A Different Granny Square: overlay and draping!

For me crochet design is about colors, stitches and shapes. And shape is probably the first thing I decide about, then choice of the colors comes, and then a perfect combination of stitches is looked for. There are quite a few shapes used in crochet design (and with freeform crochet you can basically create any shape at all): circles, triangles, rectangles, hexagons, octagons… But in my opinion square shape is the most basic and widely used. What do we try first when we want to learn crochet? A granny square, of course! It teaches us how to crochet flat and in round, how to join rounds and how to make increases in the corners. Granny squares use basic crochet stitches, but crochet squares can be more than that!
A Different Granny Square uses overlay crochet technique with very soft and draping background. Perfect for blanket! Designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

When I started to design crochet three years ago I looked into round shapes and overlay technique. I have created several mandala’s (Dandelion, Joana’s, Spanish, Sunny, Labyrinth) which can be either enlarged into bigger circles or squared up with Dandelion Border. I’ve always thought about mandala’s as round pillows, chair pads, pillow decorations, maybe. But I was amazed by the amount of blankets people have created using overlay crochet mandalas. Look at Sophie Loves Lilla Bjorn Winter Blanket (by Emma Aldous), or Celtic Mandala Blanket (by Laura, aka @Taemombo on Ravelry), for example.
A Different Granny Square uses overlay crochet technique with very soft and draping background. Perfect for blanket! Designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

Generally pieces created in overlay crochet are quite stiff, because background is worked with single crochet stitches and long, complex stitches are added above. Unless very soft and draping yarn is used, entire blankets in overlay crochet might feel too stiff and heavy. And I was wondering how it is possible to solve this “problem”.
A Different Granny Square uses overlay crochet technique with very soft and draping background. Perfect for blanket! Designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

And I came up with an idea of square pattern which uses overlay crochet with a very draping background, and lacy parts. And this is how A Different Granny Square pattern was born. It is already available for purchase via Ravelry (HERE) and Etsy (HERE) and is offered with 30% discount through Monday, October 2, 2017 (no coupon code needed). After that date the pattern will be listed at a regular price.





A Different Granny Square uses overlay crochet technique with very soft and draping background. Perfect for blanket! Designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

A Different Granny Square consists of three parts: floral center, lacy border and overlay zig-zag border. They give you lots of possibilities to play with sizes. I believe this square is PERFECT for blankets, and I wish I have time in the future to complete one for myself. You can either crochet and join entire squares (each approx. 37cm (14.5in) large when made with DK yarn and 4mm crochet hook). Or another option is to leave out the border and only use central floral motifs which are very draping as well.
A Different Granny Square uses overlay crochet technique with very soft and draping background. Perfect for blanket! Designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

You can of course use A Different Granny Square in a variety of other ways: as decorations for pillows and chair pads (with crochet fabric stitched onto the ready foam), as trivets, and other. I have hand stitched one of the squares onto ready fabric throw from IKEA to make a pillow for my friend.

I've made squares in different color palettes and also with one colour only (off white). And all of them play differently. Lori Baran who helped me with test, made her square in solid grey, and it looks amazing!
A Different Granny Square uses overlay crochet technique with very soft and draping background. Perfect for blanket! Designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

If you are interested, I used Soft Fun yarn* (DK weight) by Scheepjes and 4mm (G) Amour Clover hook* (my favourite brand and type). For one square you will need approx. 88g of yarn which is almost 2 skeins if only one shade is used. And here are shades for grey and emerald square (you will find all information about “Fall” version of this square in the pattern): Yarn A - 2515, Yarn B - 2532, Yarn C - 2531, Yarn D - 3535, Yarn E - 2466.
A Different Granny Square uses overlay crochet technique with very soft and draping background. Perfect for blanket! Designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

The pattern is intermediate. Full version contains lots of detailed pictures so you have no chance to be lost. It doesn’t take long to finish, and finished project can make a wonderful (Christmas?..) gift.

