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…
Hohoho! Merry Christmas… Actually this is a normal crochet podcast on YouTube, it just happens to be December… Click on the pic above to get to the latest episode or go HEREto my whole YouTube channel. Thanks. X
Links for all the things I talk about are below (as well as some extra crochet pics). If I’ve left any thing out please do give me a polite nudge. Ta very much.
Oh, I forgot to mention my Christmas crochet Wish lists! Go HERE and HERE, they’re full of great ideas for crochet lovers!
A couple of weeks ago I posted a Wish List of things that crocheters might quite like for Christmas. It’s amazing how many ideas come flooding in once you open the gates. Not only could I not stop thinking of things I’d quite like to find under the Christmas tree, lots of people got in touch to make sure I knew about X, Y & Z too!
There’s still shopping time before Christmas so I think I can legit reel out another list of crochet related good stuff.
Here we go….
1. Fancy Scissors
To be honest I don’t mind the cheapy scissors that I buy. When they go blunt I just get another pair. The old pair get downgraded to paper cutting scissors and remain so until I use them to actual death. A quick look on Etsy and there are loads of pretty ones to choose from. If the Crocheter in your life is an IG fiend, get cool ones that are Instagrammable!
2. A Gauge Wotsit & hook measuring Thingy
Very useful indeed! And not that pricey. Square ones are good, like THIS one. And don’t forget a thingy for measuring hook sizes, the one HERE is fab. Some of my cheap metal hooks have the wrong size stamped on them, some have no sizing at all. You need to have a way of measuring them.
Perfect, right?! It’s from Dear Ewe, an online shop that sells loads of crochet related items.
Not my area but I know others love em. Whilst I have lost my crochet sock virginity (it wasn’t as painful as I imagined; I even enjoyed going solo with my own design), I am not planning on becoming a sock slut.
I love a tote! Take current projects out and about in them, store ancient wips in them, get one that’s yarn related like THIS one! It’s a doozy…
7. Blocking Mats
Know where your purchases are coming from. Get blocking mats from Knit It, Hook It, Craft It. Fay gives you the provenance of most (if not all) of the products she sells. Or try a wooden board for blocking individual squares and smaller crochet items.
8. Hook Case
I just found this oneand I like it! Lots of sellers make them. All you need to do is type in “crochet hook case” into Etsy and choose one!
9. Pens, Pencils & Notebook
Stationery was a childhood obsession of mine. I still have an unfathomable amount of empty notebooks waiting to be used but that doesn’t stop me buying more. And you need pens and pencils to go with, obvs. A crocheter needs a notebook to make notes about patterns they’re following, to write lists about the future projects they want to make, and to scribble down new and original design ideas.
10. Lykke wooden Hooks
OMG!! I flipping LOVE these! They truly are things of beauty. Also expensive. For UK buyers get them from Loop. I wonder what they’d be like to crochet with? I think I’d just look at them. Possibly stroke them too.
11. Posh Pins and Blocking wires
Blocking wires are super useful and the sort of thing I’m too tight to invest in (I make do with knitting needles!). This is a more practical gift than a pretty/special thing but like me, maybe you’re too mean to get yourself the proper gear. Maybe someone can buy them for you. Not everyone blocks their work so if you’re going to buy these for a yarny person, make sure they believe in the power of blocking.
12. Hooked For Life
Hooked for Life: Adventures of a Crochet Zealot by Mary Temple was recommended to me after I published the last list. I haven’t read it but it’s a book of crochet related essays. Sounds perfect!
There will be more ideas I’m certain, but for this year I think two lists is plenty. The first one is HERE. Whether it’s you doing the purchasing or you have thrust the information under the nose of someone else who’s looking for crochet treats, I hope the lists prove useful! Ta very much and merry Christmas! xxx
Oh, and don’t forget that crochet is not just for Christmas ;p