Blogmas 2017 · crochet · Love Charlie Free Crochet Pattern

Christmas Tree Card Tutorial… Blogmas No.2

Blogmas 17

The second blog post in my blogmas series is a tutorial on how to make my go-to hand made Christmas card. I like to be able to give an extra special card to those that are important to me, and I feel that a hand made card is much more thoughtful… and what could be better than a crocheted card?

I’m not going to ramble on, so here is my tutorial for an easy crocheted christmas card. See below for links to a printable PDF version of this tutorial.

What you’ll need…

  • Green DK yarn
  • Brown DK yarn
  • 5mm crochet hook
  • Sparkly Embroidery floss
  • Button (For top of tree)
  • Copydex Adhesive
  • Black fine liner & glitter gel pen
  • Kraft A6 card & envelope
  • Sewing needle & Scissors

Stitch Abbreviations 

  • Ch = chain stitch
  • Dc = double crochet
  • Sl st = slip stitch

Crochet Christmas Card

#lovecharliecrochetdesigns

Click here for printable PDF tutorial

Step 1 – Green Tree

Row 1 & 2 -> With green yarn, ch3. Dc into 1st st (Counts as row 1 & 2)

Row 3 -> Ch1, turn. Dc into same st. 2dc into next st. (3sts)

Row 4 – 15 -> Ch1, turn. Dc into same st. Dc in each st until the last st. 2dc into the last st. Repeat until the final row has a total of 15 sts.

Edging -> Dc in each st around the triangle and 3dc into each point. Sl st into 1st st and tie off. Weave in end.

Step 2 – Brown Tree Trunk

Row 1. Chain 5, dc into 2nd st from hook and dc into each st along (4sts)

Row 2 – 6. Chain 1, turn. 4dc along. Repeat until you have 6 rows in total. Tie off and leave a long end to sew to the back of the tree. Weave in ends and cut off at the back of the tree. (You won’t see the small ends as they will be stuck to the card)

Step 3 – Tree Decorations

Cut a length of sparkly embroidery floss (enough to sew the button on and zig zag in back stitch) You can use any button you like – but I chose a star shape. You can also sew on beads if you like or use any kind of decorations you think would look nice. Tie off at the back of the tree.

Step 4 – Writing on Card

Place your Crocheted Christmas tree onto your card and figure out where you’d like to write a message. This is completely optional as the tree would be enough. I like to write Merry Christmas at the top – but any seasonal message is nice. I mark out my letters with pencil then go over it with a black fine liner. I also use a gold glitter gel pen to outline the card and put some details in to the writing.

Step 5 – Adhesive

Turn your tree over so the back is facing upwards. Take your Copydex and spread evenly over the back of the tree. You don’t want to put too much on as you don’t want your card to get damp and bend – but you also want to out enough on that your tree sticks on properly. Put your card under a heavy book and leave overnight to dry.

Step 6 – Write your card and give it to someone special

Write your message inside the card and seal in your envelope. Now give it to someone special. I bought my cards from Paperchase – but any craft shop should sell blank cards. I also chose Kraft card as I like the rustic look, but you could use coloured card or cards with a scalloped edge for more detail. Use whatever craft supplies make you feel happy and Christmassy and have fun!

Detail 1.jpg

Christmas Tree Card

I would love you to share your pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #lovecharliecrochetdesigns and share on projects on Ravelry. I hope you enjoy this tutorial!

Love Charlie, Xx

Blogmas 2017 · crochet · Love Charlie Free Crochet Pattern

Free Crochet Wreath Decoration Tutorial Blogmas No.1

Tis the season to get crafting. Fra la la la la, la la la la.

For the next few weeks I am going to be participating in a self-made blogmas. What this means, is that I’ll be uploading more blog posts than usual; and I’ve been working hard to be able to publish some free patterns for you, and some other Christmas related ramblings. This is as much for you as it is for me. I am very anxious that we are rapidly approaching the end of the year, and I have so many things I want to ‘say’ before the end of 2017.

Blogmas 17

This is a special time of the year, when it seems as though we are all running around like headless chickens trying to get everything done before the Christmas Holidays so we can sit down and have a much needed break, spend time with Family, and eat ourselves silly. Although I will be referring to this series of blog posts as ‘Christmas’ blog posts; please understand that the majority of these posts are only seasonal, and relevant to our Winter break. I am not a religious person but I do love giving and sharing with friends and family; and I want to celebrate that in these posts.

