CAL planning

In my last post I told you of my seasonal CAL plans. This one is an update.

The pre-Advent CAL items are designed and the samples well progressed, there will be 4 or 5 items in this CAL and it will run from early November.

The Twixmas Mandala CAL is complete and ready for testing. Phew that was speedy for me!

After much deliberation the 2021 CAL is decided. It will use octagonal motifs and will be available as a scarf/wrap and as a blanket.

The designing is complete and yarn estimated. The blanket version will be a lap blanket around 1.2m square (that’s about 4ft square) using chunky yarn. I’ve chosen Stylecraft Special Chunky and just ordered plenty from Black Sheep Wools, my sample will be in shades of blue and green (yes, my favourite!) but I ordered more colours than I need so I can play with them 🙂

The scarf/wrap will be about 35cm wide by 170cm long and will be in 4ply yarn. I’m using yarn from my stash for this but will also provide estimates and colours of alternative yarns.

All I have to do now is start writing patterns, finish some samples and make the 2021 CAL samples. I’ll be busy for a while!

Happy crocheting xxxx

CALs ahead

September is here already and my mind has turned to the CAL season. For anyone who doesn’t know what a CAL is – it is a crochet-a-long.

In the last few years I have run 3 regular CALs – an Advent CAL, a Twixmas mandala CAL and a Blanket CAL.

The Advent CAL is in design already. There will be 4 to 6 small patterns, each perfect for gifts. Last year I started it before Advent, so it was a pre-Advent CAL!

The Twixmas mandala is also in design. This will run from 26th to 31st December. Something colourful to brighten up our days under the dull skies in the northern hemisphere!

I have been pondering the Blanket CAL. I normally run this in February/March. These are the last ones:

These blanket patterns are now all available on Ravelry. The 5 above are Honeycomb Web, Down Memory Lane, Wrapped in Memories, Winter Blanket CAL 2015 and Spring Blossom.

I have started to design a blanket motif for 2021, which is octagonal, but I have far too many blankets and I think that maybe I could do a wrap CAL next spring instead. I have in my head 3 octagonal motifs and a joining motif, and even a border. This wrap would be beautiful in a light yarn such as 4ply/fingering/sock. There would be less work than in a blanket as a wrap will be smaller, despite the lighter yarn and smaller hook. The motifs would be suitable for a blanket as well, and I could do a small lap blanket to demonstrate this in a heavier yarn.

So what do you think? Blanket or Wrap or both? If you have any preferences or views please comment here, on facebook or on Ravelry.

Happy crocheting xx

Two new squares

In my last post I told you of my plans to launch 2 new square designs for Granny Square Day.   Well Granny Square Day is on Saturday and it wouldn’t be fair to launch them on the same day would it?  There will be so many squares to look at then that you won’t have time to make these as well!

So I am launching today.   The 2 new squares follow the style of Noughts and Crosses, but are simpler and less textured.  I’ve called the new squares Granny OX Square and   Granny OXS Square and they are available (free) on Ravelry now.  Here they are with Noughts and Crosses: 

One of the things I like with these squares is that you can mix and match the smaller squares.  Here’s all 4 small squares in one:

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These are such fun to make and I can see more variations of them in future, so look out for more in the series.

Please share your makes on social media!

Happy crocheting xxx

 

Granny Square Day

Granny Square Day is on Saturday 15th August this year.  I have designed 2 new squares very recently, based on Noughts  and  Crosses.  In fact when I designed Noughts and Crosses I had these 2 other ones in mind (and a few more) but never finalised their design.   Like Noughts and Crosses they will be free.  As Granny Square Day is very close, I decided that would be a perfect time to publish them.  So look out for a bog post on 15th August.

Meanwhile I thought I’d share an old CAL I did in 2015 using traditional granny squares – the Spring Lifter Bag.  This was a free CAL on my blog in 3 parts – start reading here.  If you prefer the easier to read pattern there is a paid version on Ravelry here.

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Zingy spring lifter

Will you make a Spring Lifter for Granny Square Day?  If you do please share your progress.

Happy crocheting xxx

More summer makes

During this month (July 2020) Drops has a cotton sale, a generous 40% off cotton and cotton blend yarns until the end of the month.   Despite my large stash and my aim to control it better I do give in to temptation from time to time and I have often been tempted to try Drops Bomull-Lin, a linen and cotton blend yarn.  Well it’s a cotton blend so it’s in the sale!  You’ve guessed – I bought some, rather a lot actually, with a view to making practical gifts.  But what to make?

The best thing was to start something straightforward and see how I liked the feel of the yarn.  So I decided on a tea towel and before long these dropped off my hook:

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The tea towel is perfect for drying glassware as the cotton has absorbency and the linen is good with glass.  I had plenty of the brown left so added a simple glass polishing cloth.

