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


Thursday, 25 May 2017

Book review - Colourful Crochet

Would I like the opportunity to review a new crochet book and be a part of its blog tour?
Would I 'eck!!
(Especially when it's been designed by a fellow crochet pal, Marianne Dekkers-Roos)

Marianne and I have 'known' each other through blogging and social media for many years now and I'm very honoured that she has reviewed both my books, so was super-glad of the opportunity to repay the favour - and what a treat it is.

I love Marianne's designs; they're bright, colourful and completely inspiring, and if you follow her on Instagram, or via her blog, you'll know exactly what I mean.

This book does not disappoint.
There are 23 projects listed, but what I really like is that some of them show two or three different items you could make with the motifs - clever, eh?

The patterns themselves are varied and are a mix of projects for your home and accessories to wear. They also range in difficulty from beginner-friendly to something more challenging, too. 
Each project is written clearly, with each step well-explained and there is an accompanying chart too; perfect for those of us who prefer a visual approach to making patterns.


AND, Marianne has a top tip for getting your granny square to stop being squiffy (you know how they kind-of lean?) anyhoos, I cannot reveal the secret - you'll have to read the book.


So, what did I choose to make?
Not an easy decision- there are so many designs I wanted to try, but I settled on the Geometric Triangle Blanket. I was intrigued to see how this pattern came together.


Ok, so I may have lied a teeny bit. 
I have not made a human-sized blanket. I have made a tiddly mouse-blanket.


Here's the first row done. Isn't it clever? I love how the triangles are constructed.


And this is the beginning of the third row. It's a lovely pattern to crochet and not as tricky as I thought it might be - there's a lovely rhythm in its making, with a two row repeat, which I really enjoy. 

If you'd like to join the blog tour and see what other crochet peeps have made (there's some crochet royalty taking part, let me tell you) then take a look here for all the links.

And if you'd like to purchase your very own copy, then see here.

Well done, Marianne - it's a really wonderful book.

Sarah xx

Monday, 1 May 2017

The perfect little bag




It's a bag.

Just a little bag, but so useful. 

The perfect size, in fact for all the essentials*.

What makes it even more perfect is the fact that it takes about an hour to make and it doesn't need lining (what a Godsend - I blimmin' HATE lining bags).

Oh, and it has tassels. 
What's not to love??

Fancy making one?

*There is, in fact a bigger, tote-style bag in my NEW BOOK, Supersize Crochet (and it doesn't need a lining, either - hoorah! Take a quick look over there on the sidebar →



You'll need around 500g/ 71 meters of your favourite t-shirt yarn (I love this shop) and a small amount in a contrasting colour for the tassels, 17cm / 6.5" bag handles (mine are from here) and a 12mm hook.

The finished bag measures around 26 x 19 x 6cm

Pattern notes 

I used the cross-dc variation of the double crochet (US single crochet) stitch - see my post Quest for a Stitch to find out how to do it. If you prefer, you can use the normal dc (sc), the pattern will work just fine.

I also worked from round 2 in continuous rounds without a slip stitch to join or ch1 at the beginning, which was to avoid a seam. If you'd prefer joined rounds, then feel free to do so. Again, the pattern will work.

Don't want tassels? Simply work rnd 5 as regular dc (US sc) stitches and leave off the tassels!

Nope, I'm not crocheting glasses - it's how you work across the bag handles on Round 1


UK Pattern (US Below)

Rnd 1: Make 10dc across the first handle, 5ch, 10dc across the second handle, 5ch. Join with a sl st to the first dc to join. (30 sts)

Rnd 2 - 3: 1ch, 1dc in each st around (do not join - work in continuous rnds from here on).

Rnd 4: (Short row) 5dc (leave 25 stitches unworked).

Rnd 5: 1dc in each st BLO.

Rnds 6 - 12: 1dc in each st around.

Base 

18ch
Row 1: 1tr in each of 12 chains, beginning in the 4th ch from your hook, sk 2 ch, sl st in last ch.

To join base to bag, and with RS facing, sl st through FLO of rnd 12 to stitches around the base piece.

Fasten off.

To make up:
Cut tassels to the desired length and attach to the exposed loops from Rnd 5.
Joining the base to the bag


US Pattern

Rnd 1: Make 10sc across the first handle, 5ch, 10sc across the second handle, 5ch. Join with a sl st to the first sc to join. (30 sts)

Rnd 2 - 3: 1ch, 1sc in each st around (do not join - work in continuous rnds from here on).

Rnd 4: (Short row) 5sc (leave 25 stitches unworked).

Rnd 5: 1sc in each st BLO.

Rnds 6 - 12: 1sc in each st around.

Base 

18ch
Row 1: 1dc in each of 12 chains, beginning in the 4th ch from your hook, sk 2 ch, sl st in last ch.

To join base to bag, and with RS facing, sl st through FLO of rnd 12 to stitches around the base piece.

Fasten off.

To make up:
Cut tassels to the desired length and attach to the exposed loops from Rnd 5. 




Taaa daaaaah!
See? Quick and easy !!

Enjoy crocheting and don't forget to tag me so I can see what you've been making!

Have a fab week,
Sarah xxx


Saturday, 22 April 2017

The One with a SUPERSIZE blog hop



Yep, not any old-sized blog hop - a SUPERSIZED one, of course.

And so, to celebrate the launch of my new book, Supersize Crochet (eeeeeeek!!! totally excited!!!), there's an amazing blog hop taking place from the 1st - 19th May.


It features the most AWESOME crochet bloggers from across the entire blimmin' planet, who will be taking a look at the book and trying out some of the projects, too.


Want to know more?
Here's what's happening:

Monday 1st May - watch out! I'll be taking over the Sew and So Instagram Account
Tuesday 2nd May - read my guest blog over at Sew and So

Wednesday 3rd May - the first of the guest bloggers is Maria from Dinki Dots
Thursday 4th May - then it's Shelley from Spincushions
Friday 5th May - next up, Ashley from Lazy Daisy Jones

Monday 8th May - another great week begins with Tamara from Moogly
Tuesday 9th May - next it's Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch
Wednesday 10th May - happy hump day with Sara from Crochet Me
Friday 12th May - a lot of FriYAY love with Marianne from MaRRose
Sunday 14th May - enjoy the weekend with Ruby and Kim from Frank & Olive
 
Monday 15th May -start a new week with Kathryn from Crochet Concupiscence
Tuesday 16th May - then it's Twinkie from Twinkie Chan
Wednesday 17th May - everything is HUGE with Andrea from Woolly Mahoosive
Thursday 18th May - the penultimate post from Kerry at Interweave
Friday 19th May - ah, it's all over. Read the Blog Hop Round Up



Wow! It's a line-up of Mega stars!! I can't wait to see what they all get up to. Join us for the blog hop and don't forget to take part across social media with the hashtags #supersizecrochet and #annabooshousetakeover .

 

Have a great week,
Sarah xx

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A whole load of new yarn

Lucky me!
The postman has been a busy bee, delivering lots of new yarny goodness.

Watch the Youtube tutorial below (or click here )to see close-ups of the yarn and find the show notes with details below.


Have a great week,
Sarah x


Episode 5: The one with all the new yarn. 
Show notes

Yarn: 
Stylecraft Special Dk in Vintage Peach, Buttermilk and Mushroom - 100g / 100% Acrylic
Stylecraft Classique Cotton 4-ply 50g / 100% Cotton
Stylecraft Mystique 50g / 70% Polyester/ 30% Viscose
Stylecraft Head Over Heels Sock Yarn  in Sugarloaf and Etna 100g / 75% Superwash wool / 25% Nylon
Stylecraft Wondersoft Merry-go-round DK in Pastel Rainbow and Dark Rainbow 100g / 100% Acrylic 
Stylecraft Candy Swirl DK in Apple Sour 150g / 100% Acrylic

Bilum PukPuk yarn
Scheepjes Whirl in Slice 'O Cherry Pie 225g / 60% Cotton /40% Acrylic

Blog post with shawl started in Head Over Heels here

Ombre Shawl from Inside Crochet Issue 87
Sheep from Inside Crochet Issue 88





 

Monday, 13 March 2017

The one with the skulls

Spring is in the air.
Think sunshine, daffodils, baby chicks and ...

SKULLS.

Oh yes. We like to mix up the seasons in my house.

When I bought some of this amazing glow in the dark yarn from Unique Yarns Co recently, I wanted to make little stars, or hearts.
But my children had other ideas.


These cute skulls would be perfect for bunting, or a mobile (they would probaly need blocking with spray starch beforehand, perhaps?) but I decided to decorate the kids' lampshades (which are decidedly manky and have definiely seen better days).


I simply glued them in place, using PVA glue.

Lights on

Lights off - spooooooooky

Tricky to photograph, but the green definitely glows a little brighter than the pink - both are amazing, though and I haven't seen anything like it before. Have you?



And here's a mega-skull, using the same pattern and made in Squiggly yarn from Woolly Mahoosive and a 25mm hook!


I'm so pleased wtih how they've turned out - aren't they fab? 

If you fancy making one, or two or a billion, then the pattern's next and scroll further down for a stitch-by-stitch YouTube tutorial.

Skull Pattern:

You will need
Glow in the dark yarn
3.5mm hook
or any yarn and hook to match 

Chain 6 (counts as 5ch and turning ch)
Row 1: 1dc in each st, turn.
Row 2: 2ch (counts as tr) 1tr in each st, turn.
Row 3: 3ch (counts as 2ch and turning ch), 1dc in each st, turn. (7sts)
Row 4: 3ch (counts as 2ch and turning ch), 4dc, sk st, 4ch, 4dc, turn.
Row 5: 1ch, 4dc, 5dc in ch4-sp, 4dc, turn.
Row 6: 7ch, 1dc in stitch at middle of nose, 7ch, 1sl st in last st, turn.
Row 7: 1ch, (3dc, 1htr, 4tr) in ch7-sp, 1dtr in stitch between eyes, (4tr, 1htr, 3dc) in ch7-sp.

Fasten off

(With the orange skull, I made 1dc around the edge of the skull)

YouTube Stitch-by-Stitch Tutorial 


Have a great week,
Sarah xx


Episode 4 Show Notes: The one with the skulls

Watch here:




Glow in the dark yarn in Pink and Green from Unique Yarns Co

For Star Pattern try here:

Approx 230g Squiggly yarn in Orange from Woolly Mahoosive

Mini skeins of Mineral Dyed Yarns from Unique Yarns Co
Unique Yarns Co  - Glow in the dark yarn 
The Gymnastics Shawl (no pattern yet) Whimzy yarns - Sokkusu O Max in 'Man of Rock'
Knitted jumper (pattern to follow) in The Women's Institute Soft and Chunky yarn in Grey - from here
Yarn and Colors Must-Have Minis