#WIPvember · crochet · knitting · Lifestyle

WIPVember – Halfway Progress…

I can’t believe how quickly the last two and a half weeks have gone… and I am blown away by the amount of people who are participating in WIPvember. It is incredible!

I wanted to check in, and let you see how I’ve been progressing towards my goals for WIPvember. I have been a bit AWOL the last week for a few reasons… Last weekend I spent Saturday with Fay in Liverpool Central Library (One of my absolute favourite places)  looking through everyone’s posts for WIPvember and drafting some design ideas, and spent the evening looking after my Mother-in-laws dogs.

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William Brown Street, Liverpool

Sunday we had a family day and after walking the dogs around Marbury Park, we took them home and enjoyed a lovely roast dinner. I managed to do a lot of crocheting last weekend but unfortunately didn’t manage to catch the day light to take photos of the progress I’d made. (Apart from the blanket – but I will share that below…) Are you finding it difficult to capture content for instagram now that it is dark in the mornings and evenings? I’m finding I have to take several photos on the weekends to make sure I have content mid-week. (Something I obviously didn’t do last weekend as you can see from my IG) Oh dear! 

This week, I spent the first two evenings working on a Love Charlie pattern that I want to release before the end of the year, and the rest of the week I have either had plans, or been too exhausted to pick up a hook or needle. Work has been absolutely crazy this last week, and I haven’t managed to get any time during a lunch break to make any progress either… What a nightmare! But last night I got in a few hours, and today too… and tomorrow we’re having a movie day, so I’ll hopefully make a fair bit of progress then.

Anyway… to recap, here are my goals for the whole of November.

WIP-vember

  1. Finish Granny Square blanket.
  2. Complete 2 colour repeats on Cosy Stripe Blanket
  3. Finish Criss Cross Shawl
  4. Start & finish treasure Island Shawl
  5. Make arms & legs of ginger cat
  6. Make my Candy Cane socks.

The first thing I did in WIPvember was finish Katie’s Christmas Socks. Originally, I wanted to finish these as my second pair of socks for the #sockalong2018 but I ran out of time. I did however manage to finish these in the first week of WIPvember.

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I then started the Mustard Treasure Island Shawl, and my second Candy Cane sock… I was waiting on another sock needle so I could make both at the same time.  These have become my lunch time projects as they’re small and easy to get on with. 

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Once  I had finished Katie’s Christmas socks, I started working on my Granny Square blanket. I started by joining all of the 64 squares into 8-square strips. I managed to do this in an evening, and spent the next week joining the strips and adding an extremely simple border on it. This blanket used up stash acrylic in pastel colours, and it is the first blanket that I have constructed randomly. I didn’t arrange the squares before joining them, I just reached for the next one each time and added it in. Although this sounds like a simple task, it was a huge leap of faith for me as I am a bit (a lot) of a control freak and like things to be perfect. Thoughts: It saved a lot of time, however if the colours were more contrasting between squares, I think I would have laid them out first. 

I finished the Treasure Island shawl on Monday night. I don’t have enough good words for this pattern. It is my go-to pattern when I want another shawl or to make someone a gift. It is simple, easy to make, and designed by a fantastic person – Hannah from @thecozycottagecrochet This is in acrylic Stylecraft special DK in Gold, and is for one of my best friends. I chose acrylic so it is more durable and can be thrown in the washing machine easily. 

Last night, I made some limbs :’) I made two arms, two legs and a tail for the amigurumi ginger cat. This is already more progress than I planned for my WIPvember goal, but for now I’m going to put this WIP to the side to make time for my cosy stripe blanket and Criss Cross Shawl. 

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I think we may be going to watch Bohemian Rhapsody or the new Fantastic Beasts at the cinema this weekend so that’s exciting! And we’ve just started binge watching Killing Eve, so I think there will be a lot of progress soon. Next weekend I am out in Liverpool, but I may get chance to blog on Sunday (Unless I convince Katie to let me put the tree up early) How are you getting on with your WIPvember goals? I’m heading over to Instagram right now. I think I’ve got some catching up to do! 

Lots of love to you all, and I hope you’re having a nice weekend with plenty of crocheting and knitting. (Or any other craft!)

Love Charlie, Xx

 

 

 

crochet · Lifestyle

Yarndale 2018…

 

I can’t believe Yarndale was 2 weeks ago already. I think I’m going to struggle to find the right words to describe how perfect this weekend away was – but I’ll have a go. There are a lot of photos in this blog post, so if you didn’t manage to get to Yarndale this year, I hope my blog post gives you an idea of what it was like. Also, throughout this post I have linked my friend’s Instagram accounts so please go and have a look at all these amazing people.

FRIDAY

On the Friday I traveled up to Skipton with Fay @crochet_circle_podcast, Sam, a_stitchin_time_and_space and Bec @pixicactus. Unfortunately the lovely Sharon @mycrochetmakes couldn’t make it. When we arrived in surprisingly sunny Yorkshire, we wandered around Skipton paying a little visit to Pearl & Jane and Coolcrafting before landing in Alexanders.

Alexanders…

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Alexanders is a beautiful restaurant on the side of the canal, and we found a table in the sunshine and drank some gin and pulled out our WIPs. Coincidentally, we were all knitting socks. What a site! Four women sitting in the sun drinking and knitting in a fancy restaurant. Isn’t this what dreams are made of?

The time came around for us to go and find our accommodation which was set in a beautiful location of an old fashioned, quaint village called Airton, next to the river in an old mill building. Thank you Fay for taking the time to find us a beautiful place to stay, and for driving us up the M6 whilst we got to sit, knit, crochet and take in the scenery.

The Mill Apartment – Sykes Cottages

This was the view from my bedroom window…

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Friday evening we settled in our PJs with homemade sourdough bread and cheese scones (Thanks Fay) homemade quiche (Thanks to Sam’s daughter) and a baked Camembert and cheeseboard (Thanks Bec) I’d like to put up a picture here of our amazing buffet but we immediately stuffed our faces with cheesy bready goodness. The fridge looked hilarious stacked with naughty treats; cheese, olives, cider, chocolate and wine. We also attempted to convince Sam that ‘The Good Place’ is a fantastic binge-worthy programme on Netflix.

SATURDAY

Saturday morning came around, and we arrived at Skipton Auction Mart bright and breezy, caffeinated and ready for shopping! It was Saturday that I finally got to meet Claudia @crochetluna and she is so real, and full of colour, love and life. I also got to meet Sophie of @aspringsnowflake who is so un-apologetically positive, and delightful to be around. Between these two I was gifted a handful of badges and a mini skein of Woolfy Wool Yarn. [THANK YOU!] Sheepiness was in the air… and we were ready for the doors to open, all equipped with our weekend wristbands, shopping bags at the ready and wooly enthusiasm.

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Saturday was filled with yarn squishing, sniffing and shopping. I made a dash for Vicki Brown to get a skein of her popular Hendricks 4ply, and then to Riverknits to pick out colours for one of Fay’s new shawl designs. I had a list of things I wanted to get whilst at Yarndale, and I managed to get everything bar a ball of West Yorkshire Spinners Candy Cane Christmas sock yarn as it is now discontinued. Saturday morning Claudia and myself did a fair bit of enabling  and had a [very] successful shopping spree.

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I bought another knitpro symfonie short circular so I can knit two socks at the same time in an attempt to relieve second sock syndrome. At lunch time, we met outside with picnic blankets and packed lunches and despite the cool wind, we had a wonderful time meeting fellow crafters. Rosina @zeensandrogers and Tamara @craftyescapism met us, Kathryn @crafternoontreats, Nicola, @creative.explorer, Fiona, @fizxcrail, Lynsey @andthentherewasmorgan, Eleanora, @coastalcrcrochet and many others. The #sockalong2018 had officially started and many of us pulled out the beginnings of crocheted and knitted sock WIPs.

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It is the nicest feeling to feel as though your online community is together in person like a little family. Claudia had made us Crochet Clan badges to unite us, and we really missed all of our friends from around the world that couldn’t be with us.

Saturday evening arrived and Chrissie @chrissie_crafts had arranged a get-together in a Skipton-local called The Railway Inn. Here we met up with Becci and Markus @Riverknitsuk, Vicki Brown @vickibrowndesigns, Joanne Scrace @notsogranny and more amazing crafty people to have a meal and a drink. The food and service was amazing! Fresh, homemade, hearty British pub grub with the best company. We even gained a new member of the Crochet Clan; Kate @kcrofton. I would definitely recommend this pub for future Yarndale adventures.

After Sophie had tackled her humongous sticky toffee pudding, we decided it was time to leave so we could commence our Pyjama party back at the Mill Apartment. Claudia joined us on the Saturday evening for a sleepover and it looked like Christmas by the time we had all finished showing our wares to each other. However nobody’s haul could beat Claudia’s! 🙂

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We sat around in our PJs, drinking, eating sweet treats from Escondido, and finished the evening with Tequila shots (yes, we committed ourselves to salt and lime, and yes it was delicious).

