{Craft As Therapy} Meet the Moderators – @annelies.leask

craftastherapy annelies I’m so happy to introduce the beautiful and charming Annelies from @annelies.leask  She is one of the newest moderators to #craftastherapy and i am totally in love with her photograpy and varied craft projects. Read on to find about a little more about her:
Why do you knit/crochet/design?
I crochet as it’s become my happy, productive, creative time that I can somehow (just about) manage to do alongside juggling being a stay at home mum to my wonderful, active, autistic 5 year old son and my sweet but cheeky, princess loving 3 year old daughter!
2. What’s your fave project that you’ve made?
I think the blankets I’ve made for my kids are my favourite projects to date. I love the magic that happens when all the granny squares get stitched together and you suddenly go from lots of little pieces of nothing much to a big old cozy blanket of love!
crochet square
3. Besides craft, what are you passionate about?
I love art, design and photography (and terrible action movies). I’m also a big fan of the outdoors and I love getting out and about with my family.
4. Do you have a nickname?
No, that’s probably why I somewhat unimaginatively used my actual name as my Instagram name! My husband is hoping that Yarn-Elise might catch on though!!
 knitting for therapy
5. Tell us why you love @craftastherapy
I love the amazingly creative, supportive and encouraging Craft As Therapy community. Such a lot of love, talent and inspiration.
6.  What’s next on your ‘to make’ list?
There are always too many things on my ‘make list’ probably another blanket (maybe using Tunisian crochet this time), and I would love to try a overlay mandala, a project bag would be nice (if I can decide on a style), and I definitely need an embroidery project too … (The list really is endless)
 embroidered feather
7. What are your dreams for the future.
I’ve always dreamt of owning a little art gallery by the coast. Maybe with a coffee shop attached so I could combine two of my favourite things!
8. Tell us something random that we wouldn’t know about you?
I love building flat pack furniture and I’d happily eat breakfast for every meal of the day!
 flower sketching
9. Share anything else you’d particularly like others to know about you.
I seem to be drawn to calm tranquil photography, I guess to balance out the craziness of my ‘real’ life.

Crochet to Calm Book

calming crochet I’ve been published in a proper book! Hooray! I was pretty excited to receive this book from Interweave publishers last week. They asked me, as the founder of @craftastherapy, to write the forward and contribute a simple mandala pattern for this gorgeous book, Crochet to Calm. I am really excited to be part of a book that promotes my philosohpy of #craftastherapy. I’ll be having a book giveaway on Instagram soon, so keep an eye out for that.

Mandy xx crochet to calm bookcrochet book calming

Creative and comforting interiors

Floral bedroomThis year so far has been a whirlwind of new challenges, some exciting and others a little scary. I cannot believe that August has arrived already….not just arrived, but almost gone. Over the last month the pace has slowed down giving me a chance to stop and gather myself up. Mum’s birthday, early August, is always a time for me to reflect and address the grief I still feel. I passed a lady on the street recently who looked like Mum, not the physically fit and trim mum I remember, but the Mum that was fighting brain cancer, overweight from the drugs and losing her sense of dignity. I recognised the same look in this stranger and I felt sad for her.  A lot has changed since Mum passed almost 3 years ago and sometimes the shock of this rises up and hits me unexpectedly, hard and sharp.

When I feel this way I try to spend more time at home. Home for me is my sanctuary, a safe place for me to refuel. I like to spend time moving things around, styling and planning mini makeovers. On the surface it seems superficial, but it’s not just about making things look pretty. A home should be a reflection of those who live there, a gallery of memories and a place where you can decorate however you like! So this month I restocked my yarn storage, started planning a bedroom makeover and finished off a granny square cushion for the office. And with my spare time, I channeled my grandmother and started learning a new skill – knitting. Here’s a snapshot –

