Monday 29 May 2023

Pre-orders Now Open for my Lazy Days Kits




Hello! Looking for a relaxing way to spend your free time this summer? Pre-orders are now open for my most relaxing crochet kit ever! 

This kit includes everything you need to enjoy crocheting a beautiful wrap, including:

  • 2 full skeins of high-quality yarn from The Wool Shed
  • An ergonomic crochet hook
  • Detailed, printed instructions for crocheting your wrap
  • 4 little extras, including stitch markers from Labours of Love Crochet and a vinyl sticker from Qwerty Cat Shop!
  • Plus an organic cotton drawstring bag to keep it all together with the illustration from Katie Birdie on it.
This wrap begins in the centre, one half is crocheted and then the foundation row is worked into for the second half, which is a repeat of the first half. The pattern repeat is super easy to remember which makes it an excellent choice for those lazy summer days.


I'm running this as a CAL (Crochet A-Long) and you have the option of buying the kit or buying the pattern and using your own yarn. The CAL launches on the 23rd of June and I'll give you more info on the yarn requirements in a future blog post.

Whether you're a confident beginner or a seasoned crocheter, the Lazy Days Kit is perfect for you with its easy-to-follow instructions and carefully curated contents. You can be sitting back and creating a gorgeous wrap this summer. You can have 10% off the pre-order price with the code LAZYDAYS10

So, what are you waiting for? Pre-order your Lazy Days Kit today!

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx


 

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Yarn Substitutes for my Gorse Cowl Pattern

Close up of a woman wearing a cowl crocheted in yellow, red, green and beige wool.

Hello! Thank you so much for the positive response to my latest crochet pattern release - Gorse Cowl! Everything from your likes and comments on social media throught to the pattern sales really do boost my small business and encourage me to keep doing what I'm doing, THANK YOU!

Also, I had a flurry of replies to my last post from folks in New Zealand telling me about how gorse is a real pest in that country. Sorry, I had no idea! 

In this email I'd like to chat about the yarn I chose for this cowl and some possible substitutes for you if you want to use something different.

I bought the yarn for the project one snowy April day in Edinburgh. I'd gone through to Edinburgh for the day with my youngest son and I had my first pay packet from a new job so we visited Jenner's Department Store. There was a good selection of Di Gilpin Lalland in the store - it was the first time I'd come across it and I instantly fell in love with its lambswool softness!

woollen cowl in yellow, red, green and beige sitting on grass beside a buttercup flower.


I appreciate that you might not be able to get your hands on the Di Gilpin Lalland or it may simply be out of your budget, so here are a few ideas I have for substituting the yarn because it isn't listed on yarnsub.com.

Biches & Bȗches - Le Lambswool (100% wool). It's slightly thinner than the Lalland at 170m/ 50g but the feel of the yarn is similar.

Simply Shetland Lambswool & Cashmere (88% Shetland Wool/ 12% Cashmere). This yarn has a similar twist to the Lalland and is almost spot on for meterage.

West Yorkshire Spinners Pure DK (100% wool). Lovely and soft with a beautiful twist. Slightly thicker than the Lalland (112m/50g)

King Cole Merino Blend DK (100% wool). An excellent budget yarn which I've used many times in my designs. It is a bit thicker at 104m/ 50g.

Stashbust! This project could be crocheted in most DK weight yarns. You could pull together a collection of differnt coloured yarns with the same yarn base or you could even make a completely scrappy version - remember all your ends will be hidden inside!

 

I hope this has given you some yarn inspiration, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Monday 22 May 2023

Crochet Pattern Release: Gorse Cowl



Hello! Last week I went out one beautiful afternoon with my eldest and their fancy camera and we shot some brilliant photos! The focus was a pattern called Gorse Cowl which I always wanted it to be photographed in front of gorse bushes in their prime and every year I seemed to miss the moment - until now!!

I wish you could've been with us that day in the sunshine, surrounded by the heady aroma of gorse - it was truly wonderful. The dog came with us, so did my youngest and my eldest's fiance and we all tried to describe what the smell was like - coconut and freshly baked cake we decided. However, my eldest is one of those people who can't smell gorse. Apparently it's a thing, some people simply can not smell it. Such a shame, they're really missing out. Can you smell it?




So, it's a bit of an out of the blue announcement for you this week; I've released the Gorse Cowl pattern which I wrote, had tech edited and tested back in 2019 but didn't ever get the photos taken to launch it! Crazy, huh?
 
