Christmas is coming and we can practically hear the sleigh bells ringing! If the festive season has crept up on you – don't panic it happens to all of us – then these free stocking projects will help you get prepped in no time.
- Mummy & Baby Otter
- Fairy Garden Crochet-Along: Part One
- Pretty Feathers
- Christmas Hippos
- Amigurumi Snowman
- Christmas Tree Scene
- Candy Canes
- Christmas Phrase
- Christmas Eve Makes
- Knit and Crochet Tunic
- Christmas Elf
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- 25 Stockings You Can Finish In Time For Christmas Eve
- Issue 107 Sneak Peek
- Take Part in Christmas Jumper Day
- Craft For Charity And Make A Difference
- 23 Christmas Crochet Projects You Need To Make
- Countdown to… Crochet Club!
- Poppy Projects For Remembrance Day
- 9 Frida Projects To Kahlo Your World
- Make Toys To Be Treasured
- Issue 106 Sneak Peek
- 21 Projects To Make Whilst Watching The Great British Bake Off Final
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- Accessories Crochet Patterns
- Amigurumi Crochet Patterns
- Baby Crochet Patterns
- Christmas Crochet Patterns
- Granny squares Crochet Patterns
- Homewares Crochet Patterns
- Toy Crochet Patterns
- View all
- 20 Patterns You’ll Love To Make This Autumn
- The Ultimate Christmas Crafting Guide
- Why A Crocheter Would Win The Apprentice
- ISSUE 105 SNEAK PEEK
- THESE AMIGURUMIS WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO CROCHET IMMEDIATELY
- SUE STRATFORD: WHY YOU SHOULD SWAP GARMENTS FOR TOYS
- 19 Crochet Projects For Your Summer Holiday
- Stuart Hillard: The Blitzen Yarn Kit
- ISSUE 104 SNEAK PEEK
- 9 Sexy Men In Knitwear To Brighten Your Day
- Look At These Incredible Crochet Dogs
- View all
The Ultimate Guide To Dyeing And Spinning Your Own Yarn
Always wanted to step up your skills? We have just the thing. Many crafters have taken the plunge and are experimenting with their own yarn creations – whether it becomes a hobby or something you’d like to make a business out of, we think it’s time for you to give it a try. Crochet designer Sarah Shrimpton and expert spinner Louise McDonald share their insider secrets and help you to get started.
DYEING TO KNOW
Sarah Shrimpton has been experimenting with natural yarn dyes and you may be surprised by her secret fruity ingredient! “Using natural ingredients is a slightly different and more lengthy process than using acid dyes. I’ve recently been working with avocado – would you believe you can get the most beautiful coral and blush pinks from the stones and skins? Making your own dye is a bit like making soup. First you’ll need to collect your dye materials – you could try onion skin for yellows and oranges, nettles and oak leaves for beige, or hollyhock flowers for pinks and reds. As a rough guide, you’ll need around 100g of dyestuff per 100g of yarn. Add your ingredients to a pan of water, simmer for around an hour to extract the colour and once it’s cooled you can use the liquid to dye your yarn. Most dyeing processes use a mordant which is a substance that combines with a dye or stain to fix it to a material. If you want to work without it, simply soak your yarn first then add it to the dye bath – you’ll achieve different colours but that’s all part of the fun!”
SPIN ME ROUND
Louise McDonald is the creator of Spin City – a glittery, magical handmade store where you can get the most stunning spinning equipment and wool. We caught up with her over a cup of tea and shimmery threads to find out all about her crafty process – it’s safe to say we’re very inspired!
“The idea that I can combine colours in any thickness, texture, fibre or ply and create as much of it as I want blows my mind – if you want a super bulky, rainbow, glittery, gradient yarn, you can make it! Once I’ve dyed and gathered my fibre selection, I card everything together to smooth it and add luxury fibres like soya silk, tencel, firestar or glittery angelina. I choose the spinning wheel best suited to the type of yarn I want to create and attach the fibre to my bobbin. Spinning wheels are beautiful things and I love to think of the connection I share with generations of women who have used these wonderful tools before me. I start by treadling slowly in a clockwise direction to build momentum, gently moving my feet up and down on the pedals. At the same time I draft the fibre in my hands – drafting is the process of pulling fibre into a continuous thickness and length before you add twist. Holding my left hand in a firm pinch nearest to the wheel, my right hand pulls backwards to draw fibres out to a thickness that I want my final yarn to be. I then slide my left hand down the newly-drafted fibre releasing any twist built up by the wheel – I have now created an inch of yarn! I repeat this process for as long as I want my yarn to be, before winding it into a skein to knit or weave with later. This creates a single-ply yarn as it has been spun once on a spinning wheel or a drop spindle. There are so many different types of yarn; two-ply, three-ply, boucle, thread plied, core-spun, lock-spun – the list is endless, and I intend to spin them all and in every colour imaginable!”
Looking for more inspiration? Give weaving a go!
More from Top Crochet Patterns blog
Issue 107 is here and we have some serious treats in store for you all. Not only is it bursting at the seams with giveaways, the latest news, and reader makes, we also shop the latest crafty subscription boxes and help you plan out 2019 so you can make it the best and most creative year yet! If that wasn't enough, you'll find incredible knitting and crochet patterns too – here's a little peek at what you'll be making.
Us creative types have two great loves in this world: crafting and Christmas. When they collide we’re positively giddy, so as you can imagine Christmas Jumper Day – organised by the wonderful people at Save the Children – is our favourite event of the year. On a Friday in the middle of December, people join together in festive knitwear, whether crazy or classy, plain or interactive, and make a donation. Campaign Fundraising Manager Brea Thibodeau let us know how it all began.
Knitted Knockers, Age UK, Save the Children – our columnist Sue Stratford tells us how she does her bit for these life-changing charities.
Oh the weather outside is frightful... well, not really! It's a bit cold though, so we'd rather be snuggled up inside under a blanket working on our crochet projects. If you'd like to follow suit, these 23 crochet patterns are the perfect projects to start in the run-up to Christmas – you'll be able to whip them up in no time to keep for yourself or give as gifts to your loved ones.