I have finished my first project using the Meadow Farm Wool project yarn.  It is a cushion:

Meadow farm cushion

Meadow farm cushion

I wanted to use both colours of yarn in the cushion but the cream was dk and the brown was 4ply, not easy to use in the same project.  So I improvised – as you can see the front is in cream DK and I joined 9 of the Meadow Farm motifs together, all made using a 4mm hook.  For the back I used a 3mm hook and the brown yarn  – I started with a Meadow Farm motif and then continued it as one large granny square.  Then I joined back to front and added a shell edging in cream, finally a row of shell buttons (bought at a The Harold Porter Botanical Gardens enroute to Hermanus in South Africa almost 5 years ago).

The back

The back

I do need to line this cushion with some fabric, probably in a light brown that will show off both sides properly.  But I was eager to share the finished project with you :-)

I used 3 balls of yarn in this project – so I still have 7 balls left :-)

There is still time to rent a sheep from the Meadow Farm Wool Project, and support 2 charities.  What will you make with yours?

Happy crocheting xxx

 

Do you remember this post when I promised to share more of my mandala designs when they had progressed further?

Here is the Buxton Mandala which I have just published.

Buxton Mandala

Buxton Mandala

This is the ‘prototype’ I made in Buxton.  It is made in Drops Muskat which is a mercerised cotton dk with a lovely sheen.  I didn’t have many colours of this yarn with me at the time so I used only 5 colours.

When I reworked the design I used Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK of which I had a much wider range of colours.  I loved the original design so much that the only thing I changed as I reworked it was the colours and I added one more colour.

Buxton number 2

Buxton number 2

There is quite a difference in the yarns – Stylecraft being softer with less of a sheen and giving less stitch definition.  This photo shows the difference a little more clearly:

2 Buxtons

2 Buxtons

Which do I like?  Well both – I love the colours of the Stylcecraft version and I love the sharp stitch definition of the Drops version.

Which do you like?

The pattern it is on special sale on Ravelry until midnight GMT Sunday 10th May 2015 – 50% off the original price if you use coupon code BUXTON at checkout (with apologies to EU purchasers where the coupon code will not work as EU sales are currently diverted to LoveKnitting – something that will be remedied in future).

Happy crocheting xxx

Mr Postie delivered something very special this morning – my yarn from the sheep I have rented from The Meadow Farm Wool Project.

The yarn

The yarn

Two weights of yarn had been spun – the cream (which has lovely grey speckles in it) is a double knit and the dark brown is a thinner weight called 2ply but makes up like 4ply/fingering/sock yarn.  They both smell deliciously of newly spun fleece :-)

So I wasted no time – my hook came out and I made a couple of motifs:

One of each

One of each

This motif is the one I designed especially for the project and is available to sheep renters only.   The cream one came out just the right size for a 9 motif square cushion – so that is what I am making.  The brown motif is a bit smaller but I will make a large granny square backing to the cushion using the brown, I may just add a few interesting stitches to it.

Here’s a photo of the cream motif which shows the design well.

Meadow Farm Motif

Meadow Farm Motif

There is still time for you to rent a sheep for this year and choose your selection of yarn – I opted for half and half.  In due course, once all renters have their yarn, you will be able to buy the yarn at £6.50 per ball.  And all rentals and purchases help go towards 2 fabulous charities – Teenage Cancer Trust and Headway.  This is quite a new project and one I hope will grow, so please support it if you can.

Meanwhile, I know which project I will be working on at knitgroup tomorrow!

Happy crocheting xxx

 

May is Love Knitting’s and Love Crochet’s first indie designer month!    What does this mean?  Well, first I should explain that LKC (I hope you don’t mind my abbreviation!) are online websites that sell gorgeous yarn and all the accompaniments that any yarn obsessed knitter or crocheter could want, including a wide range of  patterns by independent designers.

It is relatively new for LKC and indie designers to link up in this way, but from my short experience (ALL GOOD) I think it is beneficial for both.  LKC think so too, so they have made May their first indie designer month, and will be promoting indie designers and their designs for the whole month.

As part of this promotion, anyone who buys an indie designer pattern on LKC during May will receive a 10% discount on yarn bought at the same time.   I think that’s a great offer, especially if your yarn ‘habit’ means you can never spend a small amount of money!

Love them both!

Love them both!

You can find my designs here: Love Knitting and Love Crochet

This support for indie designers has made me feel good but also made me reflective.    Ok, I am an indie designer myself, so maybe I am somewhat biased.   But I see so many wonderful colourful blogs and facebook pages with beautifully-made items using indie designs – some of them blow my mind away!  In fact there are some extremely popular blogs that have tens of thousands of followers (and more) who post beautiful photos of items they have made.  Sometimes they give the designer credit and some give the designer excellent credit …..but not everyone does and not all the time.

So I would like to start an accreditation campaign – if you share a photo of something you have made on ANY social media then please always give the designer credit, after all that designer made it possible.

Am I being fair?

Please let me know what you think.