It's a möbius cowl with a unique crocheted-in-the-round design hiding all your pesky ends, so you can express yourself with yarn without the hassle of sewing in all of those ends. 
 
I designed it in Di Gilpin Lalland, which is DK weight 100% scottish lambswool. It's a gorgeous yarn to work with and comes in so many rich, earthy tones including the yellow I chose. It made me think of the gorse bushes I see flowering so abundantly at this time of year, and so the cowl got its name!
 
The pattern is rated as intermediate and is written in UK terms. There's a video tutorial showing you how to work the main pattern, which is a straightforward, mindful pattern once you get going.
 
To crochet a Gorse Cowl, you'll need: 
 

Di Gilpin Lalland, 50g balls (100% scottish lambswool, an 8ply/DK weight yarn, 175m/50g)  

  • 1x Beechnut - Colour A
  • 1x Ruby Red - Colour B
  • 1x Coille - Colour C
  • 1x Furze - Colour D

5.5mm crochet hook

Plus a large needle for sewing in your 2 final ends, stitch marker keep track of rounds and scissors.

You can find the pattern on my website here and on Ravelry here.

I'll have more information about the yarn and possible substitutes in my next blog post. If you have any questions in the meantime, please ask! 

Friday 12 May 2023

The Mindfulness Of Crochet

Image shows a close up of a simple piece of crochet in bright rainbow stripes.


Over the last few weeks I've been busier than usual and I've found that my crochet projects have really helped me to unwind, gather my thoughts and escape.

I think you'll agree with me that crochet is a brilliant way to relax and de-stress. The repetitiveness can be so calming, and it can help to focus our minds and clear our thoughts.

Today I'd like to concentrate on the mindfulness of crochet and, if you're not already tuning in to this aspect of the craft, ways you can get the most out of it. 

Did you know that mindful crochet:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety. The repetitive motion of crocheting calms us down and can help to reduce our stress and anxiety.
  • Improves focus and concentration. Crocheting requires focus, which can help to improve these skills.
  • Increases creativity and self-expression. Crocheting is a creative outlet that can help us to thrive and express ourselves.
  • Provides a sense of accomplishment. Finishing a crochet project can provide a strong sense of accomplishment.

If you're looking for ways to add a little more mindfulness to your life, crochet, and similar crafts like knitting, sewing etc, are fantastic options.

Here are a few of my tips for practicing mindful crochet:

  1. Find a quiet place where you won't be interrupted.
  2. Sit in a comfortable position with good posture.
  3. Choose a project that you enjoy and that's not too challenging.
  4. Take your time and focus on each stitch.
  5. Remember to breathe! Deeply and slowly.
  6. Let go of any thoughts or worries that come into your mind.
  7. It can help to choose soothing colours such as purples, blues and greens to bring an extra level of calmness.
  8. Just enjoy the moment and the process of creating something beautiful.

Image shows a hand holding a book about crochet with a mandala on the cover. In the background there is crochet bunting.


Whilst all crochet projects can be mindful, some are even more mindful that others due to their simplicity, their repititiveness or their use of mood lifting colours. Things with 2 row repeats which you don't need to look at a pattern for after a few rows are one of my favourites. 
 
Emma Leith, author of Mindful Crochet puts it like this:
 
 "Crochet is a mindful activity that can help you to relax, focus, and be present in the moment. The repetitive motion of crocheting can be very calming, and it can help to clear your mind of worries and stress."
 
I have Emma's Mindful Crochet book and the projects in at are fab! I've made a few of the flowers and the bunting you see in my craft room is made following Emma's Boho Bunting pattern.
 
Just this week on social media, Tom Daley and LoveCrafts partnered to present the word makefulness which they've defined as:
 
"A blissfully happy state achieved by focussing one's awareness on making, used as a therapeutic technique to lift the mood of the maker and those around them."
 
I don't know about you, but I LOVE this word and it's definition! So, next time you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, pick up your hook and start crocheting! Let me know your thoughts on this issue, I'd love to know if you agree with me! 

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx
PS. If you like my posts and wish to receive them straight to your inbox, you can sign up here and receive 20% off your first order from my website at the same time!

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Get Creative With Your Wardrobe This May!



Hello! Are you joining in with Me Made May this year? I'll admit, we're over a week into the month and I'm only just starting to think about - which means you can join in from now too!

