The Little Yellow Duck Project


Back in February 2015 I blogged about The Little Yellow Duck Project which I had just learnt about.  If you haven’t heard about the project before it involves people around the world handcrafting little yellow duck gifts as random acts of kindness that are then left in public places for others to find. A special tag on each one of the ducks invites the finder to take their gift home to brighten their day and to visit the  The Little Yellow Duck Project website to register where they found their gift. The Little Yellow Duck Project is a global initiative highlighting the life-saving donation of blood, bone marrow, and organ and tissue. 

Little-Yellow-DuckI made ten little ducks to support the project and hid them all over everywhere – even taking some with me to hide when I went away for a couple of weekends so that they would be spread out far and wide.  You can see all the ducks I made in my original post here.

Excitingly a couple of months later someone posted a photo to say that they had found one of my ducks which had prompted them to fill in an application form to be a blood donor! What an amazing feeling that was! And so nice to find out what had happened to a duck that had been hidden.

After I had finished making and hiding my pledge of little ducks I offered my services as a designer to The Little Yellow Duck Project to create a new free duckling crochet pattern which they could use…and not long after Doodle the Duckling was born! 

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Well one of the lovely people at the project contacted me this week to say that the pattern had never gone live on their website (although they thought it had). Needless to say they were mortified – but I know only too well how technology can be a fickle mistress (as I find out ever time I schedule a post when I’m on holiday…every. single. time!).  All is now fixed however and you can now find Doodle the Duckling under the Crochet Pattern section of their website. If you want to add Doodle the Duckling to your Ravelry queue or favourite him so you can make him later then use this link here

I hope you do check out The Little Yellow Duck Project when you get a moment – as well as crochet patterns they have knitting, sewing and machine embroidery patterns you use to support them if you fancy a different craft.

And just to finish off I’ll end with a photo of Little G from a year or so ago when she got to meet some real life little yellow ducklings…because too cute right! 

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

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Keep Calm and Crochet On UK Newsletter


icon-1798272_960_720It seems to me that all the cool blogs have a newsletter and so, after several requests, I’m starting one….issue #01 in fact. What will it be about? Well if you like crochet…then you just might like it 😉  

Each month you can expect to see a round up of my blog posts, special offers (that you don’t get on the blog or through social media), customer and pattern spotlights and other bits of news and secrets!

I’m thinking in my head that the newsletter will go out on the last weekend of every month so, with the end of the month fast approaching, I thought I’d see if any of you lovely lot would like to subscribe…go on…there’ll be cyber treats in it for you! 🍬

You can subscribe to the newsletter by clicking on the blue button below (or the menu on the right handside). 

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And that’s it – all you have to do now is sit back and wait till the end of the month for the first edition! 

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

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Nuts About Squares CAL by It’s All in A Nutshell


Oooo you know me! I’m a sucker for a good blanket and there is nothing like a crochet-along for being able to make something bigger than perhaps you would usually make for you or someone special. That’s why I’m really excited to tell you about the new crochet-along, Nuts about Squares, by Esther from It’s all in a Nutshell to make the beautiful afghan (pictured below).  

Photo: Hans Mossel

If you are not familiar with It’s All in A Nutshell you NEED to go and check out her blog and her Youtube channel. Not only does she have many free patterns of her own (available in English and Dutch) but she has also has made several videos,with permission, of well known crochet-along patterns like Sophie’s Universe by Dedri Uys or Mandala Madness by Helen Shrimpton.

So back to the CAL! Myself and eleven other crochet designers have contributed block designs to Esther’s very first CAL. I was very excited to be part of something with so many other fabulous designers – so big thanks to Esther for thinking of me! ❤︎  Contributing designers include Dedri Uys, Helen Shrimpton, Polly Plum, Sigrun Hugoey, Melissa GreenJulie Yeager, Margaret MacInnis, Susan Stevens/Mellie Blossom, Aurora Suominen, and Tatsiana Kupryianchyk.

For this crochet-along Esther has collaborated with Scheepjes Yarn to create three stunning colourway packs, with the theme of either Earth, Sea and Sky, which are available from Wool Warehouse, Deramores and Caro’s Atelier (NL).

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The CAL will last 15 weeks and starts March 31, 2017 so make sure you hop on over and subscribe to the It’s All in a Nutshell blog so you don’t miss any of the details. 

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

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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.