Friday, 9 November 2007

Telling secrets

Here's a little confession - I am seriously addicted to bidding for vintage crochet (and some knitting) patterns on E-bay. to be precise. The US market is a positive treasure-chest of wonderful patterns and books from the 1940's and 50's with a heavy european influence. If you're interested in the buzz around the couture exhibition at the V & A, you'll recognize the wonderful design that goes into many of these patterns; and they're there for you to make!!!

Now for the secret!! In order to get me over this addiction I thought part of my 12-step programme (or maybe 1-step!) would be to tell you of my favourite 'sellers'. This is a little piece of gold for you if you really want to get into crocheting clothes for yourselves so don't miss it.





There - it's done - I feel soooo much better.

Let me know if you have any success!!!

The picture is from one of the recent sales.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Vintage Crochet at Loop

I had a lovely afternoon at Loop on Sunday (that's buying yarns!) at the book launch of Susan's beautiful new books, Pretty Knits and Vintage Crochet. Of course, Vintage Crochet is my personal fave and there are tons of 'must do' patterns including 7 of my own!!! I know you'll be dying to try the gorgeous things featured and I'd love to hear of your results so don't forget to post pictures or comments. Take a look - it's available in the shops and on Amazon so there's nothing stopping you!!!

Slouchy beret 1947

Louis Vuitton got it right this season with a generously warm and stylish beret - I love hats because I get such cold ears, so I'm hoping to get this made before it gets much colder. As you can see this lovely one is made in felt but I reckon a nice double knit in one of the new shades (deep berry purple!!! Mmmmm) should look divine. If you do go for a DK then use a 4mm hook. This should give should give the right amount of drape without getting too floppy than sloppy!
This pattern is taken from a wonderfully titled publication of 1947, 'Woman's Day Crochet Annual'.
Starting at centre of crown, ch 3. Join with sl st to form ring.
1st rnd: 9 htr in ring. Place a marker to indicat beginning of rnds. When working the rest of this beret, care must be taken to pick up the 2nd loop on back so that the 2 remaining loops of each hrt will appear like one continuous chain.
2nd rnd: Picking up the 2nd back loop of each htr, make 2 htr (an increase) in each htr around (18 htr).
3rd rnd: *htr in 2nd back loop of next htr, 2 htr in next loop. Repeat from * around,.
4th rnd: * Htr in next 2 htr, 2 htr in next htr. Repeat from * around.
Continue in this manner, increasing 1 htr in each 2 htr group, until 24 rnds have been completed.
UNDERSIDE OF BERET: Now dec 1 htr - to dec 1 htr, work 2 htr as 1 htr - over each increase (9sts decreased on rnd). Repeat the last rnd 14 more times, having the decreases fall over each other on each rnd.
Next rnd: dc in each htr around.
Following rnd: dc in each dc around. Repeat the last rnd 5 more times. Break off at end of last rnd.
Good luck if you do decide to try your crochet hands at this. Let me know how you get on!!!!

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Simple techniques to create an effect

Well, it's been a touch chaotic here in the Bee Home what with new kitchen and new project. That brings me neatly to this new post. I've been gathering a collection of fashion patterns together, from the host of vintage crochet and knit books I've collected over the years, for a possible book plan. It's still early days but it led me to think about adapting knit patterns to crochet. As we all know, the two skills differ in many ways and, certainly, there are certain techniques that only knit knows how!!! However, crochet has a few tricks up it's very trendy sleeve and it doesn't need to go snivelling to big sister knit all the time.

Creating rib patterning is just one of those occasions. Obviously, knitted rib is unique but if you do want to work an area in crochet there are several ways to achieve a 'rib' affect. I have in my pile of books a rather funky 'how to' book called From Needles to Hook (The Needlecraft Shop) with many examples of 'how to adapt' pieces.

Some of the examples are outrageous and I wouldn't suggest taking everything to heart. Anyhoo, there are some ways of achieving rib I thought I'd pass on.

First, Back Loop double crochet. Measure the height of the rib section you wish to crochet and chain the number equivalent to this plus one. Dc into 2nd ch from hook and dc to end; ch 1, turn. Dc into the back loop of each dc to end. Continue in this manner on each row until piece is the desired width or length of your project. You'll achieve a sort of 'train track' effect.

