Bluestar Crochet | Autumn Accessories Kit Review


Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this kit 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 and kit.


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I have to say I really love a good crochet kit, over the years I’ve had several bought for me and I’ve even had the pleasure of designing a couple myself. I love the fact that it’s a whole project that you can just get on with as soon as you like – no fuss, no bother, just away you go! Personally working from a kit is an enjoyable escape for me from crochet designing. I’m following someone else’s pattern, the decisions have all been made for me, it’s all extremely relaxing! So I was delighted to be asked to review the new crochet kit by The Blue Star Crochet Company, by the lovely Veronika.

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You maybe familiar with Veronika’s work; as the designer behind the The Blue Star Crochet Company she’s had many designs feature in different UK magazines. In March this year she teamed up with The Mermaid Purse Yarns and released the Sea Shawl Crochet Kit, and now they’ve teamed up again with yarn and patterns for a an Autumn Accessories collection. Instead of offering just one pattern Veronika has teamed up with two other designers this time round to offer three different accessories. There’s a pattern by the lovely Eleonora Tully from Coastal Crochet (who you may remember I interviewed – check it out here) and Alison Holloway from Petals Crafts and Me – but more about all the designs in a moment, let’s first have a look at the kit…

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The kit contains everything you will need to complete the project aside from the tools, so you will need your own crochet hooks, scissors and yarn needle etc. Each kit comes with:
  • 100g hank of hand dyed yarn
  • pattern leaflet containing three designs
  • teabag and sweet treat
  • 2 x wooden buttons
  • exclusive discount code for Dear Ewe online store 

You will get all 3 patterns and one skein of yarn inside each kit and there is an upgrade option available to choose additional skeins of yarn to be able to make all 3 patterns as a set if you want to.

So what are the designs? Well I’m glad you asked! 

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The first is a fabulous Fall in Line hat designed by Veronika. The hat is worked in short rows and is customisable to get the perfect fit. Then there’s a pair of gorgeous shell stitch Autumn Seas wrist warmers by Eleonora and finally the showstopping Fleur Amore flower motif bandana scarf by Alison. I loved all the designs but I settled on making myself the pair of wrist warmers because I really wanted the them for me! But first I need to mention the yarn…can you say OOoooooo!

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The hand-dyed yarn by in the kit is 100% super-wash fine merino in a double knit weight (225m / 100g) and is such a unique colourway! It’s hard to describe all the subtle colour variants that have been included in the autumnal mix but I could recognise hints of grape, aubergine, lilac and flashes of dusky pink and a pop of russet! So gorgeous, and as I worked my wrist warmers the colours pooled beautifully. So without further ado let’s say hello to my lovely new wrist warmers…

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These wrist warmers were an ABSOLUTE joy to make! They were a great quick project, which I loved and found extremely satisfying – my pair was easily completed in a day. An awesome design for last minute gifts or craft fairs – I’m sure I’ll make some more! I also only used 54g of yarn in total for both wrist warmers so I’ve got a little bit of yarn left to use for something else.

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I was really pleased with how they turned out so I had a mini hand photo shoot – quickly learning it’s incredibly hard to take photos of your own hands! Luckily Mr. KCACOUK came to the rescue and helped me out and luckily I just happened to be drinking a cuppa in a Dear Ewe mug which made a very handy photo prop 😘 

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I very much enjoyed this kit and I’m sure you might to! The pre-order for these fabulous kits is open NOW, but it’s only open for 3 weeks! Use coupon BSCCBLOG10 for 10% off your pre-order from the from Blue Star Crochet Company Etsy shop. All kits will be dispatched from 24th September 2018. 

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

 

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Crochet Workshops at The Artisan Boutique


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So rather excitingly I’ve been running some crochet workshops in the Artisan Boutique in Stone, StaffordshireIt all started off when I met Susan, the lovely owner of the store, when she became a stockist of Dear Ewe products.  We got chatting and she asked if I fancied running some crochet workshops for her so I said ‘yes’ and went off to make a plan of workshops I could offer.

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We started off with a Learn to Crochet class on 19 August where we had a group of five wonderful people join us. It was a nice size group actually as it meant I was able to get round and help people when required. The group was a mixture of complete beginners and people who had crocheted before but it was a long time ago and they wanted to refresh their skills.

