It’s official – crochet is cool. crochet-hot-air-balloon If you don’t believe us, just type ‘crochet’ into Pinterest or Youtube. There are literally thousands of patterns to make everything from pot holders to beanie hats and infinity scarves to shopping bags. And with the lovely long Easter bank holiday weekend coming up, you have four whole days off work to get yourself a crochet hook and some yarn and have a go at your own eggs-cellent Easter craft project. In fact, if some of our friends’ Instagram feeds are anything to go by, they’re all already at it! Once firmly the old fashioned domain of your mother or grandmother and with a distinctive ‘Women’s Institute’ feel (which is also rumoured to be quite cool these days, with membership surging over the past couple of years), the 200-year-old craft is becoming the latest must-have skill. Forget your generic, shop-bought fleecy blankets – all the coolest babies these days are sporting homemade crochet rainbow star blankets. And just a few of the other ideas we’ve found online?
  • Belts
  • Easter chicks
  • Easter baskets
  • Jewellery
  • Cuddly toys
  • Slippers
  • Desk tidies
  • Bookmarks
  • Cat beds
  • Shrugs
  • Cushions
  • Mobile phone and tablet cases
  • Coasters
  • Daffodils and other flowers
  • Bunting
  • Rugs
  • Friendship bracelets
  • Wrist warmers… the list of things to make is endless.
Crochet ear warmers and mug cosies are some of our personal favourites here at Virgin Balloon Flights (and very useful considering the lack of any real sunshine so far this spring). So what does all this actually have to do with Virgin Balloon Flights and the Easter holidays? Well, with the four-day weekend rapidly looming on the horizon, one of our office crocheters (who, in case you’re wondering, has yet to turn 33) made this crochet hot air balloon Easter Egg, which we thought it was too cute not to share.crochet-hot-air-balloon-complete

Our hot air balloons are sort of egg-shaped, after all. And chocolates are as synonymous with our Gift Packages the traditional champagne toast after landing.

Of course, if even this looks like it might be beyond you, you could always enter our Easter competition for the chance to win one of our Sunrise Gift Packages for two.

Or do both! These crochet hot air balloons take just a couple of hours (less if you’re a more experienced crocheter) and you can fill the plastic egg insert with you own choice of chocolate, so what’s not to love? (We did consider trying to crochet a couple of mini champagne flutes to keep with ballooning tradition but they proved rather too tricky!) This crochet hot air balloon is so simple that even a novice can give it a go, with just a few of the simplest stitches used. And they are not just a great Easter craft idea, as you could even make a few of them in different colours to make a fun mobile or garland to brighten up any child’s bedroom. If you do have a go at making this, we’d love to see your creations! You can Tweet them to us @VirginBalloons or post them on our Facebook page here. Why not have a go at personalising them, perhaps with stitched logos or even some teeny crochet chicks or an Easter bunny to sit in the basket? Our favourite one will even win a prize in the form of one of our delicious heart-shaped chocolates. Basic Crochet Skills Needed And Their Abbreviations
  • Chain Stitch / ch st
  • Slip Stitch / sl st
  • Treble crochet stitch / tr (UK teminology, called a double crochet in the US)
  • Double crochet stitch / dc (UK terminology, called a single crochet in the US)
  • Treble crochet two together / tr2tog
  • How to crochet in the round
  • Some experience of increasing and decreasing in the round
Alternatively, the links below will take you to some great tutorials (most of them ones our office crocheters used when they were learning!) that show you how to do all of the above, including how to crochet in the round. Chain stitch – video by Bella Coco on how to crochet a foundation chain. A treble crochet circle – blog by Pink Milk on how to treble crochet in the round. Treble crochet decrease – video from Teaching Crochet on how to decrease treble stitches. You Will Need
  • A 4mm crochet hook
  • A small ball of brightly coloured DK yarn for the balloon (we chose a lovely shade of red for obvious reasons!)
  • A few yards of brown DK yarn for the basket
  • A fillable plastic egg (we used these, which come in a pack of eight from from Hobbycraft)
  • Small chocolates or sweets of your choice
Crochet Hot Air Balloon – Step-by-Step Pattern The Balloon (Or ‘Envelope’ In Ballooning Speak)crochet hot air balloon Foundation ring: ch 4 and join with a sl st to the top of first ch st to form a loop. Round 1: 12 tr into the centre of the loop, sl st to top of first st join. Round 2: Ch 3, 1 tr into the first st then 2 tr into each of the next 11 sts and sl st to join (24 sts in total). Round 3: Ch 3, skip first st then 2 tr in next st. *1 tr in next st, 2 tr in next st*. Repeat from * to * until end of round and sl st to join (36 sts in total). crochet hot air balloonRound 4: Ch 3, skip first st then 1 tr in next 35 sts and and sl st to join (36 sts in total). Round 5 – 7: Repeat round 4. Round 8: Ch 3, skip first st then tr2tog next two stitches. *1 tr in next st then tr2tog*. Repeat from * to * until end and sl st to join (24 sts in total). Round 9: Repeat round 8 (16 sts in total). Round 10: Ch 3, skip first st, 1 tr in each of next 15 sts and sl st to join (16 sts in total). Round 11: Repeat round 10. Trim yarn and weave in the ends. crochet-hot-air-balloon-envelope crochet-hot-air-balloon-egg-and-balloon Your balloon envelope is now complete! Fill your plastic egg with sweets or chocolate and, with a bit of wiggling, it should fit inside nice and snugly, with the widest bit at the top. The basket is easier to attached to the balloon with the egg already inside. Basket Foundation ring: ch 2 and join with sl st. Round 1: Ch 1 then make 11 dc into centre of the loop and sl st to top of first st to join. Round 2: Ch 1, skip first st and and dc into back loops only of the next 11 sts (this video by Happy Berry Crochet on Youtube shows you what this means if you’re not sure) then sl st to join. Round 3: Ch 1, skip first st and dc into each of next 11 sts the sl st to join. (You should start to get the ‘walls’ of the basket forming.) Round 4-5: Repeat round 3. Trim yarn and weave in the ends. crochet hot air balloon To attach the basket to the balloon, using the same brown yarn, sl st into the top of the basket, ch 4 then sl st INTO a bottom st of the balloon section. Trim the yarn and weave in both ends through the chain. Repeat this at two further points around the top of the basket, spacing the chains evenly.

And you’re done!