Sunday, 9 April 2017

Yarn Stories - The Circus Series Range,hand dyed yarn!

So, I'm ready to share some exciting news! 

Introducing The Circus from  myYARN STORIES range.  I will be releasing a new yarn every month! 

To purchase this yarn, click on the link  Lu Douglas Designs, Etsy

Yarn Stories, April

At last, it's happened!  The yarn is dried, the Circus tent is up and ready for business!  It’s been so much fun designing the yarn and just as exciting creating the accompanying art to advertise it! Look out on Instagram for some fun videos and photos!

The Story
To me, everything has a story, even if it is tracing the history of the yarn  or learning about the methods of dyeing from ancient times. I enjoy creating work for exhibitions in clay, paper and print and making stories about them, so why not do the same with yarn??

I fell in love with Lotus Yarns (  The New Sock and the Aran Cashmere blends are my choice because they are silky soft and knit and crochet up well. (*** Note that the Aran is 8ply (DK) not 10ply in the lotus Yarn range)

 Since socks are my passion,  THE CIRCUS Series  is fingering weight, hand dyed in Australia and ready to send all over the world!  Yes, postage is ridiculous everywhere  but there's a BONUS:

               You will receive one of my stitchmarkers or zipper pulls for your project bag FREE! (value $8.00)  with every skein of yarn purchased (One per order) for the duration of 2017, and there might just be another little surprise in there as well…J

 The Circus Range has one side dyed with bands of colour while the other is speckled – oh how I have grown to love speckled yarn!!!!!!!!!!  

I hope you find exciting ways to use my limited edition, hand dyed yarn,  The Circus.   Please use the hashtags   #yarnstories  #thecircusseries  and tag me @wildaboutyarn  for any of your posts on Instagram or Facebook.   Socks were  first on my list, what will be on yours – socks for you, socks for a family member, a hand knitted toy, a shawl?? 
 I can’t wait to see! 

Some great free sock patterns are:
Hermoine’s everyday  socks – Erica Leuder   (CUFF DOWN)
Monkey Socks - Cookie A  (CUFF DOWN)
Vanilla Sock -Mary Lucas (TOE UP)

Happy Circus days!

Lu x

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Favourite things of 2016

Hello November
where did the year go? 

The other day, I sat and wrote down all the projects that were my favourites for 2016.  Socks, dyeing, flowers, little bejewelled blankets...too many to include here!  I think you all know that knitting socks is one of my favourite things to's theraputic for me and now that I've gotten my formatting down, I can do it without a pattern.  You could too if you tried.
(Free tips on knitting socks here...☺
This is Secret Garden yarn, gifted to me by the lovely Connie  who has just uploaded a whole new batch of delicious yarns!

(Find these beautiful yarns here...Chile Knitz yarns

I fell in love with this Regis Thelma colourway  - this is the basic sock pattern
Hermione socks  in Kaleidoscopeali Paintbox 7 yarn

 I wanted ankle socks and Rosecity Rollers  (Find them here...seemed perfect, 
quick to make and are so cute.    (I used a Madeline Tosh  - light pink - and  a multi coloured sock yarn from Spotlight for the toes and cuff.)

Nature featured in many of my projects this year whether it was in dyeing or prints.   I travelled extensively throughout Queensland this year teaching workshops. It's my passion and seeing the achievements of all those who attended is just one of the rewards of being able to share my knowledge and skills. At last count, there were more than 120 participants  who took part in my classes this year. A huge thank you to everyone for the support and creative fun we had.

Sock yarn dyed with avocado pits/skins and wattle
DYEING yarn and paper were part of some of the workshops.  Dyeing is easy to achieve for beginners but the process  always offers a uniqueness;  there is some ofthe unknown in how it turns out which makes it  exciting.

Are you like I am & want to knit every skein you dye just to see what colour pattern emerges? Alas, some fly out the door to other homes before there's a chance but there's always the thrill of seeing the variations once the skein is dried and caked up.  Gathering plants in season ensures I achieve the colours I want so keep that in mind. (Freeze the leaves and flowers for later use.)

You don't need to use plants to achieve dyes.  The yarn on the left has been dyed with food colouring and yes, it's permanent.  In the 3rd issue of  Wild About Yarn Magazine (still available here Wild About Yarn issue 3, PDF download only ) there is a yarn dyeing tutorial using food colouring showing how easy it is for anyone.  The magazine also has an interview with the very generous Heike Gittens of Madewithloops  and did you know Heike and Claudia  now have a new book available? (Find it here A Little Book of Shawls).  

 Dyeing with plants is a matter of science and sometimes serendipity even when you follow all the rules!  Water quality effects the ph balance too, so what might have been purple can turn out brown.  I teach yarn and fabric dyeing workshops so if you are interested in a workshop, contact me for details. ( 
Announcement: Later this year, my book  - The Magic of Microwave Dyeing - will be published! 


One of the most popular photos this year has been my knitted and crocheted flower arrangements. I created my own secret garden.
We have the best of both worlds today - the colours of our yarn choices are innumerable and the internet brings many designs and tutorials for us to try.   I love that more designers are creating wearable art and home decor that fits in well in contemporary times.  And I look forward to discovering more creative ways to display and arrange yarn projects.  Pinterest (Lu Douglas Pinterest crochet)
Pinterest is nothing short of magic.

Montages are compact moments of  personal history and every month, I prepare one. It reminds me of just what I've achieved and I don't mind telling you that I sometimes surprise myself.
(top right) current Scrappy socks   (bottom left) daisy granny squares for a blanket
                               (bottom right) basket made using foraged plants
Clockwise from top left:  I called this my Bijoux Blanket and have been working on it with my multi talented friend, Teresa Mercer, from Montana (find her crocheted items and jewellery here  Mercer Made)  This tiny block is a universal one but how delightful to create a join-as-you-go project when the larger ones get to be overwhelming. (You could join us too. See below for the method and hashtag it   #bijouxblanket on Instagram. Tag me please @wildaboutyarn)  
Thank you Alice (Instagram @alicebyday)  for the inspirational photo. 
The Bijoux Blanket is a great way to use up left overs for a runner or a small throw; make it into a bag and line it, or add more blocks to the design to create a shawl.  So many possibilities.

Magic ring. (UK TERMS) 
ch3, 2tr into ring, *ch3, 3tr into ring, repeat twice more from *, slst into the 3rd ch of the beg ch3.  Done. :-) 
For subsequent motifs, use join-as-you-go method at the ch3 section by doing ch1, slst into the corner of the first motif, ch1, continue with 3tr into the ring, Repeat this at the next corner and at corners where the motifs meet.   Work in rows. 

 Remember to put aside a little time each day for you...and enjoy November before the rush of Christmas begins.

Happy stitching,

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Wild about Yarn Magazine, Issue 3 Autumn, the dyeing issue

Wild About Yarn Magazine, issue 3, Autumn - the dyeing issue

Issue 3, Autumn, a magazine all about yarn 

                    The mesmerising mandalas on the cover belong to the lovely Sandra Eng  (instagram - @mobiusgirl)  of Minnesota.   Sandra is our featured maker and creator.  She makes and creates some of the most intricate circles of crochet and the results speak for themselves! 

Heike Gittins  (Instagram - @madewithloops) from the United Kingdom knits exquisite designs, so feminine and professionally made.  You can create these designs too if you go to her website.  You can also read about the magazine on her blog here. Made with Loops There are several free patterns in both crochet and knitting, and some exquisite knitted designs to purchase here . Take a look at her latest ventures with Claudia Baumann-Ruegg in Germany. Thank you, Claudia, for announcing the release of Issue 3 on your blog 
Claudia's blog

Heike has generously provided two crochet patterns in the magazine but I won't spoil it by showing you those.  :-) 

Ellie Beck lives in the rainforest in a house that she and her husband, Sam, have been building for the last 5 years. She manages to create the most beautiful yarns and fabrics by naturally dyeing them with nature's bounty.  Read about her life in the slow-lane and how she balances this and family.  

Since this is the dyeing issue, you will find a brief history of dyeing and a tutorial for those who wish to dye their own yarn. As I wrote - if you can cook spaghetti, you can dye yarn! 

Garter stitch knitting with children
If you happen to teach children knitting, there's an article on pointers to get them started. 

I'm so proud of this issue. It's a PDF download which diverts from the 'book in the hand' magazine I initially conceptualised, but rising postage costs, time taken for some to reach their destination (2 months to some countries!!!) and some getting 'lost' in the mail brought this about.  I hope you will purchase an issue and see for yourself how inspiring yarn in the hands of  our three creatives can be.  

Happy Yarning,
Lu x

Link to Etsy to see the new issue of Wild About Yarn Issue 3, Autumn link

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Wild About Yarn Magazine, Issue 2, Summer - The Mindful issue

 Wild about Yarn Magazine - The Mindful Issue
Issue 2, Summer, out now!

Click here to Order it on Etsy: Wild About Yarn Magazine Issue 2!!

 This the Mindful Issue, arriving just in time to whisper in our ears to slow down and take some time out. It's going to be a wonderful Christmas, don't you think?

(P.S. if you missed Issue 1, it's available at a discount  on Etsy here: Wild About Yarn Magazine 1 and 2)

The magazine is ready to ship and there are three interviews, patterns, a recipe of course, and free stuff too!  You'll receive a free PDF downloadable pattern for the handy Circles of Summer Pouch  (right)  that goes with the gorgeous bag in my favourite colours!

The amazing and generous Marianne Dekkers-Roos  from the Netherlands is our featured creator and the pages are just bursting with  the colour and of her designs!  Marianne comes from a long line or matriarchal creatives on both sides of the family and shares some poignant moments with us.

The magazine has a mandala to colour in, a delicious recipe for cute cupcakes and a link to a free crocheted mandala online!

The Tassel for the bag and pouch are both on the blog and free for everyone. I  love the embellished top using buttonhole stitch - it's so easy to do and finishes the tassel beautifully!

Did you miss the first issue?  Don't's discounted and available on Etsy with the current issue (go to the shop here  )

We love to see where you read your magazine so send us photos on Instagram with the hashtag #wildaboutyarnmag or #waymindfulness (wild about yarn mindfulness) and we'll feature some of these in the next magazine!

Have a happy start to December and take some time  for you.

Happy Yarning,
Lu x

Your pouch pattern will arrive in your email inbox once you have ordered..

Click here  Tassel Time tutorial for the link

This gorgeous Circles of Summer Bag pattern is in Issue 2...with its pompom border and tassels 


Tassel Time Tutorial

Tassel Time TUTORIAL 

the tassel for Circles of Summer Bag and Pouch

                   Here is a free tassel tutorial.  You do not need to do the decorative  netting across the top. The tassel will still be functional as it is.

3m of one colour or 1.5 m of two colours.
Tapestry needle, scissors 
Cardboard 12cm x 5cm                                                                                             

1. Cut yarn 1.5 metres in two colours (or 3m of one colour) for the bag.  (Cut the fringe shorter for the pouch.)
2.  Make a twisted cord.   (A great tutorial can be found here Twisted cord Tutorial) 

**Twisted cord instructions – take 1 metre of yarn. Fold it in half and tie the two ends together in a knot.
Put both loops over the index fingers of both hands. Keep the tension on the yarn and twist the cord in opposite directions until it starts to get tight.  To test if it’s ready to twist, release the yarn a little.  Does it twist madly on itself?  It’s ready if it does. If not, keep twisting in opposite directions.  You might like to hold the cord it in the middle before letting go gently.  When you let it go, it will twist on itself into a cord.    

(i) Attach the twisted cord with a larks head knot
3. Wrap around a piece of cardboard 15cm x 5cm.  (photo i)
4. Loop the twisted cord under the top of folded tassel and make a larks head knot to secure it.     Cut the bottom edge of the tassel on the cardboard.                                         
5. Wrap and tie a 30cm piece of yarn 3cm from folded top of the tassel. This is the BAND.  Secure with a knot and then hide the loose end back inside the tassel.     

The embellished top starts at the wrapped band

Decorative top

Attach yarn to the wrapped band. 

1. Thread up a metre of yarn onto a tapestry needle. Turn your tassel upside down to start the decorative top by attaching the yarn to the tied skirt.
2. Loop all around the skirt band with buttonhole stitch as shown to the right.

3. Continue doing buttonhole stitch.  As the tassel belly gets narrower, make the loops a little tighter.  Secure the end of the yarn inside the tassel.   

L. Douglas  ©2015  

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Bunny jacket and bunny brooch - free pattern

Blossom with her brooch and Charlotte, the ladybird, hitching a ride  

A jacket and a brooch for someone special...

Yay!!  Now Blossom is getting a wardrobe!   I have designed a sweet jacket and brooch - a bunny of course!   So easy to make. The brooch would be perfect for a child .   
(Charlotte the ladybird brooch can be found as a free pattern on the blog)

In the weeks leading up to Easter, I designed a most cute bunny
 (find it here ) but as Autumn arrived, I thought it was time to make a jacket for Blossom! And what better than a mini bunny brooch to put on the jacket! Take a look...

The bunny brooch is a cute pin for a child too...

Blossom seems happy with her jacket

The Granny hexagon (in fact ANY hexagon) is one of my favourite blocks to make.  It’s so easy and has many applications.  It also reminds me of a time past, when scrap blankets were a necessity. During hard times, the granny square was used widely by even the most inexperienced of crocheters (is there such a word -crocheters?). 

Bunny Brooch

3.00mm hook,  grey yarn ( 4ply) (yarn from Spotlight) 
Magic ring
1ch (does not count as a stitch)
1. 6dc into the ring, slst into the first dc.
2. 2dc in each dc all round.  (12sts) slst into the first dc.
3. *2dc, 1dc, in next dc, Repeat from * all round (18st)
4,5.  Dc in every stitch. (stuff the  head lightly)
6.  1dc, dc2tog, repeat all round (12sts)
7.  dc2tog all round
8. dc2tog again all round.  Gather up the last three sts  by running the yarn through them.  Secure inside the head.

EARS  (make two)
 Slst the yarn into the side of the head and pick up 4 sts.
1. ch1, dc aross the 4 sts. Turn.
2.  ch1, dc across 4 sts.
3. dc2tog, dc across 2 sts.
4. dc2tog, dc across 2st
5. dc across two sts.
6. dc2tog.
Fasten off and weave the loose tail into the ear and into the head. 
Repeat for the other side.
Black yarn – thread the yarn into a needle.   Stitch straight stitches for the nose and eyes, and then do a stitch for the mouth.   Lose the thread in the head and cut it off. 
Sew a brooch pin on to the back of the head using sewing cotton.  

Blossom Bunny jacket

 Yarn – 4ply, 3.0mm hook, tapestry needle, button.
Make two squares of five rows following the pattern as shown in the diagram.   (if your tension is tight, make another row all round each square. )

1. Magic ring, 3c h, 2tr, 1ch.  2tr into the ring, 1ch, *3tr, 1ch, repeat four more times.
2.  Slst into the  top of the beg 3ch, then slipstitch into the next three stitches,  the third  slst will be in the ch space.   (There will be four slipped stitches  at the beginning of each row.)   3ch, 2tr, 1ch, *3tr, 1ch into the next ch space, Repeat from * all round.   Sl st into the next four stitches ending in the 1ch space.  Slst into the top of the beg 3ch, then slipstitch into the next three stitches, the third one ending in the next ch space.  
3. In this row, you are going to do the same 3ch to start, then 2tr, 1ch, 3tr in the same 1ch space, then
    *3tr, 1ch in the next ch space, 3tr, 1ch, 3tr in the next ch space. Repeat from * all round alternating a 3tr, 1ch, 3tr 1ch,  and 3tr, 1ch in the 1ch spaces.  Slip stitch into the next four stitches.
4. This time, you will start as usual 3ch in place of the treble, 2tr,1ch, 3tr in the same space,  *3tr, 1ch, 3tr, 1ch in the next ch space,  3tr, 1ch in the next chain space then 3tr 1ch in the next ch space. Repeat all round alternating with one 3,1,3, then two 3,1.  Slip stitch into the next four stitches.
5.  3ch start, 2tr, 1ch, 3tr, 1ch in the first chain space.   See the diagram.
End by slip stitching into the 3rd ch of the beginning 3ch.
Stitch two squares together along one edge. This is the back seam. (figure I page 3)
Then fold the bottom corners up to make the right angle.

                                   Stitch shoulders for 8cms  

SLEEVE HEM     (figure II)
Attach yarn to the seam of the sleeve.  Dc around the hem of the sleeve in this pattern:
*Dc, dc, (dc, 3ch, dc) in the same place, repeat all round so you get the picot edge.  Slst into the first dc. Fasten off thread.

Bottom hem
Attach yarn to the bottom of the left side front, crochet all the way around the bottom hem and back to the right hand side doing the same pattern:
 ch1, dc in every stitch.   Slst into the first  ch.  Fasten off thread.

Front bands  (Figure III)
Attach yarn to the neck of the left front opening, D.   Ch1, dc in every stitch from neck to hem (to C) .  Turn, ch1, dc all the way back, turn, ch1, dc all the way along. Fasten off.
Repeat for the right side front, begin at the neck, B, ch1 and dc all the way to A.  When you have completed three rows, and you are at the neck again, make 6 chain, dc in the same place as the last dc, fasten off. This will be the button loop.
Sew button on.

It's time to get back to crocheting my poncho, the baby blanket and those other distracting motifs I keep  designing!   

Happy yarns!
Lu x

Please respect copyright.  Do not put this pattern on your website.  If you wish to show your finished item, please link back to Ravelry or the blog.