Celestia CAL: with Love to Mosaic Crochet

It has not been long since we talked about mosaic crochet (check my latest Ocean Time Mandala pattern), and here is new pattern again! Well, technically it’s not a new one, as we had been working on it for at least one year now. But it was finally brought to public last week. And I am talking about Celestia blanket, exclusively designed for Crochet NOW magazine crochet-a-long 2020.
This crochet pattern was exclusively designed for Crochet NOW magazine

Add Celestia Blanket to your Ravelry Queue

You might think I am a bit obsessed with mosaic crochet at the moment, and you will be right. When Jenny, an editor for Crochet NOW magazine, approached me two years ago with an idea of designing a CAL for them, I knew it would have meant to be something mosaic. Why? Because the technique is so simple, and the finished fabric is so very effective. Every single time.

Celestia blanket is about hexagon motifs, each with a new mosaic stitch pattern. I’ve been experimenting with different shapes and hexies is one of my favourite, too. So, Celestia is a mix of several loves of mine which met together in one blanket.
Scheepjes Colour Crafter version

We decided to bring new CAL in two colourways – both with Scheepjes yarns. The original version was designed with 100% premium acrylic Colour Crafter yarn, and I was asked to use gentle pastel shades together with bright icy white.

To be honest, in the beginning I was a bit skeptical about this color scheme, as pinks and baby blues are absolutely of my comfort designing zone. But when all motifs were finished and joined together, I fell in love! And so fell in love ALL my friends who saw the blanket before it was shipped to a publisher. It looks very soft, and gentle, and fragile. A true Celestia look, whatever it means :)
Scheepjes Colour Crafter version

For the second colorway Jenny asked me to pick yarn and colors myself, and because I am big fan of Scheepjes Metropolis, I chose this yarn. In dramatic graphite gray for the main color and rainbow splash for a contrast. 
Scheepjes Metropolis version

This sample was a bit of a challenge, as I didn’t make it myself. Several lovely ladies kindly agreed to help me test the pattern, each of them made motifs with one contrast color, and Jenny joined them and added a tiny lace border. So I haven’t seen the finished blanket until the very end. I was hoping the colors would play together nicely, but the final result turned out even better than I thought! Love it, too.
Scheepjes Metropolis version

Despite difference in weight (DK for Colour Crafter and fingering for Metropolis), I decided to use same hook size (4 mm) and gauge for both blankets. And they are exactly the same size – approx. 125cm x 165cm.

Mosaic crochet uses very basic crochet stitches, but sometimes their placement might be tricky. Celestia blanket pattern comes with full row-by-row written instructions and charts. If you want additional support while working on this CAL, be sure to join this Facebook group and get in touch with others who are taking part!
Scheepjes Metropolis version

As already mentioned, Celestia blanket was exclusively designed for Crochet NOW magazine, and will only available there. A new portion of instructions will be published monthly. Part 1 can be found in Issue 55 of Crochet Now which will be in shops and available online from Thursday 23rd April!

If you’re unable to get to the shops, don’t worry! You can order a copy online with free delivery from www.craftstash.co.uk from the on-sale date, or have it delivered directly to your door before anyone else when you subscribe today. If you subscribe now, you will additionally receive all the yarn you need to create the Colour Crafter version of the blanket, delivered safely to your door (*UK offer only...)!
Scheepjes Colour Crafter version

If you are located outside UK, please, be aware that due to the current COVID-19 situation, the international shipping might be affected. You might want to get in touch with your stockist to check they are shipping internationally before placing your order. To be on the safe side, you can still get access to the CAL via digital editions at Pocketmags, the magazine can be ordered for worldwide delivery from Craftstash, and international subscriptions are available at Moremags.
Scheepjes Metropolis version

Crochet NOW magazine has teamed up with UK retailers to deliver your ready yarn packs for Celestia CAL. If you want to purchase on, I would be very grateful if you use one of the links below. They are affiliate and I might be compensated with a tiny amount from each sale while you will not pay anything extra: Wool Warehouse, Deramores, Black Sheep Wools.

Because international shipping is very limited at the moment, please, also check with your local Scheepjes stockists to see if they carry yarns and colors. Find a complete list of materials below.

