Tunisian Crochet

If ever there was something to make crochet even better than it already is, it has to be learning Tunisian Crochet. The love child of crochet and knitting, it’s a craft that looks far more complicated than it is but (as is the case with most crafts) it’s super simple once you get the hang of it ๐Ÿ™‚ Not only does Tunisian Crochet have a wonderfully dense texture but it’s also squishy and stretchy and so it’s just right for scarves or jumpers. Even better is you only really need one special supply and that is a Tunisian Crochet hook. Like a cross between a super sized crochet hook and a knitting needle, you can pick these up from everyone’s favourite craft website woolwarehouse .

Anyway, enough chatting, let’s get down to making a Tunisian Crochet test swatch in Simple Stitch (aka Afghan Stitch)

Let’s begin by pointing out that there are no multiples required with the Afghan stitch, so you can work it with any size of foundation chain. You can also use any yarn or wool that takes your fancy, just remember to switch your hook size up or down depending on the yarn thickness and to prevent too much curl (as is the nature of this stitch) try working with a hook size up from what you’d normally use ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tunisian Crochet is worked in 2 parts for each row, the first part being forward and the second being backwards so …..
  • Chain 10
  • Row 1 (forwards) – Insert the hook into the second chain from the hook, yarn over and pull up a loop remembering to leave the loop on the hook. Insert the hook into the next chain, yarn over, pull up a loop and continue across until you have a row of new loops on your hook (one for each chain).
  • Row 1 (backwards) – Insert the hook into the first loop, yarn over and pull up. Yarn over, pull up 2 loops and repeat all the way across until you’ve only 1 loop left on the hook.
  • Row 2 (forwards) – Insert the hook into the second bar from the hook, yarn over and pull up a loop remembering to leave the loop on the hook. Continue across until the end of the row.
  • Row 2 (backwards) – Yarn over, pull through the first loop, yarn over and pull through 2 loops. Repeat until you’ve only 1 loop left.
  • Next time we’ll cover Tunisian Crochet in the round so you can produce things such as this
  • x-R-x
  • Overlocker How-To

    So, this September wasn’t only my birthday but was also when I became a fully fledged member of the Overlocker Gang courtesy of Mr Riley (a million thank you’s for that one! ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Thinking it was going to be as awkward as everyone has said with regards to threading, I initially put off using it ….. for about half a day! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I sat in front of it and guess what, this threading an overlocker malarkey is seriously simple stuff. I get that it looks like it’ll be a nightmare but honestly, nothing to fret over. A very small monkey could probably do it ….. in their sleep ….. blindfolded ….. ah, you get my point ๐Ÿ™‚ (I’m making no apologies for the serious overuse of the smiley face emoji btw!)ย 

    Anyway, if you also happen to be the rather proud owner of a Brother 3034DWT, or indeed a rather petrified new owner who has still to remove it from the box, then heres a little guide to threading.

    Threading Guide

    1. First step has to be unplugging the overlocker. I know it sounds like simple stuff but you mess with this bad boy when he’s plugged in purely at your own risk. This is some serious ‘losing a finger or two’ sort of business. So make sure your overlocker is completely turned off before you even start touching it ๐Ÿ™‚
    2. At the front of the machine you’ll see a white plastic cover, slide it across to the right slightly and then down so it’s completely open and you can see inside the machine.ย 
    3. Ensure that the telescopic thread tree is raised to it’s highest level and raise the presser foot using the presser foot lever.
    4. To begin the threading you start with the thread spool furthest to the right and then work across one at a time. So the order of threading is as follows: Lower Looper, Upper Looper, Right Needle, Left Needle. NB: if the machine isn’t threaded in the correct order then it will not operate correctly.
    5. Lower Looper: On the front of the machine you’ll see coloured lines showing the direction the thread needs to go. For the Lower Looper, the line is blue and the thread should go through the following ‘number markers’ (as shown on the diagram on the overlocker) – through 3, down through 4 and 5, through 6, 7 and 8 (making sure that the thread goes through both parts of 7). Pass the thread through as shown and then through the eye of the lower looper before bringing the thread up onto the sewing plate, leaving a large ‘tail’.
    6. Upper Looper: ย (green line) Take the thread through 3, through 4, through 5,6,7,8 (only through the first part of 7) and then pass the thread through the eye of the Upper Looper and up onto the sewing plate.
    7. Right Needle: (pink line) Take the thread through 3, 4 and 5 (following the 4 & 5 next to the pink and yellow lines as opposed to the green and blue lines) and then directly across to 6, ensuring that the thread is kept to the right of the separator, back down and through the right hand needle.
    8. Left Needle: (yellow line) Follow the above directions but keep the thread to the left of the separator and pass it through the left hand needle.
    9. Ideally, or at least to begin with and until you’ve had a little play about with some different fabrics, keep the top tension gauges on 4, the differential feed tension on 1 and the stitch width on 5R.

      Top Tension Gauges

      Stitch Length

      Differential Feed

    You, my friend, have just threaded your overlocker so when you’ve finished bopping round the room in a self congratulatory dance then go and play with your wonderful new toy ๐Ÿ™‚

    x-R-x

    New York, New York!

    “Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you” said Ms Swift and yes, it did feel like it’d been waiting for us to get there. Our October half term was spent in the city that, as we found out, literally never sleeps. Ever! We stayed in the lovely Hilton Double Tree Suites Hotel in the middle of Times Square and you could look out of the window at 3am and still see people wandering around but then what else do you expect from a city where the stores don’t close until 1am?!? Nothing weirder than a Disney Store full of really small children at midnight ๐Ÿ™‚ Everyone and I mean everyone has asked the same question ‘what was the food like?’. Well, I’m more than happy to confirm that the food was absolutely, amazingly gorgeous. The portions were ginormous and if I only recommend one restaurant, it has to be Juniors on Broadway. Ha, who am I kidding, I can’t just recommend one restaurant. Listen, if you’re in New York City and you need breakfast then you need to visit Westway Diner. You think I’m exaggerating with my use of ‘need’ in italics but I’m not. This little hidden gem is just superb. Don’t be put off by the slightly 70s-esque decor, instead take note of the queues to get in because that’s a true sign of a good place to eat ๐Ÿ™‚ The prices were excellent, the service was spot on and the food just spoke for itself (ooh and I swear that Johnny Mathas is now a waiter there!) Ok, so if you’re in NYC and you’re in need of lunch then Potbelly’s is the place to go. Fancy a philly cheese steak sandwich or mac ‘n’ cheese oozing with extra cheese? Potbelly’s is for you. Anyway, enough about food, let me tell you of all the other brilliant places we went, starting with the truly iconic Empire State Building. King Kong definitely got it right when he decided to visit this attraction ๐Ÿ˜‚ To beat the queues we went before breakfast and as such, we didn’t need to queue at all. The views were everything they had promised to be and then some. Chilly at the top though! Next on the list of sights to see was the 9/11 memorial which was utterly surreal. To think that all these people were there purely because of such a terrible disaster was just mind blowing. The museum was unlike anything I’d ever seen, so quiet and calm but so incredibly sad. My words will never do it justice so all I can say is go and see it. Moving on from the memorial, we took a walk to the financial district and walked alongside the Hudson River where we had lovely views of the Statue of Liberty. Speaking of which, we never actually went to see the infamous statue! Not because we didn’t want to but more because it’s a nightmare trying to get tickets. Also, it’s weeny in real life. Weeny! ๐Ÿ™‚ Another place we visited was the Intrepid: Air, Sea, Space museum which is definitely not just for the children. Based by the river, over in Hells Kitchen, this museum is out of this world. To begin with you can go down inside of an ex army submarine where we were able to also meet a former navy member who worked on board and who is was really informative and interesting to listen to. Afterwards, you go into the museum which is actually an ex aircraft carrier that’s now permanently moored. Let me start by saying the sheer size of this boat will mess with your head. I’ve never seen anything quite this huge that’s still afloat ๐Ÿ™‚ oh and to add to the head messing, on the second floor is a space rocket! Yes, a real life, real sized, absolutely mentally massive space rocket. A space rocket inside of a boat! If that doesn’t blow your mind, I’m not sure what will ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s not just a space rocket either, there’s also helicopters, planes, fighter jets and many many more real life vehicles. Completely worth the admission price and if you only go one place in NYC then you should make it this one. Next up was Brooklyn Bridge which was just over a mile of utter gorgeousness followed by Grand Central Station and St Patrick’s Cathedral. So, what else to do in New York?!? It’s got to be shopping of course! Macy’s, Saks, Barnes & Noble, Target(!), Sephora, Old Navy, M&M world, Herscheys, Disney Store, Kiehls ….. as we found out, you’ll need another suitcase to take home all the bargains you’ll find ๐Ÿ™‚

