EDITED: GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED, congratulations to Leonie! You are the winner!
Five years ago (er…well the day before yesterday) I hit PUBLISH and my life changed! I’ve now been blogging for FIVE whole years! And because of my blog I’ve had some amazing opportunities, got to know some fabulous people and worked with some amazing companies – for which I am so very grateful!
WANT TO SEE WHERE IT ALL BEGAN? CHECK OUT MY FIRST POST!
Each blogiversary is a huge milestone and my 5th birthday is no exception. What started as a complete experiment is a large part of how I evolved into a working crochet designer, but I blog because I enjoy writing, I love to share my passion for all things crochet, and I love to hopefully inspire you.
Let the beauty of what you love be what you do – Rumi
The past five years have been full of highlights and new experiences for me. Here’s just a few (of many!):
And I’m so appreciative to all the awards my little blog has received over the years!
You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. ― Octavia E. Butler
I was looking at some stats about blogs in general and was really surprised to learn that almost over 80% of blogs do not make it past the first three months – so I’m going to take a little moment to say go me! I’m still here – as are so many of you!
Just in case I don’t say it enough I want to say a big THANK YOU to you all that read my ramblings! I really appreciate the time you each take to visit my blog and especially when you leave me comments and feedback. I’d also like to thank you to those of you that have shared my blog your friends and family too.
LET’S CELEBRATE MY 5TH BLOGIVERSARY WITH A GIVEAWAY!
I’ve actually got double cause to celebrate at the moment because as well as blogging for five years my Facebook page recently hit the mahoosive milestone of 15 thousand followers! Just amazing! So I’m going to do a giveaway here on the blog, a different one on Facebook and another little one on Instagram because I like hanging out there! So that’s THREE different prizes up for grabs starting with this one!
So what do I have on offer as prize here on the blog for my blogiversary? Well one winner will receive the following:
To enter, leave a comment at the end of this post telling me which 5 patterns you’d pick as part of the prize – to gain an extra entry maybe you might like to sign up to my newsletter.
The contest is open from RIGHT NOW until 8pm (GMT) on Wednesday 20th February 2019. The winner will be selected using a random number generator and I will need to be supplied with a full postal name and address to send out the prize. If efforts to contact the winner remain unsuccessful after a week, an alternative winner will be randomly selected.
This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE!
Thank you my loyal friends and followers for your everlasting support and encouragement! Without you, I would serve no purpose!
Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
The first is Marmalade the Cat who has a big ole grin like a Cheshire cat as he’s pleased as punch to be in the magazine. Ever so dapper in his bow tie and dungarees he’s ready to go on an adventure to Timbuktu (didn’t all adventures go there at some point? They always seemed to when I was little!).
I also designed some Kangaroo Cuties – who I named Karla and Karl. Baby Karl can pop out of mum’s pouch if he wants to roam around a bit in the Australia outback. I tell you what we could do with a bit of the Auzzie summer right now – it’s been so cold here in the UK the last few days, we even had some snow!
There are lots of fab patterns in this month’s edition including an amazing budgie from the fab looking bookCrocheted Birdsby Vanessa Mooncie and I really love the Lampshade Covers by Sarah Shrimpton and the Teeny Tortoises by Hannah Cooper – which you can pick up for free!
And although I can’t knit I really love Little Zebedee the Zebra by Sachiyo Ishii and the Kitty Doorstop by Aine Marriott – if you are a knitter you can pick up the doorstep pattern for free now too!
There are 53 exclusive patterns in this months edition and you get your yarn and 3.75mm hook and 3.75mm knitting needles included with your 68 page magazine.
Hello, how you doing? How’s your week been? How am I you say? Well I’ve just been finishing off the last few touches to a free pattern for you!
How do you fancy a pattern for a giant narwhal?! I’m hoping you’ve said yes…because over Christmas that’s what I made for my daughter. She loves it and so I thought you might do too.
Every year I try to crochet my girls a little something, they always love these makes and it’s lovely to see the enjoyment they get out of them. This year I’m not quite sure how the conversation came about but it ended up some how with me agreeing to make my seven year old a narwhal, and not just a small narwhal, a GIANT one!