SUNDAY

Sunday morning we enjoyed a coffee in the Farm shop next to the Auction Mart, and went in for round 2. I had already bought most of the things I wanted on the Saturday, so on Sunday I had a focused list of where I needed to go. John Arbons, another trip to Fine Fish, another trip to Vicki Browns and a search for some Aran for Hannah @thecosycottagecrochet new Mirage cowl/hat pattern which she kindly gifted to me recently. We had another picnic which was a lot colder than Saturday’s but got to meet the lovely @browneyedgirlgb who gave me the cutest magnet which I will put in my craft room. She also brought tasty homemade cookies. For the rest of the afternoon, I settled in the knit and natter area where Lucy @attic24 was vending with Wool Warehouse and worked on my knitted socks. (I know i’m working with the dark side here… but I am also crocheting socks too!)

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We were exhausted by this point, and ready to go home despite having the best weekend. Yarn shopping is tiring work , don’t you know 😉 So many thanks to Fay for driving our sleepy bums back to Cheshire. I think the stop for Coffee and Krispy Creme doughnuts was essential and the sugar boost was needed. I can’t explain the feeling of belonging I felt with 3 women I’ve only know for a year – but feel so incredibly at home with and comfortable around. Our #crochetclan is more than just people with a common interest (or yarn addiction) – it’s a family bursting with love, creativity and compassion.

Anywhere, here’s a quick round-up of what I bought…

My favourite vendors were Vicki Brown, Fine Fish Yarns, John Arbon Textiles and River Knits. I’ve probably missed out tonnes but oh well… I’ll just have to go back next year 😉

Love Charlie, Xx

crochet · Lifestyle

Let’s catch up…

It’s been a long time since I have published a blog post; but it’s not for the lack of trying or want. So I’m going to “take the bull by the horns” and “get my foot in the door” so to say, and brief you on what’s been going on… if you’re still interested, that is. And if you do read on… I’m sorry it isn’t exactly crochet related.

*Disclosure: Shit’s about to get real personal.

I have had, and still have a lot of anxiety surrounding this blog and my YouTube channel. In August last year I threw myself into both and it was great. I gave my “crochet career” everything I had and I felt as  though I was really achieving goals I had set myself. But I didn’t leave any time for myself, Katie or life in general. There was also a big stressor in our lives (I’ll explain shortly) and I burnt out. It’s taken me a long time to realise that, and I feel that I am struggling still – despite not feeling depressed and life is so much better now. I feel as if I failed.

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I worked so hard towards what I wanted and then I just stopped. I didn’t have the mental energy to reply to comments and interact with online friends. I was, and still am scared of what people will think of me when I “come back” after removing my online presence for so long without warning or an explanation. The anxiety and fear of failure has been crippling but I enjoy blogging. I like writing about crochet and my crafty life, and it’s a nice outlet from the 9-5 (or 8-5 in my case) Monday to Friday (and sometimes Saturday) job. I am embarrassed that I have been an awful friend to the kindest people who have supported me online, and still comment on my Instagram pictures. I’m sorry to anyone and everyone that I have let down.

Let me fill you in a bit more…

For 15 months myself and Katie lived in Gran’s old house with the best intentions of renovating it for various reasons I don’t need to share. We lived in a house that we were unhappy in, a house that caused tension with relatives, looked like a building site and felt like a warehouse. Several things went wrong whilst we were there; we didn’t see eye-to-eye with the neighbours and we spent most of the winter without heating for fear the boiler would pack in (it’s older than me). I had two birthdays in that house (literally) the first spent waiting for a charity furniture collection that was never arranged in the first place – and the second waiting for British Gas to arrive to attempt to re-light the pilot light on the aforementioned boiler. This house and the time we lived in it broke me. We both worked so hard, and it was too much.

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We never felt like we had a home together the entire time we lived there; never fully unpacked from the flat we lived in before, and didn’t even get the Christmas tree or any decorations out in December because we were both so miserable. (P.s I LOVE Christmas)

It was taking its toll on us both mentally and physically. This also upsets me because it was Gran’s house and I loved her more than anything and it feels disrespectful for me to have these feelings about her house. It shouldn’t have worked out the way it did but it happened and it’s over now. I was just exhausted and I didn’t want to be fake online and be like “everything’s great… crochet… crochet… crochet…” when on a Friday evening I’d cry on my way home from work because I didn’t want to spend another night in that house.

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My crojo was at an all time low, and I was scared I was losing everything after working so hard to build a following on here, Instagram and YouTube. I was finding it difficult to do anything and everything. Katie and I got engaged after 8 years together, and although both of us want to get married, we were finding it hard to be enthusiastic and excited. The house and situation was making us lose ourselves…

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At the beginning of the year we started to look for somewhere new to live: and eventually in May we found the house we’re living in now. In less than a month we had put a deposit down (we’re renting) and had packed up and moved. Within 2 weeks of moving everything was unpacked and I felt as though we had a home again. I feel so in love with Katie; and excited for our future. My crojo came back immediately – I have literally never crocheted so much (or finished so many WIPS) and it’s fantastic. Although I still have anxiety which is fogging my brain. It makes it hard for me to articulate what I want to say and that makes me feel stupid. I’m not depressed. I’m very happy. But anxiety is an issue so please be patient with me.

