Recently a friend gave me a Golden Hands crochet book from 1974, inside was an amazing pattern for a crocheted beach wrap.
This pattern features a loose openwork design of an array of stitches in rainbow colours to create a loose fitting jacket, ideal for summer or as a coverall in winter. I've shorted the bell sleeves to just below the elbow, making it an easier wear when working or going about your daily bits and bobs. I've had two customers ask me for these in just a week and I think you can see why.
Recently I have begun making crocheted clothing and this has been a very popular idea with yay retro customers. This is the Blooming Bomber Jacket pattern, designed by Katie Jones Knits. It's made from super soft Aran yarn and features crazy flower power pockets! With all the colours of the rainbow teamed up with a black base this striking jacket looks amazing on. It's a boxy unfitted shape meaning it suits a wide range of body shapes and sizes - ideal when making clothing to suit everyone. For a limited time, I can take special order requests for these jackets though would prefer each jacket I make to be of a different colour to keep it interesting for me. Please get in touch to discuss your ideas.
Here's the easiest recipe for coffee and walnut cake - why buy from the shop when you can whip something up really fast? I've made these this morning in the space of about 30 minutes all in. Now the way I cook is slap dash and I absolutely cannot be bothered with following a proper recipe. As long as you follow the basic ratios in cake ingredients you are going to be fine.
Victoria Sponge Cake Ratios - your need to know facts!
The ratios of ingredients are:
8oz SR Flour, 8oz Sugar, 8oz Fat to 4 eggs (add 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder)
6oz SR Flour, 6oz Sugar, 6oz Fat to 3 eggs (add 1.25 teaspoons of baking powder)
4oz SR Flour, 4oz Sugar, 4oz Fat to 2 eggs (add 1 teaspoon of baking powder)
Get the idea? In my head I just think half the no. of eggs to the ounces of flour if you get me.
Using common sense, choose your amounts according to your sandwich tin size. Or if you wish you can use the same recipe and make fairy/cupcakes in cake cases.
Quickly Make A Coffee & Walnut Sponge Cake:
Right, so I'm assuming you greased and lined your sandwich tin, or chucked your cake cases in your muffin tin, and you've turned your oven on to 180c.
Boil the kettle and in a cup add 3 teaspoons of instant coffee. Now add the smallest amount of boiling water you possibly can and mix together. Allow to cool.
Roughly chop up some walnuts. As many as you fancy...around a handful?
Throw all the ingredients (except the coffee & nuts) in a mixing bowl and whisk with an electric hand held mixer until its light and creamy. Now add the coffee, nuts and mix. Divide it into your sandwich tins or cake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes. The cakes are done when golden brown and you can insert a knife and it comes out clean. Leave on wire rack to cool.
How about the Coffee Icing?
Boil the kettle and in a cup add 2 teaspoons of instant coffee. Now add the smallest amount of boiling water you possibly can and mix together. Allow to cool.
I never weigh out icing sugar it's too messy. Spoon a load into a large bowl (or even better put it in your food mixer). Now add some butter or margarine - about a tablespoon or less, the idea is just to blend the icing sugar together you don't need a lot. Now add small amounts of the coffee mixture until you have a thick, smooth blend of icing. Never add liquid in large amounts otherwise you will end up with watery icing and it's very hard to get back to a stiffer mix.
When the cakes are cool, with a knife smooth the icing on to your sandwich cake base, pop the top on and ice the top too. Or just ice the top of your fairy cakes.
All sorted? Enjoy with a fab cup of tea or coffee!
Let's Share the Love - Please help with yay retro's Charity Sale - I have decided to sell 5 crochet blankets and give all Profits to Refuge who help those who suffer the horror of domestic and sexual abuse -www.refuge.org.uk.
As all that can, self isolate, I hope you'll agree it's the perfect time to invest in a cosy handmade blanket knowing that your purchase will help those who are suffering right now. 'On any given day Refuge supports more than 6,000 clients, helping them rebuild their lives and overcome many different forms of violence and abuse'
You can find the blankets by clicking here
Over the past few months I have had many requests for my handmade crochet blankets. These are a lovely addition to your home as well as being a super gift idea to mark special events. An anniversary, birth of a baby or a birthday are all reasons to invest in an heirloom handmade crochet blanket from yay retro. Each blanket is handmade by myself for you.
Above is a pre-ordered Granny Square blanket with a heart centre, made for a lady expecting her first baby.
Below is a single bed size blanket made in the style of the 'Casablanca' pattern by Haffner Linssen, though I have adapted the pattern quite a bit. The idea here is to create a blanket which has the feel of a Moroccan rag rug. Made with super soft yarns these come out beautifully heavy and cosy. This was ordered for a customer's granddaughter.
I also made a super king size version of the 'Casablanca' blanket which was purchased by a lady to cover her leather sofa. Yet another version was ordered as a buggy blanket in forest colours:
Many people love to use crochet blankets to decorate their homes, and to have them to hand for sudden chills. Whether this is in your lounge or bedroom, a well placed blanket can really add colour and texture to a room. Right now I have this heavy weight, velvety soft Granny Square blanket made in Aran yarn for sale on my website. This double bed sized blanket could be used on a King or Super King size bed (it is shown photographed on mine here).
Here it is again draped on my sofa. This would be ideal in your home or even to keep warm in your camper van or caravan. This retro styling would be amazing in any situation!
Last summer I created this Super King Size Granny square blanket for my bedroom, it took around 4 months to crochet and I am absolutely delighted with it and know this is something I will have in my home for many years to come.
