Sunday 30 April 2023

Ugh, Why Did I Do That?


Hello! I did something really silly recently. Do you know those times when you just wish you could go back in time and not do the stupid thing? That.

So, I'd just finished soaking my finished Lazy Days Wrap and instead of squeezing the excess water out in a large towel like I usually do, I decided to chuck it in the washing machine on a 'gentle' spin cycle. 

Well ... it came out the machine in a twisted, stretched-out-of-all-proportion, snake like state! Eeeeek!

I went ahead and blocked it anyway, trying to pull it width wise to take the length out. That didn't work. Once off the blocking mats it was 270cm long and when I put it round my shoulders it almost came to my feet! 

To try and fix this, I soaked it over night to relax the fibres and reblocked it the next day. This made an ever so slight difference, but it was still crazy long!!

The moral of the story? When it comes to handling precious wool creations, don't try and skip steps, take your time and let the pieces shine!

I'll be back next week and I should have a second finished wrap to share with you. One that's properly blocked!

Happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Unlock Your Creativity: Design Your Own Crochet Ideas


 Photo credit: © The Crochet Project

 *** this post contains affiliate links ***


Hello! A quick post today to let you know about The Crochet Project's latest course which has just launched all about making your crochet ideas come to life.

The course teaches design basics, taking an idea from inspiration to finished garment or accessory. If you're looking to dip your toes into the design water, this is the course for you. Joanne has 12 years of designer experience behind her and knows her stuff!

The cost is £50 with the option to pay in 3 installments of £17 per month. You will have lifelong access to the course so you can take it at your own pace.

If you're already a Hub member you'll get 25% discount on the course! Whoop!

If you're not in the Hub, you may wish to sign up to the Hub first because the course will then only cost £37.50! Use the code HUBINTRO for £3 off your first 3 months membership (cancel anytime).

I am a BIG fan of The Crochet Project! I'm a Hub member, I've crocheted more of their patterns than I can count off the top of my head and I have worked through many of their courses - they're fantastic! 

Interested in finding out more? Click the link here.

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Friday 21 April 2023

So much crochet to share with you!


 I'VE SO MUCH CROCHET TO SHARE WITH YOU!

Over the last two weeks I've been focusing on the crochet side of my business rather than the admin/ content side of my business. This has freed up so much time and as a result I have A LOT of crochet to share with you!

I chose to slow down, get off the hamster wheel, spend time with family & friends and with my crochet and I feel much better for it. Today is Tuesday as I'm write this and it's my first day back at it. I feel fresh and ready to return. 

So, what have I been crocheting? Here goes, in no particular order ...

I have finished my Lazy Days Wrap! It needs blocking but the crocheting part is done! I did also get the pattern written up, tech edited and sent to testers! Whoop!

This wrap is going to be released as a CAL (crochet a-long) some time towards the end of May. Sign up to my mailing list for more details coming soon!

 
My Battenberg Blanket has received a lot of attention! I had a really lovely day out with my mum to Stonehaven (further up the east coast from me, we went by tain which gave us wonderful sea views).
 
Anyway, whilst there we spent a good while in Baa!, the local wool shop! Amongst other purchases, I came a way with 2 balls of Crazy Zauberball by Schoppel. The colour changing quality of these balls enables me to crochet multiple different coloured squares for my blanket from the one ball of wool.


 
I started the Alchemilla Shawl by Kat Goldin. This is being run as a CAL by The Crochet Project to mark their 10th anniversary! 
 
The recommended yarn was out of my budget, instead I purchased some yarn from a friend on Instagram who was having a destash. It's True 4ply Botany from Rowan which is now discontinued but a really lovely wool nevertheless. 
 
It's not too late to join this CAL (it only started last Friday) and I have an affiliate link to the Hub - The Crochet Project's membership site which I thoroughly recommend you join. Take a look here and you can recieve £3 off the first 3 months membership with the code HUBINTRO.


 
I've been working on my crochet blanket design. The blanket is now all in one piece and the ends are all sewn in! The pattern has been written up to this point as well and all there is to do now is the border.
 
This blanket (which doesn't have a name yet, I'll announce a naming competition soon!) is also going to be a CAL and I'm keeping the final section a secret, so you'll have to make do with a folded photo for now.

 
I have added a few rows to my Not So Granny Wrap. This is another pattern from The Crochet Project (I really do LOVE their patterns!)
 
It's a pattern which requires lace weight yarn which I have hardly ever worked with but I'm finding it easy going actually. I'm using yarn which was passed on to me by a friend and I thought I'd never use it so in turn passed it on to my mum. I went looking through her stash when I was looking for yarn for this project and pinched it back (cheeky, I know!)