Narwhals are just such interesting creatures aren’t they! There are none in captivity (apparently any attempts to keep them have been unsuccessful) and this obviously lends to the mythical intrigue about the animal I’m sure!
Did you know they are dubbed as the unicorn of the sea as apparently in medieval times their tusks (which is actually a tooth) were passed off as actual unicorn horns – maybe this is why they seem kind of magical! They are just so fascinating and mysterious that I thought who wouldn’t want to crochet a cuddly plushie one!
I have actually always wanted to have a go at making a giant amigurumi but giant things usually take lots of time and use giant amounts of yarn. So what I needed was big yarn and a big hook!
You may remember that Marriner Yarns kindly sent me some yarn to try out last year (read about that here). In the pack was some variegated Mermaid Super Chunky which I thought might work out nicely.
They’d sent me one ball of Marshmallow in the pack but one ball wasn’t going to make anything giant so I bought some more off their website (it came pretty quickly too) and combined it with a ball of their Marriners plain Super Chunky in Silver (for the tusk).
Watch this space for another ocean creature, that I made for my youngest, that I made with the left over Silver Marriners Super Chunky – coming soon!
Mermaid Chunky really is lovely and soft and works well for chunky amigurumi and as it’s only £1.50 per ball it won’t cost you a fortune to make an amigurumi this big. Whalema (as my daughter has called hers) measures a whopping 99cm (39 inches) from horn tip to tail so she’s not small!
The recommended hook size for the yarn is a 10mm (US N/13) but I used a 6.5mm (US size K) for a tighter amigurumi stitch. That said I’ve recently discovered that I’m a loose crocheter so you may find a larger hook size works for you just as well.
The following pattern is free here on the blog but it’s also available on Ravelry where there is a nominal fee for a downloadable 4 page PDF pattern free of advertisements if you’d prefer.
I’ve got FIVE pairs of tickets, most generously donated by the shows organisers, for all you lovely readers – plus they’ve also set up a nice discount on ticket prices for anyone that doesn’t win (more about that in a moment).
If you love a good craft show, which of course I do, and you aren’t familiar with the Knitting and Stitching Show then you are really missing something. These shows are the UK’s biggest textile art, craft and design events and the Spring show will open its doors to thousands of crafters for FIVE whole days at London Olympia on Thursday 28 February until Sunday 1 March 2019.
You may remember I went to one of the shows back in 2017 with my lovely mum and we had a blast (you can read about that visit here). So we are going back down to the show together again this year for more crafty fun!
Any hoo, if you want to go straight to the details on how to win tickets scroll to the bottom of this page, if you’ve got a few more minutes I just want to tell you about another couple of things that’s happening at this years Spring show…
I for one am extremely excited to see the amazing work by Italian textile artist and designer Luisa De Santi who is bringing her extraordinary knit, crochet and embroidery work to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show. Her exhibition called Magical Crochet Spells sounds like something not to be missed out on! I’ve seen some of the photos of her work and it’s just so intriguing!
I’m also looking forward to seeing The Fashion and Textile Museum who are hosting a 50 Years of Fabulous. They are doing a showcase with a collection of garments from its forthcoming exhibition celebrating iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes’ 50th anniversary. Although I don’t sew I do admire those that can (and I LOVE The Great British Sewing Bee) so I bet that’s going to be a whole lot of fabulous fun to see!
Ooo the more I’m writing about it, the more excited I’m getting! As well as all these exhibits there’s going to be over 150 exhibitors selling specialist craft supplies (including yummy yarn that needs to come home with me), and there’s going to be hundreds of workshops and demonstrations too. I’m still looking at the full workshop list deciding what to do as there are so many I just want to do!
Spend a day re-stocking your yarn stash, learning to knit, mastering the art of tailoring and just so much more. There has never been a better excuse to go to a show – it’s been designed for us to enjoy to the max!
