27 Apr 2016

Dance on the Beach Crochet-Along Week 2

Ah....you got me!
Monsoon Stole Reveal is next time. I'm all out of sync! My bad.
But this is better right???

Ok so this weeks gorgeous square has been designed by the lovely (and newly engaged) Kirsten from Haak Maar Raak.

You can read all about the story behind her square here.

As I said before, I'm making my blanket in one shade of Scheepjes Merino Soft to really highlight the texture of each square. 

In order to get the right gauge I had to use a 5mm hook and worked 18 rows in total which gave me 9 rows of stars. So long as your squares are all the same size after blocking it really doesn't matter that much. We all crochet to different tensions. We are human, not robots ;-)

I really love this square! It was a new stitch for me to learn (always a good thing) and I can see me using it again. 

Just a quick post tonight as have lots going on at the moment.
Next time WILL be the Monsoon Stole reveal....honestly!

Til then x

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24 Apr 2016

Dance On The Beach Crochet-Along Week 1

And we're off! Week one pattern was released last Wednesday and already my social media feed is flooded with completed squares!!!

So week one was designed by the lovely Esther from Happy in Red.

(Photo by Dedri Uys)

You can read her blog post about this design here

So time to make a start on my blanket! 
I do believe that 2016 just might be the year of the Blanket in this house!!! 
I didn't make a single one year and so far this year I've made Dance in the Sea (pattern testing!), one for a magazine commission that's *almost* finished and 2 more on the go which will be free blog patterns. Phew! 
Anyways....can a girl have too many blankets?

I've decided to go off piste with my CAL blanket. 
Rather than have different colours, I've decided this blanket will be all about the texture of the different squares. 

I've chosen colour 603 Michelangelo in Scheepjes Merino Soft for my blanket. It's a beautiful silvery grey and will work well with the colour scheme in my sitting room.

Those easy start tabs are a god send! 
So Merino Soft is made up of 50% Merino, 25% Microfibre and 25% Acrylic. 
50g equates to 105m of delicious softness that is machine washable at 30 degrees. 
It really is a delight to work with!

So here's my finished blocked square. 
My popcorns need pushing through and are a little wonky but it matters not!!! 

And the finished group of 4 squares. 
In real life the colour is a little lighter. It wasn't a good photo taking day here in Northumberland!

A little word on blocking. I know. I always bang on about blocking!
Blocking really does make your finished work bloom. It straightens edges and gives the finished fabric a wonderful drape. The Merino Soft yarn is quite a springy yarn so blocking really does make a difference. I never stretch the life out projects when I block them (unless that's what I want for the finished result!). I made my squares 18 - 18.5 cm and very gently eased them to 19cm while blocking. 
There are various different methods of blocking. 
Personally I NEVER steam block 
*shudders at the thought of applying that level of heat to my precious work*
My method is to pin out the squares to the desired size and then soak them with a spray bottle. I use tepid water with a couple of drops of Eucolan in it. I then leave to dry naturally. I soak garments, scarves and shawls in the same mix of water and Eucolan and then roll in a towel to get rid of excess moisture. 
I treat my handspun yarns in exactly the same way :-)

The designers and organisers of this CAL want you to end up with a gorgeous blanket that lies flat and is easy to join. This is why we recommend making a gauge swatch and blocking your finished square. Obviously, it is entirely up to you whether you follow this advice.

Ok I will climb off my soapbox now.

Next time I'll show you the finished Monsoon Stole.
Til then x

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19 Apr 2016

Monsoon Stole Delight!

Hi Folks!
I know!!! Another blog post so soon....the world may end ;-)
Just thought I'd quickly show you one of the things I've making over the last couple of months.
Well the stuff I can share anyways as quite a bit is secret ;-)
A few months back I saw a photo of the most stunning stole. 
It just stole my heart (get it???!!!!!)
Okay aside from the crappy jokes I really adored this stole pattern. It's designed by Alia Bland and the pattern can be bought here. Now I'm not a one for paying for patterns but I gladly parted with my cash for this one!!!
I dug into my rather large stash of Scheepjes Cotton 8 and picked out some colours. 

