Three From The Top

We are so excited to release our newest collection, Three from the Top.  It is our first cardigan collection with 3 patterns sized from Baby to a 60in bust.  There is something for everyone!!

 

You can buy the print version here for £12

Alternatively, if eBooks are your jam, you can purchase the PDF from Ravelry for £10

Edinburgh Yarn Festival

The web seems to be abuzz at the moment with people planning and plotting their trips up to Edinburgh Yarn Festival (EYF).

Your Mileage May Vary from The Shawl Project Book One, which launched at EYF 2015

Your Mileage May Vary from The Shawl Project Book One, which launched at EYF 2015

Last year EYF was our first ever show and we were nervously packing, wondering if we would sell anything and if anyone would like our new look and new designs. It was an amazing success - we sold out of our first book The Shawl Project: Book One that weekend. And it still sells well a year on, with hundreds of copies in the hands of eager crocheters around the world. We think very fondly of EYF 2016 as the start of an amazing year, the year that The Crochet Project became a viable, profitable business.

We really wanted to have a stand again this year but our family commitments meant that wasn't going to be possible, we just couldn't make it work. It turns out to be quite lucky really as Kat has broken her elbow and her wrist and would not be well enough to lug stock and spend two full days working on a stall. But we are really sad that we not to have a stall this year, and we certainly plan to be back next year (if they will have us!)

Kat is hoping to make it along for the day (subject to her arm being well enough) - if you see her give her a (very gentle) hug from me or a high five (right arm only)!

But even though we can't be there we are still representing and you can still buy our books thanks to our lovely friends.

Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns is stocking limited quantities of The Shawl Project Book One and Book Two and will have some samples made up in her beautiful yarn (including some of the originals we have loaned her) find her at stand  B1. All the Book One designs take one 100g skein of 4 ply and all the Book Two designs take two, so it is the perfect show purchase - you know whatever yarns you pick up around the show can be paired with the perfect pattern when you get home!

And Rachel of Coop Knits will be selling our new book, Crochet Yeah! on her stand (A7) and has all the samples from the book for you to squish and stroke and of course the yarn to make them all. Rachel says that colours combos from the book have been selling well and I know she ran out of some colours at Unravel so do head over soonish!

Tenbury Mitts from Crochet Yeah!

Tenbury Mitts from Crochet Yeah!

So that we don't feel too left out, if you are there in person can you do us a favour please? If you are wearing something designed by us, you spot one of our designs in the wild, you see our samples on display, you are buying our book or flashing your stash then take a photo and share it with us on social media by tagging @thecrochetproj on instagram and twitter of The Crochet Project on facebook and #thecrochetproject #theshawlproject or #crochetyeah please. That way we will get to see it and live vicariously through you!

Introducing the Malvern Cowl

...And a GIVEAWAY!

Now that Crochet Yeah is available on full release as an e-book (£10) or print book (£12 + p&p), it is time to start introducing the patterns.

We'll start with probably the simplest design in the book, the Malvern Cowl. Its a lovely soft cowl, very easy to make and to wear and worked in just one stitch all the way. Yes, it is all double crochet (US single crochet) worked in a spiral around and around. Crochet doesn't get more relaxing than this! (To paraphrase the Masterchef judges) Even the pretty colour work effect is created using spike stitches which are just double crochet worked a few rows below - don't worry, its all explained in the pattern!

I think this Cowl in my mind will always have fond memories of the delicious meringue I was scoffing in the shoot and the lovely doggy friend I made!

I was particularly pleased with this pattern on a technical level though because I worked out how to do the crochet equivalent of Kitchener stitch ( a sewn reproduction of the stitch to make an invisible join) in order to graft the cowl closed. You can try out my instructions in the pattern (or just sew a seam if you prefer.)

And should you wish to make the cowl here are all the technical information you might need before you start:

Size
One size. 
Finished width: 15cm/6in
Length: 66cm/26in

Materials
1 50g skein Socks Yeah in Danburite (105) - Col A
1 50g skein Socks Yeah in Chryso (108) - Col B
1 50g skein Socks Yeah in Iolite (109) - Col C
4mm (US G) hook

Tension
28 sts and 28 rows in double crochet to 10 cm/4 in using 4mm hook (or size needed to achieve tension) 
Note: while this item doesn’t need to fit anywhere, not working to specified tension may make the fabric different to the picture and yarn quantities will vary.

