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Boy – oh Boy, I have made a lot of items this year. The very scant number of blog posts means that most of those projects I have not been able to share with you yet. Life in 2018, has been busy. I am not complaining, my work has been hectic and I have done much more designing than I imagined at the beginning of the year.

I saw a dear friend of mine this week. She said, ‘WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! – seriously what have you been doing?’ Good point. When not working there has been quite a bit of secret stitching and that means it takes a while before it is visible. Not excusable, but true.

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So much making

Amongst the book designs and commissions, you know that I have knitted a heap of socks and I have added to my wardrobe by knitting a useful tank top. I promise I will do a round up of my ‘Fashion Fast’ in a few weeks, but I will admit that crashing into Autumn I was slightly bored with the work-wear options.

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Lime

Stylecraft had given me a free ball of a new shade of Special Aran in a glorious Lime. Now this colour is a weird one for me. I don’t often wear green at all. But I know that this colour strangely suits my skin colour. It sort of gives me a surprise tan. I’m not really sure why.

I new immediately what I wanted to do with it. I got hold of three 100g balls and started knitting a chunky tank-top, using a gorgeous perennial pattern from Debbie Bliss as my base. This pattern is called – Cassie I didn’t use the stitch pattern for the design and instead went back to my favourite double moss stitch. Any moss stitch can seem like a bit of a fiddle. However the aran weight yarn made the project bearable.

Very quickly i had made a very simple tank top. If I am honest I should have chosen to make a smaller size. But let’s not worry about that. I have worn the top on several occasions at work teamed with a crisp white shirt. It also serves very well at the weekend. A good addition to the dress-down Friday work-wear wardrobe.

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A useful knit

I have always liked a tank top for work. You have the freedom of movement but have the warmth which knitwear provides. I am so inspired by how useful this item has been that I am currently making a crochet version using a navy yarn. I cannot wait to see how it works out. If it works I will share the pattern with you. If you are planning to add to your wardrobe this year with you own knitting or crochet please do share your plans with me I would love to know. I have plans already swirling in my head for me next projects!

 

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If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I am a huge advocate of ‘blocking’ your work. I have written quite a few posts on the matter and whenever I am asked for my top tip I say ‘Block your work it makes all the difference!’ What is blocking? Well if you don’t know it is dampening or wetting your finished knitted or crocheted item. Pinning or stretching it to the shape you want it to be and then letting it dry. The fibres can relax, the stitches become regular and your can set your finished piece to the measurements you require.

You can read a few of my past blog posts here and here.

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Blocking Boards

I use a range of techniques myself; including soft boards for garments and templates made to size for my socks. However in the last 18 months I have made a huge number of Granny Squares. I have written two whole books and completed a whole heap of blanket commissions. For crochet motifs which are made individually the very, very best way to block is to use a wooden blocking board.

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The very lovely people at Chetnanigans contacted me and asked whether I would like to try their Ultimate Blocking Board and see what I thought. Well – oh my goodness, this my friends is a piece of kit. The following information is really for those who love a bit of crochet geekdom.

No snags – all the finish

Firstly the board is beautifully finished. It is well sanded and varnished and this actually matters quite a bit to me – as I have on occasion snagged my yarn on boards before. The high quality of the finish also means that I can have a really damp item to be blocked the wood won’t get stained or water-marked. The holes are very close together to insert the blocking pins, 1/2 inch apart, which is ideal. This means I have a lot of flexibility in terms of shape and size. I have trialed blocking a triangle and a circle and it works a treat.

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Pins

I must say that I haven’t before seen a blocking board with metal pins – these are stainless steel. The improvement is clear. Firstly – you can put more pins in a square without distorting the edge. A thicker wooden dowel can create little mini-humps in the square. If you are working with fine yarn this will certainly make a difference.

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Perfector Strips

There is also another advantage to this system. The perfector strips….oh yes my friends, a new invention to ensure all your squares are the same size. When I was writing my two Granny Square books this year, I made hundreds and hundreds of squares. Ideally to get them to be the same size – you can use your blocking board to pile up your squares one on top of

chetanigans-blocking-board-emma-varnamanother. However, even though you use metal pins the squares will inevetably draw the pins together. The new perfector strips, keep your pins in check and your squares all the same size. Genius.

