Manta Hueco Zig Zag Cushion Cover

rosie2 (13 of 18)

I’m quite chuffed with this pair. They don’t match, but this stripey wool twosome were the perfect crochet cushion covers for some Ikea cushions that we have had for yonks. It’s a really easy pattern, as long as you have already nailed the mighty Granny Square, and I’m going to show you how to make.

I had been eyeing up a Manta Hueco Zig Zag design on a photo on Flickr, and asked the maker who I could make my own amazing creation, and the reply was, just google it! The pattern is  traditionally made of small granny squares and the corners are stitched together, but then zig-zag stripes are made either side of the squares. A tutorial on this Spanish blog ‘buscando comienzos’ provided all the information that I needed to start this pattern off.

Manta Hueco Zig Zag cushion cover

Manta Hueco Zig Zag cushion cover

How To Make

To make the cover you need to make 3/4 granny squares that are the length of your cushion when arranged diagonally in a straight line. You make the stripes like making normal rounds on a granny square (3TC Ch1 or Ch2 if on a corner) , but when you go to attach the squares on the decent, you need to do this unusual stitch.

stitcheshowto

1) Begin a triple crochet stitch as normal – yarn over the hook, insert into the stitch, yarn over again, pull through two loops

2) Rather than finishing the stitch, you want to start making the next triple crochet. Do this twice more, so you have four loops on your hook, and three unfinished stitches.

2 ) Continue into the next square, by repeating the above process again, so there are three more unfinished stitches and 7 loops on your hook.

3) Yarn over and pull through all 7 of the stitches. Ch 1.

Once you have nailed that stitch (anyone have any ideas of it’s name?) then this pattern is your oyster! Continue with the rounds until the work wraps around the cushion and the points of the zig zags touch, and connect the work by doing reverse granny squares with the above stitch. Stitch one side together with a DC seam, and the other side sew 5 buttons.

Manta Hueco Zig Zag cushion cover

Manta Hueco Zig Zag cushion cover

Ta Ta! Now you have a super stylish stripy cushion cover. Who said granny squares are boring? Not when they are stripetastic! Have you made something with Manta Hueco pattern? Feel free to share your stripey wares in the comments below!

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A Beginners Thoughts on Crochet (or How to Make a Giant Granny Blanket)

So, I have recently just blogged about a recent crochet project I have just completed, rainbow ripple crochet scarf for my lovely boyfriend. What I didn’t share however, was that the scarf wasn’t the first project that I completed. Oh no. My first learning of the dark art of crochet were first with the Amazings, where after covering the basic stitches I then tried to tackle the idea of making a granny square, which then developed into a giant blanket. Pretty standard beginner’s fare eh?

To begin with I did a lot of Pinterest research – If research counts as looking at other people’s gorgeous items and thinking “I wish I could make that”, until I finally settled on recreating a similar design to this one featured on the Little Tin Bird blog. It’s not in my nature to keep things small and square. With Rosie, life has to be big, bold and colourful. And even better for me, there was a tutorial to recreate the magic on the post, as well as plenty more tutorials to look through. Hurrah!

http://www.littletinbird.co.uk/basic-granny-square-pattern/

So. I had picked the pattern. Now to pick the yarn. I had discovered that my local sewing shop lives up to it’s name, Sew Amazing. It stocked lots of different varieties of the colorful Stylecraft Double knit DK, which was my yarn of choice, for cost (£2.50 a pop) and aesthetic reasons. Living room wise, we have a  red sofa, a green rug, and accents of different colours around the room, so I decided that the main colour of the blanket should be lime green, with each square having a different multicolored accent colours. In practice, some of the squares took a  rainbow and graduated turn rather than completely random. Armed with a 4mm crochet hook from amazon, I was ready to rock & wool!

I was going well… until I got stuck. I had forgotten all those wise words those amazings taught me! Thankfully Youtube came to my rescue. If you ever have a question, 9/10 there is a YouTube tutorial answering it. And for me, this was my gospel. Four months later I had completed all the squares, or so I first thought, thinking that 12 squares was going to be enough, bearing in mind it took me about 3 hours to make justvone square of 18 rounds. It wasn’t. I had to do 15, or else it wasn’t going to cover my toes. This was going to be a giant blanket…

9 giant granny squares     

Post assembly, joining and a few extra rounds around the whole blanket and I’m not just impressed with the result, I’m now properly addicted.

