A New Yarn Club

I am a bit addicted to yarn clubs and there are some luscious clubs out there! I’ve seen clubs range in price from £20 to £40 per month for one skein of yarn. Paying over £20 per month for one skein of yarn is costly to some people but for me it is well worth it. The first yarn club I joined was The Natural Dye Studio, and I so miss their lovely yarns.  The one I’m in currently is Triskelion Yarns sock club – oh my, I love the surprise of the yarn and colour each month 🙂

I am delighted to say I have found another yarn club which I think is very good value. Not only that but the company is North West based (so fairly local to me), the yarn is spun in Yorkshire, dyed in Lancashire and the company take their environmental responsibility seriously, are a living wage employer and are members of an ethical supply chain. All of which makes me feel good when I purchase from them.

I stumbled upon their yarn club before Christmas, the thing that struck me first was the colour of the yarn in the December box. There are 2 x 100g skeins of natural yarn in each box and December had teal and grey. I had been thinking of a shawl design in just those colours for some time, so I had to give it a try. This is what I received:

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The box was delivered in a larger cardboard box and the yarn was wrapped in lovely tissue paper – not a hint of plastic anywhere.

As well as the yarn, there was a lovely pattern for a crochet cushion and the buttons required to finish it. There were no gimmicks included (I don’t need a new crochet hook each month, nor extra stitch makers, teabags or sweets!).
The great thing is the price – it starts at £21.95 per month for two skeins – For December that was 800m of Bluefaced Leicester 4ply yarn.

It wasn’t long before I started crocheting. The yarn is lovely to work with and is slowly becoming a new shawl.

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I can also say the company customer service is great. I was confused when purchasing as I wanted a one-off box before committing to a monthly subscription. I thought I’d ordered December but orders had actually closed and I’d ordered a January box. However, when I queried it they sent me the December box very promptly without a quibble.

Three Bears Yarns also do cotton in different weights, and some Bluefaced Leicester aran. I look forward to trying these in due course.

Now I have to confess I joined their affiliate scheme. It was an accident really, I wanted more information and somehow managed to sign up. So please be aware that if you click on the link on the top right of the page and subsequently purchase from Three Bears Yarns, then I will receive a small commission. I am not in any other affiliate schemes, and I did think twice before adding the link, but the company environmental credentials swung it for me.

In due course I’ll share my new design with you, meanwhile I’m enjoying working the yarn.

Happy crocheting xxx

2018 Review

2018 is drawing to a close.  This is my opportunity to reflect on my design achievements for 2018 and start planning for 2019.  When I looked at what I had designed in 2018 I was astonished to find 26 new designs, ranging from small brooches to large blankets – how did I fit it all in?  Here are some of my 2018 designs:

I am a little late in planning 2019 but perhaps that is because I have started slowing my pace already.  I am trying to free up some time for  ‘me’ in 2019, so I can do some spinning, sewing and weaving.   So I plan to organise myself better and clear some space in my cupboards so I can select my crafts more easily.   As for designing, maybe I’ll slow a little but I do have a blanket CAL planned for early 2019 and I have a new shawl design on my hook, so it doesn’t feel any slower than normal!

I hope you enjoy your New Year celebrations and that 2019 brings you all you wish for.

Happy crafting xxx

 

Christmas Mandala 2018

The period between Christmas and New Year gives many people the opportunity to take holidays and have an extended break and others have no choice by having enforced holidays as businesses close for the season.  So this is a great time for a little CAL fun and it has become a tradition for me to hold a mandala CAL over this period.

Once again I have designed a colourful mandala and this year I will release it in 6 parts – one per day from 26th to 31st December 2018.   The mandala has 16 rounds and each day between 2 and 6 rounds of the pattern will be released.  So the mandala CAL will take a little time to work up each day and playing with colours in your mandala at this time of year helps brighten up your day (which is rather grey in the UK at this time of year!).

If you want to join in you can find the pattern here. It’s just the introduction part for now, but it does include the materials required and the stitches used. And there is a discussion group on Ravelry here. And if you buy the pattern before midnight (GMT) on 26th December, you can get 75% discount by using the coupon code CHRISTMAS

I  used pastel colours this year – here’s a peek:

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Of course, you could use any colours you like, so don’t be afraid to experiment!  It will be lovely to see what colours everyone chooses 🙂

Happy crocheting xxx

Advent CAL part 4

Today the final Advent CAL patterns have been published, there are now 12 patterns in the ebook.

I always like to make snowflakes at Christmas and this is the one I designed for the CAL:

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As well as the snowflake, there are some mini decorations – circles and triangles each in 2 styles.  These are super quick to make and can be used as decorations, bunting, gift tags or whatever your imagination tells you!

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Finally a tiny flower brooch, perfect as a last minute thank you gift.

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There’s still more than a week to Christmas, so time to hook up some final presents.  Don’t forget if you join the CAL in my Ravelry group you could be in for a prize!

Happy crocheting xxx

Advent CAL part 3

It’s Saturday – that means part 3 of the Advent CAL: The 12 Gifts of Christmas is live! This week it is pretty and personal – which means 3 very pretty gifts for personal use.

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A little pin cushion called Iced Fancy because it was inspired by Iced Fancy cakes.   This is a perfect little stashbuster using up lots of little leftover dk yarn.  It has 2 different edges to choose from for the base.  Why not make one as a present and box up with some cakes?

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Precious Gift Bag – using texture and beads to make a lovely little bag/pouch.  This could be used to package a small present or as a jewellery pouch.  Finished size is approx. 15cm (6″) high.

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The Linen Mitt is a design for using natural products in the shower.   I have trialled so many shower mitts this year in search of the most practical and plastic free.  This works well for me, creating just enough lather whilst also being open enough to dry quickly and naturally – and being linen there are none of those nasty microfibres making their way into the drains.  Wrapped up with some pure soap this would make a perfect gift for the eco conscious.

It is difficult to decide which is my favourite this week, but based on use the Linen Mitt must win as I use mine everyday and  am so thankful that I no longer use plastic shower puffs.

The 3 patterns have been added to the ebook here:  The 12 Gifts of Christmas.  There are now 9 patterns in the ebook and the last 3 will be added next week.

Please do join in the Advent CAL on Ravelry here.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

Zigzag

Just over 2 weeks ago I was pleased as punch when the Friends Around the World 3rd Anniversary Blanket CAL started and one of my squares was published first.   When I was asked to design the squares (there are 2), I was given a brief for something with texture that could be done in one colour.   At the time I was finalising the Wrapped in Memories Blanket CAL and I was using a favourite join which gave a lovely textured effect, so it seemed natural to incorporate it into the 2 squares for the Friends Around the World CAL.

Those who know my work will know that I like simple and elegant designs, some may even say I practice simple rhythmic (even mindful) crochet design but for me it’s a combination of wanting something gentle and pleasing to the eye with crochet that is equally gentle and relaxing.  This means I use techniques which are fairly straightforward but every so often I throw in something a little more complex because the finished effect is just so lovely.  And the join I used falls into this category.

I don’t know if I invented this join, I do know that I haven’t seen it used anywhere before, but, as always with a craft that has been around for so long, it is highly likely that it has been used before.  Maybe I stumbled upon a re-invention!   I choose to call it the zigzag join because that is the effect – you can see it running through the middle here in Wrapped in Memories:

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A number of people working on the Friends Around the World CAL have struggled with this join, so I’m adding information on the join technique to this blog to help (this information is extracted from Wrapped in Memories).  This should be read in conjunction with the pattern – either Noughts or Crosses, both of which are free downloads from Ravelry.

The theory behind the technique is simple, the last round of each square has chain spaces, with one or more stitches inbetween, and you join by slip stitching into the chain spaces.  This example has 1 chain spaces, with 1 double crochet (or single crochet in US terms) inbetween.  Hold you squares side by side, the square you are crocheting is on the left, the square you are joining to is on the right.   Your joining starts at a corner by a slip stitch into the right square’s corner chain space:

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You then work a double crochet into the square on the left (this is the first one so it sits in the corner):

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Now work a slip stitch into the right square:

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Carry on in this way (double crochet into square on left, slip stitch into chain space on square on right) all along:

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The final join is by slip stitch into the top corner on the right and double crochet into the top corner on the left.

And that is my zigzag join!

I hope this helps those of you who have struggled with the join.

Happy crocheting xxx

PS – don’t forget all words and photos in this blog are copyright!

 

Advent CAL part 2

The 3 patterns for the Advent CAL part 2 have been added to the ebook on Ravelry.  If you have bought the ebook then you should have received an email notification from Ravelry that the ebook has been updated, so pop onto Ravelry to find it in your library.

If you haven’t yet joined the CAL then you need to buy the ebook here.   The full price is £12 and it will eventually include all 12 patterns from the CAL (right now it has 6).  Until midnight GMT tonight it is on sale at the bargain price of £5 (no coupon code necessary).

So what are the 3 new patterns?  Well this week it is items for the home:

On the left is the ColourBull Cushion made from chunky yarn on a 6mm crochet hook.  I used Find Me knitting Ada in a variety of colours (exact quantities given in the pattern) but the joy of this design is you can choose as many or as few colours as you like.

To the top right is Lemon and Lime, a design for a coaster which can also be joined to make a table mat.  Full instructions for the join, mat layout and a chart are included.  It uses double knit cotton yarn and a 4mm crochet hook.  I used 4 colours of Stylecraft Classique DK cotton.

On the bottom right is Jug and Bowl Covers, which can be used as coasters also.  The pattern includes instructions for a 10cm jug cover and details of how to adjust the sizing.  Once you have grasped the technique for this you will be able to adapt to make covers and coasters to any size.  I used Stylecraft Classique DK cotton and a 4mm crochet hook, and some large beads.

