The Warmer Project

We are so very excited to release 4 new individual patterns.  All of them are made in gorgeous Fyberspates Vivacious DK and are designed to highlight this gorgeous multi tonal yarn for quick makes as the weather gets a bit colder. 

Click through the images for more information on each pattern.  The patterns are £3.00 each for the pdf or buy all 4 pdf patterns in The Warmer Project for £8.00. We are also selling printed versions, available here. 

We will also be selling kits for these 4 gorgeous patterns, so watch this space.  

How to crochet a ribbed cuff (cuff first)

To celebrate Socktober we are finally getting around to writing up a few tutorials that we have always meant to.

Today's tutorial covers cuffs, where the cuff is worked first. If you are having a go at the Saunders or Riley sock patterns then it will get you started. But the method for making cuffs is the same as for making a cuff for a mitten or a brim for a hat so you might find this useful for the Bromsgrove Hat and Tenbury mitts from Crochet Yeah or The Tenbury Hat and Mitts set from Raw.

Crochet ribbing works best when it is worked perpendicular (at right angles to) the work. That is, so that the rows run around the ankle or wrist. This is because crochet has more stretch vertically than horizontally. It is generally worked in the back loops as this adds extra elasticity to the fabric made and makes it look more like knitted rib too.

Here's how:

STEP ONE

Make a chain, as specified or the length you'd like the ribbing plus turning chain.

STEP TWO

In this example we are using half trebles as they give a really nice ribbing. So starting in the third chain from the hook half treble in each chain then turn.

STEP THREE

Chain two then, working only in the back loops of the row below, work half trebles across the row.

STEP FOUR

Continue working rows of half trebles in the back loops until you have enough rows completed for the pattern or to fit.

Counting rows of half trebles is quite easy as each of the lines that look like knit stitches mean you have worked two rows.

STEP FIVE

Fold the piece in half so that the foundation row meets the last row you worked.

STEP SIX

Slip stitch through the back loop of the last row you worked and the foundation chain.

STEP SEVEN

Repeat Step six for each stitch across. The piece is now joined in the round.

STEP EIGHT

You will now work into the row ends. Check the pattern carefully to see how many stitches to work into the row ends and where.  The picture shows where the row ends are and how we might describe them when working into them to help direct you.

Congratulations! You have a cuff!

We hope you've enjoyed this tutorial. We are working hard to build up our tutorials to make this site really useful for our customers, and crocheters generally, so if you have an idea for a tutorial or have found something in our pattern that you think it would be great to clarify in a tutorial then do please get in touch.

 

How to graft half treble crochet

As a knitter and a crocheter, one of the things that always has annoyed me is that there wasn't a method I'd ever seen of seamlessly grafting crochet in the way you can knitting with the kitchener stitch. I was absolutely sure it was just a matter of looking at it logically, breaking the stitch apart and working it out but I never quite got around to it. I knew though that there would need to be a different technique for each stitch.

So why graft rather than seam? Because a graft replicates the stitches and gives a smooth almost invisible join that flexes and moves in much the same way as the rest of the fabric. When making socks, for example, it avoids an uncomfortable seam pressing on your heel and toe.

When I was writing the patterns for Crochet Yeah! I had two that would really benefit from a seamless join, the Malvern cowl which is worked in double crochet and Evesham socks worked in half treble crochet. It was the excuse I needed to sit myself down and thrash out a method for each.

I'm pleased with the results of my experiments and I shared the method in the book. This technique is so useful and creates a great finish on lots of different projects and it is always nice to have a visual step by step tutorial so without further ado here is how to graft half treble crochet.

STEP ONE

Thread a doubled length of yarn through a yarn needle.

STEP TWO

Insert needle from front to back through the top of the stitch on the last row furthest from you.

STEP THREE

Insert needle around the post of the last row on the side nearest to you from right to left, front to back to front again. (the same way you would insert your hook to make a raised front (front post) stitch.)

STEP FOUR

Pull yarn most of the way through stitch but before the loop closes, pass needle between the two strands of the stitch as you tighten it up.

Repeat steps 1-4 for each stitch.

Abberley Shawl

I'm not much of a blanket maker, it's just not what interests me - too much time and yarn  commitment and I'm just much more interested in making things I can wear. But I was asked to run a class on the corner to corner blankets. I agreed and became a bit obsessed. Its such a fun pattern to work, grows quickly and creates a lovely texture. I made a baby blanket for a friend but my mind soon turned to the possibility of adapting the pattern for a shawl.

Abberley is the result of this playing with the corner to corner pattern. I wanted to add a geometric lace pattern so came up with the idea of using an open block in the pattern, almost combining filet crochet with corner to corner. Don't worry, it is simpler than it sounds. The pattern starts off by stepping through the full instructions with a notation system given and switches to a notation once the pattern becomes bigger and more complex as it is much easier to read and follow this way. It's also fully charted out, as you'd expect from us.

