Thursday 22 July 2021

Synthesizer Sock - crochet pattern release!


I'm super excited to bring you my latest crochet release - my Synthesizer Socks pattern! This is my fourth sock pattern and I feel it's my best yet - I've combined all my knowledge and experience into its construction. 

  • It's a toe up design with a crossed stitch pattern on the upper foot formed of half trebles & extended double crochet stitches on the sole for stretch and durability.
  • The ankle is finished with a cosy, fold down cuff.
  • I've made several YouTube videos to help you succeed with this pattern because I really want you to feel confident about crocheting socks! My pattern should be clear to follow, but if you find yourself stuck the videos should help.
  • 1 skein of sock yarn is sufficient for the S, M & L sizes, 2 skeins will be required for the XL size.
  • This pattern has been tested in all the size variations, resulting in a pattern that you can trust.
  • I'm here if you need help! You can add a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram.

The pattern is currently available on Ravelry here and as soon as it's been approved I will add the link to Lovecrafts too.

I would like to thank my wonderful team of testers - Laura Dimmon, Fiona Feeney, Julie Letton, Tammy de Nobriga, Carina Rego & Hannah Wingfield. These ladies worked so well together inside my Instagram testing group, encouraging and helping each other out. The crochet commuity is a truly wonderful place!

My eldest son, Niall, helped me out with the model photography and loaned me his synthesizer and recording tech for the flatlay photos. Thanks Niall! It's me modelling the socks in front of the woodburning stove on one of the hottest days of the year!

I hope you enjoy this pattern, please tag me on Instagram if you make a pair, I'd love to see! I also love to watch people taking one of my designs and truly making it their own. Crochet is a wonderful way to really let your imagination run wild and I positively encourage you to do so with a few ideas at the end of the pattern to get you thinking.

Happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Friday 16 July 2021

Would you believe that I was banished from knitting group in Primary School?

Yep, I was banished from the knitting group because I was so bad and was sent to go and make peg rocking chairs with the boys! I was 11 and every Friday afternoon the class was split in half with the girls doing knitting and the boys making things with wooden clothes pegs. I seemed to be constantly at the teacher's desk needing help, I really struggled - dropping stitches, knitting too tightly, adding stitches! One afternoon my teacher had had enough and I was banished to the boys' corner to make a rocking chair out of clothes pegs! Naturally I found this humiliating but I'm glad it didn't put me off forever.

Fast forward 20 years and I took up crochet followed by knitting and I realised that instead of creating a tangled mess I could actually make something beautiful with yarn. I started making scarves & hats and soon delved into the world of amigurumi. By this time I had a degree in Fine Art (specialising in Sculpture) and found that the sculptural aspect of crochet was something I enjoyed playing around with. 

I'm sharing this story with you today following a poll I ran on my Instagram Stories this week. My question was "Have you crocheted socks before?" and I was astonished at the result that 65% of people replied with "no". I then published a post on Instagram asking for feedback in the comments or via direct message, asking what put people off and what would help convince them to try. Answers to this varied - some were unable to find a good pattern, some felt a video tutorial would really help, some people thought that crochet would be too gappy for socks, some were worried about starting but not being able to get answers from the pattern designer if things didn't work out, others simply couldn't get their heads round the heel. 

Next week my Synthesizer Sock pattern will be released and I'm confident that this pattern will address all these hang ups ...

  • The pattern has been tested in all its sizes by a team of 6 testers, reassuring you that most of the little errors and niggles have been ironed out. If any further errors do pop up (I'm only human) you will be sent an updated pdf.
  • I've spent a lot of time over the last week putting together videos for each stage of the pattern - a total of over 30 minutes worth of video - I think I have everything covered.
  • The extended double crochet stitches of the sole fit snuggly together creating a really good stretch but also a flatter finish under foot.
  • I'm here and committed to answering any questions you may have about my pattern. You can reply to any of my emails or you can drop me a message on Instagram, I'm more than happy to help!
  • And that heel? My advice would be to make sure you are relaxed, free from distractions and take each line at time. Try not to overthink or second guess what's coming up, focus on the row you are on.

I would love to see more people crocheting socks! I'm sure that once you try a pattern you will be hooked and want to try another one, especially with all that pretty sock yarn out there!

If you can't wait till then to give socks a go, check out my previously published sock patterns. Ravelry here and Lovecrafts here

Marta xx

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Book Review - Crocheted Succulents by Emma Varnam

Hello! This week I have a gem of a crochet book to review for you - Crocheted Succulents, Cacti & Other Succulent Plants to Make by Emma Varnam. I was super fortunate to win this book in an Inside Crochet magazine giveaway, especially as it was already on my must read list! The book arrived signed too which makes it super special.

Flicking through I saw so many inspiring photos of different cacti and succulents to crochet, I knew it was going to be tough to choose which one to start with. There are a few that require specific types of yarn, such as fluffy eyelash yarn for the Old Lady Cactus, but most of the designs call for regular DK weight yarn in cotton or acrylic.

I like the way that each succulent or cactus is introduced with a short paragraph about where in the world they're from and their characteristics as a plant - every day is a school day! I chose the Saguaro for my first project, simply because I needed to stash dive on this occasion and I had some DMC natura that was a good green, together with a tiny oddment of Paintbox Yarns cotton which would work for the soil. I didn't have any florist's wire to keep the "arms" in shape, but paper clips worked just fine! 

I'm happy to report that the design worked up beautifully and I had no issues with the pattern (I should add at this point that this is not a sponsored post, all views are my own). The instructions are clear to follow and set out with plenty of colour photos. If you're new to crochet, there is an excellent getting started and a crochet techniques section at the back of the book. There's also a section devoted to displaying your plants and how to crochet plant pot cosies. So, I would thoroughly recommend this book - there's something in it for every level of crochet ability and enough patterns to keep you busy for a long time!

Here's a final photo of my finished Saguaro hiding amongst my other houseplants, just for fun! I hope you found this book review enjoyable and useful. Have you got a favourite crochet book you think I should take a look at? Is there a book you'd like me to review? Let me know in the comments or send me a direct message on Instagram @marta.mitchell.designs

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...