Crochet Vlogcast Episode 16

Howdy! So you watched the episode did you? Or you’re planning on it soon? Welcome to the crochet zone! Here’s the latest crochet podcast/crochet vlog = crochet vlogcast. Picture click above, folks. Thank you kindly.

Links below as usual, I hope you find what you’re looking for…

Most importantly, the one I find funny: Sweater Weatha, sweater weatha…

Devonshire yarn shenanigans are afoot in Totnes for Stitch Fest

Mini Beach bag info

You must be Off Your Rocker!  A crochet shawl pattern.

The Back to School Sweater CAL

Colour Block Jumper by Cleckheaton

Some beautiful skeins to be found at Somerset Yarns on Etsy

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Crochet Vlogcast (!!) Episode 14

Crochet vlog? Crochet podcast? Nooo, it’s a Crochet Vlogcast, of course!!

Please click on the pic above to go to YouTube for the latest in my frantic crafty to-ings and fro-ings.

In this episode I discuss the following things:

Colour Block Jumper . Yep, I couldn’t find the human designer, sorry. I’m sure I saw an interview in Simply Crochet mag a few months ago. I’ll be darned if I can remember who and I don’t have the issue any more!

Ravelry – Fancy being a pattern tester for my my new shawl?

My Urban Stripe Shawl

Like the wrist warmers? The pattern is part of a set called Autumn Vintage, here.

Outlander knitwear inspiration.  Because I’m a few years behind everyone else…

And to cheer us all up a bit, check this out. Because I need a laugh right now.

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Crochet Your Fade. The Blurre Shawl

Do you know the Find your Fade? A knitted shawl with glorious colour play, a spectrum of tones and speckled variegated yarns. I absolutely love the Fade but I’m just not a knitter. I was so excited when I discovered that a very clever crochet designer had come up with a crochet version. The best thing of all is that the Blurre is a completely original design. It isn’t a rip off of the Fade, it is its very own thing and it’s totally fab!

I stumbled upon the Blurre whilst watching a fellow crochet podcaster. Claudia of Crochet Luna was talking about it and I told her how beautiful I thought it was. A few days later I found a copy of the pattern in my Ravelry inbox! Claudia had bought it for me, for my birthday!! How lovely is that?!

I got stuck in straight away! I knew that I wanted to use the yarns I’d found at Stephen & Penelope’s in Amsterdam. That was my starting point. At the time, I was making a different shawl with some neon yellow I’d bought in Edinburgh. That was also going in too. I needed two more colours so looked for stuff that would blend the neon with the dusky blues from Amsterdam. The Wool Kitchen’s Nebula sprang to mind pretty quickly. Then a spot of time, trawling Etsy gave me Made By Jude’s When Dye Pots Attack. See here for the links to yarn. That’s also the link to the vlog/podcast episode where I talk about the shawl too!

The pattern is awesome. It’s super easy but creates something really sophisticated and modern. I didn’t know Deanne of Addydae Designs before. Well, I’d seen her work before but not properly registered in my head that one person was linked to all the pretties. Check out the Three Springs shawl. I lurrrvve it!! Deanne also has a podcast, check that out too.

I’m in love with my Blurre!! It’s awesome! However, it has been a bugger to photograph. The neon blows out no matter what I try. It makes the other colours look lacklustre. In real life it is all superb, I promise. If I were to be picky, I’d say that I’d like a few more rows of the first colour (the turquoisy one) and more rows of the Nebula (the dark one with rainbow flecks). I think that would have helped to balance out that crazy neon. For the most part, I’m well chuffed. If I didn’t have so many other things to make, I’d definitely make another one straight away. I know others have said the same too.

I got the camera out the other day and took some snaps that didn’t work too well. I asked my four year old to take some pictures of me too. Initially I just handed him the camera and asked him to click away. It didn’t go down well. I ended up with about twenty blurry Blurres. I got the tripod out but still couldn’t see exactly what was going on (not until I remembered to flip the viewing screen). Anyway, here are a few reasonably acceptable photos so you get more of an idea about how the Blurre looks.

It was fun to play around and the boy enjoyed some “responsibility” as my photographer. His favourites were when the cat got in on the action. She didn’t like being a model much.

What do you reckon? Fancy having a go at your own Blurre? I’d love to see other versions!

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Blooming Marvellous – A Knit & Crochet Garden.

I love the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, it’s always welcoming and they have a really eclectic mix of exhibitions. A couple of years ago I went and saw a collection of Matisse paper cut-outs, which was great for a small town gallery (the Thelma Hulbert is in Honiton, East Devon). Sometimes we go just to use their fully stocked art and craft room. The kids love grabbing glue and making collages, or drawing the biggest pictures they can on massive sheets of paper.

