Monday, 11 July 2016

Frida's Flowers Pattern Set Eight

So here I am again with the final part of the Frida's Flowers CAL!

After all your hard work crocheting your motifs this set of patterns will probably come as a bit of a relief! It has been amazing to see your near completed projects popping up on social media and I would like to say thank you to everyone who has sent images and lovely emails over the last few weeks - it means so much to know you've enjoyed your Frida's Flowers Crochet Along experience.

When I was thinking about the edging for the project I had lots of big ideas - I thought about little 'Day of the Dead' type skull motifs and love hearts. I envisaged more flowers and elaborate lace, but in the end it occurred to me that the ideal frame for the design should be a simple one so that the flowers became the focus and so I decided to try and emulate the idea of embroidered zig zags which are so common in Mexican textiles. I kind of had in mind the image of sewn ricrac fabric tape.

When you work an edging it is neater to work into stitches themselves rather than into the spaces between stitches, this is especially the case when working into treble crochet (US double crochet).
Working into stitch spaces will accentuate the gaps, so try to work into the post of the stitch instead.

It isn't essential that you achieve the same stitch count as me, but you need to make sure that your repeat works out so that you work 3dc (3sc US) into the stitches at the top of the zig zags - if this means you need to skip an extra stitch somewhere this should be fine.

I think the final round in black really finishes the blanket off nicely, but you could always add more rounds or use a different shade.

So there we go - Frida's Flowers all finished! Here is my version below photographed on the living room floor! 

The image of the blanket below has been sent to me by an amazing crocheter called Lucia - isn't it amazing! I adore Lucia's layout. You can visit Lucia's blog page on Facebook by following this link.

It is always quite sad when a CAL comes to an end and always incredible to think back at how quickly the time has flown. Frida's Flowers has been my 6th crochet along project in as many years - I designed 4 projects using Rowan Yarns between 2011 and 2014 and have designed for Stylecraft for the last 2 years, but now I think it is time for me to move on again and so I am beginning to think about my own CAL design for 2017 - as soon as I have anything concrete to tell you about I will let you know!

In there mean time you may want to check out my Sunshine and Showers Mystery CAL that I have designed for Crochet Now magazine and look out for my new blanket kit project Mexican Diamonds, which will be launched at the end of July. 

I am sure that the guys at Stylecraft have plenty up their sleeves to keep you going through the Autumn so be sure to keep an eye on them too!

I love the challenge of designing the Crochet Along projects and hope that you have all enjoyed your Frida's Flowers experience too. 

Sending you all much love and crochet happiness!
Jane x

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Frida's Flowers - Block Seven

Today sees the release of the final hexagon block motif for the Frida's Flowers Blanket.

This block is placed at the centre and top and bottom edges of the blanket and you will need to make a total of 5 pieces.

I have called this block Frida's Bouquet as it features small flowers and leaves. It is quite a complicated piece, but is uses all the techniques you will have already got to grips with in other blocks so I am hopeful that you shouldn't find it too difficult.

Once you have completed the central flower you need to work a framework behind it to create the base for the leaves:

You need to work with the Right Side facing you - however the image below is shown Wrong Side facing so that you can see the framework:

You need to create 6 leaves using your darker green shade (the shade names differ depending upon what yarn you are using). Make sure you have 6 leaf bases!

The other side of the leaf is worked using your other green shade - the chain loop at the top will be covered up later on:

The background shades are added over the next few rounds - you will need to work behind the leaves so will need to fold the leaves forward while you are working:

I am so pleased with these motifs - working the chain stitches behind the leaves means that you can achieve a lovely 3D effect which I think really echoes the details of Frida Kahlo's traditional Mexican textiles that she loved to wear.

When I choose a colour palette I almost always include a shade of yellow as it is such a fabulous accent colour. In this design I think the bright yellow shade is key and it really sets off the other shades.

Once all your colourful flowers and leaves are made you need to add the black border:

I feel that the blue bullion stitches add a really nice highlight to the centre of the flower, but of course making these is optional!

I hope you will enjoy making these motifs as much as I enjoyed designing and making them. In a fortnight the final part of the pattern will be available to download. The last set of patterns includes instructions for adding the edging.

Janie x

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Frida's Flowers - Block Six

Wow! We are on to block six already!

I have called the block featured in this pattern release 'Ring of Roses'. This is the very first block I designed for the blanket and it was the catalyst for the whole design. I remember being really excited when I worked out how to make the 2 tone leaves behind the flower and then managed to get the cream and yellow buds to sit nicely behind too! I hope you will enjoy making these pieces as much as I enjoyed designing them - especially as you need to make 6 of them!

I felt that flowers (and roses in particular) should make the centrepiece of the blanket. Roses feature in Frida Kahlo's work from time to time, but she often wore them in her hair or as part of her costumes.

If you have already worked the previous blocks I think you will find this block pretty straight forward. The leaves are made in a slightly different way to those on Block Five (Heart Rose), but other than that I think the block uses techniques that you have probably already mastered.

Below I have pasted copies of the step by step images for this block:

This sounds obvious, but do make sure you have 6 petals at this point - it is surprising how many times I have carried on happily crocheting only to find I have the wrong number!

On Round 5 you are asked to work a treble crochet (US double crochet) around the post of a marked stitch. This gives the flower shape a really good definition. Use markers to indicate the stitches you need to work around - again, check you have 6!

Once the main part of the flower is complete you can choose whether or not you wish to add in some sewn bullion stitches to the centre of the flower:

The leaves are made in 2 stages as the reverse side of the work over the following 2 rounds. The image below shows the stitch you need to work into at the beginning of Round 6:

When working Round 7 you need to find the turning chain at the tip of the leaf made on the previous round:

On Round 7 a chain space is made between the leaves - this is used on the subsequent round to make the base of the small flower buds that sit behind the rose.

I really love the rose motif at this point - it would make such a lovely corsage or fascinator don't you think?

Working with the black yarn on the next few rounds can be hard work. If you struggle to see the stitches, avoid working in poor light (in the evening for example). You could try working closer to the window or even get yourself a day light bulb. Working with a light coloured sheet on your lap or at a table with a light coloured cloth could also help.

I really hope you will enjoy making this motif. Don't forget there is bound to be lots of chat and discussion about it on the various Facebook groups - these are easy to find via the Stylecraft page.

If you want to keep up to date with my design work and the events we have coming up over the next few months you can join our mailing list by submitting a form via our Facebook page or via the homepage of our web site.

If you haven't done so already it would be really great if you could spare 5 minutes to visit the Let's Knit knitting and crochet award page by following the link at the top of the right hand side bar. If you would like to vote for me or any of the other amazing knit & crochet designers, authors, makers or sellers you can follow the link to complete an online form and by doing so could also be in with the chance of winning a luxury spa break!

Have a good day!
Janie x