Free Wreath Decoration Tutorial

#lovecharliecrochetdesigns

This is a super-easy, super-quick pattern…

The first free pattern I have to share is for a Classic Christmas Wreath decoration. This is a super-easy, super-quick pattern that you can personalise for your tree. I have made this several times but have only just, for some reason written up the tutorial. This can be personalised to suit your Christmas tree theme and will also make a lovely gift for friends and family; not to mention ‘Secret Santas’ at work. I personally love to give homemade presents to those that I love, and something festive is sure to go down a treat.

Click here for the Tutorial…   Easy Crochet Wreath Decoration

Tutorial Image

Click here for printable PDF tutorial

All you need is a curtain ring, some scrap yarn, some lengths of ribbon, and if you want some extra details you can add sparkly embroidery floss and beads. These look nice when you make quite a few and make them in different shades of green – but you don’t need to make them in Green. You could try making multi coloured wreaths for more of a modern look.

I hope you enjoy making these simple, classic Christmas decorations. I would love to see how you personalise these wreaths to match your own trees and festive themes. Share on Ravelry and on Instagram using the hashtag #lovecharliecrochetdesigns

Merry Christmas – Let the festivities begin!

Love Charlie

 

crochet · Lifestyle

Sunday Funday…

As you know, I’ve been all about productivity and achieving over the last 3 months. It has been amazing and I have accomplished so much! Although this last weekend, I was supposed to spend a lot of time on my blog and publish a couple of patterns and tutorials – things didn’t go to plan. The weekend came and went so quickly and there are still no tutorials or patterns on the blog. That is because I decided to take a break from my to do lists and schedules and take some time for myself.

Things have been tough over the last few weeks, and although I don’t talk about it a lot, I actually suffer with SAD. That’s Seasonal Affective Disorder if you didn’t know, and it is awful. It affects me every year, and even though I know mentally that there is nothing physically wrong with me, I feel exhausted and lack motivation – I think that’s why I’ve been so dependent on lists throughout the run up to winter. I find it hard to get anything done when I get home from work and fight the urge to go straight to bed… which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to keep develop as a crochet designer, blogger and podcaster. Tired is an understatement. My crochet tribe is amazing, and I can’t express how grateful I am for all the encouragement and support there has been on Instagram. Anyhoo… I really didn’t feel like spending hours on the computer and I think I needed a distraction – something to concentrate on and something new.

On Saturday, we did some Christmas shopping, and at 4pm I ended up at Black Sheep Wools… because my amazing fiancée suggested I go 😉 On a whim, I decided to buy a circular needle and sock pattern for my first knitted sock. I thought this would probably be something that got pushed to the back of the pile… but I was really feeling the urge to learn something new. I thought ‘Am I crazy?’ I’ve never knit anything before, and have only recently learned how to do stocking stitch.

I started on Saturday evening on the rib. I started, ripped back and restarted about 6 times. Oddly though, I didn’t feel frustrated like I thought I would. There is something peculiarly satisfying about knitting that I never ‘got’ before. Although I’m sure I’ll be saying different when I reach the heel. I feel as though I’m going into this blind – but I’m really enjoying it so far.

On Sunday, Katie was going out for lunch near Black Sheep Wools, and I realised I needed another size needle for the socks. (I stupidly didn’t read through the pattern in my impulsive shopping spree.) I got to the shop and bought the size that I needed and then went to get some lunch. I had some lovely home made vegetable soup and a cheese and ham toastie then sat and worked on my sock. I am using Stylecraft Head over Heels sock yarn in the colour way Olympus. I got to the end of the rib (Finally!!!) and started on the knit stitch. I am knitting the Norwegian way so it is much quicker for me as a crocheter to knit this way. I am using a Sidar sock pattern and I think I’m going to attempt the short row heel. I then read through the pattern again (thankfully before leaving Black Sheep Wools) as I realised I will need some DPNs for when I get to the heel, so I went back to buy those and also a beginners knitting book full of images and tips and tricks. I also bought a new Sheepjes tote bag to put everything in and it matches my Crochet Sisters pin from CrochetLuna perfectly.

