LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Lucky the Loveable Lamb


Issue 89 of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine is out now and I am thrilled to share that my Lucky the Loveable Lamb amigurumi is not only inside the latest issue – it’s on the cover! Designed with the Daisy colour pack Lucky just loves to gamble and play in the March sunshine.

lucky-cover-star

I’ve also designed, in the lovely springtime shades, the final four square patterns for LGC’s granny square series.

squares-lgc

Oh my goodness I was so excited that Lucky was going to be the cover star for this months edition and I just adore the styling the magazine did for my little lamb – have you seen those broccoli trees!! 

lucky

Sometimes a design just flows off your hook and that was the case with Lucky – I had such fun designing her!

If you are not familiar with LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine it comes as an exclusive pack containing six balls of yarn, a pair of needles and a hook so that you can get started straight away. Aimed at both beginners and experienced crafters, each issue is packed with projects, tips, inspiration and shopping guides, plus all the latest news.

This month’s features:

  • Six Daisy Yarns
  • 3mm hook and bamboo needles
  • 31 exclusive patterns 
  • Plus…your 68 page magazine

LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine can be found in major supermarkets and stores across the UK. So pop down the shop and get your copy now or you can find out about more about the magazine over on their website here.

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

Wordpress-Signature.jpg

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!).

05

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…

06

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!

04

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.

3_kolory_large

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… 

03text

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

Wordpress-Signature.jpg

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.

LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Colourful Koalas


Oooh guess what folks! I’m thrilled to tell you that for 2017 I have been working on some designs for the lovely people at LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine.  Issue 88 is out today and those little koala’s on the front cover…well that’s a little pattern by yours truly! So exciting!

latest-issue

Let’s Get Crafting Knitting & Crochet magazine can be found in major supermarkets and stores across the UK…and of course I had to take the family on an outing just to have a little peep at them – it’s not everyday you feature on the cover of a magazine!

16216322_786200841531118_1664286831_n

I may have squealed just a little bit seeing the magazines all in a row!

I had such fun designing these little guys! I thoroughly enjoyed creating something fun and bright and not in standard ‘koala’ colours. 

lgc88

The magazine comes with an exclusive pack containing six balls of yarn, a pair of needles and a hook so that you can get started straight away. Aimed at both beginners and experienced crafters, each issue is packed with projects, tips, inspiration and shopping guides, plus all the latest news.

This month’s features:

  • Six Orchid yarns
  • 4mm hook & bamboo needles
  • 32 exclusive patterns including Mummy and baby koala, some knit colour-block mittens, a retro camper-van and more!
  • All in a fab 68 page magazine

So pop down the shop and get your copy now or you can find out about more about the magazine over on their website here.

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

Wordpress-Signature.jpg

Designer Interview | Kerry Lord from TOFT / Edward’s Menagerie


I’m thrilled about my next designer interview because I actually had the pleasure of meeting her in person!!  Kerry Lord is the author of the extremely popular Edward’s Menagerie series which feature her designs of extremely cute animals, Birds and, in her new book: Imaginarium, all sorts of fabulous creatures.  She is also a busy working mum and the founder of British luxury yarn brand TOFT which specialises in alpaca yarn.

KERRY LORD+text

Recently I attended TOFTfest, which celebrated the 10th birthday of TOFT yarn (which I blogged about here), where I met Kerry and I thought I would see if she would kindly let me find out more about her designing process – to my delight she said YES!  Here’s what we chatted about…

How did you first discover crocheting and amigurumi?

When very pregnant with my first child Edward I decided to teach myself to crochet in order to distract me from going back to work. As soon as I had mastered the double crochet stitch an elephant flew off my hook and into existence. I think the Edward’s Menagerie shape had been living in my head for a while but my knitting skills didn’t allow me to achieve them.

Elephant+Text.jpg

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

My real job is running the company TOFT and everything that this involves. Designing crochet animals and clothing patterns is part of this role, but by no means all – I have to source and design the yarns first!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get lots of my inspiration from feedback, both from my family, colleagues and customers.

Tell us a bit about your design process…

I usually just pick up my yarn and start making when designing amigurumi. If designing something to wear it’s a far longer process as I sketch and swatch first before doing calculations to work out the pattern.

DSC_1644+Text.jpg

Many of your animals, birds and creatures have names (like Georgina the Hippo), how do you come up with them? Do you get people requesting names?

Some of them are people I know, whereas others are truly fictional characters. This is the most fun part of my job!

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

I am very fond of Blake from Edward’s Menagerie, but Kerry the Chameleon from our recent hand-dyed project makes me feel very proud.

Cameleon+text.jpg

Do you have go to hooks and yarn? I’m guessing TOFT yarn is your favourite; but can you pick a favourite TOFT yarn?

I am lucky enough to design my own yarns and hooks, so of course I choose our own ones. My favourite TOFT yarn to make things for myself to wear is our DK Silver.

dsc_2836text

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

The studio!! Most of my crochet goes on display, but every now and again I find the time to make something for my children.

DSC_2758+Text.jpg

Now we’ve had animals, birds and imaginary characters can you tell us what might be next for Edward’s Menagerie?

I can’t let that secret slip just yet, but book four is well underway!

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

I do have my own room of yarny chaos (and lots of cacti), but more often than that I’ll work from the sofa.

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

When not at work or crocheting I am having fun with my family. We enjoy muddy walks around the farm and plenty of messy crafts.

img_2911text

Finally finish the sentence … I love crochet because…

It makes other people very happy.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Kerry 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.

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

Wordpress-Signature.jpg

 

TOFTfest 2016


So flicking through my latest copy of Inside Crochet magazine I saw that yarn company TOFT were celebrating their 10th Birthday and to mark the occasion they were to host TOFTfest.  The day was billed as fun for all the family and as they are based in Warwickshire, which is a couple of hours away from me in Staffordshire, I thought I’d take the KCACO.UK clan along to find out about all things TOFT.

08

I’ve got a golden ticket! (Okay peachy coloured ticket…)

If you haven’t heard of TOFT yarn before they manufacture high quality alpaca and wool yarn and knitwear here in the UK from British sourced luxury fibres.  And even if you aren’t familiar with TOFT yarn as a crocheter you may very well recognise the name of the founder of TOFT, Kerry Lord, who designs (almost other things) the fabulously cute amigurumi book series Edward’s Menagerie.

edwards_menagerie_crochet_animals

So back to TOFTfest…There were alpaca themed craft activities for adults and children, a NEW book launch and talk by Kerry Lord and alpaca walking for those that fancied it (which Little G certainly did!). Unfortunately my camera broke on holiday (sad times) so the only photos my husband and I were able to get were on our phones so not of the best quality…

We were really lucky with the weather on the day we went, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the alpacas were doing alpaca type things and looking cute and everyone seemed to be in a good mood (that’s the British weather for you!).

03.jpg

TOFT Alpaca Farm, Warwickshire

I just loved the TOFT farm studio.  It’s pretty much a heavenly place filled with yarn and little amigurumi hanging from the ceiling…

05

Blake the Orangutan says hello!

I say little amigurumi; one of the most amazing items we saw was a gianormous flamingo (called Sophia) which is used as a show piece. In her talk Kerry explained that Sophia had been completed in only 72 hours (by several crocheters) and that they were literally sewing up the head before their stall opened – just an amazing piece of work. Below you can see Little G, for scale, sorting out Sophia’s feet which had been scrunched up and she thought she should put them right again! 

01.jpg

Sophia the Great getting a pedicure by Little G

My highlights of the day were listening to the talk from Kerry about her new book..

04

Avid listeners! I’m somewhere in the middle…

and having the pleasure of meeting her where she was lovely enough to sign a copy of her new book. 

06

The lovely Kerry kindly signing her (my) new book for me.

The alpaca walking was definitely a highlight of the day for Little G.  She made friends with Tornado.  Alpaca’s always look as though they are smiling to me they are just so cute and fluffy! 

02

Little G and the most fluffily cute Tornado

I obviously couldn’t leave TOFT without buying some goodies – that would have just been rude!  

07

Oooo look at all my lovely goodies!!

My lovely husband treated me to some of TOFT’s pure wool range which is scrumptiously lush. For those that like the look of this yarn it’s definitely a luxury item; perfect for a special gift for someone (or you!).  With it being wool yarn, rather than say acrylic, it’s not cheap but it is so nice for crochet as it has great stitch definition.

The wool yarn comes in 17 different colours, 10 naturals and 7 colours.  I chose the coloured palette initially (though I have purchased more hues since!) as I have decided I want to make a special amigurumi each for my girls for Christmas.

eds_birds_colour_bundle

DK Colour Bundle from TOFT Alpaca Shop

Little G loves parrots so Jack the Macaw from Edwards Menagerie: Birds will be project 1, and I think I’m going to make Georgina the Hippo for Little Miss as project 2 (as I already have the Edwards Menagerie book) – but more on that once I’ve hooked them up.  

