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?

Togetherness....heaven
Togetherness….heaven

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

Home Alone 2

If last weekend was rare, then this was unprecedented! Yes my readers, he was away again! It was a last minute decision and he was only away for one night, and I had planned some chores this weekend so I didn’t quite have as much time to do things just for me.

I did wake up on Saturday with ideas of doing some shopping. Unfortunately it rained, and rained, and rained some more. It was so bad I much preferred to stay inside, despite being in desperate need of a new camera, with a few more bells and whistles than my current one – and a replacement battery for said ancient beast. But even this desperation did not encourage me to go shopping! So I had half a day and one evening to fill, but no operational camera to share progress.

However, fortune shone on me and my brother arrived carrying his camera just as I was contemplating braving the camera on my phone. So today’s photographs are courtesy of him. I should add that this wasn’t some form of sibling telepathy. Photography is one of his hobbies, so he carries his camera with him most weekends.

My crafting comprised 2 items. First I finished this month’s Janie Crowfoot mystery blanket instalment:

Janie Crow May
Janie Crow May

It includes the piece which I think is destined for the centre of the blanket and is my favourite so far.

Earlier in the week I received a package from The Old Piggery. I had visited their stand at Wonderwool in search of some scissor keeper kits but they had none. However, they took my email and promised to send me details. Now I really wasn’t expecting an email from them, because my previous experience of leaving my email at a show never yielded any results. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email soon after Wonderwool offering me a choice of kits and providing photographs so I could choose the colours I wanted. This is the sort of customer service I like and I purchased several kits. So I spent an hour or so making one up yesterday:

Scissor keeper
Scissor keeper

Whilst visiting them at Wonderwool I was very taken with a skein of yarn that I spotted – the colourway is Moss and I managed to find two 25g skeins of it in laceweight. So last night, I wound the first skein and started my ‘June’ crochet scarf. I have only done a little but already the colour pools have stunned me. I hope it looks as good on film, but that will be a photo for another day – you will have to be patient.

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx

Wonderful Wonderwool

Early yesterday, along with 48 like-minded yarn addicts, I set off on a coach for Wonderwool Wales. This is a fabulous annual festival of wool and natural fibres. And for me it is becoming an annual opportunity to organise a coach trip!

I think I can safely say that all the ladies on the coach thoroughly enjoyed themselves and, judging by the overflowing bags they loaded onto the coach for the return journey, I think they were in yarn retail heaven and sampled all the wares on offer!

I have been to 4 different festivals of this type and, even though my experience is limited, I think it safe to say that Wonderwool is my favourite. It is held at the Royal Welsh Showground in very large agricultural sheds with plenty of room to move about. Of course, this means it can get chilly but you just need to be prepared for this.

This year there were 200 exhibitors demonstrating and selling everything you could want in the way of yarn related goodness and fun.

Stupidly, I forgot to take my camera so I attempted a few photos on my phone (which is quite new), so apologies for the quality, to give you a flavour of the day:

Gorgeous yarn at The Natural Dye Studio
Gorgeous yarn at The Natural Dye Studio
Supernova - one of Amanda Perkins' splendid crochet blanket designs
Supernova – one of Amanda Perkins’ splendid crochet blanket designs
Everything a spinner could want
Everything a spinner could want

I had a fantastic time and purchased lots of lovely goodies:

Wonderwool goodies
Wonderwool goodies

Amongst the yarn skeins there are a couple of lovely skeins from Willow Knits http://www.willowknits.com/, Ann dyes the most gorgeous colours on this pure silk yarn, which is very good value as well as being extremely beautiful. When not at the shows, you can find her yarns in her Etsy shop. I also bought yarn from some other lovely independent dyers – Triskelion Yarns, Five Moons and The Old Piggery. You will also spot some fibre (I really must do more spinning) and some lovely buttons.

Of course, whilst retail therapy is good for my soul, it is even better to meet up with friends. I spent some time with Amanda and Phil Perkins of The Natural Dye Studio, met up with people I have worked with and, as is often the case at events like this, bumped into some friends unexpectedly! All in all a very good day.

Happy knitting and crocheting xx

Kaleidoscope

Last year I had an adventure in colour when I made Bohemian Rhapsody https://agrarianartisan.com/2013/12/08/a-little-bit-bohemian/

This year I have embarked on another adventure in colour – Kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope is a mystery crochet blanket club by Amanda Perkins of The Natural Dye Studio – you receive yarn at the start of each quarter and the pattern is released in instalments – one per month. If you are really quick you may be able to join the club for this year – http://www.thenaturaldyestudio.com/kaleidoscope—crochet-blanket-club-2014-391-c.asp

On 14th January this arrived:

Kaleidoscope - Godiva yarn quarter 1
Kaleidoscope – Godiva yarn quarter 1

It is Godiva – a pure merino 4 ply, it is luscious and perfect for blankets.

