Tag Archives: designing

Happy New Year

Happy New year to all, have you made any New Year resolutions?  Have they been broken already?  I decided quite a while ago that New Year Resolutions were a bit of a misnomer, we can resolve to do something at any time of year.  It is just that a new year gives (some of us) a blank slate – It cant be as bad as last year…  this year I will – loose weight…   go to the gym…   learn a new skill…  quit smoking/drinking… of course there is nothing wrong in these, just that we so often fail, and then think that we can’t start again till next year – in reality we can start again the very next day!

But of course we should know that we can do this at any time.  For example I was told that I couldn’t have an operation on my shoulder as my blood sugars were too high.  So I quit sugar (I’m not an angel – I always start with good intentions) I have maintained this – at the moment.  But I started quitting sugar on the 16th July, it is a constant battle – I love chocolate! – but if I do have a bit, I try to make sure it is small, and if I have a bad day (I check my sugar daily now) then the next day I try to be extra good.

It is the same with the business as in personal life, we can start with the greatest of intentions and then ‘life’ gets in the way, I have never understood that, life is everything we do so we are just living it!

Working at home doing something I love to do, makes the blurring of the edges of business vs life even harder.  At the end of last year I did a month of Full time teaching in Primary school.  I decided after that (a resolution of sorts) that I did not want to go back to full time teaching.  I am much happier doing a couple of days a week.  or odd days of supply.  I also decided that I needed to earn more money doing the things that I do love to do, teach crochet, and design awesome patterns that are accessible to beginners, and which use as little sewing up as possible!  I also enjoy going to wool shows to exhibit, and pass on my passion about crochet.

Waltham Abbey Wool ShowOf course at this time of year my focus is on the Waltham Abbey Wool Show.  As part of our business it is one of the best parts of the year.  Kate and I are really excited about this year being our biggest and best show yet.  Dedri Uys is opening the show and judging the competition, as well as launching her new Sophies Universe book.  We have 10 new exhibitors along with over 30 favourites.  Nine workshops, free skein winding, and a new Charity – Knit for Peace, so lots to see and do.

So I have decided to blog more regularly, post more tutorials, and lots more patterns – I have quite a few in the pipeline, I’ve just got to get busy making samples, testing and publishing the patterns.

I have also been reading more about business, how to succeed, so will be putting some of that to the test too.

I hope you will join me on the journey.

Diana

😆

Am I a crochet designer?

I have been thinking about this for a while, and when I introduce myself at meetings and other places, what my job title is…am I a crochet designer?

I teach – Primary school Supply, but also crochet classes and workshops, at Missenden Abbey, Ally Pally, Olympia and Woman’s Weekly.

I write and design courses and workshops for crochet

I design patterns – this year for Women’s Weekly, DMC, Inside Crochet, Lets Knit and King Cole.

I write – this blog

I preach – I have been visiting different churches this year.

I have an online shop.

I am one of the two organisers of the Waltham Abbey Wool Show.

Since I had to design some business cards this week, I had to make a decision… Crochet Designer, Blogger and Teacher, kinda sums it all up,

I love the excitement of designing, I love receiving a brief and then some yarn, and turning it into something gorgeous, or starting from an idea/lovely yarn, to produce something that inspires me! I don’t mind the writing of the pattern, once I get started (procrastination is something I always work hard to defeat!) but quite like some of the technical work!

Sometimes I wonder about the designer bit, but I have been published in lots of magazines, and two yarn companies, so I can’t be that bad!  Or is this the typical British way of self depreciating what we do?  This year I have designed – A rug in chunky cotton, A blanket in aran weight merino, A rainbow granny square blanket, A motif cushion cover, a top and cardigan in 4ply cotton, A pair of rag dolls, a motif square bag. A cotton baby blanket, a tunisian crochet jacket and I am also planning an easter rabbit (I know sooooo early) a set of quirky amigurumi soft toys, a cardigan, a crochet along blanket, and some small amigurumi toys.  Phew!!

I love teaching crochet, it is always exciting to start a course, not knowing how it will proceed, whether people will pick up thing easily, or whether they will need a bit more help, I have also been told that I have a lot of patience and positivity when I’m teaching.

And the blogging part – I procrastinate faaaarrrr tooooo much, when I get down to it l love writing about what I do!  I love to share knowledge, give readers hints and tips, and share my passion.

so maybe my linked in profile sums it up better – Crochet Ambassador!

Summer crochet – catch up

Many people give up the yarn arts over the summer, not so the (ever so slightly) obsessed of  us, and so now is the time that we start thinking about autumn and winter knits and crochet.

