Two more blankets for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4


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The blankets for the dialysis patients are coming in weekly now and our total blanket count is up to 13. Thank you everyone!!

This week I received Wendy “Eddy” Gould’s very non-square purple and white blanket. This is our second striped blanket in Crochet For Kidneys Part 4. Wendy also contributed a blanket for CFK3 last year. She really embraced this year’s brief of “any design” :)

Wendy “Eddy” Gould

This extremely sunny blanket was made in Faro, Portugal. It’s the crochet work of Linda Baker, a friend of Barbara Booth whose blanket I showed you last week. Even if I hadn’t known Linda lives in Portugal I would have thought that this blanket has a distinct sunny Portuguese or Spanish feel to it. Don’t you agree? These two ladies are bringing the sunshine of Portugal to our blanket collection and they are making two blankets each. Fantastic!

Linda Baker

Not so much sunny as girly, my pink blanket is almost finished – I’m crocheting the edging at the moment and then have to work away the ends.

Thank you again to everyone who has crocheted blankets for the dialysis patients. Most of you are repeat contributors to Crochet For Kidneys which makes me appreciate your efforts even more. Blessings to you all!

  Two more blankets for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4


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I received two more beautiful traditional granny square blankets over the past two weeks.

Caroline Bennett says her fiancé had a kidney transplant 2 and a half years ago after being on dialysis. They think Crochet For Kidneys is a great idea and it inspired Caroline to make these beautiful two-tone granny squares.

Caroline Bennett

Barbara Boothman’s striking traditional granny square blanket with the black joining rounds, comes all the way from Faro, Portugal. She has another blanket to send me.

Barbara Boothman

Thank you very much for your contributions ladies. The blankets are beautiful!

Hop on over to the Crochet For Kidneys Facebook group where you will see more photos, posts and comments about these blankets.

Our blanket total is now up to 11. We’re in the double digits people!! Keep them coming!

Four more blankets for Crochet For Kidneys


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I received these four blankets from a mother and daughter team, Emma and Sandra Ashman.  Thank you so much ladies, the blankets are beautiful!

Sandra Ashman

Emma Ashman

Sandra Ashman

Emma Ashman

How many hours of work went into these four blankets?! There are so many different square motifs in these four blankets! Ladies, am I right in saying that you have been using the  200 Crochet Blocks book by Jan Eaton…?  ;)

Thanks to this mother and daughter team, the CFK4 blanket count is now up to nine. Thank you ladies, you are stars!

Your blankets for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4


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Dear readers and Crochet For Kidneys blanket makers, please forgive me for not having updated you on the progress of CFK4 since June, when I showed you my Shades Of Blue Granny Square Blanket.

Things have been a bit hectic the past two months. It’s all very, very good though. My weekends were spent preparing for interviews, watching videos to improve my skills, celebrating Big Events with new and old friends, doing a bit of travelling with iVan the campervan and in general just enjoying life.

During July I went for job interviews and in August I heard that I got the job as legal PA at a very big Media & Entertainment company just 20 minute walk from our new home. I am super, super, excited and feel very blessed to have landed that job. I just know it’s going to be the start of Something Great.

My last day at the old job was Friday and I start the new one next Monday so this week is my time to reflect, recoup and recharge – and with recharge I mean catch up on my blog and crochet.

So without further ado back to the blankets for Crochet For Kidneys.

I’ve received four beautiful blankets so far from Gerlene Kennedy, Jan Appleton, Marion Nelson and someone with a postcode of DE66. The lady didn’t add a note so I don’t know anything else about her.

Gerlene Kennedy

Someone living in Derby

Jan Appleton

Marion Nelson

I love these blankets for being so very different. The beautiful colours, the combination of those colours (shout-out to Gerlene and Jan for great use of colour!), the neat stitches and attention to detail that the ladies put into their work is really inspiring. A special mention should also go to Gerlene for using the softest silver grey yarn ever. I just couldn’t stop touching that yarn!

I was so inspired that I decided to move away from a regular granny square for my second CFK4 blanket. I’m making metered granny squares in shades of pink. I’ve never done mitred squares but I really like the effect those off-centre rows create. I’m using up all my DK acrylic pink yarns for the blanket.  This is going to be one very pink blanket!

I look forward to receiving more of your blankets and I promise to post them on the blog much sooner than I did for these four blankets.

Happy hooking friends.


Rose ta-daaah!


