This time a month ago I was very happy that I had 2 designs feature in 2 different magazines – I blogged about it here.

It felt wonderful!  And I really didn’t think it could get better, but it has!  My latest design for Inside Crochet (issue 69) has made the front cover.   This is Autumn Beaches, a motif scarf that uses just one skein of Yarns from the Plains’ Mobberley DK.

Photo courtesy of Nic, Yarns from the Plain

Photo courtesy of Nic, Yarns from the Plain

It is called Autumn Beaches because the colours of the yarn reminded me the shades in the ripples of sand created by the tide going out.  It is reminiscent of childhood holidays, playing on the beach (British beaches because we never went abroad for holidays).

However, this colour is called Malted Chocolate and I love chocolate so couldn’t resist!  When I saw the yarn originally it wasn’t the colour name that attracted me, it was the yarn base name – Mobberley.  Why? Because I live in Mobberley!    Nic who owns Yarns from the Plain lives not far from me in Cheshire and all her yarn bases have names of local villages and towns, and when I saw Mobberley I just had to have a skein (mmmmm……maybe I bought more than one!).  And when I touched the yarn it was so soft, it is made of 70% Exmoor blueface/30% British Alpaca and is entirely British.   So British yarn, dyed in Cheshire, using Cheshire names and reminiscent of British beaches – it all fitted together well for me.

The design of the motif is one I swatched last year, ok I say ‘swatched’ when what I mean is ‘doodled’ because that’s what I do with a hook and yarn in my hand, I make crochet doodles.   Originally I was thinking of making a small pincushion and the design was my first attempt at a crochet cover for it……..but it never made it to a pincushion.  You see I doodled it in DK, and I loved the look of it in DK, so I set it aside and waited until the right yarn came along.

And it did….and it was perfect.  So that’s how Autumn Beaches was created.  Whilst it is beautiful in the Malted Chocolate colourway, I think Nic has some fabulous colours in Mobberley DK and I would love to see the design in some of these – I love Libby and Sweeties, and my favourite is Bewitched.  What colour would you choose?

Happy crocheting xx

I’ve just published the full and final pattern for the anniversary CAL.  So here’s the reveal:

Anniversary mandala cushion

Anniversary mandala cushion

As you can see, the front and back of the cushions I made are different, as I like a little variety.  Of course, if you make a cushion you could make the front and back the same…….but which would you choose?

The full pattern is now on Ravelry, Lovecrochet, Etsy and Craftsy and is now full price.   But there’s still time to join in the CAL on the Ravelry forum :-)

Happy crocheting xx

 

 

The last few posts on this blog have been about the Anniversary CAL, but I have been doing a lot more than just finalising the pattern for the CAL.  Patterns are generally written well ahead of publication, then tested and refined – the publication hasn’t taken much of my time at all.

So today I will share a round-up of activity from the last few weeks.

First I was happy to have 2 designs published in different magazines both of which were released on the same day!  What a very happy co-incidence!   Again these were prepared and written months ago, but the excitement of receiving the magazines and seeing the designs in print (and beautifully styled) is immense.  And, of course, I give myself plenty of time to read the magazines over a cup or 2 of coffee!

The first item is the Lariat Belt I designed for Inside Crochet, issue 68. 

Lariat Belt

Lariat Belt

This one is a flexible design – it can be a skinny scarf, a lariat necklace or a belt – the perfect item to pack for holiday.   It is made in some of my favourite yarn, WillowKnits handdyed worsted silk, and it is relatively quick to make, so even if you are off on holiday next week I am sure you can make this in time.

The second design is a retro Boho Top for Mollie Makes, issue 56.

Boho Top

Boho Top

I had such fun making this!  It comes in 2 sizes and I designed it so it is made in one piece and requires very little sewing up.  I know that finishing a crocheted or knitted garment is generally one of the most disliked tasks, and I know of many pieces that languish in cupboards and drawers awaiting sewing up.   For the boho top the motifs are joined as you go and the bodice is made upwards from the motif section, the edging is incorporated into the bodice as you make it and there are probably less than a dozen sewing stitches required to  join the shoulders.    So once you finish hooking it takes minutes to finish the garment!

You may recall I mentioned a while ago that I treated myself on the spur of the moment to a set of Hamanaka crochet hooks from Janie Crow.   I had my eye on these for a while, they looked small and neat, and being double ended meant that I could carry a large range of hooks in a small bag.  They haven’t disappointed me at all.   I haven’t used anything else since I bought them!