Colour Crafter* version:

7x Barneveld (1005)
2x Texel (1019)
2x Den Bosch (1241)
2x Coevorden (1823)
1x Assen (1065)
1x Wolvega (1099)

Metropolis* version:

11x Miami (069)
3x Marseille (019)
3x Lima (055)
3x Abu Dhabi (032)
2x Quebec (077)
2x Tehran (036)

Check further details on Crochet NOW magazine's website HERE.

Can’t wait for the beginning of Celestia CAL and seeing your beautiful creations! If you share them online, please use hashtag #CelestiaCAL and #designedbylillabjorn.

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Ocean Time Mandala Rug: playing with jute yarn

The life of a crochet designer is nice and creative, but sometimes also challenging. My biggest challenge is to organize my stash and keep track on all yarns and colors I have. We moved the house half a year ago. To be honest, it was scary even to think of packing all those tiny balls. I even joked with my husband, that I pack just my yarn, and he does the rest of the stuff. It all went well though, and I even bought a new IKEA cabinet to fit everything I kept in boxes before.

One day I will make a virtual tour in my brand-new studio for you. But this post is about yarn. With every new Scheepjes release I am getting a few test samples to try. And today I would like to tell you about Mighty*. This is how my space looks now. You can see it on the upper shelf of my central cabinet :)

First I need to say, I have never seen or come across anything like Mighty before. It is a natural fiber blend with 32% Jute and 68% Cotton. And jute is what it makes Mighty yarn unique, in my opinion. Just to add, Mighty yarn comes in 50g balls with 80 m each. And 4 mm (G) hook is recommended.

Making a jute rug has been my dream forever. I have been looking at jute “yarns” in building and DIY stores for ages. You know those ropes you used to tie together packages? I even bought two of those, and even tried to crochet with them. My hands hurt terribly. It was all scratchy and itching. I think I managed to finish a small potholder but didn’t move any further.

So you can imagine my happiness when I first heard about release of Mighty yarn! My happiness doubled when first samples landed in my box. I made a quick flower to see how it’s worked up. And, wow, it was so soft. I must say I fell in love. The only disadvantage I can see at the moment is limited range of colors. But fingers crossed new colors will be added over the time.

You can purchase Mighty yarn in Scheepjes local shops and via online retailers:

Wool Warehouse* (UK, international shipping)
Caro’s Atelier* (NL, Europe)
Taemombo* (US and Canada)

 I didn’t plan any rug designs at that time, but because I had perfect yarn for a rug I just had to design something for it. And today I am happy to introduce it to you! My Ocean Time Mandala Rug.

Ocean Time Rug pattern is available HERE on Ravelry and HERE on Etsy, and is offered with 20% discount through Monday, March 30th, 2020. The discount was already applied, the price you see is final, and no codes are needed. 

Ocean Time Mandala Rug is using very popular technique – mosaic crochet. If you have never tried it before, you can polish your skills with two free patterns: Nya Blanket and Infinity version of Nya blanket.

Usually, mosaic crochet uses stand-alone charts or charts together with written instructions. But because my new mandala is worked in flat rounds (and I have not seen anything done like this before), I decided to include round-by-round written instructions together with progress pictures. Due to multiple increases on every round, the chart would look confusing. And I thought that progress pictures would make a better job.

My rug is approx. 90 cm/ 35.5" across. My lovely testers Laura Jackson, Lisa Marlow, Esther Schippers and Faye Pike made fantastic job testing the pattern. Faye decided to use Scheepjes Secret Garden yarn, and I am simply in love with how it turned out. It has both vintage and boho touches. Check Faye's Ravelry project page for all details about yarn and color changes.

And just to remind you, the pattern for Ocean Time Rug is available HERE on Ravelry and HERE on Etsy, and is offered with 20% discount through Monday, March 30th, 2020.

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Knitting Experiments in my Crochet World

An exciting mail landed in my mailbox in early March. Both my personal and creative lives were a bit busy last couple of weeks, and I didn’t have a chance to share a review of latest Scheepjes YARN book-a-zine with you. But I can’t wait anymore, as I am so very proud of my new design. And I want the whole world to know about it, haha.

