Another fabulous weekend at The Crochet Sanctuary…


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What an amazing weekend I’ve just had at The Crochet Sanctuary!! It’s going to be hard to try and explain what a refreshing, relaxing and just downright fun time I had, but I’ll give it a go! 

You may remember that in February Mr. KCACO-UK bought me a day pass to The Crochet Sanctuary at the beautiful Cranage Hall in Crewe (which you can read about here). It was whilst I was there that the lovely Lisa and Lynda-Rose did me the very great honour of asking me if I’d like to host a workshop. I was delighted to be asked and of course I said YES please!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really have many crocheting friends that live close to me – or they are more dabblers in crochet rather than a self proclaimed addict like me. The majority of my crochet buddies I’ve only met virtually via social media so the opportunity to meet up with other creative folks that share my passion for crochet – and love to talk about it as much as I do is absolutely wonderful!

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I would describe myself as a bit of an introverted extrovert if there is such a thing. There are times where I feel a little awkward in social situations, but I also really love to chat once I get to know people. I love how the crochet sanctuary always makes me feel so welcome and straight away they seem to put everyone at there ease. 

On this occasion we were a nice cosy group of about 15 people and our room was a circle of comfy chairs covered in crochet blankets and cushions where we could make ourselves at home. There was also a spinning wheel of sweets (yes really!), prosecco, water, tea/coffee or locally produced cordial to drink, snacks galore and of course lots and lots of lovely yarn!

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We started off with a really fun ice-breaker to get to know each other which included being sorted by a talking Harry Potteresque sorting hat (I was Ravenclaw!).  And waiting for us on our seats was a giant goodie bag full of our first project.

We were given a complete Mabel the giant amigurumi Bunny by Wool Couture which I was very excited about. This was my first time making an mega large ami and the pure merino yarn was just soooooo squishy! The colour chosen for us was ‘mink’ which is what the original Mabel was made of and away we started hooking…

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We hooked until 7pm then it was time for a three course meal down in the restaurant (which was delicious) and then we went back up to the room for more crochet and chatting…and I may have just stayed up until 1am!! Time seriously just flew by! But everyone could have a lie in the next day until 9am (which when you think I usually get up at 6am – or earlier with my two early-bird girls was heavenly).

After a scrummy buffet style breakfast it was back up to the room for our next project and we were joined by some more people that had a day pass. This time our Lisa and Lynda had designed hot-water bottle covers for us to make. There were two different applique designs to choose from, either butterflies or stars, and we were also given a hot-water bottle and all the yarn we would need. I was pleased to see the Scheepjes Softfun Denim (which you may remember I used for the Stitch Story CAL) and some Scheepjes Catona (which is some of my favourite yarn to use) and by lunchtime I’d hooked up one completed panel of my hot-water bottle. Then it was off for another delicious two course lunch (we were so well fed the whole weekend!)

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Then it was time to get ready for my workshop…squeak!!! I was rather nervous but I’d taken along some of my favourite designs to talk about including the Leafy Boughs Shawl (on top) some crochet blankets I’d made for Simply Crochet magazine, the Stitch Story CAL blankets and various amigurumi…

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I also chatted a bit about Dear Ewe and our products which had it’s up close and personal debut that weekend with folks attending the sanctuary…

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And then I introduced the design we were going to be working on for the rest of the afternoon. Lisa and Lynda let me decide what I was going to do for my workshop, though they did suggest they’d maybe like to see an amigurumi. I thought long and hard about what I was going to do when I happened upon this photo…it was a serendipitous moment where the photo  just seemed to encapsulate perfectly what I wanted for The Crochet Sanctuary. Something fun and something to convey how the sanctuary made me feel – just completely relaxed!

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From that inspiration I came up with the design for Relaxing Ralph (pattern release coming soon), complete with optional hammock (and stand made by my lovely Dad).

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My chosen yarn for Ralph was Scheepjes Stonewashed XL combined with normal Stonewashed DK and some trusty Catona. It was super fun to watch everyone begin their cats – and a relatively new experience for me to be present when someone actually makes one of my patterns.

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The rest of the afternoon until 6pm-ish (when the day people left us_ was taken up with making our kitties, then we all had a little rest before meeting for another scrumptious three course meal in the restaurant at 7pm.

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Then for those that wanted to we all went back up to the room to do some more crocheting, and there was wine and gin (and soft drinks) shared around and oh my word just such belly laughter! Such a fabulous evening where something will just never be referred to in the same way ever again! Then before I knew it, it was 11.30pm and I really needed to sleep! 

