Introducing Meredith (crochet pattern)

image

Edit: May 2017

This pattern is no longer available in adult size as it is being updated. A toddler sized version of this simple granny square tank top is available on Craftsy. Please see customisation tips below for making an adult version of this simple tank top.

Eagle eyed readers will recognise this as an adult version of the “Granny Square Toddler Tunic” I posted for sale last month. At the time, I wrote that I had made adult versions of this in the past and decided it was only fair to show you just how feminine and flattering the granny square can be.

In my youth there was a fashion for sewing huge granny squares together to make slash neck tops and t shirts, the results were often baggy, shapeless and very revealing.  Meredith solves this problem with a little neck and arm hole shaping and the “cross you heart” effect of the diagonal lines of the granny square gives the illusion of waist shaping. A hem edging in double crochet with a shell trim adds weight, which “pulls” the granny square. This extra length also helps to make it a more flattering shape for most figures.

For this version I have used a beautiful yarn. Willow Tweed, from the Louisa Harding range is a blend of Alpaca, Silk and Merino. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve used this yarn for garments and accessories. It hand washes beautifully, becoming softer and silkier each time. You’ll need about 500m of double knitting yarn to make a version to fit a size 10 / 12 (you want a cm or two of negative ease).  I used a 3.5mm hook, anything bigger and your trebles will have a tendency to pull out of shape and look untidy. A useful tip, if you’re ever working with granny squares, a smaller hook  can go a long way to giving your motifs a professional finish.

Don’t forget to drop by my new blog for more crochet tips, free patterns and general chat. You can also follow my Free Patterns board on Pinterest.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Off the Hook: Crochet Tank Top

granny tank 3I’ve been making versions of this tank top for more years than I can remember (I even made one for myself a few years back for a beach holiday!)

The concept is simple, a square front and back and two smaller squares for the shoulder straps. Using a fabulous yarn and a simple pattern makes this a very stylish accessory.

Designed with the active toddler in mind, it has a roomy neck and arm holes so it’s easy to take on and off and fits easily over a t shirt. There is a pretty shell trim to the hem, which you can omit for a boy!

I know lots of you love making crochet motifs and lack confidence to move on to garments. This is is a great alternative to a motif blanket or cushion cover and will impress everyone with your talents! Using only 1 skein of sock yarn it can be a budget make too. I must admit, for this version I splashed out on the rather gorgeous Artesano Definition Sock Yarn in a beautiful shade called “Azure”. I have always loved Artesano’s colours and this little tank top really shows off the simple motif.

A competent crocheter could make this without a written pattern to follow. I have included advice on trimming the neck and hem on my pattern, which is now for sale on Ravelry and Etsy. The cost of the pattern reflects the time taken to write up the design and photograph the various components – paying a professional tech editor and photographer would add to the cost and this would result in a higher cover price – so I’ve kept this as simple as possible so everyone can benefit. If you are new to crochet and have only just mastered the basics, this could be perfect for you. The pattern also includes links to a couple of online tutorials to help you out with the granny square technique.

If you like to make and sell for craft fairs etc, you’ll be pleased to know this pattern comes with permission to make items for profit, but the pattern itself must not be sold or distributed.

My next task is to persuade one of my lovely neighbours to let their little girl model it – it’s always so much better to see a garment being worn rather than on a hanger.

I hope you enjoy it, and don’t forget the discount code YARNSHOPDAY2014 is valid until the end of May, which means you can download this pattern on Etsy for just £1. That is a real bargain!

If anyone is tempted to make an adult version of this, please post on ravelry or send me a photo, I’d love to see it.

I’ll be back soon with that promised post on man made fibres, newly published patterns and a great review of a fabulous British yarn.

Happy making x

 

Granny Hullabaloo?

baby blanket for tashRecently I was asked to write a blog post about “Granny Squares” – apparently they are the subject of much debate in the crochet world – I must admit I hadn’t noticed!

It seems that you’re either “for ’em or against ’em”.  I really can’t understand why these pretty little motifs are the subject of so much debate. It’s an exciting time to be a crochet designer, the pace of change moves so quickly, with innovative construction techniques, seamless crochet  becoming more popular and the most amazing crochet installations by talented artists such as Olek and Shauna Richardson. With so much happening in the world of crochet I’m surprised that Granny Square love / hate  still hogs the limelight.

