Posts tagged crochet
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When I go silent around here, you can bet that either it is school holidays and the crazy crew are home or I am deep in the end game of a new collection.  The last 2 weeks, both coincided and today I waved goodbye to my 3 adorable but hard work children and we launched pre-orders for our new collection Three from the Top.

This is a collection of 3 cardigans, all worked from the top down, in sizes from baby to 5x.  I can't tell you how nervous we are to get this one out into the world.  While we both love to make, design and wear cardigans, we have been so nervous about releasing these into the wild.  Crochet garments get such a bad rap and we have worked hard to make these fitted and wearable and, well, gorgeous.

You can read all about the various designs over here or if you need no further selling, then hop on over to etsy to preorder.  Due to the fact that the official launch is at Wonderwool this weekend, we have had to limit the number of preorders to make sure that everyone attending Wonderwool is able to get a copy.  If you can't make it to Wales and want to get one of the first copies, buy today!!

A List for A Wednesday
Blackberry crumble jumper by Kat Goldin

Yarndale was awesome!!  Honestly, I can't believe the enthusiasm and support for The Crochet Project.  Thank you to everyone who came to say hello! 

Blackberry Crumble is now available for download here.  I love this jumper  - super flattering and a pretty easy make.

There are just 5 days left to purchase Blogtacular early bird tickets.  Snap them up now, its going to be another stellar year!!

Stirling is hosting its own Made You Look screening, this Friday the 2nd of October at the Old Town Jail. Tickets are free, so snap them up!

 

Kat GoldincrochetComment
New Pattern: Hello, Sunshine!
Hello, Sunshine Cardigan by Kat Goldin

My design process goes something like:

  1. think up a new design
  2. fall in love with it, dream about it, get super excited to start
  3. plan it out, do the maths, write the pattern
  4. start making it
  5. realise I have made some epic error some where and the have to rip back
  6. message Joanne telling her that I am quitting designing
  7. yell at Kevin whenever he mentions it looks nice and/or that I am making progress. Tell him he knows nothing and that I am the worst designer EVER.
  8. Finish the design roughly 30seconds before its due
  9. Realise that I actually do love the design and that maybe I am not the worst designer in the world.
Hello, Sunshine Cardigan by Kat Goldin

Funnily enough, I never hit 6 and 7 with this sweet little cropped cardigan. Though quite different than what I would normally design, the puff sleeves and deeply ribbed waistband flew off the hook with little accompanying sturm und drang.

Hello, Sunshine Cardigan by Kat Goldin

About the Design

This retro-inspired top has all the elements you need to make a statement. The lace panels are echoed at the collar, cuffs and the waist, which is gathered to create an elegant shape.

Materials:

Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK (75% Merino,20% Silk, 5% Cashmere 50g/116m) 
9 (10, 10, 11, 11, 12, 12, 13) balls of Duckie (0383) 
A 4mm (US G/6) crochet hook 
A 3.75 (US F/5) crochet hook 
Tapestry Needle 
8 Safety Pins 
2 Stitch Markers 
28 (28, 29, 29, 30, 30, 30, 31) buttons 1cm/0.5in diameter.

Sizes:

To fit bust/chest: 81(8691, 95, 100, 104, 112, 116)cm /32 (34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46)in

Actual Bust (a): 86 (91, 95, 100, 104, 112, 116, 122)cm / 34 (36, 37.5, 39.5, 41, 44, 45.5, 48)in

Finished Length (b): 63 (64, 65.5, 66, 66.5, 66.5, 66.5, 67.5)cm/24.75 (25.25, 25.75, 26, 26.25, 26.25, 26.25, 26.5)in

Note on Fit: This cardigan is designed with 5cm/2in positive ease


Notes 
Back and fronts of cardigan are worked seamlessly down from beg chain at shoulders then joined under the arms and worked in rows back and forth to the hemline. Neck edging is worked separately and sewn on.




New Release: Twist It Cabled Cardigan

Despite their importance to my work, republishing old patterns from magazines does tend to be last on my todo list.  Have a huge backlog to republish and despite my best efforts, I just never manage to get to them.

However, when I knew one of my favourite models was back from uni for the summer, I made a point to scheduling a shoot so I could get some of the garments out into the world.  So, last night we headed down to the gorgeous Cardross House for a quick sunset photoshoot of this cardigan plus a couple other garments I have scheduled for re-release. 

Originally published in Simply Crochet Issue 26, Twist It is a super chunky-weight cabled cardigan.  Sized from bust 34-48, its generously sized and is the perfect chunky, curl up by the fire cardi.

The construction is a basic raglan, worked in one piece from the bottom up and then joined with the sleeves which are worked separately.  The yoke is a pretty straight forward and quick decrease to the neck. 