 
There's even been time for a spot of knitting! I cast on the Portmoak Moss Beanie Hat by Louise Mossam a few days ago and I'm really enjoying it.
 
This pattern is available in issue 2 of The Journal of Scottish Yarns which is out now (I have a pattern in there too!). It's a fairisle design and I'm finding the written pattern and charts easy to follow.

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

PS. If you enjoyed reading about my current WiPs, tune in to my latest podcast episode where you'll find me showing them off and talking about them in more detail.

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Merino Wool vs Alpaca Wool


Hello! Have you ever worked with merino wool or alpaca wool? If so, have you thought about the differences and similarities between these two yarns? In this blog post I'm going to chat about both types of yarn and help you make an informed choice for your next crochet project.

Merino wool and alpaca wool are both soft, lightweight, and warm fibres that can be used to crochet or knit clothing, blankets, and accessories.

Did you know that both merino and alpaca wool are hypoallergenic, making them a good choice for people with sensitive skin? This is something I only just discovered when researching this topic! There are, however, some key differences to note between the two fibres.

Merino wool comes from the wool of Merino sheep, which were originally native to Australia. The wool has excellent moisture-wicking properties making it a good choice for activewear. Sweat is drawn to the outside of the fabric, making it easier to evaporate. It's also more water resistant than alpaca wool and is generally considered to be finer and softer, but on the downside it's not as warm.

Alpaca wool is made from the wool of alpacas, which were originally native to South America. Alpacas are raised on highland pastures, which are not suitable for other types of agriculture which makes the wool an eco-friendly choice - the farming does not contribute to deforestation or other forms of land degradation.  Alpaca wool is superior for insulating, making it a good choice for cold weather clothing.

These points only cover the various properties of each of the yarns, so let's have a look at how each one looks and handles when crocheted or knitted.

Merino wool fibres are thinner and smoother, which gives the finished item fantastic stitch definition. Garments made in merino are less likely to become wet and uncomfortable, making them an excellent choice for outer layers. Merino wool is generally more durable than alpaca wool, meaning that items knitted or crocheted in merino are less likely to pill or become damaged over time.

Alpaca wool feels softer and more luxurious than merino. It has a wonderful drape to it when crocheted or knitted up; it simply flows beautifully! The finished items will be warmer to wear than their merino counterparts. The stitch definition is not as sharp as merino wool, so depending on your pattern this might be an issue.

 


Ultimately, the best fibre for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. Whether you're crocheting or knitting - they are slightly different depending on which you're doing. Have you already got a favourite? Leave me a comment and let me know! 

Personally, I couldn't choose between the two fibres! I've crocheted, knitted and designed with them both.
Here are two of my patterns, one crocheted in each! 

The photo above is of my Elsie Beanie and you can see how well the pattern shows the stitch definition. I love the way the stitches shine! This hat is crocheted in rows of linked half trebles and worked sideways before being sewn up and a faux fur pompom is added to complete the look. You can find Elsie Beanie on my website here and on Ravelry here.
 
 
The second photo is my Barista Beanie which was originally published back in 2018 although it has only been added to my website this week. It's crocheted in alpaca wool and it's the most squishy hat I've ever made! . You can find Barista Beanie on my website here and on Ravelry here.

I hope this has given you some insight into merino wool and alpaca wool. Please do check out my crochet patterns and see what you think.

Until next time, happy crocheting,
Marta xx


Monday 3 April 2023

Get Hooked With My Most Popular Crochet Pattern!


Hello! Following on from last Friday's blog post all about measuring feet for socks I've decided to make April's pattern of the month my Fabulous Socks!

This crochet design is my most popular pattern both on Ravelry and on my website, it's also the simplest of all my sock designs, making it an ideal choice if you're new to crocheting socks.

Even though it's a straight forward pattern, there are 7 video tutorials to help guide you through if you need them.



The toes, feet, heel and legs of these socks are crocheted in a continous spiral in the round. After the legs are completed, the cuffs are worked in rows working vertically to the legs of the socks.

Extended double crochet stitches provide excellent stretch, particularly on the soles, and the ribbed cuff is worked in rows of back loop only stitches for a snug finish around the ankles.

If you're wondering what materials you'd need, here's your list;

  • 100g skein of Painbox Yarns Socks (4ply/ fingering weight yarn, 390m/ 100g), I used Stripes - Rainbow
  • 3.5mm crochet hook
  • 3mm crochet hook
  • needle for sewing in ends
  • 3 stitch markers or scraps of yarn to keep track of rounds
Remember, I'm here if you have any questions!


Throughout the month of April, APR23 gives you 10% off the pattern on my website and on Ravelry (sign up to my mailing list today for 10% off the pattern!).
It will be at least another year before this design is on offer again, so grab your copy at this special price today! 

Until next time, happy crocheting,
Marta xx

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