Find out why crochet is our second favourite hobby
Here at LK we’re big advocates of using the right technique for the job. If a pattern works better in the round, we’ll use circular needles. It’s the same when it comes to crochet. You can create so many different fabric finishes or stitch effects just by picking up the hook rather than the needles. We don’t see crochet as something to be scared of or dismissed. Instead, we embrace the challenge of learning a new skill and love to see what other great designs there are to transform our stash. Here are some reasons why you should too!
Make granny squares…
These colourful motifs are a true crochet classic and you really can’t replicate the effect in knitting. They only use three different stitches – chains, trebles and slip stitches – so are relatively straightforward to work, and you can get super creative with colour. They’re easy to customise and you can make them as large or small as you like. Crochet grows quickly so it won’t take you long to make a blanket or throw. Download Emma Varnam’s gorgeous granny square blanket pattern for free!
...or magical mandalas!
These Eastern-inspired decorations are also great examples of a project that works better in crochet than knitting. They’re usually based on a circular shape and the symmetry of the designs reflect balance and spirituality. Find these patterns in Mandalas to Crochet by Haafner Linssen (£10.99, Search Press).
Crochet amazing amigurumi
Cute and quirky crochet toys are known as amigurumi. The style originated in Japan but we love the wide range of patterns on offer. Crochet is perfect for this look as it gives the toys clear shape and structure. Check out this unicorn, dragon and phoenix set, featured on DMC’s Mythical Creatures pattern leaflet (15318).
Get the best of both worlds!
“Crochet produces a much firmer fabric than knitting and therefore is invaluable for making some types of projects,” explains designer Val Pierce. “A crochet building block for babies keeps its shape much better than a knitted one, likewise it’s very difficult to knit a good=shaped circle, whereas a crochet circle is simple to create and is perfect when you need to make eyes or even wheels for a vehicle project.”
Fall in love with lace
Lace knitting requires a lot of concentration and can take a long time to work, but it’s much quicker to create openwork patterns in crochet. This is to do with the how the stitches are constructed. This colourful design is pattern 7944 from Sirdar and is made in the brand’s Cotton Prints DK yarn. Although the yarn has a self-patterning effect, the all-over openwork pattern stands out really clearly, making this a fantastic summer garment. www.sirdar.co.uk
It’s easier than it looks!
Rosie Savage, Editor of Let’s Get Crafting magazine: “If you’re as obsessed with yarn as I am, it’s only natural to want to crochet as well as knit. You get the best of both worlds! In Let’s Get Crafting magazine, we feature lots of beginner-friendly crochet makes so you can ease yourself in.”
Find out more at www.letsgetcrafting.com
Create gorgeous stitch effects
We love this fantastic top from Cascade Yarns! It’s designed by Simona Merchant-Dest in the brand’s Ultra Pima Cotton and is available to download for free at www.cascadeyarns.com
Add awesome accessories!
Take a look at this great new bag from Vanessa Bee Designs. It has been made with crocheters in mind and is the ideal size for carrying your project when you’re out and about. The two outer pockets are perfect for patterns, while the inner pouches mean you can stash your hooks and scissors. They cost £9.99 from 01768 771447, www.vanessabeedesigns.co.uk
“My mother taught me to crochet before I started school,” reveals Camilla Ette Gotfredsen, the creative force behind DesignEtte. “The art created through crochet is a symbol of the love that is shared when the skill is passed down from one generation to the next.” See Camilla’s knitting and crochet designs at www.designette.co.uk
Add colour to the nursery with this fabulous cloud mobile, free from www.cygnetyarns.com! “I love using crochet, particularly the amigurumi technique, to create shapes,” says Alexie from Cygnet Yarns. “You can see the shape forming as you go, making it so much easier to get the exact design you want. Cygnet Yarns’ Whopper Cotton is perfect for creating larger toys and shapes. The super chunky weight means it crochets up in no time and the cotton content means it holds its shape perfectly. The bright rainbow palette also works perfectly for the little raindrops in this great mobile!”
Take a break
Enjoy a crafty getaway at Gartmore House. Set in the stunning Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park in Scotland, there’s a great programme of knitting and crochet retreats, regardless of your level of expertise. It’s the perfect opportunity to find out what crochet is all about. There are taster weekends or five-day holidays to choose from, which include knitting and crochet lessons, en suite full-board accommodation, transport and the chance to explore the area. Prices start at £199, call 01877 382 991 or visit www.gartmorehouse.com to find out more.