Sunday 27 September 2015

Super Chunky Cowl Neck Jumper

© Hooker Chick

This has to be THE easiest jumper to make!

I am sooooooo pleased with it, and from first stitch to completion with no frogging – amazing! My freestyle makes never normally go as smoothly.

It's super comfy to wear too as the front and back is made in one piece, so no bulky seams across the top of the shoulders.

As usual, I have made this to fit me – 36” bust – with the finished measurements being 40” around the body, body length 22”, sleeve length 18.5” . But it should be pretty easy to size up – just add stitches in even numbers, so an addition 4 sts per row would add just under 2 inches around the body, and 6 sts would increase by just over 2 inches. Add stitches evenly as when you come to count for the neck hole, no matter how many stitches you add, you still want the neck hole to be 28 stitches. So if you added 4 sts, you would count 13sts/28sts/13sts at the neck, adding six stitches make the count 14sts/28sts/14sts, and so on. If you are adding stitches to the width to accomodate a larger bust size, you should add to the overall length too, by adding rows evenly to the front and back, e.g. adding 2 rows to the front and 2 rows to the back will increase the overall length by 1 inch. I hope this makes sense.

Okay ... you will need:
  • 8 x 100g/3.5oz skeins of Berroco Borealis Tweed (I used colour 5094) or 800m/864yds of another, super chunky yarn of your choice.  Borealis is a 52% acrylic/33% wool/15% rayon mix, which gives the jumper a lovely soft feel, so look for a similar mix.  If sizing up, remember to buy additional yarn. 
  • 7mm and 8mm hooks
  • Darning needle to sew in ends
  • Contrasting thread to use as stitch markers

The entire jumper (including neck) is worked in rows back and forth, hooking through the 'v' at the top of each htr of the previous row.

Begin each row with ch 2 – this counts as the first stitch.

Back/front, sleeves and neck are all made using 8mm hook. Use the 7mm for the slip stitch seam – it makes it a little less bulky.

Abbreviations ~ ch (chain), htr (UK half treble).

Tension ~ 10 sts/8 rows = 4 inch square

BACK ~ make a foundation row in htr - 50 sts in total (ch 2 + 49 htr) - see photos 1- 12 of the instructional picture below ...

© Hooker Chick

Next row as photos 13 - 16.  Repeat for a further 42 rows (or to desired length if sizing up) - 44 rows in all including the foundation row.

NECK HOLE ~ ch 2, htr 10, ch 28, htr 11 (if sizing up, add htrs evenly either side of ch 28).

FRONT ~ ch 2, htr 10, htr x 28 into each top loop of the chain, htr 11. Continue each row in htr for a further 43 rows (or for same number of rows as the back), 44 rows in all.

SLEEVES ~ count and mark 28 rows from bottom of front and back, and with right side facing out, join yarn at row 29. If you have added rows to the length of the back/front, remember to count these too, so if you have added 2 rows, count 30 rows from bottom, joining yarn at row 31.

Rows 1 – 4, ch 2, htr 31
Row 5, ch 2, htr 30
Rows 6 – 9, ch 2, htr 29
Row 10, ch 2, htr 28
Rows 11 – 14, ch 2, htr 27
Row 15, ch 2, htr 26
Rows 16 – 19, ch 2, htr 25
Row 20, ch 2, htr 24
Rows 21 – 24, ch 2, htr 23
Row 25, ch 2, htr 22
Rows 26 – 36, ch 2, htr 21

36 rows in all ~ don't cut your yarn just yet! With right sides facing together, change to 7mm hook and slip-stitch seam along arm and down first side. This means no ends to sew in at the wrist.

Repeat on other side for sleeve number two.

~ with right side facing out, join yarn at one side of neck, then (ch 2, htr 57) x 20 rows. When you come to the end of each row, join with slip stitch through the second chain of first stitch of previous row.  Start each row with ch 2 and turn, but miss the first 'v' and make your 1st htr into the 2nd 'v'.  If you make the 1st htr in the 1st 'v', you will end up increasing by 1 stitch per row.

