Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Natural Dye Studio

 I recently had an email about one of my favourite online yarn dyers  closing their fabulous shop. The Natural Dye Studio exclusively uses historical plant dyes to produce an astounding spectrum of subtle colours. I am so sad as I love their yarns
I used the natural dye yarns for one of my designs called Milly Molly Mandy, Issue 35 published in november 2012. We are currently on issue 61 gosh doesn't time fly by?

I adore knitted linen stitch, I thought it might be fun to see
how  it would look in crochet.
I changed colour every
 row using  seven different candy coloured mini skeins striped with the beautiful  pink yarn
Instead of using seven mini skein this yarn is perfect. for the life of me I cant remember the
colour way but it was their dazzle 4ply yarn. Sad to think I cant get anymore of this stuff. If you have ever used Amanda's yarn you will know it is fabulous stuff. I adore her yarns .
I joined the Natural dye studio's rainbow club last year
 Amanda sends  you a different colour every month for a year , in the end you are left with a delightful rainbow that makes me smile every time I lay them on the floor.

Amanda is a fabulous crochet designer and I believe she will be concentrating on this part of her for the time being .Her designs are breathtaking , check out her work here. you can read her reasons for closing the shop on her blog. I wish her all the best and I thank her for her wonderful way with colouring , she is amazing. I am  so glad I have this beautiful stash for colour inspiration.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Inside crochet issue 61 2015

I hope you all had a Happy New Year and I hope this New year finds you all in good health.I have some wonderful news  to share.
The latest issue of Inside crochet 61 is out now ,I'm chuffed to have my pattern published.
 It is called Bargello Scarf .I was inspired by the beauty of Bargello needlepoint in which distinctive patterns are built up from rows of straight stitches, arranged in a zigzag line, with repeats in varying shades or colours. It produces a beautifully rich pattern and I have adapted it to create a sumptuous crochet design
 It has been mentioned on the Inside crochet blog . (crash ,bang, wallop, that's me I have just fallen on the floor.Its always wonderful it have your pattern mentioned by the editor.
                                 I love the styling on the mag, it really brings my scarf to life.
The shape of the line is created by ‘steps’ between one row and the next .Pattern is cleverly formed with slip stitches. By varying these steps, the chevron can be softened into a curve, or elongated into a pinnacle.Pattern is reversible.The design simplicity allows you to enjoy beautiful colour play without having to focus too much on the stitches.
 I was very privileged to receive yarn support from Millamia Yarns. The scarf uses naturally soft merino yarn.This yarn is seriously soft.Naturally Soft Merino Yarn is made from 100% extra fine Merino Wool.

Its supersoft feel makes it ideal for babies and young children, and the lovely twist on the yarn means that the resulting  fabric has a great stitch definition .Millamia is run by two beautiful Swedish sister .The Scandi influence is easy to see in their designs. I urge you to go take a look at their website and search out the yarns in a store near you .
 I would like to give special thanks to Max, who works with this fab duo. A chance meeting at Knit nation in a queue and a love of yarn meant we could chat as though we had been friends for years. Thank you Max.


                                       Do check out all the other fabulous designs in the magazine, they are all fabulous

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Crochet baktus, free pattern

 Isn't life strange , we know that Christmas is on the 25th Dec and yet we still find we are running out of time to make those gifts we said we'd have done and dusted by November, or is that just me??? Low and behold what do you know today is the 11th Dec and I am knee deep in panic , yes panic.
I need a very quick project that is unisex and suits all ages. What do you know I have the perfect project. My crochet baktus. It is a free pattern.
 Baktus comes from Norway, where it became very popular some time ago.  The original pattern is a knitted version and in Ravely there is a huge gallery of Baktus made with different yarns::: The method couldn’t be simpler. You weigh your yarn, cast on a few stitches, and then increase every so many rows, always on the same side. When you have half the yarn left, start decreases!
The pattern for the flower I still haven't got round to writing it up .It is simply a crocheted rose and I've added a brooch back, so I can pin it wherever I like. I have added two large beads at the end , these are optional , tassels look great and I find lot of people don't like anything at the end.

If you are on ravelry you can see all the wonderful scarf that have been made with my pattern .I love the way people adapt it. The scarf above was made by the fabulous Karin , as you can see she has added a great edging , it really finishes the scarf perfectly

 I made one similar to this in linen yarn for my mummy , she loves to wear scarves even in the summer, the holes allow the wearer to keep cold.
I hope you enjoy this pattern and please share your versions.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Easy Baby Crochet beanie/hat


 Baby Lewis was born weighing 5lbs and had the smallest head ever .All the hats my daughter had bought where too big. So naturally I got my hook out and made a few .

 These buttons are from hobby craft , little choo choo trains, isn't it strange how suddenly the way you speak changes when a baby comes along .

 I used the beautifully soft yarn from Sublime its Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK. This stuff is deliciously soft and wonderful to crochet with, the hook just glides through the yarn. Making it such pleasure to crochet with. These hats are very easy and very quick to make.

 This little button is also from hobby craft and it is the cutest little boy.

                Easy Baby Crochet Beanie/Hat


This is an adjustable pattern which you can really make with any size yarn and hook combination.
Yarn =  Sublime yarns; Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK, cream , baby blue, dark blue .
Hook = (4mm)
HTR: Start with yarn over the hook, insert the hook through the loop of the next chain stitch, yarn over the hook and draw the hook through the chain stitch only. You now have three loops on the hook.
Yarn over hook and pull through all the loops


Pattern is worked in rounds , please do not turn
Row 1:
Ch 2, 9 htr in 2nd ch from hook, join with sl st to top of ch 2     (10 htr)  


 Row 2;

Ch 2, htr in same sp as sl st, 2 htr in each st around, join with sl st to top of ch 2 (20 htr)
Row 3 Ch 2, htr in same sp as sl st, *1 htr in next st, 2 htr in next st*, repeat from * around, join with sl st to top of ch 2 (30 htr)
Row 4: Ch 2, htr in same sp as sl st, *1 htr in next 2 sts, 2 htr in next st*, repeat from * around, join with sl st to top of ch 2 (40 htr)
 Row 5: Ch 2, htr in same sp as sl st, *1 htr in next 3 sts, 2 htr in next st repeat from * around, join with sl st to top of ch 2 (50 htr)
 Rows 6-15: Ch 2, htr in same sp as sl st and in each st around, join with a slip st.
To create the two colour on  the final four rows I did three rows in navy and a final cream row and fold over. You decide the width you prefer. 
For the blue hat I added a reverse crab stitch. It is worked from left to right, and while it takes some practice, it’s a great stitch to learn. One of my favourite blogs Moogly offers a great tutorial.

I'm joining Ginny's yarn along.

























Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lewis Blanket

It is getting nippy outside. Winter is my favourite season. Wrapped up in layers of yarn is my idea of heaven. I also think there is nothing better than sitting down with all my blankets , crocheted booties with  a cup of steaming drink, hook in hand making something with delicious natural fibers.
By the way these pots of joy are called Beanies. I love the Irish cream and the amaretto almond flavour, they are only 2 calories per serving. Bliss. You can buy online or in Sainburys.

 I made this blanket in a couple of evenings. I am quite sure I have mentioned more than once that I adore Drops alpaca silk, it is a mix of 70% baby alpaca (for the softness) and 30% mulberry silk (for strength and glossy shine). The fibres are untreated, which means they  are not exposed to any chemical treatment prior to being dyed. Drops Baby Alpaca Silk is great for baby garments, is soft against the skin, cooling when hot, and warm when cold.

Aside from the  great quality it is extremely wonderful value for money. The only negative is the fact that it must be hand washed . Im sure you could put it in the machine on those delicate cycles but I am far to scared to do that.

Baby Lewis enjoying a snooze

This pattern is a one row repeat that produces a very lovely texture. This one row also creates a wonderful scalloped like edging meaning once you finish it is ready .It looks wonderful when made in cotton
Drops alpaca silk 7 colours ; 2 medium grey, 2 light grey , 2 heather, 1 off white
4mm hook.
Pattern starts
Chain 140,  (multiples of 4 )

ROW 1; (1tr, 2ch, 1dc) in 4th ch from hook. * skip next 3 chs, (2tr, 2ch, 1dc) in next ch. Rep from * across.
ROW 2 : Ch 2, turn. counts as 1 tr. In the 2ch space of previous row make 1tr, ch 2, 1dc  . In every 2ch space make
2 tr, ch 2, 1dc to end. 

Repeat row 2 every row to end.

I have not mentioned when you change colour .I simply changed colour when the ball run out, obviously start new colour at the end of row, width is done to your preference.

Colour sequence is medium grey, light grey, heather, half a ball of  the off white, you can use the whole ball if you prefer, heather, light grey , medium grey.


Friday, November 07, 2014


At 4.00am  on 17th October  my daughter called saying her waters had broken. She was  having five minutes contractions . We all jumped into action stations. Bags, pillows ,baby stuff , car seat ,blankets you name we had it. She has had quite a complicated pregnancy and was under the care of  a specialist pregnancy unit at St Thomas's. She had been told as soon as she felt she couldn't manage please come in.
We drove there and we were shown  into a cubicle to be examined. Next to her was a lady who was clearly in the later stages of labour. We had just got my daughter comfortable when we were asked to leave  as the lady was pushing and they wanted to give her as much privacy as possible. That poor woman gave birth with just a curtain as her privacy shield. It frightened the heck out of us all.
 My daughter was examined and told as she was only 2 cm please go home. The next bit I am going to write shocked me .She was told if she felt like it to have sex it could help the labour to progress. Yes, dear friend you did read that correctly. She was told to go home and do the business. Aside from the fact that no woman feels like 'it' whilst having contractions her waters had broken .I am no doctor but I am sure infection risks would be quite high. Honestly , I ask you has the world gone mad. We did as we were told and we  drove home she was now having a contraction every 3 minutes. She had something to eat and a hot shower and she tried to remain as positive as she could whilst being in pain.
After a few hours she could not handle it anymore and we drove back. I'm sure you know the story , she was still only 2 cm and was told she needed to go back home .No pain relief was offered and my daughter was by now hysterical. She was told she could get pain relief once the contractions progressed and she was at least 4cm.
She was inconsolable she could not manage to get back into the car as every contraction she had she couldn't wear a seatbelt and she needed to get out of the car . Home was a good 40 minutes away. It is just wouldn't be possible to stop with every contraction on busy London roads. She was told she could go and sit in a waiting room. 
The waiting room was packed. my daughters contractions were coming fast and all they offered was paracetamol. I have never felt so helpless .I could offer no solution other than to breathe with her and tell her that each contraction was once step closer to her son. I can not tell you how hard this part was for her in front of packed waiting room. I mentioned she had complications and the consultants insisted she come to the hospital as soon as she felt she couldn't cope , yet , on the day we were made to feel as though we had made it all up 
 All she needed was a little cubby hole or the curtained cubicle we first had at least it had a bed. She was expected and  indeed she laboured in front of strangers for hours on a little chair before we all had enough and demanded that something be done. I am not one for confrontation but her partner said a few choice words and suddenly we were given a room. She was given pain relief.
 I am baffled, words fail me, does it now take shouting to get what a person needs , it is all so very sad. I am sorry to admit this but I am really rather glad that he swore and demanded that they get her consultant my goodness it blooming worked.
            This was the view from her room , Houses of Parliament and the iconic Big Ben

                                                           Day rolled into night
                                                               Night rolled into day
                             And finally a wee baby boy was born. Baby Lewis was born weighing 5 pounds
I have tried for days to write this post but I have found it so difficult. It was  truly a terrible experience for my daughter. They had to stay in hospital for four days .As I mentioned she had a complicated pregnancy and baby was underweight.
Over the next four days the list of terrible treatment goes on and on .The lack of care. The unit is understaffed and the staff available were rude, extremely unhelpful. She constantly felt like she was a nuisance such was the treatment. 
I believe that there are two professions in life that are a vocation .One is nursing and the second is a teacher. I am sure we all have had or know someone whose experiences of a bad teacher and a bad nurse  left a very bad taste in your mouth.  I bet you can remember that teacher who went that little bit extra, or the nurse that soothed you with the stroke of the hand, a kind word , a shoulder to lean on.
This was just our experience , I hope to God that this was just a one off .I am not sure what is going on but I wish they would bring back matron .I wished they cleaned toilets with bleach or something that at least made you feel the place was cleaner. I'm sure you remember the smell of hospitals back in the day before sanitizers.I know it was unpleasant but didn't it at least make you feel it was clinical and clean. Whatever happened to your bed sheets getting changed every morning? .My daughter sheets were not changed once all she as given was a little waterproof mat in case she leaked . Whatever happened to staff speaking clearly and with respect and compassion.This was just our experience , I hope to God that this was just a one off
Okay, I'm breathing, inhale ,exhale, rant over I could go on and on but that would sour the miraculous event of my grandsons birth. 

Although I have experienced labour twice .I saw things from a different perspective. I watched my little girl become a real woman and then I watched her become a mother all in one day. I watched her and her sister bond. Those two little girls grew in front of me .The youngest supported her big sis, she bathed and rubbed, breathed her sisters pain away .It was so humbling .I cried watching the two of them.
I learnt that I still can soothe my daughter. I felt so many emotions. I'm so proud of my daughter and I love her and baby Lewis so very much, in fact I couldn't love him anymore if he was my own  I could just eat him.
Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Simple diamond in the square

 I love granny squares . I overheard a conversation in a store .Two ladies where pointing to the most beautiful granny squared blanket .The ladies said

" the granny blanket was so dated and terribly old fashioned and obviously they wouldn't have anything called granny in their home"

I felt really sorry for them. Sorry that a  beautiful word like Granny meant so little to them . To me a granny is the greatest word in the world. It is a club that not everyone as the privilege to be in.
Those poor ladies obviously didn't have a great granny like I did.

 My granny was terribly fashionable .She made all her own clothes and hats .Proper millinery .She made soft furnishings .She reared her own chickens  and grow all her own vegetable, with not a chemical in sight. She rolled her own tobacco she grew the plants.
She cooked like a dream . She had thirteen children so I think she enjoyed a cuddle !!!hehe, She did all that until she died aged 95  Does that granny sound old fashioned, dated?

And so dear friend I found this lovely pattern from here. It is called a simple diamond in a square , which I think is perfectly apt .Have a lovely weekend