Monday, 21 August 2017

Stylecraft Visit 2017 (Part 2)

Yarn... Lovely, new yarn.


All crocheters and knitters love the stuff and it's always exciting when a favourite manufacturer releases additional colours, or a new range. On my recent visit to the Stylecraft Mill as one of their Blogstars (read Part 1 here) it was with great anticipation that we watched the Autumn/Winter presentation to see the new yarns.


This has to be my favourite image from the presentation - just look at this stunning crocheted blanket and cushion, designed by the clever Annelies Baes. It's made with some of the new colours in the Life DK range and is just a beauty.

Here's some of my new faves:


First up, it's a new yarn called Tweedy. (100g / 260m) This is a really bright and cheery double-knit yarn, made from 74% premium acrylic and 26% cotton. Just four shades available at the mo - love the subtle mix of colours.



Next, there's colour additions to the already super-popular Head over Heels sock yarn, as well as a variation called Boho, which includes funky stripes of black and white.


The Batik yarns (my current yarn-crush - see below) have also enjoyed some colour additions, and also a whole new range:


The Batik Elements - a variagated blend of colours in the same 50g /138m 80% Acrylic /20% Wool blend as the solids.
Here's a little peek of something I'm working on with this amazing green 'Kryptonite'..


 

AND in super-exciting news, my latest CAL (crochet-a-long) design for Inside Crochet magazine uses the Batik solids, too. I chose four complemetary shades to create a gorgeously cosy shawl, which will be perfect for the Autumn. 
The Batik yarn was such a good choice for this project - it's soft and bouncy and the stitch definition is superb. I think it would work in any combination of colours you fancied.

Photo Credits to Mavric Photography / Inside Crochet Issue 92

Find the pattern for the first part of the mystery shawl in Issue 92. Sections 2 and 3 will be in the following issues of the magazine.

I'm tempted to make another version using some of the Batik Elements, or perhaps the Tweedy, but I really must get on with all my other projects, first... (more on those in my next post)


Find out more about the Stylecraft Yarns Blogstars here.

Wishing you a great week,

Sarah xx

Friday, 18 August 2017

Stylecraft Visit 2017 (Part 1)

It is my absolute pleasure to be one of the Stylecraft Blogstars and to be able to work with such an iconic brand. 


My most favourite thing about the partnership is the twice-yearly get-together at the Mill, where we get to meet the team, preview new collections, try out products and learn a new skill in the workshops.

Apart from the fabulous overnight stay in a local hotel (with THE most scary morning drive to the Mill along one of the narrowest and twisty-turny hills in Yorkshire), we also have an activity organised for the Friday afternoon.

This year, it was a trip to the Hockney exhibition at Salts Mill.




What a treat - we had a wonderful tour guide, who showed us the collection and talked about Hockney's work and life.



I loved the ipad/iphone pictures above and the images below from 'The Arrival of Spring' were astonishing; the colours were bright and luminous. 


After a marvellous dinner and a jolly good night's sleep, it was off to the Mill for our meeting (including a heart-stopping encounter with a white van on that hill...).


We got to see some of the new patterns in the upcoming Autumn / Winter collections.


And obviously there was lots and lots of yarn to ooooooh and aaaaaaah over (there was much squishing and touching going on). I'll show you some of the new yarns in the second part of this blogpost very soon.


And as if that wasn't enough, we had a member of the Ring of Tatters visit us. She spoke to us about the art of tatting and gave us a demonstration, too .

Ever heard of tatting?
It's an amazing, delicate craft of making teeny, tiny knots, which can create such beauties as this:


This is my rather feeble attempt.
I don't think the Ring of Tatters will be calling me anytime soon...



And here are some of us at dinner - see how we all have a kntting or crochet project with us?


It was a wonderful weekend and I was lucky enough to come home with a rather large bag of yarn to try.

But, most importantly, as somebody whose closest friends (although amazeballs) are not the crafty sort, these meetings give me the opportunity to talk about all things yarn and blog related with my fellow blogstars and the Stylecraft team; it's like being with my tribe - with people who 'get' me.
(And I can utter the phrase 'Oooo, this DK isnt the least bit splitty' without having to explain what on earth I am talking about...)