Exciting news for you

Now if you are a passionate crocheter, I would certainly suggest these blocking boards as a Christmas Present this year. I was astonished by the quality and robust nature of the pins and the perfector strips. This purchase is an investment piece my friends. But I have two great pieces of news for you. I have a unique discount code for you. If you buy you blocking board from Chetnanigans  and use the code Emma15 This code is valid both on the Chetaningans Etsy Shop and their own Chetaningans website until Friday 26th November – so get ordering.

 

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Other brilliant news is that I have the best ever give-away opportunity for you. One lucky reader will be chosen at random to receive a 8″ Premier Blocking Board Ultra, display stand, blocking pins and perfector strips. This is an awesome giveaway prize and I cannot tell you how excited I am. All you need to do to enter is to ensure you subscribe to my newsletter, leave a comment below telling me why you would love to win this prize. The giveaway will run until Saturday 24th November, when I will be choosing a name at random. Good Luck!This giveaway is now finished – Congratulations to Sharon – who was picked at random!

Getting social

If you are not in the market for a blocking board – have a look because there are loads of products to add to your wish-list for Christmas!

It would be worth checking out their Facebook page and Instagram account – I think Sean and Holly are developing new products all the time – responding to the needs of their customers and they are always looking for suggestions and new ideas.

I have been happy to work with Sean and Holly at Chetnanigans – they sent me their Ultra Board to trial for free to see if I liked it and could recommend it. I happily recommend it to you and I am delighted that they have sent me a discount code for you and a giveaway to share with my readers.

 

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I really enjoy bringing you new books to look at and perhaps add to your wish list. So this weekend I thought it might be lovely to give you a sneaky peek of three that I have been particularly enjoying. I’m afraid all three will be staying firmly in my yarny library.

Celebrating Rowan

First up, an absolute future classic; Rowan 40 Years – 40 Iconic Hand-knit Designs. For me this book is more than just a pattern book. It is more a ‘moment in time’. A coffee table book to inspire and remember great hand-knits. For many years I have eagerly anticipated the publishing of every new  Rowan Design Magazine. This book, celebrating Rowan’s 40th anniversary and has 40 projects taken from throughout their 40 year archive. There are some designs that I have never seen before and some that have been re-coloured, re-made and re-photographed for today.

Top of my list would be this stunning Bressay Hap Shawl by Sharon Miller. The colours are stunning and so wearable. I would also make Martha by Kim Hargreaves, such a classic elegant cardigan.

I have also seen many many versions of Soumak Wrap by Lisa Richardson, this design always draws me across the room to look at it closely. At £25.00 this is not a cheap and cheerful purchase, but for me a staple for my collection of patterns. Excellent value when you think of how many beautiful designs you can have in one book. Pop it on your Christmas list!

Crocheted Birds

Next up is the delightful, Crocheted Birds by Vanessa Mooncie. Vanessa is such a talented designer and I see her almost like my crochet sister. We both work with GMC publications and when I see her designs they bring me so much joy. You might be aware that in the past few years there has been a trend for knitted or crocheted taxidermy. A lot less brutal than the Victorian version of bird collecting.

Vanessa’s new book has ten gorgeous projects. I was astounded at the brilliance of the Swan, and B has already asked if I could make the Owl. Vanessa not only provides written instruction but also has a number of detailed hand-drawn charts. If you like using schematic drawings to help you crochet, you will find these really helpful.  I think the Robin would be wonderful to make in the run up to Christmas.

Finally I have just got to tell you about the wonderful new book by my friend Christine, Winwick Mum. In my last blog post I told you that it was Christine who had encouraged me to knit socks. I found her book Super Socks so useful in my tentative first steps.

Now she has taken the techniques up to a new level and added in detailed tutorials on colourwork, cabling and lace patterns. The gorgeous rainbow socks on the front cover are a project I saw being designed. They are so so clever and mesmerizing. If you enjoy improving your techniques and want to have your hand held brilliantly through the process, then this is the book for you. You can buy this book here.

If you would like to see me talking about this book and my must-have sock making equipment then pop over to my Instagram account and look at my Stories Highlights.

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As a special treat I would love to give some of my stash of sock-yarn as a celebratory give-away. I will pick at random 4 subscribers who leave a comment in this blog post about why they love  knitting socks or want to learn. Each of the four will receive one ball of Stylecraft Boho Head over Heels yarn and one ball of the All Star Head over Heels. The colours will be picked at random too – this is just a fun give-away which shares the joy of sock making. Give-away closes on Friday Nov 16th at 6am. Good Luck and happy book shopping!

