The most wonderful time of the year…Christmas at The Crochet Sanctuary

When I was asked if I might like to do another workshop at The Crochet Sanctuary, and this time the Christmas one, I may have squealed a little bit in my head! Christmas is my MOSTEST favourite time of the year and I was delighted to be given the opportunity to come up with a fun festive design.

If you’ve not heard about The Crochet Sanctuary before it’s a crochet retreat set in the beautiful Cranage Hall in Crewe. The hosts of the sanctuary, Lisa and Lynda-Rose, always plan an amazing weekend for their guests and it’s usually extra special at Christmas – and this time it was no different!

On this occasion we were a nice cosy group of about 20 weekenders (to be joined by roughly 5 more day guests on the Saturday). The room we were in, as always, was arranged with a circle of comfy chairs covered in crochet blankets and cushions to make ourselves at home.

Excitingly this weekend myself, with my Dear Ewe hat on, and fellow small business owner Mrs G Makes had a pop up shop in the room, and Amanda from Craftopia had a pop up shop in her van!

It was really nice for me to let people see the Dear Ewe products up close as I think it’s a totally different experience from seeing them just on your computer screen. And it gave me a chance to try out my new stall display format as Dear Ewe is hopefully going on the road in 2020 to some yarn shows near you….

We started off the afternoon with a really fun ice-breaker to get to know each other with us having to confess a time when we’d been naughty. Santa presided over us and checked his list to see if he agreed that we’d been naughty or nice! Apparently I was naughty – I’m sure that can’t be right!? And then we were all given a present…if you are Instagram you need to check out this video to see our reactions!

Inside the parcel was our very own Scheepjes Whirligig which was just unbelievable! I’ve been drooling (like so many others I’m sure) over these since they were released earlier this year. These decadent gigantic yarn cakes (1000m / 450g) are a super soft blend of alpaca and virgin wool and have gorgeous long repeats. Mine is the pink to plum version which is a pale pink that transitions to rich plums and deep purples. It was definitely love at first sight!

We were given two patterns to choose from, either the Scheepjes Valyria Shawl by Johanna Lindahl or the new Nolkag Wrap pattern designed especially for the weekend. I chose the Nolkag Wrap which is just a deliciously mindful pattern with a pretty cabled texture. I enjoyed working on the pattern, and with the yarn which just glides through your fingers, so much that I found it really hard to put it down the whole weekend!

But a gal’s got to eat so we hooked until 7pm then it was time for a three course meal in the restaurant (which was delicious) and then we went back up to the room for more crochet and chatting.

I was a bit more sensible this time and was in bed for 11pm (not the usual wee hours of the morning) and before I knew it it was time for a buffet style breakfast then back up to the room for our next project which was completely awesome! We were given everything we needed to make giant baubles! I still need to finish mine so I’ll have to share a photo when I’m finished.

Next it was Christmas dinner for lunch and with all of us feeling full and maybe a tad sleepy it was time for me to do my workshop! Lisa and Lynda had let me decide what I was going to do for my workshop, and when I’d suggested a stocking design they thought that was great – I think everyone was thinking it was going to be another amigurumi!

I came up with the Starlight Stocking design which I think would make a great addition to those handmade decorations you bring out year after year.

My chosen yarn for the stocking was the new Scheepjes Chunky Monkey yarn, which is becoming a fast new favourite of mine, so soft, combined with Scheepjes Catona and Scheepjes Lizzy (for a bit of bling). You can just see them hanging in situ below on one of the gorgeous Cranage Estate fireplaces!

As always it was great fun watching everyone get stuck into making the stockings (I don’t usually get to see that part!), we had a break for the evening meal until 7pm-ish (when the day people left us) for another scrumptious three course meal in the restaurant, then it was back up to the room again to continue with the stockings.

As always much belly laughter was had (you pinocchio nose people know who you are!)…then it was time for bed again, the weekend really does seem to just fly by so quickly!

Sunday until 3pm (when the Sanctuary finishes) is normally when we have time to finished off our projects but Lynda and Lisa had another fun project in store! We got to have a go at making our own custom shawl kilt pin and I got to use a glue gun for the first time. I now kind of want to glue aallll the things because I REALLY enjoyed using the gun. I chose some festive felt balls and bells to adorn my kilt pin to match my Nolkag Wrap.

After that it was wonderful to see that nearly everyone wanted to finish off their stockings…and some did get them finished or nearly finished over the weekend. Everyone did such an amazing job with them!

And some more stockings modelled with the gorgeously decorated fireplace!

I’m a bit addicted to attending The Crochet Sanctuary days / weekends they have throughout the year. It’s always such fun and I get to just talk crochet till I’m fit to burst which is especially refreshing because no one’s eyes start to glaze over – they are just as enthused as me!

It was a thoroughly wonderful weekend, which I knew it would be, that I was lucky enough to share with the most wonderful group of people! Just a lovely occasion to catch up with old friends and make some new ones!

If you are looking for a weekend of yarn, crochet, relaxation and just pure wonderfulness then the The Crochet Sanctuary is definitely the place for you. As testament the weekend dates for 2020 have already completely sold out – but you can still book the remaining few day dates that are left here.