If you haven't come across it before, Me Made May is an annual challenge that encourages participants to wear their handmade clothing and accessories throughout the month of May. The challenge was created by Zoe Edwards, a sewing blogger and pattern designer, in 2010.

To take part all you have to do is commit to wearing at least one handmade item every day for the month of May! These can be crocheted, knitted or sewn and you can post your outfits on social media using the hashtag #MeMadeMay

Anyone can join in, there are no fixed rules or requirements - you can participate in whatever way works best for you. If you're a beginner crocheter, you can start by wearing simple pieces like shawls and hats. As you become more confident, you can try making more challenging garments like jumpers and cardigans

Here are some tips for participating in Me Made May:

  • Start by setting realistic goals for yourself. If you're a beginner crocheter and don't have a big wardrobe of handmade items yet, just post one or two a week. Next year you'll have loads more, I'm sure!
  • Mix and match your handmade pieces. You can create a variety of different outfits - for example, you could wear a crocheted shawl with a sewn dress.
  • Don't be afraid to get creative. If you're stuck for ideas, try searching for inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram. You can also find inspiration in magazines or fashion blogs.
  • Have fun! Me Made May is a challenge, but it's also a lot of fun. So relax and have fun putting your outfits together!

It's a fun way to connect with other crocheters, knitters and sewists and make new friends - I encourage you to join in the fun this May!



If you're looking to crochet up something for Me Made May, I'd recommend my Printer Ink Scarf. It's crocheted in 4ply yarn and it's very light and airy for wearing at this time of year. You can find the pattern on my website and on Ravelry.

 

Happy crocheting,

Marta xx

Thursday 4 May 2023

My 6 Top Tips For Better Swatches


Hello! If you're new to crochet and not sure what swatching is, it's the process of crocheting a small sample to test your gauge. It's a valuable step at the start of any crochet project, but it's extremely important for projects that require a specific fit, such as garments.

So, what is gauge?

Gauge, also known as tension, is the number of stitches and rows (usually per 10cm) in any piece of crochet. The gauge for each project is determined by the designer and should be found near the top of the pattern instructions.

Why is swatching so important?

I know, I know! It's a step we often want to skip, but there are several reasons why swatching is important.

  • To ensure that your finished piece of crochet will be similar to the designer's finished piece. If it's a jumper for example, this is important - even a small difference in tension can make a BIG difference in the size of your finished project.
  • To make sure that your crochet work will look the way you want it to. Different hook sizes can produce different textures and drapes. The process of swatching allows you to experiment with different hook sizes to find the hook and yarn that produces the results you want.
  • To help stop you running out of yarn. When you swatch and your tension matches up with the designer's tension you can be confident that your yarn use will be more or less the same.

Ok, I'm listening, how do I swatch?

To make a swatch; crochet a square using the yarn, hook size and stitch pattern that you plan to use for your project.

Most patterns will specify the size of swatch that is required and the stitch pattern you should use for them. I recommend making your swatch at least 12cm x 12cm so that you are well clear of the edges when you take your reading.

Once you have crocheted your swatch, measure the number of stitches and rows per 10cm. If your gauge does not match the gauge specified in the pattern, you can adjust your tension or change the hook size until you get the desired gauge. If you have less stitches/ rows per 10cm you need to move down to a smaller hook. If you have more stitches/ rows per 10cm you need to move up to a bigger hook.

Tuesday 2 May 2023

Mindful Crochet - Get the In The Groove Pattern



Hello! It's a new month and that means a new pattern of the month offer! For May, I've chosen my In The Groove Cushion Cover because it's such a good option if you're looking for a mindful crochet project.

It's a beginner level pattern, worked in a mix of double crochet & spike stitches for their extra padding & squishiness!

6x 100g balls of worsted weight yarn (10ply) are needed - or you could stash bust with lots of leftovers to make a super colourful scrappy design!




The crochet pattern is available on my website and on Ravelry. If you purchase via my website and have a Ravelry account you will have the option to add the pattern to your Ravelry library for free.

Use the code GROOVE for 10% off the pattern!

Until next time, happy crocheting,

Marta xx

PS. Any questions about the pattern, please ask, I'm here to help!


PPS. For 20% off this pattern and all future pattern of the month offers, sign up to my mailing list here.




How To Level Up Your Crochet Game

  How To Level Up Your Crochet Game Whether you're a yarn newbie or a seasoned crocheter, there's always room to refine your croche...