Monthly Archives: May 2015

Woolly crochet blanket colours decided!

After much, much experimentation, I have decided on the colours that I will be using for my multi-pattern crochet blanket.

I looove colour so I have gathered the brightest colours in the DMC Woolly range.  2015-05-31 18.42.41

  • Top row:   075, 086, 094, 051, 052, 065
  • Middle row:  077, 082, 093, 103, 055, 063,
  • Bottom row:  074, 081, 084, 102, 043, 054

broadly, 3 blues, 3 greens 3 yellow, 3 orange, 3 reds, 3 mauves, so quite matched up as far as primary and secondary colours, even though I didn’t really plan it that way!

The next stage is to start planning the design, there will be 6 different types of pattern, some of which are motif squares, and some stripes. I’m going to start with a type of square which is as easy as a granny, but a bit more solid, I’m thinking of a heart, star or flower square, and a circle to a square type.  For the stripes I want to do something with bobbles, and a spike stitch – but I am still working on the details!

I’m looking forward to starting this blanket in earnest now, so will keep you updated as the pattern develops.  what are you crocheting or knitting at the moment?

Next steps in Crochet

I have had a few customers and friends enquiring about what to do after learning the basics in Crochet, so I thought I would help you out with the next steps.

Once you have learned the basics, my recommendation is to find a great basic pattern, this could be a granny square blanket, cushion, or scarf, a ripple blanket or cushion, or similar.  by embarking on a larger project with an easy pattern, you will be able to improve your tension, and general skills, it also gives a wonderful sense of achievement when it is finished!

I would then try and improve your pattern reading skills, still picking only easy patterns.

It is 705lgetoo easy when you start to find something you love, but that is a really complicated pattern, it might look easy but there will be something that you get stuck on…although you may have the perseverance for a while, it is easy to get stuck on a particular part, and then get disheartened.  If you practice with lots of different patterns that are still simple, you will gain in confidence.  A good stitch dictionary can help you make a start, or a book with lots of different motifs at different levels (one I recommend is 200 Crochet blocks by Jan Eaton link here to my website where I have a few copies at 35% off!)  make sure you get this one with the pink cover which has UK terminology.

Once you are happy with the basics, you could experiment with different yarns, and some different techniques, which is why I developed the Next Steps course…now while you can get the basic information from my website,  I thought I should elaborate, especially as I will be running this as a 3 day Summer School at Missenden Abbey.

There are basically 5 sessions with extended project time in the last session.

Session 1: Adding texture: this is where you learn the differences between, shells, bobbles, clusters and popcorns – they all add texture in a different way.  these are all made with combinations of basic stitches like trebles and double crochets


Session 2:  Cables and ribs: here you will start to use post stitches, both simple back and front posts but also how to twist stitches to create brilliant cables.  I may also have a cabled cushion cover pattern ready as well as the scarf pattern, designed by me!


Session 3:  Lace:  this can be a scary area if you are used to working in DK or Aran yarn.  We will be using two different yarns, a plain merino lace weight yarn, but also a fluffy kidsilk type with mohair, and another original pattern.Konstance

Session 4:  Tapestry Crochet:  I really like challenging people’s perception of crochet and from a distance this can easily be compared with fairisle, we work in the round on a small phone cover, but I will also have the pattern for christmas baubles available! great fun once you get your head round holding 2 colours at the same time and following a chart!

DSC04295   bird   2014-11-22 12.03.59

Session 5:  Joining and finishing: the difference between handmade (professional) and homemade.  including tips for blocking, but the main focus is on how to join motif squares, with a wide range of different styles including join as you go. (you do have to bring some squares with you to join!)


Throughout the course we will be reading patterns, and charts, and of course I love being able to sort out any crochet questions that you may have.

Of course if you have any questions that you would like me to answer through my blog please ask below in the comments or on my facebook page!

Learn how to Crochet – Granny Square – Round 2

Ding!  Ding!   So by now you may have a little pile of Round 1’s of your Granny Square and wondering what you will learn how to crochet next?

We are going to change colour.  There are lots of different ways of doing this, the most secure of which is as follows:

  • Make a slip knot, make the loop a bit bigger than your hook, then take it off the hook.
  • insert your hook in a corner space, from the front to the back, put the slip knot back on your hook, and pull the loop through to the right side, trying to keep the knot part at the back of the square.
  • Using the loop as your working loop, make 3 chains.  the first one secures the yarn in place.

first 3ch, Right handed

LH Granny pics 05

First 3ch, Left handed

After joining the second colour of yarn in one of the chain 2 spaces

(these are all corners, at this point). I like to join mine before the yarn end I just left so that I can crochet over the ends as I go, but there’s no “right” corner to join to—after all, you have a symmetrical shape, no matter which way you rotate it)

  • make 2 trebles, then 2 chains, and make 3 trebles. You’ve just made a corner!

