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

#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

#AutumnWAL17 · crochet · Uncategorized

WIP List… #AutumnWAL17

The Autumn WIP-along starts tomorrow, so I think it’s about time I shared my WIPs. Before I start, I’d just like to mention how great the #AutumnWAL17 activity has been in Instagram. I love how people are sharing their lists and calendars, and photos of their WIPs. Crafters are already supporting each other, and it is so nice to see. It really makes me smile and I can’t believe how quick it has come around. Remember to check Laura’s Instagram and blog for some amazing tips and tricks…

You can print off a free WAL calendar on both of our blogs. Just click here.

Autumn-WAL-Calendar

I have spent all day rummaging through the craft room digging out old and new WIPs to work on through October. I also did a much needed clean up and put things away from my September WIP-ban (and yarn from Woolgathering which I was very kindly given this week). Things have been extremely busy for me through September and I have spent a lot of time trying to finish the four projects I set myself. I also went to Yarndale which was absolutely incredible.

Use the hashtag #autumnwal17 on Instagram to show us your WIPs!

After my WIP-ban, I am going to be starting a few new WIPs, as well as working on some old ones. I feel I need to work on something new because I have been working on the same ones for a month – which has been quite hard for me. I like to have a few ‘on the go’  (I worked on one project a week through September to ensure FO’s) as each one is suitable for a different time and place, and smaller, easier projects are better for lunch breaks.

Although, I have to admit, I did break my WIP-ban on Thursday (2 days before the end of my WIP-ban) because I needed a break from the tapestry horse blanket – which has been extremely hard to finish. For some reason, I lost my mojo on that project, I think it’s because it was a commission for a project I wouldn’t have chosen for myself, in colours I wouldn’t have chose and the stitches became monotomous. This brings me nicely to my first WIP for the WIP-along.

  1. Wash, Block and Weave.

I may add a few more rounds of edging to the horse blanket before putting it in the wash. Then I’ll pin it out and block it, weave in any loose ends and ta-daa! A Finished Object. This one has been a long-time in the making for a commission, and although I’m delighted that I learnt tapestry crochet, I’ll definitely be happy to give this to it’s owner and be finished with it. I am proud of myself for choosing a difficult pattern for my first tapestry crochet project.

horse blanket

2. School of Wizardry Scarf

Katie has asked me to make her a scarf in Burgundy, so I thought I would make her a Harry Potter inspired scarf. Gryffindor to be precise. This is the project I broke my WIP-ban for. I just needed to work on something briefly with a bit of colour. This WIP has made it to my #autumnwal17 list because I ‘d like to finish it in time for her to wear it in the cold months, this year rather than next year. I am making this one up as I go and I may publish the pattern when I’m done. I am using Caron Simply Soft in Burgundy, and Stylecraft Special DK in gold.

HP Scarf

3. Fruit Salad TV Blanket

This is a project I’ve been working on for a couple of years… or I started it a couple of years ago anyway. I haven’t touched it for over 6 months. At the moment, I have a basket of  129 squares. If I make 11 more, I can make a blanket 10 x 14 squares big. I have a ball of cream aran in the stash that will be perfect for this project… so the aim is to make the last 11 squares and start edging and joining them. I know I’m not going to finish this before the WIP-along finishes, but I will at least make a bit of progress, and maybe finish it before the end of the year. A nice little Christmas present to myself! This is a stash buster, and just uses various acrylic yarns.

Fruit Salad Squares

4. Cosy Stripe Blanket

I started this blanket shortly after the Attic24 Moorland Blanket CAL. My intention was to work both of them up at the same time so that me and Katie would both have a blanket. Good plans and all that… we ended up moving and renovating a house. I managed to finish Katie’s blanket in July, however mine remains less than halfway completed. Again, I don’t want to (although I’d like to) finish this blanket in October, but I’ll be happy to make at least one ‘colour repeat’. Any progress is good progress, and that’s what this WIP-along is all about.

5. Beanie Hat

This is a new WIP and an un-started WIP. I showed the yarn off for this project in my first YouTube video, and I’ll be making a Neon Lights beanie hat from issue 14 of Simply Crochet by MyBoshi. It is my favourite beanie hat pattern, and it is a very quick and easy make…brilliant for Christmas gifts.

my boshi hat.png

6.  Movie Night Cocoon Cardi.

I am starting this WIP as part of the #backtoschoolsweatercal hosted by Tamara of craftyescapism and Helen of makingatnumber14. I have never made a garment before and I have had this Movie Night Cocoon Cardi pattern by Alexandra Tavel in my Ravelry Library for a long time. I think this pattern is going to be easy and hopefully quick as it is based on a granny square. I am excited to make a garment that I can wear. Earlier in the year (or was it last year?) I bought some burgundy acrylic from Aldi especially for this project, so I will have a cardi to wear in my favourite colour!

