Tag Archives: inspiration

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!

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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.


Free Crochet Patterns – Ravelry

If you are looking for free crochet patterns (or knitting) , one of the best searchable places is Ravelry.com – I do not receive anything for promoting them, but I will give you a bit more detail. I used Ravelry more than anything else to find patterns for customers.  It is also not just for free patterns, but is also Social networking for Knitters and Crocheters, there are groups you can join, forums you can chat on, and problems that can be solved, patterns to be favourited and queued!  However don’t blame me if you lose many hours looking around, because it is inspirational too!

A small detail, the majority of users are in the US, but there are loads from the UK too as of today there are 5,270,650 users!  and at least 50,000 in the UK!

So to start you need to type in Ravelry.com  and click on the join now button.  You will be asked for your email address, where you will be sent a link, when you click this you will need to choose a username and a password. I have never received any further emails from Ravelry, so I would trust them.

Once you have signed in, you will be at the welcome page, now if you would like to watch a video with all the relevant bits click in the second box down on the right – Getting started.Getting started

If you watched the video great, you now know what to do if not… Click on the tab along the top that says – my notebook

My notebook

And you will come to your project page, this picture is of my page which has lots of projects, but if you are new, you will have nothing here.  I would encourage you to post projects, because when you search there are lots of things you can find that are really only there because others have put their projects out there.  I will post later about how to do this.  However you came here to find free crochet (or knit) patterns… 
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You need to first click on the patterns tab, next to my notebook.  You will come to this page.  Not too exciting, but the obsession starts here!

1 – click on which craft – Knit & Crochet, Crochet or Knit – you can change this later, but clicking here makes it your default.

2 – Type in what you would like to search for – I typed shawls, general is fine as on the next page you get to choose loads of things to filter.

3 – click on search!

Pattern search

So you will now find yourself on this page, there are several things to note, here the filters are on the left,

1 –  is Gender / Age / Size / Fit – useful for searching for the man in your life, or baby patterns, or something for yourself!

2 –  Availability, click here to filter so you only see free patterns.  Later when you have added your books and magazines to the library (which I really do recommend) you can search patterns that you have already! Notice that without any filter there are 147 pages 7.049 patterns before we add the filter.

3 – This dropdown menu helps with the sorting, You have the choices of Best Match, Hot right now, Name, Most Popular, Most projects, most favourites, most queued, Recently published, recently added to Ravelry, Rating, Difficulty, and Yarn required.  By default Best match is given, but I like to try Most projects, and Hot right now!
pattern filtersHere you can see that I have changed the filter to Free and dropdown to Most Popular.  It completely changes what you see, and can reduce the choices so that it is not so overwhelming.  here we are down to a mere 2,289!Screenshot 2015-05-11 16.19.04If you explore this a bit further you come to my favourite filters, for when you have a special skein of yarn, or you only have 5 balls of some wool…  You can do an open search, but specify the weight/thickness of yarn, and how much meterage/yardage you have!

For instance here I have a beautiful skein…look at it just sitting there really pretty (and it’s really soft and squidgy too…)2015-02-24 15.00.25So to search for inspiration on Ravelry, I would just click on the pattern search button with nothing in the search bar.  Then I use the filters – gender /age / size / fit, meterage and weight, you can use 1 – Jump to a filter, to go there or 2 – scroll down the page to find the filter.  3 – Tells you which filters you have applied.

search filtersYou can then click further through on a project to find the pattern.  This might be a Ravelry download, (it will be if it is a design you pay for) or there might be a link to a website where the pattern is available.Screenshot 2015-05-11 22.28.23

Bear in mind that all the patterns posted are from very different people, and so the quality of the patterns varies.  However most of the patterns I have used (especially if you find the most popular ones) have had no problems!

So go and enjoy, any questions below in the comments, explore, have fun, click all over the place (you can always use the back button!) and don’t blame me if you lose a couple of hours!

More Crochet Cables…

I have been looking for some more inspiration for crochet cables so I did a search on Ravelry, and found many!  those that piqued my interest and I will be doing samples for are pictured below, they are all from free Ravelry patterns, and I will be making samples over the next couple of weeks to see what the techniques are like, and how they are different.

Tree of life – not conventional cables, but I like the idea of making a picture in the cables, with some twists and turns…

Another blanket, but with a lovely chunky cable in the middle that might be 9 stitches wide!

This one you would need to purchase, but I love that although wide, it is a delicate twist of thread!

I love a sampler blanket, there is something about doing lots of different squares, and bringing them together into a coherent whole..

And finally, these three amazing cable patterns which were inspired by the Book of Kells (an Irish medieval writing of the Gospels – which is illustrated with much celtic illumination)


Got to go and crochet now, loving cables!  Do you like crochet cables too?

On my hook – what I am crocheting now!

After showing how inspiring it is to see crafters in other fields, I thought you might like to know a little about the process that I use to create my crochet.  One of My ‘things’ is experimenting by using different techniques, which means that I have to learn those techniques first, then use what I have learned to create a design, or a course.

