Thursday 31 May 2018

Not crochet, but still creative ...

Hello! Recently I have begun chalk board art and today I wanted to share some of my latest boards with you. It will mostly be a pictorial blog post because chalk boards are a visual thing!

drinks menu, Gather, Carnoustie
photo credit - Niall Mitchell

I beagn by doing a few boards for  Bethany in Gather in Carnoustie just before Christmas. they were seasonal boards and because they were my first venture into chalk board art there were lots of little things I wasn't quite happy with so I didn't take any photos of them! However, early in the new year the café opened at Gather and I did a couple of menu boards for the café which I was much happier with.

specials board, Gather, Carnoustie

Soon after that I was approached by Vicky at Millie's Pet Services in Carnoustie and asked to do their internal chalkboard around the walls and the sandwich board outside. By this time I felt much more confident and I had a lot of fun with these boards, which I feel reflect the personality of the pet shop very well.

sandwich board, Millie's Pet Services, Carnoustie

detail of sandwich board, Millie's Pet Services, Carnoustie

sandwich board, Millie's Pet Services, Carnoustie

internal walls, Millie's Pet Services, Carnoustie
photo credit - Vicky Gunn

Back at Gather I helped to create an information board to make it clear to everyone that Gather is a dog friendly café - a trend which I am pleased to see is catching on in many cafés!

information board, Gather, Carnoustie

Now that the warmer weather is with us, I drew the board below for Gather to advertise their new iced latte. I use Pinterest for most of my hand lettering inspiration - there is so much chalk board art on there, it's amazing! I work out my ideas on scaled down pieces of paper before beginning on the boards. This really helps me to plan out the layout and see what is going to work in the space I have.

sandwich board, Gather, Carnoustie

I am always keen to take on new chalk board work, if you are reading this and are local please do get in touch below to discuss your requirements, I would love to work with more local businesses to promote their brand. If you are not so local, I hope that my photos have inspired you in some way - perhaps to take up chalk board art yourself!

Until next time,

Marta xx

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Help! I'm a sock addict!

Help! I seem to have become a sock addict! I am currently on my 8th pair since starting in September last year! I am going to share my sock making journey here, mainly through photographs because as you know I take lots of photos as I am going along, mostly to post on Instagram.

current pair!

I began by making a pair of socks for myself simply as a way of using up all the scraps of 4ply yarn I had kicking about. I followed a pattern by Joanne Scrace called Evesham Socks and I quickly fell in love with the sock making technique!

1st pair - for me!

I realised that socks would make a lovely Christmas present for my sister's fiance, Mat, so I made him a pair of Everyone (Needs) Socks by Kat Goldin. He loved them but my sister, Aimee, loved them more so I made her a pair of self coloured ones.

2nd pair - for Mat


3rd pair - for Aimée

After Christmas I found myself in need of inspiration for a project so I asked my youngest son, Alex, if there was anything he would like me to make for him - he replied "socks please!". His pair use up lots of scraps like mine - he chose the order he wanted them in. The pattern is another of Joanne Scrace's called Mamble Socks.

4th pair - for Alex

a good fit!

Time for another pair for myself! I asked my husband to pick out a ball of West Yorkshire Spinners sock wool from our local yarn shop, Fluph, and he picked me a lovely soft pink colour - I love it! This pattern is Hop Socks by Vicki Brown.

5th pair - for me!


Onto another family member - my eldest son this time. His feet are on the large size - UK size14 - so this was definitely a labour of love! I chose another Vicki Brown pattern - Fallen Leaves.

6th pair - for Niall

long socks!!

Pair no.7 were soon underway! I stumbled across 4 balls of vintage sock wool in our local charity shop and decided to use them to try another Vicki Brown pattern Winter Wonder. Of all the designs I have tried, this one is definitely the fastest! It's worked in tramline stitch which was a new stitch for me and I absolutely love the results. I made them with no real recipient in mind but then found out it was my friend Moira's birthday and I knew she would appreciate them.

7th pair - for Moira

curled up

Of all the sock patterns I have tried so far, I felt that Fallen Leaves had the best squishy texture so I decided to make a pair for myself. We are heading into much warmer weather now, so will need to wait a while to wear them but I am looking forward to autumn already!

8th pair - for me!

What about you? Do you have a favourite sock pattern? Please share them with me in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!

Marta xx

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Book Review: Edward's Crochet Doll Emporium by Kerry Lord

Hello! It's gone all windy and chilly outside today, making me want to snuggle up with my crochet and mug of hot chocolate, but first I have a book review to share! I bought Edward's Doll Emporium by Kerry Lord in Waterstone's when I was on a day trip to Aberdeen in October. It had recently been released and I had seen lots of hype about it on social media so I was keen to have my own copy! I love the concept of this book; you flip through and match heads with outfits to create the pattern for the look you are going for. The corresponding pattern is presented on the opposite page making it very clear and easy to use.

