Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Crochet Concupiscence

I've been meaning to mention Crochet Concupiscence for a while now and this morning Kathryn Vercillo, who writes this blog, sent out messages about her current projects and it sparked me into action!

Whispertwister's fingerless glove
Let me get this off my chest first:  I LOVE THIS BLOG!  I started by following as @crochetblogger on Twitter and just popping over when there was an intriguing tweet.  There were so many intriguing tweets!   Kathryn's ability to find interesting crochet news seems never ending.   Just on the home page she is sharing the love with a promo for another Etsy seller, discussing  crochet into old age and exploring a particular favourite of mine, recycled and upcycled yarns.

WARNING!  It is very easy to get lost and spend hours reading through the blog (I'd like it reproduced as a huge, glossy coffee table book - that way I could put in a book mark!).  And, yes, this post is taking a very long time to write because I haven't been able to resist reading several articles ... watching yarn being made with one eye as I type!

Kathryn has 3 projects she is very keen to promote at the moment.  I'll let her tell you about them:

"1. Swaddle! A Crochet Art Project. Swaddle is a crochet art project exploring the ways in which women nurture the men in their lives. It looks at silent forms of nurturing but specifically delves into the way that women communicate. Swaddle looks at the positive ways that female approaches to communication improve relationships but also looks at the darker side of how differing communication styles can suffocate relationships. It does so using crochet, which has stereotypically been considered a female craft. It will include 12 – 24 works of crochet art incorporating a range of crochet types including hyperbolic crochet, mosaic crochet and granny squares and using yarn from indie dyers, sellers and small yarn stores. I am trying to crowdsource funding for the project and all people who contribute will be represented in the project."

"2. The Health Benefits of Crochet (a book). I am writing a book about the mental and physical health benefits of crochet. Crochet is such a healing, soothing craft and can provide significant mental health benefits for people dealing with depression, anxiety and stress-related illness. It can be used as a form of both long-term and short-term pain management and also as a form of occupational therapy for people with various hand ailments. What I’m spreading the word about is that I’m still interviewing people for this book and I’d love to hear from anyone who feels that crochet has helped their health and who would like to complete an email interview for the book."

"3. Hooked Together! (a blog project). Hooked Together is my huge crochet blog project designed to explore the connections within the crochet community. I have a list of 270 crochet / fiber / yarn blogs that I read. I am going through the blogroll for each of those blogs and exploring what they read, sharing their links to crochet, craft and other blogs on my blog every Friday so that my readers can find other blogs that they’ll enjoy. In the end, I’m going to put all of this together into a big display so that we can all see how the crochet community is connected within itself and to the larger craft community."



Such fascinating and important projects.  Those of you who know me will also know that my degree is in Linguistics and so the communication/crochet combo in the Swaddle project is right up my alley!  You will also be aware that crochet has helped get me through some very difficult times and a crazy leap from the security, but destructive stress, of a nicely paid teaching job to the insecure world of self-employment in crochet hooking and crochet design.  I owe a lot to crochet and I think this book is an amazing idea.

If you love crochet or anything yarn or fibre related... go and visit Crochet Concupiscence.

What an advocat for the world of crochet! 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Breast Feeding Booby Hat!

Saw this in a collection of images.  Interesting and clever use of yarn.  Wasn't sure what I thought at first but I've grown to love it.

Find it here:  SarasStitches

b850

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

AmBIGurumi

I'm so excited. I just needed to share my latest project striaight away.  I did this simply to see what would happen!!

I've been working  with Tarn a lot recently and I'm a little bit in love with it.  These pictures are my "What if I used super-bulky tarn to make amigurumi ..." 

Well, this is what happens and I really love itJust got to find something to do with them now!

The bunny is what happens if you follow an amigurumi pattern stitch for stitch.  This beautiful pattern is from "Amigurumi (Cozy)" by Lan-Ahn Bui and Josephine Wan.

Leo is my own take on using the yarn in this way. 