If you need help with the cable, I wrote this cabled crochet tutorial with this pattern in mind. 

The pattern is available on ravelry and lovecrochet.com.

 

The photos were part of a gorgeous photoshoot at Cardross House last night in beautiful autumn sunshine.  I can't wait to show you the rest of the photos, so here is a wee sneak peek of what else is coming. 

Making It Work As A Designer: My Essential Tools
Making it work as a designer my essential tools

I am a picky sort of person.  Every morning, I have to have my exact brand of tea, in a certain mug, made in a certain order with exactly so much milk and honey or my whole day is off. Its no surprise then that I only use one particular brand of crochet hook, one specific kind of pen and there is a certain notebook that I can't live without.  

While there are many areas in which I am a bit of a miser, when it comes to tools to do my job, I feel that investing in the right things is very much worth it. I pay for Adobe Creative Cloud (Student and Teacher edition, because I have school-aged kids) and Office 365.  These aren't necessary and there are free versions like Inkscape available, but as adobe is industry standard and what I know...

Tools for Planning:

  • My work time is planned out using my Get to Work Book. Its layout of daily lists and goals is perfect for me, as I have so many pieces of work to juggle - the monthly and weekly views help me do that.
  • My content and social media strategies are planned using my BlogtacularxLollipop Life Planner - which has been so helpful in pulling together various content strategies over the last few months. 

Tools for Design Ideas:

  • Like much of the world, I use Pinterest as a great source of inspiration for design ideas.  While I tend to steer clear of it for initial design ideas, it can be helpful to see what else is out there and a great place to store initial thoughts on stitch patterns and ideas. 
  • All of my sketching is done via Adobe Illustrator. I work over a vector croquis for garments and just free hand for accessories. I simply don't free hand sketch on paper as I find I am able to get much better and more useable results by creating a digital sketch. This has the added benefit of being usable for final design submission.

Tools for Designing:

  • My process for designing is Sketch->swatch->layout the pattern numbers in a spreadsheet->write initial pattern->make the sample->revise the pattern->finalise design schematic->chart stitch patterns. I use Excel for my spreadsheets and Word for pattern writing, but also have used Open Office with no discernible difference in usability.  I simply had to get Office for Blogtacular work and use that as all of my templates are in it now. 
  • I am a fan of Adobe and have a subscription to Creative Cloud for my work. I use Illustrator for charting and schematics, Lightroom for photo editing and InDesign for laying out all of my patterns. 
  • I use a range of measurements charts, but generally I rely on the Craft Yarn Council guides for accurate sizing. The Tot Toppers guide is great for hat design. 
  • My favourite garment design book is Knitting from the Top by Barbara Walker

Tools for Charting:

  • As I said above, I use Adobe Illustrator for making charts. I have the Stitchin' Crochet Pro font that I then convert into vectors. I then use a hand drawn brush to convert the shapes into the signature style of the Crochet Project. 
  • I have a Wacom Bamboo tablet that helps me when charting complicated stitch patterns as I am able to get more accuracy with the pen than the brush.

Tools for Photography:

  • My essential kit list is here and hasn't changed much in the last year or so. The only difference is that I am finding I need a wider angle lens more and more and am currently saving up for a 24-70mm L series lens

 



Stitches I Love: Cable and Shell (or Puff) Wave

Today I wanted to feature another stitch that I love.  I found this stitch in a Japanese crochet stitch dictionary and played around with where I could use it for some time. I originally planned it as a big puffy wrap, and it still may become that one day, but the more I worked with it the more I loved the idea of using it as an edging for a wedding shawl with the way the stitches reminded me of wedding bells.

Wedding bells from Hook, Stitch and Give
wedding bells shawl from Slugs on the Refrigerator

I am calling it the cable and shell wave, but I have seen a different variation referred to as the wheat stitch.  Either way, its a wavy cable with puff or shell stitches in the middle.

I have used it in the Wedding Bells Shawl from Hook, Stitch & Give, but I've seen it (or a variation of it) in a number of other projects, including Sassy SSS' Wheat Stitch Baby Blanket and Joanne's Gnarled Bark Hat for The Crochet Project. 

Once you get the basic idea of the travelling cables, its a great stitch to play around with, as the central stitches are easy to switch out for something else and you can add or subtract cables. For the version I have outlined below, you'd need a starting chain of a multiple of 12, but if you would need to add or subtract stitches if you were adding more cables to the design.

Shell and Cable Wave on Slugs on the Refrigerator

 

 

New Pattern: Acer

Hello!  We made it back late last night from the most incredible week in Orkney.  Its a good thing I love where we live or else I wouldn't have come back. Exactly what we needed.  However, its back to the grindstone today before I jet off to the South Coast of England for work. Only its not a grindstone at all, really, as we have very exciting things happening! 

