A Very Woolly Weekend


It’s quite ridiculous how long it’s taken me to get this blog post written up! It’s been one of those posts that I half wrote, then got caught up with the launch of Dear Ewe, the Stitch Story CAL, my best friends wedding, Little Miss’s 2nd birthday, school holidays and unexpected hospital visits that I just didn’t get chance to finish. But today I sat down with the sole purpose of finishing this post as I really do want to tell you all about the very woolly weekend I had in the middle of May.  This is a bit of a mammoth post so may go grab yourself a cuppa and then I’ll tell you all about it.

Yarn Shop Day 2018

It all started off with Yarn Shop Day on the 12 May – have you heard about Yarn Shop Day? It’s an annual celebration, facilitated by Let’s Knit and Let’s Get Crafting magazines, which aims to honour Britain’s much-loved independent wool shops.  I personally think it’s incredibly important to support any small or local businesses, especially since becoming a small business owner myself,  but anyway who am I kidding, I don’t need an excuse to visit a yarn shop!

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You may remember that this year’s Yarn Shop day was also a bit special for me as I’d been asked to design the crochet mascot, Milo the Cat specifically for the day. Along with particularly produced knitted and crocheted blanket patterns, Milo and Dixie, the (knitted) Llama, mascot patterns were exclusively available in all participating stores. 

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This year Yarn Shop Day took place in hundreds of yarn and haberdashery stores across the country and I headed off to Abakhan in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent – which is luckily just a short bus ride away from me. 

Abakhan are a group of stores in the Midlands which stock a great range of yarns like Sirdar, King Cole, Stylecraft, James C. Brett, Wendy and Rico and they have also now  started stocking some American yarns like Caron.

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The Hanley store is pretty big and has a large range of fabrics, haberdashery items and craft items for pretty much every hobby you can think of. I love it in there, I always find some goodies of some variety or other and more often than not I end up in there on a trip to town.

I’d made a brand new Milo to take with me and we arrived just as the day started. In store there were lots of festivities including prizes for purchases made and there were store discounts on all yarn and accessories at different times throughout the day and there was also cake. Cake and yarn….what a winning combination!

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Milo felt quite famous…though we won’t talk about the fact that his nose got a bit wonky on the bus trip and I didn’t notice until after I’d taken all the photos…it doesn’t annoy me…much!

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The lovely Kim, from Abakhan, was busy giving demonstrations of crocheting Milo (complete with a straight nose) at the front of store so I spent sometime with her and the customers that came to talk about crochet. It was very exciting to see them picking up there free copy of the Milo pattern and I know I was tagged in some people’s Milo makes (see more below).   

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It was wonderful to be in the middle of the crafting community and meet people with shared passions – and I got to learn something new! We got chatting to too lovely ladies who were double filet crochet enthusiasts. Double Filet crochet is two inter woven layers of filet or net crochet in contrasting colours. It’s not something I’d heard of before but Wendy (far left below) was kind enough to give me a demonstration and even let me keep the little sample she made and it’s something I’m definitely going to investigate further! Never show a designer something new right!

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In the afternoon I spent sometime with Debbie who showed me her fabulous Tina Turner-esque creation – that hair is everything isn’t it! 

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And then Debbie got children of shoppers involved in making Pom Pom monsters – I love the fact there were crafts for the kids! Milo had fun making friends with the monsters too – AND I managed to straighten up his nose for his group photo!

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And then it was time for me to go! And what did I buy…well it’s pretty unusual for me not to enter a craft store and not buy anything…and of course I couldn’t make this the exception! I got a cute fabric bundle, I don’t sew but I do line crochet purses and bags with fabric so it’s good to have some in. I also got a extra long tape measure and picked up some cute Ricorumi mini’s which I wanted to try – and yes I also bought a giant peg. I had no specific use for the peg I just fell in love with it!

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And I just need to share some of the photos of some of the wonderful Milo makes I’ve seen – if you made a Milo please do share a photo as I’d love to see.

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Yarn Shop Day tends to be celebrated either the first or second week in May so keep a look out for the dates for next year. Just one final note about Yarn Shop Day – I just want to say a HUGE thank you to all the Abakhan staff, they made me feel very welcome and looked after me well whilst I was there.

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Then on the Sunday the 13th of May the whole family went along to Wool@J13, a yarn show set on Lower Drayton farm, in the midlands.  We went for the first time last year and had a great day so I’d already planned for the family to go along again this year.

It’s was an absolutely glorious day – blue skies and sunshine and, with things happening inside and outside, it was just the perfect setting for a yarn festival!

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This year there were a lot more vendors than last year so there were plenty of stalls to wander around. You can just see my two girls below walking hand in hand totally at ease with the yarn show vibes – such cuties!

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Little G had a go at Satori weaving with a lovely lady from SAORIMor, Wales who was incredibly patient and kind to her. Satori weaving is a japanese freestyle approach to hand-weaving which is supposed to encourage people to express themselves intuitively. Little G got really into it! And now wants to visit the studio in Bangor sometime.

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And it was really nice to see some friendly faces! Wulla Yarn were there with there fabulous mega yarn. You may remember I teamed up with Kaz (on the left below) to create the free Wulla Wreath pattern so it was lovely to catch up with her. I also treated myself to one of Kaz’s fabulous 15mm string theory jumbo hook (in neon blue) as I’d been eyeing them up for awhile!

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I’m also completely in love with her new fades range but I really want to have worked out the perfect project to use it on before I get some of that – so I didn’t get any on this occasion (but it’s on my list!).

