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.
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.
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!
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!)
free patterns and more!
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!
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.
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.
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
Crochet Club. magazine are celebrating the fact that the Top Crochet Patterns website has had a makeover and there are now over 650 patterns you can pick up from over there (including several of mine see all of them HERE).
I had great fun creating these miniature fruit well because they are miniature fruit and what’s not to love about that! In the fruit bowl you will find peaches, an apple, a banana and a pear, and so you can get an idea of the scale of these mini fruit here’s a photo with me holding some of them…
You can pick up your free copy of the pattern HERE.
Crochet Club is full of cool patterns for all skills levels and in this issue you get;
💙 Exclusive 8-ball bundle & 3.5mm hook 💚 68-page mag 💛 Tips & tricks from the UK’s top crochet designers ❤️ Crochet-along blanket pattern (part 2) 💜 Stories from other crochet fans
I know that the new issue of Crochet Club. magazine is on its way soon… So if you haven’t bought the current issue yet you might want to go visit the shops quick!
The theme for the weekend was birthdays and unicorns so as you can imagine there was lots of cake, of the crochet kind and the edible kind! There was also a pinata and pass the parcel and bubbles in party bags and just so much yarny fun and laughter!
On the Friday we were given Stitch and Story Miffy slippers to try… I didn’t finish mine. I’ll be honest and say that I fell out a bit with the pattern whilst I was there, it isn’t written in what I would class as a standard format, but the yarn is gorgeous so I may give it another go when I’ve got a bit more time to concentrate!
I’m not just saying it, because it contains a product from Dear Ewe, but it really is a gorgeous box that I wish had been around when I first started crocheting! A full set of lovely ergonomic crochet hooks, gorgeous yarn, scissors and more – what’s not to love!
Then on Saturday afternoon we had a wonderful crochet workshop with the lovely Lindsay from Lottie and Albert.
If you love crochet then I don’t think you can have failed to see (or be inspired by) the rainbow blanket CAL that Lindsay is currently hosting. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that I’m joining in with a lemon sorbet version…
It was super fun to get a master class from the creator! The first thing I learnt was how much easier it is to wind six balls of DK yarn together standing up rather than sitting down like I did with my yarn ball at home! I would never even thought of it – but sooooo much easier!
We were all given a really pretty pastel pallet of Scheepjes Colour Crafter to work with and I started making the basket…which is nearly finished, I just need to add some pom poms to the front, I love the clever way that Lindsay has created these – which you can find out at the bottom of this post here.
Sunday was spent finishing off our projects and enjoying some good hook and chatter time. I love just watching everyone and seeing how enthused they are with crochet and yarn – definitely my kind of people!
Before I knew it the weekend had flown by and it was time to go home with loads of goodies, including a gorgeous wooden 20mm hook, and an extra special treat of Amanda Bloom’s The story so far book – and as Amanda was there attending the sanctuary I even got my edition signed!
So in a nutshell another fabulous visit at The Crochet Sanctuary.! I think you’ll know by know how much I love my visits by the fact I can’t stay away! I can’t recommend how great it is! The atmosphere of the weekend is lovely and we are spoilt rotten by our hosts Lisa and Lynda! Just a wonderful abundance of food, drink, yarn, laughter and of course crochet! I can’t wait to go back again in June!
Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
You might’ve heard that there’s a brand new crochet magazine out now in the UK called Crochet Club. Made by the same people that bought you Crochet and Pom Pom Mags ‘n’ Makes it’s your fast-track to crochet yarn success!
I’m really excited to say that I’ve got two brand new designs featured in the first edition! First up are two sweet little owls, if you’re a newbie to the wonderful world of amigurumi, then these little guys are a great place to start.
I’ve also designed a pretty pony for all those equestrian lovers out there! I love how he turned out, definitely one of my favourite makes of 2018.
Like the look of it so far? Then you might also like to read the fun Crochet Club: Meet the Designers to give you an idea of some of the designs and designers that are going to feature in the new magazine.
Crochet Club is fantastic for beginners, as it features patterns for a whole range of skill levels, so you can work your way up with just one issue. In the first issue you get;
Disclaimer: I was kindly sent free samples of the products listed in this review, and this post does contain links to various products from the relevant company, however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier in anyway to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the products.
A month or so ago I was approached by the company Ritohobby.co.uk (RITO) to see if I‘d like to review some of their products. RITO are a Danish yarn and hobby craft supplier, with over 15,000 products, and they‘ve recently set up to supply their wares in the UK.
I’d actually been thinking of writing a blog post for awhile now about tools for crocheters soooo, in a bid to kill two birds with one stone, I mentioned my idea to RITO and they said they’d love to have their products featured in such a post. Not long after I was sent an express parcel full of things that I for one use regularly as a crocheter!
I took a few weeks to try each of the products and this is what I discovered…
Now they pretty much had me with the rainbow-ness of these hooks! I’m a bit of a rainbow magpie and I love that the hook sizes are all in different colours…
And of course if you are going to crochet then you need a crochet hook of some sort. This would make a perfect starter pack as it contains sizes 2mm to 6mm (US sizes 0 to H/8).
It’s no secret that I’m a crochet addict and that I crochet ALOT – like every spare second I have, so I do have a lot of hooks. My preference, after a lot of experimentation, seems to lean towards the ergonomic style of hooks. What’s an ergonomic hook? Well it’s a hook that’s been designed to alleviate any pain that can occur while crocheting. Most ergonomic styles have some sort of enlarged handle which makes the crochet hook more comfortable to hold and they can come in all shapes and sizes.
Whether you pencil hold (like me), knife hold or hold your hook in your own special way the Infinity Heart hooks come with a soft silicone non-slip handle for the users benefit– and I can confirm that they are extremely comfortable to use!
I tested them out with a few different projects and liked them.
As the rainbow colours are for different sizes it makes the hooks quite distinctive (once you learn which colour means which size hook) – though the size of the hook is also written on the bottom of each handle.
I found that the aluminium hook end was also nice and smooth so I didn’t get any snags on the yarn I was using. I was suitably impressed with these hooks and they are now getting use on a regular basis.
I was very excited by how it was packaged – sad I know but look! It was all vacuumed packed so it made it really thin, which I thought was really cool!
But don’t let that put you off – when the bag was opened it all fluffed up nicely and the 250g I got seemed to go a long way. The filling is able to be machine washed at 40° – which is especially great for children’s toys and has been prior tested for allergies and carcinogens.
I can’t really say much more about the filling except it’s great for amigurumi and that I’m sure it would work really well for other knitted and crochet items. I’m sure I’ll be getting more in the future when I’ve run out.
S is for Stitch Markers
I think stitch markers are such an essential tool for crochet – I don’t know how people do without them! Whether you are using them to mark your place when crocheting in the round or if you are using them to mark the end of a row, I would suggest to any newbie crocheter that they should try a few.
Some of the contents were definitely more geared to knitting, it had stitch stoppers for the end of needles and needle row counters. It also had these odd little plastic circles in the box which I had no idea what they might be for. Thanks to Google I found out they are for knitters to mark increases and decreases; sliding them onto knitting needles as you work.
But the ones that I would (and did) use the most were the variety of locking stitch markers and split ring markers. I really love the little antique-y metal bulb pins!
Each of these were easy to attach and it’s great that they come in the useful little box to keep them in – I swear someone eats my stitch markers!
They are also very light so they don’t cause any pulls or distortion to your stitches and the bright colours mean they are easy to find against most backgrounds.
I think stitch markers are a bit like stationery – you can never have to many and these will get lots of use from me.
S is also for Scissors
I happen to be a little bit addicted to pretty scissors! So when I saw that there were some Embroidery scissors in my package from RITO I got very excited!
Every crocheter needs a good pair of scissors by their side. Or if you are anything like me, who puts hers down somewhere then can’t find them again, several pairs of good scissors.
These scissors are solid and well made and very good value for money I think. They fit in my hands comfortably when I used them and they are also very sharp! The cutting action is nice and smooth and they cut yarn easily without snagging or fraying it.
If you want a pair of really good scissors without breaking the bank, this is a great choice!
And now I have something special to share with you! The lovely people at RITO have set up a product code for 10% discount off all products for all KCACO-UK followers from now (17. October) until 31. October. At the checkout just enter the code: KeepCalm
I hope you’ve enjoyed this product review, I’d love to hear what you think – or if there are any other things you’d love me to try and review in future.
Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx