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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Yarn Shop Day | 6 May 2017



Yarn-Shop-DayHave you heard about Yarn Shop Day? It’s an annual celebration supported by Let’s Knit and Let’s Get Crafting magazines which aims to celebrate Britain’s much-loved independent wool shops.  This year Yarn Shop Day took place today, on the 6th of May, in hundreds of yarn and haberdashery stores across the country. 

I don’t know how I’d missed that this day existed previously (!?!) but as soon as I learnt of it’s existence I thought I really should pay a visit to one of my local participating shops on the day.  I personally think it’s incredibly important to support any local businesses and shops – but I don’t need an excuse to visit a yarn shop… So anyway earlier today I headed off to The Little Shop of Crafts which is luckily just down the road from me.

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The Little Shop of Crafts is a lovely little shop which stocks a great range of yarns from Sirdar, James C. Brett and other Designer Yarns, it also has proper crochet cotton from Coats. As well as yarn they cater for cross-stitchers and have a range of haberdashery items and fabrics. 

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Today the shop celebrated Yarn Shop Day with a charity raffle, 10% off all yarn purchases and a crafternoon group session full of lovely ladies.  

Little G, who wanted to come with me to the shop, held court with the ladies telling them all about the birthday party she had been to (hence the streamers on her top)…and pretty much everything else that was happening in her life – which allowed me plenty of time to shop!

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The crafternooners were busy hooking up some of the special freebies which were designed especially for this years event. Debbie Bliss designed an exclusive (Knitalong) blanket pattern that was given away free, along with Rainbow the Unicorn (knit by Sachiyo Ishii) and Coral the Mermaid (crochet by Sarah Shrimpton) amigurumi patterns.

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Little G loved the ones that had already been made and was delighted to be given the opportunity to name them (and in case you were wondering she named the unicorn Sparkle and the mermaid Lorelai!)

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And the fantastic thing is that even if you missed Yarn Shop Day the patterns will be available throughout the year so if your local store doesn’t have them, you can get them from a different store later if you’re visiting another town or city.

And what did I buy…well I just had to get myself one of the new Sidar colourwheel yarn cakes (Shade 201: Colourama) because I drooled on it a bit, kidding, but it is most delicious isn’t it – and so squishy! I may have hugged it a bit on the way home…just need to decide on what to make with it.  I also got some other little bits and bobs I needed and the most amazing unicorn fabric which I’m hoping I can transform into a dress similar to the one I made Little G when she was younger (this one).

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Both Karen and Tracy, the proprietors of the shop were lovely and helpful and I want to say a HUGE thank you to all the crafternoon ladies who chatted to Little G – she had a great time. Unfortunately though she doesn’t quite understand that they are not going to be there every day – she’s already asked when she can go back and see everyone!

lyys_300x300Well we both thoroughly enjoyed our first Yarn Shop Day! I think it’s now going to be an annual event in my calendar. Craftiness always deserves to be celebrated so whether you love crochet or the two stick-ed thing Yarn Shop Day is a must for your diary.  So if you can next year please do go along and support your local yarn shop.

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

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Bavarian Beauty | Nuts About Squares CAL


You may remember me telling you about the Nuts About Squares CAL which started on 31 March.  Don’t worry though if you missed it there’s still plenty of time to catch up – the Information Post for the CAL can be found HERE

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I’m very excited to announce that my Bavarian Beauty Block is Part 6 of the CAL.  You may remember I designed this pattern for my 2015 CAL. I did add some photo tutorials to the pattern originally, to help make up the block, but Esther from It’s All in a Nutshell has now also created a fabulous instructional video (in US terms) to accompany the block. 

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Along with the video for my block you can find a playlist of all the video tutorials for the CAL as they are released HERE.

I’m just 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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I’m also very excited that I have now been translated into Dutch for the first time (Goedenavond alle Nederlandse haaksters!), 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  #bavarianbeauty too – can’t wait to see your projects.

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

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