Joanne and I are thrilled to announce a new Crochet Project design in partnership with Love Crochet.com.

Joanne designed the Acer Shawl to work in 2 weights of yarn. In her words:

 Inspired by the beautiful tumbling waves of leaves on a mature Acer tree this pretty patterned shawl is deceptively simple to make. Worked in ever increasing rows so there is no long foundation chain, the size is easily adaptable – just work more or fewer rows.

Written for both 4ply and DK yarn weights but easily adapted to any weight.

Love Crochet will be hosting a crochet along in September, but if you are desperate to get started, you can find the pattern here.

 

Stitches I Love: Crossed Shell

Who doesn't love new stitches to play with? Stitch dictionaries are one of my go to sources of inspiration for new designs.  I just love seeing the versatility of what crochet can do.

One of my favourite stitches is the crossed shell.  I used it in the Waterfall Shrug in Hook, Stitch and Give and its a stitch that I continue to be drawn to in my design work.

crossed shell stitch tutorial by Slugs on the Refrigerator

Its one of those stitches that is a total pain to establish, but once you get it, its very easy to just keep going, with enough repetition to make it easy to remember, but enough interest to keep you going. This is an excellent stitch for things like stoles and scarves.

Abbreviations:

UK Terminology Used.

  • ch = chain
  • chsp = chain space
  • dc = double crochet (US single crochet)
  • tch = turning chain
  • tr = treble crochet (US double crochet)

The pattern calls for a repeat of 8 stitches + 5 for the beginning chain. For this example, ch 29.

Set up Row: 3tr in the 5th ch from the hook (tch counts as 1tr and 1ch), miss 3ch, [1dc, miss 5ch, 3tr in next ch, 2ch, working back in to the 2nd ch missed, 3tr, miss 5ch from the stitch just made] twice, 1dc, miss 3ch, (3tr, 1ch, 1tr) into ch. Turn. 2 completed CS sts and 1 half CS at either end.

Set Up Row: Step 1: Make 3 tr in the 5th chain from the hook. Your turning chain counts as 1 tr and 1 chain. 

Set Up Row: Step 1: Make 3 tr in the 5th chain from the hook. Your turning chain counts as 1 tr and 1 chain. 

Step 2: Miss 3 chain and make 1 double crochet in the next chain. 

Step 2: Miss 3 chain and make 1 double crochet in the next chain. 

Step 3: Miss 5 chains and make 3 trebles in the next chain.

Step 3: Miss 5 chains and make 3 trebles in the next chain.

Step 4: Chain 2.

Step 4: Chain 2.

Step 5: You are now going to work back over the trebles you just made by working 3 trebles into the 2nd chain you missed when you missed 5. Make sure to work these stitches loosely, as you don't want to pull the other cluster of trebles down. 

Step 5: You are now going to work back over the trebles you just made by working 3 trebles into the 2nd chain you missed when you missed 5. Make sure to work these stitches loosely, as you don't want to pull the other cluster of trebles down. 

Step 6: Miss 5 chains from the cluster you just made (or 1 stitch from the first set of trebles you made). Double crochet 1. 

Step 6: Miss 5 chains from the cluster you just made (or 1 stitch from the first set of trebles you made). Double crochet 1. 

Step 7: You will now repeat Steps 3 - 5. 

Step 7: You will now repeat Steps 3 - 5. 

 Step 8: Miss 5 chains from the cluster you just made (or 1 stitch from the first set of trebles you made). Double crochet 1. 

 Step 8: Miss 5 chains from the cluster you just made (or 1 stitch from the first set of trebles you made). Double crochet 1. 

Step 9: Miss 3 chain. Make 3 trebles, 1ch and 1 treble into the last chain of the row. Turn

Step 9: Miss 3 chain. Make 3 trebles, 1ch and 1 treble into the last chain of the row. Turn

Row 1: 1ch (does not count as a stitch), 1dc into tr, 3ch, miss 1ch and 3tr, 1tr into dc, [3ch, miss  3tr, 1dc into 2chsp, 3ch, miss 3tr, 1tr into dc]  twice, 3ch, miss 3tr, 1dc into chsp. Turn.

Row 1:   Step 1: Chain 1. 1 dc into the 1st treble.

Row 1: 

Step 1: Chain 1. 1 dc into the 1st treble.

Step 2: 3chains, miss 3 trebles, 1 treble into the dc in the row below, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 dc into the 2-chain space at top of the shell.

Step 2: 3chains, miss 3 trebles, 1 treble into the dc in the row below, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 dc into the 2-chain space at top of the shell.

Step 3: 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, treble into the dc, 3 trebles. 

Step 3: 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, treble into the dc, 3 trebles. 

Step 4: Miss 3 trebles, dc into the 2-chain space at the top of the shell stitch, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 treble, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 dc into the 3rd chain of the beginning chain. Turn.

Step 4: Miss 3 trebles, dc into the 2-chain space at the top of the shell stitch, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 treble, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 dc into the 3rd chain of the beginning chain. Turn.

Row 2: 1ch (does not count as a stitch), 1dc  into dc, miss 3chsp and 1tr, 3tr into chsp,  [2ch, 3tr into missed 3chsp, 1dc into dc, miss  3chsp and 1tr, 3tr into 3chsp] twice, 2ch, 3tr  into missed 3chsp, 1dc into dc. Turn.  

Row 2:  Step 1: 1 chain and make 1 dc into dc.

Row 2:

Step 1: 1 chain and make 1 dc into dc.

Step 2: Miss next 3-chain space and treble. Work 3 trebles into the next chain space, chain 2.  

Step 2: Miss next 3-chain space and treble. Work 3 trebles into the next chain space, chain 2.  

Step 3: Crossing back over the stitches you just made, make 3 trebles into the 3-chain space you just missed. 

Step 3: Crossing back over the stitches you just made, make 3 trebles into the 3-chain space you just missed. 

Step 4: dc into the next dc.

Step 4: dc into the next dc.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 across the row, finishing with a dc into the last dc of the row below. Turn. 

Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 across the row, finishing with a dc into the last dc of the row below. Turn. 

Row 3: 6ch (counts as 1tr and 3ch), miss 3tr,  1dc into 2chsp, [3ch, miss 3tr, 1tr into dc, miss 3tr, 1dc into 2chsp] twice, 3ch, miss 3tr,  1tr in dc. Turn. 

Row 3:   Step 1: Chain 6 - this counts as 1 treble and 3 chains. 

Row 3: 

Step 1: Chain 6 - this counts as 1 treble and 3 chains. 

Step 2: Miss 3 trebles, dc into the 2chain space at the top of the shell.  Chain 3, miss 3 trebles and treble into the next dc. 

Step 2: Miss 3 trebles, dc into the 2chain space at the top of the shell.  Chain 3, miss 3 trebles and treble into the next dc. 

Step 3: Continue working this bridging pattern across, with dcs into the top of the shell stitches and trebles into the dcs in the row below, with 3 chain spaces bridging the gaps between the stitches. 

Step 4: Treble into the final dc of the row below. Turn.

Step 4: Treble into the final dc of the row below. Turn.

Row 4: 4ch (counts as 1tr and 3ch), 3tr in tr, miss 3ch, [1dc in dc, miss 3ch and 1tr, 3tr into 3chsp, 2ch, 3tr into missed 3chsp] twice, 1dc into dc, miss 3ch, (3tr, 1ch, 1tr) into 1st ch of turning chain. Turn.

Row 4:  Step 1: Chain 4 (this counts as 1 treble and 3 chain). NOTE: this is different than standard practice, but gives a nicer finished edge

Row 4:

Step 1: Chain 4 (this counts as 1 treble and 3 chain). NOTE: this is different than standard practice, but gives a nicer finished edge

Step 2: Make 3 trebles into the first treble.

Step 3: dc into the 2-chain space at the top of the shell. 

Step 3: dc into the 2-chain space at the top of the shell. 

Step 5: [miss the 3-chain space and treble and work 3 trebles into the next 3-chain space. Chain 2. Working back into the 3-chain space you just missed, make 3 trebles. Dc into the 2-chain space at the top of the shell] twice.

Step 6: miss 3 chains and work 3 trebles, 1 chain and 3 trebles into the 1st ch of the turning chain of the row below. Turn. 

Work Rows 1 - 4 as many times as required. Finishing on an even row gives the crochet a nice even finished edge. 

New Pattern: Spun Gold

Sometimes I feel like such a tease.  So much of what is happening in my day to day has to be kept secret and you all only get glimpses of the current projects and upcoming work.  

You may recognise my latest design from various snippets that I've posted on Instagram and in my Simply Crochet column over the last few months.  Well, finally, today is the day you get to see the full shebang! 

Meet Spun  Gold.

 
 

After the, quite frankly overwhelming, response to The Shawl Project, Joanne and I wanted to give you a bit more in between Book 1 and the autumn release of Book 2. Spun Gold is a beginner level project and a great introduction to shawl making, while still being interesting to make. 

You can use any wool for this, as instructions are given to working for any size.  The sample uses 1x 100g hank of 4ply...gorgeous Babylonglegs 4ply no less. 

