I knew I wanted to make the aran cardigan the minute I saw it. In January, following my fashion fast, we made a plan to have a bit of shopping fun in London. Visiting the ‘mothership’ of Liberty is a must. The shop is always in my heart. The mad, unique and eclectic collection of fashion, stationary, crockery… it goes on. To not visit would be disloyal to my childhood and identity.

On the top floor there is a discreet and rather rarefied haberdashery. Back in January they had a large and well displayed collection of Rowan yarns with a vast array of patterns. It was there that I spotted it. Gloriously laid out on a fine oak table. Heavy – detailed and luxurious. A creation worthy of heirloom status.


I knew then I would make the Defuse Cardigan, designed by Kim Hargreaves – featured in her Pale Collection. Now this is not a design for the novice, the many cable stitches which repeat on different rows require concentration. It was not a mistake or a foolish ambition to add this design to my long ‘to-do’ list. But right then I made my first of two enormous mistakes. I should have chosen the yarn when I could see the shades in person. Instead I bought the pattern book and resolved to order the yarn online at a later stage.

It was weeks later that I chose the colour and made my purchase. It was quite an investment and the small shades samples online didn’t give me the correct impression of what I bought. Don’t get me wrong – the dusty mauve ‘Enchanted’, is very pretty. But the tone is way to muddy for my skin tone. I should have gone for a brighter tone.


Ah well….silly girl. Undeterred I resolved to enjoy the start of knitting on our Lake District holiday in February. The gorgeous Alpaca is perfect for soft snugly knitting. Curled up, sat in a window seat with a hot cup of coffee by my side I began the fancy cable rib – stitching bliss.


The whole project came and went over the next few months according to my commission commitments. It was only until I had finished the back, both sides and was mid-way through the second sleeve that I realised my catastrophic mistake. I had not read the pattern properly!!!!

Yes my friends…..even though I design patterns, even though I sometimes guide my followers to read the full pattern before you embark on the project…I didn’t heed my own advice.


If you want to know how bad it was – basically I had done a rib on the sides of the garment instead of a moss stitch. What was I thinking! It made the whole garment far too narrow and failed to have all the pretty and traditional detail which moss stitch gives an aran design.

What would you have done? At this moment it is easy to give up. Pure frustration with your own stupidity can start to prick tears behind the eyes.

No…rip it back. The pattern was too pretty. The yarn too valuable. This won’t be, can’t be a discarded crumpled mess to be found by others in years to come. Plus, I enjoy the process, the physical stitching…if I can get past the private irritation of my own carelessness – why not enjoy the making process another time? So I pulled it right back. I finished the first sleeve. Went on to the second and then unraveled the back…..Oh the heartbreak. By the October half term I was on the home straight. The weather was getting cold again, which is a final consolation.


This weekend I have finally completed this humongous task. The cable design is so so pretty, the yarn so soft….it is still not my colour. But I will wear it with pride (with a white blouse) a failed attempt, a rushed mistake, a lack to attention to detail, ripped back, re-set and redeemed. Its only a cardigan – but then knitting is never really about the finished item it always more than that – its what it teaches us – how to fail.



It’s the very earliest time in the morning, the sun is just peaking very, very tentatively above the trees. There is a chill in the air – but the promise of a bright crisp day. I’ve been awake for long enough to know that I will not drift back into slumber. So I slip silently from under the clovers and pad across the landing.

It is these kind of mornings – in the silence of a sleeping house that I reach for my favourite cosy jacket. I can’t quite decide how to name it. It’s not a bed jacket, far, far to warm to wear in bed. But it is not a dressing gown. I much prefer to wear a jacket or cardigan shaped garment over my pyjamas.

As I pull it over my shoulder and fasten the buttons – the familiarity is so very comforting. Slippers on, I sneak down the stairs. Stanley is already pawing at the glass panes in the kitchen door.

If I am clever I can open the door, scoop up the ravenous cat, and shut the door behind me. His wails of hunger can pierce even the deepest sleep.