Amazing yarn storage

Modern country interiors

Beginning knitter shawlGranny square cushionEnvelope granny square cushion


{Crochet} Spike Granny Cowl

granny spike crochet stitchThis modern granny spiked cowl is a simple crochet project that can easily be finished in a weekend. It uses a simple granny stripe stitch with a slight alteration – a spike! A spiked treble is simply a treble that is worked into the top of a stitch two rows below. If you’re unsure of what this means, the images below should help to explain it more clearly. You will see the term ‘spk tr’ wherever you need to work this stitch. All stitches are in UK terms. I have used Debbie Bliss Rialto DK for this cowl because it is so soft and squishy! You can find this yarn online at www.yummyyarnandco.com.au There are lots of delicious colours for you to choose from. Have fun!!

What you’ll need

  • Debbie Bliss Rialto DK – Yarn A (White), Yarn B (Petunia), Yarn C (Grey), Yarn D (Tangerine)
  • 4mm, 3.5mm crochet hook
  • yarn needle
  • scissors
  • measures approx 15cm wide and 105cm around

Stitch Guide

  • ch – chain
  • dc – double crochet
  • tr – treble
  • skp tr – spiked treble stitch

You’ll be working in rows to create your granny spike cowl. Once you have finished your rows, you will twist the cowl before joining.

To start, make a slip knot with the yarn A and using the 4mm hook and ch172 – Foundation ch. Feel free to chain an few extra stitches if you’re not sure you’ve counted correctly. You can always undo them at the end. If you’d like your cowl longer or shorter, alter your number of chains in the foundation row and sticking to multiples of 4.

  1. First Row – tr into the 4th ch from the hook, tr into the next st (counts as 3tr). * Ch1, skip a ch and work 1tr into the next 3 ch, ch1. Repeat from * until you reach the end of the row.granny spike crochet stitch
  2. Second Row – Attach Yarn B and cut Yarn A leaving a generous tail (You will be using the tail to attach one end to the other to form a cowl). Ch4 (counts as 1tr, ch1) and then work (tr, spk tr, tr) into the next ch-1 sp : t0 create the spiked treble, the middle tr is worked into the empty ch from the foundation ch below (see image below) In the following rows the spk tr will be worked into the top of the middle tr from 2 rows below.  * Ch1, (tr, spk tr, tr) into the next ch1 sp. Repeat from * to end. Ch1, tr into the top of intital ch3 from Row 1.granny spike crochet stitch
  3. Third Row – Attach Yarn C and cut yarn B leaving a generous tail. Ch3 (counts as first tr), tr into the middle tr (spk tr) from round one (see image), tr into same sp. * Ch1, (tr, spk tr, tr) into the next ch-1 sp. Repeat from * to end.granny spike crochet stitch granny spike crochet stitch
  4. Forth Row – Attach Yarn D and cut yarn C leaving a generous tail. Ch4, (counts as 1tr, ch1) and then work (tr, spk tr, tr) into the ch-1 sp. * Ch1, (tr, spk tr) in each ch-1 sp across the row. Ch1, tr into the top of intital ch3 from Row 1. Finish with a tr into the top of the beg ch3 from the previous row.granny spike crochet stitch granny spike crochet stitch
  5. Fifth Row – Attach Yarn A and cut yarn D leaving a generous tail. Ch3 (counts as first tr), spk tr,   tr into same sp. * Ch1, (tr, spk tr, tr) into the next ch1 sp. Repeat from * to end.

Repeat rows 2 – 5 three more times and fasten off.

