Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii Book Review with Gingerbread Man Pattern

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii - book review with Gingerbread Man pattern excerpt on Underground Crafter | coverAre you on the hunt for cute, little Christmas gifts and ornaments to knit? Then you’ll want to check out my review of a knitting pattern collection by Sachiyo Ishii, along with an excerpted pattern for the adorable amigurumi Gingerbread Man!

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 review copy of Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii was provided to me by Search Press North America. 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

Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii is a knitting pattern collection of 20 adorable little projects that measure from 2.25” (5.5 cm) through 7” (18 cm) in length. Sachiyo opens the book with an introduction where she shares her delight in making little Christmas toys for decoration and gifting. She mentions that the toys can easily be adjusted in size by using thicker or thinner yarns with appropriately sized needles. The samples in this book are primarily made in DK/light worsted/8-ply yarn (#3 or light yarn in the U.S.).

The book moves on to Knitting Know-How, which includes information about yarn, needles, and other tools; sewing pieces together; and basic knitting and embroidery stitches used in the projects. This section also includes a list of knitting abbreviations.

The next section is the patterns. Each pattern includes a materials list with yarns listed by color and meterage/yardage. The patterns do not listed a needle; however, in Knitting Know-How, the author mentions that all the samples are made with U.S. Size 2 (2.75 mm/U.K. Size 12) double pointed needles unless otherwise mentioned. Each pattern includes instructions for each piece written in pattern abbreviations and a “To make up” section with assembly instructions. The patterns also include a full page picture and at least one additional, smaller detail picture.

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit assumes that you have knowledge of knitting basics, though there is some guidance on terminology (like the differences between garter and stockinette stitches) provided in the Knitting Know-How section. The book is small – at about the size of a folded piece of letter paper, it’s very portable. Like the other books in this series, it’s designed to make it easy to knit on the go. If you’re an advanced beginner or intermediate knitter and enjoy knitting toys and especially Christmas projects, you will find many cute projects included.


Gingerbread Man

Knitting Pattern by Sachiyo Ishii

Published in Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit

Text © 2018 Sachiyo Ishii. Photographs and design  © 2018 Search Press Ltd. Shared with permission from Search Press North America.

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii - book review with Gingerbread Man pattern excerpt on Underground Crafter | Gingerbread Man ornament as gift wrapNotes from Underground Crafter:

  • This pattern uses pattern abbreviations. The Craft Yarn Council has a full list of abbreviations here.
  • The sample was made using U.S. Size 2 (2.75 mm/U.K. Size 12) double pointed needles. Gauge is not important for this pattern, but stitches should be small so that stuffing doesn’t show through.
  • This pattern uses k2tog as the decrease. Purl SoHo has a helpful video tutorial for this stitch here.
  • You can find helpful video tutorials for the embroidery stitches (chain stitch, backstitch, and French knot) used in this pattern at the end of this blog post.

Materials:

  • 10g of DK (light worsted/8-ply) yarn in brown (A) and small amounts of red (C) and lime green (D)
  • Small amounts of 4-ply (fingering) yarn in white (B)
  • Stuffing
  • Hemp cord for hanging loop

Additional Equipment:

  • A stitch holder or a spare needle

Size:

  • 8cm (3in) tall

Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii - book review with Gingerbread Man pattern excerpt on Underground Crafter | Gingerbread Man ornament on white backgroundInstructions:

Front panel, first leg

  • Using yarn A, cast on 7 sts.
  • Rows 1-5: beginning with a p WS row, work 5 rows in st st.
  • Break yarn, place sts on a holder.

Second leg

  • Work as for first leg but do not break yarn.
  • Row 6 (joining row): K7, then k across held 7 sts of first leg(14 sts).
  • Rows 7-15: beg with a p WS row, work 9 rows in st st.
  • Row 16: cast on 5 sts, k to end (19 sts).
  • Row 17: cast on 5 sts, p to end (24 sts).
  • Rows 18-23: beginning with a k RS row, work 6 rows in stst.
  • Row 24: cast off 7 sts, k to end (17 sts).
  • Row 25: cast off 7 sts, p to end (10 sts).
  • Row 26: cast on 5 sts, k to end (15 sts).
  • Row 27: cast on 5 sts, p to end (20 sts).
  • Rows 28-33: beginning with a k RS row, work 6 rows in st st.
  • Row 34: (k2, k2tog) to end (15 sts).
  • Row 35: (p1, p2tog) to end (10 sts).
  • Break yarn, thread through all sts and pull tightly. Fasten off.

Back panel

  • Work as given for Front panel to row 15.
  • Row 16: k to end.
  • Row 17: cast on 5 sts, p to end (19 sts).
  • Row 18: cast on 5 sts, k to end (24 sts).
  • Rows 19-24: beginning with a p WS row, work 6 rows in st st.
  • Cast off.

