Leaf pattern Lace wrap – Done!

Summer Holidays are most definitely over. The boys are back at school, the days are drawing in, the air is crisp and fresh and the trees are wearing amber leaves. I’ve been meaning to get back to writing for a while but life got in the way in the shape of a bad bout of cold.

Summer has been a time of finishing projects. My WIP list is now very short indeed – I have finished all three of these!! The one I’m most proud of is the leaf-pattern lace wrap – it is a beautiful design by Asa Tricosa called Semele I fell in love with almost two years ago. I’m not a wrap person usually – I find that they slip off and get lost or are just too fiddly for words. But there was something about the leaf design – I have a soft spot for those…

The beginning of the lace wrap

I remember sitting at that desk!

I cast on in the autumn and having never done any form of lace knitting, it was slow going indeed. I remember that it would take me 30-40 minutes to knit two rows. However, train journeys helped me to persevere. Then I lost interest and many other knits followed. Each time I would look in my WIP basked, there would be that lovely speckled silk yarn and the half done wrap. I felt guilty.


I think that finishing long slumbering work is a frame of mind. Sometimes it just happens. From the beginning of the summer, although I had many ideas for knitting projects, nothing would feel right until I picked up my WIP basked. At first it was only to check for moths (grrr) but then as the yarn tumbled out, I fell in love all over again. And surprisingly quickly, the wrap was finished. Here it is with a summer backdrop.


That lovely blue sky sets this off nicely!

All done JpegI’ve got to admit that  I was a little disappointed with the depth of the wrap – I always think of wraps as wide and long so it covers everything. Semele is not like that at all. It is a dainty slip of a thing for the shoulders and mid-back. I’ve got to say that this summer it saved me many nights of feeling cold and the chic French women all complemented me on it too. It was perfect! When we came home however, I knew that the lace had to be blocked and since I’m not well versed in lace blocking I was really dreading it.

Bath time

Bath time

The Magic of Blocking (2)

It’s much longer and wider than before

The Magic of Blocking (1) So far, so good. The pattern has opened up, the leaves are distinct, the wrap is wider and longer, my mistakes have been unearthed for all to see and the yarn is looking nice. It’s not quite dry yet so I will leave it pinned for a while longer.

I hope you have all had a very relaxing summer. I have a number of pattens to share with you during the autumn so come and visit soon.




Posted in Lace, silk | Tagged , | 10 Comments


I remember as a child playing with hundreds of buttons all kept in a large tin. Each of my grandmothers had an almost identical container. One, as she made clothes, and the other as she had many clothes made for her. At the time, all I cared about is the buttons. Their weight, colour, size and texture varied a great deal – metal, bone, Bakelite, carved, mottled, smooth, pretty, functional, wool covered, four hole, two hole, the range seemed to be endless. Perhaps it’s the invention of Velcro and the wider use of zips, but my Mother’s collection of buttons was a lot smaller and less varied. Mine is very immature in comparison. However I do have one!!

Button haul

My most recent acquisitions arrived courtesy of a very thoughtful and craft oriented friend. And what a beautiful haul they are.

Button collection

They immediately reminded me of afternoon’s spent sorting buttons in my grandmother’s house. There are pretty wooden ones.

Wooden button

And modern metal ones.

Metal button

Girlie rainbow-hued butterfly ones.

Dragonfly button

And even shell ones.

Shell button

I was doubly thankful for the kind gift as I have been thinking of making my own recently and I’ve even bought some materials. I have an orange and brown reversible felt coat that I’ve loved a little too much and the buttons seem to have disappeared. I want to make some two-coloured new ones. This is a summer make – I will post photos when I’m done.

And then I want to crochet some. Another summer make.

crochet buttons

I now feel that I want to work on getting a project made so I can use those gorgeous red floral wood buttons. How about this? I think it’s really elegant. I just wonder whether I’d use it enough…

Interweave Crochet pattern for cape

Interweave Crochet pattern for cape

And that is all from me for a while. I’ve decided to emulate the French and take the entire month of August off. I hope to do a bit of designing, a bit of making, a bit of reading others’ blogs (I miss you all) and enjoy the summer. My warmest wishes to you and your families, thank you for stopping by and speak to you in September.


