Tuesday 30 January 2018

Pattern Release: Saturday Beanie

Hello! At the start of the year I challenged myself to release 1 crochet pattern per month and with just a day and a half until the end of January I have left it pretty close this month but I have made it, yay! My first pattern is a super-quick-to-crochet beanie style hat worked in extended double crochet stitches (UK terms). If you haven't tried this stitch before you are in for a treat - it's a gorgeous variation on the traditional double crochet stitch.

Saturday Beanie cover photo

I have designed this hat using Cascade Yarns Boliviana an aran weight merino yarn (175m/100g) which I have just discovered has been discontinued! However, as my testers have found the hat will work up all sorts of different aran weight yarns including Rico Essentials Soft Merino and James C. Brett Aztec. Have a look at yarnsub.com for inspiration or have a look online for websites selling discontinued stock at reduced prices!

close up of ribbing

The ribbing is worked in rows of back loop only (BLO) stitches to add stretch and texture. The pattern is available in 4 sizes; toddler, child, woman and man. With an intermediate knowledge of crochet it is very simple to customise the pattern to get the perfect fit. Worked in 1 solid colour, requiring only 1 ball of yarn for toddler to woman's size, the single colour really helps to show off the simple sitches. 

my youngest son took this photo of me on the hat's first outing

The pattern will be available at half price (ONLY £1.80!) for 1 week only - you can find it to download as a pdf in my Ravelry Store

I do hope you like my first pattern of 2018, I am looking forward to lots more pattern releases throughout the year!

Happy hooking,

Marta xx

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Yarn Review: Koigu Mori

Hello! Today I am going to review a recent addition to my yarn stash - Koigu Mori. I bought 3 skeins of this amazingly soft yarn from loveknitting.com in their January sale and when I opened my parcel I did a little dance because it was stunningly beautiful!

skeins of Koigu Mori with some sunny daffodils

The colours in the yarn instantly made me think of daffodils - of both their flowers and their folliage - the perfect colours as we look forward to Spring in the northern hemisphere. I chose colourway 533 (they are all numbered rather than named) for its fresh look but there is a massive range of colours to choose from, both variegated like this one and solid colours. You can view the entire collection on the Koigu website here.

The composition of the yarn is 50% merino wool and 50% mulberry silk giving it excellent stitch definition and a luxurious sheen. The silk content makes it wonderfully lightweight and drapy so an idea began to form in my head for a scarf design. Inspired by a swatch in a 70s crochet book I began to play with a filet pattern which incorporated a daffodil like motif. 

early stages of the design process

The yarn worked up beautifully without snagging or splitting and the stitches stand out really prettily. The colour changes in the variegated yarn are very short producing a mottled rather than a stripy effect which I like. 

fast progress on this shawl

Based a few hours outside Toronto, Canada, Koigu Wool Designs is a small family run business. It started up specialising in 4ply 100% merino and the demand for this yarn became so great that the business expanded and introduced other bases, still focusing on 4ply something which makes the brand stand out. Today the yarn is a vailable worldwide.

wonderful stitch definition

So, my plans are to continue with this scarf design, write it up, send it to testers, do the final edit and then share it with you in time for Spring!

Happy hooking,

Marta xx

NB. This blog post has not been sponsored by Love Knitting or Koigu, the viewpoints are entirely my own.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

My creative January so far ...

Hello and Happy New Year! My first blog post of the year is all about my creative adventure so far this month and a look ahead at the ideas I have for the rest of the year. Firstly, I have renewed my commitment to bullet journaling with a shiny new notebook from Paperchase. So far, it's going really well and I have had lots of hand lettering and layout practice. The size of this notebook is 26cm x 20cm which is almost twice the size of my previous one and I am finding the extra space brilliant for jotting down more ideas and giving more room for my weekly Bible quotes. Of course it hasn't all gone smoothly - I spent an hour on some lovely lettering for my "January 2018" title page only to discover as I stood back to admire it that I had stupidly titled it 2017!! However, I fixed it in a creative way, allowing this to be the start of many errors because if I sought 100% perfection I would never put pen to paper in the first place!

going with the flow!

Here's another photo showing my weekly spread at the end of Week 1. I have also been sharing lots of photos over on Instagram and adding the ideas which work best to my Pinterest board. If you want to find out more about the bullet journaling craze, check out this video.

bullet journal, Week 1

I have been doing lots of crocheting too of course! I began the year by finishing a pair of socks that I began on Boxing Day. They were a stash busting project, following Joanne Scrace's Mamble Socks pattern. I found it a really relaxing pattern to follow, perfect to crochet along whilst watching family movies! I finished them last week and they fit my youngest son's fast growing feet (he's currently a UK 11 and they're not stopping there so I have allowed for some growth room).

my stripy Mamble Socks

My next crochet project was a continuation with many of the 4ply colours from the socks. I decided to make a doll from Kerry Lord's Edward's Crochet Doll Emporium book - a book I have had on my shelf since October but not made anything from. My first doll is for my very best friend Gwen and I am trying to make it look like her!

crochet work in progress (WIP)

The third crochet project of the year is a new design - a filet crochet shawl, crocheted in Koigu Mori a 50% merino/ 50% mulberry silk 4ply yarn. This yarn is one of the smoothest, softest yarns I have ever squished and I can't wait to share more of this project in a future email. If you haven't come across Koigu yarn before check out their website for an absoloute feast for the eyes!

new shawl design underway

So, after a good start to the year, I have lots of plans to continue my creative journey - a new crochet pattern to be released once a month, more bullet journaling - possibly with printables for downloading, maybe even crochet workshops and plenty of blog updates!

Until next time,

Marta xx

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