Exciting news! Dear Ewe my little fledgling business has turned ONE!! And we are doing a big ole sale to celebrate it! It’s often said that more than half of new businesses fail during the first year but we’ve made it and that’s another reason to celebrate too I think!
It’s super scary trying something new – fear, uncertainty and self-doubt all the way! And that step into the unknown was a BIG step, especially for me, but I’m proud of the fact that I took a step out of my comfort zone to try something new. And thankfully you all seem to love our mugs, bags, prints, photo prop cards, greetings cards, patterns and kits – for which we are so very thankful and grateful!
So we wanted to say a big thank you for all the support that everyone out there has given Dear Ewe in it’s first year! Which meant we had to line up some treats!
There’s a 30% discount running on all items sitewide – so if you’re thinking of presents for a crafty friend or as a treat for yourself now is the time to grab them – but get them whilst you can, offer ends 21 July 2019.
I’m dead excited about my next designer interview because I had the pleasure of actually meeting her recently at The Crochet Sanctuary – and if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my fan girl moment in my stories. It’s the lovely Rosina aka Zeens and Roger !!!
I’ve been following Rosina since I was told about her vlogcasts on Youtube. Her down to earth, say it like it is, podcast episodes are amongst my favourite podcasts to listen to and watch.
You will have also no doubt, if you are a crochet fan, have seen her awesome Instagram feed and come across some of her lovely designs in magazines like Inside Crochet. She has also, more recently, branched out (pun intended) into hook whittling in her new collaboration Kirk and Roger creating some beautiful handmade hooks.
so much going on I wanted to find out a bit more about Rosina, how she does it
all, her inspiration and her designing process. Here’s what we chatted about…
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I grew up in Southampton but I’ve spent half my life in Devon. I moved to Exeter in the late 90’s to study Art History at uni and never left. For the last ten years I’ve lived in an old town just outside of Exeter. It’s sandwiched between the countryside and the coast. I love it! I’ve worked at a cinema (I still love the smell of popcorn), in social housing (I was rubbish at it) and in HR (interesting stuff). I still dream about working at the cinema even though it was nearly twenty years ago.
How did you discover crochet?
Let’s not count the failed attempts as a child. Instead, I think I can really only say that it was a year after I had my first baby, so nearly 9 years ago. It’s probably a familiar story amongst crafters. Something about starting a family kick started the creativity again (after years of not doing anything crafty). My baby boy received handmade blankets from my family and I wanted in on the action! I started to crochet because I wanted my children to have things I’d made for them. I bought a beginners book and found a YouTube video that I liked and began to make a very long and very uneven chain.
How did you become a crochet designer?
I don’t remember a time that didn’t have me going “off pattern”. However, the first thing I properly designed was a little granny owl decoration. It was the first time I’d written out a pattern anyway. That was around four/five years ago. I remember fretting that I’d never get another idea again. But the wondrous thing about being a crochet addict is that you always want more! The more you do it, the more ideas you get.
In the autumn of 2016 I sent out a few emails to magazines offering my ideas. I was thrilled that one of my ideas was accepted by Inside Crochet (my favourite crochet mag). It was such a buzz and a huge confidence booster!
Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?
I honestly don’t have a clue half the time. Colour is a biggy as I expect it is for everyone. I’m inspired by what my peers/friends are doing too, I think we’re all influenced by the same trends and it’s fascinating to see how we all interpret them differently. My favourite ideas are often the ones that pop in my head from nowhere. But it might be a holiday, pretty wrapping paper or a bonkers conversation and all of a sudden you’re presented with an image of a thing that you have to make and you have to make it NOW!
What does your design process look like?Do you sketch things out first, or do you just like to grab a hook and go?
It’s haphazard! I don’t have a particular routine but I do like to make sketches. The starting point might be the pretty wrapping paper but it might also be a crochet stitch I’ve never seen before. If I fall in love with it I have to use it in something. Or I might lust after some special yarn I’ve seen, which has to be turned into a shawl or blanket.
Do you have a favourite creation that you’ve designed?