I bought a set of 5 regular sizes, a set of 3 small sizes and a small case for them.   The hooks are lovely to handle and, for my small hands, a perfect size.   I added a small pair of scissors, some tapestry needles and stitch markers to the front pocket in the case and I now have a perfect little crochet kit.

Hamanaka - heaven in a hook!

Hamanaka – heaven in a hook!

I have been working on a simple granny square cushion in lovely handdyed 4 ply silk, and you can tell from this photo that I have used the hook a lot (evidenced by the dye accumulating on the handle near the hook shank – don’t worry, I know from experience that this will wash off easily).

Another thing I like about these hooks is that the 3mm and 4mm sizes are on the same hook, and these are the sizes I use the most – so if I want to travel light with crochet, that is the only hook I need carry.

I’ve also been indulging in some more mandala designing, this is a special mandala which is just in the pattern writing stage:

The special

The special

And I have been making some ‘mini bunting’ from a pattern by Emma Lamb published in Mollie Makes Crochet, another great selection of crochet patterns.  This now adorns the headboard of the spare bed.  Previously my Anniversary Crochet Flower mini bunting adorned the bedhead but I felt it was in need of a refresh and a narrower colour palette – 2 of Emma’s flowers from the book were perfect for this.

Mini flower bunting

Mini flower bunting

So what has been keeping you busy this last month?

Happy crocheting xx

Today part 2 of the Anniversary CAL is published.   You can find it on Ravelry and LoveCrochet.

Part 2 has a new motif – a large one!   And it is included in this mini cushion I made:

DSC00890

As you can see the 2 motifs work together well, I designed the sizes so that they did!  Part 2 of the pattern includes a suggested layout if you’d like to make a blanket or throw with just these 2 styles of motif, but there are plenty of other options available – just use your imagination (and maybe a little maths!).

If you haven’t already joined in the CAL, please do – I love seeing what everyone makes with the motifs.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

I have just pressed the publish button on Ravelry and the 3rd Anniversary CAL is launched!

The pattern is now available at a discount for a week – part 1 is included now, parts 2 and 3 will follow.    You can find it on Ravelry and on LoveCrochet.

As usual this ia a scary moment for me – will you like the design?   Will anyone want to join in the CAL?  These and other questions are flooding my mind!

To tempt you here’s a sneaky peek at part 1:

Part 1 in progress

Part 1 in progress

Please do join in the CAL on the Agrarian Artisan Designs’ forum on Ravelry – you can chat about progress, ask questions and generally have great fun.   And post finished projects on the thread to be eligible for the prize draw.

As well as all the excitement of the CAL I’ve had another couple of designs published – Lariat Belt in Inside Crochet and Boho Top in Mollie Makes – what a week!!? I’ll post more on these in another blog post, meanwhile……

Happy crocheting xxx

 

I am pleased to announce details of the Anniversary CAL 2015.

It is motif based and mandala inspired – so definitely colourful!

MCAL tiny peek

MCAL tiny peek

The pattern will be released in 3 parts and will be available on Ravelry and on LoveCrochet/LoveKnitting.  Part 1 will be published on 31st July and parts 2 and 3 follow at weekly intervals.

The motifs can be used together in just about any project using whatever yarn you like (stashing busting is very appropriate!).  I am making a cushion with mine, but I would love to see other uses – a blanket, a scarf or whatever you like.   As it is mandala inspired you may even like to make a set of mandalas!

The pattern costs £3.  However, on publication on 31st July I will release a coupon code for those purchasing on Ravelry – the first 10 people using the coupon code will be able to get the pattern free.   Once those coupon codes are used up the pattern will be automatically discounted on Ravelry by £2 for the first week and £1 for the second week.  These discounts will also apply on LoveCrochet/LoveKnitting, which will be handy for those of you purchasing yarn.

There will be a prize draw at the end of September, all finished projects published on the FO thread on Ravelry will be eligible for the prize draw – whatever the FO is!    Multiple entries will be allowed.  Prizes TBA in due course.

If you want to make a cushion then this is the yarn I used (but this isn’t compulsory!):
Drops Alpaca, 100% alpaca, 50g/164m/182yds per ball.  1 ball each of:
Goldenrod (2923), Red (3620), Orange (2915), Lime (7300) and Off White (Main colour) (0100)
3.0mm (US D/3) crochet hook
My cushion had a different front and back, if you want to have them the same you may need 2 balls of the Main Colour.

