sizzles1When I first started designing it was mainly knitwear. In fact this weekend I am returning to where it all started. My adventure in design began when I came second in a design competition for Knitting Magazine. I travelled down to London at the famous Ally Pally to the  to receive my prize, with my very small son, my husband and my mother-in-law in tow. It was a fun weekend in London and we have so many treasured memories of spending time together in Regents Park. The show itself seemed to pass by in a blur. The huge exhibition hall wasn’t much fun for a toddler or indeed for his Daddy valiently keeping tabs on him amongst the crowd. This weekend I will return to catch up with gorgeous friends, yarn companies and knitting shops. I am looking forward to it so much. Sensibly my boys will be very satisfactorily entertained at home.


After a number of years designing knitting patterns I began to experiment with crochet. My crochet adventure really began when I wanted to replicate the vintage blankets made by my husband’s Grandma. I also wanted to make small toys to entertain Little B. It is these gifts of love which continue to thrill me. Over the years many of the small amigurumi designs have been inspired by real little people. In the last few weeks I made a cute little dachshund for one of my favourite 8 year olds. When I handed over ‘Sizzles’ the huge delight and love on her face thrilled me right to the bottom of my heart. It is the making for ‘love’ that constantly inspires me. As we get older I think we lose the real meaning of gifts. I think kids get it. They see through the pounds and dollars and see the heart of the giver. I am busy with lots of projects at the moment, but if I can I want to return to making cheeky wee things for my son – to make him laugh and giggle, just before he grows too old for such things. However if we raise him well…he will never lose the thrill of someone creating something special and unique, be it a dinner, a card or a crochet toy.


I am delighted that Sizzles has found fame on the gorgeous Dotcom Gift Shop – my blog is featured on their 10 creative needlecraft blogs – thanks guys, I am very honoured.


palomacowl1Why do I do it? I don’t need more yarn, I really don’t. In fact last week I gave a huge bagful to some of my colleagues who have been knitting for charity. Maybe I was feeling a little jealous of all those lovely yarn fans going to Yarndale, but I decided I needed to pop over and see my friends at Black Sheep wools and see what was new.

I went up and down the aisles and spotted some lovely Paloma chunky yarn by Debbie Bliss. Big wool for quick and funky creations. It is very, very soft. However as I was chatting with the lovely assistant she told me that she had enjoyed combining Paloma, with a lovely angel weight yarn. This gives the overall look a little bit of fluff. I knew I already had a very pale pink in my stash, so we then matched  the navy and the coral.


This little beauty of a cowl was a two hour project in the silent hours of Sunday morning, whipped up with a 10mm hook. Whilst I am working on my book, I always need a few distraction projects to keep the creative juices flowing. I need to count how many cowl pattens I have designed we are nearly at a book quantity now! This cowl will be such a boon over the chillier months, so soft, so snuggly. Even though it has the evil ‘Mummy Pink’, Little B popped it over his head and refused to remove it.

If you are interested the combination I used: Debbie Bliss Paloma – 1 skein of each School, Coral and Light Pink & Debbie Bliss Angel – approx 100m each of Midnight, Coral and Buttermilk

I shall be sporting this beauty when I am down at the Knitting and Stitching Show on Friday 9th October – hopefully I might see some of you there.

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I find that sometimes a tight brief or set of colours really does help to release my creativity rather than restrict it. Not more than three weeks ago, the lovely people at Stylecraft sent me a pack of their limited edition DK yarn.

As I said in my previous post, these sumptuous colours were chosen as part of a competition. Hundreds of knitters and crocheters sent in scraps of colours and the winning colour ended up being Duck Egg. The short-list was so good that Stylecraft decided to release all ten colours as a limited edition collection.


When the wool popped through the door, I was so keen to rip the parcel open and see what was inside. Immediately I was inspired by the ‘Jewel’ shades. These bright rich colours reminded me so much of the colour in the last of our flowering plants in the garden. I swatched up a repeat fan pattern using; Lobelia, Mustard, Fuschia Purple, Kelly Green and Empire.


It did cross my mind to revert to my go-to accessory of a cowl, however I knew within a moment that a scarf would be better as I could use nearly all of the 50g of each ball and the ends would look ever-so jaunty with pom-poms sewn at the ends.


Our new cat, Stanley has rather enjoyed the process and is not adverse to the crochet draping over his fur as we sit together. Usually I have a plan to give away my samples to friends or long suffering relations. But this one is mine, all mine. I know I will team it with a dark or grey polar neck and it will bring much needed zest to winter day.

stylecraftesp15.6If you want to make your own version you can download the pattern free from Jewel Fan Scarf


I probably agree with the judges an my favourite colour is the Duck Egg. I couldn’t let that ball just hide away in my stash, so I designed a quick and easy adult slouchy beanie. It has a slip-stich rib and a lovely even decrease. On a previous baby hat I used the finishing touch of a ribbon and button and decided to use the idea again for the adult version.


