During the month of March, Crochetville organises a blog tour to celebrate National Crochet Month.  Almost 100 designers from around the world participate and today is my turn.

The theme for the blog tour this year is GLAMPING and I thought I would first share some of my experience of glamping.  I confess I have never slept under canvas of any type and when asked about my experiences I didn’t even think I’d been glamping!  But I have been on safari in Africa and had some memorable nights in the most wonderful glamping type safari lodge.  This is the room and view

The ‘bungalow’ was built into the hillside and thatched with open sides (with mossie-proof curtaining at night) and a lovely little terrace/balcony with a view to die for.   Waking up at sunrise watching the elephants on the plains from the terrace was mesmerising.  The furniture was all locally made and very rustic and the textiles were fantastic.   The lodge is called Elsa’s Kopje and is built on the hill where Elsa the lion roamed.

Looking at these photos again reminded me of the colours of Kenya, which was in drought when I visited, and it inspired me to start using this little collection of yarn that I have had in my stash for ages.  You’ll have to wait and see what I make 🙂

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Whilst preparing for this blog I decided to design something which you can all make –  a colourful mandala.  I had been aware of crochet mandalas for some years but was never inspired to make any until 2 years ago.  Mandalas have great spiritual significance, and crocheted mandalas are not used simply for decoration; they are used as colour therapy and in meditation, and can be so soothing to make.  At the time I designed my very first crochet mandala I was in need of a soothing lift and playing with crochet and colour was the perfect therapy for me.  So I thought what better way to share the joy of crochet with you this month than a special mandala.

So this is the one I designed for NatCroMo, it is called Ivy Mandala:

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It is small and has texture as well as colour.  The pattern can be found here.  If you purchase through Ravelry and use the code IVY on checkout you will be able to purchase it for free.  This code is valid until the end of March (midnight GMT on 31st).

In addition, in celebration of this month of crochet all my patterns on Ravelry can be purchased at 10% discount until the end of March – use code CROMO17 at checkout (one use per person).

March isn’t over yet and there are more blogs and offers planned by Crochetville – so keep your eye on their website and join in the fun!

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

Today is the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere.   It started miserable with clouds and rain in abundance.   But just after lunch the clouds drifted apart, the sun popped out a few times and now it’s come out to play.  So I took a break from my desk for a little wander outside to see all the signs of life springing up in the garden and the fields:

Some tulips about to open (looks like the slugs have been having a feed on some of the leaves!), a small clump of primrose and just over the fence in the rough meadow signs that the primrose has been self-seeding – this little patch was a joy to behold and the meadow will not be mown in this area for quite a while!

And further afield evidence of the badger foraging by pushing up the turf, blackthorn in blossom and in the well/spring there is evidence of just how wet it has been.

Before too long the leaves will open on the trees and in the hedges and more life will well up.   I love this time of year!

Happy spring xx

 

 

…. a special blog post, a new pretty little mandala pattern and an offer!

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Until then….happy crocheting xxx

The weather has started to warm up here in England and I have been on several walks recently, just locally on the lanes near home.  There are lambs in the fields, the cattle have been let out from their winter homes and the bulbs have been pushing their noses up, heralding that spring is coming.

So to celebrate that spring is on the way I have decided to publish a floral bunting pattern, one which has been lurking in my files for 6 months, Chelford Bunting.

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This is perfect for Easter and a great stashbuster.

The pattern is available on Ravelry here, and until midnight GMT on Sunday is 50% off if you use use the coupon code SPRING on checkout from Ravelry (one use per customer).

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

 

 

March is National Crochet Month in USA, but this has spread rapidly all over the globe so I prefer to call it International Crochet Month.

If you are a Ravelry user you will know that there are all sorts of activities planned for the month, and plenty of offers as well.

I am joining the fun and spreading some crochet love too!    From now until the end of March (until midnight GMT on 31st March) I am offering you a 10% discount off my patterns on Ravelry.  This discount can be applied once only per person, so if you have several patterns you want to buy you should purchase them all at the same time, just use  coupon code CROMO17 on checkout on Ravelry to obtain the discount.

You can find my Ravelry patterns here.

Watch out for more interesting activity and offers on my blog and Ravelry during this month of crochet love 🙂

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Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Spring Blossom Blanket CAL.  It is always inspiring seeing what colours people choose and how those colour choices and other tweaks (such as moving motifs around) can make a design look so different – one blanket design can result in so many different looks.  I hope to share some finished photos with you in due course.

Another thing that I loved about the Spring Blossom Blanket CAL was the many compliments I received about the joining technique I used.   It is second nature for me to join neatly and quickly but I know that joining can be very tricky for some people which is why I use methods that I think (hope!) are easy and effective.  For blankets I tend to favour joins that lie flat partly because I don’t like the ridge that some joins produce (unless the ridge is a feature of the design) but mainly because, for me, a blanket should drape and a flat join aids this.      So I thought I’d show you some of my favourite joining techniques.

