I have found myself being asked to run some small, beginner crochet classes for people who have ‘always wanted to learn!’
Crochet is one of those crafts that is reallllly hard to learn without specialised help. It’s one thing to watch a tutorial showing you how to hold the yarn, and it’s quite another to be shown personally (or on video – thanks COVID!) and to be able to ask questions in real time.
Following my latest class, I put together a list of tips that will make your life as a beginner crochet master in the making much easier.
I have some recommendations here for beginners: Crochet for Beginners list on Amazon
** Disclaimer: I may earn a small commission on any purchases you make from my recommended products. This allows me to continue generating free content for my audience. There is no obligation to follow through on the purchase, however I will appreciate it if you do 😊
The world of yarn really is infinite. There are generally two main categories:
Most patterns will tell you the recommended yarn to use as well as the amount of yarn / meterage you’ll need and the recommended hook size to use.
I’d also recommend finding a secret storage spot for your yarn stash which will grow without you realising it. You’ll never have the right yarn for a project or you’ll see the most beautiful 4 ply sock yarn and buy it before realising you can’t make socks to save your life (that’s me!) but you’ll get it anyway because it’s SO PRETTY! Just wait… you’ll see what I mean soon mwahhaaa 🙂
I use bobby pins for my stitch markers. You can also find purpose made plastic clips online or cute custom-made clips from boutique craft stores. I haven’t found anything that I like more than my trusty bobby pins, but they can get in the way as they are much longer than the average stitch marker.
Think of a sewing needle on steroids. You need to have the hole big enough for yarn to get through easily. Buy a few of these, they’re easy to lose down the side of the couch, never to return.
Any sharp scissors will do. Make them ugly and small so your family don’t steal them for cutting open icy poles…
HOW TO CROCHET FOR BEGINNERS – The Crochet Crowd
HOW TO CROCHET FOR ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS – Bella Coco Crochet
LEFT HANDED BEGINNERS – Bella Coco Crochet
When you have completed a few square-ish projects e.g. scarves, blankets etc. and you feel like you’re ready to go to the next step and tackle circles, take a look at this video:
Magic Circles (for starting your rounds) – The Crochet Crowd
How to crochet a flat circle – Bella Coco
How to increase and decrease to make Amigurumi (soft toys) – Knit Grit
Don’t forget to like my Instagram page and send me any questions you have so I can keep track of your progress and help you out when you’re stuck!
Ripghan von Rainbow. Catchy name, yes?
You may come to notice that I rarely come up with my own ideas. It’s true. I’m pretty much a total fraud when it comes to originality. I have none. Zero. Zip. Zilch.
I LOVE looking at other creators wonderful ideas that they have been able to make a reality and having a crack at them myself and I will always do my best to credit the person I (erhem) borrowed the idea/pattern/recipe from.
The need to do a rainbow ripple blanket came for me when I was facebook stalking The Patchwork Heart. Heather is everything I want to be in a crocheter (is that even a word?!). I just want to be her. It’s like everytime I see a pattern or a finished item on facey or online, she’s done it or posted about it.
I saw that Heather had done a version of Attic24’s Neat Ripple Pattern and I loved it. So I went to my local Spotlight and picked up 2 balls of each colour and 4 balls of white. I had no idea how much I’d need because I hadn’t read the pattern as yet, I just wanted to get started!
I started and unpicked quite a number of times. This was my first chevron attempt and it took a while for the pattern to sink in. I’m sure you know the feeling.
I found that this blanket really came together quickly, probaly because I was changing colours every two rows. I used 4 sets of colours to complete my blanket and it reaches from just under my arms to over my toes.
For the boarder, I single crocheted all the way around the outside and then on the second way around I chained 5 into every third sc. On the third way around, in each space I did: single, half double, double, half double & single and that gave me the scalloped edging.
Let it be known that I made this up as I went and while I’m sure someone came up with this boarder, I just went with whatever was in my head!
All up I estimate it cost me about $30.00 and 20 hours to make this blanket. You could probably knock it over faster if you are able to crochet for longer periods of time but this was a task that I done at the end of each night after the kidlets went to bed.
I’d love to see if anyone else has attempted this pattern. Post your pictures or send me the links to your pages. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try my best to answer them xo
I haven’t been making a lot of cakes recently. I’m a fair to average decorator and for me they can be quite labour intensive. I do it because I love it (most of the time) and I love the people I make these cakes for (most of the time ;)).
I started baking cakes as far back as I can remember. The first one that stands out is when I was about 8 years old and my mum let me make my brothers birthday cake.
