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.


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. 


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.


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.


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:

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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!

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.

Introducing 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:

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

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

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.

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.


The Shawl Project: Book Two is here!

We've given our newsletter subscribers a little head start but its time now to announce to the world that The Shawl Project: Book Two is available to buy!

Book Two was launched as an exclusive at Yarndale last month and, after a few lucky people got their hands on a copy at Swiss Wulle Festival, we sold out! We are delighted to announce that it is now available on general release.

Shawls seem to be the perfect project for so many reasons: a mini palette for a new or favourite technique, the perfect showcase some gorgeous yarn, no need to worry about fit, relatively economical to make, and easy to wear. We love seeing all the projects you are making with Book One so we decided to give you some more designs to play with; this time with more of an Autumn/Winter twist.

Over the next two weeks we will be introducing the shawls individually with lots more detail, in the mean time you can see the collection and the technical notes on Ravelry.

Book Two shawls are a little bigger, a little more solid so a little warmer than Book One shawls. Never fear, we have made them still with the same sense of proportion, beautiful drape and ease of wear you would expect from us. All five examples use two 100g skeins of 4ply yarn, making these patterns the perfect stash buster or excuse to buy a special skein or two. Raid your stash and get pairing! With more yarn to play with we've explored texture and colour and new constructions and shapes. We've added design notes for all of this and given our expert advice on pairing your skeins up.

Whether you are an aspiring designer or a relative crochet newbie, this book will give you hours of enjoyment and lots of beautiful shawls.

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.

Issue 2: Woodland Whimsy is Here


This issue is inspired by woodlands so wrap up warm in your finest crochet and take a walk with us into deep dark forests and dappled glades.

As usual, you can expect garments and accessories from your favourite crochet designers with gorgeous details using interesting crochet techniques to create the most wearable pieces on the market. Expect lots of texture, beautiful drape and rich saturated tones.

We think you are going to love the collection so much that, for the first time, we are offering all the patterns as an e-book at a fantastic discount.

All our patterns have been thoroughly edited and written in our trademark simple style in your choice of UK or US standard terminology so whether you are a beginner or more experienced, whichever side of the Atlantic you are on. 

Tweet us @TheCrochetProj or follow us on Facebook and tell us what you think about Issue 2 or join us in our Ravelry group for a crochet a long!

Joanne and Kat

Introducing Aruancaria Cardigan (plus short rows help)

Today, we are looking at the design the Aruacaria Cardigan  by Kat Goldin.


In almost every design, I start with the photo I want to take of the design forefront in my mind. How will it look? What angles will I photograph the details from? What colour and shape will I use? Not to say that things don't change as I go, but I am definitely a product person in the "process versus product" design discussion.

I knew I wanted a teal green for the cardigan, to add some darker colours to the palette for the rest of the designs. The yarn is Sublime Cashmere, Silk Merino DK.  I just found out the other day it is being discontinued *sob* but the baby version will continue *yay!*. I really love this yarn - it has great stitch definition, drape and twist to make really lovely wearable garments that you want to put on and feel special in. It isn't cheap, but from experience the silk and twist of this yarn help it wear really well, and I think that is crucial when making a it takes so much time to make, it is worth it to ensure it will last.

The original design had a cabled collar on the edge. However, to achieve the feminine shaping we were aiming for, a flowing cabled shawl collar proved difficult to get right. After many failed swatching attempts (and even dreams about how the design might work),  it was back to the drawing board...or rather the well-thumbed stitch dictionary.

I have written elsewhere about how important I find stitch dictionaries to my work.  I simply could not live without them. However, it still often takes a ton of work to get from chart in a book to a workable stitch for a pattern - there are so many considerations - gauge, increases, round vs flat. I recently found a great stitch I was desperate to use for a cardigan, only to realise it really can only work in the round, and hard as I tried, steeking wasn't going to work for a full cardi. But, all that aside, stitch dictionaries are invaluable.

In looking through, I found a pattern that I had actually earmarked for something else, but it looked so like a peacock, I simply couldn't let it go (the original name  of the cardigan was Peacock in the Garden). It was doubly ideal, because it was worked from the edging out in rows. This meant I could work it all the way from bottom front edge, up around the neck and down to the other bottom front edge in one piece, which is really ideal for the drapey shawl collar I was after.


The construction of the sweater is a seamless, set-in shoulder, adapted from Barbara Walker (with help from Joanne Scrace). It starts at the neckline, with the back worked on one side of the foundation chain, then the front pieces worked on the other side of the chain, then joined at the underarm. While it doesn't work well for every garment, a seamless construction fits in well with the ethos of The Crochet Project - with its emphasis of lots of drape and flow. As the design uses short row shaping at the back and in the shoulders, I needed a main stitch that would hide the gaps and also have a right side that wasn't too different from the wrong side. I chose to use angled crochet, which works well to hide the gaps short rows can sometimes leave, and its back and front of the stitch are virtually indistinguishable.


Short rows add 3 dimensional shaping to garments, but can be tricky if you've never come across this before, it can be tricky.  I have written a wee tutorial to help.

Because I'd never made a seamless set in sleeved cardigan before, I actually wrote and graded the pattern as I made it - not really the best practice when designing (it usually involves less ripping if you plan it out first), but I simply couldn't picture how it would all come together. I only had a week from starting the cardigan to finishing the design for the photoshoot, so I really had to move on it and this approach, while intensive, did mean I was finished in 7.5 days!!

In the end, I have to say I am very pleased with the results.  It is easily my favourite design to date, as I just love how it all came together, and it made the model VERY happy when she got to keep it as a thank you!!

(The pattern is available on Ravelry: buy now. You can also read more about and see the rest of the designs in The Crochet Project here)


Introducing Aquilegia



Aquilegia {aq·ui·le·gi·a}

This beautiful hat was designed by the talented Jacqui Harding (known as curvyjax around the web)

Jacqui says:

"Many crochet hats are brightly coloured, holey and tightly fitted. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to try something different. And I was so pleased with the result.

Aqueligia is the botanical name for the group of flowers known as Granny's Bonnets. The hat is soft, drapey, gathered at the crown & has interesting textures throughout. The fit is softer than a beanie, but with less volume than a tam.  It's also very easy to adjust the size/degree of slouchiness to suit you & the yarn you are using. The sample was made in Artesano alpaca dk which is soft & drapey & co-operative!

The construction is not one that I've seen anywhere before. It's crocheted from the bobbles up, then the brim is added after. The unusual bobbles & the linked stitches give it an intermediate rating, but actually nothing is difficult, just unfamiliar. It whizzes along once you get going."

It certainly does - Jacqui made herself a second hat in a cream colour and this is the first time she has ever made a new item from one of her designs rather than wait for the sample to come back.


Joanne can also be found sporting one too! As soon as she finished tech editing the pattern she knew she wanted to make one. Her's uses a beautiful variegated yarn (Manos Silk Blend) that works wonderfully with the linked stitch pattern. The colours blend really well so it is a handy pattern to have for those difficult variegated skeins that we all stash from time to time. As you can see Joanne made hers slouchier.

2013-03-18 14.11.48


Joanne says:

" I went for a super slouchy beanie as I wanted a boho look that will work well with a jacket in spring and snuggled up under a crochet blanket in the evenings on a campsite this summer."

Variegated or solid tones - what will your Aquilegia look like?

This is the first in a regular series introducing fully all the beautiful patterns in the series.


The Crochet Project is Now on Ravelry

jax updated

(Aquilegia Hat by Jackie Harding in Artesano DK)

Just a very quick note to say that all of our patterns are now live on Ravelry! (And we are killing it on the Hot Right Now chart!) We will (hopefully) be syncing in the cart system on the website with the Ravelry one very soon!

In the meanwhile, some of our designers have been blogging about their designs, have you seen?

(click the images to be taken through to the posts)

We have a winner

Thank you so much to everyone who supported The Crochet Project this weekend by sharing our photos on facebook, sending us lovely tweets and kind comments on our blog post. We were overwhelmed with the positive response to our collection - Thank You. Everyone who bought a pattern in this launch weekend was entered into a draw to win the entire collection. I am pleased to announce that our winner is Clare De Than.

Congratulations Clare - the patterns have been emailed to you - I hope you enjoy them.

Spring is here!

