Archives for the month of: July, 2013

I count myself very lucky to have some inspirational crafting friends, they make some amazing things and are always happy to share their ideas and what inspires them. So I am now going to share 2 things that I made thanks to inspiration from my friends.

The first is a sewing project. Whilst shopping in Tesco this week I spotted some lovely tea towels, good fabric with nice patterns – £4 for a pack of 3 – one spotty, one floral (a little Cath Kidston I think) and one plain white waffle. I instantly remembered Riana sharing her tea towel tote, so I knew exactly how useful these tea towels could be. I just needed a bit of webbing, which I found in John Lewis, and in no time I had made this:

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I call it the Tesco Tea Towel Tote! And it is destined to be a present. Thank you Riana!

The next inspiration came from Heike (do have a look at her blog here http://www.madewithloops.co.uk). She shared a photo on facebook of a very colourful granny bag, gathered at the top into some handles. And this inspired me to make a purse along the same lines – here is my take on a granny purse.

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The best bit of this is the lining, have a close look here:

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Yes, it is a white waffle – taken from one of the Tesco Tea Towels.

I can’t recommend tea towel sewing more highly, you frequently find some lovely printed fabrics (Riana made a tote using a cupcake printed towel from Ikea), they are good quality and they are generally very good value. And they are already edged, which reduces the sewing. Next time you go shopping look for tea towels, you may find yourself inspired to make something beautiful from one…or two……

Happy knitting, crocheting and sewing xx

There are some yarns I just love so much….kidsilk is one.   So when I spotted the new Rowan Kidsilk Haze Glamour yarn in John Lewis I just had to buy some.   It has tiny sparkley sequins threaded on the yarn – gorgeous!   This is what I made with it:

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The pattern is called Glamour Wrap and is now for sale on Ravelry here http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/glamour-wrap, and will soon be added to Etsy and Craftsy.   Like most of my patterns, it is deceptively easier than it looks!  I love it and just wish it would cool down a little in the evenings so I can wrap it around my shoulders!

Happy knitting and crocheting

xx

 

Yesterday was one of those days to remember.  Along with a group of friends from knitgroup, I attended a patchwork workshop in Moseley, Birmingham.  I have never travelled too far for a workshop before, but when the workshop is being held at Guthrie & Ghani and the tutor is Sarah Hazell, I would travel the length of the country!  Have a look at Guthrie & Ghani here:   http://www.guthrie-ghani.co.uk/about

The Guthrie part of the business is Lauren Guthrie, who some may know was in The Great British Sewing Bee and was just pipped to the winning post by the amazing Ann (my Bohemian Rhapsody inspiration).  The emporium (I just can’t call it a shop!) is lovely. They stock the best fabrics, such beautiful bolts of pattern and colour, the best quality yarn (sooooo squishy) and oodles of really useful haberdashery.  And to top it all they have plenty of space to browse pattern books, or simply sit and drink a coffee inside or outside in the little courtyard.   Upstairs is the studio where workshops are held, and this is large, airy, light and very well equipped. 

Here is what I made:

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The pincushion is destined for my blocking pins, and the lavender pyramid for my wardrobe, although I may change my mind as shutting it away in a wardrobe just doesn’t seem appropriate.

Sarah’s workshop was brilliant, she had prepared  lovely packs for us, and had lots of beautiful fabricfor us to choose from for our projects and she is an excellent tutor.  I have always had great fun at her workshops.    I had never done any sort of patchwork before and I am a little rusty at sewing (which I used to do a lot of in my teens) but I am pretty pleased with the end result!  She will be running more workshops at Guthire & Ghani, including Learn to Crochet and Luxurious Knitting with Kidsilk Haze.  In my view, her workshops are the best and you will learn so much from her.

I feel quite inspired and I have purchased all this:

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I plan to make 2 shells tops, one of which will have some crochet……..so keep your eyes open for that one!  And I love the pyramid lavender pouch, so I think there will be some featured in Christmas presents this year!

Happy knitting and crocheting….. and sewing!

xx

One of the things I love about Ravelry is the seeing comments on projects that have used my designs.   I spotted one today and I am sharing it here (with the permission of the writer – Lindsey)

“……………….. love this pattern and this yarn! I’m new to crochet and this is only my second scarf. The pattern is well written and the first time I’ve followed a chart. Very happy with end result and would use this pattern again. Think this one will be a Christmas pressie for someone!”

Thank you Lindsey for your lovely words.