Right enough enthusing from me, I think you get that I’m quite excited about going, let’s get on to how YOU can win tickets to the show…
I’ve got FIVE pairs of tickets to giveaway and the tickets are for redeemable any day except Saturday 2nd March. These tickets are only for the Spring Knitting and Stitching show at the Olympia London which runs from 28th February until 3rd March 2018.
All you need to do to enter the giveaway is to leave a comment on the bottom of this blog post about why you’d like to go to the show. The competition closes on Thursday January 31st 2019 at 7pm (GMT) with the winners being announced later that evening here on the blog. Good Luck Everyone!
But if you want your ticket’s RIGHT NOW I’ve also got a special discount for you! Just quote KCACO19 and get £2 off any advance adult ticket or £1 off any advance concessionary ticket. This means that tickets will be £12 instead of £14/£13 (please not there is a £1.75 fulfilment fee per transaction).
I’m so excited to say that I’ve got a new pattern out in issue 37 of Crochet Now magazine. I’ve actually been waiting for this design to come out so I could tell you about it as it’s definitely one of my favourite makes that I’ve made to date!
Meet Angelica Mouse! This wee gal is all ready for a winter walk into town in her cute dress, hat and muff. I think she’s going yarn shopping…yes she’s got that look of a dedicated yarn shopper don’t you think.
And she’s dressed perfectly for the weather here in the UK at the moment. It started snowing here tonight and I keep thinking I could do with a muff! It looks fab on a mouse – but do people still wear hand muffs? Anyway I digress…back to the crochet…
When I started designing her I think I might have been subconsciously channelling a bit ofMiss Bianca from Disney’s The Rescuersas that’s who my Dad said she looked like. But in the end I think she’s turned out to have her own look and I really do love how she turned out. She came together really well when I was designing her – sometimes a pattern just flows off your hook and I think they often end up as my favourites for that reason.
For this design I used Scheepjes Stonewashed yarn, which if you follow along here on the blog, you will know is some of my favourite yarn to crochet with. I think the stonewashed aged look of the yarn suited the design and the look I was trying to create perfectly.
As well as my crochet mouse pattern issue 37 features loads of great patterns including some really fun C2C projects and some really cute birds by Irene Strange (who you may remember I interviewed a couple years ago).
I’ve got a new design out in the February 2019 issue of I Like Crochet and it’s one I really love! The Stonewashed bag is my new favourite thing! It’s such a classic shape, it’s got a fun retro / vintage feel about it, and it’s easy to make!
This large shoulder bag was inspired and pieced together like a denim patchwork and I added some faux leather handles to feel a bit like a belt. It’s really spacious inside and has a popper closure making it a great carryall bag.
You can’t really tell on the photos in the magazine but I lined it with a cute floral fabric which I picked up at my local yarn shop – and I love the pop of colour in the middle.
This is a simple-to-make crochet bag, great for beginners and would be a quick make for more accomplished crocheters.
For this design I used Wool and the Gang Billie Jean yarn which I’d wanted to try because it’s made using upcycled pre-consumer denim waste which I thought was really cool – and it just suited my design idea perfectly!
Ten days into the New Year and I’m releasing my first pattern of 2019! In my bid to get more organised I’m trying to tick off anything outstanding for 2018 so there might be a slew of new patterns coming this way including some from magazine’s whose rights have now reverted back to me – so watch this space!
So my first pattern release of 2019 is Stefan the Baby Stegosaurus! HURRAY! I know I’ve been asked by a few people when he was going to be available so I thought I’d sort him out first.
You may remember that I entered him into the prehistoricAmigurumipatterns.net design contest (read about it here) and I’d like to say a big thanks to 375 people that voted for him – we didn’t win but it was fun taking part.
This cuddle sized prehistoric softie is looking for an owner to snuggle with and care for him. Stefan is the perfect addition to any dinosaur lovers soft toy collection.
With crochet eyes, rather than safety eyes, Stefan also makes a great gift for babies and toddlers.
The PDF file is 6 pages long, it’s written in both UK and US terms and includes explanations of all stitches and abbreviations. There’s also a mini photo tutorial on how to add the claws.
I made mine in Scheepjes Stone Washed Crystal Quartz and Larimar, because I adore the aged washed out look to that yarn, but my testers used some great colours – I especially love the variegated version of Stefan!