I had fun winding balls of yarn into little sets and creating packs for the class as well as creating a brand new pattern that I designed to help practice the stitches we were going to learn. In the class we went over the basics of crochet and we started off with how they might feel comfortable holding their hook and yarn (because there is no right or wrong way as long as you are happy with it!).

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We also learnt some basic stitches such as chain, double crochet (US single crochet), half treble (US half double crochet) and treble (US double crochet) – and you would have been amazed at how fast that two hours went!

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I was most impressed by how well everyone did; and everyone had made a swatch with all the new stitches by the end of the session. I was especially bowled over by the two young sisters that were taking the class as a birthday present – crochet can be tricky at the beginning, until you become more comfortable with everything, but both girls did amazingly well!

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I’ve got some more workshops coming up in the future at The Artisan Boutique if you fancy a fun crochet workshop…

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The workshops that I’m facilitating in 2018 are listed below:

Learn to Crochet Amigurumi – Sunday 9th September: 10.15am-12.15pm, £30pp

This class is ideal for beginners or anyone that would like to learn the technique of amigurumi crochet. This class will cover how to read a pattern, how to begin working in the round, increasing and decreasing. Make a simple crochet cat by the end of the session.

Granny Squares and Granny Stripes, Sunday 28th October: 10.15am-12.15pm, £30pp

This class is ideal for beginners or for anyone wanting to refresh their skills. Through the morning you will crochet a granny square or work some granny stripes and learn how to double crochet, treble crochet and change colour, as well as how to read a crochet pattern. By the end of the session you will know how to make a classic simple granny square or a striped granny block and have started a project, to complete at home, using your new skills. 

Crochet Mandalas, Sunday 18th November: 10.15am-12.15pm, £30pp

In this fun and relaxed class we will build on your existing crochet ability to create a crocheted mandala.  Destress from life’s difficulties by working on a pattern that requires focus, stillness, and attention to the present moment –  key components of mindfulness meditation. Take home a beautiful mandala by the end of the session.

Crochet Christmas, Sunday 9th December: 10.15am-12.15pm – £30ppp

You will be learn all of the techniques and shaping you will need to make some gorgeous mini Christmas stocking decorations. Choose your own colours and personal finishes. Take home a couple of decorations by the end of the session.

With each class you get the yarn and hooks, and anything else you need along with a drink and snack!  Last time we had some delicious cupcakes! The minimum age for the workshops is 13 years old and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

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Obviously my workshops are going to be splendid so if you are in the area you should come along (booking directly to The Artisan Boutique please) it’s a nice relaxed atmosphere and such a sociable and friendly pass time when you work on a project together.

If you love a crafty workshop you should really check out the full list that The Artisan Boutique has available! There’s tons of stuff to try and experience – I especially love the idea of the big crochet pouffe workshop with jumbo wool, I might have to try that myself!

Susan is very active on Facebook and often links all her workshops there – so if you want to be kept updated please hop over and follow The Artisan Boutique Facebook page.

I hope to see some of you at a workshop soon!

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

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Yarn Review and New Project | Scheepjes Stardust


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I love it when I find a new yarn to play with! Stardust yarn was released by the Dutch company Scheepjes at the end of 2016 but it was a new yarn to me. I came across it when I was searching the web for a particular yarn to make a wedding shawl (more on that later) and when I saw this yarn I just KNEW it had been what I was searching for. 

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I really wanted something a little special for this project and Stardust contains really fine sparkling fibres that add a gorgeous shimmer when they catch the light. I must confess I was a bit worried about the scratchy element,  like some sparkle yarns can be, but I need not have worried, when this yarn turned up it was super soft without being scratchy.

So let’s check out the yarn’s vital statistics we: 

  • Weight:  Double Knit (3)
  • Blend: 11% mohair, 11% wool, 75% premium acrylic, 3% metallic polyester
  • Yarn Ball Weight: 100g
  • Yarn Ball Length: 540m
  • Wash instructions: Cool, gentle hand wash only.
  • Price: £5.80 (at the time of this post)

Stardust is available in 9 solid and 5 long variegated shades, each named after a star constellation – which I love! Who doesn’t want to hook up the stars!