Within no time it was wound into little cakes and given its own home – a perfect little basket.

Kaleidoscope - a basket of cakes quarter 1
Kaleidoscope – a basket of cakes quarter 1

On 18th January it had become this:

Kaleidoscope - January
Kaleidoscope – January

Those little triangles are addictive, you want to begin a new one as soon as you finish the last one. You are itching to see what the colours will be and how it will sit in the design! Roll on 1st February when I can start the next instalment.

2014 will be a colourful year!

Happy crocheting x

The postman rarely knocks twice……..

This week I received 2 parcels, one expected but bigger than I thought and one totally unexpected.

I’ll start with the unexpected………..
I had rather a large pile of mail waiting when I returned from my long weekend knitting retreat, but I chose to ignore it for a while. I needed to unpack (mainly to dig out the yarn and other goodies I received on my knitting retreat!) and wanted to catch up on emails. It was quite some time before I tackled the post.

My husband had left it in a neat pile (he’s good at neat and tidy!) with smallest mail on top, largest underneath. So it was bank statement, bill, magazine, junk….and right at the bottom a large envelope marked ‘do not bend’. At first I thought it was this month’s instalment of pure silk mini skeins from Willow Knits (http://www.willowknits.com/), after all most large envelopes and parcels entering this house contain some sort of yarn ……… but no, bending would do no harm to yarn. Intrigued I pulled it open as quickly as I could and found a lovely letter from Ann, a lady who I met at one of my crochet workshops earlier this year and I now count as one of my yarny friends. She spins and knits, and claims to be a crochet novice but is very accomplished. She had joined in The Hexagon Project 2013 (http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/agrarian-artisan-designs/2521297/1-25) and made a beautiful blanket. Her letter explained that I had ‘won’ a prize for the mostly hexagon project but this was code words for the enclosure – a set of 7 handmade cards, one for each hexagon design I gave to everyone who had joined in. They had (mostly!) a hexagon theme with a short description on the back. They are beautifully made and cherished – it will be hard to give them away as their usual purpose commands! I was so touched and can’t thank Ann enough for such a lovely present.

Mostly hexagons
Mostly hexagons

The second parcel came from the USA. I had won a ball of yarn in a blog contest this summer and Laura had sent the parcel through with what she described as ‘a few little extras’. So I was expecting a small package that would fit through the letterbox. But the postman rang the bell carrying a larger parcel than I expected………. a few little extras is quite a lot to me – 3 more balls of yarn and an ergonomic crochet hook. Is that little? I think not!

So I now have 4 balls of yarn from the USA, none of which is available here in the UK, so is quite a treat for me. Mohair, alpaca, super bulky wool and some ‘fur’ yan, quite a lovely mix which I think Laura spent some time putting together. Thank you so much, Laura.

US mail
US mail

So far I have a few little gems of ideas of what I will make with it, some of the yarns remind me of Christmas……… so watch this space!

Laura is a lovely and talented designer, you can find her blog here:
http://happyclappycrochet.com/

Happy knitting and crocheting xx

Rainbows……….

I have been playing with colour a lot in recent months. It was all sparked off by Bohemian Rhapsody, that design just made me want to explore colour more. And I have been studiously sticking to my plan of making one block of Bohemian Rhapsody every 2 weeks. I have now completed 11 – only another 7 to go.

Inspired, I bought 2 packs of The Natural Dye Studio’s Dazzle HT in rainbow colours when I visited Wonderwool Wales. Most of one pack became a subtle colour exploration with the Wild Diamonds Wrap:

Wild Diamonds Wrap
Wild Diamonds Wrap

And I am now working on something with the remaining 6 colours which may take a while, so I won’t share that with you yet.

But my most recent colour work has now been revealed. It is a cowl made with a complete rainbow of The Natural Dye Studio’s Godiva HT, which is the most lusciously soft single merino yarn. You can find the yarn here: http://www.thenaturaldyestudio.com/godiva-ht-4-plyfingering-yarn-356-c.asp

What made this colour work most special was that the yarn was a present, totally unexpected and very welcome. I was feeling a little low and Amanda sensed I needed cheering up, so she sent me a pack in the post! I can’t tell you how wonderful a gift it was – 10 mini skeins of the complete rainbow, it came at just the right time and really raised my spirits. I can’t thank Amanda enough. So, of course, it had to be made into something beautiful. This is the result:

Rainbow's End Cowl
Rainbow’s End Cowl

You can’t tell from the photo just how soft this yarn is. But you can tell it gives good stitch definition and it blocks well; my uneven knitting now looks quite passable!

It is now written as a pattern and can be found in my Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy web stores.

All this colour work has really boosted my creativity, and yet another colour project is on my hook right now! So there will be a few more colourful reveals in the not too distant future.

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx