Stashing down and away

If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that I have been working hard to ‘control’ my stash of precious yarn.  I was inspired by Lynne Rowe’s Use it or Lose it campaign last year which encouraged me to review my shelves and cupboards and develop a strategy to use the yarn stash I had collected.  I now feel I have my stash under control.  It is still a good-sized precious collection of yummy yarn, from vintage Natural Dye Studio to Triskelion Yarn, and the majority are completely natural fibres as I have also been working on reducing plastic in my life (and plastic means acrylic and nylon yarn as well).   But it all fits in one trunk!

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OK, it’s a deep trunk (and messy!) and finding what I need involves a lot of digging, but that is a pleasure.

One of the ways I have been working on reducing the stash is by keeping a clear record of what I have, so when I want to make something I can refer to the record and I’m not afraid to change my plans if I find I don’t have quite the right yarn in my stash.   My record is a spreadsheet and it shows me brand, name of yarn, weight of yarn (DK, 4ply, lace etc), weight of skeins/balls, length of skeins/balls (in metres) and colour.  When I first started this spreadsheet (June last year) I had 154 skeins/balls of yarn; I now have 97.  You may think that means I have used 57, but I have treated myself to new yarn on occasion, so more than 57 have been ‘consumed’.  But I have an aim to get down to 80 or less by the end of the year, so if I am to allow myself the odd new purchase then I do need to find inspiring designs to help me use it.    And, of course, new designs includes designs of my own – and I have one that is almost ready to publish.

Stashaway is a lovely easy shawl that I find works up very quickly.  It is an asymmetrical triangle shape.  I designed it in 4ply yarn, but it can be made in any weight.  I also designed it to use a variety of colours, in fact I had 3 half skeins of my favourite colours in mind.  I enjoyed making it so much that I made 2, and I have a 3rd ready to start.  The joy of this design is that it can be made in one colour, or 2 or more colours in a variety of stripes.  It’s a solid design, no lace required, and after the first few rows it becomes easy to remember the 2 row repeat.  My first shawl used 3 colours in varying widths of stripes and the colours repeated throughout (I enjoyed stopping to decide when and which colour to use next); my second shawl used a set of 5 mini skeins which I used in order and just changed once each skein ran out.  My third one will be different again!  I’m using this:

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This is Artesano yarn from ‘deep’ stash – 2x50g skeins of Alpaca Silk 4ply in Violet Blue and 1x50g skein of Alpaca Blend 4ply in Lemon Grove, in total 600m.

To encourage others to keep using their stash I decided to publish the basic pattern free here on the blog, with a paid pattern including a chart on Ravelry and LoveCrafts.  And then I thought: why have a ‘use it or lose it’?   So are you up for it?  Would you like to join me in a CAL?

I will publish the pattern in a week, meanwhile if you want to join me in a CAL then you need to start searching your stash – look for at least 150g of ANY weight of yarn (just as long as it is all the same weight).  As a guide, approx 150g/600m of 4ply/sock/fingering yarn will make a shawl about 180cm long by 35cm at the widest part (that’s 71″ by 14″).

The CAL will be hosted in my Ravely group and photos can be shared there or on my facebook page.

I’m looking forward to this CAL, I do hope you join in ……….you may find this shawl a bit addictive like I have!

Happy crocheting xx

Playing with beads

Tomorrow is the monthly Crochet Club and the topic is crocheted jewellery.  For me crocheted jewellery normally means adding beads, and that is one of the things we will do tomorrow.

Usually, I think about the topic for a week or so beforehand, so I’ve had crochet and beads on my mind for a while.  I remembered the last time we played with beads at Crochet Club was 2 years ago when we made some pretty little crochet pots.  Aren’t these cute?

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They are small – ranging from 4cm to 8cm across and from 4cm to 6cm high – and are perfect for storing little bits n bobs on the dressing table.  I used some leftover Scheepjes Catona cotton yarn in shades of blue and green, and some lovely beads to make them sparkle.   The smallest pot is similar to the one I published here on the blog 5 years ago.

These aren’t on the agenda for tomorrow but I looked them up anyway and was astonished to find the pattern written and tested but never published!   So I have rectified this.  Beaded pots is now available on Ravelry and until the end of this month (midnight GMT 31st July) available at half price.

Are you planning on bringing some crochet sparkle into your life?

Happy crocheting xxx

Breaking silence……

There’s been a lull – yes, quite a lull. I haven’t blogged for over a month.  But today the silence is over.

The truth is that I lost my cro-jo for a while but I don’t think I was alone in this.  Maybe there’s been a crochet lull around the world because some of my friends say they have lost their cro-jo and I’ve just read an article about a designer who also lost their cro-jo for a few months. With me, though, I think I managed to wipe myself out in March.  I was still running the annual blanket CAL and made a very late decision to run 4 mini CALs to celebrate International Crochet Month.  I love CALs but running so many in such a short space of time was ambitious.

During the last month I have settled into making a few items from other designers’ patterns, which has meant my crafting is relaxed and easy.  I’ve had 2 shawl designs languishing on the hook for some time, not too far from being finished, but to finish them seemed like hard work so I left them languishing.  But something has just clicked – I’ve started some garden bunting using jute twine…….