Just a few pesky ends to sew in, and you're done!  Happy hooking :-)
© Hooker Chick

Thursday 9 July 2015

Popcorn flower mitts

I wanted something small to hook during the heatwave, and so came up with these flowery fingerless mitts!

© Hooker Chick

You will need ...

In dk yarn, approx 150yds/50g of colour 1, and small quantities of colours 2, 3 & 4
3mm hook
Darning needle
Tape measure

Abbreviations ...

ch - chain stitch
slst - slip stitch
dc - UK double crochet
htr - UK half treble
tr - UK treble
pc -popcorn stitch

Tension in htr approx 18 rows/16 sts to 4".  The flower square should measure approx 3" across.

My hand circumference is 7" ~ as you can see from the photo below this is measured tightly.  The mitts are a snug fit, so if your hand circumference is larger than 7-1/2", working an additional row along each long side will add about 3/4" to the overall mitt circumference.

© Hooker Chick

I've laid out the pattern entirely in pictures, so I hope this makes it easy to follow ...

© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick

A few more flowers ... a few more ideas ... single flowers could be added to anything as decoration, and the larger square could be made up into blankets, cushions, bags, etc.  The double flower mandala is quite funky!  And looking at the colour combos I think the mitts would look great as a white daisy on a blue background.  Happy hooking :)

© Hooker Chick

Thursday 18 June 2015

Tailored Cardi

I have actually quite impressed myself with this one!  And I'm really excited to be able to share my pattern with you :-)  As usual, I have made this to fit me - I'm a UK size 10.

© Hooker Chick

You will need ...
7 skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (I used colour 42104)
6mm & 4mm hooks
darning needle

© Hooker Chick

st - stitch
ch - chain stitch
dc - UK double crochet
htr - UK half treble

Back and front pieces are worked from the top down as follows ...

Front - make two pieces
With 6mm hook, make a foundation row of 20 x htr.  The following video shows you how to do this.  It's not my video and uses the US terminology 'foundation half double crochet' instead of the UK 'foundation half treble', but it's the same stitch ...

Row 1 ~ ch 2, htr in first space, *miss 1 space, 5 x htr in same space, miss 1 space, 2 x htr in same space*, *-* to end of row.
Row 2 ~ ch 2, htr in first space, htr either side of middle stitch of cluster of 5 htrs of previous row, 5 x htr between 2 single htr stitches of previous row. Repeat to end, last 2 htrs in last space.
Row 3 ~ ch 2, htr in first space, 5 x htr between 2 single htr stitches of previous row, htr either side of middle stitch of cluster of 5 htrs of previous row. Repeat to end, last 2 htrs in last space.
Repeat rows 2 & 3 to make 40 rows (exclusive of foundation row).

With 6mm hook, make a foundation row of 60 x htr.
Work same pattern as front piece for 40 rows (exclusive of foundation row).

© Hooker Chick

Join back and front pieces together as follows ...
From the bottom of each piece, count upwards 16 rows and mark row ends with contrasting thread. Mark both sides of back and one side of each front piece.
With right sides together, join top of front pieces to back piece.  You should now have armholes!
With right sides together, seam each front piece to back piece from bottom to stitch markers.

© Hooker Chick

This worked in one piece across the whole garment.  The first 5 rows are worked with a 4mm hook - this gives the cardi a tailored waist.  The rest of the peplum is worked with a 6mm hook.

With 4mm hook and right side facing, join yarn at bottom of left side and continue in the same pattern as for front and back pieces.  When you get to the seam, work 2 htrs either side of the seam (so treat the seam like it wasn't there and you were ending one row and starting the next).  Work 5 rows.

© Hooker Chick

Change to 6mm hook.  Continue working in pattern, but instead of doing the 2 htrs either side of each seam line, skip these and instead do 5 htrs into the seam line space.  This brings the '5 x htr cluster, miss 1 space, htr, htr, miss 1 space' pattern across the entire row.  Work 16 rows in total.

With 6mm hook and right side facing, join yarn at bottom front edge, ch 1, then dc into each space up one front side, along back piece at neck, and down the other front side. Work 7 rows in total.

© Hooker Chick

With 6mm hook and right side facing, join yarn at side seam under arm, ch1, then dc into each space all the way around the armhole - 54 sts in total.  Decrease 1 st at beginning of each row (simply skip the first space after the beginning ch of each row) until 40 sts remain.  Repeat for other armhole.  With right sides facing, join sleeve seams.

© Hooker Chick
You're almost done ...
Weave in ends with darning needle, then wash the cardi on a wool wash plus spin cycle.  It will shrink a bit, but don't panic!  Simply put the damp cardi on and then pull it into shape over your body - pulling the front bottom corners gently downwards and forwards will accentuate the shape of the cardi and give it a gently tailored look.

© Hooker Chick

The cardi is designed to worn open, not fastened at the front.

 © Hooker Chick
© Hooker Chick

I'm definitely going to be making more of these in different colours!  If you decide to try out my pattern, I'd love to  know how you get on.  Happy hooking :-)

Monday 11 May 2015

Cute Pixie Hat

If, like me, you are permanently bespectacled, well-fitting, woolly hats can be a bit of a pain to find.  When I could see to walk about without my specs I used to wear beanies, but they just don't fit right with specs ~ the arms get pressed in, raising the bridge off my nose slightly, which means that I'm constantly fiddling about with hat and specs in order to make the ensemble comfortable.  It just never feels quite right! 

So my answer to the problem is this cute little pixie hat, which fits perfectly over the wide arms of my specs.

And it hooks up really quick too, in just a few hours.

© Hooker Chick

You will need approximately 220 yds (200 m) / 3.5 oz (100g) of medium weight yarn (I used Cascade's now discontinued 'Souk', which is a self-striping, wool/silk mix), a 4.00 mm hook, and a darning needle to sew in the ends.

slst ~ slip stitch
ch ~ chain stitch
dc ~ double crochet (UK)
htr ~ half treble (UK)
tr ~ treble (UK)

The hat is worked in rounds in the same direction, into the spaces between stitches.  Tension needs to be 15 stitches/12 rows to 4 inches.

Foundation ring ~ ch 3, slip stitch to join circle.
Round 1 ~ ch 3, tr 7, slst into 3rd chain (ch 3 counts as a stitch, so 8 stitches in all).
Round 2 ~ ch 3, *tr 1, tr 2 into same space*, repeat * - * 3 twice more, tr 1, tr 1 into same space as ch 3 (so this counts as 2 trebles in the same space), slst into 3rd chain.  You should have 12 stitches in all, in alternate sets of 1 and 2.
Round 3 ~ ch 3, *tr 1, tr 1, tr 2 into same space*, repeat *-* twice more, tr 1, tr 1, tr 1 into same space as ch 3, slst into 3rd chain.  You should now have 16 stitches in all.

Continuing in this way, increase 4 stitches per round, so round 4 will be in sets of tr 1, tr 1, tr 1, tr 2, round 5 tr 1, tr 1 tr 1, tr 1, tr 2, and so on, until you have 60 stitches (14 rounds in all).  The tr 2 into the same space always falls in the space between the tr 2 of the previous round.

The starting ch 3 of each round plus the tr into the same space at the end is the back of the hat.

Rounds 15 & 16, lose the increase treble at the front of the hat, and increase at the back and sides only, so 3 increase stitches per round.

Rounds 17 - 22, increase 3 stitches per round, but the back increase now changes to ch 2 as starting stitch plus htr as last stitch.

So that's 8 rounds of increasing 3 stitches per round, 84 stitches.

From here on we lose the increase stitch at the front of the hat and we start to shape the sides.

Round 23 ~ dc 14, *htr 4, tr 4, tr 2 into same space, tr 4, htr 4* (side), dc 21 (front), repeat * - * (side), dc 15. 

The increase continues at 2 stitches per round, one at the centre of each side.  If you get lost, you can always find your place again by using the increase as your marker.

Round 24 ~ *htr 4, tr 5, tr 2 into same space, tr 5, htr 4* (side), dc 20 (front), * - * (side), dc 29 (back).
Round 25 ~ *htr 4, tr 6, tr 2 into same space, tr 6, htr 4* (side), dc 19 (front), * - * (side), dc 28 (back).