I also saw Fay from Knit it, Hook it, Craft it. I met Fay for the first time when I went to the Nottingham Yarn Expo last year and she was so fun to talk to. She  was actually the first person to introduce me to the idea of creative podcasts – something I’d not heard of before. Fay does a monthly podcast, The Crochet Circle Podcast, which is available as audio and on Youtube and it was from listening to her, and her suggestions for other podcasters, that I now have a list that I listen to regularly. I find them great to listen to particularly when I’m typing up patterns!

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I also got to meet Lynne Rowe, from The Wool Nest, for the first time. It was great to finally meet her, not only do I have several of her crochet books on my own bookshelves, but we’ve worked together, so to speak, for Let’s Get Crafting magazine and we’d talked a bit through comments on Instagram.  She was just about to run a workshop for the Crochet Sanctuary (I’m running a workshop in September) so we were chatting a lot about that and just other general crochet things – it so nice to talk to people that share your passion!

I also very much enjoyed talking to Lee aka The Crochet Man who is such a lovely guy. I’d seen him through a feature in Simply Crochet (Issue 70) – so it was great to meet him in person.  

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He’s not been crocheting for that long but he’s designed a fabulous range of amigurumi patterns that you should really check out! I adore his rainbow sheep!

I was that busy chatting to people that I didn’t actually have much time for buying but I did pick up a few goodies. I fell in LOVE with this colourway from Manchester Tart which is a silky baby DK, 70% baby alpaca and 30% mulberry silk. It’s sooooo soft and I’ve got 200 grams of it…I don’t have a plan for it as yet but I just HAD to have it!

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Besides that I  bought myself a couple of mini skeins, some hooks from Black Sheep Wools (who I also enjoyed chatting too) and my hook from Wulla yarn. A conservative (for me) but fabulous set of purchases I think you’ll agree!

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We had such a great day out and I can see us going again next year. I really love the fact it’s like a mini festival, it’s got quite a laid back vibe about it and it’s a very family friendly show. 

Well I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my very woolly weekend as much as I enjoyed attending Yarn Shop Day and Wool@Jct13. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Yarn Shop Day, did you do anything? Or what about yarn shows, been to any good one’s lately?

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

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Tahiti Sunset Skinny Scarf | FREE Crochet Pattern


So today’s post links onto my last post which was a yarn review of Patons Tahiti Yarn (which you can read about here). As promised I’ve got a brand new pattern for you, just perfect for the sunny weather. 

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You might not think a scarf to be your typical summer accessory but my new Tahiti Sunset Skinny Scarf, made in lightweight breathable cotton yarn, is one of the most versatile accessories that you can add to your wardrobe this year.

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The perfect length for a carefree look; wrapped around your neck with the loose ends hanging down in front. Or why not tie it in a bow and combine with blouses or dresses – so many options for both formal and informal occasions. The Tahiti skinny scarf provides a unique way to enhance the look of a simple outfit and add effortless style to pretty much anything you wear!

Add the Tahiti Sunset Skinny Scarf to your 💗 Favourites and Ravelry Queue where you can also get an no-ad PDF version of just the pattern for only £1.00 / $1.25 or for a print friendly of this page please scroll to the bottom of this post and click on the Print & PDF button. 

Tahiti Sunset Skinny Scarf:

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Yarn:  3ply / Light Fingering Yarn

  • 50g / 280m / 306yds

Hook: 2 mm / US size B-1

Size: 183cm long x 5cm wide / 72” long x 2” wide

Gauge: 

Establishing the correct gauge is not critical to this pattern. Pattern will work in other yarns though gauge/size will be different.

Abbreviations: 

  • st(s) = stitch(es)
  • sp = space
  • sl st = slip stitch
  • ch(s) = chain  
  • dc/sc= UK double crochet / US single crochet
  • tr/dc = UK treble / US double crochet

See stitch guidance below for following abbreviation clarification:

  • 2-1-2-tr/dc shell
  • V-Stitch

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.
  • UK Treble / US Double Crochet (tr/dc): Yarn over, insert hook in next st and pull up a loop (three loops on hook), yarn over, pull through two loops, yarn over, pull through remaining two loops on hook.
  • 2-1-2-tr/dc shell: Work 2 tr/dc, 1ch, 2 tr/dc in indicated st or ch sp.
  • V-Stitch: Work tr/dc, 2ch, tr/dc in indicated st or ch sp.

Pattern:

Row 1: Ch 15, V-stitch in 4th ch from hook *miss next 2sts, 2-1-2-tr/dc shell in next st, miss next 2sts, * V-stitch in next st, repeat * to * once, tr/dc in the last st, turn (14sts + 2 x 2ch sps and 2 x 1ch sps)

Row 2: Ch 3, *V-stitch in next ch sp, 2-1-2-tr/dc shell the next ch sp,* repeat * to * once, tr/dc in the last st, turn

Row 3: Ch 3, *2-1-2-tr/dc shell the next ch sp, V-stitch in next ch sp, * repeat * to * once, tr/dc in the last st, turn

Rows 4—205: Repeat rows 2-3 for the pattern, do not fasten off but move to edging.

Edging:

  • Sl st into the nearest corner, work [dc/sc, 3ch, dc/sc, 3ch, dc/sc, 3ch, dc/sc] into the same corner area and in each corner sp.
  • Then work evenly along the length (in each ch3 and tr/dc) work dc/sc, 3ch.
  • Along each width you will work dc/sc, 3ch in each 2ch sp.

And that’s it!

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Make sure you share your finished projects on your favourite social media sites: RavelryLoveCrochet.comFacebook page or Facebook groupTwitter,  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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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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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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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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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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