To give you an idea of size, they are sittting in one of our garden chairs - human size.
Tell me what you think.




Thursday, 15 September 2011

Trio of hats update

Wanted to share the pictures of the hats on their intended heads.  Don't they look great!!!  I'm so pleased ... although the orange one is perhaps just a bit too big and the button box is on the wrong way round.

Flower Pot


Button Box


Princess

Monday, 12 September 2011

Trio of Hats

I really have a hat fetish at the moment.  I can't stop.  I've just finished a commission of 3 princess hats for 3 little sisters.  They're sooooo cute.  I'll post pics of the girls in the hats asap but for now ... here are the finished objects.  Comment and let me know what you think. 
Ginger Cobbler Flower Pot
Pattern already done and available at:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/81618123/ginger-cobbler-flower-pot-hat-uk-pattern
Button Box Beanie

Pink Sparkles Slouchy

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Micro- Crochet

Mini, micro, tiny ...

I'm loving tiny crochet at the moment.  My love affair started with something I saw on Etsy (but more of that later) and I've been browsing to find more examples.  If you make teensy teeny weeny things PLEEEEASE post some pics or links.  I am in awe of the tiny, accurate stitches and the skill and patience that must go into these creations.  I am also itching to have a go and have put micro-crochet on my to-do list ... any tips gratefully received.  Watch this space for my first attempts in the weeks to come.

In the mean-time, here are some examples worth a look:

1    Really cute Winnie the Pooh but my favourites are the tiny yellow ducky and the gingerbread man. Featured on Dolls House Minatures Sites.  http://www.etsy.com/listing/75247218/muffas-micro-miniature-piglet-pooh

2   More dolls house stuff - this time there are patterns!http://www.buttercupminiatures.co.uk/free-crochet-patterns.asp

3   This is where I started with micro-crochet (NB link on Blog does not go to Etsy).  I absolutely adore the work here.  It is AMAZING.  The best thing I've ever seen is the minature whale - it actually has a water spout! - but there are so many brilliant pieces it is so difficult to pick out the best selection.  I highly, highly recommend browsing their Etsy shop.
http://su-ami.blogspot.com/p/macro.html
http://www.etsy.com/listing/68540570/micro-honey-bee-crochet-miniatures?ref=cat1_list_38

4. This crocheter specialises in in small mice  http://www.crochetedgifts.com/mice.htm

5.  A flicker stream of tiny dolls - I recommend page five for the Wizard of Oz - Oh yes!http://www.flickr.com/photos/dbaminis/page2/

This all led me into the parallel world of knitting.  Are there mini-knits to match the mini-crochets???  Why yes, of course there are!  In fact, much much more than there is for crochet.  Behold!

6.  http://www.bugknits.com/gallery/garments3.htm
There are even patterns here ..  I think I might have to knit a  fisherman's cardigan.
7.  This was a real find.  A whole index of mini-knit sites:
http://www.miniknittingstuff.com/links.htm

8.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muce8MVqTaU
and the youtube video of the knitting of Coraline's jumper.  Wow!

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:  
  • That yarn the Coraline knitter is using isn't even fine for most thread-work crocheters - in fact some would count it as quite a thick yarn.  So is there more micro-knit because it is less fiddly than micro-crochet? 
  • Having said that, the equipment for tiny crochet is much more readily available - I have some tiny antique hooks in my own collection - some so small that it is hard to tell there is a hook there.  Why don't more crocheters use their thread hooks to make teeny, tiny things?  I do some thread work but have never used the tiniest hooks - they will now have a job of work because I intend to have a go!!  Join me and post your creations.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Monday 22nd August

I'm terrible at this blog-thing, aren't I?  I keep forgetting to write and when I sit down I can't remember what I was going to say!!!  Well, the new school year approaches and I am making my New Year's Resolution to blog more.  (Hopefully it will last a bit longer than January's resolutions!)