Personally there is no time when I don’t crochet, and I have made a lot of cotton items over the past couple of months.  I can only give hints here until they are published, but I have designed a cardigan and top in King Cole Giza cotton, a rangoli rug for DMC in Natura XL, and baby blanket for Woman’s weekly in DMC Natura Medium.giza-top-pink-eml 2016-06-21-13-14-362016-08-15-15-42-47

The ladies in our knitting and crochet groups also keep knitting and crocheting over the summer and here are some of their projects

Trish is still going strong on blankets… this made in babette type squares sewn together – cleverly using a load of 4ply she was gifted with – two strands together, gives a lovely tweedy effect on some of the squares (the photo was taken in the Angel Pub so not the best!)

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Estella, has been quietly working away and has suddenly produced this gorgeous shell stitch blanket, with a really interesting colour effect…

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Finally Gwen, who knitted this baby blanket, then gave it a super ribbon edge – really nice for baby!

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For me there is always the opportunity for some Crochet out doors!

My Hubby and I went to see our son ride very quickly (over 170mph in places!) on his motorbike – around Snetterton Race track, you can see the pits where we were stationed!  Sunny day, smell of fuel and burning tyres, what’s not to enjoy?!

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This is a very famous place – where my Hubby swam along the river with a couple of hundred others – I sat and enjoyed the peace and quiet for a while.

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Here he is swimming in the river – he is far left of the picture taking a breath…

2016-08-14-11-44-49And this is a picture from the position that made this place famous – have you guessed where it is yet?

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Constable country – Flatford Mill is where the Hay-wain was painted!

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Although I like this photo better, just something about the plants, the bench (and I love an arched window) is very inviting!

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I am looking forward now to the Autumn/Winter season, with several shows, workshops to plan and deliver and  a few more patterns I am working on that I can sell myself… watch this space…

Missenden Abbey – the return!

Copy of 2015-08-18 13.59.51Tuesday was a new experience; I was an Artist in Residence at Missenden Abbey.  It was lovely to go back with a different thing to do, I set up a little stand with some of my work, and had a few bits and pieces to sell, and two courses to promote.  Then I sat alongside and started to crochet – I chatted with people as they came up to me and trying to catch people eyes as they came along to coffee (I know MORE coffee!) or lunch.

I was able to work on a new beginners course, I have to shorten my existing course, which was 11 sessions this summer, to 7 sessions for the weekend, I also realised that I was using other peoples patterns, when I could use my own!  So for these last 2 days, I have designed a simpler flower block, and a small ripple block that I can use to teach (the granny square is one of those patterns that if it was a poem would be by anon, most people that crochet know how to make one, so can’t claim it as my own!) I am also in the process of joining and making a border so that there is a project to be completed by the end of the course.

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I am also creating a design your own Amigurumi course where we will be learning how to make some basic shapes and then using these shapes to make our own animals, dolls, monsters or aliens!

 

I had some lovely chats to people, gave out leaflets, crocheted while people were doing their courses, had some lovely mushroom soup for lunch, and had plenty of coffee!

Sneak peek!

So today I was completing the beginners crochet project, and as I want to write this up, I thought you might like a sneak peek – do you like the colours?  There were one of two that I wasn’t sure about, but now I see them altogether, especially in the ripple, I am loving it!

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More details in a future post…

 

Day out – in town!

Had a brilliant day today, with my good friend Julia, We started at Blackfriars, and walked over the bridge to the Tate, Modern, I took a few artistic photos of a sample that I have designed for Women’s weekly, so unfortunately I can’t show you pictures, it was quite a simple design, but detailed so I am very happy to have completed it.

We then went to deliver the sample – and were invited up to the office, the Blue Fin Building is lovely inside,2015-08-17 12.38.55We chatted with a couple of people who work at Women’s weekly, and then we went up to the roof garden to have a cup of coffee.  It was a gorgeous day, and the view is spectacular! 2015-08-17 12.28.25 2015-08-17 12.32.23 2015-08-17 12.35.39 2015-08-17 12.37.02-2We then decided to go to the Royal Academy – via Green Park and lunch, we went to M&S and took far too long to decide what to eat!

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Unusual coloured broccoli/cauliflower – purple, yellow and green!

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Fabulous flowers in M&S

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Soooo colourful

We got the bus to Waterloo, and the tube to Green Park, I didn’t realise that you can walk straight up from the subway into the park!  We found a lovely shady tree, ate lunch, chatted and I designed a new crochet flower block!

