Category Archives: Crochet

Resting..

Does anyone else feel that life is just a little too cluttered sometimes? There always seem to be those little chores we need to get done, and we strive to do the things we want to do, but sometimes aren’t really sure even what they are..  

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I’ve been reading a book recently called The Organized Mind, which is all about focusing, decluttering and living in a world that is full of so much information without getting overwhelmed. It’s quite hard going, very science-y but explained well and I can’t get my head out of it. Having ticked off many of the things on my list that have been hanging over me since before the wedding, things are starting to get a little clearer.

I’m enjoying the peace and quiet of our new house, the ticking of the clock, working simple crochet granny squares placemats in silence, happily counting the stitches around and around like a meditation. There doesn’t seem enough time for these simple pleasures, though with no small people to look after and a normal working week I’m not sure why.

I’ve also been a little obsessed with colouring. The colours I’ve been attracted to recently seem to reflect those of the sea, the purple horizon blending seamlessly into that beautiful turquoise green. We haven’t made any of our usual little camping trips to the coast this year and I’m really missing Cornwall and the sea air. 

I think a few more weeks of rest might allow me to find out what’s missing at the moment. I haven’t worked on any designs for a while and this makes me itchy, yet I took time out because I felt like I was working all the time. Recently my yarn has been calling to me and new ideas have been popping up, so hopefully soon something will emerge.

In the meantime I think I’ll continue to enjoy the quiet moments for a while.

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5kcbwday2 Dating Profile

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Today’s topic for Knitting and Crochet Blog week is to create a dating profile for one of your projects.  Meet Barney, a lonely teddy bear, seeking a fellow bear to hang out in the yarn basket with.

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Hi! I’m Barney, a small, stripy bear, and I’m seeking a teddy bear (no yarn preference) for fun times and stash diving. I have a good sense of humour, am well stuffed, enjoy cuddles, stripes, hanging out in the yarn basket, long train journeys, camping, and wrapping myself in a massive duvet.  I’m not so keen on hot water, washing machines or dogs.

I was created in Brighton about 6 years ago using Regia sock yarn. Sock yarn always makes a happy bear, it turns out, as we are bright, colourful and distinctive. There were a few of us in the beginning, but over the years we have all found friendship with tiny human beings and have lost touch with eachother.

I’m looking for another bear as sometimes I can get a bit lonely, now my human is older and interested in other toys. It would be nice to have a fellow bear to play with when he is asleep or no longer free to cuddle me. 

The pattern used to knit me is a free vintage teddy bear pattern from Weldon’s, that my knitter found on a website a long time ago.  The original blog it was on is no longer working, so if you would like to knit me a friend you can download my pattern here for free!

I look forward to seeing all the other potential bear friends!

 

 Click here to read more of the posts from Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014 5kcbwday2

5kcbwday1 – A Day in The Life

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It’s day one of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014 and I’ve decided already to take a different perspective on today’s topic.  I work in the knitting industry, and my day revolves around reading patterns and making sure they are going to work properly before they are printed.  Often this means (shock horror) that I don’t actually do any knitting or crochet when I get home, and I’m not sure blogging about how my WIPs are sitting untouched in a basket will be a particularly interesting post!

So instead I thought I’d talk about a day in my life, as a lot of people are surprised my job involves sitting at a desk and not just knitting pattern after pattern.

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For those of you that don’t know, I work as the technical editor for The Knitter and Simply Knitting magazines.  Both mags are based in the same office, next to Simply Crochet, and between the two magazines we have around 12 members of staff. Both titles come out monthly, so depending on which week we are in days can vary slightly, usually meaning the closer to deadline we are the more crazy it gets! We tend to eat more cake at those times (I blame the office being 94% women for this, but that could be considered sexist.) I don’t think you need to hear about those days!

A day in my life at the beginning of an issue would probably go something like this: 

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Coffee! This is obviously an essential start. 

Patterns usually come in from the designer in a word or PDF format, and arrive in a variety of different styles.  Some like to use square brackets, some commas between sizes, some colons.  Just take a look at some of the different patterns on Ravelry and you’ll see what I mean.  Designers all have different preferences, and all the patterns printed need to be styled to look the same way.

I tend to stylise the pattern first and then check it all works.  Partly this is in case I’ve taken something out in the process, and also because I like the styles we use and find them much clearer to read when I’m checking all the maths works properly.  

