Stitch Story Crochet Along | CAL Planning


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So in this post I wanted to talk a bit more about how I came to design the Stitch Story Crochet Along (starting on 4 July) and I also wanted to talk a bit about yarn and finished sizes before we begin. However don’t worry if this is the first you are hearing about this CAL, it hasn’t started yet and you can find the full schedule here and a link to the crochet along page here.   

This years crochet along was inspired by the myths and legends of Geansaí Árann jumpers (sweaters) that originate from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. There is a lovely romantic theory that the stitches in those types of jumpers have a special ‘meaning’ and I loved the idea of creating a design that conveyed something a little extra. Traditionally, an Aran jumper is made from undyed cream-coloured báinín (pronounced “bawneen”), a yarn made from sheep’s wool, but I wanted to find something a bit more accessible to make my blanket with…

When I started designing this years crochet along I had quite a clear idea in my head of what I wanted to try and achieve with the final look. I really wanted to create a classic yet contemporary style for this blanket whilst also still pays homage to an aran jumper which is why I decided to make it in a single solid colour. 

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I wanted the yarn to have a ‘heritage’ feel about it because that was such an integral part of my idea for the design. Scheepjes Soft Fun Denim yarn gave me exactly what I was looking for! Although it was a brand new yarn for me the subtle colour variation gave me just the right combination of traditional / modern feel that I was wanted and the cotton / acrylic mix meant it was comfortable enough to be cuddled up in yet eminently practical if it got dirty and needed washing!

Using colours…

Although I chose a single colour I knew the pattern would also look great in multiple colours. So my lovely mum made another version of the blanket using six different shades of Scheepjes Colour Crafter. I’m a big fan of Scheepjes Colour Crafter, as a premium acrylic is is just soooo soft and it’s available if over 90 shades – it just makes it harder to pick which ones you want! My mum chose colours she wanted to match in with her living room.

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If you are looking for some inspiration on how you can pick and put different colours together I can certainly recommend the Design Seeds website for beautiful colour collections. I can’t wait to see what colours you choose!

For the full yarn amounts needed please see my first post about the CAL here.

Size and Layouts:

As I mentioned last time there will be two sizes of each square that you can choose from – either a 15cm (6″) block or a 30cm (12″) block. Which size blocks you make will be totally up to you but I have put together some layouts, similar to mine, below to help you plan. You could also play around with the blocks to make a smaller size square or rectangular blanket. Both my mum and I created our blankets with Schematic 3 as we wanted to make both size blocks. 

I’ve also saved these schematics on the CAL Pinterest Board and they will also be available in the e-book on Ravelry.  The first instalment of the downloadable 46 page PDF e-book is now available for a small charge (payable once) and will be released in instalments along with the CAL so as not to spoil anyone’s fun. This PDF has the full pattern descriptions, charts and information all in one place without adverts (as requested). 

Support:

And there’s more support for anyone that needs it with the accompanying videos by Esther from It’s All in a Nutshell that accompany this CAL will be released AFTER each new block release. And excitingly I’m now working with the lovely Iris from Een Mooi Gebaar who, for all the Dutch speakers who want to join in the CAL, is translating it for us! See her first post here.

Big thanks to Scheepjes, Esther and Iris for helping bring this CAL to life for everyone!

And I’ll just quickly mention again my KCACO-UK Community Facebook Group which is a great source of support and helpful tips from fellow Crochet-a-longers.

Not long left to wait…part one starts 4 July

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

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Stitch Story Crochet-Along | Announcement


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It’s taken a bit longer than I anticipated to get it all together but the crochet along design I’ve been working on for over a year is finally ready for us to start hooking together! Are you excited? I know I am!!

Following the poll I conducted in my Facebook group for the theme for our next Crochet Along (CAL) *drum roll please* the clear winner was to create something like a samplerghan blanket. So I put on my (crocheted) thinking cap and came up with, what I think, is a unique design that you will enjoy making and which I’m quite eager to share with you.  

I have already shared the pattern with someone though – and that person is my lovely mum! This is because she has made her own version of the Stitch Story blanket so I could show you how the design looks in a single colour (as I made mine) and how it looks using a selection of colours (as my mum made hers). 

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Right then, are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin with some of the information about this years design which I’m super-duperly thrilled to say has been sponsored by Scheepjes yarns, it’s been tough holding in my excitement about that I can tell you, but the most important bit to tell you is that… 

The Stitch Story Crochet Along starts Wednesday 4 July 2018!

I’ll be telling you more about the inspiration for this crochet along in my next post but let’s first go over some of the specifics. This CAL will run for 13 weeks and in that time you can create a blanket either the same as mine or unique to you (I’ll explain more about that in a moment).  Square motifs will be released every two weeks (on a Wednesday) here on the blog and I will guide you through the process of learning new stitches and techniques until you have a lovely multi-textured heirloom blanket of your very own – all finished by Christmas. 

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This is a CAL with a bit of a difference; bi-weekly you will receive a pattern for one of twelve differently designed squares. There will be two sizes of each square that you can choose from – either a 15cm (6″) block or a 30cm (12″) block.

Which size blocks you make will be totally up to you! Make your blanket all one size or mix and match, whatever takes your fancy!  This afghan will be completely unique to you with lots of stitches so it won’t get boring!  After we have made all of our blocks the last few weeks will include instructions for joining your squares together and adding a border.