To make up

  • With fastened-off yarn end of Front panel, sew the back seam of the head down to the neck. Sew all side seams and lightly stuff. Using yarn B, embroider chain stitches on the front panel at the hands and feet, and make backstitches for the mouth. Using two strands of yarn C held together, work a French knot for each eye. Using yarn C, French knot three buttons on the body. Using yarn D, embroider a bow tie at the neck with long horizontal backstitches, gathered with a short vertical stitch. Attach hanging loop if desired.

Giveaway

Now that you’ve read my review of Twenty to Knit: Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii and tried the Gingerbread Man pattern, you may be ready to get your hands on the book. Well, the nice folks at Search Press North America have set aside a copy for one lucky winner!

This giveaway is open to readers with mailing addresses in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or other parts of Europe, except where prohibited by law. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday, December 7, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted via the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will receive 1 copy of Tiny Christmas Toys to Knit, courtesy of Search Press North America. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Granny Square Flowers by May Corfield with Excerpted Crochet Pattern: Rose

Granny Square Flowers by May Corfield (book review with Rose pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter) - coverIn today’s Granny Square Month post, I’m sharing a review of a crochet flower motif project book, sharing an excerpted pattern from that book, and including a giveaway for your chance to win the book, so read on for details!

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 review copy of Granny Square Flowers by May Corfield  was provided to me by Search Press North America. 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.

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

Book Review

Granny Square Flowers by May Corfield  is a crochet flower motif project booklet in the Search Press Twenty to Make series. The booklet is the size of a piece of letter paper folded in half, and it’s slender enough to fit in your project bag. It’s also available in a taller, slimmer size as part of the 20 on the Go Patterns (50¢ a Pattern) series. Granny Square Flowers opens with May’s biography and includes a dedication to her parents. A list of pattern abbreviations (with both US and UK terminology) is also included on the same page. In May’s  introduction, she shares her love of gardening as the inspiration for this book.

The booklet includes a Crochet Know-How section, which shares tips for choosing yarn and hooks, getting proper tension (gauge), and blocking. May used DMC Petra No. 3 crochet cotton and a 2.5 mm crochet hook for all of the included patterns, but you can use your favorite weight of yarn with an appropriate size hook instead.

The booklet then moves into the patterns. Each pattern includes a list of materials and tools, the yardage required, the approximate finished sizes, tips for creating a project using the motifs, and at least two pictures of the motif (typically the motif alone and one included in a larger project). The instructions are clearly written and consistent. The patterns are written with US abbreviations with UK abbreviations in parentheses. The booklet closes with acknowledgements.

Granny Square Flowers is a fun and portable collection of floral crochet motifs. My favorites are the Clematis, the Sunflower (available here), and the Rose, which is included as a pattern excerpt below. This is a pattern booklet that assumes you already know the basic crochet stitches and have a command of working in the round and reading patterns. If you like to make motifs and are looking for a collection of patterns you can bring with you during your journeys, Granny Square Flowers could be just what you’re looking for.


Rose

Crochet Pattern by May Corfield

Published in Granny Square Flowers.

Pattern © 2016 May Corfield and Search Press Ltd. Photographs by Fiona Murray and © Search Press Ltd. Shared with permission from Search Press North America.

Granny Square Flowers by May Corfield (book review with Rose pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter) - Rose motif flay layNote from Underground Crafter: This pattern uses standard US crochet pattern abbreviations (with UK stitch names in parenthesis). You can find a master list of abbreviations here.

Materials:

  • Small amounts of crochet cotton in red (A) and dark green (B)

Tools:

  • US size B/1 or C/2 (2.5mm) crochet hook
  • Tapestry needle

Yardage:

Finished size:

  • Approximately 11cm (4.5in) from corner to opposite corner

Granny Square Flowers by May Corfield (book review with Rose pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter) - Rose motif on boxInstructions:

