Zeens & Roger Granny CAL 2018: The END!!

Everything comes to an end. Even super fun granny crochet alongs. Did you join in? Did you have fun?! I blimmin’ well did! I have loved every minute of it. I’ve loved getting stuck in, making grannies just for the pure pleasure of making grannies! I’ve played and experimented, I’ve failed at some projects. I’ve seen your makes and been envious, I’ve seen your makes and decided that I want to make them too. It has been awesome!! Thank you so so much, what an inspiration! The success of this CAL has been thrilling and I’m truly amazed. I would suggest a group hug but we’re getting into soppy territory here and I might chunder.

Click on the image above to watch the YouTube video. It’s basically like a usual episode only it’s granny specific.

The original post about the CAL is HERE. More info about CALs in general is HERE (be sure to read the comments too as they add even more insightful stuff that I forgot!)

Firstly, let me show you some of the things I made. Or didn’t make. I didn’t finish my granny jumper but that’s OK. It’s still eligible for two other CAL’s at the minute so it’s getting entered into Crochet Luna’s Fortune Cookie CAL and The Crochet Circle Podcast’s Different Designer CAL. Just because I didn’t make my own deadline doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy what I’m making.

Another UFO, never mind, I’ll get there in the end. I’m going to experiment with joins for this one. I’ll report back. One fail is some kind of other achievement. Or something.

And, phew! I did actually get one thing finished.

Anyway, I expect you want me to move on at this point and start telling you about the prizes! And then winners, you’ll want to know about who won!! At this point, I haven’t exactly allocated which prizes are going to which winner but I hope you think it’s OK that I will be trying to match up where the prize is travelling from to where it’s going. Mostly, this is going to work out quite nicely. UK to UK,  Australia to Australia and where there are US winners, there will be digital prizes.

The Prizes

In no particular order, here are the prizes… First up is a beautifully made project bag by Pearl & Plum. I met Vivian and Alyson in Edinburgh this weekend and they handed it over to me in person. Whoever gets this is one lucky person. The mother & daughter team have a terrific podcast Keep Calm and Carry Yarn (or KCACY, which is what it’s called in my head).

Qualyn Stark is an up and coming crochet designer from the US (check out Ravelry here), he has offered two designs to one winner, both patterns celebrate the granny stitch. He also has The Quoe Podcast, which you should check out.

Here’s a digital copy of Take Two by Fay and Lynne of the Crochet Circle Podcast. There are some really thoughtful designs in this book. This will be emailed to a winner very soon!

I love the look of this matching set made by Laura of Homefire Ridge. Aren’t they pretty?! I don’t know what it is about a handmade project bags. I can’t get enough of them!! These are waiting for someone in Australia!

Kirstyn of Miss Moffat Yarns dyes such lovely colour ways. One winner gets to choose one of these coast inspired skeins as their prize. I feel really bad as I’ve just recorded the granny special and I get Kirstyn’s name wrong. We’ve met and chatted in real life, this should not happen. I’m so sorry!

A lovely parcel arrived in the post for me this morning from Busy Bee Blocking Boards or @crochetblocking  This is one of their small blocking boards especially designed for granny squares; they come in other sizes too. I love it so much. It’s delicately decoupaged and there’s one still prettily wrapped, waiting to be sent off to someone. The prize board won’t be green, it’s lilac.

I have one of these enamel pins and I think it’s the best idea ever! It’s quite clearly a perfect prize for a granny CAL too, just look at that granny motif!! Claudia of Crochet Luna sent this to me along with the stitch markers.  Check out Claudia’s Etsy shop for her other pin design too.

And then there’s patterns by me. One winner can choose five of my paid for patterns over on my Ravelry store. I’ll pop one over to all the other winners and collaborators too.

The Winners

Two winners have been randomly picked for each category, apart from my favourites, which were chosen cos they’re my faves (obviously).

Da da daaahhh………………………………..

The Chatter Thread = Timum2 aka Jenny &  2BLoop2 aka Judy

The Finished Object Thread = Feather & Threads (or Jo) & Crochet of Go Crazy (Kara)

The Instagram Winners = Nicole of @Tangleandstitch and @Matilda_Rose_Crochets

My Favourite Two (see pics below) = Bev Baw1812. Love those baby cardi’s! And Emma’s (@EmmaCraftsDesign) Campfire Cardigan, I want one!

