My visit to The Knitting & Stitching Show 2017


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Being a crochet blogger can certainly comes with it’s perks…like being invited to attend the biggest textile event in the UK!! I didn’t need asking twice let me tell you! So last Thursday saw me and my lovely mum, as my plus one, hot footing it down to London to attend The Knitting and Stitching Show at the Alexandra Palace (aka the Ally Pally).

Firstly I should advise you, my lovelies, that this is going to be a bit of a long post with lots of photos so you might want to get comfy and grab a cuppa (or your favourite tipple) before we proceed…right…ready…then I shall begin.

I’ll also quickly say I’m not usually one for selfies but seeing as this is a post about my experiences of the show there are some actual photos of me (and mum – who kindly gave me permission to post her photo on the web). Mum was also there in the capacity of a financial adviser basically to try and help me curb my need to buy everything I saw (more on that later). All photos were taken on my phone as I thought my camera would just get in the way of my shopping bags (ha!) so I’m hoping the quality isn’t too bad.

After a 3 hour journey we got to the Ally Pally at about 10.30am on the 12th October which was the second day of the show and late night opening (till 7pm). The show actually runs for a mammoth four or five days usually so there’s plenty of time to attend one (or more) of the show dates.  The Knitting and Stitching Show actually runs in several venues across the UK with two dates in London each year – you can sign up for their latest news by subscribing to their newsletter (link on the bottom of the website).

The Ally Pally was a completely new place to me and wow what a BEAUTIFUL building it is! 

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The stunning building that is the Alexandra Palace – just look at that window!

Situated on top of a hill in North London it offers a fabulous panoramic view of the city below. My mum, bless her heart, had never been to London before so I think she was a little thrilled about the view.

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It’s London baby!

First stop was to go and get my press badge! Yes that’s right my. very. own. press pass…and the next photo shows me completely geeking out about said badge (cringe)!

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Then after a quick visit to the loo and a large cuppa for sustenance we went inside to see what we could see.  

The corridor to the main event room was lined with some of the winning entries of this years Festival of Quilts. These quilts were pretty jaw droppingly stunning! The photo of the following quilt in particular, called African Village, was my favourite. You wouldn’t quite believe it was a quilt unless you saw it up close (I wasn’t the only one going up for a closer look). I think it just looks like a painting – the attention to detail is just amazing – and don’t get me started on the colours! 

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African Village by Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga

Now I’m still relatively new to craft shows, I’ve done Yarndale, WoolJ13 and TOFTfest) and I knew this was going to be a big show but I wasn’t quite prepared for how MAHOOSIVE it actually was. Sooooo many stands and sooooo much to look at and take in! 

We arrived just as the show opened so people were just beginning to trickle in and, although it did get busy, I felt that it was never too squashy or overwhelming – and the giant ceilings of the room also helped alleviate any feelings of claustrophobia you might have

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Early doors at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2017

There’s no distinguishable layout to the stalls that I could make out; they didn’t seem to be grouped by name or craft, and there was also booth’s with workshops and demonstrations dotted about in between the stalls. We did have a guide book that listed all of the stalls but we actually quite enjoyed just walking round and kind of ‘happening’ on things of interest – which was a lot!

I literally was that excitable child out with mum pulling her about saying ‘Ooo look at this’ and ‘OOoo look at that’.  She may have accused me of bouncing about and being hyper but my enthusiasm got us talking to some lovely people who were also visiting the show. It was great listening to other people’s experiences of the show; why they were attending and what bargains they’d got or what they were going to make with the things they’d bought. 

I also met some celebrities…of the crochet kind!

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The celebrity makes (from left to right): Sophie’s Universe by Dedri Uys (Look At What I Made), The Hygge Shawl by Kirsten Ballering (Haak Maar Raak), A Spicier Life CAL by Sandra Paul (Cherry Heart) , not too sure about the knit chevron blanket, then it’s A Spicier Life again in a different colourway and I think the last one is the Apre’s Ski Colour Pack designed by Sara from Black Sheep Wools.

After seeing so many of these blankets and shawls online seeing them made up close was pretty exciting! I think my mum was slightly stunned as I started reeling off the names and designers for ones I recognised. It also got us talking to more people who had made the blankets or shawls or were planning to make them – seriously loved the chatting to other crafters bits of the day.