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I chose Capricorn (Shade 653) for my particular project but it just might be that I have since purchased some more Stardust since then…

I may just have bought some Pisces (Shade 654), because I fell in love with the gorgeousness of the blue, and maybe some Virgo (Shade 664) also fell into my basket because I was born in September so I had to! What can I say…I know I’m a yarn addict!

I’m not usually much of a pink person but the Virgo is such a delightful variegated combination…and you can just make out the hint of shine I was talking about. 

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It’s hard to catch the lovely sparkle in a photo, this yarn is much better in real life and when it’s made into a garment it’s best – it needs movement to make it really shine! 

Stardust comes in large 100g / 540m balls which means you could easily make a project out of one ball. The particular blend of different yarns creates a lovely lightweight fabric when worked up with a lovely drape –  just perfect for a shawl or wrap. For my wrap I ended up using 3 balls which still isn’t going to break the bank – especially for a luxe handmade shawl.  

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I so enjoyed the effect this yarn creates when worked up, seriously can’t say enough about the sparkle, so decided to stick with a fairly simple design to let the yarn do the talking. Like most fluffy yarns it’s not the easiest to frog if you go wrong which was another reason I kept the pattern simple.  I’ll let you have a little peep at the design I came up with…

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The free crochet pattern for the Shining Light Wedding Wrap will be coming to the blog soon!

Have you worked with Stardust yarn – what did you think?

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

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A Very Woolly Weekend


It’s quite ridiculous how long it’s taken me to get this blog post written up! It’s been one of those posts that I half wrote, then got caught up with the launch of Dear Ewe, the Stitch Story CAL, my best friends wedding, Little Miss’s 2nd birthday, school holidays and unexpected hospital visits that I just didn’t get chance to finish. But today I sat down with the sole purpose of finishing this post as I really do want to tell you all about the very woolly weekend I had in the middle of May.  This is a bit of a mammoth post so may go grab yourself a cuppa and then I’ll tell you all about it.

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It all started off with Yarn Shop Day on the 12 May – have you heard about Yarn Shop Day? It’s an annual celebration, facilitated by Let’s Knit and Let’s Get Crafting magazines, which aims to honour Britain’s much-loved independent wool shops.  I personally think it’s incredibly important to support any small or local businesses, especially since becoming a small business owner myself,  but anyway who am I kidding, I don’t need an excuse to visit a yarn shop!

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You may remember that this year’s Yarn Shop day was also a bit special for me as I’d been asked to design the crochet mascot, Milo the Cat specifically for the day. Along with particularly produced knitted and crocheted blanket patterns, Milo and Dixie, the (knitted) Llama, mascot patterns were exclusively available in all participating stores. 

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This year Yarn Shop Day took place in hundreds of yarn and haberdashery stores across the country and I headed off to Abakhan in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent – which is luckily just a short bus ride away from me. 

Abakhan are a group of stores in the Midlands which stock a great range of yarns like Sirdar, King Cole, Stylecraft, James C. Brett, Wendy and Rico and they have also now  started stocking some American yarns like Caron.

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The Hanley store is pretty big and has a large range of fabrics, haberdashery items and craft items for pretty much every hobby you can think of. I love it in there, I always find some goodies of some variety or other and more often than not I end up in there on a trip to town.

I’d made a brand new Milo to take with me and we arrived just as the day started. In store there were lots of festivities including prizes for purchases made and there were store discounts on all yarn and accessories at different times throughout the day and there was also cake. Cake and yarn….what a winning combination!

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Milo felt quite famous…though we won’t talk about the fact that his nose got a bit wonky on the bus trip and I didn’t notice until after I’d taken all the photos…it doesn’t annoy me…much!

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The lovely Kim, from Abakhan, was busy giving demonstrations of crocheting Milo (complete with a straight nose) at the front of store so I spent sometime with her and the customers that came to talk about crochet. It was very exciting to see them picking up there free copy of the Milo pattern and I know I was tagged in some people’s Milo makes (see more below).   

