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This post has moved!
You can now find this pattern at my new online home:
or purchase directly from my Ravelry store:
Right then, let’s get the kettle on. Have a little chat, a bit of a catch up. Anything new in your neck of the woods? Mine, you ask? Is there any news from me?
Yes. Oh yes there is. By golly is there ever.
I mean, it’s all I’ve thought and talked and dreamed about for 5-and-a-half very short but seemingly endless week. There have been lists with pros and lists with cons, whispered discussions while the Bean fell asleep between us. There has been trawling of my faithful friend google - how in God’s name did anyone find out about child benefits and nursery fees and job opportunities before the internet?? There has been fretting at 4 A.M. and also a few tears when it felt like the decision was going to overwhelm us. There…
What? Oh yeah sorry, the actual news.
We’re moving to Sweden. Just like that.
NOT. Not just like that, I mean. It’s going to be one heck of an experience, with plenty of ups and downs. I hope to have time to write about it, so I’ve added a little blue & grey badge on the right that says “Moving to Sweden”. It'll take you to a page which, I’m sure, will be filled with my panic-stricken rants about boxes and euphoric songs of praise about cosy Nordic blankets. In due course I’ll tell you why and how we’ve decided to do this (not least to remind myself in the tough times). I hope you’ll join us for the journey!
Anyway. Looks like there will be a little less gelato and a lot more windswept beaches for us in the near future. I'm excited :-)
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A Magical Scandi Weekend
Scandinavia has long been on my must-see list, so when it became clear Mr P&P would need to go to southern Sweden for work I immediately booked the Bean and I on a flight too. Sorted out an Airbnb flat. Pulled the winter clothes out of the back of the wardrobe. And then last week we were off, and I discovered Scandinavia is a bit magical.
I mean, I only saw a tiny bit of it and I know I’m generalising horribly, but still. I think it is a bit magical.
First there’s that bridge, which looks like it could get swept out to sea any minute but somehow gets you from Copenhagen, Denmark to Malmö, Sweden in 30 minutes flat.
Then there’s the food. Of course, the food. Meatballs and mashed potato on tap for the Bean, fresh lingonberries he discovered he also liked and ate with his fingers one by one. The darkest of sourdough breads which Mama already knew she loved and saw, to her delight, that the toddler did too #parentingwin. Spiced pastries in cute cafés and an amazing ginger and carrot broth from Gröna Hörnet that I’m determined to recreate.
It’s a colour-lover’s dream, where somehow everything is bright, stylish and cosy all at once.
And then there’s Outdoors, in all its glory:
Big playgrounds with sand and sticks and climbing frames and “cooking” facilities for the toddler.
A pretty harbour to tickle Norfolk-raised Daddy’s fancy.
A beach, windswept, cold and unforgiving at this time year. But still savoured, still perfect for blowing the cobwebs out of our brains and the smog out of our noses.
Well, mostly savoured. We discovered that The Poncho was no match for the bracing sea air, and that at times the wind was a bit too fierce for our little Italian. You can’t have everything, I guess...
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It turns out there is one, huge advantage to a winter in which it continuously precipitates snot and rain: you get A LOT of making time. It's possible the only advantage - it hasn't been an easy few months and I am absolutely ready for spring - but still. Crocheting in bed with a poorly toddler watching My Neighbour Totoro next to me? I can do that.
So without further ado, here's what I've been churning out over the last few months.
1. Fairisle Crochet Shrug - Though I might have already mentioned just a few times that my first run-in with crochet colourwork involved a fair amount of swearing, in the end I was very happy with the motif as well as the colours.
2. Men's Striped Crochet Scarf & Beanie - After seeing me make wintry woollies for both my mother and toddler, Mr P&P was understandably feeling a bit left out. The solution? A crochet scarf, for which you can find the free pattern here. I then made a beanie with the same striped motif. I'd love to be able to share the pattern with you, but unfortunately I haven't been able to obtain permission from the designer of the scarf to use their motif.
