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Tutorial · The Invisible Chain Granny Square

Today I wanted to share a gorgeous technique with you that’ll help make your granny squares look flawless, neat and just brilliant! I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I really cannot stand chain stitches: they look thin and weird and stick out like a sore thumb! Thankfully there’s a really quick and easy technique you can use to minimise the look of chains (by still chaining) and keep your granny’s looking like a snack.

What’s the secret? Well, by chaining two instead of three at the beginning of the round we eliminate that skinny starting chain and create a shorter, firmer but still working chain. It really is as simple as that. Plus, but flipping the square over (but not reversing it – sorry, I couldn’t resist) you are able to work into the nearest chain space to you, again making the starting chain even less visible! I’m all over this technique and I hope you will be too…

What you’ll need:

Your yarn of choice and a crochet hook in the corresponding size. I used Rosa’s Crafts Merino Molón 6 in shade 102.

Now turn your work over… You’re almost done!

Repeat this technique at the beginning of every round and you’ll soon see that your square looks a lot better. I hope you enjoyed this quick photo tutorial. Hit me up if you’ve tried it yourself!

How To · Tutorial

The Violeta Scarf · Free Crochet Tutorial

(The yarn used in this pattern was gifted by Rico Design)

What a long winter it’s been – is it just me? It really feels like it’s been colder than a snowman’s boobs for far too long, and even though I love the cooler weather, I am gagging to see those Spring flowers come out and enjoy some evenings in the garden.

Knitters and crocheters have an advantage though, as winter means more reasons to make things with squishy, chunky yarn! Working XXL is a fave of mine, and I was so thrilled when my friends at Rico Design reached out to me once again and asked if I’d like to try some of their yarns! I’m a big fan of Rico Design and their modern creative goods, so it was tough choosing just a few of their perfect yarns, but I decided on their statement yarn Creative XXL in ‘Natur’ and a few balls of their Essentials Big (review coming soon).

My initial idea was to make a rug, but on touching this yarn I knew it was crying out to be used as a cute oversized accessory! Rico Creative XXL is such a soft, dreamy yarn that it’s the ideal choice for scarves, cowls and blankets. I can just see a giant sweater being knitted up in this too – stunning!

Thia fab yarn comes in a huge 1kg ball, which is more than enough to make a chunky scarf, hat, blanket or pouf. In fact, the ball band has a free pattern for a cushion cover which is a bonus. I must admit that I did spend a couple of days displaying this beautiful ball in my craft studio just staring at it!

So, I’m excited to share a free pattern with you for my newest design, The Violeta Scarf, using this incredible yarn! This project is made using only Rico Design yarns, and I used a few balls of their wonderful Creative Ricorumi and Lamé yarn that I had in my stash alongside their Creative XXL.

Tiny embroidered cotton details add a delicate, pretty touch to this chunky scarf.

This scarf is the perfect combination between a modern statement scarf and delicate prettiness! Crocheted using Half Double Moss Stitch on a 25mm hook, you can work up this quick and beautiful project in a few hours. You can leave the scarf plain or embroider onto it to add a really feminine touch. Whichever you choose, you’ll have a warm and snuggly piece ready to keep you cosy through the chilly months!

You will need: One ball Rico Creative XXL in Natur, a small amount each of Rico Design Creative Ricorumi in Lilac, Mint and Rose, a small amount of Ricorumi Neon DK in Fuchsia, and a small amount of Rico Creative Lamé in Gold, a 25mm crochet hook, large-eyed yarn or tapestry needle.

You’ll Need to Know: Half Double Moss Stitch, chain stitch, weaving in ends, basic embroidery skills.

Sizing: The scarf measures 1.88m/188cm/74″ in length and is 16cm/6.5″ wide.

Notes: You can, of course, make the scarf longer or shorter if you wish. The scarf length that I chose uses 3/4 of the ball of Creative XXL which would allow for an even longer scarf! This stitch works on any even number of stitches so you can also change how wide it is.

Method:

· Ch (chain) 10 and work one hdc (half double crochet) into the fourth chain from your hook. Ch one, skip one st (stitch) and work another hdc into the following st. Continue like this until the end of the row, ending on a hdc. Chain two.

