I've finally made a start on something I've been meaning to do for ages!
Lucy at Attic24 has been using yarn pegs for years - she may even have invented the idea, it was certainly the first place I saw it. It's such a clever way to play with colours and work out what schemes to use for new blankets and other projects. However, it was when I read this post from Sam at Betsy Makes, using pretty dolly pegs for her yarn pegs, that I really wanted to give it a go. Well... it's been two and a half years since I read that post! I finally bought some dolly pegs in the last few months of last year, and only this weekend did I actually get to work after being inspired anew by this picture on Instagram from colourandcrochet. So, it's been a long time coming. Thanks to Lucy, Sam and Clare for the inspiration that finally got me here!
The plan is to have a peg for every colour of the Stylecraft Special DK range. Then when the need comes to crochet a new blanket (as it does!) it will be easy to decide on a scheme and check how the colours look together, before buying the yarn. (I do still need to write the colours on the pegs, as that would be helpful!) Unfortunately I only had 15 colours in my stash (one is not pictured - grey) and I think there are around 80 colours in the Stylecraft Special DK range! It's a start, though.
White / Cream / Candyfloss / Fondant / Pomegranate / Lipstick / Sunshine / Lemon / Spring Green / Aspen / Sherbert / Turquoise / Bluebell / Wisteria
A lot of these colours can be seen in my waterlily blanket. I already feel some colour scheme ideas coming from looking at the pegs I've made so far - it's such a great useful idea!
[If you are looking for the Supersize Crochet Blog Hop and Giveaway, you can find the post HERE!] As the title suggests, I'm planning to bust the stash and finish the WIPs this year. I wrote about January and February here. So, let's see how I've done in March and April...
Not that well, really!
I made the cute and easy crochet eggs using left-over white cotton yarn from the Easter eggs I made for Hobbycraft, with some thin crochet cotton I had been given last year.
I also made a start on a colour-block crochet blanket using yarn given to me for my birthday and Christmas in December. No purchases were required for either of these.
Not a stitch this time, I'm afraid!
I did make some unnecessary purchases this month. I went on a great holiday to Orlando, Florida in April - I know, lucky me! About 20 minutes (very brisk!) walk away from our accommodation was a Michael's store. I've heard about Michael's from American craft blogs, so had to check it out! One afternoon my boyfriend was having a bit of a nap, so I strode purposefully out into the blazing sun to visit the shop. I bought two things which was very restrained of me. I ummed and ahhed about some other things, but decided I didn't want to buy too much that I didn't have a project in mind for... but I did want a little treat or two!
What I bought:
A tube of pretty washi tapes in mint, pink/blush and gold - no purpose in mind - FAIL.
A ball of Lily Sugar 'n Cream yarn - no purpose in mind - FAIL.
But, I think that's not too bad really - it was a holiday treat after all! I'll definitely use the yarn - I've already got some ideas in mind. The washi tape... hmm well, it will probably be added to my washi tape stash that I'm never quite sure what to do with!
I am very pleased to be taking part in this Blog Hop celebrating Sarah Shrimpton's new book, Supersize Crochet! You may know Sarah from her blog, Annaboo's House, which I have been following for many years. You can also find Sarah on Instagram here - and while you're there, you can find me too!
I received a free PDF version of Supersize Crochet for the benefit of this post, and will be giving away a PDF copy to one lucky reader too! Read on to find out more... Firstly, let me tell you more about the book. As the name suggests, it's a book full of great crochet patterns using thick and chunky yarn - and you know what that means? The projects make up so quickly - just what I like! Here are some of the gorgeous projects you can make (image stolen from Sarah's blog)...
There are loads of fun projects, but one caught my eye straight away - the hanging pouch! So that is what I made...
It was perfect, as I had bought myself some t-shirt yarn last year. There had been just one tube/cone/ball (?!) left in Hobbycraft, and it was reduced to £2.50! I'd been wanting to try t-shirt yarn, so thought it was the ideal opportunity at that price, so I snapped it up.
However, I didn't know what to do with it, so it languished in my messy craft room until I saw the hanging pouch pattern in Sarah's book! It actually calls for a cotton cord and 7mm hook. However, I just knew it was the pattern my zingy lime green t-shirt yarn had been waiting for!
Hello! I'm safely back from a lovely 12 day holiday in Orlando, Florida! It was great fun - it was a big family holiday to celebrate my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. Everyone had a lovely time and it was so hot and sunny! We all got back home yesterday, so I'm glad we've got this bank holiday weekend to recover and relax before going back to work. (Eurgh, I don't even want to think about that yet!) I'm just popping in quickly now to tell you about a blog hop I'm taking part in, which starts tomorrow...
(picture stolen from Sarah's blog!)
It is to celebrate the release of Sarah Shrimpton's new book - Supersize Crochet. I've been reading Sarah's blog Annaboo's House for years and am so pleased to celebrate her success and take part. Read more about the blog hop in her post here. My post will be published on Wednesday 3rd May, so be sure to come back then to see the gorgeous item I crocheted using a pattern from the book. You will also have the chance to win a PDF copy of Supersize Crochet! In the meantime, if you need a crochet fix, you can check out my crochet tab to see other items I've made...