I left it really late to visit their latest exhibition, the last day is this coming Saturday (24th June). I can’t believe I didn’t see that it was on until now.

Blooming Marvellous is right up my street because it is a knitting and crochet exhibition! It’s a garden of all things yarn. People from all ages, from all walks of life, hand stitched every item on display. I wasn’t sure if it’d be a bit cutesy but I was delighted to see it all! We also contributed by adding a few rows to some knitting that was there. Can you believe that there weren’t any crochet hooks?! I forgot to take crochet flowers with me. Annoyingly, I have some at home that would have been perfect to donate.

I went with my friend and our two youngest children. The boys had a great time finding things on a list they were given. A mole in a hole, tick! A ladybird wearing a lace collar, tick! A plate of prawns, tick! (The boys were also really pleased to find plug sockets hidden in the floor. But they are only four years old). After the exhibition one of the people working there told us to go and explore the gardens. There were plenty of strawberries to find and eat, she told us. It’s little things like that, that make me like the place so much.

Blooming Marvellous has been touring the UK for the past six years and I wish I could tell you where it’ll be next so that you might get to go. Sadly, I have no idea. Hopefully it’ll be on somewhere else soon. I did take pictures though…

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Wool And The Gang’s Foxy Roxy Scarf

good-storage Do you remember when Wool and The Gang asked me to review their new Take Care Mohair and I thought they’d made a mistake? Well, it can’t have been much of a mistake because they got in touch again to ask if I wanted to try out one of their other products! Result! Today I’m here to tell you all about how I made my Foxy Roxy knitted scarf.

crazy-sexy-wool-midnight I chose the Foxy Roxy scarf from the WATG Hygge LookBook that I was sent to peruse. I could have chosen something to crochet but I was seduced into going a different route. I’ve mentioned in the past that I’d love to knit more (I can do the very basics but that’s all). The sock knitting phenomenon still eludes me but I do see lovely knitted shawls out there. Maybe one day…. Anyway, I thought the Foxy Roxy would be a good introduction to the world of knitting, and the fact that I was being sent the kit would be a good kick up the bum to get something done.

got-my-basics watg-kitThe kit included five balls of Crazy Sexy Wool, some fab knitting needles, the pattern and a little label to pop on the finished project. I just love the packaging it all comes in ( I didn’t take pictures this time because my mohair review has those).  It was Christmas again when the box was brought to my door!

wool-and-the-gang-crazy-sexy-woolI chose Midnight blue but it really was hard to decide (so many colours…). In the end I went with the sensible choice. I knew that I’d wear a shade of navy. And it’s true, I’ve been wearing it non-stop since I downed needles a week ago.

the-beginning it-beginsI took it easy at first. My parcel arrived the Saturday before last and I knitted up half a ball that afternoon and the second half the day after. By Monday I’d gotten into the swing of things; I caned through the last four balls in less than three days. For a couple of rows at the beginning I kept stabbing through the yarn with the pointy needles (these are proper vampire slaying needles). After a few rows, that stopped and I got into a good rhythm. It seems I respond well to the noise of needles. It might be the main reason I fancy taking up knitting. The noise of knitting needles is hypnotic and I really enjoyed the woody clacking I made with my chunky stakes. And oh my goodness! No achey hands! I’m used to achey hands when using a giant crochet hook but I must hold needles differently, cos no ache!

half-way-there-big-knitting knitting-with-cake-and-teaObviously I needed tea and cake to help me along the way but I did get a few crumbs on me stitches [I use the best lemon drizzle recipe there is]. I needed the energy to keep on with all the rows. One ball in and I could see that this was gonna be loooonnng. To be honest, I have no idea if there are more rows than the pattern told me. I didn’t count. I just kept going until I ran out of yarn. I got carried away with this and didn’t have enough to cast off. At that point I had to take an enormously deep breath and frog a few rows. I gathered each stitch slowly and carefully back on a needle and knit back on a couple of rows before trying the cast off again. Here, I have to admit that I don’t actually know what a row looks like. I think it’s both the wiggle chain things per row and not half of one of these. Is that right?! Er, I don’t know. Whatever the weather, I now have a knitting project under my belt and I am proud!

foxy-roxy-watg snear my-foxy-roxy-scarf-watgThank you to my eldest boy for taking some amusing photographs of me. It was very good timing that he was off sick from school. I made him take a squillion pics. To help him I even cracked open the tripod that I bought a year ago. Why haven’t I ever used the tripod before!? It makes life so much easier. Duh. How snuggly and cosy does my new scarf look though!? It is flippin’ gorgeous, I love it. I know it’s wrong but I’m wishing for colder weather so I can enjoy laughing at everyone else in their piddly, little, ineffectual scarves. I will be super warm and happy! Gleefully, manically laughing, I expect.