And that’s it!! Wowsers!! Thank you to everyone, it’s been a total blast. Loved every minute. X

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An Interview with Yay Retro!

I love the internet! It’s thanks to the internet that, Sue from Yay Retro stumbled across me via the Granny CAL I’ve been running over on Instagram, Ravelry and this ‘ere crochet blog. As a result, Sue suggested an interview, which I thought was a great idea! A couple of weeks ago I wrote out my answers to Sue’s fab questions and sent over a massive wodge of photographs of my home (with vintagey stuff-  it’s relevant, I promise) and things I’ve crocheted. That interview can be found HERE.  In the interest of keeping things a two way street I thought it would be nice to get to know Sue too, so I sent her a few questions for her to answer as well. We have things in common, we both live in Devon, we both love crochet and both have a penchant for cool, old stuff! Also, (as an aside) I found all of this really interesting. The questions started a nostalgic trip into the past, which triggered a load of old memories.  I think that’s the main reason why I accumulate all my seemingly random junk. They’re connections to places I’ve been and people I’ve known.

Righty, over to Sue…

How long have you lived in Totnes?

We moved here in 2015 to be nearer to our son and family. We felt at home as soon as we got here, it’s a very special, welcoming and friendly place.

How much does living in Totnes feed your creativity and/or love of vintage? [Totnes is a town in Devon known for having an alternative, arty scene]

I did a fine art degree at The Winchester School of Art and trained, then worked as a professional artist (large abstract paintings) for around seven years before becoming a wedding photographer with my husband for six years. After this I set up yay retro! and I think both of these have significantly fed into the look and feel of yay retro! especially as everything needs to be photographed attractively. Totnes and the surrounding area is marvellous for finding vintage wares.  I love the beautiful historic buildings and surrounding wonderful countryside, as well as the ‘anything goes’ feel in Totnes, it makes life more interesting and everyone is friendlier and accepting, I think.
What other parts of Devon are your favourite?
I adore Woolacombe in the North as I had all my childhood holidays there, visiting around 5 times a year in our tent and caravan. Tavistock is also a beautiful town, I love the market there and the drive over the Moors. My other favourite spots are the steam railways in Totnes and Dartmouth. These remind me of my Gramp who was a steam engine driver in the 1950s/60s.
There seems to be quite a few creative folk in Devon. Do you think Devon in particular is a good base for creatives? What makes it so special?
I’m quite new here and so have met only a few other vintage sellers and artists. However I am aware of more here than I was in Hampshire where I lived before.
The country and seaside are so inspiring in Devon and the slower pace of life is really superb. I think people’s outlook on life is different to that of people who live or work in or near big cities. Perhaps this is what attracts creative people to the county? Totnes itself is known for its arty folk as it is close to Dartington, which used to be the home of the famous Dartington College of Arts until quite recently.
What is it about vintage/retro stuff that makes you happy?
I was very lucky to have a happy time growing up in the 1960s and 70s, everything I buy for yay retro! makes me think of my Gran, Nan or my Mum all of whom were great home makers. I can recall special, happy times in each of  their kitchens, and because each of them had different tastes in home decor, it really is a case of finding and recognising things they had. I only ever buy things that make me smile, that I truly love and would want for myself. If I’m not keen to give it house room myself I don’t buy it!  When I find something lovely I say ‘yay! retro!’ in my head and often feel quite elated. It’s a real feel good job to have as I am forever ‘buzzing’ about the lovely objects and textiles I find!
When did you know it was time to make it your full time job?
I started the yay retro! online shop in 2012, and by 2013 knew it was going to take off and that I would need to tail off my other work commitments which were in the family web development company. I now run yay retro! full time.
Do you hangout with other crafty folk?
Being new to Totnes I don’t know that many people yet who are crafty. I do know of other vintage sellers and they are all very friendly and supportive. it’s a lovely community to be part of. On the crafty side of things, I am currently mad on crochet thanks to getting back into it after seeing you publicise the #grannycal18 crochet along. I am currently teaching my daughter in law to knit and soon to crochet. I find joining groups like Hooked on Crochet on Facebook is a good outlet for feedback and crafty talk.  It’s also nice to share pics on the yay retro! Instagram page as my followers are really supportive.
What are your thoughts on the maker’s renaissance we’re experiencing?
I think that the internet has allowed people to share their work easily and also to sell their ideas and makes. This probably makes it appear that we have a makers renaissance, when in fact there have always been heaps of creative people out there.
I picked up the ‘making’ bug from my Mum and Gran who were fantastic at making clothes whether it be sewing or knitting. Neither of them crocheted, and I recently taught my Mum so that she could make a blanket for her great grandson.
It’s superb that getting online can enable people to share so much, and get feedback on their work. I spend many an evening being inspired by other people’s beautiful workmanship.
I often think that if only the internet had been as dominant when I was painting as it is now, I would still actually be working as an artist and selling smaller works from a website. At the time I was a working artist going the gallery route, it was the only option, which made my paintings too expensive for most people.
Who are your favourite artistic people? Top blogs? Instagrammers?
There are SO many artists and makers that I love, currently the printmaker Jane Ormes’ work really strikes a chord with me,
Anna Wiscombe’s wooden birds and plants are gorgeous, Jane Foster’s screen prints adorn my home and Chris Made This and Ames_Likes_Toast Instagram’s feed always make me really happy. I have bought quite a few pieces from Anna, Ames and Chris too. My illustrator friend Sara Rhys based in Totnes has a beautiful Instagram page which always brings a smile to my face.
Sue’s Instagram is HERE.
What are your favourite shops/places in Devon to find treasure? And/or further afield?!
I search everywhere I go to be honest. I adore Totnes market; there are some lovely, friendly, helpful sellers there and it’s always great to have a chat as well as browse and buy! Like everyone, I always search around charity shops and often strike it lucky. I particularly like Salisbury in Wiltshire, New Milton in Hampshire and Brixham in Devon.

