At long last I have put the finishing touches to my ebook on mandalas. This was a task I started a couple of months ago but something always prevented me finalising it. It is now complete!
Did you know that the word mandala is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit which loosely translated means “circle”. It has great spiritual meaning and also is fabulous for colour therapy and healing.
There are 8 designs in the ebook:
From left to right: Julie’s Mini, Sunshine, Simply Solid, Mary’s, Lace & Texture, Starry, Buxton and Simply Alternative.
It has been published in all the usual places – Ravelry, LoveKnitting/LoveCrochet, Etsy and Craftsy. It contains 8 different designs, 5 of which are already available as individual patterns, but 3 of which were made available only in workshops previously. So there is something new for almost everyone!
I thought this would be my final work on mandalas, which have entranced me this year, but I have another special design waiting!
The last few posts on this blog have been about the Anniversary CAL, but I have been doing a lot more than just finalising the pattern for the CAL. Patterns are generally written well ahead of publication, then tested and refined – the publication hasn’t taken much of my time at all.
So today I will share a round-up of activity from the last few weeks.
First I was happy to have 2 designs published in different magazines both of which were released on the same day! What a very happy co-incidence! Again these were prepared and written months ago, but the excitement of receiving the magazines and seeing the designs in print (and beautifully styled) is immense. And, of course, I give myself plenty of time to read the magazines over a cup or 2 of coffee!
This one is a flexible design – it can be a skinny scarf, a lariat necklace or a belt – the perfect item to pack for holiday. It is made in some of my favourite yarn, WillowKnits handdyed worsted silk, and it is relatively quick to make, so even if you are off on holiday next week I am sure you can make this in time.
I had such fun making this! It comes in 2 sizes and I designed it so it is made in one piece and requires very little sewing up. I know that finishing a crocheted or knitted garment is generally one of the most disliked tasks, and I know of many pieces that languish in cupboards and drawers awaiting sewing up. For the boho top the motifs are joined as you go and the bodice is made upwards from the motif section, the edging is incorporated into the bodice as you make it and there are probably less than a dozen sewing stitches required to join the shoulders. So once you finish hooking it takes minutes to finish the garment!
You may recall I mentioned a while ago that I treated myself on the spur of the moment to a set of Hamanaka crochet hooks from Janie Crow. I had my eye on these for a while, they looked small and neat, and being double ended meant that I could carry a large range of hooks in a small bag. They haven’t disappointed me at all. I haven’t used anything else since I bought them!
I bought a set of 5 regular sizes, a set of 3 small sizes and a small case for them. The hooks are lovely to handle and, for my small hands, a perfect size. I added a small pair of scissors, some tapestry needles and stitch markers to the front pocket in the case and I now have a perfect little crochet kit.
I have been working on a simple granny square cushion in lovely handdyed 4 ply silk, and you can tell from this photo that I have used the hook a lot (evidenced by the dye accumulating on the handle near the hook shank – don’t worry, I know from experience that this will wash off easily).
Another thing I like about these hooks is that the 3mm and 4mm sizes are on the same hook, and these are the sizes I use the most – so if I want to travel light with crochet, that is the only hook I need carry.
I’ve also been indulging in some more mandala designing, this is a special mandala which is just in the pattern writing stage:
And I have been making some ‘mini bunting’ from a pattern by Emma Lamb published in Mollie Makes Crochet, another great selection of crochet patterns. This now adorns the headboard of the spare bed. Previously my Anniversary Crochet Flower mini bunting adorned the bedhead but I felt it was in need of a refresh and a narrower colour palette – 2 of Emma’s flowers from the book were perfect for this.
So what has been keeping you busy this last month?
Part 2 has a new motif – a large one! And it is included in this mini cushion I made:
As you can see the 2 motifs work together well, I designed the sizes so that they did! Part 2 of the pattern includes a suggested layout if you’d like to make a blanket or throw with just these 2 styles of motif, but there are plenty of other options available – just use your imagination (and maybe a little maths!).
If you haven’t already joined in the CAL, please do – I love seeing what everyone makes with the motifs.
I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog recently. I didn’t mean to neglect it, I’ve just been a little busy doing some tech editing and a few commissions for some of my favourite magazines – all secret but all enjoyable.
Did I ever mention how I love tech editing? Sometimes it is frustrating when designers do not follow the style guides of the magazines and I end up styling as well as editing, but most of the time it is very enjoyable. I get to see some beautiful designs and make new acquaintances whilst querying the technicalities of the designs. I find everything that is new is also very inspiring.
Also, I’ve been preparing for my ‘Magic of mandalas’ workshop next weekend – a 3 hour workshop on crochet mandalas; how to make them, the maths, tips and tricks and how to design your own! Still a few places left…….
And this new mandala design (the second ‘born in Buxton’ design) will feature:
And, as always, I have been busy making things – so here’s something I made last week as a present.
This is gorgeous bunting which I found on this blog. A joy to make and very pretty.
What have you been up to these last few weeks? Please share your crochet journeys 🙂
Do you remember this post when I promised to share more of my mandala designs when they had progressed further?
Here is the Buxton Mandala which I have just published.
This is the ‘prototype’ I made in Buxton. It is made in Drops Muskat which is a mercerised cotton dk with a lovely sheen. I didn’t have many colours of this yarn with me at the time so I used only 5 colours.
When I reworked the design I used Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK of which I had a much wider range of colours. I loved the original design so much that the only thing I changed as I reworked it was the colours and I added one more colour.
There is quite a difference in the yarns – Stylecraft being softer with less of a sheen and giving less stitch definition. This photo shows the difference a little more clearly:
Which do I like? Well both – I love the colours of the Stylcecraft version and I love the sharp stitch definition of the Drops version.
Which do you like?
The pattern it is on special sale on Ravelry until midnight GMT Sunday 10th May 2015 – 50% off the original price if you use coupon code BUXTON at checkout (with apologies to EU purchasers where the coupon code will not work as EU sales are currently diverted to LoveKnitting – something that will be remedied in future).
I’m embarking on a new project, something using the traditional granny square.
I am using some cotton 4 ply/fingering weight yarn which I haven’t used before – Scheepjes Cotton 8. It is lovely to work with and when I started to use it I got carried away with just making some grannies, they fly off my hook! So I have a little production line going:
What am I making? You’ll just have to wait and see!
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:
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:
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.
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):
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.