Article

Crochet Tutorial · Teardrop Baubles

I know, I know. It’s only been a hot minute since I posted the last Christmas tutorial, but I can’t help it if the Crimbo crojo is on FIRE, right?

Last year on our yearly getaway, my husband was driving us across Spain on a road trip and I, of course, was crafting. I had an idea to make some very retro-looking baubles (flat baubles, that is) using very simple stitches and this pattern was born. I did write it down, but I lost it in amongst the piles of notebooks that I seem to accumulate from nowhere (actually, from Flying Tiger) and it went AWOL. I was pretty sad, but the other day I decided to work on an updated version, beginner-friendly and quick, that is a lovely project for cosy winter days. The design is inspired by my Nana’s old 1970’s decorations that she would dust off every Christmas, original box and all, and hang lovingly on her garish tree. I really loved the muted tones and white embellishments, silver flecks and gold accents, and the feeling of warmth and homeliness they gave me. I’m not sure where these decorations are now, but I can still smell their slightly musty aroma and hear the popping of Babycham bottles. Love it.

So, I hope you enjoy this simple pattern and make a whole load of these for your own home this Christmas. Nana Knitty approved.

This is an advanced beginner level crochet tutorial and uses American terminology.

You will need: Your chosen yarn with the recommended hook size (for this tutorial I used Hoooked Eucalyps in Grigio and a 4.5mm hook), a pair of scissors, a yarn needle, a blocking board, rust-free pins, a small length of jute or thread for hanging.

Skills: Chain stitch, sc (single crochet), hdc (half double crochet), hdc blo (half double crochet through back loop only), dc (double crochet), slip stitch.

Method:

· The yarn weight and needle size you use will determine the size of your bauble. I used a combination of fingering, sport and DK weights (using their recommended hook size) but you could also use super chunky yarn for some big statement ones!

· Make a slipknot, chain five and slip stitch into the first chain to form a circle.

· Chain three (counts as first stitch) and make nine dc into the circle, working over the tail. Slip stitch into the top of the chain three to join (10 stitches).

· Chain two and make two hdc blo in each stitch around (20 stitches).

· Now we will shape the bauble into a teardrop using simple stitches. Chain four, make one dc into the next stitch. Make one hdc into the next stitch. Make one sc into each stitch around until two stitches remain. Make one hdc into the next stitch and finally one dc. Slip stitch into the top of the chain four.

· Break yarn and pull through the loop. Snip off the yarn tail (you don’t need to weave this in as you crocheted over it at the beginning) and weave in any ends from the top of the bauble.

· Make a small mixture of two parts liquid starch/Nylon to one part water and soak the bauble in it for five minutes. Squeeze out the excess liquid and pin to your blocking board, paying attention to the top of the bauble where you worked a chain four. Pin this part up firmly to make it extra pointy and give the bauble its characteristic teardrop shape.

· Once dry, sew any embellishments onto your bauble as you wish – simple embroidery sequins, beads and even little bells look great – and attach a felt backing for a really ‘finished’ look. I always use a hot glue gun to attach felt onto the back of crochet work, but sewing also looks good.

· Attach a length of jute or thread to the top of the bauble and hang as desired. Enjoy!


This tutorial is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother Eileen Miles who passed away on November 4th 2019.

How To · Tutorial

Crochet Tutorial · Tiny Houses

There’s been a lot of use of The “C” Word in our house and on my feed over the last few days. No, I’m not talking the word of the Middle English sweary ladies part variety, but the word that cannot be uttered in company until at least the beginning of November. The word that sends people into fits of rage. The word that Shakin’ Stevens owes his life/millions to…

CHRISTMAS. CRIMBO. CRIMBLE. NAVIDAD. JUHL. CRIMBY BADIMBY (I may have made that one up).

I admit that I used to be one of those DON’T MENTION CHRISTMAS UNTIL DECEMBER YOU T**T folks, but since getting heavily into crafting I have started to enjoy the idea of prepping early for the festive season. I say enjoy, I mean bloody love it. So, without further ado, I’d like to share this tutorial with you, heavily based on Christmas but also adaptable for any time of the year or any time you need a cosy decoration or tag.

These little houses are a lovely way of adding an unusual but cosy accent to your home, tree or even as a gift tag. They’re a wonderful half-hour make, with the added bonus of using up scraps. I recommend using glittery or lamé yarn combined with matte for a really modern look, or even yarns with sequins woven into them, or how about yarn held double with glitter thread? The sky – or rather your tree – is the limit!

Fully customizable, these houses can be crocheted to any height or width you choose and have different roof styles.

Tiny Houses

This is a CONFIDENT BEGINNER level crochet tutorial.

You will need: A 3.5mm crochet hook, yarn needle, scissors, a blocking board or similar, rust-free pins, liquid nylon or starch, a small pot, water. Optional: felt and a hot glue gun.

Yarn: Sport weight cotton yarn (I used Rito Hobby’s Infinity Hearts Lotus 8/4) in your chosen colours for roof and house body, plus combinations of Rico Creative Lamé and Drops Alpaca in Coral, plus scraps of DK/Sport weight yarn for embellishments and embroidery.

Skills (US terminology): Chain stitch, single crochet, double crochet, half double crochet, triple crochet, quadruple crochet, simple embroidery, weaving in ends, wet blocking.

Method:

  1. Chain 9 using the cotton sport weight yarn.

2. Chain one (does not count as first stitch) and work a single crochet into each chain stitch. Chain one, turn. Repeat until you have nine rows of single crochet. If you would prefer a taller house, just carry on working as many rows of single crochet as you’d like.

3. When you reach the final single crochet stitch on the last row (when you have two loops on your hook), pull through the new colour that you are using for the roof. You have now changed colour. Chain one and turn.

4. Now we’ll make the roof! Work one single crochet into the first stitch, a half double crochet into the second, a double into the third, a triple into the forth and a quadruple into the fifth. Then work another triple crochet into the sixth, a double crochet into the seventh, a had double crochet into the eighth and finally a sincgle crochet into the ninth. Break yarn and pull the loop up to finish off. Weave in all ends.

5. Now comes the best part – the details! Feel free to copy my embroidery to create windows and the door, but this is a great chance to use your imagination and create some wonderful detailing and give your little house personality!

6. Make a stiffening mixture by combining two parts liquid nylon to one part water. Soak your house in this for five or ten minutes, gently squeeze out the excess and pin to dry on a blocking board. Take special care to ensure that it’s pinned evenly, and pin the top of the roof up so it is a pointy as possible. To do this I find the tallest stitch (the center quadruple crochet stitch) and pull it up as much as I can before pinning securely.

7. Once dry you can create a felt backing by glueing or sewing on a piece of thin felt that fits the back of your house. This is recommended if you plan to use them as decorations. Thread a small amount of glitter thread through the top of the roof and display as desired.

Did you enjoy this tutorial? If so, feel free to use the hashtag #knittyvillage on Instagram so I can check out your work!

Article

Yarn Review · Rico Design Creative Pom, Fashion Inuit & Creative Cocon

The yarn reviewed in this article was kindly gifted by Rico Design.
No payment was recieved and all opinions are my own.

I may have mentioned a few dozen times that I used to live in Germany. We were lucky enough to spend a glorious year working in Hamburg and, apart from falling in love with the city and people in general, I fell hard for the wonderful yarn shops and creative atmosphere in the city. Let’s not forget the currywurst and Weissbier, as well. Yummers.

I have to admit that half of my salary and most of my lunch break was spent mooching around the ginormous creative superstore ‘Idee’ that was located underneath Altona tube station. It was/is a truly dangerous space for knitters and makers in general, with its aisles and aisles of yarn, paper goods, pompom makers, stickers, needles… I even took up cardmaking because I got so tempted by their gorgeous goods, but that only lasted a week. I was crap at it.

It was in that shop that I first discovered Rico Design and their incredible yarns and craft supplies and it’s been a love affair ever since! Imagine how happy I was when the fine folks at Rico let me try out some of their yarns and review them?

The first I tried out was their Fashion Inuit yarn, a gorgeous 100g ball of fluff with a wonderful bouclé effect. Working with this yarn is like knitting with a cloud, and it’s a quick knit, working up fast and allowing you to create unique outerwear and adorable accessories for children. I decided that the best way of showing off was in the form of a family of hats – sadly it isn’t cold enough to use them yet – combined with a bright pom on the top. I’d definitely say that this yarn is recommended for knitting with rather than crocheting, as it can be hard to see the stitches and you could get into a muddle.

The Skift Hat, coming soon.

Next up I had lots of fun working with their Creative Pom yarn which was easily the chunkiest yarn I’ve ever used. It was so thick that I didn’t use a yarn needle for weaving in ends, I just used my fingers! This yarn is by far my favourite XL yarn. It gives a stunning ‘teddy’ effect and is excellent for any large homewear project like blankets, baskets, poufs… I chose to design a pouf using Creative Pom and a small amount of their Cocon yarn for that I will talk about next.

The Perdita Pouf. Pattern is available in my Ravelry and Lovecrafts shops.

I didn’t knit a swatch using Creative Pom, but crocheting with it a 20mm hook created an incredibly thick and durable material. If it’s hardwearing but beautiful yarn you are after then this is the yarn for you!

Last but not least is this beautifully soft and silky yarn, Creative Cocon. At first glance this yarn is very similar to roving yarn, light but chunky, airy but also firm, and it allows you to make substantial and elegant creations such as blankets and even statement jumpers. The available palette is muted and classic, and has that unmistakable modern look of all Rico Design yarns. I’m gushing, I know, but this yarn blew me away! It’s just so pretty.

I used this yarn to make the puffy tassel at the top of The Perdita Pouf, but I’m definitely going to use it in the future to create something special on its own.

As always, Rico’s ball bands are clean and modern and very easy to read. My only criticism is nothing to do with the yarn itself, but the amount of plastic packaging that was inside the box. I know that it’s important to make sure items travel safely, but with yarn – especially yarn of this size – I don’t see how plastic air-filled bags would be necessary.

To sum up, it was a marvellous experience trying out and reviewing such amazing yarns and I’m so grateful to Rico Design for giving me the chance to play around with so many balls of fun! If you fancy making The Perdita Pouf you can buy the pattern over on my Lovecrafts designer shop or on Ravelry if you prefer. Happy making!

Article

Yarn Review · Hobbii Summer Cloud

This yarn was kindly gifted by Hobbii to review and as such is a sponsored post. However, my review is objective and honest.

Summer has almost ended, and here in Spain the leaves on the trees on our garden have even started to fall. I must say that it feels like an age since I last reviewed any yarns, so it’s been lovely to work with the wonderful people at Hobbii again and to try out their newest yarn, Summer Cloud! It’s a pretty, fluffy and sturdy cotton/acrylic yarn with a gorgeous halo and I’m excited to tell you all about it.

I have a wonderful pattern coming soon using this yarn. but for now let’s get to grips with this lovely soft bundle of squishiness. On first impression, this bulky yarn is bouncy, soft, light-yet-heavy and great quality. Even though this yarn is named after the Summer, it’s perfect for winter creations (as well as homeware) and works up quickly on a 6 mm (US 10) hook or needles. Its structure is interesting too, as on first glance it looks like a ‘blown’ yarn, but in fact it is high-quality acrylic yarn wrapped in a light cotton netting. This gives it an irresistible heathered look which looks beautiful and suits snuggly outerwear like hats and scarves.

Hobbii’s Summer Cloud is a gorgeous bulky yarn for all seasons.

Being a bulky yarn you can speed through projects rapidly, with sturdy results using the recommended needles. The only recommendation I would mention is thatas I am a tight knitter I would probably go up a needle size or two the next time I work with this yarn, just to add a little bit of extra drape.

Regarding the colours that are available (I chose Lemon and Butter Caramel), the selection is small but perfectly formed, with colours ranging from cheerful yellows to punchy reds and those ideal staples such as grey and black. Whatever colour you need for your project, you’ll be spoilt for choice with these timeless colours.

Just like the yarn, the ball band design is of a high quality, securely attached and with a clean design. One of my pet hates is dated and messy ball bands, so it’s so lovely to have elegant but simple packaging. Just look at that cloud ice cream – cute!

Overall, this will be my go-to mid-season yarn for all my cosy makes! I’ll definitely be getting my hands on some of their pinks and neutrals to work with, and experimenting with some cute hats and scarves.

Check back soon for some information regarding my newest pattern, designed using this wonderful yarn.

How To · Tutorial

Softly Simple Stars · Crochet Tutorial

I must admit that I don’t crochet very often, and I’m always very critical of my ability to write crochet patterns. I’m not as confident a crocheter as I am a knitter which is probably why I’m a bit adverse to publishing anything cro-related! However, I’m going to fight against that fear right now and share with you my own pattern for crocheted stars.

There are a gajillion different ways to crochet stars, and a kawillion tutorials out there so here I am throwing my own into the ring like we need just one more. Every little helps!

If you’ve bought anything from my Etsy shop you may have been lucky enough to have found one of these five-pointed stars as a little gift in your parcel – you’re welcome! – and I thought it was only right for me to share how I make them and a few cool tips on how to make sure they stay stiff and durable. We don’t need no floppy stars.

I have followed many tutorials for making stars (there’s a LOAD of them online) and my tutorial mixes up all the different techniques I’ve learnt into a really easy, satisfying and cute pattern. Even if you’re a newbie or slow crocheter you’ll be able to make a whole stack of these babes in an afternoon, and if you’re a speedy crocheter like myself you can even make one in under five minutes – not that I’m challenging you or anything!

Level: Advanced Beginner

This tutorial uses US terminology.

You will need to know:

  • Chain stitch (ch st), slip stitch (sl st), single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc), double crochet (dc), weaving in ends.

You will need:

  • Several small amounts (less than 15g) of worsted weight yarn in natural fibers.
    I love using cotton, linen and wool. I avoided acrylic for these stars because I wasn’t too keen on the texture;
  • A 5.00mm crochet hook;
  • A pair of scissors and yarn/wool needle for weaving in ends;
  • Starch spray (optional) and/or pva glue and water to stiffen.
  • Blocking board (or similar) and rust-proof pins.

Method:

circ1.png

To start off, ch five and sl st into the first chain to form a loop. Ch 2 (this does not count as the first stitch) and make 15 hdc into the center of the loop, making sure to crochet around the tail. Sl st into the top of your first hdc to finish the round. Count ’em: you should have 15 hdc stitches.

circ2.png

Ch four, with the final chain being the turning chain. Make a sc into the third chain, a hdc into the second and finally a dc into the first chain. This is your first star point.

circ3.png
circ4.png

Now, carefully sl st into the third chain from your chain four.

circ5.png

Your star should now look like this. Continue in this way around until you have formed five star points, sl st into the third st from your ch each time. sl st into the final third st to finish up. Pull the center tail closed and weave in your ends.

circ6.png

And you’re done! Cute, right? Now ideally we need to make our star look flatter and less curled up. There are two ways of doing this; you can spray your star with starch and pin it onto a blocking board, or you can follow my super-duper technique below to create a firm star that is ideal for a hanging ornament.

How to stiffen your star:

Mix 1/2 cup of white/pva glue with 1/2 cup water and soak your star(s) in the mixture for a minute or two. squeeze out the excess and pin them in shape to dry on a blocking board or another similar surface. When they are dry, attack a piece of twine or cord to the top and hang them as a decoration, as a garland or to gifts as a hanging tag.

Feel free to tag me on Instagram (@emmaknitty) if you make any stars of your own – I’d love to see your creations!

Knitting pattern · Tutorial · Yarn Reviews

The Strand Blanket · Free Knitting Pattern

Sometimes you’ve just got to stick a dog in a photo, haven’t you? If you’ve been following my antics over on Instagram you’ll have seen that we recently added two puppers to the family – a Golden Retreiver and a GSD cross – and we couldn’t be happier! Obviously I was happy because dogs = extra photo opportunities (joke) but I couldn’t resist grabbing Bob our Golden for a quick pose! Doesn’t she look lovely?

The Strand Blanket.

Designing this blanket alongside the wonderful folks at Marrier Yarns was an absolute joy! They kindly sent me a generous 500g cone of their 4ply acrylic, a couple of balls of their Smooth Touch Cotton Look DK and a colour pack of Midget DK to play about with and design a project with – how cool is that?

I’m a big fan of actylic yarn, but sometimes it’s hard to find decent quality man-made fibres at a good price. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Marriner Yarns are quietly flying the flag of great-value yarn at incredibly small prices. I particularly love the colour selection available, as well as the generous sizes. The 400g cone I used for this blanket is wonderful for large projects and the small 25g balls of Midget are ideal for Amigurimi, granny squares or adding a pop of colour alongisde neutrals – just as I did here with this blanket. I love, love, love these yarns!

Watching the colours change and form stripes as you work is one of those “aahhh”” moments!

