Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Vitamin C ::

A couple of weeks ago I took my first trip to Wonderwool, it was all very exciting, but unfortunately I was pretty penniless at the time.  As I couldn't splurge out on all the stacks of yarn that took my fancy, I decided it best to find a pattern first, then purchase yarn specifically for that purpose.

So I took myself off to Rock & Purl, where I got myself a copy of the lovely Vitamin C.  I then spent the rest of the afternoon hunting out the perfect yarn.

I found myself a gorgeous colourway from Fyberspates and cast on the moment I go home.

As it turned out I didn't quite have enough yarn for the project, so I had to miss out a couple of rows at the end and I had to cast off pretty tight to avoid running out too soon, but I still love it.

Vitamin C by @rockandpurl knit in @fyberspates vivacious, blocking in the sun

The pattern was a dream to work from, though I did struggle with the dropped stitches (but this is probably because this was my first time) and the yarn is outright gorgeous! The colours are just amazing.

With this pretend springtime we've been having it's been living round my neck since it came off the blocking boards.

Ravelry notes :: here

Friday, 17 May 2013

This Moment ::

Inspired by SouleMama

In her words...
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Time for new trousers maybe?!

Postcircle ::

Yay! It's a #postcircle day! 

I'm not sure I've blogged about postcircle before now, but I'm not sure why...because it is awesome!

Yay! Today is a #postcircle day :)

Organised by Anna of Miss Beatrix, the idea is fairly simple, you get assigned to a group (I'm red squirrel!) then you send fabulous mail, of real life variety, to the others in that group, then of course you also get to receive some mail in return!  What could be better?!

Yay for #postcircle post to cheer a Monday morning 

Awesome post yesterday, including the gorgeous new issue of @insidecrochet and lovely #postcircle post :) 

I've been playing a couple of months now and have had some really amazing post as a result, all envelopes are marked #PostCircle meaning that when I pick the post up off the doormat, I get a little glimpse of something that I know will be so much nicer than all the other rubbish that usually comes through the letter box.

Oooh lovely post today #postcircle

I think Anna is still taking names and addresses to add to groups so if you fancy writing some of your own letters then hop on over to her blog to check out the details.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Granny Square Cross Stitch ::

So as I mentioned in my last post, I've recently found myself getting a little bit addicted to cross stitching!

I've been going about a week, but I love it.  I started trying to replicate an image of a geometric art deco inspired pattern I found after a quick google search.  This didn't go down all that well however, I kept making fairly silly mistakes and found I was spending more time undoing my work than I was actually stitching.

Cross stitching granny squares. 

Later on I decided to try and replicate that big love of mine, the crochet granny square.  It took a few attempts, but finally I got there.

I'm really loving doing these little squares and I have grand plans for a cushion or two (though I'm thinking I probably need to go up a size with my fabric and floss).

To help keep myself on track whilst I'm stitching away late at night and to avoid wasting time carefully unpicking stitches (definitely not as quick to do as ripping back crochet!) I drew myself up a little colour chart to follow and thought I would share it with you all.

So if you fancy stitching up your own, faux, granny square you can download the chart here.

I would like to add here that I am not an expert cross stitcher, but in fact very much a newbie, I have never worked from a cross stitch chart before and therefore have no idea how one should look and apologise in advance if anyone finds this method unorthodox or just plain confusing.  What I have spent
a lot of time doing is knitting/crocheting from colour charts and designing said colour charts, so I guess this probably looks like more like one of those than it should.  I do hope that others can understand it though and put it to good use.

If you do cross stitch any of your own granny's I'd love to see them!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

4kcbwday7 Looking Forward ::

So the knitting and crochet blog week officially finished a couple of weeks ago, but I'm still playing catch up.  Today I finally reach the end!

Today's topic is 'looking forward', thinking about where we'll be with our crafting 1 year from now.  For me that means I can't help but think about that in terms of business and also has me looking back to where I was a year ago.

I've come so far in terms of crafting since last year and each year more and more inspires me to move on further.  Initially I always said I would never turn crochet in to a business, because I love it so much and was really concerned adding a business element to it would leave me loathing it.  However I think in taking on designing I've managed to find a great middle ground, it incorporates so many different elements, a lot of them far removed from the calming act of using hook and yarn.  This time last year I had published just a handful of patterns, I now have 36 patterns on my ravelry page, my designs have graced the covers of 3 magazines and I'm finding work coming to me more and more, with less seeking out necessary.  All of this is fantastic, but as I'm sure anyone who works in a crafty business will understand, I still struggle financially, crochet does not pay all that well.  I'm lucky that I have a partner, who for the most part, understands this and supports me, I'm lucky that I have another crafty business that also supports me financially and I'm feeling pretty lucky that come September, my baby boy toddler child (!) will be spending a whole 6 hours, 5 days a week, in FREE childcare school.  As a result of this I'm seeing the next 12 months as a huge step up in work and crafting.  I have grand goals!  The two biggies will be starting to teach, with exciting things happening in Cheltenham, I'm hoping to find myself a regular little teaching/workshop spot.  I've taught a lot of people to crochet in a one on one setting, but classes will be a whole new thing for me.

