Zeens & Roger Crochet Podcast Episode 27

Halloooo!! Here is all you need for episode 27 of my crochet podcast / vlogcast / vid of me chatting about wool. Hope you’re well! Please click on the pic above to go to the episode or pop over to my YouTube  channel for all the episodes and tutorials.

Below is extra information and photographs about what I’ve been up to this last week (I’m not counting the week before as I was hunkered down, working on secrets).

The Granny CAL 2018 stuff. Go HERE for the original post and go HERE for more detailed thoughts about CALs themselves (I forgot to mention this new blog post in the episode!). A Granny Special will be filmed next week with a run down of prizes (and which wonderful people donated them) and all the winners, of course!! I’m thinking I have enough prizes for eight draws!!! That’s just mind blowing!

Countess Ablaze. You really must have a look at this. It’s part of what makes this community amazing!

Granny Rocks jumper by Claudine of @Iron_Lamb. Will I finish it for next week?!

Yay Retro! I was thrilled to be asked to give an interview to Sue from Yay Retro. There’s plenty of pictures of my crochet and home too. Check it out HERE. Keep your eyes peeled for a related blog post from me very soon.

Town End Alpacas – This was where I got my yarn for my new socks and the yarn for my pink/grey granny chevron cowl that I made a few weeks ago. I’ll put in a pic down below!

Hooked on Murder. A novel based on crochet. Seriously.

The old granny squares book is THIS one.

The Quoe Podcast

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What Are These Crochet Alongs all about?! What is a CAL?

My first (and maybe only!) entry into the Granny CAL 2018

I’m hosting a Crochet Along at the minute and it has got me thinking. It’s easy to assume that every crocheter/maker knows exactly what a CAL is but it turns out that’s not the case at all. Since the beginning of the “great” Granny CAL of 2018 I’ve had a fair few folk ask me what it’s all about and I thought a more in depth look would make a pretty good blog post. Soooo…

What is a CAL?

The acronym CAL means Crochet Along, just as KAL is Knit Along and MAL is Make Along. Whatever kind of Along it is,  it’s usually a themed virtual get together where everyone makes the same thing. For fun.

The CAL I’m hosting is the Granny CAL and the idea is to crochet something in the granny stitch. That’s all. Nowt tricky. However, there can be loads of different sorts and loads of different reasons why a CAL pops up. Let’s have a look.

This is a spin off blanket from Cherry Heart’s Spice of Life CAL from 2016. This is Spicier Life!

The biggest element of a CAL I’ve discovered is the community. Joining in CALs really got me chatting away to other crafty people online and I’ve made new friends by taking part. I admit that this didn’t even occur to me when I first entered my finished crochet items on Ravelry. To be honest I just wanted to show off my new stuff and be in with the chance of winning a prize!! The social side was an unexpected perk but now it’s one of the main draws. I now know there’s not much chance of getting a prize (CALs are mighty popular and get super busy) but I’m genuinely not fussed about that.  The sharing of ideas, as well as tips and tricks brings a disparate bunch of enthusiasts together, enriching what can be a quiet and solitary hobby. In other words, it’s loads of fun hanging out with your crochet mates!

There are lots of different platforms you can choose to hang out on. I’ve seen CALs hosted on Facebook and Instagram whilst I mainly find them on Ravelry. Check out this thread from The Crochet Circle Podcast  which lists the CALs happening in 2018Also, have a look below for a few that are happening right now!

The Three Springs Shawl was entered into Addydae Design’s Accessories CAL last summer.

It’s an opportunity to try something new too. Perhaps you’re not crazy about handmade socks but don’t want to dismiss them. Why not try making them with others in a sock along? Maybe their positivity will rub off on you!  Want to make a snazzy shawl but not that confident? Join in the chat and you’ll be helped and supported by people all over the world! A CAL (not to mention the people participating) can give you focus and encouragement so you can achieve your goal without the energy wearing off.

There are other benefits too. It might be that the pattern or colour palette is picked for you so it removes the pressure of working out those details (that’s one of my favourite things to do but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea). And let’s not forget the potential for a prize or two!