First let’s just have a look at the joined hexagons in Spring Blossom:

The technique was to join as you go (JAYG).  I had never seen JAYG on ‘solid’ motifs, that’s not to say there aren’t any as I don’t spend my time looking for techniques!   But I do know that joining hexagons can be a pain, there are so many angles that whatever you do it can prove difficult to get very neat joins where the corners of the hexagons meet.  So I designed a simple JAYG which gives a slight lacy look to the joins but is also easy and consistent throughout the blanket, all joins look the same.   This technique can be applied to any ‘solid’ motifs whatever their shape and I will definitely use it again (I have triangles in my mind as I type this!).  And, of course, one of the joys of JAYG is that once you finish the last motif it only needs the border to finish!

JAYG is quite common in lacy motifs like my Summer Garden Throw:

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Summer Garden Throw

You can see that the lace motif works well with JAYG and not just on blankets, but all sorts of accessories and garments.

The next example is a join I use frequently, slip stitch through back loops on the reverse side of the motif – it gives a fairly flat join.  Here’s some close ups of the finish and technique from the Christmas CAL 2014, I’ve used this in so many blankets that I’ve lost count!

 

I love the look of this, it makes the motifs look like they are just snuggling up against each other 🙂

Another method of joining is to use part of the design as a joining feature.  This next example is a join I used in a couple of blanket designs – Teal Dreams and Poppet’s Blanket.  I used the ‘diamond’ stitch pattern as a join, which gives consistency in the overall blanket design.

Again it gives a flat join.   On the left is Poppet’s Blanket with the joining in red, and on the right is Teal Dreams with the joining in brown.

This last one is my favourite.  I haven’t yet used it on a blanket but I used it on the Medina Cowl and several bags, like Ollerton:

It’s slip stitch through back loops only on the front of the design and provides a flat join.   One of the advantages is that using a different colour you can highlight or define  the edges of the motif.   The Ollerton join is in a pale grey (Dove) and the Medina join varies according to the edges of the motifs it joins.

I hope I haven’t bombarded you with too many photos of joins!    Do you have any favourite joining techniques?  Please tell me about them.

Happy crocheting xxx

The last part of the Spring Blossom Blanket CAL has been published – you can find it here.

For the finale I wanted to share a fabulous photo of the finished blanket but the weather has been poor – the light levels are low at this time of year and the skies have been grey and it has rained.  Virtually every day for the last 3 weeks I have tried to grab any bit of sunshine to photograph the blanket outside – the few opportunities I had were fruitless.  So this week I had to try some inside shots.  First I laid it on the floor and this happened:

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Every shot was photobombed!

So I placed it on the sofa, but the photobomber (Poppet) was too quick for me, in fact she liked the sofa more:

Despite Poppet’s successful photobombing, I think you can get a good idea of what the blanket looks like!

It is very difficult getting great photos of finished designs, especially in winter light.   I took well over 100 shots this week.  But I did manage one exterior shot which wasn’t too bad:

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I hope you have enjoyed the CAL and please continue to share photos on Ravelry and Facebook!

Happy crocheting xxxx

Welcome to week 4 of the Spring Blossom Blanket CAL.  This week the 4th and final motif is published.   You can find it on Ravelry here.

If you have been following the CAL exactly, then making 24 of these motifs will complete the centre of the blanket and you will have only the border to do (which will be published next week).

This is a close up of motif number 4:

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It has a little floral centre but morphs into a circle, thus combining the circle of motif 1 with the florals of motifs 2 and 3.

I have been very pleased with all the love this CAL has been receiving, everyone loves the join as you go method I designed for the motifs and some people want to make bigger blankets.   I have been asked several times if I can design more motifs.

Well, your wish is my command, as they say!   So I have designed a fifth motif which will fit with the other 4 and can be used in a bigger blanket or even just swap some of the motifs around for more variety.  The pattern can be found here.   It is a separate pattern, but if you purchased the Spring Blossom Blanket pattern then you can purchase this bonus motif free for the next week (until midnight GMT 18th February) – just pop it into your basket on Ravelry and it should automatically spot you have already purchased Spring Blossom Blanket and give you a discount (if it doesn’t work just send me a PM on Ravelry). I guess you want to see the motif?

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I hope you like it 🙂

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

Welcome to part 3 – the third motif for the blanket.   It’s the one in the centre of this photo:

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I confess this is my favourite!  And now it is added you can see the blanket taking shape.

If you have purchased the pattern you should have received an email from Ravelry with a link, but if not you should be able to find it in your pattern library in Ravelry.   There is also an updated alternative layout.

There are some gloriously colourful blankets being shared on Ravelry – pop over to have a look.  If you haven’t yet joined the CAL you can find the pattern here.

Until next week, happy crocheting xxx

 

 

Welcome to week 2 and the second motif in the Spring Blossom Blanket CAL.

Whilst motif 1 was simple and helped you to get your tension/gauge right and practice the join as you go technique, motif 2 is most definitely floral!

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I used 2 colours in the floral centres but you could use 3 if you like.

This motif has been included in the pattern and the update is ready for you to download from Ravelry if you have purchased it, the layout has also been updated to show where motif 2 fits in.  I have also included an alternative layout which you may follow if you choose.

Please share your progress  🙂

Happy crocheting xxx

PS If you have not yet bought the pattern it is available here.

 

 

 

 

 

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