    3ch, 2tr to start – right handed

    LH Granny pics 07

    3ch, 2tr to start – left handed

  • Next, ch1, and skip the cluster in the previous round.
  • *In the next corner space, (3 trebles, 2 chains, 3 trebles). 1 chain, skip the previous round’s cluster. Repeat from * twice more and join to the top of the first actual treble stitch you made with a slip stitch – in the video this is really clear (about 5.10).
  • make a chain and fasten off.
  • Congratulations you have made round 2!

DSCF4837   LH Granny pics 8

This would be written in pattern form

Round 2:  attach new colour, ch3, 2tr, 2ch, 2tr in chsp, *1 ch, 3tr, 2ch, 3tr, in next chsp, repeat from * twice more, slst to join, fasten off.

If you have started to make some squares using these posts, I would love to see them, post comments below!


Bank Holiday Monday…

I accompanied my DH to a great event on Monday – the Hatfield Broad Oak 10k, there are 1500 runners, loads of spectators and as a bonus, it is also the Churches Flower Festival, and Village Fete!  So lots to do once the race has finished…

It starts at 11am. here people have lined up in approximate time order, and have started to be moved to the start line which is around the corner to the left…2015-05-25 10.58.36They then head out away from the village for about 15mins, then the first runners come back up the hill… and the spectators start to clap…2015-05-25 11.15.02We keep clapping as people we know come past, DH below…2015-05-25 11.23.32But we keep clapping till the last person comes through about half an hour later!  Its then time to go and meet people at the finish…

Then I get to do the other things… we wander around the fete, buy some coffee and sarnies at the WI tent, and go and see the flower festival, I always think that there is a great crossover with colour when looking at flowers, I do dabble in flower arranging, and have ‘done’ 4 or 5 weddings!  I always think that there are really no bad colour combinations if you find those colours in nature…

So here are some groups of colour…Pinks…

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Loving the yellows/oranges with purples/blues – complimentary colours rule!2015-05-25 12.33.57       2015-05-25 12.30.22

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and used with particularly good effect here where the image is going from the dark to the light…2015-05-25 12.31.11

Then my favourites that use bright/clashing colour

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Not overly fond of dyed flowers (the purple lilies) but really like the effect!  A great day out, both hubby and I had a good time, we were home by 2pm, and had the rest of the day together!  Did you have a good Bank Holiday, were you able to make the most of time with the family?

Loving life, Crochet and Yarn…

Three things that make me happy, Life…

2015-05-21 09.56.33an early morning walk around Waltham Abbey Gardens on a beautiful day…2015-05-21 09.47.48 2015-05-21 09.42.16 2015-05-21 09.45.27Crochet:  finishing some cable pattern samples and feeling confident enough to start on my own cable pattern for a cushion (that will be the centre of a workshop later this year)2015-05-24 14.10.35-1

2015-05-24 14.10.18-1 2015-05-24 14.09.53-1Yarn:  loving playing with colour combinations for the blanket I will be designing, tropical…2015-05-21 17.10.27Cool, 
2015-05-21 17.07.07Rainbow 😆  (My fave!)2015-05-21 17.22.35-2Do you have 3 things that have made you happy this week?  Please leave a comment below!

Crochet Colour combinations

So after being really quite obsessive,  I have one mini crochet square for every colour of DMC Woolly, labelled and the ends sewn in!  The next part of the the design process, and the really fun part – deciding on colour combinations.

I have made similar types of blankets with both 15 and 12 colours.  so looking for combinations with that many different colours.

I started by making a colour circle with the closest colours to the following red/blue/yellow first – primary colours, then orange, green and purple – secondary colours being made from the primary colours, then tertiary colours, red/orange, yellow/orange, red/purple, blue/purple, and yellow/green, blue/green.colour wheel 1I love, love, love these bright colours, for a start!  I then put all the colours out within the colour wheel, don’t they look gorgeous!  a great range of colours…all as spectrumthen put the bright colours together…bright comboand make sure that I know which colours are which – bearing in mind that photos are notoriously inaccurate!  bright with tagsI then tried a vintage look…vintage comboand some pastels…pastel comboAlso labelled!

vintage with tags pastel with tagsBut… I haven’t finished playing yet!  I want to do a lot more colour combinations before making the final decisions, including neutrals and some other colour combos like strong pastels, and complimentary colours – that is from opposite sides of the colour wheel, reds/pinks and greens or blues/oranges… watch this space!

And as for putting the colours away… the spectrum thing is a wee bit of a compulsion!all coloursWhat about your colour combinations – anything you like? Let me know about it below.

3 things you didn’t know about me!

I visited Australia.  I went on a brilliant 30 day coach tour starting in Sydney, working up the East Coast all the way up to Cairns, then West to Darwin and Kakadu, down to the Alice Springs and the Red centre, then to Melbourne and back to Sydney, We travelled by coach covering between 500 – 700 clicks per day (km) We camped every day, with and without tents!  we camped in the outback a couple of times, stayed in a motel once, I swam in Mataranka hot springs, saw Uluru at sunset and sunrise, swam and dived in the Great Barrier Reef, flew in a hot air balloon over Alice springs, and many other things. I travelled on my own, but had met my husband to be, so I wrote to him every day (even when I couldn’t post the letters!)