Difficulty Rating
Beginner

Skills Needed
Basic crochet stitches, working in continuous rounds, spike stitches (explained).

Construction
Worked in rounds in a continuous spiral without turning or turning chains. Ends are then sewn or grafted together to form cowl.

Rachel Coopey of Coop Knits tells me that as soon as the cowl pattern details were put up on Ravelry she started getting orders for the three colours together!

With that in mind she has very kindly given us three skeins of beautiful Socks Yeah yarn to give away! They come in the Malvern Colours but you could always use them to make a Bromsgrove hat or add an extra colour to the Tenbury hat and mitts or make a stripey version of Worcester or Evesham.

Want to get your hands on the yarn? Its easy. Just go take a look at the patterns in the book and comment below to let us know which you'd make first and why.

The competition is open worldwide and we will pick a winner at noon GMT on Wednesday 9th March 2016. Make sure you leave your Ravelry name or email address so we can get in touch with you!

Manipulating Stitch Patterns - using washi tape

In the two Shawl Project books we talk about how to design for different shapes of shawl and a little about how to work in different patterns.

I wanted to share with you today a quick tip that I use when I want to work out how to manipulate a charted stitch pattern to use it in a design where the pattern needs to grow or expand.

And it uses washi tape! Who doesn't love a washi-tape tip?

Find a pattern you like and mark out, with washi tape, the direction and kind of shape you want it to expand into. Once you've blocked out the stitches you don't need it should be fairly easy to work out how to add chains or expand stitches to get them to the point you need them for the next row. It really helps you visulaise what needs to happen even if it doesn't give you all the answers.

And the washi tape is easily removed so the book isn't ruined.

In associated tips: Try placing a mirror on the washi tape line if you need a pattern to turn a corner.

Christmas Gifting: Our top three

Are you making for loved ones this Christmas? Are you on schedule for your making plans? I do feel lucky as a crocheter that work grows much faster than knitting so more can be achieved!

Today we are sharing with you our favourite three giftable projects from The Crochet Project. - Remember we do love to see your gift makes so please tag us @thecrochetproj or #thecrochetproject when you post them on social media.

 

Forest Forager Handwarmers

These simple mitts work up very quickly and are a great way to use up stash (they use 4ply) and maybe try a new technique at the same time - they are tunisan crochet but we provide all the instructions to help you make the leap from standard crochet. These make a great gift as they are easy to personalise with the yarn choice and choice of buttons, don't need to be made to an exact size and suit everyone, male or female. Treat your nearest and dearest to a luxury yarn and those vintage buttons you've been saving. You'll have the pair made in an evening.

The Pattern for the Forest Forager Handwarmers is £3 - full pattern details here.


Saunders Socks

Who doesn't feel loved in handmade chunky socks? These cosy numbers are worked in a heavy DK, worsted weight or aran weight yarn - as long as its squooshy (technical term!) you are good to go! We've sized these from teeny baby toes to the largest man's foot so it really is one pattern for all your making needs. The simple pattern is easily memorised and doesn't use any tricky techniques so your crafting will be a joy. Play with colour and fibre types to personalise it for each recipient. We love it in the semi solid shades of a hand dye but it works just as well in a plain or maybe even an ombre! Baby sized gifts will be done in an evening, a size 12 pair might take you a couple more. 

The Saunders Sock pattern costs £4 - full pattern details here.

Acer

Well, we had to include a shawl didn't we! Acer is the perfect gift make because it can be made in pretty much any weight of yarn - just raid your stash and pair it to the recipient, the style suits almost any of the women on your gifting list and it looks a lot more intricate than the easily memorised four row repeat it really is. Acers work up really quickly, doesn't need to be swatched before hand, just check you like the fabric as you work and the pattern even looks good unblocked if you are being a total last-minute-Louise. We expect a flurry of pattern sales on Christmas Eve! You can finish an Acer in a few evenings or one frantic all night session!

Acer pattern is £3 and is available here.

Of course, if you have an avid crocheter in your family you might want to treat them to one of our books - we are more than happy to sign and personalise them - just let us know.  You might also want to leave the link lying around for yourself...

You can buy print books The Shawl Project: Book One and The Shawl Project: Book Two from our etsy shop.

If you want guaranteed Christmas delivery please order by:

Worldwide: Friday 4th December

New Zealand and Australia:Thursday 10th December.