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Knitting the Skies

This weekend has been one in a million. Although my washing and ironing baskets are far from empty, and the house could do with a bit of a scrub, I am more content than I’ve been for a while. Why? Perhaps I allowed a bit of whimsy and nonsense to dominate my actions which has left a smile on my face as I mentally gear up for Monday.

On Friday, we bought a house. And on Saturday, we went to spend the night in our “new” house before the builders take over on Monday. The boys wanted to camp but I had every intention of sleeping under the roof, albeit on an air-bed and sleeping bag. We had a picnic dinner whilst we were planning rooms and hotly debating the use of space. We lit lanterns against the approaching summer night and listened to raindrops through the leaves in the garden. And a little spontaneously, we all decided that sleeping inside on such a balmy summer’s evening was a waste so we fell asleep looking at the night sky. Barmy really but wonderful all at the same time.

And whilst I was watching the night sky waiting to spot a shooting star or UFO, I suddenly remembered three knitting projects which perfectly sum up my evening. Celestarium,



Equatorial Nights


and Southern Skies

southern skies

have been on my favourites list for quite a while. How wonderful to knit the skies as you see it from your part of the world. I have been tempted to try knitting with beads for a while and what better way than creating an accurate representation of the sky that first night in our new house. But for the fact I really should be packing, painting or organising, I would be casting on right away.

Have a good week – I will certainly be starting mine with a smile.


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It DOES Matter Where You Put Your Hook

When I learnt to crochet, my Mother was really specific about where I needed to place my hook in each stitch. There was most certainly a Right and a Wrong way of doing things. As I look around at others’s work and fiddle with a few patterns, it’s obvious that there are many other schools of thought. Those that believe that any place is good for a hook. Although I don’t disagree, depending on where you cast your next stitch, your work will look and feel different – so as long as you know the consequences, just carry on!

So it’s time to examine your stitches.

To start with, you have a rope of chains. Observe that on one side the chains form lovely “V”s and on the other side you see little bumps.

Chain "V"

See those “V”s?

Each “V” is a stitch and my Mother taught me that when you are working into a foundation chain row, you MUST work your hook into both sides of the “V”. And of course, I tried and worked away and it is HARD. Of course, I didn’t realise that this method was only one way to do it. And that her method was the most challenging for a beginner. The good news is that this way of starting gives a really firm and even edge to your work and the edge to your project will have the even bumps along the side, so it is most definitely worth persevering with.

However, if you want to have those beautiful “V”s edging your work then you need to do the exact opposite and work into the bumps on the back of your “V”s. This way round, not only do you have only one strand to work through, you also have the option of extending your work easily by working into the “V”s later. And if not, it’s a pretty edge to your project. Simple!

Or if you prefer, you could work into either the front OR the back loop of that “V” stitch. More on what this creates below.

Presuming of course that you’ve got as far as the second row of crochet, you have the same decisions to make – where do I put my hook? So a quick summary to help you decide:

  1. Working through the top two loops of your “V” creates a flat, reversible fabric. This is mostly what you’re after.
  2. Working through the back loop only, your fabric will have a horizontal ribbed effect – see Asymmetric Crochet Cowl and on the beginning of your work, your chain foundation row will be angled.
  3. Working through the front loop only, your fabric will be looser (avoiding that sometimes stiff feel to crochet fabrics) and your stitches more open. Be careful if you need a firm fabric as this way, your work is more likely to stretch.

Of course if you want to create freeform crochet, just throw the rule book out altogether! Insert your hook in between stitches, around the post of a stitch, or into stitches in a row below…there are no rules then.

Freeform Crochet

Freeform Crochet – go where the fancy takes you

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Citrus Placemats – A Quick Summer Make

Whilst I’m counting the days to our holiday (still too many), mentally preparing for our house move and working on those WIPs, I wanted something bright and colourful on the table at mealtimes. My two are now old enough to be trusted without the wax table covering we’ve had for years but I’m not quite ready for the washing and ironing needed to keep tablecloths clean and stain free. I’ve been flirting with using some Adriafil Navy since it arrived a few weeks ago. It’s a lovely chunky, soft and colourful cotton mix yarn which is perfect for all kinds of summer makes. The question was, what pattern? I thought that I would rework the groovyghan


but I found that the yarn was too bulky and the DC pattern made the fabric too uneven – not great for a tablemat. I dismissed a variation on granny squares as being too lacy. Whilst I was resting my mug on the crochet flower coasters I made last year the thought came to me. Fruit!

