Medieval Colours Yarn Review


A few weeks ago I received a fabulous email from the owner of Medieval Colours to see if I’d like to have a play with some of their yarn (I know! I LOVE my crochet job!).

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Medieval Colours are a unique sort of yarn shop inspired by heritage and history – especially Medieval history. Just imagine gloves in the same colour as a Viking tunic or maybe a scarf made from yarn dyed from a plant which was used by monks to make ink. As a bit of a history fan I was very excited and intrigued by the concept!

They dye 100% cheviot sheep wool from plants that have been traditionally used for dying for centuries.  It’s an ecology friendly way of dying as yarn, with no added chemicals, as the only dyes that are used are from plants and minerals  bought from gardeners or hand picked in the meadows and forests of the United Kingdom.  

Do not adjust your filters!! The dyed colours of this yarn really pops! I got some of the gorgeous orangy red madder dyed yarn in Aran (Worsted Weight) to play with – but more about that in a moment…

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This yarn is a strong durable yarn ideal for outerwear or for home accessories.  If crocheted with small stitches it produces a nice firm fabric, almost like a woven cloth, which holds its shape really well. As the yarn is 100% wool it could also be used for felting (have you tried my free mini felted heart pattern yet?).  

I got a lovely catalogue with my yarn which contained shade details. I couldn’t believe how vibrant all the colours were!

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The beautiful range of natural colours available are:

  • Blue (Woad)
  • Bright Red (Madder)
  • Bright Yellow (Weld)
  • Dark Red (Madder)
  • Green (Woad and Weld)
  • Intense Red (Madder)
  • Light Brown (Oak Bark)
  • Olive (Weld)
  • Orange (Madder)
  • Pale Yellow (Weld)
  • Pinky Brown (Madder)
  • Yellow (Tansy)

You can see all the colours on the Medieval Colours website.

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Medieval Colours yarn is available directly via order on the website and comes in 50g or 100g balls. As well as yarn for knitting and crocheting Medieval Colours also supply embroidery threads and offer a dyeing for order service.

So what did I make…do you want a sneak peep… 

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Make sure you check back next week for your copy of the FREE Renaissance Pouch Bag pattern!

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

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Disclaimer:  I received a sample of yarn to write this review. 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.

Getting Crafty | Paper Flower Chrysanthemums


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Our amazing cake made by http://www.cakeholetutbury.co.uk

Last weekend it was a flurry of activity in the KCACO-UK home as we not only had Little G’s birthday happening (how fast another year has gone!) but we also held a naming ceremony for Little Miss.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me what a naming ceremony is…well it’s a non-religious alternative for a service such as christening to mark a child’s arrival. We held one for Little G when she was a baby and now it was the turn of friends and family help us welcome Little Miss into the world.  The naming ceremony was facilitated by the British Humanist Association (who were fab) who designed the day to be personal to us – and what a happy, fun and relaxed, wonderful day spent with family and friends it was!

But before that I had decided that I was going to get creative and make my own decorations and things for the party. As I’m a massive fan of Pinterest I created myself a board and got pinning…and lost several hours of my life!  The main thing I decided I wanted to make were paper flowers as I thought that would be something Little G would enjoy making with me.  

Next it was off to the craft shop where I picked up, amongst other things, everything I needed to make paper flowers. There are loads of different ways to make paper flowers but I’m going to show you how I made mine to look like a chrysanthemum. To make them yourself you will need:

  • At least 8 sheets of tissue paper 
  • Scissors
  • Longish Pipe cleaners (if making with younger children) or craft wire 

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Next you need to cut your tissue sheets into squares – the easiest way to do this is to take the corner of your paper and fold it to the opposite edge to make a triangle. Cut off the excess tissue paper at the top, unfold and you have your squares! Make sure non of the squares are joined anywhere so you have eight individual squares.

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Next you need to fold the paper into a concertina…

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Next fold the concertina in half and then wrap your pipe cleaner or craft wire around the middle securely.

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Next you need to trim each edge to create the petals, to make the chrysanthemum your edges should be fairly rounded…

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The next bit can be a little tricky; so you might have to help little ones. Carefully separate each layer of tissue paper to create the fullness of the flower on each side… 

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And that’s it! You should be left with a beautiful paper chrysanthemum. Make smaller squares for mini flowers or make giant flowers with big squares.

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The lovely thing about paper flowers is that you can easily dress up a party or room yourself. I added my flowers to some jam jars wrapped in hessian and twine and cut out some petal shapes from the left over tissue paper and scattered those on the table. I was really pleased with how they turned out in the end.

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Let me know if you give tissue paper flowers ago!

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

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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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Book Review | Winter Crochet (Collection 7) by Marie Wallin


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Winter Crochet is Marie Wallin‘s seventh book which includes a collection of eight beautiful contemporary crochet patterns.  Many of the designs combine knitting and crochet together which is perfect for bi-stitchual crafters.  The blend of knitting and crochet creates a group of very wearable winter clothes including, amongst other things, jumpers, cardigans and a jacket. 

Each pattern is written in English Crochet terminology but US alternate details, along with photos of close ups of each design, tension, sizing, finishing and aftercare is included in the back of the book.