    New York, it’s been amazing and I can’t wait to see you again next time!

    x-R-x

    September

    Well September went quickly didn’t it? For us, this marks the end of ‘birthday season‘ and the start of ‘its nearly Christmas‘ ….. yes, that’s right, Christmas. It’s only been two minutes since last Christmas so clearly it’s time for the shops to be full of advent calendars and wrapping paper! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, time marches on regardless of how much sarcasm I throw at it so back to the crafty shenanigans of September which include sewing, knitting, reading, more knitting, more reading and oh yes, it was my birthday ๐ŸŽ‰ This year my birthday meant I was able to join the ‘perfect seams’ gang with an overlocker! If you love sewing then you’ll understand my absolute excitement at having one of these bad boys and if you’re not quite grasping my excitement then to be honest, is there any hope for you?!? ๐Ÿ˜‚ So now I’ve taken my sewing up a level just in time for Christmas. Ooh, what a nice little coincidence!

    The return of the cold weather has also meant I’ve been knitting like nobody’s business. Mainly scarves but I’m about to cast on a no-frills sweater from Ravelry.

    Now, I may have mentioned this before but I’m a self confessed book addict. Not just a book a week but quite often, a book a day and this month I’ve gotten through quite a few paperbacks, all from the crime genre (obviously!).

    Book #1 – Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

    Book #2 – Snap by Belinda Bauer

    Book #3 – Where The Missing Go by Emma Rowley

    Book #4 – Did You See Melody by Sophie Hannah

    All superbly written but if you’re only going to read one then make it Snap. An absolutely brilliant book that gets you right from the first page and will make you want to read it all in one go.

    So that’s September all done with until next time and now comes October, stomping it’s way through the autumn leaves. Hope it’s a wonderful one ๐Ÿ™‚

    x-R-x

    Single Crochet

    The most simple of all crochet stitches (bar the slip stitch of course which we’ll cover later in the series), single crochet is easy to learn and produces a wonderfully dense texture. Use it for scarves, use it for cardigans, use it for hats ….. use it for whatever takes your fancy ๐Ÿ™‚

    I appreciate not everyone learns the same way so take your time and either watch the short video or follow the written instructions below. Either way, I hope you enjoy it!

    1. Chain 11 stitches
    2. In the second chain from the hook, slip the hook through the first stitch
    3. Wrap the yarn over the hook and draw the hook back through ย (2 stitches on the hook)
    4. Wrap the yarn back over the hook and draw the hook back through both stitches (1 stitch on hook)
    5. Repeat to the end of the row (10 stitches completed)
    6. Chain 1, turn your work, continue as above but starting in the first stitch from the hook

    I told you it was simple ๐Ÿ™‚

    x-R-x

    Beginning Crochet

    I am head over heels for the joy that is crochet. Since I was 4 years old, I’ve been mad for it and out of all the crafts that I love, crochet will always be my go to. However, I’ve heard a funny little rumour that not everyone gets it (cue a collective gasp! ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Some say it’s awkward, some say they go round and round in circles with it and some just haven’t yet realised how brilliant it is as a craft and as a skill. So thats where this comes in, this being the post you are about to read and that is going to convince you that crochet isn’t awkward to learn and is in fact super easy. All you’ll need is a crochet hook (remember, the thicker the yarn then the bigger the hook) and some yarn, whatever you have laying around will do to practice with.

    Lets begin at the beginning :

    1. First things first, we need to make a chain. Or to be more precise, before we make a chain we need to make a first loop. Sometimes known as a pretzel, the first loop always looks nigh on impossible but trust me, its lemon squeezy (easy!).
    2. Leaving a tail of about 30cm to weave in later, wrap the yarn around the first two fingers on your left hand so that a cross is formed in the middle.ย 
    3. Slide the hook in the groove between your two fingers, under the first wrap of yarn and over the second, catching it with the tip of the hook.ย 
    4. Draw the hook back under the first wrap of yarn (closest to your fingertips), bringing the second wrap of yarn with it.
    5. As you do step 4, slide the yarn off of your fingers so that a loop is left on the hook.

     

     

     

     

    6. Pull the two ends of the yarn until the loop is snug on the hook.ย 

    First loop made! Honestly, could this crochet malarkey get any easier?!? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Next step is to make a whole chain.

    1. Hold the hook in your right hand and keep the working yarn, slightly taut in your left.
    2. Wrap the yarn over the hook and keeping hold of the tail so as to keep the hook steady, draw the hook and the yarn you’ve just wrapped over, through the original loop. You should now have two loops in your chain.ย 
    3. Continue steps 1 and 2 until you’ve chained enough stitches for your project. If you’re just having a practice then you might want to chain between 10 and 20 as a good starting point ๐Ÿ™‚

    At this point, I’ll presume you haven’t run off screaming or at the very least, thrown your hook in the bin and settled down for an evening of Netflix so have a look at the next step which is single crochet and which we’ll cover in the next post.

    x-R-x

    Abbreviations

    In a pickle with your dc and your hdc? Stuck with sc and sl? Can’t decide between tbl and tfl? Then I hope this table of abbreviations goes some way to help ๐Ÿ™‚

    bo bind off
    cc contrating colour
    ch-sp chain space
    co cast on
    dc double crochet
    dc2tog double crochet 2 together
    dec decrease
    hdc half double crochet
    inc increase
    k knit
    k2tog knit 2 together
    lp loop
    mc main colour
    p purl
    p2tog purl 2 together
    psso pass slipped stitch over
    rep repeat
    rnd round
    rs right side
    sc single crochet
    sc2tog single crochet 2 together
    sl st slip stitch
    sm slip marker
    st stitch
    st st stockinette stitch
    tbl through back loop
    tfl through front loop
    tog together
    tr treble crochet
    ws wrong side
    wyib with yarn in back
    wyif with yarn in front
    yb bring yarn to the back
    yf bring yarn to the front
    yo yarn over

    x-R-x

    Hi Autumn

    Well sorry to break it to you folks but, at the risk of sounding like a sad Susan, I think summer may well be over. ย It’s raining as I write this and *gasp* I’ve had to pop the heating on! Yes, summer has well and truly given way to autumn. Panic not though because as the nights draw in and the risk of frostbite returns to quite literally nip us on the toes, the making season returns too ย ๐Ÿ™‚

    Summer may be made for lazing in the sunshine but autumn is the season of starting new projects. New jumpers, new cardigans, new scarves; they all jump on the needles ready to be made in time for the winter and lets face it, we had a wonderful run of summer this year so I’m sure the weather gods will make sure we have a super cold winter to make up for it. Oh, and don’t forget new quilts! Just the thought of it makes me giddy ย ๐Ÿ™‚

    So, what did we do this summer? Painting! Lots and lots of painting. Making things took a complete back seat to redecorating this summer and instead of buying half of HobbyCraft or WoolWarehouse, this time it was all about Farrow and Ball (Stiffkey Blue if you were wondering) and other lovely housey things. My crafting was limited to a couple of pairs of trousers, a skirt or two, a quilt, some socks and a few random drawings. Nice to be busy though!