movie night cardi

7. Socks!

I am envious of all the crochet socks everyone is making, so I bought Vicki Brown‘s Crochet Sock Collection book. I had the chance to meet Vicki at Yarndale, and bought a hank of her sock yarn in the colour way Blue Hydrangea. However, I think I’m going to make my first pair in a skein of Opal sock yarn I bought earlier this year. I don’t want to get the pattern wrong using such lovely yarn! Hahaa. Again, I don’t know whether I’ll get a pair finished before the end of the WAL – but I’ll make a bit of progress. I’m going to wind up 2 balls and make both at the same time as I’ve heard about the struggles of second sock syndrome. I’m going to try Vicki’s Spring Fling pattern first…

socks

8.  The Super Simple Tunisian CAL #SSTCAL

I would like to take advantage of Claudia (Crochet Luna) and Hannah’s (Thecozycottagecrochet) Tunisian crochet CAL so I can finally learn how to do it! They will be publishing tutorials on their YouTube, and I think that making a dish cloth will be a nice way of breaking up the WIP-along so I have a quick FO. I’m also very excited about learning a new crochet skill! I have had Tunisian hooks for years but just haven’t actually sat down to learn. I will just stash bust some acrylic yarn for this CAL, and if I like the effect, I may make some cotton facecloths in the future. The CAL runs the same time as the Autumn WIP-along, and they’re doing tutorials for four different patterns.

9. Friday is Dye-day.

Inspired by Clarisabeth of Crochetcakes and Fay of The Crochet Circle Podcast, I want to dye my own yarn. I loved the colour of Clarisabeth’s avacado dyed yarn so I’ve been saving my skins and stones over the past couple of weeks. I’m nervous about dying yarn as I don’t know any of the technicalities or procedures. I’m going to have to do a bit of research. Fay is hosting a Dye your own Yarn-along on the 27th of October, so I’ve got a few more weeks to keep eating avacados!

collage

I can’t wait to dig into and start some new projects! I am enjoying seeing all of your WIPs so keep sharing! Remember to use the hashtag #autumnwal17 and tag me @lovecharlie.co and Laura @goslingandplumb so we can see what you’re making and share our favourites. I will be filming a podcast soon showing you my Yarndale Haul and talking about my WAL Wips. 🙂 If you’re not on Instagram, there’s an #AutumnWAL17 thread in the Love Charlie Crochet Group on Ravelry where you can have a chatter about what you’re up to…

Please don’t put any pressure on yourself during this WAL. It is not a competition, and any progress is good progress. Don’t compare yourself to others, and always look after yourselves. Make sure to keep on encouraging each other on IG.. and if you haven’t already… SHARE YOUR WIPS! 🙂

Love Charlie, Xx

crochet · Lifestyle

My First Yarndale…

Queuing up with like-minded people, all eager to get inside Skipton’s Auction Mart, shuffling along like cattle towards a wooly paradise. As you excitedly walk in and get your wristband (So we can pretend we are hardcore festival goers) the smell of the wool envelops you. Or maybe it is the building itself – either way it adds to the experience, and makes the whole ordeal even more special and authentic. The flurry of crafters and the buzz of positive energy and creativity is overwhelming. I was speechless, and it took me a little while to adjust. Needless to say, I think going on the Sunday was the right decision (Thank you Fay). It think it would have been a bit too much to have had my first Yarndale experience on a Saturday when the crowds were a lot busier. Next year bring it on, I have had a taste and now I want more!

Crochet Garden

I was extremely lucky on my first trip to Yarndale as I went with Fay of Knit it-Hook it-Craft it (The Crochet Circle Podcast) and going with an experienced member of our crochet community really gave me the courage to meet a lot of new people. (Even though I did chicken out of saying Hi to Lucy from Attic 24!)

Selfie

Our first check list of the day was for Fay to ‘feed people’ with the delicious flapjack she had made and brought in for her favourite vendors and loyal friends with her ‘pay it forward’ attitude – making our first stop John Arbon Textiles, a firm, and dear favourite of Fay’s. At this point, you have to bear in mind, I have never purchased any hand dyed or indie yarn – or even any 100% animal fibre yarn – so when I walked into Yarndale, I went week at the knees. John and Juliet of John Arbon Textiles are so lovely and kind; and were the prefect welcome for me to Yarndale. Speaking to these guys felt like speaking to family, they were so friendly.  I wanted to choose some yarn to make Fay’s Doppio Colloseum Shawl pattern, as she used John Arbon Textiles Yarn when designing the pattern. I was drawn to their Alpaca Delights range because of the gorgeous dusky colours and it is oh-so beautifully soft. When I went to pay, John and Juliette generously gifted me the Alpaca delights, leaving me speechless. I gave a john a hug, and I’m not sure he knew what to do. Hahaa. It is the generosity of our crafting community is mind-blowing, and I feel extremely grateful to be a part of it. I returned to the stall before leaving yarndale, and purchased some Harvest Hues yarn in a ‘tweedy’ dark green to make a scarf for Katie. There is such a wide range of choice from John Arbon Textiles, the colours range from pastels and dusky shades, to rich autumnal shades to a vast range of pantone-inspired colours.

