Yesterday was the first day of Yarndale 2016, the 4th year of this fabulous yarny festival.

I joined the local coach trip, as travelling by coach is so much more relaxing than driving and getting stuck in traffic, as well as being very green!   There was traffic – this year seemed to be more busy than ever and although the coach made good time it was very slow as we got close to the venue and by the time we arrived the venue was already busy:

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But this did not deter me.   I had a plan of action.  The first part of the plan is to go around alone; whilst it’s great to share with friends it’s a lot more efficient on your own as you can go at your own pace and get in and out of exhibits easier.   You can even get to take some good photos by squeezing in just the right spot – so I managed to get some lovely photos of the main producers of natural fibres:

The second part was to buy what I wanted when I saw it (which I failed in, and ended up a tad disappointed!).  The third part was to meet up with friends at lunchtime and take the trip on the Red Yarndale Bus into Skipton, this is a great chance to escape the busiest time at the show and to swap notes about what others have seen and bought.  The fourth part was to try and go around the show twice so that I had the opportunity to see things I may have missed first time.   And the last part was to have a coffee break mid afternoon, which I succeeded in by finding two of my friends who had the same idea at exactly the same time!  So I stuck to the plan and it worked well.   I visited all my favourite exhibitors and caught up with several yarny friends.  And I spent way too much

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Two of the exhibitors from Cheshire Fibre Festival were there – Yarns from the Plain and Jenny Barnett, and their stands looked splendid – you are in for a treat next week !

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx

Last month I received this lovely package of yarn from LoveCrochet/Loveknitting:

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It is MillaMia Naturally Soft Cotton, a sport weight cotton.  And yes, it is soft!   My first instinct when I see cotton yarn is to make something for the home or a sturdy bag, but this yarn is so soft it warrants much more delicate work as well.   The colours lead me – I thought peach melba, peppermint creams and sundaes!    So the Summer Sundae Scarves were born.   The first one was in peach melba colours, made lengthways in a filet-style mesh pattern.  But I know some people hate the long starting chain on lengthways scarves, so I made a sideways version as well – in peppermint cream colours.

How do you like your Sundaes?  Lengthways or sideways?  Well you can choose – each design uses 2 balls of contrasting colours and uses just 2 stitches – chain and treble (US double crochet).

The pattern is written in English Crochet terms only, and is charted.   Normally costing £3 but as I am feeling very happy (if not a little stressed!) ahead of Cheshire Fibre Festival on 1st October, the pattern is free until then.  You can find it on LoveCrochet here.

Happy crocheting xxx

Cheshire Fibre Festival is just over 2 weeks away and we are in the final stages of preparation.  So today is the last blog where I will share my own designs for the festival, the next couple of blog posts will cover the whole Festival!

Here is the Ollerton Bag.  It is available in a kit containing the pattern, 4 balls of Stylecraft Classique dk yarn (100% cotton), a handmade stitch marker and a ‘handmade with love’ label.   All packed in a lovely red tote bag, which will double up as a project bag – cost £13.

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It comes in a variety of colours; this one is in soft pink, lavender, wisteria and dove (you may have noticed that I like these colours!), other colour combinations include soft greens/yellow, red/pinks, blues/lavenders.  You can choose which colour is your centre and joining/edging colour – so you can make you bag as individual as you like!

Happy crocheting xx

Today is International Crochet Day.  There is no doubt that colourful crochet is very therapeutic, it is soothing and brings  brightness into your life.

So today is a good day to remind you of a mandala I designed last year, I call it the Soothing Mandala and I used it in a crochet-a-long last year.

Until the end of 2016, the proceeds from the sale of this mandala will be donated to The Christie, a remarkable hospital in Manchester, UK which treats cancer patients and provides them with the most amazing support through what can be a very traumatic period of their lives.

The design has 2 different final rounds, so you can choose which you like.