Rounds 26 - 30
, continue the *htr 4, tr 6, tr 2 into same space, tr 6, htr 4* stitch pattern at the sides, and dc along the front and back.  There will be an additional dc at the front and at the back on each round (20/29, 21/30, 22/31, 23/32, 24/33).  If you find that your dc is out by a stitch and you can't see where you've missed one or picked one up, don't stress - as long as the htr/tr stitch pattern is in the correct place at the sides, a lost or gained dc stitch isn't going to spoil the fit or look of your hat.

Finish the hat at the end of round 30, so where the back meets the righthand side.  Weave in end with darning needle.

For the dangley bits, cut 6 x 10 foot lengths of yarn.  Fold each length of yarn in half, and with right side of hat facing out, holding the fold/loop of one length under the centre space of one side (so space between the set of 2 trebles), hook into space and pull the loop through.  Leave the loop on the hook and work both strands of the yarn together into a chain until the ends - around 50 stitches.  In the space either side of this first chain, add 2nd and 3rd chain.  Make sure you do the same amount of chains for each.  So you now have three chains attached to the side of your hat.  Keeping the chains nice and flat, plait the chains to the end, and knot together.  To finish, you can either trim the ends neatly and leave as a tassel, or add a little pom-pom.  Repeat for other side of hat.

© Hooker Chick

To scale the hat up and down to fit larger and smaller heads, my suggestion is to add/subtract a number of 'increase x 4 stitches' rounds, so for a man-size hat, add 3 rows to give 72 stitches instead of 60, and for a child-size hat subtract 3 rows to give 48 stitches.  3 rounds is approximately 1.25 inches in length, and (if I've done my sums correctly) will give an overall circumference increase/decrease of about 3 inches.

Happy hooking!

Sunday 3 May 2015

Freestyle hooking

One of the beauties of crochet is that you don't have to restrict yourself to following patterns.  If, like me, you're a creative sort, with a bit of vision and patience you can make yourself some truly original and unique pieces.

All the crocheted items that I post in this blog have started life as ideas in my head, and for those that come together without too much unpicking and rejigging, I try and write up an easy-to-follow pattern.  But others have to remain as freestyle projects, mainly because I've done so much unpicking and rejigging (and cursing) that writing up a pattern just isn't possible!

This little tie-front shrug started out as 6 balls of the now discontinued 'Peru' by Sirdar - a chunky 100% alpaca yarn.  I spotted the yarn, discounted to clear, in my local wool shop.  As I wouldn't be able to buy more, I had to make something fairly small with it.

© Hooker Chick
I began by making the back piece, then the two front pieces, joined back to fronts and then added sleeves.  I then continued to shape the front pieces, which took some time, joining the yarn at various points and crocheting single rows until the fit was right.

© Hooker Chick
With a size 5.5mm hook, I used a shell stitch pattern as follows:

On a foundation row of trebles: *tr, tr, miss 2 ch, tr 5 into same space, miss 2 ch.  Repeat from *
Subsequent rows, the stitch pattern remains the same, but moves along:  crochet each group of 5 trebles into the space between the tr, tr of the previous row, and the tr, tr into the 2nd and 3rd space of the 5 tr group.

© Hooker Chick

This hooded jacket is in another discontinued yarn - Cascade's 'Souk', a medium weight wool/silk blend.  I managed to get my mitts on 20 skeins, so more than enough for a largish project!

© Hooker Chick
Like the bolero, I began by making the back piece, and then continued around, adding in a chain each side to form the armholes, and then row upon row of trebles, back and forth, increasing every few rows to form a large semi-circle.

© Hooker Chick
I then added sleeves, a hood, and folded and stitched the 'corners' of the semi-circle to form pockets at the front.

© Hooker Chick
I added the flower/leaves detail at the back to hide the middle join just below the back piece, and then another flower along with a chain stitch loop as a front fastener.

© Hooker Chick

© Hooker Chick

Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn't it - but this is where the patience comes in.  I probably spent as many hours unpicking as I did crocheting, until I got it looking right!

The entire jacket is made in treble stitch with the exception of the flowers, for which I used this pattern from Attic24

So ... I hope you feel inspired now to take up your yarn, break free of pattern-following, and have a go at some freestyle hooking!   

© Hooker Chick