Friday, 28 February 2014

P-P-P-Pancake Day

Grab your spatula and get your frying pan at the ready!  Pancake Day is almost here!

To crochet a pancake, we’ve created this simple recipe which uses basic ingredients that you may already have in your yarn pantry.

100g Supersoft Aran 896 Oaty (or any aran weight yarn). I got almost 5 pancakes from one ball.
4.5mm crochet hook
Some cardboard

dc: double crochet
rpt: repeat
rnd: round
inv dec: invisible decrease - insert the hook through the front loop of the next stitch, then insert the hook through the front loop of the following stitch, wrap the yarn round the hook and pull through both stitches at once.

1. Create ring and crochet 6 dc into ring (6)
2. 2dc into each dc. Rpt to end (12)
3. 2dc into next dc, dc into next dc. Rpt to end (18)
4. 2 dc into next dc, dc into next 2 dc. Rpt to end (24)
5. 2 dc into next dc, dc into next 3 dc. Rpt to end (30)
Continue to increase by 6 each round as established, until there are 72 dc.

Next rnd: dc into back loop only of every dc. (72)
Next rnd (worked into back loops only): inv dec, dc into next 10 dc (66)
Next rnd (worked normally): inv dec, dc into next 9 dc (60)

Pause at this point to “stuff” your pancake. Draw around your pancake onto some card (this ensures sure it’s going to be the right size to fit the unique dimensions of your pancake), cut it out and slip it into your crochet. Continue crocheting with card inside your work.

Next rnd: inv dec, dc into next 8 dc (54)
Next rnd: inv dec, dc into next 7 dc (48)
Continue to decrease by 6 each round as established, until there are 6 dc.
Thread yarn through back loops only of 6 remaining dc, pull yarn to tighten hole, weave in end.

Now you can embroider a face onto your pancake, or eat it straight away with a sprinkling of sugar and a twist of lemon.*

Happy Pancake Day everyone!

*Please note, we do not advise that you eat your yarn pancake.  It will probably not taste very delicious.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Little Colour Knits by Dee Hardwicke

It's full of knits. It's full of colour. And it's little. Little Colour Knits is therefore an apt title for ceramicist Dee Hardwicke's recent collection of nature-inspired homewares and accessories. And since Dee is running a workshop for us in April, I thought I'd spend some time looking at her techniques being put into practice in these cute little projects.

Little Colour Knits features four lace projects and eight colourwork projects, of which six are intarsia, one is stranded (Fair Isle) and one is embroidered. In spite of the diversity of techniques involved, these designs form a very cohesive collection as they all feature bright colours and nature motifs.

Spring Lace Shawl in Rowan Fine Lace and Reindeer Runner and Coasters in Rowan Fine Tweed

The focus throughout is on the motifs: in both the lacework and the colourwork, there is usually a simple motif repeated across the work. This simplicity extends to the shape of the projects themselves, many of which are straightforward squares or rectangles and involve no shaping at all.

Most designs are available in only one size (though this is not a problem for something like a cushion or a table runner) and this allows for a clean, minimalist layout in the pattern and eliminates the risk of accidentally knitting from two different sets of instructions. All of the colourwork patterns are worked from large, clear charts and the lace designs are worked from written instructions. It seems a pity not to have included charts for the lacework, but the motifs are easy to work and quick to memorise.

It is absolutely worth taking a moment to acknowledge some of the details tucked into the layout of Little Colour Knits. Dee's artistic touches are everywhere and each project is explained with reference to the beautiful hand drawn sketches included throughout the book. I also have a weakness for nice fonts and could not help but notice that the title for each design has been coloured to coordinate with its respective project.

One of the nicest things about Little Colour Knits is that this book feels like a creative project in its own right. It's a project about projects and this gives a practical edge to the beauty of its watercolour illustrations and handwritten notes. This is a book that will inspire you to knit, but also to sketch and maybe even to compile a pattern book of your own.

Find out more about Dee Hardwicke by visiting her website.

Post by Heather