Sunday until 3pm (when the Sanctuary finishes) was given over for time to finished off our projects (and of course another delicious breakfast and lunch). It was wonderful that nearly everyone wanted to finish off their cats and before I knew it Ralph was joined by Regina Phalangi, Hilda, Jasper, Cinnamon, Heather, Reba, Gary, Julian and Gordon! We couldn’t resist a little photo shoot with all the cats…

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Everyone did such an AMAZING job with their cats! And before I knew it the cats were getting up to all sorts of mischief! Sliding down banisters…

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and checking out the cat local population!

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And then there was just time for a fabulous group photo on the steps before packing up our belongs to go home (with some many goodies in our bags!).

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All in all a thoroughly wonderful weekend which I was lucky enough to share with the most wonderful group of people!

If you are looking for a weekend of yarn, crochet, relaxation and just pure wonderfulness then the The Crochet Sanctuary is definitely the place for you. As testament to that the dates for 2018 are all now sold out and the dates for 2019 are selling out fast – but you can book on the remaining dates here.

I have to say I’m totally getting addicted to these weekends and may have just booked on a few more myself for this year – I’m looking forward to my next day visit in November.

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

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LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Novelty Garland & Free Robin Pattern


Issue 104 of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine is out in shops now and I’ve got two exclusive patterns in this issue which is a crafting for Christmas special – I know it’s only September but we crafters gotta start early am I right?!latest-issueWhen the red, red robin, comes bob, bob, bobbing along….along!!! Today’s earworm is bought to you courtesy of me (sorry!). Robins are such a familiar site on Christmas cards aren’t they. So often pictured in the snow it’s because Britain’s favourite hardy little bird doesn’t migrate from the UK in the Winter it sticks around like we do (probably also muttering to itself about the weather).

Now you can make your own little crochet versions, Robert and Richard, to perch on your mantel during the festive season.

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Made using three simple stitches, these little feathered friends are the perfect project for a crochet newbie – and right now these little birds are available for FREE from topcrochetpatterns.com

Sometimes I get asked to do things that seem rather bizarre – like my second make for this months edition. The brief was for a novelty brussel sprout garland with some party hats, but when I got to thinking about it, you don’t actually get more Christmassy than that do you!  Even if you hate the vegetable (and who is it that really likes them?) this garland is so fun (and quick) to make – though you might feel as if someone is watching you whilst you are making it!

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The magazine comes with a six blitzen yarns which are lovely and bright and the yellow has sparkly gold running through it too. You also get;

  • 3.5mm hook & 3.5mm knitting needles
  • 50 exclusive patterns
  • Plus… your 68 page magazine

LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine is available in major supermarkets and newsagents across the UK.  If you hook up either Richard and Robert Robin or make the fun Novelty Garland please share your photos with me on social media (facebooktwitter or instagram) – I love to see what you make! 

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

 

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Make it Today Magazine | Snails and Unicorns and another Dear Ewe Competition


Crochet Mag ‘n’ Makes, the special edition of Make It Today magazine, is on sale now and I’ve got two new fun designs inside AND (as we wanted to launch with a bang) there’s another feature and crochet related giveaway from Dear Ewe in this issue!

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You can just see on the front cover a couple of my makes – peeking out in the top right hand corner there’s a snail and at the bottom left you might just be able to make out a Stripes the Unicorn!

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I’ve always wanted to design a unicorn so was excited to give one a go for the magazine and he turned out to be really fun to make. And I always think of rainbows when I think of unicorns but I wanted to give this make a little twist, so instead of giving him a stripy rainbow mane (which you always see), I decided to give him a stripy body.

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I had to hide him a little whilst I was making him as my 7 year old is unicorn mad and would have run off with him given the chance!

In this issue I also made a colorful shellection of snails! Just forget about annoying garden pests and make up some gorgeous gastrapods to brighten up your day instead. 

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I nicknamed them Shelly and Sheldon (of course!) and opted for a traditional swirly pattern on their shells. But you could experiment with designs to create something completely unique to you. 

I adore how the magazines have styled them as well with the bulb box and the flowers!

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The mags and makes issue comes with the eight yarns I used for the patterns plus;

  • 3mm hook & 4.5mm crochet hooks
  • 55 exclusive patterns
  • Plus a 66 page magazine

You may also spy on page 6 in their news section that Dear Ewe had a lovely little feature…Little Ewe felt quite famous!

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Dear Ewe have teamed up with Make It Today magazine to offer a fab ultimate crochet bundle! Worth over £129 one winner will receive a crochet chart mug, crochet chart tote bag, crochet chart large project bag, 8 x creative greeting cards, 4 x photo prop card packs and two pattern downloads in either UK or US terminology.

