Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Looking for an experts' expert

I'm a bit frustrated.

I am a very, very good crocheter.  I can make anything I put my mind to.  I read and write patterns.  I can read and draw charts.  I can work without a pattern ... ...


 - I still want to learn.

Does anyone else wish that the crochet experts' expert would write a really advanced book?  Properly difficult stuff?

I would save up my whole year's crochet fund for an enormous, lovely read that was challenging, interesting and unusual.  

We have beginners' books by the thousand but nothing for the confident crocheter that I have found.  I would really love a text that gives little known and advanced techniques, original and difficult patterns, tricks for shaping and sizing, combining different forms of crochet and taking risks.  What about a world tour of crochet in different cultures and though out history?  Wouldn't that be fascinating?

I say 'book' because that is my preferred medium.  All glossy and gorgeous and smelling new.  However, any from would be ok.

Does anyone know of a person able to write this?  Would you be able to write it?  Would you love to read it?  What else would you like to learn from an experts' expert?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


I'm so busy!  It's fantastic.  I always think if I was a plumber or a solicitor or a dentist and I worked this much I would make £1 million a year easy. 

The crochet I did for is up on their site, the cushions and blankets I have made for Sixpence are ready for market and Claire Montgomery's Fashion Crochet is finally published this month including my Yellow pineapple top pattern.  Phew!

I'm still getting lots of calls about knitting.  I like to knit but it just isn't crochet as far as I'm concerned.  I always try to convince people they'd prefer their object crocheted ... not always successfully.  Most recently I was sent a copy of a knitted gonk and asked if I could replicate something similar.  Here is my effort - cute or scary? Notice how I sneakily crocheted his accessories.

My mum and I are also busy getting ready for our Christmas fairs (fayres?).  We add to our usual catalogue with piles of decorations.  I'd love to post them all but there are far too many so I've opened up a facebook page and started my posts with the Christmas ornaments.  You are very welcome to go across and take a peek - just click here.  Please 'like' if you see anything good. Thanks.  I've had to post just one picture, though.  I'm not a good photographer and I've managed to make the cutest of penguins look absolutely psychotic.  This makes me laugh so much I've made it the wall paper on my laptop.  Cheers me up everytime I switch on.

My favourite of this year's seasonal stuff is my mum's mini kit for crocheters.  It is little snowflake/star designs and gives you everything you need (hook, yarn, pattern, beads, rings, brooch findings etc) to make the motifs and convert them into ornaments, brooches or a garland.  It all comes beautifully packaged in a glittery bag and she is charging less than £10.  I love it. It's not on Facebook but I've put it onto my Etsy shop for her.  Again, please go and have a look if you crochet or know someone who does.  It would make a lovely stocking filler.  The Etsy link is on the tab above.

I've got loads more news but I waffled too long so I'll save it for another day.  See you at Ally Pally if you're going!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Crochet inspiration ...

I was demonstrating crochet at a show this weekend.  My mum (and crochet mentor) was with me.  An elderly gentleman stopped with his grand-daughter to show her the crochet and we got chatting.

He told us that he was a long-time crocheter, having learnt when he was quite small.  He had made blankets for his grand-children when they were little but had not worked with a hook for a long time.  He was happy and inspired to see crochet again and hoped his grand-daughter might learn.

The best part of our conversation was a story he told us of his time in the Navy.  Before a tour of duty,  he used to advertise in national and local newspapers for yarn donations.  He would take the yarn and his hooks on board and, during his time at sea, teach the other sailors to crochet easy squares.  They would all make squares during their leisure time and he would sew them together into blankets.

When their tour was over and he was back on dry land, he would take the pile of blankets and offer them where they were most needed - some to charities, some to elderly people and some to poorer families with small children.