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The Rose top is finished!

I love it! Despite a rocky start where I got a bit bored but then eventually turned the corner into sheer joy, this top is destined to become a firm favourite.

The King Cole Bamboo 4 ply was the perfect choice. It drapes beautifully, it’s soft, it’s cheap and I only needed 3 balls of yarn. I will definitely use this yarn again.

All credit should go to Marie Wallin for designing such a beautiful piece of wearable crochet. The neckline really sets it apart from other motif-based crochet tops.

I just couldn’t resist making the bottom rows of the body and the sleeves in a second colour. I’m really glad I did – I love the contrast and extra bit of detail. The greenish grey Glazier shade is so pretty!

The nitty gritty of my Rose Top:

  • Pattern: Rose from Filigree: Collection Three by Marie Wallin
  • Yarn: King Cole Bamboo 4 ply in Denim and Glazier
  • Amount of yarn used: 2.5 balls of Denim and 0.5 of Glazier
  • Size made: M for the body, L for the sleeves
  • Crochet hook: 2.5 mm
  • Modification: It isn’t really a modification, but I did mix two sizes for this top. The body is size Medium, but the armholes for size Medium were to tight for me. In size Medium the sleeves, and therefor the armholes as well, are 4 motifs. I increased this to 5 motifs as for size Large. This worked out beautifully because now I have a roomy sleeve, but a fitted body.

I can highly recommend Rose and also the King Cole Bamboo 4 ply.

Now that Rose is finished I’m on to my next crochet top. At the moment I’m still busy with the gauge swatch. Unlike other gauge swatches, the stitch count isn’t as important as the row count with this one, because you crochet the pieces from from side seam to side seam. The crochet rows therefore lie vertically in stead of horizontally. I’m hoping it’s going to be a very slimming top.

Wanna see what I’m making? Have a look at the Ravelry page here. I know you’re just going to love it!!!

Iznik crochet cushion with beads


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Other people have goals like climbing Mount Everest, seeing the world or being CEO of a big company. Me? I wanted to have a pattern published in a UK crochet magazine and today I can tell you that I achieved my goal. Consider Everest climbed, the world seen and business cards printed – issue 68 of Inside Crochet magazine holds a pattern which I designed: the Iznik crochet cushion.

iznik crochet cushion

It was during a visit in June 2014 to the V&A Museum that I first saw the pottery made in the Turkish town, Iznik, and the geometric & floral designs of the tiles in the Turkish and other Islamic mosques. I fell in love with the dark blue, turquoise, sage green and highlights of red used by the craftsmen more then 500 years ago. Ever since that visit to the V&A Museum I wanted to make something that would at least incorporate the four main colours of Iznik pottery, but ideally also be geometric and/or floral.

When I received the Inside Crochet email for pattern submissions and saw that issue 68 was themed around adventure and travel I knew this was the perfect opportunity to crochet that Iznik inspired piece – and achieve my goal of having a pattern published in an UK magazine.

Iznik Cushion Flying colours page

I designed the cushion so that the white joins between the squares could represent the tile grout and by crocheting squares, but dividing them into two coloured triangles, I reference the tile inspiration and create an intricate geometric design all one. In Iznik pottery the main colours are turquoise and dark blue. Sage green was introduced later and red even later still so my colour scheme reflects this.

I imagined that my red beads are like tiny flowers which sparkle when the sun rays catch them. The red glass beads are my favourite part of the cushion. I liked them so much I even used them for the back.

In the pattern I describe how to make the BDC (beaded double crochet) stitch and how to thread your seed beads onto the yarn before you start crocheting. In fact, Nicky Hale also designed a cushion for this issue using beads (it’s the beautifully bright zig zag bolster next to my cushion in the photo above) and the editors thought it a good idea for her pattern to have a reference to my pattern for the instructions on how to thread seed beads onto yarn.

Still not sure how to thread seed beads onto yarn? Fear not. As part of the iBook I wrote, Crochet Pretty, I made a video to show my readers exactly how to thread those seed beads which I will share with you now.

Here is the video that shows you exactly how to thread seed beads onto yarn:

See, it’s very easy. Once you’ve crocheted with beads you’re not going to want to stop. It’s such a fun and effective way of adding a little something special to your work.

Inside Crochet issue 68 will be available in stores from 30 July and as a digital download here.

If you decide to make the Iznik cushion, I would love to hear from you! Inside Crochet has listed the pattern on Ravelry so you can link your project. Just follow this link to the Ravelry project page.

Can you ever have enough crochet tops?



When I started to crochet back in 2009, I remember thinking that one day I’d like to be good enough at crocheting that I would be able to wear something I crocheted every day for a week. Not a scarf or a beanie, but a crocheted top. (When you’re learning to crochet by making a simple granny square, imagining that you would be able to one day make something that requires shaping and reading of complex patterns seems an impossible dream.)

I imagined I would feel very special wearing something I crocheted myself. Going to work wearing something that no-one else has, would be thrilling. And seeing admiring glances as I walk through the streets of London, I would always assume that people were not looking at me, but rather at the beautiful and unique top I was wearing. And they’d wonder where I got it from and one day someone would stop me to ask and I could say: “Oh this. I crocheted it myself”. Okay, I may have taken the imagining a tad too far (no-one stops anyone in London to give them a compliment!) but the basic idea is that I would enjoy wearing my crochet tops. And I was right.  It’s the best!

There’s a process involved in making a crochet top. It starts by searching for patterns on Ravelry, the Garnstudio website and my library of crochet books. I enjoying looking for the perfect top because you have to imagine yourself in it, with the trouser/skirt you want to match it with and you may have to look past a corny posed photo (like in many of the Japanese pattern books). A lot of the time I start off looking for, for instance, a sleeveless V-neck but I fall in love with a long-sleeved tunic which I end up making as a 3/4 sleeve hip length top! Then I have to look for yarn that would exactly match my favourite trouser or multicoloured skirt. Picking the yarn also has to take into account the suggested gauge from my chosen pattern and the cost per ball. I think I spend the most time finding the right colour. Colour is so important! When I have the perfect pattern and most beautiful yarn I can start to make my top. I love the process of getting to know the pattern repeats or the motif, ticking off the rows and bracing myself for the neck shaping. From start to finish, I adore crocheting tops!

At last count, I have made seven crochet tops – that’s my dream of having one for each day of the week, fulfilled! I’m currently busy with one (Rose, which I blogged about here) and I have two more tops to follow. That’s a grand total of nine!

Each of these crocheted tops has a history and a special place in my heart and my wardrobe. I have my favourite to wear, favourite to make, didn’t-turn-out-quite-as-expected and taking-this-one-to-the-grave top.

In random order, here are all my crocheted tops:

1. Nicest to wear, fits the best, taking-this-one-to-the-grave: Serina

Drops Design crochet top

Serina is the nicest to wear because of the  Vinnis Serina 100% bamboo yarn. Man oh man that stuff is soft! And it drapes so, so, so, beautifully. The only tiny issue is that the bamboo soaks up water like a sponge so it takes a good few days to dry.  I consider this my taking-it-to-the-grave top because it also fits me beautifully and was fun to make. It’s my number one top. You can find the ta-daaaah post for Serina here.

2. Most proud of: Japanese V-neck

japanese v-neck crochet top

This was my first attempt at reading Japanese crochet patterns. I had a, let’s call it, “challenging time” doing the first four rounds – the patterns calls for the longest starting chain in history of crochet tops and the stupid thing would twist and I’d loose count – but I stuck it out because the end result would be so spectacular. This top used the most brainpower to make, but now it’s a no-brainer that this is the top I’m proudest of. You can find the ta-daaah post for the Japanese V-neck top here.

3. Didn’t turn out quite as expected: Blue Japanese top

blue and grey japanese crochet top

The Drops Delight yarn that I used for this Japanese pattern, wasn’t all that nice. The wool content makes it scratchy so I don’t like it against my skin and always have to wear something long-sleeved underneath. I thought it would be a good idea to do something in self striping yarn, but the longer I look at it, the less I like it. The top also has no waist shaping and combined with the mishmash of colours it’s not very figure flattering. Somehow, all I see when I look at it are the lighter horizontal stripes (which accentuates my hips) and that odd light square at the bottom. I do wear it in the winter over a long sleeved top, but only around the house. I think the mistake with this one was 100% due to the choice of yarn. The Japanese pattern was a lot of fun though. You can find the ta-daaah post for the Blue Japanese top here.

4. Most fun to make: Corfu

Dusky crohcet top

I started, and finished, Corfu whilst on holiday in, you guessed it, Corfu. The pattern uses Aran weight cotton and it’s very easy to follow so Corfu worked up really quickly. The perfect project for a week long holiday. This top always reminds me of the beach, sunshine and temporary tattoos. You can find the ta-daaah post for Corfu here.

5. Too small: Country Dreams

country dreams crochet top

Country Dreams is a beautiful pattern – I love the detailing around the top and the cuffs – but the cotton Drops Safran yarn is very stiff and the sleeves are too tight. If I had known how little the Drops Safran would stretch and drape, I would have gone up a size.  If it was only for the sleeves being tight I could still wear Country Dreams, but the neckline is a bit iffy. It doesn’t stay down and in a V-shape – it wants to even itself out and go straight. I think the problem really is that I made it one size too small. And maybe I should have used a softer yarn with more give. You can find the ta-daaah post for Country Dreams here.

6. Most wearable and I will one day make another: Belle

Belle crochet top

I wore Belle just yesterday. I wear a lot of grey, black and brightly coloured patterned skirts, so a textured light grey top makes for a lot of outfits. I still think that Bell’s construction is genius and I would really love to make another one. The only change I’ll make would be to make the body and sleeves a tiny bit longer. You can find the ta-daah post for Belle here.

7. My very first and I will one day use the yarn again: Whispers cardigan

whispers crochet cardigan

Even if I hated everything about this cardigan, it would always had made it to this list. It was my very first piece of wearable crochet that I didn’t have to wrap around my neck! Looking back on it, I don’t know why I didn’t start with something simpler (like Belle), but it was a huge success. I felt so proud of myself, and still feel that way every time I wear it. I also feel very snug because the Drops Baby Alpaca Silk yarn is absolutely amazing. It’s soft and light yet just warm enough. Even in a cardigan with lots of holes (the common way of saying “made up of openwork lace”) I don’t feel cold, but I also don’t feel hot and sticky if the temperature rises. I absolutely adore the Drops Baby Alpaca Silk and would use it again in a heartbeat. You can find the ta-daah post for the Whispers Cardigan here.

So there you have my list of seven crochet tops, each one very special to me  – even the two that I don’t like wearing very much. They’re the result of hours of crocheting, challenging myself, learning new things and building on mistakes made. I love them all.

Looking at this list, I think I have to aim to make 10 crochet tops. What do you think? When Rose and the other two from my Japanese pattern book are finished I’ll have nine, but that doesn’t sound right. I have to make at least one more. Right? I can’t end on nine. I need enough crochet tops for two weeks of work. Maybe top no. 10 should be a revisit of Belle, made in Drops Baby Alpaca Silk?! Or a crochet-knit combination from Marie Wallin’s Filigree book. Oooh yes!  Mmmm…. looks like I’m going to end up with 11. But that’s not right either. I’ll have to up that to 15 so that it’s 3 weeks worth of crochet tops for work. Yes. 15 Crochet tops sounds good.

The progress of Rose

I’m making progress on Rose! I actually turned the corner right after I wrote last week’s post. Funny that. As soon as I put down in words what was bothering me, it stopped bothering me.

The sudden burst of enthusiasm may also be because I’m seeing the top take shape. I now have a neck and armholes. Whoohoo! I had to keep my wits about me when I joined the shapes for the armholes and neck. I made a mistake once (okay, it was twice) and had to undo a few motifs (not easy when they are join-as-you-go!) but I enjoyed the problem solving.  Oh, I also realised that I had to go up a size for the armholes, so that caused a few problem solving situations as well.

Rose crochet top

And what do we have here? A single greenish motif?!

Detail of Rose crochet top

It had always been the plan to make the last row of the body and the sleeves in this colour, but of course I had to reach the second-to-last row before I could add the green. I just HAD TO hook up the green motif as soon as I was able to join it to something just to see what it would look like: me like-y!

I’m excited about this crochet top and can’t wait for Sunday when I plan to do a lot of hooky on Rose.

The problem with Rose

Have you ever felt excited about a crochet pattern, bought the perfect yarn, started crocheting and one week in you just feel kind of bleh about it?

I’m sure other people must loose interest in their crochet projects because something new comes along, but I’m not one to leave a project halfway for something else unless it’s something with a deadline (like a pattern for a magazine). That means that if I’m bored/frustrated/uninterested with a project it bugs me soooo much because I just can’t pack it up and get on with something else – I HAVE TO finish is.  But if I do decide to start a more interesting project I can’t fully enjoy it, no matter how much more interesting it is, because the boring one haunts me.

The piece of crochet that has me feeling so uninspired, is the beautiful Rose top from Marie Wallin’s book Filigree.Rose crochet top Natasja King Instagram feed

I’m using a lovely blue King Cole Bamboo Cotton 4 ply yarn which is a joy to work with. I have the motif memorised and I know the Rose top will be very wearable. I really want to finish it so that I can wear it, but I just can’t “get stuck in”.  Do you know what I mean? I crochet a motif, I join it to the others and then I put it down and stare out the window. Or I make a cup of tea. I return to my spot on the couch and with a big sigh start the next motif. Two rounds in, I put it down and stare out the window. Or rearrange the flowers in the vase. Then I check my Instagram feed and think to myself “Should I take a photo of Rose? Nah. Can’t be bothered”. I pick up the half finished motif and do two more rounds, join it to the rest and…. stare out the window. This goes on for about 30 minutes and then I give it up until tomorrow. Or not. Sometimes I give it up until next week.

Can you see where I’m going with this? (At least something is going somewhere – unlike the progress on Rose!)

When I was making the CFK4 blanket (I gladly interrupted Rose for this very worthwhile cause) I was flying through the granny squares. Granny squares are a million times easier to make than the motif for Rose, so you would think I would have been bored. But I wasn’t. I was excited and driven. I had to decide which shade of blue to use and think really hard about it, because I was doing join-as-you-go, so if I didn’t like my colour choices, I was stuck with them. There was a lot to think about, but I loved making that blanket and finished it in three weeks!

Last week I bought a new Japanese crochet pattern book which arrived yesterday. Having paged through the book all I want to do now is figure out those diagrams and get started with a beautifully intricate crochet top. The challenges of reading a Japanese crochet diagram is super enjoyable for me. Even if I only use one colour (like I did for this one) I just can’t stop crocheting because the pattern is so interesting.

Now that I’ve written down my thoughts here I think I know now what the problem is with Rose: it’s not challenging enough. I need to play with colour, solve colour problems or figure out a tricky diagram to get me excited about crochet.

Knowing why I’m bored with Rose, still doesn’t solve my problem though. I desperately want to finish it so that I can wear it and get on to other Japanese-y crochet patterns, but I’m just not motivated.

I guess I’ll just have to suck it up, buckle down and get on with The Business Of Rose.

My blanket for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4


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We have one blanket for CFK4!

I just love granny squares! Just look at them!

I started the blanket on the weekend that I launched CFK4, and finished it yesterday. How super quick was that? Nothing beats a simple granny square for speedy blanket making or for a super fun time playing with colour combinations.

For the border, I used Border 138 from Around the Corner Crochet Borders book. It’s a striking border with a slightly raised ridge and very easy to do: just three rows of (UK) double trebles / (US) trebles, but on the second and the third rounds you work around the posts of the stitches in the previous round from the back. If each round is done in a different colour – in my case turquoise, grey and finally navy – it gives an really interesting effect.

I don’t know about you about I always place my darkest shade at the very edge of my border. I think a dark colour on the outermost edge pulls everything together.

The nitty gritty of my Blue Crochet For Kidneys Part 4 blanket:

  • Pattern: Traditional 6-round granny square, the last round of which is a different colour, arranged as 9 rows of 7 squares per row.
  • Yarn: Various DK acrylic yarns in shades of blue and a silver grey
  • Hook: 4 mm
  • Joining method: My Rose Valley’s Join-as-you-go method.
  • Border: Border #138 from Around The Corner Crochet Borders
  • Finished size with border: 135 cm x 97 cm

I am relieved that I’ve done my blankety bit for CFK4. Even if no-one else sends me a blanket for the kidney dialysis patients I know there’ll be at least one that I can hand over to the nurses at the Royal London Hospital.

I’m going to make one more blanket like this, but in shades of pink. Wouldn’t that look nice?

Before I start the pink blanket though I think I want to finish my Marie Wallin Rose top first – especially as it looks like Summer has finally arrived in the UK. Warm sunny days are not the best time to work on a blanket!

If you’re working on a CFK4 blanket, thanks! If you haven’t started yet, maybe you could consider making a blanket – it’s a great way to use up your stash and you’re make a comforting blanket for someone going through very unpleasant kidney dialysis.

All the detail on Crochet For Kidneys Part 4 can be found in this blog post.


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