The Black Sheep Wools stall was one of my favourite stands of the day.  Aside from displaying many of the blankets above they had basically set up a yarn sweet shop of Scheejpes Catona (which I love – look out for a future review and new pattern from me soon!) And I don’t know why I didn’t realise that the actual shop is not that far away from me…I see a visit coming on sometime soon!

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I mean come on! My purse didn’t stand a chance!!!

Another favourite stall of mine was the TOFT stand. I love the brand and designs anyways (see my previous posts about TOFTfest and my interview with Kerry Lord) and my mum just fell head over heals for this giant version of ‘Caitlin the Giraffe’. It is just amazing isn’t it! It was certainly drawing a lot of well-deserved attention.

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Caitlin with my lovely little mum for scale

Kerry Lord, the designer behind Caitlin, was there signing her new book; Edward’s Crochet Doll’s Emporium (look out for my review of the book coming soon) and the stand looked amazing with many other of her designs hanging up. 

Kerry is a definite source of inspiration to me! Not only does she produce gorgeous designs but she seems to have unlimited energy! I’d just seen on Instagram that she’d just literally come back from promoting in Australia and there she was at the show signing books and giving talks…and she’s got two young children – just amazing!

I didn’t go and say hi, as she was very busy with the signing books business, but mum and I did have fun with the Ed’s Dolls face stand in…

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Another part of the show we really enjoyed was The Women’s Institute display of knitting buildings. So much detail in each and everyone, they were incredible!

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Just incredible attention to detail!

I don’t know whether you can see but some of the houses and churches were decorated with little Halloween items like a pumpkin, witches hat and broom. Here’s another photo of my favourite house…

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Look at the cute little pumpkin!

Whilst at the show I’d also arranged to meet some of the people from Let’s Get Crafting Magazine. After working on commissions with the magazine for almost a year it was it was so great to meet the lovely editor Rosie and deputy editor Jess in person after so much chat via email. Mum and I were treated to a cuppa and we had a great long chat about past and future projects (some exciting stuff coming soon so watch this space!).

It was really good to develop a better understanding of the behind the scenes workings at the magazine – and I think they were interested to learn my design processes too. 

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Rosie, me and Jess

And then before we knew it, it was time to attend our workshop; Sewing a Quirky Creature with Miss Libby Rose

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The fab Miss Libby Rose and some of her Quirky Creatures

Now sewing for me, is very much out of my comfort zone! I can basically make easy things like a lining for a crochet bag…and maybe sew up something fairly square, but tackle things with shape – not on your nelly! That’s when the session at the machine usually ends up with tangled bobbins and lots of swearing. 

However, you don’t get better at things unless you practice and try new things and I would like to be able to sew better so I was excited to give it a try. 

Mum and I were joined at the class with the lovely blogger behind Elsie Pop (who you can just see in the background) and her other half (who turned out to be a natural secret speed sewer!).

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I obviously missed the memo about wearing matching tops…

The experience went a little as expected…it seems I develop a very heavy right foot as soon as I sit down at a sewing machine so things have a literal tendency to run away with themselves. BUT thanks to the most fabulous Miss Libby Rose, we did end up with half finished kitties for Little G and Little Miss….

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which we finished off at home, didn’t they come out cute in the end!

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Then it was time to go home! We literally left the show at 6.55pm just before it closed at 7pm. We’d spent a mega 8.5 hours at the show and yet it seemed like it went by so fast – I could have stayed longer!

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And what did I buy? Well mum epically failed to rein me in – but to be fair she didn’t really stand a chance! So I bought lots of pretties and squishies!

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For me the show was pretty much all about the yarn and the people I got to meet, but there’s fabric, sewing and embroidery stuff, beads, buttons and chances to listen to crafty talks and take part in workshops – pretty much everything a textile craft loving gal could desire! If you get the chance to go to a future Knitting and Stitching Show I can thoroughly recommend it.

Before I finish off this post I’m just going to thank the organisers of the show again for my complimentary tickets, goodie bag, workshop and for making me feel like a mini professional (rather than an blogging imposter) with my press badge! And for supplying five tickets free for KCACO.UK readers. It’s was very much appreciated!

Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Yarn Shop Day | 6 May 2017



Yarn-Shop-DayHave you heard about Yarn Shop Day? It’s an annual celebration supported by Let’s Knit and Let’s Get Crafting magazines which aims to celebrate Britain’s much-loved independent wool shops.  This year Yarn Shop Day took place today, on the 6th of May, in hundreds of yarn and haberdashery stores across the country. 

I don’t know how I’d missed that this day existed previously (!?!) but as soon as I learnt of it’s existence I thought I really should pay a visit to one of my local participating shops on the day.  I personally think it’s incredibly important to support any local businesses and shops – but I don’t need an excuse to visit a yarn shop… So anyway earlier today I headed off to The Little Shop of Crafts which is luckily just down the road from me.

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The Little Shop of Crafts is a lovely little shop which stocks a great range of yarns from Sirdar, James C. Brett and other Designer Yarns, it also has proper crochet cotton from Coats. As well as yarn they cater for cross-stitchers and have a range of haberdashery items and fabrics. 

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Today the shop celebrated Yarn Shop Day with a charity raffle, 10% off all yarn purchases and a crafternoon group session full of lovely ladies.  

Little G, who wanted to come with me to the shop, held court with the ladies telling them all about the birthday party she had been to (hence the streamers on her top)…and pretty much everything else that was happening in her life – which allowed me plenty of time to shop!

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The crafternooners were busy hooking up some of the special freebies which were designed especially for this years event. Debbie Bliss designed an exclusive (Knitalong) blanket pattern that was given away free, along with Rainbow the Unicorn (knit by Sachiyo Ishii) and Coral the Mermaid (crochet by Sarah Shrimpton) amigurumi patterns.

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Little G loved the ones that had already been made and was delighted to be given the opportunity to name them (and in case you were wondering she named the unicorn Sparkle and the mermaid Lorelai!)

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And the fantastic thing is that even if you missed Yarn Shop Day the patterns will be available throughout the year so if your local store doesn’t have them, you can get them from a different store later if you’re visiting another town or city.

And what did I buy…well I just had to get myself one of the new Sidar colourwheel yarn cakes (Shade 201: Colourama) because I drooled on it a bit, kidding, but it is most delicious isn’t it – and so squishy! I may have hugged it a bit on the way home…just need to decide on what to make with it.  I also got some other little bits and bobs I needed and the most amazing unicorn fabric which I’m hoping I can transform into a dress similar to the one I made Little G when she was younger (this one).

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Both Karen and Tracy, the proprietors of the shop were lovely and helpful and I want to say a HUGE thank you to all the crafternoon ladies who chatted to Little G – she had a great time. Unfortunately though she doesn’t quite understand that they are not going to be there every day – she’s already asked when she can go back and see everyone!

lyys_300x300Well we both thoroughly enjoyed our first Yarn Shop Day! I think it’s now going to be an annual event in my calendar. Craftiness always deserves to be celebrated so whether you love crochet or the two stick-ed thing Yarn Shop Day is a must for your diary.  So if you can next year please do go along and support your local yarn shop.

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Spring, Spring, Spring! And Giveaway winners!


Welcome-Spring

Any fans of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers will be completely forgiven for breaking out into uproarious song after reading the title of my post. It’s my lovely mum’s most favourite movie so the show tunes have become ingrained from childhood! 

This weekend we definitely enjoyed ‘Ma Nature’s yearly miracle’ as we went on a visit to Tatton Park, an historic estate in Cheshire. And OH but the sun was glorious and the sky was so blue, the birds were a-twitterin’ and blossoms…well they were just so blossomy!!! 

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I can’t even begin to tell you how nice it was to get outside and enjoy some good weather after quite a grey March – and to walk about with no coat on either; just delightful!

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It was an absolute pleasure slowly walking round the gardens with all my family (as my mum and Dad came too), talking and taking in and appreciating the scenery.

I even spotted a bit of crochet in one of the farmers huts…though I might question the realism of the colour palette of the bottom blanket for the olden days – hot pink yarn?!!

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Then whilst hubby played with the girls on the play-park my parents and I wandered over to look at the house. Inside, amongst lots of other things, they had what seemed to be a little embroidery showcase. There was no denying the talent of the artists that had created some of the pieces – they were just stunning! I took a picture of my favourite work because I just thought it was so beautiful (silly me though I forgot to look for the name of the artist) I just love the colours, the composition of the piece…just everything about it!

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The highlight of the day for everyone though was Tatton Park’s lambing week…

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By some sort of wizardry they had synchronised their ewes to lamb within a 10 day period and there were so many of the little cuties bouncing about ‘waggin’ tails, rubbin’ noses’. Although we didn’t see any lambs actually being born, we saw some that had just been born! Little G asked lots of interesting questions…and was thoroughly intrigued by the whole thing.  

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By the end of the day we’d walked over 8.4km  (about 5.5 miles) round the gardens and house, enjoyed some eating alfesco with the first picnic of the year and all went home with happy hearts! So glad that Spring is finally here!

And before I forget there are some giveaway winners to announce aren’t there! Just to remind you, I set a little competition so some lovely people could win some pattern prizes (details in this post). Was the winner you? Did you get the answer right?  

Well the answer to my clue was my Daisy Chain Flourish blanket

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but some of you answered that it was my Daisy Chain afghan square  which was kind of right too – so I’ve tumbled you all into a random.org and the winners of a pattern of their choice are:

  1. Patricia Giles  
  2. Trisha Smith
  3. Nicola
  4. Yolande Timkoe 
  5. Kirsty

Congratulations folks! Please can you get in touch with me so you can claim your prize!

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Designer Interview | Kerry Lord from TOFT / Edward’s Menagerie


I’m thrilled about my next designer interview because I actually had the pleasure of meeting her in person!!  Kerry Lord is the author of the extremely popular Edward’s Menagerie series which feature her designs of extremely cute animals, Birds and, in her new book: Imaginarium, all sorts of fabulous creatures.  She is also a busy working mum and the founder of British luxury yarn brand TOFT which specialises in alpaca yarn.

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Recently I attended TOFTfest, which celebrated the 10th birthday of TOFT yarn (which I blogged about here), where I met Kerry and I thought I would see if she would kindly let me find out more about her designing process – to my delight she said YES!  Here’s what we chatted about…

How did you first discover crocheting and amigurumi?

When very pregnant with my first child Edward I decided to teach myself to crochet in order to distract me from going back to work. As soon as I had mastered the double crochet stitch an elephant flew off my hook and into existence. I think the Edward’s Menagerie shape had been living in my head for a while but my knitting skills didn’t allow me to achieve them.

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How did you become a crocheting designer? Is it your real job?

My real job is running the company TOFT and everything that this involves. Designing crochet animals and clothing patterns is part of this role, but by no means all – I have to source and design the yarns first!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get lots of my inspiration from feedback, both from my family, colleagues and customers.

Tell us a bit about your design process…

I usually just pick up my yarn and start making when designing amigurumi. If designing something to wear it’s a far longer process as I sketch and swatch first before doing calculations to work out the pattern.

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Many of your animals, birds and creatures have names (like Georgina the Hippo), how do you come up with them? Do you get people requesting names?

Some of them are people I know, whereas others are truly fictional characters. This is the most fun part of my job!

Do you have a favourite creation that you’ve designed?

I am very fond of Blake from Edward’s Menagerie, but Kerry the Chameleon from our recent hand-dyed project makes me feel very proud.

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Do you have go to hooks and yarn? I’m guessing TOFT yarn is your favourite; but can you pick a favourite TOFT yarn?

I am lucky enough to design my own yarns and hooks, so of course I choose our own ones. My favourite TOFT yarn to make things for myself to wear is our DK Silver.

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Who gets your creations; you, your family, your friends?

The studio!! Most of my crochet goes on display, but every now and again I find the time to make something for my children.

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Now we’ve had animals, birds and imaginary characters can you tell us what might be next for Edward’s Menagerie?

I can’t let that secret slip just yet, but book four is well underway!

Where do you work? Do you have a studio space or do you work from your living room chair?

I do have my own room of yarny chaos (and lots of cacti), but more often than that I’ll work from the sofa.

Tell us a bit about yourself – what do you do when you’re not crocheting?

When not at work or crocheting I am having fun with my family. We enjoy muddy walks around the farm and plenty of messy crafts.

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Finally finish the sentence … I love crochet because…

It makes other people very happy.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Kerry again for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions. I’ve really enjoyed getting a better understanding of what’s involved with in her designing process and hope you have too.

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Stylecraft Blog Tour 2016 | Pattern Round Up


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So did you all travel along with this years Stylecraft Blog Tour? What amazing crochet and knit patterns there have been!! All I can say is hexagons seem to be the thing to make right now – can’t believe so many of us chose that shape! 😝 

Well in case you missed any of it I thought I would do a round up on the beauty for you with all the links you need to find each pattern. 

Day 1: Emma Varnam – Blencathra Blanket (Oct 24)

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Find all the details about the Blencathra Blanket pattern here.

Day 2: Janie Crow – Diego’s Flowers Crochet Hexagon Motif (Oct 25)

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Find all the details about the Diego’s Flower pattern here.

Day 3: ME!! – Harmonious Hexagon Quilt (Oct 26)

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Find all the details about the Harmonious Hexagon Quilt here.

Day 4: Stylecraft – Tablet Cover (Oct 27)

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Find all the details about the Tablet cover here.

Day 5: Le Monde de Sucrette – Chunky Stool Cover (Oct 28)

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Find all the details about the Chunky Stool Cover here.

Day 6: Cherry Heart – Bobbing Along Ripple Blanket (Oct 29)

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Find all the details about the Bobbing Along Ripple Blanket here.

Day 7: Susan Pinner – Spinning Top Blanket (Oct 30)

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Find all the details about the Spinning Top Blanket pattern here.

Day 8:  The Twisted Yarn – Scarf (Oct 31)

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Find all the details about the scarf pattern here.

Day 9: Annaboos House – Granny Wrap (Nov 1)

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Find all the details about the Granny Wrap pattern here.

Day 10: Craftnoon Treats – Blandala (Nov 2)

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Find all details about the Blandala here.

Day 11: Hand Knitted Things – Special Stripy Blanket (Nov 3)

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Find all details about the Special Stripy Blanket here.

Day 12: The Patchwork Heart – Chunky Cowl (Nov 4)

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Find all details about the Chunky Cowl here.

Soooo much gorgeousness am I right!! 

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Autumn Days


I love this time of year! I like the fact that it’s time to get out the hats, scarves and gloves. It’s time for comfort food, bonfires, conkers,  Halloween and the red, orange, greens and golds of autumn leaves. 

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I know some people find Halloween offensive but I have always viewed it as a bit of harmless fun where children can dress up, play games and enjoy themselves.  It’s believed that Halloween actually comes from the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain, which was a celebration of the end of the harvest season, and as we slip and trip into the misery, coldness and ice that is winter (you might guess I’m not a fan!) why shouldn’t we have a bit of fun I say!

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Little G absolutely loves Halloween it’s probably her most favourite day (after her birthday) and she pretty much talks about it all year round asking how many days until the next one is (this usually starts the day after the last one has ended).  For her Halloween is totally about dressing up and playing jokes. As it’s been half term week here the children have been off school so there have been plenty of places to visit which offer Halloween / Autumn activities.

We took a trip to Moseley Old Hall with my mum and dad to do some pumpkin carving which was good and messy. The excellent thing about pumpkin carving is the innards being transformed into warming pumpkin soup served with crusty garlic bread (yummmm).  

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Children were encouraged to dress up and the house and woods were great fun for exploring.  They have a really awesome tree house in the woods and Little G enjoyed building some dens out of logs, rope and stones with her grandparents.

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It was the best sort of Autumn day, a bit chilly but dry with a bright blue sky and crunchy leaves underfoot.   I think we all enjoyed a walk in the crisp air to blow the cobwebs away!

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Another day we went with some family friends to a trick or treat village where Little G was a cute cat and Little Miss an adorable pumpkin.

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The hat pattern is the Pumpkin-Top Earflap Hat by Kimberlie Goodnough. I’ve made it a few times now, it’s such a fun hat to make, quick to hook up and just perfect for Halloween / Autumn.  I did change the pattern slightly; I didn’t add the ear-flaps on this occasion and just added a scalloped trim to finish it off. 

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The yarn I used was Stylecraft Special Aran in Spice and Meadow which are just perfect pumpkin colours. 

So now Halloween has passed it’s on wards to bonfire night! I need to finish off some new winter hat designs for my girls before the weekend so I’d better get on with it as hats unfortunately (as much as it would be amazing if they did) don’t crochet themselves!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Stylecraft Blog Tour 2016 | Harmonious Hexagons Quilt Free Pattern Release


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So following on from my last post about this I must say again how chuffed to bits I am to be one of the bloggers for this years Stylecraft Blog Tour to celebrate the winning colours, from the recent poll they conducted, for their Special Aran and Special Chunky yarns. 

Monday the tour visited Emma Varnam’s blog and we got to see her beautiful Blencathra Blanket, yesterday we popped round to Janie Crow’s blog and drooled over her gorgeous Diego’s Flowers motif (make sure you check them out if you haven’t already) and today the tour is with me!

First off if you are new to my blog WELCOME one and all! So pleased you could join me, I have a brand new pattern, using Stylecraft Special Chunky, to share with you and later there will also be a chance to win your very OWN Stylecraft colour pack so stay tuned for that.

Right lets quickly recap about the colours which I reviewed here.  The wonderful public chose 6 colours…

Pale Rose  Empire  Storm Blue  Sage Pistachio  Saffron 

but for my new pattern a couple more colours have been added for a nice balanced palette.

Parchment Pomegranate  Spice  Gold

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Although I played around with different shapes and designs on paper and in my head the thing I was certain about was that I wanted to use all ten colours in my pattern. Shape wise I’ve worked with so many squares / rectangles recently that I also knew that I wanted to do a different shape. But what to make…that was the quandary! In the end I decided I wanted to make a nice thick lapghan to keep me warm as our British nights grow ever cooler.  

I have always had a fascination with patchwork and, as someone that can’t sew for toffee, love to see this medium re-created in crochet.  There are some fabulous patterns out in the crochet-verse already inspired by quilts (like the gorgeous Sunny Log Cabin blanket by Attic24 or the Jewelled Star Blanket by Janie Crow) and this definitely motivated me to try and create my own patchwork inspired design.

 I have to confess when I got my yarn to play with I kept on returning to the idea of a rainbow with chunks of solid colour (because who doesn’t love a rainbow) and there is just something so satisfyingly delicious I’ve discovered about pure colour chunky hexagons!  

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My finished pattern embraces a contemporary look that allows bold pops of rainbow colours to illuminate a classic patchwork design. So without further ado let me introduce you to the Harmonious Hexagon Quilt…

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I had so much fun making these hexagons and playing with the colours that I didn’t want it to stop!

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As the yarn is super nice and chunky the pattern works up quickly, and as it’s made in pieces it’s a great project to take out and about with you if you want to hook on the go.

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The finished blanket measures 118 cm x 98cm (46.5 x 38.5 inches) so the perfect size to throw over your lap to ward off a chill. 

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The hexagon motifs do not require advanced skills to execute and, as always with my patterns, terminology is written in both UK and US terms. I have included explanations of all stitches and abbreviations and also added some photos in the pattern to hopefully help with any tricky parts!

Click the link below to add the Harmonious Hexagon Quilt to your Favourites and Ravelry Queue.  

          HARMONIOUS HEXAGON QUILT           ♥ 

If you’re not on Ravelry and you’d like a copy of the pattern, you can get in touch with me via email at kcacouk at gmail dot com and I’ll send you a pdf version.

If you would like to win a pack of Stylecraft Special Chunky in the colour pack I have used follow the link below to enter the competition. 

  COMPETITION now closed, congratulations to Beverley Lotz    

And the exciting news is that the Stylecraft blogtour has only just begun! Make sure you check out Stylecraft’s Facebook page for details over the next couple of weeks to find out the blogger of the day, get their fabulous free pattern and to be in with a chance to win a yarn pack!  Still to come at some point are the following bloggers:  

  1. Crafternoon Treats
  2. The Twisted Yarn
  3. Patchwork Heart
  4. Le Monde de Sucrette
  5. Hand Knitted Things
  6. Cherry Heart
  7. Sue Pinner
  8. Annaboo’s House

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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