Want to find out more about the Blogstars? Read about them all here.

Enjoy your weekend, lovely peeps,

Part two of this blog post will be out very soon.
Sarah xxx

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Starfish and The Squid

Theres something fishy going on here today ...
Awwww, how sweet. Two little sea creatures having fun together.
As it's the summer time here in the UK, I fancied a new project. and as I haven't made any amigurumi for a while, I decided on some little ocean characters. 

They're the perfect stash-busting project, as each only uses about 20g of yarn - cotton DK is my preference, but you can use whatever you have to hand.

Patterns are in UK terms first, US below.
Enjoy!

Squid Pattern UK terms

Did you know that we squids have ten appendages? We have eight arms and two longer tentacles.


You will need:
Approx 20g of dk yarn and hook to match - I used leftovers of Debbie Bliss Cotton DK and a 4mm hook
Toy stuffing
2 x 6mm eyes
Black embroidery thread and needle

Pattern
Work in continuous rounds for the body and rows for the arms and tentacles. 
Stuff as you go.

Rnd 1: 5dc in magic ring OR ch2, make 5dc in 2nd ch from hook. (5 sts)
Rnd 2: 1dc in each st around.  

Rnd 3: (1dc, 2dc in next st) twice, 1dc in last st. (7)
Rnd 4: (2dc, 2dc in next st) twice, 1dc in last st. (9)
Rnd 5: 1dc in each st around.

Rnd 6: (2dc, 2dc in next st) repeat around. (12)
Rnd 7: (3dc, 2dc in next st) repeat around. (15)
Rnd 8: (4dc, 2dc in next st) repeat around. (18)
Rnd 9: (5dc, 2dc in next st) repeat around. (21)
Rnd 10: (6dc, 2dc in next st) repeat around. (24)
Rnd 11: 1dc in each st around.

Rnd 12: (5dc, 2dc in next st) repeat around. (28)
Rnds 13 - 16: 1dc in each st around.

Rnd 17: (5dc, dc2tog) repeat around. (24) 
Rnds 18 - 20: 1dc in each st around.
Rnd 21: (4dc, dc2tog) repeat around. (20) 
Rnd 22: (3dc, dc2tog) repeat around. (16) 
Rnd 23: 1dc in each st around.

Insert eyes and stitch mouth, using pictures as a guide.

Rnd 24: dc2tog x 3, 4dc, dc2tog x 3 (10)

The arms and tentacles are made into the front loops only (FLO) of the stitches from rnd 24. Make sure that the longer tentacles are at the front of your squid.

Rnd 25: (shorter arms x 8) sl st into FLO of next st. *11ch, (now work into chain stitches, beginning in 2nd ch from hook) 2dc, 8htr, sl st into FLO of next st; repeat from *

(longer tentacles x 2) sl st into FLO of next st. *16ch, (now work into chain stitches, beginning in 2nd ch from hook) 3dc, 12htr, sl st into FLO of next st; repeat from *

Rnd 26: sl st into unused back loops from rnd 24, dc2tog around in BLO. (5)

Sew closed and fasten off.

Starfish Pattern UK Terms
 
Did you know that we starfish are found in oceans all over the world, from tropical to polar waters.


The starfish is made of two pieces which are crocheted together. I made the front and back in two different colours because I only had small amounts of yarn.

You will need:
Approx 20g of dk yarn and hook to match - I used leftovers of Debbie Bliss Cotton DK and a 4mm hook
Toy stuffing
2 x 6mm eyes
Black embroidery thread and needle

Pattern
Work in continuous rounds for the body, then in rows to make the arms. 
Stuff just before closing.