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We then walked along to the Burlington House which is the home of the Royal Academy of Arts.  I have been a ‘Friend of the RA for years, but don’t usually go into town that often to make best advantage of it. 2015-08-17 15.23.30

So we saw this spectacular piece of art on the entrance stairs, we wondered how it was made, as it is a stone staircase, any hoo, we walked up, then got a bit confused about which gallery to go into, and ended up going via the lift, but an alternative route as it was out of order, it meant we were accompanied all around the back parts of the academy, where the public don’t usually see.  we went through the magnificent library with really old books.

We looked around the only exhibition that was there which was Joseph Cornell – Wanderlust, an ironic title as he never travelled, it was an interesting show, but not something that appeals greatly to me – I could appreciate the skill involved in some of the pieces, and quite liked a couple of the collages, but overall it wasn’t really my ‘thing’!  The stairs piece was much more interesting to me because of all the colour!

When we come out of the exhibition, we went to go down the stairs and we couldn’t – they were removing the artwork!!  It was fascinating to see this happening, and how they were pulling and scraping off the tape, lots of people all at once, and when we came back from having a coffee in the friend’s rooms, it was completely gone.  I could say something about the transitional nature of art, but it was just really interesting!

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Really lovely relaxing day out, a bit ‘ladies who lunch’, with a great friend, lots of chatting, coffee, and a little bit of crochet!

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squeeeeee! Woman’s Weekly

I really felt like squealing today – In the post was a copy of Woman’s Weekly, The WEEKLY one!  I have had several patterns published in the Knitting and Crochet Monthly but this is the first weekly one, and it is the only knitting/crochet pattern in the issue.

I did get notified by tweet earlier in the week, but in my naivety, I didn’t realise it was the weekly one!

See in the bottom left hand corner…  That’s my pattern!

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And here it is on my mannequin,

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With a close up of the ripple pattern – which I designed from scratchmain body of ripple - bottom edge

So today is a good day!  Thank you Woman’s Weekly.

30 hours in the day please!

This is just a quickie!  I love Dr. Seuss books, and have found out that he is eminently quotable!  There are several that I love, but this seemed appropriate, as I have tooooooo many things to do!

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

because there are not enough hours in the day when you have a crochet deadline, something that has to be done, and cannot be rushed!

More news tomorrow!

Pinning on Pinterest

After pinning a few more inspirational pictures on Pinterest, this week, I wondered if everyone knows about it!

Pinterest is like having a scrap book, but online.  I have two accounts that I use for different purposes.  My named one linky here is like an inspiration page, if I see something that I like on a website, I ‘pin’ the picture, and choose which board that I put it on, like having different pages on a scrap book, but ones that can have an infinite number of pictures.

Of course Pinterest also emails me with things that I might like, and while sometimes I don’t look in much detail.  but others are fascinating and can lead to some wonderful discoveries – such as the featured image above.  Which although not something I would make, looks absolutely wonderful.  and if you follow the links to the original site has a great photo tutorial (because I don’t read Russian!)

glorious colour!

Or if you see a picture you love – I still love this a few years after I pinned it, you can go back to it time and again to be inspired.

beautifully complex

It is well worth having a look, as it can be used in as many ways as a scrapbook can – Planning a wedding, home improvements, clothing, basically anything where a picture can tell the story.

(please click images above to go to original websites)

Summer Holiday crochet

I am really excited to be back blogging, I have restarted the 30 day business blogging challenge, along with a few others on Facebook, and I am relishing the new start ,  I got to day 25 last time, and I am determined to complete it this time!

I don’t have an actual summer holiday booked, but I am looking forward to teaching a learn to crochet course over three days at Missenden Abbey.  I have heard from others recently that it is a great place to stay, and to learn.

I am also working on a project for Women’s Weekly (knitting and crochet special) some other projects – especially a blanket or two, or three, along with the other wip’s (Work In Progress) I have around…

Also during the summer I want to re-start the International Diploma in Crochet, there, I have said it out loud, now need to follow up!

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After working full-time in school for eight weeks, I can focus on the business again, I have had three more patterns published, two in Woman’s Weekly, and one for DMC in their recently published Tiny Tatty Teddy range.  I have also just completed another pattern for DMC to be put in their Christmas range published in September.

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I have also been able to go back to the stitching groups on Fridays, starting with Love 13 where they had probably the best Lemon Meringue Pie that I have ever had! And then on to Maximas where there were 13 of us crocheting and knitting in the sunshine.

Crochet and friends – nothing better for the summer holiday!