Stitch Story Crochet-Along | Announcement


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It’s taken a bit longer than I anticipated to get it all together but the crochet along design I’ve been working on for over a year is finally ready for us to start hooking together! Are you excited? I know I am!!

Following the poll I conducted in my Facebook group for the theme for our next Crochet Along (CAL) *drum roll please* the clear winner was to create something like a samplerghan blanket. So I put on my (crocheted) thinking cap and came up with, what I think, is a unique design that you will enjoy making and which I’m quite eager to share with you.  

I have already shared the pattern with someone though – and that person is my lovely mum! This is because she has made her own version of the Stitch Story blanket so I could show you how the design looks in a single colour (as I made mine) and how it looks using a selection of colours (as my mum made hers). 

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Right then, are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin with some of the information about this years design which I’m super-duperly thrilled to say has been sponsored by Scheepjes yarns, it’s been tough holding in my excitement about that I can tell you, but the most important bit to tell you is that… 

The Stitch Story Crochet Along starts Wednesday 4 July 2018!

I’ll be telling you more about the inspiration for this crochet along in my next post but let’s first go over some of the specifics. This CAL will run for 13 weeks and in that time you can create a blanket either the same as mine or unique to you (I’ll explain more about that in a moment).  Square motifs will be released every two weeks (on a Wednesday) here on the blog and I will guide you through the process of learning new stitches and techniques until you have a lovely multi-textured heirloom blanket of your very own – all finished by Christmas. 

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This is a CAL with a bit of a difference; bi-weekly you will receive a pattern for one of twelve differently designed squares. There will be two sizes of each square that you can choose from – either a 15cm (6″) block or a 30cm (12″) block.

Which size blocks you make will be totally up to you! Make your blanket all one size or mix and match, whatever takes your fancy!  This afghan will be completely unique to you with lots of stitches so it won’t get boring!  After we have made all of our blocks the last few weeks will include instructions for joining your squares together and adding a border.

The patterns will be available in English and American crochet terminology and a free English step-by-step video tutorial will also be available by the fabulous Esther from It’s All in a Nutshell blog

This is an ideal project for a beginner who would like to move on from the basics of crochet, but those with more experience in hooking should enjoy it as well.  

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Yarn Amounts:

For the Stitch Story crochet along if you wish to make the same size blanket as me (which is the largest size) you will need at least 1800g  (36 x 50g balls / 5,040m) of yarn. The larger sized finished blanket (as shown in the photos) measures 1.8m long x 1.2m wide / 6 foot long x 4 foot wide so suitable for a single bed.

  • I used Scheepjes Soft Fun Denim yarn (Shade: 507) for my blanket which is a cotton / acrylic blended yarn that has a subtle colour variation in it much like aged denim (hence the name). 
  • My mum used Scheepjes Colour Crafter which is 100% premium acrylic yarn which is incredibly soft (and hypoallergenic). She used the following shades and amounts;  Hasselt (Shade: 2010) x 2, Vlissingen (Shade: 1723) x 2, Ermelo (Shade: 1710) x 2, Veenendaal (Shade: 1064) x 3, Haarlem (Shade: 1054) x 3, and Breda (Shade: 1029) x 3.
  • Esther from It’s All in a Nutshell blog is using  Scheepjes River Washed yarn (Wheaton / Shade: 950) which is a dual toned soft woolly feeling cotton yarn. She has estimated using 1000g (20 x 50g / 2600m) for her smaller square blanket.

Hooks:

Hook sizes range from 3.5 mm to 4.5 mm (US size E to 7). The size for each particular block will be indicated on the relevant pattern. 

CAL Details:

  1. There is no charge to join the CAL; anyone can join in as long as they have some yarn and a hook. 
  2. You can favourite / add this project to your Ravelry library here.
  3. All featured pattern elements in the CAL will be FREE of charge pattern on this blog
  4. However following requests this time round I will also be offering a downloadable 46 page PDF e-book for sale containing the full pattern in one printable file (without advertisements) on Ravelry for a small charge. 
  5. Also following requests I have created a chart for each block design (for both block sizes) which I’ll include in each blog post.
  6. For those that like a deadline I will be adding new details about each square every two weeks on a Wednesday at 8.30pm-ish (GMT time) – see below for full schedule. For those that want to hook when they have the time then that’s fine too; there’s no pressure to this CAL it’s all about having fun!
  7. I will be using both UK and US crochet terminology in the pattern (UK/US) so you can pick your preference. I will also always include any helpful information about each element including links about special stitches with the release of each new section.
  8. The videos by Esther from It’s All in a Nutshell that accompany this CAL will be released on the subsequent Friday AFTER each new block release.

The Schedule:

 6 June 2018 – TODAY CAL details
 20 June 2018 CAL Planning
4 July 2018 Design 1: The Gauge Block
18 July 2018 Design 2: Irish Moss
1 August 2018 Design 3: Diamond Pop
15 August 2018 Design 4: Pilgrim’s Pathway
29 August 2018 Design 5: The Institution of Marriage
12 September 2018 Design 6: The Ladder of Life
26 September 2018 Design 7: Blarney Bobbles
10 October 2018 Design 8: Garden Trellis
24 October 2018 Design 9: Fisherman’s Basket
7 November 2018 Design 10: Cabled Ropes
21 November 2018 Design 11: Six Stitched Braid
5 December 2018 Design 12: The Bee Keeper
19 December 2018 Joining the blocks together and the border

As well as posting information on this blog I’ll also be linking the information in my KCACO-UK Community Facebook Group, which if it’s anything like last year, is a great source of support and helpful tips from fellow Crochet-a-longers.