I often end up hating the designs I’ve come up with and can’t wait to see the back of them! (I probably spend way too much time with the frog/rework process to have any love left). It’s not always true though, I do have pieces I’m very proud of. My C2C projects make me happy. All the yarn tangling of Havana Nights was worth it in the end! At the moment my favourites are two shawls, Release the Hounds and Hinterland, mostly for their simplicity. Sometimes simple is best!
How and why did you start making your own hooks?
I’d seen other crocheters explore the idea and fancied having a hook for myself. I asked my friend, Paul to make one for me as his hobby is woodwork. He showed me how to make them and also suggested selling them. It’s quite addictive but I break a lot of sticks trying to make the perfect hook (and I get blisters!). I really should leave the hook making to him and I’ll stick to crochet! Kirk & Roger is a small sideline for us both, it’s fun and no pressure. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed working with someone else. We’re a good team!
What made you decide to start your own podcast?
The number one reason was because my friends in real life reeaalllly weren’t interested in hearing me blather on about crochet all the time. I get way too excited about yarn, patterns, design work etc and you can see eyes begin to glaze over. I thought it’d be a nice outlet for me to find like-minded people to engage with. For me it’s easier than blogging; I just sit down and hit record. I’m more of a talker than a writer.
How do you fit everything in that you want to? Are you strict with yourself and your time or is it a struggle to juggle?
I don’t fit everything in. Not by a long shot. I’m a world class procrastinator and am not strict on myself at all. I reckon I could double my output if I only learned how to be more disciplined. It can be very tricky to stay motivated when you work from home. I force myself to sit at the computer and write those patterns! It’s much easier when working to a deadline for a magazine, there’s an end goal… But I’ll still leave it to the last minute.
What advice would you have for any budding crochet designer, small business owner or podcaster who might like to follow in your footsteps?
Just do it. Start today. If you want to do it, just give it a go! I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I can confirm that there is never a right time. None of what I do ever looks as good as the next person’s, there is always someone out there who does it way better. But I love it, so I do it anyway. I’ve definitely improved since I hit publish on that first episode, but I am always working towards getting better.
Tomorrow you step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning £100 million. What would you do?
Buy a house big enough to have a craft room. Pay someone to write up my patterns and pay another person to sew in ends. I’d also like to have a yarn and craft shop, supporting local makers and creatives. Oh, and it would be amazing to go to all the yarn shops, all over the world. I want to see what’s out there.
I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Rosina again for taking time to answer these questions. I’ve really enjoyed getting a better understanding of what’s involved with in her designing process and hope you have too!
Are you ready to head to the beach with the second project of the Make it Today: Crochet Club magazine 3-part crochet-along? For the latest issue of the magazine I’ve designed a loveable and vibrant trio of sea-creatures including a sweet jellyfish and a couple of types of crab.
Following on from the fun crocheted beach hut we made for Part 1 of the crochet along may I introduce to you my fun take on a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, an Edible Crab and a Hermit Crab – all species that you’d find along our UK shoreline.
I’m completely fascinated with sea creatures, well any animals really, and love nothing more than winding down by watching a natural history documentary (usually featuring David Attenborough) on TV with a bit of crochet at the end of the day.
The sea is such an interesting and varied place and the natural world is just a constant source of inspiration. I had fun making these projects, and I think they would work as a fun keyring for your keys if you were to add a ring and clip to the top of them.
Issue 43 of Crochet Now magazine is out now and I’ve got a brand new pattern inside. This month’s issue is themed around day tripping, staycations in the country or trips to the seaside – anywhere where you can take your crochet with you. So I came up with a fun little portable project that you can wear when you get there!
Allow me to introduce the Top of the Knot’s Headband – the perfect way to stay ahead of the trend! A headband is a great understated accessory that can top off any outfit – and as a bonus also keeps the wind from blowing your hair in your face.
It was nice to make something a little different, as I’ve been making a lot of amigurumi’s lately, and this intermediate design worked back and forth in rows was a nice change from working in the round!
I used Scheepjes Linen Soft to make the headband which is a gorgeous blend of cotton, linen and acrylic which makes it a great choice for crocheting in the summer. It’s a lovely light yarn too which means you won’t get hot wearing it in the sunshine and it works up quick too.
There are loads of different colours (33 in total) of Scheepjes Linen Soft so you can totally make an accessory to match your outfit! Teamed up with a large pair of sunglasses you’ll look fabulous darling! Nobody should look plain whilst tanning on the beach! Though I love how the magazine have styled it too with the denim jacket and simple tee-shirt.
There are some gorgeous designs in this month’s issue which you can read more about on the Crochet Now blog. I particularly love the Cabana Cardigan by Tony Lipsey and the Sunrise Beach Picnic Blanket by Zoe Potrac – and who could resist Shaun the Sheep and the Naughty Pigs by Alison Holloway!
To find your nearest stockist, visit www.seymour.co.uk – or you can order online from www.moremags.com/crocheting (US and Australia readers can also order online at MoreMags – copies will be in shops in the US and Australia around 6 weeks after UK release).
If you hook up my Top of the Knots Headband I hope you’ll share your photos with me on social media (facebook, twitter or instagram) or as a project on Ravelry – I love to see what you make!
Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
Part 1 of the beachy-themed project is out now in Issue 44 and it’s just perfect for this time of year! It’s a little amigurumi beach hut!
The theme of the whole crochet-along is ‘beach’ and with each magazine release (Issues 44 to 46) we will be making several amigurumi patterns together that make a fun summer scene!
The patterns from the crochet-along would make a great summer play set for the kids or I also think, this particular project, would make a great bit of decor for an actual beach hut. Or if you were to add some beans to the bottom you could make it into a doorstop for a nautical themed room.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
I cannot image my childhood without the classic Spot the Dogbooks, 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.
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 futurecrochet 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
Crafty classes I think are a wonderful resource for both beginners and experienced crafters aren’t they. The weekend before last I was in the driving seat though, so to speak, teaching a lovely class for beginners how to crochet bookmarks at the Artisan Boutique in Stone, Staffordshire.
I so enjoy teaching these classes, yes there are books and videos out there, which is definitely an invaluable resource, but I would say that it’s easier to learn when you have someone to show you how things are done. I know if I’m personally looking to learn a new craft that’s the way I learn best.
It was a really nice sized class; of nine of about nine of us in total, and we covered holding the yarn, making chains, UK double crochet and even some decreasing – we also had fun making some pom poms.
It was lovely to have one lady come back to join us who had attended a previous granny square class – since the class she’d gone on to make a whole granny square cushion and a half, she was hooked! Such a wonderful feeling to know that you’ve started something that someone is really getting some enjoyment out of.
By the end of the class I was so proud of my hard working students many of which had completed their very own bookmark!
It really was a most enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning!
I’ve got some more workshops coming up in the future at The Artisan Boutique if you are in located in or around Staffordshire and fancy taking part in a crochet class…
The workshops that I’m facilitating in 2019 are listed below:
In this fun and relaxed class we will build on your existing crochet ability to create a crocheted mandala. De-stress from life’s difficulties by working on a pattern that requires focus, stillness, and attention to the present moment – key components of mindfulness meditation. Take home a beautiful mandala by the end of the session.
Beginners Class: Learn to Crochet a Bookmark, Sunday 18th August: 10.15am – 12.15pm,£30pp
This class is ideal for beginners or for anyone that wants to refresh their skills. In this class you will learn the basics of crochet such as holding the hook and yarn and some basic stitches. By the end of the session you will have a fun bookmark to take home with you.
This class is ideal for beginners or for anyone wanting to refresh their skills. Through the morning you will crochet a granny square and learn how to treble crochet and change colour, as well as how to read a crochet pattern. By the end of the session you will know how to make a classic simple granny square and have started a project, to complete at home, using your new skills.
You will be learn all of the techniques and shaping you will need to make some gorgeous mini Christmas stocking decorations. Choose your own colours and personal finishes. Take home a couple of decorations by the end of the session.
With each class you get the yarn and hooks, and anything else you need along with a drink and cake – which is always delicious! The minimum age for the workshops is 13 years old and all children must be accompanied by an adult.
If you are in the area and fancy a class I hope you will join us. It’s such a nice relaxed atmosphere and such a sociable and friendly pass time when you work on a project together. Bookings can be made directly to The Artisan Boutique.