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I start at the beginning and work my way through each pattern, reading and checking it for errors.  Is the tension right? Will it fit? Do the stitch patterns fit into the stitch count? Will the measurement across the back be correct after the armholes have been decreased? Will the sleeves fit into the armholes?  I work most of these answers out on Excel and make any adjustments if necessary, checking with the designer that they are happy with this first.  Then there are other things to consider.  I check the charts, making sure they will come out as intended.  I can usually see this by comparing the chart with the sample, but will knit swatches to make sure if it looks confusing.  I also need to ensure an instruction for every piece is there, all abbreviations are explained and any special techniques are comprehensible.  Then I might go and make a cup of tea before going onto the next one!

This might sound like hell to a lot of you but tech editing really gets my brain ticking.  I love a puzzle, which some of these patterns often are, and I get to spend my working life surrounded by yarns and inspiring people, learning new tricks at the same time.

Outside of work this crochet blanket has been getting a lot of my attention recently, I’m enjoying the monotony and uncomplicated repetitiveness of it, but I’ve only been doing the odd row or two a week recently!

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Click here to read more of the posts from Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014 5kcbwday1

 

An exciting crochet find!

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I found this lovely crochet blanket last week in a vintage shop in Shoreham-by-Sea for a mere £12! It needs some love in a few places and will eventually be replaced by this blanket I’m crocheting in Erika Knight Vintage Wool, when this will become my camping blanket. I’ve always fancied a crochet throw like this to snuggle down with when staying outdoors, but don’t think I’d ever have the heart to do it with something I’d put so many hours into crocheting myself in case it got spoilt.

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Whoever made this obviously had an eye for colour and spent some time on this, so I’m sure they’d be pleased it’s gone to a good home.

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Kaffe Fassett at the American Museum in Britain, Bath

Thursday was an exciting day for us at work last week.  We were heading to the preview day at the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at The American Museum in Bath, and we were all a little excited! We took the free shuttle bus from Bog Island in town and made our way up to Claverton Manor, which houses the main museum. It was a lovely day which was brightened still by the sight of 350 lanterns and pom-poms decorating the huge yew tree outside the building where Kaffe’s exhibition was taking place.

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As we entered the main space, we were dazzled with wall to wall colour and flower garlands over the door to the exhibition, where you can see Kaffe himself stood in the photo below.

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Kaffe’s collection is stunning, and spans his 50 year career.  Displaying paintings, tapestries, quilting and knitting, this show is on until the 2nd November and is a must see for any textile or knitting fans.

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Kaffe was animated and excited by the exhibition, where the space has been transformed into what he described as something a lot like his studio at home.

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“This is the grandest show of my career – every item is part of an intricate opera of colour. I have always wanted this approach to my work, but other museum designers and curators have steered me to a rather mixed approach in my exhibitions. This show is so unique to me because it explains in a visceral way my growing obsession with the power of colour. This show is closer to my desires than ever before in my many, many presentations around the world.”

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Kaffe has been associated with The American Museum in Britain for many years, and the main museum is showing some line drawings he created of the period rooms there during his visit in 1964, which have never been publicly displayed before, as well as quilts and tapestries from their permanent displays.

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Entrance to the exhibition is free with a ticket to the main museum, which costs around £9 for adults.  Full details can be found at theamericanmuseum.org.

Love a good blanket!

Oops, I’ve fallen out of blogland again.  I think I might just have to accept that just happens sometimes! I’ve been so busy on the old making front recently I’ve forgotten to make any posts about any of it.

Some of you may have seen these pics on instagram, but for the rest of you, I thought I’d share!

Recently I’ve been working on some designs for The Knitter and Simply Knitting, which I can’t post about, but in my spare time, and to change the motion my wrists are doing, I’ve been doing a lot of crochet.  3 blankets have been started.

  Blanket #1:

I actually began this blanket over a year ago I think, the yarn is from a crazy stash of tiny single skeins I was given (you can see it in all it’s entirety here, scroll down to the bottom.) I dipped back into it a couple of months ago, and just seeing all the squares sitting together is enough inspiration to carry on.

However, I then got distracted by this,

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I’d had the urge to do a ripple stitch blanket for ages, and I love the monotony of it, and the fact I don’t need to think about colours, just keep going blindly whilst watching a good show. Like House of Cards, which I’m a bit stuck on at the moment!

The yarn is something I brought back from Zakopane in Poland, I found an old lady selling a lot of huge skeins (you can see in the top photo) of this scratchy handspun stuff for next to nothing – I think it cost me the equivalent of £18 for 3 kilos.  I made my friend Matt carry it back in his suitcase, as it wouldn’t fit in mine, and I’ve had it sitting around for the best part of 6 years.