Stefan is now available to add to your favourites on Ravelryand you can get 20% discount off (no coupon required) until 31 January 2019. After that time the pattern will revert to full price.
Remember to share any Stefan project’s to be in with a chance to win a free pattern if you are featured in my monthly newsletter.
Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
Our stitch story crochet along journey is at an end! But don’t worry if this is the first you are hearing about this CAL you can find the full schedule here and I promise to keep all the details on the blog FOREVER.
Now it’s time to fold up my blanket becauseI’m going to share some of the amazing finished Stitch Story Crochet blankets made by YOU!
But first I need to share Esther’s, from It’s All in A Nutshell, finished blanket! I know many of you really enjoyed Esther’s accompanying videos to the CAL and the link to her tutorials on her blog here (I’ve also added the link on the main CAL page). It’s so pretty in that colourway isn’t it (Scheepjes Riverwashed Shade Wheaton)!
I love that people have chosen to make blankets all in one colour like mine or multicoloured like my mums. All the colourways that were shared with me were fantastic and pretty but I have just selected a few different for inspiration purposes. So without further ado here are some unbelievably gorgeous blankets to feast your eyes on – and I’ve also added some of the stories the blanket owners have shared!
Made by Gerda for her daughter 💕
Made by Barbara and for her son who likes to steal this blanket to snuggle under! 💕
Ruby took joy in the creating of her beautiful blue blanket 💕
Made by Linda for her daughter who loved the gift 💕
Made in different tonal blues by Sara 💕
Lynn hooked 3 of each of the large blocks for her pretty blanket 💕
Elizabeth made only the little blocks and chose a lovely grouped arrangement 💕
Aren’t they just all stunning! Thanks again to everyone that joined in the CAL with me this year and that shared their beautiful work with me! I loved seeing your finished blankets 💕
I need at this point to say some quick thank you’s! I’ll try not to turn it into too much of an Oscar speech but I feel it’s important to acknowledge all the people behind the scenes that helped make this CAL happen!
Many thanks to Scheepjes for supplying the yarn for both blankets and so I could make this pattern for you. I need to thank Esther (It’s All in A Nutshell) for making the wonderful CAL video tutorials and to Iris who wonderfully translated the CAL from English to Dutch (which you can find on her blog Een Mooi Gebaar links to all the posts are here).
I need to say a MAHOOSIVE thank you to all the testers that helped with the colossal task of turning my scribbles into something legible for you all to make! Big shout outs to Jean, Steff, Dianne, Peggy, Kim, Leanne, Olwyn, Kimberlie, Jenn, Dulcy and Marie!
Thanks as always to my eldest daughter for posing in photos for me (even without marshmallow bribes!) and to my husband for driving round to find that perfect spot for a photo!
And I can’t write this post without thanking the lady without whom I just wouldn’t have ever finished two blankets in time. My lovely mum! I love the fact that we did this together and thank you for helping me with my crochet story, for your weaving in ends prowess and for rolling up your sleeves to just help me get it done! 💕
I’m obviously a big fan of crochet toys and amigurumi and I have a cute little amigurumi mouse called Melissa in this addition. The magazine comes with six sweetie yarns this month, including the special pom pom yarn, and little Mel uses some of them all.
I also designed three patchwork pockets for this latest issue which were lots of fun to make. I love the idea of adding a pocket to refashion an outfit or adding a pocket to your clothing to just show off your passion for crochet.
There are some really great designs in this months edition, I really love the fab fairy house crochet along by Sarah-Jane Hicks and the bunny bandana bibs by Dawn Finney (even though I don’t knit) as they are super cute!
There are 42 exclusive patterns in this months edition and you get your yarn and 3mm hook & 3mm knitting needles included with your 68 page magazine.
Nearing the end of a CAL is a bit like the end of a journey, many things will have happened since we started, and you will have undoubtedly woven some of your own stories and memories into your blanket. I hope you have enjoyed crocheting along with me, and I can’t wait to see your finished blankets.