09

Seriously how cute is Georgina the Hippo!!

Plus I need to have a go at making up something from the Imaginarium…always so much to crochet and so little time!

We all had a great day out at TOFT and as you can probably tell I can’t wait to have a go at making up some of the menagerie – in fact I may go and start something now!

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

Wordpress-Signature.jpg

Pattern Test – Sakura Kokeshi Doll by Knotted Notions


You know me, I do love to test for other people as I am always so grateful that people take time out of their busy lives to test for me!  My patterns would not exist if it wasn’t thanks to the many very talented ladies over the years that have helped worked through my scribbles. 

However it’s been a while since I had any free time to test a pattern for someone but when I saw a call out for testers for this little Sakura Kokeshi Doll by Knotted Notions I fell in love so I offered to test it for her.  

I love the fact that the Kokeshi doll represents good fortune and who doesn’t need a bit of that in their lives! 

01+Logo

At the same time I decided to do the test the orchid in my bathroom came into flower and so already in a Japanese frame of mind and inspired by how beautiful it was I decided to pick up similar yarn shades for my doll.  My little Kokeshi doll stands at just over 8 inches high and is super cute; I love how she has turned out!

02+Logo

The Sakura Kokeshi Doll pattern is written in American Crochet Terminology and is now available in Amber’s Ravelry store for about £1.99 ($3.00 USD): http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sakura-kokeshi-doll 

April in a Nutshell (2015)


So we took Spring cleaning to the MAX this month by deciding to decorate the whole house!  It meant that I pretty much couldn’t find anything for the majority of April as things were packed and moved into other rooms and we changed furniture around.  I seriously cannot believe how much STUFF we have accumulated over the years! DSC02673 I found 5 pairs of glasses of old prescriptions whilst cleaning!  Why I still have them all who knows but I have now donated them to Vision Aid Overseas, I also recycled some old mobile phones to Oxfam.  With all the decorating I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to go through and sort out drawers, wardrobes everything really before putting it back – that took infinitely longer than anticipated but at least we are now not only clean but we are also rather organised.  How long it will all last is another story!  We donated so much paraphernalia  to the MacMillan Cancer Support Charity shop down the road it was unreal.  But it was all good gear just that we no longer needed and I’d rather not throw anything away if it’s still useful. I’m rather ashamed that this stuff has been sitting around gathering dust in drawers for years – I should have done this ages ago!  It’s really a very cathartic exercise having a really good clear out!

DSC03660

I have to say though sorting out my stash was a part I enjoyed!  All safe and sound in my spare room we set up some shelves and cleared some space for my yarn babies. This bookshelf is pretty much filled with Sidar and Stylecraft double knit as that’s what I tend to work with the most and I had some of my special yarns (many different brands) on the second to top shelf, it’s really great to be able to see what I’ve got quickly.  All the rest of my stash is now in 5 x 7 litre tubs!  Is it strange that I love just looking at the shelves?

I knew I had a lot of yarn but I’ve never had it all in one place really until now.  My plan is to start using up some of the stash but it always happens that you will need a colour / weight of yarn you don’t have!  And its super hard when you get your hands on one of these…my new Stylecraft shade card – squeal! I LOVE IT!!!   I wish all brands did this, it would be sooooo helpful!

DSC03659

We also enjoyed an early Easter didn’t we in April and for once the weather, particularly on Bank Holiday Monday, was really lovely. As we were decorating we did our Easter in one day on the Monday, an egg hunt in the morning followed by a trip out in the afternoon to a local wildlife park then tea out at a carvery!  Little G loved the adventure playground the best; it really was just lovely to be outside without coats on for a change!

DSC02807

Crochetwise I have been very busily hooking away this month; I released into the world my new beaded make-up bag pattern exclusively available in Happily Hooked Magazine which I blogged about here, my Spring Grace Ponchette which I blogged about here and another free pattern for the Doodle Zoo gang; Finlay Frog which I blogged about here. I have also been hooking up Block 7Block 8 and Block 9 this month for the CAL. The UK weather remained obliging and I had a great photo shoot with the first 8 blocks – I’m thinking I need to add a bit more green though as it’s perhaps the colour I have used least.

01+Logo

I also did a pattern test for a cute little amigumuri which I’ll blog about soon!  Finally I finished up my Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds square for the Deramores Blog competition which I blogged about herephew!

Nothing like keeping busy!  

https://keepcalmandcrochetonuk.wordpress.com/