Blanket #3

We had a small problem with moths recently and it led me to having a proper look through my stash.  I had so much Erika Knight Vintage Wool, but not enough to make anything big for me in a colourway I wanted to use.  I like the purple, but I don’t need any more purple clothing right now.

It feels so soft and luxurious I decided to cast on (is it called casting on in crochet?) a third blanket.  First I made this square, which worked up quickly and provided instant gratification.

Then obviously I just had to make more! One square can be made in just a couple of hours, so this blanket won’t take too long at all.  It’s going to go on our bed, I can visualise it there already, which spurs me to keep going at it.  I love all these colours together and can’t wait until it’s finished.

And lastly, I upcycled this ring on Sunday! I had the button lying around for ages, it’s from a bracelet made up of a few of them, but my skinny wrists meant I had to take one off.  I had one of those “ta da!” moments and decided to sew it onto a ring.  Love it!

Happy New Year!

Apologies for my lack of blog posts of late, I have been super busy over the festive period; planning new patterns, making socks and a hat, and I seem to have neglected them a bit!

Sadly the socks didn’t get finished in time for Christmas but I thought I would put up a couple of photos of my progress.  I’ll point out that these are a gift for my other half, hence the reason they look a bit on the large side on my little feet!

The pattern is Strings Colourwork Socks by Tanja Fleischer. They are knit from the toe up – using the Fair Isle technique to knit the guitar pattern on the top of the foot and the fretboard (so cool!) underneath. Then after the heel the pattern is set so they guitars flow neatly around the whole sock to the cuff. All in all it was a really fun pattern to knit!

Here is the silly beard hat I made for my brother (he’s going to kill me for posting this!) I had some fun fur yarn leftover from years ago and after looking at beards for half a day, had a go at crocheting something that fitted nicely around the neck. It’s actually really practical, but the beard unclips as I imagine he’ll probably wear the hat more without it.

And here’s something I wanted to share with you before Christmas, but just didn’t get the time! When I was out doing my gift shopping, I popped into the “Knitted Supermarket” for a nose around.

The supermarket was in Bristol for a few days around Christmas, and everything inside was for sale. The proceeds went to Knitiffi – the Bristol based folk responsible for the project. Their aim is to make the world a “brighter, happier place” through exhibitions, projects and installations created with yarn.

It was so cute I couldn’t resist these snaps!

And finally…

Throughout 2012 I took part in the 366 photography project – one photo per day for a year. To start with it was hard, remembering everyday to take a picture of something, but after a few months it became a habit. I missed a few (8 to be exact) but I’m really pleased now to have a collection of photos looking back over the whole year. So much so, that I’ve started the project again for 2013!

You can view the photo collection here, or click the play button below to watch a slideshow of the year in pictures.

WIP Wednesday: Forever Ongoing Crochet Blanket


This last week I have been so in the mood to crochet, I have abandoned my knitting bag and picked up these little granny squares.  This yarn was donated to me by my friend Ella, who’s mum had it sat in the attic for years after it had been given to her.  The bag containing it is MASSIVE – and every skein in there is tiny and a different colour. The most I could probably make with any of them is a 25cm square, and as I’m not a fan of technicolour clothing I thought the best thing to make would be a blanket.


As soon as I received this huge bag of yarn, the first thing I did (and you will laugh) is tip the whole lot out on the floor, and arrange everything by colour. It took hours and I still have no idea why I wanted to do that.  I knew it would all go back into the bag, I think I just wanted to see how much I had and if there were any duplicates! Just one of the skeins had a tiny tag on it, with the name of a mill in Yorkshire that I now forget, so I think originally this must have been a bag of samples meant for someone, somewhere.


The grey yarn I have used isn’t from the giant freebie bag of British wool.   It’s Polish – I bought a kilo each of cream (undyed), black and this grey from a stall in Zakopane.  I’m not sure if my friend was suprised or not when I filled his suitcase with the yarn so we could fly it all home, we’d only popped over for the weekend but I couldn’t resist! Sadly when I moved house I had to sell most of it as it was taking over my flat, and it’s pretty itchy so I couldn’t see what I’d make out of it.


So I’ve been making these crochet granny squares – it’s usually my project for when I have no project, so I know this is going to take me (possibly) until I’m a granny myself!  The square pattern is actually from the ‘Granny No Square’ bag pattern in The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller.

I’m not the best nor the fastest at crochet, and as I’ve been having huge breaks in between, I keep forgetting the pattern and having to refer back to it. I’m pretty sure some squares are a bit bigger than others too, but hopefully the more I make, the less this will happen!