www.yayretro.co.uk  is an online shop where you can buy the very best Vintage & Flower Power wares from the 1940s to the 1980s. Browsing and buying from the website is really easy and worth doing regularly as fresh stock is added regularly… pieces are described honestly and postage and packaging costs kept low, posting across the UK twice weekly. The yay retro! online vintage shop features vintage kitchenware, tablecloths, bedding, ornaments, toys, books, and much more!

Thanks Sue! I really enjoyed your insightful comments. xx

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Zeens & Roger Crochet Podcast Episode 27

Halloooo!! Here is all you need for episode 27 of my crochet podcast / vlogcast / vid of me chatting about wool. Hope you’re well! Please click on the pic above to go to the episode or pop over to my YouTube  channel for all the episodes and tutorials.

Below is extra information and photographs about what I’ve been up to this last week (I’m not counting the week before as I was hunkered down, working on secrets).

The Granny CAL 2018 stuff. Go HERE for the original post and go HERE for more detailed thoughts about CALs themselves (I forgot to mention this new blog post in the episode!). A Granny Special will be filmed next week with a run down of prizes (and which wonderful people donated them) and all the winners, of course!! I’m thinking I have enough prizes for eight draws!!! That’s just mind blowing!

Countess Ablaze. You really must have a look at this. It’s part of what makes this community amazing!

Granny Rocks jumper by Claudine of @Iron_Lamb. Will I finish it for next week?!

Yay Retro! I was thrilled to be asked to give an interview to Sue from Yay Retro. There’s plenty of pictures of my crochet and home too. Check it out HERE. Keep your eyes peeled for a related blog post from me very soon.

Town End Alpacas – This was where I got my yarn for my new socks and the yarn for my pink/grey granny chevron cowl that I made a few weeks ago. I’ll put in a pic down below!

Hooked on Murder. A novel based on crochet. Seriously.

The old granny squares book is THIS one.

The Quoe Podcast

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What Are These Crochet Alongs all about?! What is a CAL?

My first (and maybe only!) entry into the Granny CAL 2018

I’m hosting a Crochet Along at the minute and it has got me thinking. It’s easy to assume that every crocheter/maker knows exactly what a CAL is but it turns out that’s not the case at all. Since the beginning of the “great” Granny CAL of 2018 I’ve had a fair few folk ask me what it’s all about and I thought a more in depth look would make a pretty good blog post. Soooo…

What is a CAL?

The acronym CAL means Crochet Along, just as KAL is Knit Along and MAL is Make Along. Whatever kind of Along it is,  it’s usually a themed virtual get together where everyone makes the same thing. For fun.

