Faves & Tips

Looking for inspiration, patterns or tools?  This page is dedicated to yarny favourites I’ve discovered on my crochet travels so far.  Basic vocabulary and UK to USA stitch conversions at the bottom of the page.

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Inspiration

Attic24  – Lucy’s blog is always a joy to visit.   Full of colour and yarn-y deliciousness.  Well worth bookmarking.

The Patchwork Heart – I first heard of Heather Leal via a Facebook friend and oh my goodness, what a talent this lovely lady has.  Heather is quite active on Facebook and regularly posts pictures of her latest makes.  Heather’s colourways are beautiful!  The link in this section is to her Facebook page.  For a link to Heather’s website, scroll down to Patterns with Tutorials.

RAF Sweetheart Crochet – I am regularly in awe of the beautiful pieces Mrs RAF creates.  I follow her on Facebook but in looking at her blog, she also posts to Instagram and Pinterest.  Her blog is new, hopefully she’ll keep it up because I do so enjoy her cheery posts.

Haak Maar Raak – If you love Scandinavian art then you will enjoy Kirsten’s work.  Scheepjes in collaboration with Kirsten, produced the Hygge Shawl CAL in 2017.  Kirsten’s patterns are well written and easy to follow; the more complex will often include tutorials.  Some of Kirsten’s patterns are free of charge, others can be purchased.  Available patterns can be found on her website or Ravelry.

Felted Button – If you love colour, then you’ll love Susan’s creations.  I first came across her work on Ravelry; Susan’s Painted Pixels blanket is gorgeous.  Another of my favourites is Susan’s Trio Blanket.  It is worked using 3 cakes of Scheepjes Whirl in alternating rows – the result is crochet magic.

Susan’s patterns are well written and easy to follow.  Some patterns are free, others can be purchased.  They are available on Ravelry or her website.  You can follow Felted Button on Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram.

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Patterns with Tutorials

Attic24 – Lucy designs and writes patterns in a tutorial style.  I’ve never had a fail following her instructions.  Easy to follow with plenty of pictures.  My favourite of her blankets, the Cosy Stripe, I’ve made in 5 different colourways of my own.  For one I used the same colour throughout in a variegated yarn – very effective.

In addition to blankets, Lucy has designed a number of patterns for appliques and home decor.  And if you struggle planning colourways, Lucy has teamed up with Wool Warehouse where you will find a range of yarn packs for various projects.

Lucy doesn’t charge for her patterns but does have a PayPal button should you want to buy her ‘a cup of coffee’. 🙂

The Patchwork Heart – Heather’s patterns and tutorials are clear and easy to follow with pictures each step of the way. I tried out Heather’s flat braid join tutorial on a recent project and loved the result.

In addition to project patterns, Heather also provides tutorials for several square join methods, granny squares and the trickier parts of crocheting the Willow Block.

If you like Heather’s colourways and designs, you can find a range of Heather’s project yarn packs on Deramores.

Heather is very active on Facebook and considering her following, impressively quick to answer follower questions.  Heather shares her advice, patterns and tutorials free of charge.  There is a PayPal button for donations on her website.

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Patterns

Ravelry –  Database containing thousands of patterns both free and for purchase.   Comprehensive search facility for both knitting and crochet.   I have yet to explore all the account functions – my favourites so far are the ‘Library’ and pattern update notifications features.  Account creation required to access the site.

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Video Tutorials

Bella Coco – Sarah-Jayne’s YouTube channel with a variety of video tutorials for the absolute beginner and the more experienced.  She was my first teacher and is my go-to when I need to refresh my skills or learn something new.  Sarah-Jayne is easy to listen to and her videos well produced.

Russian Join – Sarah-Jayne of Bella Coco has a super easy and secure method for the Russian Join.  I had been wary of trying this because I thought it would be too fiddly.  I’m glad to be wrong.  You will need the smallest sized yarn needle you can use for your yarn weight.  You will not need to untwist your yarn for this method.