 

 

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Socks Rock

03/11/2018 · 1 comment

in Knitting

 

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There have been many surprises in 2018, including how much I have enjoyed knitting socks – socks rock. You know, prior to my little adventure with Arne and Carlos and learning how to do an ‘after-thought’ heel I would never have considered knitting sock at all. I mean, why would you?

But it was my darling friend Christine (Winwick Mum) who helped me see the light. She showed me how easy it was to take a little sock project with you where-ever, when-ever you go. It does not take long before you have a pair. Doing a quick totting up I have made precisely seven pairs and I have two pairs currently on the needles.

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Dapper Chaps

Four of those pairs have been for the men in my life. My first pair of sock were made for Little B (he is now larger than me, I need to rethink his blogging alter-ego). These are made from a soft 6ply weight yarn. They tend to get used more like a slipper or bed sock. I used the Regia Arne and Carlos Design Line yarn I got from the workshop I attended at Black Sheep Wools, they wash well and now are very soft. This colourway is Summer Night. He also has a luxury pair using a finer weight. I foolishly took him to visit the exclusive Countess Ablaze emporium in Manchester and he chose a sock yarn which looked very beautiful on the skein.

This is a LUXURY PAIR. I believe that the colourway is Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. The colours in the store really appealed to B’s taste, they felt modern and exciting to him. I actually finished knitting this pair in July on our hot-hot holiday in Majorca. The poor boy had to model his new socks in 35 degrees heat. Well, if you get expensive threads you need to suffer for your art!

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Blue Hues

I made a rather smart pair of socks for my Dad. This pair is another design from Arne and Carlos for Regia. The Pairfect Sock Yarns are very clever the colours are spun to ensure both socks are exactly the same. I am not sure when he will wear them, but he knows that love is knitted into every stitch. This design colour is Fall.

After thoughts

I made a lovely pair of blue socks for my blue-eyed boy; Big B. This sock yarn is by Stylecraft, Boho Head over Heels in Danube.  I think this pair will get more wear as the Winter develops. I am sorry I haven’t taken a photo of the heel but I used the after-thought heel method from Coop Knits book; Socks Yeah. There are some lovely designs in this book, I just wish I had more time to make them.

Mine, all mine

So now going onto my own socks. I have made two pairs using my own colour recipe with West Yorkshire Spinners 4ply Signature yarn.  A red striped pair, and a pink pair. My own personal choice would be to have a deep ribbed cuff on the top of the sock and it looks smart to match the cuff, heel and toe together. Both pairs are very comfy and will get more wear this winter.

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I have just finished these pastel beauties using Stylecraft Head over Heels All Stars. As Stylecraft Blogstars we all got an opportunity to select a range of colours to create a new sock yarn. Sadly my choice didn’t make the grade. No matter, because I am delighted to have made these socks using Lucy’s design (Attic 24). I thought I would extend my heel knitting repertoire and used the Sweet Tomato Heel method, (cute name). Experts will tell you that this method might not be very hardwearing. But I thought it looked nice with the colour stripes.

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Enough Already

Surely, I have made enough now! No sir. I have two pairs currently on the go. A limited edition sock yarn by Regia, called Nautic. There are five designs in this range and it is almost as if they were all designed for me! In fact, Christine messaged me to say she had spotted a ball and thought of me immediately. I have completed the first sock and will begin on the second this weekend. I am also hoping to complete a pair of Christmas socks using the new Fairylights by West Yorkshire Spinners. These look rather jaunty and I am not quite sure who will receive them yet.

So there you go, for a non-sock knitter at the beginning of 2018, I am rather loving my new yarn hobby. As of yet I have tended to take a simple approach to the design. Perhaps in 2019 I might look to expand my skills. But as for now. Bring on the chill – I am ready with the woolly socks!

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This week I will celebrate sock knitting by doing a book review of two great sock books and a give-away of some sock yarn – so stay tuned for an opportunity to get a ball of great yarn.

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Hello! It is my turn on the Stylecraft Blogtour. I love this annual little jaunt with all my Stylecraft Friends. We get very excited when the yarn is revealed to us. This year I was delighted that we were given Bellissima yarn to design with. What I really love the silky texture of the yarn and I chose the Autumn Leaves colour combination which has 5 fabulous rich shades.

This year I knew immediately what I wanted to make. I have been creating this quick and easy toy bear for a couple of years, but never wrote up the pattern. The time was nigh. The pattern is super simple and would make an excellent festive present. But then I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cute to create a matching bag?’. The idea is that any proud owner could take their bear with them on a high adventure.

