Category Archives: Crochet

Writing and Testing a Crochet Pattern

One of the aspects of writing a crochet pattern is the constant niggle in the background of accuracy.

I don’t know about you, but I rely heavily on my spell checker when I’m using a keyboard, my spelling is much worse when I’m typing (and it can be a bit erratic when I’m using a pen, I must confess!)  However, that’s no help at all for typing crochet abbreviations so it’s quite a slow process.  And that’s after dreaming up the idea to begin with and then making it a second time so the pattern can be recorded.

By the time you get to the point where you make the item again from what you have written down it’s hard to judge whether you have explained yourself properly. By then you know the pattern inside out!

My latest make is a granny square cushion cover using the Planet Penny Cotton Colours with Snowdrop yarn which I backed with one of the PP fat quarters - jolly red and white spottiness.

Granny Square cushion - Planet Penny Cotton Colours

Granny square cushion - crochet pattern

cushion back for crochet pattern

I’m very happy with it, but now there is the question of the crochet pattern, and the making up instructions, and making sure it all makes sense.

What I need are some testers, and I’m trying to work out the best way to make it work.

So…

…if you are a Planet Penny customer with a Rainbow pack of yarn who would like to make a cushion, I’ll provide the pattern, the fat quarter and a ball of Snowdrop yarn in return for trying out the pattern, giving constructive criticism, and sending photos of the finished article.  How does that sound?

If you could help test the Granny Square Cushion crochet pattern I’d love to hear from you. You would need to have some crochet experience, be used to working from a pattern, have basic sewing machine skills, and be able to produce a clear photo of the finished article.

You can leave a comment, or get in touch via the contacts form with some details which will help me choose.  I need 2 or 3 people to get a good cross section.

I’m really looking forward to hearing from you and hearing about your crochet pattern skills!

 

Everyone Needs a Crochet Skirt Guard!

Actually, I’ve only just realised that I personally need a crochet skirt guard even though I don’t know whether one would survive many journeys down our muddy lanes!

I spotted one in Mollie Makes a few weeks back in pale, subtle colours.  Did you see it?  Definitely not mud friendly!

Crochet Skirt guard

Crochet Skirt Guard - Mollie Makes – issue 41

But it was a conversation I had with one of my Planet Penny customers which set me thinking…

(When you live on your own little Planet in cyberspace it’s such a treat to actually meet up with one of you lovely people out there!)

Debbie bought a pack of Planet Penny yarn when she visited for Open Studios and mentioned making a skirt guard as she left. I pleaded with her to send pictures of the finished piece.I love to see what people do with the yarn after it leaves me as I never seem to have time to be as adventurous as I would like with my own yarn.

My day was made yesterday when an email popped into my inbox with the most gorgeous picture, worthy of Country Living magazine!  How fabulous is this…?

Crochet Skirt Guard made with Planet Penny Cotton Colours

The unusual colour combination is stunning and it looks a real labour of love.  Debbie used a pattern from JustDo who sells her patterns on Etsy…

Crochet Skirt Guard from Just Do

Crochet Skirt Guard Pattern from JustDo on Etsy

…and had to be a bit ingenious to make it fit her own bike but it worked beautifully.  Thanks Debbie, for allowing me to share, just too good to hide away!

I’ll be back soon…x

 

It really is the Blog Hop!

As promised, and alas somewhat belatedly, I’m carrying on the Blog Hop from Claire of Mrs Brown Makes.  Being asked particular questions really concentrates the mind, none of my usual waffling!

So here goes…

What am I working on?

This is a hard one because I’m a butterfly brain by nature, and I’ve always got a bit of a conflict going on between all the things I want to do.  At the moment I know I really need to work on some new ideas for the Planet Penny cotton yarn to add interest to my Etsy shop, but I’m also planning a fresh project for my next needlefelt workshop.  I’m also in charge of social media and the website for our local community shop…, and the window displays. Oh, and I’m also designing leaflets and flyers for Arts Desire, which is where I hold needlefelt workshops.  And there’s a book review…   Hmm, sometimes I feel I need to clone myself!

So the latest pattern for the cottons is for a hat and bag based on the granny square…

Granny square hat and bag in Planet Penny Cotton Colours

And the experiments in flat needlefelt and embroidery will culminate in a workshop on making a sketchbook cover…

needlefelt felt flowers for workshop

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Gosh, that’s a hard one.  We all like to imagine we are unique, don’t we and then when you do compare yourself to someone else, it’s generally unfavourable!  I suppose with the cotton and the patterns I accidently struck a chord somewhere.  People love rainbows, and managing to source the yarn and colours that people love was serendipitous.  The Rainbow mice too.

Rainbow mice knitted in Planet Penny Cotton Colours

I’m not very good at being serious, (it got me into a lot of trouble when I was at school) and the things I create generally end up making people smile.  When I was at Art School I was told I would ‘grow out’ of wanting to make happy stuff, I’m so glad I didn’t!

