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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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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Leafy Boughs Shawl CAL| All Finished!


All good things come to an end at some point and so it happens that with the arrival of April that the March Happily Hooked Magazine crochet-along, with my Leafy Boughs Shawl, is now OVER.  I have been left completely flabbergasted all the shawls that have been made, the amazing colourways, the fact that people made more than one in the time frame – just amazing!

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So we couldn’t come to the end of an amazing CAL without having a little showcase of some of the amazing shawls that have been made – get ready for a feast of inspiration for your eyeballs!

All of them were amazing but I did have a couple of favourites; this one by Corrie really drew my eye because it’s just so gorgeous. She used Scheepjes Whirl in Tasty Nom Nom, a colourway which I adore, and I think the pattern works so well in the mixture of rich pinks and purples.

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This one by Laura, using some indie dyed yarn from Etsy, also came out beautifully – move over pastels! I love these rich spring colours.

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This version of the Leafy Bough’s shawl by HHM editor Emily is so lovely, I love the variegated blues and greens and I also love that the staff of HHM join in the crochet-alongs with their members – how wonderful is that!

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And this one by Lee, Assistant Editor of HHM, is just stunning too isn’t it!! Lee used Katia Spring rainbow which is a yarn I’ve never tried before but one I’m certainly going to look out for.

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And finally how amazing is this backdrop! Spring in the Yucatan apparently and wow what a place to be crocheting! And Lynne’s shawl is a perfect compliment to the backdrop, her shawl in variegated blues and purples is just stunning too.

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And here is a little collage of some more of the wonderful shawls people have made, thanks so much to; Amy, Ann, Anne-Mary, Carole, Charlene, Christena, Coco-Lee, Corrie, Debra, Emily, Geneva, Jackie, Karen, Kim, Laura, Linda, Lynne, Missy, Naomi, Nicki, Nora, Pamela, Patrice and Sara for sharing your  finished works with me.

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Happily Hooked magazine run a new CAL every new issue of the magazine. If that’s something you think you might be interested in you can SAVE over 50% on your first year when you start a digital subscription through my link:yearly subscription. Or if you aren’t quite ready for a yearly subscription why not try the monthly subscription.

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

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Designer Interview | Eleonora from Coastal Crochet


I’m really chuffed about my next designer interview because I actually had the pleasure of meeting her in person on my recent visit to The Crochet Sanctuary.

Eleonora Tully is the designer behind the lovely blog Coastal Crochet. You may have seen some of her lovely designs in Simply Crochet magazine or you may already follow her popular Instagram feed. And if you haven’t seen her slow Seaside Stash Busting Blanket crochet-along then you should check it out! There’s still plenty of time to take part and it’s going to be amazing when it’s all finished!

When I met Eleonora I thought I would see if she would kindly let me find out more about her designing process, because I always find the stories behind the projects so interesting, and to my delight she said YES!  Here’s what we chatted about…

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Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I was born in The Netherlands 40 years ago – my mother is Dutch and my father is English but I grew up in England and currently live by the sea on the South East Coast with my husband, three children and our dog, a Miniature Schnauzer called Salty. I’m a registered nurse and at the moment I work part-time as a School Nurse.

Life is busy! There’s always something that needs doing being a working mother but I do make sure that I find time for crochet! I get so much pleasure from being creative…it’s a part of me. I also love being with my family and spending time outdoors… one of my favourite things to do apart from crochet, is to go on long walks in nature with my family and I love a challenge! Give me a trail to walk or a mountain to climb and I’m there!

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How did you first discover crocheting?

Crochet has always been a part of me, it really has! My mother crocheted her own wedding dress in 1974 and I was wrapped in crocheted blankets soon after I was born! I really did grow up in a ‘handmade home’ with little crocheted curtains above the windows made by my mother and grandmother (very popular in The Netherlands in the 1970’s), there were crocheted pot holders in the kitchen, my cardigans and jumpers were knitted, school dresses sewn and toys crocheted!

As for my own crochet, I can’t pinpoint the exact time or place when I first held a hook but it was as a teenager, helped by my mother and a good book! I knitted first but crochet soon followed. I made my own wedding dress but this was sewn. It wasn’t until 2014 when I decided to crochet a dress for my daughter that crochet really took over my life! I loved crocheting that dress. It was from a pattern by Lisa Naskrent which I found on Ravelry I enjoyed every single stitch and it looked so beautiful when it was finished. It really was a labour of love and from that moment I fell completely and utterly in love with crochet.

