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Archive for the ‘Yarn & Knitting’ Category

Welcome Back

Sad to say hands still not back after crocheting this over 3 weeks ago now! Here it is tho, my second granny square. Make the most of it, there won’t be more!

Blue Granny Square

Blue Granny Square

Have had a little go with sewing, and this adventure is at least less painful. More about that in a new post.

I want to get back to painting but at the mo haven’t the dexterity.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Learn to Crochet with Wendy Poole; The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Crochet.

Learn To Crochet with Wendy Poole DVD

Learn To Crochet with Wendy Poole DVD

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Wendy Poole
  • RRP at time of writing: £15 directly from Wendy Poole including P&P
  • Run Time: 1 hr 47 minutes
  • Picture 16:9
  • Format: DVD – 5
  • Standard PAL
  • Region: All

Reason For Buying

This year I set myself the crafty new Years resolution to learn to crochet. I bought a book, and I couldn’t follow it. Being dyslexic I am a visual learner and although there are lots of tutorials on You Tube everyone has different styles and you get confused. Heard about Wendy’s DVD on Create and Craft back in January but didn’t buy it at the time as I had just got a DVD with Knit and Stitch magazine and didn’t think I needed it. After months of still not progressing I bought the DVD and here’s how I got on.

Contains

Quote from the back of the DVD

‘Learn to Crochet with Wendy Poole’ will take you step by step through everything you need to know from the very beginning.

We start with basic introduction to the art of Crochet. You then follow the 3 basic lessons based on Wendy’s own classes.

Thee is also a BAsic Stitch directory, with UK stitch terms and USA equivilents.

The Tips and Techniques section teaches you everything you need to make your projects, including increasing and decreasing, crocheting pieces together and joining colours.

Finally there are 5 different project ideas to follow that can be made without using a pattern.

Pros/Cons

  • Well described techniques
  • Learn by making things
  • Stitch directory in UK and USA terms
  • Lots of techniques for finishing and joining up crochet pieces
  • Selection of nice projects

Cons

Just one

  • Choosing a hook. I was hoping for more info in this section. This was little more than; here are the types of hook available, rather than which was better for which type of yarn etc. Also at this point the camera was looking more at Wendy than the hooks, so you didn’t get the best view of the hooks either.

It was the only downside, the rest of the DVD more than made up for this.

Build Quality

Excellent. A few places editing cut off words, a little over bright in places but well focused and good sound levels. Although there is some music in the background which I usually hate, it was VERY low and not obtrusive.

Excellent menu system to quickly get to the section you are after.

Value for Money

Excellent.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally and recommend it to anyone who wants to crochet but is a visual learner.

Summing up

This is a fantastic DVD. I have been skeptical of books and DVD’s claiming to be ‘The Ultimate.’ anything, as they often disappoint. NOT the case with this DVD, it truly does what it sets out to do. Takes you by the hand and shows you with demos how to create flowers, granny squares, stitches and so on.

When Wendy was on Create and Craft she said of this DVD that after watching it she wanted to leave people not just able to create the one project but have the skills to make whatever they wanted to in crochet. After watching it, I have a lot of practice to do to perfect my new skills but now I can go and find projects I want to make and refer back to this for key elements of the design.

I love the way that rather than starting out with stitch after stitch as other books and so on do (which is a good plan but boring), with this you start by making a little flower, so straight away you have created something lovely. This is a real confidence builder and after watching it through a few times you can crochet along with Wendy and create along with her. This is a great way to bed in new skills as you link them to an actual project, which really helps.

This is an excellent DVD, if you have always wanted to crochet, I highly recommend it. If you have been looking at all the lovely crochet projects in magazines and around the internet thinking ‘I want to do that’, then this is the DVD for you. Now I’ve seen this, I’ve gone back to the ‘how too’ book I bought and can better understand what it means.

Especially delighted as since I was little, I’ve always wanted to make a granny square. I was given a dolly blanket by someone in the family and always wanted to make one for myself. Didn’t have the patience then, not sure I’ve got the dexterity now, but if I only do a little at a time and with plenty of rest in between, perhaps I’ll be able to make a little mat for my laptop to sit on, or a cover for my Kindle.

I am looking at making  little flowers and snowflakes, just hope my RSI will settle and let me do this at least occasionally, in good weather.

Thank you Wendy for an excellent DVD. Here is my Granny square.

Granny Square created after watching Wendy Poole's DVD

Granny Square created after watching Wendy Poole’s DVD

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Simply Crochet; Magazine Issue 5

Simply Crochet Hooked on Handmade. Magazine

Simply Crochet Hooked on Handmade. Magazine

  • Title: Simply Crochet; Hooked on Handmade. Magazine Issue 5
  • Publisher: Future Publishing.
  • Issue 5

My Reason for Buying

I bought issue 4 as there was a free shawl pin on the cover (which I needed and liked) and liked the look of the projects. Enjoyed it so much I bought this issue without seeing much about it.

My challenge for this year was to try crochet, I bought a couple of issues of Knit n Stitch early on, but they were weekly and expensive, I bought a book but wasn’t over inspired. I like to see projects that inspire me to learn how to make them to encourage me to learn the techniques needed. I also fancied having a magazine to flick through with a cup of tea ;)  I tell you this as often a review is based on how well the book lived up to the expectations of its reader, for their purpose ;)

Contents

Patterns: Granny Square Ideas, Flower broach, Beret, Floral cushion, Cardigan, Lacy Mug hug, Amigurmi doll, Little mermaid, Mandala, Motif, Hexagons, tea pot cover, Tie, Earrings, Scarf, Dog scarf,

Good Reads: Hooked = ideas, websites. Notebook Jane Crowfoot tips and ideas. Broomstick lace. Profile. Crochet Then and Now. Yarn reviews. Coming Next Month. Vintage Treasure. How too. The Workshop, The Guide Diagrams and charts

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Wide range of projects for all ages, stuff for beginners, as well as more adventurous crochet artists
  • Little projects as well as garments. LOVE the motif section, LOVE the mandala section
  • The Workshop and The Guide, get you started with basic stitches and techniques
  • Love the quality feel of the magazine
  • A great way to find artists and books to inspire you
  • A great way to find retailers if you are needing supplies

Cons

Bearing in mind I am a total newbie to crochet.

  • It would be handy if they had some information about how to read patterns, in their guides at the back. Its the one thing I haven’t found in there and have got a bit lost.

Value for Money

Excellent

Would I buy it Again?

Yes, haven’t subscribed as funds are tight BUT will keep a close eye on the magazines blog and as soon as new issues come out if there are projects in there I like I would buy again without hesitation.

Summing up

This is the first magazine (on any topic) that I have really enjoyed for ages. It feels loved, it has thought about what people like and has even had questionnaire’s in the first few issues so people could feed back on what they did and didn’t like about it.

This magazine reminds me of Stampington publications. There is inspiration, a classy, classic feel rather than cheap and nasty look of some magazines which are very actually expensive. I like that the editions are un-sealed so you can see what you are getting for your fiver. Too many other publications are a blind date, you can’t see if there are things in there you would like to make as they are covered by free gifts or sealed so you have no idea what you are getting.

The projects are like the magazine classy, classic and if you are a ‘new age vintage chic’ kinda person you are going to love this. I’d highly recommend getting a how too book to get you started but if like me you are in the early stages of the hobby, there are lots here to get you inspired and want to create. I particularly enjoy the fact that the little projects, like the smaller motifs and mandals and so on are things you would like to make, to have in your home. Other magazines ‘smaller’ projects can seem cheesy or just for the kiddies or the other extreme very large and complex projects.