Its become my perfect spring shawl - small enough to not be too warm, but still a welcome addition to the cooler days* we've been having. 

SPUN GOLD:

Worked end to end, this is the perfect shawl for making in that special hank of yarn no matter the weight.

Size: 
Finished Length: 132cm long, 
Finished Width: 35cm

Materials 
100g of Babylonglegs semi-Precious Sock in Cortez’s Gold (4ply) 
4mm hook 
Scale to weigh yarn.

Tension 
24 dc sts measures 10cm/ 4” and 1 patt rep measures 5.75cm/ 2.25” tall using 4mm hook or size required to obtain tension.

Skill Level 
Easy

Skills Used: 
Increases, decreases, quintuple treble (instructions given)

You can buy the pattern now

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Huge thanks to Elly Doyle for her mad sample making skillz! 

* this is actually an understatement. I can't currently feel my fingers.

The Shawl Project is Live!

Its a week of 2 birthdays, a trip to London, Easter break, and the arrival of my mother. I envision there will be a lot of coffee drunk over the next 7 days!

If that wasn't enough today marks the release of The Shawl Project Ebook.  Six gorgeous patterns, all using 100g of 4ply yarn.  Joanne has written fantastic instructions for not only making, but designing your own shawls. 

Now, go forth and crochet. 

 

Trends: Crochet Garments

The times they are a changin'. 

Trends are funny things.  One minute its blankets the next its a granny poncho. Notoriously hard to predict, there is an entire industry set up just to forcast whats next in the world of colour, fashion, future, tech, you name it.  Deramores, the online yarn retailer, has thrown its hat into the mixed and asked a number of us what we see as the next trend in the world of knitting and crochet.  One of the biggest changes I have seen in the last year has been the move toward more people making garments.  Sales of Pleated Cardigan and Arucaria have been incredible and more and more projects are popping up on the garments from Hook, Stitch  & Give and Simply Crochet than I ever have seen previously.  

While I can't point to an exact reason for this shift, my gut says its two fold.  Over the last few years, crochet saw a massive resurgence, with large numbers of people learning to crochet and "How to Crochet" being one of the most searched phrases on Google.  Crochet Camp on Facebook started as a group of about 500 and now has a whopping 5,700 members. As people have been hooked by crochet (har har), my suspicion is that they have moved through the stages of projects, from simple homewares and blankets to more complicated accessories, with many people wanting to take it to the next level of garments for themselves as well as kids in their lives. Garments are definitely a big commitment and can take more skill to get something wearable at the end. 

I also think that the DIY and Make it Wear it trends in fashion have impacted on those of us whose main craft is crochet.  We have seen in sewists and knitters make gorgeous clothing and we want the same. 

Fortunately, many designers have recognised that trend and there has been an upsurge of beautiful and wearable crochet garments available, across magazines and independent releases.  I think its a really exciting time for crochet with gorgeous thoughtful designs coming to the fore.

Patterns listed (or click through the images)

(photo credits on click through, though most belong to the fabulous Britt Spring, styled by Claire Montgomerie)

Garments are expensive to make, and Deramores is launching a competition to win £500 worth of yarn.  You can find the full details and the other trends picked by some fantastic bloggers here

The Crochet Project: Shawls

While the digital release of The Crochet Project's Book, Shawls, is still a few weeks away we are hopefully going to print with the book this weekend in preparation of Edinburgh Yarn Festival.  

In it you will find 6 gorgeous 1 skein shawls, all designed by Joanne. Each has a different construction and highlights the beautiful hand-dyed beautifully.  The printed book also comes with a chapter on the ins and outs of construction, so whether you are looking to design your own shawl or just make beautiful things, it will be the book for you. The patterns are available exclusively at EYF, but then will be released online in the coming weeks.

But enough talk, how about a peek at the shawls?

The are even more beautiful in real life, so if you are at EYF, do come find the stall to give them a squish! 

Edinburgh Yarn Festival

in just over a month, the Edinburgh Yarn Fest will open its doors to a weekend filled with yarn, knitting and of course, crochet!

Joanne and I with our Crochet Project hats on will be teaching courses on Crochet for Knitters and Making Crochet Wearable. We will also have a stand where we will be selling patterns, crochet hooks, buttons and talking all about how awesome crochet is. Plus we will be launching a new collection which we are busy putting the final touches on as I type (quite literally - the last piece to be made is sitting in my lap!).

Jo and Mica have planned a really stellar weekend of fun and I can't wait to be part of it!

There are still a handful of tickets for the classes available, so do book now to avoid disappointment! 

