Monday 27 February 2023

Have I told you how much I love cake?


Hello! Have I told you how much I love cake? I mean, I'm pretty crazy about cake. Especially in a nice café. With freshly brewed coffee on the side.

Yesterday I was out for a cycle with my hubby and we stopped for a refuel in one of our favourite cafés (Sweet Pea Café in Broughty Ferry if you're local!). I ordered a piece of their Turkish delight slice and a hot chocoloate (made with coconut milk, vegan cream and marshmallows of course!).

I found myself looking at the pink rose petals on the cake, the dark chocolate topping, the pale pink of the creamy Turkish delight layer and the milky chocolate colour of my hot choc. Even the saucer and tea plate matched up! I might save this image for a future colour combo. It always surprises me that I find colour inspiration in the strangest of places!

In the bonus video which comes with my Colour Pop Bundle I let you in on a few of my colour choice secrets and share a few tips on how to choose colours.

The other contents of the bundle are the 5 crochet patterns pictured below, carefully chosen because of their burst of colour - I shared all the details in my blog post last Friday.

You'll find the Colour Pop Bundle on my website via the link below and as a subscriber you can save an additional £2.50 with the code SUPERSUBSCRIBER

A big thank you to everyone who has supported me already by purchasing my bundle. Don't forget to tag me on social media or email your photos so I can see!

Still thinking about it? Hurry, this bundle is only going to be available until the end of the day on Friday! 

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

 

Friday 24 February 2023

My colour pop bundle launches today!


It's here at last and I hope you didn't mind me teasing out the exact details of this launch! I've popped together 5 of my most popular colourful crochet patterns that I think will bring a smile to your face as you work on them and, if you're gifting them, an even bigger smile on your recipient's face!

So, what's included?

  • Sedimentary Beanie Pattern
  • Calunna Hills Cowl
  • Mavis Mitts
  • Tweed With A Twist Scarf
  • Sea Urchin Bag
PLUS an exclusive bonus video which I've created especially for this bundle all about colour choices.
 



All these patterns, plus the bonus video tutorial are valued at over £30.00. But you can grab the Colour Pop Bundle for half price at just £15.00 here!!
 
Ready to dive in? Better be quick because this bundle is only going to be available for 1 week, cart closes on Friday 3rd March at 23:59! 
 
Don't hang around, download your bundle today and start crocheting!

Until next time,
Marta xx

Monday 20 February 2023

My crocheted sock pattern in Cosy Life Boxes!!


 Photo credit: Cosy Life Boxes


Hello! This week I'm feeling extremely happy because a collaboration I've been working on since last November has finally come together and I can share it with the world!

The latest box from Cosy Life Boxes features one of my crocheted sock patterns!! 

I can't tell you how giddy I felt with excitement when I read the message from Amanda from Cosy Life Boxes, inviting me to design for her! I think I may have caused my husband permanent ear damage with the amount of squealing I did!

For this box, Amanda chose Juniper Moon Farm Herriot Extra Fine (3ply weight, 75% baby alpaca/ 25% nylon) in two of their natural colourways; Wolf and Travertine. She also invited knitting designer Helen Birch to write a pattern for knitted socks, giving people the choice of crochet or knitting.

When I received the yarn it spoke to me immediately and I could envision the finished sock - I love it when this happens! I quickly set to work and the pattern did come together smoothly, just as I hoped it would.

Then there was the waiting. It's always so hard to keep things like this quiet - although I did mention it in passing as "an excinting project I can't talk about just now"!




As you can tell from the photo above, it's a toe-up design, worked in the round with a heavily textured upper foot. There are gusset increases before the heel turn and heel flap are created, allowing for plenty room across the instep.

I loved creating these socks, my 10th crocheted sock pattern, and I hope you enjoy them too!

To order your own kit, with all the expertly curated extra goodies, click here.

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Thursday 16 February 2023

Yarn review: Holst Garn Highland sock yarn


Hello! A few weeks ago I finished a pair of socks for my middle son using Holst Garn Highland sock yarn and I thought a yarn review might be useful for you because when I shared photos of my project I was frequently asked what this yarn was like to use.

Although this was a knitting project, I've also crocheted with the yarn to give you feedback on what it's like to crochet with. I should quickly add that this is not an affiliate post and that all opinions are my own.