I went around the world, stopping at Singapore on the way over, and New Zealand and Hawaii on the way back, where my husband to be met me – I didn’t know that he was planning it either, he is brilliant at surprising me!

Swimming pictureI ran two triathlons in 2007 I sometimes can’t believe this myself, but I trained hard, and really enjoyed the swimming part of this, but not so much the bike and run.  My first was at Eton Dorney Lake, where it was raining, and I got a puncture at the far end of the lake, and they sent a rescue boat to see if I was ok!  I finished the first lap of the run, and was asked if I wanted to stop, but I realised how stubborn I can be, and I went on, being the very last person to finish!  I had a bit better luck on the London Triathlon, swimming in the dock was interesting, but I really struggled on the bike, since I had trained in 24° and it was 32° on the day!  It took me over 3 hours but I remember the atmosphere was great, and really supportive when I was running.  I still love to open water swim.

Space picture

I love Sci-Fi. I really like what I call proper Sci-fi, not some of the horror set in space, I like reading Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Douglas Adams, but also films like The Matrix, and while I like Star wars, I am definitely a Trekkie at heart!

Do you have anything you have done that you are proud of, or that you look back on and wonder how you managed?  Are you a secret Sci-fi fan (Will you take the red or blue pill? Live long and prosper!) ?  I would love to hear from you.



Sydney: Image by savit keawtavee at

Swimmers: Image by dan at

Space: Image by Victor Habbick at

A-Z of designing!

I am about to embark on a new designing project in crochet, so I thought I would post about the whole process, from start to finish, it will also help to keep me on track if I make it public from the start!

I have wanted to design a blanket for a while, I really enjoyed making a variation on  the ‘groovyghan’ (Linky to Ravelry pattern) mostly because while you get the chance to repeat and practice motifs, but not so many that you get bored with them!

2014-03-28 16.27.382014-04-23 11.17.03

The first decision is which yarn to use, the top one in bright colours was made in New Fashion Acrylic yarn, by Woolcraft, and the second one in Stylecraft Special DK.  For this one I wanted to try a wool yarn, and I haven’t crocheted in Merino wool for I while, DMC have a relatively new range called Woolly and I got 1 ball of each colour so that I could experiment with colourways.  The box arrived a couple of days ago!  Here is how they came…2015-05-14 19.36.14

I then organised them according to the colour chart…

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Photographed them on their side so I could see all the gorgeous colours…

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Put them back in the box… (obsessive – moi? not sure what you mean!)

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Mmmmmm don’t they look loooooovely…

And finally I started to make some little crocheted squares so that I can choose my colours.  I did think of putting the yarns onto clothes pegs, (I do really like that idea) and using them to shuffle the colours, and it would probably have made the labelling easier, but I think I like the look of the crocheted fabric to start.

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So this is just the start of the process, I will post some starter sketches, and all my finished squares with some colour combos soon.  Meanwhile dream of lovely soft squishy yarn, and leave a comment below!


I knit – Fandango

Went to a lovely show on Friday,  the I knit Fandango, met up with Rachel, and had a lovely day chatting to stall holders about everything from Yarn to Instagram!  Which I really don’t seem to be able to get my head around at the moment!

I was to be Rachel’s restrainer (the opposite of enabler) she has lots of lovely yarn at home, is designing for people and wants to use up some stash to make space for more yarn!  so patterns=good – accessories=ok, more yarn=bad!  she also was shopping for a friends birthday, so that was allowed too.

I did take lots of pictures of inspirational colours, and interesting accessories that are popping up now, which are in the gallery below.

When looking back on my pictures I did notice a trend.  For several past years, colours have been quite natural, vintage type look, lots of pastels, but after seeing Easyknits last year with their amazingly vivid colours, I thought wow, how different… at Fandango there was definitely a trend towards stronger/deeper colours.  looking through the gallery I would like to know what you think?  Which do you prefer?  Please write a comment below.


WWW – Women’s Weekly Workshops!

I was so excited to see this article,  below is a link to the Women’s Weekly Learn to Crochet workshops that I was teaching at a couple of weeks ago. The lovely Freddie Patmore from Women’s weekly, invited me to teach alongside Jane Crowfoot (Janie Crow) Cara Ackerman from DMC, and Natalie Warner (berylliantknits)Freddie-Patmore-Diana-bensted-Learn-to-CrochetWe had a lovely day, with some lovely ladies, from all over the place, some were even from Waltham Abbey and Chingford! Lunch was amazing on the roof garden with spectacular views over central London.2015-04-24 13.49.19Do click here to read the full article, looking forward to the 22nd June and doing it all over again!