Quite cute and different for topping detail. If you fancy making the hat but want a more mature topper why not look to a faux fur pom-pom instead. Download the pattern for the hat using this link Duck Egg Adult Beanie  and used my fab new Knit-Pro Zing Needle which are super-super fast.

So if you like the look of these colours Stylecraft has put together Special DK packs of 50g balls of all 10 colours
which will be available from all good yarn shops from mid  October and will be showcased on Stylecraft’s stand at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace from 7 th -­‐11 th October 2015.  However if you can’t wait then why not try and win your own pack using my exclusive link here – Good Luck


There are also many other opportunities to win if you follow the blogtour, tomorrow the excellent Crafternoon Treats will be live with her blog tomorrow. If you visit all 10 blogs you could perhaps win 10 times! Tell me what you think, I can’t wait to hear.




Earlier this year the yarn company, Stylecraft held a competition to choose a new colour for the incredibly successful Special DK range. Hundreds of people sent their ideas in, little fragments of textiles, several bottles of nail varnish and a red sweetie wrapper. The judges including Lucy from Attic 24 and Phil from The Twisted Yarn managed to narrow it down to 10 favourites which were then put to the public vote.

It didn’t surprise me that the clear winner was Duck Egg but all the other shades looked so good that Stylecraft has put together special Special DK packs of 50g balls of all 10 colours which will be available from all good yarn shops from mid -­‐ October and will be showcased on Stylecraft’s stand at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace from 7 th -­‐11 th October 2015.

To celebrate, Stylecraft asked a number of bloggers to take the packs and create their own designs using the colours available. I loved the combination so much that I have designed two free patterns. One which is simply and ode to the iconic Duck Egg shade and another which has a lovely colour kick for winter. My speacial blog will go on-line a week today on Sunday 27th September – there are some great bloggers involved to check in with Stylecraft on their facebook page to see who is releasing a new free pattern each day. Stylecraft will be giving away a pack each day so it is worth checking in with each blog.



The busier I get the more frustrated become that I don’t seem able to find time to share ongoing projects with you. Over the summer and into the September lots of fun crochet things have been happening in the background. Lots that I am not able to share with you. A few years ago I used to make and design quite a few knitted and crochet jumpers. These are very labour and time intensive and now it seems that my design work has developed towards toys and babywear – with a heap of cowls and scarves thrown in for good measure. I am not sorry about that, because if I am honest I only like to design garments that I would actually wear and more often than not I am inspired by children and making gifts for friends.


I have done a few fun projects which will be included in a collaborative book very soon. I can’t wait to share those with you. I am also thrilled to tell you that I am now working on my next solo book. I am so excited about this project and it is just the sort of design I love to make.

Next week I am involved in the Stylecraft Blogtour. Have a look at their website to see which bloggers are involved. To celebrate their introduction of new shades for the Special DK range I will be posting two new free patterns.


Finally last night and this morning I set to making a little dachshund puppy. I don’t often make commissions. It is a very funny business really, few people realise the time and the effort it takes to create things. It is as if they think there is a time machine that I put the wool and the hook in and the finished article comes out just a few hours later fully formed. Sometimes I think I will measure how long it take me to make something. Does a beanie hat take me 6 hours, or 8 hours, I am not entirely sure. That is why I only make for love – and design for money. Anyway a dear friend asked if I could make her a little sausage dog for her daughter. I love this little girl and I am very happy to delight her with her own bespoke pet, plus I had such fun making him. So welcome to the world Sizzles, you are very sweet and inspired by a very bright girl.


LynneR5Dear Lovelies, I have had this lovely book in my sticky mitts for a couple of weeks now and have meant to blog about it for ages. Life and the summer have rather over-taken me. I delayed posting about it because I wanted to do the book justice. Once Upon a Time in Crochet is such a delightful collection of amigurumi toy designs that I am afraid I will not be able to give this edition away!


I have known Lynne’s work for many years now. We often work for the same magazines. She has a wonderful imagination and uses crochet techniques in an inventive way to create great amigurumi designs. If you like making crochet toys, this book should be in your library. You will be able to make fabulous play-sets for generations to come. I am particularly enchanted by her Princess and the Pea design, the very cute Goldilocks and the Three Bears and very cheeky Three Little Pigs.


I love the fact that her design for Rapunzel uses a well known crisp tube for the fortress castle. I also think that the dwarfs she has designed for her Snow White set would make perfect Christmas decorations. But my immediate ‘to-do’ will be making a version of the Ugly Duckling for Little B. It will bring an enormous smile to his face. When I have made it I will show you the results.LynneR3

Search Press have been growing in their influence within the craft market and this publication is a wonderful new-look for them. The detailed technical photos will make the construction so much simpler. It is a triumph of a book – and no I am afraid you cannot have my copy. It is going in my stash!



summerparty15.4Two things last summer changed my view of our outdoor life. Firstly we were fortunate enough to re-landscape our garden. Not much changed really in terms of the layout, but we had new beautiful paths, two fine seating areas and finally, finally I felt we could invest our time, plans (and money) in plants that we wanted to grow.

summerparty15.3My parents have been hugely generous with their advice and plants and have helped us develop the beds in a very short space of time. I have also begged and borrowed specimens from our neighbours and friends. This summer I have become increasingly distracted and enchanted by our garden. It does my soul good. In the evening Big B and I sit late at night down at the bottom of the garden and chat, catching up on the day or the week.


I was also inspired by the Selina Lake’s book Outdoor Living and have chatted about this on the blog before. (I will have to buy her Winter Living book very soon). This Spring I started my outdoor projects in earnest. I made a list of things I wanted to make for entertaining and relaxing in the garden. In between commissioned work I made my way through the list. Last weekend we had a few of our friends round to enjoy a summer barbecue. This was the time to pull out all the creations and enjoy a fiesta of fun.


Crochet is perfect for summer outdoor projects. I used our granny square blankets and cushions for comfortable seating areas on the lawn. New patchwork cushion covers got a new airing and we used the food covers. The napkin weight, the new edged tablecloths and tablecloth weights were all used.


We also made a little fairy glade down the bottom of the garden using the paper garlands I made the other week and the Breton peg-doll fairies. It was lots of fun. In the evening we lit tea-lights in the up-cycled Bonne Maman jars. Some of these quick and easy creations made great take-home pressies for guests. After months of gradually building up our crochet items stash, it was lovely to use so many of our items.

summerparty15.2 summerparty15.9


But the real thing about entertaining is not the food, crochet, drink or the sunshine (although it does help) it is the laughter. That is worth its weight in gold and yarn.



I know, can you bear it – really? A few Christmas projects still in August. Well can you imagine how weird it was making Christmas stockings in June? I can remember last year in July making Santa Mittens on our summer holiday. It is a topsy turvy, design world. Well if you find it is too early, then don’t worry you can always buy issue 74 of Lets Get Crafting and stash it under your bed for a couple more weeks and wait for the evenings to draw in.


I really did enjoy making these really simple flowers. What I need to do is to make a huge bunch and whittle away the ever increasing stash. Hope you have a lovely Bank Holiday what ever you are up to.



britishknittingI might make a momentous change. I have been thinking about it for a while, but the time has come. I might swap from being a British knitter to a Continental knitter. Basically changing from doing all the hard work with my dominant right hand, to using a more equal both hand approach.continentalknitting1

I have a Danish friend who I have watched with envy. Just by looking at it, I can tell her knitting style is more efficient. Don’t get me wrong, I am a pretty fast knitter and unlike crochet, I can touch-knit (knitting without looking). When I meet Juliet Bernard in the Winter I asked her about her knitting style and she is a Continental knitter, plus she can knit backwards! Oh yes my friends, there were skillz in evidence.keyholescarf1

My stumbling block has been the purl stitch – knitting backwards did not come easily. However it was by chance that I stumbled on a tutorial on Pinterest about Norwegian Purl stitch which fits the bill perfectly.

I have tried it and I think I might convert. In essence continental knitting is far more akin to crochet and if I do a little practice I will indeed be much faster. So I will keep you posted and tell you which way I decide to go in a few weeks.


I have been working on my new technique using the wonderful Alegria Yarn from Manos del Uruguay and some beautifully supple Addi Premium Needles.


When I found the yarn it reminded me of a certain Disney film which little girls I know simply adore. So I have made a keyhole scarf and a slouchy beanie with just one 100g skein. I have to say that the needles are really rather good. No twisting or tangling and handily have the size and the length printed on the wire. What a good idea. Thank you to Rooster Yarns for sending them to me to try.




This summer I have really been inspired by outdoor living. It is easy to make the odd cheeky accessory to brighten up the kitchen or the patio table and bring a little bit of zing into your life. The lovely people at Love Crochet asked me if I would design a summer project which was very much ‘on trend’. I try where-ever possible to I like to design things that I am keen to use myself.

fruitypotholdersI knew immediately what I would make – Fruity Potholders…obviously. In the shops and the magazines watermelon and tropical fruits are a key theme. Let’s follow suit with our oven-to-table accessories.

fruitypotholders3This design is so easy. A basic crochet in the round with slip-stitch embellishment and the odd bit of embroidery. There is a photo-tutorial of the process on the Love Crochet blog.


If you also fancy reading the interview I did with the Love Crochet team you can read it here.