Click here to enter the giveaway

Entries must be received by 6 September 2018.

 Make It Today magazine is available in major supermarkets and newsagents across the UK.  If you hook up either Stripes the Unicorn or the Snail Duo please share your photos with me on social media (facebooktwitter or instagram) – I love to see what you make! 

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

 

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LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Goldilocks Pattern and Dear Ewe Competition


Issue 103 of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine is out in shops now and I’ve got a new fun design for the heritage toy special edition AND there’s some exciting things from Dear Ewe in this issue!

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Once upon a time there were three bears who lived in a house in the forest. While they were out, a little girl called Goldilocks came through the trees and found their house and their porridge! We all know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears don’t we, it’s something we just seem to grow up with so I was delighted to have the opportunity to recreate such well known characters is yarn.

Goldilocks, to my mind, has golden curls so I knew I was going to have to include that in my design…

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And I really enjoyed creating the three bear characters. They were such fun to make and just perfect for little hands to accompany the much loved tale!

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Issue 103 comes with a six sundaze yarns which are lovely bright colours. There are also some mini pink pom poms included in the pack as well as;

  • 3.75mm hook & 3.75mm knitting needles
  • 45 exclusive patterns
  • Plus a 68 page magazine

If you’ve already picked up the latest edition of  LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine you may also have seen that  Dear Ewe had an exciting little feature in the news section. 

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Dear Ewe have teamed up with Let’s Get Crafting Knitting and Crochet Magazine to offer four winners the ultimate crochet bundle! 

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Included in your prize, worth over £70, is a chart mug, a large granny square themed project bag, a full set of Dear Ewe character greeting cards, each of the photo prop cards sets and two adorable crochet pattern downloads in either UK or US terminology. Sounds pretty great, right?

Entries must be received by 31st August 2018.

LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine is available in major supermarkets and newsagents across the UK.  If you hook up Goldilocks and the Three Bears please share your photos with me on social media (facebooktwitter or instagram) – I love to see what you make! 

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

 

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Pattern Release & Sale | Little Ewe Amigurumi


So launching DearEwe.com has all been extremely exciting and part of the set up has included me designing some brand new exclusive designs for the store.  

When we started discussing what we were going to call our new online shop for some reason we kept coming back to ‘sheep’. And why not! Sheep are wonderful! They give us wool and lambs are super cute…which leads me quite nicely into the oh so cuddly Little Ewe amigurumi pattern (ta-dah!).

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Based on our lovable Dear Ewe illustrated character, that features on some of our products, Little Ewe is in the makers part of the website where crafters can choose to ‘make’ a variety of patterns from different designers using a diverse range of yarns.

For our first range of patterns we have used Scheepjes Stone Washed which is a cotton yarn with a tough name but a soft, woolly feel. And I really loved the aged washed out look of the yarn – it was exactly what I was looking for to create my little lamb.

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Little Ewe is a sweet little lamb who loves the quiet life. She likes to spend her time in the country exploring the hills and dales.  Spring is her favorite season, when the grass becomes green, when their are many butterflies and bees over the flowers and even with quiet April rainfall our Little Ewe just sits and waits for the rainbows.

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As with the majority of my amigurumi crochet patterns Little Ewe is aimed at intermediate crocheters although I think advanced beginners could also probably handle it without problems. There are no tricky stitches are used in the pattern just a UK double crochet / US single crochets and a Puff stitch; but you will find full written instructions for both of these at the start of the pattern.

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Little Ewe is made with a 3mm crochet hook (US D/3 will do) or any other size which allows you to obtain desired gauge. Gauge itself is not critical for this pattern but it is a pattern you want to crochet fairly tightly so that stuffing can not seen through the stitches.

It’s an exciting time for me as a designer and a partner of Dear Ewe! As well as a range of quality products for crafters were are in the process of developing a pattern house so crafters can choose to ‘make’ a variety of patterns from different designers using a diverse range of yarns. All our patterns (and products) are carefully designed and made with our crafting customers in mind and our designs will include homeware, fashion led-accessory items, amigurumi and other patterns in both crochet and knit – so watch this space.

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Pattern Links 🎉

All of the Dear Ewe patterns are now available to add to your favourites on Ravelry and you can get 10% discount off the pattern price on the website (with coupon code: KCACOUK4EWE) until 30 June 2018 after that time the pattern will revert to full price.

Remember to share any Little Ewe project’s to be in with a chance to win a free pattern if you are featured in my monthly newsletter.