For my son, Jamie, I knitted a pair of toe-up socks using 2 hanks of Holst Garn Highland sock yarn and following a variety of different patterns, taking elements to suit my goals. It had to be a toe up sock because Jamie has UK14 feet and I wanted to be sure I had enough of the main colour; a shorter leg was ok, but a shorter foot was not!

Holst Garn are based in Denmark and run by Helle Holst. They have a store in Aabybro in Denmark or you can order from them online, like I did.

I used two differnt colourways; Charcoal (a solid black) and Purple Touch (a hand painted, marled purple), they came exactly as I'd pictured them.

I'm delighted to report that this yarn was a joy to use! First up, it wound easily into a ball without tangles or fuss - always a bonus! Secondly, it felt super soft on my hands and didn't split on the needles. It has a higher twist than usual on commercial sock wool giving it excellent stitch definition.

When I worked up my crochet samples I found it really lovely to crochet with too! I have some leftover of the purple colour so I'm using that to make squares for my Battenberg Blanket and I swatched a square of double crochet stitches (UK terms/ single crochet in US terms).

My only negative feedback would be the colour pooling on the hand painted yarn. There wasn't an issue with the socks or the granny square, but I found it a slight problem on the double crochet sample because it was worked in straight rows. 


YARN DETAILS

Composition: 80% Superwash Highland Wool/ 20% nylon, 2ply yarn

Wool origin: Peru

Weight: 4py/ fingering/ sock weight

Colour range: 10 hand painted, 8 solid colours, 2 two-coloured

Meterage: 210m/ 50g skein

Wash: machine washable, cool cycle

 

MY RATING 

Overall ease of use: 10/10

Softness: 10/10

Stitch definition: 10/10

Quality: 10/10

Eco friendliness: 5/10

Range of colours: 7/10

Colours true to screen: 10/10

Colour pooling: 8/10

Drape: 10/10

Ease of washing: 9/10 

 

MY OVERALL RATING: 89/100

A good score and it could possibly have been even higher if I was able to find out more on their eco poloicies. However, for me the fact the wool has been shipped from Peru to Denmark and then to me in the UK does have to be taken into account.

Do I recommend Holst Garn Highland sock yarn? Absolutely! It was truly lovely to work with and I'm so happy with the results.


I've also made a YouTube video reviewing this yarn, so if you'd like to check that out you'll find it here.

Well, that's it for this post! Did you find it useful? Have you tried Holst Garn Highland sock yarn? What did you think? You can always leave me a comment, I love hearing from you!

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx 

Monday 13 February 2023

How I became a crochet designer, part 3


Hello! I'm back with part 3 of my 'how I became a crochet designer' story! In this blog post, I'm jumping forward to the time when I learnt to crochet! If you missed the previous parts in this series, you can find them on my blog here.

It was 2010 and I was beginning to be drawn towards wool and the infinite creative possibilities held within a ball of yarn. I went through a phase when I was really into weaving - just simple pieces worked on a strong piece of card with nothches cut into it. I used to turn the finished woven pieces into purses with a button closure and I found the whole making process very satisfying.

It was around this time that my best friend Gwen took up crochet and I immediately became interested in what she was up to! After a few lessons from Gwen, together with additional help from books and a bit of guidance from my mum, I was hooked (as the saying goes!).


That's Gwen on the left in the pic above, taken in 2015 and if you look closely at me, I'm actually knitting. Catching up whilst stitching away is such a fun way to pass the time. It's really special to have someone to share my yarn journey with and I'm so grateful to Gwen for getting me into it in the first place!

I didn't keep any of my early crochet attempts and I don't have any photos to share of these titems either. Back when I learnt I didn't have a smart phone and Instagram was in the very early stages (yes, there was a time when we didn't photograph everything!).
 
So, I practiced and practiced, slowly improving with each piece I made. I started with headbands, moved on to hats, then later blankets and baby cardigans.
 
In 2014, a small online yarn company put out a call for pattern submissions which I responded to and that was the start of my crochet design journey! You may remember I shared that particular part of my story back in October, if not you can read it in my blog post here.



I hope you've enjoyed this series on my journey so far. Perhaps, if you've been crocheting for a few years and are thinking about turning to designing, this has inspired you?
 
Did you know I have a course dedicated to writing up your first crochet pattern? It takes you through each of the steps via a mix of written and video tutorials, giving you the confidence to send your pattern out into the world!
 
Crochet designing can be a fantastic wee side hustle, especially nowadays with the cost of living crisis. Learn how to write up and publish crochet patterns to earn a little extra money for you and your family.
 
