Book Review – Crochet A-B-Sea

ABSEA_1

I have a delightful new book to share with you today – Crochet A-B-Sea – An Extraordinary Underwater Alphabet by the fun and fabulous Pony McTate.

It’s not often that you come across a truly unique crochet book but this is one of those exceptions.  Pony has a fun quirky sense of humour which really shines through her designs.

It was fun following this project develop over on Pony’s instagram feed earlier in the year and I was excited to see that it has turned into a book so that we can all have a go at making our own unique and educational blanket.

So let’s have a look inside ….

ABSEA_2The chapters

 

Preliminary stuff

This chapter includes all the things you need to know before getting started, including:

  • abbreviations used and a conversion chart from UK terms to US terms (the book is written in UK terms). 
  • a page of ideas for other uses of the motifs – such as clothing appliques, fridge magnets and any other kind of decorative purpose you can think of
  • Yarn, gauge and hook size information

Techniques

This is a great chapter with lots of tips and tricks to help you produce beautiful work, such as:

  • How to make a magic loop
  • How to make neater seams working in the round
  • Invisible joins
  • Changing colour
  • Embroidery tips

The patterns

In addition to the instructions for the plain background squares, here you will find:

  • 26 patterns for all the weird and wonderful sea creatures from A to Z
  • Each pattern includes a difficulty rating and is written with clear instructions, hints and tips and photo tutorials for the tricky bits
  • Fun facts about the creatures

Finishing off

Another great chapter with more tips on creating a beautiful finished blanket, including

  • Blocking your squares
  • Attaching your creatures
  • Attaching a fabric backing
  • Joining your squares
  • Making the border

And finally there is a comprehensive list of all the yarn used with details of colours and amounts used.

Of course, I couldn’t resist making a couple of squares myself but choosing just a couple of faves was hard – there are so many cute, quirky creatures to choose from!  I finally settled on the Clown Fish and Jellyfish for now but I’ll definitely have to make a few more in the future I think!

ABSEA_3

!!  Giveaway !!

Pony has very generously given me a book to giveaway to one lucky reader.  To go in the draw to win a copy, simply leave a comment telling me what your favourite sea creature is.

Entry is for Australian residents only (sorry to my international readers – but postage is a killer). 

Entries will be drawn at random on 4th October 4:00 pm AEST

Where to buy Crochet A-B-Sea

Head over to Pony’s website for links to order either a print or digital copy.

Until next time

Michelle xx

 

 

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Book Review: Crochet Kaleidoscope

 

CrochetKaleidoscope_500px_72dpiimage credit:  F & W media

I am delighted to bring you a review of the fantastic new book Crochet Kaleidoscope – Shifting Shapes and Shades across 100 Motifs by Sandra Eng aka mobiusgirl on instagram or you can also find Sandra on her blog here

Inside you will find  a fantastic variety of patterns for 100 different motifs ranging in shape from circles, squares, hexagons, triangles and other shapes.  There really is something for everyone in this book!

Kaleidoscope_1045 (1)image credit:  F & W media

Each motif includes a clear photo, written instructions and a chart diagram.  Many of the motif designs are also shown in alternative colourways which is a great feature and really highlights how different a motif can look depending on your colour choices.

Speaking of colour, there is an excellent chapter on choosing colours which guides you through colour selection using the colour wheel, finding inspiration and pairing colours as well as some excellent links to ‘colour picking’ tools available on the web.

This book is a wonderful resource to add to your crochet bookshelf which you will refer to time and again when planning new projects.  I really liked the tip on using a photo collage app to get a sense of what your finished project will look like when all joined together.  To kickstart your creativity, there are patterns 5 gorgeous projects using some of the motifs in the book.

I always like to make something from the book I am reviewing.  Flicking through the pages, it was hard to choose.  There were so many interesting motifs I wanted to try, I didn’t know where to start!

Solstice_Pillow

image credit:  F & W media

I was really drawn to the Solstice Pillow and I’ve made a start on making these squares.  So eye-catching!

solstice squares

I also know someone who would absolutely love the Zinia Table runner

ZinniaTableRunner2

image credit:  F & W media

This is a great stash-buster project!  I’ve made a start with these – it’s very addictive and I’m enjoying how quickly it’s working up.

tablerunner

In summary, Crochet Kaleidoscope is a great book and I would highly recommend it.  It will make a wonderful addition to your library and I’m sure you’ll refer to it often.

