Thursday, 29 April 2010

Three New Crochet Patterns

Three new crochet patterns completed this week as you can see two are fo shawls and one for a wrap/sarong. These patterns are now available by clicking here for my Folksy Store or here for my Etsy Store.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Ethical Mirasol Blanket Project

Look at the absolutely exquisite colours in this embryonic blanket project. I think I could be in heaven and given this wool comes from such an ethical project makes me feel good too. I don’t want to lecture anyone about social responsibility and ethical consumerism as I think this yarn could make the argument for me. I have just received a variety of skiens of Mirasol Hacho and I’ve decided to be very selfish and make myself a huge blanket, throw, afghan.
Here are some sneak preview shots of what I hope will become a magnificent piece of work when finally complete. I am also very lucky to have found what has become my favourite online yarn store. To visit the store pleas click here Aileen's Wool Shop. Those of you who know my name please don’t be confused this is not my shop but it is an incredible place to source a variety of ethical yarns such as Mirasol. The really competitively priced yarns include Artesano, Louise Harding, Debbie Bliss, Noro, Araucania, Colinette and Rowan. The shop also has all manner of knitting and crochet accessories.
I would highly recommend a visit to this store if you love quality yarns but don’t wish to pay top dollar. Aileen is a lovely lady and provides exceptional customer service, give it a try you’ll be delighted.
Aileen's Wool Shop
I am writing up my pattern as I go and will publish it once completed. I will update regularly with progress photos. It’s so very exciting to work with such ethical and sublime yarn. For information on the Mirasol project click here.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Circular Crochet Rag Rug – Instructions

Circular Crochet Rag Rug Tutorial

This pattern is for a circular rag rug to illustrate the process of crocheting a rag rug in the round. Once you understand this concept you can then choose a variety of patterns to work with - ovals, squares, rectangles or even a hexagon.
A rag rug crochets up fairly quickly but the time consuming aspect is in the preparation. You will need to gather a variety of fabrics to cut and turn into your yarn. Think about the properties of any particular fabric you choose - is it stretchy, flexible, coarse, closely woven. Is it likely to fray? Although most fabrics do initially shed some fibres some materials are worse than others.
You will need a fairly large hook I always use 10mm but anything between 10mm and 15mm would be suitable. I find a 15mm hook a tad unwieldy in the hand.
Your next job is going to be to cut the yarn into strips with as few joins as possible. To avoid too many knots cut in a zigzag style from side to side or cut from out edge in a spiral manner to the centre. The fabric should be approximately 2cms wide or 1”. This measurement is not cast in stone and there will be slight variations in the width which is a natural property of any handmade crocheted rag rug. Roll the yarn into balls. It is difficult to estimate the amount of fabric required but I always find it is more than you might initially anticipate. If you prepare approx 5 different colours/patterns to begin with you should then be able to estimate how much more is required to complete the project.
If you are not used to using your hands intensively you may end up with aching hands during the cutting up stage - I think in my eagerness I even ended up with a blister or two. It is worth preparing the yarn in advance as it can become frustrating to have to stop crocheting to do more cutting up. It will also take a while to get used to working with such a large hook and fabric as it it is a very different experience to crocheting with yarn.
As you become more familiar with the process you will learn to assess which fabrics work best for you and your design. You will also learn when you need to make additional increases etc to stop the rug curling. The structure of a crocheted rag rug is synergistic each separate stitch is dependant upon all other stitches and the properties of the fabrics used.
175-7583_IMG1. Chain 3
2. Join the ring with a sl st, ch 1 and then sc x 5 into the ring, join the circle with a sl st.
3. ch 1, (It may be useful at this stage to start marking the beginning of your round with a safety pin). sc x2 into each st,then join with a sl st.
175-7589_IMG 4. ch 1, *sc twice into next st, sc 1 in next st* ** rep to end, join with sl st.
5. ch 1, *sc twice into next st, sc 1 in next st* ** rep to end, join with sl st.
6. Now begin working in the round (no more ch at beg of row and no more sl st) *sc twice into next st, sc 1 in next st* ** rep to end.
175-7594_IMG7. Continue to use pin to mark your rounds. 1 sc into each st. 
8. 1 sc into next 3 st, sc x2 into next st and every 4th st to end of round.
9. 1 sc into next 4 st, sc x2 into next st and every 5th st to end of round.
10. Complete 1 round 1 sc in each st to end.
11. sc x 2 into 1 st, sc for next 3 st, sc next st and every 4th st to end of round.
12. Complete 1 round 1 sc in each st to end.
13. sc x 2 into 1 st, sc for next 3 st, sc next st and every 4th st to end of round.
14. Complete 1 round 1 sc in each st to end.
Continue with these rounds (13 & 14) until work measures required diameter.
At this point my rug measures 19” diameter.
You can keep going here for as long as you like – but be warned they can become difficult to work with after a 4-5ft diameter.
170-7010_IMGHere is one of my earlier rugs and this reached approx 6ft.
Note: If your rug begins to wrinkle you are increasing too often – reduce amount of increase for 1 round.
If your rug begins to curl upwards, like a bowl you are not increasing enough. 
Happy Rug Making.