Mistakes in Patterns

Last week, I had the unenviable task of adding the errata for Hook, Stitch & Give to the book page.  I tell you what, there is nothing I hate more in my job than finding errors in my patterns.  I have been known to shed many a tear  about the subject and I know that many of you share my frustrations.  One of the questions I get asked a lot is that surely, if the pattern is written, tech edited and tested, why are there still errors found at print  (for more information about what a tech editor does, check out Joanne's post on "What is a Tech Editor?")?

Why Are There Mistakes In Patterns

I will outline some of the reasons, in my experience, mistakes still creep in, but ultimately it comes down to the fact we are just humans. No matter how many times a pattern is edited, mistakes can sneak through.

Every designer will have a different process, but from inception to printing, mine goes something like this:

  • Think of an idea
  • Sketch and swatch
  • Design the item in a spreadsheet
  • Write out the pattern
  • Make the sample as a way of testing the pattern (sometimes I use sample makers for this stage)
  • Re-edit pattern
  • Send pattern to TE for tech editing
  • Revise pattern
  • Send pattern to testers (I use a Facebook Group for this)
  • Revise pattern
  • Pattern goes to the publisher for editing and layout.  Here is will be edited by:
    • My Editor
    • A Copy editor
    • A translator (the person who translates my patterns from UK to American terms is really good for picking up errors, as was my Finnish translator for Crochet at Play)
  • Revise pattern
  • Final edits by the TE and I
  • Revise pattern
  • Pattern goes to print

Even I look at that and think, "How on earth could things still sneak through!?!". I know, but it happens and in my experience the remaining errors are a result of a couple of key factors:

  • Not seeing the wood for the trees. Tech editors will check that all the math works and everything lines up.  Sometimes all the numbers can work, but its still wrong - a small instruction missed or a mismatch between the pattern and the photo (patterns are often tested and edited before photography is done). For example, in the Waterfall Shrug pattern in Hook, Stitch & Give, there is a mistake in the number of rows needed to complete the length of the shrug...it should have been doubled to fit as I wanted, but all of the numbers - from the length in the table to the row counts in the pattern were for half the length.  There is no way one would have known that, unless you were me (and I missed it!)
  • Errors sneak into spreadsheets that may make logical sense, but still not be right. Most designers will be working from a spreadsheet to write their pattern.  This helps tremendously with getting sums correct, making sure your stitch counts add up and helping to grade across sizes.  It is a lot of math and spreadsheets can often be very long and complicated with equations building on one another.  It is an easy thing to make a small mistake in one cell and have it carried forward in your sums. I can't tell you the number of times I have picked up a wrong cell, only to discover it at the end of writing a pattern. Sometimes, if you don't know where the mistake has been made, it can be impossible to find because it will look right (maybe be consistent with the same multiple of a number as the other sizes, or be the right step up or down in comparison to previous steps).
  • The skill of a designer. Designing is taking an idea, turning into a physical act of making, translating it into words in crochet code, then making sure all of the numbers across multiple sizes are right. Designers will have different strengths across those skills- I am an ideas person good at taking a nebulous idea and turning into a physical object. However, my grading and mathematical skills are definitely the area where I have to be extra careful.  I am good, but not perfect and I work closely with my super amazing editors to make sure everything works.
  • Not working to the stylesheet. one key element in making sure patterns work is ensuring they are submitted in house style - if a Tech Editor has to spend a lot of time converting the pattern to the style of the magazine or book, then mistakes can be missed in the process.

 

Why can't every design be tested? 

In a book of 30 patterns across an average of 6 sizes per pattern- it's logistically impossible to test every size. Some designers do get every size tested, but they tend to be designers who release 1 design at a time. In HSG, each pattern has been made by either a sample maker or a tester, bar 2, which felt like a decent balance between getting things right and balancing the logistics. Magazine designs will often have similar time constraints and really rely heavily on the designer and tech editor getting everything right, as there often isn't time for testing. 

 

What do I do if I find a mistake?

Most designers offer pattern support. Please know that no one finds errata more frustrating than the designer, but its always better to let them know (nicely) that something doesn't look right. I try to get back to people within a day or two, but it can sometimes be longer. 

I hope that understanding some of the reasons why they happen helps people feel less murderous when it comes to spotting errata in patterns. 

Kat GoldincrochetComment
Writing a Craft Tutorial: Top Tips
writing a craft tutorial top tips

Things just got meta.  Every time I write a crochet or yarn tutorial (and lets face it, I have written a fair few), it occurs to me how much work it takes to write, photograph and publish a craft  tutorial. Of course, its never the writing that is the hard part, but the photographing, the editing and the promoting that take up a lot of time. 