I'm also hoping to write a book! I have so many ideas for some fabulous crochet books, so hopefully the extra hours school will allow me, will see some of them actually find their way on to paper.

However, as fun as my work is, craft can't all be about work, so I've also been thinking about how I'm going to hone my skills in a more personal, fun way.  At last weeks craft night in, I picked up embroidery hoop and thread and tried my hand at little cross stitch.  I'm sure I have done this before, probably as a child, but it certainly has been a very long time, I loved it!  I've since be trying to fit a little bit of stitching in to my evenings, wherever I can.  I hope to keep playing around with this over the following year.  It's nice to have a craft to do which is just for me, not work, but just pleasure.
I would also love to learn to weave.  Seeing all the fabulous looms at wonderwool really got me inspired to give this fabulous craft a go.  I am possibly the least patient crafter ever though, so I'm not sure how I'll get on with this.

This has been a really interesting topic today, it's really got me thinking and will be really interesting to look back on next knitting and crochet blog week to see how I've done!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Simply Crochet Issue 5 ::

Issue 5 of Simply Crochet has been out a couple of weeks now and this month it is a fantastic ode to the granny square!

As a huge fan of the granny this is pretty good news for me!

There are some fab patterns this month, I'm particuarly fond of the lacy tie!

You can also find a broomstick lace mug cosy by me, in the 'What is...' section.

 My latest pattern in the newest @simplycrochet_

Monday, 13 May 2013

4KCBWDAY6 a tool to covert ::

Day 6 of knitting and crochet blog week (I appreciate I'm now about 3 weeks late!), and it's time to think about our favourite tools.

This is super tough for me, there are so many items I simply couldn't work without.

Saturday night's alright.

Though I'm not particularly fussy when it comes to crochet hooks, honestly any old hook works fine for me, I am more so when it comes to knitting needles, I haven't tried them all and certainly have yet to work with some of the best, but some of my current favourites are knitpicks interchangeables (they aren't perfect, they do come unscrewed regularly and I have snapped more than one, but I do like them) my other favourites are a lovely pair of square rosewood needles I purchased on holiday one year in a really sweet knitting shop in Historic Georgetown, South Carolina.  I so rarely knit on these as they are really chunky, but there is something about square needles that seems so right!

However after a chat on the subject for crochet hooks over on twitter a couple of weeks ago, I have been convinced to try out some of the better ones.  Top recommendations were for Clover, both Amour and Soft Touch, though if anyone has any further suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Something I would love to own, but as yet is missing from my crafty collection is a swift.  I hate winding yarn from skeins and really I am not good at it, I will turn a skein in to a knotted, tangled mess,  just looking at it, throw a kitten and a toddler in to the equation and really I'm doomed to spend my life impatiently untangling yarn.

If I really had to choose my most coveted tool, I guess I'd go for my books, I have quite a collection.  I literally could not design without these, my stitch dictionaries are invaluable (Kat Goldin did a fab post on this exact subject a while back which saw me adding a few more staples to my collection!) but also Elizabeth Zimmerman's 'Knitting without Tears ' and Debbie Abrahams 'Design Your Own Knits in 5 Easy Steps ' have been fundamental to assisting with my designing.

 Currently my favourite stitch dictionaries are "Harmony" Guide to Crochet Stitches and Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs

Oooh nice post...stitch books and shade cards.

I'm also currently awaiting delivery of 63 Crochet Cable Stitches.  

Thursday, 2 May 2013

4KCBWDAY5 something a bit different ::

Day 5 of knitting and crochet blog week and something very different for me.

Very much an amateur attempt, but not too bad for a first go, plus I certainly learnt a lot, if I ever fancied having another go ::

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

4KCBWDAY4 Colour Review ::

So I got a little bit distracted last week and lost my knitting and crochet blog week mojo.  I'm putting this down to a couple of things, firstly the day 3 theme, really didn't appeal to me (infographics aren't really my thing) then I went off on a little Oxford based adventure on day 4, which left me a little worse for wear come day 5, then off I hopped on day 6 to wonderwool (more on that later this week).  But here I am, pretending that today is day 4 again, I'm just going to skip over day 3.

Today the prompt is to think about colour, the kind of colours we love to use and I guess thinking about why it is we love those colours.

This has come at the perfect moment as I've been giving my blog itself a little overhaul today and thinking about the colours that best reflect me as a crafter.

My big favourite is purple, it appears a lot, both in my wardrobe and on my yarn shelves.  I'm particularly fond of muted pale shades, but purple in any form is good as far as I'm concerned.

 My second favourite has to be green, again mostly muted shades, turquoise and teal appear high on my wishlist regularly, but having a peek through my wardrobe and accessories, I can tell you it does not frequently make it's way on to the needles/hook for my personal projects.  I can't tell you why that is mind.

As a designer colour is something I think about a lot, I spend a lot of time trawling through shadecards attempting to discover the perfect colour in the perfect weight and the perfect yarn content for a particular project, of course I don't always get my first choice, of yarn or colour when it comes down to the nitty gritty with the magazine/publishing house, so I've learnt to be flexible in my choices.  To be honest, though I have my favourites, all colour is pretty good in my book and there certainly aren't any I really dislike.