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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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 .

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…

The Crochet Elephant Ripple Blanket

Hello! Happy May! Love May, May makes me happy. Proper spring you see, it’s magic! Plus it’s my birthday in a couple of days and that always gets me giddy (I can’t believe I still get excited about my birthday). It’s been a while since I wrote a post about crochet. They’ve all been videos haven’t they?! I’m starting to see a divide between blogging and vlogging, that I had no idea about. It’s not a problem but I’d like to not neglect anyone.

Anyway… blanket. At the beginning of April a friend got in touch with me and asked very nicely if I would make a baby blanket for her friend. I liked the ideas she had and fancied having a go at something different. It was nice that I could do a brainless ripple but there was also going to be something interesting in the mix as well.

I know that the baby in question is having a safari themed nursery and because grey was to feature in the blanket’s colour palette, it was elephants that sprang to mind. I did a quick search online and came up with these cuties. The pattern is from Repeat Crafter Me and it’s exactly the sort of thing I wanted.

I like how the secret elephants are hidden inside when it’s folded up. You might think it’s a boring blanket. But tumble it open and the cuteness is revealed!

They had to go trunk to tail, that’s something I definitely wanted. I hadn’t thought much about how they’d be attached. I’m glad it dawned on me not to merrily stitch through to the other side. I paid lots of attention to making the stitches only on one side. I had to forgo safety eyes for the same reason (they’d poke right through to the other side). I forgot to take pics of the other side to prove that there’s nothing on show. Watch my latest vlog, the evidence is there!

I used Stylecraft Special dk as it’s perfect for baby blankets. I ordered the yarn at the same time as the release of the new shades so I knew Buttermilk had to be part of it. It’s like someone has added mayonnaise to the Mustard. They go very nicely together. Also in the mix are Teal, Sage and Grey. It looks quite nice on my fabulous(ly cheap) sofa too!

And let’s not forget the ubiquitous Neat Ripple! I have no idea how many times I’ve made Attic 24’s Neat Ripple! So many! I did 8 pattern repeats and 64 rows before adding the grey. At each end I added a ripply row of grey and then a straightening row. You can straighten it off by following this useful guide from Little Tin Bird. Then it was just a case of making a couple of rounds of UK trebles before going back to Attic24 for the edging, which was pilfered from Lucy’s original Granny Stripe. Phew! What do you think? I like it! Anything with grey and mustard floats my boat though. Grellow they call it.

Anyway, I’m late for an evening walk that I must do. I’ve been very lazy recently and done no proper exercise. And I need to go to the shop for bread and milk…

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Stuff from Episode 5!

Hey! Welcome to Episode 5 where I talk about crochet. It’s a crochet podcast or vlog, I still haven’t decided what to call it. Technically it’s a vlog but podcast is the word that has caught on… The pedant in me is finding the situation very hard to deal with.

Click on the pic above to take you to YouTube!

Here, you’ll find links to all the things I’ve talked about, along with some photos. So even if you don’t want to watch, you can at least see what I’ve been up to recently.

Links:

The Neat Ripple by Lucy of Attic24

A simple blanket edging (the one from Attic24’s original granny stripe).

Cute elephants from Repeat Craft Me.

Straighten out your ripples, here.

My little purse tutorial.

The Cleckheaton colour block jumper that I so desperately want to make!

What my garden looked like a fortnight ago (it’s much more bloomy now-will take pics).

Instagram RavelryPinterestFacebookEtsy

I think this blanket deserves its own blog post! I’ll get on to that next week.

All my sewing projects are in full use, I’ve got a couple of other things on the go and yep, that’s it really! Let me know what you think! Have a fab weekend. X

How to Crochet a Purse and add Zip and Lining

Hi guys! How is everyone?! I’ve finally made another tutorial for YouTube! Phew. This one is for a cute little crochet purse. I wanted to show how to sew in a zip and then at the last minute I decided to go all the way and whack in a demo for the fabric lining too! The response from the crochet Easter egg (my first tutorial) was amazing, absolutely amazing! Thank you so so much. It has definitely spurred me on to make more video tutorials.

Anyway, if you crochet but have always wondered how to attach a zip to your project or want to know how to go about lining it too, this is the tutorial for you.

Things you’ll need:

-Cotton aran yarn (or another yarn of your choice). I used Drops Paris.

-4.5mm hook.

-Zip in the length of the purse you want.

-Fabric for lining.

-Needle for darning in end.

-Needle and threads for sewing zip and lining.

-Scissors!

Here are a few pics of the starting process… Don’t forget, you can chain as many as you like. Make sure your foundation chain is a couple of stitches longer than the actual zip. The work shrinks down slightly smaller than the foundation chain. The piece is worked from the bottom up and in the round. To get the full how to, please hop over to YouTube. Cheers.

Please do let me know how you get on. If you make a purse I’d love to see, you can #zeensandroger and I’ll see it on Instagram or Ravelry it! Or just come and say hi!

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How to Make a Granny Square Bag. Free Crochet Pattern

I had no idea that I was going to make a bag last week, no idea at all! I was dashing off somewhere and felt I could do with taking a little crochet project with me. Hurriedly, random balls of yarn were grabbed and off out I went. Thus, a granny square bag was made! Yay!

I’ve had a few new friends come and join in the fun here recently, so I thought it’d be nice to share the pattern with you guys as a thank you. Thank you!

I didn’t have enough yarn to make a blanket, which made me wonder what else I could turn the squares into. I considered making a cushion, but what got me really excited was the idea of a bag! It’s a tricky thing to take a picture of, the bright colours were shouting loudly. I used leftover Paintbox aran and joined as I went (I’m fairly sure I used the Attic 24 method)

If you’d like to make a crochet granny bag you will need the following:

-Colourful yarn (I used aran weight but any yarn is fine)

-4.5mm hook

-Bag handles (search”bag handles” on ebay to find some, that’s what I did!)

-Lining fabric (something measuring a couple of inches bigger than your finished crochet piece)

-Sewing needle for yarn, pins, sewing needle and thread.

The main body of the bag is a bog standard gang of grannies; super quick and easy to do! Rounds of three, joined together in 8 rows of 5 (you’ll either need more rows or more rounds for each square if you’re using DK yarn). Every now and again all you need to do is check to see that the spread of colour is even! My piece measured 15.5×27″ (40x68cm)

Once the main body is complete,  the handles need to be shaped. It’s not as tricky as it looks and luckily, accuracy is not paramount. I don’t mind a project that needs a bit of bodging and crochet is usually very forgiving when it comes to bodging! Not that you need to bodge it, I’m just saying!!

UK terms are used (a treble is a US dc)

  1. At one end of the main body, (right side facing) make a strip of granny clusters starting with a ch3 and 1tr in the first st and ending with 2tr on the last stitch of the row. Straddle the square joins with 1tr, 2trtgr, 1tr.  You can see what I’ve done on the picture above.
  2. Turn the work. Ch2,  1htr in each st along to the end. Turn.
  3. Ch1, slip stitch along approximately 10 stitches (you want the narrow section to be the same width as the handle slot). Ch2, 1htr in each stitch along, missing the last (approx) 10st. Turn
  4. Ch2, 1htr in each st of last row. To widen the work again, ch13, Turn.
  5. 1htr in 3rd ch from hk. 1 htr in each st along to the end. Continue by adding 10 more stitches using a chainless foundation half double stitch. This is actually easy, I promise. I’ve found a good video that shows you how:  The half double chainless stitch. Skip the first minute of the video, the informative bit starts just after! Turn.
  6. Ch2, htr all the way along. Turn
  7. Repeat row 6. Fasten off. Repeat 1-7 on the other end of the bag.

Next, with right side facing, evenly stitch dc’s (sc’s) all the way down the edge of both lengths. Don’t fasten off yet…

Fold the bag in half and using the yarn still on the hook, slip stitch the sides together. Repeat on the other side.

Tuck the handle bits through the bag handles, fold down to the inside and pin ready for sewing closed.

The stitches don’t have to be neat, if you use matching yarn, you won’t see if you’re making a dog’s dinner of it! Try not to come through to the right side though, or if you do, make the stitches small so they’re not staring at you. Don’t forget the top bits at the ends.

Next you need to add the lining. It’s not 100% necessary but I think it looks better and you won’t have your stuff escaping through granny holes! Fold your length of fabric in half, right sides together. Place the bag on top and mark/draw where you need to sew. Also mark where you want the fold of your top hem to go. Sew down both sides to make the bag cavity. Next, iron the seams nice and flat, at the same time fold down the top hem and press. I went back to the sewing machine and top stitched the hem.

Tuck the lining into you bag, pin it in place and hand sew the top of the lining to the top of the crochet!

I think I need a course in how to photograph bright colours!!

I would absolutely love to hear if you make one of my designs, please do give me a shout. I’d love it if you said Hi! Don’t forget that I’m on Ravelry, so your makes can be added there. Oh, and I almost forgot Instagram! #zeensandroger

Thank you. X

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Crafty Crochet Catch Up for Spring.

giant-crochet-granny-squareHello!! How is everyone today? I feel a bit funny. I think I’m slightly overwhelmed. Thank you soo much for being so very kind about my first foray into vlogging. It was absolutely awesome to hear from all of you. I go from being all casual about it, to feeling extreme nervousness. I think it mostly went well. I’m looking forward to filming another one next week and I am wavering ever so slightly about filming a crochet tutorial this afternoon [edit: I tried, ugh, it was bad: tech issues, focus issues, brain issues. I will try again]. If you didn’t see my last post, please check out the crochet vlog here. Anyway, this is a crafty catch up so let’s get moving…

mini-crochet-circlesI still had lots of  Stylecraft Special dk left from my Crazy Chevron blanket so, on Sunday I made 48 little circles. I was thinking baby blanket. I was also thinking of doing a continuous-join-as-you-go. I can’t do one of those though. My guess is that I’d need a minimum of 4 balls of the same colour for that. This is part of an on-going stash busting  endeavour and I’m trying to avoid bringing in more yarn. I kind of did buy two extra balls for this already and I’m going to run out of the blue (lobelia) soon. Oh, it’s an instant fail.

colourful-crochet-circlesAll 48 circles now have three rounds. I could square them up to join-as-I-go and use different colours but would it be more interesting to try something new? Eeh, I don’t know, there’s no rush is there? I think I’m going to go for more too. Apart from the lobelia there looks like there’s enough for another 48 circles. Any joining suggestions?

rowan-stone-washedAt the beginning of last week I got a lovely surprise when Posty brought a parcel to my door. I wasn’t expecting it but I knew instantly who it was from because of the massive label greeting me on the box. This Rowan Stonewashed yarn was a gift from my friends (I can call them that now can’t I?) at Wool and The Gang. I’ve been lucky enough to have been sent their yarns before. If you fancy checking them out you can read about my mohair experience here. And my gargantuan (yet super warm) scarf here.

rowan-stonewashIf I’m being totally honest, the stonewashed is not what I’d normally go for. But they asked me to play with it and that’s what I’ve done. I like it and I’ve enjoyed being coaxed out of my comfort zone.  I’m always up for a yarny challenge!

The yarn is a collaboration with Rowan Yarns, which I class as high-end yarn. There are free patterns on the Rowan website for garments and shawls using this yarn.  I couldn’t put my finger on what it reminded me of for ages. It’s marble! It reminds me of marble! There’s kind of an Art Deco quality to it, whether or not that was what was intended!

mini-crochet-purseI’ve made three little purses out of the two balls they sent me and I’ve made some snazzy tassels too. I’ve not put the zips on yet so I’ll come back with pictures when they’re done.

simple-t_shirt-yarn-bag cute-little-bag-using-t-shirt-yarnNext up is this cute little bag I put together. In half term the boys and I went on the bus to Exeter to visit the dentist (living the high life) and happened to fall into Tiger (I didn’t realise until yesterday that it’s actually called Flying Tiger!). I came out with two balls of t-shirt yarn and I won’t mention the bagful of other random stuff. I’ve briefly shown on Instagram and the vlog the spiral I started. The spiral turned into a bag and the bag has turned into a written pattern! Just like that! Well, not just like that. At this point I say a massive Thank You to my IG friends (including my fellow WordPress pals Eleonora of Coastal Crochet and Teresa of Shirley Rainbow) who tested the pattern for me. Majorly helpful, without you, the pattern would have been a mess , so thank you very much indeed!! Please go to Ravelry where the pattern is now live!! Wahoo!

stashbusting-crochet-granny-blanketI’m now going to bombared you with pictures of a giant granny blanket….

simple-granny-borderThis has been another stashbuster. I’m so happy to have finished it. I didn’t know it at the time but it was destined to become a birthday present for someone in the family. Stylecraft Spesh again. All the colours that had nowhere else to be but with each other. I rather like it. A proper Granny blanket, don’t you reckon?!

granny-blanket giant-granny-square crochet-in-the-homeSuch is my commitment to getting this to its destination, I managed to drag myself to the post office even after I’d fallen over and torn a hole in Brand New Jeans!! A week later and Youngest boy is still asking why I fell over. Because I did. It was slippery, it was down a steep slope and I was wearing New Clothes. That’s why! There’s nothing quite like holding back your own tears whilst a boy of nearly four cries for cuddles with Daddy… because Mummy fell over.

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Oh, what have I done?! I vlogged myself!!!

opening-screen-copyHellooo!

What you’re about to see is somewhat of a car crash shambles but I’m biting the bullet and hitting publish. I could make more attempts but I reckon that’ll just prolong the agony.

So here we go, click on the image above to take a short journey to YouTube (I seem to recall embedding videos on here is a no go).

Here is how it happened….On wednesday morning (without really knowing what was going to happen) I got out my tripod and camera, hit record and just started talking. After that I put the files on the computer, downloaded a little jingle and then did what I usually do. I asked Husband for help. He just knows stuff. He found me a free bit of editing software (the one I’d found was questionable) and within a few minutes, he knew how to use it. I dutifully sat and watched, trying to take it all in. He’ll hand over the reigns at some point, and it’ll be me in charge. Oh crikey, what have I done?!

It hasn’t been plain sailing, I tried editing on my own at first and really messed things up. The computer crashed twice and a twenty minute video has taken four hours to upload! What’ll happen when I want a longer episode?! There is so much to learn but I also think this is a skilll worth learning. Wish me luck, won’t you!? And please subscribe to my channel!!

 

 

 

 

 

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