As part of the Granny Crochet Along for this year (see HERE for Granny CAL info!) I’m making one of these crochet market bags. It’s one of my own designs, you might remember that it was published last summer in an issue of Olann And (find out more about this lovely online magazine HERE).
Firstly, it is now available to buy on → Ravelry← and Etsy!! As usual I’ll pop a 20% discount as an introductory offer for the first two weeks. The final day to get the discount is Friday 29th March 2019 (you don’t need a code).
Secondly, I am a little bit proud of the fact that it’s a pattern partnership with one of my favourite independent yarn brands, John Arbon Textiles! They very generously supplied me with some of their Knit By Number double knit to make the first shawl. Knit By Numbers (KBN) is 100% merino and comes in both 100g skeins and 25g minis. You can get it in 4ply too (I used it for Harvest Moon). They also sent some of their gorgeous Exmoor Zwartbles to try. The Zwartbles is earthy and sheepy (oh my, the smell is beautiful!). The KBN is super soft, and saturated in gorgeous colour. Two different wools make two (almost!) different shawls, thus showcasing the awesome ability yarn has to create completely unique looks. I hope to take both shawls up to Edinburgh next weekend for EYF 19.
In the pattern there are two options for the shawl edging because I did my usual trick of not wanting to make the choice between two different ones. I don’t see the point in only offering one if two will work equally well, albeit in different ways. The main body of the shawl uses simple stitches, eyelets and touches of colour; creating a modern crochet accessory. You can turn it from contemporary to classic crochet by adding the pretty lacy border.
Another thing I had fun doing was pretending to be a model for half a day. The Grainbow Shawl had to look its absolute best so I asked my friend to take the pics (the modelled ones. The others are mine). It worked well for us both because he got to work with someone who didn’t know how to model (this is a good thing apparently because he’ll learn how to direct others by having bossed me about), and I got to see how a real photographer works! If you’re in the south west of the UK and need a snapper, he’s Paul Courtney Photography.
I couldn’t decide what to call this shawl, no ideas came. Instead of plumping for something half arsed, I put it out to my friends online . Over on Instagram I asked for names and the one that put the biggest smile on my face was “Grainbow”, which was suggested by My Chaotic Bliss (I’ll link as soon as I can but shock, horror! Instagram is down right now!). The name works for both versions, don’t you think? I was delighted when Kat also volunteered to test the shawl too. Maybe I should have called it Chaotic Grainbow?!
Kat wasn’t the only tester. Everyone who volunteered has made or is making some fabulous versions of Grainbow. I have so loved seeing the enthusiasm these guys have shown for what might be my new favourite shawl design (I think I said that about the last design too!). I’ve been a tester on many occasions myself, I know the effort that is put in and I’m forever grateful to those who want to do it for me. Thank you!!
You’ll be able to buy the pattern from the John Arbon website in the near future too. I’m thrilled that quality yarn companies are embracing crochet design more and more, it’s very exciting to see it being taken seriously. Getting to be a little part of that and see others joining the party makes me very happy indeed!
If you make Grainbow please be sure to let me know. You can tag me on Instagram @zeensandroger and add your project to Ravelry. #grainbowshawl Cheers! x
Better late than never, Waking Winter is here! This is the third crochet shawl pattern in my Seasons Collection. If you fancy a nose, Emergence of Spring is HERE and Harvest Moon is HERE. All of the shawls in this collection are connected by their take on filet crochet, which is essentially crochet with loads of holes!
Can you believe this shawl was supposed to be released on the 21st December? The idea was to have it out in time for the winter solstice. There have been a few snags along the way ranging from genuine Can’t Help It, to my usual lazy apathy (not because I don’t love the shawl, I really really do! Just don’t like writing up the patterns). It’s here now and that’s what counts!
I hope you like it. I’ve really enjoyed creating a proper grown up “collection” so far. I don’t know if I’ll do another one anytime soon but it has been a fantastic challenge to link the designs thematically, yet have them all be different and unique.
Waking Winter comes in both UK and US versions, which I know you love. As well as the written pattern you’ll also find useful stuff, like a proper table for stitch count. I made up a chart for the set up rows and the edging too but all my testers followed the written instructions so I know they’re good on their own.
It has been tested by five fabulous crocheters (thank you!!) and fully tech edited by the lovely Tamara of Crafty Escapism (double thank you!!).
Now to work on the final design: Summer! I have a few ideas but nothing concrete. I know I want it to be a single skeiner and that I want it to be green. That is all so far! I wonder if I’ll manage to actually release it on time…
It’s Granny time again! In just a couple of weeks let’s start grannying with a Crochet Along, what do you say?!
Last year’s Granny CAL was loads of fun and I absolutely loved seeing all the different projects that you came up with. The great thing about Granny is just how diverse she can be. It’s a super simple stitch but can be used in a myriad of ways. She is my heart and soul. Anyway…
First things first, what is a CAL? I wrote a blog post about that last year. Go HERE to find out.
Unlike last year, this Crochet Along will be a bit more low key. I’m into the idea of a very laid back CAL. Rather than going in all guns blazing, which I feel the last two CALs have been, this one will be mega casual. I’m not going to have loads of categories for entries and I’m not going to be dishing out loads of prizes (soz!). It’s all too much for one person and to be honest, the bit I enjoyed the most was seeing everyone come together to share their enthusiasm for crochet.
The rules are there are no rules! Well, there’s one: your project must contain the granny stitch somewhere (you know the one). Other than that, make what you want. Finish off an old wip, start something new, use up your stash, whatever, there’s no pressure here.
The CAL officially starts on Friday 22nd February. Let’s say it’ll run for 6 weeks but if we’re all having so much fun we can’t stop then I’m pretty sure we can keep going.
Please look at my Free Patterns page HERE , you’ll see rather a lot of patterns with the granny stitch and that’s because I love it!! I have bags, blankets and things that go round your neck. There’s lots to start you off and I also have another idea for a shawl design that might become a free pattern very soon. ;p
Chat over on Instagram HERE (use #grannycal19 or #grannycal2019) and on the Ravelry thread HERE. Absolutely everyone is welcome to come and chat. Share your ideas, help out others, share what you’re making etc.
And I think that’s it! I thought I was going to write more than that but actually this is keeping in line with being laid back. Phew! 😀
I recently got my mitts on a yarn kit from Wool and the Gang for their newly released New Wave yarn. I was sent the Shoreline bag crochet kit as a free gift so I could try it out and tell you what I think… Here’s the story….
Once upon a time there was an email that was sent to my inbox. It was Anna from Wool and the Gang. Would I like to try a new crochet kit using yarn made from cotton and whazzed up plastic bottles? Yeah, alright then, that sounds fun! And so that’s what happened.
The first thing you’ll notice in the top photo is that there are knitting needles rather than a crochet hook. This is because I was sent a knit kit for the I Got You bag by mistake. Oops! Once I got in touch with Anna from the WATG team, I was swiftly sent the pattern for the Shoreline bag, a pretty wooden hook and the extra ball of yarn needed so that I could get started in earnest on some crochet. Whilst I waited for the additional crochet essentials I thought I’d try a few rows of the knitting pattern. I had the tools, so why not? I’m pleased to report that I learned a posh new stitch from following the pattern, which made me ridiculously happy. I just did what I was told and the fancy stitch magically appeared on my needles! I almost wish that I’d kept quiet and made the knitted bag pattern instead because it would have been a fantastic achievement for me as a relatively basic knitter.
I got to choose the colour I wanted (there are 12 shades in total). I picked Seaweed green, a shade which reminds me of a Kelpie’s mane. A few of the colour names in the collection are named after seasidey things (seashell, oyster) and that’s because there’s a definite sea theme going on. The patterns have been inspired by fisherman’s tales which I think is lovely and harks back to a time when the ocean wasn’t filled with nasty plastic.
I mention plastic because nearly half (47%) of the yarn composition is plastic. In each 100gram ball, there are three plastic bottles (lids and all). The rest is cotton, which forms the outer mesh of the yarn. The plastic inside is a different tone to the outer and together they create a marled effect. You’ll also notice it has a great stitch definition when worked up.
The Shoreline bag works up really quickly, it’s a very easy stitch repeat and one that can be done in front of the telly (the best kind of crochet, yes?). I finished mine in a couple of days. It actually wasn’t until I’d fastened off the last piece that I realized I’d done something a teeny bit wrong. It took me that long to notice that the pattern was written in US terms and not UK terms (I don’t think the pattern tells you which it is). Now here’s the thing, I’m a bit fluid in my use of UK and US terminology. In my head I call a UK double crochet a “single” but I use the UK term “treble” to mean a US double…. It doesn’t make sense at all. Due to this silly, confusing habit of mine, I didn’t even question the use of “single” and “treble” stitches in the pattern. Essentially what I’ve done is use the wrong stitch for my bag, I’ve used US doubles/UK trebles. It should be a US treble instead. Whoopsy! Do you know what though? It doesn’t really matter! There was absolutely no way I was going to frog the whole thing just to make it properly. That would be plain daft. The most important thing is I’ve got a bag I can use and in it right now is yarn for my next project!
Random things that don’t fit elsewhere:
I used 3ch not 4 as my turning chain
The pattern is written for the absolute beginner. So much so, it’s almost unconventional in the style format for a crochet pattern. Super broken down into all the steps.
I should have gone down to a 4.5mm hook. My tension was quite loose.
I want to know what a garment would feel like in this yarn. I’m curious.
It’s mostly knitting patterns in the range. I’d like to see more crochet designs.
Both the needles and the hook came in little plastic wrappers. Not necessary and quite the antithesis of the WATG objective for New Wave yarn. Hmmm.
Free WATG patterns are available HERE. There’s at least one with New Wave yarn.
Anyway, we’re at the end of this fisherwoman’s tale (I’ve been fishing more than once, it’s true). I’m always dead impressed with the WATG yarn and kits, it’s clear that loads of thought goes into each line they produce. I still wear my Foxy Roxy scarf in the dead of winter. When it’s super cold it’s the only scarf that keeps out the biting wind. I’ve tried out their silky eucalyptus in the form of Tina Tape (I still can’t help calling it Tina Tapeworm), and my first try was Take Care Mohair, a mohair yarn that hasn’t been topped by any other I’ve tried. That’s all pretty good if you ask me.
Right, it’s all getting too gushy round here. I’m gonna stop singing praises and go and get my hooks out. See ya! x
Another crochet podcast so quickly? Yes, absolutely! Despite this arguably being the second half of last week’s offerings (go HERE for Episode 45) it is nearly an hour long. There is a lot of catching up to do! I do hope you can hang out with me for a bit. x
As usual, you can click on the picture above to go to the episode, or go HERE to my YouTube channel where you’ll find more episodes and lots of crochet video tutorials as well.
Keep scrolling for links and photographs of things discussed…
I have been given a newly released book to review! How exciting is that?! The publisher, GMC Distribution sent me Crocheted Birds by Vanessa Mooncie. Have you seen her crochet taxidermy book too? It’s amazing and I knew this one would be just as good. It’s the sort of book where I mostly just enjoy looking at the pictures rather than actually make something from its pages. But do you know what? To write a proper review I felt that I had to make at least one thing from it. That seemed like the right thing to do.
I decided to make one of the smaller garden birds because I thought it’d be a bit quicker than the giant swan or magnificent barn owl. As it’s Christmas, it was the robin that had to get made. He was probably not the best choice for speed; lots of colour changes make it a fiddly project but I gave myself some quiet time to do nothing but crochet this birdy. If I’m going to do amigurumi, I need complete and utter silence. There is a lot of stitch counting!
I kind of messed up the tension; the head is tighter than the body because it’s worked in the round and not in rows (the body is worked in rows). The book has a whole page on tension and says it’s vital check gauge. I should have done was I was told. I didn’t. I never do.
I’m not certain that checking gauge would have made much of a difference anyway because I wasn’t necessarily looking to make a life size bird and definitely wasn’t looking to buy more yarn. Therefore I made it in some dk I had in stash; not the 4ply I was told to use (don’t worry, there are dk patterns in this book as well as 4ply projects).
A couple of times I was confused by what colour went where but this book has charts as well as the written patterns. Whenever I got in a flap I just consulted the chart and it sorted out any confusion. I am deffo a fan of using a written pattern and chart simultaneously.
What I will say is that you do need a lot of extras. You’ll be no good with just your hook and some wool. I seemed to be OK on that front as I’m a massive craft hoarder and thankfully had poly fibrefill to stuff a plump bird, wire for strong legs and black beads for inquisitive eyes. I didn’t reinforce his tail like I was supposed to as I’ve lost my fine wire. It’s somewhere, I’m just not entirely sure where that somewhere is.
One thing I’d quite like to know more about is how to display the birds once they’re done. They look beautiful in the photo set-ups but I wouldn’t be certain about how to recreate that at home. Perhaps a page on that would have been useful. I did spot glass dome wotsits in Ikea the other day though!
I can see that with practice, I could make really amazing ornithology following the patterns here. Vanessa’s birds look so beautiful and mine just looks a bit stressed/mildly anxious.
What do you reckon? Are you up for making a flock of birds? I’m gonna make the budgie next! I can tell you that I’m glad there isn’t a seagull here. I was walking through town yesterday, minding my own business and one of the cheeky sods swooped down and nabbed the croissant I’d been enjoying. I won’t tell you what I shouted at it…