Episode 8 – All the stuff you need to know.

Oh jeez, I wish I’d noticed the lipstick!! I’m such a lipstick numpty, I look like the flipping Joker!! Please click on the pic above to travel (in swift fashion) to Episode 8 of the latest crochet podcast vlog. I hope you can ignore my face and simply enjoy the waffle. X

I have plans to write separate blog posts about both my beautiful Blurre shawl, and the colourful granny square blanket (a border colour and pattern have been chosen!).

Here are the links to all the info in this episode….

Pixie Day     There’s a YouTube video here too from a few years ago, to get more of a gist.

Blooming Marvellous

Addydae Designs. Deanne also has a podcast you should check out ~ Here.

Circles in Squares Stylecraft Blanket

Take Two crochet pattern book

Yarns: Dandelion Yarns.    Made By Jude.   The Wool Kitchen.    Viking Hand Dyed.   Undercover Otter.

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Blooming Marvellous – A Knit & Crochet Garden.

I love the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, it’s always welcoming and they have a really eclectic mix of exhibitions. A couple of years ago I went and saw a collection of Matisse paper cut-outs, which was great for a small town gallery (the Thelma Hulbert is in Honiton, East Devon). Sometimes we go just to use their fully stocked art and craft room. The kids love grabbing glue and making collages, or drawing the biggest pictures they can on massive sheets of paper.

I left it really late to visit their latest exhibition, the last day is this coming Saturday (24th June). I can’t believe I didn’t see that it was on until now.

Blooming Marvellous is right up my street because it is a knitting and crochet exhibition! It’s a garden of all things yarn. People from all ages, from all walks of life, hand stitched every item on display. I wasn’t sure if it’d be a bit cutesy but I was delighted to see it all! We also contributed by adding a few rows to some knitting that was there. Can you believe that there weren’t any crochet hooks?! I forgot to take crochet flowers with me. Annoyingly, I have some at home that would have been perfect to donate.

I went with my friend and our two youngest children. The boys had a great time finding things on a list they were given. A mole in a hole, tick! A ladybird wearing a lace collar, tick! A plate of prawns, tick! (The boys were also really pleased to find plug sockets hidden in the floor. But they are only four years old). After the exhibition one of the people working there told us to go and explore the gardens. There were plenty of strawberries to find and eat, she told us. It’s little things like that, that make me like the place so much.

Blooming Marvellous has been touring the UK for the past six years and I wish I could tell you where it’ll be next so that you might get to go. Sadly, I have no idea. Hopefully it’ll be on somewhere else soon. I did take pictures though…

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June Garden

It’s sunny! The sun has come back! I was worried there for a minute. How is your garden? Did it benefit from all the rain?! Everything looks lovely and lush in my little cottage style garden.

I have finally planted out some annuals and while I wait for those to impress me, I’ve got some perennials in flower and one or two surprise self seeders. Although it’s all gone a bit straggly over the years, I still love my garden space.

These alliums have all collapsed now. They looked very proud of themselves when they were at their peak.

The honeysuckle has never looked so good. It was all lopped back two or three years ago and it has done it the world of good. The colours are looking super tropical!

I’ve got a thing about blue flowers. I love them. The more intense the blue, the better. Speedwell en masse is terrific but just look at that anagallis! It’s wonderful. That’s one I planted last year. I did a test between shop bought seeds and collected seeds. Um, I have no idea which this is. Sorry. It wasn’t a very good test. It could even be the survivor of two summers ago when my mum brought me over three plugs from Sarah Raven. It goes nicely with the double petalled feverfew (there was a rogue one that cropped up years ago, I made sure to collect the seeds and now there’s tonnes of the stuff).

During the first week of June, my rambling rose was phenomenal. It was huge! Of course, it was battered by the rain. It is no longer as happy as this.

The rain also quashed the lupins and enticed slugs and snails towards my hostas. The peony has been dead headed. I might chop back the whole lot as it’s drowning a geranium. I’ve done some weeding, which has made it look less tatty than this.

And then there’s the veg. So much purple stuff this year! I’ve been watching the dwarf french bean flowers come out. We have baby beans! But it is the purpleness of the flowers that puts a smile on my face. So much prettier than runner red or the white of the usual frenchies. I’ve got purple mangetout too! The packet says shiraz, which makes me want to drink wine. The flowers are beautiful although they’re more Audrey 2 than sweet pea. There’s no smell either but I hope that their fragrant sisters will  soon get a move on a do some growing. I cheated and bought a pot of ten sweet pea babies. I’ve always grown them from seed in the past but completely forgot this year.

