Thursday, 28 May 2015

Beginner Crochet - Blog Hop

I have been following Sarah's blog Annaboo's House for many years now.  I think from pretty much near the beginning actually.  Her posts are always written in such a fun and enjoyable style, and her ideas and patterns are great.  I couldn't be more pleased for her that she's had a crochet book published - what an amazing achievement and well deserved!

To celebrate the launch of Sarah's book - Beginner's Guide to Crochet - I'm taking part in a blog hop organised by Stitch Craft Create sharing beginner crochet wins and fails.  See Sarah's kick off post here.

My crochet adventure began when I started a new job working with Anna back in 2008.  We quickly learned that we both were creative crafting types and that was the start of a beautiful friendship!  Anna is the crochet queen - just check this out if you have any doubt - and that's just the tip of the iceberg!  She brought some yarn into work and started teaching me how to crochet on our lunch breaks.  I seem to remember really struggling with how to hold the yarn so that it would feed nicely through my fingers - that was one of the tricky beginner bits for me, my first fail if you will.  Somehow I figured out a way that worked - and as Anna always says, you're not at school any more - there are no rules, if it works for you, do it!

She taught me the classic granny square, and I made my first crochet item - a cushion.  That was my first win!

Not too shabby for my first project - I felt I could handle this crochet malarkey!

The good thing about the granny is that you crochet into the gaps rather than into the stitch, which made it easier for me.  But then (possibly a couple of years later, now I look back) I tried single crochet (UK double) amigurumi style, actually having to crochet into the stitch on the row below - that was a big crochet fail!  I really couldn't figure out where on earth I should be putting my hook - where was the top of the stitch?! - and Anna and I weren't working together any more so I didn't have assistance readily to hand.  Despite our emails back and forth, sometimes you need to be shown!

Well, one day it just clicked - I don't know how, but somehow it did.  I was ridiculously proud of this little ball...

And made these two cute little fellas!

That seemed like a big win - I felt like I could actually crochet!

Another fail I had was an attempt to crochet a cowl.  I just couldn't get the sizing right, and the stitches were all far too tight and rigid.  This is where Sarah's fab tutorial on Annaboo's House for The Ultimate Cowl came in handy and I made this...

Such a great pattern - easy to do and it worked up quickly, just what I like.  A win.

And how great that Sarah now has a book full of beginner crochet patterns!

I've now crochets blankets, monkeys, cushions, shawls, and all sorts of other bits and bobs.  Check out my crochet tab to see my creations!

Now it just remains for me to nominate another blogger to carry this hop along...

The lovely Sam of Betsy Makes.  Her crochet work is beautiful, and her blog is full of inspiration.  Be sure to keep an eye out for her Beginner Crochet Blog Hop post!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Glass Fused Coasters

My sister-in-law and I recently went on a glass-fusing workshop.  When she suggested it I was most excited, as I never thought I'd see the day we were crafting together!  (As much as she loves the things I make, she's never really been the crafting type - but finally that's changing!  She'll be a craft geek like me in no time - mwuhahahaha!)

You could make what you liked within the limits of a certain overall size - so I decided on two coasters, and a kind of retro square design...

I had to cut out all of those white, blue and green squares of glass.  You use a similar technique to cutting tiles.  Score and snap.  Although the glass is sharper and my hands ended up cut to shreds!  (Ok, slight exaggeration, but I had a few cuts!  Most people didn't, so I'm not sure whether I'm clumsy or something...?)

I stacked the glass squares into the design I wanted and semi-stuck them with glue.  (I say semi, because they were still moving all over the place as the glue was so wet.)  You leave your positioned pieces with the ladies who run the course, to be fired in the kiln - and these are the finished items!

I'm very pleased with them - worth the blood!!!

My sister in law made a very cute beach hut plaque...

How gorgeous is that?!  And she quickly threw together another plaque at the end with some pre-cut colourful bits of glass.  We absolutely love the result, so bright and cheerful!

She's clearly a natural crafter!!

I hope this is the start of more creative times together!  ;)

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Monday, 11 May 2015

My Three Most Popular Posts

When I read Lazy Daisy Jones' post on her three most popular posts, I thought it sounded like a good idea!  It was interesting to see which mine were...

In reverse order...

3.  At this moment in time, there are two posts exactly equal in third place:

Fabric Notice Board - this is an old post, and pretty cringeful when I read it back!  Although I do still have the notice board, and do still love those gorgeous little pins I made.

African Flower Runner - also an old one, but still absolutely love these colours!  It probably remains my favourite colour combination of all my projects.

2.  In second place...

My Christmas Star Jar Cover Tutorial - this is good to know, although I'm not sure whether anyone has actually used the pattern to make one!

1.  And in first place, with over double the page views of second place...

A random post called 'Weekend Bits' - which is pretty pointless and yet attracts so many views.  I think it is solely because it has a couple of very cute pictures (even if I say so myself) combining crochet, yarn and a pretty colander, which clearly appeals!  What more does anyone need?

There you go, said pretty picture.  Not long after this, the yarn was unceremoniously dumped out so that the colander could actually fulfil its purpose in the kitchen!

I am still working on that blanket (it's been over a year and a half!) but it's getting pretty big now.  I WILL get it finished this year!

You can check out the crochet projects I've actually completed in my crochet tab.

Thanks to Lazy Daisy Jones for the great idea.

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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Book Reviews - April

Let me first start by saying that I have started replying to your comments on the actual blog post, rather than replying via email (or more usually not at all, sorry!)  I've never been sure of the best way to respond, and some commenters are no-reply bloggers, so I can't email them back.  I've always wondered whether anyone would remember to pop back to the post to see my response, but I thought I'd give it a go.  If you have any thoughts on this and the best way to respond, I'd love to hear them!

So, if you've commented on the last few posts, you will find a response there.  (Try not to get too excited now!)

Secondly, I am getting later and later with my monthly book reviews.  I have to admit I'm not really enjoying writing them, and I'm not sure that anyone is enjoying reading them?!  I'll keep going for a bit longer, though.

Only one book read in April... I don't know what I did with my time, as I have achieved very little lately!  (Hence the lack of blog posts recently.)

The Affair: (Jack Reacher 16)

- Lee Child

The Jack Reacher reading continued.  This was a good one.  It actually went back in time to the period just before Reacher left the army, and explained the situation leading up to that point.  In all the years and adventures covered in the books (which start about six months after he left) the situations surrounding his departure were never quite clear.  Now they are!  It was a good story, and had the usual escapism you get with a Jack Reacher book.  I won't give anything away, but I enjoyed it and recommend it.

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* Links to the books I've read are Amazon affiliate links

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