Another method is to use front and back post trebles across the width of the piece to achieve a raised rib. Basket weave is another texture which combines back loop and post stitches. Check it out.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Jack Frost bags

As you probably are well-aware I am a fanatical collector of post-war American knitwear patterns. They are really chocfull of fabulous designs with a relevance to fashion today. The Jack Frost company was one of the real leaders in this and their pattern books are shot in such a wonderfully 'noir' way that gives everything a great retro quality. Bag patterns in the late 1940's were everywhere and JF produced several in this tradition. I'm passing just a few patterns on to you but I have many more where that came from!!!!

Friday, 10 August 2007

This week's tip

There are some new dates for crochet classes at Loop starting with three 2 hour sessions on Sundays, 30th September, 7th October and 14th October 1.30 - 3.30pm Beginners. Another set of Beginner's classes are set for Saturday 10th November, 17th November and the Sunday 25th November 1.30 - 3.30pm. The final one might be of more interest to all you crocheters as it's an Improvers' class and will be in a different format to previous Improvers'. This class is scheduled for Saturday 1st December 12 noon to 5pm. For full info please visit Loop's website at Hope to see some of you then.

Saturday, 4 August 2007


As promised - a doily pattern to whet your interest in these wonderful retro items. I have many more patterns which I'll post in the following months. Let me know your ideas and suggestions. As you can see, it's still a work in progress.
I used ggh Mystic with a 3.5 mm hook. The yarn is inclined to 'break' but has a lovely sheen to it, which I think adds to its qualities. Of course, it's available from lovely Loop (see link). The pattern is one from 1971 in a Coats publication called Dining with Crochet.
Place Mat
ch - chain
ss - slip stitch
sp - space
dc - double crochet
htr - half treble
tr - treble
dlb tr - double treble
yo - yarn over
Ch 6 and join with ss to form ring.
1st row; 2 ch, 11 htr into ring. 1 ss into 2nd of 2 ch.
2nd row: 5 ch, *1 tr into next htr, 2 ch; repeat from * ending 1 ss into 3rd of 5 ch.
3rd row: 1 ss into first sp, 4 ch, 3 dbl tr into same sp, *4 ch, 1 dc into next sp, 4 ch, 4 dbl tr into next sp; repeat from *omitting 4 dbl tr at end of last repeat, 1 ss into 4th of 4 ch.
4th row: 1 dc into same place as ss, 1 dc into each of next 3 dbl tr, *(3 dc into next sp) twice, 1 dc into each of next 4 dbl tr; repeat from *omitting 4 dc at end of last repeat, 1 ss into first dc.
5th row: 3 ch, leaving the last loop of each on hook work 1 tr into each of next 3 dc, yo and draw through all loops on hook (a 3 tr cluster made over 3 sts), *7 ch, miss 2 dc, a 2 tr cluster over next 2 dc, 7 ch, miss 2 dc, a 4 tr cluster over 4 dc: repeat from * omitting a 4 tr cluster at end of last repeat, 1 ss into first cluster.
6th row: Inot each loop work 4 dc, 4 ch and 4 dc, 1 ss into first dc.
7th row: 1 ss into each of next 3 dc and into next loop, 11 ch, *1 htr into next loop, 9 ch; repeat from * ending with 1 ss into 2nd of 11 ch.
8th row: 1 dc into same place as ss, * 11 dc into next loop, 1 dc into next htr; repeat from * omitting 1 dc at end of last repeat, 1 ss into first dc.
9th row: 4 ch, miss 1 dc, * 1 tr into next dc, 1 ch, miss 1 dc; repeat from * ending with 1 ss into 3rd of 4 ch.
10th row: * 2 dc into each of next 3 sps, 1 dc into next tr, 2 dc into each of next 3 sps, 4 ch; repeat from * ending with 1 ss into first dc.
11th row: 1 ss into each of next 6 dc, 7 ch, * 6 dbl tr into next loop, 5 ch, miss 6 dc, 1 htr into next dc, 5 ch; repeat from * omitting 1 htr and 5 ch at end of last repeat, 1 ss into 2nd of 7 ch.
12th row: 5 dc into next sp, * 1 dc into each of next 6 dbl tr, 5 dc into each of next 2 sps; repeat from * omitting 5 dc at end of last repeat, 1 ss into first dc.
13th row: 1 ss into each of first 5 sts then work as follows: 4 ch, a 5 dbl tr cluster over next 5 dc, * 8 ch, miss 4 dc, a 2 tr cluster over next 2 dc, 8 ch, miss 4 dc, a 6 dbl tr cluster over next 6 dc; repeat from * omitting 6 dbl tr cluster at end of last repeat, 1 ss into first cluster.
14th row: *Into next loop work 4 dc, 4 ch and 4 dc, into next cluster work 1 dc, 4 ch and 1 dc, into next loop work 4 dc, 4 ch and 4 dc; repeat from * ending with 1 ss into first dc.
Fasten off