To the EU, US and Canada: Monday 14th December

Mainland UK: 2pm on Monday 21st December.

 

Finished Objects: Shawls One

There is no question that the most amazing experience as a designer is to see our designs out in the wild.  Seeing people's yarn choices, design decisions and love for the things we have made is incredible. 

When Joanne and I changed the direction of our business, moving from multi-designer collections to just working as the two of us, it was nerve wracking. We had no idea what the response would be. Seeing the shawls from Book 1 being made by so many of you, has been a joy. 

Here are just some of the awesome makes that inspire us. Please keep sharing!! Tag us as @thecrochetproj or use #thecrochetproject to show us your makes. 

Reverse Gear

I'm very pleased to introduce the fifth of the five designs from The Shawl Project: Book Two today. 

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Reverse Gear will always hold a very special place in my heart because it was a very hard design to get the pattern right. I had a very strong idea of what I wanted to achieve and, like MIssed Kingfisher, I bought the yarn at Edinburgh Yarn Festival as soon as we decided that Book Two would be two skein designs.

I wanted to create a design that had some beautiful intricate patterning on one side but had a distinctive feel on the other side too so that rather than having a right and a wrong side it had two different right sides.

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As Reverse Gear is increased from a point on one edge only, the trick of the design was to increase 7 stitches over 8 rows (not too tricky) over a pattern where some stitches are worked into stitches missed on previous rows so you need to ensure the stitch is there to be worked into (a fair bit trickier) I blogged a little about the process back in June.

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The result is a very pleasing design that can be very unisex if the lace edging is removed (instructions are given for finishing without it) This shawl gets a lot of attention as people enjoy the texture and the slightly understated drama of it. (Up the contrast between the two yarns to up the drama!)

It looks fiendishly difficult but is actually fairly easily memorised once you get going and the double colour pattern is just a slight mutation on the single colour pattern so you learn it when it is simplest then adapt it after you have become very confident in doing it.

So here are the technical details you need:

Sizes
With lace: 
Finished wingspan: 115cm/45in
Finished depth: 58cm/23in

Without lace: 
Finished wingspan: 107cm/42in
Finished depth: 50cm/20in

Materials
1 100g hank of Eden Cottage Yarns, BFL Sock (4ply weight, 100% Blue Faced Leicester wool, 400m/436yds) in Dogwood MC
1 100g hank of Eden Cottage Yarns, BFL Sock (4ply weight, 100% Blue Faced Leicester wool, 400m/436yds) in Plum CC
4 mm (US G) hook

Tension
21 sts and 18 rows in single colour patt (starting counting on row 1) to 10 cm/4 in using 4mm hook (or size needed to achieve tension)

Difficulty Rating - Advanced

Skills Needed
Basic crochet stitches, working in rows, missing stitches, working into previous rows, working into chain spaces, increasing, working with chains held to the back.

Construction
Triangular shawl worked from point to long side, increasing on the neck edge.

Pattern is written and charted using standard UK terms (US conversions given in abbreviations)

The Shawl Project: Book Two is available to download immediately as an e-book (pdf) for £10 or order in print for £12 +p&p.

The link for the ebook takes you directly to paypal to complete the transaction.

Missed Kingfisher

Today I introduce Missed Kingfisher here and on the Not So Granny blog. I'm also very pleased to announce that the print books are now available and shipping worldwide. Scroll to the end for purchase details.

I think this is the crochet pattern that I have always wanted to design. 

I've always adored the knitted colour block shawls such as Color Affection by Veera Välimäki and Dissent by Lisa Mutch. I love the way the stripes play and move and the general cleverness of using short rows to move colours around. I hadn't seen anyone make anything similar in crochet.

And fate all came together in one place, at Edinburgh Yarn festival as we were launching The Shawl Project book we decided in one car journey that there would be a second book and each shawl would be two skeins. The next day I walked over to the Ripples Crafts stand, picked out the perfect colours for the design that was already waiting fully fledged in my head. (hop over to my blog for the story between fully fledged design and pattern though, its never quite smooth sailing is it?)

I had a strong picture in my mind of a glimpse of a kingfisher's teal wing as it dives into the brackish grey waters on our local lode (a lode is somewhere between a canal and a drainage ditch that you find in my local area.) The way the ripples reflect the colours of the bird and and swell away from the impact. An image burned on my mind with the disappointment that that is as much of the kingfisher as I ever see. 

