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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Simply Crochet Magazine | Jewellery Set

I recently had the pleasure of designing a fun jewellery set for Issue 84 of Simply Crochet magazine (which is on sale now). On page 69 you can find the lovely bright set which includes a long necklace, a bracelet and some stud earings.

© Simply Crochet Magazine Issue 84

I have to say I’m quite in love with how they’ve turned out – crochet jewellery just has such a lovely tactile quality to it that I think you can’t fail to love.

These pieces are easy to make even if you have never crocheted jewellery before and especially if you crochet amigurumi as it uses the same technique. The only difference is that it’s working on a much smaller scale, which can take a little getting used to, and there is a bit of a knack to crocheting around beads – but working on this design you do get a lot of practice!

I used Scheepjes Maxi Sugar rush which is 2ply yarn and from a 1mm to 1.25mm hook and different sized wooden beads from 15 to 30mm. It’s the first time I’ve used Maxi Sugar rush but I think it would be great for other projects like adding a crocheted border to a plain outfit. It’s available in 87 shades so there is tons of choice and it’s a 50g ball so you can make LOADs of beads with that much. I wanted colours that were just really bright and kind of clashed when put together but that also worked too (if that makes sense).

Working with such tiny hooks certainly makes a change from what I normal use but actually I got a bit addicted to making the beads! There is something really soothing in the repetitiveness of it all.

Not to help with any yarn enabling (who am I kidding!) but I will just say that Deramores are doing a 10% discount on orders over £20 (with code: DERAS10) until 31 May 2019 if you did want the yarn I used to make the set.

The nice thing about making your own jewellery is that it can be fully customisable and can give an outfit a real blast of colour. I think make great gifts for friends too. Funnily enough my mum saw the set and said she wanted one too so I’m sure I’ll be making more in the future. As she wears a lot of red I might try the set in a block colour too as I think that would also look fab.

SAVE JEWELLERY SET ON RAVELRY HERE

There are actually loads of great patterns in Issue 84. I particularly love the C2C giraffe blanket by Hannah Cross (I can see me making that at some point!) and the cute and fluffy Orangutan by Ilaria Caliri. I’ve also added the amazing Summer Wrap by Ellen Deckers (aka Polevie) to my to do list (sooner rather than later hopefully) because it’s just so awesome!

© Simply Crochet Issue 84

If you hook the jewellery set 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, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Crochet Now Magazine | Play and Learn Set

I was so busy telling you about Spot the Dog the other day that I didn’t tell you about the other pattern I’ve got in the latest issue of Crochet Now magazine. Now you can help little one’s master shapes and colours with my new fun crochet Play and Learn Set.

© Crochet Now Issue 44

The play and learn set was designed to teach little ones about colours and shapes in a fun soft play set complete with a drawstring storage bag. Not only does it give them the chance to identify and compare colours and shapes, it’s something that they can touch and feel too – which I think is all part of the creative learning process isn’t it.

I was thinking about the Spot the Dog books, which are very much about things like determining shapes and colours, when I was designing this set and also about my two year old. ‘What’s this shape’ and ‘what’s this colour’ are totally the things that we are talking about at the moment and so this was very much inspired by her.

© Crochet Now Issue 44

In the set are a squishy square, circle, oval, rectangle, triangle and star all in bold and bright primary colours. And there is a photo tutorial included to explain how to do surface crochet (which is how I did the word ‘Shapes’ on the front of the bag) if you’ve not tried that before.

I used Rico Design Ricorumi which is 100% DK cotton for both the shapes and the bag as I wanted something that was going to be durable and that could stand up to lots of touching from little hands!

Little Miss loved the shapes and particularly enjoyed getting each shape out and then putting them away again…and then getting them out…and then putting them away again…

This is just a fab little diy busy bag that will keep them engaged and that you can play along with too. I also think this could be a fun set for a nursery or playgroup too as well as for any little ones you know.