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We are still facing challenges… as everyone does. The stress and physical demand of our move triggered a flare up of Katie’s Ulcerative Colitis and she has been so poorly. Although we’re not out of the woods yet – she is  so much better than she was 2 months ago. [Thank you for the kind comments where I have mentioned this on Instagram] If anyone lives with a loved one who has a long term chronic health condition you’ll understand how mentally and physically demanding it can be for everyone involved – But you’ll also know how much love and strength there is in a relationship between both/all parties. Now Katie’s getting better we can start enjoying our new home to the max and more importantly start some serious wedding planning.

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Now I have published my ‘first’ blog post, the next should be easier. Then I have to tackle YouTube (which is scarier) but I need to pace myself, take my time, and learn how to balance things. YouTube is scaring me a lot, and even though I want to put content up, I don’t want to put pressure on myself unnecessarily so I’m going to concentrate on my blog and Instagram until I’m ready. I don’t know when that will be – but please don’t forget about me. Why not subscribe to my blog in the meantime?

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There are lots of exciting things happening which I’m looking forward to writing about and sharing with you including: –

  • The pattern I designed for Leukaemia Care UK.
  • Yarndale 2018.
  • Socktober.
  • A project I’m co-hosting in November.
  • Wedding crochet plans.

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If you made it this far. Thank you. Sorry for the brutal honesty, but I feel as though I have just got rid of a huge weight that’s been on my shoulders for months, and hopefully moving forward it will be easier to blog now I have explained what’s been going on with me. Thank you for all the love and support from the crochet community, my friends, and for Katie’s unconditional support.

P.s: there was no way I was putting photos of that house on here so I’ve filled this blog post with photos of our new place instead 🙂

Love Charlie, Xx

crochet · Lifestyle

My Cro-jo’s Under the Weather…

Where has my Crojo gone?

Well, it has been two weeks since I put a photo on Instagram or even picked up my crochet hook. What is wrong with me? This is unnatural for me. The thing is, I just haven’t felt myself… and I don’t know why. I’ve been having a think about why I feel like this, and I thought I’d share my thoughts.

My Crojo's Under the Weather....png

I want to be honest with you guys, and I want to share with you the good parts; but also the not so good. Social media means that a lot of us only get to see edited parts of each other’s lives, the tidy work-spaces, and uncluttered surfaces. Blemish-free skin and picture-perfect angles. This is all OK, and why would you want to share something that is not perfect?

Why would you want to share with your followers when you’re not feeling yourself? I’m scared that this post will prompt a bad reaction – but I don’t want to be fake, and I think it’s important for us, as a community (that is generally really supportive and kind) to be honest with each other.

This is kind of a therapy ramble, and I’m hoping that I’ll feel better after writing everything and getting it out. I may regret it once I’ve published though.

Maybe it’s just January blues… but here are the things that I think are bothering me.

  1. I am on a diet (*lifestyle change*) eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables, and fresh foods. I have cut down the takeaways and the chocolates, no longer buying microwave meals and pre-packaged lunches. Opting for fruit and salad, whole grains and home-cooked food. This is absolutely brilliant for me; and I don’t want to turn it into a negative. Although I’m half feeling like I have more energy and half feeling drained and tired. I think my body is just going through a trans-formative period of figuring out that it needs to take it’s energy from different sources. I definitely feel refreshed and ‘lighter’ (not in a weight sense) and I know that what I am doing is so good for my health and happiness.
  2. All the CALs… How many CALs are there this month? I already have too many WIPs, but recently I’ve felt overwhelmed by the amount of CALs I’m participating in and struggling to keep up. I currently have 2 WIPs for the OneSkeinWonderlandCAL, a shawl for the Olannandcrisscrosscal, and the Woodland CAL blanket… and a pair of socks I started a while back… and after counting how many WIPs I have all together, I feel overwhelmed. When I’m splitting all my time between 5 projects; it is hard to see any progress on any singular project. Also after having the Christmas break, and enjoying the time off crafting, I feel like my productivity has drastically reduced and pretty much come to a halt.
  3. SADs… well January has been cold, wet and miserable. The days are grey and drizzly, frosty and damp. The day’s are short, and the evenings even shorter. How am I supposed to feel optimistic, creative and energetic when the weather has such a draining effect on my mood?

I think I need to finish a WIP to feel better. I know this sounds silly, but I think when I finish something, I’ll feel like I have accomplished something and achieved something small. I think this will trigger an upwards spiral to feeling more myself. When I finish one WIP, it will be one less WIP on the list, and one less project to split my time between.

