorial 5

Joining the bunting

Using the white yarn, chain 15.

Join your chain to the top right corners of one of your triangles, on the WRONG side (image 19).

SC long the top of the triangle, then chain 8, attach next triangle as before and continue.

After reaching end of last triangle, chain 15 and finish off, leaving a longish tail.

Attach the green yarn and single crochet along the entire length of the bunting (image 20 above)  Finish off.

Add some tassels to the bottom loop to pretty things up.

Festive crochet bunting final pic

Of course, you don’t have to only use this for Christmas, you can play with the colours and make one for any occasion.  Here’s a brightly coloured one I was playing with last week.

Brightly coloured crochet bunting

 

And, as always, I’d be majorly happy if you’d share this post, here’s a perfectly sized pin for you to share 🙂

Festive Christmas crochet bunting - free pattern and full photo tutorial

 

Traditional Crochet Granny Square Photo Tutorial

Traditional Crochet Granny Square Photo Tutorial

Ah, the simple granny square. Love it or hate it, it’s a staple of crochet design, with countless variations.

It’s also a great introduction to the concept of crocheting “in the round” as opposed to in rows that you work back and forth, turning your work at the end of each row.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

What you’ll need to crochet a granny square

 

  • Crochet hook – I recommend a 4mm or 5mm
  • Yarn – anything you like, but to learn I recommend a solid colour in a DK / sport / 8ply sort of weight
  • Yarn needle – for weaving in ends.

Starting off

 

To start a granny square, or any crochet in-the-round project, you need to make a loop.  There are 2 ways of doing this, a magic ring or chaining a few stitches then slip stitching into the first chain.

I highly recommend learning how to master the magic circle, and I highly recommend this video tutorial from PlanetJune which shows the technique very clearly for both right and left handed crocheters.  Click the link just above to see the left handed version.

 

This can take a few goes to get the feel of it, but, trust me, it’s something you really should learn, and once you get the hang of it you’ll be doing them in 1.5 seconds flat!

The other method to create a ring is to chain 4, then slip stitch into the 1st chain you made.  You then work your starting double crochet stitches into the middle of the circle.  Here’s a video from monkeysee.com that shows you exactly how to do this

 

OK, so now that you’ve got your starting ring made, the next step is to crochet your first round.  A traditional granny square is made using groupings of 3 double crochet stitches (dc), so to make your first round you will need to chain 3 (this will count as your first dc) and then make 2 more dc stitches into your starting circle.  See images 1 and 2 below.

Crochet Granny Square Tutorial 1 to 4

 

Then you chain 2, this leaves a space that will become the corner for this first round.  See image 3.

Do 3 dc into the central ring, then chain 2, a total of 3 more times.  You should then have 4 groupings of 3 dc stitches each separated by 2 chain stitches.

Now you’re going to finish off this round by slip stitching into the top chain of the chain 3 you started this round with.  See image 4 for exact placement of this slip stitch.

Round 2

 

From this point on you will only be working into the chain 2 spaces, so you need to get over to the first chain 2 space (the corner) to start, so I like to just slip stitch across.  By this I mean you do a slip stitch into the first stitch after you finished the last round, then into the next, and then into the corner ch2 space.

As you are now in a corner, you need to create another corner.  To do this you chain 3 as your first dc crochet 2 dc, chain 2, then 3 more dc all into that first corner space.  Do this in each of the 3 remaining chain 2 corner spaces.  Do NOT do any chains when moving from one corner to another.  Some patterns do suggest to do a chain or 2 here, but I find that it leads to a sloppy, less square granny square.

You will end up with 8 groupings of 3dc, with a chain 2 space in each corner.  See image 5 below.

Slip stitch into the top (3rd) stitch of the starting chain 3 to close off round 2.

Round 3

 

Slip stitch across to the first corner and chain 3.  This counts as your first dc.  See image 6 below.

You are again in a corner, so, as you have done before, chain 3, 2dc, chain 2, 3dc in the corner space.  Insert your hook into the next space and do 3dc.  As this is not a corner this is all you do in this space.  Your next space is another corner, so 3dc, ch2 and 3dc.  I can SO tell you’re getting the hang of this, now, aren’t you??

Do this all the way around until you’ve completed the round, and finish off as usual, by slip stitching into the top of the starting chain.  See image 7 below.

Round 4

 

All you do from this point on is to repeat the previous round.

All middle of the row spaces get a grouping of 3dc, and all corners get 3dc, ch2, 3dc.

See image 8 below.

Crochet Granny Square Tutorial Images 5 - 8

In this sample round I stopped at 4 rounds, but you can make a granny square as large as you like.  I’m currently working on a giant one that is going to be a bed spread for my queen sized bed!  It’s not difficult, you just keep doing the same thing around and around and around!

I will warn you that when you start getting to 15 rounds plus sometimes your square can start to look a bit wonky because you’re always going around in the same direction.  One way to lessen this effect is to occasionally turn your entire project when starting a new round and start working in the opposite direction.

But, I digress.

As I said, I crocheted a total of 4 rounds in this sample.  When you finish off your last slip stitch to close the final round, cut your yarn leaving a 10 – 15cm tail.  Pull this tail through the loop and thread the tail onto a yarn needle.  Using the needle, weave your tail in and out on the back side of the granny square.  I am a bit of a hard-core weaver-inner, so I like to do this really firmly, and sew it in back and forth in a few directions.  You’ll also want to pull the centre magic circle (and yes, I KNOW you started it this way, didn’t you?) nice and tight and sew in the tail end around and around and then snip the end off.  See image 9 below.

And there you have it – just like in image 10, you have made a traditional crocheted granny square.  TA DAH!!  Well done, you!

Next time I’ll be showing you how to do a solid granny square, with out the gaps a traditional one has.  I know, you can’t wait, can you?

Once you’ve tried out this tutorial I’d love it if you’d comment below if you still have any questions, or if you had any problems, or if you totally rocked it first time and are wanting to shout out loud at how proud you are!

Crochet Granny Square Tutorial images 9 and 10

As always, I’ll love ya forever if you’ll pin this 😀

FREE Crochet Granny Square Photo Tutorial - perfect even for absolute beginner crocheters.

Pretty Things

Pretty Things

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Some Gorgeous Yarns That Make Me Happy

 

This is just a very quick post to share some gorgeous, festive, yarny eye candy!  I was making these images up on Canva to share on Pinterest, and they were just so darned pretty I thought I’d share them here, too.

All of the images are clickable if you want to find out where you, too, can find the Happy that such Pretty Things can bring, lol!

 

Pretty Yarn 1

 

 

Pretty Yarn 2

 

 

Pretty Yarn 3

 

 

 

Pretty Yarn 4

 

 

Kits for Kids

Please note that these are affiliate links, so if you choose to make a purchase via them I may receive a tiny commission at no cost to you.  You can see my full disclosure and privacy policy HERE.

Pretty Things - recycled sari silk yarns perfect for crochet and weaving

2eb5b55abd60a7331398eac99e1710d29c3ab41c9fed9130c6

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Absolute  Beginner Crochet – Part 2 – Getting Started

Absolute Beginner Crochet – Part 2 – Getting Started

Hi there.  I hope you enjoyed Part 1, where I talked about the various types of hooks and yarns that are out there.  I also hope I didn’t send you broke on online shopping sprees, as I know first hand how that can go!

This time I’m going to review and share a few photo and video based tutorials for the Absolute Beginner at crochet, and I hope you find them as useful as I did!

Getting Started with Crochet

 

The first thing you’re going to need to do is learn how to hold your hook and yarn, how to make your starting loop and how to do a simple chain.  This may sound simple, but I swear it was the hardest thing for me to wrap my tiny brain and fumbly fingers around.  It just didn’t FEEL right, but I’m here to tell you that if you persevere it WILL get easier and feel more natural.  Please believe me on this.  Also, there are many different ways to hold your hook and yarn, so try out a few of them until you find one that works for you.

OK, the first resource I want to share with you is this one from the delightful Mikey at The Crochet Crowd.  Mikey explains the technique so simply, slowly, and above all – patiently!  I’d recommend watching it through first, before picking up a hook, and then replaying it again, pausing as you need to to try out the various stages of getting started.

 

 

If you’re more comfortable with photographs rather than a video, then you might find Amy’s tutorials at The Spruce to your liking.  She goes into fabulous detail on the various grips, and includes instruction and photos for both left and right hand crocheters.

 

The Spruce crochet grip

New Crochet Kits at knitpicks.com

Another fabulous series of video tutorials is available courtesy of Sarah-Jayne at Bella Coco.  She has SO many video tutorials available, including one for those of you who are starting from scratch.  Her entire website is an absolute visual delight – it’s just so darned pretty!  Just one thing to clarify, Sarah Jayne is from the UK, which has slightly different terminology for the various crochet stitches than in the US.  I’ll talk more about this in my next post, but for now, this video just covers a starting chain, so there shouldn’t be any confusion between US and UK terminology.

 

 

Another resource which I haven’t personally tried, but have heard rave reviews about is Olivia from Hopeful Honey.  I was chatting on a beginner crochet Facebook group the other day, and a new member was asking for suggestions on beginner tutorials.  Hopeful Honey was mentioned quite a few times, as well as the ones above.  I’ve since watched them, and can see why!  Olivia’s videos are also very slow paced, and go into a lot of detail.  I can’t wait to watch some of her others.

 

 

The instructables.com site has another great tutorial that’s a bit of a mix of photos and mini videos which is also very easy to follow.  I especially like how it’s not a full video that you have to manually pause, but mini animations that replay again and again.  The written instructions are also very clear.

 

instructable tutorial image

Worsted Weight Yarns from knitpicks.com

 

There are many other tutorials out there, but I think these are some of the best, and should give you all you need to get started.