The pattern can be found here, and your support is very much appreciated as every sale has the potential to make a huge difference to someone.  I know from personal experience that colourful crochet things can make a huge difference to your inner strength through difficult periods in your life.

Thank you.  xxx

I have some exciting news on the Mandala Workshop at the Cheshire Fibre Festival, and there are still a few places left if you want to book!

First, I am supporting The Big Mandala Swap by Crochet Now.  I will be providing information to all workshop attendees and 2 lucky people will get a copy of Crochet Now magazine, together with their book of mandala patterns by some lovely designers (including another local fibre artist Lynne Rowe ).

I will have leaflets available on the stand as well, for anyone interested in The Big Mandala Swap and I encourage you all to join in, crocheting with colour is well known to help those with any illness, it is soothing and inspiring, so the opportunity to make new friends whilst raising awareness of mental health issues is one not to miss. You can read all about the big swap here.

Also, as well as the yarns, notes, patterns etc I told you about in the previous post, LoveCrochet have supplied me with some more yarn for the workshop!!   I have 12 balls of the brand new Paintbox dk cotton, doesn’t it look gorgeous?

 

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Each attendee will get the equivalent of 2 balls, in 4 different colours. This yarn comes in 55 different colours from their broad colour range shown below.

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It’s just like a paintbox isn’t it? This range makes it perfect for colourwork and therefore the mandala workshop!  Thank you LoveCrochet!

The mandala workshop runs from 2pm to 4pm on 1st October, more details here.

A big thank you to Ella at LoveCrochet and Hugh at Crochet Now for all the support (and watch out soon for some other news on how LoveCrochet and Crochet Now are supporting Cheshire Fibre Festival!).

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

Oh my, I’ve been holding this one back, but I thought maybe the time is right to share it.  I have a crochet cowl kit for Cheshire Fibre Festival.    It’s a lovely soft one.

It is in Stylecraft Malabar, the lovely cotton/silk blend  (this yarn is so soft and squishy!), and will be available in five different colours – Buttermilk, Pink, Pale Blue, Lavender and deep deep Amethyst.   You could have one in each colour!

The kit comes with yarn, pattern, a handmade stitch marker and ‘handmade with love’ label, all packaged in a pretty organza bag (which can be used as your project bag). Price £8.

I hope you like it!

Happy crocheting xxxxx

The Marthall Baby Blanket isn’t the only blanket kit I have for Cheshire Fibre Festival.  I have another baby/lap blanket, and here it is:

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This is called the Snelson Snuggle Blanket and can be made baby sized at 65cm square, or slightly bigger to be a cosy lap blanket.    Mine is cosy lap blanket sized!

The yarn is Stylecraft Malabar Aran, which is a blend of cotton and silk, quite a luxury for a baby blanket.  But it has thickness and weight, so it would be good for a cot topping blanket in winter (or for your legs curled up on the sofa!).

It has a stripe design which makes up surprisingly quickly and uses 5 colours (100g balls), there is only one colour choice for the kit, as shown in the photo.  Priced at £28 it is more expensive than the Marthall Blanket, but then it is more luxurious🙂

Happy crocheting  xxx

 

Well you loved the Festival Bag, I’ve seen they are being made all over the world!   And in less than a week I already know I’ll be seeing some at the Cheshire Fibre Festival 🙂

After much consideration I decided on the patterns that I will take to CFF.   There will be 7 designs, which may not seem a lot but 7 samples do take up a lot of space and you want me to have lots of kits as well, don’t you?    The 7 are from across my range of designs – some knitting, some crochet, scarves, shawls, cowls and a blanket.  The blanket pattern is the one I designed for the blanket workshop, I’m pretty pleased with it and when you see the sample I hope you’ll love it too.

Sorting the patterns was the last piece of my jigsaw, and now I know exactly what I will be bringing to the festival.    Nic and I visited the venue again and sorted out some details, so I feel that it’s been a productive week.

