Monday, 30 May 2022

My rebranded Colour & Crochet Course



Hello! Today I'd like to chat to you a bit about my rebranded Colour & Crochet Course. You may remember, I launched at the end of March this year and called it Pattern Plus: Colour and I have to say that sales have been very disappointing. However, I've not taken it to heart, instead I've used this as an opportunity to have a bit of a rethink, ask a few followers for their opinions and tapped into fellow crochet biz owners knowledge.

You see, for some reason I had been self-sabbotaging it by not calling it a course when it clearly is a course! It's way more than a pattern bundle, there are video tutorials, written tutorials and practical exercises to help crocheters make the most of colour in their projects. Pattern bundles are generally just a group of patterns based around a theme. The reason I don't think I was calling it a course was because I wasn't believing in myself and my authority on the subject. But hey, I have a degree in Fine Art, I've been crocheting colour patterns for 12 years and designing for 8 years ... I do know what I'm talking about here!

So, it was time for a name change! I've kept it simple and called it 'Colour & Crochet Course' because it keeps things simple and tells people exactly what it is. I'm hoping it clears things up for you too if you were unsure and that you'll go check it out on my website (it's only available here).


To give you an idea of what to expect, here's what's included ...

Patterns:

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

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

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

Tutorials:

  • 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)

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! You can leave me a comment or you can send me a DM on Instagram.

Good news! At the moment the course is ONLY £15! It's at this crazy low pricewhile I wait to receive feedback from customers who have bought it so I can look into any changes that need to be made and get some reviews too. I've valued the course at £43.00, so this is a huge saving for you!

Like I say, any questions, please get in touch! Happy crocheting,

Marta xx


Monday, 23 May 2022

Introducing Nicole Riley's new crochet eBook; Crochet Anything With Squares

photo © Nicole Riley

Hello! I'd like to introduce you to a crochet friend of mine, Nicole Riley (above), who has released an eBook on the theme of turning crochet sample squares into something useful! I should say right away that this blog post contains affiliate links to Nicki's eBook and that all photos are copyright Nicole Riley.

Have you got a collection of sample squares or guage swatches languishing in a basket or drawer somewhere? You've kept them because they might come in useful for something? Then, Crochet Anything With Squares is the book for you! There are 84 pages in the eBook with 30 patterns to choose from, all re-purposing something you've already made! There are a large variety of patterns (as you can see below) and, like me, Nicki makes video tutorials to support her patterns.


photo © Nicole Riley



I really like the look of the slippers (middle of the bottom row), they look super easy to make! 

Nicki has chosen to release this eBook for a very short time, cart closes at 7am, Wednesday 25th May, BST, so there's only a small window to take advantage of this opportunity!

Take a look at Crochet Anything With Squares and see if it's the eBook for you. Personally, I think that if you like quick projects and working from your laptop or print outs it will be perfect for you. If you prefer long term projects and the smell of printed books then it's maybe not for you. Take a look for yourself and decide.

I'll be back here at the end of the week, until then happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Two crochet projects, fresh off the hook!



Hello! I'm dropping by to share 2 HOTH projects (if you read my last blog post, you'll know that means hot off the hook!). I finished these projects within days of each other, so thought I'd share them with you and give you a bit of a pattern and yarn review! This is not a sponsored post, there are no affiliate links and all opinions given are my own.

First off the hook was my Claigan cowl, though it was a few days later before this was blocked and properly finished. Claigan is a pattern by Claudia Dingle and at the moment it's exclusively available in Moorit magazine, issue 2. It's the first thing I've made from this issue and I was super keen to start right away - so much so I took a chance by not following the suggested yarn but went for something of the same thickness but completely differnet composition. I used Titus by Baa Ram Ewe a 50% Wensleydale Longwool/ 20% Blue Faced Leicester/ 30% UK Alpaca yarn in 4ply. This yarn has created a more blurred effect than the sample in the magazine but the stitch definition is still there. 