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Toy making tips

If you are new to amigurumi and toy making with crochet this pattern would be an ideal starting point. I have made the pattern available for free during the blogtour. I often get asked if the yarn I use splits. Good Point! When you make toys you tend to have a tighter tension and you need accuracy on where to put your hook. If your yarn splits it becomes very very frustrating. Fortunately for a silky feel yarn, the fibres say nice and neat. I have just been making up another design this week and I have returned to the Bellissima again – which shows you how much I like it.

Worth saying on this design I did line my bag strap with a lovely grosgrain ribbon. Recently when I have made bags I have found it useful to either line the inside or reinforce the handles with ribbon. Then ensures that the bag does not stretch. You can either attach your lining with some small sewing stitches or use your sewing machine – as I do. I have found the sewing machine very handy and quite forgiving. You can hardly detect the lines of stitching amongst the yarn rows. These are the little touches which really finish off your makes and give your work a long life-span.

Well if you have been following the blogtour so far – you will have seen the wealth of beautiful designs using this yarn. Tomorrow, Phil from Twisted Thread will be sharing her fab project.

If you would like a copy of the Billy Bear and Bag you can download the free pattern below.  (Offer ends 15th October 2018 – Midnight BST)

Billy Bear and Bag

You can also WIN one of the Autumn Leave yarn packs, just click the link below to enter. (Open until 10am BST on 6th October 2018)

Autumn Leaves Giveaway

 

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Dare I say it? Are you already making for the festive season. Seriously I think you might be. I know it seems madder than mad, but I have been designing Christmas treats since May. Can you imagine?

It is worth me pointing you in the direction of two of my patterns. Firstly I have an adorable Project bag – the Dorothy Granny Square Bag which is published in the month’s Inside Crochet Magazine. If you admired my Beach Bag back in July, then indeed I am so sorry I have not written up the pattern yet. Don’t despair. This little beauty will be right up your street. Plus it uses glorious Stylecraft Special Aran.

 

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So chunky and quick to make. I saw that a few people had commented and and said it would make a great Christmas present. ‘Good point – well made’. So do swing by and pick up a copy.

Quick Stockings

Also worth mentioning is the Christmas Stocking Crochet along in Lets Get Crafting – Knitting and Crochet magazine. Each month in the run up to Christmas will release quick and easy 8 stocking designs. Rather fabulously you can download the first eight patterns from their website. As I am writing now I am getting excited for the weekend and the opportunity to pick up my hook!

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If you have a favourite festive pattern please do tell me. I would love to know. Have a great weekend x

 

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cornwallis-rowan-emma-varnamcornwallis-rowan-emma-varnamcornwallis-rowan-emma-varnamcornwallis-rowan-emma-varnamcornwallis-rowan-emma-varnamcornwallis-rowan-emma-varnamBy any sort of measure, I should not have made my new Cornwallis Jumper. Firstly – yellow is a very difficult colour to wear, anybody will tell you that. Think about it, apart from the glorious Seasalt Jacket that revived our love for Souwester-chic, you won’t see many people sporting sunshine yellow. Mustard, now mustard is a different thing. It is on the very edge of chic, but is worn by the brave and the knowing, along with orange and fuchsia.

Secondly I have had plenty to do on the crochet front that it was almost irresponsible to start another project. At the very least, naughty. Finally – stripes. If you know me at all, you know I love a Breton Stripe. I always have. I have had Breton stripe t-shirts in my wardrobe when the only place to get them was…. Brittany. Way before the high-street shops made them wonderfully accessible.

But you know what? I know I really shouldn’t wear stripes. Or if I do, I know that I need to be a bit careful. Let’s not be too coy, a slightly lumpy lady can look even more ‘bumpy’ in a horizontal stripe. I know this fact and flagrantly disregard it.  So there was incredible sense of inevitability about this pattern. I knew that one day I just had to make it. Like a bar of your favourite chocolate sitting in the fridge.  You try to be ‘good’ but then one day you succumb and devour in one sitting.

If you knit or crochet, you might be aware of the hypnotic power of the ‘must-do’ project. An idea takes hold and you ‘must’ cast on and begin. I don’t sleep walk, but it has occurred to me recently – do I sleep knit? I had all the yarn I needed for this project in my stash. The pattern was designed few years ago by Martin Storey for Rowan. The pattern has featured in Rowan’s 40th anniversary magazine.

I don’t remember what time of day it was, or what I should have been doing instead of mucking about with yarn. But before I knew it the stitches for the back were cast on. I had the yarn in my stash, Stylecraft Special DK. If you are interested I have used Cream, Navy and Mustard. I chose to work 4 rows of garter stitch at the hem-edge and cuffs to try and avoid the inevitable roll of stocking stitch hems. It hasn’t totally worked, but I don’t regret my choice.

You might believe that stripes would be boring to knit. I actually find the reverse. Pattern knitting can via between ‘challenging’ needing ultimate concentration,  or be rather encouraging. Unlike a plain knit, you can see that you are making progress. A stripe marks the gradual growth of the project and has a mindful repetition. You can hear your self thinking…’just two more rows’.

In all, interspersed with other projects, the jumper took me about 3 weeks to complete. The sewing up can always be a bit of a concern. A sweater can be ruined in these last details. A lazy alignment of seams can take you from success to woolly mess. Perhaps due to my ‘fashion fast’, I was keen that the finished looked as good as possible. I blocked it twice. Once before the joining of seams and then again when I had knitted the neckline.

Final judgement

Am I pleased with it? Will I wear it? Yes I think so. This is not a random or ridiculous question. Many makers will tell you that even though they spend hours making an item of clothing it is with GREAT trepidation that they finally wear it and look in the mirror for the great judgment – has it worked? I am frustrated that the arms are a little too long. Has it taken me all these years to realise that I have short arms?

It is rather jaunty and I do like the texture jump at the yoke from stocking stitch to garter stitch. I did wear it last Sunday and I might wear it again today. As the days grow colder here I feel that I will benefit from an additional snuggly item. Bouncing into Autumn, I am not sure I will have time to add to my ‘homemade’ wardrobe before my self-imposed fashion fast is over. The Cornwallis might tide me over into Winter and there is still plenty of old winter clothes I can discover to ring the changes. I am so glad that inevitable jumper became a reality. Make when you can – wear with pride – and just occasionally try to wear a colour you would never normally wear. You might be surprised.

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I just love how the yarn community, knitters and crocheters alike are so generous. So many of you will make and create to support local and international charities. Your generosity is inspiring!

Free Pattern

When I was approached by the UK Hand Knitting Association to contribute to their ‘Commit to Knit’ campaign, I immediately said; ‘Yes’. I have donated one of my crochet toy patterns to the collection of free patterns. I love Portland Bear – he was made for a recent Teddy Bear exhibition at one of my favourite museums in the North West of England – Portland Basin Museum. Now Portland has returned home, I am happy to share this pattern with you so that you can make him for all your charity projects.

I didn’t realise that there are at least 6 million people who can knit or crochet in the UK. Can you imagine if each of them made one item for a charity. This would mean a massive boost in items to sell, to raise money, and for charities to distribute to those in need of warm clothes and blankets in this country and abroad. I think that is a wonderful idea.
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Who needs help?

To celebrate Commit To Knit, the UK Hand Knitting Association has collected  7 specially designed patterns.  These include blankets, mitts, a hat, Christmas stockings and my cheeky teddy
If you decide to make him, will you send me photo – I would love to see him. If you would like to find out which charities accept donated items. Have a look at the charity section on the UK Hand Knitting Association website has lots of information for you.

 

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I recently posted the picture above on my Instagram account. This image gained more like and love than any image I have posted before. How crazy is that? It made me wonder why. In essence I think the picture speaks of comfort, of colour and home. In a challenging world, these are all feelings and emotions that we crave.

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When I am thinking of new projects, especially in the Autumn and Winter months my mind turns to new blanket designs. We really don’t need any more blankets in our house. Seriously. But then again…who can resist making just one more? When you crochet a lot, collecting blankets become an accidental hobby. As I design blankets, the samples return and become encompassed into our life. There are some that fit in with our home interior – there are others which simply don’t.

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In recent years the complex blanket patterns have become more and more popular. The addictive nature of building the techniques. The fabulous designs by the gorgeous  Jane Crowfoot are not my skill set. But I know so many crocheters who have built an impressive collection of beautiful blankets. Every stitch has some invested love. Some I think are too valuable to give away.

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Getting better

Looking through my collection I can see how my technique has improved – one of my first crochet attempts was the utterly classic Sunshine Day Afghan by Alicia Paulson. looking closely you can see how all the ends are poking out. Basically it is slowly unraveling. Since then I have been fastidious with my finishing. I weave my ends in three ways. Weaving my tapestry needle one way, back in the same direction and then I make a final pass back through in the opposite direction. Too much time is spent with the yarn and the hook to find those hours undone by my own sloppiness.