Cat fed, the kettle is on and I stare out the kitchen window at the garden. The scent of autumn is definitely there and I plan – perhaps optimistically – to plant some bulbs later that day. ‘This year, yes this year I won’t leave it too late’

The cafetiere is now full with hot black coffee and I go to grab a mug ..which one, which one…. who am I kidding … its always the same. I pick my favourite dumpy mug with jaunty red spots and pad across to the living room.

In one seamless move I position myself in the chair in the bay window, feet tucked up and coffee in hand. I know it will be mere seconds before Stanley will arrive and he will find his familiar spot – wedged between my lap and the chair of the arm. Together we will work the yarn. Silently and joyfully – a peaceful hour – warm and cosy.

The Jacket

I’ve tried to discern when I began to favour this approach. Did I wear such a thing before our son was born? Perhaps I did. But certainly in the years of early play, you know, mornings at 7am – sat with a toddler on the floor of the living room. At these times a shorter cosy jacket was far more practical – not tripping up on impractical gowns.

I made two versions of the wonderful moss-stitch jacket by Debbie Bliss. The shape is boxy and the style is timeless. This is lounge wear before it became a ‘thing’. The pattern comes from her book – The Knitting Workbook – I still have an original copy, published in 2001. You can’t fault it, Debbie’s style is evergreen.


I have no idea what prompted me to make a new version of this jacket. Perhaps it was the approach of Autumn and I longed to be cosy ready. I also wanted to try out the new Stylecraft Bellissima Chunky. For me it either had to be a pastel blue or pink and I went for the Precious Posy.


Using the measurements of the original design by Debbie I charted out a crochet version. I have made a few designs in linen stitch recently. This is a good crochet substitute for the classic knitted moss stitch.

Like almost everyone I know (but not Jane Crowfoot – who is a crochet goddess and very well behaved) I am not a fan of the tension square. This is when you work out how many stitches and rows fit into a 10cm square. It is vital when you are designing. It tells you how many stitches you need to prepare and gives you the basis for shaping. The pattern for the back and sides was not difficult to work out. But when it came to the sleeves I needed to draft the shape using graph paper.


Crochet doesn’t always translate well from the traditional English knitting pattern. The firm fabric doesn’t have the drape of the knitted stitch. Things can get a bit bulky under the arms. But the chunky nature of the crochet rather suits the purpose of this design.

I chose enormous shell buttons which are so very easy to fasten . Bellissima has a lovely silky finish which provides excellent stitch definition. I think it will also be quite hard wearing. I have stayed true to the orignial design by replicating the double cuff. Most importantly is the inclusion of a descreet pocket. Experience tells me that come the winter months, snuffles and sneezes will mean that a well placed pocket will be an absolute boon for hankies and tissues.


When all was finished the sewing up complete – there is a tense moment when you try on the garment – will it be ok? Phew, it fits! I know this will a strong favourite in the Winter. It will become an old friend until it is so worn, and sloppy that the way it falls off my shoulder will become annoying. Then it will be time to make another….now where did I put the pattern?

The jacket used 9 balls of Stylecraft Bellissima Chunky, a 5mm hook and seven large shell buttons. I am a Stylecraft Blogstar, so the yarn was gifted to me.


There are a few things that you should never attempt if you knit or crochet as they will end in tears. Combining both crafts in one blanket. Ok, I realise this is a ‘crafty problem’ not a ‘real world problem’ – but these are important thoughts when planning your next project.


Due to the fact that I am ‘bi-stitchual’ or ‘ambi-texturous (sorry – I can knit and crochet), there is a looming temptation to combine both crafts in various projects.

A few years ago I had a notion that it would be brilliant to develop a ‘Crochet-knit-along’ which used both crafts. My dear friends at Black Sheep Wools were keen to support the project. I worked on the colour palette and had this brilliant idea that you could build a wide range of skills into each section. Basic granny square, mitred squares, cables, fairisle. Oh how I got carried away.

