lightsabrecozy

We have had a really great bank holiday weekend. A fun packed family day in London town and a joyful Sunday which ended with a family screening of the new Star Wars film – The Force Awakens. This force awoke very early this morning. I like an early morning – when the house is still asleep. Stanley and I had some quality time together. I quickly finished off an commission and then inspired by the impending ‘Star Wars Day’ – May the 4th – I decided I would make something appropriate.

I spotted the lightsabre cosy for popsicles on Pinterest eons ago. This little project has been on my to-do list for such a long time. By the time Little B was downstairs seeking breakfast I had two handy cosies ready for a battle. If I am honest Big B and I had already battled in the kitchen. Stanley was singularly unimpressed with the noise, both the sound of lightsabres and giggles.

If only I used my crochet superpower for good….

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BabywearblogDB

Whether you are a seasoned knitter or a novice with a baby bundle on the way, new born handknits never have to be old fashioned. It was the designs of Debbie Bliss that inspired me to pick up my needles over a decade ago. Debbie has always managed to combine classic lines with fresh colours to create a covetable modern vibe.

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I am convinced that the high street designers have been inspired by Debbie’s work. There are two key books by Debbie that would never leave my pattern library. Firstly get hold of the original Baby Cashmerino book. Here you will find the go-to round neck baby cardigan. I must have knitted 3 or 4 version of this design for my son. They are perfect over a baby-grow for early morning play and will look super cute with a liberty print dress or dungerees in the summer.

Both Bonpoint and Boden have been attracted to Acid Yellow and Coral tones this summer. You can make your own handknit version using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I think I might be tempted to look to the Baby Cashmerino Tonal Collection and make a cardigan in Storm. This soft denim look will be fabulous matched with a pure white dress and matching knickers.

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Baby hat db

My second recommendation is Baby Knits for beginners. There are loads of great designs in this book from blankets to jumpers and scarves. Every new Mum loves cute hats for her new born. So many get flung out of the buggy that you can never make enough. I feel like I have made hundreds of these cute beanies over the years. They are a quick and welcome gift that attract admiring glances on the high street. If the flavour of the baby is unknown at this stage I think that duck egg, denim and navy go down a treat for a boy or girl. Once knitted you might just attain favourite aunty or uncle status.

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ranunculus16.1

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garden16.4.5There was nothing on Saturday that would have stopped me from getting in the garden. When I have ‘things to sort’ in my brain, I either need to go on a ‘fast thinking walk’ preferably somewhere beautiful or I need to dig, chop and clear. It wouldn’t take an A level psychology student to see the hidden meaning behind this physical activity. However there is something rather comforting about recognising the signs in yourself and acknowledging that you have to respond to the call.

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Following a full morning of physical activity in our little patch, I sat for lunch with Big B.

‘Oh, I needed that…the air is so fresh…I am so glad that I have got rid of that shrub I have been meaning to dig out for such a long time…isn’t it wonderful to see things sprouting and growing…I hadn’t realised how much I needed that…’

‘Yes my darling’, he said with a knowing look, ‘are you back out there this afternoon?’

He was right, there was more to be done. Hours later when the tools were put away and I surveyed our plot, mug in hand, straightening my back, things appeared more ordered. What a privilege it is to create, to plant, to sow, to grow. How blessed I am that as I grow older I have found the activities which make my brain and soul tick. In the late afternoon, clean, warm and satisfied I curled up with Little B on the sofa. The quiet constant clicking of the needles could be heard again. A little bit of order restored.

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If you love the patterns from Yarn Stories then it would be worth entering their new competition. Knitters can sign up for free pattern from their Botanics collection – a beautiful summer jumper called Satin Ash, just follow this link
From 15th – 30th April everyone that signs up will also be entered into a giveaway.  One lucky person will win the yarn to make this gorgeous jumper in the colour of their choice. I love this yarn so it would be worth entering to see if you could win.

 

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crochetnowmag2

Weeks and weeks ago I spent a happy Saturday filming how to crochet for a new magazine Crochet Now. The lovely editor, Hugh Metcalf and I spent hours filming and photographing my hands as they worked through a series of techniques and stitches.

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Lots of my friends have asked me to teach them to crochet. Indeed I have been quite successful in imparting the magic hook wielding techniques. Now, however there is no need to listen to my voice, because Crochet Now Magazine have a lovely set of videos which will take you through the basics with my fingers doing the work.

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I can’t tell you how hard it was to slow my fingers down for each stitch. There was much giggling as I would have to re-do stitch after stitch. You can see in one of these photos that quite a lot of black coffee was drunk as well.

I never saw myself as a hand model and have always rather disliked my little fingers, but I am confident in knowing how to handle the hook and it is rather nice to see my fingers working away on film. As I write there are two videos available and more will be released in the future.

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Have a look at the videos: Chain Stitch here and Double Crochet here

Do pop by the website of Crochet Now Magazine.

