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Hello Mollie! Crochet flowers and egg cosies galore

10 Mar

Happy weekend! After a morning spent beavering away in the garden, getting ready for spring (hurrah!) I gave myself permission to tear open the wrapper on my yummy new issue of Mollie Makes. Thanks Mr Postman!

Even better, there are several patterns in this issue that I lent a helping hand with on the tech editing front.

First up is this month’s star project …

These lovely egg cosies by Suzie Johnson of The Wool Sanctuary, are lickitysplit quick to knit up, and will give you a nicely sample sized challenge, with a little bit of Fair Isle and intarsia knitting needed to make them up.

I also provided a little assistance with the adorbs (as Mollie would say) cover gift – a pretty crochet flower brooch in pink cotton yarn, designed by Anna Rakoniewska, who has a super-cute Etsy shop.

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You only need to be able to do double and treble crochet (single and double in US speak) to put this together. It really is very simple – don’t be scared!

The garden is waking up to spring, so I spent a lovely hour outside after I’d finished digging, weeding and re-potting, sat in the warm(ish) sun with Mollie and a nice cool drink.

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Ooo, look, buds! Hooray for sunny days! Ttfn xx

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Mollie Makes: Crochet wristwarmers

13 Jan

Oooo, I love Mollie Makes magazine.

What I love even more is that I am sort of part of it! Issue 10 of Mollie Makes, which will be landing on subscribers doormats today (hopefully including mine) has a stunning pair of crochet wristwarmers on the cover, which I did the tech editing for.

Tech editing sometimes feels like a bit of a dark art, but essentially, I check over knitting or crochet patterns for any inconsistencies and mistakes, and make sure they’re written clearly, using the correct terminology. Oh, and that if you follow the pattern to the letter, what you end up with looks like the picture that comes with it. Yeah, sexy I know, but pretty important, if you actually want to understand what to do!

These wristwarmers (by the lovely Monika of Hypericumfragile) are quite simply a work of art, and the pattern is way more straight forward than it looks. If you have anything more than the most basic of crochet skills, I urge you to give them a go! The yarn is fine, and the crochet hook you’ll use is small, but they grow pretty quickly, thanks to the open stitch pattern.

So when you see in my side bar (look, over there on the right) ‘As seen in Mollie Makes’, what I mean is that every time you spot a crochet or knitting pattern in there, chances are I’ll probably have had my sticky paws on it at some point.

If you fancy these lovely wristwarmers, but feel your crochet skills aren’t up to scratch yet, you can buy them ready made from Monika’s Hypericumfragile Etsy shop. Mmmm, tempting.

Righto, I’m off to wait by the doormat for my monthly MM fix. Happy weekend!

 

Happy New Year! And a resolution…

1 Jan

2011 was a year full of lots of things. Lots of adventures, lots of work, lots of change. But, unlike in previous years, there was supposed to be less of something too – buying yarn.

But my stash doesn’t really seem to have diminished, partly because I now get new yarn to try out for work (yep, I know what you’re thinking, poor me), and also due to working with other yarn for my designs. OK, and yes, because I bought some, although not much, honest.

As of today, this is about a third of what I actually own. Doesn’t look too scary, does it?

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Although it does rather explode when you unpack it…

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Juliet Bernard, my lovely editor at The Knitter, spent the whole of 2011 on a yarn diet (including a trip to the knitting mecca that is Norway, which I think would have driven anyone to the brink), but as of today she is allowed to buy yarn again.

Well, if she can do it, I can too. can’t I? (No laughing please)

So, for 2012, I have a list of promises. Here goes…

1) I will NOT buy yarn.

OK, that’s long enough! I originally had a whole host of other good intentions, but as this one is going to be tough enough to follow on its own, I don’t think I should try any harder to set myself up for a fall.

As I’ve only been knitting seriously for about 7 years, I can get all my stash into three big boxes, including the one above –

However, THIS is what happens when these things get out of hand…(click on the pic for the full story)

(c) Mochimochiland

Yes, I think 2012 is going to require a LOT of willpower, but every time I feel myself wavering I will look at this picture and remind myself why I’m abstaining. Wish me luck!

PS. You can read more about my adventures in stashbusting on The Knitter website throughout 2012.

The Holly and the Nativity

9 Dec

Lots of lovely Christmassy things today!

Storm had her first Nativity play at her pre-school. She was one of the angels, having been demoted from Mary due to constantly pointing out in a really LOUD voice that Baby Jesus must be ‘cold because he hasn’t got any clothes on’. Haha.

She looked super cute in her little costume, plus big boots. Very punk fairy. One of the mums made the most amazing glittery cupcakes as a treat for after, which Storm was besotted by, so we did a little cake decorating ourselves when we got home, although ours were nowhere near as posh. Aren’t they pretty?!

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I’ve now finished all my little Christmas ornaments. Here are some of them: a few crochet snowflakes, a polar bear, a mitten, an ice skate, and a little red pom pom. There are some more things I’ve been sewing, but I’ll show you those next week.

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Yesterday I went on a holly hunt and found quite a few branches with red berries (don’t worry, I left lots for the birds). When I got home I just stripped off the lower leaves and  poked a few pieces behind the top of our living room mirror (a v generous wedding present from Bristol Guild) and then wound our little red lights around it. It looks so festive!

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OK, here’s another gratuitous Nativity pic. Next week I think it’ll be time for some presents! Have a lovely Christmassy weekend!

Crochet Christmas snowflakes

8 Dec

This weekend I taught my last class at The Makery for the foreseeable future. I’ve really loved working with Kate and Nigel, the lovely owners, and their fantastic assistant Anna.

But travelling to Bath and back to teach for just a few hours was eating up a lot of time I could be spending with Storm, so I’ve decided to concentrate on teaching in my home city next year.

Four lovely ladies turned up for Sunday’s learn to crochet class. As it was December, and Bath was enjoying its ever-so-festive Christmas market, I decided to forgo the granny squares for once, and create some pretty tree ornaments instead.

I made the pattern up on the train in, and finished crocheting my sample on the short trek from the station to Walcot Street, where The Makery’s main workshop is.

Happily, despite my rather spontaneous concept, all went swimmingly, and my ladies left with ornaments they’ll hopefully be proud to hang from the tree this season.

If you’d like to make one, you’ll need some cotton yarn – mine were made with Rowan Cotton Glace, which is great for crochet, a 4mm crochet hook, and some basic skills.

Then you just need one of the zillion free crochet snowflake patterns online. I particularly like this one from Attic 24 and this collection of lots of them!

When you’ve finished your lovely snowflake, you might find it looks a bit wobbly-bobbly (like this ‘before’ picture).

Just give it a squirt with a plant sprayer filled with water, or a bit of steam from an iron, smooth and stretch it out, and then spray it with starch and leave it to dry on a radiator. Lovely!

See how nice and smooth it is?

If you came to one of my classes at The Makery over the last couple of years I just want to say thanks! It’s been great fun, and I’ve been so happy to send so many people off with a new skill I know will bring them years of pleasure.

I’ll be teaching my Knitting In The Round class at Get Knitted in April (21st) and November (10th) in 2012, but that’s the only teaching I’m doing. It should leave me more time to design, tech edit, write, and, most importantly, spend time with my family.

That’s what Christmas is about after all!

One day to go til Totterdown is a woolly wonderland!

17 Nov

Wow. Well, after three months of knitting and crochet by the lovely people of Totterdown and Knowle, this weekend is IT. It’s time for Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland at the Front Room!

Hannah, Violeta, Ange, Jean, Pat, myself and a few others were at Arnos Vale cemetery this morning, finishing a few things off and hanging up the first of the pieces. We hope to be finished by early afternoon tomorrow, so that the children at Hillcrest School can see all their hard work sparkling in the autumn sunshine.

We’re not going to spoil the surprise of what everything looks like in situ, but below are just a few pictures of the project, in progress over the past few months, and some of the amazing people who’ve made such a generous contribution, of their time, skills, materials and enthusiasm.

If you’re not on here, it doesn’t mean we’re not grateful, we just didn’t take your picture!

Do come down to the cemetery over the weekend to see everything up in place. There will also be a knitting and crochet cafe at 19 Summer Hill on the Saturday and Sunday from 12noon to 6pm both days, when you can come and do some crafting, and have some tea and cakes.

The cakes are being sold in aid of Refuge, so if you have time to make a few, or fancy contributing some shop-bought ones that would be absolutely fantastic. Just drop them by 19 Summer Hill any time over the weekend (although maybe not 5.55pm on Sunday or we’ll be forced to eat them ourselves!),

As well as our crafty cafe, Hannah’s house will feature photographs by Violeta and screen-printed T-shirts by the Bristol Hospitality Network.

As an aside, you may have heard that there was an arson attack in Arnos Vale a few nights ago, which destroyed all the seasoned logs which the cemetery normally sells over the winter. This means a loss of about £2,000 in income for the cemetery, so if you feel like you want to, you can make a donation to buy a virtual log.

OK, here come the pictures! If you have anything ‘last minute’ to give us, just email woolywonderland@gmail.com with the details, or come down to the Spielman Centre in the cemetery on Friday morning where there should be someone who can collect it from you.

Jean making a giant crochet flower
A pom-pom finger knitted snake, made by one of our younger members
Violeta gets Pablo crocheting early…
Frances, with just a few of her beautiful garlands
Ladybirds in progress…
Sarah and Ange with their accidentally coordinating projects – and outfits
Betty and Pat enjoying some alfresco crafting
A beautiful garland posted to the project. Thanks!
Knitting in the pub!
Val and some other knitters at The Oxford
Linda and her amazing snake

With thanks to Emma Turner for the lovely pictures from The Oxford, Hannah for her sterling work with her phone camera, and absolutely everybody else too!

Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland – more fun and games!

28 Sep

Hey there lovelies!

Just dropping in to let you know that the next gathering for Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland is on Monday October 3rd and we’d love to see you there!

After such a fun meeting at the Thali a couple of weeks ago, we’re hoping for another great turn out of knitters and crocheters to help transform Totterdown into a Woolly Wonderland for the Front Room Arts Trail in November.

We’ve also been asked by the Arnos Vale Charitable Trust to make a trail by decorating some of the trees in the cemetery.

If that sounds like your cup of tea then please do come along to The Oxford pub on Oxford Street on Monday at 7.30pm to find out more and join in.

We’ll be making 15cm x 15cm squares and strips of knitting and crochet, and knitted and crochet flowers, birds and animals.

There’s lots of free yarn available, patterns and friendly advice and encouragement if you’ve never tried to knit or crochet before (or, like lots of people we’ve met, haven’t done it for a long time).

Since our last meet up we’ve had all sorts of offers of help and generous donations, including a knitting machine, lots of cones of machine knitting yarn, and hand-knitting/ crochet yarn in lovely bright colours. If you’d like to join in, but don’t have much time, we’d love to take any unwanted materials off your hands. Just drop us a line at woolywonderland@gmail.com.

If you want to keep up to date with what we’re doing then please subscribe to our email list by sending an email to woolywonderland@gmail.com.

There are also lots more people interested in getting involved now, and we’ll have more news on that at the meeting on Monday.

Hope to see you then!