Fair isle tutorial

One person who read  a recent post asked if I could add a video tutorial.

Now I don’t do video tutorials and in fact, for myself, I normally prefer pictures and diagrams that I can peruse at my leisure, so I am going to share a few photographs that I hope explains exactly what I was suggesting.

The post in question was on knitting fair isle and how I had now mastered a way of ensuring that the yarns didn’t get tangled and could even be twisted every other stitch if wanted. I give a description of this in an Addendum to the post but maybe a picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, so here is an explanation with photographs.

I don’t describe what to do for purl stitches because it is essentially the same principle and when learning fair isle it is better to use circular knitting where all the stitches will be knit. However a piece of flat knitting is easier to photograph.

Knitting Fair Isle

The first thing is to separate the two yarns one on either side. The one on the right being the ‘upper’ (normally background) yarn and the one on the left being the ‘lower’ yarn.

As in this photograph.I am referring to the person’s own right and left.

Arranging the yarns like this naturally makes the one on the right hand side higher than the other and helps in remembering which is which.

This method will work whether you are twisting frequently or only every few stitches. However it always involves two adjacent stitches of the same colour.

When twisting frequently and knitting an odd number of stitches in the same colour,  I will always knit the first one normally and then twist the yarn for the next two. (Repeating the twisting for more pairs as necessary.)

Firstly I will deal with twisting the yarn for stitches using the ‘upper’ right-hand side yarn.

I think you can see in the photograph how the green (right-hand) yarn naturally sits above the pink (left-hand) yarn.

For the first of the two stitches, I pull a loop of the upper yarn forwards under the lower yarn and use that to wind round the needle. (See arrow)First stitch with upper yarnFor the next stitch, I pull the yarn back and use that to knit the stitch. (See arrow)Second stitch with upper yarnI think you can see that this will bring the green yarn back to the top.

The yarn should now be untwisted in any way and back to where you started.

Now knitting with the ‘lower’ left-hand side yarn.

This time I pull a loop backwards under the ‘upper’ yarn and knit with this. (See arrow) First stitch with lower yarnLooking at the photograph below I think you can see how the pink yarn is now naturally above the green.

So I pull the yarn forward and use the length that is below to make the stitch. (See arrow)Second stitch with lower yarnAs before, the yarn should now be untwisted in any way and back to where you started.

Everyone has their own way of holding yarn but I find it is possible to hold both in the right hand and use the first finger and thumb to twist from one to the other. Though a certain amount of letting go is also needed.

I hope that all this is helpful and adds to what I said before.

(As a footnote. When working purl stitches I did tend to find that I needed to treat the right hand yarn as the lower and the left hand yarn as the upper.)


Celtic Napkin Ring pattern

The light has been very bad lately, with the odd bits of brightness at inconvenient moments, or I would have shown you my blanket at the half way point. So finding a little bit of better light I quickly took the photographs for this tutorial.

I used DK (US worsted weight) cotton and a 3.5mm hook. If you crochet loosely you may need a smaller one.

You need to crochet all stitches into the back loop of the the chain so both edges look the same on the right side. (One such loop is shown in black below).Back loop of chain

To start make 50 chain and then make the first treble (US – dc) into the back of the fourth chain from the hook.

After the 50 chain the pattern is

4 tr, 5tr tog, 9tr, 5tr into 1ch, 9tr, 5tr tog, 9tr, 5tr into 1ch, 4tr.

US version

4 dc, 5dc tog, 9dc, 5dc into 1ch, 9dc, 5dc tog, 9dc, 5dc into 1ch, 4dc.

Make four pieces as above in four different colours. Four strips For the tutorial part of this post I used the same colours as I used originally. If you want to use different colours you might find it helpful to copy what I have written and replace my colour names with yours.

The first thing to do is to join the red piece in a ring. Red strip joined All the joins will be hidden but it is only 3 trs (US-dcs) that will be hidden so it is best if you finish the ends up and down the trs (US-dcs) rather than along the edges.

