Back in early April 2019, Vanessa from, Hooked on Sunshine, teased us with beautiful photos of her up and coming crochet along.
My oh my what a beauty it was, I couldn’t wait to hear more, see more and plan my own.
Vanessa finally anoused that was was hosting a free crochet along starting on May 10th 2019, called
Vanessa wrote on her Ravelry page.
“Phoenix began as a notion for something fun and easy, but I never know where a design will take me. With each formation of stitches that make little hearts, leave kisses, bring butterflies or sprinkle flowers is a reminder that even when the sky is grey and life is full of yucky stuff, sometimes you have to kick off your shoes and dance in the rain.”
“The prelude is released on the 26th of April
Part 1 releases on the 10th of May
This CAL is 11 weeks long, with a part released on each Friday. You can access the CAL free while it runs, once the CAL is completed it becomes a paid pattern.”
I was beyond excited, colours races around my head.
It suddenly hit me that Phoenix was the perfect pattern for a blanket was was planning on making for a Christmas gift.
My plan was to make my Mother and Father in-law, Janet and Roger a lapghan each.
In truth they are not ones for sitting around, they are grafters through and through, so I wasn’t sure if they would ever use a Lapghan, not for a good few years anyway.
My husband Mark and I had many one and a half way conversations about it and we both agreed when we saw photos of Vanessa’s Phoenix, that it would be perfect for their Christmas present.
Instead of making them indevisal blankets, I would make them a Phoenix throw for their bed.
With a plan finally in mind, all I had to do was pick colours and yarn.
I already knew deep down that I wanted to use my favourite yarn, Scheepjes Stonewashed and that I needed the Afghan to be large so it would cover their double bed.
Picking colours for others is always more than a little tricky, so I played safe and decided I would use Scheepjes Stonewashed XL in the colour Moonstone, a soft cream.
I ordered £100 worth of yarn even before the prelude was released, which was rather risky. Of course when the prelude was released I realised I would need much, much, much more yarn and it wasn’t going to be cheap.
There was no way I was back tracking now, my mind was set on using Scheepjes Stonewashed XL, I would just have to bite the bullet and buy more. Luckily we save each year for Christmas and birthdays so I ordered enough £200 worth. Hopefully it would be enough and that if I had to order more, batch numbers/colouring wouldn’t be an issue.
💫Phoenix Part 1💫
May the 10th soon rolled around and before I knew it my hook was in hand and I was making part one.
My Phoenix was rising.
The adventure had begun and boy wasn’t she pretty.
Week one was short and sweet and a breeze to make, leaving me itching to continue and willing the week to fly by.
💫Phoenix Part 2 💫
Throughout the cal, Claire Thompson, one of Hooked on Sunshine Facebook group, Hooked On Sunshine Patterns And Cals, moderators, kindly helped everyone out with handy Tricksy Tips and Assist Hints. They were great and always made me smile. I looked forward to them each week.
With Claire and Vanessa’s permission I have copied and pasted them into this post as I’m sure they will be more than helpful to anyone who is starting their journey into making their own Phoenix.
As I’m writing this post a few months after the cal started/finished, I’m sure they will be well and truly lost in the thousands of post on the Hooked on Sunshine Facebook group, and that’s a shame because they were so helpful and entertaining to so many people within the group.
Week two rolled around fast, it was once again time to download the second part of the pattern.
Everyone was waiting, some not so patiently and when the announcement came, we Crashed the website with thousands of people desperately trying to get their hands on the pattern.
Brett their pc genius worked his magic and we were soon hook in hand, pattern downloaded and stitching away.
Claire’s Tricksy Tips and Assist Hints for Phoenix Part 2 were,
Hey there Sunshine Friends 🌞
I’m here with some tips to help you work through Phoenix Part 2 😉
So what’s in store for us? How about some of Vanessa’s irregular corners, there are a few coming up in this part and you will soon see they have earned their own nickname and will now be known as ‘Nessners’ 🤪❤️ there is a warning when they are coming up so please take notice of the bold notes at the start of the rounds ❤️😊 and trust the pattern, we promise it works out!!
We also have some hdc-popcorns coming up 😉 I definitely needed to check out my prelude for this one and you will find the picture tutorial on page 22 so have a peek and familiarise yourselves so you are ready for them 😊😍
We will be doing some more clusters!! 🎉🎉 So you need to look at the cl-st on page 16 of your prelude 🥰🌞
My Phoenix summary at part 2 was –
🧶Yarn used – just started my 5th skein.
Size – 16” x 16”
💰Yarn Cost – £14.95
💫Phoenix Part 3💫
Phoenix Part 3, was soon released and yet again we crashed the “Hooked On Sunshine” website, giving us all time to read Claire’s Tricksy Tips and Assist Hints.
So this week we have more popcorns, but this time they are made with dc stitches, the picture tutorial is available on Page 23 of the Prelude 😉
We have a few different front post stitches in this part too, the description for fpdc and fptrc are on page 28 in the abbreviations table, we also have a fpdtrc 😳 the picture tutorial for this stitch is on Page 19 of the Prelude so have a peek, the placement of this stitch is really important so pay close attention to the pattern 🥰❤️
We have lots of pretty dc2tog too and the tutorial for those is on page 13!
As for Nessners 😉 there is only one round with them – Yay!!🎉 There is a warning in bold at the start of the round so you know when they are coming ❤️❤️ pay attention to that bold note, there is a lot of specific info for that round in there too 😍
Finally, my last hint, 😃 for those of you who haven’t done a Hooked on Sunshine CAL before, I need to talk about brackets!! In one of the later rounds we have bold square brackets [ ] when you come across these you repeat the instruction in them the required amount of times ❤️❤️ they are explained on Page 8 of the prelude 😉😘
My Phoenix at, Part Three –
🧶Yarn – 7.5 skeins used so far
Size 23” x 23”
💰Yarn Cost – £23.92
💫Phoenix Part 4💫
Isn’t she lovely!
Vanessa has done an outstanding job with this pattern, truly she’s a genius.
I wish I had her skill.
Claire’s, Phoenix Part 4 p, Tricksy Tips and Assist Hints were,
The stitches to look out for this week are 🥁🥁🥁
Three double crochet cluster stitch – 3dc-cl (dc3tog) and the pic tutorial is available on Page 14 of your prelude 😊
Half double crochet v stitch – hdcv-st, this is explained in the abbreviations table on page 28 😃
Extended puff stitches – ex-puff st, the prelude has a pic tutorial on Page 20 😍
Fancy something new? How about a spike single crochet 😉 you will find this on Page 27 of your well used prelude ❤️
There are no Nessners this week, ‘aww’ I hear you cry 😉😁 I know you all just love them but we have a few bold notes we need you to look at, there is some top tips from our test teams in them – thanks test ladies 😘
Also, watch those front post stitches, they do change so they aren’t always fpdc sometimes they are fphdc 😳 they will trick you if you’re not careful 😮😮 speaking of the front post stitches you may find they cause your beautiful Phoenix to pull forward but please don’t worry this will settle in later rounds, we promise 🥰🥰
My Phoenix at part 4 –
🧶Yarn – just started my 13th skein.
Size – 31” x 31” unblocked.
💰Yarn Cost – £38.87
💫Phoenix Part 5 💫
I love, love love, this pattern, it’s so well written and each and every stitch is a delight.
Part 5 was an easy simple week that was over way to fast.
Claire’s Tricksy Tips and Assist Hints were –
You will be pleased to hear that this part is nice and straightforward 😊
There are no Nessners or anything too tricksy, but we do have a few extended puff stitches this week – yay!! 🎉🎉 The tutorial for them is on page 20 of the prelude ❤ They will become our favourite stitch 😉😂
The only thing Assist can advise on this week is as your blankets are getting bigger, keep an eye on the stitch counts for each side, check them as you go 😉 it will save a visit from the dreaded frog 🐸
From Part 5, I went up a hook size to 5.5
🧶Yarn – Just started the 21st skein.
Size – 40” x 40” unblocked.
💰Yarn Cost – £62.70
💫 Phoenix Part 6 💫
She’s was now a perfect size for a large baby blanket or a lap throw.
Her beauty was coming into full force and I was falling more and more in love with her.
I knew I had to give her away and it was going to be hard.
The bonus was that I knew I could start my journey all over again and make a Phoenix for myself, if ever time allowed.
Each pattern part released was still crashing “Hooked on sunshine” site, the excitement was electric.
Beautiful Phoenix’s were filling the internet, I especially loved the ones made from Vanessa’s colourways and yarn-cake and also the Afghans being made from, Red Heart Super Saver Ombré. I need some of this yarn, Redheart please start selling it in the UK.