Find A Different Granny Square pattern on Ravelry and Etsy with 30% discount through Monday, October 2 (no coupon code needed).

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* DISCLOSURE: This blog contains affiliate links (marked with *). I may be compensated with a tiny amount from each purchase made via these links, and it will not cost you a penny. By using affiliate links you support my blog. Thank you!




River Washed: new yarn in a famous family

What innovative can be about yarn? Feels like nothing. Yarns differ in composition, they differ in colours. Different kinds of fibre are used to produce different yarns. They can be hand spun, or manufactured in large scales by machines. They can be hand dyed, yes. But still yarns remain yarns and seems like nothing can be invented. Right? Not really… And new River Washed yarn* by Scheepjes is a very nice example.

River Washed - new yarn by Scheepjes with unique colors. Review by www.lillabjorncrochet.com
It took more than 3 years to develop River Washed yarn – a new addition to famous Stone Washed line by Scheepjes (reviewed HERE). It’s same in weight, and same in construction. But very different in colour. It’s dyed differently: the cotton “cord” is dyed in one color and acrylic fluff has different, similar or very contrast, shade. And this is what makes River Washed yarn unique.
River Washed - new yarn by Scheepjes with unique colors. Review by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

First I saw it at Bloggers Days several weeks ago but unfortunately didn’t have chance to play with, though my hands were itching in excitement. I was looking at this yarn and was trying to guess if it’s more “knitting” or “crochet”. And yesterday (finally!) a parcel with samples came to my city. Scheepjes was very kind to send me skeins in all 14 shades to play with and maybe to design something. (…and just to prevent possible questions – YES! I have a design in mind already!)
River Washed - new yarn by Scheepjes with unique colors. Review by www.lillabjorncrochet.com






River Washed has the same feel as Stone Washed - cotton blend 70% cotton, 30% acrylic (50g/1.76 ounces with 130m/142 yards). And also comes in XL version - aran weight for warm, winter, chunky projects (50g/1.76 ounces, 75m). The stitch definition is perfect. I made a few samples in both knit and crochet to show you “magic” of the colors. I only tried regular version so far, but XL will look exactly the same, just larger size of the hook and needles will be needed.
River Washed - new yarn by Scheepjes with unique colors. Review by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

 So crochet. Because River Washed is a bit fluffy, and fluff fills gaps between the stitches, I would say 4mm (G) crochet hook is best. At least I would not recommend a smaller hook, especially if you want to make shawls or garments. The crochet fabric might turn out quite stiff. Here are three samples:
River Washed - new yarn by Scheepjes with unique colors. Review by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

…and a close up for you to see the play of two shades in each skein. This yarn is perfect for beginners who are not very experienced with different types of stitches. As you can see even with basic crochet (or knitting) stitch the fabric looks unique. River Washed is a self patterning yarn, I would say. But it will definitely look great with some intricate stitches and techniques as well. Brioche maybe?
River Washed - new yarn by Scheepjes with unique colors. Review by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

And knit! Though I am primarily a crocheter but I should admit River Washed yarn is perfect for knitting. I tried 3mm and 4mm needles, and both fabrics are very draping and super soft – either in garter or stocking stitch.
River Washed - new yarn by Scheepjes with unique colors. Review by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

Shade 951 (Amazon) is my favourite so far… Or maybe not… I am lost! I love all of them!
River Washed - new yarn by Scheepjes with unique colors. Review by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

As mentioned above River Washed yarn by Scheepjes comes in 14 shades (and each one is named after a famous river). Not so many you would say. But because every skein is in fact a mixture of two colors, the color variations can be many. I expect long hours of swatching and I am very curious to see how different skeins will look together.
River Washed - new yarn by Scheepjes with unique colors. Review by www.lillabjorncrochet.com

River Washed yarn is already available in local Scheepjes shops and via larger retailers: Wool Warehouse* (international shipping) and Knotty House* (Canada).

