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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Yarn Shop Day 2018 | Milo the Cat


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I have the most exciting news to share with you! Some of you may have already seen me mention it on Instagram but now I can tell you all properly.

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Last year I was approached by the editor of Let’s Knit Magazine to see if I would like to design the mascot for Yarn Shop Day.  Me!?! Design the mascot for Yarn Shop Day! I couldn’t believe it! What an honour to ysd-2018-logodesign the mascot for such a big day celebrated all over the United Kingdom! Of course I said yes and I quickly donned my (crocheted) designers cap and started planning.

If you aren’t familiar with Yarn Shop Day, it’s an annual annual event that celebrates bricks-and-mortar yarn shops. Part of the wider Love Your Yarn Shop campaign, this year’s event takes place on Saturday 12 May 2018. Each participating store will host its own special event, with all sorts of fun activities taking place.

I was asked to come up with a design for a cat and so in my excitement I drew about eleventy billion cat sketches and even tried playing with some designs to see what developed, but we finally settled on developing the cat sketch (below) using the Yarn Shop day colours.

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I made him from bits of double knit yarn I had in my stash, that I had bought from various yarn store visits, and this is how he turned out…Meet Milo the Cat 🐱

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And as I had to send that Milo away to the Let’s Knit Magazine team I’m currently making myself another little Milo in Scheepjes Catona yarn which I bought from Black Sheeps Wool last year – because he has to be made with shop bought yarn naturally.

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Milo the Cat and Dixie the Llama are the crocheted and knitted mascots for 2018 and are exclusively available (for free) in participating stores, along with specially produced knitted and crocheted blanket patterns. If you’re a keen crocheter or knitter, be sure to pop down to your local yarn shop for a day of fibre-tastic fun. Click on the banner below to find participating stores near you.

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I never need an excuse to visit a yarn shop and this year I hope to pop down to Abakhan in Hanley to join in the fun. I hope you will be out too supporting your local yarn shop! I feel it’s so important to be an advocate for any small shop owner, they are often the people who are experts in their field, love what they do and are just trying to live their dream.

And if you hook up Milo the Cat, I hope you will share your project on your favourite social media sites, Facebook page or FacebookgroupTwitter,  Pinterest and Instagram as I love to see your finished work! Also if you are featured in my newsletter, as the customer spotlight, you could win a pattern of your choice – so don’t forget to tag me when you share.

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

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Sponsors

Happily Hooked Magazine | Gazania Clutch Bag


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, when you make a purchase through these links I do receive a small commission – thank you so much for supporting my blog! 💗


This month Happily Hooked magazine is celebrating it’s 50th issue (congratulations guys!) and I’m very excited to have a exclusive design appear in this special edition. Let me introduce to you my new Gazania Clutch Bag.

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You know me, I do so love a motif but I wanted to try something a little different and play around with three dimensions rather than two.  My inspiration came from nature, as it often does, as I was actually looking at some flower pictures for our garden when I came across this image of a Gazania flower.  I loved how the centre of the flower was framed by the outer petals but I didn’t want to create a crochet flower as such, so I thought if I stylised it a bit it could work really well as a fun 3-D motif – and I think it does.

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I think my Gazania clutch bag would make a wonderful companion for a Spring or Summer wedding 🌼

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The ‘motif’ edition of Happily Hooked magazine is filled with articles and interviews and the rest of the magazine shows you some amazing motif patterns in different styles, shapes, and stitches.

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Check out the Happily Hooked Magazine website for more details about the magazine and how you can subscribe and I do hope you’ll add the Gazania clutch bag pattern to your 💗Favourites and Ravelry Queue here.

As always I hope you will share your finished clutch bag on your favourite social media sites: RavelryLoveCrochet.comFacebook page or Facebook groupTwitter,  Pinterest and Instagram as I love to see your finished work! And if you are featured in my newsletter, as the customer spotlight, you could win a pattern of your choice!

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

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A Splash of Neon | Free Zig Zag Zing Crochet Cushion Pattern


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Do not adjust your computer screens we are going bright, bright, bright!!

Lovecrochet.com often put together themes for collections and you may remember that I took part in their Coastal Adventures Anthology in June last year with my Pembroke Shawl.  For their first collection for 2018 lovecrochet.com decided they wanted to go bold and bright with a Splash of Neon

Now neon obviously works great for signs and lights in the real-world but used in yarn…hhmmm you say….I can hear you aren’t convinced…but wait, by the end of this post you’ll want to add neon to everything (possibly)!

Now I’ll confess neon is something I’ve never included in a design before and so when the call came out for neon inspired designs, using Paintbox Yarns, I knew I had to take up the challenge!

