Lots of Nice Crochet in Swansea Library

Swansea Mum's Crochet and Knitting Group

Swansea Mum’s Crochet and Knitting Group

When I moved to Wales I decided I wanted to join a Stitch and Bitch Group, but found that ones running locally were either held in the evening, or didn’t run all year round.

While I was pregnant, I’d been crocheting like mad (as you will see from my early posts!). I made hats, blankets, jackets, booties and cloths… and this didn’t stop once I’d given birth!

The first hats I made were soon too small, so when Iolo was 3 months old, I made him a new multi-coloured crochet hat. After lots of mums complimenting it and asking how I made it, I decided to start my own crochet and knitting group – for mums – to show them how.

Several months later, we have over a dozen members, who gather in Central Library in Swansea, every Wednesday at 3pm. I teach crochet, we drink coffee, eat cake and play with the babies. There’s no pressure to learn, some mums just come for a chat and to socialise. The babies enjoy each others company, sitting in the middle on blankets!

I’m really proud to say lots of the group are now getting pretty good at crochet and are even helping me crochet flowers for my wedding in May!

New members welcome.

For more information, email lotsofnicethingsblog@gmail.com.



Crochet Cotton Baby Cloth

Crochet Cotton Baby Cloth

Crochet Cotton Baby Cloth

Crochet Cotton Baby Cloth

If you are new to crochet and want to have a go at practising the basic stitches while following a pattern – then this is a little project for you. This cotton baby cloth uses the first techniques and stitches you need to master; chain, double crochet, trebles and slip stitch. It also introduces the shell stitch for edging. It is simple to make in a couple of evenings and can be used for your baby or around the house.

ch chain; dc double crochet; ss slip stitch; rep repeat; st(s) stitch(es).

Hook: 4mm
Yarn: double knitting – cotton, in two colours of your choice (less than 25g of each).
Difficulty: easy

Foundation row, 35ch, plus 1ch.
Round 1: 1dc in each st to end. (35)
Round 2-3: 2ch, 1trb into each st to end.
Round 4-5: Change colour then repeat rows 2-3.
Continue for another 8 rounds (each round being 2 rows of each colour), until you have 5 rows in one colour and 5 in the other (20 rows in total). This makes a square cloth.
Fasten off.


Right vertical edge
Rejoin first colour to bottom right hand corner.
1 ch, then 1dc in each stitch up the right hand vertical edge, picking out even spaces to crochet 40dc into.
Turn the corner to begin the shell stitch edging along the top.

Shell stitch along the top edge
1dc into first st. * Miss 1 st, 6 trb into next st (trebles will fan around to make shell shape). Miss 1dc, ss into next st.
Repeat from * to end of edge. You will form 8 shell shapes. End with a ss from the final shell, before you turn the corner to work down the left vertical edge.

Left vertical edge
1ch, 1dc all down edge, picking out even spaces to crochet 40dc into.

Shell stitch along the bottom edge
Turn corner, 1dc, then make 8 shell shapes along the bottom by following instructions for * as above.


How To Make Different Shapes in Crochet


Getting to grips with crochet really is quite simple with a bit of practice. Once you have progressed beyond making a chain, then doing lines of double crochet or trebles to form a rectangle – many people ask me how to start making different shapes.

So here are some simple instructions to help if you’d like to start making flat disks, spheres, ovals and sausage shapes – which come in particularly useful for creating little amigurumi creatures, like my mouse, or crocheted cat. They are also essential for making hats for babies!

Working in Rounds
When working in rounds, the work continues with no turning, by joining a chain of stitches together to form a central ring. Start by reading these instructions from Crochet for Dummies to get you started if you’ve never done it before. This is how you’d start of when making things such as hats, toys and doilies for example.

Flat Disk
To make a flat circle, you need to increase in every row, by working two stitches into each stitch in the first row, then into every other stitch in the following row, every third stitch in the third row. Continue to increase using this format until the disk becomes as large as you want it.

To make a sphere, like a ball to form the head of a toy, increase the diameter of the circle as above, then level off (by not increasing for a round), before beginning to decrease.  You decrease by working two stitches together every other stitch in the following row, and every third stitch in the next row, until the hole closes in on the sphere.

Egg Shape
To make the fat end of an egg, increase in every stitch in the first row, every alternate stitch in the second row, every third stitch in the third row and every fourth in the forth row. Keep straight for one round, then decrease gradually as above, but with a straight row (by not increasing) between each decrease row.

Similar to making a sphere, but after the initial increasing rows keep straight for the required length, then decrease rows as before.