I would highly recommend just repeating the slip knot and simple chain over and over again until you find a way of holding your hook and yarn that just feels right to you.  Test both knife and pencil holds, and holding yarn around various fingers, and you will find that one particular technique is going to feel a lot more natural.  Remember the concept of muscle memory (see definition here on Wiki), and you can be confident that, with enough repetition, even that which feels awkward at first can become second nature after enough repetition.

This post does contain affiliate links, if you happen to make any purchases via them I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  Please note I only recommend products I use and love.  For more details please see DISCLOSURE.

Happy Chaining!

Tx

Absolute Beginner Crochet Tutorials - Part 2 - Getting started with chain stitch

 

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10 Free Christmas Afghan Patterns

10 Free Christmas Afghan Patterns

10 free Christmas Afghan Patters main image   Yes, it’s that time of year again.  We’re only a few days away from the first half of the year being done, which means it’s officially time to start thinking about your Christmas crochet projects.  Yup, I went there.  I said the C word.  Did you know that as of the day I’m writing this it’s now only 183 days until Christmas?  Time to get that hook in gear!

183 days until ChristmasVia Memegenerator

I’m going to be running a series of these with lists of all free patterns.  Today we’re starting with afghans, blankets and throws to give your home that warm and festive feeling.  All of these patterns are free, and most are suitable for those of beginner to intermediate level.  All of the images are also clickable and will take you directly to the pattern page.

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We’ll start with this gorgeous Victorian Ornaments Afghan by Caron on Yarnspiration.  I love the unusual shapes used to make up this project, and I”m putting it first on my list.  I tend to go for slightly less traditional festive colours, myself, so will have to have a think about what to use for this little beauty.

Next on the list is this very popular Crochet Peppermint Swirl Afghan Pattern from TheWhoot.  I’ve seen this around Pinterest done in a few different colours.  Again, with my love of mad, bright colours, I think I may try this one in whole range of colours.  Then again, it does look so good in the pure red and white.  Hmmmm, minty crocheted deliciousness in any colour! Crochet Peppermint Swirl Afghan Pattern

Number 3 in the countdown is this cuddly holly-inspired throw from Freepatterns.com.  I do love me some free patterns!  Again, this is a very traditional style in some very traditional colours, but I think you could have lots of fun playing around with colours on this one if you felt like putting your own personal twist on it.  It’s a really simple granny square design, would be perfect for beginners. Holly Throw   Knit Picks Mighty Stitch Yarn

Now, this next one is one of my favourites, and I’m going to be giving this pattern a serious read, because I just love the plaid effect.  It’s another design from Caron, find all the details here. Plaid crochet Christmas afghan

For those of you who are into the whole C2C craze, this one’s for you!  It’s a bright and cheerful Christmas afghan courtesy of MakeAndDoCrew, and it comes with graphs, tutorials, and video support if it’s your first attempt at one of these.  I still haven’t tried a graphgan yet, but it’s on my to-do list! C2C Crochet Christmas Afghan

What I love about this throw is that it reminds me of quilting, which is something I first got into a few years ago and love nearly as much as I love crochet.  The downside is that I”m not very good at it, oops, so for now I’m sticking with my trusty crochet hook.  This is a seriously pretty Christmas Star Throw which is a freebie courtesy of Red Heart.  Isn’t that nice of them?

Next we have a set of cushion covers with a matching throw, and it’s all about Christmas presents!  The pattern is available HERE on Ravelry as a free pdf download. Cushion and throw free pattern  

Apologies to anyone with young kids, but, Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?  Yes, yes, of course you do, and here’s a cuddly blankie that will keep every snowman fan in your family warm as toast and with a happy smile on their face.  It is also a bit of relief from the whole red, green and white colour theme, which I’ve gotta say, is starting to get to me.  This Crochet Snowman Granny Square blanket is a great, simple design, and is also FREE from Crochetforyoublog.com. Crochet Snowman Granny Square Blanket

Now we have the Holiday Hearts Throw, which is another lovely free pattern from Red Heart.  Aren’t you just feeling the love?  I know I am.  Heart motifs are something I’ve always found a bit tricky to do, for some strange reason, so I’m glad this one has nice, basic instructions! Holiday Hearts Throw

Lastly, but by no means least is this stunning “Merry Little Throw” Join As You Go hexie throw which was published last year as a CAL over at Fibreflux.  What’s great about this is that, because it’s a CAL, there are seriously detailed instructions with a zillion photos and even some videos to help you through it. Fibreflux hexie throw

So, there you have it.  As I said before, this is the first in a serious of Christmas Crochet Project roundups.  Next time I’ll be sharing a whole bunch of my favourite amigurumi type patterns,  *SWOON* including reindeer, snowmen, angels, gingerbread men,  Santas, gnomes and more, so make sure you’re signed up for our email updates so you don’t miss out! Also, if you know of a free pattern for a gorgeous Christmas themed throw, blanket or afghan that I haven’t posted, please, PLEASE drop a link to it in the comments before so we can all have a look at it! Thanks, and keep stashing that yarn!

Tx

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