All I will say is this,  when wearing it I will have to learn to be careful. Yesterday, as I casually sauntered home from the school run (probably with a little hint of scarf smugness too) a great big gust of wind took my scarf and threw it in brambles. So embarrassing. I was there for an eternity, carefully and not so casually untangling my precious new, hand knitted scarf.

the-longest-scarf-in-the-world marceline-tortoiseshell-lovelyI’ve only included a picture of the cat, due to the fact that she was watching me whilst I took the photo’s.

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Feeling the chill.

knitting-with-cake-and-teaCold innit?! I’ve put the heating on and I’ve got tea, cake and knitting. Knitting, I tell you!!  This is my first ever knitting project (not counting the endless squares and “scarves” I made as a kid or the unfinished multi colour/multi stitch jumper I attempted when I was fifteen). There will be more of this next week because I definitely want to write about it when it’s finished…

january-gardenI was planning on releasing a free crochet pattern today but a thing I ordered for it hasn’t turned up. It’s gonna be super cool, why hasn’t the postman brought me the thing I need!? Boo. Instead of crafty talk I’d better do a quick garden update. It’s been a long time since I posted anything non crafty and I feel bad that I’m ignoring the garden just cos it’s winter. Winter gardens can be beautiful too. I’ve just looked up what it was like in September. Flowers!

sun high-f-stopI took these at 8.45 this morning. Different f-stop used but the same view (I’m taking a few minutes here and there to learn about my new 50mm lens that I got for Christmas).

web frozen-himalayan-honeysuckle frosty-herb cold-plant chilly-morningCripes, it was chilly. I didn’t stay out there for long. If I took my time I could get some really nice pictures. I’m a panic picture taker though and really should give myself more time to think about things like angles, lighting and focussing properly (obvious, right?!). Also I need to give myself more time when using the camera functions; actually think about how I can employ them to their best advantage. There’s a lot to process.

ice-bucketThere are still dead sparklers in this bucket. Abandoned in November. Slovenly.

potsI’m embarrassed to say that I started to tear up some of these plants the other day. They looked just like weeds.  I’d forgotten what I’d planted and assumed that they’d be bulby type plants if I’d put them there. They’re anemones! As soon as I saw their cormy bottoms, it dawned on me and I hastily shoved them back in the pot. I hope they don’t mind too much.

Even in winter, I love my little garden. It’s a mess, but that’s allowed at this time of year. Still wondering why my purple sprouting has no purple sprouting though…

Anyway, I’m off to wait by the letterbox with my knitting. On the plus side, I might be able to get my knitting done by tonight so I can wear it out later!

 

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Scraping the Barrel (not really, it’s a fabulous crafty update).

chunky-hatChristmas is getting super close now and I’m not ready. So many ideas have not yet come to fruition. I’m probably being too ambitious in my crafty endeavours but there’s so much I want to make! If anyone else is in a panic about handmade gifts then this crochet hat is really speedy to whip up and looks great too. It’s  the Ski Lodge Hat by Mama in a Stitch. I made it last week for my friend. She didn’t want it to be itchy so I used King Cole Big Value Super Chunky, which is acrylic. The pompom is Robin yarn. I don’t like Robin, it’s proper nasty but it didn’t really matter what the quality was like for pompomming. For the hat, I made 40 chains at the beginning rather than 46. That’s because my mate’s only got a small bonce. 40 was fine for her but for me I think I’d do 44 (bigger brain obvs ;p).

knittingI bought two balls of the King Cole stuff just in case one wasn’t enough for the hat (it was). With the second, I thought I’d have a go at knitting again. It transpires that one does need to practice to become an expert knitter and I ought to have a few goes to get good. I know what I want to make now though. My blogging friend Alida from Buttercup and Bee showed a picture on Instagram of a cowl she’d knitted. I said how much I liked it and she’s given the stitch count [is this what you say?] for making it. This is my first go at purling for a very long time. I can so do this! But not yet. Get Christmas out the way. Get new circular needles.