orange placemat

So these mats were born. Incredibly quick. Very colourful. And being cotton, durable, absorbent and washable. I like it when a plan comes together.

all the fruits tablemats

Rather than crochet in the spiral, each row is finished off and the next started. The pith is added on when the mat is finished. It is just a row of chains.

citrus fruit tablemats

After making four citrus fruits, I was in need of inspiration. Thank you for your ideas! For those not in the know, guesses please as to what this is.

watermelon tablemat

And this?!

dragonfruit tablemat

Let’s hope it’s obvious….

Enjoy making these – do get it touch if you’re interested in the crochet kit (yarn and pattern to make four placemats).

All fruit tablemats

Posted in Craft, crochet, Summer, Yarn | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Entrelac Laptop Cover – a Pattern

Entrelac, the knitting technique that creates a woven/plaited looking fabric, has been something that I wanted to try for quite a while. I came across the Tenney Park pullover on Knitty which really started my interest.


Isn’t this a beauty?

Of course, knitting for myself is  not something I do that often. However, I upgraded my laptop a few months ago and I gave in to the salesman’s patter on having a coloured case rather than a boring black or standard grey one. My lovely laptop is a gorgeous lacquer cherry red. It struck me that I had to protect it’s beauty by encasing it in wool. And so the entrelac laptop cover pattern was born.

Entrelac Laptop cover


I used Katia Oxford Verde (three 50g) and Azul (two 50g) which have been my favourite go-to stroke yarns for a while. Katia Oxford is a DK tweed effect and gently variegated wool-rich yarn. Verde is a mix of gentle grass green with lapis and turquoise blue speckles whereas Azul takes in the different shades of blue denim from deepest indigo right through to faded with speckles of frayed white and grey. I’m describing the colours as my photos, as ever, just don’t do these yarns proper justice.

I held the yarns double on 4mm needles as I wanted a good thick protection for the laptop.

To create the weaved effect, you have to create a base row of triangles, followed by a purl row of squares, knit row of squares, which you repeat for the length of your work and then finish off with a top row of triangles. Bear with it, to start with it will look wrong, but it will all come together.

Cast on 48 stitches

Base Row Triangles with Verde
Rows 1 and 2 – K2 and turn, p1, sl 1 purlwise and turn
Rows 3 and 4 – K3 and turn, p2, sl 1 purlwise and turn
Rows 5 and 6 – K4 and turn, p3, sl 1 purlwise and turn
Rows 7 and 8 – K5 and turn, p4. sl 1 purlwise and turn
Rows 9 and 10 – K6 and turn, p5, sl 1 purlwise and turn
Rows 11 and 12 – K7 and turn, p6, sl 1 purlwise and turn
Row 13 – K8 and do not turn.
You have your first triangle.
Leave these eight stitches on the right hand needle and work the next stitches in the same way. You will have six triangles when you have finished.

Purl Row Squares with Azul
To make the left side straight, you need to work a triangle.
Rows 1 and 2 – P2 and turn, k2 and turn.
Rows 3 and 4 – P into front and back, p2tog (last st of triangle and next st on right hand needle to join) and turn, k3 and turn.
Rows 5 and 6 – P into front and back, p1, p2tog and turn, k4 and turn.
Rows 7 and 8 – P into front and back, p2, p2tog and turn, k5 and turn.
Rows 9 and 10 – P into front and back, p3, p2tog and turn, k6 and turn.
Rows 11 and 12 – P into front and back, p4, p2tog and turn, k7 and turn.
Row 13 – P into front and back, p5, p2tog and do not turn.
You  have used all eight stitches of the base triangle.
Leave these eight stitches on the right hand needle and go on to create your first square.

Pick up and and purl eight stitches evenly along the next edge of the base triangle and turn.
Rows 1 and 2 – K7, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p7, p2tog (to join pieces) and turn.
Repeat these rows 6 times.
Rows 15 and 16 – K7, sl 1 purlwise and turn, p7, p2tog and do not turn.
You have used all eight stitches of the base triangle.
Leave these eight stitches on the right hand needle and repeat these 16 rows four times.