Any questions?  Join my Ravelry group and ask questions here: Agrarian Artisan 

Happy crocheting xx

I’ve been a little quiet on this blog for a while.  That’s because I’m working hard in the background on my annual MCAL (mystery crochet-a-long).  This is planned to launch on 1st August, and the pattern instalments will be available on Ravelry and LoveCrochet.  It is mandala-themed and quite colourful.   More information coming soon………. meanwhile a tiny little peek (as tiny as I can make it!):

MCAL tiny peek

MCAL tiny peek

Happy crocheting xxx

Do you suffer from spontaneous projects?   You know the sort – you have plenty of projects to finish but an idea erupts in your head and you have to run with it and start a spontaneous project.

That happened to me this week, but it was worse than just a spontaneous project.  You see I tidied my stash cupboard, and I had a bag full of yarn to give away.  First stop was knitgroup on Tuesday, and some yarn was gratefully received but there was plenty left.  Second stop was knitgroup on Friday, more yarn was gratefully received and there was still some left.  The next stop should be the charity shop.   But before I go further I should add that my knitgroup are very charitable and anyone receiving yarn from a de-stash pops a donation into the ‘charity purse’, when the purse reaches £50 that money is donated to a charity chosen by one of the knitgroup.  So every stop along the de-stash route is charitable.

Except I didn’t plan to go to the charity shop until next week and on Friday I just looked at the remaining de-stash and well…..the spontaneous project erupted!   It was all because I’d been inspired by a rucksack I’d seen in a magazine, it was made using the V stitch.  I didn’t want a rucksack but I just loved the idea of a V stitch in a bag.   So I used some of my de-stash; a couple of skeins of Rowan Creative Linen became this:

Dolly Drawstring Bag

Dolly Drawstring Bag

I feel a bit guilty, because the remaining de-stash was destined for the charity shop and I’ve probably deprived them of some much needed funds.   So even though it was my yarn, I ended up popping some money in the charity purse!

I’m not writing up the pattern, but it is pretty straightforward – just make a base the size and shape you like and make the sides using V stitch, finish the top any way you like (I made a few rows of dc and added handles by making some slits in the dc section and threading the handles through like a drawstring or dolly bag).

What sort of spontaneous projects have you done recently?

Happy crocheting xx

I’ve just been shopping, I don’t normally go on a Saturday as I can go any day of the week and prefer to avoid the crowds.  But today I had to go because I was desperate to buy a copy of the latest Mollie Makes, issue number 55.  I should have received a contributor copy but it hasn’t arrived yet and I just wanted to see it to check  it was absolutely true that one of my designs is in it!   And it is:

Contents

Contents

I have worked as the crochet tech editor for Mollie Makes for a few years now, and it’s a great magazine to work for, not least because all the people I work with there are truly lovely.  However, I have never submitted any designs before; you see I don’t submit designs to any magazine often as I like to work at my own pace and don’t want the stress of deadlines.   In this instance I was partway through making the cowl and just sent a photo of it to the Deputy Editor (yes, partially made with lots of loose ends – in fact the photo didn’t look at all good!).   So I was very happily surprised to find they wanted it!

Pastel Cowl

Pastel Cowl

Having the evidence of the publication before my eyes, I settled down to a cuppa and enjoyed reading it.  I can’t help lingering over my design though – the photography and layout is wonderful, they have done me proud.  The cowl was a dream to make, because the motif is straightforward, quick to learn and easy to join….and the yarn I used was Drops Baby Alpaca Silk which is sooooo soft (and great value for luxury fibres at less than £4 per ball).

I would love to see any cowls made to this design, so if you are tempted to make one please do share a photo with me.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

As you know, I have a new addiction to mandalas.   And I may have mentioned that I am a constant crochet ‘doodler’, never far from my hook and yarn and playing with all sorts of designs all the time.   I have found that mandalas and doodling go very well together and this weekend I ‘doodled’ a new design.

Latest doodle

Latest doodle

It needs more work because it doesn’t fulfil all I need from a mandala.  So the next stage in the design process is to write the pattern as I made it, but adjusting where I think it needs improving.  And then I will make another one – using only the pattern.  A few people will be invited to test the pattern.   Eventually it will become a full fledged design and the pattern will become available.   For now it is just one of my latest favourite ‘doodles’.

Happy crocheting xx

 

 

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