3. DIY Dinosaur Headband - Talking of headwear, at 8PM one February evening I realised the next day the Bean would need to go into nursery dressed up for carnival. Pinterest came to my rescue, however, and the next morning we had a cute little dinosaur in pyjamas. There is a tutorial for a paper version here (I decided cardboard would have a better chance of survival in our case...).
4. Asymmetric Toddler Vest - More winter woolly goodness in the form of this crochet vest, for which you can find my free pattern here.
5. DIY DSLR Camera Cosy - For the first time in a while I got my needle and thread out to make this cosy for my new toy. It's dead easy, the tutorial shows you how.
6. Granny Poncho with Bobble Edge - Not wanting be left out of the Simply Crochet poncho craze, I finally made something for myself. The poncho pattern is available to buy from Ravelry, while the bobble edge is my own addition. My tutorial shows you how to do the bobbles, which would look great on a granny blanket too.
7. Crochet Granny Squares - Finally, there was more granny love for the "Crochet Meets Patchwork" blanket in the form of two new, free patterns: "Ribbed Cross" on the left and "Lily Pad" on the right.
Did you get much making done during the winter months? Share your links to blog posts below, or show me your photos on the Pasta & Patchwork facebook page!
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What do you think of when someone says cauliflower?
Soggy, stinky stuff you used to get doused in an excuse for cheese sauce at school dinner? Something that turns up in the veg box way too often?
Or do you think, mmmm, let me count the ways in which I love you: raw and crunchy, ground up and used in veggie burgers, sliced into creamy curry, roasted with fragrant spices...
So guess which camp I fall into?? Yep, I adore cauliflower, but Mr P&P takes a little more persuading. This dish though. This dish! It ticks all the right boxes for me and won't fail to convert a cauliflower hater either: spicy, fragrant, nutty, cheesy.
Oh and if you thought curry and cheese don't go together, think again. I first tried it in Japan, of all places, and it's a beautiful, umami-rich combination.
Pasta with Spiced Cauliflower & Pine Nuts
Pots/pans to be washed up afterwards: 2
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
1/2 large cauliflower, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp of medium curry powder
250 g pasta
handful of toasted pine nuts (or toasted sliced almonds as a cheaper alternative)
Asiago cheese, grated (a mild to medium cheddar would work well too)
1. Boil the pasta according to the packet instructions.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a generous tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and soften on a very low heat for at least 5 mins.
3. Add the curry powder and sliced cauliflower and stir well, until everything is coated evenly in curry powder. Fry on a medium heat for a minute, stirring constantly.
4. Lower the heat, add a splash of water and let simmer for 5 minutes (or until the cauliflower is as soft/crunchy as you want it). Season to taste with salt.
5. Drain the pasta and stir in the spiced cauliflower.
6. Serve with the grated cheese, toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of good quality olive oil.
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Another month, another granny square! Last month I shared the all the patterns for the completed green section of the "Crochet meets Patchwork" blanket with you, and now I've moved on the the pink section. It's almost ready to share with you, so do check back soon!
In the meantime I'll show you how to make this simple and pretty granny square.
The inspiration for the colour scheme came from this pin I found (with a little help from my lovely little sister-in-law). I think it's just yummy, and I hope you'll like it too. Do excuse the slightly shabby, fluffy appearance of the purple yarn though - it is in fact salvaged yarn and, as a result, a bit beaten up!
Also bear in mind that the purple yarn is heavier than the others. I don't have the label but I do know it's by Rowan, and it's a mixture of cotton and wool, probably about Sport weight. I never really worry about mixing yarn types and weights, but don't feel like you have to follow my lead. As an alternative, you could use Natura Just Cotton in Orquidea.
For this pattern I've done my best, as always, to provide both photos and written instructions. For the first time I have also included a diagram. Or at least, I've tried! I learned to read crochet diagrams last summer, and have found it an invaluable skill since. Not only does it allow me to have a go at crochet patterns for which the instructions are in another language but, as a visual person, it really helps me to get to grips even with patterns that are written in English. For this pattern I therefore thought I'd have a go at drawing a diagram myself, but I think you'll agree I need a little more practice... Still, it was a lot of fun to play with my long-neglected pencils again!