I have to admit, not all my designs succeed. Seriously – there are some failures out there. This lovely lovely blanket was designed for Black Sheep Wools. I had this idea that being ‘bi-textural’ (a knitter and crocheter) I could make a blanket that used both skills.

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That was fine for my tension. But when other people tried to make up the blanket their tension for both crafts differed. We could never make it work. It breaks my heart but I think my version will remain a sample that never made it to the published pattern stage.

Time commitment

Blankets are a bit of a time commitment. This mitered square knitted blanket is definitely a work in progress. It sits on the back-burner and I return to it when I have some idle time and no pressing commissions. It uses Stylecraft Special Dk and is based around the colour scheme of my Vintage Blanket in Granny Squares Home.

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Some blankets I have let go, it is not easy. You really need to love the person you are making a blanket for to invest that time. It seems that only people who knit or crochet get this. (I imagine if you made a quilt, this would be true also). Until you have spent hundreds of hours making something for someone, you will not ‘get’ the love which a homemade blanket represents. The blanket below comes from Granny Squares Home.

This year

This year has been quite ‘blanket light’. I have made the lovely Life DK blanket for Stylecraft Yarns and the Little River Blanket for Black Sheep Wools, but no more. Compared to last year when I made about 6 blankets for my books, I seem quite lazy.

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There are many hours of hooky time invested in these beauties. All of which I enjoy to snuggly under. The nights are drawing in and we all need to make Autumn plans. Most of my ongoing projects are toy based at the moment. It might be October before I venture again into blanket territtory. But I would urge you before the temperature drops, find your favourite pattern, grab some of your yarn stash and getting making. As your creation grows so your lap stays warm. The perfect project for cosy evenings.

 

 

 

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I have been thinking about making toys recently. As you know, often I can be beavering away in the background, making something secret I cannot share. You will imagine that it will include toys – toys for babies, toys for toddlers, toys for play, toys to amuse and in some cases toys that adults love. Well I know that there are really three important factor that make a great toy.

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Make it stand the test of time

Firstly, it needs to be hard-wearing. A really successful toy is not just admired – it is loved. Indeed the ultimate goal of a toy is to be ‘the one’. That means lots of imaginative play, lots of trips to unknown places. Lots of adventures in the garden, lots of holidays and even being flung out of bed in the middle of the night. Very undignified. Toy making began in earnest for me when I learnt to crochet. I discovered something. Working in the round; amigurumi, meant there were fewer seams. That meant there was less chance of having arms, legs ears pulled off in enthusiastic games or just from general wear and tear.

Do you know that this little monster was the very first crochet toy I ever made for my boy. At the time it sat neatly in his hand. Now he has enormous hands and this little chap seems very very small. In Cute Crochet Animals I suggest that you attach the arms by incorporating the last stitches of each arm into the rounds of the body. This means that the limbs become part of the whole piece and won’t fall off or unravel. This is my very favourite technique and I use it whenever I can.

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Be inspired

Some my very favourite designs or makes have been inspired by small conversations. Chatting away to children or friends you get to know what they really love. I tell you nothing, absolutely nothing is more wonderful than a home made treasure which someone has made specifically for you. It is not only the time and effort it takes to make that object, but the added value of listening to you, hearing and noting your passions and then turning that conversation into an idea.

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I have designed many penguins over the years – for one simple reason – my son loves penguins. His love of these comical birds has changed our family. Who knew there were so many species? I have watched more films, cartoons and documentaries about penguins than I dreamed possible. They have infiltrated my design work – and I am so glad they have. But I make Penguins because I love him and I want to delight his heart – I am sure I will make more

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Look for the cute

The last bit of making a toy is the very most vital part. Placing the features – I have three pieces of advice for you. Firstly, relax. Homemade toys – are meant to look like just that – homemade. They are not made by robots – they are not made in their hundreds. They are unique and therefore should look different and bespoke. Secondly if you pour love into the process then your toy will reflect that love and care. I can’t explain it – but it is like a small sprinkle toy-maker’s magic dust. The care, the time, the joy comes seeps out through every stitch.

Placing

Finally do take your time. I might place the eyes in several different places before I finally settle on their lasting position and fasten them. Even though I have made hundred of toys I will rip out noses, mouths and ears and start again. If in doubt – rip it out. But do finish it.

ben-evie-fox-cute-crocheted-animals

It occurred to me recently – when my boy is all grown up – will I stop making toys? I don’t think so, because you know who gets the most joy from making these toys – the biggest kid – Me!

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