Claire was still posting Tricksy Tips and Assist Hints each week and here’s what she wrote for part 6 –
We have a few cluster stitches this week, 3dc-cl (Prelude Page 14) and cl-st (Page 16) they even appear together in the same round so you need to pay close attention to the bold notes and read the pattern carefully ❤️😊
There are a few more bold notes in this part regarding tension also so please take your time to follow them and you won’t go wrong 😉🥰
More popcorns are featured this week too 😍 the regular ones this time, remember this stitch needs to be closed with a ch1, check the picture tutorial out (Prelude Page 23) 😁
We finish up with some easy rounds this week which really highlights the prettiness you’ve just created 😍💐
As always, keep a close eye on your stitch counts 🧐 the sides are getting longer to work along now and your Phoenix will be growing in size 🥰🥰🥰
My Phoenix at Part 6 –
Size – 47” x 47” unblocked.
🧶Yarn used so far – 28 Skeins
💰Yarn Cost – £83.72
💫 Phoenix Part 7 💫
It’s was now taking about two to three afternoons to complete each part as life was rather busy so finding time to work on my Phoenix was proving to be rather tricky, especially as I was desperately trying to finish other projects for my up and coming holiday. Somehow I managed to stay on track and keep up with the cal.
Claire’s Tricksy Tips and Assist Hints, for part 7 were –
We have 3dc-cl stitches in this part, if you need a reminder the picture tutorial is available on Page 14 of the Prelude 🤓
More ex-puff stitches, they are available on Page 20 😉 please take note of the bold notes about them 🧐🧐
Lastly, we have some cross double crochet – crdc. There is a pic tutorial on Page 11 for those of you who haven’t done them before 🥰😃
There are a few bold notes to take notice of in this part please make sure you follow the advice in them, these come from the fabulous Test Teams and will help you out as you go along ❤️❤️
My Phoenix at Part 7 –
Size 55” x 55” unblocked
🧶Yarn used – 38.5 skeins
💰Yarn Cost – £116.61
💫 Phoenix Part 8 💫
I went on our family holiday just after part 8 was released, so after one of the most amazing weeks of our life’s, no crochet and total relaxation with my family, I had to play maga catch-up, as part 9 was released when we were away.
Claire’s week 8, Tricksy Tips and Assist Hints were –
There is some ex-puffs to come in this part, if you aren’t doing them in your sleep by now 😉😂 then the pic tutorial is on Page 20 of the prelude! There is also a bold note about the round they are in, you need to follow the instructions and trust the pattern 🤓🥰
There is also a bold note about the chains in a couple of other rounds in this part so be mindful 😃😉
Then we have a few easy peasy rounds to finish the part 😉 a little tip from assist to keep track of your stitch count is to mark every few stitches with a marker ❤️ I like to count every 50 stitches but you can do it however many you feel comfortable with 🌞🌞
And that’s it for this week my lovelies! Short and sweet 💐💐💐
My Phoenix at Part 8 –
Size – 62” x 62” unblocked.
🧶Yarn used – Just started my 49th Skein.
💰Yarn Cost so far – £146.51
💫 Phoenix Part 9 💫
My Phoenix was getting rather large, heavy and keeping me warm as toast as I worked on her, which was a blessing after coming home from beautiful sunshine and temperatures in the 30’s.
Claire’s, Tricksy Tips and Assist Hints were –
We have a variety of cluster stitches this week so please check and see you are using the correct stitch in the right place 😁
If you need a reminder here are the stitches and the pages the picture tutorials are on in the handy prelude 😉😊
dc2tog Page 13
3dc-cl Page 14
cl-st Page 16
The 3dc-cl and the cl-st are mixed in the same round so look out for it 😉
We also have more ex-puff stitches 🎉🎉 page 20 😁💞
We also have sc2tog in this part and there is a tutorial for that on page 24, can you believe we have something new in Part 9 too!! We are learning an extended front post double crochet – exfpdc for short, check out the pic tutorial on Page 18 of the prelude 🤓❤️ There is also fpdc and fphdc in this part, make sure you use the correct one for the round you are on! 😉😃
Also keep an eye on the bold notes on the rounds in this part too as there are lots of top tips in them that will keep you on the right track 🥰
That’s it for this week 😉 lots and lots of stuffs to keep you all busy 😁
My Phoenix at Part 9
Size – 67” x 67” unblocked
🧶Yarn used – 59 skeins.
