#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

#AutumnWAL17 · crochet

#Autumnwal17 – Half Way Point…

How has your October been so far? We are now half way through the Autumn-WIP along, and there has been so much progress made! I am absolutely speechless by how many people are participating and getting involved. There has been so many Finished Objects already! And sadly, only one of them is mine…

I have had an amazing October so far though, despite my lack of progress on my WIP List. I’m going to try and not ramble, but just briefly explain why my October has been so great so far, and why some parts haven’t gone as planned.

Finished Objects

Although I’ve not actually finished any new WIPs yet, I have finished the Horse Blanket, and also made a hat. I need to write up the pattern for the hat as the original pattern that I chose didn’t work with the yarn I had, so I went on a whim and changed up stitches and ended up with a hat! I used Rico Creative Twist Super Chunky 80% Acrylic, 20% Alpaca which is very thick and squishy, and I used a 6mm hook. However, I can’t class this as a completely finished object because I’ve ordered a detachable faux fur bobble which hasn’t arrived yet. Hopefully within the next few days this can be ticked off my WIP list.

beanie hat

Progress

I have now reached my third skein of yarn for my #backtoschoolsweatercal, that I hadn’t started before the #AutumnWAL17. So even though progress seems slow, when I look at how much yarn I’ve used, it doesn’t seem so bad, and I must be getting close to finish. I would like to have this WIP finished for next weekend, so I can focus on some other WIPs. I am making the Movie Night Cocoon Cardi by Alexandra Tavel, which is a free pattern on Ravelry. It is my own fault that progress is so slow because I changed up the tension. I didn’t feel comfortable crocheting with a 6mm hook and DK yarn. Being so used to using a 4mm hook, it really didn’t feel right. I made the decision to start again with a 4mm hook and have a denser material as I think I’d prefer a cardigan with less ‘holey’ bits, and it felt ‘right’. If I was to make this again, I might try a 4.5mm or 5mm hook just to speed up the process. I’m using DK Acrylic yarn that I bought from Aldi last year. I have also made the last 11 squares for my Fruit Salad TV blanket and made a start on edging them. 😊

Cocoon cardigan

London Mini ‘Yarn Crawl’

On Saturday the 7th October I got on the Train to London with Fay from the Crochet Circle Podcast, and met 3 new crafters! I had a lovely day with Fay, Helen (makingatnumber14) (@heleneccles1), Corinne (@salapes) and Flic (@flicmerrison) visiting 2 yarn shops interspersed with breakfast, Lunch and Afternoon Tea. As Helen mentioned in her recent blog post, I feel as though I have found my ‘right people’, and it is amazing how much this changes the way you view things. I finally feel as though I have found a social circle that I actually not only belong to, but also fit in. We visited iknit London, and Loop, then Fay and myself headed over to Baker Street to have a look at the @campaignforwool‘s Wool Fusion exhibition. The #woolweek exhibition celebrated British Wool and there were some great and not great things about it. I felt as though there could have been more of a crafter’s influence on the things shown and an acknowledgement for lesser known artists/crafters, and there were some parts of the curation that I thought could have been improved on. However there were a couple of things that I really loved! I loved the three felted FABs that greeted you when you entered, and the yarny lamps! The giant Lollies were called Ice Woolies by @Jessicadance_maker.ice-woolies-e1508082940537.jpgThere was also an animation that I thought was amusing. From iknit London, I bought clover tapestry needles and knitpro 4.5mm circular knitting needles. From Loop, I bought 100% baby alpaca yarn to make a cowl, a project bag, and 3 hanks of quince&co Finch 4ply 100% American wool to make a shawly-cowl. I was unexpectedly gifted some beautiful stitch markers by Helen, and a very thoughtful hand-sewn lavender sachet, soap, and card from Corrine. Again, I am absolutely astounded by the generosity and thoughtfulness of the people in our crafty community. All three of these new, lovely people that I met crochet!

