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Sometimes I am not very good with colour. I wish I was consistent and had a colour style. I can’t really do that Scandi chic look, all white and grey, because the brights and the pastels creep in. I wish I was a tasteful Farrow and Ball girl, with all those sophisticated chalky whites. But then a cheeky cerise potters in, with a clashing red and bang there goes your sophisticated colour scheme.

In recent years I have been thrilled to watch and appreciate the styles of Selina Lake and Sarah Moore. I think their colour palette, their love of vintage and chintz is really where my style heart lies. It makes me happy not to feel quite so off kilter.

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Now where is all this leading to? Well there was a problem with a blanket. For all the be-moaning of my schizophrenic colour choices, I am my friends, a finisher. I do like to see the end of a project. With that in mind I am careful what I start. I also don’t like too much waste. I like to wade through the yarn stash and make something useful from all those remnants.

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About a year ago I came across a delightful baby blanket pattern. In it’s original form it would have been all fluffy duck yellow or sugar mice pink. I was keen to try a more modern palette. Using a new trick I have for pinning down my colour indecision I chose the front cover of Homes and Antiques for crochet square colours. Lots of fun was had making square after square.

bohemianImage taken from Selvedge magazine – Susanne Biovsky

When it was time to join up the squares disaster struck. I tried colour after colour, blue, yellow white – ewww. They all looked horrible and made me want to run away from my project bag. Then the new issue of Selvedge magazine arrived, July/August. There on the front of the magazine was my answer. There is a wonderful article about the Viennese fashion designer Susanne Bisovsky. Her work inspired by folk costume provided the perfect palette match for my blanket.

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The answer was to chose a charcoal grey as the backdrop to all those zingy hues. Perfect. This style also enabled me to go a bit ‘fancy’ with the edging.

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So there you go, my magazine addiction continues to save the day and one begins the inspiration and another provides the ending – perfect.

I am being a bit cheeky but I do get a mention in this issue of Selvedge Magazine on page 38 for the Gawthorpe Hall project #ambitiondone

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lotsofkeyrings1

It has been a long time since I saw these little beauties. Maybe two years has passed since I sent my final batch of keyrings to my lovely publishers GMC. Well in preparation for the book signing on Monday they sent me back all of the keyrings from my first book and the project items from my new book How to Crochet. It is like being re-united with old friends.

Little B was so delighted when he saw the keyring box. It was like going through a box of chocolates. Loom bands are so very popular this summer, but ironically they use a crochet hook to work the little rubber bands. If you are looking for an opportunity to develop little crafty skills then these little trinkets are really do-able small projects.

 

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fingerlessmittens

This post might make you wince a bit. Every year I mention at this time that I am in the middle of some Christmas commissions. By the end of this weekend I am hoping I will have finished four Christmas projects. Wow, it is hard to get your head into that space. Lots of crafters are already thinking and planning their Christmas gift projects.

On Monday I have the pleasure of going to Preston, to a craft superstore Inspirations by Cardcraft. I will be there as part of their Christmas Event between 10am and 4pm. If you fancy coming along and saying ‘Hello’ that would be lovely. I am hoping to have a look at some of the paper trends and I am also a big fan of quilting – although I never make the time to make my own.

The lovely people at the Craft Institute have done an interview with me about my Christmas plans here if you are interested.

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In this months Inside Crochet magazine you can see the next instalment of my Mystery Project. My word I worked really hard to try and get this right.

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This is not a project my friends for the first time crochet enthusiast. I would say that you need a few hours hooky time under your belt to really enjoy the ride. But if you like a challenge, this is perfect for you. When I was designing the piece I had to think of it in three parts and aim to make sense of each section. I do really love the combination of summery tones in the design and I can’t wait to wear the finished item myself this summer.

If you are making it, I do hope you are enjoying the challenge and waiting for the final section to appear next month.

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springblanket

What do you like to pack for a holiday? Quite a bit of my holiday preparation includes yarn. Even a weekend away has some serious implications packing-wise. This week I have been dwelling the projects which will give me some rest and relaxation.

I am being a bit naughty and taking some ‘work’, a few cheeky Christmas commissions. I know, can you bear to think about it,  but that is the world of the magazine designer. Then I have a ‘Work in Progress’ which has been my project basket far too long. It is a stash busting blanket. The colour combination was inspired by the front cover of Home and Antiques Magazine. When I have finished it I will reveal the final blanket. I am not totally sure of the colour combinations but there you go.

Finally I went and bought some yarn today – I know – ‘Heavens to Betsy’. I was telling a friend that I felt a bit frayed round the edges and wanted a complete de-stress. She said – ‘Go back to knitting!’