If you aren’t familiar with Paintbox Yarns they are a practical (machine washable) high quality premium acrylic and cotton yarn available in various weights. For premium yarn it’s really soft and super lovely to hook up a project with and the range comes in over 60 shades in a modern colour palette which, for any crafter, is fabulous to see. It’s also great value and lovecrochet.com often run Paintbox Yarn sales which you can keep up with by signing up to their newsletter. 

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You might think that neon colours would be tough to use without clashing and that they are too loud and brassy. Scary combinations for crochet right? Well when carefully implemented I’ve learnt that they can be a super fun addition to a project. Take a look at the the eight designs that make up the Splash of Neon collection for instance. Aren’t they all fab! Can you guess which is my make?

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Did you guess the cushion with the pink pom-poms? Well you’re right!

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I’m really excited to now reveal my new Zig Zag Zing cushion!! 

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Now you can express your creativity by adding the bright on-trend zing of neon to your home in a fun, not scary, way.

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The Zig-Zag Zing Cushion is perfect either on its own or coordinated with other cushions and is a great way to bring a pop of colour to any living room or bedroom.

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This free crochet pattern is very straightforward pattern so that it can be readily picked up by beginners. There are written instructions, a chart and I’ve also included instructions for adding a zip opening for a clean look and easy care.

So have I changed your mind a bit about neon? I hope so! I can’t wait to see your finished neon projects. Why not start with my Zig Zag Zing cushion cover which you can get a free copy of right now on Lovecrochet.com

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

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2017 in a Nutshell + Giveaway Advanced Notice


I umm’d and ahh’d about doing an end of year review but I decided that I quite like looking back at the year in this way. 

2017 for me was the year I had my tenth wedding anniversary and when I watched my youngest daughter take her first wobbly steps, when she finally said ‘Mama’ for the first time (and then never stopped saying it) and when my eldest daughter won first prize in a talent show that she’d entered herself into – so much pride for my family this year!

08And 2017 has been quite a crochet year for me! Not only did I immortalise myself in crochet when I reviewed the Edwards Doll Emporium book but it’s the year where I made the very scary choice of trying to see how far I could really go on my crochet design journey.  And it turned out to be further than I ever thought it would be! I got to work with some fabulous magazines both in the UK and the US and I’ve had the chance to collaborate with some awesome people and companies. 

Sometimes I have to remind myself (and pinch myself) that it’s only since January this year that I started working with Let’s Get Crafting magazine as I’ve had such fun collaborating with them now for several fun designs.

MagFrontI can’t even try to explain to you the overwhelming joy I felt when my first ever design with them appeared on the front cover – I’d never even contemplated the fact that it was a possibility. And what made it really great was the folks of the magazine saved the surprise so I didn’t know about until issue 88 was released. 

Using set yarns amounts, colours and hooks for each project has really developed the way I look at things as a designer. I would have never thought it but I’ve found that I really quite enjoy the challenge of ‘making it work’ under, what others might see as, these types of constraint.

And I love how bright and colourful all the designs have been. I thought I’d do a little collage of all my makes that have featured in Let’s Get Crafting issues from January to December 2017 (Issues 88 to 97).

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And I also got to work with Simply Crochet Magazine twice this year and, as you will remember from my last post, I got to have the Crochet Edits supplement all to myself – again there really are no words to describe how it felt to see that for the first time.  

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I feel so lucky that both Let’s Get Crafting  and Simply Crochet Magazine have been so supportive and have believed in me enough to publish my work!

And I was feeling the love from across the pond too as I worked with both Happily Hooked magazine…

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and I Like Crochet magazine again. 

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I’ve also had the delight of seeing two of my designs turned into crochet kits with CraftStore UK 

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and I’ve also done a fair bit of yarny visiting with trips to the Knitting and Stitching Show in London, the Scheepjes day at Black Sheep Yarns, the Nottingham Yarn Expo and also some how found the time to visit the first Wool@Jct13 Yarn Festival!

and I also managed to crochet some things from other peoples patterns…

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and designed a few more things…

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And entered a design competition – (and I’m working on getting these patterns tested behind the scenes for folks that asked about them)…

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And in a nutshell, that was 2017! It does makes my heart happy to see all my crochet projects together. But blooming heck! When you add it all together it seems like sooooo much! I’ve just worked out that I completed 68 projects altogether in 2017 which is a bit crazy… I go to work, I have a social life and I enjoy time with my family, I’m not actually sure how I’ve fitted all that in?!

But’s it time to look forward to 2018 – and I AM really looking forward to 2018! I’ve already got some exciting things in store AND in a couple of weeks I’m going to be holding a BIG giveaway to celebrate the fact that I’ve been blogging for FOUR whole years now.