As I said at the start, this Play and Learn set pattern is available now in Issue 41 of Crochet Now magazine which is available in all major supermarkets and newsagents across the UK.

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

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Crochet Now Magazine | Spot the Dog Crochet Exclusive

My heart is brimming over at the moment with childhood nostalgia! Look it’s crocheted Spot the Dog!! I’ve been so excited about this design and I’m so happy to finally share it with you!

Crochet Spot the Dog Amigurumi in Issue 41 of Crochet Now by Heather C Gibbs
© Crochet Now | The Eric and Gillian Hill Family Trust / Salspot Ltd. 2018

I cannot image my childhood without the classic Spot the Dog books, I remember flipping the flaps of Where’s Spot? when I was young, then I reread the various board books to my eldest when she was small, and more recently I’m enjoying rediscovering them with my two year old. 

I was therefore absolutely delighted when Crochet Now magazine asked me if I’d like to have a go at designing the crochet version of Spot.

If you aren’t familiar with Spot, he is a lovable yellow puppy character created by Eric Hill who is a firm favourite with toddlers and pre-schoolers. The children’s books have sold more than 60 million copies and 2020 will be celebration year for Spot’s 40th birthday.

Crochet Spot the Dog Amigurumi next to some classic Spot the Dog books

Of course I said YES and got to planning. It wasn’t until after I’d said yes that I kind of realised what a task I’d taken on! Spot is such a well loved character that I really had to get him just right! It was very important therefore that what ever I did was a faithful representation of Spot the dog and was in keeping with his lovable playfulness.

This was also a very different experience for me as it wasn’t going to be my design per-say as it’s a character that already exists and I was very grateful for the supportive guidance from Crochet Now magazine and Penguin books who publish the Spot the Dog books

Crochet Spot the Dog Amigurumi designing in progress

My Spot went through lots of different phases of sketches before I got my crochet hooks out and then I tried out different shaping techniques to get the look of the 2-D character into a 3-D form. Picking the perfect ‘Spot’ yellow and brown was also very crucial to the process!

The finished Spot is about 15.5cm tall and I designed him with embroidered features which makes him perfect for little ones under 36 months – for older children or adults you could use safety eyes instead.

Crochet Spot the Dog Amigurumi in a cute book scene in Issue 41 of Crochet Now by Heather C Gibbs
© Crochet Now | The Eric and Gillian Hill Family Trust / Salspot Ltd. 2018

I love how he turned out in the end, and I love how the magazine have styled him so he looks JUST like he’s stepped out of one of his own books!

Do you love Spot? You can get the exclusive pattern and kit to make him now in Crochet Now magazine Issue 41! Just so you know, due to the branding guidelines, this pattern will never be released by me independently, you will only be able to get him through the magazine – so if you want him you need to go get him quick!

Spot the Dog amigurumi with his paw on a Spot the Dog book.

Crochet Now is available in all major supermarkets and newsagents across the UK and there is a subscription available to overseas customers which you can find out more about on their website.

I’ve also got another design out in this months issue that’s kind of related to Spot but I’ll talk about that a bit more soon!

Until next time folks! Happy hooking, 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

KCACOUK-Blog-Crochet-Easter_01

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.

KCACOUK-Blog-Crochet-Easter_02.jpg

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.

KCACOUK-Blog-Crochet-Easter_04

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.

KCACOUK-Blog-Crochet-Easter_03

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!

KCACOUK-Blog-Crochet-Easter_05

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!

KCACOUK-Crochet-Bluebird_02.jpg

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! 

KCACOUK-Crochet-Bluebird_03.jpg

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.

KCACOUK-Crochet-Bluebird_01

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.

KCACOUK-Crochet-Bluebird_04.jpg

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

skill3

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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Crochet Workshops and Yarn Shop Day 2019!

Yarn Shop Day is coming soon folks! This year’s event will take place in participating yarn shops across the UK on Saturday 27th April 2019.

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Now in its sixth year, Yarn Shop Day is a successful, industry supported annual event that celebrates bricks-and-mortar yarn shops and is part of the wider ‘Love Your Yarn Shop’ campaign.

I think it’s such an important thing to try and be the advocate for any small shop owner AND to support local where you can. It’s something that I do in my business and my personal life because I care about my local community and I want my local economy to have a chance to thrive. All these little shops are also usually the place where you find little gems and the expertise of local makers with their own experiences, skills and creativity – that’s something we don’t want to lose do we!

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Each participating store usually hosts their own special event, with all sorts of fun activities taking place. I’m very excited to say that I’ve been invited back to Abakhan Fabrics in Hanley, which is one of my local yarn shops, to join in with all the fun and frolics for this years Yarn Shop Day. 

They have another great day lined up with:

  • 15% off yarn, books, patterns and accessories all day
  • free demos (such as mine!)
  • balloon prizes
  • free cake!
  • free patterns and more!

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It was a great day last year (you can read about it here) and this year I’m going to be around from 10am-4pm. In the morning (10am – 12.30pm) I’m running a crochet surgery where I’ll try and help you with any crochet conundrums you might be having, and also show any beginners that want to learn a few tips on how to crochet. Then in the afternoon (1pm-4pm) we are going to be working on this years Yarn Shop Day mascot and I’ll be sharing some tips on creating amigurumi. The crochet pattern for this years Yarn Shop Day is such a fun one (I’ve seen a sneak peep) but I can’t tell you about it yet as I don’t want to spoil the surprise for the day.

So I hope you’ll mark the 27 April on your calendars with that date to join us at Abakhan in Hanley, if you can, or keep an eye out on the Yarn Shop day page from a digital guide of shops taking part – making it super easy to find your nearest participating shops!

I’m also extremely thrilled to say that I’m going to be running a series of FREE crochet demonstrations in store too this year! 

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The first one is on 6 April and it’s an amigurumi for beginners session from 12pm-3pm where we are going to be working on some fun bunny egg cosies that use amigurumi techniques like working in a spiral, using stitch markers, increasing and decreasing and sewing things together.

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The other FREE crochet demonstrations that I’m facilitating in 2019 at Abakhan Fabrics are listed below:

Learn to Crochet Mandalas – Saturday 15th June: 12pm to 3pm

In this fun and relaxed demonstration we will be looking at the mindfulness meditation that can be achieved when crocheting a mandala. A mandala is a circle made up of different stitches and colours which you can use as a decorative piece, a coaster, or a potholder. We’ll be looking at how different stitches can make a variety of patterns within each round and that there are endless possibilities when you combine any number of crochet stitches and colours to make something truly spiritual and unique!

Ricorumi Animal Amigurumi – Saturday 13th July: 12pm to 3pm

Prepare to get hooked on amigurumi with Rico Ricorumi yarn! Designed specially for creating cute crocheted or knitted amigurumi characters, we are going to be looking at some cute Ricorumi Friends. We’ll be examining amigurumi techniques like working in a spiral, using stitch markers and increasing and decreasing. By the end of the session you will know how to make one of the Ricorumi Friends like the fox, hedgehog, squirrel or duck.

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Ricorumi Baubles – Saturday 26th October: 12pm to 3pm

Get ready for Christmas and make your Christmas tree look gorgeous by crocheting yourself a set of Christmas baubles. We are going to be taking a closer look at amigurumi techniques like working in a spiral, using stitch markers and increasing and decreasing. By the end of the session you will know how to make a bauble and have started a project, to complete at home, using your new skills. 

If you love a crafty workshop then Abakhan always have several classes and workshops available in their stores (in Stoke-on-Trent, Chester, Manchester, Liverpool, Altrincham and Shrewsbury) including dress making, sewing machinery, creative sewing, knitting and crochet and patchwork and quilting.

I hope to see some of you at a workshop soon!

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

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My visit to Spring The Knitting & Stitching Show 2019

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Howdy folks, how was your weekend? Mine was a greatly creative one! Mum and I went down to The Knitting and Stitching Show in Olympia London for a weekend away and we had such fun! 

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I’m feel that I should start with a photo of one of the showstopping photos I took of The Enchanted Wood by the Norfolk Knitters just to entice you in…

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Though you might just want to grab a cuppa before you start to read the rest of today’s post, as it’s a bit of a long one with lots of photos… right…you all sorted..then I shall begin. 

Have you ever visited a craft show? For a craft lover it’s like a little slice of heaven! The Olympia London may not be as grand a venue as The Alexandra Palace we visited a couple of years ago (you read about that here) but it was still a jam packed with lots of stitching themed loveliness! 

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After a uneventful journey from Staffordshire (which is always the best kind of journey) we got to the show about midday on the Saturday which was the third day of the show. All the knitting and knitting show events run for a whopping four or five days so there’s usually plenty of time to attend one (or more) of the show dates.  

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As we were going to be there for two days we decided to be fairly systematic in our approach – the venue was kind of split into two sections, so we thought we’d spend the first day in one half and the second in the next. This worked out pretty well and we got time to see everything we wanted to and have a bit of time to chat to folks – which is the bit I love!

Guess what! We got to chat with the very lovely Katie Jones of Katie Jones Knit

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If you follow Katie, as I do, on Instagram (KatieJonesKnit) you will know that she’s a lover of vibrant bright designs and bold colour combinations. So as you can imagine her stand was just a fantastic pop of colour…and isn’t her t-shirt just the most awesome thing!

We got to see a close up of her amazing Blooming Bomber (which is a FREE download from Katie’s website)…

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and the stunning Casa Kahlo Blanket which I just adore (this is ALSO a FREE download from Katie’s website). 

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She was such a delight to talk to, she’s done so much and worked with so many different people, and was telling us a bit about her history in the fashion industry and how she’s now concentrating on her Make-It-Yourself collections. 

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We then thought it best to stop monopolising Katie’s time and go and see some of the other things on offer.

Around the corner from Katie’s stand was the Zandra Rhodes exhibit, which was a showcase of garments celebrating iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes’ 50th anniversary.

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Zandra Rhodes is well known for her bold iconic prints and this collection was no exception, really interesting to see these statement pieces up close. So much inspiration!

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The next stand I was excited to go and see was the fabulous exhibition from the Italian textile artist and designer Luisa De Santi with her Magical Crochet Spells.

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Up close it is just the most stunning work! She was explaining to us that everything she crocheted for Crochet Magic Spells was with sort of embroidery cotton and a 2.5mm (US size C/2) hook! Some of her pieces are really quite big so I can’t even imagine the length of time it took to create them.

Crochet Magic Spells (of which you can buy the book of here from Luisa’s website) is just such a wonderful fusion of crochet and embroidery! She was so kind in taking some time to tell us more about her pieces – she’s such a lovely lady.

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Much of her work, she says, is just created in an organic way, she may sketch a rough idea but she just lets her pieces develop and grow into the fantabulous pieces of art that they are. Her work is just so intricate and seeing it all up close it just amazing as you can really see and appreciate all the detail, it really was a magical collection.

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Around the corner from Luisa was some of  Catherine Kaufman’s sculptures. Catherine is a sculptor but not in a traditional sense as her medium is wool. She spins it and needle felts it into large scale sculptures that are just unbelievable!

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We did some more browsing of stalls and then found ourselves at Sue Strafford’s stand. I’ve seen Sue’s name a lot in Let’s Get Crafting Knitting and Crochet magazine so it was really lovely to put a name to a face. And actually my yarn purchase from the show came from her stand!

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I completely fell in love with the yarn colourway (by Skein Queen) that she’d used on her Voltage Shawl – so I bought the kit for the yarn (Sue didn’t mind)! The knitting pattern actually hasn’t gone to waste as it went to knitter mum who’s going to have a go at making it (though not with the yarn because that’s all mine!). Just take a look at these beauties!

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Meet urban graffiti, charcoal and neon kiwi! Every time I look at them it makes me ridiculously happy! Aren’t they just gorgeous! Sadly I don’t have the time to play with them at the moment, as I’m working on commissions, but I can’t wait till I do! I’m thinking some sort of shawl but the design hasn’t come to me yet!

After all that it was pretty much the end of day one! We’d walked our legs off and needed a bit of a rest! For the start of Day 2 we had already decided we were going to do a workshop.

I always like to take the opportunity at craft shows to try a craft that’s completely different to my own. I’ve found it’s really enjoyable to attempt something I probably wouldn’t otherwise and so that’s how we found ourselves at the RowanDean Embroidery stand.

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The workshop was to play around with some techniques that the lovely Katrina from RowanDean has developed in her book Hand Stitched Landscapes and Wild Flowers (available here). And what fun it was! Mum and I spent such an enjoyable couple of hours creating our little wild flower scenes – who knew that french knots could be so addictive!

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Both mum and I bought a little hanging hoop in which we can display our finished pieces and once I’ve just added a few more french knots (they really are ever so addictive) I’m going to hang mine above my desk at home.

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And now if you were pulled into this post by the Enchanted Wood image at the start then you’ll be delighted to know that, that was our next stop! And can I just say WOW! It was just unbelievable! Fairies, elves, unicorns, gnomes to name a few in a stunning magical knitted and crochet setting.

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Everywhere you looked there was something new to see…

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A veritable feast for the eyes!

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Such a wonderful collection of creativity – and I really also now want to make a crochet tree!

Next it was my complete and absolute delight to meet the one and only Erika Knight! Erika, as you probably well know, is is a highly respected knitwear and crochet designer, who has published more than 20 booked on knitting and crochet. Her designs are always classic yet modern (if that makes sense) and are what I would class as wardrobe staples that you’d get a lot of wear out of. I’ve got to admit I was a bit intimidated to meet her but she’s so lovely!

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We were chatting for ages about various things including my goal (to some day) crochet myself a wearable garment, my mum’s crocheted wedding dress and Erika’s love of supporting British manufacturing and wool.

As well as designing Erika also has her own yarn label and she asked me if I’d like to try some yarn that she’s designed especially for crocheters. I squeaked my surprised thank you at her lovely generosity and she allowed me to pick a 50g hank of her Studio Linen to try. I picked the colour Velvet which is a rich, dark heather / auberginy sort of purple.

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I’m thinking maybe some lacy summer mitts or maybe a skinny scarf when I get a moment to play!

There’s was so much more than this that we saw over the weekend and so many wonderful other people we met but I think that this blog post is getting quite long enough!

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Hopefully you get the general idea about the show and maybe fancy attending one yourself.  The Knitting and Stitching Show runs in several venues across the UK with two dates in London each year, the next one for London is in October – you can sign up for the latest news about the shows by subscribing to the newsletter (link on the bottom of the website).

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I had my step counter on whilst walking round the event and over the two days we walked the equivalent of 9.6 miles (15.6km) so it was great exercise whilst enjoying ourselves! Aside from the yarn and the frame for my embroidery I bought myself a few bits and bobs including some new scissors, some copies of magazines I hadn’t got, a fun £20 note themed hook case, some material that I wanted and some more safety eyes – I didn’t go too crazy (for once).

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Like all the craft events I’ve attended the show is not only about the pretty things I have the opportunity to buy it’s about the people I got to meet. If you get the chance to go to a future Knitting and Stitching Show I can thoroughly recommend it.

Before I finish off this post I’m just going to say a quick thank you to the organisers of the show for my complimentary tickets and goodie bag and for also giving me a press badge – I seriously will never lose the glee of that! 

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

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