The newest YARN book-a-zine is called “NOW Age”, and it’s already 9th edition. It contains 16 gorgeous crochet and knitting patterns and features work of two artists: Nathalie Wijker and Flora Bowley, and an interview with Job de Bondt (owner of Scheepjes) about sustainability.

As always, the quality of a book-a-zine (designs, pictures, paper, layout) are just magic. And I am happy to be a part of it.

My contribution was Free Flow Shawl designed for a chapter Spiritual. This design is knitting – very unusual for me. As you now, I mostly design crochet. I’ve learned many things, tips&tricks and techniques in past 5 years of professional designing. And I am still challenging myself.
knit pattern by Lilla Bjorn

I was asked to create a shawl which would resemble the texture of agate stone. The first time I saw an inspirational board, I thought about knitting short rows immediately. And because I have never tried them before, it seemed like a great chance to add another technique to my skills – both crafting and designing.

It took a while before I figured out the math for a half circle. I chose garter stitch for the short rows, because it makes wraps&turns invisible. Just perfect for beginners in knitting. And Secret Garden yarn* is very forgiving for knitting, because it has irregular texture and can easily hide all “uncertainties” of the gauge.

I should say I love each and every pattern from the latest YARN. And my personal favorites are Chakra Energy Flags by Nerissa of Miss Neriss,
crochet pattern by Miss Neriss

Celestial Mandala by Dedri of Look At What I Made,

and Floral Eclipse Throw by Rachele of Cypress Textiles.
crochet pattern by Cypress Textiles

You can have a peek of all designs from NOW Age edition of Scheepjes YARN book-a-zine HERE on Ravelry. And grab your own copy via local Scheepjes stockiest, and international retailers:

Wool Warehouse*, Black Sheep Wools* (UK, international shipping)
Caro’s Atelier *(NL and Europe)
Taemombo (US and Canada)

…and Something about Pretty Little Things

multicraftual monthly publication by Scheepjes

And in a meanwhile, Scheepjes has launch a brand-new publication “Pretty Little Things”. I’ve got the copy of the first edition just today (luckily post is still working for us).

Maybe I should give a short introduction of what Pretty Little Things are and what they are about. It’s a small paper publication with three small patterns/projects inside. The first one is called Pets and features a Kitty Cat Doorstep (crochet pattern), Goldie the Fish Bag (sewing pattern) and Dog Tooth Jacket (knit pattern).

All three are relatively small and quick to make. And they can become great companions for travels (not actual at the moment, but let’s hope we will be able to travel again very soon!) or just small projects to give a break from current huge wips.
multicraftual monthly publication by Scheepjes

As you can see, Pretty Little Things is a multicraftual publication. In each themed issue which will come out monthly, you’ll discover one knit, one crochet and one craft project, plus the occasional bonus pattern, designed to appeal to crafters looking for a more beginner-friendly, quick or affordable make.

Every edition will also feature Scheepjes yarns (obviously), and both knit and crochet projects in the first one are using Chunky Monkey yarn.

I was intrigued by a mosaic pattern of the Dog Tooth Jacket and grabbed yarn and needles immediately to make a small swatch! It’s been long ago since I tried fair isle knitting last time. Now, looking at the picture, I am not sure what I was doing in the beginning and end of every row. :) Looks like tension is off...  YouTube will probably be my best friend next weeks. And why not? Why not to use plenty of time we have right now to master a new technique? 
small sample swatch in two colors of Scheepjes Chunky Monkey yarn

By the way I must say, that Chunky Monkey* is perfect yarn for any kinds of experiments. It gives nice stitch definition, easy to knit and crochet with, and easy to frog!

Pretty Little Things are available from the same retailers as YARN book-a-zine (check links above).

I’ll get back to my knitting swatch, and see you soon!

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Stay Calm and Crochet…

Today I feel like it’s time to get out from the designer’s shadow and share something personal here. Who would think that the whole world can be changed in just a week because of tiny microorganisms. I believe today there are almost no countries left in the world that are not affected by COVID-19. The Czech Republic where I live has taken very strict measures. All schools, stores, museums and other places were closed last week for none knows how long. And today the whole country is under strict quarantine. People are not allowed to leave their homes with a few exceptions. Though it is recommended to stay at home, if you can.

DISCLOSURE:  the mace mask in the picture was only used for illustrative reasons, to metaphorically show how I feel. My family has not stocked up with them. This one was kept in my cupboard for ages. I encourage you NOT to stock up with face masks, so that medical personnel have enough of them to help us. Thank you!

I’ve spent hours and hours online last days reading sad news coming from Italy and other countries. I should have flown to the Netherlands to meet up with my crafty tribe last Friday. But I canceled the flight even before the borders were officially closed… I feel like I have to act responsibly these days. Not only towards myself and my family, but also towards other people around.

My parents are both 70+ years old, and I wish everyone in their surrounding acted responsibly, too.
My family life has not changed much. We don’t have any signs of panic, though I do feel insecure… We still go out to walk the dog in the fields. We order groceries online. We cut off all real-life social contacts for at least a week.

Yesterday my friend who lives just around the corner, created a chat for several friends to talk online via WhatsApp. I laughed at first saying it was silly. But then I thought it might be not so bad idea. Feels like all communication will go online in next days.

I am thankful for crochet being a huge part in my life. No isolation is felt here, and I’ve done lots of pattern writing in past days. Literally, at least 4 new designs are almost ready to come out to the world soon.

Why am I writing this… I just wanted to let you know that if you feel lonely, and locked and isolated these days, please know there are hundreds and thousands of people out there who might feel the same. And crochet is something that can help up to feel included.

Let’s connect online! Join my Facebook group, share your latest Lilla Bjorn creations.

This is the right time to maybe learn a new technique you have been looking at for ages. Or grab a new pattern and finally give it a go.

If you need more yarn and can afford to buy it, this is the right time to support your local yarn shop.

Call your parents, call your friends. Stay safe and please, take care!

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How to Turn Crochet Blanket into Wall Hanging

Rozeta crochet-a-long was definitely the biggest event in my designer’s life last year. Thousands of people all over the world joined me and Scheepjes in the Rozeta journey. And thousands of lovely Rozeta blanket have been created. New pictures arrive to my social media feeds every day. And every day my heart is melted with quiet happiness.
Photo credit: Evelien van der Drift

Most of the Rozeta’s are used as blankets. But some of them were turned into rugs, pillows… and wall hangings! I’ve received quite a few messages with questions about how to mount Rozeta on a wall.

To be honest I didn’t do it myself, and all my samples are proudly kept at Scheepjes HQ. The Rozeta, as any other crochet piece, can be just hang onto the wall, but because it is big and heavy, it can stretch a lot and lose its shape. That’s why a certain kind of frame is needed for mounting.

Some CAL followers mounted their blankets and shared pictures on Facebook and Instagram. One of them was Evelien van der Drift. She kindly gave me permission to republish her step-by-step pictures on my blog, with short description for each step.

How to Mount a Crochet Blanket: Tutorial

Evelien used an old board from under the mattress and metal wire. This kind of boards with holes can be found in the building stores. The holes make it easy to weave in the wire, and also keep the board light weight.

Step 1. First Evelien cut the board to match the size of the Rozeta. Because crochet fabric is stretchy, the border should not be much smaller than the blanket – just enough to wrap the edges of the blanket and to pull it reasonably, without destroying the texture of the stitches.

Step 2. Then three wooden pieces were attached with nails onto the back side of the board: each on top and bottom, and third one to the middle of the board to keep it stable.

Step 3. Evelien wove the metal wire along all four sides of the board close to its edges.

Step 4. Then Rozeta was carefully wrapped around the board, slightly pulled and sewn along the edges to the wires on the back side of the board. Evelien used Scheepjes Whirlette yarn* - same as for the last rounds of Rozeta.

Step 5. A wooden piece was attached to the wall and finished Rozeta was hung onto it!

That’s it!

P.s. If you decided to keep your Rozeta just as a mandala, you can mount it to a round wire using the method of my friend Jellina. You can follow step-by-step tutorial HERE on her blog.
Photo credit: Jelllinas Creations

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