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AND there are going to be some AMAZING prizes in the giveaway kindly donated by lots of the lovely people who I’ve worked with in 2017 including:

It’s going to awesome!!! It’s all starting from 31 January (which is my blog’s birthday) so make sure you are subscribed (if you aren’t already) so you don’t miss any of the details.

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

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Pattern Release | Pembroke Seascape Shawl


For 2017 year’s edition of Indie June LoveCrochet.com wanted to do something special so they invited a group of designers to create a collection of knitted and crocheted garments featuring The Yarn Collective yarn (which I blogged about here). The result is the Coastal Adventures Anthology – featuring eight beautiful patterns with inspiration from Scandinavian summers on the coast.

I’m really excited to now reveal what I designed with The Yarn Collective’s Pembroke Worsted Yarn.  May I introduce to you my new Pembroke Seascape Shawl!

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The rectangular Pembroke Seascape Shawl, made from the softest hand dyed merino wool, is as light as a sea breeze!

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It’s just perfect for covering up on a chilly summer evening or on an adventurous stroll around a coastal path.

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I always think shawls are fun to crochet when I’m making them (I really should make more!).  I’ve had such fun with this one adding different stitch patterns which beginner and advanced crocheters should enjoy.  The shawl’s sinuous ripples and texture, combined with the cool grey and blue variegated colours, are inspired by marbled ocean waves lapping at a pebbly beach.

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Although the pattern may look complex it is very straightforward and will be readily picked up by beginners.

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Click on the following link to purchase the pattern and add to your 💗 Favourites on lovecrochet.com or Ravelry.

Exclusive Giveaway 🎉

For your chance to win a copy of my new design simply head on over to Ravelry or LoveCrochet and add it to your favourites or show it some love by commenting below this post with your Ravelry username / or email address. 

Bonus Entry: Re-pin any of the pins above, copy & paste the URL of your re-pin in the comments below. 

Winners will be randomly chosen on Friday 23 June 2017 around 7pm GMT

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Enter any coastal inspired projects in the LoveCrochet Community and enter the #IndieJune2017 competition for a chance to win £100 to spend at LoveCrochet!!! So exciting!!! Can’t wait to see your finished projects.

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

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Yarn Review | The Yarn Collective Pembroke Worsted


Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this yarn however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the yarn.

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Luxury yarn – sometimes you just have to splurge and get that hand-dyed loveliness that you’ve got your eye right!? Or does it seem a bit scary?

I like to think of luxury yarn as my ‘special’ occasion yarn…it’s something I’ll use when I want to make something for a ‘special’ someone – especially if it’s anything that is going to worn a lot. Anything that you want to last and perhaps become an heirloom well that’s where luxury yarn comes in. Whether you are making something as a treat for someone else or because you are going to put a lot of work into a beautiful pattern, I’ve learnt that it often pays to choose a luxury yarn.  

I recently had the pleasure of designing with some of The Yarn Collective Pembroke Worsted yarn which just oozes luxuriousness from every fibre!  

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Oh so lovely and squishy!

From that first squish when I got it out the packaging I just knew it was going to be a pleasure to crochet with…and it really was! But more about that in a moment, the first thing we need to establish, to be all proper and yarn reviewy, are the vital statistics of the yarn which are: 

  • Weight:  Worsted | 10ply
  • Blend: 100% Merino Wool
  • Yarn Ball Weight: 3.5 oz/100 g
  • Yarn Ball Length: 200m / 219yds
  • Wash instructions: Hand-wash
  • Price: £16.90 (at the time of this post)

Pembroke Worsted yarn comes in 10 different shades designed by Bristol Ivy, an influential American knitwear designer, all inspired by the rich, pure tones of gems and minerals.  It’s hand painted in small batches using a combination of solid shades and close tonal colours to create perfectly blended varicoloured skeins.

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Honestly this yarn was a dream to work with! It’s a lighter worsted yarn with a recommended hook size of 4.50mm (US size 7) – though I found it’s very adaptable dependent on the design.

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I have designed a brand new pattern with the stunning icy grey-greens of ‘Tellurium’ (shade 308). I love working with variegated yarns – it really keeps things interesting as you work and the colour changes in the Pembroke Worsted are pleasingly regular and add a lovely dimension to a pattern. You’ll have to wait a bit longer for my big reveal but I can give you a little sneaky peep…

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So if you are looking for a versatile worsted weight luxury yarn that will create beautifully soft, yet durable projects then I would definitely recommend The Yarn Collective Pembroke Worsted yarn.

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If you are interested in having some of this beautiful yarn for your very own it is currently available for purchase via loveknitting.com 

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

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