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

26 April 2016

When life gives you lemons . . .

Well what a year I've had !
 To try to explain my absence is rather complicated
 but I've missed blogging
 and it's good to be back !

Life is very unpredictable and I am learning to take 1 day at a time as I come to terms with living with a chronic illness. Having been diagnosed with Lupus and other connective tissue disorders life has changed drastically. The daily routine of work that I used to grumble about now seems so desirable, as instead I cope with the roller coaster ride of pain, exhaustion and medication. No longer able to work as a teacher, I now find myself on the brink of beginning a new journey here full time at The Patchwork Heart.

It has always been a dream of mine to work full time in my colourful yarny world, but I didn't expect it would happen this way! Having just moved house and tried a return to work my body has screamed NO! So once again I am coping with a flare of pain and exhaustion, just like I experienced last June. I have no other choice but to listen to my body and rest rest rest!

In between the frequent blood tests, visits to the Dr and hospital appointments I am beginning to enjoy crocheting again and sharing photos daily on Instagram and Facebook is my joy.

 Thank you to those of you who have supported and encouraged me this past year. Your friendship and prayers have meant a lot to me.

I am very sad to leave teaching,
 a job that is exhausting but rewarding
 and a job that I was good at and enjoyed. 
So I am taking this opportunity of having to leave work
 and seeing it as the beginning of a new direction in my life.
 My days are full of long periods of sitting and resting at present,
 so crochet is a perfect occupation!

God has given each of you special abilities,
 use them to help each other ..... 1 Peter 4:10

Crochet is my happy place, 
it provides hours of quiet meditation
 and transports me to a colourful world,
 bringing me into contact with many lovely people around the world,
 many on a similar journey to myself.

Do keep watching my blog as I now plan to update it
 and aim to post each week, sharing exciting new makes
  and colour recipes to inspire you.

Wishing you all a happy hooky day
 x x x

18 December 2015

Circles in Squares blanket

This week has seen a colour explosion on my hook!
Oh what a delight it has been
 to play with bold colours and shapes
 not normally seen here at Patchwork House!

The last few months it has been Santa's workshop here
 and I've been making lots of orders. 
Of course many of these turn out to be the same, 
so it was a great excitement when the last order was finished and posted.

For my next make I fancied something totally different
and have been wanting to try this circle in square granny for a while.
There are many free patterns around on the internet
 some in US and others in UK crochet terms.
You can find the pattern I used 
this is written in US crochet terms.

I like to work in batches.
 I find this helps increase my production rate
 as your brain and fingers remember the pattern.

 So I make a batch of circles, then do a pile of squares.
I did 3 of most of these combinations (20x3=60)
and 4 of 1 (60+4=64)
so there were 
21 red circles
 21 orange circles
 and 22 yellow circles
I used the yellow circles for the main diagonal of the blanket.

The strong bold shapes of the circle in the square
 really appeals to my maths brain! 
I wanted to create a child's blanket
 imagining the shapes and colours being useful for teaching!

I remember when my 3 children were little
 how they often had a nap on the sofa
 and how we used to snuggle watching films or having a story.
So I had a vision of a story time snuggle blanket
 that could be used as a baby play mat
 and be big enough to last into childhood.

 I dived into my stash
 and came up with this set of  vibrant colours.

I have used
with a 3.5mm hook
ruby, burnt orange and citrine for the circles
peridot, fir, jade, topaz, sky, blue velvet and lapis for the squares
and indigo for the joins and edging.
1 ball of each was sufficient.

I love this yarn more every time I use it!
It is extremely smooth and soft with a fine satin like quality.
It has a superior finish and produces a beautiful even blanket
 with superb stitch definition.

Deramores say
"Deramores Studio DK is a beautifully soft acrylic yarn
 which has been developed with anti pilling technology
 to ensure it will remain looking perfect after washing and wearing.
 Fully machine washable and hard wearing
 it's perfect for the rough and tumble of every day childrens's play
 or to create your perfect blanket or Afghan
 to snuggle under at home or to pass down through the generations."

I made 64 grannies for a square blanket 8 by 8.
I chose to arrange the circles in diagonal stripes
with a random arrangement for the background colours.