The book is a bit of a work of art! The photos of each garment are gorgeously set alongside a charming seaside background. I love the rustic looking colour palette that has been used, very much my type of colours, which compliment the natural surroundings perfectly.  

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The yarn used in the book is Rowan Felted Tweed and Felted Tweed Aran but if you didn’t want to use that you could try substituting with KnitPicks City Tweed Aran, Katia Maerino Tweed, Berroco Inca Tweed, Cascade Yarns Melilla, James C. Brett Rustic With Wool Aran, Hayfield Bonus Aran Tweed with Wool or Stylecraft Aran with Wool. Remember to always swatch to measure your gauge if using a different yarn.

All the patterns in the book have been given lovely Celtic names ;  

  • Gael (Knit & Crochet) – Jumper
  • Caitlin (Crochet) – Jumper
  • Keela (Crochet) – Jacket
  • Finnoula (Knit & Crochet) – Jumper
  • Meara (Knit & Crochet) – Jumper
  • Siobhan (Crochet) – Cardigan
  • Niamh (Knit & Crochet) – Jumper
  • Catriona (Knit & Crochet) – Jumper

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There are some really interestingly intricate stitch details, all of which have been clearly explained throughout the book, but the beautiful motifs used to create Finnoula caught my eye. Just stunning!

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I love how versatile crochet is in that you can re-invent or re-use elements of one thing to turn it into something else.  I decided to use one of the motifs from Finnoula, which reminded me of a poinsettia, to make a small ornamental mat which I could sit my actual poinsettia on.

The motif worked up beautifully with some spare Aran (Worsted) weight cotton I had in my stash. The pattern was clear and easy to follow and I had no trouble at all making the motif. My little mat was just perfect for my Poinsettia and will now come out every year for that purpose.

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If you are interested in having this book for your very own it is currently available for purchase via laughinghens.com

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

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Disclaimer:  I received a sample copy of the book to write this review. 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.

Stylecraft Blog Tour 2016 | Pattern Round Up


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So did you all travel along with this years Stylecraft Blog Tour? What amazing crochet and knit patterns there have been!! All I can say is hexagons seem to be the thing to make right now – can’t believe so many of us chose that shape! 😝 

Well in case you missed any of it I thought I would do a round up on the beauty for you with all the links you need to find each pattern. 

Day 1: Emma Varnam – Blencathra Blanket (Oct 24)

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Find all the details about the Blencathra Blanket pattern here.

Day 2: Janie Crow – Diego’s Flowers Crochet Hexagon Motif (Oct 25)

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Find all the details about the Diego’s Flower pattern here.

Day 3: ME!! – Harmonious Hexagon Quilt (Oct 26)

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Find all the details about the Harmonious Hexagon Quilt here.

Day 4: Stylecraft – Tablet Cover (Oct 27)

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Find all the details about the Tablet cover here.

Day 5: Le Monde de Sucrette – Chunky Stool Cover (Oct 28)

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Find all the details about the Chunky Stool Cover here.

Day 6: Cherry Heart – Bobbing Along Ripple Blanket (Oct 29)

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Find all the details about the Bobbing Along Ripple Blanket here.

Day 7: Susan Pinner – Spinning Top Blanket (Oct 30)

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Find all the details about the Spinning Top Blanket pattern here.

Day 8:  The Twisted Yarn – Scarf (Oct 31)

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Find all the details about the scarf pattern here.

Day 9: Annaboos House – Granny Wrap (Nov 1)

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Find all the details about the Granny Wrap pattern here.

Day 10: Craftnoon Treats – Blandala (Nov 2)

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Find all details about the Blandala here.

Day 11: Hand Knitted Things – Special Stripy Blanket (Nov 3)

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Find all details about the Special Stripy Blanket here.

Day 12: The Patchwork Heart – Chunky Cowl (Nov 4)

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Find all details about the Chunky Cowl here.

Soooo much gorgeousness am I right!! 

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

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Stylecraft Blog Tour 2016 | Part 1


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Okay I need to try to keep calm about this but I can’t!!! I can’t tell you how excited and pleased I am to have been chosen as one of the bloggers to take part in this years Stylecraft Blog Tour to celebrate the release of some of their new colour packs!  

Earlier in the year Stylecraft did a public poll to help choose some new colours for their Special Aran and Special Chunky ranges. From a list of nominations six gorgeous winning colours have now been added to both yarn weights…but more about that in a moment!

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If you haven’t heard of Stylecraft they are a family run business based in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire who aim to produce high quality yarns and patterns with the best possible value. I’m a big fan of all their yarns, especially the Special’s Range, which I have used many times for various designs and projects of mine (like my 2015 Crochet-a-long blanket, Margaret’s Hug Healing / Prayer Shawl  and River Rose Cushion to name a few).

For the blog tour I was asked if I’d like to produce a special new free design for you guys using Stylecraft Special Chunky so of course I said a big hunky chunky YES!! Stylecraft Special Chunky is a chunky version of Stylecraft’s Special DK (8ply / #3  weight yarn) and is the equivalent of US Bulky yarns (12 ply / #5 weight yarn).  It’s good value for money, it crochets well and is really super soft and squishy. Personally I find it a delight to work with because it has a really fabulous range of colours for crochet (or knitted) projects! 