Until next time

Michelle x

*disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book in return for my no obligation, honest opinion.  There are no affiliate links in this post.

Book Review: Round and Round the Crochet Hook

roundthecrochethook-cover

Today, I’m very pleased to share my review of a new crochet book, Round and Round the Crochet Hook by Emily Littlefair. You may know Emily from The Loopy Stitch or follow her gorgeous feed on instagram

The book, published by Tuva Publishing, consists of 18 lovely patterns all worked in the round as the title suggests. Inside you’ll find a great selection of designs ranging from quick projects that can be made in an afternoon such as the coasters or mandalas or to larger projects such as a floor rug or blanket.

All the patterns are well written and include colour coded charts and each project is  beautifully styled and photographed  with several shots showing the item in a different way including close up detailed photo’s.

I really liked the Project Gallery at the front of the book showing all the projects together which is a great visual aid.

Flicking through the pages, it was hard to decide which project I wanted to make! After lots of ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’, I finally settled on the Fenced Around Wall Hanging to brighten up my studio. It was such a fun, quick project that I think I’ll make more for a few special people on my Christmas list as I know they’ll love them too!

Mandala_book

(please excuse the terrible photo quality – my camera is not playing nice at the mo)

 

Mandala

Speaking of Christmas, I also whipped up a few stars from the Stars In the Night Sky Centrepiece pattern which I think will make cute hanging ornaments.

stars2

It really is a great book! You can have a sneak peek at more of the  lovely projects inside the book or order yourself a copy of Round and Round The Crochet Hook over at Amazon (not affiliated – just a helpful link)

Well that’s it for me today, now I hand you over to the lovely Bec of Handmadebec for her review tomorrow.

Until next time

Michelle xx

 

Tunisian Crochet Workshop Blog Hop

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Hello friends

Just popping in quickly to let you know that the official promotion for my Tunisian Crochet Workshop book starts on Monday 25th September where I’ll be kicking off over on the publishers, SewandSo blog . It also happens to be my birthday that day so double celebrations and cake all round!

Some awesome crochet friends will be joining me so come and join in the fun with us.

Monday 25th September – SewandSo

Tuesday 26th September – Amanda from Crochet by Redagape

Wednesday 27th September – Sandra from Mobius Girl Design

Thursday 28th September – Shelley from Spincushions

Friday 29th September – Julie from Little Woollie

Saturday 30th September – Cintia from My Poppet

See you there!

Michelle x

 

Tunisian Crochet Workshop Bonus Offer

Cover

Hi there

Just popping in quickly to let you know about the free bonus pattern offer if you pre-order my book Tunisian Crochet Workshop now.

Tunisian Triangles_Bonus Pattern

When you place your pre-order you’ll receive a copy of my Tunisian Triangles cushion pattern. All the details of how to take advantage of this offer are over on Ravelry so click away and enjoy.   I know some of you have already pre-ordered your copies (thank you lovelies x), but don’t worry!  You can still get your bonus pattern too – just have your order number handy and follow the steps as per the instructions on Ravelry.

While you’re over on Ravelry you can also view all the individual projects from the book too.  Be sure to give your favourite projects some love!  It would be fab if you could press that little heart button on your faves so I can get an idea of what appeals to you all the most.

The Sampler Blanket is my fave of them all.  It was such fun to work on and uses many of the different stitch patterns found in the book so it’s a great way to practice your new skills.

Tunisian Crochet Workshop Book: Tunisian Sampler Blanket

photography: Jason Jenkins/F&W Media Intl.

Until next time

Michelle x

 

 

Yarn Review: Wool and the Gang Tina Tape

The question I am most often asked is ‘what yarn do you use?’  Since the answer to this question is so varied depending on what I am making, I’ve decided to start a new semi-regular Yarn Review series.

To kick off the series, today I will be reviewing the new Tina Tape yarn from Wool and The Gang

I’ve never used tape yarn before so I was very interested to see how it would work up, I’m also getting back into knitting after a bit of a break so I decided on the ‘Addicted To Love’ kit to try out.  How gorgeous is this Quetzal Green!

