Twixmas is coming……..

2020 has been quite a year, not at all what anyone was expecting. But it is drawing to a close. Christmas is less than 2 weeks away and that is the signal for me to finalise the Twixmas Mandala CAL. The testing elves have been busy and have helped me to refine the pattern ready for you, the final pre-Twixmas checks are in full swing and next week I will publish the introduction to the pattern.

Running a CAL between Christmas and New Year, or Twixmas, has become a tradition for me. It started in 2014, so this year is my 7th Twixmas CAL and it is now established as a Mandala (yes, I did do a blanket one year – this!).

This is not a difficult CAL, in fact this year it uses mostly normal crochet stitches with the only complicated stitch being the popcorn stitch. It is designed to be fun, something to pick up each day and add a few rounds of new colour. Colour is the main benefit for me – it brightens up my winter days having some colourful crochet to hand.

The pattern introduction will be available next Saturday and will be at a discount of 75% until midnight (GMT) on 24th December. The CAL starts on 26th December when Part 1 is published. There will be 2 versions – one written in UK crochet terms and one written in US crochet terms. There isn’t a chart for the CAL but each new round has a photograph to help you. A new part will be added each day up to 31st December when the last part is published.

Usually I make my mandalas in DK cotton but this year I made 2 – one in DK and one in 4ply. I find that the 4ply version is crisper because the yarn is finer, but I confess my reason for doing 2 was simply to play with colour – one is definitely brighter than the other! Of course you can use any weight of yarn you like, just use a suitable crochet hook.

To remind you of previous years here are the last 3 Twixmases:

These are Twixmas 2019, 2018 and 2017 and are available on Ravelry. To whet your appetite I have them on sale on Ravelry until next Saturday (midnight GMT on 19th December) at 50% discount if you use coupon code TWIXMAS.

Until next week….

Happy crocheting xxx

Pre-Advent CAL – Part 5

I can’t believe we are on Part 5 already! The last couple of weeks have flown by!

I saved the best til last, this is my absolute favourite – Gentle Ripple Cowl

This is made like a scarf and joined to form the cowl using a feature join. The one above has repeated the feature join on every colour change. It can be varied so much using just one feature join and one colour to lots of colours and joins. It would be perfect as stash buster using up those leftovers which you do not want to waste, or even as a rainbow!

The pattern can be found on Ravelry here and is included in the ebook here.

If you’ve been following the CAL you should have stocked up on some small hooked gifts by now

I have thoroughly enjoyed following all the projects, keep sharing them on Ravelry and Facebook.

The next CAL is the Twixmas Mandala – more on that in a couple of weeks.

Happy crocheting xxx

Pre-Advent CAL – Part 4

Are you ready for Part 4? This one has some lovely seasonal sparkle! It is called Advent Bag. It could be used as a gift bag, fill with soaps (and maybe a Christmas Washcloth) for a lovely present, or even jewellery and trinkets.

It is published on Ravelry here and is available in the ebook bundle here.

Please note that this pattern has some beaded stitches and some back post stitches.

Please share your makes on Ravelry and Facebook

On Saturday the last pattern in the CAL will be published – I’ve saved my favourite until last!

Happy crocheting xxx

Pre-Advent CAL – Part 3

How’s your gift hooking coming along? Are you ready for Part 3?

There are 3 designs in the pattern for Part 3 – Christmas Washcloths.

The washcloths have a seasonal theme and would be fabulous in Christmas colours. Find the pattern here or in the ebook bundle here. As usual the pattern is written in UK and US crochet terms and includes charts. Once you have made a few you could easily adapt them to other seasonal designs – how about a bell, a reindeer or a stocking? I would love to see adaptations!

Please share your makes on Ravelry and Facebook.

Until part 4 on Tuesday….. Happy crocheting xxx

Pre-Advent CAL – Part 2

It’s been lovely seeing the flurry of snowflakes from part 1, I hope you have enjoyed making them as much as I have enjoyed seeing them!

Today the second pattern in the CAL is published, the Advent Coasters

These are pretty coasters and a set of 6 would make a perfect present, or look great adorning your festive table.

The pattern can be found here and is also in the Advent CAL ebook bundle here. If you purchased the ebook then you should be able to find the pattern there.

