Atlanticus by Hooked on Sunshine

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After the absolute ball I had making my Phoenix by Hooked on Sunshine (you can have a look at it here) I was itching to start a new HoS pattern. This time I wanted to make something for my Dad – he loves the ocean so Atlanticus seemed to be the perfect fit, and I had some water/sand coloured yarn in mind that I thought would work well.

I have to admit, after finishing Phoenix, I was feeling pretty confident and dove into Atlanticus head on. This was, uncategorically, a mistake. After 4 – yes FOUR – failed attempts at starting I was ready to give up. I actually started something completely different to convince myself that I could still crochet at all. (On the plus side, I now have another new blankie on the go, but that’s another story!)

I forgot one of the basic laws of crochet – not all yarn will work with every pattern. The yarn I had for Atlanticus, Caron x Pantone, is gloriously soft, squishy and just plain beautiful. And therein lies the problem. It was TOO soft and squishy to show off the stitch definition properly. Add in the fact that it comes in ridiculously tiny little skeins, is quite ‘splitty’, and is a total PITA to join, because it’s so slippery and it’s no wonder that I was ready to hand back my Crochet Card and donate my hooks to someone with more skill.

After walking away from it for a few days I decided to start again, but this time with yarn I had used before and knew would most likely be fine. What a revelation! What had given me so much trouble just a week earlier whipped up in no time at all with the new yarn. Of course, that might be because I’d had so many ‘practice runs’ at it already, but the less said about that the better …

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It was SO great watching this grow after so many failed attempts. I loved how different it looked depending on what colour was on the outside too.

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I alternated colours for each round to begin with, then once we got to the part of the pattern where it starts to square off, I decided to start using wider bands of each colour.

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I ‘ooopsed’ at one point and bought totally the wrong blue yarn, and was going to trek out to take it back but instead decided to introduce a lighter light blue into the design. It added an awesome lift to the overall look of the blanket so it actually turned out to be one of those happy mistakes.

What I used

Atlanticus was created using Marvel 8ply from Spotlight and a 4.5mm aluminium hook (another Dollar Shop cheapy, but so great). Here’s where I learnt another important lesson: if you’re going to switch to a new hook mid-project, make sure they’re both either tapered OR inline hooks – you can’t just interchange the two!

Almost the whole way through the blanket I visited a gorgeous little shop in Bateman’s Bay (NSW) called Whilby Loved – you can find them here on Facebook. I may at this point have gotten sidetracked by their beautiful yarns and selection of crochet hooks … you know how it is! So I bought a new 4.5mm hook. It’s dead sexy, but it’s also inline, whereas my ol’ trusty aluminium one was tapered.

Oh what a huge difference it made – and not in a good way. I don’t know if it was worse because the section I was working on had a lot of Single Crochets and a lot of Front Post crochets in it, but man, did Atlanticus pick up a nasty wave. Sadly, I was crocheting that part in the car on the way back from Bateman’s Bay and so didn’t lay it out flat between rounds like I normally do once a blankie gets to a certain size to make sure it’s all sitting nicely.

You can see the difference between the two types of hook in the photo. I seriously never guessed that it would have made that much difference, especially considering they’re the same size, but there you go.

 

 

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Enter a rather sweary session with our friend Mr Frog, as 3 hours of work (most of it SC) which was otherwise perfect had to get pulled undone and re-crocheted. I’m not saying that I invented entirely new sweary words during that time, but I did get awfully creative with some existing ones. Plus, you have to admit, that this little green tree frog that I found at Mum and Dad’s place is pretty adorable 🙂

Who would I recommend it for?

Once you complete the mandala in the middle Atlanticus is a pretty minimalist pattern that repeats stitch combinations without being a ‘repeat’ pattern (if that makes sense).

The minimalist look makes it perfect for gifting to a male recipient and I’d recommend the pattern for the ambitious beginner who wants to learn a bunch of new stitches and techniques – especially in the centre mandala.

As of March 2020 there is an Atlanticus CAL happening, along with a new compendium and a video ‘fairy’ to make it smooth sailing to get through. Plus – as with all HoS patterns – there’s loads of help and support to be had in the Facebook group.

You can get the pattern and join the video CAL here.

 

12 Point Star Baby Blanket

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I’ve wanted to make a 12 Point Star Blanket for a while now – I’ve seen some beautiful ones in a crochet Facebook group that I’m part of and was inspired by them to have a go at it.

So with a 13-hour road trip and some lovely thick SpotSaver yarn I gave it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was once you get the hang of the repeats and it worked up quite quickly.

I used a combination of a video tutorial by Bella Coco <here> and a written pattern by Celeste Young <here> (largely because the reception in the car was rubbish and the video kept dropping out) so I needed some written instructions. Bella Coco also does a great left-handed 12 point star tutorial, which is awesome if you’re a leftie like me.

For this blanket, which is baby size, I used most of one ball of Spot Saver in yellow and about half a ball each of Spot Saver in Silver and Cream from Spotlight. The cream is kind of more of a just-off-white than it looks in the image below, as you can see from the photo of my completed blanket so it actually all works really well together. Oh, and I used a 5mm hook.

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After a bit of a false start with getting the increase/decrease thing right to make the pointy bits of the star and a small learning curve to slip stitch into the corners before starting a new round (which I’ve never done before) I found this blanket to be a dream to work up.

All in all, if you’ve never made a 12-point star, I highly recommend it! Just count your increases carefully to make sure you don’t add too many in, which will make it buckle.

 

Best Crochet Hooks

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Every crocheter has their favourite tools – part of the fun of the craft is playing with different hook sizes, different yarns and different gadgets and inventions to make it all easier.

Here’s a round up of the best crochet hooks we could find – let us know if you think there’s any that need to be added to the list!

What Are The Best Crochet Hooks?

It goes without saying that your hooks really make or break your projects – a great hooks can make crocheting a breeze, one that catches on the fibres of the yarn, gets ‘sticky’ or just doesn’t fit in your hand properly can make it a nightmare.

Here’s a round up of some of the best rated hooks on Amazon. You’re sure to find some you love on this list! (And just so you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you click through to Amazon from any of these links.)

 

The #1 BESTSELLER Crochet Hooks on Amazon

These hooks have over 1,600 reviews on Amazon and 85% of those are 5 star … something tells me that I need to get myself a set of these. The carry case is pretty cool and there are a whole bunch of neat gadgets included  and the price is pretty amazing to be honest.

 

Clover Armour Crochet Hooks
Everyone I know who has Clover Armour Hooks loves them to bits. They’re tough, well made, have ergonomic grips to help you crochet longer without getting sore hands and are SO pretty! These are definitely on my wish list – they’re a little pricey, but it seems like they’ll be worth every single cent.

 

Clover Armour Hooks – LARGE

For chunky yarn you’re going to need to big hooks and these bad boys are just what you need. The problem with working with really chunky yarn and massive hooks is being able to get a good grip on them – especially if you have small hands like me. Problem solved with this set of large hooks with ergonomic handles!

 

 

Tulip Etimo Crochet Hooks
These hooks look like they mean business! Study black handles and golden polished aluminium hooks that ‘glide through yarn like butter’. People are raving over these babies and it’s easy to see why. I totally need a set of these as well. How many hooks is too many hooks?

 

Knit Picks Wooden Hooks
These. Are. So. Pretty! Apparently they are also really well made and wonderful to work with. Layers of beautifully coloured birch have been crafted into these hooks that are super light and comfortable to use with no rough edges. And did we mention how pretty they are?

Bamboo & Bamboo+Steel Hooks
I do already have a set of bamboo crochet hooks and I’m not going to lie, they’re not my favourite. BUT having checked out the reviews for this set I think I’m going to give it a go. Masses of value and a great range of hook sizes – what more can we ask for? Plus it comes with all the handy little bits and bobs you can see in the photo and that neat carry case to keep it all organised.