Baking has always come very easy to me. Just like others have a head for math or building, I’m a baker. I find it soothing and relaxing to mix the ingredients, let it cook and then you’re done. Its different to cooking dinner and stuff like that. Not as hectic. Sounds crazy, right?!
Anywho, I had a friend ask me to make her son a monsters inc. themed cake. After a bit of back and forth we decided it would be Sully and pretty much whatever i wanted to do, she let me have free reign. Dont you love it when that happens?!
So I did what I normally do and Google for inspiration. A lot of the cakes had furry like icing and I thought, I could give that a go!
So once I had baked my chocolate mud cake, ganached it and placed it on a covered base board, I set upon making the dark teal and purple buttercream.
I made up a batch of buttercream icing (recipe below) and split it into 2 bowls. As I only needed a fraction of the icing for the purple, I split it 1/4 for purple & 3/4 for dark teal.
To get the colours I needed I used a mixture of colours. The primary colour is what I used for the base and I added the secondary colour to make the base colour a bit deeper. Just be careful when adding the second colour, you dont want to over power the base colour.
Americolour 165 Electric Purple (Primary)
Americolour 118 Burgandy (secondary colour)
Wilton Teal/Turquesa paste (primary)
Americolour 102 Royal Blue (secondary colour)
Using Wilton tip 233 (you can find it here) I first piped the purple then the teal.
It took a lot longer than I expected but it was quite easy. Just be sure to have a few mini breaks and flex that piping hand!
I made the horns out of Satin Ice gum paste with a bit of tylose added to it. Tylose is an additive that will make your gumpaste dry harder. Its particularly useful with the satin ice brand of gum paste as it can be still quite soft weeks later, especially when making thicker models such as horns or shoe heels.
I wasn’t too fussed about making these horns perfect, they are not supposed to be. I just needed to get them in the right shape and then using the back of a butter knife I scored lines around the circumference of the horns.
I used wooden skewers cut in half to attach them to the cake!
This cake turned out even better than I thought it would and my friend was very happy with it as well.
1kg of icing mixture/ powdered sugar
400g/1lb butter @ room temp, splash of milk
2 tablespoons of vanilla essence
So one of my favorite go to desserts is the chocolate ganache slice. I’m not sure if you can really call it a slice, but i guess it does have a biscuit base, so lets just go with that shall we?
Many, (MANY!) moons ago, I worked in the hospitality scene. I learned a thing or two in the kitchen from those stints ill tell you! But the most rewarding of gifts was a lovely apprentice chef who made a version of this for the weekly dessert. With a few modifications its been the easiest and universally loved dessert that comes out of my kitchen.
If I make it for work/friends/to sell, its mandatory that I make enough to have left overs. Its happened before where I was foolish enough not to make a second one… I’m still surprised they are letting me live in the house.
Anywho, I digress. If you have a spare 15 minutes, you can whip up this dark chocolatey goodness of sin. The hardest part is waiting for it to set!
Here is the recipie with all you need to get this done. I will give you instructions for making your ganache in the microwave, but if you prefer a double boiler, you can do that as well. I find that the microwave is quicker, and that’s pretty much the only reason I use it. I hate wasting time!
Tools of the trade
A medium size slice tray
Microwave safe bowl (or 2 of them if you make your ganache in the microwave)
Double boiler (if you make your ganache on the stovetop).
800gm dark chocolate buttons
2 x packets of Arnotts Marie or chocolate ripple biscuits. (I personally like the Marie, but whatever you like…)
Make it work!
Line slice tray with baking paper.
Preheat oven to 150°C.
Cut butter into cubes and, in 20 second bursts, melt in microwave.
Grind/smash/break up your biscuits. Have a mixture of big and small pieces if you like.
Mix melted butter and biscuit pieces together until well combined and you dont have any dry bits of mixture straggling round the bottom of the bowl.
Press biscuit mixture firmly into the tray using the spatula and put aside.
Put your chocolate broken into small pieces into the microwave safe bowl and cover with cream. Give it a bit of a shake so that the cream settles around the chocolate. Make sure that the all the chocolate on the top of the bowl has a had cream poured over it. This is so that the chocolate doesnt burn when heating.
Put it in the microwave for 1 minute bursts stirring at each interval. You will notice at about minute 3 that its quite on the way to melting, so get your wisk and combine it as much as you can. If you still have lumps, give it another 30 seconds and wisk again. Repeat until you have smooth, glossy ganache. TIP: we only want to combine the cream and chocolate, not whip it, so be gentle!
Once you’re happy that your ganache is mixed, pour it over the base.
Refridgerate for an hour or so until its set.
I like to serve it in squares about 5cm x 5cm with a dollop of cream.
Happy eating xo