Hello and welcome to Patchwork House . . . . .
my little corner of the world in South Yorkshire, England, where you will find me addicted to colour and playing with yarn!

21 March 2018

A Crochet Retreat

In your busy moments
 do you dream of escaping your busy life
 to have time for yourself, to relax and crochet?

Or maybe like me you live a quiet life
 and crave the company of other crocheters?

Do you dream of a cosy cottage
with a roaring fire,
cupboards full of yarn and
 cosy blankets to snuggle up with?

Homemade cakes, made for you
with teas and coffees served at regular intervals.

and time . . . 
uninterrupted time to work on those crochet projects
that keep getting put to one side.

Well keep reading!
 I have discovered the most wonderful escape
 that you can imagine!

A few weeks ago I took myself off for a weekend away.
Jumped in my car and drove up the A1 to beautiful Northumberland.
What a little gem I was going to!

 is owned and run by the lovely David and Gillian.
A perfect stopping place to discover the beauty of unspoiled Northumberland,
 within easy reach of Alnwick, Lindisfarne
 and ideal for stopping en route to Scotland.

A beautiful en suite room awaited me, 

with fabulous furnishings and decor
 and I knew instantly I was going to be very comfortable here!

As well as running the B&B
David and Gillian host a retreat called
where they run weekends and day retreats
for crocheters to relax and meet up with other crochet addicts.

Gillian, an ex teacher, now puts her skills to great use
 teaching beginners and helping people with their crochet needs.
 She has a small shop selling Stylecraft yarn at very reasonable prices.

The weekend I was there,
 had people like myself,
 who had driven a few hours to stay the weekend

and others who were day guests living more locally.

David is the chef, and treated us to the most fabulous
 cooked breakfasts and then a wonderful tasty 3 course lunch!

We were stuffed
and the afternoon and evening sat by the fire

with new friends and our yarn, was just perfect.

So if you're looking for an escape, check this out!

You can find Escape to the Crochet on Facebook

and visit the B&B website

and Escape to the Crochet website

David and Gillian are blessed with a wonderful gift of hospitality
 and I can guarantee that you will have a wonderful stay here.
 Either as B&B guests visiting the area
 or as crochet guests for a retreat,
I'm sure you will leave refreshed and wanting to return.

x x x

1 March 2018

Mandala Magic

Mandala making is an addiction beware!
A mandala is the new doily.
Little circles of colour and pattern completed in an hour,
 perfect to satisfy any colour craving and the need for creativity!

They are beautiful around your home
 for use as table mats to protect furniture

or just alone to add a cheerful burst of colour and crochet!
This star doily is 9.5 inches / 24 cm diameter
 and is perfect for under a vase.

This granny star doily is a free pattern from the blog of
it is really easy and suitable for beginners
 who have mastered the granny square.

If you don't want to make your own,
 you will find these for sale in my Etsy shop

I have been using the gorgeous colours of
and have put together 3 colour packs for you to suit all tastes.
Rainbow, pastels and Cath Kidston style
in my colour pack shop

Small mandalas are perfect for use as coasters.
These coasters are 5 inches / 13cm diameter.
This pattern is a particular favourite of mine as it is very thick.
It is from the book
Vintage Style Crochet Projects
 by Agnieszka Strycharska.
It is clearly written in US terms and has a lovely clear chart too.

I like to buy crochet books to give payment to the author,
 knowing how much time it takes to write a pattern and get it into print.
 However if you wish to search around
 you will find many free patterns for mandalas on
 Ravelry and Pinterest.

Classique cotton dk is a thick cotton yarn with a good twist.
 It does not split and it has a lovely natural cotton finish.
 The colours are just wonderful 
and as I said before mandala making is addictive!

Coffee and crochet is as always my favourite pastime
 and much pleasure is to be had matching my mug to my yarn!

This is another free pattern from the blog of
 called the Little Cherry Blossom Mandala.
It is a medium sized mandala 9 inches / 23 cm in diameter.
It is a wonderful step by step tutorial with photos and
 instructions in Swedish and English using US crochet terms.