Tina Tape by WATG yarn review

I loved the silky feel of this yarn and was happy to see that it is made from fibre from sustainably sourced eucalyptus trees, is 100% vegan, uses no harmful chemicals and is processed in such a way that any water and solvents used in the manufacturing process are reused instead of ending up as pollution and waste.
Tina Tape by WATG yarn review

I would say this yarn is more suitable for Spring/Summer garments with a feel somewhere between silk and linen.   Even though we are in throes of Winter here in Australia I couldn’t wait to cast on and get a head start on my Spring wardrobe which is in dire need of updating.

I’m really enjoying knitting with Tina Tape, it works up very quickly, has beautiful stitch definition and the fabric has a lovely heavy drape to it.  The only downside is that it has a tendency to twist as it comes off the ball.  This drives me bonkers but it’s not really making a difference to my stitches so I’m learning to live with it.

I also received another ball of Tina Tape in the Eucalyptus Green colourway so I’ve had a little play with it in Tunisian crochet.

Tina Tape by WATG yarn review

I’m still undecided what this will be yet but I think it will be a bag.  The black yarn is dk cotton held doubled and worked in Tunisian Simple stitch and then I’ve worked the Tina Tape section in Tunisian Full stitch. How lush is that stitch definition!

Until next time

Michelle x

Disclosure:  The kit featured in this post has been very generously gifted to me by Wool and the Gang in exchange for my honest appraisal.  All opinions are my own and I only accept such offers if they are relevant to my readers and that I am happy to recommend.

Tunisian Feathers Free Pattern

free pattern for Tunisian crochet feathers

Hello Hello

I’m back on my little blog after being MIA for almost a year!  Yikes, that year slipped by!  I’ve been a busy girl in that time and wrote a book. Yep, a book!   I’m so excited and very proud with how it’s turned out but I can’t say much more for now except to say that it will be released later this year and I will pop back with more details soon.  I can’t wait to share!

In the meantime, here’s a free pattern for you.  I’ve been having so much fun making these feathers.  They’re easy and quick to make and easily achievable with only just the basic knowledge of Tunisian crochet.

** You can get the free pattern below or purchase the ad-free printable PDF for $2 in my Ravelry, Etsy or LoveCrochet shops **

I hope you will have as much fun as I have making your own pretty feathers.  Enjoy

Tunisian crochet feathers free pattern

TUNISIAN FEATHERS

Abbreviations:

ch        chain

M1tb   Make 1 – top bar

Tss     Tunisian Simple Stitch

lp/s     loop/s

sl st    slip st

yo        yarn over

st/s     stitch/es

Special Stitches and Techniques Used:

End st:  The last stitch of the forward pass is treated a little differently than the rest of the stitches in your row.  To make an end st, insert hook under the last vertical and the bar lying directly behind it (2 lps on hook), yo and draw up lp (1 lp back on hook & end stitch made)

endst_txt

M1tb (make 1 – top bar): insert hook under top loop of horizontal bar before next st, yo, pull up loop and leave on hook (1 extra stitch made)

Tss3tog: insert hook under next 3 sts, yo and pull up loop (1 loop on hook)

Finished Size:         

Large Feather = 17 cm

Small Feather = 13 cm

You will need:

  • 5mm crochet hook without handle (pop a rubber band on the end to keep your stitches from falling off)
  • DK/8ply cotton in at least 2 colours

PATTERN:

Large Feather

Pattern notes:

  1. The following instructions are for the design pictured above (the little guy sitting out on his own) but you can go to town with as many colours as you like (or could be bothered weaving in the ends of ), mix up the stripe sequence as you please. There are so many possibilities! Check out the photos throughout this post for inspiration.
  2. To clarify that the last stitch of the forward pass is worked differently, I always refer to this stitch in my patterns as an ‘end stitch’
  3.  Carry yarn between rows if there is only a few rows between colour changes.  If there are more than a few rows, then it’s best to cut yarn and rejoin.
  4. As you work, you will notice that your feather starts to lean to one side a little. That’s a good thing! This will give your feather a nice natural shape

Foundation row: Using Colour A, ch 11. Starting from 2nd ch from hook, pick up a loop from the * top loop only of chain and in each ch to end (11 lps). Return

* a nicer edge is achieved for this design by working into the top loop instead of working from the usual back bump.