lucky girl

Distractions

I have had many distractions in the last two weeks. Because I work full time, weekends are my power-crochet time, where I can spend hours at a time making progress. Going to London took out half of my crochet time last weekend, and on the Sunday I filmed and published a podcast showing my Yarndale and London Yarn Haul. I decided to try and film using Katies Video-recorder instead of my phone to cut uploading time. (I usually have to convert my file to MP4 after filming before I can upload to YouTube. I filmed at 10am… and I didn’t get my video published until 7.30pm! (I don’t edit – so this is a long time!) It turns out that the video recorder splits the film into 35minute lengths, so I had 3 videos that I then had to figure out how to join them. What a faff! Hours of waiting for a several green bars to move at a snails pace across my screen… So I decided to make a project bag. I don’t sew, but I just folded the fabric up that I got from the yarn swap a couple of weeks ago, and very badly sewed it together to resemble a small drawstring bag.

Project bag

This was a major distraction because it was not on my WIP list for #autumnwal17, however I am proud of myself for trying something new. Talking about trying something new… I have also learnt how to knit! Another thing that was not on my WIP list, and has set me back in my ideal wip-schedule. Not only have I made progress on a project that wasn’t supposed to be started, I also frogged the whole thing back and started again because I started to do my knit-stitch the Norwegian way which loosened my tension, but my pearl is shocking! I just cannot master this stitch, so I’ve put the knitting away and I’ll concentrate on my actual wip-list until November. Then I will spend some time trying to master the pearl!

Frog or not to frog!

I have made a fair bit of progress on Katie’s Harry Potter inspired ‘School of Wizardry’ Scarf, however I’m thinking it’s too wide. The stitch I have chose is very thick, and I’m worried that if the scarf is too wide, it won’t drape around her neck. I’m going to get her to try it later today and tell me what she thinks. It’s not the end of the world if I have to start again because I’d rather she have something she likes so she’ll wear it. And if I start again and make the width thinner, it will work up quicker which is always a bonus! I make even go up half a hook size to make it drapier. I plan on publishing the pattern to this scarf when  I’ve finished, so I want to be happy with it.

scarf
This is Burgundy not Purple…

Wedding Venue

This weekend’s crochet distraction consisted of celebrating my Brother-in-law-to-be’s 18th Birthday, and seeing another wedding venue. This time, we found it! We have found the perfect wedding venue, and have even put our names down for a date. We aren’t even bothering to look at any more venues now, despite this only being the second we’ve looked at. The place is absolutely beautiful, and exactly that we were looking for, and sh*t just got real! We now actually have to start planning things, and after 8 years of being together, we are no longer just talking about our wedding. It is actually happening and we are so excited!

 

So my October has been brilliant so far, despite not going as planned (Wip distractions! I need to control myself!) Laura and myself have really enjoyed looking through all lof your WIPs, and, I am so over-the-moon by how many people are taking part. It is incredible to think of how much progress we have all made combined. I hope next week I have more to show for myself, as I am ashamed to be a co-host with no FOs! Remember to keep sharing your pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #autumnwal17 And even though I may not comment for a while – I will definitely get through them and see them all. There are more contrubutions than I could have ever imagined, so it is overwhelming to see so many outstanding WIPs. I can’t describe how talented everyone is, and I hope you’re enjoying the WIP-along just as much as me.

Love Charlie, Xx

 

 

#AutumnWAL17 · crochet

Favourite FOs…

What is your favourite finished object? This is the question myself and Laura have asked ourselves over the weekend as part of the ‘Cheer Blog Posts’ for the Autumn WIP-along. I have spent quite some time over the last few weeks thinking and trying to decide what my favourite ever finished object is. I really can’t decide on just one… so I’m going to share my top 5 favourite finished objects. I would love for you to all share your own favourite finished objects on Instagram and Ravelry. Just use the hashtag #autumnwal17.