It’s all kicking off now so I dare say I’ll be back quite soon with yet more pictures of plants. See you soon. X

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Crochet Catch up on Episode 7!

Wait! Don’t go, there are more pictures down below! You can still see what crochet I’ve been up to even if you don’t fancy sitting through the crochet vlog. However, you’d completely miss out on a woolly GIVEAWAY and some totally unexpected “live” cat on bird action. Click on the pic to go to YouTube!

The links for Episode 7 are…

My Ravelry gubbins – Come and join me.

My little holiday to Saleres, Spain.

Geo Rainbow Blanket info

Tina Tape Yarn by Wool and the Gang.

The Blurre shawl by Addydae Designs – I forgot to mention that Deanna is doing a Blurre CAL, so get your skates on if you fancy joining in! It ends 30th June.

Caron Cakes Beach Bag

The Crochet Circle – Fay’s informative and awesome crochet podcast.

Summer Romance CAL – I didn’t mention my couple!! I’m sticking with the Dr & Rose.

Crafting is My Therapy.

I hope that’s everything. Please let me know if I’ve missed something or whatevs. Give me a shout. Cheers. X

“I’m not a girly pink person” And then later….. “pink is more my colour” Wha?!

Thanks guys. X

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Geo Rainbow C2C Crochet Blanket

Helloo!! How’s it going? It’s all crazy here at the minute, I have many “things to do” lists strewn about the place! One thing I can tick off the list is: stop worrying about the Geo Rainbow blanket pattern. It’s out now! This month’s Inside Crochet (issue 90) is in the shops. There are loads of great patterns in there but when I opened it’s pages, I went straight for my colourful crochet blanket.

I made the front cover! Excuse me for getting excited; it’s very novel. I’m mega proud of what I’ve achieved over the last few months and I’m taking time to shirk off the modesty and say “yay me!”. I absolutely believe everyone should do this from time to time. Just stop and tell yourself how great you are, because it’s true! Stop worrying about others and concentrate on yourself for a while.

The idea popped in my head around October/November and the first stitch was made at the end of December. It was born from a crochet cushion I made last August, this one….

It’s funny where ideas take you.  I liked the geometric pattern but there was no way I wanted to make a whole blanket out of such small stitches (even though I have since done exactly that, with a chevron blanket!). The best way of getting the look I wanted was to go C2C.

Not only do I have a published pattern in this issue but there is also have an article about how to do the corner to corner stitch. I submitted the finished blanket in February; in May I was asked if I fancied having a go at writing a “mini masterclass”. I said yes because you can’t say no, can you?!

For the article I made a swatch, with each stage photographed so I could show how to do all the important bits of c2c.  Breaking it down was fascinating. It makes you realise just how much work goes into all the crochet that we do. Think of all those twiddly twists made with hook, yarn and fingers!

Lots of yarn is used at the same time. It’s so much fun to see it all jumbled together. I was (surprisingly) pretty fastidious about keeping it well organised. There’s no way you want this lot to get in proper tangle.

The people behind the magazine would like to take my blanket to Yarndale this year! How fab is that?! I do hope I can make it up to Skipton for September. I don’t relish driving for 5+ hours on my own but I’d love to go…dilemma.

Corner to corner is really popular at the moment. What do you think? Is it something you’d like to try? Have you made a a graphgan before? I’d love to hear. Do let me know.  Cheers. X

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Crafting is My Therapy – A Creative Community

(A glimpse from April – Nicola’s collage with some of April’s contributors.)

About a year ago I stumbled upon a crafty link up called Crafting is My Therapy. It’s run by two crafters: Nicola of Me, You & Magoo and Jennifer of Jennifer’s World whose ethos is pretty self explanatory: it’s about craft as therapy! The link up has now moved to Instagram. More and more people are connecting through their varied crafting and we’re all in agreement that making and creating is definitely an oasis of calm in continually hectic lives.

Last month it was my blogging friend Maura of The Messy Brunette who co-hosted the Instagram hashtag. Read Maura’s thoughts here. This month it’s my turn. I’ll be checking out the hashtags as often as I can and choosing my favourites to post here and over on IG.

If you’re an Instagram user then make sure to tag your crafty projects with #craftingismytherapy_june

We’d love to see your work there!

What Nicola says: “The focus of our hashtag is crafting for pleasure, basically taking some ‘me-time’ to unwind in our busy lives. It doesn’t have to be a finished project, we love seeing work in progress, planning posts or tutorials too.”

This collage is from May and pinched from Maura’s post (whilst I work out how to do collages from other IG users….) starting from top left and its @ crafticland, top right @ yarnandblarney. Bottom left @shirleyrainbow_tb and bottom right is @knottyhoops .

A Holiday in Valle De Lecrin.

I’ve been on holiday! About a month ago one of my sisters asked me if I fancied a trip away. She had a week off work coming up and was planning a holiday. Originally she was going to go with a friend but her friend had had to back out. Her misfortune was my gain because I said “Yes!” (If you’ve seen my crochet vlogs on YouTube, you’ll know I’ve been saying yes to everything this year in a bid to be more brave). It all happened very quickly; all of a sudden four nights in Andalucia had been booked!

Looking out of the aeroplane window got me excited. Before that I was kind of anxious about the whole thing. I barely slept the night before, knowing that I had to get out of bed at 3.15am and drive us an hour and fifteen to Bristol airport. Other people do this sort of thing all the time but to me it’s pretty alien. Honestly, this year has been nuts. Saying “yes” to things has meant that I’ve been to Edinburgh Yarn Festival, had a weekend break in Amsterdam and now I’ve been to Spain for the first time. All of these have been brilliant but also very budgetty. (By the way, I’m also “yessing” to less extravagant stuff too, I’m not about to leave us penniless by jet setting all over, just cos I want to. You know, simple things: Do you want to go for a walk? “Yes”).

Our destination? Saleres, a small, quiet town in Valle De Lecrin, an absolutely stunning part of Spain near the Sierra Nevada mountains . Read about the area here. Isn’t it lovely?! There are no shops in Saleres but there is a bread man who comes round twice a day in his van. And there’s a fish man too who visits everyday. If you hear a tooting horn, then you know someone has come to sell you food. You don’t need a fruit man as there’s loads of it growing on your doorstep. It was wonderful to pluck your own sweet oranges from trees that are in all directions. Lemons were huge and we needed those for G&T’s. We braved the prickly pear fruit, burning the spines off before we handled them and we weren’t sure whether the other things we spied were persimmon or not. It was awesome and I was greedy. We spotted almond trees too and there were allotments aplenty, quite sporadic in their placement but I’m guessing those local guys knew what they were doing. Lots of broad beans, onions and happy tomato plants . The area was abundant in everything. Super lush.

It was AirBnB time. My sister was clever enough to find decent accommodation. I was searching in the wrong places. Just because the airport was in Malaga, did not mean we should stay in Malaga. We stayed in a lovely house, which was traditionally moorish in style.  We had three terraces to ourselves and they were mostly private. I did notice an old man in the distance whilst I was using the outdoor shower. He didn’t seem to mind me having a wash. In fact, I think he was rather enjoying himself until he realised I’d turned round and seen him! The house was cool inside and the terraces had hot hot sunshine from morning until sunset. Bliss.

The very first stop was a supermarket to stock up on food and drink (cava and rioja obvs). How I wish I could have fit a jamon into my suitcase. I did squeeze in a fat chorizo and a packet of morcilla (Spanish black pud). Yum!

On our first full day we flipflopped down to Canuelo beach, a very nearly desserted shingle beach. It’s quite a walk down to get there. It’s so worth it though. Stunning, I tell you! Walking back up the hill left me with a beetroot face. It was very hot and super steep. I understand that in peak season there is a bus. You’re not allowed to drive down, you park at the top.  We saw police come and put a ticket on the only car brazen enough to break up the beauty of the place. I minded my own business and got on with some beach crochet (there’s a post coming soon about Wool and the Gang’s Tina Tape yarn).

The next day was a trip to Alhambra, a palace/fortress that we couldn’t get tickets for. It was completely sold out. We learned that it’s usually booked up weeks in advance.  However, what the official people didn’t tell us (but a friendly guide did) is that there is half a day’s worth of stuff you can do for free! It’s a bonkers place, absolutely massive and I’m kind of glad of all the stuff we couldn’t see  (I would have been seriously worn out). We did get to see extraordinary, imposing architecture. There is also an art gallery and museum on site, which we had a wander round.

In the evening we thought we’d stroll over to the next town for a drink and some tapas at one of the bars there. We got lost. Quite a few times actually. After stumbling through some oranges groves and making a couple more wrong turns, we reached our destination. Restabal is another of the towns in Valle de Lecrin, a sign told us it was 1.5km away from Saleres. We found Bar Jovi, which served cold beer (dos cervezas por favor) and delicious tapas. The gubbins that we read at the house told us Restabal was a twenty minute walk away. Hmm, it was a twenty minute march not a casual stroll (we didn’t get lost on the way home, despite it being dark). Whatever, we’re young and fit, it was fine. And the frogs we heard! On the way home, we passed a giant round metal vat/reservoir doodah with water in it. There were frogs hanging out in there and the sounds bouncing off the walls were incredible!

