Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weekend crochet for babies by Sue Whiting

About 3 weeks ago a Lauren from New Holland Publishers sent me an email wondering if I might be interested in doing any reviews for them. As you may know New Holland publish a wide range of crochet, craft & knitting titles. I emailed Lauren to say I'd be delighted to have a go a reviewing them & shortly after a lovely parcel arrived by post. Inside was a great surprise... not just one hardback book but 3! It turns out they had 3 new titles coming out....

Weekend Crochet for Babies by Sue Whiting, Beautiful Knits for Heads, Hands & Toes by Alison Dupernex & Beautiful Crochet for Heads, Hands & Toes by Melody Griffiths.

To be honest I've never written a book review before so my first thought was how would I go about it. After looking through all 3 books and seeing quite a few irresistible projects, I quickly decided my best way forward was to try out a project from each of the books and let you know how I got on following the patterns. 

With Christmas fast approaching I started with Weekend Crochet for Babies as the title suggested to me that the projects would be fairly quick and easy to do. I needed a Christmas present for my friends little girl 'Nia' who was 1yr in October and I'd spotted this really cute hat, scarf & bag set made using Colinette Jitterbug 4ply in the book. 

Unfortunately I don't have any jitterbug yarn but I do have plenty of Kauni & Evilla 4ply pure wools from astrids dutch obsessions in my stash to choose from so my 1st project was speedily underway with a lovely cream, pink & biscuit Kauni colourway.


 In recent years I am more used to writing my own patterns than following someone elses and I was delighted to find the project patterns were very easy and clear to follow. 
I started with the hat and by the end of my 1st evening it was already finished... I'm not a speedy crocheter so this was indeed a very quick item to do as i'd made the largest size 12-18 months! The main body of the hat is worked in rounds of trebles (UK terminology) and finished with a lovely double shell like edging which gives it a gentle fluted brim.

The next evening I started the scarf and again found the pattern very easy. When I'd got into the rythm of the design I only had to refer to the pattern when starting the next round as it is made using trebles and the same edging from the hat. It took me a bit longer to do than the hat... just over 2 evenings altogether as there are a fair amount of stitches involved working around the length of the scarf. The finished piece is charming though and well worth it. I just love the way the fluted edging spirals around the scarf as it drapes... It even rolls around itself into a lovely looking flower shape which will be an ideal method to present it in the Christmas wrapping paper!

The last item in the project was the bag... again in the now very familiar treble fabric with shell edgings. It took me about the same time to complete as the scarf and this was mainly due to the hand stitching needed to attach the handle at the final stage. I had to re-read a few parts of the pattern carefully towards the end when you are making the frill part, as when I'd initially read the pattern through before starting... those parts had seemed a bit unclear. When I actually got to crocheting that stage in the bag it then made total sense and it was very easy to see what to do next to make sure the frill lay the right way down the bag. The handle is easy & made of a spiraling tube of double crochet (UK terminology) and stitched securely to the top edge of the bag opening.

So within a matter of some evenings all the items were now finished and looking great. The book definitely followed what I was expecting from it and with no brain draining tricky things to wear you out in the process :) If you are looking for some quick & cute projects for sweaters, jackets, hats & toys to rattle up for presents then look no further... you'll not be disappointed. Or if you know an avid crocheter who is always looking for new projects to do for babies this book will be right up their street.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Free blanket square pattern - songbird

To make this 15cm blanket square you will need

1 x 4mm (USA 'g') crochet hook & 1 x embroidery needle

1 x 50g Debbie Bliss cotton DK in shades Ecru / Cream shade 02 (or similar)

A small amount of soft brown cotton DK for the bird itself, an oddment of orange for the beak & a small amount of green cotton DK for the musical notes

The pattern for this square is written using UK crochet terms

The cream 15cm x 15cm dc base square

Foundation row    24ch, 1dc into 2nd ch from hook, dc to end, turn. (23sts)
Rows 1 - 24          1ch, dc to end, turn. (23 sts)
Row 25                 1ch, dc to end, fasten off. (23sts)

NB. If your finished square is not 15cm square you can adjust the size by using either a hook size up or down depending on whether your square is too small or large.

Click here to download my free PDF pattern.

The songbird - worked in rounds & then embroidered

Foundation ring    Using your soft brown cotton DK make a magic adjustable ring, 6dc into ring, pull tail of ring tight, do not turn, place stitch marker if wanted. (6sts)
1st round             2dc in each of the 6 dc's of previous round, move stitch marker, do not turn. (12sts)
Final round           [1dc,3tr,1dc] into 1st stitch of this round, 4dc, [1dc,4ch,5dtr,4ch,1dc] into next stitch, 9dc, [1dc,3htr,1dc] into next stitch, 1dc, slip stitch across next 4dc's, then to form a wing shape... slip stitch into the previous rounds dc's with another 7 or so slip stitches curving firstly downwards and then back across to the right, finishing just below and to the right of your magic adjustable ring, pull last loop through to back of work, fasten off.

Use a single strand of your brown DK & small stitches to stitch the lower/outer loops of your completed bird shape to the bottom left hand corner of the cream square. Then using a single strand of the brown DK embroider 2 birds legs in back stitch, start at the birds body... work few stitches downwards and then work the last stitch across horizontally to form a foot at the end of each leg. Using a single strand of cream work a french knot for the birds eye. Lastly using a single strand of bright orange DK work a tiny triangular shaped satin stitch area for the birds beak.

The musical notes

Using a single strand of green DK work each musical note one at a time. Start each musical note with a bullion stitch circle wrapping the yarn around the needle 12 times before pulling the needle through and pulling it tight. Finally work the vertical stem of each note with 2 x chain stitches. Do as many musical notes around the square as you like!

NB. The pattern for this square is written in UK crochet terms ie.

1 DC= 1 x UK double crochet/USA Single crochet (SC)

1HTR= 1 x UK Half treble/USA half double crochet (HDC)

1 TR= 1 x UK Treble/USA double crochet (DC)

1 DTR= 1 x UK double treble/USA triple crochet (TRC)

Have fun & if you have any queries just let me know :)

This pattern has been featured on
Free Crochet Afghan Patterns - Free Crochet Afghan Patterns and More from

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

1st of Free blanket square patterns... flower square

Flower Square

To make all 4 of the 15cm blanket squares as shown in my previous post I used...
1 each x 50g Debbie Bliss cotton DK in shades Ecru / Cream shade 02 & Bright Orange shade 42
1 x 100g Katia 100% cotton DK in Jamaica (multi col... red, green, yellow & soft brown).
( I still have a small amount of each yarn left to use up too)
1 x 4mm crochet hook.

This square is a modified version of the one found in the Harmony Guide '300 crochet stitches' book and uses UK crochet abbreviations..  eg.
a UK double crochet (dc) is a USA single crochet (sc),
a UK treble (tr) is a USA Double crochet (dc)

If you are using the Katia Multi colour cotton DK... find the start of the red colour in the ball and make 8ch, join with a sl st to form a ring.

1st round    1ch, 18dc into ring, sl st to first dc, (18sts).

2nd round   1ch, beginning into same st as 1ch (1dc, 3ch, miss 2 sts) x 6, sl st in first dc.

3rd round    1ch, work a petal of (1dc, 3ch, 5tr, 3ch, 1dc) into each of the next 6 3ch arches, sl st to first dc.

4th round    1ch, (1dc between 2dc, 5ch behind petal of 3rd round) x 6, change to the green part of the Katia ball and sl st to first dc.

5th round    1ch, work a petal of (1dc, 3ch, 7tr, 3ch, 1dc) into each of next 6 5ch arches, sl st to first dc. Fasten off.

6th round    Using the cream/ecru join yarn between 2dc, 1ch, (1dc between 2dc, 6ch behind green petal) x 6, sl st to first dc.

7th round    Sl st into next ch, 3ch (count as 1tr), *(4tr, 2ch, 1tr) all into same arch, 6tr into next arch, (2tr, 2ch, 4tr) all into next arch**, 1tr into next arch, repeat from * to **, sl st to top of 3ch.

8th round    3ch (count as 1tr), 1tr into each tr of previous round & work (3tr, 2ch, 3tr) into each 2ch space, change to green of katia ball again & sl st to top of 3ch.

9th round   3ch (count as 1tr), 1tr into each tr of previous round & work (3tr, 1ch, 3tr) into each 2ch space, sl st to top of 3ch, fasten off.

Have fun & if you have any queries just let me know :)
As featured on

Free Crochet Afghan Patterns - Free Crochet Afghan Patterns and More from

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The 4 squares together

The 4 squares together

Originally uploaded by fiona-kelly

I managed to rattle off a couple more squares in addition to finishing the songbird one. I'll write up the patterns longhand tonight as they're going off in the post tomorrow.

As soon as I can I'll pop patterns for all 4 in the free patterns page so you can have a go at them too if you want :) They're all 15cms square and made with 100% Cotton DK... so nice and quick!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blanket squares

I'm taking a short holiday from Haggis the Highland cow... with a few blanket squares for a joint blanket with some fellow ravelers. This is my songbird square... just a few musical notes are needed, which I should get done tonight & I'll post a photo of the finished square.

My tangerine dreams square turned out more like multi-colour dreams, i've been deliberating whether to add more orange embellishment? I haven't quite decided on that one... what do you think?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm still here... baby #2 on the way

You may have been wondering where I've been for the last 2 months! Well there are a variety of reasons for my absence but it's time for me to fess up! The main one can be seen in the pictures below :)

For the last 2 months I have been suffering really badly with morning sickness or my version of it which is basically 24hrs a day nausea. I was like this when I was pregnant with F. Even wearing travel sickness acupressure bands haven't stopped it completely, but they have made enough of a difference for me to cope with the nausea and keep F going to his usual activities. By the time it's got to the evening I've been totally shattered and have been in bed shortly after F to snuggle under the duvet for the majority of nights!

As of today I'm 12wks and 3days and supposed to be heading into the time when all pregnant women get that glow... no sign of that with me yet though! If this pregnancy goes like F's I've only got about 2wks of nausea to go... fingers crossed.

One of the things that have been different this time are my cravings. Last time I went chocoholic and tomato soup mad... which was very strange as I loathe tomato soup and i'm not usually that fussed about chocolate. I also went off fish and avocados which I normally love. This time my cravings have been for apples, avocados, egg mayonaise sandwiches, potatoes & mature cheddar cheese... and i've gone off meats like chicken/beef/turkey etc unless they're hidden in casseroles and soups! Weird :)

I had to fish out my maternity clothes at 9wks as my tummy decided to expand very quickly... I think when you've done it before it always shows quicker. At least I didn't go through a stage of looking like I'd been eating too many cream cakes...  thankfully just straight from looking not pregnant to she's definitely pregnant. We told a few people early as there was no way I could hide it. So there's still a long time to go but i'm sure it'll be may 15th before we know it!