Oooooh, shiny new book!

Because my WIP list was so long it wasn't until January this year that I began to make my first doll and I was so excited to start! After looking through lots of different options I decided to make a doll in the likeness of my dear friend Gwen so Head 1 and Costume 1 were the best fit for her. 

making a start

The dress was one of the most time consuming pieces to make, it seamed to take forever to be long enough but I loved how it quickly injected some colour into the project and my photos! I like the fact that all the clothes are interchangeable, allowing more than one outfit to be made - something a young child will really enjoy to play with.

2 arms now!

One thing I did find fiddly was making the hands! I went for the advanced body options and trying to create 2 sets of fingers that matched was quite tricky! I was mostly crocheteing whilst watching family films (it was still the Christmas holidays) with a stash of chocolates and a cup of tea at my side so all this kept me going!

time to think about the hair

Gwen has beautiful, thick auburn hair so lots of woolly hair was needed! I had an odd ball of leftover sock yarn and reckoned it would be big enough but it wasn't until I began pulling the strands through that I realised just how much yarn this task consumed. I started spacing the strands further and further apart in an effort to cover the scalp, but I wasn't convinced this approach had worked very well and was still considering pulling it out and starting with different yarn when I spotted a very similar colour yarn in a charity shop, hooray! It worked perfectly in harmony with the initial hair colour and the gaps were filled and blended very neatly. 

initial hair coverage

It was arround this stage that I stopped taking and posting photos online because although Gwen knew that I was making it for her and she had helped to choose colours for her dress, I wanted to keep some elements a surprise. It was also around this time that I began to think about glasses. Gwen wears glasses all the time so this doll had to have glasses! Working with metal has never really been my thing so I turned to someone else to help, local artist Alan MacDonald. Alan had fun recreating Gwen's glasses in miniature form using thin wire and I was really pleased with how they turned out!

eeeeek! I have glasses!

At the start of this week I handed mini-Gwen over to Gwen and she was delighted with how it had turned out - all those tiny stitches in 4ply yarn were definitely worth it! I will be making more dolls from this book for sure - there are so many different options to choose from which I love! 

both Gwens together at last!

I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crocheting. The instructions are very clear, the photos are excellent and there is all sorts of extra information at the back on skin tone, sizing, etc. This is a fun book that you will keep reaching for when you need to make a personalised present for a special friend or relative.

Until next time, happy hooking,

Marta xx

PS. All views expressed in this blog post are my own, this post has not been sponsored in any way.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

a post about my local stitching group: Twisted Stitchers

Hello! Today I wanted to share a little with you about my local stitching group. It's a lovely group that  meet in the Two Sisters Cafe, one of the local cafés, in my home town of Carnoustie. Just over a year ago the owners Libby and Laura-May approached me about starting up a knitting group and would I be interested in helping - my answer of course was a great, big "YES!".

photo credit: Steven Whittaker

The above photo shows some of us working on our various needlecrafts, possibly with more chattering than stitching going on! Steven Whittaker, an amateur photographer, dropped in one evening to take a few photos for his portfolio and I think he did a wonderful job of capturing the atmosphere of our crafty evenings.

photo credit: Steven Whittaker
As you can see the group is not restricted to knitting - we have many crochet, embroidery, sewing, loom knitting and even tapestry lovers. When Libby states "We are a diverse group of wool/ thread craft enthusiasts of mixed ability. We share skills, knowledge, books, wool, life experiences and lots of cake and laughs!" she make a couple of very good points. Firstly - "mixed ability" - it doesn't matter if you have never picked up a needle in your life or if you have been crafting all your life, you are very welcome to join us. There are many experienced crafters who are keen to pass on their knowledge and enthusiasm. 

photo credit: Steven Whittaker

Secondly - "lots of cake and laughs" - we meet in a cafe selling amazing, freshly baked cakes so of course we can't let the opprtunity to sample some pass us by! Alongside our stitching and munching we chat constantly shareing the stories of our lives, our ups and downs. I interviewed Gwen from the group and she said " I absolutely love coming along to Twisted Stitchers. As an incredibly busy person it gives me the chance to have a break, get support with any tricky crochet stitches and eat cakes! I have made some great friends and see the group as the perfect tonic for a stressful day."

photo credit: Steven Whittaker

Twisted Stitchers meet every Thursday evening, 7pm - 9pm in the Two Sisters Cafe, Carnoustie. Each session costs £4.00 which includes cake and a cuppa. Please feel free to drop in, no booking necessary.  

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