The pattern she was talking about is Wonderwool Express – this is it in double knit: DSCF2758

I find her comments very heartening because the proceeds from this pattern go to charity.   I know people who are thinking of buying patterns on Ravelry have a look to see who else may have used them, and if they see positive remarks then maybe they will be encouraged to buy the pattern as a result.  So her lovely words may well help the charity. 

What is the charity?  Well there is a bit of a story so please bear with me……..

Originally this pattern was written for a coach trip that I organised to a fabulous yarn event called Wonderwool Wales in April this year – it is heaven for knitters/crocheters/weavers and anyone who loves yarny things.  Have a look at their website here http://www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk

Why design a pattern for a coach trip?  Well the journey was almost 3 hours each way, so I thought it would help while away the time on the coach, so it became a CAL (crochet-a-long) for the coach.  Of course not everyone can crochet so not everyone worked on it on the coach.  But I am pleased to say the first one was completed the very next day!

After I designed it I thought I should perhaps do more than just give it to the ladies on the coach trip – so in honour of the event I decided to put it for sale on Ravelry with the proceeds to go to the chosen charity of Wonderwool Wales – the Wales Air Ambulance.  Website:  http://walesairambulance.com/en/history-and-facts

Here’s another photo showing both the DK version and the 4 ply/fingering version: DSCF2760

The pattern is relatively easy to do, it is only 2 rows of pattern, is reversible, is easy to get into the rhythm of (it was designed for a coach trip so had to be relatively straightforward!) and, although written specifically for DK or 4 ply yarn, it can be made in any weight yarn, You can personalise it with an edging – fringe, frill, beads.  It is written in English and US crochet terms and is charted.

If you like it, please buy it – until 31st March next year, each sale makes £3 for Wales Air Ambulance.

Happy knitting and crocheting

xx

I consider myself to be privileged and lucky to be a member of a fabulous knitgroup called Knitsford.  I could write pages on how fabulous it is! 

Although called a knitgroup, it is for any craft – we have knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, embroiderers and sewers who attend regularly, and many are multi-crafters.  They are a wonderful group of people and we have a laugh, share experiences, help each other with any knit/crochet/sewing problems, give each other moral support and generally just have a great time over a coffee, sometimes cake, sometimes bacon butties and sometimes lunch, depending on the time of day. 

We meet in 3 venues on different days/times of the week – a pub, a bar/restaurant and a garden centre café, and people come when they like.  Anything from 4 to 24 people can attend any of them.

Today we were at the garden centre, and I found myself swapping stitch markers, showing the delights of Ravelry, sharing ways of joining crochet motifs, doing a ‘show and tell’ on some recent completed projects such as this:

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And this:

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Yes, only sneaky previews as these are a couple of designs that I plan on publishing (you must be patient!).

I also shared progress on bohemian rhapsody, found out who is coming on our coach trip to Yarndale in September and I worked out how to do a pretty crochet flower for Maxie, who is visiting from South Africa.  

There was an abundance of laughter today and I came away refreshed!

So tell me are you a member of a knitgroup? And, if so, what do you enjoy the most about it?

Did anyone watch The Great British Sewing Bee?   Well if you did you may have spotted Ann (the winner and my heroine!) wearing a fabulous crochet scarf in the penultimate episode, it was so light some people even thought it was printed on fabric.  The scarf is a design by Marylene Lynx called Bohemian Rhapsody, you can see it here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bohemian-rhapsody-2

Now I am not a huge fan of granny squares.  You should know by now that I am a hexagon girl!  However, what I do like about granny squares is the opportunity you have to experiment with colour, and there are so many amazing colour experts out there who create the most fabulous grannies.   Marylene Lynx did just that with Bohemian Rhapsody, there are 75 colours in the design – the complete colour range in the very fine lace weight merino wool by Renaissance Dyeing http://www.renaissancedyeing.com/en/

I just had to make one!   

First I purchased the kit, which is available only from Renaissance Dyeing and comes from France.   It arrived in double quick time and I laid out all the colours on the table – they looked so beautiful I didn’t want to start!

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Then I had to sort them into 3 groups

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Then I started the long laborious task of winding them into usable balls.  At first I did this on bits of paper as I was so impatient I wanted to start making the scarf.

Within a few days I had used 25 colours and made the first 8 squares – only another 136 to go!

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In the top left of the photo you will see the yarn on bits of paper.

