Saturday 22 June 2024

Lazy Days CAL Kit Launch!

A pair of crocheted shortie socks, hanging on a line with mini clothes pegs.

Hello! I'm so, so pleased with how this year's Lazy Days CAL kits have come together! It has been a real pleasure to collaborate with Sophie at The Wool Shed to bring you a fresh new yarn for 2024. Also, you asked and I listened - this year it's an 8ply/ DK weight yarn instead of 4ply/ fingering weight.

The colourway is called Lazy Days, it's a 75% superwash merino/ 25% nylon base, 225m per 100g and it's exclusive to my kits. 


Hand holding a skein of yarn. The colours are lilacs, greens and pinks, all mottled against a pale base. There is grass with clover in the background.


I reached out to Rachel at Sew Ray Me and I'm delighted to bring you a selection of her cute notions tins in the kits for the first time! I'm sure you're going to love these for popping stitch markers and other wee treasures in.

My lovely Instagram friend Ruth at Labours of Love Crochet is supplying me with summer themed stitch markers - lobster clasp ones - perfect for crochet.

This year I'm bringing you another of my favourite crochet hooks; the Clover Soft Touch. I love the feel of these hooks, particularly in the summer when my hands can be a bit hot and sticky! It's a 4.5mm hook, the recommended size for the pattern.


crochet pattern project bag, skein of yarn, stitch markers, postcard, crochet hook - all laid out on the grass.


There will also be a postcard included, designed by Katie at Katie Birdie. It was Katie who drew the beautiful illustration for me which sparked this CAL back in 2021, you can read that story on my blog here.

Another change for 2024 is that I've had the pattern professionally printed as an A4 folded leaflet (these are so much better than me churning out slightly blurry copies on my printer as in previous years!!)

All of these things will come in a drawstring kit bag made from organic, Fairtrade cotton which is printed in the UK with the lovely foxglove & bee illustration by Katie.

 

Illustration, hand drawn of a foxglove with bees in amongst long grasses

My CAL kicks off in 2 weeks time, Friday 5th June, with pre-orders opening for kits today! Kits are £50 each but I'm offering you a discount code - 10% off - which makes them just £45.00!

 
The kit includes:
  • 100g of exclusive colourway: ' Lazy Days', DK weight yarn (75% superwash merino/ 25% nylon)
  • 4.5mm Clover Soft Touch Hook
  • stitch markers from Labours of Love Crochet
  • notions tin from Sew Ray Me
  • postcard from Katie Birdie
  • printed A4 pattern leaflet
  • pdf of the pattern with video tutorial links
  • organic, Fairtrade cotton drawstring bag with the illustration from Katie Birdie on the front, perfect to keep everything in!
 
This year I'm introducing a budget friendly option too: pattern & project bag combo for £9, but with your 10% discount code, that's just £8.10!

a printed crochet pattern with a cotton drawstring bag alongside it on a grassy background


Combo includes:
  • printed A4 pattern leaflet
  • pdf of the pattern
  • organic, Fairtrade cotton drawstring bag with the illustration from Katie Birdie on the front
Both kits and combos will be posted at the end of next week.
 

The code for all offers is LAZYDAYS


I've listed the pattern on Ravelry and on my website and of course you can join the CAL using any DK weight yarn - although I'd recommend a superwash merino with nylon for best results. The links below take you to the pattern and the LAZYDAYS code will give you 10% off on both sites.

For my 2024 Lazy Days CAL there will be an Instagram chat group where we can discuss all things sock related, ask questions, share progress photos, cheer each other on; there will be a an opening Zoom meet up (new for this year!), with a prize draw for everyone attending; and there will be various prizes for taking part.
 
Sound good? Join my CAL today for a summer of crochet community fun!

Happy crocheting,
Marta xx

Friday 14 June 2024

A Relaxing Crochet Project for this Summer

Close up of a model wearing a lacy crocheted wrap

Hello! Are you like me, looking for relaxing crochet project to see you through the summer? Look no further than my Lazy Days Wrap! This airy crocheted wrap pattern is ideal for crocheting on long summer days and your finished shawl will be versatile enough to take you from casual outings to dressy affairs.

 

Effortless Style for Every Adventure:

This every-occasion Wrap is a rectangular beauty, making it customisable to your size preferences: long & skinny or wider & floaty. Whether you drape it loosely over jeans and a T shirt or add a touch of elegance to a summer dress, this wrap is sure to become your go-to accessory.
 

Crochet with Confidence:

Don't let the "intermediate" label deter you! This wrap uses a simple stitch pattern that's easy to follow and remember, making it a perfect project for confident beginners. On top of that, there's the peace of mind that comes from a tested and tech-edited pattern, you can happily crochet away, knowing the instructions are clear and accurate.
 

Here's what you'll need to crochet your wrap:

  • 2x 100g skeins of sock weight/4ply yarn (75% superwash merino/25% nylon, 400m/100g) - I used approximately 170g for reference
  • 5mm crochet hook
  • Needle for sewing in ends
 
Close up of crocheted wrap with a picot stitch edge

Learn with Video Tutorials:

And to make your crocheting journey even smoother, the Lazy Days Wrap pattern comes with a bonus of four video tutorials! In these visual guides, I walk you through each step of the pattern, offering an extra layer of support for those who prefer crocheting with the aid of clear demonstrations. If you're a confident beginner looking to learn new skills, these tutorials will ensure that you crochet your wrap with confidence and clarity. For a taster, take a look at my picot video on YouTube ...




Tempted?

You can find the pattern on my website or in my Ravelry store and as I announced in last week's email, the Lazy Days Wrap is June's pattern of the month, so you can enjoy 15% off with the code JUNE24

I hope you've enjoyed reading more about my Lazy Days Wrap in this post. I'll be back next week, until then, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Friday 7 June 2024

The Big Adventure: Conquering a Large Crochet Blanket - Challenges & Rewards

Image: multicolour crochet blanket swirl Text: Conquering a Large Crochet Blanket - Challenges & Rewards. Read blog post


Hello! The allure of a giant, cosy crochet blanket is undeniable. Snuggling under a masterpiece you created yourself? Pure bliss. I love the pile of crocheted blankets I have sitting in my big basket, ready to be pulled out on a chilly evening - I can't recommend creating a few for yourself enough! At the moment, as many of you know, I'm crocheting a Battenberg Blanket which is a MASSIVE commitment! If you're not familiar with the pattern by Sandra Paul, you should check it out on Ravelry; it's hundreds of teenie granny squares. 

But, before I dive headfirst into a mountain of yarn with you, let's explore the challenges and the rewards that come with crocheting a large blanket.

 

The Challenge of Choice:

Not all patterns are created equal! There are so many patterns out there which have not been tested, never mind tech edited! If you're in for the long-haul you want a pattern you can trust with clear instructions. Look for the words "tested" and "tech edited" when choosing your pattern.

 
Dive Deep vs Keep it Simple:


Are you looking for a relaxing project with repetitive elements suitable for long stretches of crocheting? Or perhaps you're after a challenge with multiple new stitch techniques to challenge yourself? Back in 2016 when I was fairly new to crochet, I pushed myself by taking on the Sophie's Universe Blanket by Dedri Uys and I learned so much!! 

Purpose Perfect:


Consider the blanket's final purpose - a throw for the couch needs a different approach than a blanket to cover a king size bed. Think about size you want, the yarn weight and yarn type for optimal use.

Time Management:


Setting Realistic Goals: Be honest about your crocheting speed and the time which is available to you. It might help you to break down the project into smaller, achievable goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. For example; one granny square motif a day or six rows an evening.

Mind Your Motivation:


Not gonna lie; large projects can drag on. Things which help me are sheduling dedicated crochet time, joining a CAL for the support and finally, chocolate ... chocolate definitely helps! Perhaps keeping a project page on Ravelry, using my Project Notes Printable or creating a visual chart to see how far you've come will help. These things can be a huge motivator, especially when facing a seemingly endless sea of yarn.

Tracking Your Progress:


The Power of Progress Markers: Large projects benefit from progress markers to track rows, repeats, or colour changes. They can help you pick up right where you left off without any confusion.

The Finishing Line:


You'll find that there's nothing quite like the satisfaction of completing a large scale crochet project. Seeing your creation come to life, knowing the dedication and skill it took, is a reward unlike any other.

So, Are You Ready for the Challenge?


Crocheting a large blanket is a journey of patience, perseverance and ultimately, immense satisfaction. By choosing the right pattern, managing your time, tracking your progress, and finding a supportive community, you can turn that giant yarn stash into a cosy masterpiece. 

A crocheted blanket is slung over a fallen tree


I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight one of my large crochet blanket projects! My Scrappy Blanket III has a simple repeat, making it the ideal choice for a relaxing project and is perfect for using up all your little scraps! 
 
The pattern is free on this blog and for those who want the full range of 5 different sizes and gain extra guidance with video tutorials, there's the option to upgrade to a paid-for version. Click here to go to the post on my blog and get started on your large crochet blanket today!

I hope you've found this blog post inspiring, until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Friday 31 May 2024

How To Create A Mood Board For Your Next Crochet Project

 
A collage of pinks and purples


How To Create A Mood Board For Your Next Crochet Project

Hello! Have you ever just stared at your yarn stash, overwhelmed by the possibilities, with no idea what to crochet next? I'm sure we've all been there! At times like these, a mood board can be exactly what you need to unlock creative inspiration and guide you towards your next project.
 
Think of a mood board as a visual roadmap for your crochet journey. It's a place to gather anything that sparks your imagination – colours, textures, patterns, even feelings! Here are my top tips for creating a crochet mood board.

First, find Your Colour Palette:

Inspiration Hunting: Flip through magazines, browse Pinterest (personally I LOVE Pinterest and use it for inspiration all the time!), or take a walk in nature. Ask yourself if you're drawn to the vibrant hues of a the sunset, or the calming blues and greens of a coastal landscape? 
 
What to include: Pictures of fabrics, natural elements like wood grain or feathers, or even architectural details that inspire interesting stitch choices. You can add photos of geometric shapes, floral prints, or traditional motifs that could be incorporated into your crochet design.


an open sketchbook with lots of magazine cut outs, scraps of fabric and yarn


 
The Emotional Factor: Cut out pictures or write down words that evoke the mood you want your project to have. Elegant, playful, cosy – the possibilities are endless and you get to choose!

Colour Harmony: Use online tools or colour theory basics to create a cohesive palette. Will you go for a bold contrast or a soothing monochrome look? If you're thinking "Woah! Colour theory? That's a bit of a stretch for me!", fear not - this is a topic I cover in my Colour & Crochet Course, which I'll explain more about below. 
 
Putting it All Together:
There are no hard and fast rules! You can use a physical corkboard, a digital platform like Pinterest or Canva, or go old-school like me and use a sketchbook. The key is to arrange your finds in a way that excites you and helps your project vision come to life.

Yarn Matchmaker: Once you have your colour story, raid your yarn stash or visit your local yarn shop to find the perfect matches!
 
Conclusion: So, grab your scissors and glue or open your favourite digital platform, and get started on your mood board today! Let your creativity flow, and watch your next crochet project come to life, filled with your unique colour and personality.
 

Ready to Dive Deeper into the World of Colour & Crochet with me?

My Colour & Crochet Course will take you on a journey to develop your colour confidence and create stunning, well-co-ordinated crochet projects. It's an online course you can take at your own pace with a mix of colour theory lessons, fun exercises, and 4 free crochet patterns to get you started. You'll be able to wave goodbye to yarn-stash overwhelm and learn how to use inspiration to create amazing crochet projects which you will love.