I’m going back for a day visit again in February as a guest which I’m already looking forward to! How many more sleeps is that….

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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New for Ewe! Yarny Stationery Range

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m a complete yarn addict but what you may not know about me is that I also love stationery. Like a brand new ball of yarn I find there is something quite special about a new notebook that makes me feel that almost anything can be achieved.

So when I was thinking about what products to develop next for Dear Ewe I knew I needed to combine my two loves together to create some fun stationery that everyone could enjoy.

I do enjoy thinking of things that could come next for Dear Ewe that I think people will like and of course I make sure that I like them too! I knew without doubt that there had to be a notebook in the new products.

When I’m designing patterns I write everything I do, in pencil, in a notebook, and I personally like notebooks that have a fastening or elastic around them as I sometimes stick in bits of paper or other notes that I don’t want to lose.

Yarn Whisperers Notebook

Each Yarn Whisperer notebook is made from soft touch PVC covered recycled cardboard and has a ribbon page marker and elastic closure. It’s A7 size means it fits easily into a handbag (for yarn shopping notes) or your project bag.

Yarn Whisperers Notebook

Keeping with the yarny theme there’s also a range of Yarn Lovers Die Cut Vinyl stickers which will allow you to add your own personal woolly touch to almost anything! As a kid I loved stickers and I realised I never grew out of that love!

Yarn Lovers Sticker Pack

Give people a little idea of who you are and what you love by sticking these yarny vinyl stickers to your notebooks, your laptop, your luggage or anything that you like! Available as a pack of four stickers or individually – I’m going to be sticking them everywhere!!

Individual Yarn Addict Sticker

And finally the perfect stationery addition to help organise all of your yarny projects! The Work in Progress (WIP) Crochet / Knit Project Cards are here to help you organise your WIP projects, because I’m assuming like me that you might find something like this a handy tool?!

Invented partly because I have a personal issue with so many WIPs scattered in various places in the house, (15 or so – that’s not bad right?), and I thought I can’t be the only one that would find the postcard size memo’s a handy thing to have around.

Each pack contains eight (8) individual WIP cards for your different projects and they will mean no more forgetting what that project was all about or what yarn you were using! You just write down the necessary details on the card, pop it in your project bag, (you can even add a yarn sample in the holes provided), then when you next go to that project (in few days, weeks, months or years) you’ll have everything you need, to know what to do next.

It’s getting to that time of year now when folks are starting to think about Christmas and all the stationery range are priced to make excellent stocking fillers for yarn lovers, crochet addicts, knitting fanatics and fiber artists. So if you’re thinking of presents for a crafty friend or as a treat for yourself I hope you’ll take a look at the new range of Dear Ewe stationery.

So what do you think? Like them? Love em? Already bought some? I’d love to know.

Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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I Like Crochet Magazine |Cosy Cabin Patterns

I’m just catching up with patterns that have been released whilst I was ill and I think there’s still enough time to tell you about the October issue of I Like Crochet. You might just be able to spy one of my new designs peeping out on the front cover…

Imagine yourself in a log cabin in the woods and you’ve got this issue in a nutshell and I came up with two designs to fit in with the theme.

Plaid seems to be quite synonymous with the outdoors and cabins doesn’t it – does it stem from lumberjacks maybe? I’m not sure? But when I started thinking about the topic that’s what came to me and I kind of knew that I wanted to make a basket…well because I just love crocheting baskets.

However I wanted to play around with the traditional buffalo plaid ‘squares’ design. I still wanted it to be recognisable as ‘plaid’ but I wanted the design to by more inspired by than directly copied. So I decided to go with repeating rectangles that I would create by colour changing as I worked.

© I Like Crochet Magazine – October 2019

The basket is worked holding two strands of Rico Design Creative Cotton Aran yarn together at a time which makes it a nice sturdy basket and is worked in continuous rounds. The only fiddly bit is working with so many different colours at a time but once you find your own rhythm it all comes together easily.

I think the Perfectly Plaid Basket would be perfect for storing washcloths on your bathroom counter, or yarn in by your crafting chair, or even pine-cones as decor.

SAVE PATTERN ON RAVELRY HERE

The next design I created for the magazine was an amigurumi inspired by a woodland creature. Meet Birch – this usually secretive woodland dweller who will come out of hiding for cuddle by the fireplace.

Worked in the traditional amigurumi style using Deramores Studio DK he stands about 29cm (11.4in) high when he’s all finished. He’s quite fond of his baby antlers and hopes to grow up to be a big strong buck one day.

This sweet little deer might be my favourite pattern I’ve made this year, and he seems like the perfect make for autumnal crafting.

SAVE PATTERN ON RAVELRY HERE

As well as my cabin inspired patterns the October issue features over 22 patterns and a range of interesting articles. SUBSCRIBE TODAY for a copy of the magazine straight to your desktop or iPad.

If you hook up the Perfectly Plaid Basket or Birch the Deer please share your photos with me on social media (facebooktwitter or instagram) – I love to see it! 

Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Bit of a roll with C2C…Cedar River Crochet Blanket

Howdy folks! How are you? And me? Well I’m on a bit of a roll with corner to corner (c2c) blankets actually and I forgot to tell you all about this other blanket I finished!

You may remember that I posted about the fun ZZ Block baby blanket I made (read about that here) which was completely non-traditional – well for my latest c2c project I’ve kept to a more traditional palette. 

KCACOUK-CedarRiver-02

So here’s the finished blanket I made – what do you think? I seriously love how fast c2c blankets work up and this one, although this blanket is made up from smaller motifs, still works up relatively quickly.

KCACOUK-CedarRiver-01

The pattern is the Cedar River blanket by Kat Goldin (of Gartur Stitch Farm) which she originally created as a crochet-along for Deramores in 2015. I missed this design somehow when it was the crochet-along but stumbled upon it when I was looking for C2C blankets ideas and I love the bold geometric shapes the motifs create when put together in a certain way using different colours.

Capture_7bf16266-83e5-4052-a60d-56b7dd4c2ddf
© deramores.com 2015

For my colour choice I turned to my favourite gender neutral colour combination grey, white and yellow (or grellow as it’s also known). As my friend didn’t know what she was having I thought those colours would be perfect for her little one – and also I know her pram is grey so I thought having a little grey in the colour scheme would work perfectly.

KCACOUK-CedarRiver-03

I may have mentioned that I’m trying to be good, where buying yarn is concerned, as I really do have so much, so I went stash diving again for this blanket and found some StyleCraft Aran yarn so I didn’t have to buy anymore. The pattern is actually written for making in double knit and a 4mm so I knew my blanket would come out a little bit bigger using the Aran (worsted) and a larger hook but that’s the yarn I had enough for so I just went with it! In case you were wondering what colours I used in my version they are;

  • White (1001)
  • Lemon (1020)
  • Grey (1099)

The blanket was obviously bigger in the end but still okay as a baby blanket or a lap blanket I thought.

KCACOUK-CedarRiver-05

It’s always a nice rest for me working on someone else’s pattern because I’m not having to do the brain work, someone has already done all that for me, and I can just hook away without having to stop and make notes and that sort of thing.

More often that not I have these sorts of projects as the ones I take out and about with me too as it’s more difficult to be designing on the go – do you have projects like that? This one was great for taking out and about with it being motifs and I remember a lot of it being completed on various train journeys! 

The clever design of this blanket produces such a pleasing effect that I just love and mum to be loved it too. If you like this blanket it’s available for free from Deramores – where you can also buy the yarn for the blanket too if you are inclined to do so.

KCACOUK-CedarRiver-04

I’m now looking for my next c2c blanket project – do you have any suggestions of ones you have enjoyed? I’d love to hear them.

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Yarn Shows 2019 | Wool@Jct13

Wool@J13 is the most local yarn show to me so I’ve started to mark it on the calendar each year. This year was the third time the show has run and subsequently my third visit to Lower Drayton farm where the show is held in May each year. 

For an avid crocheter a day out to a yarn festival is great for your sense of well-being and feelings of harmony with like minded souls. If you’ve not been to a yarn show before you probably need to prepare yourself for so much yarn (all of which you will probably want) and lots of people talking about yarn and knitting and crochet!

As yarn shows go Wool@Jct13 runs over two days (a Saturday and a Sunday) but it isn’t massive, and this year it was smaller than the year before. The stalls for the event are all held in a big structured tent with rows of stalls at each edge and along the centre which you get to walk around in a big sort of loop.

The last two previous years have been blessed with tremendous weather for the shows. This year it was a grey and cloudy so it was great to see lots of people still turn out for the show. Luckily the weather was still warm enough to sit outside and listen to the outdoor music by various artists.

Food-wise there are picnic tables available but most people seemed to just be buying lunch as there were quite a few food stalls at reasonable prices – we all enjoyed sampling pizza and tea and cake over the course of the afternoon.

My girls loved the bands and we were able to sit around and chill as they danced along to each track which was nice. That’s one thing I really love about Wool@Jct13, it’s extremely family friendly – you can just see my two girls (below) walking hand in hand through the stalls and even my husband was quite taken with the colours of the yarns available and by the artistry of some of the felt pictures we saw.

My girls also loved all the animals and the play-park that they have on site. In fact my husband played with them on the play-park whilst I got to have a first leisurely look at stalls then we all went round the stalls again together later. The kids also loved the fact that they got a tractor-trailer ride (there and back) to the show! My three year old was very impressed by the big wheels!

On offer at the show was mainly hand dyed yarn, things for spinners and needle felters, and products celebrating ‘wool’. Actually it is a very WOOLLY show, which based on a farm I think it was bound to be, there are sheep around and also fleece shearing demonstrations which are really interesting to watch. You certainly get a sense of where the yarn is coming from!

In the main tent there was just so much yarn prettiness to drool over that if I had all the money in the world I could have gone crazy – because I pretty much wanted everything I saw!

And I did buy yarn, I can’t lie, I felt it would be rude not to when at a yarn show! I just fell in love with the colourways of five skeins of yarn that had to come home with me. The first two are from Siobhan Crafts and the last three are from Bellica Yarns.

I just loved the speckles and flecks on the first two which are 75% SW Merino and 25% Nylon Double Knit. Together they make 200g and the colourways are OOAK – Prism and Mermaid Scales which I think will go beautifully together in an, as yet unknown, future project.

The gorgeous yellow toned yarns I had to have because I just envisioned them in a summer shawl. I’m going on holiday next week so I’m thinking of caking it up and taking it with me. The vivid block yellow is 100g and the smaller two lovely speckled variegated yarn are 50g each so I have 200g in total which should make a fair sized shawl. There were no colourway names on the labels but both are 4ply 75% SW Merino and 25% Nylon – perfect for a light and airy design I was thinking!

So all in all we enjoyed our visit to this years show and I’m sure you will find us back at Wool@J13 next year! If you are in The Midlands you might want to check it out. But actually if you love yarn then I hope you’ll go along and support any local yarn show, they’ll only be able to keep going if we help keep them running – if that’s not a good excuse for having to buy yarn I don’t know what is!

If you are looking for a yarn show near you I’ve found this comprehensive blog post, by the Travel Knitter, which seems to list all Yarn Shows for 2019 which is just fab (thanks to her for doing that!).

Are you visiting any yarn shows this year? I’d love to hear which ones you are going to and why you’ve chosen that particular one… feel free to drop a comment below.

Until next time – keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Yarn Shop Day 2019

Yesterday Yarn Shop Day returned for it’s sixth year in the UK with over 200 shops sharing lots of fibre fun, discounts, free patterns and (probably) cake!

I was back at Abakhan Fabrics in Hanley (where I spent Yarn Shop Day last year), this time for the full day, where there was both cake and yarn galore!

I had a little table at the back of the shop where, in the morning, I held a bit of a crochet surgery so that anyone who wanted to come and ask crochet questions, or who perhaps wanted to learn how to crochet, could come and ask / or have a go.

Yarn shops are usually such a great place to get crafty tips as owners usually have such a wealth of knowledge. They often also run demos or classes where you can learn a new hobby too – just like the ones I’m doing this year (read more about those here and here).

And despite the really awful weather we had (that I thought might put people off venturing out), it proved quite popular so I actually ended up having a table full of people nearly all day asking questions and learning different techniques.

It was so lovely to meet the people who had popped into the store or who had found out about the workshop because of my blog (it’s very encouraging to know that there ARE actual people reading this out there!).

The people I met were folks who had always wanted to try crochet or others that wanted help with a particular crochet problem – and I’m also secretly a bit gleeful that there were some knitters that were giving crochet a go too!

By the end of the day there were two completed granny squares by people that had never crocheted before which is just so awesome! And will hopefully show anyone thinking of giving crochet a go that it’s not so scary – you can do it!

Luckily I wasn’t presented with something that I didn’t know (that could have been embarrassing!). The main things that we covered were how to make granny squares, how to join motifs, how to weave in ends, how to keep seams straight when working in the round, how to keep tension when crocheting, how to do the magic ring, and increasing and decreasing in the round.

The latter being all helpful tips for anyone that wants to try crocheting amigurumi…which brings me neatly onto the mascots for this year ‘s Yarn Shop Day.

They were a cute amigurumi whale by Sarah-Jane Hicks called Bubbles and a family of knitted turtles by Sachiyo Ishii – both of which were patterns exclusively designed for Yarn Shop Day and were available free in stores.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of the crochet pattern before hand so I could make up my own whale to take along with me.

I used Ricorumi yarn and I think he came out looking really cute! My eight year old has now claimed him as hers.

As well as Yarn Shop Day being super fun for customers it’s also important for yarn shop retailers who say that the increased footfall and boosted sales of Yarn Shop Day really can help with keeping them going.

I never need an excuse to visit a yarn shop and I think it’s great to support local yarn shops all throughout the year. Yarn Shop Day is just a great reminder of just how much these shops have to offer – and that’s why I personally feel it’s important to support them in any way I can. I want to help keep these yarn shops on the high street so we don’t lose them altogether.

Did you get out for Yarn Shop Day? Or I’d love to hear what your Local Yarn Shop means to you? Let me know below!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Free Crochet Pattern | Little Kooky Bird Amigurumi

Have you heard about the wonderful international makers project ‘Every Bird sings it’s own Song’? It’s a wonderful crafters connection project to try and create the longest line of hand crafted birds at the Textiel Festival Weerribben (in The Netherlands) in June. 

The theme of the festival is Strange Birds, and the idea is to embrace core values of the crafting community of cooperation, diversity and connections.

I was contacted by Esmeralda, a facilitator of the project, to see if I could maybe share the information about the project which I said of course I would; as soon as I heard about this project I knew it was something I wanted to get involved in!

As well as sharing the information about the project here on the blog I decided to also have a go at designing my own little ‘strange bird’ – and the Little Kooky Bird was the result.

Small crocheted amigurumi bird

I used some Scheepjes Catona from my stash and some scraps of felt to create the little jellybean shaped hanging bird ornament.

