Pastel Cowl

I’ve just been shopping, I don’t normally go on a Saturday as I can go any day of the week and prefer to avoid the crowds.  But today I had to go because I was desperate to buy a copy of the latest Mollie Makes, issue number 55.  I should have received a contributor copy but it hasn’t arrived yet and I just wanted to see it to check  it was absolutely true that one of my designs is in it!   And it is:

Contents
Contents

I have worked as the crochet tech editor for Mollie Makes for a few years now, and it’s a great magazine to work for, not least because all the people I work with there are truly lovely.  However, I have never submitted any designs before; you see I don’t submit designs to any magazine often as I like to work at my own pace and don’t want the stress of deadlines.   In this instance I was partway through making the cowl and just sent a photo of it to the Deputy Editor (yes, partially made with lots of loose ends – in fact the photo didn’t look at all good!).   So I was very happily surprised to find they wanted it!

Pastel Cowl
Pastel Cowl

Having the evidence of the publication before my eyes, I settled down to a cuppa and enjoyed reading it.  I can’t help lingering over my design though – the photography and layout is wonderful, they have done me proud.  The cowl was a dream to make, because the motif is straightforward, quick to learn and easy to join….and the yarn I used was Drops Baby Alpaca Silk which is sooooo soft (and great value for luxury fibres at less than £4 per ball).

I would love to see any cowls made to this design, so if you are tempted to make one please do share a photo with me.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

Doodling mandalas….

As you know, I have a new addiction to mandalas.   And I may have mentioned that I am a constant crochet ‘doodler’, never far from my hook and yarn and playing with all sorts of designs all the time.   I have found that mandalas and doodling go very well together and this weekend I ‘doodled’ a new design.

Latest doodle
Latest doodle

It needs more work because it doesn’t fulfil all I need from a mandala.  So the next stage in the design process is to write the pattern as I made it, but adjusting where I think it needs improving.  And then I will make another one – using only the pattern.  A few people will be invited to test the pattern.   Eventually it will become a full fledged design and the pattern will become available.   For now it is just one of my latest favourite ‘doodles’.

Happy crocheting xx

 

 

The stashbuster

My rainbow stashbuster cowl has been published here and here.

Luscious rainbow colours
Luscious rainbow colours

Whilst designed as a cowl, the motif can be used in anything and would be great in a blanket.  It is a little addictive and very easy to join as you go.  I used my leftover stash to make this – lots of colours of DK.  But it would be perfect in any yarn.

Cowl
Cowl

Pop over to my Ravelry forum for a little offer for the first 10 purchasers 😉

Happy crocheting xx

 

 

 

Coming soon…….

I have been working on a new design, a stash busting cowl.  Or rather an all round stash buster 🙂

I had a lot of double knit in a variety of rainbow colours so I designed a square motif which I put into a lovely colourful cowl.  I love the motif and I think it is a little addictive.  It would be perfect in a blanket.

The pattern is currently in test but should be published by the end of the week, meanwhile here’s a sneaky peek:

Stash buster
Stash buster

Do you have any ideas to share for stash busting?

Happy crocheting xxx

A big decision….a little late

I made a decision last week that I really should share with you.

First, let me show you what I published last weekend:

Julie's mini mandala
Julie’s mini mandala

It is a simple design, a great stash buster, quick and easy to make.  It’s a gift tag, an ornament, or even a string of bunting, but most of all it’s a fun make.

I was just about to push the ‘free’ button when I halted…….this just isn’t fair to other designers.    And so my decision was to not publish it as a free pattern, nor will I publish any future new patterns as free patterns.

The reason I started selling my patterns many years ago was to be fair to all designers and operate on what I call ‘a level playing field’.  You see I recognised that there are a lot of designers who work extremely hard to make a living out of designing and selling patterns; if I made my patterns free then human nature is such that, even if my patterns were only half as good as some of the paid-for patterns, people would take my free patterns rather than buy those paid-for patterns.   Indirectly, I would be stealing the income of those designers if all my patterns were free.  But I couldn’t do that, I believe the designing world works best with lots of designers sharing their ideas and publishing their patterns.  The discerning knitters and crocheters deserve variety and quality, and the hard working designers deserve rewarding for all their efforts.

Even though that was my reason for starting to sell patterns, I was guilty of publishing some patterns free, because they were simple or small or used techniques that are very common.   But I have had this constant guilty feeling about it, it just isn’t fair to others.  Also, I do put a lot of work into my pattern writing, after all I am a tech editor and strive for high quality, and giving those free patterns is totally undervaluing my own work. And really ANY free pattern is undervaluing the work of all designers.

So I will not be publishing free patterns again, no matter how simple or small they are.  But from time to time I will offer discounts.   If you are a regular reader you will know that I have a forum on Ravelry.  Members of that forum (or people who like to read the forum) will find any discount codes there.   There’s a discount code lurking in there right now for the pattern I published last week, but it expires soon 😉

So what are your views – have I made a good decision?

Happy knitting and crocheting xxxx

The Magic of Mandalas

I think it is fair to say that the 4 lovely crocheters who came to my mandala workshop this afternoon had already fallen under the spell of magical mandalas.   I hope they went away having learned more about the maths and the ways to make them easier and neater.   And I know they went away having already made mandalas to their own designs.

Yummy yarn
Yummy yarn

There was plenty of yarn to choose from (22 shades of Stylecraft Cotton Classique DK), copious notes and patterns (I do like to write notes!) and a whole host of mandalas that I have made (some to my own design, some not) which I hope provided the right inspiration.

Mandala inspiration
Mandala inspiration

The four mandalas they made were all different, not just in colour but also in the techniques they chose to practice – definition, petals and maths were all being practiced.

I hope they don’t mind me sharing their designs with you:

014 013 012 011

Between them, they used almost all 22 shades of yarn!

It was a happy crochet afternoon, and I’m looking forward to the next one!

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

So sorry…..

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:

Mary's Mandala
Mary’s Mandala

And, as always, I have been busy making things – so here’s something I made last week as a present.

Bunting
Bunting

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 🙂

Happy crocheting xxx

Meadow Cushion

I have finished my first project using the Meadow Farm Wool project yarn.  It is a cushion:

Meadow farm cushion
Meadow farm cushion

I wanted to use both colours of yarn in the cushion but the cream was dk and the brown was 4ply, not easy to use in the same project.  So I improvised – as you can see the front is in cream DK and I joined 9 of the Meadow Farm motifs together, all made using a 4mm hook.  For the back I used a 3mm hook and the brown yarn  – I started with a Meadow Farm motif and then continued it as one large granny square.  Then I joined back to front and added a shell edging in cream, finally a row of shell buttons (bought at a The Harold Porter Botanical Gardens enroute to Hermanus in South Africa almost 5 years ago).

The back
The back

I do need to line this cushion with some fabric, probably in a light brown that will show off both sides properly.  But I was eager to share the finished project with you 🙂

I used 3 balls of yarn in this project – so I still have 7 balls left 🙂

There is still time to rent a sheep from the Meadow Farm Wool Project, and support 2 charities.  What will you make with yours?

Happy crocheting xxx

 

A new mandala

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.

Buxton Mandala
Buxton Mandala

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.

Buxton number 2
Buxton number 2

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:

2 Buxtons
2 Buxtons

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).

Happy crocheting xxx

It’s arrived!

Mr Postie delivered something very special this morning – my yarn from the sheep I have rented from The Meadow Farm Wool Project.

The yarn
The yarn

Two weights of yarn had been spun – the cream (which has lovely grey speckles in it) is a double knit and the dark brown is a thinner weight called 2ply but makes up like 4ply/fingering/sock yarn.  They both smell deliciously of newly spun fleece 🙂

So I wasted no time – my hook came out and I made a couple of motifs:

One of each
One of each

This motif is the one I designed especially for the project and is available to sheep renters only.   The cream one came out just the right size for a 9 motif square cushion – so that is what I am making.  The brown motif is a bit smaller but I will make a large granny square backing to the cushion using the brown, I may just add a few interesting stitches to it.

Here’s a photo of the cream motif which shows the design well.

Meadow Farm Motif
Meadow Farm Motif

There is still time for you to rent a sheep for this year and choose your selection of yarn – I opted for half and half.  In due course, once all renters have their yarn, you will be able to buy the yarn at £6.50 per ball.  And all rentals and purchases help go towards 2 fabulous charities – Teenage Cancer Trust and Headway.  This is quite a new project and one I hope will grow, so please support it if you can.

Meanwhile, I know which project I will be working on at knitgroup tomorrow!

Happy crocheting xxx