Text: Colour & Crochet Course. Images show a crocheted beanie, a crocheted scarf, a crocheted pair of socks and a crocheted cushion


I'm offering you 15% off my Colour & Crochet Course! Simply add the word COURSE15 at the checkout for your discount to be applied.

I hope this has been a useful blog post for you. If you like these tips, please consider signing up to my mailing list, lots more good stuff coming your way. When you do so, you'll automatically be sent my PDF with 25 top tips that every crocheter should know! 

Until next time, happy crocheting,


Marta xx

Thursday 23 May 2024

Crochet Your Way: A Fun Quiz to Discover Your Hooky Personality!

 
Text: Take my fun quiz to discover your crochet personality. Text is surrounded by sketches of foliage, a crochet hook and some daisy images

A Fun Quiz to Discover Your Hooky Personality!

Hello! Have you ever wondered what kind of crocheter you are? Take my quick quiz to discover your crocheting style and your future project potentials!
 
Ready? Let's get quizzing!
 
Question 1: When you picture your dream crochet project, it's most likely to be:
A) A cozy blanket to snuggle under with a good book. 
B) A statement piece of clothing that shows off your skills. 
C) A meticulously planned project with intricate details. 
D) A snuggly beanie made with naturally dyed wool.  
 
Question 2: Your favourite part of the crocheting process is:
A) Relaxing and letting the rhythm of the stitches take over. 
B) The feeling of accomplishment when you finish a project. 
C) Following a pattern to perfection.
D) Experimenting with new colours and textures.
 
Question 3: When you spot an error 5 rows back, you tend to:
A) Laugh it off and keep crocheting, mistakes add character! 
B) Embrace the "happy accident" and see where it leads. 
C) Rip it out and start fresh, determined to get it absolutely right. 
D) Try to fix it discreetly without anyone noticing.
 
Question 4: Your ideal crocheting companion would be:
A) A furry friend who loves to curl up beside you as you crochet. 
B) A group of friends to share stitches, tips & laughter. 
C) An easy pattern that you can binge TV with.
D) A hot cup of tea and a good audiobook.
 
Question 5: When choosing yarn for a new project, what factor is most important to you?:
A) The softness and drape of the yarn.
B) Finding a new colour palette to match your vision. 
C) Using yarn that's the exact weight and type called for in the pattern.
D) Experimenting with different textures and fibres for unique effects. 
 
Your Results:
Mostly A's: The Comfort Crocheter
You find joy in creating warm & practical projects that bring comfort both to yourself and others. Cosy blankets, soft scarves, simple garments all with repetitive stitches are your calling! You enjoy the process of creating and the calming rhythm of the stitches.
 
Mostly B's: The Adventurous Crocheter
You love to turn your ideas into finished projects! Stylish garments, trendy accessories, and bold colour choices are your forte.  Fillet crochet, textured stitches, colourwork and intricate details are your playground. Keep pushing your boundaries and explore the marvels of crochet!
 
Mostly C's: The Perfectionist Crocheter
You crave a challenge and also find satisfaction in mastering intricate stitches and complex patterns. Your yarn stash is meticulously organised by weight, fibre content and colour. Lacework, colorwork, and intricate details are your playground. 
 
Mostly D's: Texture Explorer
You're a yarn adventurer! You love exploring different yarns, such as the rustic charm of natural wool or the cool smoothness of bamboo. Keep trying new combinations, embrace the unexpected and let the yarn guide your projects!
 
What did you get? Leave me a comment to let me know how you got on. Remember this was all a bit of fun and there is no "right" way to crochet. There's also no such thing as the Crochet Police, so embrace your unique style and keep on creating beautiful things.

collage of 4 crochet patterns. Top left: crochet scarf in rainbow colours. Top right: crochet sweater in orange and purple. Bottom right: crocheted hat with whaet motifs. Bottom left: Crocheted socks, blue

Looking for inspiration? Here are my top crochet pattern recommendations tailored to your unique style.