When this pattern is made the mandalas curl,
 as you can see in the stack below.

So blocking is important to improve their finish.
I pin them out onto a foam blocking board (bought on ebay)
spray with cold water and leave to air dry over night.

The transformation is amazing!

Blocking is magic and well worth doing.

It really doesn't take long and when you get used to doing it,
 it just becomes part of the process.

There are stacks of these pretty colourful doilies
 here in my
 waiting for new homes!
They are perfect gifts for Mothers Day, Easter, 
New Home, Birthdays
 or at any occasion when you may gift flowers.
Light weight and easy to post too!

When you have accomplished these smaller mandalas,
 you may like the challenge of a giant mega mandala!

These are super as a table centre.

They are fascinating to make, using a variety of stitches and colours.
This is another free pattern from the blog of 
 called Mandy's Mega Mandala.
It measures a giant 16 inches / 40cm in diameter
 and will make a wonderful crochet statement in your home.

If I haven't yet tempted you to dig out your hook and get making,
 then take a look here at my 
 for a collection of mandala patterns!

Wishing you all a happy hooky day


x x x

28 January 2018

Rainbow baby blankets

 This winter I've been making rainbows!
I love the simplicity of these baby blankets
 that are very quickly finished. I have chosen 7 shades
 to make a rainbow, with a contrasting background colour
 and made 7 different versions so far! They have been
 so popular on
 that I thought I'd make a permanent record
 of the colour recipes here for you!

 Of course in true Patchwork Heart fashion
 there's been a lot of mug matching going on as you can see here! 

I've been playing with colour recipes for girls,
 colour recipes for boys, neutrals that should suit all tastes,
 pastels, brights and more muted tones,
 so I'm hoping there will be something here to please all!

If you are new to crochet 
then a granny square baby blanket is a perfect beginners project.
You can follow my 
and learn how I make my blankets so perfectly square!
When you've completed the square to the size that you want add a 
 and bingo your blanket complete!

All the blankets are made in
 and I have used a 3.5mm hook
 (but you need to use whatever suits your tension.
 The recommended size on the ball band is 4mm).
You need 2 balls of the background colour
 and small amounts of the 7 colours.
 My blankets are approximately 60cm square.

You can now find these rainbow baby blankets for sale in my Etsy shop!

 Here are the colour recipes underneath each photo:

1. Lipstick, spice, saffron, pistachio, aster, plum and magenta
 on a parchment background.

2. Fondant, shrimp, citron, pistachio, aspen, bluebell and wisteria
 on a soft peach background.

3. Candyfloss, apricot, lemon, spring green, sherbet, wisteria and clematis
on a white background.

4. Pomegranate,blush, saffron, pistachio, aspen, wisteria and magenta 
on a cream background.

5. Lipstick, spice, saffron, kelly green, aster, plum and magenta
on a grey background.

6. Claret, tomato, mustard, kelly green, turquoise, plum and magenta
on a petrol (blue) background

Here is a collage
 to help you compare and choose which to make.

I definitely have a passion for crocheting rainbows,
 now my hook has turned to spotty blankets!
 Keep watching this spring for more spotty creations
 and more colour recipes to entice you!

7. Claret. tomato, mustard cypress, storm blue and grape
 on a teal background

 is such a wonderful tool for us crochet addicts
 with a colour palette of over 80 shades to choose from!

I am delighted to announce
 that soon some of these colour recipes will be available in my

Do remember to share your makes in the 
I love to see what my makes have inspired you to do!

I wish you all lots of colourful hours crocheting rainbows
x x x

The Black Forest Starburst Flower Blanket

This beautiful colour recipe began years ago,
 with an order for a customer. As I worked with these
 fabulous shades of Stylecraft Special DK,
 it conjured up images of chocolate cake and berries
 and so the name Black Forest, from the gateaux, was born!

The colour recipe attracted so much attention from my followers,
 that I set up a colour pack, enough to make a large blanket.
 You can buy this in my colour pack shop
The pack contains 1 each of
 walnut mocha stone cream plum grape pale rose
 and 4 parchment for joining.

I've used the colour pack for many creations and it always looks fabulous.

If you are a beginner a simple granny square is the place to start.
You can learn how from my Granny Square tutorial

Its a simple task then to wrap the square around a cushion pad
 and join it and then you have a cushion!
You can follow my 
Wrap Around Cushion Cover tutorial

Recently I've added a custom order slot to my Etsy shop,
 so that people can order a hot water bottle at any time of year
 and have it made in their own choice of colours and design.
 The black forest hot water bottle was born
 and is proving to be a popular request!
You can visit my Etsy shop

So it seemed a good idea to use this colour pack for a new blanket.
I have made many of these over the years
 but they have all been given away,
 so at last its time to have one here at Patchwork House.

The pattern I have used is the Starburst Flower by Jane Brocket.
It is in the book called
The Gentle Art of Knitting (it contains some crochet too!)
and was also in issue 2 of Mollie Makes magazine.
You can buy the book HERE from just £3.44

There are also many free patterns available,
you can try a search for starburst flower and its also called sunburst granny. 
You will find patterns on Ravelry, Pinterest and You Tube.

Planning with this pattern is easy
 as each square measures approx 10cm when I use a 4mm hook.
I have made 144 flowers which I arranged in 12 rows of 12,
this has made a blanket 120cm square.
 You could also do 10x14 or 11x13 if you prefer a rectangular throw.

Before you start you need to the maths.
I need 144 middles and have 7 colours.
so if I make 20 of each colour I will then need 4 more to make 144.

So the production line began making 20 of round 1 in each colour.
I love to work as a production line. You brain and fingers remember
 the stitch and if you make 20 from the same ball of yarn
 you are not wasting time changing colours.
When each middle is finished I make a reef knot with the 2 tails. 
This will not show but will ensure that your work will never come undone.
 Leave tails of about 4 inches / 10cm.

I like to keep my work organised on a tray
then I can see at a glance where I am up to and nothing gets lost!

Next its time to plan round 2 and this is where my fun starts!
 I absolutely love this stage of planning the colour combinations!
 If you follow this system, its really easy to make sure
 all 144 flowers are unique and that you have no repeats.

Lay out your 7 balls.
Take 1 set of middles, here I am using plum.
Share out the middles so that there are 3 on some and 4 on others.
So you can see here there will be 4 plum middles with a cream round 2, 
3 with a walnut round 2 and of course there are none by the plum.

Take the next colour, here I have grape and again share them out
 so there are 3 on some and 4 on others.
I try to keep an equal number to ensure the finished blanket will look balanced

Keep on doing this with all your middles until you have 20 lined up by each ball,
 then add the 4 extras,1 on each of any 4 colours.

If you have children or pets, you will now need to put each ball of yarn
 with their 20 or 21 middles, in a small plastic bag to keep them safe! 
This also makes your work portable
 and easy to grab when you want to take your crochet out.

That little bit of planning now makes it easy for you to work efficiently on round 2.
Sitting down with a cuppa (in a matching mug of course),
 I can now quickly make 20 round 2 from the same colour
 and have the satisfaction of a pile done in no time!
I love the starburst flower pattern as each round is a different stitch,
 which adds lovely variety to your work. So again working
 in batches helps your fingers and brain to pick up the rhythm
 of the pattern quickly and before you know it you've got another pile done!

Now something I'm always asked about is what do I do with the ends.
 Some of you seem to hate them,but I never worry about these.
 If you want colour you have ends, that's just part of the process.
 In this pattern its easy as the stitches are very close,
 you can hold the ends from round 1 and 2 at the back of your work
 and crochet over them. Then when you've finished round 2 simply cut off any remaining tails from round 1.

A few days later all the round 2 is complete
 and now its time to plan round 3 in exactly the same way as you did before.
 Make sure as you plan that you never repeat a colour in any flower,
 it should have 3 different colours. Again sort them,
 so that you have 20 on each ball and the 4 extras can go on any. 

I find great pleasure in seeing the flowers accumulating in my basket.
You can see here the small balls wound from the leftover yarn. So you have used nearly all of the colour pack making 144 flowers. If you want to make a larger blanker simply order 2 packs.

This tray looks so edible doesn't it!
Cookies, macaroons or chocolate cake,
 whatever is your fancy! Working with this pack
 is sure to make you want to indulge in some lovely hooky snacks!

Finally its time to join and the fun now is laying out the 144 flowers in 12 rows of 12.
I try to keep the layout balanced by having roughly the same number of each outer colour in each row. It takes some time and several  rethinks but is a really worthwhile activity.

When I have arrived at my final plan I label each row
then stack up the rows in my basket for safe keeping.
 Even though we have no pets or small children,
 I'm not risking my layout being disturbed!

The next stage is to make the circles into squares.
In the pattern this is round 4.
 If you do make round 4, you would then be ready to join your squares
 either by sewing or crocheting them together.
 I have 2 tutorials that would be helpful here

However my preferred way of joining for this blanket
 is using the continuous join as you go method.
 This way the whole blanket is joined in 1 go, with no cutting of the yarn.
 This means a huge saving of time
 as there are 288 ends less by not making each square!
 Wow think about that!
Learn this method and you will never go back!

If you have never done this before
 start by reading my original tutorial,
 for joining squares using the continuous join as you go.
 This will teach you the direction in which to work
 and how to join 1 row and then add the 2nd and the 3rd and so on.

Once you understand the direction to work in
the only difference is for how to add circles instead of squares.
You will need to read the new tutorial for this

So you join the circles in row 1

then add row 2

row 3 and 4
 and before you know it its starting to feel more like
 a blanket than a scarf!

I was delighted to realise that this black forest colour recipe
 goes perfectly with my lovely chair!
 I like to work here in the mornings
 as the daylight is very good here with 2 windows behind me. 
So this is where the blanket is going to live!

The continuous join as you go method,
 produces a lovely texture to the blanket, adding an extra dimension I think.

Finally when all your rows are added
 and the joining is complete, its time for edging the blanket.
As you can see here in this picture below, the edge is not quite straight.
So to begin with I always add a foundation row before making the edging,
 to level this out.

I simply made 1 round of dc, (UK crochet terms)
 1 in each stitch and 3 in the corners,
 but where my hook is pointing we need to level out the dip.
 So at this point I used trebles as a taller stitch is needed.
You are going to treble 2 together.
In the corner of the right square make half a treble
 and leave it on the hook (2 loops),
 then in the corner of the left square make half a treble, (4 loops)
now pull the yarn through all 4 creating 1 stitch. 
Continue around the whole blanket
 and finish the round with a slip stitch into the first dc.

For round 2 I made a very simple edging.
Chain 3, dc in the same stitch.
Miss a stitch.
Slip stitch in next stitch,
This edging will nicely go around the corners
 and finishes off the blanket well.

If you would rather add a deep border
 simply order 1 extra ball of parchment and you will then be able to do that.

It has been a pleasure to share this lovely colour pack with you.
Please remember to share your photos of your work in the
 I'd love to see your work in these colours.

Writing tutorials about my crochet is my work. Unpaid work.
 To produce this blog post has taken weeks of crochet,
 hours of photography, editing of photographs
 and days spent writing at my computer.
It is my pleasure to share my work and to encourage others to have a go.
 Crochet brings me such joy and satisfaction
 and if I can pass this on to others who may also suffer with chronic illness,
 then I have job satisfaction. The rhythmic action of crochet
 and the concentration required takes me to a better place
 and I hope it will help you too.

If you have enjoyed this blog post
 please consider making a donation via Paypal
 to help support my work here at The Patchwork Heart.
You can donate using the app
 on the sidebar of the blog when viewed on a computer.

I hope you have many happy hours with your hook
enjoy the crochet therapy
x x x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...