  • Using yarn A, ch 70, sc (UKdc) in second ch from hook and in each st to end (69 sts).
  • Round 1: 1 ch, [sl st in next st, 5 tr (UKdtr) in next st, sl st in next st] six times, [sl st in next st, 5 dc (UKtr) in next st, sl st in next st] six times, [sl st in next st, 5 hdc (UKhtr) in next st, sl st in next st] eleven times. Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail. Thread the long yarn tail onto a tapestry needle and begin to wind the small petals round in a circle. With the bottom straight edge of the crochet uppermost, make small stitches to secure the petals in place as you curl them round. Check that the rose is forming to your satisfaction as you go. Keep winding the petals round, securing them with small stitches on the reverse.
  • Round 2: Using yarn B, join to centre back of the rose about ½in (1cm) away from the middle. Identify three more points that will form a square, equidistant from the centre of the rose back, 3 ch, sl st to second point, 3 ch, sl st to third point, 3 ch, sl st to fourth point, 3 ch, sl st back to fi rst point (four 3-ch loops forming a square).
  • Round 3: sl st to fi rst loop, work [3 ch, 2 dc (UKtr), 1 ch, 3 dc (UKtr), 2 ch] in same loop, *in next loop work [3 dc (UKtr), 1 ch, 3 dc (UKtr), 2 ch] rep from * twice, sl st to third ch of initial 3-ch.
  • Round 4: sl st to next 1-ch sp, work [3 ch, 2 dc (UKtr), 1 ch] in same sp; *in corner sp work [3 dc (UKtr), 2 ch, 3 dc (UKtr), 1 ch], in next space work [3 dc (UKtr), 1 ch], rep from * twice, in next sp work [3 dc (UKtr), 2 ch, 3 dc (UKtr), 1 ch], sl st to third ch of initial 3-ch.
  • Round 5: sl st to next 1-ch sp, work [3 ch, 2 dc (UKtr), 1 ch], in same sp; in each corner sp work [3 dc (UKtr), 2 ch, 3 dc (UKtr), 1 ch]; in each 1-ch sp along straight edges work [3 dc (UKtr), 1 ch], sl st to third ch of initial 3-ch.

Making up:

  • Fasten off and weave in all loose ends.
  • Block the edging to achieve a good square shape, but not the rose.

Giveaway

Granny Square Flowers by May Corfield (book review with Rose pattern excerpt via Underground Crafter) - giveawayNow that you’ve read my review and sampled a pattern, are you ready to win your own copy of Granny Square Flowers?

This giveaway is open to readers with mailing addresses in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or other parts of Europe, except where prohibited by law. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, June 18, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted via the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will receive 1 copy of Granny Square Flowers by May Corfield, courtesy of Search Press North America. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mini Christmas Crochet Book Review with 2 Crochet Patterns by Val Pierce

Mini Christmas Crochet book review by Underground Crafter - Learn more about this book in Search Press's 20 On the Go Projects series, and try out the two excerpted crochet patterns (for the amigurumi Rudolf the Reindeer and Christmas Bear ornament)!I’m excited to share a Christmas crochet pattern booklet review, along with two excerpted patterns for holiday-themed amigurumi critters, so read on for details!

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 review copy of Mini Christmas Crochet: 20 On-the-Go Projects (50¢ a pattern) by Val Pierce was provided to me by Search Press North America. 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

Mini Christmas Crochet book review by Underground Crafter - Learn more about this book in Search Press's 20 On the Go Projects series, and try out the two excerpted crochet patterns (for the amigurumi Rudolf the Reindeer and Christmas Bear ornament)!

Mini Christmas Crochet: 20 On-the-Go Projects (50¢ a pattern) is an updated version of Mini Christmas Crochet (Twenty to Make) by Val Pierce.

Like the other booklets in this series, Mini Christmas Crochet is a book focused on projects, not techniques. The book opens with a biography of Val and a short introduction highlighting Val’s love of Christmas and the joy of handmade gifting and decorating. She notes that all of the patterns in the book “can be made quickly and easily using scraps and oddments of yarn,” which is definitely true. As the title and introduction of the book suggests, it focuses on small “stocking stuffer,” ornament, and decoration projects that can be pieced together quickly by both newbie crocheters and time-strapped pros. After the intro, the book has a short Hints & Tips section. Val notes that most of the patterns are made using cotton threads and a U.S. Sized B-1 (2.25 mm) crochet hook, but larger hooks can be used if you choose to substitute a thicker yarn. She also shares the tip that you should be stuffing projects as you go.

The book continues on to the patterns, which are written in US pattern abbreviations. 9 patterns are for ornaments (which include both stuffed, amigurumi-style ornaments and motif ornaments), 5 are for Christmas characters (including a snowman, animals, and an angel), 2 are for table decorations, and the remaining 4 are for a Christmas cracker, gift wrap, a magnet, and a table-top tree.  The patterns don’t indicate a difficulty level, but most use simple stitch combinations so should be within the reach of any beginner crocheter who can crochet in the round. At the same time, a more advanced crocheter could work on these projects while watching streaming shows or during errands.

Each pattern uses a large, styled photo of the project as well as a photo of the project against a white background with easy-to-read text. The booklet is a larger size that the original version but is still slender enough to fit into a project bag for portability. Though it’s a paperback, you can spread the spine easily to read and crochet at the same time. This book is ideal for crocheters who love making handmade holiday gifts, wrap, and decorations, or those who enjoy small, portable projects.

The down sides: Unfortunately, all patterns aren’t listed on Ravelry, but you can see many of the patterns on the book cover. The book uses only pattern abbreviations and no stitch diagrams, so crocheters who prefer visual patterns may not enjoy this book as much.