I wanted to give a big congratulatory shout out to Joanna - my iGCSE student who took both English First Language and English Literature this summer.  She came out with 100% in both examinations and is now making her way to England to start her A level courses at a school here.  Wahay!!!  I am sooooooo thrilled for her.  This leaves me with a space in my tuition timetable ... if you know anyone who would like on-line English tuition, just let me know.

As far as the crochet goes... well, it is so busy and so exciting!  As usual, I have more ideas than time and have been a good girl by locking my laptop away in the evenings so that I can devote the time to crochet and painting.  I'm still way behind on my pattern writing, though!

I am looking forward to the next few months.  I am going to be at Ally Pally with the Hoopla team again.  I love days at these big events.  Loads of chat, loads of fun and absolutely LOADS of yarn.  I'm just about to set up a gallery here of Hoopla/Tarn ideas.  I don't make any money from the company - just work as a crochet consultant so I'm not trying to sell you anything, honest!  I have a Hoopla design coming up in Inside Crochet so keep an eye out.  Until then, here are two mats my mum made recently!  I just love the colours.  She's amazing.




As for me, I've been working on a scumble project (more on that when I've finished) and just going hat crazy.  I'm going back through stash yarn and finding fun colours and textures to see how they work into hat designs.    I'll put a few pix below.  The best is the purple fluffy one in a crazy yarn.  I have no idea what it is because its bands were missing but its such fun.








Strange that these are all acrylics - I usually use them for more artistic projects and keep the more expensive natural fibres for snuggly stuff.   There is nothing like the feel of a natural fibre or the texture of a hand-spun yarn (oooh  I meant to point you towards an Etsy spinner:  RebekkaLeigh -look her up, you won't be disappointed.  Her yarn is unusual and beautiful.)  I've been using some lovely merino for hoods and scarves.

Anyway, a quick up-date and a long waffle!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Free Hoopla Pattern - Little Basket!

Little Basket - A very easy pattern

An 8mm hook is recommended – move up to a larger size if your work is too solid or stiff

You will need 1 bobbin of Hoopla yarn in a colour of your choice. It is recommended that you choose the cotton/lycra mix rather than the less stretchy cotton yarn.

In order to complete this project you will need to know how to create the following stitches.  Instructions are included at the end of this pattern:

Chain stitch (ch)

Double crochet (dc)

Slip stitch (sl st)

Magic Circle or Magic Loop (MC)
 

This pattern is written with UK stitch notation.


The Base

1.      Start with EITHER 4 ch joined with a sl st to form a ring OR a MC

2.      Round 1:             If working into a 4 ch ring : ch 1, make 7 dc into your ring

If working into a MC: make 8 dc into the circle and pull your circle tight

3.      join with sl st to first ch

For the rest of the base you be working in a spiral so you will not need to join at the end of each round.

It might help you to mark the first stitch of this round with a stitch marker or a piece of contrasting yarn.  As you reach the marker move it up to the first stitch of the next round so that you will always know where you are. 

Work into the back loop of the stitch from this point onwards. 

4.      Round 2:  ch 1, 1dc in same st,

5.      2dc in each st round,

6.      Round 3: 1dc in 1st ch stitch of last round,

7.      2dc in next st,

8.      Repeat step 6 and 7 round

9.      Round 4: 1dc in 1st stitch of last round, 1 dc in same st, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts,

10. 2dc in next st, 1 dc in each of next 2 sts,

11. Repeat step 10 round

12. Round 5:  Repeat round 4 (steps 9,10 and 11) until you have 2 sts remaining

13. 1dc in each of 2 remaining sts

14. To finish the spiral:  miss 1 st and dc in the next st, sl st into next st

15. You should have 41 st around

The Sides

16. Round 6:  ch 1, 1dc in the back loop of each st round

17. join to first ch with sl st 

Stop working in the back loop and work in the whole stitch from this point onwards 

18. Round 7: ch2

19. Miss 1 st, dc in next st, ch 1

20. Repeat step 19 round and join with sl st into ch 2 space

21. Round 8: ch2

22. dc in 1ch loop, ch 1

23. Repeat step 23 round and join with sl st into ch 2 space

24. Round 9 onwards:  repeat round 8 three  more times

25. You should still have 42 sts around
   
The Handle
1.      Ch 20
2.      Miss 20 st around top edge of basked and join with a sl st
3.      1dc into next st on edge of basket
4.      24 dc around the handle chain and join to the opposite edge of the basket with a sl st
5.      Sl st in the st where your handle started and dc in the next st
6.      20 dc around the handle chain. Make these sts on the opposite side and make one in between each of your first row of 20dc so that they overlap
7.      Join with a sl st to the edge of the basket
8.      Finish off by cutting yarn and sewing in the tail end securely. Don’t forget to sew in the beginning tail end very firmly too.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME WITH ANY QUESTIONS - HAVE FUN

Long time no blog!

I have been so busy...  There's been absolutely no time for anything but work. 




I'm so glad to say that the enormous thread work commission I've been working on since October is finally finished and posted.


 I've made twenty 28" doilies for wedding breakfast table centres.  There were five each of four designs which I completed with help from my mum's amazing hooking skills. 







I've included some pix so you can see the (nearly) finished objects - these were taken before blocking so you'll have to use your imagaination a bit. 








I am sooooo proud of them.  They look beautiful and I hope they will help to make Danielle's wedding a very special day.








I've been having fun with Hoopla again.  The more I play with it the more I find I love it.  This time I have been selling the pattern for a cute little basket meant for Easter eggs and goodies for Mothers' Day.  I'm going to make it a free pattern now and I'll post it in my next blog for anyone else giving Hoopla a try.  They take so little yarn; they're so great for using up the ends of bobbins you have laying around.  These baskets and a spell of hot weather were the inpiration for my mini-hanging baskets.  I've filled some with plants and hung them on a trellis in front of my house.  We live on a park and I love to sit and watch the faces and pointing as people go past.  They are so bright and eyecatching - I love these too...  I'm hoping for tumbling strawberries and tomatoes, although I haven't got a very green thumb so we'll see.


Well, I'm off to my pen this time.  More pattern writing.  HOW EXCITING! :-)

Friday, 18 March 2011

Hoopla Yarn Patterns

Thanks to everyone who has come looking for Hoopla patterns.  Hope you like the free ones I've posted so far.   FYI there are more on my website:  www.stringtheorycrochet.co.uk  (some free; some for sale) and there are more to come in the near future.  Anything you'd like to make?  Then just let me know.  If I get enough interest, I'll happily make up patterns.

I'm off to the show at Olympia with Charlotte and Erkan tomorrow, so I'll post some piccies asap of the high jinx!

Have fun with your Hoopla!!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Free Hoopla Pattern #2



Five Minute Flowers


 
A 10mm hook is recommended – move up to a larger size if your work is too solid or stiff
You will need much less than 1 bobbin of Hoopla yarn in a colour of your choice.


In order to complete this project you will need to know how to create the following stitches:


Chain stitch (ch)
Double crochet (dc)
Treble crochet (tr)
Double treble crochet (dtr)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Magic Circle (MC)


FLOWER 1 – CURVED PETALS
Foundation:     
  1. ch5
  2. Join with ss to form ring
Round 1:        
  1. ch1
  2. 10dc into ring
  3. Join with ss
Round 2:        
  1. all in same st - ch3, tr, dtr, tr, ch3
  2. dc in next dc
  3. all in same st - 1dc, ch2, tr, dtr, tr, ch2, 1dc
  4. dc in next dc
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 three more times
  6. Join with ss and finish off


FLOWER 2 – FLAT PETALS
Foundation:     
  1. ch5
  2. Join with ss to form ring


Round 1:        
  1. ch1
  2. 10dc into ring
  3. Join with ss
Round 2:        
  1. all in same st - ch3, 3tr, ch3
  2. dc in next dc
  3. all in same st - 1 dc, ch2, 3tr, ch2, 1dc
  4. dc in next dc
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 three more times
  6. Join with ss and finish off




FLOWER 3 – POINTED PETALS
Foundation:     
  1. ch5
  2. Join with ss to form ring
Round 1:        
  1. ch1
  2. 10 dc into ring
  3. Join with ss
Round 2:        
  1. all in same st - ch4, dtr, ttr
  2. ch6
  3. dc in each of next 2dc
  4. all in same st - ch3, dtr, ttr
  5. ch6
  6. dc in each of next 2dc
  7. Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 three more times
  8. Join with ss and finish off

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Free Hoopla Yarn Patterns


I am having such a good response to these beginners and super-easy style patterns for Hoopla that my email is smoking.  To make things easier I'm going to get them all on line.  Enjoy!
Bag for Life - A very easy bag pattern
A 10mm hook is recommended – move up to a larger size if your work is too solid or stiff
You will need 1 bobbin of Hoopla yarn in a colour of your choice.



In order to complete this project you will need to know how to create the following stitches:


Chain stitch (ch)
Double crochet (dc)
Treble crochet (tr)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Magic Circle (MC)




The Base
  1. Start with EITHER 4 ch joined with a sl st to form a ring OR a MC
  2. Round 1: ch 1, make 7 dc into your ring or circle,
  3. join with sl st to first ch
  4. Round 2: ch 1, 1dc in same st,
  5. 2dc in each st round,
  6. join with sl st to first ch
  7. Round 3: ch 1,
  8. 2dc in next st, 1dc in following st
  9. Repeat step 8 round and join with sl st to first ch
  10. Round 4: ch1, 1 dc in same st,
  11. 1 dc in each of next 2 st, 2dc in next st
  12. Repeat step 11 round
  13. Join with sl st in first ch
  14. Round 5: ch 1, 1 dc each in next 2 st
  15. 2dc in next, 1 dc in each of next 3 st
  16. Repeat step 15 round and join with sl st to first ch
  17. Round 6: ch 1, 1 dc in same st
  18. 1 dc each in next 4 st, 2 dc in next st
  19. Repeat step 18 round and join with sl st to first ch
  20. You should have 48 st around




The Sides
  1. Round 7: ch 7, miss next st,
  2. dc in next st, Ch 6, miss next st,
  3. Repeat step 22 round and join to first ch with sl st
  4. You should have 24 loops
  5. Round 8: sl st into each of the next 3 sts so that you are roughly in the middle of the next loop
  6. ch 7, miss next st,
  7. dc in next st, Ch 6, miss next st,
  8. Repeat step 27 round and join to first ch with sl st
  9. Rounds 9 – 13: Repeat Round 8 (steps 25 -28) 5 more times
  10. Round 14: sl st into each of the next 3 sts so that you are roughly in the middle of the next loop
  11. ch 11, miss next st,
  12. dc in next st, Ch 10, miss next st,
  13. Repeat step 32 round and join to first ch with sl st
  14. Round 15 : Repeat Round 14 (steps ? -?) once


The Handles
  1. Round 16: sl st into each of the next 3 sts so that you are roughly in the middle of the next loop
  2. ch 4, miss next st,
  3. dc in next st, ch 3, miss next st,
  4. Repeat last step round and join to first ch with sl st
  5. Round 17: ch1,
  6. 1 double in each st round, join with sl st in first ch
  7. Round 18: ch 1,
  8. 13 dc
  9. Ch 20, miss next 20 sts
  10. 28 dc
  11. Ch 20, miss next 20 sts,
  12. 14 dc, join with sl st into first ch
  13. Round 19: ch 1,
  14. 95 tr round, join with sl st in first ch
  15. Round 20: ch1,
  16. 95 db round, join with sl st in first ch.
  17. Finish off by cutting yarn and sewing in the tail end securely. Don't for get to sew in the beginning tail end very firmly too.












Thursday, 3 February 2011

Thursday 3rd February 2011

Today I have been so fed up with moaners and whingers.  So I'm going to celebrate the best of the good stuff and ignore the whiners!!  

Below are pictures of my boys - what isn't to love about my two cutie blondies? (Yes, I know.  I'm a little biased).  And beyond that are close ups of my two favourite projects ever.  A blue scumble bag - all beady and gorgeous - and a tunisian crochet cushion cover in green yarn and ribbon. 


My funny -boy Benji

Work and home.  That covers both.  And yes, to all you negative ninnies, I love both!!  They make me very happy.


My serious -boy Danny

Want to join me in my celebration?  Let me know what brings you joy and pride.    I'd be honoured to be part of the best of your good stuff.


Danny and Ben just letting you know: not much matters if you've got a big pile of leaves!



Tunisian Cushion Cover - Soft and Tranquil


BUTTON-TASTIC !

I love to have a scumble...
Free-form bag.  I am very proud of this piece.

I feel better now :)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tuesday January 25 2011

Finally, a chance to get a bit of what I've been up to down on paper.  Think I'm going to keep this to Hoopla Yarn but before I do:  Doilies - 9/20 complete; 11 to go... phew!  Going to be gorgeous though.  I'm quite proud.  Site - still a bit of a shambles.  Stu is helping me out but it's so far down the priorities list... well.  If you are magnificent, go have a look at www.stringtheorycrochet.co.uk and send me your criticisms/anything you notice that is below par.  I would be very grateful.


So ... Hoopla.  I've been playing around with this for a while now and I absolutely love it.  Spent the end of last week on the Hoopla Yarn stand with Charlotte and Erkan.  They are a really lovely couple who want to build a family business importing the yarn and they're working really hard to get the message out there - obviously, they want to make money, but they are truely passionate about the product.  I was just a crochet consultant.  I took along a few of the things I'd made to show and had a really good time talking crochet with enthusiasts, experts and beginners.  It was great fun and it looks like we might do the same at Olympia - watch this space.

So, what do I like?  Top 3 ... Number 1:  THE COLOURS!  I LOVE THE COLOURS.  Being on the stall felt like being in a sweet shop.   I've made a lot of bits and bobs for my boys and they fit perfectly into their room.  Which brings me to the second thing I like.  It is perfect for children.  Bright and soft, yet tough and easy to clean (starting to sound like an advert?).  And finally, it is exciting for a crocheter because it can be crocheted tightly and it will hold it's shape so it is almost like sculpting or potting.  It is really strong and sturdy.

Right, balance.  It does have some downfalls.  It is quite heavy, so postage is expensive and it doesn't make good clothing (unless made into a very wide mesh).  Another thing, because it is upcycled from clothing manufacture, the colours are whatever come out of the factory so there is no guarantee of ever getting the same colour again or choosing a colour in advance of looking at the yarn (if that makes sense... you couldn't for eg say " I want to make a set of brown and cream placemats" because there might not be any brown or cream available.  You would have to search out the available colours and choose from the current selection).  

Having said all that, if I could afford it, I would give every crocheter at least one bobbin of the yarn.   Everyone should get the chance to play with it.  I would love to see what other people make of it. If you have a go send me some pix.  Don't know where to start?  I've put a couple of free patterns on my site (for crocheting beginners really but .. hey) and I'll have some Hoopla Yarn for sale too, soon, hopefully.  Otherwise, I urge you to check out the selection at www.hooplayarn.com or visit the amazing Roz Gunwhy at http://chakahoopla.com/  who has also been having a play.


I want to encourage you to have a go so ... what about a competition? 

I'll offer 4 bobbins of your choice from my site as a prize (that's 2kg/400m of yarn) for the best Hoopla design.  I don't mind if you send me a picture of something you've made, a sketch or pattern of a design, or even a FO in the post.  It doesn't matter if it is made from Hoopla or from home-made upcycled fabric yarn.  Your entry can be knit, crochet, woven, knotted .....  anything goes.

I'll decide on a shortlist based on innovation and design and then ask for a vote for the winner.

Deadline:  1st April 2011

LET'S SEE WHAT YOU'VE GOT!