So are you ready for me to spill the beans on some of the things I’m bringing?   Over the next few weeks, I’ll be disclosing a little bit every so often.  Today I’ll show you the Marthall Baby Blanket (crochet), which comes in kit form.

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There are 3 colourways for the kit – this one is Meadow and Duck Egg, but there are also kits in Pale Rose and Raspberry, and Wisteria and Plum.  The kits come with 400g of dk yarn, the pattern, a handmade stitch marker and a ‘handmade with love’ label.   And teh price – £12.

I hope you like it, but I guess I’ll find out on the day if I sell any!

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is now the latter half of August and many of the usual UK summer festivals are over, but there are still a few to go and just enough time for you to make yourself something retro to take with you. To inspire you here is my quick make festival bag:

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When I was making it I thought wouldn’t it be fun if people who visit the Cheshire Fibre Festival could come wearing some festival garments or accessories.  Summer will be over by the time of CFF but we could brighten it up couldn’t we?  So are you up for it?  It could simply be a bag like this, or anything else you want to wear/make.     I’m happy to bring my bag and I may wear some flowers in my hair!

To help you – here’s my recipe for the bag.

It is made from scraps of DK yarn (Stylecraft Special DK) and based on 2 granny squares.  I made two 9 round grannies in slightly different colours, and the bag ended up approx. 24cm square excluding the pompom trim and handle.   But you can make it any size you like.  Mine used a total of 70g of yarn, but the blue edging and handle was the most – probably about 30g (but this isn’t accurate, just my guesstimate).

Abbreviations :
St (s) = stitch (es)
Sp = space
Ch = chain
Dc= double crochet
Tr = treble
Ss = slip stitch

Start with a couple of granny squares.

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Then using the colour for the joining, edging and handle (blue in my case), work dc  all the way around 3 sides of the first square, I did 1dc per st or sp along the edge, and (1dc, 1ch, 1dc) in the corner sps.  Do not break the yarn but carry on and work dc similarly around 3 sides of the other granny, your grannies will be joined at one point.

Now put the grannies wrong sides together and join by working dc through both granny edges all around the 3 sides.

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Do not break the yarn but make a chain the length of the handle (I did 100) and join to the other edge of the bag with a ss.

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Now turn and work a round of dc all along the handle and then around the top of one side of the bag.   Do another round of dc along the handle and the same top.  Break yarn and finish off.

Rejoin yarn to the underside of the foundation ch of the handle and repeat 2 rounds of dc along this side and the other top of the bag, on the last round when you reach the centre of the top of the bag make a ch loop to fit a button – I did 8ch.

If you make a bigger bag you may want a wider handle, if so just do more rounds of dc either side of the handle.

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Sew the button to the other side of the bag and make a tassel and attach to the button loop.

You could finish there but I wanted an edging all around the sides and I opted for little crochet pompoms.  You can find out how to do them here  (beware it is in US crochet terms!).   I made mine all the way around 3 sides, leaving a 3 st gap between each pompom chain.   You could just do a fringe if you  like.

If you make one, please share a photo of it.

Happy crocheting xxx

…. is a re-make of Huckleberry Cowl, a design of mine from 2012.  I love this cowl but I think the original sample didn’t do the pattern justice, the yarn was a little too silky so didn’t give the cowl a firm structure.   I decided to re-make it, slightly longer and in a sturdier yarn – but what to choose?

In my stash I had a skein of Triskelion Yarn and Fibre’s Pryderi Dk, in a gorgeous blue – Cornflower.   It is soft yet sturdy and is giving good stitch definition.  In fact, it is perfect for this design.

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Now it’s on the needles, I can’t put it down.  So I predict I’ll finish it and be blocking within 24 hours,.   Then I’ll re-write the pattern adding new photos and yarn.     The pattern may well be a contender for the small selection I will take to Cheshire Fibre Festival. 

Happy knitting xxx

 

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