A) For the Comfort Crocheter: Printer Ink Scarf
You can lose yourself in the simple pattern repeat of this light weight scarf, it's the perfect comfort project. Pattern available on Ravelry & on my website.
 
B) For the Adventurous Crocheter: Counterbalance Sweater
You'll be intrigued by the unusual construction method of this sweater. There are lots of different techniques going on in the pattern to keep you interested too! Pattern currently exclusive to Moorit 6, available now.
 
C) For the Perfectionist Crocheter: Fields of Wheat Beanie
You will love creating the wheat motifs for this beanie, they are so satisfying to make! Pattern available on Ravelry & on my website.
 
D) For the Texture Explorer: Lyre Socks
You'll have fun choosing wool for these socks - they need a high wool content with a 'toothy' yarn in the blend, such as Zwartbles, to give the stitch definition. Pattern available on Ravelry & on my website.
 
Want more crochet inspiration and fun? Sign up for my newsletter for exclusive news on up-coming patterns, tips & tricks and the biggest discounts out there!
 
Until next time, happy crocheting!

Marta xx

Friday 17 May 2024

Something Different From Me: A Crochet Themed Colouring Sheet

Hello! This week, I'm excited to let you know about something a little different from me! For a while now, I've been toying with the idea of introducing some fun, creative activities alongside my crochet patterns, and guess what? The time has finally come! I'm absolutely delighted to bring you my very first crochet themed colouring sheet!

Text: I just want to crochet. Images surrounding text to be coloured in; measuring tape, buttons, skein of yarn, ruler, scissors, ball of yarn, crochet hook.


I've really enjoyed creating this colouring page, and I can't wait to see how you bring it to life with your own unique colour palette. So, go grab your favourite crayons, pencils, pens, or use it straight way on your tablet and unleash your creativity!
 
To get your hands on your copy, go to my website and if you enter the code COLOURING1 it's yours for FREE (valued at £1.97) when you purchase any of my crochet patterns! Ideally I would like to have more of these available, maybe even create a wee booklet, so I'd really appreciate your feedback -  please let me know your thoughts. 
 
And, if you could share any photos on social media that would be AMAZING! Don't forget to tag me so I can see!

Looking forward to bringing you more crochet news next week, until then happy colouring,

Marta xx

Thursday 9 May 2024

Cracking the Code: How to Read and Understand Crochet Patterns

Image shows a crocheted squares scattered about, crochet hooks, scissors and to the left there's a basket filled with yarn.

How to Read and Understand Crochet Patterns

Hello! As you've probably come to realise, the world of crochet is filled with endless possibilities, from squishy scarves to adorable amigurumi. This blog post is especially for all the newbies out there, because if you're a beginner staring down at a crochet pattern can feel like deciphering hieroglyphics, can't it?
 
Fear not, aspiring crocheters! The guide I've put together for you here will equip you with the tools and confidence to decipher patterns and make your crochet dreams a reality.
 

Understanding the Structure of a Crochet Pattern:

Firstly, let's look at the typical layout of a pattern:
Materials: This section usually comes at the top and it lists the yarn, hook size, and any other supplies you'll need. Make sure you have all the required items before you start.
Gauge: Gauge (often referred to as tension) refers to the number of stitches and the number of rows which fall within a square (usually 10cm x 10cm/ 4" x 4"). Crocheting a gauge swatch allows you to adjust your hook size if your tension is too loose or too tight, thus meeting gauge helps ensure your project ends up the correct size. I devoted a whole blog post to this subject, so if you want to know more, you can read it here.
Notes: This section includes any special techniques or stitch variations used in the pattern, as well as useful information such as where the pattern starts, yarn substitution, sizing information etc.
Instructions: Here's where the pattern begins! The instructions are written in rows (for flat pieces) or rounds (for working in circles). They'll tell you exactly which stitches to make and where to place them. Take each row/ round in turn; do what it tells you to do, count your stitches at the end, move onto the next row/ round. It's a good idea to have a skim through the whole pattern to get a general idea of what's expected before you begin.