My failed Winter Wonderland CAL attempt – this is still UFO so not the greatest example!!

There are also many reasons why people host CALs. In my case, the idea popped into my head one day, maybe I was just jumping on the bandwagon but a seed was planted. When I mentioned it on an episode of the Z&R Crochet podcast, there was such a wonderfully positive response that it would have been silly not to do it. The most important aspect was that it had to be fun and easy, with no pressure to buy a pattern or any extra yarn if you didn’t need to, the granny is the perfect stash buster after all!

A couple of squares for Lottie & Albert’s Squares for Grace.

It is also a fabulous way to raise money for charity. The host asks lots of people to contribute a small piece of crochet to make up one impressive, giant project.  And then there’s the publicity angle. What a great marketing strategy for advertising a new yarn, or pattern release. Whatever the motivation, every single time, it enables people to come together to do what they enjoy and there isn’t much wrong with that.

I don’t think CALs are going anywhere. Here are just a small handful that are happening at the moment:

What do you think of CALs? Have you taken part in one? A couple? Loooaads?! Let me know your thoughts. X

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Zeens & Roger Crochet Podcast/Vlogcast Episode 26

Happy March!! We’re supposed to be thinking about spring but it’s most definitely winter outside!! Brrrr, maybe keep warm whilst watching episode 26 of my crochet podcast!? As usual, click on the pic above to go to the episode or go to my YouTube channel HERE. Ta very much.

Here’s some links to stuff I talk about, I wasn’t concentrating so I hope I have it all. If not please give me a shout and I’ll give you extra info.

March Meet the Maker – A month long Instagram challenge

#hookedonyarn2018 Another month long IG challenge.

My Easter Eggs. HERE is the link to the blog post about the latest additions to the family.

Blacker Yarns. This is lovely yarn that I’m going to get more of. I used Tamar Lustre Blend. A real woolly wool from just across the border in Cornwall.

Inside Crochet magazine

Simply Crochet magazine

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Some More Crochet Easter Eggs

Am I too early for Easter shenanigans? Eh, I don’t think so. Do you remember the pretty little crochet Easter eggs from a couple of years ago? They’ve gone and got themselves some new mates!

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Hobbycraft asking if I was interested in trying some yarn so that I could tell you about it.  Seeing as spring is on the way I thought it would be a nice idea to choose some yarn to make my amigurumi Easter eggs with. However, I didn’t want more eggs of the same size so I’ve upped my game. I’ve gone large.

This is the stuff I decided to try, The Women’s Institute acrylic dk. I wanted big eggs this time so I also chose the Soft & Chunky in cream, which is an acrylic mix and has 30% merino. It’s lovely stuff to work with, I think merino is my favourite yarn in the world at the moment. I got the dk colours to decorate the eggs with.

With two 100gram balls of the chunky cream, you can make three small eggs and one large. I weighed them before I added the embellishments and a small one was 27 grams whilst the large was 89 grams. It’s exactly the same pattern, I just doubled up on yarn for the biggy.

I’ve not used this yarn before but I have used plenty of other dk acrylics. Mostly I’m left unimpressed and I have a thing where I don’t like mixing my brands together because the quality varies so much. Usually they don’t pass muster but I don’t think I’d have any qualms about mixing this with the likes of Stylecraft Special or Paintbox  (both of which, are excellent to work with). This is one of the good ones. I have quite a bit of the dk left so I might make blanket along with some other brands to really get a good feel for it (but not anytime soon as I have got a massive list of other projects to do! Bah).

Anyway, on to the pattern…

Eeehh, look at the family all together!

This pattern can be used with any weight of yarn, just make sure you use a hook size that will achieve nice, tight stitches (ie go down a couple of sizes than is recommended).

Notes and things you need:

  • The Women’s Institute Premium Acrylic Yarn DK in Yellow, Lime, Teal, Pink and Light Pink.
  • The Women’s Institute Soft & Chunky in Cream x2 100g gram balls. This amount makes 1 large and three  small eggs.
  • Polyfibre fill stuffing
  • Large eye darning needle
  • Fading ink pen (optional) – it helps to draw out where to put the flowers and leaves before you make the stitches.
  • For the small egg (approx 11cm tall) use the 4.5mm hook.  For the large egg (approx 17cm tall) use the 7mm hook and two strands of the chunky held together.
  • Use two strands of the dk together for embroidering the large egg.
  • US terms are used in the pattern

This pattern below is also found on my original blog post HERE. And last year I recorded a video tutorial showing how to make and embroider the eggs, which is HERE over on my YouTube channel!

Amigurumi Easter Egg.

Round 1: 6sc into a Magic Ring.

Round 2: 1 Inc in each stitch around. [12].

Round 3: 1 sc in next stitch, 1 inc in next. Repeat around [18].

Round 4: Sc around. [18]

Round 5: 1sc in next 2 st, 1 inc in next. Repeat around. [24].

Round 6-7: Sc around [24]

Round 8: 1 sc in next 3 st, 1 inc in next. Repeat around [30].

Round 9-15: Sc around. [30]

Round 16: 1 sc in next 3 st, 1 dec. Repeat around. [24].

Round 17: 1 sc in next 2 st, 1 dec. Repeat around. [18].

Round 18: 1sc in next st, 1 dec. Repeat around [12].

Fasten off leaving a long tail, 40cm should be plenty.  Add embroidered flowers using simple stitches. French knots make the flower centres and the chain stitch makes petals, leaves and stems. Stuff firmly. To close the egg, thread through the front loops and pull tight to gather the stitches together. Stitch in and out a few times to fully secure and then snip the end neatly.

Please do let me know if you make some, I really would love to see. They make such cute spring decorations and you could even tie pretty ribbon through the top to hang them places!

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Happy Easter! X

Zeens & Roger Crochet Vlogcast. Episode 25

I’m just gonna jump right in with links today. Click on the pic for Episode 25. Thank you so much. xxx

Granny Crochet Along info is HERE.

The Quoe Podcast. A new crochet vlog from Qualyn Stark who is a up and coming crochet designer from the US.

I hope you already know Claudia from Crochet Luna. Check her out!

Here is the link for  Fay’s The Crochet Circle podcast

Project bags from Laura at Homefire Ridge. And some  from Vivian from The Keep Calm & Carry Yarn podcast too.

My purse tutorial. Follow this as a guide for the granny purse. I also saw that Sonja from Ratschebutsch has done a mini tutorial too for something similar on her Instagram.

Russian Join tutorial is here.

1Dogwoof. A granny triangle blanket.

Global Hook up

Sewing – Drawstring bag tutorial.

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Episode 24!! Zeens & Roger Crochet Vlogcast

As I type, it has been about eight hours since I recorded and I’m still doolally! I’m having a really good day! I will most likely crash tomorrow but for now I’ll enjoy the happy feelings. So, I hope you’re up for this episode of my crochet podcast / crochet vlog, it’s an hour long (I have a lot to talk about and there are a few strange moments). Comment here or over on my YouTube channel. I’d love to hear from you! Click on the image above for the episode. Cheers. x

Here are some of the things I talk about in this episode (and don’t forget the pics below):

Granny CAL 2018. Find out all the details about the Granny crochet along HERE! The Ravelry threads are HERE.

Fancy a quick granny project? Here’s my chevron cowl free pattern. I still haven’t dug out the yarn info. Give me a kick up the bum if you’re curious and I’ll go and find a band.

How to Become A Crochet Designer – My blog post about how I started. Mandy from RedAgape has a fascinating blog post about what you can realistically expect from working as a crochet designer. Please check it out!

My friend at Coastal Crochet is running a CAL too. Pop over to her blog for more info.

Melody Crochet Podcast. Thank you for my new things Melody!

I’m wearing the Blurre

Here’s the tutorial I plan on using for the Russian Join. Let’s do an experiment!

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How I Became a Crochet Designer (& How You Can Become One Too)

Yesterday, crochet designer and photographer, Mandy of RedAgape wrote a frankly marvellous piece about what it really means to become a professional in the crochet world. Every single word had me nodding in agreement and I can honestly say that if you think crochet design is something you’d like to do then Mandy’s words are a pretty accurate description of what to expect.