If this is the first you are hearing about this CAL don’t worry the details will remain on the blog here pretty much forever so you can make your own blanket when you are able. You can find the full schedule and Scheepjes yarn amounts here and a link to the crochet along page here. More photos and the specifications and charts for the CAL can be found on the CAL Pinterest Board!
So let’s just quickly run through some of the pattern particulars…
This pattern is free here on the blog but it’s also available in an e-book on Ravelry. There is a small charge for the downloadable 46 page PDF e-book (payable once). The booklet has been released in instalments, along with the CAL, so as not to spoil anyone’s fun. This PDF has the full pattern descriptions, charts and information all in one place without adverts (as requested).
Through the course of this crochet-along I have provided you with patterns to make twelve different blocks, each in two different sizes. Which one you make is totally up to you! Make all one size or mix and match, whatever takes your fancy! However to give you a helping hand I have included some schematics which you can see on this post here.
First you will need to work out how you want your finished blanket to look. The schematics that I used and my mum used for her blanket are below if you’d like to use those. You may find that playing with your squares on the floor and / or working out the layout of the blocks on a piece of paper helps enormously with working out your finished design.
Then to join each block together you can either sew them using a whipstitch or crochet them together using a sl st through the back loop of each st. I used the crochet method but I’ve put the details for crochet and whip-stitching the blocks together below. You could use another method for joining but you will need to make adjustments for the border.
Top tips for joining:
When possible you want to match the stitches one-for-one; when sewing the ends of rows / corners of blocks together you’ll need to look at the spaces for where to join and strive for consistency.
When the edges you’re seaming together are long, I’d advise using knit clips or stitch markers to hold the edges together so you can keep your work even.
Join your blocks in long strips where possible to keep the seams as neat as possible.
Firstly put your two squares together with the wrong sides facing, when sewing the squares together, you will need to work under the BACK LOOPS (on the outside) only. Working in the BLO means there will be a less bulky seam.
With your sewing yarn in the needle insert the needle into the middle stitch (of your 3 dc/sc in each corner) of both blocks and begin stitching pulling the yarn through the loops and making sure to pull the entire length all the way through. Leave a tail of yarn about six inches long hanging from the end. Later, when you are finished whip stitching the squares together, you can to weave this end into the back of the closest block.
Insert the needle into the (back loop) of the next pair of stitches from bottom to top (or top to bottom which ever you find easiest for you) and pull gently to tighten
Repeat across your blocks, weave in ends and finish off the yarn.
Slip stitch join:
Put your two squares together with the wrong sides facing, you will need to work under the BACK LOOPS (on the outside) only. Working in the BLO means there will be a less bulky seam.
Insert your hook into the middle stitch (of your 3 dc/sc in each corner) of both blocks and begin slip stitching across the blocks, do not pull your sl sts too tightly as the seam will then bunch together.
Repeat across your blocks, weave in ends and finish off the yarn.
Post Stitch Rib Border
I thought that a post stitch rib border using front posts and back posts would be a perfect edging to tie everything in the blanket together. Post stitch ribbing produces a chunky border but do not crochet too tightly as you do not want the edge to become stiff and inflexible. Using a larger crochet hook might get you a softer, more flexible feel – see what works best for you.
Rnd 1: To set the blanket up for the border you need to be working in a multiple of 2sts. For my first round I evened up my sides by joining my yarn to a corner st (of a 3dc/sc corner) and worked 1 tr/dc in the back loop of each st around.
Note: If you have ended up with too many stitches for any reason this is the perfect time to decrease/increase where needed. I worked a tr3tog/dc3tog on each square seam (see photo on right) and in each the corner I worked 3 tr/dc (1012 sts).
Rnd 2: Ch2 (this counts as the first post st), * 1fptr/fpdc around the post of the next st, 1 bptr/bpdc around the next st * repeat from * to * working 3 tr/dc in each corner (see photo below) until the last st, sl st to join
Rnd 3: Repeat row 1, fasten off and weave in ends
If you made a smaller blanket with less blocks then you may find Esther’s blanket schematic useful…
And that’s it! I hope you have enjoyed creating your very own unique blanket!
Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx