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.

Noodles for my Noodle

I’ve been set a crochet challenge this weekend. What can I make from a ball of James C. Brett Noodles? It’s very stretchy, chunky, pure polyester and boy is it bright! 

 I like this fresh green colour. I’m a big fan of greens. Noodles comes in a range of bright, sherberty shades and I’d like to combine this with turquoise perhaps. I wanted a quick mini project so decided on a nice, stretchy headband.  

  I consulted my go-to guide book for ideas, Basic Crochet Stitches by Erica Knight. My copy is full of bits of paper marking pages with stitches I want to try some day.  

 There are 250 to choose from so it’s brilliant value and great for trying new crochet techniques. It’s also incredibly easy to follow with one stitch per page and a handy diagram plus clear photo of each stitch. I’ve had mine for about five years now and have used it to create a number of scarves, blankets and other small projects.  

 I chose to try the Two-leaf Bar, which combines double crochet with double trebles. 

 It was a fun stitch to work, quick to do, and the two rows of dc on either side of the leaf motifs gave the head band some structure. I’d recommend working a smaller number of starting chain than you think you will need as it is so stretchy. The Noodles was nice to work with and all in all a successful mini project I think.