Scroll down for the free Little Kooky Bird pattern but before then if you want to join in with the project too, maybe with a Little Kooky Bird you have made yourself, then please send them to: Creazy Ladies: de Hare 10, 8375 GC Oldemarkt, The Netherlands.

Birds don’t have to be crocheted, they can be from various materials: knitting, crocheting, quilting, embroidery, felting, drawn or dyed will all be accepted as long as it is made of textile, wool or yarn. The maximum size of any bird is 25 cm high and 15 cm wide.

The deadline for all birds to be in The Netherlands is 31 May 2019 and you can find out more, or follow the progress of the project of GGDW, on facebook, twitter and instagram with the hashtag of #evc2019

The following pattern is free here on the blog but it’s also available in my Ravelry store where there is a nominal fee for a downloadable 3 page PDF pattern free of advertisements if you’d prefer.

SAVE PATTERN ON RAVELRY HERE

Little Kooky Bird Amigurumi

skill3

Materials:

Yarn: 4ply / Fingering Yarn Scheepjes Catona used in photos;

  • 1 x 15g / 37.5m x Shocking Pink (Shade 114)
  • 1 x 10g / 25m x Ultra Violet (Shade 282)

Pattern will work in other hooks and yarns though finished size will be different.

Hook: 2.75mm hook (US size C)

You will also need:

  • Polyester toy stuffing
  • 2 x 9mm Black Safety Eyes
  • Small scraps of white and yellow felt
  • Yellow sewing thread and needle
  • Small piece of silver thread (optional)
  • Stitch Markers
  • Yarn Needle

Gauge: 4dc/sc = 2.5cm (1 inch)

Obtaining the correct gauge is not critical to this project but finished size may differ if your gauge is different to the one specified.

Finished Size: 7.5cm (2.95 inches) high

Abbreviations:

  • st(s) = stitch(es)        
  • sl st = slip stitch                            
  • ch(s) = chain
  • dc/sc = UK double crochet / US single  crochet
  • dc/sc2tog = UK double crochet 2 together / US double crochet 2 together
  • htr/hdc = UK half treble / US half double crochet
  • tr/dc = UK treble / US double crochet
  • […] = Repeat the sequence between the square brackets by the number indicated.
  • (.. sts) = The number in round brackets at the end of the instruction indicates the number of stitches after working the row.

Stitch Guidance:

  • Slip Stitch (sl st): Insert hook in st indicated, yarn over and draw through all loops.
  • UK Double Crochet/US Single Crochet (dc/sc): Insert hook in st indicated and draw up a loop (two loops on hook), yarn over, draw through both loops on hook.
  • UK Double Crochet 2 together / US Single Crochet 2 together (dc/sc2tog): Insert hook in st indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), Insert hook in next st, yarn over, pull through three loops on hook.
  • UK Half Treble Crochet / US Half Double Crochet (htr/hdc): Insert hook in st indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), Insert hook in next st, yarn over, pull through three loops on hook.

  • UK Treble / US Double Crochet (tr/dc): Yarn over, insert hook in indicated st and pull up a loop (three loops on hook), yarn over, pull through two loops, yarn over, pull through remaining two loops on hook.

Pattern Notes:

Magic ring: is also known as a Drawstring Ring or Magic Loop and is often used as a start for working amigurumi. If you are not familiar with this technique you could substitute with a ch2 and then work in the second ch from the hook.

Working in the round: Most of the sections of this pattern are worked in the amigurumi style without joining in continuous rounds. Place the stitch marker in the top of the first st to mark the start of each round.

Invisible double crochet decrease: Invisible decreasing is a method of removing stitches to shape your fabric without gaps. Insert hook in the FRONT LOOP ONLY of the first stitch indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), insert hook in the FRONT LOOP ONLY of the next st, yarn over, pull through three loops on hook; decrease made. 

Pattern:

Head / Body:

Rnd 1: With Shocking Pink make a magic ring, work 6dc into ring. (6 sts)

Rnd 2: [2dc/sc] to end. (12 sts)

Rnd 3: [1dc/sc, 2dc/sc] to end. (18 sts)

Rnd 4: [1dc/sc in the next two sts, 2dc/sc] to end. (24 sts)

Rnd 5 – 9: 1dc/sc in each st around

Rnd 10: 1dc/sc in 11 sts, 2dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 dc/sc in 11 sts (26 sts)

Rnd 11: 1dc/sc in 12 sts, 2dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 dc/sc in 12 sts (28 sts)

Rnd 12: 1dc/sc in 13 sts, 2dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 dc/sc in 13 sts (30 sts)

Rnd 13: 1dc/sc in 14 sts, 2dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 dc/sc in 14 sts (32 sts)

Rnd 14: 1dc/sc in each st around

Rnds 15: dc/sc2tog, 1dc/sc in 13 sts, 1dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 dc/sc in 13 sts, dc/sc2tog (30 sts)

Rnds 16—17: 1dc/sc in each st around

Rnd 18: [1dc/sc in the next three sts, dc/sc2tog] to end. (24 sts)

Rnd 19: 1dc/sc in each st around

Rnd 20: [1dc/sc in the next two sts, dc/sc2tog] to end. (18 sts)

Rnd 21: 1dc/sc in each st around

Cut two small flowers roughly 2.8cm (1.1in) high, cut a small hole in the centre of the flower and thread the safety eye stalk through the hole. Then add the safety eye between rnds 5 – 6 approximately 10 sts apart.