After talking to a friend, who was tempted like me and has bought the kit, I very quickly realised it would be better to use embroidery cards and organise them into an embroidery box, so I had to rewind most of them!

But it has been worth it.  I set a plan to do 8 squares a fortnight and I am a little ahead of that plan – here it is now, 48 squares complete – so a third of the way through.  

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Look closely in the top right and you will see my yarns, now properly organised in a box!

It should be finished in time for Christmas!

 

Happy knitting and crocheting

xx

I talked about my hexagon project yesterday and I’ve been pondering ever since.  Maybe you won’t understand my love of hexagons…or will you?  So I thought I would share another small hexagon design with you just to see if it whet’s your appetite!  Please do tell me what you think of it.

As I made it I was thinking of a star but, as so often happens when I get a hook in my hand, it took on a life of its own – and this little curvy star was born.

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Do you like it?  Subconsciously I must have thought of the blanket I want to make, which I want to be ‘open’ but snug, because I think it is perfect for what I want in that blanket and that’s what I will make with it. It is 3 rounds and really not too difficult to make if you can crochet in the round.  Here’s the pattern:

This is written in English crochet terms and uses standard abbreviations.

 st = stitch

ss = slip stitch

sp = space

dc = double crochet

tr = treble

htr = half treble

dtr = double treble.

I used a 5mm hook (US H/8) and some aran weight yarn, but you can use any yarn as long as you use a suitable hook.

Foundation – make 6 ch and join into a ring with a ss

Round 1 – 3 ch (counts as 1 tr), 1 tr, 1 ch, (2 tr, 1 ch) 5 times, join to 3rd ch from start of round with a ss

Round 2 – ss into gap between first 2 tr from last round (if you are changing colour join your new colour here), into this gap crochet (3 ch (counts as 1 tr), 1 tr, 1 ch, 2 tr, [into next 1 ch-sp, crochet 1 dc, into the gap between next 2 tr from last round crochet (2 tr, 1 ch, 2 tr)] five times, into next 1 ch-sp, crochet 1 dc, join to 3rd ch from start of round with a ss

Round 3 – ss into top of 3 ch from start of last round (if you are changing colour join your new colour here), [(1 htr, 1 tr, 2 dtr, 1, tr, 1 htr) in 1 ch-sp, ss into 2nd tr along, ss into next tr along] five times, (1 htr, 1 tr, 2 dtr, 1, tr, 1 htr) all in 1 ch-sp, ss into 2nd tr along, ss to first ss to complete the round.  Break yarn and fasten off.

If you want to join the motifs together, join between the 2 dtr at the tip of each curve on the last round.

For those who like charts, here’s one for you (this uses standard symbols)But please note this is copyright – do not repost/pin this or you will be in breach of that copyright:

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Now for the legal stuff – I designed this today, 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!

I am human (yes, I am!) so I am perfectly capable of making mistakes!  So if you spot any errors in the pattern please just tell me and I’ll correct it. 

Happy knitting and crocheting

xx

PS For those who are interested, I use Stitchworks software to chart.

Hot news – I have just published Motif no 4 from the Hexagon Project 2013

Do you want to know more about it?  Well here goes………

What is the hexagon project? A collection of 7 hexagon motif designs (afghan designs)published from April to October. On 1st April the first design was published, the other 6 are published at monthly intervals.  So today design number 4 was published.

Why hexagons? I have a thing about hexagons, there is something more organic about them compared to squares and I love the way they sit together.

Where are the patterns?  They are published on Ravelry.com   So look under my designs there.  Here’s a link http://www.ravelry.com/designers/agrarian-artisan

Are they free?  Only to ‘hexagon club’ members.  The first design was free for the month of April and people were invited to join the club to receive the next designs free.

How do you become a member? All it takes is a few simple steps. 

1. Join my forum on Ravelry, Agrarian Artisan Designs.  Here’s a link: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/agrarian-artisan-designs

2. Establish a project on Ravelry for your hexagons

3. Tag the project 2013hexagon

4. Link the project to one of the The Hexagon Project 2013 designs.

If you are a member on the day I publish each design, then you will receive that design.

Are they easy to make?  The motifs are suitable for those fairly new to crochet who can crochet in the round, there are no complex stitches used.

Can I get help?  Of course!   There is a discussion group on my forum on Ravelry and everyone in the club shares progress and questions there.  And of course you can always ask me!

There’ll be more on the project as I publish the next designs, meanwhile here’s some photos of the first 4 hexagons.

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Happy knitting and crocheting

xx

 

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