I used the beautiful Blacker Yarns St Kilda laceweight to give the shawl the right proportions and a lovely rustic kind of finesse. The yarn is a stunning blend of wool from sheep raised on the Island of St Kilda. It is spun from the fleeces of the Boreray and Soay sheep which two of the oldest and rarest of all British breeds and are native to the island, being bought back from close to extinction. The yarn has a very crisp rustic feel as you work but softens beautifully on washing and wearing to give a lovely drape. Its now available in another beautiful natural colour and as a limited edition hand-dye collaboration with the Knitting Goddess in rich jewel tones. Read more about the yarn here and don't forget that the book contains a £5 discount voucher towards your purchase.

Here are all the technical details that you might want before getting started on the shawl:

Size
Finished depth: 60cm/24in
Finished wingspan: 142cm/56in

Size is easily adjusted by working more or fewer rows. Altering the size alters the yarn required.

Materials
2 50g balls Blacker Yarns St Kilda (laceweight, 100% wool a blend
of Boreray, Soay and Shetland, 405m/440yds/50g) 
3mm (US C or D) hook

Tension
7 blocks and 7 rows in pattern to 10 cm/4 in using 3mm hook (or size needed to achieve tension)

Difficulty: Easy

Skills Used
Basic crochet stitches, working in rows, working into chain spaces.

Construction
Started at centre bottom, each row is increased at each end to form a triangle, stitches are worked on the bias in the same manner as corner to corner (C2C)

The Abberley Shawl is one of six patterns in Raw. The book is available now and you can buy print version here or the ebook here

 

Raw - behind the scenes on the shoot

As we prepare for Yarndale and the launch of Raw (read all about it here) we thought you might like to take a peek behind the scenes on the photo shoot.

We had a beautiful location at The Hatch in Worcestershire and all the patterns in the book are named for nearby locations. 

Our wonderful friend Kate of A Playful Day followed us around as we worked and made this gorgeous video.

We'd like to thank Kate SO MUCH for making such a beautiful film for us and really capturing what it is like on a The Crochet Project shoot. (Although She very kindly cut footage of Joanne in her undies changing in a hedge!)

Reading a Crochet Chart

When I first moved to the UK (and before I knew the difference between tabloids and proper newspapers), I used to buy the Mirror every day before work, not for the news or the celebrity gossip, oh no, it was all about the Codebreaker section that would keep me happily entertained as I crossed London to my job in Victoria. I directly link my love of codebreaking to my love of Crochet Charts.  Once you have "cracked" it, you have before you an amazing international communication device to read and understand crochet patterns.  None of this dc/sc rubbish or uncertainty about where on earth the hook goes. In addition, for visual people, crochet charts can really help with pattern understanding.

At a glance, crochet charts tell you so much about the pattern - where your stitches go, which loops they are worked in, the relative height of the stitches and they even provide an almost schematic-like glance at what your finished object will look like. At The Crochet Project, we provide charts in our patterns where there may be confusion from the written patterns.  

THE SYMBOLS

Crochet charts are based on an internationally recognised symbols that correspond to each stitch or instruction.

 

One of the great things about crochet symbols is that they look like how you would make that stitch. For example, the horizontal bars in stitches relate to the number of yarn overs at the beginning of that stitch (except for half treble/double stitches).

It is the same with most special stitches, they are made to look like how one would make the stitch

With the exception of the わ symbol used in Japenese patters to mean magic loops, even the start of rounds make it instantly clear how the project starts.

joining.jpg

 

READING ROWS:

Once you have the basic principle that each symbol relates to a stitch, reading charts becomes that bit easier.

 

- The chart is read from the bottom up and are written for right handed crocheters, unless other wise specified.

- A solid triangular arrow shows the direction of work at the beginning. An outlined triangle shows where the work should be bound off.

- After the initial chain, you work from right to left across the row, then on the next row, from left to right, continuing on in a zig zag fashion up the chart. In a full chart, the rows will be numbered at the beginning of each row.

- Stitches should be aligned in columns to show you which stitch you work into for the next row.

- Chain stitches hanging off the ends of the rows (as in the 1ch shown on the right hand sides of this chart) do not count as stitches, but merely raise the row.

- Chain stitches in line with a stitch from the row below do count as stitches

The other kind of chart in rows you may come across is one for a stitch pattern.  These are often found in books of stitch patterns or sometimes as part of written pattern as a way of making the stitch clearer.

 

- Pattern repeats are generally shown either highlighted in a colour, or Japanese patterns will often show the number of stitches in a repeat with a bracket underneath the beginning chain.  This is useful if you are working a stitch pattern and need to know how many chains to work at the beginning.

