A personal challenge or craftidextrous heaven?

Perhaps I shouldn’t post this. The subject is something that is (or maybe now, was) destined as a Christmas present. A beaded crochet pouch that I designed, lined with felt and is now perfect for keeping jewellery safe, clean and comforted. It was fun to make.
Here it is:

Beaded crochet pouch
Beaded crochet pouch

And then someone suggested maybe we should have a beaded knitting workshop at the knitaway we are planning in Buxton. So I thought, how about doing knitting and crochet? What if I designed a beaded knit pouch that would be similar to the crochet one and then I could host a dual workshop – beaded pouch for knitters and crocheters?
I am craftidextrous – I love doing both crochet and knitting, although I confess crochet is my favourite (slightly).

So a spare afternoon yielded this:

Beaded knitted pouch
Beaded knitted pouch

What do you think?

Are they similar? Would you like to make them? Or one of them?


To me this was a personal challenge, and it feels fantabulous to have completed it! I think, at least on my own personal level, that I have proved crochet and knitting are both brilliant and can produce similar beautiful results. What do you think?

This is one topic where I am aching to hear your views.

Happy craftidextrous crafting xxxxx

Stashing down…….

I have been busy for the last 2 weeks, a little bit of designing but mainly ‘stashing down’. What is stashing down? For yarn-aholics like me, stash is the stock of yarn I have acquired over the years. So stashing down means using up lots of yarn so that my yarn ‘stash’ reduces. Now my stash is huge, so large that I keep a spreadsheet to help me manage it and I know how many balls/skeins I have. But it is so embarrassingly large that I can’t even bring myself to tell you what that number is! It does fill a tall built in double width wardrobe and overflow into numerous baskets in my yarn room. Did I ever mention I have a yarn room? Perhaps the less said the better – but it gives you an idea of how much stash I have!

I need to reduce this stash considerably and I decided to use quick simple crochet stitches (such as granny square stitches) that I can do with my eyes shut, and therefore speedily stash down. So I have used these simple stitches and crocheted like the wind. So far I have used 17 balls of my stash and made no fewer 8 gift bags (destined for Christmas wrappings).

The bags are varied, and mainly just improvised. I did start a couple of patterns but changed then, and after that I decided I could just make them up as I went. So here’s a selection:

Market style bags
Market style bags
Granny style bags
Granny style bags

You can tell from the photos that I haven’t used the best of my yarn stash for these bags. But there is a little glitter and silk in some of the yarns I used.

I have also started on some simple but luxurious cushion covers in pure silk. These are a simple granny square design – one for the back and 4 for the front. I plan to fasten them with buttons, so I will need to design a granny-style button flap.
I love the yarn and the colours complement each other well. Unfortunately this photo just doesn’t show the colours in all their glory, nor the beautiful sheen of the silk.

Granny cushion pieces
Granny cushion pieces

I’m also working on a few WIPs – one a second cushion cover to match this one:

Fresh Red cushion
Fresh Red cushion

This is a design from a few months ago, you can find the pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fresh-red-crochet-cushion

In the next couple of weeks my stash down will be finished (for now) and hopefully I will have used more than 30 balls/skeins of yarn. Perfect for creating more storage space …….because at the end of September I am going here: http://www.yarndale.co.uk
And I am sure to buy lots more yarn – I guess that’s called stashing up!!!

Happy crocheting xxx

Colour and collaboration

What an exciting week it has been for me! First the MCAL on my Ravelry forum is going better than I had expected. I confess I was really worried about this MCAL, I wanted to make it easy enough for anyone to try but interesting enough for the mystery element. So I planned it in small chunks, and actually those small chunks really help to keep the mystery going. None of them are complicated themselves, but as you add them together it becomes more interesting. Best of all for me, everyone seems to like it and they are sharing progress on the Ravelry forum, even speeding away each time I publish a new clue! I do hope they like the final design… but in case they don’t I do have several options available …… ooooo, mustn’t give the game away!
The last clue of the MCAL is out later this week. Meanwhile, here’s some progress photos by kind permission of some of the MCALers – Sigrun, Elaine and Kerry:


I am so pleased that everyone has chosen lots of colour, the colours vary from bright to subtle, but are all very beautiful and I think will look excellent in the final design.
And here’s another photo I have to share from (another) Kerry, she hates sewing ends (I guess we all do) but by issuing this in chunks she has the opportunity to do sewing in between clue. Here is her Sunday morning production line:

Also I have been busy on another major collaboration with Amanda Perkins of The Natural Dye Studio. Those who know Amanda know that she does the most beautiful crochet designs and recently has concentrated on some very special, unique blanket designs. This year she designed the Kaleidoscope mystery crochet blanket club, which you will have seen on this blog. Here is my August instalment, with apologies for the photo quality (it is very dull here today, difficult to get good light for photos):