What a brilliant story!  I know that there are many knitters and crocheters who make things for the armed services.  Scarves, gloves etc.  But I haven't ever heard of things happening the other way round ... yet.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Granny news


I have been working with a really lovely lady who has ambitions to grow a business in granny square crochet.  Her first ventures are in children's furnishings but before all that I am teaching her to crochet.  She is a really quick study so it shouldn't take long.  In the mean-time I am making up prototypes for her in her chosen yarn.  

Project number one is a cushion pad for the top of an antique wooden toybox.    I finished today.  Her colour choices are gorgeous as is the yarn (Artesano Aran).  I am submitting it as 2 of my granny-a-day ... it is double sided after all!!!

Toybox Cushion Pad Cover in Progress

Also,  in celebration of the Jubilee this week, I am giving away my Union Jack bunting pattern to fellow granny-a-day crocheters.  Just put a link to where you are posting your granny-a-day pics in the comment box (or email me - see contact tab above) with an email address and I will send you the PDF.   Have fun at your street party, pageant, fayre etc 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Places to crochet

2 Places I've visited where a crocheter could live happily:

Let's start with my absolute favourite ...

Wool in Dorset.  Not only is it a really pretty and quiet place but it is near the sea AND near monkey world.  I once left a little zebra amigurumi gift/mini-yarnbomb here :-)


Next is Hook in Hampshire.  Not far from where I grew up.  Another lovely town, although a bit bigger than Wool, with some gorgeous houses.  It is also surrounded by beautiful English countryside and more picturesque villages.  Who wouldn't dream of sitting under a tree on a summer's day, hook in hand .......


And here are some places I have yet to see but might do just as nicely:
  • Yarnton, Oxfordshire;
  • Woolstone, Oxfordshire;
  • Chain Hill, Wantage; 
  • Doiley Bottom, Hampshire;
  • Stitchcombe, Wiltshire;

Friday, 25 May 2012

Knot Crochet ....

Wahay!  I feel like it's the end of term.  The aran jumper is finally done!!  A real labour of love with a lot of fudging around a TERRIBLE pattern. I am very proud of it, despite a few little mistakes!!  It got very hot under all that wool towards the end, too.


What do  you think?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


I'm getting lots of interest in the projects I've made in T-shirt yarn and along with this have come loads of questions.

I love Tarn.  It is bright and soft and so chunky really big projects can be finished in such a short time.

I'm going to try to clear up the most common queries all in one go:
  • I do make my own yarn but only if I have to.  All of the finished objects you will see on-line are made in Hoopla Tarn.  Using tarn upcycled on an industrial scale by someone else is more expensive but it means that I can easily get hold of a lot of a single colour.  This is much more difficult when making your own from old shirts and I like to think I'm encouraging big business to use something that would otherwise be thrown away.
  • I do take commissions - gladly.  If you'd like something made - small and handy or on a grand scale - just use the contact email ( to let me know what you'd like and I'll get back to you to.
  • I do sell finished objects.  Check out my shop (link on the right ->) to see what is currently available.
  • Not everything you see here is made by me.  My mum is also a crocheter and a lot of the work is hers.  Click on the Tarn tab above to see more examples - I've captioned them Victoria (me) or Lynn (Mum).
  • I do have patterns.  I have put a list below.  For the free patterns just drop me an email at the above address.  For the others, just make your way to my shop to purchase.  Keep checking back - there are more on the way.
  • I am happy to give lessons online - yes!  Again, email me to discuss details.
  • YES!  OH, YES! It can make your hand or even your whole arm ache.  I find this only happens if I am crocheting a tight fabric.  To loosen the fabric shift up a hook size or two.  I haven't found a way to avoid arm ache when using multiple strands and giant hooks but it is a good workout :-)
  • The size of the hook I use varies.  Everything from a 7mm or 8mm to make tight/solid fabric - perfect for bowls and baskets - to giant hooks for multiple strands.  Most people find a 12mm the most comfortable.
  • It is lovely for knitting too.  I don't knit as often as I crochet so I am a little biased but I have used it with needles and it works brilliantly.
I think I've covered the most common questions.  If you have any others just ask in the comment box below or email me directly.  Always happy to help.