These use only chain and double crochet (for US that is single crochet), have an easily memorised pattern and make up quickly.   The pattern is written and available on Ravelry here, but use coupon code SUMMERLINEN and you will get it free, valid until end of July (midnight GMT).

There are so many other practical uses for cotton and linen in homeware (this yarn would be good in summer garments as well) and now is the perfect time to use it during the warm weather in the Northern Hemisphere.  My thoughts will turn to warmer items in a few months and I have a couple of scarves languishing on the hook waiting for the opportunity.  Meanwhile I have a large quantity of linen/cotton yarn in my stash and plenty of summer hooking ideas!

Happy summer crocheting xxx

PS If you are struggling to find the yarn try Purple Sheep Yarns or Woolwarehouse, both based in the UK, I’ve bought Drops from them before and they usually have a good stock.   (And no – I’ve not been sponsored by them or paid to mention them!)

 

Summer makes

When the weather is warm it is good to choose yarns that work easily in the heat, for me that means cotton and linen.   So when we had a mini heatwave a few weeks ago I started on some cotton dishcloths for the Yarndale Community project.  I worked them on and off over the last few weeks using aran weight cotton yarn (because it makes up quickly in the heat!) until I ran out.  I ended up making 5 dishcloths which will be posted soon.

Three were simple and quick granny squares, with linen st borders and a hanging loop

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One was a practice of my Tunisian crochet, based on (loosely in several meanings!) this lovely pattern.  And one I just made up from scraps.

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It was only when I finished the square made of scraps that I realised it would be a good square for a blanket as well.  So I decided I should draft a pattern.  It is now available on Ravelry here and, whilst it costs £1 normally, if you use coupon code COMMUNITY on checkout you will receive it free, valid until the end of the year.

I’ve also been working on with some linen/cotton blend.  I could bore you with details now, but I suspect you want to have a go at the square, so I will publish details of that in a few days.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

Odd skeins, odd times

We are living in strange times; across the world we are all suffering varying types of ‘lockdown’.  But some say that yarn crafters, in fact any crafters, are well prepared for lockdown as we all have tools and ability to make beautiful things without leaving our sofa!

Whilst this is true, at the start of this pandemic I suffered from a loss of my crafting mojo; I wanted to make thing but couldn’t find the enthusiasm to craft.  I started several new projects but nothing grabbed my attention, I just couldn’t concentrate.  This is unusual for me but I reflected and decided I should try some simple projects.   And I started several.  And big confession here:  as soon as I had a whiff of a lockdown I ordered yarn from a variety of suppliers!  My stash control work over the last 2 years was thrown out of the window because I felt I needed plenty of yarn to keep me occupied.   I may have ordered as many as 30 skeins of yarn – but I didn’t count!

One project I started was a large blanket and another a Tunisian crochet cowl, both were fairly simple designs but I stalled.  Then I ordered some luscious sock yarn from Find Me Knitting – Dragon Hill Studio Shebourne Sparkle Sock.  I bought a skein of this yarn when I visited last year and made some lovely socks.  So I thought maybe a bit of blingy sock yarn would do it.  Like many LYS, Find Me knitting is operating mail order only and I contacted Deb to check that she had it in stock first.  She did and the 2 cakes of sock yarn arrived pretty promptly (thank you Deb!) and before I knew it a pair of vanilla but very sparkly socks were made – some blingy simple socks worked their magic!    It was the process of using a single skein (not too big or daunting a project) and doing something simple but rhythmic that provided the magic I needed.

I have a lot of single skeins in my stash which need good projects.   Co-incidentally at one of my weekly knitgroups, which are now online via Houseparty and Zoom, a good friend showed me her book on one skein sock yarn projects.  I was tempted to buy the book but then I realised I have a few one skein designs of my own.  So I will choose one of those next, probably from these favourites:

There are 3 patterns here, each are ideal as one skein projects and each using 4ply/fingering/sock yarn:  One Es Es, Kitty (which has several variations) and Muriel (which has 2 variations).  They all have a gentle rhythm to the pattern which makes them quite relaxing to work through.   I think they would make a lovely collection of one skein makes and I think I could get a dozen different shawls from all the variations.  So I have popped them together in an ebook on Ravelry called Single Skein Shawls, at a bargain price of £5 (normally £12 if bought individually).  So if you fancy some single skein lockdown projects, this may be perfect for you.

I’d love to know what single skein projects you may be working on, whether they are shawls, socks, mitts, cowls – so please share your progress!