How did you become a crocheting designer? 

After crocheting the dress for my daughter I knew I wanted to take my crochet skills to another level and start to design and write my own patterns. I discovered the International Diploma in Crochet which is a correspondence course run by Pauline Turner. Working through the course has taught me so much and given me the confidence and skills I needed to go out and design my own crochet and to write patterns.

Having an online presence through my Blog and Instagram has also helped me to grow as a Crochet Designer. Writing regular Blog Posts and posting pictures to my Instagram is a huge motivator for me to keep designing. It has also enabled me to share my work and make connections with others which have in turn helped me to get my designs published.

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Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?

For me it’s nature and being outdoors. My blog is called ‘Coastal Crochet’ because I live so close to the sea and really do draw so much inspiration from my coastal surroundings. It’s not only the colours, the textures and the themes of the seaside that inspire me, but actually walking along the beach leaves me feeling refreshed and inspired. It helps to clear my mind which in turn allows the inspiration to flow.

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What does your design process look like? Do you sketch things out first, or do you just like to grab a hook and start?

I’m a grab a hook and go person! Sometimes I wish I could be a little more structured in my design approach but it’s just not the way I work! I can get an idea in my head at any time (sometimes I get lots of ideas at the same time) and I can visualise them clearly. I’ll then just pick up a hook and some yarn and get crocheting. It’s exciting to see if my ideas take shape.

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Do you have a favourite creation you’ve designed?

If you’d asked me this a couple of months ago I would have answered differently but at the moment my absolute favourite creation has to be the ‘Seaside Stash Busting Blanket’ which I’m designing as part of the Crochet-Along I’m hosting.

I’m designing it as we go so even I don’t know what the blanket will look like at the end but I love it so much already! Not because it’s going to be a gorgeous blanket but because of the community aspect and seeing everyone’s different colour combinations. I’m publishing just 4 rows per week and as it’s a stash busting project people are choosing all kinds of colours. Some are random combinations, others are so well thought out – it’s truly amazing to see! And the connections being made between crocheters from all over the world is just wonderful. There are people taking part from over 20 countries and friendships are being made across the globe as people share their progress. It really is so special and the response to my design has genuinely blown me away!

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Do you have a ‘go to’ for hooks and yarn?

I was given a set of ‘Tulip Etimo Rose’ hooks for my 40th birthday last year and I adore them. I’ve also tried Clover Amour hooks which are fantastic. Both these Brands are made in Japan so there’s definitely something about Japanese crochet hooks!

As for yarn, I’ll use anything depending on what it is I’m crocheting. From chunky to thin and from cheap acrylic to more luxurious wools. I love using cotton too. I have a soft spot for the brand ‘Scheepjes’ as it’s a genuine Dutch company and their yarns are just so gorgeous. I use ‘Scheepjes Catona’ a lot. It’s a beautiful cotton to work with and the colours are amazing!

Who gets your creations; you, your family, your friends?

All the above! I’ve crocheted for family and friends and of course I keep a lot of my own crochet work too. Crochet is not a quick art form and each crocheted item will have taken precious time to make, sometimes many many hours! So I like to give my crochet to people who will appreciate that.

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Where do you work? Do you have a studio space or do you work from your living room chair?

I would love to have a studio space but that’s a far off dream at the moment. There are five of us living in our house and the children are getting big- they are now almost all taller than me! I have a corner on the sofa that I call ‘my corner’ only because it’s next to a light which helps when I’m crocheting in the evenings. But one of the reasons I love crochet so much is because it’s so portable. I can crochet anywhere and it really does come everywhere with me.

Finally finish the sentence … I love crochet because…

It’s a wonderful craft that can be done anywhere and by anyone and such beautiful things are created with just one hook and some yarn!

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I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Eleonora again for taking time to answer these questions. I’ve really enjoyed getting a better understanding of what’s involved with in her designing process and hope you have too.

Until next time; 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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Wulla Super Bulky | Yarn Review and Free Wulla Wreath Crochet Pattern


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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Well I don’t think Christmas could come any chunkier than with the Wulla Wreath! I’m very excited to share this free pattern with you today for a true statement keepsake wreath just perfect for the holiday season – though I’m tempted to leave mine up all year!

Back at the beginning of October the lovely Caz, an indie spinner and dyer, from Wulla Yarn placed a call out for designers on Instagram to see who fancied experimenting with her amazing giant yarn.