· Work one hdc into the first ch sp (chain space) and chain one, skipping the following hdc stitch. Work another hdc into the next ch sp. Continue making hdc into the spaces and chaining, skipping the hdc you made in the previous row to work this pattern. Make sure you are always ending the row by working one hdc into the final ch sp, and always ch two two start the next row.

· Follow the steps above for 52 rows (or until the scarf measures 1.88m/188cm/74″). Break yarn and pull through the final st to secure. Weave in any ends.

You can leave the scarf plain, or you can follow the tutorial below and add some delicate embroidered touches…

Thread your chosen shade through one of the stitches near the edge of your scarf.
Wrap the yarn over the stitch once…
…Twice, three times around the stitch.
Break the yarn and tie a double knot. Trim the ends as short as you can. Repeat as desired using different shades.

Here’s the finished embroidery on my scarf. I chose to only decorate the edge of one end of my scarf but it would look wonderful fully embroidered. The choice is yours!

I really hope that you enjoyed this tutorial! If you did let me know over on Instagram by tagging me @emmaknitty – I’d love to see your gorgeous creations!

How To · Tutorial

Half Double Moss Stitch · Tutorial

Who loves Moss Stitch? We ALL love Moss Stitch! It’s one of the most beautiful crochet stitches and, best of all, it’s super-easy to work up and gives a gorgeous knitted look to your project. The other day I was making my umpteenth Moss Stitch blanket and decided to experiment a little using Half Double Crochet (US terms) to see if it was any good. Boy oh boy, was it! I wasn’t sure if I’d seen it around before so I gave it a quick Google around and couldn’t find it anywhere. I looked on Pinterest – natch – and still nothing. I asked my knowledgable friends on Instagram and, well, nothing. “OH EM GEE!” I thought, “have I discovered a new stitch?”.

This stitch looks fabulous when worked up using chunky yarn. Here you can see a swatch using The Wool by We Are Knitters (gifted).

Sadly not, friends. What I have done however is named a stitch that before was languishing in obscurity. There are a couple of patterns over on Ravelry that use this stitch but nobody had thought of giving her a name, the poor babe, so I thought I would. Tempting as it was to give it some sort of funky name (or annoyingly egotistical one like ‘The Knitty Stitch’) I’ve simply called it ‘Half Double Moss Stitch’ to keep things simple and practical.

One of the most beautiful things about this stitch is the latticed effect it gives which lends itself well to cowls, scarves, statement blankets and rugs. It look particularly lush used with chunky or super chunky yarn or worked up teeny using cotton yarn. I can just see some dishcloths looking the bizznizz in this stitch!

Keep your eyes peeled for a wonderful project using the Half Double Moss Stitch very soon, but for now, here’s how to work it up.

Lending itself well to giant chunky accessories and statement homeware, this stitch is quick, easy and beautiful.

The Half Double Moss Stitch

(Instructions using US/American terminology and working flat)

NOTE: This stitch is a hdc stitch separated by a chain stitch, so it’s identical to the regular moss stitch but using hdc instead of single crochet.

1. Chain an even number of stitches.

2. Work a hdc into the fourth chain from your hook.

3. Chain one, skip one chain, work a hdc stitch into the next chain.

4. Chain one, skip one chain, work a half double crochet into the next chain. End with a hdc into the last stitch.

5. Turn your work, chain two and work a hdc into the first chain one space. Chain one, skip the next hdc and work a hdc into the following chain one space. Continute like this (chain 1, skip 1 stitch, hdc in the next chain 1 space) until the end.

Repeat step five for the pattern, making hdc stitches into the chain spaces.

That’s it! I would love to see your makes using this stitch, so tag your creations with #halfdoublemosstitch and I’ll take a look!

Article

How to Drive a Maker Nuts

If you ask most knitters or crocheters what annoys them about their craft they’ll probably say. “yarn vomit”, “knots in balls” or, at a push “having to hide my yarn hauls from my family” AM I RIGHT FRIENDS? This article goes a bit deeper however, because I wanted to explore a little about the more gut-wrenching aspects of being a crafter that really stick in the craw. From pattern theft (if you follow me on Instagram – thank you – you’ll be WELL AWARE of my recent rants about this) to strangers chuckling at you for daring to be under 80 and enjoy knitting, I’ve got you covered. Let battle commence…

So, do you want to drive a Maker nuts? Why don’t you…

Ask a crafter to make you something for free.