And I will be back to swatching now. Wip of a new design will come soon!

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* DISCLOSURE: This blog contains affiliate links (marked with *). I may be compensated with a tiny amount from each purchase made via these links, and it will not cost you a penny. By using affiliate links you support my blog. Thank you!


Scheepjes Bloggers Days, and My First Steps in Freeform Crochet

Freeform crochet is something I have been observing for a very long time. If you open the web you will see enormous number of shawls, bags, cardigans, hats… anything! Made in freeform crochet. It is a truly unique way to express yourself, as no pattern is needed. And you just follow the sound of your soul. Though there are no strict rules, I have noticed that some shapes and stitches are repeated often, and I have always wanted to try them out. And the concept of freeform crochet in general.

Do you dream of something? Then there is a chance your dreams will come true one day. And that happened to me. At the moment I am sitting at the Copenhagen airport, after an impressively creative weekend spent with my blogger friends at Scheepjes HQ in the Netherlands. Yes, that was another Bloggers Days time full of fantastic yarns, lots of crochet, learning and… laugh. I am in love with these ladies! They all are true inspiration!
From left to right: Maria, Jellina, Carmen, Esther, Tammy, Esther, Susan, Dedri, Christa, Nerissa, me (wearing Kirsten's Stormy Day shawl), Kirsten. Photo credit: Scheepjes

I could go for a walk down in Copenhagen center or could take an immediate train to Malmö. But instead I decided to sit down for a few hours, and to write this blog post. To share my feelings and impressions about the people I met, and new things I’ve learnt.
Maria, Tammy and Carmen are discussing spinning

The agenda of Bloggers Days was known in advance and I was very looking forward to both workshops: a chart making by Kirsten of Haak Maar Raak. And freeform crochet by José Dammers. You may know Kirsten’s work already, she creates very stylish designs full of color and geometry. And she is also the designer behind latest Scheepjes CAL – Hygge.
José Dammers, Christa, Susan and Dedri

And José Dammers was a new name to me, I have not seen her work before. And when I saw it – I could not really believe she started to crochet just 2 years ago. And from the very beginning she looked into freeform crochet. I had a chance to see her stunning shawls and bags for real. And also her recent art objects – crochet portraits of David Bowie and Frida Kahlo. Don’t they look amazing? You should check out José's Instagram page HERE for more beautiful projects.
Frida Kahlo's portrais by José Dammers

Guess who is behind the crochet face in the picture below. A small hint – she is a veeeeeeery known blogger. And a fantastic crochet designer. And you know her for sure!
Photo credit: Tammy of Canadutch

(Ok! It’s Dedri Uys)

After an introduction we were invited to try freeform crochet ourselves. To make a test sample (which can absolutely grow into a finished crochet project in the end) you need five different yarns in several shades. In close or contrast shades – it doesn’t matter, but the key idea is to use yarns in different weights and with different texture: thick, fluffy, lace. Anything!
Scheepjes Bloggers practicing at freeform crochet :)

You also need a special kind of a crochet hook to complete bullion stitches. Because I only had a hand luggage I didn’t dare to bring one on the airplane, as it reminded me of a surgery instrument. And I was afraid I would not be allowed to bring it onboard. Want to know how much time it took me to master bullion stitch? I am not sure myself, but it felt like forever! Other ladies were very excited too. And we didn't really pay much attention to anything around us... Just look at the table after an hour of "practice"...

What else do you need for a freeform crochet? Nothing! No pattern, no rules, no right and no wrong. Just the mood. Which you should follow with your hands. For my highly organized nature it was not easy at all to switch off and not to think about stitch count or gauge. The only important thing is that your motifs should stay flat. In my opinion freeform crochet artists have achieved a certain level of freedom of mind. And I am making tiny step towards it.