If this is something you've been dreaming about doing, but aren't quite sure the best way to go about it, take a look at my course here. Remember, I'm here for you should you have any questions - now, throughout the course and beyond!

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx



Friday 10 February 2023

Which pattern is best? Cast your vote!

Hello! This week I thought it might be fun to let you vote on your favourite pattern! I'm going to highlight two of my most popular patterns below and then give you the chance to vote for which one you like best.

First up, one of my more recent releases - Scrappy Blanket III. This is a brilliant stash buster of a blanket, so if you have a bunch of oddments and scraps of yarn, this is the blanket for you!

The instructions are included for 5 different sizes (pram, cot, small throw, large throw, single bed) AND the pattern is written for your choice of yarn thickness (4ply, DK, aran weight, chunky); it's a very versatile pattern!


Alternatively, you might prefer my Fiddle Socks pattern. This one's a DK weight pattern which I know many of you prefer because it's a thicker yarn weight and works up faster.
 
It's a cuff-down design written for 4 adult sizes. The heel is shaped with a fully turned heel and gusset, which together with the V-stitches gives excellent stretch and fit over the foot.

 


So, which do you prefer? Snuggling up with a long term project which will in turn keep you lovely and warm or would you choose a quick project with the satisfaction of creating something you can wear?
 
Voting is super easy, it's only ONE multiple choice question - simply click on the link to my Google form here!

I'll let you know the feedback next week so check back OR sign up to my mailing list to receive all my blog posts and more straight to your inbox!

Happy crocheting,

Marta xx


 

Monday 6 February 2023

Video tutorial - how I sew in my ends on a granny square!


Hello! I'm here to let you know there's new video from me up on YouTube which is all to do with sewing in ends! 

As you may know, I'm crocheting a Battenberg Blanket at the moment. It's a super simple, free pattern from Sandra Paul which I thoroughly recommend if you like getting stuck in to long term modular blanket projects.

There's currently a MAL (Make A-Long) run by Mariette (@dieboervrou) and Leanie (@independence_yarn_crafts) on Instagram with a buzzing chat group!


One of the questions someone asked last week was "how is everyone sewing in their ends?", so I offered to make a video tutorial - this project sure does produce a lot of them!

The video is now up on YouTube and if you're interested in seeing how I sew in my ends when I'm making granny squares, go check it out!

This year I'm concentrating on growing my YouTube channel so I'd really appreciate any likes, comments, subscribes and most importantly FEEDBACK from YOU!

What would you like to see more of on my channel? Please let me know in the comments and if I can make it happen, I will!

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Introducing my crochet pattern of the month for February



INTRODUCING MY PATTERN OF THE MONTH FOR FEBRUARY

Hello! Here we are at the start of February and I have news for you of my crochet pattern of the month! First up though, I'd like to share a tip I have for saving up for a yarn advent calender.

You see, I've never bought a yarn advent calender because when they're released for pre-order around mid-summer I usually gaze longingly at them but simply don't have the money to buy one.

Note: I'm not for a minute suggesting that indie dyers should put their prices down, I'm certain these little doors of delight are worth every penny!

Last December I have to admit I had a big case of FOMO as I saw everyone's yarn advent calender photos and projects.

So, this year I have a plan! I'm saving every £2 coin that comes into my hand by popping it in a jar. At the time of typing I've collected 6 of them, which is £12 towards an advent calander, not bad! 

I think a lot of people collect these coins too, there aren't too many of them in circulation. There's also the fact I use card more than cash to pay a lot of the time, but I am slowly getting there, especially as my dad often gives me one as pocket money - "thanks Dad!"

I share this because maybe you're in the same boat? Or perhaps there's another yarn related purchase that you feel is out of your price range that you could save for? Something to consider!

That's why I've chosen the Printer Ink Scarf as my crochet pattern of the month for February!
This project uses 12x 10g minis - I used Printer Ink Shades from The Knitting Goddess (4ply/ fingering weight, 480m per 120g, 40% BFL/ 20% British Wensleydale/ 20 British Alpaca/ 20% nylon).
 
Of course, if you're satsh busting, this project will work up a treat! Pull out those minis and see what combinations you can come up with!
 
You can enjoy 10% off my Printer Ink Scarf pattern on my website and on Ravelry throughout February with the code FEB23 

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

PS. Would you like 20% off the pattern? Sign up to my mailing list - all my subscribers get 20% off each month!


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