The Shoreline Crochet Bag. New Wave Yarn from WATG

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.

Knitting and crochet. Both equally beautiful.

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

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The lighting when taking this pic was not good. The colour of the yarn is much more like the close up shots.

xxx

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Zeens and Roger Crochet Podcast 46.

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…

Links:

Just because… @chrissie_crafts and @sweet_sharna  both also happen to be part of the CrochetZine team.

Hook inspo. Check out @jess_rippengale @knitbrooks, Lykke,

The Making Things App.

Wool and the Gang Shoreline crochet bag.  There are more kits for New Wave yarn HERE.

The Zigzag jumper by Kimberley of @ Yarnfamily

The Women’s Institute yarn. Soft & Chunky

John Arbon Textiles

Frost Shawl by Hannah of Cozy Cottage Crochet

Cheers! xxx

Zeens & Roger Episode 45. Yarn is Life

Hello and a belated Happy New Year! This is a bit of a weird episode so apologies for that. It is technically only half an episode as I don’t have the time or inclination for covering the whole lot. I hope to record the second part (which will actually just be Episode 46) next week. Soz!

Go Here to my YouTube channel or click on the pic above to go to the actual episode.

I didn’t do a very good job of addressing the recent discussions on race, inclusiveness and diversity. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t more succinct. I hope you get the idea of what I was trying to say (albeit clumsily). I think you should watch Caleisha’s story on Instagram and I think you should read the experiences of @thecolormustard, @tina.say.knits and @su.krita to name just a few. Also, Hannah from the Cozy Cottage Crochet podcast says exactly what I think too (watch from 1 hr 9mins). There so much to learn from what’s been happening. This is only the beginning.

Links to things from Episode 45:

Long Dog Yarns

Dreamy Oversized cardi by Lauren Aston Designs

Coup de Grace – my leather bound book Christmas present.

Zelda’s YouTube

Claudia’s YouTube

The Frost Shawl by Hannah of the Cozy Cottage Crochet podcast

I hope to see you next week. x

 

Book Review: Crocheted Birds by Vanessa Mooncie

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…

Check out some pictures from the book below. And watch episode 44 of my crochet podcast (watch from 25.35) because I chat about my robin quite a lot.

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Zeens & Roger Crochet Podcast Episode 44

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 HERE to 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!

Links:

Zigzgag jumper by Yarnfamily. I talk about this right at the end!

IronLamb Slope Style colourblock hat

For the chunky knit scarf I’m using THIS yarn.

Crocheted Birds by Vanessa Mooncie

The Weekender Blankie by Cherry Heart

Stitchsperation cross stitch

Sally’s Shed

Zelda’s YouTube channel.

Places you can find me Instagram, Ravelry, Pinterest, Facebook, Love Crochet, Etsy

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Kim from @yarnfamily has designed this awesome zigzag jumper
New bedroom!!
He’s like a cute dinosaur

xxx

Another Christmas Wish List for Crocheters!

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.

3. Mug

Love it!

Perfect, right?! It’s from Dear Ewe, an online shop that sells loads of crochet related items.

4. More enamel pins

There are loads out there if you know where to go rummaging. Look at these: Woah There Pickle, Two Girls co, My Crochet Makes, Pretty Little Stickers

5.  Sock Blockers

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.

6. Tote

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…

Pretty Little Stitckers on Etsy

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

EpidendronDesigns on etsy

I just found this one and 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

Lykke 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

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Zeens & Roger Crochet Podcast. Episode 43… Mean Streak

Howdy!! OK, some pics and only a few links this episode but that’s because we’re on a pretty short episode again this time round. Sometimes it’s a good thing to have an episode around the thirty min mark though, right?! Please do click on the picture above to travel with speed to the new episode of my crochet podcast Oooorr you can just find all the vlogs and tutorials HERE!

Links:

ZZ Block C2C Blanket pattern

C2C CAL Special episode

Garter’s Ahoy. A knitted shawl by Sandra of Cherry Heart

The Creative Business Network. An open group of creative folk that meet once a month in Exeter to let off steam!!

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A yarn wish granted!
Some basic knitting to improve the skillz
Leaping Waves. A new cowl in issue 108 of Inside Crochet.
New magazine features.