Happy knitting and crocheting xxxxx

Yesterday I posted this photo on facebook:

Mandala heaven

Mandala heaven

It is a selection of mandalas.  This is a new obsession for me.  But I didn’t realise just how many people are also obsessed or at least love mandalas; that is until I saw my facebook hits – they rocketed off the scale!

So I thought I should at least tell you more about the mandalas in the photo (and yes, test how far my blog hits go!).

In no particular order – there is the Sunshine Mandala which I published the pattern for a few weeks ago, the two I designed on my Knitaway holiday, one which was a bit of a test (or what I call a crochet doodle!) and a couple I designed very recently that will feature in a new workshop (design your own mandala).  You see I love designing these so much that I thought I should share how I do it :-)

Happy crocheting xxx

 

Towards the end of February this year something interesting popped into my twitter feed – rent a sheep through the Meadow Farm Wool Project.  It grabbed my interest straightaway and I popped over to the website.  Within minutes I was renting a sheep!

In due course I will receive yarn spun from the fleece of the sheep (well maybe not the exact one I am renting, but from the same flock).  I am not an expert on fleece but I know Jacob will be strong and probably good for hardwearing items.   This is a great project, with excellent provenance for the wool – grown in Somerset and spun in Yorkshire – British through and through, and by renting a sheep I am also supporting 2 excellent charities – The Teenage Cancer Trust and Headway.

The project will have ideas on patterns for the yarn in due course.   But I am impatient!    So I decided I should design a crochet motif for the yarn, and not just for me.  I think Jane and Annie (who established the project) would appreciate some pattern support, and I think their project is extremely worthwhile – so the design is for them.  They will be sending out the motif to all sheep renters.

Here’s a sneaky peek:

Meadow Farm Motif

Meadow Farm Motif

I can’t wait to receive my yarn, I think I will be making some lovely cushion covers with my motif.

Happy crocheting xxx

I have a few more little joys to share with you from my Buxton holiday!

First the visit from Nic who is YarnsfromthePlain, she brought a sweet shop full of yarn to Buxton.  Yes, I know I mentioned this before – but I didn’t show you which sweets I bought!     So here they are:

Plumley

Plumley

They are both the same yarn base called Plumley – a single spun yarn, 100% Blue Faced Leicester Roving DK, approx 200m per 100g skein.

Have I ever told you I love single spun yarn?   It is so smooth to work with. So I was overjoyed to see Nic had started dyeing some.   I will be back for more!

The second Buxton ‘extra’ is my mandala obsession – I did some crochet ‘doodling’ and designed 2 new ones!    Here’s a sneaky peek:

Buxton mandalas

Buxton mandalas

I will share more when the designs are more advanced, or closer to publishing. My mandala obsession is only just beginning!

Happy crocheting xx

.

I have just returned from a lovely few days away with my knittery friends!  We went to the very same venue as last November – the Alison Park Hotel in Buxton.

Buxton is a lovely spa town in the Peak District, with lots of history, and each time I visit I learn more.   But the main focus of our visit was a knitaway – a holiday with like minded friends where we can knit and crochet, do a little shopping and exploring, knit and crochet, eat a little, knit and crochet, eat a bit more and maybe drink a little….and have a great laugh, good time and share special memories together.  I didn’t think it possible, but this knitaway was even better than the last.

So what did we do….here’s a quick review in a few photos:

Bay window

Bay window

We decorated the lounge of the hotel, which is a lovely Arts and Crafts building with interesting features  like this window, with crochet decorations :-)

Sunshine on the patio

Sunshine on the patio

We spent each afternoon on the patio – the weather was glorious and we knitted and crocheted and drank…Pimms on the patio in the Buxton sunshine was fantabulous!

Evenings.....

Evenings…..

We spent the evenings enjoying our knitting/crochet time……..and we drank a little and watched DVDs and (you just can’t tell from this studious photo) we laughed A LOT!

Nic's yarn

Nic’s yarn

We had a visit from Nic – aka Yarnsfromtheplain – who brought her pop up wool shop and stayed for dinner and knitting.  And there was plenty of scrummy yarn:

More of Nic's yarn

More of Nic’s yarn

And more....

And more….

And I couldn’t resist ;-)

Each morning we fuelled ourselves on an excellent breakfast at the hotel.

And each day we walked into Buxton for lunch at one of our 2 favourite venues – Upstairs at Charlotte’s and Number 6 tea rooms.  And we shopped – especially at Jantar.  And we bought wool at Sew In.   And we had ice cream…at least some of us did ;-) And we had an exclusive presentation from Netta of DiscoverBuxton about Mary Queen of Scots and her regular visits to Buxton.

And we had visits from Ruth and Rose, who joined us for a few hours…lunch and knitting :-)

And each evening we enjoyed an amazing dinner at the hotel.

And each day we enjoyed excellent hospitality from Sara and Dave and the staff at the hotel.   And we will be back, because it is a perfect venue for us.

Thank you to my lovely knittery friends for your excellent company and so many great times, and to the hotel for an excellent venue, food and hospitality and to Buxton for a great town and to the weather gods for the most perfect weather.