💰Yarn Cost of yarn so far – £176.41
💫 Phoenix Part 10 💫
Boy she was heavy now and it was taking a good hour or so depending on the stitch to get across one side. She was using every spare hour in my day but it was so very worth it.
How was I ever going to gift her.
I laid her out on my bed for the first time so I could truly see her size and wow, I couldn’t take my eyes off her splendour.
Claire’s, Tricksy Tips and Assist Hints were –
Firstly, we have bold notes to follow with some invaluable hints 🤓
We also have the return of Nessners for one round 🥰 trust them, they really do work out ❤️😁
We have a lovely selection of stitches in this round too, here is a list of them and the relevant pages of the prelude so you can check them out as you come across them 💞💞
Fpdc – Page 28 in the abbreviations table ⭐️
Popcorn – Pic tutorial on Page 23 ⭐️
Crdc – crossed dc is on Page 11 ⭐️
Fptrc – Again in the abbreviations table Page 28 ⭐️
Cl-st – The cluster pic tutorial is on Page 14 this is the dc4tog stitch ⭐️
Exfpdc – The extended front post double crochet is on Page 18 ⭐️
We finish this part with some simple rounds, but don’t let them fool you 😉 you really need to keep track of the stitch counts so use stitch markers to keep track 🧷
This is a really gorgeous part so enjoy 😊
My Phoenix at the end of Part 10 –
Size – 79” x 79”
🧶Yarn Used – 87 Skeins.
💰Yarn Cost – £212.29
💫 Phoenix Part 11 💫
I hadn’t quite caught up and had a few rows of part 10 to make when part 11 was released.
In truth I didn’t want the journey to be over, for my Phoenix to take flight.
What would I do with my self when this truly pleasurable journey was over.
I had a to-make list as long as my arm, if not longer but still I was mesmerised by Phoenix.
I was also starting to panic that it wasn’t going to be big enough and my head was swimming with ideas as to make her a little larger.
With part 11 downloaded and patiently waiting in my downloads, I finally started part 11, between working on “Operation Coffee Deck” and trying to stay on top of everyday life.
I won’t lie, Part 11, took what seemed like forever. It was taking hours to get around the whole blanket but each stitch was placed with love, memories of my journey and thankfulness at how truly amazing my family were.
Also how far I had come from that day, my Mother In-law Janet, tried desperately to teach me how to crochet and now here I was, making the final stitches to this breathtaking pattern, a gift to a couple who are always there at a drop of a hat, willing to help us if needed.
Claire’s final Tricksy Tips and Assist Hints were –
There are some bold notes to pay attention to, the tips in them are invaluable 😉❤️
The first couple of rounds may look easy peasy but you really need to keep your stitch counts exact here, so get your stitch markers 🧷 ready and count, count and then check again 🤓🤓
The stitches we have making an appearance this week are our old favourites 😁😁
Cluster stitch (cl-st or dc4tog) Prelude Page 14 ⭐️
Ex-puff stitch Prelude Page 20 ⭐️
3dc-cl Prelude Page 14 ⭐️
Exfpdc (extended front post dc) Prelude Page 18 ⭐️
Crdc (cross double crochet) Prelude Page 11 ⭐️
Any other stitches are on the abbreviations table Prelude Page 28 ⭐️
With the last stitch stitched and last tail weaved in, I felt extremely proud of what I had achieved.
I had no idea how I didn’t get my hubby to drive me up to theirs and gift it to them then and there.
But luck would have it, it was Janet’s Birthday the next day, and Rog has a birthday later this month, so we decided that we didn’t want to and couldn’t wait until Christmas to give it to them, we would gift it to them for their birthdays. 🎂 (an early pressie for Rog)
I was concerned about the size, would it fit nicely on their double bed?
My Mum kindly let me try it out for size on hers.
It couldn’t have been more perfect and wow, didn’t it look absolutely stunning. I can’t believe little old me made something so beautiful.
My finished Phoenix was a whopping, 90” x 90”
She used 87 skeins of yarn and cost me £260.13.
I dread to think how many hours, weeks, months she took to make, how many stitches were made but without a shadow of a doubt, she was worth every penny, every second spent, every ounce of love and dedication given to her.
I hope she will be cherished and loved as much as I loved making her.
If you want to make your own “Phoenix“, pop on over to “Hooked On Sunshine” or Ravelry and buy yourself a copy.
Trust me your journey will be electric and addictive, totally addictive. Remember you can also find Vanessa on Instagram and Facebook.
Until next time, Too-da-loo for now.