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Those colours are gorgeous aren’t  they?  This bunting uses the pattern for Yarndale Brooches but using Nutscene jute twine.  On a 5mm hook one mini spool makes just one (actually it varies and I did have to adjust the number of sts on the last round of one of the flags). This will brighten up the garden in summer.  And when the summer is over, if the bunting is weathered and worn out, it will go on the compost heap.

Also I have just designed a third shawl which is now on my hook and starting to race along. I’m calling it One Es Es because it is a one skein shawlette. We all have some lovely single skeins in our stash (some of us have a lot – that’s another story!) so a single skein shawl is a great way to use them.

I am hopeful that there will be 3 shawl designs released in the next few months. Sneak peeks will come soon 😊

Happy crocheting xxx

March is almost over…..

As March comes to an end, so does International Crochet Month.

Thank you to all who have joined in the mini CALs I designed to celebrate the month of crochet.  I can now reveal that Mini CAL 4 was………

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A potholder!

There are still a couple of days left in March and, of course, we don’t stop crocheting when March comes to an end.  So for a final celebration I have decided to run a flash sale.

Until midnight GMT on 31st March 2019, all my patterns on Ravelry (and that includes the knitting ones!) are on sale at 25% off, but you need to use coupon code MARCH on checkout.

Happy crocheting xxx

March Mini CAL 4 – Part 2

Today the last part of the last March Mini CAL is published.   I can’t believe we are almost at the end of March already – I’m going to miss these updates!

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Part 1 of this last CAL produced a lovely colourful item which would make a pretty small doily to match the coasters in Mini CAL 3.  But that is not what I intended for this design….it makes something else altogether!  No spoilers quite yet though…….

The pattern can be found here and the Ravelry group here.

The CAL is not quite over – just a few more stitches to go then I will reveal the item 🙂

Happy crocheting xx

 

 

March Mini CAL 4 – Part 1

Today sees the publication of the first part of the last March Mini CAL.

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This starts with a centre based on Mini CAL 3, but part 1 makes it much bigger.  I can’t reveal what it is yet so you’ll just have to wait until part 2 on Wednesday.  However, I can reveal what March mini 3 is – a coaster!

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As usual there is an early bird discount for March mini 4 – use coupon code MINI on checkout and you get the pattern free, but be quick – it’s available until midnight GMT 24th March.

The CAL is being hosted in my Ravelry group, so pop over there and share progress.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

2019 Blanket CAL – The Finale

The final part of the Down Memory Lane Blanket – the 2019 Blanket CAL – has been added to the pattern on Ravelry.  This includes the joining method and border that I used.  So now I can show you my finished blanket in situ.

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I like simplicity in a blanket, so no fancy join and no large fussy border for me, which is why the pattern includes a minimal join and a simple 5 round border.  However, joining and border could be anything and I know many of you have favourite joining techniques and like more substantive borders – the choice is yours because the blanket you make is yours and you should make what you like 🙂

My final blanket is meant to be double bed size but also fits over our king size bed, so is very practical.    It is also full of my favourite squares and uses some of my favourite yarns, so is just what I wanted.

I hope you have enjoyed the blanket CAL this year – it has been fun for me to have you join in the journey!

Happy crocheting xxx

 

March Mini CAL 3 – Part 2

Part 2 is now live on Ravelry!   If you have purchased the pattern on Ravelry then you should have received an automatic notice of an update, or just search for it in your Ravelry library.

This is the final part of March Mini CAL 3, but I won’t reveal it until you have had the chance to complete it.

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I think this is a pretty thing, and you may want to make several!

Please share progress on Ravelry.

Now I can reveal what March Mini CAL 2 was – a food cover (alternatively can be used as a doily):

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The pattern allows you to make this to any size that you like.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

March Mini CAL 3 – Part 1

March Mini CAL 2 is now complete and today we move onto March Mini CAL 3.  Part 1 is now available and the pattern is found on Ravelry here .  It costs £2 but it is free for short time if you use coupon code MINI  at checkout, but be quick as this expires at midnight GMT today (17th March).

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From these snippets you’ve probably realised I’m using the same colours in all the mini CALs.  All the items in the CALs can be used in the home/kitchen, so I chose fresh colours that I like in mine.

Please share progress on Ravelry here.

Part 2 will be published on Wednesday.

Happy crocheting xxx

2019 Blanket CAL Part 6

The last 2 squares of Down Memory Lane – the 2019 Blanket CAL – have been added to the pattern on Ravelry.   These are both based on some lacy squares from Wrapped in Memories but have been made larger with the addition of extra lacy rounds.

They are 2 of my favourite lacy squares.

If you are following the free version then why not try the 5th square from the Blog Blanket CAL 2015 here just add 2 more rounds of trebles (US dc), and a good old granny square worked to 10 rounds.

Next week is the final part – the joining method I used and the border I added.

Please share progress in my Ravelry group here.

Happy crocheting xxx