To make the right side straight, you need to work a triangle.
Pick up and purl 8 stitches evenly along the next edge of the base triangle and turn.
Rows 1 and 2 – K7, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p6, p2tog and turn.
Rows 3 and 4 – K6, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p5, p2tog and turn.
Rows 5 and 6 – K5, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p4, p2tog and turn.
Rows 7 and 8 – K4, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p3, p2tog and turn.
Rows 9 and 10 – K3, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p2, p2tog and turn.
Rows 11 and 12 – K2, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p1, p2tog and turn.
Rows 13 and 14 – K1, slip 1 purlwise and turn, p2tog and turn.
All stitches are on the left-hand needle ready for the next row.

Knit row squares with Verde
Slip 1 stitch then pick up and knit 7 stitches evenly along the edge of the right side triangle. Turn.
Rows 1 and 2 – P7, slip 1 purlwise and turn, k7, ssk (to join) and turn.
Repeat these rows 6 times.
Rows 15 and 16 – P7, slip1 purlwise and turn, k7, ssk and do not turn.
All stitches in the square below have been used.
Repeat these 16 rows five times.

Repeat the Purl row squares three times and Knit row squares twice more.

Top row triangles with Verde
Slip 1 stitch and pick up and knit 7 stitches along the edge of the first square and turn.
Rows 1 and 2 – P8 and turn, k7, ssk (to join) and turn.
Rows 3 and 4 – P6, p2tog and turn, k6, ssk and turn.
Rows 5 and 6 – P5, p2tog and turn, k5, ssk and turn.
Rows 7 and 8 – P4, p2tog and turn, k4, ssk and turn.
Rows 9 and 10 – P3, p2tog and turn, k3, ssk and turn.
Rows 11 and 12 – P2, p2tog and turn, k2, ssk and turn.
Rows 13 and 14 – P1, p2tog and turn, k1, ssk and turn.
Rows 15 and 16 – P2tog and turn, ssk and do not turn.
Leave this stitch on the right hand needle.
Repeat top row triangle five more times to finish.
Cut yarn and pull through last stitch to finish off.

You now have a piece of entrelac fabric to cover one side of the laptop. I noticed that it was not very stretchy so I decided to put ribbing on the other side. If you like, you could hold the yarn singly, which would reduce the gauge, making a tighter fabric. Then you could carry on with the entrelac around the other side of the laptop too.

Pick up and k2, p2 along the long edge of your entrelac triangles. I used the top triangles as my cast off tends to be looser than my cast on and I didn’t want a wide top to the cover.


Ribbed back of Laptop Cover

Knit in 2×2 rib until your work is the same length as the entrelac.
Sew sides together and smother your laptop in the softest of wool covers.
I don’t think there’s any need to block this work as the laptop stretches it nicely.

Of course you can use any colour variations of yarn and even pattern your entrelac. The sky is the limit.

Posted in entrelac, Patterns | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Update on WIPs

There are many moving parts in my non-yarn related life right now. Perhaps as a direct result my knitting mojo is suffering. The alternate way of looking at it of course, is that it’s forging ahead on the WIP front. As ever, I have lots and lots of ideas of makes but nothing committed to paper and most certainly nothing on my needles. A quick review of my WIP basket however shows healthy growth. From the early WIPs, I’ve frogged the jumper and the wrap. The first as I dropped a stitch in the basket weave and for some reason didn’t notice until several cms afterwards (having absent-mindedly added a stitch). There was nothing for it but to start again. The wrap was fun whilst I learnt the pattern but then it quickly got ultra boring so had to go. I am however, left with a promise to my son to finish his rug.

It starts like this

It started life like this

And now looks like this

And now looks like this

My main problem, apart from the rash promise, is that some of the circles are bigger than the others, and that the slip-stitch edging has puckered the circles. There is nothing for it, I’ve got to undo all the edging (there are several strips done), compare the circle sizes and almost start again. And since we’re moving again soon, I should make good my promise…

I also have this little design project on the go.

Loom scarf

It hails from the wintry days when I did a fair bit of looming. I want to create a lacy winter scarf but then it turned warm, and I hid the project.