I hope it will be possible for me only use the term treble from now on and for US readers to understand that to them it means the dcs.

Now you thread the blue piece through. You need to secure this in place at each overlap or underlap, as you go, unless you are very deft with your hands.

I have found small safety pins work better that dressmaking pins though if you didn’t have a lot of safety pins you could stitch each overlap with a piece of contrasting thread that you remove later.

The blue starts by overlapping the red just to the right of one of the upper points. This overlap consists of the three trs next to the corner 5tr into 1ch. Pin or secure this overlap. First blue overlap Now align the blue strip along the side of the red one passing under the red this time just next to the corner and secure. First blue underlap Continue along the side of red strip going over the next time then under the final time and securing each overlap.

Unless you are very unsure this is a good time to join the ends of the blue strip together. If you were being very cautious you should still join the two ends together maybe just with a knotted loop of contrasting thread at each edge.

When I made it the first time I distributed the joins around the circle but here you can see the joins in the red and blue strips as neat as I could make them. Joins will only show on the inside. Red and blue joins Now you add the green strip. Again you start by overlapping the strip after an upper point – the blue one this time – You need only secure the outer overlaps this time.

Again you will go over and under and align the strip against the previous = blue one.

However you will go over blue and then over red, followed by under blue and under red, then over blue and over red, followed by under blue and under red. Green overs and unders Join or secure the ends of the green strip at the back. This time the join will be hidden under the red strip. Green ends join Now thread through the yellow strip. (No need to secure except at the start at the back of the blue strip.)

Start, as before, to the right of one of the upper green points. Secure in place tucking the end treble under the blue strip and pinning at the back. Starting yellow This time you have only to go alternately under and over as you work your way round in a similar manner to before. No more securing needed till the end.

Turn the ring inside out and secure the two yellow ends with the safety pin you started with. Yellow ends secure Now remove all the other pins (or securing threads) before joining the ends of the yellow strip (and any other ends you didn’t connect before).

Now you can make sure that all the interweaving is even and you are done.Finished napkin ringMaking one of these takes me a couple of hours.

Four ways to crochet into a chain

When I started getting back into crochet I had not realized that there was more than one way to crochet into a chain.

I thought it might be interesting to compare all four ways.

To help with visualisation I am using a method I found on someone else’s blog, unfortunately I can’t remember whose it was.

Here is a chain. As you can see each chain consists of three strands. The top strand here coloured red, the bottom strand (as you look at it) coloured blueFront of chainand the strand at the back, coloured black.Back of chainWhen you are starting a crochet piece which will be worked in rows you start by making a chain and then crocheting the first row of stitches into it. There are in fact four ways of doing this.

Method 1

This is the method of crocheting into a chain that I have seen most frequently used in books. You insert your hook under only the top/red strand. This can create more of an obvious loop sometimes but is probably a good way for beginners as it is the easiest way.Method 1

Method 2

An alternative method that I have sometimes seen suggested is to insert the hook under both the top/red strand and the back/black strand. This of course is the same as inserting the hook over the bottom/blue strand. I find this seems to give a firmer start.Method 2

Method 3

This, for a long time, was the way I thought you were supposed to do it because it was the way I found on a tutorial I looked at.

You insert the hook from below (or the front depending on how you see it) under both the blue and red strands. This is most similar to the way that you crochet into stitches on the row below. I like to use this method especially when I slip stitch into the top of the starting chains that are supposed to represent a treble (US – dc) or similar.Method 3

Method 4

This method, which I only discovered recently, has become my favourite in many situations because it means that both the bottom and the top of the crochet piece have the same appearance.

In this method you turn the chain over and insert your hook under the back/black strand. At first this may be harder to see but I have found with practice it is no more difficult than the other ways. And although you are only going under one strand it does give a firm finish.Method 4Here is an uncoloured close up showing how a row of back loops look.Back loopsHere I have crocheted into those back loops. This is showing the starting edge.Starting edgeI hope you found this interesting.

How do you like to crochet into the starting chain?