Overall, this is a fun book for a Christmas pattern collector who would like some projects for crocheting on the go.

You can check out two amigurumi patterns from the book below, for Rudolf the Reindeer and the Christmas Bear ornament!

Mini Christmas Crochet book review by Underground Crafter - Learn more about this book in Search Press's 20 On the Go Projects series, and try out the two excerpted crochet patterns (for the amigurumi Rudolf the Reindeer and Christmas Bear ornament)!Rudolf the Reindeer

Crochet Pattern by Val Pierce

Mini Christmas Crochet book review by Underground Crafter - Learn more about this book in Search Press's 20 On the Go Projects series, and try out the two excerpted crochet patterns (for the amigurumi Rudolf the Reindeer and Christmas Bear ornament)!Published in Mini Christmas Crochet: 20 On-the-Go Projects (50¢ a pattern).

Pattern Text © 2011 Val Pierce. Photographs and Design © 2011 Search Press Ltd. Shared with permission from Search Press North America.

Note from Underground Crafter: This pattern uses standard U.S. crochet pattern abbreviations. You can find a master list of abbreviations here.

Materials and equipment:

  • Crochet hook size B-1
  • No. 5 crochet cotton—1 ball of mid brown and 1 ball of dark brown
  • Oddment of red metallic yarn
  • Black embroidery floss or oddment of black crochet cotton
  • Tiny gold bow and bell embellishment
  • Small amount of stuffing
  • Sewing needle and threads to match the yarns

Measurements:

  • Rudolf is approximately 4in high to the top of his head.

Instructions:

Body

  • Using mid brown crochet cotton, make 2 sc.
  • Round 1: work 6 sc into 2nd ch from hook then join with a sl st to form a tight circle.
  • Round 2: work 2 sc into each st around [12 sts].
  • Round 3: *1 sc into next sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around [18 sts].
  • Round 4: *1 sc into each of next 2 sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around [24 sts].
  • Round 5: *1 sc into each of next 3 sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around [30 sts].
  • Rounds 6–16: work in sc all around.
  • You will now begin decreasing. Stuff the body as you work.
  • Round 17: *1 sc into each of next 3 sc, sc 2 tog,* repeat from * to * all around.
  • Round 18: *1 sc into each of next 2 sc, sc 2 tog,* repeat from * to * all around.
  • Round 19: work in sc all around.
  • Round 20: sc 2 tog all around. Break yarn.
  • Finish stuffing the body and then run the yarn through the last row of sts, draw up and fasten off.

Head

  • Using mid brown crochet cotton, make 2 sc.
  • Round 1: work 6 sc into 2nd ch from hook then join with a sl st to form a tight circle.
  • Round 2: work 2 sc into each st around [12 sts].
  • Round 3: *1 sc into next sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around [18 sts].
  • Rounds 4–7: work in sc all around.
  • Round 8: *1 sc into each of next 2 sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around then join with a sl st.
  • Round 9: work in sc all around then join with a sl st.
  • Round 10: *1 sc into next sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around then join with a sl st as before.
  • Rounds 11–15: work 1 sc into each sc all around then join with a sl st as before.
  • You will now begin decreasing. Stuff the head as you work.
  • Round 16: *1 sc in each of next 2 sc, sc 2 tog,* repeat from * to * all around then join with a sl st as before.
  • Round 17: work in sc all around then join with a sl st.
  • Round 18: *1 sc into next sc, sc 2 tog,* repeat from * to * all around then join with a sl st.
  • Round 19: work in sc all around then join with a sl st.
  • Round 20: sc 2 tog all around then join with a sl st. Fasten off.
  • Finish stuffing the head, if needed, then run the yarn through the last row of sts and draw up tight. Fasten off.

Front legs (make 2)

  • Using mid brown crochet cotton, make 6 ch.
  • Row 1: 1 sc into 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc into each ch to end, turn.
  • Rows 2–3: work in sc, increasing 1 sc at each end of row.
  • Work 4 rows in sc.
  • Break mid brown and join in dark brown.
  • Work 2 rows in sc.
  • Next row: work in sc, increasing 1 sc at each end of row.
  • Next row: work in sc. Fasten off.

Back legs (make 2)

  • Using mid brown crochet cotton, make 10 ch.
  • Row 1: 1 sc into 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc into each ch to end, turn.
  • Row 2: 1 ch, 1 sc into each sc to end, turn.
  • Rows 3–4: work in sc, increasing 1 sc at each end of row.
  • Work 8 rows in sc.
  • Change to dark brown and work 4 rows in sc.
  • Next row: work in sc, decreasing 1 sc at each end of row.
  • Next row: repeat previous row. Fasten off.

Large antlers (make 2)

  • Using dark brown crochet cotton, make 12 ch.
  • Row 1: 1 sc into 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc into each ch to end, turn.
  • Rows 2–4: 1 ch, 1 sc into each sc to end, turn. Fasten off.

