Sunshiney Day

Hi crochet friends! Hope you’re all well and enjoying the run up to Easter. I’ve not blogged in ages, as I’ve been so swept up in starting my small craft business but I’m hoping to get back to regular posts soon. 

So here’s a very quick update on my current wips. I’ve got three projects on the go right now (not counting work ones) a chunky triangle scarf made from a delicious Caron Cake in these colours, and amigurumi pokemon for my son.The third is a virus shawl made with  some gorgeous hand dyed sock yarn my sister kindly bought me from the Knitting and Stitching Show in Olympia recently. It’s a great one to whittle in the sunshine in my garden. 

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Brightening up November

Hi crochet friends! I’ve been a busy bee lately, setting up my new career as a crochet and craft teacher. It’s been lovely so far and I’m enjoying working with some lovely people. Encouraging others to get creative is extremely rewarding and well worth all the hard work preparing for sessions and doing publicity. 

I wanted to make something bright and quick for myself so I found a little time (whilst watching my DC superheroes!) to crochet this bright cowl. Using my stash of Stylecraft Cotton Classique and good old trebles I whittled this rainbow of comfy warmth. Bright colours with a neutral shade work well with any outfit and I’ve been wearing it a lot , indoors and out.

Meanwhile, I’m prepping for a new course making baby block toys and have been preparing lots of colourful little balls of Stylecraft Special dk for my learners. I think they look rather cute and hope my learners will enjoy putting different colour combinations together for their block toys.

As I write this I’m off for a day out in Harrogate at the Knitting & Stitching Show (yes I am that excited). Looking forward to some inspiration and yarny fun.

Books and Wool

There are few things I love more than books and wool! So when I heard my local library service is in trouble, with 9 out of 11 of our libraries under threat of closure, I had to sign the petition to keep them going. As a family we use them regularly and I believe their closure would be a terrible loss to our community. If you have time, please sign the petition and help us more info here

Last Sunday we had another great family day out at Calderstones Park in Liverpool. We had a lovely lunch in the Reader cafe, where you can of course enjoy a good book and eat yummy food. The Reader is a social enterprise which promotes shared reading. It’s going from strength to strength and has ambitious plans. We played on the playground, explored the gardens (all for free by the way) then headed to the story barn where we met these guys and enjoyed a story or ten. My kids had the best time exploring this amazing interactive story space, climbing inside the giant robot, flying in a hot air balloon and playing with the friendly storytelling staff. It’s a wonderful place and I couldn’t resist photographing my woolly finds. The cafe has a knit/ crochet and natter group (I must visit some time!) who kindly make and donate some wonderful toys and cushions for the children to play with.These books caught my eye for some reason 😉 Our visit concluded with a trip to the ice cream parlour, I sampled the delicious daily special, peaches and cream. On our way back to the car I spotted a fascinating embroidery exhibition, from an amazing lady called Ruby Porter, a member of the Embroiderers Guild who regularly visits Sreeper Village in Bangladesh to support a charity helping children at an orphanage and ladies at a women’s refuge in the village. The exhibition of work made by the ladies is part of a touring exhibition called Threading Dreams and you can read her fascinating story here

So wool (and embroidery thread too!) and books really are awesome     aren’t they? I’ll end with a quick snap of my hitchhiker scarf, my sister kindly taught me to knit continental style and it’s been my summer relaxation project and I’ve enjoyed it, even if I am way slower a knitter than a crocheter. I love the colours in the West Yorkshire Spinners sock yarn. Happy Crocheting my friends!

Whoah Yarndale was awesome!

Great selfie opp in aid of Alzheimers Society

My three fellow crafters and me visited Yarndale for the first time on Sunday. It’s taken my eyes, legs and brain a few days to recover from the sheer force of all that bright, friendly, woolly and extremely beautiful crafty loveliness!!! So much to take in and loads of inspiration, so here are just a few of my crochet highlights.

1. Great balls of yarn:Check out these gigantic hooks and whopping yarn. The lovely ladies from I Make Knots let us loose on some supersized, and super squishy, gorgeous yarn. We each made a very quick necklace, the big hooks required a bit of extra effort to control but I was pleased with the result plus it was quite chilly in the morning and it warmed me up.

2. Animals:  There were a few animals who had come to visit Yarndale including these sweet alpacas and sheep.

3. Pom Poms: Since I hurt my hand doing too much crochet earlier in the year I’ve been rationing my crochet time carefully. Of course that’s meant looking for alternative yarn fun so I’ve been learning continental knitting (which happily doesn’t hurt) and making loads of pom poms with my kids and anyone who comes to visit. I’ve got a vague idea I will use them to fashion a garland for my bannister once I’ve got a motherload and found some nice examples on TrompeLolly’s very pretty stall.

4. Beauty: there was almost more beauty than I could handle in one day! Here are some distilled  crochet extracts. 

5. Tiny beauty: have you heard of Amanda Bloom’s Little Box of Crochet? A monthly subscription to a fantastic treat box containing new kits by great crochet designers. Check out all these gorgeous goodies.On their Yarndale stall was this very cute display from this month’s designer Kate Bruning from Greedy for Colour. Aren’t they amazing?  I totally want her pattern books, her designs are soooo cute!This is my kind of camping trip, so pretty and ice cream too!After a thoroughly good day of mooching there was just time for tea, cake and some last minute purchases before heading home. I would definitely like to visit again one day, we found Yarndale enjoyable and very well organised.