The final blanket was and still is quite pretty. I used glorious Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and some of my favourite patterns and motifs.

But…here is the thing. When we did the test knitting and crochet the tension was really difficult to nail down. My own knitting is quite regular and has an average tension. My crochet stitches tend to be on the tight side. However much we altered the squares it was so hard to faithfully replicate the pattern or customers who might have wanted to make pattern themselves. Essentially whatever your knitting tension might be – your crochet might be a totally different story. In the end after much hard work, we had to abandon the pattern. This lovely blanket remains one off – a unique creation.


Since the New Year, my slow burn project has been a nursery blanket for a much anticipated baby. I saw the lovely knitted bunny pattern created by Jem Weston in her book – The Knitted Nursery Collection.

I started making a few of the squares and my original intention was to combine the knitted squares with some fabric squares, as per the pattern in the book. But as time sped on – I knew I would struggle to organise myself to create this patchwork. The best idea by far was to combine the knitted squares and with a basic crochet granny square – my fastest solution. All I needed to do was match the size of my granny square to the knitted motif.


This is all well and good when it is a personal project. I can put up with the fiddling about and getting the sizing right, but it would never do as a published pattern.

The other downside to knitting a blanket or blanket square is that there is definitely a ‘wrong-side’. This is something I totally forget when I am in full crochet mode. Only the trained eye will spot the ‘wrong side’ of a crochet blanket and sometimes crochet is utterly reversible.


Obviously it never really matters – but with my bunny blanket I decided to go one step further and attach a fleece lining to the back. With all the work involved – placing your knitted stitches in the claws of the sewing machine might appear insane. But whenever I have attempted it, I have found the the end result easier than anticipated. So now the blanket is finished, lined, ready and waiting for its owner to arrive.

It is possible to combine knitting and crochet in a blanket. Often people knit the body of blanket and then crochet the edge. If you want to mix and match squares just prepare to adjust your tension accordingly. My advice would be to complete your knitted squares first and then match your crochet to them. It is far simpler to add a quick round on to crochet square than to adjust your row stitch count for the knitted version.


My other advice would be to work your blanket in one yarn type. I dipped into my stash and combined Stylecraft Special DK with Bellissima. I know these yarns well – and could easily change the hook I used to match the tension. But it is all too easy to see the size of your squares alter by a fraction which makes the sewing up really frustrating.


At its best – most creative place – knitting and crochet are an adventure. When making as a hobby, I am not bound by rules or things you should do or not do, I can experiment. So by warned – don’t make a blanket combining knitted and crocheted squares – or if you do – enjoy it and have fun and the result will be unique. As my Dad would say – ‘Don’t do as I do – do as I a say…’

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Like so many people of my generation, I returned to knitting when the patter of little feet began to be heard. When my good friend was pregnant with her first child – my glorious godson – I became weirdly interested in the haberdashery department of our local John Lewis. That marks the beginning of everything yarny. Patterns and yarn began were bought – and a suspicious pile of half made projects grew in as basket at the side of the sofa.

I made this little bundle of joy a very cute jumper by Sirdar – navy blue with little white fish. The pattern is still very popular and available now. Thinking about it, the baby on the front cover of that pattern book must now be about 21 years old. How utterly bizarre.

When our son was on his way, I evolved and settled into the habits I have now. The minute my bottom hits the sofa at the end of the day, my feet curl up under me and I turn to pick up the needles.

I wish I had a full list of what I made, there were a few hats, a very small and sweet jumper in moss stitch and perhaps the most useful item; an aran cable knit jacket. From six months old, our baby wore this jacket most days over his baby grow.

But you know and I know that the real gift of love – the heirloom item – is the first blanket. We had no idea whether we were having a girl or a boy and so it occurred to me the best idea would be to make something totally unique. I knitted a cute heart blanket to keep him warm in his buggy. In fact, when I think about it, this might have been one of my first ‘developed’ designs. I used the basis of a blanket designed by Zoe Mellor, changed the colours and swapped the cloud motif for a heart motif. It is still a favourite. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, soft and luxurious. Just right for a much anticipated baby.


It’s really not all that long ago. But looking back at the choices I made whilst ‘yarn-nesting’ for Little B, I realise how the yarn industry has changed and my own making has altered.

  1. The yarn choice is much wider and incredibly varied
  2. The pattern choice is so huge and very accessible, it would be rare for me to make a trip to a department store now for pattern inspiration – I would just go online.
  3. I would now tend to crochet blankets – not knit.

I am so much faster as a crocheter, that when I do knit a blanket, I almost give-up with frustration. Additionally, the heart blanket I made for Little B has intarsia motifs. This means it has a good side and very much a wrong side. The benefit of crochet has always been that it is pretty much reversible.

The first baby nursery blanket is a significant make, it is a labour of love and often this is a job for the expectant Mummy or Grandparent.

For very special people I still enjoy making the first blanket. I just finished my latest. I will get into the detail in my next blog post. But for me this is and never will be ‘just a commission – ‘just a gift’. It is more than that, it is a celebration in wool and and statement of hope.



I’m so sorry dear Friends, I have been absent for far too long. It’s appalling. Never before have I had such a gap in my little updates. But then ‘life’ has been rather busy.

Whilst I have been away there has been lots and lots of real work. That is important to me and it’s vital that I dedicate time and energy to it. When I have sat down I have turned to the crochet hook and the knitting needle.

As usual there have been plenty of design projects, lots which I can’t show you – which really does frustrate me at times. I’ve already finished some commissions for Christmas. I hardly dare say it.

I”ve also been working on the sequel to Cute Crocheted Animals. If you made some of the little chaps from the first book, you will be delighted to know that I have designed some new outfits for you. The most exciting

thing has been creating the new creatures with new features.

Whenever I’m in the midst of a big commission, I do end up distracting myself with a cheeky wee project on the side. I began working on some projects for a friend of mine who is having a baby.

I decided to start making her a blanket that had both knitted and crochet squares. Both of which would be fine, but the knitted squares take so much longer. I’m worried that I won’t get it finished.

I did manage to complete this cute little cloud cushion for the cot. Definitely a Friday evening project. I went all maverick and didn’t even write down the pattern. I know, I know….what a fool. But sometimes its nice not to be crochet-responsible.

I also went mad and picked up some shimmery cotton. Like a woman obsessed I decided that I MUST make a crocheted skirt for the summer. I mean really… Fortunately it seems to work Ok, but you definitely need a slip under it. Sorry to say I am far too vain to show you. But I think it will work both in the summer and into the autumn with tights.

Finally I have some really brilliant news – Crocheted Succulents has been nominated in the ‘Best Crochet Book’ catagory of the British Knitting and Stitching Awards. If you have nominated. Thank you so much. If you haven’t voted – please do pop across and do so. I would be so very grateful. Lots of

my yarny friends have nominated too – so I am delighted for them. You can vote via the this link – Let’s Knit Awards

I promise I will try not to leave it so long before I post again. There is plenty to share with you and plenty to tell you. If you have projects to share or news, don’t forget to comment below. I love to hear from you.



When I started designing the projects for my book; Crocheted Succulents: Cacti and Succulent Projects to Make"". I scouted around my local yarn store for the perfect yarn. It was a happy accident that I came across a new ‘tinsel’ yarn by Rico.


The minute I picked it up I knew how brilliant it would look attached to a yarn crochet base. It was one of those moments when you rush home and almost immediately reach for the crochet hook, just to see if you instincts are right.


I had so much fun looking at text books on real cacti and succulents and then see if I could replicate the look in yarn. In fact many of you have started sending my photos of your stealth plants, sat amongst your real houseplants. Not many people can spot the difference.

Making these small amigurumi plants can be a brilliant way of using up your yarn stash. But it can be rather frustrating if you come to the end of your ball and only need a few more metres. Like many other crocheters, I am thrilled that Rico have started making really small balls of yarn in Dk cotton – Ricorumi. Each ball is 25g and the colours are vibrant and perfect for the flowers in my book.


When it comes to creating the spikes on the cacti, you will be interested to know that the Rico Bubble yarn is really easy to work with. The Cardon Grande Cactus in my book uses a yellow and is crocheted along the ridges of a ribbed length of crochet.

If you want to see me demonstrating the technique. You can pop over to this video tutorial and see how utterly easy it is.

Having collected quite a few colours of Rico Bubble, I fully intend to make some washing up scrubbies both for home and for gifts. They would be perfect for a simple stocking present.

I suppose the moral of the tale, is when you see an unual yarn on the shelves of your yarn shop, don’t dismiss it out of hand. It might just be the spark of creative inspiration you are looking for.


Rico gifted me some Bubble yarn and Ricorumi – however I have bought many balls of their yarn for the creating and making of Crocheted Succulents and will be happy to do so again.


I’m fully aware that this is not the place to share this culinary journey. I know this is really a place for woolly adventures. But then we know each other fairly well now – and any joyful making experience is worth sharing, isn’t it?

In a Jam

Back in January, well if I am honest over the Christmas period I determined that this year, yes this year I would make my own marmalade. There are few things that I enjoy more than homemade marmalade. Let’s be specific; excellent toasted bread, white or brown (more likely white) with salted butter (very cold) and then on top a slightly tart marmalade. Once you have you have taken your first bite, you should really be able to see the tail-tale teeth marks.

So whilst my affection is easily bought – through the medium of flowers and/or marmalade, the homemade variety is hard to come by.

My good friend Mrs J, makes an excellent version and I greedily enjoy huge spoonfuls at her breakfast table. In the Autumn of last year I resolved that instead of looking winsome at the homemade stash of others, I should have a go myself.

Seville Marmalade is the King or orangery preserves and if you are going to get into this game you need to get involved in January – when the fruit is in season. I waited until the Seville Oranges were in the shops and then I pounced. Luckily the month of January is very quiet and when I began this little escapade I had no idea that marmalade making is very much a two day affair.


I assembled my recyled jars. Got hold of my pan and followed the recipe I had been given. Uneducated and foolhardy I let my sticky concoction bubble for far too long. The result was a very dark, very solid, thick cut marmalade. It resembles in some lights…..tar. Now I like a dark marmalade but risking breaking a teaspoon when you try to extract it from the jar seems a bit excessive. Together we all laughed at the result and both my husband and my son thought that was the end of the matter….They should know me better.


The gloriously helpful people of Instagram came to my rescue. ‘If you want to make marmalade you need to learn at the virtual kitchen table of Vivian LLoyd‘ they advised. So by weekend two I was much better informed. I had learnt about cutting techniques, soaking the pith and pips, boiling points and impurity removal. I was genned up and ready.

Batch two was better – but still dark. The use of golden caster sugar certainly added to the toffee texture. By weekend 3, I was in the zone and my family thought I had gone a little crazy. But at Batch 3, I knew I had a passable texture, colour and consistency. Actually due to a huge amassed collection of oranges, batch 4 and 5 followed. But it is batch 3 that really was the best.

Whilst creating something ‘homemade’ has in itself a deep sense of satisfaction, I was not really ready for how the process – the slow and deliberate stages could be so peaceful and bring such joy. In the dark and cold wintery afternoons of January, the smell and colour in the kitchen lifted my soul. The hot bubbling liquid, the sticky golden gloop and then the joyful lines of glorious orange treasure. Stored away. Awaiting weekend breakfasts.


In a very mad moment I decided that I would take my chances and enter Batch 3 into the World Marmalade awards – in the first timers category (obviously). I forgot about it and then just like the very best surprises a quite lovely envelope came in the post – my cheeky efforts had won a ‘Silver’ Award. I won’t deny it – I did a giddy jig in our kitchen to celebrate.

And what has happened to my sticky haul? Well I now I fully understand why homemade marmalade is hard to come by. Much like a knitted hat or crocheted blanket – this is a labour of love. Jars must only be shared with those who understand the treasure they receive. My husband and my Dad are big fans of dark marmalade and so they get the exclusive access to Batch 1 and 2. But Little B can’t abide marmalade at any cost…..so I have another sticky plan (obsession) and it might involve the odd raspberry – or two. All your tips and tricks are gratefully welcomed.




This week I have had so much fun. On Thursday I traveled across to West Yorkshire to join the Knit Now – Knitter of the Year Awards. All the award winners were invited to West Yorkshire Spinners for a factory tour and absolutely gorgeous lunch.


We had a wonderful day listening to the great things that British Wool are doing to preserve this great part of our industry and heritage. We learnt about the grades of fleece available in Britain and how they all have different purposes and weight. It is a stunning process and until you have looked and felt the different fibres, it is so easy to assume that all wool is the same  – it is not.


The wonderful people at West Yorkshire Spinners gave us some background to their company and their passion for British Wool. The fabulous Peter and Richard provided a personal tour of the factory. We were able to see how the wool tops change from a fluffy fibre to strong and colourful yarn we craft with every day. We were even allowed to look at the very secret dye house, which was such a revelation.

west-yorkshire-spinners-emma-varnamhttps://www.britishwool.org.uk/Great Adventures

As mentioned in my previous post I have worked with West Yorkshire Spinners this year on our Bo Peep Great Adventures book. The trip provided me with the opportunity to put a face to the names of many of the great people I have been working with remotely. I met the lovely ‘Yarn Fairy’ Helen who has pattern checked and crocheted many of my designs. It was a thrill to see her.


There was a lovely display of the patterns at the factory with the cutest mini-wardrobe. I was so thrilled to pick up the bears and give them a quick cuddle.


I also saw my lovely friend Christine – Winwick Mum. She won the ‘Online Innovator’ Award and you should pop over to her blog for her in depth post of our day.


The end of the day culminated in an awards ceremony. I have never won an award before so it was a very lovely thing. To celebrate the award and the launch of Great Adventures I thought it might be quite nice to have a fun giveaway.

Give away

I am giving away a copy of Great Adventures and the yarn to make a bear and the outfits. It is a wonderful opportunity. If you would like to enter the please leave a comment below telling me why you like to craft for children. Entries will end at 6.am (GMT) on 25th March 2019
This has now closed and CONGRATULATIONS to Chloe who was comment 21 – as picked up by the random number generator. Thank you to all who commented. It was so fabulous to read all your lovely comments and how you are inspired to create for children. x


bo peep-emma-varnam-west-yorkshire-spinners

Last year was such a fun year creatively. Not only did I write Crocheted Succulents (see previous post), I also worked on a a really fantastic collaboration with West Yorkshire Spinners. We talked about developing a pattern collection for Bo Peep yarn for nearly a year. After looking at the colour range and chatting about the concept we decided that it would be a brilliant fun idea to create a ‘best friend’ Teddy Bear: Bo. We then thought it would be fun to match Bo’s wardrobe with items for kids. My imagination ran wild.


When I was a child, my teddy bear was always the best companion I had for imaginary fun. For a bear to have that important ‘pillow status’ he needs to have a kind face and cuddly feel. The bear I created is perhaps a third larger than my normal creations. When you design a toy that will have clothes you really have to think about leg, feet and arm proportions and  have ears that will work with a number of hats. It must be easy and enjoyable to dress the toy. Nothing too fiddly or annoying, but something that will be fun and nurturing. We care about our bears and we don’t want them to get cold.

bo peep-emma-varnam-west-yorkshire-spinnersbo peep-emma-varnam-west-yorkshire-spinners

The clothes

Oh my…I made about 3 fully created versions of Bo before the final pattern was settled upon. Then it was all about the clothes. I have my favourite looks and indeed some of the designs were based upon the clothes I made for our son many years ago. The poncho was based a on design I made for my young friend Betsy. In fact when I created jumpers, hats or scarves I generally have a child in mind who I know would love to wear the outfit. There are jumpers, dresses, hats, scarves, bags, all to take on a joyful adventure together.

bo peep-emma-varnam-west-yorkshire-spinners

Back to where I started

This book is definitely a dream come true. Working with West Yorkshire Spinners was such fun. I began my design career creating knitwear designs for children and it was fabulous to return to my roots. I couldn’t have done any of it without the super talented, Rhiannon. Rosee Woodland, Helen Birch and my friend Lynne Rowe made this publication incredible.