I learned how to make crochet cables quite a while ago, I experimented a bit using a book 63 Crochet Cables (Anne’s blanket in this post was made using this book) I designed a workshop (part of my next steps course) where I also designed a scarf to be made during this session.  I have now been given the opportunity to run a workshop at Ally Pally (The knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace) for which I bid a Crochet Cable cushion.   So now I need to design the cushion and decide what we will be doing in the 1 hour that we have.

My first step is to learn more about Crochet  Cables, so I signed on for a Craftsy course, which is by a new to me crochet designer Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby (I found by accident the Shibaguyz website, and I looooove what they do!) I am part way through, and have made a sample with a variety of cables, I really enjoy making the cables, and very please with the result as the cables lie lovely and flat.  I have started the next pattern which is woven cables.  I am making these samples in a Double knit, wool mix yarn.

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In contrast, I also have on my hook a design that I have started for an independent dyer.  The yarn is amazing, and a real challenge, as you can see from the pics below, it is the finest of yarn, cobweb, for comparison I have put ordinary double knit yarn next to it!

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Lace is always interesting, it starts off looking very rag like, but hen it is opened up you can see the beauty.  I am using a 3mm hook which seems large, but give the right amount of laciness.

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What do you have on your hook?  Do you have lost of Crochet or Knit WIP’s (Work In Progress) or do you work on one project at a time?  I would love to see what you have on your hook (or needles!)

How to get inspired

Yesterday, after voting I went to Hatfield house for the living crafts show.  It was great! I spoke to loads of people about what they do, and it is fascinating to see other people’s passions.

The show is still on over the weekend so go have a look, and be inspired!  (Living crafts website)

Images below are clickable and go to full size.


13 Brilliant Crochet Blankets

As I am about to go to see the lovely ladies for our Monday night stitch group, I thought it would be a great time to share their crochet blanket projects, over recent months there has been a bit of a blanket obsession going on (ok, Annes cable blanket was started 2 years ago, but she has been doing other projects inbetween!) – and while I have put some of these in my newsletter, I may have missed some, so here they are – starting with granny squares and their variations…

1 Irene big granny square blanketIrene’s Big Granny square baby blanket

1 Trish granny square blanketTrishes enormous Granny square blanket which inspired us as a group to make a blanket for Jean…

1 Group granny blanket for Jean

Variations using one colour granny squares..

1 trish mario granny blanket  1 Wendy granny blanket

Mario by trish, and a quilt pattern by Wendy,

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A groovyghan by me, starting with granny squares, and morphing into other things…

1 Wendy baby blanket 1 Wndy basket weave

Two baby blankets by Wendy – a two colour combo stitch and a basket weave in post stitches…

1 Denise Teddy blanket   1 Densie crochet lions1 Denise knit with crochet owls  1 densise crochet owl

Three by Denise for her Grandchildren, Teddy bears, and lions based on motif squares, and a knitted blanket with some really cute crochet owls..

1 Anne Lily pad closer1 Anne lily pad blanket 1 Anne Cable blanket close1 anne cable blanket

And finally Annes amazing two blankets, a 3D flower, in Aran yarn, with large and small motifs, and the Cable blanket, every square is a different cable pattern, and there are 63 of them!

Al these ladies I taught to crochet, and they have been doing it for less than 4 years, so some really impressive work by everyone!

I hope you like these crochet blankets and are inspired to make your own, I would love to see what you have made!




Fun Friday!

I looooove Friday’s!

I get to crochet with friends all day! First visit is to Love 13, a cafe in Bush Hill Park, which has lots of creative people, the cafe owner is really friendly, and they have a big table in the back which we all sit around, Rachel was sewing ends in for some crochet commissions, and then continued knitting a Tudor cap! There were ladies knitting for charity, and a topsy turvy doll.  I was working on a commission, had a lovely cup of coffee and for lunch a toastie!

       Love 13 summer

Love 13 have their own website – linky here, they run great courses, have excellent coffee and cake, and a selection of really eclectic gifts, and a some yarn including a local spun one which in London is quite unusual!

In the afternoon, the ladies that used to meet for a Chain ‘n’ Chatter in the shop, meet at a local cafe, Maximas, although they are closed for a couple of weeks so we have been in the Angel Pub instead. We are making a crochet blanket for the end of a bed, a swing jumper, a baby cardigan for ‘stock’, baby blanket for a sisters friends baby, My first Hoodie (for a bottom drawer!) a knitted jumper for a future great granddaughter, a crochet cushion, a crochet small blanket for a potential grandchild! We had lots of chatting about new driving licences, local planning issues, family – especially babies and grand children – we are ladies of a certain age!

Let me know where you like to crochet with friends, is it in a regular group? or do you find strange or unusual places to crochet?  Leave a comment below!

Loving Life, Crochet and Yarn!