For three or four months I’ve had “write blog post – how to become a crochet designer” on my To-do list. I’d been putting it off as I knew it would be a long one. Inspired by Mandy’s post (and without treading on her toes) I’d like to share some of my thoughts and tell you a little bit about how I started.

How I started

There are three moments in my crafty past that have really stuck with me. 1 At eight years old, Nanna telling me “you won’t learn to crochet if you hold the hook like that.” I did eventually. Twenty years later. 2 Just over half way through that twenty year break (sometime in my early twenties) I saw my artist friend crochet cups and saucers out of plastic tubing and I said “I wish I could crochet” and she told me “it’s easy! Go for it”. I didn’t go for it. I really should have. 3 The birth of my first baby. Nanna made him a giant granny square blanket and I knew I had to make him one too. So I did. Sort of. It was actually a ripple and it wasn’t the first thing I made, but you know, same difference. That was just over seven years ago.

The first real step I took towards taking my hobby more seriously was to set up this blog. Admittedly it took me about five years of just thinking about it. I was daft to delay but it’s about confidence and I didn’t have any. I had very few designs at first and was constantly fretting that another would never come to me. So not true! The more you tinker and play, the more ideas you get, I promise.

Magazine Work

Several small baby steps later I (nervously) decided the time was right and in October 2016 I sent out emails to three magazines (you can find contact details at the front of your favourite magazines). I sent out pictures of a few different things I’d made, asking if they were interested. The designs were all originals that I hadn’t shown to anyone else (magazines prefer exclusive ideas, which is why I don’t say anything about a commission until it’s about to go on sale. That, and I’m scared they’ll pull my design from the issue – it happens. I’m really good at keeping secrets these days. I never used to be!). I was added to a Call for Submissions list by all three of the mags and one of the designs I’d sent was immediately accepted by Inside Crochet. Not only that but they also asked to feature my blog in their magazine! I properly freaked out, I was gobsmacked and completely delighted! Since then I’ve featured in all three magazines and had designs featured in many issues [my work is on the front cover of each of those magazines in the above pic!!]. I’ve also designed for Hobbycraft. I am super proud of myself and if I can do it then so can you! Anyway, enough of tooting my own trumpet.

Selling Online Patterns

I like Ravelry. I’m still learning about it even though I’ve been on there for years. I’ve experienced some really good sales and some disappointing sales. Once you’ve established how to add your pattern details and upload a pdf (I need quiet for all of this as I’m well known for temper tantrums when it comes to filling stuff out online) then you cross your fingers for the initial flurry of interest followed by passive sales. Etsy hasn’t worked for me in the past and I’ve only just dipped my toe in LoveCrochet.com so I don’t have much experience of that yet. If you use these platforms, I’d love to hear what you make of them. Maybe I should give them a proper chance.

Hints and Tips

This is the list of info I think will be helpful. I’ve had it scribbled down in my note book since the autumn…

  • Always be crocheting. You get better everyday.
  • Set up a blog to show case your work. If you haven’t got time, then Instagram is your best friend.
  • Keep a sketch book nearby (or scrawl things on your phone/tablet). Write down/sketch out every idea. If it’s a wearable item, draw someone wearing it. You’ll need simple sketches for submissions too.
  • Swatch swatch swatch. Make good swatches for all submissions. Swatches will help you work out little tweaks that need doing, help with shaping and help you work out if the maths is right etc. I hate making swatches, I force myself to do it.
  • Practice pattern writing with small design projects. Maybe they can become freebies on your blog. Freebies are a lovely thing to offer but I wouldn’t recommend doling out big designs. That’s a lot of hard work for very little in return and it doesn’t do the rest of the community any favours. Don’t underestimate your worth.
  • Be the best you can be. Don’t release patterns that you aren’t super proud of. I frog A LOT of crochet and 99% of the time it is the right decision.
  • Keep abreast of what others are up to. What are the latest trends? Popular yarns, popular colours?
  • Have a look at this post about choosing colour in your projects. It might help with the point above.
  • Keep the pattern writing simple. I use Google Docs. If it’s to sell independently I add a small intro, a few good photographs, “how-to” pics if I think it needs them and a chart (Stitchfiddle.com is what I use).
  • Just do it! Start. Now!
  • And tell the tax man…