These instructions are adapted from some given in Amigurumi: 15 Patterns and Dozens of Techniques for Creating Cute Crochet Creatures.

Quick and Easy Crochet Baby Hippy Hat

Quick and Easy Crochet Baby Hippy Hat modelled by Iolo!

Quick and Easy Crochet Baby Hippy Hat modelled by Iolo!

Having a baby is a perfect excuse to experiment with lots of new crochet projects. Months ago, I knitted Iolo a hat, which although is really nice, hardly fits him. All these amigurumi animals have led me to make lots of things based on circular patterns – which of course lend themselves to hats, particularly for babies!

The weather is getting colder, so I decided to try to make him a new, larger hat, with little ear flaps. Here is the finished project and pattern. It’s cute and colourful. All a baby needs with one of these is a set of pan-pipes to complete the look (or so his grandad said!).

I’m new to writing crochet patterns, so please contact me if there is anything you don’t understand. lotsofnicethingsblog@gmail.com.

Happy hooking.

New to crochet? learn how to get started, making chain stitches and double crochet stitches. For this pattern, learn how to change colour.

Quick and Easy Baby Hippy Hat

Key: ch chain; dc double crochet; dc2tog insert hook in st and draw up a loop. Insert hook in next st and draw up another loop. Yarn over, draw through all three loops on hook; rep repeat; st(s) stitch(es).

Use a stitch marker to mark the start of each row, move it down as the work progresses.
Hook: 7mm
Yarn: Any colours in Double Knitting. I used (in this order) red, orange, green, grey, light blue, royal blue, purple, then back to red and royal blue to finish.
To end a round: Join the last stitch into the first (of that round) using a slip stitch, before starting the next round.

Make 2 ch in red.
Round 1: 6dc in second ch from hook.
Round 2: 2dc in each st. (12 sts)
Round 3: *1dc in next st, 2dc in next st; rep from * to end. (18 sts)
Round 4: *1dc in next 2 sts, 2dc in next st; rep from * to end. (24 sts)
Round 5: Change to orange. 1dc in each st (24 sts).
Round 6: *1dc in next 3 sts, 2dc in next st; rep from * to end. (30 sts)
Round 7: Change to green. *1dc in next 4 sts, 2 dc in next st; rep from * to end. (36 sts)
Round 8: *1dc in next 5 sts, 2 dc in next st; rep from * to end. (42 sts)
Round 9: Change to grey. *2dc in first st; 1dc for 20 sts, 2dc in next st, 1dc in final 20 sts in row to end. (44 sts)
Round 10: 1dc in each st. (44 sts)
Round 11: Change to light blue. 1 dc in each st. (44 sts)
Round 12: 1 dc in each st. (44 sts)
Round 13: Change to Royal blue. 1 dc in each st. (44 sts)
Round 14: 1dc in each st. (44 sts)
Round 15: Change to purple. 1 dc in each st. (44 sts).
Round 16: 1dc in each st. (44 sts)
Round 17: Change back to red. 1dc in each st. (44 sts).
Round 18: 1dc in each st. (44 sts).
Round 19: 1dc in 20 sts, dc2tog, 1dc in next 20 sts, dc2tog. (42 sts).
Round 20: 1dc in 19 sts, dc2tog, 1dc in next 19 sts, dc2tog. (40 sts).

Shaping Ear flaps
Left flap
Round 21-23: 1dc in 10 sts, 1ch, turn. (10sts)
Round 24: in second ch from hook, dc2tog, 1dc in next 6 sts, 2dctog, 1ch, turn. (8 sts)
Round 25: dc2tog, 1dc in next 4 sts, dc2tog, 1ch, turn. (6 sts)
Round 26: dc2tog, 1dc in next 2 sts, dc2tog, 1ch, turn. (4 sts)
Round 27-29: 1dc in each 4 sts, turn. (4sts)
Fasten off.

Right flap
Fold left flap in half so front of hat faces you, with the flap to one side. Count 10 stitches from top edge of left flap to re-join red yarn to crochet on the right flap, in a position equal to the left one.
Round 30: Re-join yarn 10 sts along from end point of left flap. Repeat rounds 21-29. Fasten off.

To finish off: Join the Royal blue to the bottom edge and dc in each st, all the way around, twice. Fasten off and sew in all the ends using a yarn needle.

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How to make a knitting pattern your own: Baby Rasta Jacket

Baby Rasta Jacket

Baby Rasta Jacket

With my collection of crochet and knitted flowers, baby hats and booties getting out of control, I decided to embark on a larger, more time-consuming knitting project for a couple of weeks.