The patterns will be available in English and American crochet terminology and a free English step-by-step video tutorial will also be available by the fabulous Esther from It’s All in a Nutshell blog

This is an ideal project for a beginner who would like to move on from the basics of crochet, but those with more experience in hooking should enjoy it as well.  

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Yarn Amounts:

For the Stitch Story crochet along if you wish to make the same size blanket as me (which is the largest size) you will need at least 1800g  (36 x 50g balls / 5,040m) of yarn. The larger sized finished blanket (as shown in the photos) measures 1.8m long x 1.2m wide / 6 foot long x 4 foot wide so suitable for a single bed.

  • I used Scheepjes Soft Fun Denim yarn (Shade: 507) for my blanket which is a cotton / acrylic blended yarn that has a subtle colour variation in it much like aged denim (hence the name). 
  • My mum used Scheepjes Colour Crafter which is 100% premium acrylic yarn which is incredibly soft (and hypoallergenic). She used the following shades and amounts;  Hasselt (Shade: 2010) x 2, Vlissingen (Shade: 1723) x 2, Ermelo (Shade: 1710) x 2, Veenendaal (Shade: 1064) x 3, Haarlem (Shade: 1054) x 3, and Breda (Shade: 1029) x 3.
  • Esther from It’s All in a Nutshell blog is using  Scheepjes River Washed yarn (Wheaton / Shade: 950) which is a dual toned soft woolly feeling cotton yarn. She has estimated using 1000g (20 x 50g / 2600m) for her smaller square blanket.

Hooks:

Hook sizes range from 3.5 mm to 4.5 mm (US size E to 7). The size for each particular block will be indicated on the relevant pattern. 

CAL Details:

  1. There is no charge to join the CAL; anyone can join in as long as they have some yarn and a hook. 
  2. You can favourite / add this project to your Ravelry library here.
  3. All featured pattern elements in the CAL will be FREE of charge pattern on this blog
  4. However following requests this time round I will also be offering a downloadable 46 page PDF e-book for sale containing the full pattern in one printable file (without advertisements) on Ravelry for a small charge. During the duration of the CAL this pattern will be released block by block, via Ravelry updates, so as not to spoilt anyone’s fun.
  5. Also following requests I have created a chart for each block design (for both block sizes) which I’ll include in each blog post.
  6. For those that like a deadline I will be adding new details about each square every two weeks on a Wednesday at 8.30pm-ish (GMT time) – see below for full schedule. For those that want to hook when they have the time then that’s fine too; there’s no pressure to this CAL it’s all about having fun!
  7. I will be using both UK and US crochet terminology in the pattern (UK/US) so you can pick your preference. I will also always include any helpful information about each element including links about special stitches with the release of each new section.
  8. The videos by Esther from It’s All in a Nutshell that accompany this CAL will be released on the subsequent Friday AFTER each new block release.

The Schedule:

 6 June 2018 – TODAY CAL details
 20 June 2018 CAL Planning
4 July 2018 Design 1: The Gauge Block
18 July 2018 Design 2: Irish Moss
1 August 2018 Design 3: Diamond Pop
15 August 2018 Design 4: Pilgrim’s Pathway
29 August 2018 Design 5: The Institution of Marriage
12 September 2018 Design 6: The Ladder of Life
26 September 2018 Design 7: Blarney Bobbles
10 October 2018 Design 8: Garden Trellis
24 October 2018 Design 9: Fisherman’s Basket
7 November 2018 Design 10: Cabled Ropes
21 November 2018 Design 11: Six Stitched Braid
5 December 2018 Design 12: The Bee Keeper
19 December 2018 Joining the blocks together and the border

As well as posting information on this blog I’ll also be linking the information in my KCACO-UK Community Facebook Group, which if it’s anything like last year, is a great source of support and helpful tips from fellow Crochet-a-longers.

Social Media Links:

The hashtag for this years CAL is #SSCAL18 for Twitter and Instagram. Though you you can join in with any progress photos by linking your projects on your favourite social media sites: Ravelry, Facebook page or Facebook group and Pinterest.

I am so looking forward to seeing everyone’s blankets develop over time! 

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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Simply Crochet Magazine |Sierra Summer Diamond Blanket


Yay! Simply Crochet issue 71 and I’m very excited to say that I’ve got a brand new blanket pattern inside which is perfect for summer picnics.

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I’d like to introduce the Sierra Summer Diamond Blanket…

 

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Add a little touch of flair and warmth to your outdoor parties with my fun geometric bold granny diamond blanket…

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Made with Stylecraft Special Double Knit this blanket is made up from lots of lovely diamond motifs made in the round and then joined together. I do so love a motif, they are small and relatively fast to hook up so you feel like you are accomplishing something quickly and they are easy to take out and about with you. 

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Move over orange and black, the way forward is definitely orange and navy!

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As well as my blanket there are some other great patterns in the magazine, it’s got a very  sporty vibe this month with, amongst other things, a fab stylish sporty t-shirt, some great socks (I still need to crochet me some socks!) an uber-cool Tunisian jean trims pattern from my lovely friend Eleonora’s from Coastal Crochet and I just adore 

the adorable Jammy Dodger tape measure free kit with the print edition – I’m definitely going to be making that at some point!

Simply Crochet issue 71  is now available both in-store at and online and they also offer worldwide subscriptions!  If you do make the Sierra Summer Diamond Blanket I hope you’ll share a photo with me on social media (facebooktwitter or instagram) – I love to see it!

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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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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