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Hello again!

I just can’t believe that it’s September already and I haven’t posted for weeks. Where did the summer go?

Well, the good news us that I passed Part I of my course, The International Diploma in Crochet.

According to the course info I’m now properly qualified to teach crochet skills to my group of lovely ladies – can’t wait to start again in a couple of weeks and get them trying out more challenging techniques. Broomstick and hyperbolic crochet have already been requested! Watch this space!

Apart from being away in France in July and August I’ve taken the opportunity to “weave” in a few loose ends over the past month or so …. and believe me there have been many of those, both literally and figuratively speaking.

Some time ago I started a table runner using the beautiful stonewashed colours of a pack of Stof and Stil Scandinavian yarn given to me last winter and which match the rug in our living room ….

Well, that’s finished. Worked in the yo-yo stitch it was fiddly but great to transport on our travels.

I also made some sunflowers for my granddaughters who took part in the musical Singing in the Rain just before our visit to France. Fresh flowers are the usual gift at the end of a performance but are often drooping by the next morning so I opted for these……..

……….. a well written pattern by Krawka and easy to piece together.

 

In preparation for exploring the techniques of working different shapes in the round I had a go at a granny circle stool cover – there was a certain amount of guesswork involved to reach the right size but the result looks fine.

 

 

There won’t be so much time for projects like these over the coming months, I suspect. I have enrolled for Part II of the course….. brave or foolhardy? Time will tell. My coursework has arrived ….

 

. …exciting but a little scary as there is a greater design element to this part and design is not my strong point. I’ll let you know how it goes!

I hope you’ve all had a good summer and found time for some craftwork.

Happy crocheting

Jenny x

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Knit one, heal one

Hello again and Happy New Year to you all!

I hope you have all enjoyed good Christmas and New Year celebrations. It’s nice to be back and to be working on projects other than Christmas presents; more of those later.

A knitting friend sent me the link to this interview with Betsan Corkill who runs Stitchlinks, a support network for those who enjoy the therapeutic benefits of crafts such as knitting and crochet. This is the clip from a Boxing Day radio programme.

I listened to it this morning and it immediately set my mind racing. My first thoughts were that this is the same researcher that my daughter wrote about in the Knitting as Therapy article in The Woolly Prawn, the book which we published in December 2012.

the book

Amongst those of us who knit or crochet it has been accepted for some time that these crafts are beneficial in the treatment of pain relief, anxiety and depression as well as in the rehabilitation of patients who have suffered strokes.  It is good to hear this research being aired on national radio … let’s hope that every person who was inspired by the broadcast to pick up some yarn and needles or a hook may find a whole new healing world opening up to them.

When I listened to Bethan speaking I also thought of the late Marinke Slump aka Wink who sadly succumbed to depression last July after a long battle during which crochet had played such an important part in the management of her illness. Her designs are some of the most potent inspirations for those of us who love colour and crochet.

During the last six months the blogger, Kathryn Vercillo of crochetconcupiscence.com has worked tirelessly on a project called Mandalas for Wink to heighten awareness of how those who suffer from anxiety and depression can be helped by crafting. Kathryn has also written two books on the subject, Crochet Saved my Life and Hook to Heal.

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I strongly believe that knitting and crochet groups are so important: ideas and techniques are shared, problems are solved and support is given to huge numbers of people. Knitting and crochet can provide an outlet and focus which might not otherwise exist – let’s continue to extend and enjoy these social networks wherever possible. These are just a few of the projects completed by members of my lovely group of ladies:-

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Sue's

granny pastels

On that reflective but positive note I shall wish you all a very good day full of inspirational knitting and crochet fun and creativity.

Jenny x

 

 

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My own ta-dah moment …… well, not quite but maybe!

Hello everybody,

In my last post I hinted at something a bit special – well, this could be one of those projects.

I might, just might, have designed my very own throw/afghan: loosely speaking, of course, because the overall visualisation of the design came from the sunflower blanket which one of my ladies had made and the individual motif design is one of Jan Eaton’s from 200 Crochet Blocks.

It all began with our Baltic Cruise and the visit to Oslo where I found these beautiful colours in 100% Tynn Alpakka 4ply – I couldn’t resist!

bought in Oslo

my colours

my colours

So, when we returned from France in August I had to make a decision as to how I was going to get the best effect from this gorgeous yarn. I had already seen and favourited The Mercerie’s Crochet Sunflower Blanket on Ravelry and had loved it when it had been beautifully made by a friend.

sunflower corner

sunflower corner

 

I knew I needed a contrasting colour to show off my chosen palette of blues and purples and Drops Baby Alpaca Silk in silver grey seemed a good match in terms of both texture and weight ….. (it also had the advantage of being readily available in the UK which is not true of the Tynn Alpakka)

Having chosen the Willow motif for the centre and border it was great fun to randomly use the colours and then join them together with the grey ..

willow motif

willow motif

40 border squares completed

40 border squares completed

Central motifs

Central motifs

So far so good – and fortunately the granny stripes all seemed to work. I remembered to turn the work after each colour to avoid tilting and that does seem to have done the trick. Why did we crocheters not know of that before? So many tilted squares would have been avoided!

I'm pleased with the centre motifs

pleased with the centre motifs

the centre is nearly done

the centre is nearly done

Now the challenge is to fit the centre into the border of motifs – I suspect that quite a bit of trial and error will be needed here as I have not been counting exact numbers of clusters and spaces. I merely measured each completed motif and have aimed to finish the central square at the correct dimensions. The wool is quite stretchy though so who knows how the joining will go …. I am hoping to join with slip stitches on the final treble cluster round.

will this all fit together?

will this all fit together?

Well, that’s where I am at the moment and I’m really excited about finishing this project.  I shall then have to decide on a suitable edging using the yarn I have left – treble clusters, doubles, shells, picots or a combination of all these? Who knows?

I just wanted to update you but there’s work to be done yet so I’d better say goodbye for now and look forward to that final ta-dah moment sometime soon!

Have a great Sunday.

Jenny x

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Back from Holiday

Hello again.

France was great – as always – and the weather exceptionally hot. The combination of having five grandchildren on the campsite with us (!!)and the high temperatures did not lend itself to a great deal of crochet activity but I did manage one small project.

Just before leaving for France I had learned that a local yarn shop was closing down and so was able to pick up this Italian cotton at a good price ..

Italian cotton

Italian cotton

It was just right to try out the corner-to-corner square featured in the Deramores CAL. Since I didn’t have enough yarn to do a whole afghan I decided on a cushion cover.

love the symmetry

love the symmetry

four square front

four square front

I just love the way this pattern takes shape and the symmetry of placing the four squares together – very satisfying.

I have decided to keep the back cover very simple – a single grey square

stitched up and ready to go

stitched up and ready to go

…….. so just need to find a cushion to fit now.

We met a very talented and creative jeweller on our campsite who had been working on some interesting necklaces through the winter. I was lucky enough to purchase two of them – one has some very fine crochet on it and the other some beautiful pebbles. They felt very appropriate to my particular interests.

campsite craft

campsite craft

autumn colours

autumn colours

such talent

such talent

pebbles

pebbles

gorgeous!

gorgeous!

How gorgeous are these and so individual – I’m really looking forward to having an opportunity to show them off.

For now though it’s time to settle back into a more normal routine and get back to my crochet sessions. I have some exciting projects to come which I’ll tell you about next time.

Keep those hooks busy,

Jenny x

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Chunky and scrunchy

Hello again,

Who could have imagined that I would ever be writing a blog post about chunky yarn and, wait for it ……. bearing in mind that I am a self-professed yarn snob ……… 100% acrylic to boot!!

I blame it all on Lucy of Attic 24 – do check out her totally amazing blog if you haven’t already. Love, love love it!

This adventure began with my rather large order of chunky yarn to make a draught excluder for my son-in-law before Christmas. I seriously overestimated how many balls I would need and ended up with what really looked like more than I started with!

My most inspiring blogger, Lucy at Attic 24 came to my aid with her infectious enthusiasm for Stylecraft Special Chunky. Her jolly yarn bag pattern immediately attracted me and, true to form, it worked brilliantly.

showing it off in my own yarny space

showing it off in my own yarny space

 

scrunchy, chunky flowers

scrunchy, chunky flowers

 

I still had plenty left so, using Ravelry.com to give me ideas about which patterns work well in chunky yarn, I began experimenting with swatches in different stitch patterns. Tamara Kelly of Mooglyblog uses some super interesting stitches and I am indebted to her for the leaping blocks and stripes design in my cushion cover. Combining texture with stripes is just such fun:-

love the effect of these spike stitches

love the effect of these spike stitches

 

coloured waves

coloured waves

 

retro spikes from mooglyblog

retro spikes

 

So, the cushion cover using the spike stitches began to take shape and because crochet in chunky yarn grows so amazingly fast it just seemed to appear!

spikey stripes at front

spikey stripes at front

 

half trebles at back

half trebles at back

 

texture of stitch

texture of stitch

These are not really my colours although it looks fine on the computer chair …….

Office chair

 

………. I wonder who will be the eventual recipient of this armful of chunky squashiness? I’ll certainly be trying one in another stitch pattern in my colours to keep at home.

Back again soon,

Jenny x

 

 

 

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Happy Christmas!

Hello everyone.

This is just a quickie to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a craft-packed New Year. Thank you for your support during the past twelve months.

Tree

Well, the presents are wrapped, the lights are up, the tree is decorated and my Christmas projects are finished and packed .. except for a teeny weeny bit of one which is proving quite slow.  Can’t show photos, of course!  What with prawns and stones it has all been a bit of a rush this year; promises made to myself to definitely start my Christmas projects earlier next time round simply do not work!

I, for one, have already so many ideas  and plans for how I’m going to spend any free time when the festivities of the next week are over and I’m itching to get those new patterns out and select my yarn. The anticipation of every new project is so exciting … can’t wait!

But there’s lots of family fun and sharing to be enjoyed before that.  I hope you all have a great festive season and that 2015 is filled with much knitting and crochet love.

Xmas

Jenny x

 

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Christmas Bazaar

Hello,

Just a quickie today to say a huge thank you to all those who supported The Woolly Prawn at our stall in the Abbotts Bromley Girls’ School Christmas Bazaar last Saturday and to those who bought books, kits or pebbles. I hope you enjoy them.

I had lots of help from my granddaughter who was definitely giving the crocheted pebbles the hard sell and was generously distributing our cards for The Woolly Prawn and Crocheted Pebbles. A big thank you also to Helen, who invited me to share her stall – we had a lovely day. Do take a look at her fabulous goodies – they make wonderful presents.

The stall

Plans are afoot to extend the Woolly Prawn’s range of goodies for next year’s event – watch this space.

Now it really is time to concentrate on my Christmas projects! No photos at this stage for obvious reasons. Time is certainly of the essence …. why does December seem to fly?

Off I fly!

Jenny x