This looks like a keeper, some things I’ll be able to do now, and come back to the more involved things when my skills improve. Great job Future Publishing and thanks too for the blog which gives a heads up on the projects for the current and upcoming issue.

Links

The Blog also has a preview of the magazine to see if its your kind of thing ;)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Early this year I promised myself I’d give crochet a try. Recently I have been buying Simply crochet magazine, it has some lovely projects for all levels and I adore the mandala’s and granny squares, this month they had flowers.

Sadly though, my poor little brain couldn’t work out the meaning of the patterns, even the ones they said were simple, but I am VERY new to it all. So I headed off to You Tube as I’m a visual learner so I tried there instead. YEY

Here are the flowers I made

Crochet flowers

Crochet flowers

Now you see the one in the middle, it wasn’t meant to be like that it was meant to be the start of a circle but I kept getting those big chains over the top. They were trebles into the center of the ring, {sob} its driving me nuts but I can’t stop the big loops. I think its my tension that is off, but can’t sort it yet. I did so well with double crochet so can’t see why I’m having such problems with these.

I was trying for the pattern by Wink on page 58 of issue 5 of Simply Crochet Hooked on Handmade.

If anyone can shed any light on what I’m doing wrong shout up, I’d love to sort this out.

Links

Here is the video tutorial that I followed to make this flower, thanks to The Making Spot for such a clear easy to understand tutorial :)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

 

***Update***

 

After watching this flower tutorial and another one and having a practice, I realised what I was doing wrong, the chain 3 was only meant to be at the start of the round, not for every repeat. DOH!!! Simple once you know eh!!! I’m now much further into the pattern and have definitely had a light bulb moment with the crochet. Hunting out more flower,motif tutorials on You Tube. Gimme a shout if you know of any :)

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Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share a picture of my latest project, this is my third shawl and I just love it.

Healing hugs shawl, my third shawl.

Healing hugs shawl, my third shawl.

The yarn is Sirdar, Connemara and the colour way is Wayfarer. Sadly this colourway has now been discontinued and it was thanks to a friend on Pheonix Knitting forum, who told me about Hejhog that I was able to get some to make this shawl. I fell in love with this colour-way when I saw it on a garment but the shop had already sold out of it.

Sirdar Connemara Chunky Colour way Wayfarer

Sirdar: Connemara; Chunky. Colour way Wayfarer

The pattern was a freebie from Lion Brand Yarns. Its called Simple Triangle shawl. If you haven’t knitted for long its a great step up project. The new techniques I learnt with this pattern were yarn overs, which is what creates the holes. Its everso simple to create and the finished result makes it look so much harder and more complex than it is. There was only one row that was one to keep a very close eye on, the rest were either knit, pearl and a few knit two together’s along the way.

Links

Three separate links to Sirdar there, the first will take you to Sirdar website’s home page, the next to details about the Connemara yarn and the last to the colourways available in the yarn.

I see they have also discontinued Horn Pipe which is the lovely natural tones I made my long slipper socks with :(

Have my eye on the next project, but more about that another time.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share a picture of my second attempt with knitting cables. This time The Braid Cable.

Braid Cable

Braid Cable

The instructions for how to knit this, were found in The Knitting Guide for Dummies page 169.

Spring cleaning the studio is going amazingly well, the good weather has made a big difference to my ability to move so I’m making the most of it. After over 3 years of being injured one way or another and every move causing so much pain, everything kinda just got dumped in there, rather than going to its ‘home’.

It’s looking like an episode from; The Horder Next door out there at the moment, but its a work in progress so I’m ok with that. I’ve emptied boxes n things out so items are stored together and only in boxes of a required size. Tools are at last together so I’ll be able to find things again. The pile of un-identified stuff on the left hand side, has been categorised into Tools, materials and Surfaces. Anything in cupboards that was in the ‘wrong’ place or had no box in the cupboard also went into those boxes.