christmas-star-garland-easy-sewingI’ve done a rush job on a Christmas star garland. It’s not up yet (won’t dec the halls for a few more days, at least). I haven’t pressed it. It’ll look tidier once I’ve had a good go with the iron (not sure I’ll look at my iron in the same way again, not since I saw what Negan gets up to with his!). I could have worked on making this neater but I had just a twenty minute window for sewing machine activity and whizzed through it. Actually, this would make a nice little tutorial. That’ll have to wait for next year.

drops-andes green-ball-of-yarnI’ve been using some lovely yarns to make presents. The green stuff is Malabrigo. Thought I’d go for something fancier than my usual purchases. It’s very pretty.

being-sillyAnd whilst I’m here, let me give an update about this lot. I’ve not finished typing up the pattern. I’m nearly there. Last friday I did do most of it but it’s surprising how much work goes into even the simplest of patterns. Not only am I constantly double checking that I’m writing it down correctly, there’s also lot of photography and editing. I’ll get there in the end, even if I end up publishing it in June.

Finally, today I posted off my two remaining parcels for crafty secret santa type things. Will everyone actually keep them under the tree until Christmas day?!

 

 

 

A Crafty Trip Down Memory Lane.

Nanna's handmade blankets

The first week of the summer holidays was a trip to Southampton. In between the obligatory trips to Toys R Us and Ikea there are the visits to family. I always go and see Nanna and Grandad. They both turned 90 in January and are still surprisingly independent (to be honest, I’m always expecting them to pop their clogs). On this visit we went through some of Nanna’s crafty gubbins and it triggered a nostalgic twinge.

nanna embroidery

Look at this! She embroidered this table cloth in 1945 and she said that she’d like to pass it on to me. I’m quite chuffed about that. It’s really very pretty. It needs a bit of cleaning (anyone got any advice on how I do that?). She stitched it whilst her brother-in-law was in hospital (he’d had his face torn apart by shrapnel).

Vintage flower embroidery

Who doesn’t love a bit of vintage embroidery?!

Nanna's flower embroidery.  table n flowers

Now that it’s the holidays I won’t have much time but I would love to try something like this. I do tinker with embroidery but don’t do masses of it. It’s another thing to add to the list.

knitting needles

She also decided she didn’t want her spare knitting needles anymore. This is daft because I’m sure she’ll want some of them back. Also, I am terrible at knitting.

She hasn’t given me the ones she regularly uses. I think these are all surplus. In amongst them is a tunisian crochet hook. I got quite excited about this as it coincides with the growing fancy that I want to learn a bit of that.

Old bag

Then there’s this awesome bag. It needs repairing but I think it’s pretty cool. I think she said a friend gave it to her, I’m not sure. My guess is 1970’s.

Madeira Madeira bag

I’ve got no clue how to fix the broken bits. To be honest I haven’t checked out how broken it really is. I can just see that the fabric is coming away from the baskety bit.

Nanna's patchwork blanket.

Upon returning home to Devon I went and rummaged in my own cupboards and dug out a few things.

Patchwork blanket

Nanna made this patchwork blanket for my 18th. For a good couple of years leading up to that birthday I’d see hexagons here and there and ask what they were for. She was always evasive and I wouldn’t get a straight answer, hah! I have to be careful with it, I think there might still be a pin lodged in the layers somewhere. I found about three when I got it and managed to get a couple out. I use it regardless, pins be damned. It is not quite twenty years of age.

Having made a patchwork bag using english paper piecing, I know how this sort of thing is a proper labour of love. And her hexies are smaller than mine!

nanna's crochet blanket.

This is the crochet blanket she made for my eldest boy just over seven years ago00000 when he was born. It’s a classic Granny and it is this blanket that made me go to my local wool shop and buy my first crochet hook!

My first bit of crochet

Rewind to some point in the 1980’s… This tatty looking thing above is the first piece of crochet I ever attempted. I made this foundation chain and decided that crochet was rubbish. I don’t think it helped that I was told that I must hold the hook a certain way (me n Nanna don’t agree on hook hold). Knitting was easier; I could make squares and scarves and things. This crochet failure was tied to the middle of a Nanna made crochet blanket that I had as a little girl. (I threw it away last year. It was stinky and holey. The foundation chain is the only bit that remains).

Nanna knitted baby blanket

She knitted this one, for Eldest boy also.

Marceline tortoiseshell

And as usual, the cat wanted in on it so she clambered on Nanna’s blankets and went to sleep.