 Row 2: M1tb, Tss 3, Tss3tog, Tss 3, M1tb, work end st (11 lps). Return

 Row 3: Work as for Row 2, changing to Colour B on the last 2 lps of return

 Row 4: Continuing with Colour B, work as for Row 2, changing to Colour A on the last 2 lps of return

 Row 5: Continuing with Colour A, work as for Row 2, changing to Colour B on the last 2 lps of return

Row 6: Continuing with Colour B, work as for Row 2, changing to Colour A on the last 2 lps of return

Rows 7 – 10: Continuing with Colour A, work as for Row 2

Row 11: Work as for Row 2, changing to Colour B on the last 2 lps of return

Row 12: Continuing with Colour B, work as for Row 2, changing to Colour A on the last 2 lps of return

Row 13: Continuing with Colour A, Tss 3, Tss3tog, Tss 3, work end st (9 lps). Return changing to Colour B on the last 2 lps

Row 14: Continuing with Colour B, M1tb, Tss 2, Tss3tog, Tss 2, M1tb, work end st (9 lps), changing to Colour A on the last 2 lps of return

Rows 15 – 17: Continuing with Colour A, M1tb, Tss 2, Tss3tog, Tss 2, M1tb, work end st (9 lps). Return

Row 18: Tss 2, Tss3tog, Tss 2, work end st (7 lps). Return

Row 19: M1tb, Tss 1, Tss3tog, Tss 1, M1tb, work end st (7 lps). Return

Row 20: Tss 1, Tss3tog, Tss 1, work end st (5 lps). Return

Row 21: Tss3tog, work end st (3 lps). Return: – draw yarn through all 3 lps on hook. Ch 6, sl st back down along chain. Fasten off.

Weave in ends

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Small Feather:

Pattern note:  The following pattern doesn’t include colour change instructions.

Foundation row: Ch 9. Starting from 2nd ch from hook, pick up a loop from the * top loop only of chain and in each ch to end (9 lps). Return

Rows 2 – 10: M1tb, Tss 2, Tss3tog, Tss 2, M1tb, work end st (9 lps). Return

Row 11: Tss 2, Tss3tog, Tss 2, work end st (7 lps). Return

Rows 12 – 13: M1tb, Tss 1, Tss3tog, Tss 1, M1tb, work end st (7 lps). Return

Row 14: Tss 1, Tss3tog, Tss 1, work end st (5 lps). Return

Row 15: Tss3tog, work end st (3 lps). Return: – draw yarn through all 3 lps on hook. Ch 6, sl st back down along chain. Fasten off.

Weave in ends

Tip:  You can also make your feather in a single colour and embroider your designs on later

Tunisian crochet feathers free pattern

There are no rules here. I’ve mainly used long stitches following the natural slant of the crochet rows and the occasional loopy stitch (I’m no embroiderer). You could also weave your yarn under the vertical bars for another interesting effect. Have fun experimenting!

Now that you’re addicted to making feathers. There are so many ways you can use them to decorate all sorts of things …

Tunisian crochet feathers free pattern

Make a dreamcatcher inspired wall hanging  – add beads, charms, pom poms, lace and ribbon if you like

Tunisian crochet feathers free patternDangle them off a basket or bag

Tunisian crochet feathers free pattern

they make great bookmarks too

These are just a few ideas.  Here’s some more to spark your imagination…

  • String them along a crochet chain for a feather garland
  • Attach them to a woven wall hanging
  • Attach one to your keyring
  • Use them as an applique motif on blankets, clothing, cushions ..
  • Frame one or two and hang them on a wall
  • Use them as gift toppers
  • Make greeting cards – Stick one on a blank card with double sided tape
  • Make a necklace

What will you make?

Until next time

Michelle x

 

p.s. edit:  Thank you everyone for the overwhelming love this post has received.  There has been lots of requests for the mandala to make the dreamcatcher and also for a video tutorial for the feathers.  

In answer to your requests – I’m very sorry but I won’t be doing a video for this free pattern.  

I will publish the mandala pattern at a later date but for now I am busy with other commitments and won’t have time just yet.  

Thank you for understanding.

Copyright:

Please respect my rights as the designer of this pattern.  This pattern may not be reproduced in any way for distribution, sale or for teaching purposes.