I have found a problem!

I have always told people who wanted a copy of one of my patterns to cut and paste into a word processor which is what I have done in the past for patterns I may want to make some time in the future because just saving the link can mean that when you come to make it the pattern is not there any more.


I have now found that WordPress no longer allows the picture part of a post to be copied together with the text.

This is good I suppose with regard to copyright and makes it harder (though not impossible) for people to copy photographs willy nilly to put on Pinterest. I have been disappointed lately to find that Pinterest boards often don’t even give a link to where the picture came from which is annoying both because of a lack of acknowledgement and because if you find the picture in a Google search you cannot find where it came from.

Because the photographs can no longer be copied easily with the text I have downloaded ‘Open Office’ ‘Writer’ so I can create pdf files.

I have kept copies of many of my patterns in ‘Word’ by the cut and paste method before this was an issue and will be able to use them to easily make pdf files.

However I do not have copies of the tutorials and some of the patterns though I have kept copies of all the photographs I uploaded to each post.

It is not possible to make a copy of a post with photographs even in the editor.

So making the pdfs will take a while to complete and I am not sure if I will make any of the tutorials into pdf files because of the time necessary.

No photos in this post! Just for information.

If anyone thinks I am mistaken or knows an easy way to copy posts please let me know.

Confession time! and a ‘Thank You’

Recently I didn’t have anything at a suitable point to take to the ‘Crafty Coffee’ morning so I decided I would take a copy of my Christmas bauble pattern and some #10 crochet cotton and start making some more crochet baubles for that special time of year.

Original bauble

However as I followed the pattern – shock horror! – there was a mistake. On row 3 the pattern said to repeat five times when it should have been eleven and this mistake was repeated on the following rows.

I have now corrected this but if anyone tried the pattern and got totally confused I apologise.

I will include here a few extra suggestions for anyone who wants to make some baubles based on my recent experience.

The original bauble was made to fit over a ball I begged off my daughter.

Ball covered with cling film

But since my original attempt at covering the ball with vaseline had made it go soft, I decided to buy some polystyrene balls from Hobbycraft as this way I could stiffen a few at once and have a better ball. The size I thought was closest to the original was 70mm.

Polystyrene balls

Having made a new bauble this time in red, I covered the ball with cling film as before. This time I decided that I would stiffen both halves at one to make an even join. And to ensure that I knew where the  halves fitted I used a bit of old fuse wire to hold them together. (This was a little hard to remove at the end as it had stuck firm so I broke the wire.)

Fuse wire joining

I also sewed a piece of thread round the joining edges to keep them close together, to help them fit closely.

Halves sewn together

I remove this at the end before sticking the two halves together with polystyrene glue. [I need a new tube my present glue has gone a bit thick.]

Comparison of baubles

I had to stretch the crochet more to fit this size ball which is obviously a little larger than the one I used before, as you can see, but I think it makes for a better bauble.

Finished red bauble

End of apology!

However on a brighter note Lisa Victoria from yarnchick40  has just made a very pretty crochet hook case from my pattern – http://yarnchic40.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/crochet-hooker-storage/ so at least that one works and I have seen crochet crosses and granny ripple blankets made from my patterns on Ravelry so at least some of my patterns work.

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I also want to thank say a big THANK YOU to Marianne of maRRose CCC who sent me this bracelet as part of her recent giveaway. Her’s is a blog I follow as she makes lots of lovely colourful things.


 I just love the flower beads and the colours are my favourite ones – so pretty and dainty.

Here I am wearing it.

Wearing bracelet

Tutorials and Patterns

I have decided to add my picture tutorials as a separate item on the top menu divided by the categories of crochet and knitting. Thus:-


Crochet Tutorial pictures

and Knitting

Knitting Tutorial pictures

There is obviously some overlap with my patterns but some are minor tecniques and some are separate pages that have been abstracted from an earlier post.

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I have also decided to create picture links for all my patterns and so I have removed the lists and just made two pages, one for crochet patterns  and one for knitted ones.