Small antlers (make 2)

  • Using dark brown crochet cotton, make 6 ch.
  • Row 1: 1 sc into 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc into each ch to end, turn.
  • Rows 2–4: 1 ch, 1 sc into each sc to end, turn. Fasten off.

Ears (make 2)

  • Using mid brown crochet cotton, make 2 ch.
  • Row 1: work 1 sc into 2nd ch from hook.
  • Row 2: 1 ch, 3 sc into next sc, turn.
  • Rows 3–4: 1 ch, 1 sc into each sc to end, turn.
  • Row 5: 1 ch, sc 2 tog, 1 sc in last sc, turn.
  • Row 6: sc 2 tog. Fasten off.

Nose

  • Using red metallic yarn, make 2 ch. Work 14 dc into 2nd ch from hook then join with a sl st to fi rst dc worked. Fasten off.

To make up

  • Work in all the ends. Attach the red nose to the head. With black floss or cotton embroider the eyes with French knots and use straight stitches for the mouth. Sew the ears on to each side of the head, using the photograph as a guide. Fold each antler in half lengthways and stitch along the side seam. Sew a short antler on to each long antler at a slight angle, using the photograph as a guide if needed. Now sew the antlers to the head just above the ears. Sew the head on to the body.
  • Fold the front legs in half lengthways and sew the side seams. Stuff lightly, adding extra at the hoof (dark brown) end to pad them out a little. Oversew a length of cotton through the center of the hoof end to create the cloven effect. Make up the back legs in the same way. Attach the legs to the body, remembering that Rudolf is sitting down.

Christmas Bear

Crochet Pattern by Val Pierce

Mini Christmas Crochet book review by Underground Crafter - Learn more about this book in Search Press's 20 On the Go Projects series, and try out the two excerpted crochet patterns (for the amigurumi Rudolf the Reindeer and Christmas Bear ornament)!Published in Mini Christmas Crochet: 20 On-the-Go Projects (50¢ a pattern).

Pattern Text © 2011 Val Pierce. Photographs and Design © 2011 Search Press Ltd. Shared with permission from Search Press North America.

Note from Underground Crafter: This pattern uses standard U.S. crochet pattern abbreviations. You can find a master list of abbreviations here.

Materials and equipment:

  • Crochet hook sizes B-1 and G-6
  • No. 3 crochet cotton—1 ball of beige, 1 ball of red and small amounts of mid-brown, dark brown, and green
  • Small amount of white eyelash yarn
  • 1 tiny red bead
  • Gold jingle bell
  • 20in of narrow red ribbon
  • Sewing needle and thread to match the yarns
  • Small amount of stuffing

Measurements:

  • The bear measures approximately 5-1⁄2in from the end of his hat to the tip of his nose

Instructions:

Head

  • Using the B-1 hook and beige yarn, make 2 ch. Work 6 sc into 2nd ch from hook then join with a sl st into a circle.
  • Round 1: work 2 sc into each sc around then join with a sl st [12 sts].
  • Round 2: *1 sc into next sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around, join with a sl st as before.
  • Round 3: *1 sc into each of next 2 sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around, join with a sl st as before.
  • Round 4: *1 sc into each of next 3 sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around, join with a sl st as before.
  • Round 5: 1 sc into each of next 4 sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around, join with a sl st as before.
  • Work 8 rounds in sc with no increase.
  • Now shape the top, stuffing the head as you go.
  • Next round: *1 sc into each of next 4 sc, sc 2 tog,* repeat from * to * all around, join with a sl st as before.
  • Next round: *1 sc into each of next 3 sc, sc 2 tog,* repeat from * to * all around, join with a sl st as before.
  • Next round: *1 sc into each of next 2 sc, sc 2 tog,* repeat from * to * all around, join with a sl st as before.
  • Next round: *1 sc into next sc, sc 2 tog,* repeat from * to * all around, join with a sl st as before.
  • Next round: sc 2 tog all around. Fasten off and run thread through last row of sts; draw up and fasten off.

Muzzle

  • Using the B-1 hook and mid brown yarn, make 2 ch. Work 6 sc into 2nd ch from hook then join with a sl st into a circle.
  • Round 1: work 2 sc into each sc to end, join with a sl st [12 sts].
  • Round 2: *1 sc into next sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around, join with a sl st as before.
  • Round 3: *1 sc into next 2 sc, 2 sc into next sc,* repeat from * to * all around, join with a sl st as before. Fasten off.

