Hopefulness Scarf Pattern

Hopefulness scarf

Hopefulness scarf

This scarf was designed for a lovely friend of mine who has had some truly horrible times lately. Somehow she remains one of the sunniest people I know. I have been very affected by her courage and ability to look to the future.

I used one skein of Malabrigo lace to make this scarf i.e. just under 430m and a 2.25mm hook (US size B I think). I strongly suggest that you choose a solid colour yarn to make this scarf. Or at least a semi-solid with only a small amount of variation in depth and a single hue. The stitch pattern will be lost in a heavily  variegated yarn.

The finished project, once blocked, is approximately 150cm long and 30cm wide.

The pattern is deceptive. While it uses simple techniques and only four stitches, it is not easy to memorise and you will probably need to use the chart the whole way through. I did!

The stitches used in the chart are chain stitches, UK triple/ US double, UK triple two together /US double two  together. The edge  pattern which I have written out below also uses UK half treble/US half double crochet stitches. From now on I will use US notation.

Hopefulness Scarf detail

Hopefulness Scarf detail

The pattern is worked in two halves from the middle of the scarf outwards.

I apologise that this is a hand-drawn chart that I’ve scanned in. I have done my best to make it clear and easy to read but if anyone struggles I am very sorry.

Chain 74 stitches. This is the foundation chain. The first turning chain (shown on the chart) is not included in this number.

(An aside: The pattern repeat is 24 stitches wide. So to make the scarf wider or narrower chain a multiple of 24 plus 2.)

Then work according to the chart, starting with the turning chain of three.

My pattern testers suggested that placing a stitch marker after each repeat helped them to stay on track with the pattern.

Please note that the pattern looks neatest if you work the double crochets into the tops of the relevant chain stitches instead of around the chains. I know it’s quicker to work around the chain but it looks really sharp if you actually work into the stitches.

Another point to mention is that if you are working the chart correctly the double crochet stitches should create smoothly curving vertical lines. Please click on the detail picture above to see what I mean.

After working the chart twice through, work the edge.

Modelling the Hopefulness Scarf

Modelling the Hopefulness Scarf

Edge pattern:

1. Chain 2, work a row of half double crochets.

2. & 3. Chain 3, 3 doubles, *2 chain, skip 2 stitches, work a double crochet in each of the next 2  stitches, repeat from * until the last 4 stitches which are all doubles.

Repeat rows 1-3 then repeat row 1 as the final row. Bind off and weave in ends.

Attach the yarn to the reverse of the foundation chain and begin again with the chart.

To download the chart* click here: HopefulnessScarfChart

The scarf really benefits from blocking to straighten out the edges and open up the lace.

I hope you enjoy making this pattern.

For a variation, have a look at the chart. It is divided into two sections. If you just repeat the first section, instead of alternating with section two, you will also get a pretty lace but this time the arches will stack on top of each other instead of being offset like scales.

Thank you for reading, please send me comments or questions.

Special thanks to my volunteer pattern testers, Ravelry members: kimothy76, jacquimorse, Mshanane, SmallCrochet, AnarchyCox, wlindboe, lorithetrainer, ManicBeach, yarnedaround and funisinstyle.

*Extra super special thanks to Aparna Rolfe for making a professional quality chart for me on her pattern drawing software to replace my scruffy hand-drawn one. Her designs on Ravelry are well worth checking out by clicking her name. Lovely, stylish, contemporary  work.

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In which I persevere when I should have just given up.

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you…. drumroll please…

The embarrassment of Twilleys!

The exemplification of hubris!

The proof that beginners are not always lucky!

The wonky horror!

The felted monstrocity!

The one, the only, the original…

FAILHAT!

I wear a bad hat and a dubious expression

Not looking good

Close up of bad hat.

Nope, not looking any better close up

Described as “That extraordinary thing you were wearing on your head that looked like something belonging to a cardinal”, FAILHAT began life as the cardigan project of Doom. A classic example of beginner makes three scarves and thinks that an ‘experienced’ level cardie pattern is well within their grasp. Oh woe is me…

I started out by buying not quite enough yarn in a colour that was being discontinued, always a good way to begin a project. So I spent some time halfway through running around London trying to find more. Eventually the internet came to my aid.

Of course I didn’t gauge swatch. I just charged right on in and happily hooked away until I had all the pieces ready to assemble. Of course it was mostly far too big with kind of skinnier sleaves and a loose flappy body. This on a cardigan that’s supposed to be a neat little fitted thing.

So what did I do? Did I frog? Nope, this yarn is fuzzy and sticky and virtually unfroggable. And anyway I’d assembled, I’d trimmed. I wasn’t going to unstitch and frog. So what did I do?

Well, you already know it’s felted so I think you can guess the next bit…

I put it in hot water and left it to shrink. Which It didn’t noticeably do. In fact the water wasn’t very hot and the sleaves even stretched a bit making them even longer and ganglier than before.

So I put my newbie crocheters thinking cap on and I decided that if I stuck it in the drier just for a few minutes I could shrink it down in a controlled way. So in it went.

Then the phone rang. A work call. I had to answer.

By the time it came out the drier 40minutes later it might have fit a six year old. Providing the six yr old had very skinny arms and never cared about moving them once inside their thick ugly grey felted jacket.

Oh… dear…

I put the cardigan away and went about my daily life. Older, sadder, wiser.

Then one day I saw the wretched garment and it seemed to call to me: “You could make a hat! You could cut out a box shape and make a little retro pillbox hat!”

So I did. And I even put a couple of little fan shapes on the front in an attempt to make it pretty. Then I determinedly wore it out to meet a friend and her family for a coffee.I had to get something back for all that time money and effort.

It was my friend’s dad whose immortal description above has prompted me to enter FAILHAT into this post for your enjoyment. I hope it has amused you as it clearly amused him. I am trying to decide whether the hipsters in this area are daft enough that it’s worth putting the blessed thing in the charity bag or whether I should do the world a favour and bin it.


We all fall down part 2.

When it comes to unfinished projects I have several that eye me from their bags and fill me sometimes with joy and sometimes with dread.

Pretty cardigan is too small for me.

Oops! Too small!

There is the top down cardigan that was too small when I first made it and had to be frogged back to above the waist. It’s almost done only the ribbing and buttons to go. It’s a very cute little garment made of hand dyed DK weight in shades of lilac, mauve, pink and grey. It’s also nowhere near going to fit me now. I’ve had to stop running due to an ankle injury and I’ve been working long hours and keeping my energy up with cake, chocolate and takeaways with inevitable results. I don’t mind getting fatter… much… but I do mind finishing a project after all this time only to find it won’t wrap around me. There’s little incentive to do the last bits of fiddly dull finishing work.

Then there’s the much more promising slouchy teal sweater. This is a simple two piece short sleaved layering piece with a boat neck and probably some decorative buttons on the shoulder which I have yet to find. I am in love with this project which I just know will be stylish and wearable and exactly what I need for the spring. But it’s all in plain slip stitch stockinette equivalent. There’s enough counting that I can’t really do it at knit night (and I’ve been too busy for knit night anyway recently) but it’s also too dull really to want to do at home. I need to just pick it up and do a row or two a day and then it’ll jog along nicely. Soon, soon.

There’s the Neverending Shrug of Doom which started out as a way to show off some gorgeous hand dyed silk yarn and has morphed into something rare and terrible with a life of its own. Nothing about this project has gone right. I have started off and frogged the silk itself several times. Then I got the silk right by deciding to use it as a collar for the shrug and bought some plain black wool for the body. Now the body is being a nuisance! I gave it an initial shot and got half way through before trying to pin it all togerther an see how it looked. Disastrous! The wool pulled on the silk and the collar looked mishapen and the torso hung away from my body in weird directions. This was not the glamourous vintage-inspired Hollywood diva-esque garment I had envisaged. This was a mess.

Madeline Tosh shawlette

So pretty but I'm halfway through the first skein already...

I found a fix for now. I am using measurements from a shrug I own that fits to make the pieces up in slip stitch. Except that at some point my tension changed and I made the second half of the front 1.5 times the size of the first half with the same yarn and hook. I may be the only person in the world who crochets even looser when she is stressed! Rip it, rip it and I’m trying again. I will succeed!