Claudia's pattern is written out clearly and was also very quick to comit to memory - it was my end of the day in front of the TV project (currently watching Better Call Saul). The only change I made to the pattern was to finish with a round of crab stitch at both open ends of the cowl. I created a YouTube tutorial to show exactly how to work the crab stitch. If you're looking for a fairly quick project with an easy to remember repeat, this is the pattern for you!



The other project I've just finished is my Little Red Riding Hood nesting doll set, pattern by Lydia Tresselt. My mum very kindly bought me the kit to make the set from the Lalylala Etsy shop and everything needed for the project was lovingly packed in a box - it was a joy to open! I included the optional crochet hook which was a Clover soft touch, 2.25mm because I reckoned a really good hook would make the world of difference to all those little stitches (and it did!). This pattern was a lot of fun to crochet, especially when I could make cute reels for Instagram in the process! I really enjoyed the apple - the way the munched hole is created is very clever. The wolf did seem to take a long time to crochet, but then he is the biggest piece in the set. The pattern was written for using the yarn under technique to create less gaps between the stitches. This was a completely new skill for me, so once I'd mastered it I created a YouTube tutorial for it.

The yarn in the kit was Scheepjes Catona, 100% cotton, 4ply - another yarn I hadn't tried before but instantly loved! I can see why it's popular for amigurumi - the colours are gorgeous and it's very smooth to work with. So, pattern and yarn together make for a fab combo - if you like amigurumi and want a fun, colourful project to crochet, this one's for you! 

I hope you've enjoyed reading a little about these projects, you can see them in more detail in my latest podcast (episode 11) too.

Until next time, happy cocheting,

Marta xx




Monday, 16 May 2022

Crochet speak: what does it all mean?

 



Hello! Have you ever wondered what on earth some of the funny phrases crocheters use on social media mean? For example, "I've lost at yarn chicken" - did you know that means "I've run out of yarn to complete my project"? There are all sorts of funny little phrases and acronyms that us yarnies (see below!) use which can take a while to figure out!

Over on Instagram this week I'm going to be sharing a few of my favourites, so here's a handy reference for you, especially if you're new to it all!

  • I'm frogging = I'm unravelling my work
  • LYS = local yarn shop
  • HOTH = Hot Off The Hook, a newly finished project
  • CAL = crochet a-long, when a community of crocheters work on the same project at the same time.
  • Yarn bomb = a piece of crochet or knitting attached to railings, trees, etc
  • JAYGO = Join As You Go, a poular way to join granny squares as you go along
  • WIP = Work In Progress
  • CROJO = the desire or drive to crochet
  • YARNIE = a yarn lover
I hope you've found this useful, it's by no means an exhaustive list, but gives you a flavour of the more common ones. Sign up to my email list here to receive content like this directly to your inbox, as well as free patterns and my biggest discount codes! 

See you in the next blog post where I'll be sharing something HOTH!

Marta xx

Thursday, 12 May 2022

4 tips for yarn substitution



Hello! I'm here to dive into the topic of yarn substitution this week! It's something which is very easy to do if you follow a few important tips. I very rarely use the specified yarn for a pattern. This is sometimes because I want to put my own unique stamp on a project, sometimes the yarn has been discontinued, sometimes because I want to stash bust and occassionaly it's because the yarn called for is out of my price range or geographical reach.

Whatever the reason, substituting yarn needn't be complicated and, like all things, with practice and experience it gets easier! So, here are my top tips for you;