Mini Christmas Crochet book review by Underground Crafter - Learn more about this book in Search Press's 20 On the Go Projects series, and try out the two excerpted crochet patterns (for the amigurumi Rudolf the Reindeer and Christmas Bear ornament)!Ear (make 1)

  • Using the B-1 hook and mid brown yarn make 2 ch. Work 6 sc into 2nd ch from hook then join with a sl st into a circle.
  • Round 1: work 2 sc into each sc to end, join with a sl st.
  • Round 2: work 1 sc into each sc to end. Fasten off.

Hat

  • Using the B-1 hook and red yarn make 32 ch.
  • Row 1: 1 hdc into 3rd ch from hook, 1 hdc into each ch to end, turn.
  • Row 2: 1 ch, 1 sc into each hdc to end, turn.
  • Row 3: 2 ch [counts as first hdc], 1 hdc into each sc to end.
  • Row 4: repeat row 2.
  • Row 5: 2 ch [counts as first hdc], 1 hdc into each of next 2 sc,* hdc 2 tog, 1 hdc into each of next 3 sc,* repeat from * to * ending last repeat with hdc 2 tog into each of last 2 sc. Turn.
  • Row 6: 1 ch, 1 sc into each sc to end.
  • Row 7: 2 ch [counts as first hdc], *hdc 2 tog, 1 hdc into next sc,* repeat from * to * ending last repeat with hdc 2 tog, hdc into each of last 2 sc. Turn.
  • Row 8: repeat row 6.
  • Row 9: 2 ch [counts as first hdc], *hdc 2 tog,* repeat from * to * to last st, hdc into last sc.
  • Rows 10–15: work in hdc.
  • Row 16: hdc 2 tog to end of row. Fasten off.
  • Using the G-6 hook and eyelash yarn, make a chain long enough to wrap around the brim of the hat twice, fasten off.

Holly leaf (make 2)

  • Using the B-1 hook and green yarn, make 5 ch. 1 sc into 2nd ch from hook, 2 ch, *sl st into top of sc just worked, 1 sc into next ch, 2 ch, sl st into top of sc just worked,* repeat from * to * once more. Fasten off.
  • Sew the leaves together as a pair. Sew a tiny red bead on to one end of the leaf as a berry.

To make up

  • Sew in any loose ends. Sew the hat seam and attach the bell to the point at the top. Wrap the eyelash chain twice around the brim of the hat to make a fluffy border and stitch it in place. Attach the holly leaf to one side of the hat.
  • Sew the muzzle on to the front of the head, stuffing it lightly to give it shape. Using dark brown, embroider the nose, mouth, eyes and eyebrows. Sew the ear in position. Only one ear is used because the hat sits on the other side of the head. Sew the hat to the head.
  • Thread the ribbon through the hat to make a hanging loop. Decide how long you want the ribbon loop to be and trim the ribbon as necessary. Either tie the ends of the ribbon together in a knot or stitch them to form a loop.

You can find more portable holiday projects and crochet patterns from Search Press on Amazon!


Interview with Pauline Turner

I’m excited to share an interview with Pauline Turner today as part of National Crochet Month.  Pauline is a multi-craftual artisan, designer, author, and teacher.  I was first introduced to Pauline’s work in the early 2000s when I read How to Crochet as I was learning how to (finally) read crochet patterns.  Since then, I’ve learned more about her incredible work.

You can find Pauline online via her websites, Crochet Design and the International School of Awareness.  She is also on LinkedIn and has a Ravelry designer page. All photos are copyright Pauline Turner and used with permission.

 This post contains affiliate links.

Pauline Turner

Pauline Turner, wearing a design composed entirely of triangles.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?

Pauline: I reluctantly learnt to crochet almost 40 years ago. I was teaching 41 other crafts and did not wish to learn something else.  (UC comment: You can read more about Pauline’s introduction to crochet in this feature in her own words from Crochet Insider.)

Polish Star Stitch

The Polish Star stitch.

UC: What inspired you to start designing and writing about crochet?

Pauline: The reason for learning was because my Principle and Head of Department at the Lancaster and Morecambe College of Further Education, where I was a full-time lecturer of crafts and allied subjects, insisted I taught crochet at the end of that year.

Zip insertion

A close of up the zip insertion on the cable hooded jacket from Finishing Techniques for Crochet: Give Your Crochet That Professional Look.

UC: Does your experience as a crochet teacher influence your designing or writing?

Pauline: Absolutely – in every way. To my surprise, I discovered I could incorporate crochet into all 41 of the other crafts I was tutoring. This in turn led me to produce innovatory mixed media designs and also to write about crochet from a traditional/historical point of view in order to fill in the gaps that were missing in those early days. Then eventually this led me to start my own business, Crochet Design.

pauline crocheting ice cream

A younger Pauline, crocheting with ice cream.

UC: What was the development process like for Finishing Techniques for Crochet?