I’m still feeling funny about old things (not Nanna and Grandad. The other stuff). I’ve been sorting through my old work from when I first started school. I blame going back to Southampton.

school work.

aeroplane museum This was when I went to the Hall of Aviation in Southampton (now called Solent Sky). I took my boys last week. Still awesome.

dolls wedding outfit

I don’t know if I blame Southampton that much. It might also have been before that because I asked my sister to dig stuff out a few weeks ago. I was watching the Sewing Bee and had begun to wonder when I first started sewing.

I used to sit for hours, hand sewing outfits and accessories for my Sindy. After a while I graduated to the sewing machine. I was around ten when I made this wedding outfit from the leftovers of my other sister’s christening gown. My step mum helped me do this as I don’t think I could have managed those sleeves alone. I think I need to ask Sister to go back in the loft to see if she has the red cordoury dress I made her for Christmas when I was twelve… I was dead proud of myself!

Handknitted dolls clothes.

What Sindy/Barbie wouldn’t want knitted clothes?! Some Nanna specials.

hand knitted dolls coat.

I particularly love this coat and I actually think my mum knitted this. It wasn’t passed on to my sisters, it was the only one I kept.

HAnd knitted baby blanket.

Speaking of my Mum. I’m fairly certain she made this one and the one below. One knitted, one crocheted. Both in the seventies, for my brother.  I’m sure she’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

Crochet baby blanket

She said this one wasn’t suitable in the end. Too many holes for baby fingers.

Anyway, I’m gonna go. I didn’t realise there was so much from the past that still exists. What the blazes am I gonna do with it all?! Hope there’re no ghostly cooties clingling on to all the dust.

First ten days of February.

trying knitting

It’s been a bit of a blah kind of week. I think it’s because I started knitting and haven’t been an instant expert. I see knitting everywhere at the moment and thought I should jump on the band wagon. Well, I don’t think I’ll stay on very long. I don’t think I’m enjoying it that much.

rubbish knitting

I’m tempted to unravel this pappy attempt and crochet my way to a baby blanket instead. It’s messy and has dropped stitches. There is always the fear of it coming off the needles and I have no idea of what real knitters do if they make a mistake. I mean,  do you just unravel some rows and then painstakingly reattach all those loops, without unravelling the underneath row by mistake?? What a pain in the arse! It’s happened. Twice. The first time, my nearly three year old grabbed the needles and effortlessly yoinked away the knitting by swishing around his new “light sabers.” I did it the second time because there were too many loose bits after a colour change. Ugh. Stick with it ?… Or not? I’m surprised that I’ve picked up speed when I’m doing it right and I love the click clack of the needles, but, that is about it. Hmm.

pompoms

In a bid to change the mood, I thought I’d have some fun with pompom making. Turns out this isn’t much fun either. I bought a cheap pompom maker and it keeps popping open at the crucial moment, spilling tiny threads of yarn all over my lap. Also, I think mixing up the colours was a mistake. I’m thinking of trying some mono colour balls. They’ll look better.

working

This is where I’ve been sitting this week. Surrounded by mess. I’m like some sort of creative tramp at the minute. It’s the rotten weather that does it. Although, yesterday I took the small boy for a long walk around town. I said we could go and look at the swollen, rain filled river but by the time we got there he was asleep. When we returned home, he was angry with me because we hadn’t been to the river. It’s not my fault that he missed it.

daffs in garden

Looking out the window at the spring flowers, I had an idea that might cheer me up a bit.

a snow drop with macro lense

I know I’ve used the snowdrop picture before, it’s the only goodish one I’ve got.

hyacinth

I love the smell of Hyacinths. I love the smell of daffodils too. They’re also among the prettiest flowers of the spring. They are the first signs that the winter is on the out (although they’ve been fooled as it was -1 this morning and there is frost on the grass).

planning picture

Anyway, I drew some quick sketches and off I went, cutting up bits of fabric and stitching them roughly together.

working on daffs

I’m really pleased with the results. One or two mess ups have occurred but nothing too awful. I asked Husband his opinion and apparently they are twee and granny like. Something you’d find in a charity shop, he said. Maybe that’s the result I’m after but it kind of threw me. Now I’m having doubts.

fabric hyacinths

I think this one looks the most granny like and I’m hoping that will change with the things I’ll do to it. I’d really like them to be displayed in the embroidery hoops but they’re expensive so I only have one. I’ve got another idea but i’m afraid that it’ll transform them into “twee” monstrosities. Oh well, we shall see.

drops cotton

Lastly, I have this Drops recycled cotton. Hearts on the label, must be Valentine’s or something.  80p each! I want to make a doily or two but still on the look out for the right sort of pattern. Fingers crossed I’ll find a pattern soon and get on with it. I’m getting crochet withdrawal.