Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Crochet Sock Collection :: Crochet-A-Long ::

To accompany the launch of The Crochet Sock Collection, I thought it would be nice to run a CAL (crochet-a-long). I have never run a CAL, but it's something I've always wanted to do. Socks aren't especially difficult, but there may be some techniques which are new to some and I thought this would be a great way to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it. Plus I love an 'a-long' myself, be it knitting or crochet, it's so inspiring to see other peoples interpretations of projects and it's always nice to have a little yarn enabling in your life.

It's going to be a very free range affair. There's a facebook group (here) and a hashtag for Instagram (#thecrochetsockcal) so we can all share our progress and chat about our socks, there's also an official start date (Friday 24th June) but there are no particular rules, join in whenever you like. Just grab one of the patterns, some sock yarn and a hook, get crocheting and share your progress.

The patterns are available singly now as PDF downloads and the full collection is available as a download too and you can also purchase a printed copy on etsy.

Any 4ply sock yarn should do the trick, I'd generally say use something with a little nylon if possible and steer clear of cotton. The majority of the patterns use a 3.5mm hook, some also require a smaller hook for the ribbing, but obviously the size you need will mostly depend on your gauge. Hook details can be found on the ravelry page for each pattern.

There will be prizes! I have recently ventured into dyeing yarn so will be offering up a couple of skiens of my hand dyed sock yarn, plus some stitch markers and crochet hooks. I will share pictures once I have all prizes finalised, but to get you tempted here's a shot of some yarn I dyed especially to giveaway. I'll also set an end date for the prizes, though there's no deadline to finish the socks and you won't need to have finished for a chance to win.

We start officially tomorrow, but feel free to grab some yarn and get checking your gauge today if you like :)

I'm going to be using some lovely yarn from Burrow and Soar and I think I'm making the Winter Wonder socks.

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Crochet Sock Collection ::

I cannot tell you how excited I am to announce the release of the crochet sock collection. I started this project 2 and half years ago. Life threw some pretty time consuming stuff at me over those 2 and half years (baby, 2 house moves to mention a few!) so it took a whole lot longer than I imagined, but I'm so so pleased and proud of what I'm putting out into the wild today.

The Crochet Sock Collection is a collection of 6 crochet sock patterns. Here is a little bit of the intro from the book ::

People often seem surprised by the idea of crochet socks. I regularly hear cries of ‘I never thought of crochet socks!’. Of course, you can crochet anything. If you’re a crocheter who frequents the internet I’m sure you’ve seen with your own eyes that just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should! When it comes to socks however you absolutely should.
Having been a sock knitter for many many years, when it came to crochet socks I found it difficult to find any patterns that didn’t look bulky, stiff and uncomfortable. Tempted to try my hand at knitting lacy socks but lacking the confidence, I turned to my trusty crochet stitches and a new love was born. You really can make crochet socks that are comfortable, beautiful and practical.
I won’t lie to you, crochet does not have the same stretch and flexibility as knitting does, but by utilising the stretch it does have and finding the right stitches, crochet socks are very much a possibility.
In this collection are six designs that all have different techniques, different stitches and varying heel and toe constructions. These are socks that are designed to work, be loved and be put through their paces!

I am so in love with this collection, the second my lovely photographer (Kasia Fiszer) had finished her work I started wearing them all on constant rotation.

I'll talk about each pattern a bit more through the week, but in the meantime you can purchase the Ebook over on ravelry where you'll find a little more info on each of the individual patterns. If you'd rather have an 'in your hands copy' you can buy a print copy over on etsy, this is currently preorder and will be shipping at the beginning of next week, but I'll send you over a PDF copy in the meantime.

I'll be running a crochet-a-long for anyone who wants to join in and crochet themselves some socks from the collection. I've set up a facebook group here, but we'll also be playing along on Instagram if that's your thing (#thecrochetsockcal). I'll post more details for the cal in the week, but I thought we could start officially on Friday 25th, though you can start whenever you like of course.

Thanks so much to everyone who has help with this project and spurred me on to the finish line.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Hello There ::

It has been very quiet over here lately hasn't it? With our house move, a very mobile toddler in my life and everything else that inadvertently sucks my time, I'm afraid I've let the blog slide. It's one of those things where as more time passes it seems more difficult to get back to it, but this Sunday morning with coffee in hand and children playing happily together, I'm carving out some time to get back at it.

Life has been pretty full since we moved in to our first ever home back in January. The house renovation itself seems to have stalled hugely. Initially we weren't going to unpack anything until we'd finished decorating, but gradually as we've needed this or that, the boxes have become half unpacked all over the house and the majority of the walls remain untouched. 'Slowly slowly' seems to have become my stock response to anyone who asks, 'how's the house coming along'. It's more difficult to get on with it all when you live here somehow. I guess it's akin to working from home, when it's where you live all your everyday distractions become very distracting!

I'm not working a huge amount at the moment. I'm still working my way through The Crochet Sock Collection, which is now very very very nearly ready to launch. I'm taking on a few magazine commissions here and there and I have launched a new jewellery project, but trying to balance work and house renovating and looking after my very demanding toddler is a tough juggling act.

Effie is now well on here way to 2. She's feisty and independent and hugely demanding in equal measure. I'm sure Milo wasn't quite so time consuming at her age. She goes to nursery 2 mornings a week so I do get some time to work peacefully. She loves it and it's so nice to see her flourishing there and making friends.

Though it's full and slightly chaotic, life is good.

I plan to be back in this space more regularly going forward. Expect to see house updates, gardening exploits, family adventures and crafty pursuits.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Finding Inspiration :: Desk Accessories ::

Since moving house I haven't really had a chance to set up a work space properly, I'm currently working at a hastily set up desk in the corner of the living room. Ideally I'd like a workroom all of my own, but to be honest that seems unlikely, for the time being anyways. So in the meantime I shall dream of a room of one's own and browse etsy for all the things I will adorn my desk with once I'm no longer living on a building site!

Here are some of my favourites all from UK based etsy sellers ::

7. Pencils from Papio Press

For more inspiration for desk attire from etsy sellers take a look at my pinterest board and the Etsy 'dress your desk' collection.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

World Book Day :: and the tale of the Ron Weasley Sweater ::

Those of you with children will probably know that last Thursday was World Book Day. A day where parents across the world find themselves frantically trying to cobble together a book themed costume for their little ones. The majority of our previous outfits have been thrown together the night before with mild panic and crafty skills. Unsurprisingly for anyone who knows Milo, last year he was Harry Potter. The year before that he was Charlie Bucket and I think the year before that he was a pirate from Captain Hook's ship.

This year he initially declared he wanted to be Hermione Granger. I have no issue with Milo choosing to be a girl for the day (for Halloween he was Bellatrix Lestange - do you sense a theme here?) but my main objection was spending money on a new wig. His Bellatrix wig soon found itself in a horrific mess of knots and tangles. Once he was informed I would not be purchasing a wig, it turned out that having 'nice hair' was his main reasoning for his costume choice and he quickly started to come up with other suggestions.

Deciding to use his already existing freckles to his advantage he thought he would like to be a Weasley twin, but after much indecision on which twin to be, I suggested he might prefer to be Ron, turns out he didn't realise Ron also had freckles. So Ron was chosen. To which he quickly requested 'a Molly Weasley jumper with a R on it please Mum'. I cannot resist the request of knitting from Milo, I was thrilled when he asked for a school jumper over the summer, however my initial response of 'oh yes of course I'd love to Milo! What colours shall we do?' was met with thoughts of 'how realistic it is to knit a jumper in a week?'!

But do you know what, if you love someone that much, you can knit them a sweater in a week. Even when you run out of yarn and have to spend 3 of those 7 days waiting for more to arrive and especially if you don't mind staying up until 2.30 the morning of World Book Day to get it done!

I didn't use a pattern (though in retrospect that would probably have been easier) I didn't even swatch. I just took a couple of Milo's measurements, took the ball band's suggested gauge as read and cast on. I did a really simple bottom up raglan, with ribbing on the bottom, cuffs and neckline. I decided to use duplicate stitch for the R, figuring that would be easier than attempting to learn intarsia, plus if for some reason he decides he doesn't want an R emblazoned across his chest I can remove it easily and the sweater can still get some use.

I used Drops Alaska in dark red for the main body of the sweater and the mustard yellow for the R as it was nice a chunky, perfect Gryfindor colours and I already had some left over from the crochet blanket I made over the summer.

It was totally worth a couple of late nights to see the look of awe on his face on Thursday morning, plus he looked amazing! We added a wand, some orange hair chalk, Scabbers the rat and even a dirty mark on his nose.

Lots have people have asked me for the pattern. I'm afraid I don't plan on writing it up at the moment, that's not to say I never will, but not in the foreseeable future. However if you found yourself a nice simple sweater pattern it really would be simple enough to add an initial to the front of it.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Hello ::

I'm sorry, I'm afraid that once again I fell off the blogging wagon, I didn't mean to, it just happened as Christmas approached and the house moving date loomed and time just started to slip away from me at an alarming rate.

If you've been following me on Instagram you'll probably know we've moved into the new house now, though we are far from being finished with the renovation! Life is still kind of crazy whilst we live out of boxes attempting to finish decorating with a house full of possessions and two little ones 'helping' out. I'm gradually getting back into a sort of routine which doesn't involve daily consultations with tradesmen, sanding floors and attempting to paint walls with a baby strapped to my back (these things are still happening just not daily!).

I'm super excited to be getting back to work, crocheting flat out on my sock collection and sending new submissions to magazines left, right and centre.

Effie becomes more demanding by the day in an 'almost two' kind of a way. She's still as wonderfully delicious as ever, parenting her just needs a little more patience as she grows fiercely independent and frustrated at her inability to tell you what she needs. She's settled in at nursery now and is loving it, which gives me two mornings a week to get on with work, which is bliss.

I have lots to share here I just don't always find the time to actually put words and pictures to the page. At the beginning of the year I chose a word to guide me through 2016, I've done this for a few years now, inspired by Susannah Conway and her Unravelling the Year workbook. This year I choose ASPIRE, I want to aspire to be better at all the things in my life, to be less flaky and more organised, more successful and generally a better business owner, but I think it's relevant here too. With that said, I aspire to be a better blogger!

Look out for a catch up on the house renovation, I've kept weekly handwritten logs of our progress, so I hope to share those here in the coming weeks. I also plan to blog lots about crochet techniques and crochet socks as The Crochet Sock Collection nears it's intended publication date and of course I'm sure there will be many posts on family life and a few crafty tutorials.

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