Criss Cross Crochet-A-Long

Criss Cross CAL

The long wait is over, we’ve teamed up with crochet designer Fay Dashper-Hughes to bring you our first Olann and Crochet-A-Long.  

The Criss Cross Shawl is a top-down, two-skein pattern that creates a crescent shape shawl. Originally designed to be made with a sport weight yarn, there is an extension to the pattern, making it ideal for 4ply/fingering weight yarn as well.

The shawl is made up of solid sections, formed with half treble crochets that are highlighted by lattice work, created with a series of chains and slip stitches.  The solid and lattice sections appear three times overall, with increases at both the beginning and end of each row (the extended pattern includes a fourth solid section).

Gather Your Supplies

Criss Cross takes two 100g skeins/balls of any Sport or 4ply/Fingering Weight yarn with between 350 & 425 metres/ 383 & 492 yards in each.  (see below for tips about yarn choice)

The specified tension is 18sts x 14.5 rows to 10cm/4″ unblocked, which Fay achieved using a 4mm/G crochet hook and you’ll also require a couple of stitch markers to keep track of things.

A word about yarn

We deliberately wanted to give you as many options to take part in our CAL as possible.  The yarns we like vary from person to person and budget to budget.  The choice is completely personal to each of us and we wanted to explore different options for you, to give you a better idea of what you can use.

Criss Cross was originally designed for TJ Frog’s Shorelines & Strata 4ply yarn, which at 350 metres per 100g, is a heavier weight yarn, more akin to a Sport Weight yarn.  Shorelines & Strata has a 85% Poll Dorset, 25% Hebridean content, whose natural colours combine together to create a warm, mid grey.  The Poll Dorset is known for its softness and the addition of 25% Hebridean fibre adds a little crispness, which shows off the crochet stitches beautifully.

In contrast, the Green Elephant Hand Dyed Yarn version explores the beauty of hand dyed yarn. Fay specifically chose a yarn that didn’t have too much going on. The Gym Nut shade, which is made up of a grey base with ‘pops’ of colour, isn’t so busy that the lattice work is lost.  The Superwash Merino and nylon combination has created a more relaxed shawl, with lots of drape.

Fiona from Green Elephant Hand Dyed Yarns has very kindly offered a 10% discount to readers of Olann and, on all of her yarns the discount code is OLANNAND10 The discount is also valid on pre-orders the colourway we’ve used, Gym Nut.  There’s a special listing here.

Finally, in the Stylecraft Life 4ply version (crocheted by Lizzy, one of our readers), the shawl takes on a different energy.  Hands up, we weren’t completely sure what to expect from a yarn with such a high percentage of acrylic, but the 75% Acrylic, 25% Wool yarn has completely won us over.  The shawl has the wonderful drape that the Green Elephant version has and the solid shade lends a crispness to the design like that of the TJ Frog’s version, but there is also an extra bounciness to the shawl that makes you want to wrap yourself up in it.

All three of these yarns have something different to offer; all are suitable and all have made stunning versions of the Criss Cross shawl.  There are literally hundreds of different yarns available that will work with this design, our only piece of advice would be that (we think) if you choose to use a more variegated colourway the design may become lost.  Instead, save those luscious yarns for another project.

If you’ve been following us for a while now, then you’ll be aware that crochet isn’t our first language.  We are both knitters and while we have a basic understanding of crochet, neither of us would be confident to run a crochet-a-long, without the help of a professional.

Drum roll please………..

Introducing Fay Dashper-Hughes, crochet designer, podcaster and owner of Knit it – Hook it – Craft it, who has not only designed the Criss Cross shawl, but has also created the step-by-step photographed instructions on the pattern.  If that wasn’t enough, Fay has also recorded a video tutorial showing some of the techniques required to successfully crochet the shawl.  You can find the video on YouTube here and Fay has included time stamps for each specific part of the pattern to make it easier to find the relevant to you parts.

Fay assures us that the pattern is manageable for all levels, from beginner to expert, but to be on the safe side and with us in mind, she has taken pains to make it idiot proof. The design is constructed using basic stitches and is easy to remember; solid areas, created using half trebles (half doubles in the US), are broken up by bands of lattice work, formed with chains and slip stitches.

The CAL kicks off on Monday January 1st and will run until Friday February 23rd.  We will have a chatter thread open to discuss everything Criss Cross and we’ll also open a no chatter finished objects thread too.

Come along to the chatter thread and let us know if you’re taking part and be sure to use the hashtag #olannandcrisscrosscal so we can find your project easily.

We’ll have several prizes to give away at the end of the CAL and who knows, there might even be the odd chatter thread gift drawn too.  More about that on Ravelry soon.