Joining is always such fun, 
I love the rhythmic action of crocheting the squares together.
I like to crochet the squares together
 as it produces a good strong join.
Using a contrasting colour helps to frame the squares
 and adds another dimension to the blanket.
 I have crocheted the squares together from the front
 with wrong sides together using UK dc through both loops.
 You can read my tutorial for this 

The joining is completed in 1 direction first
then in the opposite direction
and it comes together very fast.
The tails from the beginning and ends of the joining
 can be crocheted over when the border is made. 

For the border I made 
1 round of UK dc
then 1 round of UK trebles
followed by my simple edging
you will find this in more detail

The finished blanket
 measures approximately 100cm square
and is perfect for a baby play mat
which will later become a child's snuggle blanket.

Now I'm wishing I had a little boy to keep this for
as it reminds me so much of the Duplo and Lego my son loved!
But instead I will have much pleasure selling it 
and know that it is going to be much loved
by a family somewhere!

The circle in square granny
 has been great fun to make
 so you can expect to see many more of these
 coming off my hook!

 Next I'm going to make a baby pram blanket
 in the same pattern
 so do keep watching on
 as I make!

happy hookin


22 November 2015

Hot Water Bottle Production Line

Crochet and colour are my everything.
Today my blanket of choice is the turquoise hexie I made last year.
It's vibrant colours never fail to inject me with energy and lift my spirits!

My addiction of matching my mug to my crochet of course continues
 and has become something of a trademark! 
So much so, that if my daily morning picture on my Facebook Page
 doesn't have a pretty mug of something delicious and hot,
 people write to me and ask if I'm ok! How lovely is that?!

Here at Patchwork House I am still resting
 and waiting for new medication to work.
 I am so fortunate to have a hobby which I can use to fill my time,
 but more than that, a hobby which I can use to bless other people. 
My daily posts on Instagram and Facebook are such a pleasure to me
 and lately I've had the most wonderful encouragement 
from all around the world,
 knowing I am touching the lives of others
 who also suffer with illness. 
Thank you all for your comments and emails,
 too many to reply to, but please know I am very humbled 
and so happy to know that many of you visit my pages daily
 for your dose of colour therapy!

Patchwork House has turned into Santa's workshop lately
 and I have been working on the hot water bottle production line !
We Brits are very partial to our hotties, here in damp cold UK,
 for snuggling these cooler days.
 I'm often asked by puzzled Americans what they are for,
 but am pleased to say that they've started flying out of my Etsy Shop
 and winging their way across the pond the last few weeks! 
So as well as keeping Britain warm, I'm now breaking into USA !

This year I've added a few new designs to my range
 and the corner to corner stitch creating a diagonal stripe
 has been most popular.

I just love coordinating the bottle and the buttons with the cover, 
it's the little details that count
 and what people have come to expect from The Patchwork Heart!

The hot water bottle is a perfect little canvas
 for trying out new colour recipes
 and I get so excited when customers email me with their own colour choices
 to match their homes or satisfy family favourites.

I also sell covers only which of course saves on postage !

The classic granny squares hottie is my best seller 
with its vintage look and air of nostalgia.

The black forest colour recipe
 of my last granny blanket was so popular I had to try it on a hottie
 and yes I was right they flew out of my Etsy shop so fast !

 is a very classy restful combination

and these too can't be made fast enough
 to keep up with demand !

Our old favourite Cath Kidston
 as always
 provides me with much colour inspiration

and I've enjoyed playing with the same colours
 in 3 different patterns.

Peacock was great fun to make
 using some of the new shades of Stylecraft Special DK

and the rich warm autumnal colours here
 were very comforting and apt for this time of year.

The most exciting
 new addition to the range this year has been my circles design
using colours inspired by Orla Kiely

These are made in a contemporary design have a retro look.

I love making circles

the precision appeals to my Maths brain!

and the negative or reverse image on the back
 has caused a lot of interest!

So now my next venture is to create some new colour recipes
 again inspired by Cath Kidston. 
I spent some lovely time shopping and browsing
 on the Cath Kidston website
 and was inspired by these gorgesous items

Thank you to the many people who voted on my Facebook page.
 It seems that many people would like
 something different and without pink!
 The most popular of these were

top row right ~ grey blue green and yellow
middle row centre ~ lime green white and red
middle row left ~ white orange red yellow and green

so watch out for some new designs on hot water bottles
 to be hitting my Etsy shop soon!