Stuff body.

Rnd 22: [1dc/sc, dc/sc2tog] to end. (12 sts)

Rnd 23: [dc/sc2tog] to end. (6 sts)

Fasten off with a sl st to the next st and using the yarn tail sew up the remaining six sts, weave in ends

Wings:

Make 2. Wings are not stuffed;

Rnd 1: With Ultra Violet 7ch, sl st in second ch from hook, 1dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1htr/hdc in the next 2sts, 8tr/dc in the last st, then working on the other side of your beginning ch; 1htr/hdc in the next 2sts, 1dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 sl st in the last st.

Fasten off but leave long yarn tail for attaching to body.

Breast:

Make 1.

Rnd 1: With Ultra Violet make a magic ring, work 6dc into ring. (6 sts)

Rnd 2: [2dc/sc] to end. (12 sts)

Rnd 3: [1dc/sc, 2dc/sc] to end. (18 sts)

Rnd 4: [1dc/sc in the next two sts, 2dc/sc] to end. (24 sts)

Fasten off but leave long yarn tail for attaching to body.

Tail Feather:

Make 1.

Rnd 1: With Ultra Violet make a magic ring, work 6dc into ring. (6 sts)

Fasten off but leave long yarn tail for attaching to body.

Making Up:

  • Cut a small diamond shape out of yellow felt approximately 2cm (0.78in) long.
  • Attach beak to the front of the head (in-between eyes) on rnd 6 with yellow sewing thread.
  • Attach the breast onto the front of the body over rnds 13 – 19.
  • Attach wings over rnds 13-18 on each side of the bird.
  • Attach the tail feather to the back of the body on rnd 16.
  • Add your silver thread (or use some Ultra Violet) in a loop to the back of the birds head on rnd 6 so your bird can be hung up.

And that’s it!

If you hook up my Little Kooky Bird I hope you’ll tag @kcaco.uk on Instagram or share your projects in my Facebook group as I love to see your finished work! 

Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Rico Design | Heartbreakers Booklet Review

Spring is here at last! It certainly feels that way here in the UK doesn’t it?!  There’s a lovely fresh smell to the air in the morning (which always makes me think of camping) and I’m loving that the days are getting warmer.

And with the Spring comes Easter, and Easter themed crochet!  I’ve recently been enjoying making some fun Easter decor projects from the ‘Heartbreakers’ booklet by Rico Designs

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I was going to make a sample of one of the designs in the booklet for when I did my first crochet demo at Abakhan Fabrics, but I enjoyed making them so much that I actually made a couple of the different designs. 

The Heartbreaker booklet is actually from a series of booklets by Rico Designs which feature projects made from Ricorumi DK (Sports weight) cotton yarn. Ricorumi are handy 25g / 58m balls available in a colour pallet of 60 colours.

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I’ve used Ricorumi before (in fact I’ve got a design coming soon made with it) and I find it lovely to work with and it gives amigurumi’s such great stitch definition. 

The Heartbreaker booklet features an adorable collection of designs in sweet pastel shades and includes patterns for a cute amigurumi bunny and lamb, a cherry blossom branch, floral wreath, an Easter garland, bunny egg warmers and a couple of different Easter egg designs.

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I made the bunny egg warmers first and I did a little test – you can pretty much make two of the bunny egg warmers (without facial features) with just one ball of ricorumi (though the ears on one of the bunnies might be a tad shorter than the other).

I thought that was really good though especially as Ricorumi usually retails around the the £1.10ish mark ($1.40ish) so it would cost next to nothing to make a couple of these as a little Easter gift for someone or to add to your Spring stall.

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Next I made one of the embroidered eggs which is done around a polystyrene egg to help keep it’s shape. I really enjoyed the embroidery part of the egg more than I thought I would actually and it’s kind of made me want to start embellishing more crochet things in that way.

I really enjoyed the little projects from the Rico design booklet and I think they are great value for money (usually about £3.60 / $4.69) which is about the price of a coffee and cookie – though it lasts for a lot longer!

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I’m actually going to have a go at one of the designs in the Lovely World of Ricorumi ‘Puppies’ booklet next to take along with me to one of future crochet demos at Abakhan Fabrics – I’ll let you know how I get on with him.

Have you tried Ricorumi yarn, or made something from one of the booklets? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them.

Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Free Crochet Pattern | Bluebird of Happiness Amigurumi

So a while back an idea popped into my brain to make a little bluebird amigurumi. I think I’d read somewhere that they had something to do with being happy, so I did a little Google research and discovered that yes, bluebirds are seen as a symbol of happiness in many cultures which dates back thousands of years. How cool is that!

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I don’t think you can ever have TOO much felicity in your life and I liked the idea of making a wee bit for myself and of course sharing some joyousness with you!

Oh I apologise in advance for all the synonyms for happiness I use in this post – the thesaurus was my friend ladies and gentlemen! 