Body
Rnd 1: 5dc in magic ring OR ch2, make 5dc in 2nd ch from hook. (5 sts)
Rnds 2 - 3: 2dc in each st around (20)
Rnd 4: 1dc in each st around.
Rnd 5: (3dc, 2dc in next st) repeat around. (25)

Arms
Row 6: 1dc in next 5 sts, turn. (5)
Rows 7 - 8: 1ch, 1dc in each st, turn.
Row 9: 1ch, dc2tog, 1dc, dc2tog, turn. (3)
Rows 10 - 11: 1ch, 1dc in each st, turn.
Row 12: 1ch, dc2tog, 1dc, turn (2)
Row 13: 1ch, 1dc in each st.
Fasten off

Repeat rows 6 - 13 around rnd 5 to make 5 arms in total


To make up

Insert eyes and stitch mouth onto front piece, using pictures as a guide.
With both pieces together WS facing, use yarn of your choice and dc the edges closed, stuffing firmly before finishing.
Fasten off.

Squid Pattern US Terms

 
Did you know that we squids have ten appendages? We have eight arms and two longer tentacles.

You will need:
Approx 20g of dk or sportweight yarn and hook to match - I used leftovers of Debbie Bliss Cotton DK and a 4mm hook
Toy stuffing
2 x 6mm eyes
Black embroidery thread and needle

Pattern
Work in continuous rounds for the body and rows for the arms and tentacles. 
Stuff as you go.

Rnd 1: 5sc in magic ring OR ch2, make 5sc in 2nd ch from hook. (5 sts)
Rnd 2: 1sc in each st around.  

Rnd 3: (1sc, 2sc in next st) twice, 1sc in last st. (7)
Rnd 4: (2sc, 2sc in next st) twice, 1sc in last st. (9)
Rnd 5: 1sc in each st around.

Rnd 6: (2sc, 2sc in next st) repeat around. (12)
Rnd 7: (3sc, 2sc in next st) repeat around. (15)
Rnd 8: (4sc, 2sc in next st) repeat around. (18)
Rnd 9: (5sc, 2sc in next st) repeat around. (21)
Rnd 10: (6sc, 2sc in next st) repeat around. (24)
Rnd 11: 1sc in each st around.

Rnd 12: (5sc, 2sc in next st) repeat around. (28)
Rnds 13 - 16: 1sc in each st around.

Rnd 17: (5sc, sc2tog) repeat around. (24) 
Rnds 18 - 20: 1sc in each st around.
Rnd 21: (4sc, sc2tog) repeat around. (20) 
Rnd 22: (3sc, sc2tog) repeat around. (16) 
Rnd 23: 1sc in each st around.

Insert eyes and stitch mouth, using pictures as a guide.

Rnd 24: sc2tog x 3, 4sc, sc2tog x 3 (10)

The arms and tentacles are made into the front loops only (FLO) of the stitches from rnd 24. Make sure that the longer tentacles are at the front of your squid.

Rnd 25: (shorter arms x 8) sl st into FLO of next st. *11ch, (now work into chain stitches, beginning in 2nd ch from hook) 2sc, 8hdc, sl st into FLO of next st; repeat from *

(longer tentacles x 2) sl st into FLO of next st. *16ch, (now work into chain stitches, beginning in 2nd ch from hook) 3sc, 12hdc, sl st into FLO of next st; repeat from *

Rnd 26: sl st into unused back loops from rnd 24, sc2tog around in BLO. (5)

Sew closed and fasten off.



 Starfish Pattern US Terms



Did you know that we starfish are found in oceans all over the world, from tropical to polar waters.

The starfish is made of two pieces which are crocheted together. I made the front and back in two different colours because I only had small amounts of yarn.

You will need:
Approx 20g of dk or sportweight yarn and hook to match - I used leftovers of Debbie Bliss Cotton DK and a 4mm hook
Toy stuffing
2 x 6mm eyes
Black embroidery thread and needle

Pattern
Work in continuous rounds for the body, then in rows to make the arms. 
Stuff just before closing.

Body
Rnd 1: 5sc in magic ring OR ch2, make 5sc in 2nd ch from hook. (5 sts)
Rnds 2 - 3: 2sc in each st around (20)
Rnd 4: 1sc in each st around.
Rnd 5: (3sc, 2sc in next st) repeat around. (25)

Arms
Row 6: 1sc in next 5 sts, turn. (5)
Rows 7 - 8: 1ch, 1sc in each st, turn.
Row 9: 1ch, sc2tog, 1sc, sc2tog, turn. (3)
Rows 10 - 11: 1ch, 1sc in each st, turn.
Row 12: 1ch, sc2tog, 1sc, turn (2)
Row 13: 1ch, 1sc in each st.
Fasten off

Repeat rows 6 - 13 around rnd 5 to make 5 arms in total


To make up

Insert eyes and stitch mouth onto front piece, using pictures as a guide.
With both pieces together WS facing, use yarn of your choice and sc the edges closed, stuffing firmly before finishing.
Fasten off.


Enjoy!

Sarah xx


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

A Chevron Necklace

 


It needs no introduction, really -

All you need is the teeniest bit of t-shirt yarn, a hook and about 5 minutes of your time.

 

Now, most of you who visit my blog, or see my stuff on Instagram will know that I am not one for tricksy, difficult projects.

Nope.

Simple and quick is the way I roll.

In fact, this project is SO easy that I taught a non-crocheter how to make one (which she did, and it was rather brilliant, I must say).

Ok.
You'll need some t-shirt yarn (about 15g / 2 metres - this is the perfect stash-busting project)
A big hook - a 10mm or 12mm will work fine.

  • Chain 14
  • Starting in the 2nd chain from your hook, make 1dc in the first 5 chains, skip 3 chains, make 1dc in each of the last 5 stitches.
To make up, simply pull the yarn end through your final stitch and use this to make the necklace, tying it securely on the other side of the chevron, at the right length to fit.

Now hide your yarn tails by weaving them into the back of your chevron.

And that is that.


 Have fun using up all your t-shirt yarn ends with this super-easy project!

Enjoy your week,

Sarah xxx

Saturday, 27 May 2017

DIY slogan straw bag

The straw bag - a summer staple.

Mine comes out year after year, but to be honest it was a bit of a plain Jane.
Until now, that is...


I've been totally loving the slogan versions I've seen around recently and love the cursive script.

Dolce Vita, Petite Pois, The Future is Female, Take Your Broken Heart

But rather than buy a new one, I hatched a plan to upcycle mine, and all I needed was a long chain of crochet* and a needle and thread.

*don't worry if you're not a crocheter. You could simply find a length of cord or ribbon and stitch that on instead.


Ok. Tis easy peasy. I chose Stylecraft Mystique in Fuxia, because I love the colour, but you could use any yarn from your stash - cotton would work really well, I think. you only need a small amount, so its the perfect stashbuster, too. you'll also need a plain straw bag (mine is an ancient one from Primark), matching thread and a needle.



I decided on Fiesta for my slogan and rather than go freehand**, I printed out a template, using an app on my phone -  Pic Collage and chose 'King Basil' font.


**a little while ago, I tried this crochet-embroidery-type-thing freehand and it was a bit of a disaster. Me and a couple of friends were off to Yarndale and decided to put #Crochet Girl Gang on our denim jackets the night before. The others' looked fab. Mine looked absolutely rubbish. I am still blaming the bucket loads of Prosecco and the fact it was nearly midnight when we started....

See? Disaster. Completely wonky.

Anyhoos, back to the non-disastrous version:


With my fail-safe template to hand, I cut it roughly to shape and then tacked it onto the bag, so that it didn't move when I was working on it. 

I then crocheted a long chain with my yarn (I used a 3.5 mm hook to make a nice, compact chain). Don't worry about whether your chain will be long enough - so long as you begin stitching it on at the knot-end, you can just keep adding as you need it.

Next, I laid the chain on my template and stitched through the bag and template using matching cotton thread. I made short little stitches to keep the slogan secure.

Once that was done, I carefully tore the template away et voila!!




Tis done! 
And I'm very pleased with it, I must say. 



I'm thinking of maybe adding a pompom trim, or some tassels?? 
Or perhaps it's best just plain - let me know what you think!


Sarah xx