Click here for the Black Sheep Wools Website…

I then made my way to the cosy Rowan corner and plonked myself down on the comfy leather sofa covered in knitted blankets and continued to work on my sock, before asking the staff for a bit of advice on which heel to try.

I do feel guilty that I haven’t ticked things off my to do list and I do feel like I am behind now – even though I am the only one putting pressure on myself. I feel as though I deserved to have the weekend off and although we were very busy, it was a great comfort to spend a few hours on something that is completely separate to all of my targets and goals. But on the other hand I feel proud of myself for learning something new and giving the knitting another go, despite how much it scares me. Does anyone else ever feel like this when changing plans or rearranging personal schedules?

Thank you again to anyone who has provided comforting words on instagram – I don’t mean to be a Moaning Myrtle. I am honestly fine and it happens every year. It will be over soon enough and I will start to get my energy back when the sun returns. 🙂

Love Charlie, Xx

crochet

November WIP Progress…

It’s getting very chilly here in Cheshire, and to keep myself warm, I’m surrounding myself by woolen bits and bobs! The last few months I have used lists as an exercise of productivity and motivation; and November is no different… In fact, I have a new notebook to tick off crochet goals.

I have only one thing left to tick off for my November goals, and I’ll have to crochet like mad tonight to finish… I have 6 stripes left! I best get cracking (or should I say hooking?)

Here is what I’ve been up to…

#BWPhotoChallenge

Firstly, I took part in the #bwphotochallenge on Instagram. This challenge consisted of uploading a black and white photo everyday with no description or explanation. I found this quite difficult as I didn’t crochet everyday; but I hope I am glad in a way because it was an opportunity to show my followers a side that I don’t always want to photograph and upload. Some days were literally a photo of my lunch… or the box of Strepsils I was nursing through a cold.

 

Butterfly Stitch Prayer Shawl

I managed to start and finish a complete Butterfly Stitch Prayer Shawl in November. This is a free pattern on Ravelry by NJ Sharon & Debi Adams, and this one was commission for a work colleague. They liked the grey colour in the King Cole Galaxy DK from the  Mars colourway (which is grey & cream) I managed to find 3 balls f the Mercury colourway, which is sadly discontinued now, but is all grey. This is my second Butterfly Stitch shawl and I can’t recommend the pattern enough – it works up beautifully!

#Backtoschoolsweatercal – Movie Night Cocoon Cardigan

Although I made most of the progress on this Cardigan in October, I finished it in November. I love this cardigan! It is the first garment I’ve ever made, and I am very thankful to Tamara and Helen for hosting the #backtoschoolsweatercal as it encouraged me to finally get this from my library to finished objects on Ravelry. I used just over 5 balls of acrylic yarn I bought in Aldi earlier this year… if not last year… and it worked up lovely. It’s burgundy which is my favourite colour, and I have barely taken it off. It is a free pattern on Ravelry by Alexandra Tavel – Click here for the pattern.

 

 

School of Wizardry Scarf for Katie.

After the #AutumnWAL17, I changed my target for this scarf. Now I want to get it finished for Christmas. My goal for November was to get half way (An easy thing to measure as I’m using two balls of Caron simply soft) and I have done it and joined on the second ball. I am loving this scarf and the stitch I’ve used. I will publish the pattern when I have finished the scarf. I love that it is easily recognised as Harry Potter themed. I was inspired by the Gryffindor House colours, and am thinking this will be a great pattern for those that love Harry Potter like Katie (Who is currently on the last book… after re-reading the entire collection for the third time).

Fruit Salad TV Blanket

My goal was to edge 20 squares, and I have edged 25. I am going to set the same target for December… and next year I want to get this finished ASAP. This has been an ongoing WIP for a long time, and I think it will be nice to finally have this finished so I can snuggle under it. I also want to make a charity blanket in the same way – and I don’t really want 2 granny square blankets on the go at the same time.