 

In no particular order…

  1. Moorland Blanket CAL by Lucy of Attic 24

This is one of my favourites because it was the first ever CAL (crochet-along) that I participated in. I started spending more time on Instagram and made friends with other crocheters who were taking part. It was the first time I noticed the strong sense of community there is online. I made this blanket for Katie which makes me love it even more to see how much she appreciates it and used it. Seeing your other half wrapped up all snuggly in a blanket that you’ve made is really nice – I can only imagine what it must feel like to see your children under blankets you’ve made.

 

  1. Hook Wrap

This project has made it to top five because I made it for my Gran. I also managed to use a sewing machine (all-be-it not very well). There are improvements I could have made which I learnt after (such as using extra fabric to fold over to keep hooks from falling out) but all in all, I was so happy with this and it was extra special because I made it for my Gran. I designed this myself, and it was probably one of the first things I made without a pattern. Now it is kept safe in my craft room with my Gran’s hooks, and my Great Grandma’s hooks. I haven’t pulled this out for a long time as I get all teary and start missing her a lot!

  1. University Piece… Ladder of Hope

This project is one of my favourites despite the fact it’s not very aesthetically pleasing. It has made it to the list because it was the first time I incorporated crochet into my art degree – and it was the start of me feeling comfortable with myself. I defied my art tutors, and got a first class degree! I felt as though I was finally doing something right, and this is probably the first finished object that made me realise just how brilliant the world of fibre and yarny goodness is. This piece of ‘art’ was also symbolic of how crochet was helping me through a rough patch in my life, and the ladder signified a way of climbing out of a depression. The blue colour was symbolic of the stereotypical ‘blue’ feeling, and the colours around the edge were a sign of better and brighter times. There’s a bit of arty sh*t for you 🙂

  1. Grandma’s Revenge Degree exhibition

…and here’s a bit more. So this was my final piece for University and I called it Grandma’s revenge. I used crochet, and influences of craft activism to make this piece, which was over 3 metres wide. I made 3 blankets and joined them together then stretched them around a wooden frame like you would stretch a canvas. When you stepped back – it looked like a painting. I was inspired also by impressionism, and how, if you stand close to a painting, often you can no longer see the picture, but only marks or even dots. I wanted to demonstrate that craft is equal to art, and the foundations of fine art were born in craftmanship. In the art world, craft is considered to be an ‘inferior’ word to that of ‘conceptual’, and I wanted to make something large enough so people couldn’t just walk past without acknowledging it. Tadaaa. And all of my passionate feelings towards craft and its value show just how much I believe that this piece belongs in my top 5 FOs.

  1. Granny square Bag

This is in my list because it is very special to me. I made this bag for my Gran’s birthday the year after I finished the ‘Ladder of Hope’ wall hanging for my art degree. I had a bag of squares left over, and I wanted to make something for my Gran with them as a thank you and a memory of her helping me to sew the squares together in the stressful weeks of trying to get a FO for a deadline! My Gran really enjoyed and took pride in the fact that she was helping me, so I knew she would love to have a token. I was incredibly proud of this bag because I lined it with some floral fabric… and I’m not a sewer. My Gran used this bag constantly until the day she died, and it is now in our spare room, waiting for me to go through it.

 

I feel mean to pick only five of my FOs (as if they have feelings) because there are so many others that could have made the list such as the Victorian Lattice Blanket I made for my Mother in Law, or the Poppy blanket I made for a friend… or the recently finished Butterfly prayer stitch shawl. But I think the fact that the projects I chose for my top 5 have meaning behind them gave them the extra edge over all of my other FOs.

What are your favourite FOs? I would love to know if like me, your favourite FOs have meaning behind them… or is it because you chose a challenging pattern and achieved a new skill? Share your photos on Instagram and use the hashtag #autumnwal17 to take part in the Autumn WIP-Along.

Love Charlie, Xx