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It was wonderful to be in the middle of the crafting community and meet people with shared passions – and I got to learn something new! We got chatting to too lovely ladies who were double filet crochet enthusiasts. Double Filet crochet is two inter woven layers of filet or net crochet in contrasting colours. It’s not something I’d heard of before but Wendy (far left below) was kind enough to give me a demonstration and even let me keep the little sample she made and it’s something I’m definitely going to investigate further! Never show a designer something new right!

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In the afternoon I spent sometime with Debbie who showed me her fabulous Tina Turner-esque creation – that hair is everything isn’t it! 

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And then Debbie got children of shoppers involved in making Pom Pom monsters – I love the fact there were crafts for the kids! Milo had fun making friends with the monsters too – AND I managed to straighten up his nose for his group photo!

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And then it was time for me to go! And what did I buy…well it’s pretty unusual for me not to enter a craft store and not buy anything…and of course I couldn’t make this the exception! I got a cute fabric bundle, I don’t sew but I do line crochet purses and bags with fabric so it’s good to have some in. I also got a extra long tape measure and picked up some cute Ricorumi mini’s which I wanted to try – and yes I also bought a giant peg. I had no specific use for the peg I just fell in love with it!

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And I just need to share some of the photos of some of the wonderful Milo makes I’ve seen – if you made a Milo please do share a photo as I’d love to see.

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Yarn Shop Day tends to be celebrated either the first or second week in May so keep a look out for the dates for next year. Just one final note about Yarn Shop Day – I just want to say a HUGE thank you to all the Abakhan staff, they made me feel very welcome and looked after me well whilst I was there.

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Then on the Sunday the 13th of May the whole family went along to Wool@J13, a yarn show set on Lower Drayton farm, in the midlands.  We went for the first time last year and had a great day so I’d already planned for the family to go along again this year.

It’s was an absolutely glorious day – blue skies and sunshine and, with things happening inside and outside, it was just the perfect setting for a yarn festival!

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This year there were a lot more vendors than last year so there were plenty of stalls to wander around. You can just see my two girls below walking hand in hand totally at ease with the yarn show vibes – such cuties!

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Little G had a go at Satori weaving with a lovely lady from SAORIMor, Wales who was incredibly patient and kind to her. Satori weaving is a japanese freestyle approach to hand-weaving which is supposed to encourage people to express themselves intuitively. Little G got really into it! And now wants to visit the studio in Bangor sometime.

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And it was really nice to see some friendly faces! Wulla Yarn were there with there fabulous mega yarn. You may remember I teamed up with Kaz (on the left below) to create the free Wulla Wreath pattern so it was lovely to catch up with her. I also treated myself to one of Kaz’s fabulous 15mm string theory jumbo hook (in neon blue) as I’d been eyeing them up for awhile!

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I’m also completely in love with her new fades range but I really want to have worked out the perfect project to use it on before I get some of that – so I didn’t get any on this occasion (but it’s on my list!).

I also saw Fay from Knit it, Hook it, Craft it. I met Fay for the first time when I went to the Nottingham Yarn Expo last year and she was so fun to talk to. She  was actually the first person to introduce me to the idea of creative podcasts – something I’d not heard of before. Fay does a monthly podcast, The Crochet Circle Podcast, which is available as audio and on Youtube and it was from listening to her, and her suggestions for other podcasters, that I now have a list that I listen to regularly. I find them great to listen to particularly when I’m typing up patterns!

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I also got to meet Lynne Rowe, from The Wool Nest, for the first time. It was great to finally meet her, not only do I have several of her crochet books on my own bookshelves, but we’ve worked together, so to speak, for Let’s Get Crafting magazine and we’d talked a bit through comments on Instagram.  She was just about to run a workshop for the Crochet Sanctuary (I’m running a workshop in September) so we were chatting a lot about that and just other general crochet things – it so nice to talk to people that share your passion!

I also very much enjoyed talking to Lee aka The Crochet Man who is such a lovely guy. I’d seen him through a feature in Simply Crochet (Issue 70) – so it was great to meet him in person.  

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He’s not been crocheting for that long but he’s designed a fabulous range of amigurumi patterns that you should really check out! I adore his rainbow sheep!