 

 

#Fridayisdyeday – 24th November

Last #Fridayisdyeday, I used Avacado dye to susccessfully dye some cotton. This month, I dyed some wool (That didn’t take the Avacado dye) with Wilton Icing Colourants (that Fay of the Crochet Circle Podcast kindly lent me). WOW! I had so much fun! I am definitely going to be doing this again… I used two techniques to dye two different skeins of wool. Both from Laxtons, one BFL Sock yarn and the other 50% Merino 50% Silk DK Blend. For the sock yarn, I laid the soaked (in water & white vinegar) yarn out on a cling film wrapped table and used paint brushes to paint sections of the yarn in different colours which I’d mixed in an artist’s paint palette before hand. The second yarn (the silk/merino blend) I pooled different coloured dyes into the lid of a large palette… (Although any tray would work) then I laid the yarn across it. I then used a paint brush and used more concentrated dye mixes to add a few stronger patches of colour.

The first technique worked well and I am happy with the result, although because I painted only one side of the yarn, there are a lot of undyed patches. I like this effect, and I was aiming for this in some respects – although if you don’t like this look then maybe this technique wouldn’t work for you.

The second technique was a lot quicker and due to the larger quantity of liquid, and there are less undyed patches (if any at all?) Although there isn’t as much control with this method.

Overall I am very happy with my Icing colourant-dyed yarn. My next adventure is going to be a sock blank… I think 🙂

 

Amigurumi Baby Sloth & Ragdoll Sloth

These two were both commissions for a colleague. I loved making these pair! They were great stash busters, easy to make, free patterns from ravelry. Both designers had written up the patterns very well and the instructions were easy to follow. I recommend both patterns. The Amigurumi Baby Sloth is a pattern by The Twisted Crocheter, and the Ragdoll Sloth is by Spin a Yarn Crochet. Go and check them out – they are adorable.

Cotton Coaster

Things have been crazy at work over the last month. We seem to have been busier and more hectic; and a lot have things have changed. (Although I have a new desk now which is great 🙂 One thing that happened was the employment of a few more members of staff. All of the girls in the office have a crocheted coaster so when the new receptionist started I of course had to make her one. I made a pink coaster using DMC Natura Just cotton in the colour way Rose Layette. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo before taking this into work… but it was very pretty. I used this free pattern by Bella Coco.

I have had a busy month and I’m really happy with the number of FO’s I have.

I’ve also worked on a couple of other things through November which weren’t on my goal list.

  1. A hat for Katie’s Nan (pattern will be published in the next few weeks)
  2. A hat for my sister-in-law to put on the dog – let me know if you want the pattern…
  3. A knitted scarf to develop my knit & purl skills
  4. Stitch Markers

 

 

Love Charlie, Xx

 

crochet

My fave Winter Warmers…

Autumn has gone, and Winter is officially here, and so I’d like to share with you some of my favourite Winter Crochet Patterns. Who doesn’t love crocheting hats and scarfs, shawls and Christmas gifts this time of year?

Smaller projects are great for last minute Christmas gifts to keep your friends and family warm through the colder season. So, in case you are struggling for ideas, here are my 10 favourite patterns for Winter Warmers and quick Christmas makes…

  1. MyBoshi Beanie (Simply Crochet issue 14)

Neon Lights Beanie Hat

This is such an easy and quick make. Who knows how many of these I have made since I started crocheting! It’s my go-to hat pattern because it is so simple. I love this pattern and it is very easy to adjust to different head sizes and lengths. It is also an absolutely fantastic last minute Christmas present… using only one skein of chunky yarn and it takes less than an hour to make.

2. Virus Shawl Scarf by Julia Marquardt.

This pattern had been in my Ravelry library for a long time before I finally got around to making it. The repeated pattern is very effective and easy to repeat after you understand the pattern. This is not ideal for those that don’t read chart patterns as I’ve not seen this as a written pattern anywhere. There may be on out there though!

3. Chunky Seashell Scarf by Nicki Trench

This pattern is in Nicki’s book Cute & Easy Crochet. It is a lovely, quick to work-up scarf. Although, from what I can remember it used quite a lot of yarn. I think I used 4+ balls of 100g chunky to make mine.

(Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of my Scarf as I made it a long time ago for my Auntie… The pattern is in Nicki Trench’s book Cute and Easy Crochet)

Image result for cute and easy crochet

4. Butterfly Stitch Prayer Shawl by NJ Sharon and Debi Adams

Butterfly Stitch Prayer Shawl on Ravelry

I recently made one of these for a work colleague for her birthday using King Cole Galaxy DK which has tiny sequins wound with the acrylic/wool mix. It is a lovely pattern that is easy to read and make, with both written instructions and hand-drawn charts. I am now in the middle of making a second butterfly stitch prayer shawl for a Christmas commission.

