I planned a quiet weekend, with time to work on a design that is proving tricky. But things don’t always go to plan, and I find that leaving a tricky problem at the back of my mind and getting on with other things is the best way to solve it. Somehow the little grey cells keep on working on it in the background.

So instead of devoting a weekend to this tricky problem, I devoted a few hours then set about finishing the Janie Crowfoot Mystery Blanket – at last it is done. I did tweak it a little, mainly because I didn’t like the large triangular holes in the middle, and to use up more of the yarn on the border. Here it is:

Janie Crowfoot Blanket

Janie Crowfoot Blanket

I still need to give it a final blocking, and then I need to decide where to display it.

I have yarn leftover from this project, in small quantities, and some beads. So today I spent an hour doing a few little crochet ‘doodles’. The end result – first the Leilani flower, which was a tester for the blanket and I decided not to make it until the blanket was finished.

Leilani Flower

Leilani Flower

Then a small trinket pot.

Beaded pot

Beaded pot

And finally I am working on a small textured and beaded bag/pouch, seen here with the pot.

Leftovers pouch

Leftovers pouch

I hope you have had a productive weekend.
Happy crocheting xx

Happy Sunday to my readers!

How is your summer going? Here in the UK it is warm, probably the warmest summer we have had for a few years. So evenings have been balmy, wine has been quaffed and a gentle calm fills the air (inbetween the hayfever sneezes!).

My knitting and crochet normally slows in warm weather, warm hands and wool do not mix well. But this July has been different, maybe because one of my long term projects has been in cotton – the Jane Crowfoot mystery blanket CAL. The last clue for this was published a few days ago – I had one large flower motif to make, then a lot of joining and edging. The flower motif is blocking and I have a plan to slowly sew the pieces together rather than get bogged down in too much sewing – I will share the finished project in due course..

I have also completed the July clue of Amanda Perkins’ Kaleidoscope mystery blanket CAL – I’ve told you before that I love this pattern and the yarn, it seems to flow off the hook easily. Here is July:
JULY
My plans for my own mystery CAL are well advanced. I have made a sample and started pattern writing. Just as well, because the first clue will be released on 24th July. The CAL will be hosted on my Ravelry forum here: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/agrarian-artisan-designs/2967692/26-50#33

MCAL
Anyone joining the forum and signing up for the MCAL before 1st August will receive all clues free. It is motif based, and can be a scarf, wide scarf/wrap or even a blanket. Suggestions for yarn quantities for 4 ply/fingering and double knit will be provided. It is all about colour, which I am sure everyone will love, and the motif basis is slightly different to normal, which I love but I await response to the final design!

Also I have published my July Scarf which is made in silk. Following the June theme, this scarf is a row of granny squares made in one long piece:
July Crochet Scarf

Pattern can be found here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/july-crochet-scarf-continuous-grannies
It is on sale at half price until the end of July using the coupon code JULY

Happy summer knitting and crochet xxxxx

You should have told me off – yes, you should! It has been more than 2 weeks since my last blog, so I have neglected you. I am so sorry. Next time please shout at me to remind me!!!!!

What can I share with you today? Well, first is my new bag – I LOVE it! It was a kit, a present from Karen and Ruth, I can’t thank them enough. I was addicted to it as soon as I put the first stitch on my hook. Yes, I changed it a bit (I always do, I am either perfectionist or personalisationalist, if that is a word!!!). I absolutely loved making it and decided it needed a good finish. So my sewing machine was dusted off and I lined it, PROPERLY. I even put some good strong cotton tape in the handle. And now it is my everyday bag to carry beloved crochet and knitting projects to knitgroup or anywhere!! It is made from rug yarn – very strong and capable of outliving most other yarns, I want more of this yarn!

Hooked bag

Hooked bag

If you want something similar, then it came from http://www.hookedbydesign.co.uk . Lots of gorgeousness on her website.

Also, I published my June scarf. I am rather surprised that I have managed to keep up with this personal challenge – halfway through the year already and 6 designs complete. Here it is:

June

June

The colours were inspired by the colours in my garden at the time I designed it – blue of gernanium and lime green/yellow of alchemilla mollis.

I already have plans for July. And August is my Ravelry forum anniversary – so the August scarf will be a mystery CAL. I am looking forward to that – A LOT!

Finally, I have to share another photo with you. I love my little Anniversary Flowers, I see them every day jostled together in a little basket. But yesterday I decided they needed a real purpose in life. So I turned them into mini bunting which now adorns the headboard of the spare bed. I think they look very happy there. What do you think?

Flowers a plenty

Flowers a plenty

Happy knitting and crochet xxxx

These last few days I have been trying to catch up with myself. Why? Well I had a few days away in Malaga, unplanned but very good!

Many people pass through Malaga airport on the way to holidaying in southern Spain, but fewer people visit Malaga itself. This is a shame for those who don’t visit, but great for those of us who do because it means less crowds. Malaga really is worth visiting – it has some beautiful architecture and there is plenty to keep you occupied for a few days. It is also easy to get around and very clean.

I visited the Picasso Museum (he spent his early years in Malaga), saw most of the sights from the top of a lovely sightseeing bus, had a guided tour on a ‘modern’ rickshaw, and wandered through the streets quite happily enjoying it all. The food was excellent. And I can recommend the café in the Picasso Museum, a beautiful relaxing quiet oasis in the city – perfect for a post museum/pre-shopping coffee.

We staying in an old residential area of Malaga – called Huelin. A taxi ride from the centre (or an hour’s walk if, like us, you couldn’t find the taxi rank on the first morning!) but a stone’s throw from a long beach. As it was off the tourist track, the food and drink prices were excellent – the drinks on the first night were at 1980s prices!

The house we stayed in:

Cool corner

Cool corner

The cathedral:

Cathedral

Cathedral

The Alcazaba above the Roman amphitheatre:

Alcazaba/Roman

Alcazaba/Roman

Some old tiles found in a back street (I like the shapes in these):

Spanish tiles?

Spanish tiles?

So I have spent the last few days catching up. I finished the shawl I started in Blackpool, completed the June instalment of Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope June

Kaleidoscope June

and published the pattern for the Molly Shawlette.

Molly Shawlette

Molly Shawlette

which you can find here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/molly-shawlette-2

I still have a few things to tick off my ‘to do’ list, but I’m in no hurry. In fact having spent a lovely break in Malaga, my thoughts have turned to longer holidays…….!

Happy knitting and crochet xxx

To celebrate my first blog birthday, I thought I should give all my readers a little gift. So I sat down a couple of days ago with my hook and designed a little flower. I got carried away, I couldn’t just make one…….I became a little addicted.

Here it is:

Anniversary Crochet Flower

Anniversary Crochet Flower

I have written the pattern below, but I have also charted it. If you want the chart you can find it as a free download on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/anniversary-crochet-flower

So here is the pattern:

ANNIVERSARY CROCHET FLOWER

This is written in English crochet terms and uses standard abbreviations.
It is made in the round, like a little motif. It is written as if the same colour of yarn is used throughout, so if you want to use a different colour, just break the yarn at the end of the round, fasten off and start with new yarn at the start of the next round.

Abbreviations used:
MR = magic ring – hold thread in hand and wrap working yarn around forefinger twice to create ring, slip ring off your finger and insert hook to pick up first st, 1 ch, then work the necessary sts for round 1 and close the ring tightly by pulling the loose end.
st = stitch
ss = slip stitch
sp = space
ch = chain
dc = double crochet
tr = treble
htr = half treble

I used a 4mm hook (US G/6) and some DK weight yarn, but you can use any yarn as long as you use a suitable hook.

3 colour flower

3 colour flower

Round 1 – make a MR, 1 ch (does not count as a st), 6 dc in ring, pull end tight, ss to 1st dc to join. (NOTE: sometimes this ss wants to be a st! And you may find when you do round 2 that you have one st too many, to remedy this just do 5 dc not 6 dc)
Round 2 – 1 ch (does not count as a st), [1 dc, 3 ch] in each st around, join to 1st dc with a ss (you have 6 3ch sps)
Round 3 – 1 ch (does not count as a st), [1 dc, 1 htr, 3 tr, 1 htr, 1 dc] in each 3ch sp around, join to 1st dc 1ith a ss. Break yarn and fasten off.

Sew in all ends, then enjoy!

You can get a different look depending on how many colours of yarn you use. For some flowers I used one colour for rounds 1 and 2 and a second colour for round 3. On others I used a different colour each round.

What to make with these flowers? Well, lots of things – brooches, hair clips, embellishments, string up as bunting………….just use your imagination. And please let me know what you make.

Happy anniversary xx

Now for the legal stuff – I designed this, it’s all my own work and is copyright. Please feel free to make as many as you like, but not for commercial purposes, and please credit me with the design. Thank you!

I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, I know because I’ve just paid a renewal fee on my domain name! I can’t believe how quickly this last year has gone. I guess I must be enjoying life because I haven’t stopped to review or consider the year, I’ve just ploughed on and enjoyed!

Today I took another big step – I started a facebook page. Just search for Agrarian Artisan on Facebook and you should find me!

In the next few days I will publish the next hexagon in The Hexagon Project 2014 and self publish the Molly Shawlette. And that will bring me to 101 designs (at least that is what Ravelry tells me!). Wow! I need a drink!

Here’s the prototype of Molly:

Molly Prototype

Molly Prototype

And a glimpse of motif no 4 of The Hexagon Project 2014:

Hexagon Project 2014 no 4

Hexagon Project 2014 no 4

Happy knitting and crochet xxx

Somehow I set myself a challenge, I don’t know how or why I did it – it was one of those happy accidents. The challenge is to design one crochet scarf a month and it is very much a personal challenge. But whatever the how or why, it is rolling along nicely. At the end of last week I published my May crochet scarf and I am already well advanced with June.

So here is my roll call:

January Crochet Scarf

January Crochet Scarf

February Crochet Scarf

February Crochet Scarf

March Crochet Scarf

March Crochet Scarf

April Crochet Scarf

April Crochet Scarf

May Crochet Scarf

May Crochet Scarf

All different, and all fun to make! I’m on a roll now but will I keep it up to the end of the year? Let’s see.

Happy crocheting xx

If last weekend was rare, then this was unprecedented! Yes my readers, he was away again! It was a last minute decision and he was only away for one night, and I had planned some chores this weekend so I didn’t quite have as much time to do things just for me.

I did wake up on Saturday with ideas of doing some shopping. Unfortunately it rained, and rained, and rained some more. It was so bad I much preferred to stay inside, despite being in desperate need of a new camera, with a few more bells and whistles than my current one – and a replacement battery for said ancient beast. But even this desperation did not encourage me to go shopping! So I had half a day and one evening to fill, but no operational camera to share progress.

However, fortune shone on me and my brother arrived carrying his camera just as I was contemplating braving the camera on my phone. So today’s photographs are courtesy of him. I should add that this wasn’t some form of sibling telepathy. Photography is one of his hobbies, so he carries his camera with him most weekends.

My crafting comprised 2 items. First I finished this month’s Janie Crowfoot mystery blanket instalment:

Janie Crow May

Janie Crow May

It includes the piece which I think is destined for the centre of the blanket and is my favourite so far.

Earlier in the week I received a package from The Old Piggery. I had visited their stand at Wonderwool in search of some scissor keeper kits but they had none. However, they took my email and promised to send me details. Now I really wasn’t expecting an email from them, because my previous experience of leaving my email at a show never yielded any results. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email soon after Wonderwool offering me a choice of kits and providing photographs so I could choose the colours I wanted. This is the sort of customer service I like and I purchased several kits. So I spent an hour or so making one up yesterday:

Scissor keeper

Scissor keeper

Whilst visiting them at Wonderwool I was very taken with a skein of yarn that I spotted – the colourway is Moss and I managed to find two 25g skeins of it in laceweight. So last night, I wound the first skein and started my ‘June’ crochet scarf. I have only done a little but already the colour pools have stunned me. I hope it looks as good on film, but that will be a photo for another day – you will have to be patient.