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

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Dear Ewe | Launch Day News and Discount Coupon


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FOLKS, THIS IS NOT A DRILL! DEAR EWE IS A GO-GO!!!!

Through hard work, focus, learning, grit & persistence my business partner Becky and I have finally launched our new online shop for crafty folks – Dear Ewe – the NEW place to shop for craft inspired products. 

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At Dear Ewe our aim is to celebrate your crafty life with a range of quality products which have been inspired by the handmade and everything has been designed with crafty EWE in mind.

We’ve worked hard to try and create beautiful and functional products for crafters which includes mugs, bags, framed craft room decor, photo prop cards and greetings cards.

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And for those of you that love to make things we have some crochet patterns too – all available as an instant digital download from the website. At the moment there are just two designs (available in UK or US crochet terminology) but I have big crochet plans so watch this space!

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We’ve got a launch special offer for anyone that enjoys a bit of retail therapy in our store. Our prop cards are a must have for crafters or bloggers who want to spice up their social media feeds! 

Buy two or more products from DearEwe.com from 28 May and you’ll receive two FREE lucky dip photo prop cards with your order.  

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We’ve chipped away at the dream for awhile now and it’s amazing to see all the hard work finally become reality. Personally the learning curve for me has been massive! But I feel very proud of what Becky and I have accomplished. 

And of course I’ve got a little something for you my lovely KCACO.UK readers, just enter KCACOUK4EWE at the Dear Ewe checkout for 10% off your final order (valid until the end of June 2018) – happy shopping folks!

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Until next time, keep calm and crochet on my friends x

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Dear Ewe | Behind the Scenes


Squeek! The launch day for  Dear Ewe is getting ever closer…only 16 days and 17 hours to go and probably even less by the time I’ve finished writing this up and posted it! I seriously feel that all of a sudden the days have started speeding forward to the deadline date and just where on earth did April go?! 

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If this is the first time you are hearing about Dear Ewe it’s the online company and shop that I have formed with my friend, and now business partner Becky, that’s launching at the end of this month on Monday 28th May.  The shop will sell a variety of products  including bone china mugs,  bags, crochet patterns, prints and cards that all celebrate creativity and the world of handmade. 

We know that there are shops out there (not including the small handmade product providers) that have products for crafters but it’s often either only a small part of what they do or it’s a cheap import that’s not that great.  So we wanted to change that. Dear Ewe’s sole purpose is to create good quality products inspired by crafts designed exclusively for crafters.

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With launch date growing ever closer I thought it might be nice if I shared a little behind the scenes look at how we’ve been preparing for the big day and a bit more of a peep at some of the products that are going to be on offer – including some of my person favourites!

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As you can imagine we’ve been planning and working incredibly hard behind the scenes to design and source our products.  Sourcing our products close to home and supporting local business owners and our local community was something we were both very keen to do. We’re proud to live in Stoke-on-Trent, which is officially recognised as the World Capital of Ceramics, so it made sense that we should be able to find locally produced fine bone china – and we did with the fabulous and supportive Heraldic Pottery

One of my favourite days so far was when we were invited to go behind the scenes at the factory to see some of our first mugs being created. You can watch a little video that we took here, but I’ll pop a couple of photos below too…

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I can’t quite explain that feeling of having seen something that was 2-D for so long and then how it felt actually seeing it as a real product – it was so exciting! 

Every single one of our mugs is hand decorated by skilled lithographers, and when we got the opportunity to watch them, well it’s unbelievable how skillful they are! I love the fact that our mugs have that ‘handmade’ touch because we’re all about celebrating that aren’t we!

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Another of my favourite days so far was a fantastic photo shoot at the stunning venue of The Upper House with Clara Lou Photography. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, there were flowers everywhere, it was just such a lovely place to be – and it provided so many wonderful backdrops for some of our products shoots. 

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You can just see one of our bags in shot there. I LOVE our bags…shall I tell you a little secret…I’ve already bought several for myself (there’s definitely perks to being a business owner). But they are just so nice and handy and sturdy if you know what I mean!! I did a little bit of a yarn stash tidying exercise recently and oh my were the draw string bags great for that. But I digress…as well as (two different sizes) of draw string bags we also have our fabulous tote bags…

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And I think I’m going to leave it there…that’s enough sneaky peeks for now, but I will just quickly mention again that as well as our mugs and bags in store we also have our fantastic photo prop postcards, some beautiful framed print designs for your craft space, greetings cards and of course a couple of exclusive crochet patterns (designed by moi).

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Our official launch is 28 May 2018 but you can stay in the loop with details by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on social media (all links on the website).

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

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