Available Patterns

To purchase: 

    iPhone Sling

Spiral Rug

Whoopeeeeee!  For Freeeeeeeee:

Little Baskets!

Bag for Life

Bowl Bag

Five Minute Flowers
Giant Snowflake

Friday, 2 March 2012

Crocheter in a pickle ...

Well ...   I've sort of landed myself with a proper pickle.  A lady has asked me to mend a baby blanket she borrowed from a friend.  She said it was crochet and sent it.  It has arrived and ... it's knitted.

 I am a very confident and (I hope) competent crocheter but my knitting is, at best, intermediate.  I've been trying to mend the blanket and I can figure out most of the stitches, I believe, but not all of them and not how they fit together.  It doesn't seem to be  a terrifically hard pattern and I'm hoping someone with more experience than me will be able to sort it out quite easily ... :-s

Soooooo, I'm looking for a brilliant knitter who can look at the photos below and extract a pattern repeat for me.  I'm pretty sure I'll be able to do the rest.  (There's a bit of the edging that's damaged too now I look at it ... Bugger!  No picture of that, yet.)

Anyway, if you can help you are the most wonderful person the world had ever known, flowers will open where you tread, birds will sing your name, the very sun will shine from you ... and I'll be grateful.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Versatile Blogger ... Sharing the love

I was awarded this honour by two fellow bloggers today!  Many thanks to Ali and Laydilyke .

I haven't got my list of 15 finalised yet ... too many to choose from but I will pass on my awards asap.   Here's how it works.

The rules:
1. Add the award to your blog.
2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.
4. List the rules.
5. Award to 15 bloggers.
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.
My 7 random things:
  1. I could live on bread, potatoes and cheese
  2. I am currently dieting (probably a result of number 1)
  3. Crochet saved me ...
  4. I wanted my children early in life but they came to me when I was nearly 40
  5. I'm a little obsessed with penguins
  6. People tell me I'm very patient but I feel anything but!
  7. I have wayward eyebrows ... I hate them

Monday, 30 January 2012

Public Liability Insurance

I have been  having a nightmare trying to find reasonably priced PLI to allow me to sell at fairs and shows.  I've have been transferred and passed on and fobbed off!  Companies who wanted to sell me anything but PLI, companies who would only insure for set addresses (Can you limit your selling to just one event in one place, Miss Stott?), A company who couldn't help but recommended my house insurance (!!!) and one who had exactly what I wanted ... for £276 a year.

Then came the crafting community.  All it took was one sad voice and a question on Twitter and the amazing and supportive crafting world came to my rescue with a million-ish suggestions.  

Paying it forward, I have gathered all this information into a list below in the hope that it will be useful for others too.  Please feel free to copy/steal/link etc

I have no experience of any of these (yet) so I offer no comment but please feel free to recommend, or not, if you have used any of these policies.    £30 subscription includes £5mil PLI
National Market Traders' Federation  Membership includes PLI
Grove and Dean
Ian Wallace
GM Imber & sons
SAA (society for all artists)
Graham Sykes

Hope this is of help to others.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Granny a day catch up!

Here's my catch-up all the way to day #25  I'm still working with the same 3 yarns to make up my squares and I've decided on a repeat for my pattern.  The individual squares that have the same colour on the final round are joined with that colour but I can't decide how to join where two different colours meet.  Any suggestions gratefully received...

I think I'll make 3 or 4 more repeats of the pattern for a nice long scarf.

Here's the pic:

FYI:  you can even see my little crocheted rose in the top right-hand corner.  All ready for the front of a Valentine's Day card.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

19th January 2012

Here are grannies to add to my mini scarf project.  I'm up to six (2 more for days 18 and 19) and I think they're going to go together pairing up the outer colour into a kind of stripe like this:

What a brilliant day so far!  I started off annoyed because a student didn't show for their lesson and this is not the first time they have done this.  I hope they have a good excuse!  Buuuuuut then the lovely delivery man arrived with my new yarn storage system!!!  Admittedly, it is flat pack from Argos so nothing fancy but it was only £19.99 in their sale reduced from more than £100 so I am very very happy with my bargain (in fact, I bought 2).  I  have now constructed one of these lovely six drawer cabinets and have one more to build and then I'm having a major move around.  It is so exciting!!!!!!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

17th Jan 2012

Arrrrrrghh!  Got behind on my Granny a Day squares again!  I think this might happen a lot over the next few weeks ... I have so much to do.   With that in mind, I'm keeping things simple for a while.  I'm doing a mini project inside my big Granny a Day project and I'm going to make a little classic granny square scarf in nautical colours.  That way I can do some smaller and simpler squares for a bit and, in the process, stay sane!

Here are the first four to catch myself up-to-date:

Grannies for days 14, 15, 16 and 17

Friday, 13 January 2012

Jan 13th 2012

Granny a Day squares 12 and 13

I've made a pair of twins (non-identical) for days 12 and 13.
They are made with no foundation chain but a 4ch starter and then 11 trebles into the 4th ch from hook to form the inner circle.  Round 2 is 2tr in each st with 1ch separated the clusters.  Round 3 is 3tr;2ch;3tr for each corner and 2tr in each ch space of the row below separated by 1ch between each cluster (including the corner clusters).  Round 4 is exactly the same as round 3.    Please ignore the fact I haven't been bothered to sew my ends in yet! ;-)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

January 12th

I haven't posted my grannies for te last few days because I've been in my sick bed!  I have kept up my crochet, though, and to prove it here are squares for days 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.  I will complete today's square later.

Day 7

Small and simple.  Made in aran chunky yarn that is a deeper, more gorgeous colour that the picture suggests.  Very easy 4ch ring.  Into the ring for round 1:  four groups of 3tr separated by four sets of 3ch.  Round 2 is just 1tr in each tr below and 2tr into two stitches roughly in the corner.

Day 8

Now, I know this one is a little bit wibbly round the edges!!  It wasn't supposed to have a completely straight edge anyway (honest) but I put the rest of the wobble down to being at the worst of my illness (cough! cough!)  This was made with a bit 16ch ring as foundation and round one was a series of 4ch loops evenly distributed around this ring.  Round 3 was 2dc; 2ch in the side loops and 2dc; 3ch; 2dc; 2ch in each of the corner loops.  Round 4: corners of  5tr each made into the 3ch loop and sides of htr in each of first 2 dc; 2htr in 2ch space; 2ch and skip next 2 dc; 2htr in 2ch space; htr in each of last two dc.   Final round is 1dc in each st; 2dc in 2ch space and 2dc in each of 2 stitches nearest each corner.

Day 9

This one is from Jan Eaton's book "200 Crochet Blocks".  It is the Tricolour Square on page 51 for those of you who already own the book or might be thinking of buying a copy (it's brilliant by the way!)

Day 10

Another from Jan Eaton's book.  This time Waterlily on page 41.  Pretty isn't it?

Day 11

  This is made with Artesano Superwash Merino and is my experiment to see what would happen to the traditional granny if I replaced trebles with doubles.  I've made started with a 4ch ring.  The clusters are all 2dc separated by 1ch along the sides.  The corners are always 2dc; 2ch; 2dc.  I've added an extra round of brown to give a thicker border.  I quite like the result.

Right, I'm off for a Lemsip and some catching up on work...

Friday, 6 January 2012

Jan 6th 2012

Granny a Day  DAY 6 -   Soooooo busy today I've gone for the quick and traditional.  I might be doing a few of these in the weeks to come.    Having said that, there is actually nothing like a traditional granny.  I think it's my favourite so far.

In other news, putting together a diary of 2012 fairs and events for selling and for fun/spending.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Jan 5th 2012

Granny a Day number 5!!  This is from 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton so I won't give her pattern away.  If you're interested, it is number 94 in the book - called Gothic Square (although mine has come out quite massive because I've chosen thicker yarn and a 4.5mm hook).

Same yarns as yesterday and one deliberate mistake!!  Can you spot the stitch I've missed?  Shouldn't have asked that, should I?  I bet there are loads!!!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Jan 4th

Here's my grannies.  One for yesterday and one for today.

First is a traditional square (3 rounds) with 12 satelllite mini squares around the edge.  The mini square are just the first round of the larger square x12.  I used the same yarns as days 1 and 2.

I've changed colourse for the second (I get bored easily!).  There are 4 colours this time.  3 acrylic dk and one, slightly thicker, old, old wool in dark green I found at the back of my shelves. 

The square starts with a large loop made with 6ch foundation.  The stitches are simply half-trebles rather than trebles so that I could fit in more rounds and are positioned between the stitches below rather than into them to give the spikey effect.

Round 1 is (2htr then 2ch) x 4

After that I have put one stitch between each pair of stitches along the straights and varied the corners to compensate for the different  gauges of the yarn and keep the square flat.  They are either 2htr, 2ch, 2htr or 1htr, 2ch, 1htr.  The final round just has 3htr in each corner.

Sorry the pic is a bit blurred ... low light, shakey hand, poor camera ...

Monday, 2 January 2012

January 2nd

Just a quickie to post my Granny a Day square.  I call this one Battenburg for obvious reasons!  It is made of two of the same yarns from yesterday (the quality of my camera doesn't pick them out).  There is a cerise acrylic and a varigated wool/acrylic blend in cerise, brown and green.  The big square is made up of 4 small squares.  Each of which is a 2 round solid granny square.

Foundation:  4ch ring
Round 1:  (3 treble + 2ch) x4
Round 2: 1 treble in each treble below and 2tr + 2ch +2tr in each corner

I could have joined them as I went but I like the look of the whip stitch and they're only little so I went with that.  I'm not a big sewer but I don't mind a little bit now and then !!!...!!!

Sunday, 1 January 2012


My First Thought This Year:

I remember being at school and thinking about being 30.  It would be in the year 2000 and it felt like it was too far in the future to ever happen!  I was 12 then.  It is now 12 years since I was 30!!  Not relevant to my crochet or crafting ... but a thought that keeps buzzing around my head. It makes me feel that I have to make a lot of this year.  I will be 42 (as every sci-fi geek knows, the number that is the answer to life, the Universe and everything), my DF Stu will be 40 and my Grandfather will be 90.  Both my parents are retiring from work and both my children will be in full-time education before the year ends.  It is going to be a year of excitement and change.  I can't wait...

Ok - Crochet!  I keep saying it, but I do intend to blog more regularly.  Partly to help this but, mostly, for the challenge I have signed up for the 'Granny a Day' CAL (link to the right ->).  If I do nothing else, I'm going to post a picture of each granny square as it comes off the hook.   I have decided to go random.  As many different squares as possible using up as much odd stash yarn as possible.  I can't decide whether to connect as I go or wait until the end until I can play around with the placement of each.  Hmmmmm ...

Here is today's (apologies for the picture, my camera is ... well, I'd like a new one!):

It is a 4 round granny with a ch4 foundation ring.  I have used 3 yarns:  2 acrylic and one (I think) is a wool/acrylic blend.  It is a bit wobbly around the edges because the yarns are of different gauges and the first two rounds are round rather than square - I will block it ... probably.

Round 1 is made up of 12 double trebles separated from each other by 1ch.
Round 2 is 1 bobble (made of 5 trebles) in each space and 1ch between each bobble
Round 3 is 1 cluster (3 trebles for each) in each space separated by 1ch except in every 3rd space where there are 2 clusters separated by 2ch to form the corners
Round 4 uses round 2 yarn again and is simply 1 double in each stitch and 2doubles-1ch-2doubles in each corner.

Wahay, 2012 is underway.  The crochet fun has started.   If I've won the lottery this could be the perfect beginning!