They look like this:-


Crochet Pattern pictures

and Knitting

Knitting Pattern pictures

I thought this would make it easier for people to see if anything interested them.


African Violet tutorial


The pattern and tutorial for these is now available for sale on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/crochet-african-violets

A crochet pattern that produces a display of African Violet flowers to be placed at the top of a flower pot.

Size can be altered to suit. I used acrylic yarn but any DK yarn would do.

A closer lookor

Or a full set from above.


This pattern contains versions in UK and US crochet terms plus an extensive photographic tutorial in UK terms.

May Montage

In May I showed you the ‘sock savers’ I had made to protect my hand knitted socks from damage when not wearing shoes and the way I make spagetti and a couple of salads to have with it.

I finished the colourful cowl I was making by request and shared this and some other things when they were ‘works in progress’.

I also showed you the photographs I had managed to take of a rainbow I had seen through my bedroom window.

I gave you a peak at the socks and blanket I have made as part of my birthday doll project. (Full reveal on Monday.) I also included a mini-tutorial on my method of making a standing treble stitch.

And last of all I showed you all the lovely new yarn I have just bought


A Quickie Blanket

This as you may guess is another part of my knitted doll birthday present project. It is almost 18″ (45cm) per side.


However it is a much quicker way of making a blanket than my previous ones as I only started on Thursday evening and finished it Sunday afternoon. Which means I could probably make a full sized blanket in about half the time I normally take.

As it is for my grandson I decided to just have a simple dc edging.

In a way this is a style of blanket I have been wanting to make for the last two years.

Around the time I started my blog I found someone who was selling granny baby blankets with repeating sequences of colours and I thought about what colours and patterning I would choose if I made something similar and I came up with this


and put it in my sampler pile. So I am very pleased to have finally made the blanket even if it is a small version.

Another thing that pleased me was that having read somewhere that there was a way of starting a row with a treble (US dc) instead of three chain when beginning a new colour, I worked out how to do it and it worked perfectly.

I like to start my rows in the middle of a corner. So in the picture below the three trebles to the left of centre are the first granny group of the row. I think you can see, especially on the white, that the first stitch of the group is a treble and not three chain.



Looking on the internet today there seem to be a variety of ways of doing it (I have just found two) but my way is slightly different.

One way is to start with a slip knit on your hook. That was my first idea but I found that it left you with a knot and was not necessary.

You start by folding the new yarn over the hook. (Obviously this is described as for a right handed person.)


Then you fold the tail under to the left and over to the right as in this picture.


Then pull tight and place the twist on the far side of the hook a little way from the end.


From now on you press your right forefinger tightly against the twist to hold it in place.

Pick up a loop of thread and insert the hook in the work, as usual.


Draw through a loop, as usual.


Then draw more yarn through the first two loops (again as usual). This is the point to press really tightly on the twist and not lose your nerve as the stitch seems to stretch out.


You now need to change your hold to your left hand as you pick up the a new loop of yarn ready to pull through the last two loops on the hook.


Pull the picked up yarn through the last two loops and there you are


Pull gently on the tail to take up any slack and you can continue with the rest of the row.

This means that your starting and finishing tails are on the same level which I quite like.

January Montage

Having spent the last few months doing a lot of crochet items, this month, as you can see, I picked up my knitting needles again.

In January I showed you a super chunky scarf I had made as a Christmas present and something I received myself from Pretty Little Things in a Box. I also showed you what I sent her as a thank you – the bookmark and threads. Later I also shared the pattern for the bookmark with charts (which didn’t seem to fit well into the montage).

I made a tasty winter pudding with mincemeat as well as a crochet cushion using up the scraps from my spectrum granny ripple blanket.

I acquired some extra projects: a cowl for someone I know, a new pattern dishcloth and repairing my beaded knitted slipper which had worn through under the toe.

Finally while making some new socks I put together a tutorial on knitting wrapped stitches when making toe-up socks.


Next month: at least one sock should be finished and I start a new blanket.