Tell me what you think and it you enjoy them.

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02/04/2016 · 7 comments

in Uncategorized

this I know1I have been been blogging now for six years and it occurred to me that there were a few things I had learnt.

Writing a diary, a journal or a blog, is an excellent discipline. It forces you to notice things. I am more conscious of seasons. I see the patterns of passing years. Perhaps that is just age. I think I have always been attracted to beauty, be that in nature, painting, music, or dare I say it, food. The blog nudges me to make a mental note. Not all I see or notice ends up on these pages. But lots thoughts have and I believe the very discipline makes me a happier person.

My posts start with the words and the images are added later. You might think it would be the other way round. I try very hard not to blog if I don’t have something to say. The idea must be there and usually it takes a few days before the idea wheedles it’s way out onto the page.

Write for yourself – it is better not to be inhibited by the thought of lots of people reading…but edit, edit, edit for everyone. I am not an excellent proof reader of my own work. When I am done, I am done. However when I am being a good girl I will preview the words on the page. For a while I was paralysed by the thought of people mentally ticking off my grammatical errors. Then I realised that if we listen to our inner fear, we would never achieve anything – so I do the best that I can.

I use a Canon EOS 450DR camera, but more often I use my phone camera. In my head that is lazy. I really don’t like to admit it. But my phone is much lighter in my handbag.

I do mention my family, but rather obliquely. I feel very conscious of their right to privacy. Having said that most of my inspiration comes from what friends and family have said to me.

Being nice costs nothing, being nasty can cost you everything.

Not everything is always jolly in the Varnam household but this is a place of joy for me – you don’t need to hear about the other stuff.

Blogging has opened up a vast and wonderful world for me. I have connected with people from across the world. I have met and worked with my heroes. I have had opportunities to develop my design work beyond my wildest dreams. Most of the images at the right of the page are projects and dreams which have been fulfilled due to this blog. But keeping a blog is hard work and requires dedication – there I said it.

Be brave – if this girl can – you can.

Be generous – some people will take advantage, some will nick your ideas or work. But in general, whatever you give will be returned to you tenfold.

Compliment and thank those who have inspired you. Most people have no idea how much they have positively effected others. But everyone needs encouragement, even if they are at the top of their game. Saying ‘thank you’ will give that person a huge boost, and you never know, someone might do the same for you one day.

You can get quite hung up on how your blog looks, how many people view your blog, whether it gets comments, whether it is on-trend. The most important thing is to ‘Do it if you love it’. Don’t write a blog if it is a pain for you to do and you begin to dread it. But don’t let the look of your blog enable you to procrastinate.

Don’t make comparisons, don’t be jealous, be inspired….

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ralphy2I love Easter. The break this year seems to have come upon on so quickly but it has been joyful just to slow down. I am not sure what the weather has been like with you? We have had a mixed bunch of some sunshine and then some heavy showers. Having time at home has meant there has been more time to curl up and enjoy dedicated crochet time. I should be in the garden. But it has been rather soggy. I should also be clearing out the cellar or tidying the loft. But no, instead we have cuddled on the sofa or pootled around the house.

ralphy'sblanket

There are a number of commissions I have been finishing. I have now finished number two blanket of three. All have been enjoyable. However when I am making blankets, I want to make toys – when I am surrounded by little toys, I crave the simplicity of blanket work.

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So in the midst of finishing and pattern writing, I spent a few hours making Ralphy. He is worked up using the odds and ends from my last blanket. There is something quite cheeky about making something from the very ends of your yarn. Like a stolen project. Plus he is quite the dapper chap. This shape of this cuddly toy is intended for baby hands, but when we had friends over yesterday he was discovered in my project basket by a nine year old and immediately adopted. No matter that Ralphy was hot off the hook, a toy is to be played with, not kept in a basket.

Today will be about pattern writing and proof reading, not my favourite aspect of the design world. So you never know I might find myself distracted by a household chore instead; the grass or chore is always greener on the side.

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25/03/2016 · 0 comments

in Crochet,Holiday

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Photo of Bonnie Bunny taken by Smith Imaging

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top-text-2016Lovely people there are new crochet categories in the British Knitting Awards! How exciting! including may I say Best Crochet Designer and Best Crochet Blog. Now I can imagine who might win these categories. However if you have enjoyed this blog and perhaps might consider nominating me – that would indeed be ‘tickertyboo!’

All you need to do is nominate via this link British Knitting Awards 2016.

You do need to fill out all categories – if you need help with this then do mail/message me and I can help.

Top of my list will of course be Debbie Bliss for all sorts of categories. I am a big fan of Toft Alpaca for their independent wool and yarn kits. I have always enjoyed Stylecraft for their budget yarn range. I love Knit pro for their knitting needles and Clover for their accessories and their crochet hooks.

Stanley and I thank you from the bottom of our heart stanleyandpatrick

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