Please share your makes on Ravelry and Facebook.

Until Saturday!

Happy crocheting xxx

Pre-Advent CAL – Part 1

The pre-Advent CAL 2020 starts today!

Just a reminder of what to expect:

The CAL includes 5 patterns – snowflake, coasters, washcloths, gift bag and cowl. These are all quick projects, ideal as small seasonal gifts. They will be published individually but will also be part of a collection/ebook called Advent CAL 2020 which will be on sale for a short time at the bargain price of £1.

Today the first pattern is published 2020 Snowflake

You know I love snowflakes, they are all unique and the hexagonal shape appeals to my mathematical mind! They are key decorations in my home but can be used in so many other ways

The pattern costs £2 and is available here, it includes UK and US crochet terms, a chart and photos of each completed round.

The ebook is available here and normally costs £5, but until midnight tomorrow (GMT) use coupon code CAL to get an 80% discount – that’s £1 for the 5 patterns.

The other 4 patterns will be added to the ebook as they are published on 17th, 21st, 24th and 28th November.

Please share your progress on Ravelry and Facebook – I really want to see a flurry of snowflakes!

Finally I must send out huge thanks to my small army of testers on this project – Tania, Louise, Sally, Maria and Helene. They have been fabulous and CALs like this would not happen without their testing skills – huge thanks to them all 🙂

Happy crocheting xxx

7 days to go!

The first pattern of the 2020 (pre) Advent CAL will be published in 7 days. I hope your hooks are ready!

As I mentioned last week, the first pattern of the 5 in the CAL will be the 2020 Snowflake. To whet you appetite here are the snowflakes from the last 2 years

2019 Snowflake
2018 Snowflake

If you fancy a flurry of snowflakes before the CAL starts, these 2 are on sale on Ravelry at a discount of 50% until midnight GMT tomorrow (Sunday 8th November) if you use coupon code SNOWFLAKE on checkout, you can find them here: 2019 Snowflake and 2018 Snowflake

Happy crocheting xxx

CAL countdown!

Last year I ran my traditional Advent CAL a little early and this was much appreciated as it gave everyone more time to make some gifts, which is what the Advent CAL is all about.   So this year I’ve decided to run it early again as a “pre-Advent” CAL.  There will be 5 designs in this CAL, each can be made in a couple of evenings or less – so they are perfect for gift making.

The designs will be released two weeks before Advent – the first on Saturday 14th November, the second on Tuesday 17th November, the third on Saturday 21st November, the fourth on Tuesday 24th November and the last on Saturday 28th November.   As well as individual patterns, which will be available to purchase on Ravelry and LoveCrafts, the 5 designs will be added to a collection/book on Ravelry and for one day only (first release day plus a few hours) the ebook will be on sale at a bargain £1.

Previously I’ve treated this CAL as a mystery CAL but this year I thought you’d like an idea of what to expect as I suspect this year we will want to make more gifts than usual whilst we are ‘grounded’ and there’s nothing like preparation!

I design a snowflake every year and this year is no exception – so Snowflake 2020 will be released as the first pattern of the CAL, this could be used as a decoration or as a gift tag or a small thank you present for those who have helped keep some normality for us this year.

The other 4 designs would all make fabulous gifts –

a cowl made in DK or worsted yarn with a quick and simple pattern and an interesting feature join

coasters – always quick to make; make a set or 4 or more as pretty gifts or to adorn your festive table

a set of 3 washcloths – in quick and simple seasonal designs and a lovely eco gift

and a gift/toiletry bag – made with beads for sparkle.

Want a sneak peek? Here are a few tempting close ups:

These designs use all the normal crochet stitches, but the snowflake also uses picot and the bag uses some back post stitches and some beaded stitches.

More details will be posted in my Ravelry group here.

Don’t forget there will be a Twixmas Mandala CAL from 26th to 31st December (in DK or 4ply yarn) and starting at the end of January a wrap/blanket CAL using broadly the same motifs but different yarns and colour schemes.  Just to whet your appetite here’s the yarn I’m using in the dual CAL:

Stylecraft Special Chunky for the blanket:

And some luscious 4ply for the wrap in some gorgeous muted colours:

So dust your hooks off and get ready for CAL season! It starts in two weeks!

Happy crocheting xxx

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