- The number of rows in a pattern repeat are often shown as numbered rows on the side.

WORK IN ROUNDS

Working in rounds follows the same basic principles as working in rows.  Symbols correspond to stitches.

 

 

- Rounds are generally worked counter clockwise, but again follow the arrows.

- Rounds are numbered next to the chain stitches that begin the round

 

- Arrows will show the direction of work, or where a round is worked without a slip stitch join to raise the rounds.

 

 

- Charts DO NOT distinguish whether your work into the stitch or into the chain space (as in row 5 above). You will either need to refer to the written pattern (if there is one) or use your knowledge of crochet to figure out how to deal with that round.

For the more visually minded, charts can be a real breakthrough when it comes to understanding crochet. Plus, being able to read crochet charts literally opens up a world of new patterns.  Some of the most original patterns available are from Japan, where all of the patterns are charted.  Check out Pomadour 24's etsy shop for an amazing selection of Japanese craft books, or of course, if you love charts, all of our books are full of them, but shawls one and two have charts for pretty much every pattern.

 

How and why to swatch.

Are you a swatcher? Do you know why and how to swatch? Do you think it is all a complete waste of time?

As a designer, swatching is an early part of the design process, we use the swatch to calculate the numbers for the pattern. We couldn’t start without one. But when the designer has done all that work surely thecrocheter doesn’t really need to do one?

YES YOU DO! (almost always)

Lets look first at the information we get in a pattern about tension or gauge* 

*US patterns tend to use the word gauge, UK patterns tend to use the term tension, they mean the same thing from here on in I will use tension

To prepare a swatch properly you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Make a large square in the stitch you have been told to work in. To know that it will be large enough to measure you should chain for more than the number of stitches you can expect to get, In this case I would probably start with 24 stitches. Make the swatch in the yarn you plan to use using the hook you plan to use. Work a few more rows than suggested in the tension info, maybe 12 rows in this case.
  2. Measure the tension before you block it and keep a note so that you can check your tension while crocheting. To measure the piece you will need to lay it out flat and count the number of stitches and rows in 4in or 10cm or the measure you were given. It may help to measure and pin then count between the pins.
  3. Wash and dry the piece as you will the finished object. So if it is going through the machine then the dryer do that. If it will be hand washed then dried flat do that. If it will be washed and pinned out to dry (blocked) do that. If it is cotton, silk, linen or bamboo it may help to hang the piece with weights attached (threading a knitting needle through the bottom is an easy way to do this) as these fibres grow considerably when the weight of the whole piece acts on the stitches.
  4. Measure again and compare this measurement to the tension information.

How do your numbers compare?

If you have too many stitches/rows your finished object will be too small. Repeat the 4 step process with a larger hook.

If you have too few stitches/rows your finished object will be too big. Repeat the 4 step process with a smaller hook.

If you will be working in the round without turning you should work the swatch in the round without turning too.

It is less important to make the swatch in the round if the pattern calls for you to turn at the end of each row. These swatches can be made in rows.

I can get stitch gauge but my row gauge is off, what should I do?
If you can only get one spot on then it is normally best to get the stitch gauge right as in most constructions this is where most of the fitting comes in. You may have to adjust the pattern slightly (adding or subtracting rows) to allow for the difference.

How much does it matter?

Well, how much do you want the finished item to fit? Say the tension square said 20 stitches to 4″, your knitting is has 22 stitches and you go ahead and knit the jumper with the 40″ chest. Your jumper finished jumper will have a chest measurement of just over 36″ and you will have to suffer the indignity of finding a skinny friend to give all those hours of work to! Worth spending a little while before starting the project to avoid that fate? Probably!

Do I have to start with the suggested hook size?

No, it is just a suggestion based on the designers idea of what they used to get that tension or what they think the average knitter or crocheter will need to get tension. If you know you crochet loosely you might want to try a smaller hook first.

I have have average tension anyway so surely I don’t need to swatch?

Yes you do! There is no such thing as average tension really and you don’t know that the designer has average tension.

I am using the suggested yarn so I don’t need to swatch do I?

Afraid so! No two crocheters work quite the same so even with the same yarn and same hook two people are unlikely to make the same tension.

So when don’t I need to swatch?
There are a few times when you can get away without swatching:

  1. When size doesn’t matter and you have plenty of yarn (because tension also effects the yardage needed)
  2. When the item is very small and quicker to make than the swatch would be.
Forest Forager Handwarmers are small enough to just make and measure after as they are not much bigger than a swatch anyway.

Forest Forager Handwarmers are small enough to just make and measure after as they are not much bigger than a swatch anyway.

This post is adapted from one originally published by Joanne on her personal blog.