My plan is to forget keeping up with the Woodland CAL, and put it to the side until I finish my Cosy Stripe Blanket. It is a lovely blanket and the colours are stunning, however the stitch is slow-going, with every other row a row of dc in the front loop only. Much slower than both the Cosy Stripe and the Moorland CAL blanket. Quite frankly, I’m putting too much pressure on myself to keep-up with the weekly installments despite the fact I’m doing my own colour order. This is a WIP that I can pick up any time, so for now, it is getting put away until I have fewer WIPs on my list.

I am going to leave the Simple Shawl I am knitting for the OneSkeinWonderlandCAL, and concentrate on the Triangle Infinity Scarf (which seems to be taking me forever!) – I think because it is single ply… In fact, I am going to make my aim for the rest of January to finish the triangle infinity scarf and put my other WIPs on hold. I want to finish the cowl, then my second sock… which means that I have the Cross Cross Shawl, and the Simple Shawl left as working-WIPs. (With only 4 days left of January, I doubt I’ll even finish the triangle scarf… but at least February should start with a FO.

In February,  I’m going to concentrate on the Cosy Stripe Blanket and the Fruit Salad TV Blanket. Generally just trying to reduce the number of WIPs I have on my list to reduce the stress. Hahaa. I think I should never have counted all of my unfinished projects…

Today I’m spending the day at Liverpool Central Library with Katie. I’ve brought all of my to-dos with me, and I’m hoping some productivity will cure me. I have 2 new crochet magazines with me, Crochet Now & Simply Crochet, and I have commissions with me to work on. Lots of wool packed into a suitcase, and #OneSkeinWonderlandCAL admin to catch up on. 🙂 I am feeling positive about today – and I hope I can put the last fortnight behind me.

How do you get your Cro-jo back? If you have any tips please let me know! It’s making me feel so odd not crocheting constantly. Maybe the break is good… but It’s making me anxious. I hope I didn’t over-share in this blog post – I didn’t want to be depressing and moany. But I wanted to be honest with you guys, and I thought you may be able to help…

Love Charlie, Xx

Blogmas 2017 · crochet · Lifestyle

2017 Reflections… Blogmas No. 10

Blogmas 17

Happy New Year! (I know I’m a little late) This is the final blog post in my series of Blogmas posts… Until next Christmas. 😉

How was your 2017?

My 2017 has brought me so many new experiences, opportunities, friends & achievements. This post is going to be a quick round up of my favourite & most treasured memories from the last 12 months.

2017 Reflections

Before I start, (in case you don’t want to read my ramblings) I just want to say a huge thank you to every single person that has encouraged and supported me on my journey to becoming  a crochet designer. If you’ve watched a YouTube Video, read a blog post or liked a photo on Instagram, whether you’ve liked one of my patterns on Ravelry, subscribed or followed; I am so extremely grateful and feel incredibly lucky to be part of such a loving and kind online community. Thank you, and I wish you all the best for 2018. I hope all your dreams come true!

Here goes…

January

January seemed to be full of baths! (I bought the Lush advent Calendar half price on Boxing day) and seemed to get itno the habit of having a luxury bath each week. I also worked on the Moorland Blanket CAL, and started to post my crochet on Instagram more than ever.

 

February

February I made lots of amigurumi Rabbits using a Tracy Coldwell design from Simply Crochet Magazine. I made one, then it seemed like everyone wanted one. I personalised them by embroidering initials onto their feet. I also managed to win a prize from Simply Crochet Magazine by using the hashtag #SCtreblemaker on a photo of a shawl I made using Elisabeth Davis De Herraiz‘s Cherry Sundae Shawl. This made me smile, as my New Year’s goal was to get a photo into the magazine. It just so happened that the photo was of a Shawl I started on New Year’s Day.

 

March

March was a busy month for me and Katie; and very stressful. We worked tirelessly everyday and to be honest it was a low point of our 2017. It made us appreciate each other though and we are stronger. If not for the tough times, the good wouldn’t feel so good. There wasn’t much time for Crochet and I became behind on my Moorland CAL.

April

April is my Birthday month and Katie had bought me surprise tickets to see Disney on Ice! It was wonderful & I would definitely go and see it again. (I really am just a toddler in an adult’s body) We moved house, and the weather started to change… Finally. I do love a bit of Sun! Apart from this, nothing else really happened; and there still wasn’t time to crochet, although I did gain a craft room, and finally started to sort through the craft materials I inherited from Gran.

May & June

Nothing much happened in May. June is always a month in which I remember my Gran, as it holds both the anniversary of her death, her Birthday and her name. This year (2017) I planted wild flower seeds all over her grave so that in the Spring and Summer it creates a small Wildflower garden for the Birds, Bees and Butterflies. In June I decided that I wanted to become a crochet designer. I had thought this for over a year but kept pushing the urge aside and letting negative thoughts swallow the idea down. I talked to Katie and I made the decision to start putting time aside to work on designs. Katie’s Uncle got married which was lovely.

July

In July I had an admission in hospital and had  a laparoscopy & appendectomy. I had been in pain for quite a while had various other health issues which turned out to be Ovarian cysts; and a complete coincidence but my Appendix was also inflamed. This discovery lead to me feeling so much better and being able to enjoy life again without pain (it was starting to affect my day to day life). I also finished the Moorland Blanket for Katie, who loves that she has her own crocheted blanket.

 

August

In August it was Katie’s Birthday and I surprised her with an overnight stay at The Titanic Hotel in Liverpool. We went out for a meal and drinks, and it was just so nice to have a ‘mini break’. We also got engaged in August! Katie finally proposed and I couldn’t be happier. We have a venue and registrar booked and now we have to plan the rest of the wedding. I also published my first blog post and first crochet pattern… the Trinity Stitch Dish Cloth. I also published my first YouTube Video and got an incredible reaction and support from the online Crochet community. Clarisabeth gave me a shout out on her YouTube channel Crochetcakes and I literally couldn’t stop smiling for days. August seemed to be a turning point for me, and my happiness. I finally made steps in the right direction to pursuing my dreams of becoming a crochet designer and very decision I made for ‘Love Charlie’ made me happier and just felt ‘right’.

September

In September, I had a WIP-Ban and worked on specific projects. This helped me to finish things that I needed to and helped trigger list-making for my crafting. I also met Fay from the Crochet Circle Podcast & I also went to Yarndale for the first time (with Fay.) I can’t explain how grateful I am and lucky to be able to say I know a person like Fay. She is incredibly kindhearted and full of knowledge. To say she has helped me would be an understatement! I also participated in Hannah’s (Thecozycottagecrochet) September Shawl-along. I also attended Woolgathering Sandbach for the first time and met lots of beautifully talented knitters, crocheters and sewers. It is so nice to have found ‘my people’.

 

October

In October I co-hosted a WIP-along with Laura from GoslingandPlumb. We called it the #AutumnWIPalong and it was fantastic. So many online crocheters & knitters (and embroiderers) joined and encouraged each other. There was so much kindness and motivation, people who had never met cheering each other on. It was so heartwarming. I also went to London and made some new crafty friends. Flic, Helen & Corrine. I am grateful once again for Fay introducing me to these lovely, very talented ladies who share the same love for craft as myself.

 

November

In November, I finished my Cocoon Cardigan that I started for the #AutumnWAL17. It is my first ever crocheted garment and it is very nice and slouchy, and perfect for snuggling under and chilling. It is a free pattern on Ravelry by Alexandra Tavel called the Movie Night Cocoon Cardigan. Click here for Pattern. I also enjoyed watching’ I’m a Celebrity’… and dying yarn for #FridayisDyeDay using icing colourants. I was absolutely amazed with the results and have since crocheted both up. One was a DK weight and the other Sock weight which I bought from Laxtons at Yarndale. I also made a couple of commissions; a crocheted shawl and two sloths.

 

December

December has been a whirlwind. I decided to do Blogmas, with the aim of uploading every other day and publishing some free patterns and tutorials. Blogmas has been challenging but great! I have pushed myself and am very happy with how productive I’ve been. Christmas was lovely! I was spoiled rotten and am very lucky to have a family that appreciate and enable my love of yarn. I’m also co-hosting the #OneSkeinWonderlandCAL with Fay of the Crochet Circle Podcast, which encourages you guys to use up that treasured (or impulse bought) single skein of yarn with the aim of showing Knitters and Crocheters what beautiful projects can be made with only 100g of yarn. This way, next time you have a special skein; you can start right away without worrying about finding the perfect pattern.

 

There we go, in a nutshell, my 2017 was like a roller-coaster. I think that August was my favourite month. (Of course because I got engaged!) Hahaa, but it also triggered a lot of ‘firsts’ for me. August changed who I am and I plucked up courage from somewhere to start this blog and my YouTube channel and really commit to my aspirations. From August on wards, Love Charlie has continued to develop and it is very exciting. I hope 2018 continues with the same momentum.

Happy New Year again if you managed to read through my boring ramblings. Thank you for reading. My next blog post is going to be all about my 2018 goals and targets…

Love Charlie, Xx

crochet · Lifestyle

December Progress and SMART Targets… Blogmas No. 9

With only 1 more day left of December (and of 2017!) I thought I’d show you what I’ve been up to. I’m also going to share some of my Tips for making goals in the penultimate days of 2017. I know a lot of you, like myself have a lot of motivation and like to set goals and resolutions in the New Year. I’ll share some of the methods I’m going to use for setting goals and targets.

Blogmas 17

I’ll make one thing clear – December did not go to plan. The reason why? My plan was completely wrong. (Part of the reason for sharing my strategy for making better plans in the future) I had made a list of my monthly goals without taking Christmas into consideration. I’m also stupid, and decided to do Blogmas when I already had a lot on my plate. But I don’t regret it for a minute! It has pushed me to get patterns out there that I didn’t want to leave until next Winter; and it has pushed my writing abilities whilst trying to keep up with an ‘every other day’ deadline. However, I was planning to publish a third pattern for the Hobbycraft 3 for 2 offer and make some mitts – they turned out way too chunky so I haven”t published the pattern. Please let me know if you’re interested and I may re-think publishing. They are just SO chunky! I’m going to have a think over the next few weeks and see if there’s something else I could make. 🙂

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My original December list looked like this…

  • Finish Katie’s Harry Potter Scarf
  • Finish Cosy Stripe Blanket
  • Make 20 Squares for a Charity Blanket
  • Edge 20 Squares for Fruit Salad TV Blanket
  • Finish 2nd ball of wool on Chunky Knitted Scarf
  • Make 2no. Amigurumi Cacti

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Here’s where it all went wrong.

  1. I wasn’t planning to make any Christmas presents; but in the end made 4.
  2. I didn’t plan to do Blogmas until the Christmas season started.
  3. I didn’t incorporate the time for Magazine submission work.
  4. Christmas is busy! and I underestimated the time that would be spent shopping/wrapping/preparing.

December has been incredibly busy, and I didn’t realise how much I’d achieved until I consulted my bullet journal last night. I realised just how different what I achieved was to my original list of goals. I decided to make a new list for December; despite only having a few days left. I think this ordeal has been a lesson in trying to chose more realistic, achievable goals for myself to avoid feeling disappointed.

My new list looks like this…

  • Finish Katie’s Harry Potter Scarf (Done)
  • Make Christmas Presents (Done)
  • Blogmas (Getting there)
  • Publish Hat & Cowl Pattern (Done)
  • Start #Oneskeinwonderlandcal (Done)
  • Finish 1no. Knitted Sock (Done)
  • Write up pattern & make ? for ? magazine (Nearly there)

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Baggy 1st knitted sock ft holes… but I’m still proud!

See… how different is this list than the original list? It has taught me that maybe I should only start off with a couple of goals because plans can change midway through the month. I am trying to set goals that are SMART targets. I haven’t used these since High School – but I’m hoping that it will make me think through y plan more thoroughly before committing pen to paper (In a notebook I don’t want to tippex/scribble in… see how obsessive I can get?)

SMART-goals

SMART is an acronym and stands for:-

Specific – Set specific goals that relate to more descriptive items. Instead of saying your goal is to crochet, it could be, crochet a scarf and a hat. It helps to compartmentalize tasks so you can tick them off (and ticking feels so good!)

Measurable – Goals should be measurable; and if my monthly goal isn’t to finish a WIP, then the goal should be specified in terms of a measuarble goal. For example; finish a ball of wool, repeat a whole section of colours, reach a halfway point, make a particular number of squares/hexies/circles… etc. This way, it is easier to manage time and tick off goals when they are completed. Write down your goals so that you can tick, highlight or scribble each off as you achieve… believe me – it is very satisfying.

Attainable – This is the one that I really need to consider when setting my goals. Is it attainable? There was no way I was going to finish my Cosy Stripe blanket in Decemeber. I haven’t even picked it up. Who was I trying to kid? I think I loved the idea of finishing it before the end of the year and having a little Christmas present for myself. I think this is the hardest part of setting SMART goals because you can both over and under-estimate what is attainable and also it isn’t ‘set in stone’ what you can achieve from one month to the next. I think it is important to take into consideration what other committments you may have for that period of time, and whether other distractions are likely.

Relevant – (although I like to reiterate the ‘is it Realistic? question here.) Is your goal relevant to your overall aspirations? Does your goal relate to a bigger picture? For example, my goal of knitting socks contibutes to an overall goal of ‘Improving my knitting skills’, and making charity blankets contributes to my overall goal of stash busting and crocheting for a cause.  However I’m not too sure thet relevance is 100% necessary when it comes to crafting (unless it is your job) as it is not for exams and coursework. This is a hobby, and should be something you enjoy. Goal-making isn’t for everyone (I’m just weird and like to push myself)

Time-based – They all are because they are monthly goals… so the time-goal is the end of the month. However if you are making goals for the year (like I will be for 2018) it is important to have a ‘deadline’ to keep you motivated. For example in Crochet I could say, I want to make the Doppio Colleseum Shawl before I go to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival so I can wear it.