I am beyond happy with the way this shawl came out. The solid fabric with such great drape, the ridges that accentuate the stripes, the bold swoops of colour, the sheer size of it. It is so so easy to throw on and wear as a shawl or as a scarf whether you are wearing jeans and trainers or a smart dress and heels.

So on to the technical details. The shawl starts at the top and is worked entirely in double crochet (US single) with very simple increasing and only one special stitch to get your head around that stops holes appearing when the short row is turned (a bit like a wrap and turn in knitting but much easier.) The main skill you need for this pattern is careful counting. Here is the full spec.

Size
Finished depth: 45cm/18in
Finished wingspan: 185cm/73in

Materials
1 100g hanks of Ripples Crafts Na Dannsairean 4ply (4ply weight, 85% wool, 15% Nylon Donegal Nep, 400m) in Charcoal (Col A) 
1 100g hanks of Ripples Crafts Na Dannsairean 4ply (4ply weight, 85% wool, 15% Nylon Donegal Nep, 400m) in Winter Sea (Col B) 
6 mm hook
1 removable stitch marker or safety pin

Tension
13 sts and 20 rows in double crochet with alternate rows in BLO to 10 cm/4 in using 6mm hook (or size needed to achieve tension) 
Row gauge is the more important measure for this pattern.

Difficulty Rating - Easy

Skills Needed
Basic crochet stitches, working multiple stitches into a loop (fully explained in pattern), working into back loops, working in rows, increasing, working into previous rows, short rows (fully explained in pattern), careful counting!

Construction
Starting from a semi-circle at the top, worked in rows with simple increasing on both right and wrong side create a shallow crescent shape. Short row sections create pockets of colour. 
While it seems like a very large hook for the yarn, it ensures the double crochet stitches drape well.

Pattern is written and charted using standard UK terms (US conversions given in abbreviations)

The Shawl Project: Book Two is available to download immediately as an e-book (pdf) for £10 or order in print for £12 +p&p.

The link for the ebook takes you directly to paypal to complete the transaction.

Humphrey

Now that Book Two is out in the wild (scroll to bottom for purchase details), its time to introduce you to the five patterns that make it up. 

Humphrey is a slightly simplified crochet version of a Faroese Shawl. The design looks a little like a triangular, centre out shawl but with a central lace panel that gently flares the plainer wings out making a shawl that sits beautifully on your shoulders. It's an eminently practical design for such a glamorous shawl.

The shawl starts with the long lace border and decreases in a simple two row pattern repeat, with the occasional decrease rows inserted to slim the middle lace section as you race towards the finish with every shorter rows to work - a very satisfying way to finish! Raised stitches separate the wings and the centre panel to give an easy way to track where you are in the pattern which eliminates the need for lots of counting.

Humphrey is probably the most glamorous of the five shawls, it is the only lacy one of the set and the sample is made of a stunning undyed baby camel and silk blend yarn from The Chester Wool Co.  The combination of the open lace and the silky yarn give it stunning drape and movement. Its sure to wow at evening events this Christmas party season. Any yarn with a soft sheen and great drape would work well, consider silk, alpaca and bamboo blends. It might also be fun, if you were that way inclined, to add some beads into the design. (In the lone treble in the centre of each cluster shell would be a good place)

So enough of the glamour and dreaming, here are the technical details for the shawl:

Size
Finished wingspan: 122cm/49in
Finished depth: 36cm/14in

Materials
2 100g hanks of Chester Wool Co Silk Camel 4ply (4ply weight, 50% baby camel, 50% silk, 400m) in natural shade. 
Note: Sample used 125g

4 mm hook

Tension
17 sts and 12 rows in V stitch to 10 cm/4 in using 4mm hook (or size needed to achieve tension)

Difficulty Rating - Intermediate

Skills Needed
Basic crochet stitches, raised (post) stitches, clusters (explained in pattern), working into chain spaces, working into stitches.

Construction
Worked from the border to the neck in ever decreasing rows. Based on a traditional Faroese shawl shape.

For the story of how the design evolved and how it got its name pop over to Joanne's blog.

The Shawl Project: Book Two is available to download immediately as an e-book (pdf) for £10 or pre-order in print for £12 +p&p.

Print copies will be dispatched within two weeks in the order they were bought.
The link for the ebook takes you directly to paypal to complete the transaction.