Perhaps I shouldn’t post this. The subject is something that is (or maybe now, was) destined as a Christmas present. A beaded crochet pouch that I designed, lined with felt and is now perfect for keeping jewellery safe, clean and comforted. It was fun to make.
Here it is:

Beaded crochet pouch

Beaded crochet pouch

And then someone suggested maybe we should have a beaded knitting workshop at the knitaway we are planning in Buxton. So I thought, how about doing knitting and crochet? What if I designed a beaded knit pouch that would be similar to the crochet one and then I could host a dual workshop – beaded pouch for knitters and crocheters?
I am craftidextrous – I love doing both crochet and knitting, although I confess crochet is my favourite (slightly).

So a spare afternoon yielded this:

Beaded knitted pouch

Beaded knitted pouch

What do you think?

Are they similar? Would you like to make them? Or one of them?

Togetherness....heaven

Togetherness….heaven

To me this was a personal challenge, and it feels fantabulous to have completed it! I think, at least on my own personal level, that I have proved crochet and knitting are both brilliant and can produce similar beautiful results. What do you think?

This is one topic where I am aching to hear your views.

Happy craftidextrous crafting xxxxx

I have been busy for the last 2 weeks, a little bit of designing but mainly ‘stashing down’. What is stashing down? For yarn-aholics like me, stash is the stock of yarn I have acquired over the years. So stashing down means using up lots of yarn so that my yarn ‘stash’ reduces. Now my stash is huge, so large that I keep a spreadsheet to help me manage it and I know how many balls/skeins I have. But it is so embarrassingly large that I can’t even bring myself to tell you what that number is! It does fill a tall built in double width wardrobe and overflow into numerous baskets in my yarn room. Did I ever mention I have a yarn room? Perhaps the less said the better – but it gives you an idea of how much stash I have!

I need to reduce this stash considerably and I decided to use quick simple crochet stitches (such as granny square stitches) that I can do with my eyes shut, and therefore speedily stash down. So I have used these simple stitches and crocheted like the wind. So far I have used 17 balls of my stash and made no fewer 8 gift bags (destined for Christmas wrappings).

The bags are varied, and mainly just improvised. I did start a couple of patterns but changed then, and after that I decided I could just make them up as I went. So here’s a selection:

Market style bags

Market style bags

Granny style bags

Granny style bags

You can tell from the photos that I haven’t used the best of my yarn stash for these bags. But there is a little glitter and silk in some of the yarns I used.

I have also started on some simple but luxurious cushion covers in pure silk. These are a simple granny square design – one for the back and 4 for the front. I plan to fasten them with buttons, so I will need to design a granny-style button flap.
I love the yarn and the colours complement each other well. Unfortunately this photo just doesn’t show the colours in all their glory, nor the beautiful sheen of the silk.

Granny cushion pieces

Granny cushion pieces

I’m also working on a few WIPs – one a second cushion cover to match this one:

Fresh Red cushion

Fresh Red cushion


This is a design from a few months ago, you can find the pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fresh-red-crochet-cushion

In the next couple of weeks my stash down will be finished (for now) and hopefully I will have used more than 30 balls/skeins of yarn. Perfect for creating more storage space …….because at the end of September I am going here: http://www.yarndale.co.uk
And I am sure to buy lots more yarn – I guess that’s called stashing up!!!

Happy crocheting xxx

Hot news! The Zodiac Knitted Blanket Club is now available for purchase – you can find details here: http://www.thenaturaldyestudio.com/zodiac-knitted-blanket-club-2015—monthly-payment-option-437-c.asp

The club starts in January, so you need to purchase in advance, but there are several purchase options for you and, of course, you could always add it to your Christmas present list!

Happy knitting xxxx

What an exciting week it has been for me! First the MCAL on my Ravelry forum is going better than I had expected. I confess I was really worried about this MCAL, I wanted to make it easy enough for anyone to try but interesting enough for the mystery element. So I planned it in small chunks, and actually those small chunks really help to keep the mystery going. None of them are complicated themselves, but as you add them together it becomes more interesting. Best of all for me, everyone seems to like it and they are sharing progress on the Ravelry forum, even speeding away each time I publish a new clue! I do hope they like the final design… but in case they don’t I do have several options available …… ooooo, mustn’t give the game away!
The last clue of the MCAL is out later this week. Meanwhile, here’s some progress photos by kind permission of some of the MCALers – Sigrun, Elaine and Kerry:
shugoey

snowball

elaine77
I am so pleased that everyone has chosen lots of colour, the colours vary from bright to subtle, but are all very beautiful and I think will look excellent in the final design.
And here’s another photo I have to share from (another) Kerry, she hates sewing ends (I guess we all do) but by issuing this in chunks she has the opportunity to do sewing in between clue. Here is her Sunday morning production line:
kerrywallis

Also I have been busy on another major collaboration with Amanda Perkins of The Natural Dye Studio. Those who know Amanda know that she does the most beautiful crochet designs and recently has concentrated on some very special, unique blanket designs. This year she designed the Kaleidoscope mystery crochet blanket club, which you will have seen on this blog. Here is my August instalment, with apologies for the photo quality (it is very dull here today, difficult to get good light for photos):

August Kaleidoscope

August Kaleidoscope

For next year she is planning the Zodiac blanket club. Check out the club details here: http://www.thenaturaldyestudio.com/zodiac—crochet-blanket-club-2015-428-c.asp

Although Amanda designs crochet she is very aware that many of her customers knit. And she decided she would like to give them the opportunity to join the Zodiac club. Yes, this means she wanted to have a knit design as well, so she asked me if I could help. Of course, I jumped at the chance and several weeks later (and many swatches ranging from very easy to extremely complex!) we have found a knit design that fits well, or rather a component of the design because the overall design is the same whether knit or crochet but the components are different (naturally). I can’t give too much away but I am extremely excited about this! Very soon you will be able to find more details on The Natural Dye Studio’s website. I will post a link when it is available.

I did a lot of swatching to get this design right, and I really didn’t think I would enjoy knitting motifs as much as I do crochet (I think I am addicted to crochet motifs!), but I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this. So much that when I hit on the final design I wanted to make more ……….. and more. I sense a new addiction taking hold.

Naturally one collaboration leads to another, and there is something else we are working on which is very exciting. I can’t reveal more at the moment, but it will be just as exciting!

So I have had a very exciting week, I hope yours has been equally exciting and enjoyable.

Happy knitting and crochet xxx

A few days ago I posted a photo of the little crochet beaded pot that I made with some leftovers. Here it is:

Beaded pot

Beaded pot

I thought you might just like the pattern. It’s a lovely quick project, and great for using up little bits of leftover yarn and beads. So here’s the pattern:

You will need:
Rowan Cotton Glace, 100% cotton, 50g/114m per ball (approx. 10g/25m used)
30 size 6 beads
3.0mm (US D/3) crochet hook
Tapestry needle
Sewing needle and thread

Tension/gauge
Tension is not important for this design, just ensure you have a nice tight finish..

Finished size will vary depending on your tension. My pot is 4.5cm in diameter and 4cm high (that’s about 1.75″ by 1.5″)

Abbreviations
Note – these are all English crochet terms but the only stitch in this pattern that is different in US terms is the dc – so just swap dc for sc if you want US terms
st = stitch
ch = chain stitch
ss = slip stitch
dc = double crochet
Magic ring = make a magic ring, hold thread in your hand and wrap working yarn around forefinger twice to create ring, slip ring off your finger and insert hook to pick up first st, 1ch, then work the necessary sts for round 1 and close the ring tightly by pulling the loose end.
bdc = beaded double crochet – insert hook into st, yarn round hook and draw loop through st, push bead close to hook, yarn round hook and pull yarn through both loops on hook making sure bead is trapped in the st.
BLO = work sts in back loop only
RS = right side
WS = wrong side

Instructions
Thread beads onto yarn (see tip below pattern)

Start with a magic ring
Round 1 (RS)
1ch (does not count as st), 6dc in ring, pull ring tight, ss to 1st dc (6 sts)

Round 2
1ch (does not count as st), 2dc into st at base of ch, 2dc in each st to end, ss to 1st dc (12sts)

Round 3
1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 2dc into next st, (1dc into next st, 2dc in next st) 5 times, ss to 1st dc (18 sts)

Round 4
1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into base of ch, 1dc into next st, 2dc into next st, (1dc into each of next 2 sts, 2dc in next st) 5 times, ss to 1st dc (24 sts)

Round 5
1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 1dc into each of next 2 sts, 2dc into next st, (1dc into each of next 3 sts, 2dc in next st) 5 times, ss to 1st dc (30 sts)

Round 6
Work this round in BLO, 1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 1dc into each st around, ss to 1st dc (30 sts)

Round 7
1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 1dc into each st around, ss to 1st dc (30 sts)

Round 8
Turn to work with WS (inside of pot) facing you, 1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 1bdc into next st, (1dc into next st, 1bdc into next st) 14 times, ss to 1st dc (30 sts)

Round 9
Turn to work again with RS facing, 1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 1dc into each st around, ss to 1st dc (30 sts)

Rounds 10 to 15
As round 7

Round 16
As round 8

Round 17
As Round 9.

Break yarn, fasten off and sew in ends.

TIP: Threading beads onto yarn
To thread beads onto yarn, first thread a sewing needle with sewing thread and tie in a knot. Loop the yarn through the sewing thread. Thread beads onto needle, along thread then onto yarn. Always thread more beads on than you need, as you may decide to adjust the size or you may make a mistake. It’s better to have unused beads left on the yarn rather than run out and have to cut and re-join the yarn if you do need to add beads.

Threading beads onto yarn

Threading beads onto yarn

Please note this pattern is my design and the pattern and photos are copyright.

I hope you like the pattern. And please share photos of any little beaded pots you make.

Happy crocheting xxx

PS I am human and can make mistakes, so if you spot a mistake in the pattern please let me know and I’ll correct it.

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!

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