Friday 29 April 2022

Are you ready for Sunshine & Showers?



Hello! I'm really chuffed to have my Sunshine & Showers crochet applique set released in April (just!). It ended up being a busy month with my birthday, hubby had time off, I took a whole week a way from my business, family were visiting and there was an Easter meal at my parents' house for 24 people! Phew, no wonder this pattern took a while!

If you were following me this time last year, you may remember my Sunshine patch? This year I have added a raindrop and cloud to the set in a similar style which I think you're going to love just as much! You can find the pattern on my new website here.


These cute little patches can be sewn onto garments, bags etc, or glued onto a card to make a birthday card, or simply a piece of wall art, or turned into a badge (like in the photo above). They can be used as a group or on their own - there are endless possibilities and at the foot of the pattern I even give some examples for taking the project further.


There are a couple of video links to help you get started and each design has its own photo tutorial and chart which should really help you! The pattern is written in UK terms and the patches can be made in any yarn and in any thickness of yarn with the appropriate size hook. I used cotton DK for mine, but you could scale up and use super chunky and make them cushions - go wild!



I would love to see what you make, so be sure to tag me on social media or reply to any of my emails with your photos.


I do hope you like this pattern and go ahead to have some fun with it! 

Until next time, happy crocheting, 

Marta xx

Saturday 23 April 2022

"Nobody crochets anymore" - REALLY?

 


Hello! I've been thinking over a conversation I had a few years back with the owner of a yarn shop. I walked in, had a look round, took in the wide variety of acrylic yarn on display, then interupted the assistant who was sitting with her head bowed over her knitting to ask "do you have any pure wool?". She answered, "No, nobody wants pure wool anymore" before burying her head back in her knitting. I was determined to find something good about this shop, so I walked over to the binders full of patterns. A quick glance told me they were full of knitting patterns, so I had another attempt at engaging the surly woman behind the counter - "do you have any crochet patterns?", I asked. "No, nobody crochets anymore" she said, shaking her head.

REALLY? Had she done any market research or even looked at the magazine aisle? Also, here was a potential customer in front of her, was she not even curious? I'm pleased to report the shop has now changed hands and is so much better!

Crochet always seems to play second fiddle to knitting which is a real shame because it's such a versatile craft that, in my opinion anyway, deserves an equal amount of attention.

I love that publications, such as Moorit magazine, are doing their best to raise its awareness. Fay Daspher-Hughes (@crochet_circle_podcast) and Claudia Carpenter (@crochetluna) were live together on Instagram a couple of weeks ago talking about the profile of crochet (the replay is still available to watch if you're interested, it's a really good chat). Fay's advice was to stress at the checkout what you're going to be CROCHETING with your purchase. If we all did this, we could just make a difference. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing knitting here! If you've been following me, you'll know I love to knit too. I simply feel that crochet is so often perceived as the lesser of the two crafts.

Last week I was fortunate to visit a fantastic yarn shop in Aberdeen called Wool For Ewe and it's a real gem of a shop which I love to visit whenever I'm in the city. They stock a good balance of yarns, from acrylics, to cottons, to skeins of pure wool, crochet & knitting patterns and all the little nick nacks too! I bought 2 skeins of Baa Ram Ewe Titus (50% Wensleydale Longwool, 20% Blue Faced Leicester/ 30% UK Alpaca) and 2 balls of Wendy Knit's Recyled (98% recyled bottles/ 2% viscose). Here's a photo of me and my purchases with the Kaye, the daughter of the mother and daughter team.




Follow me on Instagram to find out what I crochet with this lovely yarn - www.instagram.com/marta.mitchell.designs

Until, next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Friday 8 April 2022

My 5 Tips For Crocheting (or knitting!) Socks

Text: My 5 Tips For Crocheting Socks. Image: close up of someone wearing socks by a woodburning stove

my Fiddle Sock pattern

My 5 Tips For Crocheting (or knitting!) Socks

Hello! Today I'd like to share my experience with you and give you my 5 top tips for crocheting (or knitting!) socks! Maybe you've never tried making socks before or perhaps you're a sock addict like me? Either way, there should be something here to help you on your crochet sock journey.



my Banjo Sock pattern

1.  Take each step as it comes. 

Don't go diving in, looking ahead at what comes up next and freaking out about how you're going to manage that heel! Simply look at row 1 or round 1 and take it from there. Follow that round exactly as the instructions tell you and then work onto round 2 and so on. I think when we leap ahead and see the big scary heel - that's when we're more likely to second-guess ourselves and make mistakes early on.