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Hopefully this free pattern will bring YOU a bit of good cheer and maybe you can pass on a bit of jocularity and glee if you make a little bluebird for someone else (or just make two and double the happy!) 

My eldest daughter has said that the bluebirds name is ‘Blue’ which isn’t incredibly original, bless her, but it certainly is very fitting! I made him in Scheepjes Catona Cyan Blue (Shade 397) which was exactly the colour I’d envisioned him to be.

And here is Blue enjoying some lovely Spring sunshine – as was I when I was taking these photos. I so do love Spring with it’s promise of warmer days, lighter evenings and blossoming flowers don’t you? We are waiting in anticipation here for the annual cherry tree blossom flowering of the trees that line our street – it’s always a joy to see.

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Worked in the round in amigurumi style this little bluebird is a quick project to make up and you can easily whip a couple up in an evening.

The fiddly (or fun bit depending on how you look at it) is making some wire feet, the wire I used was floral wire doubled together which I just twisted with my hands until they looked right. Alternatively one of my testers created a bird without legs so it looked like it was sitting (would look perfect with a little nest of yarn) and another tester used pipe cleaners for the feet, which I thought was a really good idea, and which might be easier to manipulate.

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The following pattern is free here on the blog but it’s also available in my Ravelry store where there is a nominal fee for a downloadable 3 page PDF pattern free of advertisements if you’d prefer.

SAVE PATTERN ON RAVELRY HERE

Blue Bird of Happiness Amigurumi

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Materials:

Yarn: 4ply / Fingering Yarn Scheepjes Catona used in photos;

  • 1 x 25g / 62m x Cyan Blue (Shade 397)
  • 1 x 10g / 25m x Lemon (Shade 280)

Pattern will work in other hooks and yarns though finished size will be different.

Hook: 2.5mm hook (US size C/2)

You will also need:

  • Polyester toy stuffing
  • Florist or jewellery wire for feet
  • Black embroidery thread
  • Stitch Markers
  • Yarn Needle
  • PVC glue (optional)

Gauge: 5dc/sc = 2.5cm (1 inch)

Obtaining the correct gauge is not critical to this project but yarn amounts and finished size of projecy may differ if your gauge is different from mine.

Finished Size: 25cm (9.8 inches) from nose to tail

Abbreviations:

  • st(s) = stitch(es)        
  • sl st = slip stitch                            
  • ch(s) = chain
  • dc/sc = UK double crochet / US single  crochet
  • dc/sc2tog = UK double crochet 2 together / US double crochet 2 together
  • […] = Repeat the sequence between the square brackets by the number indicated.
  • (.. sts) = The number in round brackets at the end of the instruction indicates the number of stitches after working the row.

Stitch Guidance:

  • Slip Stitch (sl st): Insert hook in st indicated, yarn over and draw through all loops.
  • UK Double Crochet/US Single Crochet (dc/sc): Insert hook in st indicated and draw up a loop (two loops on hook), yarn over, draw through both loops on hook.
  • UK Double Crochet 2 together / US Single Crochet 2 together (dc/sc2tog):
  • Insert hook in st indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), Insert hook in next st, yarn over, pull through three loops on hook.

Pattern Notes:

Magic ring: is also known as a Drawstring Ring or Magic Loop and is often used as a start for working amigurumi. If you are not familiar with this technique you could substitute with a ch2 and then work in the second ch from the hook.

Working in the round: Most of the sections of this pattern are worked in the amigurumi style without joining in continuous rounds. Place the stitch marker in the top of the first st to mark the start of each round.

Invisible double crochet decrease: Invisible decreasing is a method of removing stitches to shape your fabric without gaps. Insert hook in the FRONT LOOP ONLY of the first stitch indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), insert hook in the FRONT LOOP ONLY of the next st, yarn over, pull through three loops on hook; decrease made. 

Pattern:

Head:

Rnd 1: With Cyan Blue make a magic ring, work 6dc into ring. (6 sts)

Rnd 2: [2dc] to end. (12 sts)

Rnd 3: [1dc, 2dc] to end. (18 sts)

Rnd 4: [1dc in the next two sts, 2dc] to end. (24 sts)

Rnd 5: [1dc in the next three sts, 2dc] to end. (30 sts)

Rnds 6 – 10: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 11: [1dc in the next three sts, dc2tog] to end. (24 sts)

Rnd 12: [1dc in the next two sts, dc2tog] to end. (18 sts)

Begin to stuff head; continuing to stuff as you go.

Rnd 13: [1dc, dc2tog] to end. (12 sts)

Rnd 14: [dc2tog] to end. (6 sts)

Fasten off with a sl st to the next st and using the yarn tail sew up the remaining six sts, weave in ends

Body:

Rnds 1—5: With Cyan Blue work as Head. (30sts)

Rnds 6 – 7: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 8: [1dc in the next three sts, dc2tog] to end. (24 sts)

Rnds 9 – 11: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 12: [1dc in the next two sts, dc2tog] to end. (18 sts)

Rnds 13 – 14: 1dc in each st around

Fasten off with a sl st to the next st, leave a long yarn tail for sewing head to the body. Stuff body.