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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using our stash

Friends Around the World 5th Anniversary CAL (FATW5) – week 2

What a week!  I can’t believe my feet are still on this planet – I feel like I’ve reached the moon!  Thank you so much for the love of my Thistle Block, the first design of over 40 in the FATW5 CAL.  I said this is the best CAL in the world, and you have all confirmed this 🙂  There are so many fantastic designers lined up for the following squares, maybe we’ll all get to the sun and back!

Talking of the sun, we are at week 2, and my second pattern is now released.  If you love Thistle then I hope you love Highland Sunburst.  When asked to design 2 squares Thistle came into my head straightaway, but it was a while later before Highland Sunburst did.  However, I fell completely in love with it when I was only halfway through crocheting my prototype.  It just flew off my hook and didn’t need a tweak!   I love it so much – and I really hope you do too.

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It is ‘framed’ with the same last few rounds of Thistle, so they work well together.

The pattern is on Ravelry here, with UK and US crochet terms and the first of many translations which are provided by the fabulous CAL team.  Join me in giving them huge thanks for all their work on this.

A reminder (in case you need one!) – the CAL – crochet a long facebook page is here and the CAL requirements can be found here.

Just a quick word about the yarn I used – Cascade 220 worsted. Here in the UK we don’t use worsted often – DK or aran are the norm.  So when I was asked to use worsted I had to do a yarn search.  I prefer natural yarns so it took me a while to find something available that I liked.  I did have quite a lengthy discussion with one of the admin team about what sort of yarn to use and wpi (wraps per inch) but I think I got a bit too technical!   Anyway, after much thought I decided to go for Cascade 220 which is 100% wool.  I had used it before so knew how it worked up and I think it is quite affordable for a quality wool yarn.  I bought several skeins as I plan to use it again and it’s always good to have a stash of yarn, isn’t it?  Especially at the moment when we need our yarn craft more than ever.  We are living in very strange times, ours lives aren’t what they were last year and may not return to normal for some time.  But our love of crochet is something that I know will keep us together (in more ways than one!) and the CAL community will help support us through the challenges.

Stay strong, stay safe and happy crocheting xxx

Friends Around the World 5th Anniversary CAL (FATW5)

Up until now, there have been 2 Friends Around the World CALs over the last few years.  The first started in 2016 and the second started in 2018.  These are amazing CALs organised by the CAL – crochet-a-long group on Facebook, and bringing together afghan square designs by a huge number of exceptional designers from around the world. I was so pleased to be part of both of them and designed 2 squares for each.  If you need any help remembering here are 4 blog posts: OctoghanFlower Compass, Noughts and Crosses.

If you are reading this you probably already know that there is a new Friends Around the World CAL – the 5th Anniversary CAL – and I am absolutely delighted to announce that I have once again designed 2 squares for it.  This is another fantastic collaboration of over 30 designers from around the globe and promises to be another showstopping CAL.  No crocheter will want to miss this.  These CALs are, in my view, the biggest and best CALs in the world and take a humungous amount of organisation by the admin and volunteers.  Once again I give them my heartfelt thanks for all their work.

The first square for FATW5 is published today and it is one of mine!   Oh my goodness, it is such an honour to kick off the CAL with the first square.  I do hope you like this one, I call it Thistle

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I designed it in 2 colours, but you could use more if you like.  I was inspired by all things Scottish when I designed this (I’m a big fan of Outlander!) so this incorporates a thistle stitch, which I have used before because I love the texture of it and it looks so like a Scottish thistle!

The pattern is available here on Ravelry.  There are currently 2 versions, one in UK crochet terms and one in US crochet terms, both also have a chart.  In due course these will be translated into other languages by the CAL team.

I can’t wait to see the first thistles of the CAL!

Details of the CAL requirements can be found here.  I will be following the CAL closely, and I am so excited to see all the squares as they are published!

I do hope you join in the fun!

Happy crocheting xxx

International Crochet Month – NatCroMo

As well as celebrating International Crochet Month with 4 new designs, I am pleased to be a featured designer in the NatCroMo celebrations organised by Crochetville!

Have a look at Crochetville on the facebook page here.  There are crochet designers, tutors and hobbyists featured each day during March and offers galore.  You will find crocheters and designs you have never seen before, learn new things and generally immerse yourself in all things crochet!    And let’s face it, we are living in unusual times so we need the warmth and support of our crafting network more than ever.

As a special offer for NatCroMo my Kitty Shawl is available free on Ravelry if you use coupon code NATCROMO on checkout, valid until midnight GMT tomorrow 31st March.

This is a versatile design in 4ply/fingering yarn with several variations in colour combinations and edging.  It is written in UK crochet terms only, but has US terms for reference and has a chart.

Even if you don’t want to make this shawl straightaway, grab it and pop it in your queue and when you have that perfect yarn you can indulge yourself 🙂

Happy crocheting xxx