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx

This weekend is one of those long weekends in the UK which result from having a Bank Holiday – yay! I have had a lovely quiet weekend because my husband has been away partaking of his hobby on a racetrack at Castle Donington. So what do I do when he is away – well this weekend I planned absolutely nothing!

It is glorious to be able to wake up and do just what you like with no-one getting under your feet. Apart from the cat, that is. So we (the cat and I) have done just as we like. Naturally this involves a little crafting (crochet) but it also includes a little gardening (pruning), rather a lot of tidying (I have moved my craft room around for the 3rd time in a year – I think I need a bigger room), an unusual amount of cleaning (I cleaned all my kitchen cupboards and threw out lots of items that were chipped, cracked or just plain useless) and plenty of RnR.

Ok, I confess the crochet wasn’t exactly ‘little’. The May instalment of the Kaleidoscope mystery blanket came out this weekend, so I spent Saturday evening in front of the television watching all 6 episodes of the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice back to back, with crochet hook in hand and cat cuddling next to me (except on several occasions when said cat decided the yarn was the best play thing in the world, even the decoy ball of acrylic I always have handy wasn’t good enough for her!). Sunday night wasn’t quite so intense but did involve crochet, as did Monday (a bit in the morning and another bit in the afternoon) – so I have finished May.

May Kaleidoscope - just getting a little big to photograph on the table

May Kaleidoscope – just getting a little big to photograph on the table

Part of this drive to finish May was because I was expecting the Janie Crow mystery blanket instalment on 5th May (why oh why did I challenge myself to do 2 mystery blankets?) and had to finish Kaleidoscope before it came out. Except I made a mistake – the next Janie Crow instalment comes out on 8th May – so I have 3 days yet. Ah well, maybe I should do some knitting………!

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx

Early yesterday, along with 48 like-minded yarn addicts, I set off on a coach for Wonderwool Wales. This is a fabulous annual festival of wool and natural fibres. And for me it is becoming an annual opportunity to organise a coach trip!

I think I can safely say that all the ladies on the coach thoroughly enjoyed themselves and, judging by the overflowing bags they loaded onto the coach for the return journey, I think they were in yarn retail heaven and sampled all the wares on offer!

I have been to 4 different festivals of this type and, even though my experience is limited, I think it safe to say that Wonderwool is my favourite. It is held at the Royal Welsh Showground in very large agricultural sheds with plenty of room to move about. Of course, this means it can get chilly but you just need to be prepared for this.

This year there were 200 exhibitors demonstrating and selling everything you could want in the way of yarn related goodness and fun.

Stupidly, I forgot to take my camera so I attempted a few photos on my phone (which is quite new), so apologies for the quality, to give you a flavour of the day:

Gorgeous yarn at The Natural Dye Studio

Gorgeous yarn at The Natural Dye Studio

Supernova - one of Amanda Perkins' splendid crochet blanket designs

Supernova – one of Amanda Perkins’ splendid crochet blanket designs

Everything a spinner could want

Everything a spinner could want

I had a fantastic time and purchased lots of lovely goodies:

Wonderwool goodies

Wonderwool goodies

Amongst the yarn skeins there are a couple of lovely skeins from Willow Knits http://www.willowknits.com/, Ann dyes the most gorgeous colours on this pure silk yarn, which is very good value as well as being extremely beautiful. When not at the shows, you can find her yarns in her Etsy shop. I also bought yarn from some other lovely independent dyers – Triskelion Yarns, Five Moons and The Old Piggery. You will also spot some fibre (I really must do more spinning) and some lovely buttons.

Of course, whilst retail therapy is good for my soul, it is even better to meet up with friends. I spent some time with Amanda and Phil Perkins of The Natural Dye Studio, met up with people I have worked with and, as is often the case at events like this, bumped into some friends unexpectedly! All in all a very good day.

Happy knitting and crocheting xx

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