Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Works in Progress :: Winter Wonder Socks ::

My wip for Wednesday this week are my Winter Wonder socks from The Crochet Sock Collection.
I making them as part of #thecrochetsockcal (which is so much fun! I'm loving seeing everyone else's gorgeous socks in progress).

I just finished the first one last night, these are so so quick to make, I've barely had any crochet time this week so I'm so pleased I've managed to finish one already. I made a small start on the toe for the second, but as it's craft night tonight I'm hoping to get much further this evening.

That's all I've been working on this week, as I said, crochet time has been at a minimum, but as I'm heading away without children this weekend, I'm hoping there will be lots to show next week!

Gorgeous yarn is from Burrow and Soar on etsy.

If you fancy joining along with CAL we have a facebook group over here, or we're using #thecrochetsockcal on instagram (you can follow me here).

The Crochet Sock Collection is available to purchase as a PDF download here and as a print copy here.

Thoughts on Gauge ::

A stitch in time can save (much more than) nine, why  and how you should check your tension/gauge in crochet.

As we started the 'crochet-a-long' for The Crochet Sock Collection on Friday, I had some things to say about gauge and why it's important.

If you're a seasoned knitter or crocheter I'm sure you are already aware that you should always swatch before starting a project, but I'm sure there are a lot of you who don't. That's Ok, I won't judge, I am also guilty of going straight on in without doing a swatch myself every now and again. For some projects it really doesn't matter so much, shawls and blankets are a good example of that, but if your project needs to fit on your body, then you really really should. You know that saying 'a stitch in time saves nine'...if you've had to frog half (or more a sweater) you'll know it can be a lot more than nine.

The numbers that a pattern provides you with as gauge/tension are what the designer has based the whole of their pattern around. For me, these are the numbers that go on to my spreadsheet and all the other little boxes fill themselves up from there. They are the foundation of it all!

If your tension varies to mine, which it almost certainly will a little, crochet is like handwriting, we all have our own unique style and that may affect the number of stitches you get per cm, then if you blindly follow the yarn and hook recommendations you may find your finished item to be a completely different size and shape as it's intended to be. Which is why we're always banging on about making sure you check your gauge!

When working on a swatch, always use the stitch the pattern tells you to, the yarn you intend to use and the hook you are going to use, both the size and the material used for them will alter your tension. If the pattern says, work in the round, then work in the round, if it says work flat, then work flat. Basically just do everything exactly as you would when your working on the actual garment, that way the stitches in your swatch should match up perfectly to those on your finished piece. After you've made your swatch, wash and block it, let it dry then take your measurements.

I tend to do a swatch that is made up of exactly the number of stitches and rows as suggested for 10cm square, I'll take a measurement before blocking if it's more than 10cm then I know my tension is too loose and I'll need to go down a hook size, if it's correct or less than 10cm I'll block that swatch to 10cm square. For the most part the tension would have to be much much too tight for it not to stretch out to the desired size, so again it will be an obvious problem. Once the swatch has dried I have a good look at how it drapes and feels and looks. Just because it stretched all the way out to 10cm may not mean it I like the way it feels, it may be too tight and lack any give, or it may seem too dense still. If so I'll adjust my hook size accordingly and try again.

All this may seem like such a time consuming task, but I assure you it's much less time consuming than having to create a garment all over again because you missed this one step!

If you fancy joining along with CAL we have a facebook group over here, or we're using #thecrochetsockcal on instagram (you can follow me here).

The Crochet Sock Collection is available to purchase as a PDF download here and as a print copy here.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Crochet Sock Collection :: Crochet-A-Long ::

To accompany the launch of The Crochet Sock Collection, I thought it would be nice to run a CAL (crochet-a-long). I have never run a CAL, but it's something I've always wanted to do. Socks aren't especially difficult, but there may be some techniques which are new to some and I thought this would be a great way to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it. Plus I love an 'a-long' myself, be it knitting or crochet, it's so inspiring to see other peoples interpretations of projects and it's always nice to have a little yarn enabling in your life.

It's going to be a very free range affair. There's a facebook group (here) and a hashtag for Instagram (#thecrochetsockcal) so we can all share our progress and chat about our socks, there's also an official start date (Friday 24th June) but there are no particular rules, join in whenever you like. Just grab one of the patterns, some sock yarn and a hook, get crocheting and share your progress.

The patterns are available singly now as PDF downloads and the full collection is available as a download too and you can also purchase a printed copy on etsy.

Any 4ply sock yarn should do the trick, I'd generally say use something with a little nylon if possible and steer clear of cotton. The majority of the patterns use a 3.5mm hook, some also require a smaller hook for the ribbing, but obviously the size you need will mostly depend on your gauge. Hook details can be found on the ravelry page for each pattern.

There will be prizes! I have recently ventured into dyeing yarn so will be offering up a couple of skiens of my hand dyed sock yarn, plus some stitch markers and crochet hooks. I will share pictures once I have all prizes finalised, but to get you tempted here's a shot of some yarn I dyed especially to giveaway. I'll also set an end date for the prizes, though there's no deadline to finish the socks and you won't need to have finished for a chance to win.

We start officially tomorrow, but feel free to grab some yarn and get checking your gauge today if you like :)

I'm going to be using some lovely yarn from Burrow and Soar and I think I'm making the Winter Wonder socks.

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Crochet Sock Collection ::

I cannot tell you how excited I am to announce the release of the crochet sock collection. I started this project 2 and half years ago. Life threw some pretty time consuming stuff at me over those 2 and half years (baby, 2 house moves to mention a few!) so it took a whole lot longer than I imagined, but I'm so so pleased and proud of what I'm putting out into the wild today.

The Crochet Sock Collection is a collection of 6 crochet sock patterns. Here is a little bit of the intro from the book ::

People often seem surprised by the idea of crochet socks. I regularly hear cries of ‘I never thought of crochet socks!’. Of course, you can crochet anything. If you’re a crocheter who frequents the internet I’m sure you’ve seen with your own eyes that just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should! When it comes to socks however you absolutely should.
Having been a sock knitter for many many years, when it came to crochet socks I found it difficult to find any patterns that didn’t look bulky, stiff and uncomfortable. Tempted to try my hand at knitting lacy socks but lacking the confidence, I turned to my trusty crochet stitches and a new love was born. You really can make crochet socks that are comfortable, beautiful and practical.
I won’t lie to you, crochet does not have the same stretch and flexibility as knitting does, but by utilising the stretch it does have and finding the right stitches, crochet socks are very much a possibility.
In this collection are six designs that all have different techniques, different stitches and varying heel and toe constructions. These are socks that are designed to work, be loved and be put through their paces!

I am so in love with this collection, the second my lovely photographer (Kasia Fiszer) had finished her work I started wearing them all on constant rotation.

I'll talk about each pattern a bit more through the week, but in the meantime you can purchase the Ebook over on ravelry where you'll find a little more info on each of the individual patterns. If you'd rather have an 'in your hands copy' you can buy a print copy over on etsy, this is currently preorder and will be shipping at the beginning of next week, but I'll send you over a PDF copy in the meantime.

I'll be running a crochet-a-long for anyone who wants to join in and crochet themselves some socks from the collection. I've set up a facebook group here, but we'll also be playing along on Instagram if that's your thing (#thecrochetsockcal). I'll post more details for the cal in the week, but I thought we could start officially on Friday 25th, though you can start whenever you like of course.

Thanks so much to everyone who has help with this project and spurred me on to the finish line.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Hello There ::

It has been very quiet over here lately hasn't it? With our house move, a very mobile toddler in my life and everything else that inadvertently sucks my time, I'm afraid I've let the blog slide. It's one of those things where as more time passes it seems more difficult to get back to it, but this Sunday morning with coffee in hand and children playing happily together, I'm carving out some time to get back at it.

Life has been pretty full since we moved in to our first ever home back in January. The house renovation itself seems to have stalled hugely. Initially we weren't going to unpack anything until we'd finished decorating, but gradually as we've needed this or that, the boxes have become half unpacked all over the house and the majority of the walls remain untouched. 'Slowly slowly' seems to have become my stock response to anyone who asks, 'how's the house coming along'. It's more difficult to get on with it all when you live here somehow. I guess it's akin to working from home, when it's where you live all your everyday distractions become very distracting!

I'm not working a huge amount at the moment. I'm still working my way through The Crochet Sock Collection, which is now very very very nearly ready to launch. I'm taking on a few magazine commissions here and there and I have launched a new jewellery project, but trying to balance work and house renovating and looking after my very demanding toddler is a tough juggling act.

Effie is now well on here way to 2. She's feisty and independent and hugely demanding in equal measure. I'm sure Milo wasn't quite so time consuming at her age. She goes to nursery 2 mornings a week so I do get some time to work peacefully. She loves it and it's so nice to see her flourishing there and making friends.

Though it's full and slightly chaotic, life is good.

I plan to be back in this space more regularly going forward. Expect to see house updates, gardening exploits, family adventures and crafty pursuits.