Making up the cowl

  1. Twist your work before laying the two ends side by side (see image)modern crochet cowl
  2. Using the generous tails, join the ends by threading a yarn needle and weaving them together. The cowl doesn’t have a designated right side, so twisting it won’t effect the design. You will notice that pink and orange don’t match up, but the grey and white will, making it almost seamless in appearance. If you want them to match exactly, don’t twist your cowl. I prefer a twist as it sits nicely.
  3. After you have joined your two ends, using your 3.5mm hook and Yarn A work a border of dc around the cowl. Attach Yarn A at the join, working over the top of the tr stitches first. Work 1dc into each tr and ch sp. When you get to the start of the foundation chain work 1dc into each ch stitch. Because the cowl is twisted, you will continue to work dcs until you reach where you began. SS into the intial dc and fasten off. All done! granny spike crochet stitchgranny spike crochet stitchmodern crochet cowl





{Craft as Therapy} Meet the moderators : @yarn_house


Crocheters of Instagram

Meet Amanda from @yarn_house

It’s time to meet another one of the @craftastherapy moderators. Amanda from @yarn_house is a relatively new member of the team, who has embraced moderating with energy and enthusiasm. She is currently moderating her second week with the theme #craftastherapy_bouquet ? She’s a talented designer with her own unique style, so pop over and join her on @craftastherapy this week. Read on to find out a little more about her.

1. Why do you crochet? 

Plain and simple – It’s my passion. I can’t help it.

2. What’s your fave project that you’ve made?

My overlay crochet peacock feather mandala

Crochet overlay mandala

This is Amanda’s favourite project – her crochet overlay peacock mandala

3. Besides craft, what are you passionate about?

Spending time with my husband and our 2 kids, camping, the ocean, drawing, occasional cooking, baseball, highway driving, music, and I also really love silence.

4. Do you have a nickname?

I have a countless number of nicknames, but the one that has stuck the most over the years is “bigdoonie”, which also happens to be the name of personal IG account.Crochet rainbow

5. Tell us why you love @craftastherapy

It’s such a wonderful community filled with positivity, support, and endless inspiration.

6.  What’s next on your ‘to make’ list?

I’ve been wanting to make a massive wall hanging for awhile now, I’d love to cross that off my list eventually.

Crochet Mandala

7. What are your dreams for the future.

I’m finding myself becoming increasingly interested in gardening. I have zero skills at the moment, but I hope to one day have a big beautiful garden full of colorful flowers.
8. Tell us something random that we wouldn’t  know about you?

I can’t remember the last time I read a book.

Crochet rainbow


{Craft as Therapy} Meet the Moderators : @olivesandpickles


crochet hexagons

Ryane is the queen of hexies!!

I am very blessed to have a wonderful group of ladies help moderate the @craftastherapy account on Instagram. If you haven’t heard of #craftastherapy, you can read more about it here. The ladies that run the @craftastherapy account come from all over the world, are avid crafters and give up their time to take turns moderating the account….for free! That’s right, these ladies volunteer their time because they are passionate about the therapeutic benefits of craft.

So, i thought it was time to ‘Meet the moderators’ of @craftastherapy! Hooray!

First up is the delightful Ryane from @oliveandpickles, a crafty canadian with a busy young family. She is the crochet hexie queen and has her own Etsy Store, OlivesandPickles. Ryane was kind enough to answer the questions below so we can get to know her a little better.

#craftastherapy @olivesandpickles

Ryane and her beautiful family

1. Why do you knit/crochet/design?

I crochet to create beautiful useful items for my loved ones and others; mostly blankets and to feel connected to my Great Grandmother and Granny who have passed.
2. What’s your fave project that you’ve made?

That’s a tough question, maybe my first colour block hexie blanket I made for myself or my newest blanket for myself my scrappy granny stripe afghan. It may sound selfish but the things you create for your self are often the last to be made or take the longest to complete so much extra love and dedication go into them because you rarely or never make anything for yourself.

crochet cubes

Just one of Ryane’s recent #wips

3. Besides craft, what are you passionate about?

I am passionate about my family, taking care of them is so important to me. I also find great joy in music and just being in the warm sunshine. I enjoy photography and baking as well but I am really focused on crochet. Lol
4. Do you have a nickname?