The CAL I’m hosting is the Granny CAL and the idea is to crochet something in the granny stitch. That’s all. Nowt tricky. However, there can be loads of different sorts and loads of different reasons why a CAL pops up. Let’s have a look.

This is a spin off blanket from Cherry Heart’s Spice of Life CAL from 2016. This is Spicier Life!

The biggest element of a CAL I’ve discovered is the community. Joining in CALs really got me chatting away to other crafty people online and I’ve made new friends by taking part. I admit that this didn’t even occur to me when I first entered my finished crochet items on Ravelry. To be honest I just wanted to show off my new stuff and be in with the chance of winning a prize!! The social side was an unexpected perk but now it’s one of the main draws. I now know there’s not much chance of getting a prize (CALs are mighty popular and get super busy) but I’m genuinely not fussed about that.  The sharing of ideas, as well as tips and tricks brings a disparate bunch of enthusiasts together, enriching what can be a quiet and solitary hobby. In other words, it’s loads of fun hanging out with your crochet mates!

There are lots of different platforms you can choose to hang out on. I’ve seen CALs hosted on Facebook and Instagram whilst I mainly find them on Ravelry. Check out this thread from The Crochet Circle Podcast  which lists the CALs happening in 2018Also, have a look below for a few that are happening right now!

The Three Springs Shawl was entered into Addydae Design’s Accessories CAL last summer.

It’s an opportunity to try something new too. Perhaps you’re not crazy about handmade socks but don’t want to dismiss them. Why not try making them with others in a sock along? Maybe their positivity will rub off on you!  Want to make a snazzy shawl but not that confident? Join in the chat and you’ll be helped and supported by people all over the world! A CAL (not to mention the people participating) can give you focus and encouragement so you can achieve your goal without the energy wearing off.

There are other benefits too. It might be that the pattern or colour palette is picked for you so it removes the pressure of working out those details (that’s one of my favourite things to do but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea). And let’s not forget the potential for a prize or two!

My failed Winter Wonderland CAL attempt – this is still UFO so not the greatest example!!

There are also many reasons why people host CALs. In my case, the idea popped into my head one day, maybe I was just jumping on the bandwagon but a seed was planted. When I mentioned it on an episode of the Z&R Crochet podcast, there was such a wonderfully positive response that it would have been silly not to do it. The most important aspect was that it had to be fun and easy, with no pressure to buy a pattern or any extra yarn if you didn’t need to, the granny is the perfect stash buster after all!

A couple of squares for Lottie & Albert’s Squares for Grace.

It is also a fabulous way to raise money for charity. The host asks lots of people to contribute a small piece of crochet to make up one impressive, giant project.  And then there’s the publicity angle. What a great marketing strategy for advertising a new yarn, or pattern release. Whatever the motivation, every single time, it enables people to come together to do what they enjoy and there isn’t much wrong with that.

I don’t think CALs are going anywhere. Here are just a small handful that are happening at the moment:

What do you think of CALs? Have you taken part in one? A couple? Loooaads?! Let me know your thoughts. X

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Zeens & Roger Crochet Podcast/Vlogcast Episode 26

Happy March!! We’re supposed to be thinking about spring but it’s most definitely winter outside!! Brrrr, maybe keep warm whilst watching episode 26 of my crochet podcast!? As usual, click on the pic above to go to the episode or go to my YouTube channel HERE. Ta very much.

Here’s some links to stuff I talk about, I wasn’t concentrating so I hope I have it all. If not please give me a shout and I’ll give you extra info.

March Meet the Maker – A month long Instagram challenge

#hookedonyarn2018 Another month long IG challenge.

My Easter Eggs. HERE is the link to the blog post about the latest additions to the family.

Blacker Yarns. This is lovely yarn that I’m going to get more of. I used Tamar Lustre Blend. A real woolly wool from just across the border in Cornwall.

Inside Crochet magazine

Simply Crochet magazine

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Some More Crochet Easter Eggs

Am I too early for Easter shenanigans? Eh, I don’t think so. Do you remember the pretty little crochet Easter eggs from a couple of years ago? They’ve gone and got themselves some new mates!

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Hobbycraft asking if I was interested in trying some yarn so that I could tell you about it.  Seeing as spring is on the way I thought it would be a nice idea to choose some yarn to make my amigurumi Easter eggs with. However, I didn’t want more eggs of the same size so I’ve upped my game. I’ve gone large.