With needlefelting I do compare myself with others.  There are some amazing artists out there who make wonderfully realistic things with needlefelt and if I think about it too much I feel rather inadequate. However, I don’t actually want to make things like that myself!  I do love the process, I like turning soft fluff into firm sculpture.  When people talk to me about what I do during Open Studios the main emotions seem to be surprise… and laughter.  Nothing wrong with that!

This is the Green Man I created for this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios and you can see how he came into being on the Two Rivers Trail Blog...

Needlefelt sculpture - Green Man - English Folklore
Why do I write/create what I do?

Well, I create because I’m alive, it’s just part of me.  I’ve done it since I was old enough to hold a crayon, snip with scissors.  And as for writing, I started writing the blog when I was at a low ebb and writing about what I was doing meant I had to do something to write about.  (It was very good therapy, I recommend it!)  Now it’s second nature and it really bothers me when life gets in the way and time passes and I haven’t written anything.  And I love being part of the Blogosphere with all the interaction with the rest of the World Wide Web.

How does your writing/creating process work?

Because I’ve been writing the blog for so long I have a sort of virtual filing cabinet in the back of my head where things to write about are noted and kept, and I usually have my camera or phone with me so I can capture images which inspire me to write. I don’t usually struggle to find material to use for a blog post, it’s more the other way around, there so much stuff stored in there I can’t decide what to write about first!

As for creating, it’s really hard to say.  Sometimes when I’m needlefelting things sort of arrive when I’m not expecting them, I suppose my subconscious is working out what’s going on  because it doesn’t trust the conscious me to get it right!

And now to send you hopping off in another direction…

First up is Gina, a very talented lady who writes the ‘Fan My Flame’ blog.  You might remember the beautiful little Alice in Wonderland I bought from Gina a couple of years ago…

Alice-in-Wonderland

Gina describes herself as ‘a textile artist, machine embroiderer, teacher, passionate baker and blogger’, which is very modest considering all she does.  You’ll find out when you visit ‘Fan My Flame’, I recommend it!

Secondly is Sue, aka Mrs Micawber…

“My name is Sue Perez – alias Mrs. Micawber – and I live and crochet in Wisconsin. When not crocheting, I read, blog, cycle, take photos when cycling (for the blog), cook, and occasionally clean the house. In winter I walk (though not as often as I ought), and grumble about the weather. I’ve been known to knit, sew, bead, and quilt, but crochet is far and away my favourite craft. These agreeable activities are financed by a job outside the home, but why talk about work when there are so many more pleasant things to discuss? :)

My blog, Mr. Micawber’s Recipe for Happiness, was started to while away the time when my work hours were severely cut. Through blogging, I’ve made friends all around the world, and now I can’t imagine life without it.”

Sue writes the most beautiful crochet patterns, again, well worth a visit!

I hope you enjoy hopping about in Blogland.  It’s worth working backwards too if you are looking for interesting new crafty blogs to follow…

And I’ll be back soon…x 

Planet Penny Cotton Colours – A New Look

I mentioned recently news about the Planet Penny Cotton which I sell via the Etsy Shop, it’s got a new look!

Planet Penny Cotton Colours 12 pack

I’ve been deliberating for a long time about the colour range.  I love it still, and didn’t want to change something which works so well, but from the feedback I’ve been getting it needed a slight tweak.   The pack now consists of 12 colours.  It looks more vibrant without the two pastel shades, and of course it’s now cheaper!

From the administrative point of view it solves a couple of niggles too, so I hope everyone is happy with it.  (Anyone mid-project relying on purchasing a second 14 ball pack please contact me for help)

What helped me take the final step was seeing this gorgeous blanket made by Alison, one of my customers using the Planet Penny Cotton..

Ripple Blanket - Planet Penny  Cotton - Attic 24 pattern

Attic 24 pattern - Planet Penny Cotton - Ripple BlanketThis what Alison said about her method of making the blanket:

“This was a Lucy ripple and I believe I did 196 stitches plus the extra 3.(or whatever was divisible by 3, I think I had a few more on the start chain and unpicked from the start when I had done my first row as I wanted).  I have done three rows of each of the colours  Apple, Lime, Buttercup, Marigold, Peach, RoseBud, Gerbera, Aubretia, Cornflower, Delphinium, Aqua and Jade. We have ended up with 4 sets of 12 colours, the finished blanket is about 96cm x 152cm.    I have a small amount of each ball left, so a ball did six rows.”

As Alison said, it’s an Attic 24 Ripple pattern which you will find here and you can buy the yarn here.

If you would prefer to buy outside Etsy then you can purchase through Planet Penny Direct Sales here.

I hope that’s inspired you!  It’s always nice to have a little Rainbow colour infusion…

I’m off into the sunshine now.  I have grandsons visiting for a few days.  They’ve been off to the North Norfolk coast today but I’ve promised them a spot of Granny style crafting when they come back so I shall have a few minutes rest in the garden before they get home.