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Favourite Books

Colourful Crochet Lace – 22 chic garments & accessories by Mary Jane Hall
What drew me to the book was the Victorian vibe – I love vintage!  This was the first crochet book I purchased.  I learned to read charts before text so for me as a somewhat new crocheter this book was perfect for learning to read patterns.  I do find the print size challenging and with the text in columns it can be easy to lose place in the pattern – which is what makes the charts a brilliant addition.

200 crochet blocks for blankets, throws and afghans by Jan Eaton
If you’re after something a little bit different to the traditional Granny Square, this book more than fits the bill.  The book is well written, text easy to follow with an index of squares.  All squares are finished to the same dimension which makes mixing and matching a breeze.  There is a good mix of easy, intermediate and challenging square patterns making it a great book for nearly every skill level.

Boho Crochet – 30 gloriously colourful projects inspired by traditional folk style Contributing Editor: Marinke Slump
This book features a collection of projects by various artists.  I originally purchased it for the Crocheted Christmas Baubles design – before I realised that pattern was available on Ravelry for free.  I am so glad I didn’t know about the free pattern because I would have missed out on all the other goodies this lovely book holds.

I’ve made lots of Christmas Baubles and Lacy Coasters – both patterns were well written and easy to follow and memorise.  For a complete beginner some of the patterns may be a bit challenging.

Animal Friends of Pica Pau by Yan Schenkel
A small herd of colourful, cheery and whimsical creatures great and small adorn these pages.  Beautifully photographed with stitch tutorials, in depth tools and materials information to educate the reader at the start of the book.   The patterns are well written, accompanied by pictures and easy to follow.  Knowledge of crocheting in the round helpful.

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Tools & Reference

Color Palette FX – I use this a lot when planning colourways from photographs.  Upload an image and the app auto-generates a colour palette in hues that work well together.  Magic!

Needle, Hook and Yarn Conversion Charts – Wool Warehouse has a great conversion chart on their website detailing USA/UK knitting needle and crochet hook sizes.  USA, UK and Australian yarn weights are also listed.

Fizzy’s Crochet Reference Board on Pinterest – Some of the stitch conversion charts (text and symbol) on my Pinterest page are from websites that no longer exist.  Fortunately there are people that have pinned them  before they vanished.

How to read a crochet chart – Kirsten of Haak Maar Raak

How to adjust your stitch size when crocheting to guage – YouTube video tutorial – are you a ‘yanker’, ‘lifter’, ‘rider’, all three or combination of two?   This video has helped me understand why my stitch work at times was inconsistent. Highly recommended for anyone that struggles with consistency when gauge is important.  Starts at 16:25 in the Scheepjes Tutorial for Last Dance on the Beach.

Yarn Sub – Yarn substitution search engine.  And possibly one of the best tools ever for yarn artists.  Their database consists of current and discontinued yarns with filters for name, weight name, gauge, price and fibre content.

BBC Webwise – Netiquette (Internet Etiquette) guide

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Paying It Forward

Knitted Knockers UK – “Made with Love & Filled with Hope“, a beautiful motto for a wonderful charity.  In 2014 the project was launched by a small group of ladies to provide free of charge, knit or crochet breast prosthesis as an alternative to silicone which can be heavy, uncomfortable and hard on sensitive skin.  In the early days all the costs of making the knockers was paid for by the volunteers.  An appearance on the BBC news shortly after inception, the demand for knockers sky rocketed.

In 2017 alone, KKUK filled 3,561 orders.  That is a staggering number that will continue to grow as more and more women are affected by breast cancer.

The knockers are made to order and remain free of charge.  Fundraising and donations covers most costs these days.   To keep up with demand, periodically throughout the year volunteer recruitment is opened. Visit the KKUK website for more information.

The Peyton Heart Project – “A global project created to help end suicide and bullying and the stigma surrounding mental health issues.”  Volunteers make hearts, attach an inspirational quote with Peyton Heart Project social media info and then leave them in random places out in the world for people to find.  I from time to time scatter hearts.  Someone that found one of my hearts posted to the project Facebook page what it meant to them in that moment.  It was very moving to know that my small gesture meant so much.

