Book Review: Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam with Excerpted Pattern for Panda Comforter (Lovey)

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - book coverIn today’s Granny Square Month post, I’m sharing a review of a granny square pattern collection by Emma Varnam, along with an adorable crochet pattern for a panda lovey.

Granny Square Month 2018 on Underground Crafter ] 30 days of granny square patterns, inspiration, and giveaways!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. A free PDF review copy Granny Squares Weekend: 20 Quick and Easy Crochet Projects was provided to me by GMC Publications Ltd. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review

Granny Squares Weekend: 20 Quick and Easy Crochet Projects is the follow up to Emma Varnam’s Granny Squares Home (reviewed with the pattern excerpt for the Cuddly Lion and Panda here). I’m reviewing the UK version of the book, but a US version will be available on June 19, 2018 (and you can preorder it now on Amazon).

Emma opens the book with an introduction, saying

I cannot think of anything more delightful than a weekend spent curling up on the sofa with my yarn and hook, crocheting something cosy.

I certainly couldn’t agree more, and if you feel the same, you will probably find a lot to like in this collection of “patterns that are based around the classic granny square, but with a modern twist.” As the title suggests, all the patterns in the book are small enough to finish within a weekend.

After the introduction, there is a 22 page showcase of full page pattern images. The projects for the home are styled in cozy rooms while the accessories patterns alternate between being photographed on models or mannequins and dress forms.

The first chapter is Getting Started. The What You’ll Need section includes an overview of tools such as hooks, yarn, stuffing, and needles, and safety eyes. The Crochet Techniques section includes written tutorials with illustrations for holding the yarn and hook, making a slip knot, pattern abbreviations (including both US and UK abbreviations), 6 basic crochet stitches, tips for working in rows and rounds, starting with a joined ring and a magic ring, crocheting into spaces instead of stitches, increasing and decreasing, crocheting through the back loop, 3 special crochet stitches, and tips for working crochet edging on fabric. (You can see a sample of these illustrated tutorials below the excerpted pattern, below.) The next section is Finishing Touches, which includes written and illustrated tutorials for 4 joins, weaving in ends, adding buttons, finishing off, using a pom pom maker, 2 embroidery stitches, and blocking. This chapter introduces several “Handy Tips” by Emma (which appear throughout the book) that share helpful hints for troubleshooting and improving your crochet skills.

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - Panda Cushion (lovey) image with childThe second chapter is The Projects. Patterns include 3 blankets, 2 cushions (pillows), 2 hats, and assorted projects for home, baby, and women’s accessories. Each pattern includes the finished size, “what you will need” (a supply list), and information about tension (gauge). Some of the patterns also include assembly diagrams or special stitch instructions. All of the patterns include several large, full color photographs of the patterns, too. There are no difficulty levels, but most patterns use simple stitches.

The book ends with a Sources and Resources section which lists yarn suppliers in the US and UK and helpful books and websites, and includes acknowledgements from Emma and an index.

Like Granny Squares Home, Emma’s Granny Squares Weekend is a treat for the eyes. The beautifully styled pictures of crochet filled homes make you want to grab your hook and cuddle up with some yarn. If you like comfort crochet, “mindless” crochet, mindful crochet, hygge, or boho crochet, you are sure to find some great projects in this book.

Panda Comforter

Crochet Pattern by Emma Varnam

Published in Granny Squares Weekend: 20 Quick and Easy Crochet Projects

© 2018 Emma Varnam and GMC Publications Ltd and shared with permission from GMC Publications Ltd.

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - Panda Cushion (lovey)Notes from Underground Crafter:

For young babies, this cute comforter or lovey makes the perfect cuddly companion to snuggle up with in their cot or pram at nap time.

Finished size

  • Panda head approximately 2in (5cm) tall and 3in (8cm) wide
  • Blanket approximately 10.25in (26cm) wide

You will need

  • Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, 55% wool, 33% acrylic, 12% cashmere (137yd/125m per 50g ball):
    • 1 x 50g ball 300 Black (A)
    • 1 x 50g ball 101 Ecru (B)
  • 3.5mm (UK9:USE/4) crochet hook
  • Tapestry needle
  • Polyester stuffing
  • Safety eyes

Tension

  • Tension is not essential for this project.

Note

  • The panda head, arms and ears are worked in spirals using the magic ring technique (see illustrated tutorial at end of pattern). The granny square blanket is made in a round and sewn to the base of the head.

Ears (make 2)

  • Using 3.5mm hook and A, make a magic ring (see illustrated tutorial at end of pattern).
  • Round 1: 1 ch, 6 dc into centre of the ring (6 sts).
  • Round 2: 2 dc in each st (12 sts).
  • Rounds 3–4: Work 2 rounds straight.
  • Round 5: (2 dc, dc2tog) three times (9 sts). Fasten off.
  • Flatten ear. Leave a yarn tail to sew to the head.