Loom scarf

It’s also really difficult to take a photo of the pattern – it’s sort of star-shapes and looks nice in real life…

And finally there is my excursion into lace with a very gorgeous speckled silk-based yarn.

Lace wrap

It is  not perfect, but it is now officially half-way but I’ve just not picked it up in a while.

There are a “few” more things but nothing I can’t deal with. Perhaps this holiday, I will be working on cracking the WIPs rather than starting something new. Hmm. Perhaps not!

Posted in WIP | Tagged | 6 Comments

Fibre East 2014

I’m incredibly lucky that I live only a few miles from one of the highlights of the yarn calendar – Fibre East. An annual international event, celebrating all things English yarn related and more. I am a recent convert, going last year for the first time but now I can hardly wait to go back.

Fibre East

And why am I so excited? Well, last year’s experience was pretty mind-blowing. I thought it would be a relaxed amble around for an hour or so and then a leisurely cup of tea to digest all the textures and colours that I’ve seen. I totally and utterly underestimated the size of the event. It is massive and there is just so much to do. Of course there are sheep,


All sorts of rare breeds

and there is yarn galore to please every type of taste and need

yarn1 yarn2there is spinning of all varieties (the choice made my head spin!)

spinning spinning1 spinning2and it is both indoors and out, with classes (Bavarian cables and All Spindles appealing to me right now) and lots of lovely new people to meet, great designers willing to sign their books and helpful stall holders and all sorts of squishy lovely yarn to touch and squeeze and buy with buttons and other accessories to wonder at. If you want to dye your own home spun silk, no problem. If you want to join a local knitting association, just sign up. If you have always wanted to give machine knitting a whizz, there is nothing to stop you. The list is truly long.

I hope to see some of you there! Only 17 days to go. I’m currently trying to work out where at home I could hide a little more stash…




Posted in Craft, Fibre East 2013, wool, Yarn | Tagged | 1 Comment

Mitre Jacket – a pattern

It was my birthday this weekend and as a celebration, I want to share with you my mitre jacket pattern which I’ve been working on. This pattern has been in my mind for a while and started life when I saw the granny square cardigan in an Interweave pattern book and grew a little more when I discovered the might of mitres. It took several attempts for me to settle on the type of mitre I wanted, and the yarn, but I got there in the end.

spring tone mitre

Paper/Cotton lightweight ribbed mitre

Neutral tone mitre

100% wool neutral ribbed mitre

In the end, I used neither of these types of yarn, and none of those type of colours. And that’s when I realised the huge versatility of this pattern. You can use any wool and any type of mitre and create a really unique garment.


My final choice – Adriafil Cheope cotton and the smooth stocking stitch mitre

So here is what you do. Take an existing cardigan/jumper and lay it flat with the arms straight out to the side. Measure from cuff, across the chest and to the other cuff. Now you need to decide what number your measurement can be divided by – I’d suggest 9/10/11 as good numbers. As an example, my measurement was 136 cms with the body measurement being about 42 cms. I knew I wanted to make the cardigan sleeves not quite full length as it’s a lightweight summer item and the sleeves would be wide, so I rounded the measurement down to 132 cms and decided to make my mitres 11cms by 11cms (like knitting lots of gauge swatches). And then I got on with it. It is helpful for the number of mitres on the body to be even so that you can split it easily for the front. And of course for the mitres to fit your body comfortably. The sleeves you can add or detract mitres from depending on the length.

Since I was using DK yarn – Adriafil Cheope Sienna, Sand and Dark Khaki, with 4mm needles I cast on 37 stitches. The basic pattern for each mitre is the same.

Row 1 Knit 18, k3tog, K18
Row 2 and all even rows, purl all stitches
Row 3 Knit 17, k3tog, k17
Continue in this pattern until you have one stitch left.

I made four mitres for the right arm, four mitres for the body and another four mitres for the left arm. And I had a very long line of mitres, and a few puzzled looks from politely interested people who asked what I was making. I then knitted four mitres for the right arm and two mitres for the front right, and four mitres for the left arm and two mitres for the front left.