See you soon…x

Filling the Box of Delights

It’s just a little bit scary how the time gallops away, isn’t it?  I’ve got a camera full of photos and so much to say, and yet every day this week I’ve failed to get the necessary time at the keyboard to write a post.

Never mind, I shall tackle one thing at a time and this is very overdue news about the Box of Delights that I have been putting together for the 500 posts giveaway which I wrote about here.  I have felt overwhelmed by the lovely comments which have been left, I do thank you so much.  And I have been particularly touched by people who say that they haven’t been following for long but have read their way all the way back to the beginning.  Whenever I have a blogging lack of confidence I shall go back and read those posts to motivate myself to keep going!

Because I have readers from all over the world I wanted to make the Box of Delights of a size which would make it possible to post it to anywhere with a reliable postal service so I have customised a box especially.  It’s been so long since I exercised these particular crafting muscles that I was a little unsure of myself, but I have painted and lined and glued and created a little repository for all manner of small things.

The inside looks like this.

lined boxI’ve lined it with may favourite of the Planet Penny Cotton fabrics.

And in it I’ve put a butterfly…

Crochet butterfly for Box of Delights…crocheted with the PP cotton yarn.  A mini needlefelt sheep…

needlefelt sheep -Box of Delights…because sheep are a bit special on Planet Penny!  There’s a reminder of the Dolly Peg Dolls with this length of vintage lace…

Dolly Peg and vintage lace…A fat quarter of the cotton fabric…

fat quarter Planet Penny Cotton Fabric… a string of the beads I love to use…

beads…and some vintage Mother of Pearl buttons…Mother of Pearl buttonsI’ve had a fascination over the last couple of weeks for covering match boxes (more of that in another post) so here’s one with some covered thumb tacks for your pin board…

thumb tacks…and this one which I had a lovely time painting.  If you are wondering what’s inside, I’m not saying!  It’s a secret…

Secret Garden Matchbox - Flow…and finally there’s a crochet heart, as a reminder of the Hearts and Flowers Mobile

crochet heart…and if you would like some flowers there’s a length of Planet Penny Cotton in every one of the rainbow shades so you can crochet your own!

Box of Delights Planet Penny CottonSo everything fits in perfectly…Box of Delights filled..and it just requires a lid…

Box of Delights with lidAll it needs is a home. Would you like it?  There is still time to enter the Giveaway by leaving a comment on this post, it’s running till next weekend.

I’m off now to do some cooking.  I have my chum Kit coming round for supper and I’ve been delving through my cook books to find something delicious and fuss free, Nigella has come up trumps with a roasting tin filled with chicken, chorizo and other yummy things.   I’ll let you know if I manage to channel my inner ‘domestic goddess’!

See you soon…x

A Funny Old Week…

It’s been one of those weeks where I feel like I’ve taken two steps forward and one and a half steps back, do you have those?  The main calamity was the disappearance of Planet Penny into a virtual black hole a couple of days ago.  Many apologies if this affected you in anyway, it was not your computer!  The technical term according to the help desk was the ‘White Screen of Death’ which was very scary, but I was really smug when I worked through the long list of instructions they sent and sorted it out…All On My Own!

It’s quite horrible outside, the wind is howling and the rain is lashing down, so I do hope you are keeping warm and dry.  My heart goes out to everyone suffering in the floods, it must be horrendous…

It seem very odd that if a disaster happens abroad all manner of aid, both financial and physical is supplied, but when people are suffering hardship from extreme weather conditions in our own country it seems such a struggle for them to get any help.  (If you are not in the UK, you might not be aware of the flooding in some areas in the west of the country, but you can find out here.)

Anyway, back home with a cheerful picture of the bike which I found outside our Community Shop this week.  It’s owner was probably only about eight years old, but what style…  I’m quite envious!

Flowery Bicycle

I had great plans to share a new pattern, but what with one thing and another, it’s not quite there.  I found some crochet bunting on Pinterest, but not finding a pattern decided to work it out for myself.  I wanted something a bit plainer than the more usual ‘granny’ bunting, and I’m very pleased with this.  It’s really quick and easy…

crochet bunting - Planet Penny Cotton

Hopefully I’ll finish off the pattern very soon, and there will be more photos when the light is a bit brighter!

I’ve had my ‘window-dresser hat on this week in our Community shop and with Valentine’s Day on the horizon I made this Valentine Tree for the window display…(although I’d actually quite like to keep it on my dresser!

Valentine tree

I’m now going to desert you for a comfy chair by the fire with the baby knitting, where hopefully the sound of the howling wind and lashing rain won’t be quite as loud as it is here in the studio!

I’ve amalgamated two of the patterns from the Debbie Bliss pattern book from my last post, so I’ve got a stripy tank top on the needles…

Debbie Bliss tank topI’ll be back soon…x