Squeezing in more terrace top crochet.

The last day was a walk to Albunuelas, which was about 3km in the other direction. The path we took is part of the GR7. The GR7 goes through several European countries and is a walkers dream. Or so I understand. Read about it here. The views were awesome, the pathways were brilliant, and we didn’t get lost! It was ridiculously hot though and there are very few shady places. We took plenty of water and when we got to Albunuelas we found a quiet bar (we followed old guys after their sherry). My Spanish is awful but my sister is way better than me. She got across to just keep the tapas coming. There was confusion about menus, I don’t think it was one of the places we’d been told would do three course lunches for 9 Euros. However…

Goodness me! I loved the tapas, it was completely fabulous. (Top right pic is from Bar Jovi). The woman behind the bar was lovely, she made a huge effort to impress us (flaming sausages!). We only had a couple of beers each yet we got through six plates of yummy snacks.

Interesting wildlife too.  House martins and swifts zipped about the sky and a gecko sat with us on our top terrace. I know we get lizards here, in fact, there’s a dead slow worm in the garden right now, but I do love seeing them skitter about the place as you walk past. We also saw an eagle owl living on some bloke’s balcony. There were half a tonne of cats on street corners too. They’d come in the house if you let them but we were told to discourage them. A wise decision unless you’re a legit cat lady.

On our last night we steeped in the outdoor tub. Sat neck deep in hot water, we listened to the frogs sing and gazed at bats and shooting stars. Then it was time to go home. Over so quickly. Everything was properly enjoyable. I don’t think I was ever unhappy at all. I wonder where we’ll go next time?!

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Garden Pictures for Spring

Just some garden pics. These have been taken over the last few weeks. It’s good to see what wakes up and when. There are lots of jobs that need to be done. I’ll go out there in a minute and put the bean canes up. If I can squeeze it in I’ll go to the garden centre and get some pretty annuals for the pots. I got some at the supermarket the other day but they need companions.

This iris is an unexpected visitor. I haven’t planted any in recent years and there haven’t been any flowers for that amount of time either. It must have decided to just go for it this year. I like his little spider friend!

Um, that’s all really. The rain has been relentless this last week, I must make the most of today’s sun.

How to Crochet a Beach Bag. Free pattern

At the very beginning of April I had an email from Hobbycraft asking if I’d be interested in designing a crochet project for them. It was really exciting to be asked and really exciting to learn that I could pick any materials from stuff they sold in their stores! Caron Cakes took my fancy, it’s self striping so no colour changes!! The brief was “summer” and what’s more summery than a bag for the beach?! The pattern pretty much uses two entire “cakes” including plenty for pompoms. Honestly, it’s a super easy crochet pattern and pretty fast to work up too.

Hobbycraft have an Instagram account and blog page especially for knitters and crocheters. The bag pattern is up and ready to grab over on Hobbycraft (see below). The best thing of all is that it’s totally free!! They’re asking lots of IGers to come up with patterns. It’s a lovely idea to include crafters who are already connecting in a virtual community. There are some fabulous patterns available and they’ve all been designed by us!

Go here for Crochet Beach Bag awesomeness!!

And if you spot my error, please keep schtum!! 😀  It was very late at night, I was tired and mistakes happen. I kicked myself for not noticing until it was beyond changing. What a silly sausage. Ah, you’re gonna seek it out now. Psshh.

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Episode 6. Crochet Vlog/Podcast

Hello there! The above screen shot will take you to YouTube for a crochet podcast /video web log experience you’ll never forget!!  Please do pop along and watch; it would make me super happy!  Anyway, what have you been up to? This vlog is pretty much what I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks. I always have really good intentions about structure, format, order etc. As soon as the record button gets pressed, that all goes out the window! It’s just supposed to be a chat, not a presented programme. That’s what I tell myself.

Here are the links to stuff in episode 6. If there’s anything else you’re interested in please do ask. Cheers.

This week’s bluebell blog post

Japanese crochet books (and other various craft books) can be found here

Nanna Nostalgia. A blog post I wrote last year about my crafty heritage.

Keep Calm and Carry Yarn Podcast

Crochet Cakes Podcast

Crochet Luna Podcast

And here is some of the stuff I talked about this time round…