     

Sooo let’s talk colours! This is the palette I’m working with which includes the new colours chosen by the lovely public…

Pale Rose  Empire  Storm Blue  Sage Pistachio  Saffron 

but for my new pattern a couple more colours have been added for a nice balanced palette.

Parchment Pomegranate  Spice  Gold

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My yarn arrived for me to play with in July and I really enjoyed playing around with the colours.  First of all I made myself some yarn colour pegs (an idea that I’ve been desperate to try since I saw it from the fabulous Attic24). Here are a couple of my combinations for inspiration…

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Soft and cool ocean: Empire, Storm Blue, Sage, Pistachio & Parchment

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Wonderful warm sunset: Pale Rose, Pomegranate, Spice, Gold and Saffron

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Spring flower power: Pale Rose, Pistachio, Saffron and Parchment

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Bright jewel tones: Saffron, Spice, Pomegranate and Empire

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Stormy desert oasis: Storm Blue, Sage, Pistachio and Parchment

I have pretty much fallen in love with every colour combination I came up with! I can see these colours popping up in future projects for sure!      

     

So what is the Stylecraft blog tour?  Stylecraft have put together two colour packs, in both Special Aran and Chunky featuring the six new shades with some highlight colours, and sent these packs out to 12 crochet and knitting bloggers asking them to create designs in their own style to inspire creative peeps all over the world.

The bloggers featured this year (in no particular order) are:

  1. Janie Crow aka Jane Crowfoot
  2. The Knitting Exploits of Josie Kitten
  3. Emma Varnam
  4. Crafternoon Treats
  5. The Twisted Yarn
  6. Patchwork Heart
  7. Le Monde de Sucrette
  8. Hand Knitted Things
  9. Cherry Heart
  10. Sue Pinner
  11. Annaboo’s House
  12. and ME!!! Keep Calm and Crochet On UK

So when is my pattern coming out I hear you say…well the tour kicks off 24 October 2016… and at some point during that week my brand new pattern will be released. To whet your appetite here’s a sneaky peak…

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OOooo so chunky and delicious don’t you think! 

It’s a closely guarded secret as to where the tour is going to each day so make sure you check out Stylecraft’s Facebook page on 24 October. Each blogger (including me) are also going to be giving away a FREE pack of the different yarns each day of the blog tour.

Opportunities for fantastic new patterns and chances to win lovely yarn – what’s not to love!

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

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

KCACOUK CAL 2016 | CAL Statistics and Groovyghans YOU’VE made!


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Our groovyghan crochet along journey is over boo hoo! But don’t worry if this is the first you are hearing about this CAL you can find the full schedule here and I promise to keep all the details on the blog FOREVER x

This week I thought I’d share some groovyghan facts with you and show you some of the amazing groovyghans made by others.  

 So first the statistics – in our CAL we have had;

  • nearly 5,000 people join the KCACO-UK Community Group over on Facebook  – that’s potentially a lot of groovyghans!! & that’s not counting everyone else that has joined in the crochet-along following on the blog.
  • people globally join in the CAL (which has been so exciting) including folks from United Kingdom, Ireland, USA, Canada, Luxembourg, Australia, Sweden, France, Israel, South Africa, Norway, Denmark, Mexico, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, Uruguay and Greece (I may have missed some – sorry if I have)!!!
  • worked through 17 new patterns – way to go everyone that had never read a pattern before!
  • learnt to be crochet bi-lingual by following both UK and US crochet terminology – just think how useful that will be in the future!
  • used a crochet chart (even if my drawings were a bit wobbly at times!)
  • used several techniques including granny squares, popcorn stitches & ripples to name a few  – some seriously impressive skills to be proud of!

I’m sending a virtual pat on the back and well done cheer to everyone that finished up their groovyghan – thank you so much for crocheting along with me.

And now I want to share some of the amazing finished Groovyghan’s that I have had the kind permission of the owners to show photos of! All the colourways that were shared with me for this post were so fantastic and pretty but if I added them all it would be a really long blog post so I have selected a few that are different for inspiration purposes. So without further ado here are some unbelievably gorgeous Groovyghans to feast your eyes on! 

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Loving the bright colours of this groovyghan made by Kaffy Packer

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Perfect purples made by Cara Jane Brameld

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Love this neutral pallet made by Holly Volkman

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The addition of the black makes the colours pop! Made by Tracey Ferguson

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Pink to make the girls wink by Tess Jardine Clements

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Wonderful rainbow by Shona Hill

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Pretty Pastels by Sandie Reader

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Such vibrant colours by Susan Hill

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Real stashbusting beauty by Phillipa Shaw

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Crochet me a rainbow by Suzy Davis

Aren’t they just all stunning! Thanks again to everyone that joined in the CAL with me this year and has shared their beautiful work with me! I loved seeing your finished Groovyghans 💕

Look out for details of our next crochet along in December (starting in January 2017).

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

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