Hello! 

I’ve had a break from my blog for a few weeks for a number of reasons, not least a hectic summer off with my kids! I’m back on it now though and after a thoroughly inspiring trip to Yarndale (about which more in my next blog post) at the weekend I can’t wait to get going on all things crochet and crafty once again. Last night I made this cheery little mandala.I made it from my stash of Stylecraft cotton DK Classique. Nice quick mini project and stash buster, if you’d like to make one here’s how:

1. Using a 4mm crochet hook, in Dove, chain 5 and join with a slip stitch. Fasten off.

2. Join yarn in Azure. Chain 2 (counts as first treble crochet on every round) or dc if you’re in the USA) then work 9 trebles into the middle of the chain circle. Fasten off.

3. Join yarn in Tropical Jade. Chain 2 then work 2 trebles in every space between the trebles on the row below. Fasten off.

4. Repeat 3 using Sunflower. Fasten off.

5.  Join Hot Pink and chain 2 then work a treble in the same space. Work one treble in the next space, then two trebles in the next, then one treble in the next. Keep alternating two trebles then one treble in each space to the end of the round. Fasten off.

6. Join Mauve, chain 2 and work one treble into each space to end. Fasten off.

7. Weave in or sew in ends and block if you like or just enjoy admiring it and thinking about My Little Ponies and Rainbowbrite for a bit.

Keep on craftin’

Hi crochet friends! I’ve been a bit of a sad captain lately as I’ve hurt my hand and not been able to crochet, so had nothing much to blog about. After a trip to the doctors I was advised to rest it for 6-8 weeks, so crocheting is unfortunately out for the time being. I think a combination of using a mouse a lot for work and using the same muscles and tendons to crochet every day has caused the problem. After resting it for a few weeks I’m pleased to say it seems to be on the mend now. I’m really missing crochet as its my main form of relaxation every day but I’ve been using the time to follow lots of interesting blogs and look at other crocheters work. On the brighter side, my lovely sister gave me this fab bracelet she made today.

She crocheted it into a metal chain, in bright cotton yarn, adding a fastener. I love the choice of colours and it’s both comfy to wear and stylish. 

These DP needles belonged to my paternal grandma, a wonderful lady and fantastic grandma who knitted various things including a toy lion I regretfully no longer have. It’s nice to be using her needles though.I’ve had this ball of Zig Zag in my stash for ages and finally decided to give continental knitting a go, as my hand is a little better. 

I’m hoping knitting won’t make it worse as I’m using my other hand more. I’m pacing myself but have cast on my first ever sock, with help from my sister whose an ace knitter. I’m following Winwick Mum’s detailed guidelines and hoping for the best! So I’ll keep on crafting and hopefully get back to my beloved crochet soon. Thanks for reading, happy crafting!

Colourful Hairband

img_0736-1I’ve been looking for small , speedy projects lately as I’ve been very pressed for time. So I had a play with my yarn stash and came up with this quick and easy hairband, modelled here by my lovely sister (and her Scottie, May)


I chose a Rico variegated cotton (my rainy day Manchester impulse buy) and got to work.

First I chained 86, (add or subtract multiples of 5 chain to adjust the size) which makes 17 shells.

Next I skipped 3 chain and worked a treble crochet (double if you are in the USA) into the next chain space.

Then a further 3 treble crochet into the same space. This makes a total of 5 trebles because the 3 chain counts as the first one.

Next I skipped 2 chain spaces and worked a double crochet (single for US crocheters) into the next chain space.

I then skipped 2 more chain spaces and worked 5 trebles into the next chain space.Before skipping 2 more chain spaces and working a double crochet into the next chain space. I repeated this until the end of the row of chain, ending with a double crochet. Next, I turned my crochet upside down and worked 5 trebles into the same chain space as before. I then continued working (1 double, skip 2 chain, 5 trebles, skip 2 chain) all the way to the end of the row ending with a double.
I joined the Hairband ends together with a slip stitch and it was ready to wear.

It turned out to be a nice sized, wearable design. Yay!
It turns out my head is bigger than my sister’s (!) so I added in an extra shell when I made one for me. I also wear mine as a necklace and bracelet. I love how adaptable crochet can be. And I really love a quick project.

Yarn Shop Day

I’ve spent an enjoyable morning at Black Sheep Wools in Culcheth for Yarn Shop Day, which is happening up and down the country today. Lots of experts were on hand to give their advice and encouragement to the many crafters who visited (and rookie craft bloggers like me).

