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Crochet Basics a series of Photo Tutorials

Crochet Basics: Half Double Crochet Stitch (US) Photo Tutorial

Crochet Basics a series of Photo TutorialsWelcome to the fourth in my Crochet Basics series of photo tutorials.

I started the series months ago and never meant to leave it this long before continuing, but unfortunately life got a little crazy for a while and I just didn’t have time to edit the photos properly.

But I’ve finally caught up on myself and am ready to bring you this next tutorial for the Half Double Crochet, usually abbreviated to hdc in patterns.

As with the previous tutorial, please note that this series uses the US terminology of stitches and so if you are using UK terminology this is in fact a Half Treble Crochet Stitch (htr).

It is assumed for the purposes of this tutorial that you already know how to work a chain stitch and a single crochet stitch. If not, you can check out my other tutorials by clicking on the Crafts and Tutorials tab at the top of the page.

If the row you want to work is the first one after your starting chain, then you will work your first stitch into the third chain from your hook. Any other row of half double crochet stitches you work should begin with two chain stitches (which count as your first half double stitch for that row).

Crochet Basics Half Double Crochet (US) Stitch Photo Tutorial

Crochet Basics Half Double Crochet Stitch Photo Tutorial

Crochet Basics Half Double Crochet Stitch Photo TutorialCrochet Basics Half Double Crochet Stitch Photo Tutorial

And that’s it!

You can now go back to Step One and repeat the steps until you reach the end of your row. Turn your work, create 2 chain stitches to form the equivalent of a Half Double Crochet, and continue repeating Steps One to Four along the next row.

Have Fun… I’ll be back soon with the tutorial for Double Crochet Stitch,


Crochet Basics: Single Crochet Stitch (US) Photo Tutorial

Family Patch Crochet Basics

Welcome to the third tutorial in my Crochet Basics series of photo tutorials.

Today’s tutorial brings me to a point where I have to make a decision – do I use UK or US terminology?

As I’m a UK blogger you’d think I’d use UK terminology, but to be honest I learnt using US terminology as that is what I came across the most in online tutorials. And so I’m going to go with that.

It is confusing that we have different terms for the same stitches, and you always need to make sure you know which terminology a pattern uses before starting as otherwise you could end up doing it all wrong.

I don’t want to confuse you too much – I’ll give you more information on the different terms in a later post – but for now just know that I am using US terminology throughout my series and if you are using UK terminology then this tutorial is for the Double Crochet Stitch.

So… now we’ve cleared that up (I hope) we can get on with the tutorial – enjoy!

Family Patch Tutorial Single Crochet Step One

Family Patch Tutorial Single Crochet Step Two

Family Patch Tutorial Single Crochet Step Three

Family Patch Tutorial Single Crochet Step Four

Family Patch Tutorial Single Crochet Step Five

Family Patch Tutorial Single Crochet Step Six

Family Patch Tutorial Single Crochet Step Seven

Congratulations! You now have all the skills to begin practising making some basic squares. Practising squares helps you learn how you work (some people work more tightly than others – I often have to work slightly differently to a pattern because my tension is ‘off’, but that’s okay because I know this about myself now!)

Try starting with a slip knot, then creating 20 chain stitches, and then work for as many rows as it takes in single crochet to create a square. See how you get on… it may be slow progress to begin with but the more you practice the quicker you will get.

I’ll be back soon to show you how to do a half double crochet stitch.

This blog entry is my submission to the Deramores Blog Awards 2014. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. 

Crochet Basics: Chain Stitch – a Photo Tutorial

Family Patch Crochet Basics

Following on from my first Crochet Basics Tutorial (The Slip Knot), here is my step-by-step guide to the Chain Stitch.

Have fun!

Family Patch Tutorial Chain Stitch Step One

Family Patch Tutorial Chain Stitch Step Two

Family Patch Tutorial Chain Stitch Step Three

Family Patch Tutorial Chain Stitch Step Four

And that's it, folks – the most basic of basic crochet stitches and you are now well on your way to becoming a crochet addict!

Check back again soon, my next tutorial is the Single Crochet (US terminology) or Double Crochet (UK terminology) Stitch. I know this sounds daunting and confusing, but it really isn't – I shall explain more when we get to it.

Crochet Basics: The Slip Knot – a photo tutorial

Family Patch Crochet Basics

I've been thinking about creating a series of photo tutorials of the basic crochet stitches for quite some time now. In 2013 I made some videos for iVillage.co.uk but have wanted to do something different for my blog and this seemed like the best way to share the basics with you all.

I taught myself to crochet using online tutorials and so I wanted to pass this on by creating my own series of the things I have found most valuable when starting out in crochet (or, in fact, when trying to develop the skills you already have). 

And so after a fun session yesterday with my camera and tripod, I have created the first of my tutorials, which I hope will become part of a  much bigger series – Crochet Basics!