Social Media Links:

The hashtag for this years CAL is #SSCAL18 for Twitter and Instagram. Though you you can join in with any progress photos by linking your projects on your favourite social media sites: Ravelry, Facebook page or Facebook group and Pinterest.

I am so looking forward to seeing everyone’s blankets develop over time! 

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

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Pattern Release & Sale | Gnorman the Gnome


You may remember that at the end of last year I entered the Amigurumi.net fantasy character competition and whilst I didn’t win (though thank you to everyone that voted) I really enjoyed the design process of creating three little fantasy amigurumi characters. 

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AND I’m really pleased to say that Gnorman the Gnome, the first of these characters, is out of testing and ready to be released into the world! 

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Gnorman is a sweet little fellow with a gentle disposition who lives in a simple hillside dwelling deep in the woods. His favourite pastime is tending to his beloved mushroom garden where he cultivates scarlet capped toadstools loved by his fairy folk friends 🍄. 
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I couldn’t believe it when I was in town the other week and I came across some little tiny tools that were just perfect for Gnorman! And yes it’s completely normal to buy your amigurumi their own accessories…he needed a couple of spades and a rake…

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There are a few characters on my bucket list of things I’d like to design and a gnome was one of them and I loved how Gnorman turned out!

And what about the other characters? Well I’m planning to work on getting Wheelan O’Wool the Leprechaun out to testers next – so watch this space!

Pattern Links 🎉

Gnorman the Gnome is now available and on sale on Ravelry (with coupon code: GNOME) until 16 February 2018 after that time the pattern will revert to full price. The pattern is also available on Lovecrochet.com.

Remember to share your Gnorman project’s to be in with a chance to win a free pattern if you are featured in my monthly newsletter.

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

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Christmas in July SALE!!!


It’s Christmas in July!!!  Get started on those holiday projects now and avoid Christmas stress and hand ache in December! ALL my patterns are now HALF PRICE, in my Ravelry store, until the 31 July 2017.

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Choose from my range of Christmas themed patterns…

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Or make a start on gifts; I have something to suit everyone – from kids to co-workers!

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No coupon code is needed, discounts will be applied at the checkout! The more you buy, the more you save!

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

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Designer Interview | Irene Strange


It’s time for my first Designer Showcase of 2017! Even before I started creating my own patterns I was curious about the process of designing crochet patterns and in previous posts I’ve really enjoyed getting to know some other fabulous fibre artists!

Today I’m excited to be speaking to Irina aka Irene Strange.

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Irina is a bit of a amigurumi expert whose fabulous designs have featured in the popular Zoomigurumi books (1, 4, 5 and 6!) and in popular publications like Let’s Get Crafting: Knitting and Crochet, Inside Crochet and Crochet Now magazines.

Irina has a wonderful eye for amigurumi and creates wonderfully cute characters – I recently completed her little ‘Blossom Bunny’  for Little Miss and I’m seriously in love with her Clara The Unicorn pattern and her free Gracey the hippo ballerina

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It was great to get to speak to her and here’s what we chatted about…

Why are you called Irene Strange?

I used this name when signing up for my first email address all the way back in 2000,
my step-dad’s family name is Strange (what a cool name, right?) and Irene is an English version of Irina – we just moved to England and at the time it felt like a fresh start in a new millennium and a new land. I guess it just stuck! 

How did you first discover crocheting and amigurumi?

My grandmother taught me to knit and crochet when I was little, I picked it up again
when studying for my degree. I was writing a paper on how brands use mascots and characters and came across some crochet toys on Flickr. People kept referring to them as ‘amigurumi’ so naturally I had to find out more about that! I tried making my own, a funny little mouse, and discovered I really enjoyed crocheting toys – from then on I was hooked.

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How did you become a crocheting designer? Is it your real job?

To start with I released a few patterns on Etsy just to see what happens, then an editor from a crochet magazine approached me and asked to feature some of my work. Then another editor asked if I’d be interested in writing some patterns to which I said yes, of course! At the time there wasn’t as many amigurumi designers in UK, at least not on-line, so one commission followed another quite fast. For a good few years I was writing as a hobby alongside a day job. After having kids I wanted to focus on crochet more, so now I write patterns in between playing with Lego and watching cartoons.

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

It’s quite hard to pinpoint what inspires me most; I collect all sorts of objects, prints and photographs of animals or dolls – anything curious. I have to say seeing what other designers and artists share on Instagram across different crafts is also very inspiring, it is amazing how many creative people are out there.

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Tell us a bit about your design process…

When designing something for my pattern shop I might get an idea seemingly out of nowhere, which I will then sketch and mull over for days or even months. I will sketch the design many times, thinking about best way to make it. Then I make prototypes and sometimes get it right on first or second try.