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I hope you find some use in this random blog post. My failed plan for December has made me re-think how I should be setting my goals, and what better time to share my advice than the days before New Year when everyone is making new years resolutions.

Love Charlie, Xx

#OneSkeinWonderlandCAL · Blogmas 2017 · crochet · Lifestyle

Happy Holidays – Christmas Gifts… Blogmas No. 8

Blogmas 17

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday. This Blogmas is going to be an ‘All about my Christmas’ blog post and I’m going to share all the yarny gifts I received… I’ll also share a few bits that I made as gifts too.

Christmas Gifts... Blogmas No. 8

I wasn’t going to make any handmade Christmas presents this year as I found it very stressful last year. This year I wanted to spend more time designing my own patterns and working on ‘Love Charlie’ however there was no compromise for a handmade gift and I still ended up making  few.

This year, I made a scarf for Katie themed on Gryffindor house colours, a winter wreath, a sprout Christmas tree decoration and a felt needle book. Katie absolutely loved her scarf, and I really need to make a needle book for myself. It is getting hard to part with them.

 

For some of you, it’s time to go back to work – luckily I have a few more days to enjoy some time knitting and crocheting, spending time with Katie and eating ridiculous amounts of chocolate before the New Year diet kicks in.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was the ‘calm before the storm’, the house had been tidied and cleaned (I mean I finally put all the craft supplies from Christmas preparations away) presents were wrapped and I had time to start my Christmas Eve Cast Ons for the ‘OneSkeinWonderlandCAL.

 

Katie and I managed to binge watch the full 2nd season of the Crown in a day and it was so nice to be able to sit on the sofa in PJs drinking wine and actually relaxing – yes – relaxing. I thought I’d forgotten that word existed. Both of us have been very busy and stressed; so the relief of putting your feet up and turning your brain off was very well welcomed and appreciated.

 

Christmas Day

 

This year I spent Christmas with Katie’s family, swapping gifts, drinking copious amounts of alcohol and eating far far too much… all followed by singing Christmas songs merrily around the dining room table and Disney, 80s and 90s karaoke in the lounge. Dogs in Christmas jumpers, lots of yarny gifts, and my #OneSkeinWonderlandCAL WIPs to hand. What’s not to love?

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Usually I enjoy giving gifts more than receiving them, but this year I was very excited for my presents as I had only asked for wooly bits and bobs. I was given so much more than I ever imagined and I have been extremely spoilt. I have lots to keep me busy for a long time. I am very grateful and thankful to my friends and family for their generosity and thought for me.

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My next crafty venture is knitting; and knitting socks in particular. I asked for some of Arne and Carlos’ Pairfect sock yarn, Super Socks by Christine Perry, some short circular needles and DPNs. I was also given some wool wash and needle end protectors specially for circular needles. I literally have everything I could ever possibly need so there is no excuse. 2018 is the year to advance my knitting; and also have warm toes!

Katie bought me some beautiful River Knits and Fjord Fibres hand dyed yarn, some Wilton icing colourants and a double stranded sock blank ready for New Year’s #Fridayisdyeday. My Nan & Granddad bought me a yarn swift, so I wound up my #OneskeinwonderlandCAL yarn in my enthusiasm. I also received the KnittyGritty book, a Star Wars Crochet set, and my Mum bought me the Woodland CAL yarn pack ready for Attic24’s CAL in the New Year. My Mother and Father in Law also bought me another year’s subscription to my favourite Crochet Magazine, Simply Crochet.

Well, I sound like a spoilt brat now… and maybe I am.. but I’m a happy one – does that count? I hope you all got some crafty bits and bobs for Christmas – but more importantly, I hope you all got to spend valuable time with your friends and family over the Holiday period.

 

Christmas Gifts... Blogmas No. 8 (1).png

Boxing Day

On Boxing Day, Me and Katie went on a little trip to Liverpool in the afternoon. I bought this beautiful ‘project bag’ (supposed to be a cosmetics bag) from TKMax and it has a pocket on the inside perfectly sized for crochet hooks. This currently has 2 of my #OneSkeinWonderlandCAL WIPs in it so it is very roomy. We had a lovely Yo Sushi! meal and went home to do some online bargain shopping.

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Overall I have had an absolutely amazing Christmas, and I have so many new projects lined up; I’m going to have to do some serious planning to stop me from having about 50 WIPs at one time. I can’t start them all now; although the ‘force is strong’ – forgive me; I’m preparing for our Cinema trip to watch the new Star Wars… Katie is very happy with my Star Wars Crochet kit) Hahaa. What did you get for Christmas?

Love Charlie, Xx