I have  the Sirdar Big Softie cushion covers to do. Just big spirals to sew together and fill. These will be lots of fun but I need to buy an extra ball of each colour first and as I bought the original balls in a shop on the other side of London I will have to phone up and order them to be sent over. I have started one of these.

I started a shawlette with the Madeline Tosh that Greentrianglegirl of A Playful Day gave me for my birthday then realised I needed another two skeins. Do they sell merino light in London? I should be so lucky! I will probably end up trading on Ravelry with someone in the States.

Crochet shawl motif pattern

Crochet shawl motif pattern

I have two lace shawls in process. One is a 1920s style shawl based on this square motif pattern that I have extended outwards and outwards.  The other is the final product that I am making with the recycled yarn I talked about in this post. I decided in the end to throw most of it out because winding it all without a swift and ballwinder would have been hellish. What I’ve got left will make a nice semicircular shawl and I’m using a doily pattern with a leaves and flowers theme to do that.

I’m making a cowl type neckwarmer for my sister in beeeeaaaaauuuutiful soft alpaca. This is a copy of the one I made for my mum for Christmas and should actually be done really soon. I can do this one on the train so it’s getting along nicely. I hope to post a joint celebration of both versions soon.

Finally there’s the fab handbag that I am storming through and need to find handles for. In my mind I’m thinking dark bamboo or semicircular wood. The yarn, not my usual taste, is a gift from lovely, lovely Rachel. (Cf the photos of my glazed carrot dish.) It’s Rowan Colourscape in the eye-popping Candy Pink colourway. Between the brightness and the chunkiness though it’s turning into a rocking handbag and the combination of self-striping yarn with tweed stitch is a winner.

I think that’s all my current UFOs. Of course I have two unstarted projects, a cardy for my sister and a lace scarf for a friend. The yarn is there, the will is there, but I feel that would be a new quantum leap in start-itis. I have decided that until at least one of the big projects is gone I won’t get going on another. Wish me luck though. I feel I have many miles before dawn…


We all fall down part 1.

Tosh Merino Light in Jade

Beautiful birthday gift Madeline Tosh Merino Light

When I first started crocheting I had two things I was determined not to do. I was not going to acquire stash that did not have an associated project and I was not going to acquire unfinished objects that would languish, mere mothbait, in bags around my flat.

Partly this was fear of clutter. I’m not the world’s tidiest person and I have a hatred of accumulating stuff as a result.The fewer things I own the fewer things can end up on the floor or in piles on every flat surface.

Partly it was just frugality. I’ve been living on a fairly tight budget for the last few years and the idea of building up a stash of yarn when I really need an emergency fund was scary to me. Partly it was a hatred of the part of myself that is a starter and not a finisher.  The part that enters projects ablaze with enthusiasm and whines when things get rough.

Oh but I am only human and there are so many pretty patterns in the world (too many of them in my head) and there are many, many pretty yarns. Oh and the yarn shops will find a way to tempt. With their sales and their last-chance-to-buys and their skeins that aren’t quite big enough for a whole project so you have to buy two. And don’t get me started about enabling friends…

JC Rennie at Nest

JC Rennie at Nest for my slouchy sweater

I now have two clear plastic boxes full of yarn. That’s apart from the skeins in project bags halfway through being made into projects. Oh and the big plastic bag of Sirdar Big Softie that I will be making into cushion covers.

I’ve sorted the yarn in boxes  into two types. Box A is the good box. Box A contains all the yarns that I know what I want to do with. My neverending shrug project and my two current lace shawls (and the other one that I have designed but not started) and my slouchy jumper and the last bit of ribbing for my mauve cardigan.

Box B. Now Box B is a different matter. Box B is the naughty box. Box B is the box that sits in the corner mocking me with it’s fibres rare and strange saying “you bought us, now what are you going to do with us?” Box B contains the little packets of sale yarn. The ends of skeins of past projects. The mohair and the handspun that I have been offered as gifts and couldn’t bear to refuse. The bright shiny tencel that I might be going to make into motifs, if I didn’t kind of hate motifs. Box B is a joker and a tease. Box B is everything I was afraid of.


A Playful Afternoon

Surrey is, as my friend described it ‘the only county that’s an apology’. Home of the stockbroker belt and similar commuterishness. Tory heartland. (Do they have hearts? Anyway there were flags on everything.) Oh and yes, lush, pretty, green countryside and self-consciously quaint villages and all that nonsense. I’m a town girl. Can you tell? And I’m from the other side of London. Surrey can go jump.

Interknit Cafe

Interknit Cafe

Apart, that is, from the Interknit Cafe in Farnham, where I spent a lovely afternoon with Greentrianglegirl from A Playful Day and friends. The journey down is best left undescribed. Suffice to say Sunday train timetabling and a young woman with her family who thought just having turned 21 entitled her to yap persistently into her mobile phone in the quiet carriage made it a less than enjoyable trip.

BUT once I arrived all was good cheer. This is a lovely little local yarn shop with the emphasis on yarn. They have a gorgeous selection and how I managed to leave with only a set of stitch markers I don’t know since I seem to be on a massive stash binge at the moment. There was very nearly some special offer Hacho in my bag. Oh so very nearly.

There are lots of books and patterns around the shop and the owner is very knowledgable and helpful (although she says she sometimes tends to sit and knit and chat and not notice customers asking questions until they’ve asked three times).

You can get a good cuppa and they do nice biscuits and I’m given to  understand that the fish and chip shop around the corner is a wonder, although they were closed when I was there so I can’t personally verify this.

Give and Make Up

Give and Make Up

What I can verify is that I had a lovely afternoon with GTG and friends and would willingly go back in spite of it being in Surrey and thus not only outside the M25 but heading in the wrong  direction. GTG was also on a donation drive for Give and Make Up a very worthy cause which you should absolutely  support. We had fun. Go to Interknit and I suspect you will have fun too.


Mums are brilliant!

Well, mine is anyway.

I have just had a big bowl of apple crumble because my mum came up to see my sister and me just after her birthday and she brought us gifts!

Lots of yummy fruit and veg from the garden. Mmmm…

So I now have loads of tomatos, some little squashes which will be perfect for stuffing and baking. Although if I’m feeling lazy I’ll  just slice ’em and roast ’em in lots of oil. And apples… LOTS of apples.

My parents live in the countryside and have multiple apple trees and so this year we have a bumper crop. I see apple sauce in my future. And at least one more crumble. Another reason why my mum’s brilliant is that she is a fantastic cook . She taught me to make crumbles. Pretty much my favourite dessert.

I haven’t taken a picture of the crumble because, well,  you know what apple crumble looks like. You also know that I don’t have a good enough camera to make it look pretty. I really should invest at some point. If I’m going to write a food blog, having a reasonable camera is kind of a good idea.

The best thing about making apple crumble is that you can have it for breakfast. Coffee and apple crumble. If you haven’t done it, you really should. Especially if like me you use 50/50 flour and oats for the crumble, so you can kind of kid yourself it’s like having porridge (but better)!

Folded crocus scarf

Folded crocus scarf

Anyway, so it being Mama’s birthday El and I got together and spent an hour or so hunting through patterns on Ravelry and narrowing down our choices. El had a much clearer idea of our mother’s taste than I do and made suggestions of what I should look for, while I plugged ideas into the database and pondered yarn choices and yardages.

We decided on Laura Rintala’s Crocus Scarf but decided to do as many extra pattern repeats as we could get out fo the yarn because we wanted something a bit more luxurious looking than the photos.

Then we popped down to Loop in Islington and caused chaos pulling all the DK and sock yarn out of the shelves and failing to stack it back again properly. (I think everyone does this but it’s hard not to feel self-conscious as you take your hand away and it all comes cascading down on your head… again!) Eventually El came to a decision and we went with the classic: Malabrigo sock in Botticelli Red.

Now I don’t need to wax lyrical about Malabrigo sock yarn. If you’re reading this blog the chances are you know about Malabrigo sock yarn. Pure, soft, soft merino lusciousness and beeeeeyooooootiful colours. Sigh.

The whole scarf

The whole scarf

So I set to work and found that this was a really addictive and fun pattern. It’s simple to memorise but interesting enough to  give you that ‘just one more row’ feeling. The way the pattern works up is cool and it looks far better in real life than in any photo I’ve yet seen. Congratulations Laura for a job well done.

