Friday, 18 January 2013

Tripping The Light Fantascot

In the space between Christmas and the New Year I found a fantastic, easy-to-make and quick-to-complete hooky project - Tracy St John's "Fantascot" pattern which you can download for free here. (And while you're at it, check out her fabulously bright and cheerful "Groovyghan" pattern too.) Leslie of Crochetbug gave me the idea for making a Fantascot with the gorgeous version she made for her mother before Christmas. You can see it at its finish here (rather more professionally hooked than mine, I freely confess).  The Fantascot sounds more like a dance step than a crochet pattern but a delightful hooky pattern is what it is, for a patchwork of crochet made using various stitches in a range of motifs and panels that are then sewn or crocheted together to make a snuggly, neck-warming cowl. Like all the best design ideas, Tracy St John's design is essentially simple but beautifully effective.

It's designed to use lots of colours and you could easily conjure it up, I suspect, out of oddments left over from other projects. I did not do this, I am afraid. Before Christmas I bought some beautiful Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in a range of colours, that supplemented a handful I had already, and I deliberately saved starting the project until that lovely lull that happens between Christmas and the New Year when there was space to savour every hooky stitch.

I had a little play around with my watercolour pencils to sketch out a design that I thought would achieve a balance of the colours I had, but regarded this as a guide rather than a constraint and I am rather pleased with the result. It would make an excellent project for someone relatively new to crocheting as the techniques required, apart from the Catherine Wheel panel which is slightly trickier, are straightforward and each section is relatively small to complete.

You could also easily swap or repeat a panel if any particular one proved too complicated.

The Debbie Bliss Aran is a thicker weight yarn than that specified and I had to use a bigger hook - a 5mm one as opposed to a 3.5 mm - so my Fantascot is a bit bigger than the pattern indicates but not much. I compensated by reducing the depth of the border and omitting the edging on one or two of the panels and it's worked beautifully - bright, warm and cosy and very enjoyable to hook up.

Although the Catherine Wheel stitch took a little fathoming out, it proved rather addictive and given half a chance I could have gone on Catherine-wheeling for some considerable time once I'd got the hang of how it went! Isn't it fun?

I love the patchwork effect all the different panels make.

It's proved very wearable

and has sparked off all sorts of possibilities in my head for using the motifs and stitches in other projects.

If you are in the UK you may well find yourself a trifle snow-bound today. It is blowing a blizzard here as I write and three inches or so have fallen and settled since first thing this morning. I shall certainly not be going anywhere by car today, I can see. May just have to go out and throw a snowball or two in keeping with my "Vive la joie!" motto for this year though! And if I hadn't already made a Fantascot it would be the perfect hooky project to curl up with while the snow quietly swirls and settles driftily outside.

Stay cosy, if you have snow!
E x


  1. I LOVE your colour choices - particularly in the Catherine Wheel section. Great project Elizabeth, thanks for sharing!

  2. I really like the Catherine wheel, it's very effective. I really like your colours too.

    Stay snug and cosy in your cowl over this cold weekend! We are eagerly awaiting snow here in Northern Ireland. Well I say we but its mostly Little R!

    Helen xx

  3. That is so lovely!!

    It is so snowy here and I am bbrrrrr!

    Might have to walk to the pub later for a pick me up!


  4. Another beautiful creation - how hard is the Catherine Wheel bit? I was thinking it could make quite a nice bag too or even a cushion. Great ideas - will check out those websites. Judy.

  5. Oh lovely. The Catherine Wheel stitch is beautiful......mmmmm scarf possibilities abound! Sx

  6. I put away my crochet hook as I decided knitting was my thing, not crochet, but now you've put up those lovely photos and I'm beginning to wonder if I should get it out again. You have a great eye for colour - they're a very pleasing combination - and I'm very impressed that you sketch out your colours first.
    We still have snow on the ground from earlier this week and a few stray snowflakes are just beginning to float down. Ax

  7. Just looking at the colors makes me happy. Brilliant photos, also. May have to check out that pattern.

    The Catherine wheel stitch looks difficult, but it must have been worth it because the finished look is beautiful.

  8. Great cowl! Couldn't help to cheer you up on a dreary day! I've done the Catherine wheel stitch before in a mixed stitch blanket (gosh that's laying unfinished somewhere!) it's lovely to do things with a range of stitches, keeps the interest in the making and the looking at.

    We've had an attempt at snow, but nothing much. Bthe electricity was off this morning, and being a new to us home, we stumbled around in the dark trying to find candles, my hubby said, after lighting a load of candles, 'I'm not sure I could be an Edwardian farmer anymore' he who has watched a few tv programmes and thinks he could obviously!

    Enjoy your snowballs!

  9. Hi love the cowl, about 3-4" here but nothing since about 2 yesterday, trip to the shops to stock up on foot today.
    Hope you are managing to get out if needed
    Hugs x

  10. It is a beautiful cowl which reminds me of a jolly stained glass window...if such a thing were to exist.

    I am a tad envious of your three inches of snow. We are still waiting with bated breath here in vain.


  11. Dear E - Happy New Year!!! Love, love, love your cowl but am also loving that groovyghan!!! Am definitely going to have to make one for our bed ... I just need another 24 hours in every day!!! Much love. x

  12. This is a piece of art!!! So beautiful and colorful

  13. It's lovely, such warm colours. I like the way is has some structure and rigidity so that it's not too floppy - it shows off the patterns more. I bet you were cosy in it this weekend!

    Gillian x


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