Why write tutorials:

One of the most common queries I get about writing tutorials is around whether its worth writing one when there are just so many out there.  My answer is always YES! And there are a number of reasons for why its worth doing your own:

  • You will have a unique take on what you are doing and may help someone who has never "cracked" that stitch or technique before.
  • Tutorials you write relate specifically to your work, especially if you are in the business of writing patterns (for free or paid), selling kits or writing for magazines. You can tailor them so they use your stylesheet, your voice and  act as a set up for whatever larger pattern you may be linking to them.
  • Tutorials create traffic for your site. Not only are How Tos great traffic drivers in and of themselves, but if you are going to link to a tutorial in a pattern, it may as well be your own. Don't give your traffic away!
  • They show you know what you are doing! With so many voices in the craft world, showing folks you know your stuff is an important element of standing out!

What makes a good tutorial:

The sky is the limit. Any tip, technique or stitch can be used for content.  I always try to link mine to upcoming or newly released patterns as a way of promoting both the pattern (or book) and helping those who are likely to be starting the pattern at the same time. 

Writing the Tutorial:

  • break your tutorial into steps, but not too many. Use your judgement, but in my experience, people don't like to scroll for days down a post.
  • Think about your audience - do they know the basic abbreviations? Do they know the basic stitches? In very beginner patterns, everything will be spelled out to the letter. In more advanced tutorials, I will assume people know how to: chain, double and treble crochet and know the basic abbreviations. It can be easy to get lost in the minutiae, but its usually better to link to a different tutorial than go into every single technique used in project.
  • Think through the whole of the tutorial before you start.  There is nothing worse than getting half way through and realising you started something wrong or don't have enough materials and have to start at the beginning.
writing a craft tutorial top tips

Photographing the Tutorial:

Basic photography rules apply here and getting to grips with your camera will help your make tutorials that shine.

  • Make sure you are photographing in natural light. 
  • Use a background that will contrast sufficiently with the yarn. I like texture, so rarely use flat painted backgrounds, but that is a personal preference and certainly against the trend of flat white or solid colour backgrounds. Coloured paper, painted wood, fabric and tea trays are all good backgrounds for tutorials.
  • If you have control over your settings, shooting at an aperture of between 5.6-4 tends to be  the sweet spot when using a 50mm lens to photograph your crafts. This means that there is sufficient focus on what you are doing, but you don't have to hike up your ISO to crazy levels. The size of what you are photographing and your lens will play a roll here, but try to make sure the whole of what you are showing is in focus.
  • Speaking of ISO, if you are using the photos only for your blog, you will probably be ok using up to 1000 - 1600 at a push - beyond that grain will likely be visible.
  • If you have one, use a tripod and a timer/remote so that you don't have to be up and down taking the photos.  I use my Canon 6d connected to my iPad - a set up I cant recommend highly enough. Working in this way also means I can edit them in bulk via Lightroom. I simply sit next to what I am photographing with my ipad next to me and work from there.  If you don't have that, a remote will mean you don't have to get up and down to press the shutter.
  • A tripod and remote also is helpful if you are shooting in low light - it means you can slow down the shutter so that you get as much light as possible without camera shake from touching the camera.
  • Thumbtacks, masking tape and blue tac are your friends to keep your bits in place when working on tutorials.
  • Experiment with the materials you are using, the backgrounds and the tools.  Certain colours (hot pink and red for example) are hard to capture and high contrast items can be hard to expose correctly. 

Almost all of my tutorials have been tech edited in some form by Joanne - usually they are modified from technique sections of my patterns, so I have the benefit of always having 2 eyes on what is going live.  However, if you don't have that, ask a friend or someone who knows something about what you are doing to have a quick read through before it goes up on your blog. 

writing a craft tutorial top tips

Making it live and shareable:

  • Make a header image. This should be portrait orientation and with a "call to action" ie, tell people what they are getting when they start reading the post or click through from Pinterest.  If you don't have photoshop, why not try PicMonkey or Canva to create your header images.  
  • Make a landscape image with similar characteristics for sharing on Facebook.
  • Make sure your images have titles that relate to the content - this means that when they are pinned, the subject comes through in the pin description.
  • If you use Squarespace, make sure you add a thumbnail image to the post under "options" so that its pinnable on mobile. 

There is no question that writing tutorials can be a ton of work, but totally worth it! 

New Pattern: Little Ripples
Little Ripples Children's Cardigan Pattern from Kat Goldin Designs

Inspiration for designs comes in many forms. Sometimes, its a garment I've seen in real life or on TV, sometimes its a construction method or stitch pattern. For my latest pattern, the inspiration came from the yarn itself.