I met the lovely Bee from Crafts from the Dungeon Glass & Textile Studio, and had a go at weaving on a very dinky loom.img_0761Bee teaches weaving classes and had a wonderful selection of her work on display, including scarves and ponchos. I love the colour combination on this larger loom, greens, purples and turquoise are my favourites!img_0760 I even got to try some beautiful woven garments on, and showed them off round the shop, to encourage people to visit the weaving demonstration. How great is this woven top!img_0763 It’s a wonderful craft and quite speedy so I was told.  Bee explained that many different yarns and textiles can be woven and she enjoys experimenting to achieve many different effects and textures.  I’d really like to try a longer workshop some time, to find out more visit Bee’s website

There were some amazing crochet gurus at the craft barn today.  I was lucky to get to chat with fabulous designer Sue Pinner about her journey from learning to crochet as a young girl from a friend’s grandma to picking up a hook again as an adult and becoming a successful crochet designer, blogger and author.

I wanted to make all her blanket designs!  But particularly fell in love with this one, just gorgeous isn’t it.

You can follow Sue’s wonderfully colourful blog here with lots of free patterns I can’t wait to try (I want to make a  crochet sample necklace!) and her books and patterns are available to buy in the craft barn.

Another inspirational crochet designer I met was Kathryn of Crafternoon Treats who brought this impressive display of awesome crocheted bags.

I hadn’t thought of making a bag before, but Kathryn’s bag-a-long has lots of great ideas and patterns I’d like to try.  I particularly liked the idea of using fabric to line a bag and give it more structure and Kathryn explained how it is easier to sew the fabric to to each individual granny square.  The fabrics add even more colour to the bags and they look fantastic.img_0768I love these warm tones together.  I caught Kathryn on her coffee break with a friend, check out the beautiful display of bags.img_0767

What a fab trip to the craft barn.  I also listened to Christine aka Winwick Mum talking about how to get started knitting socks.  I’m trying to summon up courage to try sock knitting and when I do, I’ll be checking out her book for beginners.  There are some extremely pretty sock yarns available which keep catching my eye…

Crochet Spotter

Once you tune into something it really does pop up everywhere doesn’t it? From crochet accents on high street fashion this year to handmade blankets in baby buggies in the park I seem to have been noticing lots of crocheted loveliness just lately. I’ve recently had a birthday and was fortunate to receive this book of inspiration from a good friend, which I’ll be trying out soon as I’d like to try combining crochet with knitting.  I love the concept of a one ball project both for cost and ease, the fewer ends to weave in the better.

 My kind family thoughtfully gave me one of these, which will be very handy for blogging with.

 I’m looking forward to putting it to good use. My other favourite gift has to be these lovelies, researched by my thoughtful son who wanted to get me the best ones he could. I was very happy both for his kindness and because I’d wanted a set for ages, oh and did I mention the colours?

 Lucky me. Can’t wait to get going on the yarn stash with those beauts.

  As a birthday treat we visited the wonderful Calderstones Park in Liverpool and particularly enjoyed their brand new story barn for children. Such a bright, sunny spring day.We all enjoyed exploring the storybarn and spotted some lovely crocheted things as weeks among the hand crafted dressing up, toys and general story inspired fun. We loved the giant robot and hot air balloon, what a magical place to share a story with young readers. If you’d like to know more about Calderstones or fabulous charity the Reader they have a very informative website. They also have a great cafe, ice cream parlour and loads of events encouraging shared reading. My children also loved the travelling exhibition of Oliver Jeffers’ picture books.

 Crochet crowns for dress up, how could I resist!

 

A story sharing, role playing haven

Granny, granny and more granny.

Although I started to crochet back in the eighties as a youngster, it was only when I became an auntie, a decade ago, that I got into making granny squares. I’d seen a baby blanket made from an oversized one, in pale baby blue. I decided I wanted to make a colourful one and, it’s fair to say, got a bit obsessed.  

 As time went on I made lots of baby blankets from granny squares, trying to match them to my friends’ tastes. Some were striped, some plain, variegated wools worked really well. I even added an elaborate picot and shell frilly border to one in a contrasting shade which worked nicely. Cottons for summer babies, warm wool for winter babies. They are just so adaptable and easy to make.

When my own kids were born I particularly liked making them in bright colours and matching them to buggy fabrics and car seat colours.
 Granny squares are so satisfying to make. I made a few really big ones as throws too, like this petrol one in 41 rounds of acrylic.  

    
    
 I made this really warm chunky pure wool throw from 15 large granny squares worked in 7 rounds about five years ago and it’s been in constant use on our sofa ever since. 

    
   So between mostly making baby blankets and scarves for the past decade you could say I was in kind of a crochet rut, happy enough to potter along making the same kind of things really and able to chat to friends or watch TV without having to concentrate too much on my crochet. Until late last year when I started Cherry Heart/ Black Sheep Wool’s Spice of Life Crochet Along.  Here is my finished one in Cherry Heart original colours but with a red border to match my colour scheme and I think it looks great with my curtains and this beautiful patchwork cushion made by a very talented friend.

 It took me a few weeks to make but I’m enjoying admiring it from across the room every day and it was well worth the effort.

I had so much fun exploring new stitches and revisiting old favourites. It’s inspired me to start trying some new projects and also got me interested in reading crochet blogs (and of course having a go at blogging as an extension of my hobby too). Which   I find I am enjoying quite a lot after over thirty years of crocheting in my own little world really. It’s certainly making me want to get those unfinished objects done.