 

Learning the Language:

You'll first need to get to grips with abbreviations. Crochet patterns are packed full of them to save space and to keep the instructions concise. Luckily, there's a common core set you'll encounter in almost every pattern. Familiarising yourself with a few basic terms will make your life so much easier. Some examples are;
 
ch: chain (the stitch which following stitches are worked into)
ss: slip stitch (used for joining or fastening off)
inc: increase (adds stitches)
dec: decrease (reduces stitches)
RS: right side
WS: wrong side
 
Now, before I go any further ... I need to warn you that crochet patterns are either written in UK terminology or US terminology. I know, I know, as if things were complicated enough, eh?
 
So, a US single crochet is a UK double crochet. A US double crochet is a UK treble crochet, and so on. Patterns should clearly state which terms they use but if you're unsure look for the words "single crochet" to identify US terms because they're never used in UK terms. Remember, it's a shift in names, not the way the stitches are worked!
Patterns should include an abbreviations list which defines all the abbreviations used in that project. There are also handy reference charts available online which you can print and keep by your side. Below is a handy chart to show you the conversion of the basic stitches, I'm working behind the scenes on a printable for you right now!

Text based chart: Crochet terminology. UK terms dc double crochet htr half treble tr treble dtr double treble ttr triple treble. US terms sc single crochet hdc half double crochet dc double crochet tr treble crochet dtr double treble croche


Mastering the Symbols:

Crochet patterns often include charts to provide a visual aid to reading the pattern. Whilst they may look weird at first, they can actually be super helpful for following more complex patterns. In fact, once you understand how to follow them, they can be used instead of the written pattern. My pro tip for reading charts is to try to follow one after you have finished your project; see if you can trace through your journey from start to finish. I promise that they'll soon start to make sense! Below is the chart for my Simple Flower to give you an idea of what charts look like. 


Symbol chart for a crochet flower

 

My Tips for Pattern Reading Success:

  • Start with a beginner-friendly pattern so you don't end up overwhelming yourself! By Choosing a project designed for your skill level you're far more likely to succeed.
  • Look for video tutorials - many crochet patterns have accompanying video tutorials which will visually demonstrate the stitches and techniques.
  • If the pattern contains a new stitch or stitch combination, take time to practice it using scrap yarn before beginning the project. When you work and rework yarn over and over it loses it's twist and sheen, so it's best to be able to go for it when you're confident.
  • Don't be afraid to rip out and redo because mistakes will happen. It's best to accept that your first few attempts are not going to look like the samples in the crochet magazines (honestly, you should have seen my first attempts!).
  • If you do encounter a real problem and you're stuck, reach out to the designer and see if they can help you. I wrote a blog post all about what to do if you get stuck with crochet which you can read here.
  • Practice, practice, practice! The more you crochet, the more comfortable you'll become with reading patterns and understanding the instructions.

Armed with these helpful tips and with a little bit of experience, you'll be deciphering crochet patterns in no time. My biggest advice to you is to START ... so, grab your yarn and grab your hook, and get crocheting!
 
If you have any questions, remember that you can leave me a comment below or you can send me a DM on Instagram (@marta.mitchell.designs), I'm more than happy to help you out!

I hope this has been a useful blog post for you. If you like these tips, please consider signing up to my mailing list, lots more good stuff coming your way. When you do so, you'll automatically be sent my PDF with 25 top tips that every crocheter should know! 

Until next time, happy crocheting,


Marta xx

Lazy Days CAL Kit Launch!

Hello! I'm so, so pleased with how this year's Lazy Days CAL kits have come together! It has been a real pleasure to collaborate wit...