I was that busy chatting to people that I didn’t actually have much time for buying but I did pick up a few goodies. I fell in LOVE with this colourway from Manchester Tart which is a silky baby DK, 70% baby alpaca and 30% mulberry silk. It’s sooooo soft and I’ve got 200 grams of it…I don’t have a plan for it as yet but I just HAD to have it!

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Besides that I  bought myself a couple of mini skeins, some hooks from Black Sheep Wools (who I also enjoyed chatting too) and my hook from Wulla yarn. A conservative (for me) but fabulous set of purchases I think you’ll agree!

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We had such a great day out and I can see us going again next year. I really love the fact it’s like a mini festival, it’s got quite a laid back vibe about it and it’s a very family friendly show. 

Well I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my very woolly weekend as much as I enjoyed attending Yarn Shop Day and Wool@Jct13. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Yarn Shop Day, did you do anything? Or what about yarn shows, been to any good one’s lately?

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

Dear Ewe | Inspired Products for Crafty People


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Hey lovelies, I have some extremely exciting news! I’m thrilled to announce my new business venture, Dear Ewe, a online shop full of craft inspired products for creative folks.

I founded Dear Ewe, with my good friend Becky (of Keepsakes by Rebecca) because we felt there was a gap in the market for high quality, contemporary and functional gifts for crafters. We’ve been working hard in stealth for many months to combine our passions of stitching and graphics to develop a range of products that we think creative folks will really like. 

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Although the range of our products are for various crafts it made sense, as I’m a crochet addict, that some of our first ranges were exclusively for all the lovely crocheters in the world. 

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I love these mugs!! There’s 3 wonderful mug ranges to choose from: the beautiful crochet chart range (as shown), the gorgeous character range featuring our own lovable Ewe, and the fantastic crafts pattern range ➰ And the fabulous thing is that each of these mugs are hand decorated on English made fine bone china mugs – crafted by crafters for crafters!

As well as lovely mugs, we also have a range of fab textiles, patterns, art and cards – all celebrating creativity and the world of handmade.  I know I am biased, as this is my new business, but I love everything we’ve got! You won’t find anything in Dear Ewe that we don’t want to own ourselves and everything has been inspired by you (or ewe) that love  handicrafts. 

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More details about Dear Ewe will be following soon. 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 (or go crazy sign up and follow us on them all!)

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

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Hook and a Book | Christmas Box Giveaway


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**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**

I know it’s November but let’s face it we are going to have to talk about Christmas sooner or later aren’t we…what is it now something like 40 days to go (eek)? Are you perhaps looking for a unique crafty gift for someone? Or  a present for someone to give to you? Well I might just have an idea of something you’ll like.

Do you remember Hook and a Book which I reviewed back in September? Well I was contacted by the lovely owner Maddy recently as she wanted to tell me all about the special one of a kind Christmas box that they are selling this year. AND she wants to give one of these exciting boxes away to one lucky KCACO.UK reader!!

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The mammoth Hook and a Box Christmas box includes a hard-backed book (a surprise, of course), 3 Christmas patterns, 5 crochet hooks and 7 balls of yarn!! Wow now that’s what I call a great gift!  The most important bit about this box however is that Hook and a Book are donating £5 from each box sale to Beanstalk UK. Beanstalk UK is a fabulous charity which provides one-to-one support for young children who are struggling to read.
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If you want to run off and order yourself a box now here’s the link: hookandabook.co.uk/its_christmas but if you fancy having a go at winning yourself a box then keep reading!
Right my lovelies I’m going to make it incredibly easy for you to enter to win a Christmas box. All you have to do is leave me a comment on this blog post saying why you’d like to win the box.   
To gain some brownie points why not pop over and give a nice ‘like’ to the kind people from Hook and a Book for donating a lovely giveaway prize. The link to their Facebook page is here.

The giveaway begins RIGHT NOW

and is open WORLDWIDE!!

The giveaway closes on Wednesday 22 November at 12.00noon, UK time. At the end of the giveaway I’ll contact the person for their address which I’ll pass on to Hook and a Book so that they can send out the prize. Please keep an eye out for the winners name release as if I can’t get hold of the winner I’ll sadly have to pick out another name. The winners box will be shipped out week commencing 27 November so in plenty of time for Christmas.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

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

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