Head

  • Using 3.5mm hook and B, make a magic ring.
  • Round 1: 1 ch, 6 dc into the centre of the ring.
  • Round 2: 2 dc into each st (12 sts).
  • Round 3: (1 dc, dc2inc) six times (18 sts).
  • Round 4: (2 dc, dc2inc) six times (24 sts).
  • Round 5: (3 dc, dc2inc) six times (30 sts).
  • Round 6: (4 dc, dc2inc) six times (36 sts).
  • Round 7: (5 dc, dc2inc) six times (42 sts).
  • Rounds 8–12: Work 5 rounds straight.
  • Round 13: (5 dc, dc2tog) six times (36 sts).
  • Round 14: (4 dc, dc2tog) six times (30 sts).
  • Round 15: (3 dc, dc2tog) six times (24 sts).
  • Round 16: (2 dc, dc2tog) six times (18 sts).
  • Round 17: (1 dc, dc2tog) six times (12 sts).
  • Round 18: (dc2tog) six times (6 sts).
  • Fasten off. Leave a yarn tail to sew to the body.
  • Using the photograph as a guide, position the eyes on the face. With a tapestry needle and black embroidery thread, use satin stitch to embroider a small triangle for the nose and then use a back stitch to create a line below the nose (see illustrated tutorial at end of pattern). Sew the ears firmly to the top of the head.

Arms (make 2)

  • Using 3.5mm hook and A, make a magic ring.
  • Round 1: 1 ch, 6 dc into the centre of the ring.
  • Round 2: (1 dc, dc2inc) three times (9 sts).
  • Round 3: (2 dc, dc2inc) three times (12 sts).
  • Rounds 4–16: Work 13 rounds straight.
  • Fasten off. Leave a yarn tail to sew to the base of the head.

Making up

  • Stuff the head firmly. Using a tapestry needle, weave the tail of yarn through the last dc sts of the round of the head and gather hole together at the neck edge. Stuff the arms firmly and fold in half widthways at the top of the arms. Sew them to the base of the head near the neck edge.

Blanket

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - Panda Cushion (Lovey) granny square

  • Using 3.5mm hook and B, ch 5 sts, sl st in first ch to form a loop.
  • Round 1: 3 ch, 2 tr in loop, 3 ch, (3 tr, 3 ch), rep twice more, sl st in 3 ch (4 tr clusters).
  • Round 2: Change to A, attach yarn to any 3 ch sp, 3 ch, 2 tr in ch sp, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch, (3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch) in next ch sp three times, sl st in 3 ch (8 tr clusters).
  • Round 3: Change to B, attach yarn to any 3 ch sp, 3 ch, 2 tr in ch sp, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch, (3 tr, 1 ch) in next ch sp, *(3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 1 ch) in next 3 ch sp, (3 tr, 1 ch) in next ch sp; rep from * twice more, sl st in 3 ch (12 tr clusters).
  • Continue increasing the granny square in this manner, working in alternate colours.
  • Work until you have 48 treble clusters ending with a row in A.
  • Rounds 13–14: Sl st across 2 sts to corner ch sp, 1 ch, (2 dc, 1 ch, 2 dc) into sp, 1 dc into each tr and 1 dc into every 1 ch, (2 dc, 1 ch, 2 dc) into every 3 ch sp, sl st into 1 ch at beg  of round.
  • Fasten off and weave in ends. Your granny square will measure approximately 10.25in (26cm) square.
  • Gently block the granny square.
  • Fasten off and weave in ends.

Finishing

  • Sew the head firmly to the centre of the blanket.

Magic ring

  • In recent years, with the increasing interest in making amigurumi or crochet toys, the magic ring (also known as the magic circle) technique has become popular. This is a neat way of starting a circular piece of crochet while avoiding the unsightly hole that can be left in the centre when you join a ring the normal way. Magic rings are nearly always made with double crochet stitches, as this creates a tight, dense crochet fabric. This technique is used for several projects, including the head of the Panda Comforter.

1 Start by making a basic slip knot. Pull up the loop and slip this loop onto your crochet hook.

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - magic ring tutorial 12 Before you tighten the ring, wrap the yarn over the hook (outside the circle) and pull through to make the first chain.

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - magic ring tutorial 23 Insert the hook into the ring, wrap the yarn over the hook and pull through the ring so there are two loops on the hook.

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - magic ring tutorial 34 Wrap the yarn over the hook again (outside the circle) and pull through both loops.

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - magic ring tutorial 45 You have made your first double crochet stitch.

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - magic ring tutorial 56 Continue to work like this for as many double crochet stitches as are stated in the pattern instructions.

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - magic ring tutorial 67 Pull the yarn tail to tighten the ring and then continue working in the round as usual.

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - magic ring tutorial 7Back stitch

  • Back stitch is excellent for creating a straight line. Using the illustration as a guide, bring your needle up through your fabric at A and then push the needle back down at B. Bring the needle up again at C, and then down again at A. Work along like this to create a neat continuous line.

Granny Squares Weekend by Emma Varnam book review with pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter - back stitch tutorialYou can find Granny Squares Weekend and more Emma Varnam books on Amazon.


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