See you on Wednesday! Like what you see? Follow me on bloglovin!
This is a scheduled post. By the time you read this, I should be on holiday! (Unless anything has gone horribly wrong, that is. I do have a fear when I schedule posts, that I might die before it goes live and it'll be horribly tragic when this post pops up merrily on the internet as though everything is fine and dandy! Well, let's hope I'm not speaking to you from beyond the grave... and let's not go into what these thoughts say about my twisted mind...) Moving swiftly on! I thought I would share with you the first two blocks of the colour-block crochet blanket I'm working on (first mentioned here).
It's going to be a very bold and bright blanket! The two squares look quite unrelated to each other really, apart from the purple. However, I'm hoping that as I make more blocks, using more of the colours in different combinations, they will start to work together better.
Also, you can see that the squares are doing the typical granny-square-twist! This is a standard occurrence with granny squares unfortunately. I might try blocking them. Or maybe when they're all sewn/crocheted together they might pull into a straighter shape?? I'll decide what to do later!
However, I am pleased so far. And looking forward to seeing the blocks in more colour combinations - it's quite motivating! Which one do you like best? I prefer the pink one.
Happy Easter Weekend! Here is a little bit of Easter crafty inspiration for you... Full disclosure... these eggs have appeared on my blog before, right in the very first months of starting it - six years ago! You can find the post about the six matching eggs here and the other two eggs here and here. But my photos left a lot to be desired back then! To be honest, they're not amazing now - but they're bigger on the page at least!
These are made by cutting out two egg shapes from coloured felt and embellishing them by sewing on ribbons and buttons, before sewing the two halves together, stuffing as you go. Sew a ribbon into the top as you sew together, so that they can be hung from branches to decorate a pretty Easter tree.
Work has been crazily busy and very stressful lately. But this weekend I've managed to relax a bit and make a start on a new blanket. A funny thing to start when we've had the most beautiful warm sunny weather this weekend! I know I should be carrying on with my blue stripy blanket but I wanted to try this out! I was given the yarn for my birthday and Christmas in December and I have plans for a bright and bold colour-block blanket.
I've been trying out a couple of things to work out the sizing, and I'll be starting again with the red and blue to make the middle square bigger, but I've got a good feeling about it so far! The picture gives a good idea of how it will look, the general feel of it, I think - I'm already excited to see it progress. The yarn is King Cole Bamboo Cotton which I absolutely love working with. It gives a lovely smooth finish, so I use it a lot for amigurumi. It's also what I made my Japanese Flower Coasters out of - and I'm using those colours again here, with a few additions. I hope to show you more soon(ish)!
I don't know about you, but sometimes I find myself so overwhelmed with all the inspiration out there that I find it hard to work out what my own style is. I know that sounds strange - surely I'd know what I like?! These days we are constantly being bombarded with beautiful images and inspiration - on Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, and all manner of other social media platforms that I can't keep up with! There is so much that I really like - I have an appreciation for most styles if they are executed well. But, I still found myself wondering what MY style actually is. I may admire a lot, but what makes me most happy? What do I want to surround myself with? What are the elements that I am going to keep loving, not just current trends that I'm swayed by as they are all around me online and in the shops. Well, these images below definitely make me happy!
Sources clockwise from top left 1 / 2 / 3 /4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8
But I'm jumping ahead! (I just wanted to show you the pretty pictures!) Let me back up a bit and explain how I arrived at this and how it helps... My friend Kimberly from Swoon Worthy published an amazingly useful post on How to Use Pinterest to Define Your Personal Style, which helps you identify three buzz words that encapsulate your own personal style. I recommend you read it and give it a go if you are feeling the same way I have been. I couldn't wait to find my three words! Create a Special Pinterest Board Kimberly recommends creating a Pinterest board to which you only save pictures you really truly love - those that really speak to you. You can make it secret if you prefer, but I didn't - you can find mine here. Kimberly's post also gives some great tips on how to find those images when you don't really know what you're looking for. The collection of pictures above narrows down a few of my pins from that board of favourites. I just love how they look, especially all together like this! Looking at that made me realise I've got it right - it really does make me feel happy. Identify Your Three Key Words Once you have enough pins on your board, you are ready for the exciting bit - identifying the patterns in your pins and finally arriving at your three buzz words! So what are mine...?! With a little help from Kimberly, we arrived on:
* BRIGHT * MODERN * PLAYFUL *
What do you think? Would you agree? I think it works for me! But How do Your Three Words Help? The main purpose of identifying your three key words is that it is something to keep in mind and allow to shape your purchases and focus your thoughts. How often have you bought something on a whim because it catches your eye in a shop, but when you get it home you realise that it doesn't really go with anything. Once you're out of that shopping-spree haze, you find yourself soon going off it. If you take a moment to consider whether the item fits with any or all of your three words, this will help you identify whether it will fit in with your style and be something that you will continue to enjoy. It's Not Just Interiors!
Now, I started this with interiors in mind, but I have realised that it applies to other areas too. Take the crafting I do - I think it fits into these words as well...
Above is a selection of my creations and I would say they are bright, modern and playful, wouldn't you?! It really does sum up my style. I've realised (with hindsight!) that when I make anything which doesn't fit into these words, I don't tend to like it that much. Now that I've identified my style, I hopefully won't waste time making things that don't fit with it, that I'll ultimately be disappointed in. This can be applied to clothes too. I have always favoured colour in my clothes, but the other day I caught a glimpse of my reflection and realised how drab I looked! Somehow, I'd lost my colourful tendencies and had been settling for duller clothes. It doesn't help that over winter it's hard to find any clothes which aren't dark and dreary! They look great on some people, but don't suit my colouring at all. (Or my style, as we have just discovered!) It's strange, as soon as we arrived on those three words, I knew we'd cracked it - they were right! They define ME! In fact, they seem so obvious, I don't know how I didn't already know this! I now feel so much more focused when it comes to buying things for the home, clothes to wear, the craft things I will make. Life is too short to surround ourselves with things which don't bring us joy, right? These days we are constantly being advertised to, influenced, overwhelmed with possibilities... it's just nice to know that if it's not bright, modern or playful, I'll probably go off it in a week!
If you want to do the exercise yourself, check out Kimberly's post and let me know what your three words are, I'm interested to hear!
Yes, more crochet eggs! There have been a lot around these parts lately, with the bright colourful Easter eggs I made for Hobbycraft - see them here.
Now, here are some in a different - more subtle - style!
They are made with very thin embroidery cotton held alongside some white Rico Creative Cotton Aran yarn, which was left over from my other Easter eggs. The thin embroidery cotton was given to me last year by a friend of my Mum - I have a mixture of Coats and Twilleys in size 20 - it's so thin! (You might have seen it before when I showed the delicate snowflakes I made last year.) So this was a completely stash-busting project!
What makes these so effective is that the thin coloured crochet cotton is variegated, so the colour darkening and lightening throughout the egg gives a lovely natural effect. Ok, maybe not completely natural with some of the colours I've used!
The three one-coloured eggs use the orangey, the blue and the mint variegated cottons. The multi-coloured egg was made by holding the blue, orangey and purple (non-variegated) together with the white aran cotton.
'Where can I find the pattern?', I hear you cry! I can take no credit for the lovely idea or the pattern... it is from my friend Anna - find it free here!
Rico Creative Cotton Aran - White
Mixture of size 20 crochet cottons - Coats/Twilleys
It's time to show you the completed baby blanket I was working on a few weeks back. I made the whole blanket, from start to finish, in a week (including working full-time). This is by far the quickest I've ever finished a blanket - I didn't think I had it in me! (I think aran yarn, a 6mm hook, and v-stitch are a speedy combo!)
The inspiration for the colour scheme is explained in this post.
It is made with v-stitch, which is a great stitch. This is my method, although the v-stitch pattern isn't mine. I just want to have a reference in case I'd like to remember what I did in future! V-Stitch = [dc, ch, dc] into same space/stitch
Chainless foundation of 113, plus 3 ch.
V-stitch into top of last chainless foundation st you made, *skip 2 st, v-stitch* until there is one st remaining, dc into last st, ch 3 and turn.
v-stitch into each ch space of previous row (into the middle of the v-stitch), dc into top of ch 3, ch 3 and turn.
Order: 2 rows white, 6 rows colour, ending on 2 rows white and a row of sc to mirror the sc row which is automatically part of the chainless foundation row to start.
sc in white along both edges - 2 sc over each final/starting dc/ch 3 of the rows. This gave a neat straight finish. Because the v-stitch is a holey design, you can sc over the side stitches, rather than try to sc into them, as there are gaps there anyway, so you are not creating unsightly gaps.
2 rows of v-stitch in white.
1 row of sc in white.
1 round of sc in green.
1 round of crab stitch in green.
This is the first time I've tried crab stitch, and I love it! It is basically sc working backwards, instead of working into the stitch to your left, you work into the stitch to your right. It feels a bit awkward to do, but the effect is great. It's got a bit of substance and really finishes the blanket off nicely - it seems like a real edge. The reason I picked green, was that the green bands of colour were the only ones which were equidistant from each end of the blanket. I considered going for blue, as I love blue, but I thought it might look odd on the edge of the blanket which starts with a blue stripe. The colour looks more evenly distributed with the green.
DETAILS Yarn Paintbox Simply Aran: Sky Blue (238) Daffodil Yellow (221) Spearmint Green (225) Mandarin Orange (217) Paper White (200) - x 2 Stylecraft Special Aran: Pomegranate (1083) Hook 6mm Dimensions approx: 26.5 inches x 37.5 inches approx: 67cm x 95cm What I'd do differently: I'd start and end with colour, instead of the white. This way I could work the white v-stitch edging all the way round the blanket, rather than adding just the two side edges afterwards. I'd also make it a bit wider, as it may look a little too thin for the length.