My name is Ryane pronounced Rye-Anne. I haves a few friends along the way call my Rye or Rye-bott but now a days I’m more referred to as mumma, mum or MOM. I would also consider Olivesandpickles to be a nickname my kids point out the pickles and olives sign in the grocery store every time 😉
5. Tell us why you love @craftastherapy

I love the community of @craftastherapy. So warm and welcoming. I felt comfortable sharing stories about myself or my family I hadn’t shared on IG before. I was never judged, the people of this community just offered hugs and compassion. In some cases I felt like they understood what I was going through.

crochet hexie blanket

Just look at how Ryane plans her projects! Amazing!

6.  What’s next on your ‘to make’ list?

This summer I am taking time off of work persay and am tackling my many works in progress. I’m really looking forward to creating an abstract colour block hexie baby blanket for a dear friend. It will be a silent auction item which is part of her Inaugural Rare Finds Gala Fundraiser. Taking place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada my friend is raising money for The Rare Disease Foundation.

Visit here for more information
7. What are your dreams for the future.

My dreams for the future are to be able to continue creating and selling my crocheted items, while balancing motherhood and marriage. Balance is such a difficult task; my daughter has anxiety and keeping her steady, while helping everyone else can be a full time job.
8. Tell us something random that we wouldn’t  know about you?

I drink my tea with 3 or 4 sugar in it. I got my sweet tooth from my Grandmother and when I was younger the going joke was “would you like tea with your sugar?” They use to tease her and now they’ve moved on to teasing me. ?crochet project bag

{Crochet} Granny Heart Tutorial

granny square heart

Hello Crochet Heart Granny Square lovers! I have had so many people ask for a tutorial for this square that i thought it was time to write one. I’ve included a brief explanation of how i like to change colours. Enjoy! xx

Yarn – Patons Cotton Blend 8ply
Hook Size – 3.5mm hook
Measurement – approx. 10cm square
You will need
•  (A) pink, (B) Aqua
• 3.5mm crochet hook
• tapestry needle

The start of your square is like any other granny square. In fact the first two rounds are worked in a single colour – pink. I like my granny squares to be nice and compact, so i don’t have any chains in between the tr clusters and only 1ch at the corners. Feel free to add 1ch in between the clusters and 2 to 3 chs at the corners if that is your prefernce.

If you’re confident with making granny squares and changing colour, you can simply use the guide in the square below. Otherwise, scroll down for step by step instructions.

crochet heart squarecrochet heart square

Starting with yarn A  (pink) make a magic ring.

Round 1 Ch3, 2tr (counts as 3tr), ch1. Work (3tr, ch1) three more times and ss into top of beg ch3.(4x 3tr, 4ch)

crochet heart square
Round 2 Continue with Yarn A, ss across the tr cluster and into the ch-1 space. Ch3 (counts as first tr), 2tr, ch1, 3tr *Into the next ch-1 space, (3tr, ch1, 3tr) to form a corner. Repeat from * twice more, then ss into the top of the beg ch3.

crochet heart square


Round 3 This is the round where will make some colour changes.

  • Continue with Yarn A, ss across the tr cluster and into the ch-1 space. Ch3 (counts as first tr), 2tr, ch1, 3tr (to form first corner).
  • In the space between the next two tr clusters, work 3tr,  attaching Yarn B during the last YO over and pull through of the last tr.heart granny square

crochet heart squarecrochet heart square

  • Cut Yarn A and continue with Yarn B. In the corner space work 3tr, ch1, 3tr (switching to Yarn A during the last YO and pull through of the last tr).

crochet heart square

  • Cut Yarn B, then 3tr in the next space (switching to yarn B in the last tr). In the corner space work 3tr, ch1, 3tr (switching to Yarn A during the last YO and pull through of the last tr).
  • Cut Yarn B, then 3tr in the next space with Yarn A. 3tr, ch1, 3tr into the last corner space, switching to Yarn B during the last tr. With Yarn B, 3tr in the next space. Switch to Yarn A in the last tr, ss into top of beg ch3.