The Strand Blanket is a great beginner’s project, ideal for anyone wanting a long-term “pick up, put down” make that is repetitive and calming but also exciting! Watching the colours change as you work is wonderfully satisfying, and the chunkiness means that it’ll work up in no time. You can work as many rows as you like to make any size blanket (my measurements are approximate and my own) so it’s also flexible and versatile. Just cast on more or less stitches as you wish and work for as many rows as you want until you reach your desired size. Easy as pie, no-fuss and pretty, just the way we like it at Emmaknitty. I love the neutral yarn working together with the splashes of bright, punchy shades and of course the squish of garter stitch is always gorgeously cosy. What a dream!

You will need:

  • A cone of Marriner 4ply in a neutral shade (I chose beige);
  • A bumper pack of Midget DK;
  • An 8.00mm circular needle longer than 32″;
  • A wool/yarn needle for weaving in ends and scissors.

You will need to know:

The Long Tail cast on (or other stretchy cast on technique), the knit stitch, slipping stitches purlwise, binding/casting off, weaving in ends.

Notes:

  • For this project you will be using a circular needle but knitting as you would on straight needles (i.e. not joining in the round). This is because the blanket will be quite large, and using circulars for big knits puts less strain on your wrists and arms. We want to be comfy when we knit, right?
  • The blanket is worked fully in garter stitch (knitting evey stitch) using three strands of yarn and we will always slip the first stitch purlwise and knit the last stitch. This leaves a clean edge.

Method:

Firstly we need to separate the cone of yarn into two. Carefully wind two 200g (or as equally sized as you can) balls of yarn from the cone and set aside. Now take your miniature 25g balls of Midget and join them all together, forming one large ball of alternating colours. You can choose how you combine the shades, but sime nice ideas could be attaching all similar colours together, going from bright to more neutral shades or just randomly going in and attaching the different shades randomly as I did.

You should now have three balls (tee hee) and now we’re ready to knit!

Squish factor: Off the scale.
  • Cast on 130 stitches onto your 8.00mm circular needles, holding all three strands together. It’s always a good idea to cast on loosely, especially if you’re a tight knitter.
  • Slip the first stitch purlwise and knit every stitch to the end of the row.
  • Follow the above instructions for all of the project, watching those gorgeous shades pop out when you least expect it and stopping when the blanket is at the right length for you. I stopped knitting when my blanket was approximately 64cm (25″) long which made it a great size for a lap or pet blanket.
  • Cast/bind off loosely, weave in ends and block if desired.

I hope you enjoyed this simple, off-the-cuff pattern! Do check out my other free patterns and turorials and feel free to share your own The Strand Blanket on Instagram by tagging me at @emmaknitty… I’d love to see what you make!

How To · Tutorial

Little Dot Lampshade · Craft Tutorial

Anyone who has moved house knows that choosing the right decor, furniture and accessores to make your new home complete takes a while. We moved house two years ago to our wonderful pad here in Asturias, and even though we have the bulk of everything we need, it’s still a labour of love to get it looking just right. Recently we changed up our bedroom, ditching some simple, white lampshades we had in our old flat (it was very clean, modern and cool) that totally didnt go with the rustic/modern style we have in or current home. I wasn’t too keen on just chucking these old lampshades out – I mean, HELLO! Plain white lampshades are just begging for a cheeky upcycle – so I decided to make something wonderful out of them!

If you too have some plain lampshades lying around that need a new lease of life follow my simple tutorial and you can whip up your own! The best thing of all is that you can use any yarn colours you like to match your interior – I love adding black yarn for drama – and make a totally unique piece.

You will need:

  • Several small amounts of fingering/dk/aran yarn in your chosen colours;
  • A sharp wool/yarn needle and a thinner needle to make holes;
  • A pencil and scissors.

Using a pencil, draw some rough ‘splodge’ shapes or ovals all over the lampshade. Try not to make them too neat, as the idea is to give an irregular look. Afterwards, pierce holes using the thinner needle around the outlines.

Thread your yarn of choice onto the sharp yarn needle and putline the shapes using running stitch. The yarn shown is a 100% alpaca fingering weight yarn.

Now you can “fill” the shapes using long embroidery stitches, or you could use shorter stitches if you prefer. Don’t worry too much about filling the shape exactly, as leaving a few small gaps around the edges of the shape can add an interesting effect

Continue as above using different coloured yarns until you have completed and filled all the shapes.

Display and enjoy your new, fabulous, unique, incredble lamp as you wish and please tag me on Instagram so I can check out your creations!