Three things that make me happy…

St Pauls Hammersmith st Pauls interiorLife – last Saturday I was at a worship conference, what’s that I hear you ask?  For those that don’t know me very well, I take my faith very seriously, no, that’s not quite right, my faith is not church on Sunday, but a daily walk, sometimes a struggle , sometimes a meander, with God.  So on Saturday I found myself at St Pauls, Hammersmith, with many other people, spending time with lots of sung worship, seminars, lots of coffee… started about 10am, and went on to 9pm.  My favourite moment was when, during one of the talks, we sung Come Holy Spirit, in Latin – Veni, Sancte Spiritus … completely different to the rest of the conference, sung very simply on two notes, but then with all of us singing on the pentatonic scale, in a beautiful church, was a truly happy, harmonious, holy moment…

Crochet Cutie from Womens Weekly  Womens Weekly Knitting and Crochet May  Womens weekly workshops

Crochet – this made me squeeee with delight when I saw it… My very first published design in Women’s weekly.  It combines fabric – a beautiful fine silk, with crochet.  I was really happy when they said that they loved it!  I have since designed another combo which they are also really pleased with – so that ‘O’ level in needlework is finally being put to use!  I also had a picture on the Workshop page, along with others that I respect hugely – Jane Crowfoot who opened the first Waltham Abbey Wool Show, Cara Ackermann with whom I have had some interesting crochet discussions with at trade shows, Natalee Warner who I met last year at Excel, and of course Freddie Patmore who organises the whole thing!  We were altogether on Friday for the first in a series of workshops, and had great fun teaching together, in the lovely headquarters of Women’s weekly near Tate Modern!

Sirdar Kasha yarn

Yarn – I have had some really lovely new yarn to play with, it is a new yarn from Sirdar – Kasha.  It is a big ball (300g) of fluff!  Mostly manmade fibres but with 10% mohair, it is interesting for it’s texture, soft, fluffy and slubby too.  I was going to make a Loren Jumper with it, but I loved it sooo much that I decided to design a companion to the Loren – The Sophia Cardigan!  Based on the Loren Jumper it’s not quite ready yet, I have made the whole thing, but it needs some tweaks, the collar needs to be longer, and I’m thinking of taking it apart to increase the length, so that I can wear it!


What makes you happy?  I have found that delighting in the little things every day, thanking God that we are so blessed, makes me very happy.

New Yarn…

On Tuesday I got up really early, really, really early, to get on a train to Birmingham for Stitches (as its known in the trade) or the Craft, Hobby + Stitch International Spring Show.  I was really excited this year as I had been invited to the launch of a new yarn from DMC, Natura XL.

I wandered around the exhibition for a while then went to see the fashion show, this year the focus was much more on sewn garments than knitted, but here are some photos, the first are from Lion Brand, and the others are from Creative World of Crafts.stitches lion brand

I also noticed that the American yarns are now becoming more available, Lion Brand has been to a couple of shows, and this year Creative World of Crafts were here showing of Bernat, Caron, and Lily and cream which I have been waiting for, for a long time!  It is great to have a good squoosh of the yarns that I have seen in patterns for the last couple of years and had to try and substitute!stitches creative

Back to the DMC workshop, we were given a brilliant goodie bag, with a set of bamboo needles, with ceramic ends, a bamboo crochet hook with a painted end with sweet flowers, and some of the new yarn, along with a shade card and press release!
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We were introduced to the yarn and then the best bit we were able to play and chat!  I started with a lovely soft green, and while we had been given a couple of patterns to look at, I decided to make some wrist warmers.  I completed them at the next Chain ‘n’ chatter on Friday, and have taken some piccys to help.  Any comments on the pattern would be most appreciated.2015-02-20 14.43.02

This is the pattern I created, my hands are 19cm at the widest part of my hand and 17cm around the wrist.  There is no shaping, they are slightly on the large side after a few uses, so I would recommend 1 row shorter for the same size that I made, and adjust amount of rows as necessary for smaller or larger sizes.  It is an easy pattern, made with one ball of DMC Natura XL and a 7mm crochet hook.

Make 18 chains.

Foundation Row:  Double crochet in the 4th chain from hook, *treble crochet in next chain, double crochet in next chain , repeat from * to end.

Row 1:  chain 2 (counts as first tr), *double crochet in next stitch, treble in next stitch, repeat from * to end, make last dc in the top of the turning ch (each treble will be made in a double crochet and each double in a treble crochet)

Repeat Row 2, until you have completed 13 more rows – 15 in total.  (you can make these smaller or larger depending on your hand size)

Fasten off with a long end, which will be used to sew up.2015-02-20 11.03.00

Working with an over sewing stitch, fold sides together so that the chains are visible (like picture)2015-02-20 11.07.28

Working from the right side, over-sew in first stitch, and into next 7 stitches, over-sew in 8th stitch (you may want to pass the thread through the stitch to secure it) .2015-02-20 11.12.12

Then weave the end through the next 3 stitches on one side (thumb hole made) over sew the next three stitches, and fasten off, sew in both ends.2015-02-20 11.33.18

Please enjoy this free pattern, and let me know in the comments what you think.