2016 in a Nutshell


I thought I’d do a little review of my hooky year in pictures…

January saw the release of the biggest thing I worked on all year. It’s also the item and design which I am ultimately most proud of. The Everything Is Cool and Groovyghan 2016 Crochet-A-Long is definitely the most challenging thing I have designed and shared so far and the finished groovyghans made by other crafters have just blown me away (you lot are amazing!). Although the crochet-a-long has now finished you can still make a groovyghan of your very own by checking out the details on the blog here.

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February and March I was busy growing a human which turned out to be quite hard work! So, aside from the groovyghan, there wasn’t a whole lot of crocheting going on…

Then in April my new shawl pattern, The Spring Blossom Wrap, was released in iLikeCrochet Magazine. Worked in a smooth 4ply cotton yarn and a 3.5mm hook I was really pleased with the floral look I eventually achieved on this shawl which I based on cherry blossoms.

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In May and June baby had finally arrived so I got back to a little hooking by working up some quick little hats and a headband for my new arrival. I just chose some patterns on Ravelry that I liked the look of and they actually turned out to be all free patterns. The hats and tie back I made include the Sedge Stitch Newborn Beanie, the Bonnie Bell Bonnet, the TopKnot Baby Hat and the 15 Minute Tieback.  The Bonnie Bell Bonnet was one of the first hats I hooked up. It’s such a cute design and as its worked in Aran (Worsted) weight yarn it’s very quick to work up.

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In July I hooked up a little Amineko cat for Little G’s summer fayre, such a fun design and super cute!

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In August and September I was working on some exciting patterns for October (more on that later) but I still found time to hook up a little Pumpkin hat for the baby and Baabara for this years Yarndale charity project

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and I finally finished a work in progress which had been started a year previously! The Corner to Corner Granny Stitch Throw  was a great pattern to use up loads of odds and ends of double knit in my stash…

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So October was a busy and exciting month; my RainBOW Clip Organiser was released in Issue 31 of Happily Hooked Magazine…and I was completely delighted to be asked to take part in the Stylecraft Blog Tour for 2016 for which I designed the Harmonious Hexagon Blanket (free pattern here).

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In November and December I hooked up several Christmassy items for my girls including some cute Elfin baby boots and some fabulous elf hats. I also hooked up a fab little mouse baby hat for a Micky fan – unfortunately this particular pattern is no longer available, there are plenty of alternatives out there though if you are looking for this style.  

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I also hooked up my special animals from my TOFT yarn and some awesome little Princesses for some gorgeous little girls; but I’m going to blog about those later so I’ll save those ta-dah moments for 2017!

Wow, I enjoyed that stroll down memory lane! I find when it’s all written down like this that I have accomplished more than I realised! Crochet is such a big part of my life that sometimes I forget what I have been up to in the year as I’m concentrating on the next design or project.  The most fantastic thing about crochet is that it continually brings me happiness, fun challenges, surprises, satisfaction at a job completed and most of all relaxation. 

So what can you look forward to in 2017 from me?

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I have so many plans for 2017! I’m extremely excited to be working with several crochet magazines this year on new designs, I’ve also got various exciting collaborations coming up, I’m going to be catching up with patterns that I didn’t finish due to being pregnant (and ill) and then having a newborn (for those waiting for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – this is at the top of the list!) AND we’ve got a brand new crochet-a-long to look forward to (starting in March) which is also in development behind the scenes as we speak.

Finally I’d like to say a mahoosive thank you to everyone who has followed me on the blog or on social media in 2016…

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My thanks is to everyone who may have brought and/or made any of my patterns, who have read my musings following me here on the blog and for those who have offered / or continued to offer their hands in friendship. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your support, enthusiasm and your camaraderie and how much I love to see your finished work!

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

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New beginnings…


Crikey! Where does the time go!?! I can’t believe Little Miss is seven weeks old already! This past month or so I have pretty much been locked in that new baby bubble; utter joy with my new baby combined with (the typical I believe in the early days) utter hopelessness about ever feeling normal again!  

What both my husband and I had forgotten is the intensity of having a newborn!  The feeling of general exhaustion, the roller-coaster ride of anxiety and happiness, the leakiness from both me and baby (I’m not going to gloss over the facts!) and the whole shake up of any sort of routine we might previously of had.  Sleep is a long distant memory and something I seem to crave constantly (along with chocolate) but luckily our baby is gorgeous so that makes it somehow okay –  I think the cute factor is a biological predisposition for new parents to survive the early days! 

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Little G has been very excited about her new role as a big sister and we have been working hard to make sure she doesn’t feel left out with all the attention that the baby is getting.

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It’s certainly a steep learning curve having two little ones now, but Little Miss is a good baby, apart from the fact she’s a little confused about which is daytime and which is nighttime, she only generally gets upset when she is hungry. 

Interestingly I’d personally forgotten how much stuff a baby needs, no longer do I have a small hand-bag, I now have a giant very heavy holdall, a pram, and various other accessories to contend with before I leave the house…and heaven forbid that it rains! Thus it now takes me roughly two hours longer to leave the house at all…

At the moment I’m at the stage of if I have a shower and get dressed and possibly squeeze in an afternoon nap then the day has been pretty successful.  Though we have been able to get out a couple of times as fresh air, in my mind (no pun intended), is important for me to stay sane!  

We enjoyed a walk around some lovely gardens…

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and had a really fun day out at a farm where Little G got to hold some chicks and ducklings. 

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And I know from experience with Little G that Little Miss won’t remain tiny for very long and the memories of this time will all too soon fade…so I am concentrating for now on enjoying my time with my little family and enjoying lots and lots of baby snuggles.

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But don’t worry the crochet thinking cap has definitely not been cast aside (although not a massive amount of crochet is being done at the moment).  There are some exciting crochet plans ahead and new patterns to look forward to from me – hopefully in the nearest future!

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2015 in a Nutshell | New Year Free Pattern and Discounts!


2015 has been a bit of a mixed bag for me and mine and though there have been times filled with worry and heartache there has been times of happiness too.  We have been lucky enough to enjoy some wonderful family holidays this year and there have been some really fun times with friends and family – I think when you have some periods of sadness it really does make you appreciate the good times a whole lot more!

I thought I’d do a little review of my crochet year in pictures…and I have some exciting offers which will hopefully start off YOUR 2016 in a good way; details of which you’ll find at the bottom of this post!

Looking back I’ve completed a lot of projects…so it doesn’t count that I still have works in progress to complete does it…over 40 items made, I didn’t actually realise it was that many until I started counting them up!

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Out of all the things that I have made this year I’m most proud of my CAL blanket, not only because it’s the biggest project I’ve ever personally completed but because my gorgeous daughter loves it so much and sleeps under it every night!

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This year I’ve also been busy with my pattern writing, releasing 17 new patterns into the world; 10 of which were free patterns, 2 of them I was extremely excited to have appear in Happily Hooked Magazine and 1 pattern featured in the HodgePodge Pillow Showdown!  

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The one pattern I am most proud of creating this year however is one I am sadly behind with writing up. My Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds pattern, which I designed for the 2015 Deramores Blog Competition, was probably one of the most challenging things I’ve had a go at creating so far! It’s definitely a case of life just getting in the way with getting it finished but it is unquestionably one of my New Years Resolutions to get it done! 

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I have some brand new patterns already lined up for 2016 which I can’t say too much at the moment you can be sure I’ll share my elation about them with you when I can!  One of these designs of course is the 2016 CAL, which may turn out to be the 2nd most challenging thing I’ve ever designed, and which I already so excited about, from the photos that have been shared with me, about chosen yarn colours – I can’t wait to see finished results!

Finally I really wanted to celebrate another couple of other achievements…both of which have happened just recently! Over on my Facebook page I have now reached over 12,000 lovely likers and here on the blog I’ve got over 12,000 followers too!  I never in my wildest dreams believed when I started my page / blog that it would ever come as far as this! And it’s all because of YOU guys out there – so I want you to help me celebrate!  As it’s New Years Eve I’m offering 2,016 patterns completely FREE  in my Ravelry store (use coupon code: FREE2016) and after those have gone ALL of my patterns will have a 50% discount (no code required) on them until midnight (GMT) of 1 January 2016!

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Now I’m off to spend my New Years Eve, as many parents do with little ones do, with my husband, a curry, a good movie and a hook in my hand!

May your New Year be filled with health and happiness…and tons of lovely yarn!  

Happy New Year!

Love 

Heather x

June in a Nutshell (Part 2) Holiday in Brittany | 2015


We spent some blissful days at the end of June in Brittany, France (again!) on our big family holiday.  I think we are falling in love with the Brittany region; the sun, the sea, the bread, the cheese and wine…need I say more!  

We were blessed with beautiful weather and we did lots of adventuring around the various nearby cities and towns. One of my favourite places that we visited was Mont Saint Michel, which for people that don’t know, is a magical island topped by a gravity-defying medieval monastery and is easily one of France’s most stunning sights.

keepcalmandcrochetonuk.wordpress.comYes we climbed all the way to the top, even Little G and let me tell you it looked an awfully long way down from the top!  The people at the bottom look like teeny tiny ant’s don’t they!

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So you remember me telling you about the Granny Square Crochet / Fabric Dress by Mon Petit Violon I was making Little G for her holiday? Well she wore the finished item the day we went to Mont Saint Michel.  I was really chuffed with how it turned out in the end especially as I’m the first to confess that sewing DOES NOT come naturally to me!

The pattern is very well written with clear written instructions and accompanying photos.  It comes in sizes 9-12 months and up to 3 years; as Little G is a very tall 4 year old I played around with the pattern a bit to match her measurements and used double knit rather than sport weight and a 4mm (US size G) hook rather than a 3.25mm (US size D) to help up the size.  

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The top half of the dress I made from Young Touch 100% Cotton DK from my stash which has sadly been discontinued (which is a shame as it’s lovely to work with).  The fabric for the dress part Little G and I fell in love with at a local haberdashery; it was so bright and summery it was just crying out to be made into a dress – and it matched the Young’s Cotton perfectly!Dress+Logo

What would a summer holiday be without a trip to the beach.  We had one full proper day at a pretty beach which Little G thoroughly enjoyed – the rest we were off gallivanting around Brittany.

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Other beach trips were to look for treasures such a unicorn horns (twisty shells) and other exciting things – we got quite a collection of lovely scallop shells.

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There was a most fantabulous pool / water-park at the place where we stayed so we spent many an enjoyable afternoon there all playing on the slides!  I think this is one of my most favourite pictures of the holiday – I love how much fun Little G and my husband are having just shines through the photo!

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We all enjoy exploring where we were and taking in the sites of Saint Malo, Zooparc Tregomeur, Village Gaulois and Perros-Guirec.  Though we did have a couple of chill days to recharge our batteries.  I did take my crochet with me and before the sun came up and the day got too hot I luxuriated in some peaceful hooky time with a cuppa.  I have to confess that I finished off Little G’s hat for her holiday actually on the holiday as I ran out of time before hand!  

When I first saw the Create A Cloche pattern by JoAnne Grimm Thompson I just knew it was the perfect hat I had been looking for! The pattern includes instructions for 2 different body styles, 2 bands, 3 flowers, leaves and stem with leaves.  I chose the solid version with the giant flower but I actually forgot to take the pattern with me so had to improvise on the leaf part which is why it looks a little different.  It’s a great pattern, clearly written and comes in sizes 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 1-2 years, 3-10 years, teen/adult and large adult and I know I’m going to be making more of these in the future!!

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I love how this hat turned out!! The pattern called for Lily Sugar’n Cream Solids & Denimwhich isn’t easy to get your hands on in the UK so I used Drops Love You 5 100% recycled cotton. It’s the first time I’ve used this yarn and it’s a super lovely Aran / Worsted weight cotton usually available at a fabulous price and comes in lots of bright / fun colours – I created the ombre effect using three different shades.  As it’s recycled cotton it’s also a nice environmentally conscious option for yarn.

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All in all we did manage to have a wonderful holiday whilst we were there and I’m so grateful for the time we spent away as a family.  I’ll end with a few more of snapshots…

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Wonderful memories!

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June in a Nutshell | 2015


Crochet wise it’s been another busy month for me; I released my free Doodle Zoo pattern Peggy Panda into the world (which I blogged about here) and the rest of the time I was busy working on other crochet projects.

I went completely out of my comfort zone this month and got out my sewing machine (eek!) to finish off the lovely Granny Square Crochet / Fabric Dress by Mon Petit Violon for Little G for our holiday and to complete a crochet / fabric hybrid Frozen inspired cape for a lovely customers little girl. I’ll share a photo of Little G in the dress another time but this is the finished off cape.  I really wanted a cape that went over the shoulders rather than around the neck and was pleased with how it finally turned out.  There is no pattern for the cape, it’s just made up with inspiration from various other patterns.  The pattern for the little snowflakes however is this one Teeny tiny snowflake by Elizabeth Dodd.

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Using a sewing machine is something I DEFINITELY need more practice at; but I know I want to make another crochet / fabric dress for Little G, it’s so satisfying to see her in a full item of clothing that I’ve made for her – I even made a little bow for her hair out of the same fabric.  

I’ve been busy hooking up some more Star Wars characters by the fab Lucy Collins (which I blogged about here). I’ve hooked up another Yoda and a Stormtrooper but I’m seriously in LOVE with how Chewie turned out – I have learnt of a new way to make him a bit fuzzier which I’m going to have to try with a future one I’ve got to make for a lovely customer.  

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I have also been hooking up Block 12 and Block 13 this month for the CAL and as always I have really enjoyed seeing the different blocks you have all been hooking up at home! Here are some collages of the wonderful squares everyone has been hooking up! I love how just a simple twist of colour can make the same square look so unique! Everyone’s end blanket is just going to be fabulous!

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No9We also enjoyed our holiday in Brittany, France in June, but I’ve lots of photos I want to share so I think that will need to be a post on its own!  

Sadly at the end of June we had a family bereavement which has been very hard on my little family. My most wonderful Mother-in-Law lost her fight to cancer and she will be missed dreadfully by us all. In February last year I designed the Margaret’s Hug Healing Shawl / Prayer Shawl for her which is a free pattern. So far it’s been downloaded almost 20 thousand times.  I’m sharing it here again so others can see it and perhaps make a hug for someone who needs one. And if you would like to pass on the couple of pounds/dollars you would have paid for this pattern to Cancer Research then that would make you even more awesome!

Click on the following links to access the pattern here on the blog, add to your queue on Ravelry, here on Craftsy and there is now a video of the first few rows of the pattern available on my Youtube Channel.

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May in a Nutshell | 2015


May started off rather horribly for us as my Dad was unexpectedly rushed into hospital, he was very very poorly with sepsis, which they think was caused by a pharyngitis throat infection, which caused his organs to start shutting down.  It was a super scary and very worrying time; my mum, brother and I pretty much camped out at the hospital for over a week but I am delighted and thankful to say that he is much much better now and back home.  BIG thanks to all the doctors and nurses that looked after him at the Royal Stoke University hospital!

We were supposed to have been going on holiday the day it all happened, obviously we cancelled but poor Little G was confused and disappointed as to why we weren’t going on holiday.  She is a bit too young to understand what was happening with my Dad – all she knew was that we weren’t going on holiday any more and that I wasn’t around much so it was quiet unsettling for her too (though she asked if we were going on holiday now every time she saw me).  Once my Dad was better we decided we would all benefit from a break away and some family time so we went on a one night mini-break to Youlgreave in the Peak District

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We were thankfully blessed with good weather and the next day we had a delightful stroll down by the river.  It was so lovely to get out in the fresh air – I was sucking it down into my toes!

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Little G had much fun with Daddy exploring a little cave that we found…we had an indepth discussion on the possibility that it was where the Gruffalo lives?

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I enjoyed seeing the vibrant bluebells that were all around…I’m glad that these pretty flowers are protected in the UK and I’m pretty sure they have been voted as Britain’s favourite flower (correct me if I’m wrong!).  Little G asked me why they didn’t ring if they were bells; I told her they do ring but it’s so quiet only the fairy folk can hear them – what do you know she could hear them ringing after that!  Love that little girl!

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Crochetwise it’s been another busy month; I have been busy working on orders for lovely customers including hooking up a couple of my Spring Grace Ponchette; I’m seriously in love with how the silver version turned out! 

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I also finished working on another exciting design which will be available exclusively in the forthcoming summer edition of Happily Hooked Magazine. I finished up my Sophie’s Universe to the Garden part (blogged about here), hooked up a Yoda by Lucy Collins (pattern book review here) and released another free pattern for the Doodle Zoo gang; Ezra Elephant which I blogged about here. 

I have also been hooking up Block 10 and Block 11 this month for the CAL and as always I have really enjoyed seeing the different blocks you have all been hooking up at home!  

Another very busy month!  

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April in a Nutshell (2015)


So we took Spring cleaning to the MAX this month by deciding to decorate the whole house!  It meant that I pretty much couldn’t find anything for the majority of April as things were packed and moved into other rooms and we changed furniture around.  I seriously cannot believe how much STUFF we have accumulated over the years! DSC02673 I found 5 pairs of glasses of old prescriptions whilst cleaning!  Why I still have them all who knows but I have now donated them to Vision Aid Overseas, I also recycled some old mobile phones to Oxfam.  With all the decorating I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to go through and sort out drawers, wardrobes everything really before putting it back – that took infinitely longer than anticipated but at least we are now not only clean but we are also rather organised.  How long it will all last is another story!  We donated so much paraphernalia  to the MacMillan Cancer Support Charity shop down the road it was unreal.  But it was all good gear just that we no longer needed and I’d rather not throw anything away if it’s still useful. I’m rather ashamed that this stuff has been sitting around gathering dust in drawers for years – I should have done this ages ago!  It’s really a very cathartic exercise having a really good clear out!

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I have to say though sorting out my stash was a part I enjoyed!  All safe and sound in my spare room we set up some shelves and cleared some space for my yarn babies. This bookshelf is pretty much filled with Sidar and Stylecraft double knit as that’s what I tend to work with the most and I had some of my special yarns (many different brands) on the second to top shelf, it’s really great to be able to see what I’ve got quickly.  All the rest of my stash is now in 5 x 7 litre tubs!  Is it strange that I love just looking at the shelves?

I knew I had a lot of yarn but I’ve never had it all in one place really until now.  My plan is to start using up some of the stash but it always happens that you will need a colour / weight of yarn you don’t have!  And its super hard when you get your hands on one of these…my new Stylecraft shade card – squeal! I LOVE IT!!!   I wish all brands did this, it would be sooooo helpful!

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We also enjoyed an early Easter didn’t we in April and for once the weather, particularly on Bank Holiday Monday, was really lovely. As we were decorating we did our Easter in one day on the Monday, an egg hunt in the morning followed by a trip out in the afternoon to a local wildlife park then tea out at a carvery!  Little G loved the adventure playground the best; it really was just lovely to be outside without coats on for a change!

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Crochetwise I have been very busily hooking away this month; I released into the world my new beaded make-up bag pattern exclusively available in Happily Hooked Magazine which I blogged about here, my Spring Grace Ponchette which I blogged about here and another free pattern for the Doodle Zoo gang; Finlay Frog which I blogged about here. I have also been hooking up Block 7Block 8 and Block 9 this month for the CAL. The UK weather remained obliging and I had a great photo shoot with the first 8 blocks – I’m thinking I need to add a bit more green though as it’s perhaps the colour I have used least.

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I also did a pattern test for a cute little amigumuri which I’ll blog about soon!  Finally I finished up my Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds square for the Deramores Blog competition which I blogged about herephew!

Nothing like keeping busy!  

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