All patterns are written in both UK and US crochet terms.

Since last week when the first 3 patterns were published I have seen a number of completed scarves and cowls; the cowl seems to be a favourite which pleases me because it is my favourite too!

Please join the Ravelry group and post updates on your progress in the Advent CAL.  Don’t forget there are prizes!

Until next week

Happy crocheting xxx

What’s a GAL about?

A couple of days ago I mentioned that, amongst the other CALs keeping me busy this month, I am a participating designer in the Ravelry Indie Designer Gift-a-long (or GAL). The GAL has become an annual event on Ravelry and I have never participated before because I am always busy when the call is made and I never spot it.  But this year I was determined to participate and I was searching Ravelry for details on a daily basis – and I spotted it whilst on holiday (mmm…..perhaps that is why I never spot it as I do tend to holiday at the same time each year!). So this is a first for me and already, less than 2 days into the GAL, I know it will not be the last.

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So what is the GAL all about? Well it is a massive KAL (knit-a-long) and CAL (crochet-a-long), but also it is much more than that.

This year there are a record 349 participating designers all of whom have between 10 and 20 of their patterns on sale (at 25% discount) until 11.59pm EST on Thursday 29th November 2018 (in summary there are 6118 patterns in this sale).  This is a great boost to people who want to make their seasonal gifts as there are a huge variety of quality patterns in the sale.  However, it doesn’t stop there.  The KAL/CAL includes all patterns that the participating designers sell on Ravelry and there are over 20,000 of those. Anyone starting one of those 20,000 patterns during the GAL and completing by the end of the year can enter the GAL to win prizes.  Each designer has supplied gift codes for a pattern of the winner’s choice – that makes over 2000 prizes to start with, plus other prizes have been donated such as yarn, books, stitch markers, project bags.  So there’s a whole host of prizes up for grabs.

It also includes lots of fun, and so much chat on Ravelry that it is proving difficult to keep up!  There are random prizes and a couple of really fun games – the Designer Hunt Game and the Designer Alphabet Soup Game, also with prizes.  And a lovely thread showing all the finished objects (FOs) made in the GAL.  I was thrilled to bits when one of my patterns was given as a random prize and even more thrilled when someone shared one of my snowflake designs on the FOs thread!

It also gives me a fabulous chance to have a look at the bundle of sale patterns, discover designers who are new to me and buy some of their lovely patterns. One of the things I like to do is buy from small independent businesses and Ravelry is a great source of them, so the opportunity to see so many independent designers in one place is a bonus to me.  I have already popped a few patterns in my cart, but I’m only one third of the way through them!

If you want to join the GAL you can find more details on Ravelry here and if you want to look at the bundle of sale patterns look here, I am sure you will be inspired.

Will I see you in the GAL?

Happy crocheting xxx

Advent CAL 2018 part 1

Today the Advent CAL 2018 commences!   The first 3 patterns are released:

From left to right we have:

Stripow Scarf – a long striped scarf with little bows along the length.  This takes approx. 400m of DK yarn, 200m in each colour – or you could use 4 colours if you like!

Lacy lines  –  a shorter gently textured scarf.  This takes from 230m of DK yarn (you can make it longer than the sample).

Warmest Neck – a close fitting thick warm cowl, using from 225m of DK yarn and in 3 sizes.  This is my favourite – I love the texture and thickness of the pattern.

All these patterns require a 4mm hook – they are all written in UK and US crochet terms.

These 3 patterns have been added to the ebook The 12 Gifts of Christmas which is available to buy on Ravelry here.  It normally costs £12 and will eventually have 12 patterns.   Until midnight tomorrow (Sunday 25th November midnight GMT)  the ebook costs just £3 (a massive £9 reduction!), no coupon code needed.  From midnight tomorrow until midnight on Saturday 1st December GMT it will cost £5, again no coupon code needed.  Thereafter it reverts to full price.  Each week for the next 3 weeks extra patterns will be added until all 12 patterns are in the ebook.

The Advent CAL is hosted on my Ravely group, and there are prizes for those who share photos of their finished items from the ebook:

Every entry is in a prize draw of a pattern of your choice from my selection

Those completing 3 or more items in the CAL will be in a prize draw for one of 3 prizes:

  1. an ebook of your choice from my selection
  2. 4 balls of Debbie Bliss Party Angel in midnight blue (15504) and a set of 4 pretty stitch markers
  3. 1 ball of Debbie Bliss Angel in bright turquoise (15047) plus a pack of size 6/0 beads in silver lined turquoise and a pretty stitch marker

The prize draw takes place early on 1st January, so you need to complete your item and post a photo in the Ravelry group before midnight GMT on 31st December.  Please see my Ravelry group for full details of entry requirements.

I can’t wait to see you in the CAL!

Happy crocheting xxx

PS the next 3 patterns are released at 2pm GMT next Saturday.