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Isn’t it incredible! Well as you can imagine I REALLY wanted to get my hands on some of that lovely stuff to have a play!  So I dropped Caz a message with my idea and, luckily for me, she decided a collaboration would be a great idea. 

If you aren’t familiar with Wulla Yarn it might be because they are relatively new on the yarn scene. Started in April 2017 Wulla was born out of Caz’s desire to make big, bold contemporary yarn to inspire crafters to explore and create. The name ‘Wulla’ is a corruption of the word Wul, the Anglo Saxon for ‘wool’, and combines Caz’s love of history and her drive to do something new! 

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This yarn is serious stuff with a recommended hook size of 12-15mm or bigger! So let’s check out the yarn’s vital statistics we: 

  • Weight:  Super Bulky (7)
  • Blend: Wool
  • Yarn Ball Weight: 400g
  • Yarn Ball Length: 60m
  • Wash instructions: Cool, gentle hand wash only.
  • Price: £28.00 (at the time of this post)

Like many types of hand spun yarn the thickness and texture differs slightly along it’s length but, that to me, lends to it’s undeniable charm. 

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To me this yarn had statement piece written all over it and so I decided I wanted to try and create a giant hunky chunky wreath.  I chose to make my wreath with the un-dyed yarn as I think, although it’s neutral, the light natural cream colour has a lovely elegancy about it.

The wreath works up very quickly and, although a bit fiddly when you start off until you find your flow, it’s suitable for beginners to make as the pattern is essentially just giant UK double crochet / US single crochet stitches.

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Add the Wulla Wreath to your 💗 Favourites and Ravelry Queue for a print friendly of this page please scroll to the bottom of this post and click on the Print & PDF button. 

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  • Yarn: Super Bulky Undyed Handspun Giant Yarn / 60m / 400g
  • Hook: I used my 25mm hook – but smaller would work too, you might just need to experiment.
  • Size: 35mm
  • Gauge: Establishing the correct gauge is not critical to this pattern. 

Abbreviations: 

  • st(s) = stitch(es)
  • dc/sc= UK double crochet / US single crochet

Stitch Guidance:

  • Slip Stitch (sl st): Insert hook in st indicated, yarn over and pull through all loops.
  • UK Double Crochet/US Single Crochet (dc/sc): Insert hook in st indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.

You will also need:

  • 35mm / 1.4 inch Polystyrene Wreath (I got mine from Hobbycraft)
  • D ring (or something similar) for hanging the wreath
  • Cotton Thread / Needle
  • Large Pom Pom Maker (Mine had a 85mm / 0.3 inch diameter)

Pattern:

Rnd 1: Make giant UK double crochet / US single crochet’s all around the wreath – I found the easiest way to do this as follows;

Add the yarn with a slipknot on to your hook.

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Put the wreath in front of your yarn

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Pull up a loop of yarn through the middle of the wreath with your fingers

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And pop it around your hook

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Then bring your yarn over your hook

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And pull the loop through all loop on hook (this includes your slipknot loop for the beginning only). And that’s your first stitch made.

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Continue to work in this way all around the wreath; if you get any twisting of the yarn, straighten it as you go and push your yarn / stitches together so that none of the polystyrene shows.

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On your last stitch to do not join; cut your yarn and pull the tail all the way through the stitch, then thread the tail under the loop of your first stitch.

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Then pull the yarn into the centre of the last stitch to create an invisible join. 

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Finishing:

  1. Make three giant pom poms, I used my Clover Grand Pom Pom Maker just because I think the tool makes fabulous pom’s but you could use cardboard circles with a 88mm (0.3 inch) diameter. All pom’s should be tied leaving a 30 cm / 12 inch piece of yarn for hanging; if using the wulla yarn you should make sure your knot is secure, then trim off one of the pieces of yarn to leave one ‘strand’.
  2. Attach pom poms onto the bottom / back of your wreath 
  3. Attach a ‘D’ ring onto the top / back of your wreath

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And that’s it!

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I’m completely in LOVE with the texture and the look of my Wulla Wreath, I think it’s just delicious – and I have to admit to keep stroking it a bit.  

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And if you want to have a go at making your own wreath the lovely Caz from Wulla Yarns has a special offer for all you lovely KCACO.UK readers. For the whole of November her fabulous meta yarn has a 15% discount in her Etsy shop if you use the coupon code: KCACO1

If you have a go at making a Wulla Wreath don’t forget to share your finished projects with me on your favourite social media sites: RavelryLoveCrochet.comFacebook page or Facebook group, Twitter,  Pinterest and Instagram and if you are featured in my newsletter you could win a pattern of your choice!

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

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Crochet Book Review | Edward’s Crochet Doll Emporium


Disclaimer:  I received a sample copy of the book to write this review however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier, book company or the designer to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the book / pattern.

When the lovely folks at Pavilion books asked me if I’d like to review Edward’s Crochet Doll Emporium I didn’t need asking twice! I’d already got the book on my wish list, as I’m a big fan of Kerry Lord’s, and have all of the other ‘Edwards crochet’ books so was extremely eager to have a peep at the new book.

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Edward’s Crochet Doll Emporium by Kerry Lord is published by Pavilion. Photographs by Kristy Noble

Ed’s dolls is a wonderfully innovative book where you can design your own doll using mix-and-match crochet patterns. Cleverly each pattern is contained within flippable pages which means, like a child’s flip book, that you can make hundreds of different doll combinations each with amazing wardrobes! 

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Edward’s Crochet Doll Emporium by Kerry Lord is published by Pavilion. Photographs by Kristy Noble

The book is split into sections with instructions on how to make the main doll, then there are two flip sections:

  • First you choose a ‘head’ – there are beginner and advanced heads to choose depending on the hair style (or facial hair).
  • Next you choose what they are going to ‘be’ with the bottom ‘outfit’ flip – with costumes for an astronaut and a princess, a ballerina and a footballer, a mermaid and a pirate, a surgeon, a punk and more.

You can make so many different variations of doll! As always I like to make something from a book before I review it and I was inspired by the doll Kerry made of herself – so I thought that it might be really fun to try and create a mini me.

I used TOFT DK yarn to make my doll (as I already had some in my stash from last years TOFTfest and my recent visit to The Knitting & Stitching Show). TOFT DK yarn is pure wool, seriously soft and gentle on the hands – lovely to crochet with. It also has a really great colour range to represent skin tones. I went for ‘Oatmeal’ skin and ‘Chestnut’ for my hair.

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All the patterns are in UK terminology and come with detailed instructions and accompanying photos for stitches. In addition the book includes step by step instructions for stuffing, sewing together and adding the dolls features. The patterns are also arranged in order of difficulty so their’s something for beginners and for people with more ‘advanced’ crochet skills. 

The body for my doll worked up easily and I chose to give my little doll pants and a boob tube (instructions included in the book for the advanced dolls) so I would be suitably attired underneath my clothes…it seems more than a little weird to be sharing a photo of me in my underwear with the world – but here I am…

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I had great fun styling my hair using a spare hair clip and just a normal hair band to tie it back as I usually would my own hair.

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The hands are some of the cutest things I have ever made! Like ever! There are options for beginner or advanced hands (these are the advanced) and whilst any doll would look cute with either I do love the little digits.

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Next came the clothes….I used the C:1 flip dress option which I made in blue upon which I embroidered yellow and grey flowers (to symbolise the pattern on my dress). I then teamed up my dress with a slightly smaller and longer C:2 yellow scarf and some C:10 black boots.

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There weren’t any real accompaniments for a crocheter doll so I improvised and made a little work basket, complete with mini balls of yarn and a WIP. I also cut to size an old 3mm hook I had to fit the dolls hands.

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TOFT have started to make some amazing little accessories for the dolls; aside from a range of different coloured dolls eyes (I used the brown) they have the cutest little glasses! However these have proven so popular that they sold out quickly so I wasn’t able to get some – until then a bit of floral wire had to suffice for my specs.

I finished off my doll with a bit of blusher on the cheeks (this isn’t something suggested in the book but something I added as I pretty much always have rosy cheeks!) and with that voilà I was finished…want to see me?

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I think there is a definite likeness between me and my mini doppelganger!  What do you think?

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I had great fun making this doll! And I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys making dolls or amigurumi, or to anyone that fancies making a mini-me. The only problem I envisage is that everyone will want one! 

Edward’s Crochet Doll Emporium by Kerry Lord (Pavilion Books) is priced at £16.99 and  is available to buy now from the TOFT website and via many brick and online bookstores.

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If you enjoyed this crochet book review you may wish to check out some of my other crochet book reviews.

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

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