Like other creatives I just wanna make stuff. I’ve learned a ridiculous amount by playing around (making lots of mistakes) and I’ve probably not even covered the half of it here. Crikey, I still have a ridiculous amount to learn. I’m coming up to my third year of blogging but have only considered myself to be a designer for one year. That’s not a long time so I reckon I should come back and look at this next year to see what’s changed!

Please let me know if there is anything else you’d like to know or if you think I’ve missed out a vital piece of information. If you are a crochet designer too, I’d love to know what your experience has been. Tell me! Thanks ever so much! X

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Another Granny Chevron Cowl! Pattern & Tutorial.

Fancy a very quick and easy crochet project? Last summer I designed and made a fluffy chevron cowl (see pic below). Yesterday I made a smaller, non fluffy version. I made it when I was thinking about all things granny (I couldn’t wait for the Granny CAL! I just couldn’t!). This morning I filmed a short tutorial too. It’s now up on YouTube if you want to go and have a look!

You can find the original pattern Here. I made the new one a bit smaller as I was restricted by the amount of yarn I had: 200 grams of chunky alpaca/mulberry silk stuff I found for £8 a skein from EYF last year. The (impulsively bought) yarn had been sat waiting for nearly a year and I had no real idea about what to do with it for ages. Funny how something can jump out at you after all that time.

Righty, some details.

  • I used a 6mm hook for my chunky yarn.
  • The yarn I used was only 92 metres per 100g. I think other chunky yarns are usually a bit more than that. I used almost every bit so if you don’t have at least 184 meters of chunky then you might not make it to the end.
  • It measures approx 32×32 cm (12.5×12.5 inches). That’s a circumference of 64cm.
  • I chained 47 to begin, this gives you a total of 14 clusters per row
  • To make it bigger or smaller, add or subtract 6. That’s enough for a cluster for each side.
  • The pattern is written in UK terms. The video uses both UK and US terms but essentially all you need to know is that a UK treble is a US double.
  • 3tr = cluster.


Chain 47.

Row 1: 3tr in 7th from hook, (miss 2 st, 3tr in next) six times, ch2, 3tr in next st, (miss 2 st, 3tr) six times, miss 2 st, 1 tr in last st. Turn.

Row 2: Ch3, (3tr in space between clusters) six times, (3tr, ch2, 3tr) in 2 chain space, (3tr in space between clusters) six times, 1tr in last st of row. Turn

Row 3 – 29: Rep row 2, changing colour every five rows.

Row 30: As row 2 but slip stitch to join to Row 1 between each cluster. Fasten off and sew in ends.

I hope you like it. I promise it’s super easy to make and can be made in a couple of hours (maybe less, I didn’t time it).

Jeepers, I’m not wearing make up on me peepers. Again!

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Zeens & Roger Crochet Vlogcast. Episode 23

Hello!! It is time for Episode 23 of the Zeens and Roger crochet podcast [SEO, folks!] / crochet vlog. There are some delightfully embarrassing moments, including ungainly lumbering upon a sofa and a super geeky confession at the end. I hope you enjoy it! Please click on the link above for the episode or jump to my YouTube channel HERE.

Links to all the things:

Granny Crochet Along!!  information is HERE. The links to Ravelry and Pinterest etc are over there. I am so looking forward to this!

Little Hearts for Grace squares

The Weekender Blankie by Sandra of Cherry Heart

Geek Chic Crochet by Nicki Trench

The knitted mitts pattern is called Rowan Frost wrist mitts on Ravelry.