This little baby, who is due to arrive sometime in the next month, already has a rather large wardrobe, 80% of which has been kindly donated by family and friends. The collection includes several knitted and crocheted newborn cardigans – which I can see him fitting into for all of a week at this rate! So, I decided to knit a jacket/cardigan for when he is slightly older.

I also wanted to make something that was a bit more in line with his parent’s slightly quirky style – like my love of colours and his dad’s rather substantial dreadlocks!

Yellow and green crochet edging

Yellow and green crochet edging

I chose a cardigan pattern from First Steps, Learn to Knit, by Sirdar. I welcome knitting patterns to follow, as I’m still nowhere near as accomplished at knitting as I am at crochet – but I do like to break the rules a bit! I’m not a fan of bland pastel colours for instance – so with most of the baby patterns I’ve used I’ve always picked my own colours. This cardigan was no exception. I opted for a bright red instead of cream and decided to customise it with yellow and red crochet edging, instead of the blue crosses the pattern suggested.

The pattern was easy to follow and great if you just want to relax with your knitting without having to consult it every two minutes. All I would say is that despite following the smallest sizing options, the cardigan came out rather large… at least post six months I’d say. I apologise for the slightly poor quality of the photographs; I’m currently mourning the loss of the use of a Nikon D50 since I’ve been on maternity leave and haven’t been able to get my own digital SLR as yet.

Sleeves and bottom edge

Sleeves and bottom edge

Quick and easy crochet baby blanket

Quick and Easy Crochet Baby Blanket

Quick and Easy Crochet Baby Blanket

After making the baby three different sized hats and two lots of matching booties, I was searching Ravelry to decide what to create next. I also had several small balls of yarn that needed using up – so I opted for a simple baby blanket that I could sit back and work on while attempting to find something interesting to watch on TV.

The pattern is loosely based on one double crochet and two trebles into one stitch. I worked with a variety of complimentary colours in double knitting, using a 5mm hook, so the work grew quickly. The finished object took me a week to complete, including adding a pretty shell stitch border in purple, made with six trebles into one chain, with slip-stitches in the middle.

My baby blanket is loosely based on a pattern I found on Crochet Pattern Central – Bubbles Baby Blanket – by Deneen St Amour – so thank you to her for the inspiration.

Quick and Easy Crochet Baby Blanket

Quick and Easy Crochet Baby Blanket

Scroll to the bottom to see an updated pic!
I thought I’d also share with you the second newborn crochet hat and booties I made over the May bank holiday. If you’d like the patterns click here for the hat and here for the booties. See my previous post Things to make on a rainy bank holiday to read more about them.

Green and Blue Newborn Hat and Booties

Green and Blue Newborn Hat and Booties

August 2012: the blanket in action with baby Iolo!

Things to make on a rainy Bank Holiday

Being pregnant allows you some luxuries. My favourite of these is sitting with my feet up, drinking endless cups of Redbush tea, listening to music and deciding what to make next out of yarn or food!

A rainy Bank Holiday provides an excellent setting for this. Looking out my bedroom window, I feel no compulsion to venture outside. The cat hasn’t moved off the bed all day, which is a sure sign.

While out shopping yesterday, I realised I needed a couple of newborn baby hats. I’ve already knitted one, but it’s too big for a newborn. So I decided this was a perfect project for today, coupled with a pair of booties.

I spent quite a while looking at all the lovely patterns on Ravelry, before I picked this one from Kelley’s Yarns Blog Spot. I teamed it up with a separate pattern for newborn booties I’d downloaded ages ago, by Judith Prindle.

I picked up a pretty pale turquoise DK acrylic in Hobbycraft yesterday, which I thought would be the perfect yarn to use to make a matching set (Baby Bonus, DK, shade 0853).

A couple of hours later, these were the finished products. I’m also going to make another set in a different colour to take to the hospital.

Crochet Newborn Hat and Booties

Crochet Newborn Hat and Booties

I thought I’d also share some hooking handywork with you from earlier on in the week. At the moment, most nights I’m writing a new recipe and crocheting/knitting something, so it’s sometimes hard to decide what to blog about next!

After completing Colin the Baby Dragon, I brought a copy of Nicki Trench’s Super-Cute Crochet and decided to start by making one of her Sugar Mice on Thursday. The previous two evenings had been spent getting to grips with double-pointed knitting needles, while making a carnation and a tulip from 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet, by Lesley Stanfield.

So I decided to sit them all together for a picture. The mouse is called Milly and I’ve given her to my mum.

Milly the Sugar Mouse with flowers

Milly the Sugar Mouse (crochet) with flowers (knitted)