Little Ripples Cardigan from Kat Goldin Designs

If you have Hook, Stitch & Give, you will know that I am a huge fan of Ripples Crafts yarn. It features in at least 2 projects - the shell scape shawl and the thrummed mittens. Helen, who also lives in rural Scotland, creates colours that really speak to me on gorgeous bases. I simply can't get enough. And when I saw her Stormy Seas colourway in 4ply BFL at Woolfest, it had to come home with me.

Originally intended for a shawl, the yarn sat on my desk for a few weeks convincing me it needed to be a ripple cardigan. 

Little Ripples Cardigan by Kat Goldin Designs

Now, ripples are beautiful things - one of the elements that crochet does so well- but shaping in ripples is...ah...difficult. And grading across a large number of sizes like that is a nightmare. So simple ripple panels are added to this to give the sense and texture of ripples, but with the ease of shaping in UK trebles and doubles. 

The pattern is sized from 0-6months to 10 years. It has seamless set in sleeves that are created by using short rows - which are easy to do once you get the hang of it, promise.

Little Ripples Cardigan by Kat Goldin

This cardigan would work well in any 4ply or sock yarn.  In fact, sock yarns are great for kid's clothes as they are very hard wearing and washable.  You will get up to a size 4y in 2x100g hanks of sock yarn (and you won't be far off a 6y if you shorten the hem to underarm length).

You can find the pattern on Ravelry in both UK and US terms.

***I have had a lot of questions about an adult sized version and the answer is, yes, its on its way***

Georgia wanted me to make sure that "the people on the computer" know that this is her cardigan and her name is Georgia. 

Foundation UK Treble/US Double Crochet
How to foundation UK treble/ US double crochet from Slugs on the Refrigerator

If I had to pick a "Most Useful" technique from my bag of crochet tricks, I would say that learning how to do foundation (aka "chainless") crochet stitches is it.  They are just so useful in so many ways - anywhere you need a stretchy beginning edge to what you are working on, I would always use foundation crochet. 

Realistically, you can make any of the basic stitches a foundation stitch, but in reality I tend to use Foundation UK Treble/ US Double the most frequently. Its a great start to ribbing on hats and mittens worked from the bottom up or any garment that uses alternating front and back raised/post stitches.  It forms the start of the very popular Slouch and Bobble Hat featured recently in Mollie Makes, Prima Magazine and Irish Country Living from Hook, Stitch & Give

For those of you not familiar with the stitch, I have a wee tutorial below.  I am experimenting with the way I format tutorials here, to see if this is a bit more user friendly (feedback welcome).  You can click through via the tutorial image to get to the PDF version.  

Crochet Hexagon Wall Hanging
crochet hexagon wall hanging by kat goldin

Well, my glorious puff stitch hexagon bedspread didn't work out.  I tried, I tell you.  I had all the best intentions. I carried my yarn and hook with me everywhere I went, but after making about 6 little hexies, I simply couldn't make any more.  I simply can not make motif-based blankets (I even roped my BFF into making the one in Hook, Stitch & Give - its THAT BAD!).

crochet hexagon wall handing by kat goldin

However, those 6 little hexies called to me from my WIP basket.  I needed to do something with them.  I considered the usual pillows, bags, etc, but nothing really called to me.  Until Mac the Labradoodle kindly  left a stick in the studio and these little beauts were born. 

crochet hexagon wall hanging by Kat Goldin

They follow the puff stitch hexagon pattern and then I simply sewed them onto a stick, added tassles and stuck them up. Easy peasy. 

crochet hexagon wall hangings by Kat Goldin

They are currently hanging above my sofa looking very fetching and not on the woodshed door as pictured ;). 


UK Raised Double Crochet Front (RdcF) / US Front Post Single Crochet (FPsc)

One of my favourite stitches, this is my must-have wrong side row of any ripple stitch I use in my designs.  Taking up hardly any space, the UK Raised Double Crochet Front (US Front Post Single Crochet) creates a ridge along the top of the ripple, adding definition, depth and stability to the fabric when worked on the wrong side. I have used it in Achemilla Shawl, Iced Gem and at least one pattern in Hook, Stitch & Give.  It can be used on any wrong side of a ripple to create a similar effect. 

Knowing that people find post stitches tricky, here is my quick guide to this awesome stitch. 

1. Insert your hook around the post of the next stitch, working from the front, around the back then out the front of the fabric.

2. Yarn over hook.

3. Pull through (2 loops on hook).

4. Yarn over hook and pull through both loops on the hook.

You will work the next row of stitches in the top of the post stitches you just made.  

front post single crochet tutorial on Slugs on the Refrigerator

When worked on the wrong side of the fabric, it turns the top of the stitches out, creating the signature rib of stitches on the front.

Happy Crocheting!