And here is lucky Carmen together with José.
Photo credit: Scheepjes

Anyway. I have finished my first freeform motif! A good start I think. And now I am dreaming about making a shawl in this technique. And as I know already, if you are dreaming your dreams come true at some point. Time for a cup of coffee. Next week is all mine. It’s time for me and for the sea. I might be not in touch for a while. But promise to come back sooooon.

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Spirits of Life Wrap CAL: Important Notes

As promised I continue to post about Spirits of Life Wrap CAL coming soon. This article contains Important Notes about technique used in the pattern and a list of abbreviations (links to translations are given below). Before you actually join the CAL or purchase the kit, I would HIGHLY recommend you to study this information thoroughly and try your hand on each technique.
Spirits of Life Wrap CAL - designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com.
Photo credit for all pictures in this post - Oleg Ignatovich

* DISCLOSURE: This blog contains affiliate links (marked with *). I may be compensated with a tiny amount from each purchase made via these links, and it will not cost you a penny. By using affiliate links you support my blog. Thank you!

Since reveal of Spirits of Life Wrap a few weeks ago (you can see pictures HERE), I have received lots of questions about the difficulty level of this project. I can’t tell you exactly if this project is right for you or not, as all intermediate and even beginner patterns vary and differ a lot.
Spirits of Life Wrap CAL - designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com.

To help you find the answer, I have created a list of techniques used in my CAL. I didn’t use any intricate or very difficult stitches. All stitches are usual and very common, but sometimes their placement can be tricky. Please, study the information below and make small samples in each technique. I would say that most of intermediate crocheters should handle them without any problem. Is you are an “adventurous” beginner who like challenges and to learn new things – you can absolutely try this out as well.

Note: translations to other languages are being revised at the moment and will be added shortly. Thank you for being patient.

Important Notes - Afrikaans
Important Notes - Czech
Important Notes - Danish
Important Notes - Dutch
Important Notes - English (US)
Important Notes - English (UK)
Important Notes - Finnish
Important Notes - French
Important Notes - German
Important Notes - Hebrew
Important Notes - Norwegian
Important Notes - Polish
Important Notes - Portuguese
Important Notes - Spanish
Important Notes - Swedish
Important Notes - Russian

Spirits of Life Wrap CAL - designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com.

Three techniques were used to create this pattern: Overlay crochet, Mosaic crochet and C2C (corner-to-corner crochet). If you make a small sample in each technique and feel comfortable with following instructions – then you can be sure Spirits of Life CAL is right for you. If you have any difficulties, you still have enough time to practice and improve your skills.

A very important note for those who will be doing the CAL with official kits by Scheepjes. As in any other CAL the gauge plays a VERY important role. In each part of the pattern I will give you exact amount of every shade used (in grams). If you stay within this amount – you will be fine and yarn will be enough. If you use more yarn, you have a risk to run out of some shades…
Spirits of Life Wrap CAL - designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com.

I know that many of you are interested in exact shades and yardages of Spirit and Catona used for Spirits of Life Wrap. At the moment I am not free to reveal this information, but it will be released later. So please, be patient.

Just to remind you, Spirits of Life wrap comes in three colour ways: Spirit of the Lake, Spirit of the Volcano and Spirit of the Orchid. Each sample is made with mixture of two Scheepjes yarns: Spirit and Catona (reviewed HERE and HERE).

You add can this project to your Ravelry Queue.
Spirits of Life Wrap CAL - designed by www.lillabjorncrochet.com.

Official kits produced and nicely packed by Scheepjes in all three colorways are already available for pre-order via some local stockiest (also at Knotty House* (Canada) and will be available for purchase at large retailers, such as Wool Warehouse HERE* and Deramores* (both in UK with international shipping), Loveknitting* (US) on September 27th, 2017.

The CAL will be hosted in Official CCC Social group on Facebook which will provide you with needed information and support. However to join the CAL you don’t need to be on Facebook or member of this group, as each part will be published in free access on my blog.

I will give you more details about the CAL soon (like materials, gauge and other). And we begin on October 18th!

See you soon!

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