  1. Yarn thickness. Look at the meterage/ yardage of the suggested yarn. It will usually give you the number of metres/ yards per 50g or 100g. When substituting yarn you want your yarn to be as close as possible to this figure, 20 metres per 100g over or under is within range, anything above or below this will alter your outcome.
  2. Fibre content. Take a look at the type of yarn called for in the pattern. It should tell you if it's merino wool, cotton, alpaca etc. When substituting, try and go for something as similar as you can because the yarn type impacts the drape, stitch definition, stretch and after care of your project. Many yarns use a blend of fibres, so for example if the specified yarn is 100% Blue Faced Leicester you can happily swap for 70% Blue Faced Leicester/ 30% Alpaca.
  3. Stretch. This one is a combination of tips 1 & 2; the type of fabric that yarn creates when knitted or crocheted up varies depending on yarn thickness and fibre content. My biggest piece of advice to you is to swatch (please don't hate me!). This way you can see how your chosen yarn behaves and decide if it's too floppy or too stiff. Does it drape the way you expected it to? 
  4. Where to find help. For me the most useful source of help is a website called yarnsub.com. You can search for your specified yarn and it will come up with multiple suggestions for you and give you a match percentage rating. If Ravelry is accessible to you, project pages are super useful because you can look up the pattern that you want to follow and see the yarns other people have used. Finally Instagram can be helpful because you can either look up any hashtags your pattern has associated with it or ask your followers for recommendations.

I hope you've found my tips useful. Please help me spread the word by sharing on social media; you'll find the image above on Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks in advance for your support,

Marta xx

Friday, 6 May 2022

A sneak peek of something new!

 

image © Katie Birdie Does 


Hello! I have a sneak peek of something new I'm working on behind the scenes this week! I have begun a collaboration project with an illustrator and an indie dyer to bring you a product which I am sure you are going to fall in love with!

It begins with the image above which I shared on social media yesterday. It's a beautiful drawing by Katie (known on Instagram as @katiebirdiedoes) which I commissioned as the starting point for this whole project. Katie and I have been friends on Insta for a good few years, meeting for the first time through the Fun A Day Dundee project (an annual creative challenge taking place in January). We had an initial video call where I explained my vision and gave Katie the info she needed to start creating.

What's next? Well, I've already begun working with an indie dyer (more on them soon!) and they are going to dye some yarn based on the colours in Katie's drawing. I've given the dyer plenty of freedom to use the image and see where it takes them, rather than "do you see the pink in the foxgloves, the yellow in the bumble bee and the darkest green in the grass? I want those colours", because I'd like everyone who's involved in this collaboration to feel they've contributed their own creative energy into it.

Want to know what's next? Sign up to my mailing list to be first to know! 

Have a lovely weekend,

Marta xx

Monday, 2 May 2022

Pattern of the month for May


Hello! This week I'm focusing on socks as I kick off another month with a sock design for pattern of the month. It's my Fiddle Socks pattern's time to shine, a design many of my followers love because it requires DK weight yarn, not the usual 4ply! Let's dive in (feet first of course!) and look at the pattern ...

  • It's my fifth sock design and it's a cuff-down one.
  • The texture on the leg & upper foot is created with a half treble V-stitch.
  • I used Lay Family Yarn DK (75% superwash merino/ 25% nylon, 225m/100g) in the colourway Fireside Cuddles
  • The heel is shaped with a heel flap, heel turn & gusset - giving excellent fit & stretch over the instep.
  • This is an intermediate level pattern, written in UK & US terms.
  • I’ve made several YouTube videos to help you succeed with this pattern because I want everyone to feel confident about crocheting socks!
  • The pattern is available on Ravelry, on LoveCrafts and on my website.
  • The Leg, Foot & Toe of these socks are worked in the round. The Heel, Heel Turn & Heel Flap are worked in rows.
  • There is a schematic to help you visualise the construction.
  • To obtain the perfect fit; measure the length and circumference of the foot you are crocheting the socks for and then follow the instructions for the width you require, adjusting the length as necessary.
  • The pattern has been tested and tech edited, giving you confidence to go ahead and crochet.

The end result is a super comfortable pair of socks! 





Throughout May you can have 15% off this pattern on my website and on Ravelry with the code MAY22


I’m totally here for you if you have any questions - please reach out to me in the comments or on Instagram! 


Until next time, happy crocheting, 


Marta xx

4 ways to get help with a crochet pattern.

Hello! This week I'm here to pass on some crochet wisdom to you! It will of course apply to kniting and other crafts, so it will be supe...