Sorting like this creates space to better organize what I have in the cupboards and keeps related things together. The cupboards then end up with a little space which I hope will be enough for when I do the final sort through of the boxes on the left. Now they are in Tools, materials and surfaces they will be quicker to sort through and just go to their related homes. (gotta have a dream ;) )

My biggest issue with creating has been that because things were so all over the place it mean so much searching to get things together to create I didn’t have the energy to actually make things. Hoping now I’ve got it a bit more organized, when the weather and my body can behave that I’ll be more motivated to paint n create again. Have missed painting but its been so dark here.

No you don’t want to see a picture, it ain’t pretty! That said, I have been very disciplined so that I have left at least one surface at the chair out there, clear so I have a space that I could use. I hate the sinking feeling that I got in there, when opening the door and just seeing a whole pile of stuff that needs sorting, instead of the haven of peace and creativity that it once was.

De cluttering is very good, its calming. Now I’m getting the space to make the things I want and need to use easy to get at, rather than a fight. A way to go yet, but a great start. What have you all been up too?

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

This is a post of two halves, first I’d like to share a picture of my first attempt with cable knitting, and then on to other news.

Rope cable

Rope Cable, my first attempt!

Earlier in the year I posted about New Years resolutions. One of the things I wanted to try this year was cable knitting. I checked out the instructions in my faithful Dummies Guide to Knitting and found the instructions for a Standard Rope cable on page 163. I repeated the cable and added a few rows of rib at the end, just in case I want to turn this in to some kind of bracelet/wrist warmer kind of hybrid ;)

Now on to the other stuff. Has anyone else been following the BBC series ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’? I’ve been hooked from the first episode but would have liked a longer series like with the baking version, it all seems a bit quick at only 4 episodes.

My favorite sewer on there is Lauren, but I love them all for different reasons. Although I don’t share her skills I could have been a ‘Lauren’ if I’d listened when my dear mother tried to teach me to sew. My Mum was ace at sewing, (and knitting and cooking) she made all my clothes till I was a stroppy teenager and rebelled. Mum tried to teach me but I got board and went off to draw or get muddy in the garden instead. If I’d listened to my Mum, I could have been like Lauren.

Thanks to my Mum always making clothes and my Dad’s excellent woodworking skills I have tended to be one of those people who thinks couldn’t we just make that, rather than buy it already made, its also spoilt me for expecting things custom built, which once my parents passed away and their skills with them of course was no longer possible.

I bought an excellent book Sew What skirts, which is full of skirt designs that I love and a nifty way of drafting your own patterns to fit you. This was very tempting as I’ve no idea how to read a proper pattern. I was very lucky a couple of years ago to receive a sewing machine for my birthday and although I’ve made some nice bags in an assortment of sizes, the one thing I’ve always wanted to make was a skirt. I’m only 5 foot 3 and a lot of skirts are way too long on me, I keep seeing styles I like but they are all in linen, what is it with linen? How about a nice cotton? After another trawl through online version of stores only to find options in linen or lary patterns I decided to take the plunge and try making my own.

Simplicity had an offer on their patterns and I ended up buying 4 so I hope at least one I can make seance of. This started out worse than clothes shopping, once again I felt like a freek! My hips are larger than my waist but by the pattern sizing charts they were a smaller size than my waist? I was worried that not only couldn’t I read a pattern if I had to alter it loads before I start it was even worse. I’m still clueless about how to lay out a pattern, how to cut fabric etc never mind getting to altering the pattern as well!

The reason I battled on trying to get a commercial pattern rather than trying to make my own is because I didn’t know what to search for to create a blank pattern onto. I need that tissue stuff, although preferably that nicer fibery kind that Tilly used. Anyone know what it is and where I can get it?

Wish me luck for this project, I fear I’m going to need it.

Billie :)

PS. Still no arty stuff at the mo, between low light and RSI its not been happening of late. I’m still into it, and will get back to it asap.

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