5. Boutique Weave Scarf by Nirmal Khalsa

This pattern features in the book, One Skein Wonders. It is soooo easy but so effective. It is a very clever way of making a scarf – and I definitely recommend you looking into this pattern. (P.S Maybe buy the book for the Christmas Eve cast on 100g challenge that myself and Fay from the Crochet Circle Podcast are co-hosting this December) Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of this one either, but I do recommend the book.

Image result for crochet one skein wonders

6. Cosy Stripes Blalnket by Lucy @Attic24

Cosy Stripe Blanket Pattern

I’ve not even finished mine yet – but in the process of making this one, I’ve made 2 baby blankets using the same stitch. It is super simple, and very pretty and quick to work up. It looks beautiful in stripes or in a block colour.

7. Victorian Lattice Blanket by Destany Wymore

Victorian Lattice Square on Ravelry

I’m not going to lie to you… this blanket took a long time, and I had to concentrate on the pattern. But it looked so good when it was done! The squares are much bigger than your average Granny square blanket, and a lot more intricate. I was very proud of this blanket which I made for my in-laws. If you’re looking for a blanket that’s extra special, then I think this counts!

8. Cherry Sundae Shawl by Elizabeth de Herraiz (Issue 53 Simply Crochet)

I started making this shawl on new years eve. Whilst everyone else was drinking and singing, I was sat on the floor with a Jack Daniels Honey and crocheting – generally being very happy with my activities, surrounded by family, food, drink and yarn… My new year’s resolution was to get a photo into the magazine… and I did. This shawl made it into the magazine and I won a prize. I was so happy. The pattern is extremely well written and easy to make, and it looks beautiful when it’s done.

9. Sunburst Blanket by Marie Williams Johnstone

I made this blanket last year for a Christmas present and it was beautiful. It used a lot of wool, and there was a lot of ends, but the end product was stunning. This pattern is very well written and easy to follow. I recommend this blanket and I think it would be a great stash buster! Click here to see the pattern. 

10. Crossbill Cowl by Blue Ammonite Designs

Crossbill Cowl on Ravelry

I pattern tested this lovely cowl for Emma of Blue Ammonite designs this Summer when I was off work after my appendectomy. It is a really quick-to-work-up pattern using the lovely crossbill stitch. I think this would make a lovely Christmas gift for friends and family. Check out Emma’s Etsy for lots of other beautiful patterns.

Patterns that are on my ‘I want to make this one day’ list…

  1. Doppio Colloseum Shawl by Fay Dashper Hughes
  2. Triangle Infinity Scarf by the Friendly Nettle
  3. Easy Victorian Shell Mitts by Bron Green
  4. Custard Cream Shawl by Lisa Cook
  5. Victoria Shawl by Sandra Paul
  6. Blurre Shawl by Addydae Designs
  7. Hotel of Bees Shawl by Christina Hadderingh
  8. Urban Stripes Shawl by Zeens and Roger
  9. Holey Smokes Shawl by Zeens and Roger
  10. Sunday Shawl by Alia Bland

I would love to know what your favourite Winter Warmers are! Please leave a comment and share what you like to make in this chilly season.

Love Charlie,

Xx

#AutumnWAL17 · crochet

#Autumnwal17 Round-up…

Wow… I can’t believe how quickly October has flown by. It has been an incredibly hectic month with lots of crochet progress and several other unexpected (some un-wanted) distractions. The autumnwal17 is now over and it has been an amazing experience. Laura of @goslingandplumb has been a great co-host and her attentiveness towards everyone on Instagram has been outstanding. I tried to keep up, but still missed lots. Life has been crazy busy and it’s been hard to manage my time to make sure I’m keeping up with crochet targets. The saying ‘life gets in the way’ has been more than true for myself and Katie this month; with both of us putting extra hours into work, and both of our offices are being re-structured in one way or another, organising/booking things for the wedding, the house falling apart, and a couple other things that aren’t to be shared online. Tired is an understatement… and we’re officially seeing wintery weather here in Cheshire; dark nights and cold air are affecting my energy levels. That being said, I have a lot to say about October; firstly I’m going to share with you my original WIP list for the #AutumnWAL17; then I’m going to let you know how I got on…

autumnwal17 list

 

  1. Horse Blanket.

My target was to wash, block and weave, and that I did. I added a few more rounds to the edging then washed it, blocked it, weaved in the edges and steamed/ironed it again for good luck. I actually impressed myself with the finished object. I think the whole way through making this one, I was worried that the ‘customer’ wouldn’t like it… in the end they loved it. I powered through my loss of crochet-mojo and it payed off. Although the blanket wasn’t to my personal taste; I am proud of picking a difficult pattern for my first tapestry crochet.

horse finished

  1. School of Wizardry Scarf

Katie’s scarf didn’t go to plan. I wanted to finish this in October, but I made progress then decided it was too wide; so, I frogged it and started again – hence no FO. I am happy with the stitch that I’m using, and I plan on writing up the pattern when I’ve done; so, I want to be happy with the dimensions. The stitch I’m using is particularly yarn-hungry so having a wide scarf wasn’t working well. I’m OK with having to frog this though… it will be worth it in the end. My new goal is to have this finished by Christmas. Hopefully it will work up quicker now it isn’t so wide 😉

HP Scarf

  1. Fruit Salad TV Blanket.

My #autumnwal17 goal was to finish making the squares, and start edging them. I did this… even if I only edged 3 (it still counts, right?) This has been on on-going project so there is really no rush. My November goal is to have 20 edged in total. I think this is going to be a nice project to go into the new year with. Originally, I thought I could finish this for Christmas, but I think that is un-achievable. It’s more realistic for me to aim to finish my cosy stripe blanket for Christmas. The TV Blanket could be my first big FO of the new year. An easy project that I can work on over the Christmas holidays.

squares fruit salad

  1. Cosy Stripe Blanket.

I achieved my target of completing one colour repeat (13 stripes) in October; and realised it won’t take too many more colour repeats before I run out of yarn. I’m going to aim to finish another colour repeat in November and see how much yarn I have left. I think it is well within my bounds to say I can finish this for Christmas. This blanket won’t be as big as the Moorland blanket because I chose a Stylecraft colour pack with fewer skeins than what Lucy called for on her Cosy Stripe pattern. It doesn’t bother me though. I am in love with the colours and the way I arranged them in this blanket!cosy stripes

  1. Beanie Hat.

I bought this skein impulsively at Black Sheep Wools. I wanted to make a Beanie using the Neon Lights pattern by myboshi. However this yarn is way too thick for that pattern; and because I only picked up one skein I didn’t want to risk going up a hook size and playing yarn chicken. I used a size 6mm hook, and made up my own pattern to create a beanie that fits my head perfectly. (I may publish a Charlie-sized beanie pattern on Ravelry soon – * when I have a chance to write the pattern up.) I then sewed on a removable bobble and tadaaaa, I’m ready for winter. I’m actually excited to be able to wear it. The alpaca mixed with acrylic gives it a lovely fussy feel and it is incredibly soft and warm.

beanie hat finished

  1. Movie Night Cocoon Cardi.

I have made great progress on this cardi throughout the #autumnwal17, and I joined my 5th skein of yarn last night. It’s the first garment I’ve ever worked on and now I’m just continuing to add rounds until it is the right size; I don’t have far to go now. This is my WIP for the #backtoschoolsweatercal, and even though I think it’s the easiest pattern out there, if it wasn’t for Helen and Tamara’s CAL I would never have started this. They encouraged me to pull this pattern from my Ravelry Library and start my first garment. I’m excited that I’ll actually be able to wear something I’ve crocheted; I think it’s going to lead to a whole new area of pride. The CAL runs till the 17th November, so I best get cracking and finish it off. Even though the pattern is easy and simple, and I love the effect; it’s starting to get boring now and takes a longer each row to complete the round as it’s quite big now.

Cocoon cardigan

  1. Socks…

My goal for the #autumnwal17 was to divide my sock yarn into two and wind into cakes; and make a start on the Spring Fling socks by Vicki Brown. I changed my mind and started the Winter Wonder Socks as they were toe up and I figured it would be easier to see if they fit me as I made progress. I started making both at the same time… but they’re huge! I reached gage but I think I only need a medium. (I started making large.) So even though I achieved my target for October, it’s all going to be frogged and started again. That’s ok though – I’d rather make socks that fit me.

sock progress

  1. The Super Simple Tunisian CAL #SSTCAL

Claudia and Hannah ran a lovely little Tunisian CAL through October, and even though I only made one out of four of the dish cloth patterns, I’m very grateful that they put this together. I have been put off learning Tunisian crochet because I didn’t have the time to sit and make something big. Claudia and Hannah pulled together some great resources and YouTube tutorials to help us grasp Tunisian crochet without having to spend hours and hours learning. I made a Tunisian simple stitch dish cloth for the #autumnwal17 – but I will most certainly go back to these resources at a later date to learn some other Tunisian stitches. Thank you, Hannah and Claudia!

tunisian

  1. #FridayisDyeDay

Fay from the Crochet Circle Podcast has been experimenting with home dying; and has introduced a monthly Dye-along to encourage us all to give hand-dying a go. Friday the 27th October was the first #fridayisfyeday, and I had been collecting Avocado pits and skins especially for this. I planned on dying a skein of sock yarn and a silk/merino blend dk. I decided to try and dye some white cotton and an acrylic/wool blend as well. I was very surprised by the results I got. The acrylic/wool blend didn’t take any dye at all – I wasn’t surprised by this. The sock yarn and silk/merino didn’t take any dye either… as soon as I rinsed the dye, it all washed out. This surprised me but it isn’t the end of the world. It just means I have two un-dyed skeins for the next #fridayisdyeday and I can try out different techniques such as food colourants or acid dyes. The cotton however took nicely; I dyed 1 skein of white cotton and 1 skein of mercerized white cotton in the avocado dye and dyed 1 skein of mercerized cotton with blackcurrant liqueur. I now have 3 skeins of cotton in a lovely gradient effect of soft, gentle, pastel pinks… and I think this technique is going to be perfect for making wedding decorations.

dyed

  1. Hand sewn Project bag.

This WIP wasn’t on my list for #autumnwal17, but I made it anyway. I gave sewing a go (even though I’m terrible at it and have no idea what I’m doing) I didn’t follow a pattern, but I’m impressed that I achieved a FO. I’m not in love with this bag but proud for trying… and I now have a little bag to keep my knitting in.

Overall, I don’t think I did badly on my #autumnwal17 goals. There has been a bit of frogging and  several distractions but I still managed to get 4 FOs, and some hand dyed cotton. I also made lots of progress on WIPS that had previously been collecting dust; so al in all I’m pretty happy.

New Techniques…

  • Challenging myself to work to targets and goals has given me ambition and motivation; and as you can see above… I have set myself a new list of goals for November. Not only have I made progress during October, I also learnt a handful of new techniques. I learnt how to knit, Tunisian crochet, sew, make foundation double crochet, and how to dye yarn using avocado pits. 5 new skills that I can now develop. Maybe in the new you will see more sewn and knitted projects on the blog.

Exciting Ventures…

  • Another reason October has been more chaotic than planned is because I finally emailed crochet magazines and asked for their seasonal call outs. I say finally, because this has been my goal since July… I just kept putting it off because of the old ‘imposter syndrome’ and not thinking I’m good enough. Eventually, with the encouragement from Katie and Fay I thought ‘what have I got to lose?’ This last month, I have designed, made swatches and put together 6 proposals which I have now sent in for deadlines. Fingers crossed in the next few weeks I get some good news. I’m not holding my breath, but even if I’m not successful; I’ve learnt how to put a proposal together for a magazine submission – so next time it will be easier. And, if I don’t get published; I have 6 designs ready to write up to publish myself. What’s to lose? I’m super excited and proud of myself. I’ve worked so hard for this and I’ve finally made the first step in the right direction.

If you made it to the end of this post then well done! That’s dedication and thank you for sticking with me… I’m hoping to carry on with this newly found productivity and keep making progress throughout November. Here’s a photo of my November WIP List…

November List

See you next week…

Love Charlie, Xx

#AutumnWAL17 · crochet

Stash and Crafty Tools #AutumnWAL17

This week’s #AutumnWAL17 Blog Post is about the Stash and Tools that are essential to you! Everyone relies on different tools and brands, and not one crafter’s notions pouch is identical to another. I’m going to share my favourite tools and a few pics of my (embarrassingly big) Yarn Stash. It would be incredible if on IG we could fill the feed with colourful pictures of yarn, needles, hooks, paints, fabric *insert tool/material here*. Don’t be embarrassed… I think hoarding is part of being creative…

Hook Mug

-Deep Breath –

– Here Goes –

Stash

The majority of my yarn is stored in my Gran’s old Ikea cabinets. I think the glass doors are essential (when you open them… the stash starts to attack you like a land slide) I never imagined that I would store my yarn like this… But now I can’t imagine any other way. Most of my yarn has been inherited from my Gran, and I love the fact that her yarn is finally on display. I didn’t know how much she had! There were bags full in the back bedroom, stacked waist high… and we always talked about winding it all up into cakes and buying some shelves for her so she could see what she had. Unfortunately, we never had the time – but she wasn’t lying about having a lot of yarn hidden away!

Embroidery Floss

I am extremely grateful for this stash, and despite the fact that 30% isn’t necessarily to my taste – I can’t seem to part with it. Luckily, at Woolgathering Sandbach; a charity project is about to commence, and I feel like this is a great opportunity to put my Gran’s yarn to good use. I’m not throwing it away, but making something beautiful and giving it to someone who needs it. (I’ll write another blog post about this when I have something to show)

Stash Compilation

About 99% of the yarn my Gran had either doesn’t have a band or is discontinued… Yarn brands I’ve never heard of before… but this wide colour range is proving extremely useful and invaluable to designing. Before I go out and buy current yarn, I can test colour palettes and stitches – do swatches and get a design down before butchering more expensive yarn.

Books & Magazines

Not only did I inherit yarn, I also inherited fabric, embroidery floss, doily cotton, day light lamps, aida, books and magazines. I basically have an Aladdin’s cave… a small craft shop waiting for me. I am incredibly lucky, and I wish beyond words that I could say thank you to my Gran – I would trade it all and more to have her back.

Me & Gran

She gave me the bug! And over the last 4 years, I have built up my own stash – so combined I could concur the world (A small crocheted amigurumi world?) Does this stop me from buying more? No! Should it? No! I believe that as long as me buying yarn and craft supplies doesn’t affect my ability to pay the bills and save for important things like a wedding and a house, then I should do what I enjoy. Just as everyone should feed their happiness. It’s just that my happiness comes in squishy balls of colourful loveliness [ and Katie of course!]…

storage

Tools

Hooks – As you know if you’ve watched any of my YouTube Videos; I have an extreme love of Clover Soft Touch Crochet Hooks. They are my absolute favourite and nowadays, I rarely use anything else. In fact the only time that I don’t use these hooks is when I don’t have the size that I need… (Although my collection is building) and I don’t have any finer hooks for doily cotton. Do Clover do a soft touch Hook smaller than a 2.00mm?

hooks

Stitch Markers –  are an essential part of my notions pouch. Recently I have expanded my Stitch Marker collection from generic plastic ones to include some lovely charm style markers that I was gifted from Helen of Making at Number 14, and some metal bulb Markers I bought from Fay’s shop Knit it – Hook it – Craft it. It doesn’t matter what I use though… sometimes marking a stitch is crucial, especially during amigurumi.

tools 1

Scissors – Is one pair enough? No! Even though I have 5 different ways of chopping thread in my notions pouch, my favourite are the stalk embroidery scissors. Not only do they remind me of my Gran, they are also the sharpest (Blade & Point) and it is much easier if you need to be precise. Also, they’re shiny 😊

Needles

Needles – Another indispensable addition to the notions pouch, and are essential for weaving ends and joining pieces together. I have two favourite types. 1. Are your bog standard, cheap wool needles. 2. John James Pebble (The lilac One) which come in this great storage ‘pebble’ and keep them all safe and in one place.

Hook Case

These are the tools that are most important to me. I could go on and on about all the different things I use and what’s in my notions pouch. What I really want to know is what are your essential tools… and what does your stash look like? Share your pics on Instagram and don’t forget to use the Hashtag #AutumnWAL17

Love Charlie, xx