Pauline: The Beginner’s Guide to Crochet, published by Search Press, which I wrote some eight years ago, has been extraordinarily popular and is in the process of being re-printed again in a different, very useable, format. There was a need for a publication that showed all the little tips and tricks that would help potential crochet designers to produce professional finishes. Anova Books suggested I produced the material for such a book in the form of Finishing Techniques for Crochet: Give Your Crochet That Professional Look. Anova is part of a group that includes the publishers Collins and Brown and also Batsford, two publishers I had previously written for with my Crocheted Lace and How to Crochet books.

The contract for this book was signed, the lead time was doable, yarn was sponsored by Rowan, and the rest was ‘eyes down, fingers flying on keyboard and with hooks’. To complete the deadline time, two outside crochet workers were asked to crochet and check the patterns of two projects. I went to London to be there as a consultant during the shoot.

Surface crochet collage

An early example of Pauline’s surface crochet collages.

UC: Tell us about the International Diploma in Crochet.

Pauline: Originally a distance learning course in three parts for crochet was devised during a brief spell when crochet was popular. I worked with Lancashire County Education Authority in course planning for adult education and they liked the format of this course but were dubious as to whether it was viable.

In 1983, the Diploma in Crochet was born for teaching crochet (Part I), designing and writing patterns for crochet (Part II), and for original creative crochet in the shape of art and sculptures as well as haute couture (Part III).  As the diploma course became more widely spread, recognised, and accepted, it attracted people from around the world and became the International Diploma in Crochet.

I did try to get my Diploma in Crochet course validated by an examining body but they all wanted me to lower the standard. The pass mark is 80% (a credit or distinction level in other courses).

There is no time limit as the course as been devised for people living in a real world with a real life. The bi-monthly newsletter keeps student interest – a necessity when learning alone. There is no starting time, and no time for the conclusion. Crochet Design needs to know if student has left the course. (We tend to prompt every 9-12 months to clear files.)

The take up of the course was slow because it was never advertised. It became known only by word of mouth. However, as more people realised its incredible content and high standard, the take-up began to gain momentum. Existing students were asked to work commercially in different fields and they in turn were subliminally advertising the course. Once I had qualified teachers who could assess Part I students, it was possible for Crochet Design to advertise the course overtly. Therefore, in the last three years, Crochet Design has enrolled an exponential number of students

mandalaA crocheted mandala in a ring, using textured yarns.

UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection (besides your own, of course)?

Pauline: This is an impossible question as different books become my favourites for different reasons.

Whatever I am working with will link me to favourite skilled authors, many whom I have met and therefore know that particular area of expertise I can rely on to confirm, deny, or consolidate what it is I am producing. Ironically, I only look at my books if I get a question about something one of them contains.

freeform crochet

A freeform crochet piece.

UC: Do you regularly visit any crochet blogs/websites for inspiration or community?

Pauline: Not as regularly as I would like. When the office is relatively in order and I have finished a project, I will browse the net for a couple of hours usually to catch up with magazines, CGOA, and student blogs. The difficulty with the net and myself is the time it can eat away when I know I have other deadlines looming. I do not visit these for inspiration, as I take my inspiration from nature and the people I meet even at airports and on trains. I cannot say I have never been inspired by something on the web but writing this, I am hard pressed to know when or what.

plant pot crochet

A crocheted plant pot with flowers.

UC: How did you become involved with the International School of Awareness?

Pauline: Ah, now isn’t that a pearl of a question? It happened without any personal intention, but just followed a series of events. During my crochet workshops, people commented they felt better by just being there. Others commented I had an incredible heat in my hands when I assisted them with their crochet and they were not feeling too well. Another frequently unsolicited comment was how I brought the best out in people. Apparently, I was able to succinctly encapsulate the reason or source of what was happening to them and with that awareness they could resolve the situation – this was not only with their craft but with their life.

My ability to use the seventh sense enabled be more aware of what was happening globally, in the atmosphere and environment. Without my knowledge, this ability was becoming known to the point where I was invited by businessmen and therapists abroad, to teach them how to develop their seventh sense. This happened before the turn of the century and the tools I shared with them were ones that had been designed for what would happen after 2012. Through these stages, the International School of Awareness came into being.

machine knit with crochet yoke

A machine knit design with a crocheted yoke.

UC: Do you have any upcoming classes or projects you’d like to share? (Dear readers, please note that I was quite delayed in posting this interview and these events have already passed.)

Pauline: On 20th October 2013, there is a celebration of the 30 years existence of the International Diploma in Crochet. I felt it was an achievement that deserved to be celebrated for all the sake of all students, past and present, who exist all around the world. It is also an acknowledgement to the supporters throughout the years who believed in its value.