This was my colour selection :-)

Cotton 8 is my favourite of all the yarns made by Scheepjes. I love it. The colours are fabulous and it's not splitty. The more you work with it and wear it the softer it gets. 
And at £1.99 for a 50g ball it won't break the bank either! 
UK folks can buy it here! Just go look at those gorgeous colours!!!

So off I set to work. I quickly became completely absorbed in this pattern (extremely well written I might add) and really struggled to put it down! 
Don't you just love how these colours meld together to give an autumnally jewel vibe?
I finished this stole in record time as I couldn't put it down!
I've taken some finished item photographs and will share them soon.
Have you made this stole?
I'd love to see yours ;-)
Til next time x
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17 Apr 2016

Coming Up For Air......

And breathe........
Geez what a mad mad busy few months!
I honestly don't know where the time has gone.
Ok well maybes a heap of commissions to finish, holidays, work and other stuff has filled my days.
All good stuff though :-)
I've just returned from a wonderful trip to Holland for our Bloggers Days
Oh how I just adore these get togethers.

Here we all are enjoying a relaxing day of creativity and just generally catching up and chatting!

From left to right: Kirsten, Jellina, Esther, Dedri, Carmen, Esther, Christa, some strange photobombing chappy, Atty, Tatsiana, Bernadette, Sarah, Nerissa, Tammy and finally me!
Sadly Annelies and Susan couldn't make it this time (they were really missed!) but hopefully next time :-)
Day one saw us meeting up at Scheepjes HQ for the obligatory mooch about the warehouse hyperventilating at all the gorgeousness. I mean, seriously? What's not to love about miles of scrummy yarns stacked from floor to ceiling???
Oh and then there's the ribbons, buttons and fabrics.
As per usual I didn't take photos (I know! I'm crap!!!) but Sarah has some lovely photos on her blog and Nerissa wrote a blog post that made me bulb!!!
So after the yarn fondling and a spot of lunch we got down to some serious business. A session on pattern writing and basic garment design given by Cara Medus
It was really very useful and I hope to put everything I learned into practice very soon. 
Then came something VERY exciting!!!!

All will be revealed very soon ;-)
Trust me, it'll be worth the wait!
Don't you just love/hate a secret????!!!!!
Before we knew it the day had flown and we headed off to the hotel for a group dinner. Driving in Groningen is interesting to say the least! I think we nearly killed 4 students cycling erratically and got honked at by a bus. I won't tell you my response as it was rather rude!!! ;-)
Dinner was delicious and copious amounts of great food and wine were consumed along with lots of chatter and laughter. Good times!
The next day we all met up at the Prisenhof Grand Cafe where a private room had been booked for us to fill with creative projects, chatter and more laughter. It's hard to out into words how amazing these bloggers days are but I came away inspired and a mind bursting with new ideas :-)
The day passed way too quickly and before I knew it we were saying goodbyes :-(
Roll on the next ones!
Next on the exciting agenda is the new Scheepjes CaL (crochet a long)
Due to launch on 20th April it is in memory of the lovely Marinke (aka Wink). She was working on this project just before she tragically lost her battle with depression. 
It's called Last Dance on the Beach and there are three themed kits (each available in basic and luxury format to suit all budgets). As the designs weren't finished, 12 of her blogger friends have completed the designs in her honour. I can tell it was one of the most emotional projects I have ever worked on!!!

Dance in the Rain

Dance in the Sea

Dance Under the Stars

And a full photo of Dance Under the Stars so you can see all of the beautiful colours!

You can find out where the kits are available to buy here!
But be quick! Rumour has it they're selling like hot cakes!!!
I'll making my blanket along side the CaL and will post weekly updates here.
Hope you will join us!

Til next time x
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