I do take orders too if you find you miss the stock in my shop
so if that helps please email me at


Order will be taken up to 30th November for Christmas delivery.

Back to my hook now
have a happy hooky weekend friends
x x x

PS. Before I'm asked I must say sorry no I do not use a pattern! But Im told you can find some to buy on Etsy.

23 October 2015

Willow block help

I have made many willow blankets over the past few years
 and they never fail to delight !

There is something very special about this beautiful block
with its intricate lace detail and crisp corners

but sadly every time I post pictures
 I get flooded with requests for help
 and cries of despair from frustrated hooksters !

200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton

The willow block is by Jan Eaton
 and is pattern 189 in the book 200 Crochet Blocks
It is a fabulous book with written patterns for 200 blocks
 that you can mix and match to make blankets
and I highly recommend it!
(this book is written in UK crochet terms)

I have chosen to make my squares in 1 colour only
 as I think it enhances the pattern.
 I have adapted the pattern
 and just keep working in 1 colour until finished.

So now to help the many of you who say they can't master
 round 4 ! Please note this is how I make my blocks. 
Other people may have interpreted the pattern differently, 
but this works for me !

This pattern is from a book
 so I will not post pattern details here just my hints and tips.
If you buy the book it is clearly written
 and with these extra photos I hope you will manage!

Rounds 1 2 & 3 
Check you have 48 trebles in round 3.
This is important!
48 divided by 4 = 12 stitches for each side

ready to start round 4 with 1 dc in 1st stitch

5 chain
now put your hook into the bottom chain
 and make a slip stitch
this forms a little 'ear'
make a slip stitch in 1st chain
Now this is where it may start to go wrong.
We are going to make the circle into a square.
So I find it helps to calculate how many stitches will be for each side.
48 divided by 4 = 12 stitches for each side of the square

slip stitch in 1st chain complete
next you must MISS 2 STITCHES
make 2 chain
then 1dc where the needle is

miss 2 stitches 
it will look like this

miss next 2 stitches chain 2 then dc where needle is
again miss 2 stitches chain 2
then 1dc

miss 2 stitches chain 3
then 1dc

miss 2 stitches chain 2
then 1dc

(each time we miss 2 stitches)

this completes 1 side of the square
you have used 13 stitches

1 side of the square
now you will repeat that little sequence
for the next 3 sides of the square

chain 5 then slip stitch into bottom chain
when all 4 sides are done
you will have 4 'ears' 
equally spaced in the corners

4 sides complete
now for round 5
slip stitch into next 5 chain space
this will be the first corner
continue from the book

slip stitch into 1st ear

If making in 1 colour
I begin round 6 where round 5 ends
to save breaking off the yarn.
I start with 7 chain
 (2 to replace a treble then 5 for the chains)
then 1dc 3 chain 1dc in the corner etc

willow square complete

Finally I add an extra round of dc
 to each square in my joining colour
making 3 dc in each corner stitch.

When calculating my squares
 I try to make an equal amount of each shade
to ensure an even balance
 but you don't need to be too fussy about this!

I lay them out like a Sudoku puzzle
 in a random arrangement but trying to get
 only 1 of each colour in any row or column!
This is great fun!

My favourite method of joining for these squares
is crocheting the squares together from the front
using UK dc through both loops.
This creates a really strong join
 with the ridge on the front.

First I join all the rows in 1 direction.
Then in the opposite direction.
You will find a detailed picture tutorial

My blankets are made in
It is my favourite blanket making yarn
as it is soft and snuggly, very affordable,
 can be machine washed and tumble dried
 and comes in 68 wonderful shades.
(As I write this is currently on offer at
 and they ship worldwide ! )

Crochet Borders
Finally to complete a blanket you need a border.
It is like a frame around a picture and sets it off !

My border comes from the book
I added 1 round of trebles first to add depth
then used border 93.
(do note this book is written using US crochet terms)

So there you are !
Easy when you know how ?!
I do hope this has helped the many of you who have written to me.

It is my pleasure
 as a teacher and crochet artist to share and encourage others.
However blogging takes much time when I am not making orders.

If you have been helped or inspired by my work
please consider a small donation to support my crochet journey.
You can do this by using the Paypal donation button on the sidebar.

Many thanks
and happy hookin!



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