Monday, February 23, 2015

Inside Crochet issue 62

 It seems in life you must have some bitter parts that then allow you to appreciate the sweet. That's a bit how I feel about learning to crochet .I learnt to crochet whilst battling illness. I had a stroke which resulting in paralysis of my left side .It suddenly meant my knitting was something I couldn't do. It devastated my live , I know that sounds dramatic but I  have always knitted and the thought of never playing with my beloved yarn was something I was not prepared for. My best friend suggested I come to her knitting and crochet class and learn to crochet. I enrolled and the rest as they say is history.
So there is my bitter sweet pill. If I had not had the stroke I know I wouldn't have put down my knitting needles ,which means I would never have fallen in love with crochet . I would never have set up my crochet group .A group that has made me meet some wonderful people over the years. I would never have learnt that I have patience to teach others and the patience it takes to design .The design process is very lengthy. inspired by Harris tweed and their wonderful duotone textile patterns.

This is my latest design, The Houndstooth Scarf .It is inspired by Harris tweed and their wonderful duotone textile patterns. We are all familiar with the classis black and white  I decided to make it in red.
 It is a very simply pattern and the two yarns are carried throughout the scarf and swapped at every row resulting in a very thick fabric. Perfect for those cold months

My love of pom poms and my  clover pompom makers (I have three sizes I really like pompoms and firmly believe everything looks great with a pom pom) lead to this lovely crocheted pompom edging .
It is a great unisex piece minus the pom pom edging if you are my Mr.


Saturday, February 07, 2015

Domestic Violence

It has been a dreadful two weeks. It started with a phone call , my daughter was screaming down the phone, please could I come and get her. She thinks she ended the call but I heard her screaming the words
' I cant breathe ,please stop ,'.
I heard my grandson screaming in that high pitch that babies only do at times of distress .It is a blood curdling cry. I called the police. I was in my pjs. I grabbed my coat , got into the car and drove like a bat out of hell .I have no idea how I didn't have an accident .I called all the family telling them they needed to meet me at her house.

Fifteen of the longest minutes of my life went by before I got to hers. The police were leaving her flat .I approached them . It seems my daughter had called during her attack but her partner grabbed phone and ended the call, it seems the neighbours had also called. They said that he had fled before they had arrived and that my daughter didn't want to press charges. He said she has very distressed and he knew she was scared to talk. He asked me to try and persuade her to report the incident. I have to say their response time was very good. they had arrived five minutes after my daughters call.

The rest of the family arrived .The scene that awaited us was horrific .My daughter had a burst lip and massively swollen left cheek, and finger marks around her neck. Scratches on her arms and bruising around her wrists. She was shaking, crying, trying her best to console the baby.

We talked, we listened, she  said wanted to press charges but she was afraid that they would take her baby away if she admitted she was a victim of domestic violence for four years. Yes, you did read correctly .She had told us for the first time  she had been beaten up for four years, almost weekly.

 We managed to persuade her that the only way forward for her and her son is that she finally goes to the police. I reassured her no one would take baby away. I told her if she got help and left him no one would doubt her parenting skills. If she stayed I told her I would report my fears for her safety and the babies and that if she stayed with him I would make her leave the baby with me. I believe in life you have to make a stand I would not allow my daughter or grandson to ever live in fear of violence now that I was aware of this dangerous situation. I know that she finally understood the gravity of the situation. Her love for her son is what has made her take a stand .I am incredible proud of her

We spent hours waiting at the police station before we where finally seen. In that time my daughters resolve waned .My only complaint with the system at police stations is that if a victim of  DV  comes in they should get them in a room as quickly as possible as the victim shouldn't be allowed to think too much about the consequences of reporting this terrible crime. My daughter was so fearful of his reprisal, she changed her mind so many times whilst waiting. She finally reported it and a warrant was issued for his arrest. This was an agonising wait. We reported the DV on the Friday and they couldn't find him until the sunday.

During this wait my daughter was advised to contact DV hotline and women's aid who helped organise emergency accommodation. She couldn't stay with us or my mum as her partner knows these places.It is a terrible thing when you cant keep your children safe. We spoke to social workers, solictors, housing officers all of whom wanted almost blow by blow account of her DV. I watched my daughter stripped bare , it is a terrible thing to hear about your child being hurt and we never had any idea. He'd even hit her during her pregnancy.I have never felt so powerless. Hugs and kisses and lots of tissues was all I could offer. Reassurance that he will never hurt her again.

He was arrested and let out on bail until his court appearance seven days later. The solicitor advises we should take out a non molestation order to prevent him from any contact with an power of arrest note added. So that if he contacts her in any shape or form he will be arrested and this is then regarded as a breach of the order. The process from the moment you report DV is so long and complicated and I know this is the reason that women give up. The molestation order costs approx £1000 and it doesn't last indefinitely ,I am however very glad that it is available because finally she can feel safe.

 I would urge anyone who is living with DV if you are hurt please at the very least report it to your gp .He will not be able to do anything without your consent but at least that bruise/slap/ whatever would be noted and it will help when you finally can't stand it anymore. I'm so proud of my daughter.

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.