This is the stuff I decided to try, The Women’s Institute acrylic dk. I wanted big eggs this time so I also chose the Soft & Chunky in cream, which is an acrylic mix and has 30% merino. It’s lovely stuff to work with, I think merino is my favourite yarn in the world at the moment. I got the dk colours to decorate the eggs with.

With two 100gram balls of the chunky cream, you can make three small eggs and one large. I weighed them before I added the embellishments and a small one was 27 grams whilst the large was 89 grams. It’s exactly the same pattern, I just doubled up on yarn for the biggy.

I’ve not used this yarn before but I have used plenty of other dk acrylics. Mostly I’m left unimpressed and I have a thing where I don’t like mixing my brands together because the quality varies so much. Usually they don’t pass muster but I don’t think I’d have any qualms about mixing this with the likes of Stylecraft Special or Paintbox  (both of which, are excellent to work with). This is one of the good ones. I have quite a bit of the dk left so I might make blanket along with some other brands to really get a good feel for it (but not anytime soon as I have got a massive list of other projects to do! Bah).

Anyway, on to the pattern…

Eeehh, look at the family all together!

This pattern can be used with any weight of yarn, just make sure you use a hook size that will achieve nice, tight stitches (ie go down a couple of sizes than is recommended).

Notes and things you need:

  • The Women’s Institute Premium Acrylic Yarn DK in Yellow, Lime, Teal, Pink and Light Pink.
  • The Women’s Institute Soft & Chunky in Cream x2 100g gram balls. This amount makes 1 large and three  small eggs.
  • Polyfibre fill stuffing
  • Large eye darning needle
  • Fading ink pen (optional) – it helps to draw out where to put the flowers and leaves before you make the stitches.
  • For the small egg (approx 11cm tall) use the 4.5mm hook.  For the large egg (approx 17cm tall) use the 7mm hook and two strands of the chunky held together.
  • Use two strands of the dk together for embroidering the large egg.
  • US terms are used in the pattern

This pattern below is also found on my original blog post HERE. And last year I recorded a video tutorial showing how to make and embroider the eggs, which is HERE over on my YouTube channel!

Amigurumi Easter Egg.

Round 1: 6sc into a Magic Ring.

Round 2: 1 Inc in each stitch around. [12].

Round 3: 1 sc in next stitch, 1 inc in next. Repeat around [18].

Round 4: Sc around. [18]

Round 5: 1sc in next 2 st, 1 inc in next. Repeat around. [24].

Round 6-7: Sc around [24]

Round 8: 1 sc in next 3 st, 1 inc in next. Repeat around [30].

Round 9-15: Sc around. [30]

Round 16: 1 sc in next 3 st, 1 dec. Repeat around. [24].

Round 17: 1 sc in next 2 st, 1 dec. Repeat around. [18].

Round 18: 1sc in next st, 1 dec. Repeat around [12].

Fasten off leaving a long tail, 40cm should be plenty.  Add embroidered flowers using simple stitches. French knots make the flower centres and the chain stitch makes petals, leaves and stems. Stuff firmly. To close the egg, thread through the front loops and pull tight to gather the stitches together. Stitch in and out a few times to fully secure and then snip the end neatly.

Please do let me know if you make some, I really would love to see. They make such cute spring decorations and you could even tie pretty ribbon through the top to hang them places!

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Happy Easter! X

Zeens & Roger Crochet Vlogcast. Episode 25

I’m just gonna jump right in with links today. Click on the pic for Episode 25. Thank you so much. xxx

Granny Crochet Along info is HERE.

The Quoe Podcast. A new crochet vlog from Qualyn Stark who is a up and coming crochet designer from the US.

I hope you already know Claudia from Crochet Luna. Check her out!

Here is the link for  Fay’s The Crochet Circle podcast

Project bags from Laura at Homefire Ridge. And some  from Vivian from The Keep Calm & Carry Yarn podcast too.

My purse tutorial. Follow this as a guide for the granny purse. I also saw that Sonja from Ratschebutsch has done a mini tutorial too for something similar on her Instagram.

Russian Join tutorial is here.

1Dogwoof. A granny triangle blanket.

Global Hook up

Sewing – Drawstring bag tutorial.

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Episode 24!! Zeens & Roger Crochet Vlogcast

As I type, it has been about eight hours since I recorded and I’m still doolally! I’m having a really good day! I will most likely crash tomorrow but for now I’ll enjoy the happy feelings. So, I hope you’re up for this episode of my crochet podcast / crochet vlog, it’s an hour long (I have a lot to talk about and there are a few strange moments). Comment here or over on my YouTube channel. I’d love to hear from you! Click on the image above for the episode. Cheers. x

Here are some of the things I talk about in this episode (and don’t forget the pics below):

Granny CAL 2018. Find out all the details about the Granny crochet along HERE! The Ravelry threads are HERE.

Fancy a quick granny project? Here’s my chevron cowl free pattern. I still haven’t dug out the yarn info. Give me a kick up the bum if you’re curious and I’ll go and find a band.

How to Become A Crochet Designer – My blog post about how I started. Mandy from RedAgape has a fascinating blog post about what you can realistically expect from working as a crochet designer. Please check it out!

My friend at Coastal Crochet is running a CAL too. Pop over to her blog for more info.

Melody Crochet Podcast. Thank you for my new things Melody!

I’m wearing the Blurre

Here’s the tutorial I plan on using for the Russian Join. Let’s do an experiment!

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How I Became a Crochet Designer (& How You Can Become One Too)

Yesterday, crochet designer and photographer, Mandy of RedAgape wrote a frankly marvellous piece about what it really means to become a professional in the crochet world. Every single word had me nodding in agreement and I can honestly say that if you think crochet design is something you’d like to do then Mandy’s words are a pretty accurate description of what to expect.

For three or four months I’ve had “write blog post – how to become a crochet designer” on my To-do list. I’d been putting it off as I knew it would be a long one. Inspired by Mandy’s post (and without treading on her toes) I’d like to share some of my thoughts and tell you a little bit about how I started.

How I started

There are three moments in my crafty past that have really stuck with me. 1 At eight years old, Nanna telling me “you won’t learn to crochet if you hold the hook like that.” I did eventually. Twenty years later. 2 Just over half way through that twenty year break (sometime in my early twenties) I saw my artist friend crochet cups and saucers out of plastic tubing and I said “I wish I could crochet” and she told me “it’s easy! Go for it”. I didn’t go for it. I really should have. 3 The birth of my first baby. Nanna made him a giant granny square blanket and I knew I had to make him one too. So I did. Sort of. It was actually a ripple and it wasn’t the first thing I made, but you know, same difference. That was just over seven years ago.

The first real step I took towards taking my hobby more seriously was to set up this blog. Admittedly it took me about five years of just thinking about it. I was daft to delay but it’s about confidence and I didn’t have any. I had very few designs at first and was constantly fretting that another would never come to me. So not true! The more you tinker and play, the more ideas you get, I promise.

Magazine Work

Several small baby steps later I (nervously) decided the time was right and in October 2016 I sent out emails to three magazines (you can find contact details at the front of your favourite magazines). I sent out pictures of a few different things I’d made, asking if they were interested. The designs were all originals that I hadn’t shown to anyone else (magazines prefer exclusive ideas, which is why I don’t say anything about a commission until it’s about to go on sale. That, and I’m scared they’ll pull my design from the issue – it happens. I’m really good at keeping secrets these days. I never used to be!). I was added to a Call for Submissions list by all three of the mags and one of the designs I’d sent was immediately accepted by Inside Crochet. Not only that but they also asked to feature my blog in their magazine! I properly freaked out, I was gobsmacked and completely delighted! Since then I’ve featured in all three magazines and had designs featured in many issues [my work is on the front cover of each of those magazines in the above pic!!]. I’ve also designed for Hobbycraft. I am super proud of myself and if I can do it then so can you! Anyway, enough of tooting my own trumpet.

Selling Online Patterns

I like Ravelry. I’m still learning about it even though I’ve been on there for years. I’ve experienced some really good sales and some disappointing sales. Once you’ve established how to add your pattern details and upload a pdf (I need quiet for all of this as I’m well known for temper tantrums when it comes to filling stuff out online) then you cross your fingers for the initial flurry of interest followed by passive sales. Etsy hasn’t worked for me in the past and I’ve only just dipped my toe in LoveCrochet.com so I don’t have much experience of that yet. If you use these platforms, I’d love to hear what you make of them. Maybe I should give them a proper chance.