Having done a couple of extra pattern repeats I wasn’t in a position to  do the edging that the pattern recommends for each end so instead I just did a quick row of UK dc/US sc down the sides to neaten things up. A light blocking and we were done.

This was a very quick and satisfying project and thankfully, yes, she likes it. I want to make sure she gets at least another birthday present or two but for now I’m really happy to have got this done and that it really was a joint effort with El in design and me in manufacture. And if you’re thinking of making a quick lace scarf I definitely recommend the pattern. Fast, fun and a great result.


Sweet Eleanor Scarf/Wrap

Sweet Eleanor

Sweet Eleanor


This pattern was inspired by the Octoberfestdoily by Denise Owens. I wanted to make something special for my sister’s birthday. She likes simple elegance and warm tan/neutral shades so this was a natural choice.

The thread I used is quite a heavy thread from the Handweaver’s Studio and Gallery and it’s 50% cotton 50% linen. It is quite soft and has a nice rough texture that adds interest to the simple pattern. About 400m of similar weight thread should get you somethign a similar size. I used a 2mm hook.

Thanks to Lilacia on Ravelry for testing this for me. She used fingering weight yarn and suggests a size G hook i.e. 4mm from which I would conclude that she has a tighter tension than me (almost everyone does).

British notation is used. EDITED TO ADD: British double crochets are the same as American single crochets. Tension is not important.

Ch167.

R1. Dc in 2nd ch from hook. Dc in each remaining ch. Ch1 turn.

R2. *Dc5, ch6, sk 6st* rep from * 15 times. Dc in final dc. Ch1 turn.

R3. Dc in 1st st, *ch6, dc2 in loop, dc in next 4dc, sk1dc* rep from * 15 times. Do not ch. Turn.

R4. Slst in next dc, ch1, dc in same dc, dc in next 4dc, dc2 in loop, ch6. * Sk1dc, dc in next 5dc, dc2 in loop, ch6* rep 14 times. Dc in top of dc. Ch1 turn.

R5. Dc in 1st dc, *ch6, dc2 in loop, dc in next 6dc, sk1dc* rep from * 15 times. Do not ch. Turn.

R6. Slst in next dc, ch1, dc in same dc, dc in next 6dc, dc2 in loop, ch6. * Sk1dc, dc in next 7dc, dc2 in loop, ch6* rep 14 times. Dc in top of dc. Ch1 turn.

R7. Dc in 1st dc, *ch6, dc2 in loop, dc in next 8dc, sk1dc* rep from * 15 times. Do not ch. Turn.

R8. Slst in next dc, ch1, dc in same dc, dc in next 8dc, dc2 in loop, ch6. * Sk1dc, dc in next 9dc, dc2 in loop, ch6* rep 14 times. Dc in top of dc. Ch1 turn.

R9. Dc in 1st dc, *ch6, dc2 in loop, dc in next 10dc, sk1dc* rep from * 15 times. Do not ch. Turn.

Continue this stitch pattern until the scarf is the width that you are looking for.

EDITED TO ADD: Lots of people have asked in the comments what I mean by this and I apologise for not have clarified sooner. Each row you’ve worked so far has involved dc sections and chain sections. The chain sections stay the same length, the dc sections each get one stitch longer every row.

So on odd numbered rows you are working two dc stitches into the beginning of each chain loop on the row below and then skipping a stitch at the beginning of the next dc section. On even numbered rows you skip a dc before each chain section and work two dc into the chain loop on the row below after it. Using this pattern you continue to grow the dc sections as long as you want. I hope this helps.

Be aware that every row increases the length as well as the width. I did 35 rows.

Sweet Eleanor scarf detail

Sweet Eleanor detail

Final row should be an odd numbered row.

Final row: Dc in 1st dc. *Dc6 in loop, dc to next loop* rep from * to 1st from end. Sk final st. Bind off and weave in ends.

I chose not to block this scarf as I liked the way it was hanging already. You may decide yours needs blocking but I imagine the spiral shape  may make blocking tricky.

I am more proud of this pattern than anything else I’ve done. It feels like a big step up from some of the other things I’ve made.

As ever comments and questions are welcome.

EDITED in response to a question:

dc2 in loop = 2dc in loop created by the six chains not in any particular stitch. Sorry for lack of clarity!