Instructions for making the hearts and the sheets with inspirational quotes can be found on the project website.

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Top Tips

Complicated text patterns:  Re-type the pattern into bite size chunks.  It makes a complicated pattern much easier to follow.

WiPs – Keeping track of the hook size: write the hook size on a stitch marker.  This saves losing the hook or forgetting which hook you used.

For a tidy starting edge:  work the stitches into the back loop of the foundation chain.  This creates a lovely neat edge and makes an easier job of adding an optional border or other enhancement.

Russian Join – love, love, LOVE this method!  Strong, secure and leaves no ends to have to work in later.  Colour changes are easy peasy too.

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Favourite Suppliers

Wool Warehouse – I’ve been shopping with Wool Warehouse since 2015.  The customer service is outstanding and yarn prices very competitive.  They offer a huge selection of yarn manufacturers and do try to carry the entire colour palette within each range.  Knowledgeable and friendly telephone support – I’ve called them a few times for colour matching or adding that one forgotten ball to an order placed online.  Same day dispatch with next day delivery is consistent.   Their website is easy to navigate and visitors can sort the palettes by colour or shade code.   Winner of the 2017 and 2018 British Craft Awards Retailer of the Year.

Mad Mad Graphics – Melody is an uber talented and creative graphic designer offering a broad range of graphic design services through her Etsy shop. I’ve purchased custom ‘made by’ labels and a custom logo for my internet presence.  Her prices are competitive, customer service, quality and attention to detail are top notch.

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Favourite Yarns

Cascade – Beautiful sheen and easy to work with, DK mercerised cotton Ultra Pima is available in 101 gorgeous shades.  I have also used the Ultra Pima Paints, a variegated DK mercerised cotton, available in 18 unique colour combinations.

Rico Essentials Cotton DK – Mercerised cotton yarn –  this has a lovely sheen and is available in 58 shades.  I’ve used this for mandala making, scarves, Christmas baubles, appliques and coasters.

Scheepjes –  The Catona 4-ply is a mercerised cotton yarn – lovely sheen, fantastic stitch definition and super easy to work with.  With this yarn I’ve made mandalas, Christmas baubles, amigurumi, appliques and coasters.

Other yarns in the Scheepjes range I’ve used in projects such as blankets, shawls, appliques, etc.:  Scheepjes Cotton 8, Whirl (cotton/acrylic), Stonewashed (cotton/acrylic), Sweet Treat, Colour Crafter (premium acrylic), Softfun (acrylic/cotton), Roma Big (chunky acrylic) and Secret Garden (silk/cotton/polyester blend).  Beautiful range of colours, great quality and easy to work with.

Stylecraft – The Special acrylic range has been my go-to since 2015.  I’ve used the Special DK,  Special Aran, Special Chunky, Bambino and Classique Cotton DK.  I’ve crocheted blankets, hats, scarves and amigurumi with the acrylic ranges; placemats and flowers with the Classique.  The Special DK colour range is excellent with 86 shades to choose from.  The acrylic is super lux to work with – machine washing and tumble drying makes it even silkier to the touch.

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Vocab

CAL – Crochet Along
Frog – to undo crochet or knitting stitches.  Named after the “ribbit ribbit” sound the yarn makes as the stitches are undone.
Hooker – one who crochets
HotH – Hot off the Hook
PtS – Project to Start
WiP – Work in Progress
Yarn Barf – When pulling the end from the centre of a skein produces a tangled mess of yarn.
Yarn Chicken – that moment when one isn’t sure if there will be enough yarn to complete the last few stitches (or row) of a project. It is not a fun game.

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Basic UK to USA Crochet Conversions & Abbreviations

slip stitch = slip stitch
dc double crochet = sc single crochet
htr half treble crochet = hdc half double crochet
tr treble crochet = dc double crochet
dtr double treble  = treble
ttr triple treble = dtr double treble