Hints and Tips

This is the list of info I think will be helpful. I’ve had it scribbled down in my note book since the autumn…

  • Always be crocheting. You get better everyday.
  • Set up a blog to show case your work. If you haven’t got time, then Instagram is your best friend.
  • Keep a sketch book nearby (or scrawl things on your phone/tablet). Write down/sketch out every idea. If it’s a wearable item, draw someone wearing it. You’ll need simple sketches for submissions too.
  • Swatch swatch swatch. Make good swatches for all submissions. Swatches will help you work out little tweaks that need doing, help with shaping and help you work out if the maths is right etc. I hate making swatches, I force myself to do it.
  • Practice pattern writing with small design projects. Maybe they can become freebies on your blog. Freebies are a lovely thing to offer but I wouldn’t recommend doling out big designs. That’s a lot of hard work for very little in return and it doesn’t do the rest of the community any favours. Don’t underestimate your worth.
  • Be the best you can be. Don’t release patterns that you aren’t super proud of. I frog A LOT of crochet and 99% of the time it is the right decision.
  • Keep abreast of what others are up to. What are the latest trends? Popular yarns, popular colours?
  • Have a look at this post about choosing colour in your projects. It might help with the point above.
  • Keep the pattern writing simple. I use Google Docs. If it’s to sell independently I add a small intro, a few good photographs, “how-to” pics if I think it needs them and a chart (Stitchfiddle.com is what I use).
  • Just do it! Start. Now!
  • And tell the tax man…

Like other creatives I just wanna make stuff. I’ve learned a ridiculous amount by playing around (making lots of mistakes) and I’ve probably not even covered the half of it here. Crikey, I still have a ridiculous amount to learn. I’m coming up to my third year of blogging but have only considered myself to be a designer for one year. That’s not a long time so I reckon I should come back and look at this next year to see what’s changed!

Please let me know if there is anything else you’d like to know or if you think I’ve missed out a vital piece of information. If you are a crochet designer too, I’d love to know what your experience has been. Tell me! Thanks ever so much! X

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Another Granny Chevron Cowl! Pattern & Tutorial.

Fancy a very quick and easy crochet project? Last summer I designed and made a fluffy chevron cowl (see pic below). Yesterday I made a smaller, non fluffy version. I made it when I was thinking about all things granny (I couldn’t wait for the Granny CAL! I just couldn’t!). This morning I filmed a short tutorial too. It’s now up on YouTube if you want to go and have a look!

You can find the original pattern Here. I made the new one a bit smaller as I was restricted by the amount of yarn I had: 200 grams of chunky alpaca/mulberry silk stuff I found for £8 a skein from EYF last year. The (impulsively bought) yarn had been sat waiting for nearly a year and I had no real idea about what to do with it for ages. Funny how something can jump out at you after all that time.

Righty, some details.

  • I used a 6mm hook for my chunky yarn.
  • The yarn I used was only 92 metres per 100g. I think other chunky yarns are usually a bit more than that. I used almost every bit so if you don’t have at least 184 meters of chunky then you might not make it to the end.
  • It measures approx 32×32 cm (12.5×12.5 inches). That’s a circumference of 64cm.
  • I chained 47 to begin, this gives you a total of 14 clusters per row
  • To make it bigger or smaller, add or subtract 6. That’s enough for a cluster for each side.
  • The pattern is written in UK terms. The video uses both UK and US terms but essentially all you need to know is that a UK treble is a US double.
  • 3tr = cluster.

Pattern:

Chain 47.

Row 1: 3tr in 7th from hook, (miss 2 st, 3tr in next) six times, ch2, 3tr in next st, (miss 2 st, 3tr) six times, miss 2 st, 1 tr in last st. Turn.

Row 2: Ch3, (3tr in space between clusters) six times, (3tr, ch2, 3tr) in 2 chain space, (3tr in space between clusters) six times, 1tr in last st of row. Turn

Row 3 – 29: Rep row 2, changing colour every five rows.

Row 30: As row 2 but slip stitch to join to Row 1 between each cluster. Fasten off and sew in ends.

I hope you like it. I promise it’s super easy to make and can be made in a couple of hours (maybe less, I didn’t time it).

Jeepers, I’m not wearing make up on me peepers. Again!

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