Every time I teach a Learn to Crochet class, the first thing everyone asks is “Can I do a Granny Square”? The second question is usually  “Is it hard”? “Can anyone do it”? The answers of course are yes, no and yes. The beauty of the Granny Square lies in its simplicity. Anyone can grab a few balls of yarn and learn the simple pattern of chains and yarn over hook.

gtannies collage

Although I’ve been crocheting for many decades, I only began to crochet “grannies” a couple of years ago. Inspired by the beautiful blankets my boss (Riana at Fibre and Clay) was making with her mother.  I saw the shared joy in choosing colours, the calming influence of yarn over hook and the looks of amazement on customer’s faces when they saw how something beautiful could be made using only one stitch. Those blankets inspired many ladies to take up crochet. Many of them, their confidence boosted by the simplicity of the granny attempted more complicated motifs, triangles, stars, flowers and different joining techniques. Starting with the granny square they embarked on a crochet adventure which will hopefully last a lifetime.

2012-07-26 13.56.47

In the same way that knitters fall into many camps (circular vs flat, toe up vs cuff down for example), so crocheters have their favourite stitches and techniques. So, rather than a for or against debate let’s open up the world of crochet and share our knowledge and expertise. Accept our differences of opinion and experiment with new stitches and combinations of familiar favourites.

knit and crochet ref pics 115

Enjoy your crochet, and if like me, you find yourself at the end of a busy week, drinking a glass of wine, watching “rubbish tv” and crocheting grannies don’t beat yourself up for failing to challenge yourself. Remember that in years to come it will be those simple cuddly blankets your family will treasure. Like the blanket I still have, made by my Dad in the 1970’s. It’s garish and the colours don’t match, it’s made with cast off acrylic yarns in varying degrees of quality. Yet, it’s full of memories, a dress he made, a waistcoat, a baby blanket made for a friend. While the dresses, jumpers and waistcoats are long lost, that blanket endures and so will the granny square.

Let’s Hear it for the Granny Square

The item most people want to make when they come on a Learn to Crochet Course is the granny square. We all seem to have memories of gaudy blankets from our childhood and the chance to create something colourful and useful such as a blanket is very appealing to someone new to crochet.

There are dozens of blogs out there with photos of the most colourful creation, showing that the humble “beginner project” can  be used to show off fabulous yarns and superb colour combinations. The granny square might be the workhorse of the crochet tool box, but is has the possibility to create something beautiful and practical. I’ve seen waistcoats, scarves, shopping bags,  even a coat made from beautiful hand dyed yarns on display in Connecticut yarn store (the owner refused to let me photograph it, worried I might ”steal” her design).

This year I’ve made several granny square blankets, (you might remember my post with photos of my dad’s and mine back in the spring). I currently have a  growing pile of lace weight squares sitting by my sofa (before you gasp in admiration I’m crocheting it “double” on a 3mm hook), no fine lace masterpiece, but gorgeously soft and luxurious nonetheless. I’m hoping it will leave home with “The Teen” next year, a little something to remember her dear old Mum. She’s growing up so fast and away so much just now visiting friends and enjoying the last weeks of summer freedom that I have an idea I’m going to be an unbearable “Empty Nester”.

Do you remember that book “Chicken Soup for the Soul”? I think crochet is my  chicken soup. Always there, reliable, trustworthy and won’t let you down. The gentle rhythm of trebles and chains, repeated each round is both comforting and exciting, when should you change colour, should you make squares or circles, or maybe even hexagons? Do you use yarns from your stash or buy in something new and colourful to match a favourite colour scheme? Even when you only have a few yards of yarn and a hook you can make a granny square, and even just one is the beginning of a treasured family heirloom.

So… tell me … what’s your unsung hero of the yarn lover’s toolkit? I’d love to know.

Tx

ps I’ve now added the baby blanket yarn and pattern details to my Ravelry profile and you can find a tutorial for making a granny square from the Rowan website.

Cool to Crochet?

When did crochet get cool? I noticed recently how many of my friends are learning to crochet and how quickly the Learn to Crochet classes at Fibre and Clay book up. Not to mention the requests I get to host crochet parties for Hen Do’s or Baby Showers. It’s lovely to see a blanket appear from an afternoon’s fun and gossip. Something a bride or new mum can treasure forever.

When I was a teenager in the ’70’s my Dad made us long fringed waistcoats, full length dresses with puff sleeves and our house had more crochet lace doilies than you could shake a stick at. But, then came the 80’s and I hid my multi coloured granny square blankets under the bed when friends came round and the only time Dad got out his hook was to make christening shawls or matinee coats for new babies in the family (whatever happened to matinee coats I wonder).

From the archive, made by Dad in the 1970's and still cool!

In the last couple of years I’ve lost count of the number of crochet garments on the fashion catwalk, discovered some  talented designers like Linda and Emma who make crochet fun, useful and above all stylish. Look out for their patterns in Inside Crochet Magazine (which incidentally has a great new blog, you should drop by and say hello).  For once it seems I was “ahead of the curve”, I’m making the most of it, because I’m sure it won’t last.
It made me wonder, have you recently discovered crochet? And, where do you go for patterns and inspiration?
Happy hooking
Tracey x