Travelling abroad

Just read about what happens to some unwary bachelors in Prague. A company is offering weekends away for the lads with accomodation and 'crochet' classes!!! That's nice. Only thing is, the classes are taught by scantily clad women. I've a feeling that 'crochet' might not be what we understand it to be. Watch out, everyone!!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Crocheted beach cover-up (1977)

Sorry about the delay in posting this - major broadband disappearance!!!
9 50gr balls of Rowan Wool & Cotton in Citron 901 (A)

1 50 gr ball of Rowan Wool & Cotton in Tender 951 (B)

3.5 mm
One size

Stitches used
ch - chain

sl st - slip stitch

sp - space

dc - double crochet

tr - treble

dtr - double treble

Each motif measures 5cm by 5cm


Using (A) and 3.5 mm hook ch 5, sl st in first ch to form ring.

Round 1: 8 dc in ring: sl st to first st.

Round 2: Ch 5 (1 dtr, ch 2) 7 times; sl st in 3rd ch of ch-5.

Round 3: Ch 4; 3 dtr in same ch-4 sp as sl st; ch 3; *4 dtr in next ch-2 sp; ch 11; 4 dtr in next ch-2 sp; ch 3* (3 times); 4 dtr in next ch 2 sp; ch 11; sl st in 4th ch of ch 4. Fasten off.

Continue to make motifs in this manner, joining them as you work; in corners, in ch-11 arches, replace the 6th ch by 1 sl st in the 6th ch of corresponding arch of another motif; and on the sides, replace the 2nd ch worked between 2 groups of dtr by 1 sl st in corresponding space of 2nd motif; then work a 3rd joining in next corner. But each time a motif will be placed along one edge of garment (lower hem and sleeves) replace the ch-3 at centre of one side of motif by ch 1 to prevent stretching.
Make 12 motifs for the first band of the lower edge (remember to replace one edge of ch-3 sp with ch-2). When making the 12th motif join it to the first motif of the band, thus forming a ring of 12 motifs.

Make 5 more bands in this manner, joining them to the 12 motifs of preceding bands. On the last band, leave one motif free at each side for armholes. Continue working separately front and back. Make 2 bands of 9 motifs for front and back, joining the centre 5 motifs to the motifs of the preceding band, leaving 2 motifs free at each end for sleeves (ch 1 instead of ch 3 in centre of outer edge of each motif); and on the 2nd band the 3 centre motifs form the neck edge (ch 1 instead of ch 3 and ch 9 instead of ch 11).

Leaving the 3 centre motifs for neck edge, place 1 band of 3 motifs on each side of front with ch 1 instead of ch 3 on sleeve hem edge; and ch 1 instead of ch 3, and ch 9 instead of ch 11 on neck edge. Join with a matching band to back so that the garment is almost completed without seams!!!

Complete each sleeve underarm with a band of 2 motifs, joined also to the free motifs at each armhole.


Using (B) and 3.5 mm hook, work a border along sleeve hem edges, tunic hem edges and neck edges, *1 dc in corner sp; 2 dc in the dtrs; 1 dc and 1 picot (ch 3, 1 dc in top st of last dc = picot made) in side sp; 2 dc in the dtrs; 2 dc in corner sps; repeat from * around.

As always, let me know of any probs.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Embroidering with crochet

I found these pictures waiting to be posted and thought - let's go for it. These were taken of my beach bag last summer - a wicked purchase that I shouldn't have, but did, make!!! Lazing by the pool on my jolly hols, got me to thinking about embroidering in crochet onto a double crochet piece of work. I think I'll get onto that when the dust has settled from all the millions of other projects I've got simmering.