The final thing to note is that I've started the rounds of TCs & DCs with what is known as a "standing treble/double crochet" when attaching a new colour, and a "chainless starting treble/double crochet" when continuing with the same colour. It removes the need for 2-3 starting chains, and so the beginning of each round is less conspicuous. If you're not familiar with these techniques, have a look at these excellent tutorials on moogly:
Standing treble/double crochet
Chainless starting treble /double crochet
If you're not comfortable with these techniques, however, there is of course nothing wrong with sticking to the usual chain starts. For this reason I've included alternative instructions where applicable.
"Lily Pad" Crochet Square
UK terms (with US terms in brackets)
3.5 mm (E/4) hook
DMC Natura Just Cotton fingering yarn
Colours: Orquidea/Azur (A), Ivory (B), Aswan/Orquidea(C), Gris Argent (D)
square size: 12 cm x 12 cm (ca. 5" by 5")
stitches: puff stitch - puff st.; treble crochet - TC (double crochet - DC); standing treble crochet - STC (standing double crochet - SDC); chainless starting treble crochet - CSTC (chainless starting double crochet (CSDC); half treble crochet - HTC (half double crochet - HDC); double crochet - DC (single crochet - SC); chain - ch (chain stitch - ch); slip stitch - sl.st.
With colour A, make a starting chain of 4-5, then make into a circle with a sl.st into the first ch.
STC (SDC) 1, then TC (DC) 7 into the circle. Join to STC (SDC) with a sl.st. Fasten off. (8 st)
Ch 3, then TC (DC) 7 into the circle. Join to the 3rd ch with a sl.st. Fasten off. (8 st)
Attach colour B to any st. of the previous round and ch 1 (you should now have what looks like 2 chains).
Into the same st., yarn over and pull up a loop twice. Yarn over again and pull through all the loops on your hook. Ch 1 to lock.
Into each of the remaining 7 stitches, make a puff st. followed by a ch 1. Join to the 1st ch (the one you made after attaching your yarn) with a sl. st. Fasten off. (16 st)
With colour (C), make a STC (SDC) into any ch 1 space. TC (DC) 1 into the same space, ch 1. * In the next ch 1 space, TC (DC) 3, ch 1. Repeat from * seven times, into each remaining ch 1 space. TC (DC) 1 into the same space as the STC (SDC), then join to STC (SDC) with a sl. st. Fasten off.
Attach colour (C) into any ch 1 space and ch 2. TC (DC) 1 into the same space, ch 1. * In the next ch 1 space, TC (DC) 3, ch 1. Repeat from * seven times, into each remaining ch 1 space. TC (DC) 1 into the same space as the starting chain. Join to the 2nd chain with a sl. st. Fasten off.
With colour (A), make a STC (SDC) into any ch 1 space. TC 2 into the same space. * In the next ch 1 space, TC (DC) 5. Repeat from * seven times, into each remaining ch 1 space. TC (DC) 2 into the same space as the STC (SDC), then join to STC (SDC) with a sl. st. Fasten off.
Attach colour (A) into any ch 1 space and ch 2. TC (DC) 2 into the same space. * In the next ch 1 space, TC (DC) 5. Repeat from * seven times, into each remaining ch 1 space. TC (DC) 2 into the same space as the starting chain. Join to the 2nd chain with a sl. st. Fasten off.
With colour (D), make a STC (SDC) between any two groups of TCs (DCs). TC (DC) 1 into the same space, ch 2. In the next space, DC (SC) 3, ch 2. * In the next space, TC (DC) 3, ch 3, TC (DC) 3, ch 3. In the next space, DC (SC) 3, ch 2. Repeat from * until you've gone all the way around.
TC (DC) 3 into same space as the STC (SDC), ch 3, TC (DC) 1, then join to STC (SDC) with a sl. st.
Attach colour (D) into any ch 1 space between any two groups of TCs (DCs) and ch 2. TC (DC) 1 into the same space, ch 2. In the next space, DC (SC) 3, ch 2. * In the next space, TC (DC) 3, ch 3, TC (DC) 3, ch 3. In the next space, DC (SC) 3, ch 2. Repeat from * until you've gone all the way around.
TC (DC) 3 into the same space as the starting chain, ch 3, TC (DC) 3, then join to the 2nd chain with a sl. st.
Ch 1 over the TC (DC) of round 6 to get to the ch 2 space. Make a CSTC (CSDC) into this chain 2 space, followed by one TC (DC) into the same space. Ch 1. In the next space, TC (DC) 3, ch 1. * In the next space (i.e. the corner) TC (DC) 3, ch 3, TC (DC) 3. Into each of the next two spaces, TC (DC) 3, ch 1. Then TC (DC) 3, ch 3, TC (DC) 3 on the corner. Repeat until you've gone all the way round.
TC (DC) 1 into the same space as the CSTC (CSDC), then join to the CSTC (SCDC) with a sl. st. Fasten off.
Ch 1 over the TC (DC) of round 6 to get to the ch 2 space. Ch 3, followed by one TC (DC) into the same space. Ch 1. In the next space, TC (DC) 3, ch 1. * In the next space (i.e. the corner) TC (DC) 3, ch 3, TC (DC) 3. Into each of the next two spaces, TC (DC) 3, ch 1. Then TC (DC) 3, ch 3, TC (DC) 3 on the corner. Repeat until you've gone all the way round.
TC (DC) 1 into the same space as the starting chain, then join to the 3rd chain with a sl. st. Fasten off.
With colour (B), make a SHTC (SHDC) into any ch 1 space, followed by one HTC (HDC) into the same space. Now continue to the corner by making one HTC (HDC) in each TC (DC) of the previous round, and two HTC (HDC) into each ch 1 space.
When you reach the corner, HTC (HDC) 3, ch 3, HTC (HDC) 3. Continue like this until you've gone all the way round, then join to the SHTC (SHDC) with a sl. st.
Attach colour (B) into any ch 1 space and ch 1, followed by one HTC (HDC) into the same space. Now continue to the corner by making one HTC (HDC) in each TC (DC) of the previous round, and two HTC (HDC) into each ch 1 space.
When you reach the corner, HTC (HDC) 3, ch 3, HTC (HDC) 3. Continue like this until you've gone all the way round, then join to the starting chain with a sl. st.
Optional round 9:
Depending on how this square fits into your overall project, you might like to finish it off by doing a round of DCs (SCs) into each st., as I've done. On the corners, work DC (SC) 2, ch 1, DC (SC) 2.
Taaddaaaa!! And though I know I hammer on about this every time, now is the time to block that square. It's not hard and it really does make a huge difference to how the finished square looks. The image below left is all unblocked and wonk-tastic, while the one on the right is nice and neat.
My preferred blocking method, for cottons at least, is to place the piece on a foam pad covered in a sheet or pillow case, spray it with water until soaked through, and then to pin it into the desired shape. I then leave it near a radiator or window (but never in direct sunlight) until it's completely dry.
So there you have it, the "Lily Pad" Square, in two colour schemes. Which one do you prefer? I think I should do one that puts all the shades together :-)
Written pattern copyright Eline Alcocer 2015.
You are welcome to make and use this pattern as you wish, but please do not sell the pattern nor claim the pattern as your own.
You are welcome to sell items made using this pattern as long as the designer, Eline Alcocer, is clearly credited at the Point of Sale.
Please link back to this page if you write about the pattern in any way.
You may not reproduce, either partially or in full, any of the photos or the text contained in this post without obtaining written permission from me first.
Thank you and happy crocheting!
I'm linking up with Moogly and Petals to Picots for Hookin on Hump Day #92
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Hello! I'm Eline, and I've recently moved to a new corner of the internet:
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