Wednesday, 26 November 2014

double breasted knit coat

I have had one certain project from my first book, Easy Baby Knits, safely stored away in a drawer for ever such a long time, awaiting the longed for day when it would fit one of my own children. That day came this week, when I tried it on my littlun for size. Such an amazing feeling, it was a perfect fit! And just in time for the change in weather.
I love this project as the woven style stitch is a beautiful texture, the shape is very cute and boxy, it has just the right touch of vintage styling and the yarn - Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran - drapes wonderfully while providing a cosy warmth.
As for my daughter, I think she liked it, even though she was doing some faux sulking in these pictures (hence the 'pout') as she didn't want me to take her picture, so they aren't the best shots, but they do capture my own bright moment on an otherwise dull day.

Friday, 24 October 2014

new issue: inside crochet 59

Issue 59 of Inside Crochet dropped onto my doormat this morning and it is looking gorgeous, even if the thought of Christmas is making me a little nervous...! 
There are some beautiful patterns inside this month, so make sure you grab a copy. I especially love the pictures of the beaded collar by Jo Bodley, which we shot in front of an amazing old headboard to get that pretty backdrop. And the pattern I must start hooking right now is Sarah Reed's adorable mini stocking bunting. I am going to make mine into an advent calendar for the littlun and put in notes and treats for each day leading up to Christmas. Most will probably be filled with activities for the day like "making mince pies", "put up the tree!" or "time to feed the Christmas cake!" I love the idea of creating an heirloom decoration that she will always remember as central to those comforting family festivities and not bound only by chocolate or Christmas excesses. Must go find some yarn...
Images all by the lovely Britt Spring.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

popcorn flower blanket

This blanket was returned to me in the post from DK books recently and I am really rather pleased, as it is lovely! Littlun agrees and has taken to hiding under it, snuggling under it and wrapping it round her while she pretends to be a rather colourful ghost!
It was originally published in Crochet, from DK books, a bible I commissioned for, consulted on and contributed to. It is rather fabulous, as I have highlighted here, so if you are looking for a how to crochet guide, do check it out. (And yes, that is it on the cover!!)

This image is by the wonderful Britt Spring, who is leaving the UK to return to her native Australia later this month, and I will miss our monthly photoshoots immensely. More about that soon...

Monday, 25 August 2014

crochet colourwork hat

 The latest issue of Inside Crochet came out on Friday, which has a very autumnal theme and so the weather has been quite appropriate for some of the projects inside it. I am rather proud of the lovely little hat I designed for it. I wanted to recreate some of the beautiful scalloped colourwork patterns I have been noticing in knitwear recently, but without the faffing of doing any Fair Isle or Tapestry crochet, so I utilised the scallop stitch, comprising of shells, with some block stripes of colour to create the pattern. Here's the result!

All images by the talented Britt Spring Photography

Thursday, 17 April 2014

tapestry crochet blanket

I have just received my early copies of the latest issue of Inside Crochet and had to share the blanket I have designed inside. I have been meaning to master tapestry crochet - the art of colourwork patterning within crochet - for a while and have been toying with the idea of a geometric triangle pattern. Triangles are everywhere in homewares at the moment and I thought it would be perfect in a blanket for my littlun. So here it is! 
Using Sublime Merino DK, which is beautiful and comes in an array of gorgeous colours, this is my new favourite project, it was a joy to make and snuggly to use - I have to say I have used it more than the littlun! If you haven't had a go at tapestry crochet before, do not fear, the Polygon Blanket is published alongside a straightforward how to guide. If you aren't a subscriber, the issue is on sale in all good newsagents and supermarkets from the 23rd April.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Gawthorpe Textiles Collection

In my last post about the exciting project for Gawthorpe Hall Textiles Collection, I realised that I didn't show a picture of the beautiful scrap books I was inspired by. Here are just a few examples, mainly of the ones labelled 'poor quality' by Miss Rachel, along with the actual fragment which was the initial inspiration. I have so many of pictures of these - a wealth of inspiration for years to come! Thinking about the people who made them and used the the books to create new pieces so many years ago and the fact that these few tiny scraps of material have survived, thought worthy of recording by the foresight of Rachel Kay Shuttleworth, is just amazing, inspiring, humbling.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Gawthorpe Collection

I am really late in letting you all know about this, but one of the most exciting things I did last year was take an inspirational visit to Gawthorpe Hall's amazing textiles collection. I was asked to contribute a pattern to the collection as part of the "Miss Rachel's Crafthouse Patterns" brand, which would become part of the permanent collection and help to raise money through pattern sales for the collection's upkeep - how exciting can you get? Well, it gets better, as I was in illustrious company, the other designers were Debbie Bliss, Kate Davies, Jane Ellison and Emma Varnam and I got to spend a day in their company looking at the most beautiful old textiles. 

I cannot emphasise enough how inspirational a trip to this collection is, if you get the chance, grab it - the house is wonderful, the collection extensive and interesting and the story behind the collector, Rachel Kay Shuttleworth, is both inspiring and fascinating.
My pattern was a capelet inspired by some crochet fragments labelled as ‘poor designs’, by Shuttleworth which reinforced my attractive for them further, especially as they are really very intricate compared to many modern designs. These scraps were from scrapbooks used instead of pattern ‘recipe’ books by whole villages. I liked the idea that I would be using one of the first crochet stitch compilation books to create my design! I could easily have chosen any one of many fragments as a starting point (and will no doubt use some others in future designs) but I settled on a stitch with very noticeable and striking ribs and geometric lace using what looked like a crocheted ‘X’ stitch, which seemed to suggest a shape and structure from their strong lines.
Taking this as a starting point, I thought that the ribs would lend themselves perfectly to a cape or shawl worked in short rows from side to side, rather than working the piece bottom to top, to utilise the structure of the stitch.
I wanted to crochet with a very special yarn with a luxury feel and beautiful drape and handle, as a capelet speaks to me of special occasion-wear. The vintage feel to the garment also seemed relevant to the time in which the original, inspirational fragment was made. I finished off the sample with some lace ribbon from my own collection of vintage haberdashery and textiles, which I felt finished the whole circle of the Gawthorpe experience extremely neatly.

All the other patterns are so amazing, I still cannot believe that mine is amongst them, go take a look at the others - I must make Kate Davies stunning beret, I love her post about it here.