I’m not sure which is the more insulting version of this: someone asking you to make them something for zero money or excitedly offering you a tenner for something that is worth ten times that (or more) in terms of labour and materials. It is of course possible that the person has literally no idea how much time and effort goes into creating a handmade item (and that’s not even including the design process) but that doesn’t mean you should undersell your work.
How to deal with it? Well, be honest. Explaining the process, how long it will take and exactly why you have to charge more than Primark for a blanket is a good place to start. If they still don’t get it after that you let them toddle off to buy something else and be done with it.

“LOL! Aren’t you a bit young to be knitting? LOL”

Lord give me the strength to deal with these ones. Aside from the lazy assumption that knitting is something that only a retiree can enjoy, what kind of person shames a person (especially if it’s a stranger!) for a doing a hobby they enjoy? Yeah, we know it’s ‘just a joke’ most of the time but it’s annoying af and yet another example of how fibre artists are not taken seriously.

Be a yarn snob

I unfollowed a person on Instagram last year because of this. The owner of a relatively high-end craft store in a city near me (the sort of LYS that doesn’t sell hanks for less than double figures), this woman would berate people who ‘insisted‘ on knitting using acrylic or cheaper yarns, completely baffled as to why anyone would even consider daring to work with anything less than mohair/silk blends rolled on the thighs of… You get the picture. This señorita had trouble understanding that the majority of people can’t afford to make things with expensive yarns because, well, they can’t afford it, no matter how much they’d love to. Luxury yarns are obviously fabulous, but most of us have bills to pay and/or kids to pay for and the idea of spending €40 on a 50g skein of yak makes our eyes water. I guess some folks have other priorities, or maybe they’re just so gosh darn rich that they can fill their stash with as many hanks of llama as they like without going overdrawn. By all means gush over luxe, but don’t shame those of us who can’t afford it.

Copy other people’s ideas and patterns

I don’t have enough space here to tell you why it really sucks to copy other people’s stuff, but I’m pretty sure you can work out why. Instagram is chock-full of examples of this: Pee-poor copies of well-known designer’s work with a slightly different take on it, maybe a pompom or two less, but it’s the same thing. I’ve even seen people copy a pattern or idea entirely and have the cheek to TAG the person they coped from in the description bx saying “inspired by – insert original designer here – “I’ve been so tempted to call this out in the past, but what can you do? It’s a sad fact that people who agree with naming and shaming are usually labelled as rabble rousers/trouble causers and that’s that. The only thing worse than this is pattern theft (be careful when you choose those pattern testers, huns) which is something I and a few of my maker friends went through last year. All I can say is that the people who steal or copy other people’s ideas have little clue how much work goes into the process, and it’s even worse when another designer you respect does it. Gross. Grossest of all though is that now most designers see theft as part and parcel of being a designer, and accept that this will happen to them at least once or twice. How can we solve this? It’s hard, but make sure you’re choosing carefully when picking testers, go with reliable people with proven, completed tests on their feeds, steer clear of people who are slow to respond to messages and give feedback, and go with that gut feeling; if you have a bad vibe from someone don’t even go there.

Ask a designer for their patterns for free or – possibly worse – parts of their work

Let’s explain this one a bit. One of my friends (a very talented, well-known crochet designer) was asked recently by someone for the measurements they use when designing garments (i.e one of the most complicated parts of garment design and not something you’d offer to anyone freely, even your pals), another was asked to deconstruct a finished sweater and write the pattern out for this random. For free, obviously. You don’t have to be into this kind of stuff to understand why this would annoy any designer. I’ve also heard tales of people asking others to pick apart finished garments in order to count stitches… The entitlement is real.

Don’t take it seriously

Those of us who are lucky enough to do our craft full or part-time as a job are in a great/dream position, but it’s still quite hard to get people to see what you do as a real job and source of income. Choice comment, “Oh, so you just sit at home and knit all day? Bloody hell…” Do one, mate.

So, what can we do with all of the above? The fact is that a lot of the problems listed are down to one thing: ignorance. If someone asks for a pattern for free they’re probably ignorant to how much work writing a pattern actually is. If a person laughs at your hobby they’re probably ignorant to how much of a valuable, rewarding and important activity is is. If someone steals your pattern… No, those people are just dicks.

Thanks to everyone who inspired this post (my Instafamily) and those of you who shared stories – both funny and horror – to be included in this post.

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.