crochet heart square

crochet heart square
Round 4

  •  Continuing with Yarn A, across the tr cluster and into the ch-1 space. Ch3 (counts as first tr), 2tr, ch1, 3tr.
  • In the next gap, 3tr, switching to Yarn B in the last tr. With Yarn B, 3tr in the next gap and (3tr, ch1, 3tr) in the corner sp. 3tr in the next two gaps. (3tr, ch1, 3tr) at the corner. 3tr in the next gap, switching to Yarn A during the last tr).
  • With Yarn A, 3tr in the next gap. 3tr, ch1, 3tr at the corners, switching to Yarn B in the last tr. With yarn B, 3tr in the next two gaps. Ss into the top of beg ch3 and fasten off.

crochet heart square

crochet heart square

Round 5 Join Yarn B in between any tr cluster from the previous round. Continue to work 3tr into each gap along the sides and (3tr, ch1, 3tr) into the corner spaces. Fasten off and all done!!

crochet heart square

{Crochet} LoveCrochet.com and Indie June


love crochet indie june

To read the full interview – click on the image above

It was an honour and a thrill to be involved in lovecrochet.com’s Indie June, a month long celebration of independent crochet designers. I was able to share the love of our #craftastherapy community during an interview, which you can read in full here.

I also participated in #lctakeover where i took control of the Lovecrochet.com instagram account for a day. These are some of the images i shared during the takeover. Head to the lovecrochet.com instagram account to see more of what happened during Indie June. Thanks for having me LoveCrochet.comfree crochet patterns granny square blanket free crochet mandala patterns crochet mandalas

May was a mix of crochet hearts, blankets and spinal surgery.

granny square heart

May was a mix of crochet hearts, Yummy Yarn and co, granny square blankets and spinal surgery. This year is certainly flying by, but i am really pleased that May is over. Taking my daughter to Sydney for spinal surgery was the hardest thing i have done since becoming a parent. Handing her over to doctors and nurses to open her up, insert rods and bone grafts was frightening to say the least, especially for a person who always braces themselves for the worst. This time, i couldn’t think of ‘worst case scenario’ because that included death and paralysis.

It’s quite comical looking back to the 18th, as my hubby and i were trying to fill out her admittance forms….we could barely remember our own names. I used #craftastherapy to the extreme in the lead up to the operation and during her week long hospital stay. And the whole experience gave me a new perspective on how blessed we are to have happy and healthy children. I am thrilled to report that all went well and my daughter coped with the entire adventure like a champion. I couldn’t be any prouder.

Now, back to real life and Yummy Yarn and co. I have more patterns, craft as therapy features and fun ideas to share, so hopefully i will be more active here.

air ambulance

Eilish was lucky enough to get a trip home in the air ambo and transferred to a regular ambo that dropped her home. How’s that for service!

colour granny square blanket

Rainbow Noodles – my daughter’s blanket.

spoked mandala

I must be getting old as i got myself some bifocals this month. It’s so refreshing to be able to see clearly again. :)

crochet blanket patterns

The top blanket was my main #craftastherapy project for May.

{Instagram} April Favourites from my feed

crochet heart granny squareApril on my Instagram account featured a lot of crochet granny squares and for a good reason. Life has recently thrown our family a curve ball as my daughter’s scoliosis has reached a level that will require spinal surgery later this month. I have been madly making granny squares to finish my Random Granny Square Blanket so she will have something cosy and handmade to comfort her in hospital.  While the fear of trusting a stranger to perform surgery on my daughter has been overwhelming at times, i still feel incredibly grateful for the health and happiness that all of my children exude. We never take that for granted.

I also spent some time in April just staring into the wide countryside that surrounds our home. Autumn is a magical time of the year, both at home and in Millthorpe. The pre sunset glow of golden hour makes everything feel okay again.

You can follow me on Instagram here – @crochetbyredagape and @redagape

pretty granny squaresinstagramaprilkidsbeanies crochet granny squares sunset in autumn granny stripe blanket easy peasy crochet beanie