Granny square blankets are amazing as there are many square designs you can use and differing colours create strikingly different effects. Here is a multi colour blanket which has now sold, and below it another version in just 3 colours with a completely different look (still available to buy on my website here).
This pretty blanket has a watercolour effect due to the colour changing yarn used. I call it Monet's Garden and it is available to buy online here.
Take a look at the blankets for sale at yay retro right now, or get in touch to discuss your requirements by emailing me firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you. After a customer requested I make her a crochet poncho last month, I have been inundated with orders to make more! The first poncho I made was tassel free for a teacher based in Scotland who wanted something to keep chills at bay, without any tassels getting in the way. Here's the result - I love the bright colour way on this one!
I was then asked to make a tasseled version for a lady who adores the retro look. She wanted to wear it around town and also to use it as a cover up on holiday over a bikini. Here is her poncho - she chose classic 70s colours of black, orange, hot pink and a teal green. I was then asked to make another just the same, both have multi coloured tassels around the edge.
Another lady got in touch and asked for a navy blue version with orange and pistachio stripes. She chose all navy tassels along the edge. On receipt she set about choosing colours for her next poncho, saying: "I love my poncho! Thank you....... I'm thinking of the next colour way already. Earthy brown and red? Green with black like my shawl?"
If you would like me to make you a Boho crocheted shawl in retro colours, pastel colours or rainbow colours why not get in touch? You can find out more here. One of the most gorgeous crochet shawl patterns in my opinion is the Teaflower Shawl designed by Johanna Lindahl of Mijo Crochet. The great news is that you can buy a Teaflower shawl ready made from yay retro right now in several colour ways. This stunning lightweight crochet shawl is super light and drapes wonderfully so that it can be worn in multiple ways throughout the year.
This versatile shawl looks different depending on the colours it is made in. Here it is in a range of blues - I've called this one 'Forget me Not'
You can wear it as a scarf or cowl draped around your neck on cooler days or as an open shawl on summer days or evenings.....When I made it in the Woodland colours below in sold in 5 minutes!
It's the perfect shawl all year round as it's light enough for Spring and Summer and warm enough to wear in Winter too! Imagine this lovely shawl with your very best dress at a special occasion...I can make it in the colours of your choice via pre-order.
An ideal gift for anyone, this would suit a young festival go-er or an older lady who likes to look stylish! Check out yay retro! crochet shawls here.
With this sunshine-y weather now is the time to invest in a little picnic blanket from yay retro! I have several one off designs available all at very affordable prices right now.
I beach tested my own yay retro crochet blanket yesterday and it was fab. Very comfy to sunbathe on and also light to roll up and carry.
It also came in handy as an impromptu shawl on the breezy clifftop!
In the yay retro shop at the moment you can choose from a regular finely crocheted granny blanket with a special love heart centre...
or a detailed granny square blanket done in seaside colours.
I also have the most beautiful and complex pastel orange crochet blanket for sale....This has a circular centre with every row being a different stitch, this is then squared off to create a stunning throw/blanket. Ideal for home, camper van or picnic!!
Shop for yay retro crochet throws and blankets now Are you looking for a teachers gift and love crochet? Why not buy one of yay retro's lovely crochet mandalas?
These hang on the wall, but can also be used as a pot stand in the kitchen - they are double sided or as a doily anywhere in the house to protect surfaces from scratching. Find out more here. These are created in 100% cotton thread and are of my own design, so you know they will be unique!
At the moment I'm occasionally making some little Granny Square crochet blankets in between making crochet shawls. Making a blanket out of squares takes time and patience, and I used to make these one square at a time, tying off and weaving in the ends as I went and then slowly sewing them together.
This was a very laborious way of doing things, and I quickly realised from other crocheters I saw online that there was a much more productive way of making a crochet blanket. Obviously, a detailed squared blanket is never going to be a fast paced affair, and nor should it be as care needs to be taken to make sure it is securely made and that the colour placement works well. Also, it's a joy to take the time to notice how the colours work together and to see it take shape. However there are ways to make your work flow more quickly.
How can I make a Crochet Granny Square Blanket More Quickly?
A good place to start is to plan ahead - work out how large you want to make your blanket and determine how many squares you will need overall. Simply make up a square, measure it and work out how many you will need for your blanket size.
You may wish to draw out a simple plan on graph paper to decide on your colour placement and how many of each square you'll need.
Now begin by making all the centres at once. Your fingers will quickly work the pattern from muscle memory, repeating the simple pattern with ease and in no time you'll have all the centres done, inspiring you to get on to the next stage.
At the end of this stage, tie off and weave in the ends neatly ready for all the second rows. If you don't those long ends can slow you down as you work on the small centres.
Now make all the second rows. You can see mine in the bottom of this photo.
Sort your circles into piles, so you know which ones need which colours for your third rows. This makes things much faster as you don't have to think as you make them. At this stage don't tie off or weave in any ends, this keeps the pattern in your mind and keeps things flowing. Now lay the Granny Squares out to make sure you have the correct amount.
The next job is to tie off and weave in the ends all at once. This makes the process much faster and less fiddly. Pop your squares on a blocking board as the ends are sewn in to neaten them before joining. I use a Millward blocking board for this purpose. A neat square is much easier to join than a wobbly one!
Now you are ready for joining...I now mainly use the join-as-you-go method where you crochet your final round on each square, joining them to previous squares as you work. (There are a lot of crocheters who can show you how on YouTube, Bella Coco and the Patchwork Heart are just two.) Here is my current work in progress. This will be washed and blocked when complete to make sure it lies flat. Keep an eye out for the final blanket photo on this post when it's done! Check out my crochet blankets for sale here.