    Anyway, this autumn keep an eye out for the new ‘How To Crochet’ guide starting on CraftyMrsRiley as well as many more wonderful new makes and tutorials and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram (@craftymrsriley) ๐Ÿ™‚

    x-R-x

     

    Superstitious

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    So ….. itโ€™s been a while! Sorry about that but when itโ€™s hotter than the sun outside then do we really want to be sitting at our Macs? No is the simple answer. I love making things and I love writing about making things but when itโ€™s officially the hottest summer since 1961 then I can be forgiven for putting everything else on the back burner. Anyway, I promised a while ago that Iโ€™d post something every couple of weeks (worked out well eh?) so letโ€™s start again and mean it this time ๐Ÿ™‚

    It isnโ€™t that I havenโ€™t been doing anything, more that my brain has had way too much sun and temporarily lost its ability to form coherent sentences, let alone post them in a blog! So, what have I been up to?!? Well, Iโ€™m now the proud owner of Tilly & the Buttons book 1 and 2 which has meant Iโ€™ve gone full on crazy for Margot pyjama pants and have made them in numerous different colours as well as experimenting with both drawstring and elasticated waists. The latter is definitely winning at the moment ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™ve made a beautiful Bettine skirt in a denim style fabric which gave me nightmares when it came to the gathers but turned out wonderfully in the end. Iโ€™ve realised though that if it wasnโ€™t my superstitious side then Iโ€™d get so much more done. Anyone else afraid to sew on a Sunday because somebody somewhere once said you shouldnโ€™t pick up a needle on a โ€˜day of restโ€™? No? Just me then!

    The end of May resulted in Kiki being admitted to hospital suddenly which in turn, led me to knit ALL night and funnily enough, broke knitting for me! I literally knitted til my hands hurt and Iโ€™ve barely knitted since. The fact itโ€™s so warm outside hasnโ€™t helped on the yarn front though. Who wants to be handling wool when itโ€™s hot enough to fry bacon on the car roof!

    Other projects have included finishing my French knot heart embroidery, taking up trousers, adding zippers, baking several birthday cakes (itโ€™s birthday season donโ€™t you know), painting bedrooms, drawing โ€˜doodlesโ€™, reading so many books, visiting Warwick and attempting to sand all the woodwork in the house ready for redecorating. Like I said, Iโ€™ve definitely been doing things! ๐Ÿ™‚

     

    Until next time ……

    x-R-x

    World Craft Week!

    Love knitting? Love sewing? Love crochet? You know what else you’re going to love? World Craft Week! ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t adjust your glasses and don’t pinch yourself because, yes, you are reading this correctly. A WHOLE week dedicated to crafts! Even if Tom Hardy should happen to pop round, I’m afraid I’ll have to tell him to come back next week because I’m going to be busy crafting (actually, I wouldn’t be adverse to him sitting on the sofa holding my knitting needles!).

    So, World Craft Week, what is it? Well, as the name suggests its a week dedicated to whatever craft takes your fancy. The aim is to raise money by holding a Craft4Bliss morning where every penny raised goes to the charity Bliss. Founded in 1979, the charity supports families with babies in neonatal care as well as being involved in neonatal research and providing training to help improve care for premature or poorly babies.

    To take part visitย http://www.worldcraftweek.com

    Alternatively go toย https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/bliss/craft4bliss

    Happy Crafting!

    x-R-x