Today's tutorial is the slip knot. It won't get you crocheting straight away – you'll need the next two tutorials (chain stitch and single/double crochet stitch) to start making an actual item. But this is the first thing you need to know before you can start, so it's where I shall begin.

Family Patch Slip Knot Tutorial Step One

Family Patch Tutorial Slip Knot Step Two

Family Patch Tutorial Slip Knot Step Three

Family Patch Tutorial Slip Knot Step Four

And that's all there is to it! Congratulations, you've taken the first step towards learning how to crochet. 

Join me again soon for my chain stitch tutorial.

Endometriosis Awareness: free crochet pattern and giveaway!

Good Morning!

Today I have a real treat for you. My “crochet guru” Jen has kindly created a very special crochet pattern that I’m sure you’ll love as much as I do.

I’ll let Jen explain the pattern herself, but please don’t just “skip” this post if you’re not a crocheter. The pattern is actually remarkably simple once you understand the basics and I shall be having a go at it myself once I get some yellow yarn. And even if you are absolutely certain you’ll never pick up a crochet hook, you could still get a hold of the end product, courtesy of Jen’s generosity and a little giveaway we have planned. So read on and all will be revealed…

I’ve known Amanda since she was a teenager. It seems pretty incredible now that the only time we actually met in person was a luncheon in Glastonbury in 2006.


The world of online community brings people together in a way they never could before. Where else could the inquiring mind of a middle aged American woman with a family meet the inquiring mind of an English university student under circumstances in which they become friends? Seriously, I ask you?! It’s an amazing thing, and even more amazing now that she is married (hi Tim!) and expecting a son soon. (I, on the other hand, am still a middle aged American woman!)

But I digress! It’s not only inquiring minds that Amanda and I share, we share a love for crafting. Between us, we’ve shared ideas, recipes, patterns and tips. I’ve used her as an excuse to try my hand at projects like the beaded Dream Tree…

Aventurine tree small

…the crocheted cabled Tree of Life afghan…

…and to create the best mix cd of love songs EVER.

I’ve felt helpless though in sharing her journey through endometriosis. While I could offer moral support, it upset me to see the physical, emotional and mental pain it’s brought to her over the years. We’ve all felt it, wanting to fix something for someone who is suffering… it’s very difficult to feel helpless isn’t it?

Normally when I am feeling helpless, I practice ‘random acts of kindness’ and they help me feel more connected not only to the ‘family of man’, but to my own priorities. I help the old woman at the grocery to reach her favorite jam on the top shelf (I’m tall, it happens). I pick up someone’s tab at a restaurant (very rewarding, you should try it!). I spend a day picking up trash at the lake (you’d be surprised how other people join in). These little extensions of myself fill me up in a way nothing else can.

Then, Amanda had an idea! Her idea is to combine my love of crafting, and crocheting in particular, with the cause of endo awareness. Brilliant! So, here we are… I created this hot water bottle cozy with a yellow awareness ribbon, in hopes it will not only bring awareness but comfort to a woman in pain.

Ribbon Cozy2 small

The exact same pattern can also be used to make a tote bag, and I’ve included a pattern for a small pocket purse for carrying personal items as well (because you know we all do!).

Ribbon pocket small

When Amanda asked me about it, I spent a couple of days simmering with ideas. I decided on this “illusion crochet” ribbon not only because it’s cool, but because it is symbolic of hidden issues, and the work so many are doing to bring them to light. If you look at it one way, it’s simply striped…

Ribbon Tote1 small

but change your perspective a little and the ribbon appears.

Ribbon Tote2 small

You can find the free pattern here. I wrote it with beginner crocheters in mind so don’t let the look intimidate you if it is a new technique. If you get stuck you can reach me through my blog with questions.

We’ve also come up with a way for you to win this one from me! (Amanda will fill in the details)

The process of creating these items reminds me that we don’t have to move mountains to make a difference, we just have to make an effort to share our gifts as they are… when we all come together and contribute in our own way, those mountains will begin to move themselves!

So, do you fancy being in with the chance of winning an awareness tote bag/hot water bottle cozy and purse?  Can you picture yourself receiving all of this in the post?

Ribbon set1 small 


For more information, help or support, please consider visiting the following websites:

Endometriosis UK

SHE Trust UK

“A Box of Treasures”

Good morning all,

Today sees the first of my weekly projects for you to try yourself. It’s a very simple one this week, with not so many “step-by-step” directions but rather more ideas for you to try. I promise that there will be future projects of a more traditional style of instructions for those of you who prefer that, but I thought we would start our journey together with a project that is so simple you can adapt it to suit your own needs and preferences.

So what have I got for you? Well, it’s quite simply a way of taking an old box you don’t know what to do with and turning it into a beautiful keepsake for yourself or as a more permanent way of gift-wrapping. I don’t know about you, but I often think that presents look so nice, all wrapped up, and it is such a shame to rip them open and simply discard the paper (not to mention less than friendly to the environment). I have long been urged to open my presents quicker by those around me, but I do so love the gift wrapping that I cannot bring myself to simply tear into it, and prefer to prise it open at the seams and fold the paper nicely, just in case I can use it again. And that is what has inspired today’s project.