The Crossed Treble stitch tutorial (also known as the Star Mesh stitch or the Cane Work stitch)

I think that’s it for stuff you might be interested in (my notes are on the other side of the room!). A few pics of the last couple of week are below. X

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Granny is a Go Go! A Crochet Along

I’m hosting a CAL! I fancy trying something new and this is it! Have you ever taken part in a crochet along? It is so much fun! Not only does it become an opportunity to try something different it also gives you the chance to hang out with online friends (I’ll be honest, the community aspect was an unexpected perk when I first discovered CALs, I just did it cos I thought I might get a prize! I’ve never won anything in a CAL but it absolutely hasn’t stopped the enjoyment of taking part).

Why a Granny cal? Well, it dawned on me that I have two favourite “go to” stitches. One is the Corner to Corner (Oooh, I could do a C2C CAL!!) and the other is the Granny. I love its traditionality but I also think it’s great that it can surprise people. It doesn’t have to be a plain old granny, you could turn it into anything. I know that there are people out there who aren’t that fussed about the granny, so let this be your challenge. Create something that changes your mind, put a twist on it, bring it up to date. Do something different! Yes, this is classic crochet but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to traditional. Or actually, you can if you want. How you dabble in your grannification is entirely up to you.

Some Details

The CAL is six weeks long beginning on Thursday 1st of February and ending on Thursday 15th March 2018. A chatter thread is up on Ravelry so jump over there, get talking and share your ideas. I’ll open the FO thread nearer the time. Need help? Here’s my Granny board on Pinterest to get you started. I’ve got a few granny patterns for free right here on the blog, they’re on this page (evidently, I really do have a thing for the granny). If you have seen something amazing let us know in the comments or on the Ravelry chatter thread. For Instagram entries, please use the ever so adventurous #grannyCAL18 (I struggled with an awesome name – they were all too rude…)

The Rules

There aren’t that many…. There must be granny stitches in your make (clusters of three UK trebles/US doubles) * It can’t be something already finished * Wips are allowed *It can be any size (if you’re short on time then don’t feel bad about making a small purse, that’s what I’m doing!) * This CAL is for everyone, whether you have just started to crochet or you’ve been hooking for yonks, this crochet along is for you. * Double dipping is fandabbydozy, I don’t mind if you don’t.


The winner of each category can choose five patterns from my Zeens and Roger Ravelry store. We are also very lucky that some prizes have been donated!! Fabulous Fay of the Crochet Circle Podcast is offering one electronic copy of her pattern book Take Two, which she co-wrote with Lynn Rowe. The lovely Vivian from the Keep Calm and Carry Yarn podcast (it’s a lovely listen) makes beautiful project bags and sells them in her Etsy shop, Pearl and Plum. I had a message from her daughter, Alyson to say they would like to give one as a prize!  And Laura from Home Fire Ridge will also be sending out a gorgeous project bag to one lucky winner (the ones I’ve seen are really pretty!) Laura’s Etsy shop is having an update on the 23rd of Jan so keep an eye out! Winners will be drawn after I get back from a weekend away in Edinburgh (arghhh, EYF weekend!!) Edit:: Qualyn from the Quoe Podcast (fast becoming a favourite of mine) is offering his Les Mis collection: two fab granny shawl patterns (I have had the songs in my head allll week). And Claudia (my mate Clauds) from Crochet Luna sent me a message to say she’s popped something in the post for us as a giveaway prize!! This is getting exciting!!

Prize Categories

I will randomly select one winner from the chatter thread on Ravelry and one winner from the finished object thread too. I will randomly select one winner from Instagram and one prize will be awarded to my favourite make overall. That is four opportunities to win a prize! Wahoo!


Finally, a massive Thank You!! I have had such a hugely positive response about this crochet along, it has been truly awesome! Without the enthusiasm from you guys the idea would have been fleeting and surely fizzled out. If you have any questions or feel like I’ve left something out, please comment below or get yourself over to Ravelry to join in the chat. I cannot wait to see your gorgeous grannies!!

By the way, it’s episode 21 where I first mention the idea of a Granny along and then there’s a bit more blather in episode 22. I’m sure I’ll go on about it in future episodes too! Ta. X

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All the above  items are made by me. The patterns are mine except the Colour Block Jumper by Cleckheaton and the Magnolia Mandala by Crochet Milan.