Often a particular project will stay in my head for weeks, almost like an obsession – where I’ll keep coming back to it in-between different makes, trying something out and abandoning it, until I get it right.

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Many of your creations are animal themed amigurumis – are they your favourite things to make?

Oh yes, I adore all animals! Growing up in a big city not many people we knew had pets, so encounters with animals became very special. I love watching documentaries about the Earth, it’s simply amazing how many different creatures call it home!

Do you have a favourite creation that you’ve designed?

I’m still exploring different styles and ways to make an amigurumi, looking for a balance of an object that’s interesting to look at but not too complicated for others to make. I think Hopscotch Bunny is the closest to what I like making.   

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Do you have go to hooks and yarn?

I have a strong preference for natural fibres, especially alpaca and cotton. Cotton is so durable and versatile, but alpaca gives the make a much more natural and soft look. As for hooks, I always use Clover Soft Touch.

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

At the moment my daughter is very quick to claim anything I make, often even before it’s finished. The rest gets given away to friends and family. If a visitor likes a particular toy most of the time they take it home with them.

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

I’m a bit of a messy creative (just ask my husband!) so things end up scattered all over the house. We share a room as a studio where I have a wall of yarn to inspire me, and a desk for pattern writing and research. Curling up on a sofa with a cup of tea, a sketchbook and a film in the background is my favourite way to work.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I’m planning to make many more cute and unusual animals, but also some home accessories and decorations – there’s a book full of ideas just waiting to be made into new patterns.

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Tell us a bit about yourself – what do you do when you’re not crocheting?

When I’m not crocheting… I love going riding my bicycle, foraging around local woods for berries, visiting museums and fairs or just spending the day holed up out of the way somewhere reading a good book.

Finally finish the sentence … I love crochet because…

I can make anything that comes into my head with just a thread and hook – it’s a bit like magic!

I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Irina again for taking time out of her busy schedule 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. I hope you will pop along to her website and ravelry page to see all of her great designs!

 

Moroccan Window | Nuts About Squares CAL


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So we are now up to week 10 on the Nuts About Squares CAL and I’m delighted that my Moroccan Window block (originally designed for my 2015 CAL) has been featured alongside ‘Sweet and Fair‘ by the wonderfully talented designer Julie Yeager (I love her block designs!).

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Don’t worry if this is the first time you are hearing about the CAL you can find all the information about it HERE on the It’s All in A Nutshell website. 

Once again the very talented Esther has created an accompanying step-by-step video showing how to crochet my square. 

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And once again I’m in LOVE with how the block looks in different Earth, Sea and Sky colourways! Esther and her helpers have done such beautiful work…

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And the Moroccan Window block has now also been translated into Dutch too! The update for this translation is now available in my Ravelry store.

I hope those of you that are making the block for the first time enjoy this square as much as I enjoyed designing it.  If you are joining in with the CAL please share your squares on social media using #NutsAboutSquares and #kcacouk  #moroccanwindow too – can’t wait to see your projects.

Until next time! Keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Seahorse Duo


So I’ve just finished telling you that Issue 91 of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine is out now with TWO brand new patterns from me – it’s all very exciting! For my next design in the magazine we are heading off under the sea! What say we dive down and join my duo of friendly seahorse amigurumis…

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Why not plunge into the crochet pool and let your hook do the swimming with some vibrant summery yarns and simple stitches in this fun sea-worthy project!

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And do you want some really exciting news!! You can get the Seahorse Duo for FREE over on topcrochetpatterns.com or why not save him to your 💗 Favourites and Ravelry Queue here to hook up later.

There are loads of options of how you could use different colours to make your own little Poseidon’s steeds – I can’t wait to see what you come up with! I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my both my new designs, I’ve enjoyed sharing them with you!

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

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LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Tearrific Set


Issue 91 of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine is out now with TWO brand new patterns in it from me! I’m so excited about them both that I’m going to have to do TWO separate blog posts so I can tell you all about them…

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So let me tell you about my first design. Now I would class myself as quintessentially British when it comes to tea! I love the stuff! Never mind the English nation – I am probably well within the quota of consuming 32 billion cups a year just by myself. BUT you don’t have to be a fan of that particular hot beverage to enjoy my latest pattern! The Teariffic Teaset amigurumi is the perfect pattern for any cuppa lover – be it tea, coffee or hot chocolate! And with the release of the new Beauty and the Beast movie, where all of the household objects are ‘alive’, wouldn’t it just make the perfect pretend play toy for any movie loving little one.

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The set includes instructions for the teacup, separate saucer and movable spoon.

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I had such fun designing this little tea set and it’s definitely one of my favourite patterns I’ve worked on so far. And I love the colour combination of the Blue Ripple and Fresh Mint colours together from the poolside themed yarn pack in this issue.

If you are not familiar with LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine it’s readily available in major supermarkets and stores across the UK.  The magazine complete with six balls of yarn, a pair of needles and a hook so that you can get started straight away! Why not make yourself a cuppa and hook yourself up one at the same time.

Stay tuned for my next under water themed pattern release update coming NEXT!

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