I haven't actually tried this out yet but give me a few days and I'll get back to you.

Let me know if you have some tips.

This bag that I bought is lovely and soooo useful but it was only while sitting by the pool in Sicily that I realised why I love it so. Of course it's the crochet (double) and also it's totally within most people's capabilities. The clever-clogs side is the embroidery which I have analysed as single crochet applied to the double crochet panels. I think that this could be an answer to not having fairisle at a crocheter's command. We can do colour and pattern as well as knitters (well, almost).

I'll keep you posted on what I find out.

From the sublime

Ooo, what a shocking July. I must say it was divine to go to Italy for an all-too-short holiday. I didn't skive off from crochet and here is a little taste of my crochet location! Now that I'm back I'm going to keep popping into the chaincreative workshop and post more tips, stitches and patterns. Stitch of the Week will be updated every Friday afternoon (unless something crops up!!). This week is actually going to be Pattern of the Week with the publishing, as promised, of the Beach Cover-up. It was an absolute success on the holiday and I really recommend making it up.

Just another tip. If you're wondering about where to go to get some sun you couldn't go far wrong in Southern Italy. We love Sicily and go through a company called ThinkSicily ( and they have a fabulous range of different places to stay. I love it there and find it's atmosphere so relaxing. Masses of time to crochet too!!!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Teatime doily

I made these macaroons on Sunday filled with mascarpone and raspberries and blueberry jam. Yummeeeeeeee! It got me thinking about doilies so I hunted out a vintage set of doilies I have (you can just see one of them on the plate) but I think I want to make my own in some zingy colours!! I have hundreds of vintage patterns so when I identify a goody I'll post it. I must admit a soft spot their retro outrageousness!!!

Stitch of the Week 2 July 2007

Easy-peasy Chevron

This is a neat way of creating a wickedly sharp zig-zag and without the annoyance of complicated decreases. I've passed on this knowledge from a great book by Jan Eaton called Ripple Stitch Patterns (Quarto Publishing).

Foundation Chain

Multiple of 16 plus 2

Row 1: 2 dc into 2nd ch from hook, *1 dc into each of next 7 chs, sk next ch, 1 dc into each of next 7 chs, 3 dc into next ch; rep from * to end, ending last rep with 2 dc into last ch; turn.

Row 2: Ch 1, 2 dc into first dc, *1 dc into each of next 7 dc, sk next 2 dc, 1 dc into each of next 7 dc, 3 dc into next dc; rep from * to end, ending last rep with 2 dc into last dc, turn.

Rep Row 2 from now on.

I haven't mentioned colour changes as that is up to you. The stitch pattern is so easy to remember and to follow.

I'm planning a shift dress in the tradition of 60's Mary Quant with a hint of Missoni.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

In development

Now for something truly crochet. I'm just about to finish this beach cover-up (or tunic) and I'm really pleased with how its progressing. Made in Rowan Wool and Cotton, the motifs join together thus eliminating the need for any seams! How about that?! There are some yummy colours (I used Citron for this) and it gives just a little warmth for breezy summer holidays. I added the double crochet contrast trim with design advice from my daughter who, being a knitwear graduate, has a great eye for colour. I never do anything without asking her and she always seems to come up with something I haven't thought of.
Talking of summer hols, I'm away from next week but I'll post the pattern for this on my return in a couple of weeks. I want to 'road test' it before releasing it to the world.

Saturday, 30 June 2007

V and A visit

Well, it might not be crochet but a lobster telephone in your home is sooo chic. Fabulous dresses by Schiaparelli using fantastic embellishments. It made me think of crochetted epaulettes and fancy buttons! Will there be enough hours in the day to think them up??? Maybe a hat for eating macaroons (I'm baking this afternoon!!!). Anyway, a terrific exhibition which ends on 22 July so see it before it closes!

Welcome to Crochet Creative

Welcome to the newest crochet blog in town - Chain Creative. Aimed specifically at all of you who wish to commit just a little more time to this fabulous skill. Whether you're a passionate follower or just an interested party there should be a little something to interest and delight you. Introducing myself - Be Creative - I'm always happy to advise on all matters crochet and delighted if you add your ideas and suggestions.