Row of mitres

Long rows of mitres – no, it’s not a scarf

You can join the mitres as you knit by picking up 18 stitches on the side of the mitre you have just finished (don’t forget you already have 1 stitch remaining from the previous mitre, which should be on your needle) and then casting on another 18 stitches. Of course, there was no way I was going to make the jacket just one colour. More on that later.

joining mitres

Joining mitres as you knit

I then wanted to join my long strips. It is possible to keep on picking up stitches on the existing mitres but I wanted to make a feature with a contrasting yarn. I did this using Adriafil Carioca, which is a slightly heavier weight yarn so  not appropriate to use for mitres with Cheope

but a great contrast for joining. I used the “zipped” crochet join to really make the joint pop! Make sure that you join four mitres for the sleeve but only one for the front. The remaining one mitre will be a collar and the neck hole – see photo.

Knit+Crochet join

“Zip” crochet join for mitres

joined mitres

First Row of front and back of jacket

So now it was time to knit the next row down. Exactly the same number of mitres except for one thing – I used two colours in each mitre this time. The change to the pattern is that you cast on 19 stitches with colour 1 and the remaining 18 with colour 2. Otherwise everything is the same, just make sure to twist the two colours together when you are done with the k3tog so that there are no holes.

Two rows of mitres

Two rows of mitres

On the third row I used one colour again, and knitted two mitres for the front right and one for an underarm gusset. Then four mitres for the back. Finally one underarm gusset and two mitres for the front left. I added in the underarm “gusset” so that the sleeve would not be too tight under the arm and bunch uncomfortably. These three pieces need to be joined to the second row of the jacket first so that the gusset attaches to the last mitre of the sleeve on the front and the back (in effect being “folded” in half).

Under arm gusset

Underarm gusset to help with ease

After this, I was in the home straight. One more row of mixed colour mitres knitted in one long strip – two for the front right, four for the back, two for the front left and the final strip of one colour mitres, the same as for the row before.

almost there with the mitres

Almost there!

As the mitre is knitted in stocking stitch and since the yarn is cotton, the edges of the mitres curl a lot. Whilst I was knitting the two colour mitres, a man even asked me which football team I supported as he liked the bunting!

Curled mitres

It looks like bunting

So as I was approaching the end of the knitting, I was wondering how to finish the jacked off on the edges so that it would lie flat. I thought of i-cord edging or picot edging and tried different things. In the end, I thought that I would bring the colours all together by using them all.


5 row DC crochet edging

It’s a substantial edge that allows no curl at all. I used the edging to strengthen the neck line so it wouldn’t stretch. You will need to crochet two stitches together on each side of the neckline on each row of edging to make sure the neckline lies flat. And of course work in extra two DCs in the corners so you get a sharp turn. Here is the final version in its unblocked version.

finished and needs blocking

Block me!

And here it is in glorious blocked variety.


Please ignore the clashing camisole

With this pattern, remember that you can use any yarn, any colours and any type of mitre you like. You could even make slightly bigger mitres along the last row (use larger needles) if you want a slightly curvier jacket. Similarly you could use a smaller needle to produce tighter mitres on the sleeves so that they are less wide. The key is to experiment! I’m really please with how this has turned out. And now I’m casting around in my wardrobe to find something suitable to team it with for the office. Just a few more photos as I’m secretly quite proud of this one…


Jpeg Jpeg

What will your jacket look like?

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Granny Squares and their Uses

I do love Granny Squares. Their “squareness” always surprises me. Their colour range is endless and most crocheters keep their first wobbly attempt at making one. However their versatility is underplayed.

Just a quick scoot around my normal knitty haunts throws up these wonderful ideas:


Granny square Bookmark

childrens room decoration

Granny Squares for childrens’ bedrooms


Granny square coasters – pretty!


Granny square cushions

evening wear

Granny square evening jacket – yes, they ARE granny squares!


Granny square Fashion


Granny square gloves


Granny squares holdall


Granny square shawl


Granny square make up tidy


Granny square toy

All beautiful and there are so many more. Obviously throws and blankets, but also arm-warmers, head-bands, teacosies, bunting, iPhone covers, bibs, hats, slippers… With a little imagination and adaptation there may be no need to learn any other skill!

What’s your favourite use for Granny Squares?

Posted in crochet, Granny Squares | Tagged , | 3 Comments