This is an historic event which began in Morecambe, Lancashire UK, and is the reason the chosen venue is the Platform, Morecambe in recognition of Morecambe’s role in Crochet Design. Crochet Design has always resided in Morecambe and is the home base of the Diploma. Just some of what will be happening will be a 30 year ‘story board’. The Mayor of Lancaster will be present to close the event and also present the prizes to the competition winners. The editor of Inside Crochet magazine will open the even and hand the well-earned awards to a full graduate from Northern Ireland, plus certificates to students who have recently completed Part I and Part II. There will be ‘to- die-for’ displays of students work, along with trading tables. In the morning, children will add their stitches to a ‘Playtime on the spot’ collage. Everyone is welcome. The crochet competition will be judged on the previous day and there is more time to take in entries.  (UC comment: You can download a PDF report of the celebration, including winners of the competition, here: International Diploma in Crochet Report.)

Higham Hall near Cockermouth, Cumbria, UK features a residential 4-day course twice a year which I am tutor of, and the next one in January is on textured crochet. In February I will be giving a talk and taking a workshop with the Berkshire Spinners, Weavers & Dyers.

 

Readers, Pauline has shared this revised list of upcoming events, since I was so delayed in posting the initial interview.

  • 21 to 23 March: H&H Trade Exhibition in Cologne where I have been invited to demonstrate the beautiful hooks and knitting needles made by Tulip in Japan.
  • 26 & 27 April: Wonderwool Wales where I will be exhibiting. I will also be taking a woolschool on buttons and one on Tunisian pouches for mobiles etc. Also Helen Jordan (Thread of Life) will have a stand selling a large variety of tools for crochet.
  • 23 to 26 June: At Higham Hall, I will be tutoring a residential course on the ‘Creative Appeal of Crochet” focusing on colour, texture and combining both techniques and mixed media.
  • 27 & 28 June: Woolfest Cumbria, where once again you can come and talk to me on my stand.
  • “Teaching Methods” workshops 2014. The whole course is in 4 parts.  The four parts are being combined over two days on 23rd and 24th August 2014 to allow those from further afield to attend, even to combine it with a summer break with family and friends. The weekend costs £150 but excludes lunch.

Thanks so much for sharing this interview with us, Pauline, and for your patience.  We appreciate all you have done to advance the art and craft of crochet!

Book Review and Giveaway: Crocheted Granny Squares (Twenty to Make)

 This post contains affiliate links.

Today I’m reviewing Crocheted Granny Squares (Twenty to Make)the latest book by Val Pierce in the Twenty to Make series.  I recently received a review copy from Search Press.  (I previously interviewed Val and reviewed four of her other books in this series: Mini Christmas Crochet here, Knitted Mug Hugs here, and Crocheted Bears and Knitted Bears here.)

Like the other books in this series, Crocheted Granny Squares is a book focused on projects, not techniques.  The small size and light weight make it portable for crocheting on the go.  Beginners will be terrified by the intro, which mistakenly says that “Each square takes only a few hours to make…” (!)  Not to fear, granny squares like the ones in this book (most of which are 4 round patterns) usually take just a few minutes each.

After the intro, the book has a short Hints & Tips section, which explains the difference in terminology between US and UK abbreviations.  The patterns in this book are written with the US terms first and the UK terms in parenthesis (e.g., “31 dc (UK tr) into ring”).  The motifs were crocheted with DMC Petra cotton thread, but suggestions for both US and UK hooks sizes to use with different weights of yarn are included.  Val also wisely recommends weaving in the ends as you go, rather than at the end of large projects, to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

The book defines granny square broadly, and includes 15 square motif patterns, 1 triangle motif pattern, and 2 patterns each for hexagon and circle motifs.  The patterns don’t indicate a difficulty level, but most use simple stitch combinations so should be within the reach of any beginner crocheter who can crochet in the round.

In addition to the motif patterns, the book includes instructions for 9 projects made with motifs: a vase cover, a cushion, a baby blanket, hand warmers, a pincushion, the Daisy Loop Scarf (my favorite project, made with the lacy Daisy Loop square), a shoulder bag, and a table mat.

This book is ideal for a crochet or granny square newbie, or for a commuter crocheter since it can easily fit in a purse or other small bag.  The vibrant colors, fun backgrounds, and cute projects make this book visually appealing.

The down sides: Unfortunately, the patterns aren’t listed on Ravelry yet, but you can see many of the motifs on the book cover.  Some newer pattern readers may find it confusing to see both US and UK terms in the same pattern.  The book uses only pattern abbreviations and no stitch diagrams.  The use of yrh (yarn round hook) instead of yo (yarn over) may be confusing to some American crocheters.

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars for new crocheter or a granny square pattern collector who would like some patterns for crocheting on the go.  If you are more interested in techniques or have crocheted oodles of grannies already, this book may not be the right fit.

Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.

Giveaway

I’m giving away my review copy of  Crocheted Granny Squares (Twenty to Make) by Val Pierce, courtesy of Search Press.  This giveaway is open to all readers.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, December 16, 2012.