#ChristmasEveCAL · #OneSkeinWonderlandCAL · crochet · knitting · Lifestyle

Christmas Eve CAL

So its that time of year again… We’re almost done running around like headless chickens, faffing around with Holiday preparations, and all we really want to do is sit down and crochet (or knit, or spin, or weave or sew… you get my point) This year, Fay @crochet_circle_podcast and I are hosting another Christmas Eve CAL. Crochet along… Craft along… your choice 🙂 Any yarn related craft is welcome.

Christmas Eve Cast on

A Christmas Eve CAL is where you start a new project using yarn that you’ve saved for a special project or received for Christmas. The trick is to let your loved ones know that you want to open any yarn presents a day early 😉 It is important to take a moment for yourself over the festive period, whether you have time off work or not – after spending the past weeks, if not months preparing gifts and handmade presents, buying, cleaning, tidying, wrapping, cooking and baking – Everything should be finished with and out of the way (unless you’re like me and still have presents to make in January) After working so hard, we all deserve some yarny, squishy goodness.

The CAL starts on Christmas Eve, and if you’re very excited to start a new project you can stay up and start 1 minute past midnight. I did last year, and I might try to do the same this year.

The CAL will be taking place across Instagram and Ravelry. Use the hashtag #ChristmasEveCAL on Instagram so we can see your makes, and follow the hashtag so you can make new friends and see what everyone else is making over Christmas.

Chatter and FO threads are over on my Ravelry group… Click here for the Chatter Thread, and here for the FO thread.

So what projects will you start?

I’ll be working on two projects for myself over the Christmas break. One of them I have already started – I started on Thursday evening at woolgathering. A new pair of socks using Vicki Brown sock yarn in Hendricks and Flamingos. I am in living for these colours and I am love how my project bag matches. I also treated myself to a pin from Sharon @mycrochetmakes and it matches perfectly; as though the three were made for each other.

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I am making contrasting toes, cuffs and heels, using @Winwickmum‘s basic sock pattern. The main colour is Hendricks, and the contrast will be Flamingos. I will then be able to make a pair using Flamingos as the main colour.

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But this isn’t my ‘real’ Christmas Eve project. On Christmas Eve, I will be starting Arria by Fay. I will be using Riverknits yarn in Eve’s Birthday. (Just a coincidence) This project has been in my queue for a while, and what better time to start than a time when we have time to rest and relax. I am really excited about starting.

Arria on Ravelry

The yarn I have for this is beautiful! And I chose colours that didn’t contrast so much as I want the triangle feature to be subtle. I can’t even begin to describe how pretty this colour way is, the photo really isn’t doing it justice.

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I can’t wait to see what you will be making. Please share on Ravelry or Instagram 😀 I also can;t guarantee that I will not start another project over the Christmas break. Hahaa, I can’t control myself.

I will be writing a blog post soon sharing some of our Christmas traditions, and some of the things I like to do at Christmas time. I don’t know whether it will be before or after Christmas, so have a lovely holiday everyone.

Merry Christmas!

Love Charlie, Xx

#WIPvember · crochet · knitting · Lifestyle

Goodbye WIPvember…

I can’t quite believe how quickly November came and went, and I seriously enjoyed every minute of WIPvember! I enjoyed co-hosting this WIP-along with the fabulous Hannah @andintothetrees, Zahra @tinyanaesthetist and Caroline @poppyseedsbeads, who are all so lovely and kind. I was astounded by the amount of people who participated and even more overwhelmed by the amount of WIPs everyone managed to make progress on and finish.

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My WIPvember progress pile…

I know I made so much more progress during November than I would have done if we hadn’t started #WIPvember – and even more importantly, I managed to abstain from starting any new projects (Apart from the two that I had to start) And although I have the urge to start many new projects, I also have a bug for productivity, and I want to go into December with the same attitude, and continue to finish off and make progress on my existing WIPs before the end of the year. However – I do have a few ‘Christmas’ presents to start (with the the intention of finishing in January)

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Hannah @andintothetrees asked what everyone’s favourite part of WIPvember was? How sweet are these replies?

WIPvember created a lovely, supportive community of crafters and I think what was so fantastic about it was that everyone was concentrating on the same goal. The diversity of projects was also amazing… from hats, and  socks, mittens, blankets, cardigans, scarfs, and embroidery to man eating flowers! Yes I typed that right 😉  Crochet, knitting, needlepoint and sewing.

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Hannah @andintothetrees weekly collage – Week 1

I loved that there was no prize for this MAL, and it was only people’s enthusiasm and love of craft that drove them to participate. There was so much support surrounding every single post and it’s heart warming to see our community spreading so much love and encouragement.

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@Lovecharlie.co weekly collage – Week 2 

 

Each of us took a week to look through your #WIPvember posts and create grids of projects. I will share those throughout this blog post. I absolutely loved scrolling through everyone’s pictures and reading how people were preparing for Christmas and progressing through their WIPs.

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@Lovecharlie.co weekly collage – Week 2

So I started out with 10 WIPs… and I’ve ended up with 7. I finished 2 blankets, finished a shawl and a pair of socks, and started an amigurumi cat. I also decided to frog two of my WIPs, as I wasn’t feeling the love or enthusiasm anymore.

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My finished Cosy Stripe blanket. Just look at that edging! 🙂 

Unfortunately I didn’t even touch my Criss Cross Shawl by Fay Dashper-Hughes but I will definitely be trying to finish this after I have a few Christmas gifts made. I did finish my Cosy Stripe blanket, which I wasn’t expecting. I am so pleased with this blanket, and haven’t stopped wrapping myself up in it since I finished it.

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Zahra @tinyanaesthetist weekly collage – Week 3

I’m not going to lie though, the urge to start new WIPs throughout November was strong! And what made it worse was seeing everyone else’s amazing WIPs. God knows how many new projects I’ve added to my queue on Ravelry throughout #WIPvember! Hahaa. One project that is really going to get cast on pretty soon is the Wheat scarf by tincanknits, and it’s allowed because it’ll become a (late) Christmas present. I saw @robsramblings WIP and fell in love. I know exactly who I’m going to make it for…

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Caroline @poppyseedsbeads weekly collage – Week 4

Which brings me to December’s list. Although I won’t be so strict with my WIPs through December, I still have projects that I have to make, and ones that I’d like to make more progress on. I have a list of shawls that I have to make for people but they don’t necessarily have to be ready for Christmas. I do need to finish the Amigurumi Cat ASAP so that will be a priority, along with my Christmas Candy Cane socks. I wanted to make a couple of Christmas dog Jumpers for my Mother & Father-in-Law’s dogs but I have run out of time.

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Caroline @poppyseedsbeads weekly collage – Week 4

December WIP List : –

  1. Knitted Candy cane socks by Christine Perry
  2. Amigurumi Ginger cat by Kendra Szpila
  3. DK knitted loft by Fay Dashper Hughes x 2
  4. Hendricks socks by Christine Perry 
  5. Criss Cross Shawl by Fay Dashper-Hughes
  6. Simple knitted shawl by Jane Hunter
  7. Wheat Scarf by Tincanknits
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One more heel flap and gusset to go, then I am on the home stretch… or should I say toe stretch?

There are more WIPs on this WIP list than I had on my #WIPvember WIP list – but I also have some time off over Christmas, and I want to be a bit more relaxed with goals this month. Last month I had an extremely busy month at work, and often didn’t get the time to work on projects when I usually would have. On the other hand, December is going to be filled with Christmas traditions and meeting up with friends, so who knows what I’ll achieve… I am excited to finish my Candy Cane Christmas socks… I’m going to put a ribbon and jingle bell on the ribbing 😀 And I am excited to get rid of the Cat commission. What I a mostly excited about though, is caking up my @vickibrowndesigns Hendricks sock yarn and getting started on another pair of socks. This was the FIRST thing that I bought at Yarndale 2018 and I am sooo excited. I am loving socks because I can use a special skein of yarn for each pair, and not only do they they allow me to try out new dyers and colourways without breaking the bank, but I am finding that my knitting skills are improving so much that my confidence with knitting is on the rise!

I hope you are all enjoying getting into the festive spirit as much as I am. Our tree went up on the 24th November, and we’ve already cracked open the mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. The seal on the Roses tin is broken, and we will soon be making our annual Christmas gin for friends and family. I am so loving feeling the warmth and coziness of Christmas this year in our new home. The candles are all lit, and there isn’t a chair without a homemade blanket. Anyway, that’s my brief Christmas excitement out of the way. (I’ll write a proper Charlie Christmas blog post soon)

Love Charlie, Xx

#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

 

 

 

knitting

Socks, Socks, Socks…

The last few weeks, I’ve had nothing but socks on my brain. With the Sockcal2018/sockalong2018 running throughout October, it was the perfect opportunity for me to try and grasp sock construction. I’ve also used this month to get my head around knitting in general a little better, seeing as one of my new year’s resolutions this year was to improve my knitting. Anyway, here’s a really quick blog post to show you what I’ve been up to…

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As I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog post, and on my Instagram, I tried to fly the flag for crochet and make crochet socks… but I failed. I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind, used the best pattern for my troll feet or chose the right yarn for what is most likely going to be yet another pair of sacrificial crochet socks… That is until I get to grips with the construction of crochet socks. I think crochet socks will have to wait until next year. I have a suspicion that the reason I am finding it so difficult  to make a crochet sock that fits – is because I haven’t quite got the full understanding of sock anatomy yet. I’m hoping that once I’ve knit a few, I will understand the construction better.

I have however finished a pair of socks for Katie using a Backyard Fibreworks MCN yarn in the colour way Trading Post that Claudia kindly gifted to me at Valentines. I used a short row heel for these socks as this is the heel I used for my first knitted socks I made last year. This yarn is delicious. It is so soft! And Katie says it’s 100% toastie.

I have now started making Katie a pair of Christmas socks in West Yorkshire Spinners ‘Holly Berry’ using Winwick Mum’s Simple sock pattern yet. I wanted to learn how to do a heel flap and gusset even though it terrifies me. But with Christine’s easy step by step instructions, I’ve managed it! Now I just need to carry on with the foot and toes…

I do have a few sock WIPs lined up for the future though, and I am trying to learn something new (and a little more advanced) on each of them.

When I have finished Katie’s Christmas socks with the heel flap, I want to make myself some Christmas socks with contrasting heels, cuffs and toes… therefore learning how to change colour when knitting.

Then I would like to make the Vanilla Latte socks by Virginia Rose-Jeanes learning to put a bit of a pattern into the sock.

Eventually, I’d like to make Fay’s Mini Mania socks, and then attempt to learn some simple colour work, I’d also like to learn how to make a few different types of heel to see which one I prefer. Although the short row is an easy heel to knit, I feel as though I do not execute it well, and even though there are no holes, it is a bit to gappy (is this even a real word?) for my liking. Although my recent socks are a lot less holey and baggy as my first pair of socks which I made last year.

Eventually, I would like to start knitting shawls and I feel that by learning these skills in socks I will build myself up to shawls. I still have no desire to knit garments or to learn cables… but a few years ago I had no desire to knit anything – so who knows! Crochet will always be my first love – but I am enjoying learning new skills and techniques.

At the moment, sock knitting is absolutely addictive! I am really enjoying the speed, and size of the project, and how transferable they are. I love that I can do a few rows on my lunch break, and each small sit-in amounts very quickly to a sock.

If you know any beginner sock patterns that you think I would enjoy please share in the comments or Instagram or even find me on Ravelry – lovecharlieblog 🙂

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

#MarchingForwardWAL18 · crochet

Tools – #MarchingForwardWAL18

 

Last week, it was been my turn to host the weekly theme for the Marching Forward WIP-along. I have been asking you to share the tools that you use to craft – whatever they may be, on Instagram.

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I LOVE looking at everyone’s tools and now I get to share my thoughts on our most loved, and curated collections!

From what I have seen on Instagram, the tools you use range from your bog standard (but loved all the same) steel crochet hooks, to soft touch, and ergonomic hooks. I say crochet hooks, as the majority of my followers crochet, but we all know there are so many other wonderful crafts out there, and they are all as brilliant as each other. But before I go into hooks, I want to share with you the most important tools that we have – The tools that don’t cost us anything, and a few of you have also shared on IG.

Hands & Brain…

Whether you’ve inherited your love of craft, learnt it easily, or worked very hard to learn a new skill. Maybe you learnt through YouTube Videos, your mother, your Grandma, the library, a class or a friend… None of us would be where we are without the use of our hands and our brains. I am extremely grateful for the full use of my hands, and that my brain allows me to express myself and create the things I imagine. If I lost the use of my hands, I don’t know what I’d do… learn to crochet with my toes? Not only does my brain allow me to craft, but craft also aids my brain, and can provide such a comfort and peace that is very welcome in the stressful world in which we reside. So, in conclusion to this very long, rambley point… my most important tools are my brain and my hands. We can all literally turn a bit of string into something incredible! (I know right? We are amazing human beings!)

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Crochet Hooks…

Well I have seen a lovely variation in the hooks that my followers have shared on Instagram. What struck a cord with me though, is how sentimental many of your tools are. You have shared tools that you have inherited from your mothers and grandmothers. As 70% of my wool and craft supplies are inherited, I can really relate to this. This last week I have been in Edinburgh for EYF – the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. I was talking to a friend about inherited tools, and when her friends mother died, she gave her the knitting needles (as her friend couldn’t knit) My friend said that her friends’ mum would knit her something every year for Christmas, so the first year without her mum, my friend knit her a gift using her Mums old knitting needles. I couldn’t believe what a thoughtful and special idea this was. And how lucky this friend was.

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My Gran’s knitting needles

Our tools are extremely important to us and each of us are extremely particular as to what constitutes as the perfect piece of equipment. Our tools become an extension of who we are, and what we leave behind in the world after we have gone. It amazes me how material things last so much longer than we do, and for crafty people, these tools leave a part of the person, and allow us to carry on and keep them with us for longer. I made my Gran a crochet hook roll to keep her hooks in, and I leave them in this on the shelf. I take them out every now and again to look at them; although I am afraid to use them in case I lose or damage them. My Gran inherited these hooks from her mother and Grandmother, so there are generations of hooks in this case, and I can’t begin to imagine how many beautiful things have been made.

Birgit, @neat_sweet_petite a co-host of the Marching Forward WIP-Along shared her Mum’s crochet hook and said that when she uses it, she feels as though a part of her mum is crocheting with her. I think this is just so lovely, and true. Sam of @nans_olive_torana also shared an inherited hook of her Grandmas, and much like me, she if afraid to use it as the sentimentality is much more important than practicality, and she doesn’t want to damage it.

 

Storage…

Jars, cases, rolls and pouches – handmade or shop bought. It seems that we all have different preferred ways of storing our tools. Up until recently, I always stored my tools in a large pencil case. This case had everything I could possibly want, and was clear so I could see everything from the outside without having to rummage for ages To see how this used to look, and what I kept in it head over to my YouTube Channel ‘lovecharliecrochet’ and watch this video… (Hit subscribe to make me smile!) However, I think that I had overfilled it for too long, and abused it so that the seams split open. I also started to lean how to knit socks, and got many 9 inch needles and DPNs for Christmas. I wanted to be able to store these all together. I ended up buying a case off Amazon that has a place for everything. Here’s the link in case you’re interested…

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Notions…

Another important element to our list of essential tools are notions… Needles, stitch markers, calculators, scissors, measuring tapes, highlighters, notebooks and pens. There’s also the continuous publications of Magazines, not to mention Ravelry, Pinterest and Instagram as important resources for patterns and inspiration. I like to store small notions such as stitch markers in a small tin that Fay of the Crochet Circle Podcast gave me for Christmas, and the rest have a pocket in my new hook case. The tin is great as it can easily be moved between project bags. 🙂

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Anyway, here is my small insight into the tools I use, and my thoughts on sentimentality and how our tools are so much more than bits of plastic and metal.

Use the hashtag #MarchingForwardWAL18 on WIPs until the 31st March 🙂

Love Charlie, Xxx