Giant Square Crochet Blanket

I’m already dreaming up new projects. tutorials, and homewares. I’m afraid by previous love of cross-stitch is now taking a bit of a back foot! But if I could do it all again, I would pass on the following tips:

  1. Do a test square first. You don’t have to use it in the final pattern, but it’s important that you get the pattern nailed before you carry on. Everyone makes makes mistakes in the beginning, and your first project is not going to be perfect. But the best bit about crochet is that you can unravel if you go wrong!
  2. Watch a master in action. They can teach you things about the craft that you can’t learn from a book. Like the best way to hold wool. Or crochet anecdotes. And if you are lucky, their skillz might be catching…
  3. Buy all your wool in advance – and then some.  I made the tragic mistake of not buy enough of my lime green wool to finish my lime green border. Unknown to me at the time, wool is dyed in batches, and once the whole batch has gone, the next batch might be the same shade, but not the same tone – which is silly of me not to realise that now thinking about it. I used 3 balls of the lime green, and still needed more. Next time, I’m buying bulk.
  4. Buy your wool in person if you can. Then you can really get a feel for the textures and qualities, as well as comparing those all important colours. You can always buy your favourite kinds online later on, but it’s important to support local traders!
  5. Absorb ideas everywhere. Read blogs. Make a Pinterest board. Like pictures on Instgram. Keep collecting visual examples of projects to inspire and challenge yourself ton the next project. The craft community is lovely too, be sure to share the love! Books are great, but the internet is your friend. Here’s a few blogs that have defiantly inspired me along the way: One Sheepish Girl, The Purl Bee and A Beautiful Mess.

So there are my thoughts and musings from a crochet beginner, even now I am no longer a novice. but it’s OK. Because I am making pretty things If anyone has any crochet thoughts, stories or musings as a beginner, be sure to let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you!

 

Learning How to Crochet with The Amazings

Crochet Wool

“The trick is all in the holding of the wool and the needles. Once you have that right it’s easy.”

This was one of the many pearls of wisdom I learnt yesterday from Bernadette. She is an Amazing. The Amazings is a social enterprise with a brilliant idea at its core; getting retired people to teach their skills and wisdom in evening classes to those that wish to learn them. The class I dropped in on was my first in learning how to crochet, which was I wasn’t doing too well at. “You’re holding the needles wrong. Are you left handed?” No, just cack handed.

It was a small class of eager beginners, all as bimbly thumbed as myself. Learning the three basic stitches, a chain, a double crochet and a triple crochet, we were given the pattern for a granny square, with the idea in mind to finish the two-hour session with the finished piece. Our beginners techniques were humorously familiar to Bernadette, “You crochet just like my daughter, she pulls the needles closer and closer to her face until she is practically picking her nose with them.” Bernadette’s sense of humor makes this class. She teaches it with the warmth and familiarity of your own Grandma, helping you with the needles and showing her secret trick and tips. “Crocheting in the Summer is difficult as your hands get sweaty,” she tells us, “So I keep some talcum power handy.” A top tip right there.

Crochet is a skill that is a challenge to master, but once you have you can be stunningly creative with. We all gasp when Bernadette shows off her latest triple crochet weave which only took her an evening. We can all do that? The needles start cracking. The concentration in the room is fierce. One hour in and I wasn’t even able to complete a line or turn around on myself. Thankfully Bernadette was there to help me start again. “That’s the beauty of crochet, it’s easy to unravel if you make a mistake.” Except I ended up unravelling to the beginning. Twice. I’m still hopeful. I have had a dream of a Granny Square patchwork and I am going to make it.

I learnt three things last night. 1) The Amazings are amazing. 2) Bernadette is a crocheting legend, and probably has the coolest dressed grand-kids in the world thanks to herself. 3) Like Captain Hook and the Candyman, I can’t be left alone with a hook. I cause no end of hole-some terror. Maybe next time I will try making a hammock.

Image from the event provided by The Amazings.

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How to make a Giant Granny BlanketA Beginners Thoughts on Crochet

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