So I am. Debbie Bliss would be thrilled. She asked me recently, ‘Don’t you knit any more?!’ If I am honest – hardly at all. So there you go I have a knitting project needing to be cast on. It is a pattern from the Summer 2009 issue of Interweave Knits. I am revisiting a pattern which I made a few years ago and I am really looking forward to it. When I do eventually go on holiday I will share with you my progress.

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beachhut1This pattern has been in my head for such a long time. It has evolved from my Beach hut keyring from my book design into the larger version.

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I was really thrilled that Simply Crochet magazine asked me to make it for them and the final design made it to their front cover, which is always a thrill.

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Making an accessory like this is not complicated. What we are looking at here are some straight striped lines. But there are some fiddly elements. The bunting on the side is made up of little triangles. Quick and easy to dash off. While I have used Sirdar Cotton DK, I imagine you will have a stash of spare cotton yarn which you could use for these details, so don’t feel obliged to go out and buy new balls of yarn for these little triangles.

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I added details of a sandcastle and a bucket to the side of the beach hut. Sometimes readers say that they would prefer me to make a design completely in crochet. I always feel conflicted about this. A bit like my Campervan doorstop design, I like adding details in felt and sewing on buttons for handles. In most cases this provides me with a more defined detailed look and I quite like the contrast between the sewing and the crochet.

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My advice is to make your doorstop your own. Add as many buttons, rows of bunting and ribbons as you like. Just enjoy the process and make something that speaks of your own creativity. If you like the look of the pattern catch it in the current issue of Simply Crochet issue 20.

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littlbag1

You know crochet is such a practical craft for summer. You can make so many pretty things in cotton and depending on the density of the stitch it is really robust for hard-wearing accessories. In the last few weeks I have created a number of patterns for a local yarn store, Blacksheep wools. The latest free pattern has just gone live on their website and it is a little pouch bag, brilliant for summer evenings out on the town or indeed promenading along the seafront.

I aimed to make this bag really handy for a passport, a card, some keys and a lipstick.

littlebag2Choose your own colour combination that goes with your holiday wardrobe. My suggestion is to make the i-cord strap the right size for you. I really like a long strap which I wear across the body, but it would be just as good with a really short strap just looped to one side  which you could wear around your wrist.

This pattern is the final free pattern which I have designed exclusively for Blacksheep wools. You can find the pattern here and I have used Sirdar Cotton DK which comes in a range of beautiful colours. If you make your own version of these free patterns do send me a photo across on my new Facebook page here – I would love to share it.

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foodcover1

Food covers my friends! Your granny was right … actually one of my best friends was right – see here and here.

This is what you need for summer breakfast outside. An evenings work but pure genius. If you don’t crochet but have a friend who does, invite them over for a meal or coffee and say – ‘Don’t bring flowers or wine as a gift, make me a food cover so that I can spend every meal this summer outside with my food and yummy drinks unperturbed by silly flies!’

It’s a plan

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crochetbracelets1

If you are keen to avoid buying lots of mini rubber bands, or perhaps fancy teaching a young person in your life how to crochet, I have designed three cotton bracelets for the summer. The lovely people at Blacksheep wools, have asked me to collaborate with them and create a number of exclusive free patterns for their website.

I used the really pretty Rico Creative Cotton Print Aran which has a lovely variegated pattern. Cotton is great for a summer bracelet – you virtually don’t have to take it off your arm. There are three levels of pattern here, from the most simple through to introducing flower crochet.

If  you fancy having a go download the pattern from here for FREE

Don’t get me wrong – this year’s craze for connecting tiny rubber bands means that all over the country there are little huddles of young people creating – thinking of colour combinations – feeling proud of something they made.  I saw a little girl last week with about, twenty bracelets on both arms. They are pretty colourful and it always cheers might heart to see groups of kids busy making together.

 

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cherrykeyringLGC

I really like working with all the magazines I have relationships with. Each have a different look and thinking about the different readership is actually helpful with the creative process. Let’s Get Crafting have specific colours and yarn that they need their designers to work with. The restriction on the length of yarn is very good for me – it gets the little grey cells working. I am always really impressed by the designs in the magazine. There are often great gift ideas.

Following the Keyring book coming out, I took a slight sabbatical from keyring design…But LGC asked me to design some new ideas, I really enjoyed myself.

applekeyringLGC

The apple keyring would be a great idea for an end of term thank you present for teachers.

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I realised recently that if you made this pear of the apple in a silver or gold yarn they would make good Christmas decorations. (Is it too early to mention that?)

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At the same time I designed these little Lavender bunnies to keep the moths at bay. When I was making this design I couldn’t find loose lavender anywhere in the shops. So I ordered some lavender online. Unfortunately I got my quantities mixed up and a huge bag of lavender arrived. If I knitted from now until the New Year I wouldn’t use it all up. But it has given me a good idea for quick and easy house presents.

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