I think the colours of the yarn, the glorious illustration and the range of patterns make this book enchanting. If you like it will you tell me how you get on. I would love to see your bears and their little owners. Pop across to the Facebook Page or used #bopeepbear over on instagram. We can’t wait to see.

The book and the yarn has started appearing in many yarn shops and is available via on-line retailers. If you are in the U.S.A the book is being distributed via Sirdar yarn so you can ask you local stockist if they will be having the book available.

I have a special give-away this weekend – so if you are interested please pop back to get involved.





Do you have moments of creativity which you seem to remember forever? You know, when you stop and think…’ah I’ve had an idea!’ When I was creating an writing my new book, Crocheted Succulents, there seem to have been more than the normal moments of joy and excitement.


It was quite a few years ago that I started to find succulents fascinating. In the last few years they have grown in horticultural trending. My real love affair with these fleshy beauties began in South Africa. Seeing so many of their regular, colourful leaves in their natural habitat was enchanting. It dawned on me that with our ever changing environment, growing succulents might be an important skill to develop. I began buying the plants and increasing my knowledge of their care.

At the same time our son began collecting and purchasing Cacti. I don’t have quite so much love of the spiky fellas. But B finds them very endearing and gives each of his collection names like Bob and Muriel. I know don’t ask me why.

At our local garden centre, Bud, the gorgeous own Brenda encourages B with top tips and points out all the new and fascinating varieties that have begun to appear. She suggested that we went on a course to learn how the look after our growing collection.

Well if you have followed this blog or my instagram account you will know that I have used these plants often in my photos. It was my editor who suggested, why don’t you think about making some in crochet? She is a genius….


How this process usually goes is that we have an idea….I then think..’no I don’t have time. Then I spend 3 or 4 days thinking of nothing else. For this particular book I had a discussion with my crafty friends Lucy (Attic 24) and Christine (Winwick Mum). By then end of a very long conversation of me talking round the houses of creating the book. They rather astutely realised that even though I didn’t really have the time to write it. I was going to anyway.

emma-varnam-crocheted-succulentsA lightbulb moment

The deal was finally sealed in my mind on a little Saturday shopping trip to Black Sheep Wools. I found some amazing spiky yarn by Rico. It is called Bubble. I knew immediately that it would be brilliant to create the fine spikes on the outside of the cacti. I went home and like a crazed woman on a crafty mission created my first design for the book. When I had stuffed it, placed it in a plant pot and stuck it on the mantelpiece, it made me chuckle with delight. Not event thinking I took the photo and sent to some of my close friends. I must be a VERY random person to be friends with.

emma-varnam-crocheted-succulentsThe Book

Well 24 projects later and the book was finished. I did quite a bit of research in my local Library. I bought a load of gorgeous plant books and you will find that each project is based on a real plant. If you have basic crochet skills you will find the projects quite easy. I have provided lots of description of how to construct the project and how you can manipulate the leaves or create flowers to decorate your cactus. There are also some patterns for pots and lots and lots of technical diagrams.


I really can’t take credit for how beautiful the book looks. The lovely people at GMC have done a fantastic job. Particular thanks should go to Wendy, Jonathan, Neal, Martin and Wayne. Jude Roust and Nicola Hodgson did all the checking (thank goodness). Lots of lovely people have asked me if I will make them a crocheted succulent. My answer with a cheeky twinkle is…why not buy the book and see if you can make one. They are alot of fun, and best of all you can’t kill them!