And I am soooooo looking forward to doing it all again!

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx

 

 

I received something lovely in the post the other day.  Here’s a photo of some of it:

PERFECT PROJECT LABELS

PERFECT PROJECT LABELS

These labels are cheeky and practical.  They are perfect for adding to handmade items, informing the lucky recipient just how to care for their gift and hopefully giving them a smile as they read the cheeky words!

They are supplied by Joanne Scrace (aka Not So Granny), a talented crochet and knitting designer, and she sells them in her Etsy shop here.   A few weeks ago she ran a competition on her facebook page asking what people would write on a care label.   Now I don’t often enter competitions, but I thought this was a great idea – I always worry that preciously-made gifts should be cared for properly, I have been known to produce care sheets for those I make!   So I entered the competition with ‘one of a kind – just like the wearer’.  Lo and behold, Joanne liked it and I won some labels!

There are several cheeky messages to choose from, so I may be going shopping for some more.  I love the one designed for your project bag.  I will be adding mine to my favourite project bag:

Carpet wool bag

Carpet wool bag

This bag was made from a kit by Hookedbydesign given to me for my birthday last year by Karen and Ruth, another lovely surprise.  It is made from carpet wool which is exceedingly sturdy and perfect for a bag.  I lined it with fabric, added some strong hessian tape to the handles (which I encased with crochet) and it is now my most favourite project bag which travels to many a knit group.  Similar kits can be found here.

What would you add your labels to?

Happy knitting and crocheting… and gifting  xxx

 

Whenever I design anything I always swatch various ideas and some of them are changed or discarded altogether before I settle on a design.   This is not unusual, I am sure most, if not all, designers do something like this.

When designing the squares for the Blog Blanket CAL, I swatched one square which I decided wouldn’t be appropriate – I needed it to finish on a solid round and the 8 round version would end on a granny round.  But it wasn’t discarded, I liked it so I just put it aside waiting for some other use.

This is my original swatch and……………there’s an error in it, but I won’t tell you where!

The one that got away

The one that got away

That other use just came up.  I am making a small blanket and I thought a huge granny square using the design would be perfect.  It would be quick to make but also have just enough interest to avoid being boring to make.

The blanket was started yesterday, and I have already completed 15 rounds.  I decided to swap colour every 2 rounds because the pattern changes then (which is what I did intuitively on my original swatch).   But when I got to Round 6 I thought it looked familiar.  And then I realised it is similar to Attic24’s cosy stripe blanket.  Of course, it wasn’t planned and it does have 2 significant differences – firstly it is a granny-style square not a stripe and second I use some chain sts in this square.

If you wanted to make an Attic24 cosy stripe-style granny blanket then it would be easy to adjust the pattern by removing the chain sts and adjusting the number of trebles along each ‘granny’ round – but I wanted to continue with my own design.

So here’s the pattern for you (with a sneaky peek at a part made blanket that I don’t really want to reveal):

Sneaky peek

Sneaky peek

ABBREVIATIONS

The pattern is written in English crochet terms.
St = stitch
Ch = chain
Tr = treble (US dc)
Ss = slip stitch
Sp = space
Ch-sp =chain space
I changed colour every 2 rounds, simply joining the new colour where I started each round with a ss.

Foundation:  Make a 4ch foundation ch and join into a ring with a ss
Round 1: 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 2ch) 3 times into the ring, 2tr into the ring, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.
Round 2: ss into 2ch-sp, (note for this and each subsequent round: this ss is to position the start of the round in the right place) 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 1ch) into the same 2ch-sp, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) into each of the next three 2ch-sps, 2tr into the first 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.
Round 3: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), 2tr into the same 2ch-sp, 1tr into each st around (working into the 1ch not the 1ch-sp), (2tr, 2ch, 2tr) into each 2ch-sp, and work a final 1tr into the first 2ch-sp,  join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.
Round 4: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), 2tr into the same 2ch-sp, 1tr into each st around, (2tr, 2ch, 2tr) into each 2ch-sp, and work a final 1tr into the first 2ch-sp,  join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.
Round 5: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 1ch) into the same 2ch-sp, miss 3 sts, [*(3tr, 1ch) in next st, miss 3 sts; repeat from * to next 2ch-sp, (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) in 2ch-sp, miss 3sts] 4 times but on the last repeat of this just work 2tr into the 2ch-sp at the start of the round,  join to 3rd st of starting 5ch with a ss.
Round 6: ss into 2ch-sp, 5ch (counts as 1tr, 2ch), (3tr, 1ch) into each 1ch-sp around and (3tr, 2ch, 3tr, 1ch) into each corner 2ch-sp,  2tr into the first 2ch-sp, join to 3rd st of starting 5 ch with a ss.

Repeat Rounds 3 to 6 until you have a blanket the size you want.  I plan to finish on a Round 4 so I have a nice edge.

If you decide to make a blanket  using this design, please share a photo :-)

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

 

 

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