So what did I do? Well, I searched around the house and managed to find several boxes just hanging around, waiting to be used.


There were actually so many boxes I couldn’t fit them all into one picture… so many, in fact, that I didn’t know which one to begin with.  As this is a project for you to try, I shall show you the largest and hardest one first, so that we get that over with. Then you will know that there is an even easier option that you can try further down the page!

Let me take a moment here to clarify that, being me, I chose a box that was not the easiest of things to cover. Half way through I thought “why did I choose this box, this is a nightmare…” and yet, the further I went, the more it came together and before long it was a perfect box for sending a gift in. It didn’t really take that long in the end, and it looks pretty good, don’t you think?


I’m telling you this, not to put you off, but to remind you that even if the box doesn’t come out as “perfectly” as you may have hoped, it will still look amazing and you will still be proud of it.

Anyway, there are several ways you could cover your box. If you are good at measuring things precisely and figuring out the logistics of what piece of paper will end up where if you draw a pattern on the paper, then by all means do it that way. I, however, found it easier to measure each end of the box, add an extra couple of centimetres on to each edge and then cut out those squares to stick on first. A few little nicks in each corner, once the centre part had been stuck on to the box, ensured I had a perfect fit over each end.


After that, I grabbed hold of a new piece of wrapping paper in the same design (to ensure it was big enough to cover the box) and started at the top, sticking each side in turn and rolling the box until it was all covered. I hope this makes sense – imagine what you do with a swiss roll, you start at one end and roll the rest of it round.


As you can see, I continued cutting the paper to the exact size of each side as I went. This meant that I got a really close edge each time and you could do the same, so long as you use relatively small scissors. This worked especially well, because I had given each end that extra couple of centimetres to wrap over the edges, meaning that all I had to do at this point was cut along the box’s edge and you could barely see the seam.

The final step was to find a contrasting design to cover the inside of the box. I then followed the same idea I’d used on the outside – cutting and covering the smaller edges first and then using one big piece of paper to cover the larger part of the box, folding it as I went along. The end result was impressive, and something I am sure any girl would love to receive, especially filled with goodies to pamper herself with!

It really is that simple, and although I cannot give you more direct instructions, I do hope you will have a go at this and let me know how you get on. Of course, you don’t always have to start from scratch like this – I did promise you an easier option, remember. Sometimes you will find a box that is already so pretty you hardly have to do a thing to make it reusable. Take this box, for example:

It is already covered in two beautiful handmade blue papers. I have no idea what originally came in it, but I had an idea of how to reuse it. First,the plastic covering originally in that window space was removed, and a new, complementing piece of paper was put in its place.

Once the new paper was securely fastened in, the box became a brand new box. Such a small piece of work, but a lovely result.

These kinds of boxes are often given with bath-time treats and little bottles of perfume at birthdays and Christmas, so why not try and keep hold of a few next time, so you can re-use them for gift giving, or like me, to keep special memories in.


Yes, that is Tim as a baby, isn’t he gorgeous? Would you like to see some more of the photos I recently liberated from his mum for my own collection? Well, as you asked…

Awwww… I wonder if he’ll kill me for this?

Anyway, back to the project. If you’re really lucky, you may even come across a nice little box you need do nothing to, except fill. It might be a box you were given, or one you find in a charity shop, but if you do, how do you know what to fill it with? Well, here are a few ideas:

  • a selection of someone’s favourite chocolates
  • a “pack of cards” you create, writing a special poem, quotation or special memory on each one
  • a sewing kit, with all the essentials, plus some beautiful buttons and thimbles, to make you smile
  • a handful of shells you collected at the beach, to remind you of summer in the darkest days of winter, or as a gift for someone too old or ill to make it this year
  • a warm scarf you have knitted for a friend who’ll need it
  • a pair of bootees for a newborn baby

The list goes on, and there is no limit to what you can create in this way and that is why I just love this idea and wanted to share it with you all. No longer must you wonder how you are going to wrap that awkward shaped present – simply find a box big enough and make it special.

I used my “ready-made” box to keep a bracelet in, one of my latest designs. This one will not be going up for sale in the shop, however, because I am keeping it as a gift for one of you. All you have to do, to be in with a chance of winning this bracelet, is to leave me a comment, letting me know you are here, how you found me, and what you would like to see here in future (would you like more craft projects to try, updates on our life, recipes, gifts to buy… or something completely different). That’s it! The giveaway will end on Tuesday May 18th at Midnight GMT, with the winner being named on Thursday 20th. Please be sure to leave a link back to your own blog or an email address, so that I can contact you if you are the winner.

And don’t forget, if you do not win, you can still buy jewellery as pretty as this bracelet in my shop, more details of which will be given tomorrow.