It was a chilly night in August last year when I was lying on my stomach on our chaise lounge, vortexing hard into the land of vintage crochet patterns on the internet. I had a vision for a black and multi-coloured granny square, bell sleeved dress with a full on 1960s, Woodstock kind of vibe. Not my usual style of at all but for some reason this dress kept popping into my head. I blame the movie Almost Famous.
I’d shelve the idea for a while and then I’d find myself googling granny square dress crochet patterns again. I searched everywhere for a pattern but most of them were one size (read: teeny tiny) and sizing motif style designs to be bigger is a challenge. I bought a pattern that looked similar to what I was imagining and the instructions said there were options for larger sizes included in the pattern. When I got the pattern it was for a size 8 and the larger size ‘option’ was basically a line in the pattern that said ‘for larger sizes, make the motifs bigger’. Cool… least helpful instructions ever. I already know that to make something bigger, you need to make it bigger. I needed to know HOW to make it bigger. Der.
So I took the shapes from the pattern and completely re-designed the whole thing. I used Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton 4 ply and a 3.25mm hook. I wanted the dress to be light but with a tight weave so I didn’t have to wear a full slip under it. I had to design all the partial granny shapes which was a bit of a nightmare. Because I used a finer yarn and hook to get a better drape, my granny squares ended up with six rounds and most partial granny square crochet patterns that already exist are for four or five round granny squares. So I had to start from the beginning and I diagrammed all the partial pieces like this.
And yes, there was a lot of weaving in of ends but to be honest, I don’t really mind weaving in ends. I’d make 20 squares and then weave in the ends in batches as I went. I like to weave in ends when I have friends over because they’ll sometimes offer to help (cheeky right?). Honestly it’s so relaxing just weaving in ends with a bunch of girlfriends and a bottle of wine on a weekend afternoon. I highly recommend it. I also quite love making granny squares. Apart from the partial granny squares, this project was very easy and quite mindless. About 70% was done without me really concentrating at all. I’m pretty thrilled with how it turned out. It’s very close to what I imagined.
I also finished a navy, vintage style dress in October last year. I wrote out the full pattern for it and graded it into different sizes but when I had it tech edited, I realised the vintage stitch I based the skirt pattern on just wasn’t consistent enough to be used in a professional pattern. My number one priority when I design an item is the success of the person making it and if I can’t guarantee that then I won’t publish the pattern. I’ll definitely be working on an alternative of this dress through, I’ve been wearing it heaps and I’d love to see my Crochettes rocking around in something like this.
I finished this t-shirt dress half way through last year and the pattern is now available on Crochet Coach. My Crochettes are working their way through this pattern now and I’m so excited seeing their progress. I designed it as a slouchy, boxy, t-shirt style dress with no shaping as a beginner introduction to garment making. It’s a been a little too hot this Australian summer to get much wear out of it but when the weather drops a bit as the year goes on, I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of this.
One other thing I made (and holy shit did this take ages!) was this scrappy join-as-you-go granny blanket. This is the February project for the Crochettes. There are heaps of different sizes and full instructions on how to do the JAYG method available in the first week of February. I’m so in love with this blanket. I started it in about November last year when we decided to move.
I had this giant crate of 8 ply 100% cotton left over from different projects that I couldn’t really use for anything because there were varied dye lots and no consistent amounts of anything. I also don’t really need 50 eco bags which is what I usually use my leftover yarn for. I decided to just make granny squares out of them and make them into a blanket. The thought of this beautiful cotton yarn never being used just made me too sad.
One of the reasons why I love this so much is because it’s made up of the remnants of special blankets I’ve made for other people. There’s bits and pieces from the baby blankets I made for Rosie, Cleo, Ezra, Charlotte, Lexi, Rupert and Teddy. Some left over yarn from cardigans I made for babies Freddie and Frankie. Can we just take a moment to appreciate the gorgeous names my friends and family have given their kids? Divine. A few left over balls of yarn from my brother’s wedding blanket and some lovely vintage cotton Patons yarn my mother-in-law gave me. It’s just a big mish-mash of yarn that reminds me of my favourite people. I bought about five balls of Bendigo Woollen Mills 8 ply cotton in Latte to do the boarder but apart from that, it (theoretically) didn’t cost a cent, I just used up an enormous crate of yarn that was just sitting around. This is an amazing stash buster.
Full warning: It’s not a quick project, this took a few months of working on it at least three nights a week for several hours, but it’s a very relaxing and repetitive project. There’s (obviously) lots of ends to be sewn in but the squares are all joined with one length of yarn so once you start joining, there’s no sewing or ends to be woven in. It’s way too hot in Australia for us to use this right now (and yes it was a nightmare making this in summer – what was I thinking???) but I can’t wait to put it on our bed for winter. I also came up with a great method for laying out the design and keeping it in order as you’re making it. More details on that soon.
I know a few of you have been asking for an update on the Vision In Blue Blanket and it’s definitely still happening, we just need to put the final touches on it. I’ve also had some offers of help in other areas so I’m waiting to see what comes together before it goes to raffle. Stay tuned – also a huge thank you to Maker Maker store for providing the venue, Table of Plenty for providing snacks and Chaffey Bros Wine for providing the most beautiful wine for the blanket buddies while we were sewing it together.
If you’re new to crochet but you’re keen to start here are some things you need to know before you learn to crochet. You should also check out this review of ergonomic hooks, this guide for buying yarn online, this pattern reading guide and this list of bits and pieces you need to get started.
What crochet patterns have you been making? Feel free to share a link in the comments!
P.S Don’t forget Crochet Coach has a free trial offer period at the moment so make sure you sign up!