It doesn't matter what the weather looks like outside, spring is definitely here!

We are thrilled to be able to unveil our beautiful first collection of patterns.

The theme for Spring Summer '13 is Botanics and the inspired designs in an array of soft subtle colours are sure to chase the last of those winter blues away. All the patterns have been carefully designed to be a joy to make and wear.

You can flick through the look book for the collection or head straight to our pattern page to see them.

To celebrate the launch, all patterns bought this weekend will be entered into a draw to win the entire collection.

Which pattern is going to brighten your day?

The Photoshoot: Behind the Scenes

We are swiftly approaching the launch of the first edition of The Crochet Project. Every day, the tweets and emails between Joanne and I get closer and closer to fever pitched and I think its fair to say we actually can not wait to launch. And this weekend we got one step closer to the launch - the photoshoot!!

Kerstin and I headed out to local folly The Pineapple to shoot the 10 piece collection.

I have collected such a rag tag assortment of props - old baskets, trugs, tea cups, tins...I am always on the look out for props for shoots and if anyone had glanced in the back of the car this weekend, they would have found:

- a rusty Raleigh bicycle

- a yellow bird cage

- 2 full tea services

- a silver tea pot

- 7 dozen tulips (I bought out the town of Alloa's entire stock of pink and purple tulips)

- 3 cameras

- 5 lenses

- shoot kit that contains - shawl pin, bobby pins, saftey pins, straight pins, washi tape, wardrobe tape, lint brush, lip gloss, hair brush and scissors.

- 9 balls of yarn in assorted colours

- 4 pairs of shoes

- 7-8 outfit options

- 10 samples

Kerstin was a sport, changing in the doorway of the Pineapple, while I played lookout for walkers.  It was very cold and it is a Spring collection, so she did spend a fair amount of time shivering!!

However, we managed to get some lovely shots for the collection!  Would you like a sneak peek??

I can't give away much more than that...other than to say this will be the free pattern in the collection...

Have I mentioned we can't wait to launch??!?

11 days and counting!!

Crochet and Drape

Here at The Crochet Project, we think that crochet gets a bad rap - seen as the "cutesy" alternative to knitting.  Brooches - yes. Cushions - definitely. Blankets - oh yes. But garments? Well, we are here to reveal the secret of making awesome crochet garments...drape.

Drape is the way in which any fabric flows.  Because of the way in which a crochet fabric is constructed, it can lend itself to stiffer fabric than knitting.  This is great for things like bowls, baskets and amigurumi, but isn't as useful when constructing a sweater. Improving the drape of your crochet will go a long way to making garments that fit and are a pleasure to wear.

When you are looking at crochet and drape - you are aiming for a fabric where the stitches move with some independence from each other.  In making things like crochet dolls or bowls, you don't want the stitches to move much - this helps the item retain its form, but with garments, the element of flow is crucial.

In order to achieve this movement you need to consider 3 things:

- Gauge

- Materials

- Stitch



Without a doubt, gauge is the most critical element when creating a flowing crochet fabric. To achieve drape, stitches need to be able move, so if they are all packed tightly together, you will create a stiffer fabric. Gauge is the number of stitches and rows one can measure in 10x10cm/ 4x4inches.

Ignore what the ball bands tell you.  Its not uncommon to have to go up 1 or 2 hook sizes to achieve a lovely drapey fabric - no matter what stitch you are using.  If you are trying to make something with a nice flowing drape...SWATCH.  Try a couple of different hook sizes with your yarn and see how it changes.



Another critical factor in drape is the yarn you are using.  Silk, bamboo and alpaca fibers will create more drape in a garment than cotton or 100% wool. Lower twist yarns tend to be drapier than higher twist yarns. If you are looking to make something with lovely drape, starting with a yarn with a high silk content is a great first step.

However - while a silk yarn will have more drape than a cotton one at the same gauge, its still important to consider your gauge when you are working.



Finally, don't forget the importance of the stitches you are using.  In crochet, taller stitches and stitch patterns that have chains in them will have more drape than just solid single crochet.  The height and the chains allow the stitches to move more indpendently of each other.

Drape is always key to our design briefs to ensure the most wearable accessories and garments. Our designers have considered all of the above so you don't have to.