Beak:

Beak is not stuffed;

Rnd 1: With Lemon make a magic ring, work 4dc into ring. (4 sts)

Rnd 2: 2dc in the first st, 1dc in the next 3sts (5 sts)

Rnd 3: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 4: 2dc in the first st, 1dc in the next 4sts (6sts)

Rnd 5: 1dc in each st around

Fasten off with a sl st to the next st, leave a long yarn tail for sewing beak to the head.

Wings:

Make 2. Wings are not stuffed;

Rnd 1: With Cyan Blue make a magic ring, work 5dc into ring. (5 sts)

Rnd 2: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 3: [2dc] to end. (10 sts)

Rnds 4-7: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 8: [1dc in the next three sts, dc2tog] to end. (8 sts)

Tail Feathers:

Make 3. Tail feathers are not stuffed;

Rnd 1: With Cyan Blue make a magic ring, work 6dc into ring. (6 sts)

Rnd 2: [1dc in the next two sts, 2dc] to end. (8 sts)

Rnds 3-8: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 9: [1dc in the next three sts, dc2tog] to end. (6 sts)

Making Up:

  • Attach the head to the body
  • Using black embroidery thread add an eye on either side of the head over rnds 5-7 approx 8 sts apart
  • Attach beak to the front of the head (in-between eyes) over rnds 6-8
  • Attach wings over rnds 10-11 on each side of the bird.
  • Attach the three tail feathers to the back of the body; two on rnd 6 and one above on rnd 7
  • Using the floral / jewellery wire fashion push the length through the bottom of the body of your bird (testing as you go to check the balance.
  • Fashion some bird feet at the end of each end of wire making sure your bird can stand without toppling over.
  • Wrap some lengths of Cyan yarn around the top of the leg and secure with a few stitches with your yarn needle to the body of your bird. You may wish to coat the yarn in a little PVC glue to stop it from slipping (optional).

And that’s it!

If you hook up my Blue Bird of Happiness I hope you’ll tag @kcaco.uk on Instagram or share your projects in my Facebook group as I love to see your finished work! 

Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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So I finished a thing…ZZ Block Crochet Blanket

Hey folks! I’m celebrating today as I’ve finished a thing!!! I’ve completed a whole baby blanket for one of my lovely friends who is expecting a second baby boy later this month.

I do like to make my friends a baby blanket if I can, and I adore seeing their little ones wrapped up in something I’ve made them – it’s a guaranteed way to make me smile. But then I love to see children either wrapped in or dressed in handmade things full stop don’t you? 

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So here’s the finished blanket I made – what do you think? I love how this blanket turned out, my husband calls it the superhero blanket because it’s got that cool zig zag flash design running through it!

The pattern is the ZZ Block blanket by fellow blogger Rosina (aka Zeens and Roger) and when she posted this design on Instagram back in October last year it was a serendipitous moment – I knew it was going to be the perfect blanket to make for my colour loving friend!

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My friend comes from Zimbabwe and she’s an avid lover of all bright colours and the bold graphic c2c design by Rosina just seemed to fit what she’d like perfectly.

I don’t know if you’ve seen Rosina’s original blanket but it features the zig zag in yellow, turquoise, blue, magenta and pink on a grey background. 

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© Zeens and Roger 2018

I really loved the colours she used and the grey contrast but I personally really wanted to see what that zig zag looked like in a rainbow! Plus I’d found the perfect set of bright little baby tops that I knew would fit perfectly with my rainbow theme – especially if I could colour match!

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As I’m trying to be good, where buying yarn is concerned, I went stash diving and found some of the Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran yarn I had left over from making my zig zag zing cushion (free pattern from LoveCrochet available here) and I had enough Paintbox yarn to complete the rainbow colours. I did have to buy a bit more grey – but I figured as I was using up some of my stash then it was still good to do that! The Paintbox  colours I finally ended up using (in case you want to know were):

  • Granite Grey (206)
  • Rose Red (213)
  • Mandarin Orange (217)
  • Buttercup Yellow (222)
  • Neon Green (210)
  • Marine Blue (233)

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In the pattern notes it suggests that if using a 4.5mm hook and aran (worsted) weight yarn (which I planned to) that the blanket would be 80 x 110cm / 32 x 43 inches. This was going to be a bit big for the amount of yarn I had so I fiddled a bit with the initial pattern a bit to reduce it slightly. It’s still the pattern in a nutshell, just smaller as I was careful to keep the integrity of the design feature that I loved. I didn’t actually measure the finished blanket (I forgot!) before I gifted it but it ended up what I would say was just the right size for a baby blanket / lap blanket.

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I was so pleased with the end result of this blanket and mum to be loved it too – especially because of all the bright colours which I knew she would!

If you like this blanket the chart (it’s not a written pattern) is available for purchase from the Zeens and Roger Ravelry store where there’s also a link to a video with extra C2C help if you need it.

Sometimes it’s nice to go non-traditional for a baby blanket isn’t it as the end results can be really fun! Do you like to go non traditional or would you usually make something for a baby in more traditional pastels perhaps? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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