A Friendship Patch… How to Crochet a Clustered Spike Stitch or Leaf Stitch

When my friend Naomi called on her friends to make patches for a university project, naturally my inner craftster screamed and jumped at the opportunity. Her project was to make a portrait of herself, and on choosing to make a patchwork bedspread, asked her friends and family to all create 20x20cm square in a pattern of their choosing, but it had to represent the relationship and was made of materials that you already had.

I (obviously) had loads of spare wool, and am always looking for new opportunities to put new crochet patterns into practice. I had found this pattern on Pinterest some time ago, and thought it would be perfect to figure out how to make it. I could say that on a deeper level that I picked it because our friendship overlaps and is joined by all of our other shared friends (we met through a mutual best friend), but really I picked it because I loved the pattern and  it reminded me of lots of the patterns and beautiful retro things that Naomi wears and I gorge over in her room whenever I visit. There isn’t a name to the stitch, but I’m going to call it a leaf stitch – but if you know of the proper stitch name, let me know!

Crochet Leaf stitch

Crochet Leaf stitch

And here is my patch:

Crochet leaf pattern

Tackling the pattern was quite easy as the pin came with some visual instructions, but I’ve modified them a little. So I’m also going to include some helpful instructions to my recreation so you can also give it a go. My patch was created with Stylecarft DK wool and 4mm hook – but in hindsight I should have used a smaller hook. This is also my first attempt at writing a pattern, so here it goes!

Crochet Leaf Stitch

1) Do a foundation chain in multiples of 8 – for a 20cm square (with 2cm seam allowance) I did 56.

2) Ch 2, Tc 3, (Ch1, Tc1, Ch1, Tc in the next stitch, Ch 1, Tc3), repeat to the end, Tc1 in last stitch, turn.

3) Ch2, Tc 3, [ (Ch1, Tc next stitch)x3, Tc 2 ], repeat to the end, Tc in last stitch, turn.

4) *Change colour* Tc4, (Leaf Stitch, Tc 4 ), repeat to the end, TC in last 4 stitches.

5) Ch 2, Tc 4, (Ch 1, Skip 1 stitch, Tc 5), repeat to the end, TC in last 4 stitches.

6) Repeat steps 2-5

It’s quite difficult to explain the special leaf stitch, but hopefully the diagram below will explain… Basically you need to pull your wool twice through the five gaps you’ve made, and then pull through all the stitches at the end. It’s tricky at first, but you’ll get the hang of it, I promise.

templateFINAL6steps

And there you have it – a very special crochet pattern. Beware, it eats up your wool, but it’s very luxurious. Kinda looks a little like maple leaves too with the colours I’ve chosen. I can’t wait to see how the bedcover turns out too 🙂

crochet2

Comment below if you’ve tried this stitch, I’d love to hear from you!

08/03/14 Update: As Jyneffer rightly pointed out in the comments, this is a Clustered Spike Stitch – always good to know the right technical term! 🙂

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Tri-colour Crochet Striped Scraps Snood

Tri-colour striped Snood

Some of you might have noticed that I’ve been modelling some new homemade knitwear on my twitter profile. What do you do with all of those colorful yarns ends that need using up? Those bits of scraps will forever be at the bottom of your wool bag, but here’s how to make a warm woolly accessory and crochet up all those loose ends.

Using up scraps by bad bad magpie on Flickr

This hat by bad bad magpie caught my eye on Flickr – as do most of my crochet projects, like the Manta Hueco Zig Zag Cushion cover. I really liked the colorful randomness of the pattern, which is made up of different coloured yarns, but each round has the constant dark green or sage strand running through it. It inspired me for my next project, a thick woolly snood.

Tri-colour striped Snood

I started making this snood while I was between projects, and had lots of yarn ends and scraps that needed using up. I use three colours in one yarn, my main constant colour was going to be purple (my favourite colour), and I decided to keep the colour scheme graduating from one colour to another, with each . For example;

Round 1 was green, black, purple,

Round 2 was red, black, purple,

Round 3 was dark red, red, purple…. and so on.

The wool used was mostly Stylecraft DK and I used a 8mm crochet hook. The pattern was also very simple:

Ch to the desired length of the snood – this one was at least Ch 120 and slip stitch the foundation chain without twisting it so you have a continuous loop. Round 1 is a continuous round of  double crochet stitches, and then round 2 is a continuous round of triple crochets in the same colour. Round 3 is a colour change, and then a repeat of the round of DC stitches and then DTR stitched. Easy peasy, but look tri-brilliant!

Tri-colour striped Snood

 

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!

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!

 

Rainbow Ripple Stitch Crochet Scarf

Hanging up against my green wool coat

Last weekend, I completed not one, but two (yes TWO!) crochet projects. I have only recently taken up the craft, to take little break from my recent cross stitch embroidery, while I start to draw and come up with some of my own design ideas to work on. This scarf was my second yarn project, I started it when we took a trip away to stay at the Down Hall Country Hotel. I was grumbling that I couldn’t take my first project with me for the trip, so  my boyfriend requested that I started to make him a multi-coloured wool scarf instead.

Rainbow Ripple Stitch Crochet Scarf

I began my search for the pattern by searching crochet images on pinterest and instagram, and asking the owners of interesting work where their stitch came from. I’m always big on bright colours (life is far too short to wear grey) and like me, Ross wanted the scarf to be as multi-colored as possible, almost rainbow. The finished scarf has a bit of a Tom Baker about it, and will defiantly brighten up any rainy day. It took me just under a month to make, on and off, growing to be over 6 foot long. In the end he was very chuffed – well I hope so anyway!

Close-up of Rainbow Ripple Stitch Crochet Scarf

The crochet stitch itself a  ripple stitch, or wave stitch. I followed this AMAZING tutorial on Attic24 – this blog is an idea haven. The only tricky part was learning the tr2tog (treble two together), but if you have mastered the granny square, this pattern is a piece of cake. I started with a chain of 45, and did go a little wrong in the beginning as I didn’t follow the pattern as strictly as I should have, but it just made on of the ends a little uneven – but to be fair this stitch isn’t known for being straight!

Rainbow Ripple Stitch Crochet Scarf

The thing that make this scarf so special is the mesmerising nature of the ripples, you are instantly drawn into the relaxing nature of this pattern – and I reminded me of my water ripple photographs from my trip to Spain. I have seen many blankets created in this pattern, and it truly does allow you to experiment with the colours as much as you like. You don’t need to use the same colours to again, or repeat the same ones again. But for me it was defiantly the graduated effects of the multi-coloured rainbow that I thought looked the best.

So there it is, my rainbow ripple scarf! And a very big recommendation to any crochet beginners!

Read the tutorial on Attic 24