John Arbon

We paid a visit to the sock line so Fay could hang some socks she had made for Winwickmum’s charity project, where I came face to face with Lucy of Attic 24, and had a conversation about how I couldn’t knit. But I was too shy and like a dear in headlights. I just wanted to say Hi and Thank you for all of the time and effort she puts into her patterns. I wanted to tell her that she inspired me to want to design my own patterns, and that her eye for colour was genius. But I’m an idiot and couldn’t get the words out, no matter how much I wanted to, I was a bit starstruck!

We also met with one of Fay’s friends, called Kate. She was so lovely and I enjoyed meeting so many new people who share the same love of yarn. I think that is what Yarndale is all about. Bringing people together – or it felt that way to me at least. People who live different sides of the country can meet and chat, make friends and get to know each other. I finally felt like I belonged. The past 8 weeks have been incredible for me and I am making my way into a world where I feel comfortable being myself… the 23 year old who would much prefer to sit on the sofa with a cup of tea, crochet hook and ball of wool. I think I was made for retirement (A long way to go yet though!)

The rest of the day I spent going up and down the stalls on each row, patiently waiting to find Vicki Brown, Inside Crochet and Mothy and the Squid… filling up my new Yarndale bag as we went (briefly interrupted by the hilariously entertaining Sheep walk of Skipton’s Giant Swaledales). My favourite Vendors of the day were John Arbon Textiles, Riverknits, Vicki Brown Designs, Inside Crochet and Mothy and the Squid.

Here’s why;

John Arbon Textiles

John Arbon was a given considering how friendly and generous John and Juliet were and how gloriously soft the yarn was. Their coloour choice was incredibly vast and amazingly soft. Seriously… check them out!

Riverknits

Riverknits was another stall I came across, and initially was attracted to the stall due to the rainbow wall of mini skeins they had in such rich, warm shades. I think I spent the most on this stall alone. I bought a rainbow pack of 6 mini skeins for myself, and one for Fay in Autumnal shades as a thank you for bringing me to Yarndale with her. I also bought another 6 pack of mini skeins to gift to a couple of special people, and a full skein of BFL Splendiferous Sock in the colour way Stoke. This company is run by husband and wife, from a narrow boat, where they live and also dye all of their yarns. (How? I don’t know… Listen to Fay’s interview to find out) I hope to start designing with the yarn I bought from Riverknits, and I think I will definitely be buying more of this yarn and building up my collection in the future.

River Knits

Mothy and the Squid

Mothy and the Squid was another of my favourites, despite me not spending an awful lot of time at this stall. This was one of my favourites, purely because I have followed them on Instagram for quite a while, and I admire their colours and how they match palettes to animals and images from nature. My favourite was their Calico Cat yarn, because of how perfectly the colours matched the inspiration behind the colour scheme – however, it isn’t a colour theme which I would use myself. I bought a skein of their Mountain Moth which is an adorable, snuggly mixture of cream and grey; and a colour scheme I will definitely wear.

Colourful Yarns

Vicki Brown

Finally, I got to meet Vicki Brown! I was so excited to visit her stall as I am going to be crocheting my first pair of socks soon, and have recently bought her book – the Crochet Sock Collection. I was determined to buy some of her own yarn so I could eventually crochet one of her sock patterns with her own yarn. I settled on Blue Hydrangea after picking up multiple skeins. I will definitely be buying more of Vicki’s yarn in the future The colours are so beautiful, and I have my eyes on a skein of lime & turquoise. I will be making the Spring Fling socks first!

Inside Crochet

A you know, my dream is to have my deisgns published in magazines and books. I wanted to speak to the editors at Inside crochet and ask how I go about submitting designs. I talked to Sarah Moran, and showed her the baby blanket I had designed. She gave me her card and told me to email her some photos, and they would also add me onto their mailing list. Even though this is no achievement – it is a huge step for me… and the first step to [fingers crossed] getting some of my patterns published. The staff were, again, extremely friendly and easy to talk to… now I am checking my inbox every five minutes hoping for a reply. Hahaa.

Lamb

 

Despite the most amazing day I had, nothing can prepare you for the ‘come down’ and ‘post-festival depression’ that sets in. It has taken me a few days to really appreciate everything I saw and how great a day I had. It truly was so surreal, it feels like a dream. Next year, I would like to go for the whole weekend, and explore Skipton a bit as well, rent a cottage and take the time as a bit of a Holiday. I can imagine nothing better than curling up in a cosy cottage with a hot chocolate and some new yarn to crochet with. I would also like to donate some socks to the sock line, and participate in the Yarndale Charity Event. This year I didn’t have time to crochet and send in a heart, and if I ever get the opportunity again, I would love to say Hi to Lucy and thank her for her patterns.

Bunting 2

Don’t forget the Autumn WIP-along starts on Sunday 1st October. Read my previous blog post to find out more… or head over to my Instagram or Laura’s Instagram

Love Charlie, Xx