2.  Wind your yarn into two balls (or cakes). 

This is really easy if you're starting with a skein of sock yarn; I simply wind and when I reach the about halfway I pop the yarn on the scales and make sure that I end up with two balls, roughly 50g each. I've shared this tip before and it's one that I find very useful because then I know exactly how much yarn I have for each sock and I'm not panicking about running out of yarn.


3.  Choose yarn with 20 or 25% nylon content. 

This will ensure your socks are durable and washable. There are lots of different types of sock yarn on the market! Commercial sock yarn is a great choice and is typically 75% superwash merino/ 25% nylon. It's especially good for a beginner because it's less expensive meaning you're less likely to be upset when mistakes happen. There are lots of indie yarns dyers out there too, producing all sorts of gorgeous colours to choose from. These tend to have a 20-25% nylon content, perhaps with Blue Faced Leicester instead of merino. There are also smaller yarn companies producing more traditional sock yarn if you want to go for something fancier. At the moment I'm using a sock yarn with 80% Blue Faced Leicester/ 10% Yak/ 10% silk - it's gorgeous to work with!


4.  Work socks two at a time. 

I've shared this tip before and it's a good one to keep your motivation up. It's especially easy to do if you have measured your yarn into equal balls too! If you choose not to work two together it's a good idea, while your motivation levels are high, to jump straight in and start sock no. 2 as soon as you have finished sock no. 1. You can add the hashtag #nosecondsocksyndrome on Instagram - it's a popular one!


5.  Try on your sock as you go. 

This way you will have the perfect fit - you can get the length and width exactly right. Although most sock patterns are customisable you may need to make adjustments and this is easiest to do if you can try your sock on as you work.




my Synthesiser Sock pattern

Did you know that I have multiple crochet sock patterns available on my website and on Ravelry if you're curious and would like to give crocheted socks a go! Check them out today and remember that I'm always here to help if you have any questions.

I hope you found my 5 top tips for crocheting (or knitting!) socks helpful. Why not share with a friend who would find them useful too - help me spread the word.

Don't want to miss my posts? Subscribe to my mailing list today and have them delivered straight to your inbox. There's a FREE pdf waiting for you when you sign up too, with 25 of my best crochet tips!

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx


 

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Can you explain why you love yarn in just 3 words?



Hello! I asked the question on Instagram the other day "Explain why you love yarn in just 3 words?" and I was amazed at the responses I got! Before I share a few of the answers I received, take a moment to think of your response.


When I asked the question I was expecting 3 single words as the response and I got plenty of those! For example; "portable, pretty, possibilities", "colourful, squishy, relaxing", "memories, colour, home" and "touch, sight, satisfaction" and I loved all of these!

However, some people really surprised me with their creative answers, for example; "something outta nothing", "escape the world", "I just do!" and possibly my favourite answer "make something lovely".

What would your 3 words be? Hit reply to this email and let me know!


I'll be back soon with more news, happy crocheting until then,

Marta xx

PS. Have you had a look at my new website yet? I'm making changes to it all the time, it's still a work in progress if you want to check back and see the changes?

Friday 1 April 2022

Crochet pattern bundle release!


Hello! I'm so excited (and also a little relieved!) to be able to sit down and tell you my first crochet pattern bundle is ready for you! I have worked so hard behind the scenes for the last 5 weeks curating this bundle and a lot of the work involved opening an e-commerce site to be able to sell on too. I don't know about you, but I struggle with technology and it's all been a very steep learning curve. I shared the first glimpse of my website with you last week and since then I've fixed a few issues (listening to your feedback, thank you!) and I'm much happier with how it looks.

What is my Pattern Plus: Colour bundle, you ask? It's a crochet pattern bundle PLUS video tutorials, written tutorials and practical colour exercises to help you make the most of colour in crochet.

Colour is of massive importance to me when I'm crocheting and it's often something that people compliment me on, so I made the decision to share my love of colour with you!

Patterns included:

  • Air Balloon Beanie
  • Banjo Socks
  • Printer Ink scarf
  • In The Groove cushion cover (phot above, exclusive to this bundle!)

I've chosen patterns which use multiple colours for you to have fun with using your new knowledge of colour.

Patterns are all in UK terms and they include either videos, charts or both to help you succeed.

Tutorials included:

  • Choosing colours (written)
  • Playing with colour (written)
  • Introduction to colour theory (video)
  • Working with a colour mood board (video)
  • Choosing colours for crochet projects (video)
  • Case study (video)

You can buy my Pattern Plus: Colour bundle on my website now for the crazy early bird price of £15.00 (that's 4 patterns PLUS all the extras for just £15.00!). No code required.

If you have any questions, please get in touch and I'll happily answer them for you.

Until next time,

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...