August Kaleidoscope
August Kaleidoscope

For next year she is planning the Zodiac blanket club. Check out the club details here: http://www.thenaturaldyestudio.com/zodiac—crochet-blanket-club-2015-428-c.asp

Although Amanda designs crochet she is very aware that many of her customers knit. And she decided she would like to give them the opportunity to join the Zodiac club. Yes, this means she wanted to have a knit design as well, so she asked me if I could help. Of course, I jumped at the chance and several weeks later (and many swatches ranging from very easy to extremely complex!) we have found a knit design that fits well, or rather a component of the design because the overall design is the same whether knit or crochet but the components are different (naturally). I can’t give too much away but I am extremely excited about this! Very soon you will be able to find more details on The Natural Dye Studio’s website. I will post a link when it is available.

I did a lot of swatching to get this design right, and I really didn’t think I would enjoy knitting motifs as much as I do crochet (I think I am addicted to crochet motifs!), but I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this. So much that when I hit on the final design I wanted to make more ……….. and more. I sense a new addiction taking hold.

Naturally one collaboration leads to another, and there is something else we are working on which is very exciting. I can’t reveal more at the moment, but it will be just as exciting!

So I have had a very exciting week, I hope yours has been equally exciting and enjoyable.

Happy knitting and crochet xxx

Little beaded crochet pot

A few days ago I posted a photo of the little crochet beaded pot that I made with some leftovers. Here it is:

Beaded pot
Beaded pot

I thought you might just like the pattern. It’s a lovely quick project, and great for using up little bits of leftover yarn and beads. So here’s the pattern:

You will need:
Rowan Cotton Glace, 100% cotton, 50g/114m per ball (approx. 10g/25m used)
30 size 6 beads
3.0mm (US D/3) crochet hook
Tapestry needle
Sewing needle and thread

Tension is not important for this design, just ensure you have a nice tight finish..

Finished size will vary depending on your tension. My pot is 4.5cm in diameter and 4cm high (that’s about 1.75″ by 1.5″)

Note – these are all English crochet terms but the only stitch in this pattern that is different in US terms is the dc – so just swap dc for sc if you want US terms
st = stitch
ch = chain stitch
ss = slip stitch
dc = double crochet
Magic ring = make a magic ring, hold thread in your hand and wrap working yarn around forefinger twice to create ring, slip ring off your finger and insert hook to pick up first st, 1ch, then work the necessary sts for round 1 and close the ring tightly by pulling the loose end.
bdc = beaded double crochet – insert hook into st, yarn round hook and draw loop through st, push bead close to hook, yarn round hook and pull yarn through both loops on hook making sure bead is trapped in the st.
BLO = work sts in back loop only
RS = right side
WS = wrong side

Thread beads onto yarn (see tip below pattern)

Start with a magic ring
Round 1 (RS)
1ch (does not count as st), 6dc in ring, pull ring tight, ss to 1st dc (6 sts)

Round 2
1ch (does not count as st), 2dc into st at base of ch, 2dc in each st to end, ss to 1st dc (12sts)

Round 3
1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 2dc into next st, (1dc into next st, 2dc in next st) 5 times, ss to 1st dc (18 sts)

Round 4
1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into base of ch, 1dc into next st, 2dc into next st, (1dc into each of next 2 sts, 2dc in next st) 5 times, ss to 1st dc (24 sts)

Round 5
1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 1dc into each of next 2 sts, 2dc into next st, (1dc into each of next 3 sts, 2dc in next st) 5 times, ss to 1st dc (30 sts)

Round 6
Work this round in BLO, 1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 1dc into each st around, ss to 1st dc (30 sts)

Round 7
1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 1dc into each st around, ss to 1st dc (30 sts)

Round 8
Turn to work with WS (inside of pot) facing you, 1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 1bdc into next st, (1dc into next st, 1bdc into next st) 14 times, ss to 1st dc (30 sts)

Round 9
Turn to work again with RS facing, 1ch (does not count as st), 1dc into st at base of ch, 1dc into each st around, ss to 1st dc (30 sts)

Rounds 10 to 15
As round 7

Round 16
As round 8

Round 17
As Round 9.

Break yarn, fasten off and sew in ends.

TIP: Threading beads onto yarn
To thread beads onto yarn, first thread a sewing needle with sewing thread and tie in a knot. Loop the yarn through the sewing thread. Thread beads onto needle, along thread then onto yarn. Always thread more beads on than you need, as you may decide to adjust the size or you may make a mistake. It’s better to have unused beads left on the yarn rather than run out and have to cut and re-join the yarn if you do need to add beads.

Threading beads onto yarn
Threading beads onto yarn

Please note this pattern is my design and the pattern and photos are copyright.

I hope you like the pattern. And please share photos of any little beaded pots you make.

Happy crocheting xxx

PS I am human and can make mistakes, so if you spot a mistake in the pattern please let me know and I’ll correct it.