Delivering the blankets for Crochet For Kidneys Part 3

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John and I are back from our visit to the Royal London Hospital where we delivered 17* crochet blankets to the Renal Ward Sister today. Looking at them together in this collage it really makes my heart very happy to be part of such a great group effort.

crochet for kidneys charity blankets

Everyone who saw the blankets were blown away by how beautiful they are and the generosity of everyone who gave up their time and talents to crochet squares and blankets. I was promised that the blankets will be distributed to the dialysis patients at Royal London Hospital (and their satellite dialysis units) who are frail and/or a bit depressed and could do with cheering up and a warm handmade blanket.

Thank you to each and every one of the 26 ladies from six countries (England, Ireland, Portugal, Germany, Australia and the USA) who donated crochet squares and blankets. I wish you bucket loads of blessings for the good work you have done!

On recommendation of one of the Renal ward nurses, we will make blankets for Whipps Cross University Hospital and their satellite dialysis units next year.  Yes, you read that right – there will be Crochet For Kidneys Part 4! I think we will stick to the same format as for Part 3: 15 cm squares with white borders which you join up in strips of 6, or you can make complete blankets of 9 rows of 6 squares. I will launch CFK4 in August 2014 so that we can hand over the blankets around 27 November which is when John has his yearly living donor check-up.

Thank you again to everyone who contributed a piece of crochet for charity. I don’t think you, or I, can know how much it means to the dialysis patients.

xxx

 If anyone wants to give a monetary donation to the Royal London Hospital Kidney Patients Association (read more about them here), you can do so on their JustGiving page here.

*I will be sending a 18th blanket by post to the hospital as soon as it arrives from the USA. You can see Cindy Flishman’s cheery blanket in the bottom left of the collage.

 

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As seen on TV (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia )

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ItsAlwaysFunnyInPhiladelphia_S06_EP08

This totally retro 1970’s colour scheme granny square blanket can be seen in Season 8, Episode 6 of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Thank you Cade for sending me the screenshot!

Just like The Roseanne Show couch blanket and the blanket on Amy’s couch on The Big Bang Theory, this is a traditional granny square blanket. All the squares are the same, made up of a light yellow, dark orange, lime green, light orange and finally a brown round. I would guess the blanket is the same size as the blanket in Taxi – roughly 9 rows of 14 squares.

If you want to make a retro 70’s throwback granny square blanket like this one, I suggest these Stylecraft Special DK shades:

As for the pattern, visit my Photo Tutorials tab for instructions on how to crochet a multi colour granny square.

Don’t you just love granny square blankets? Even the TV shows know that a granny square blanket can make any house a home, no matter what the colour scheme.

Your squares for Crochet For Kidneys Part 3

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Last week I didn’t get round to posting an update on the squares and blankets you’ve been sending me. (Self-publishing a crochet book tends to take up a lot of time in the days before you hit the “publish” button!) Now that Crochet Pretty is live, I had time to photograph the four, yes four, blankets I received as well as the three blankets I joined up with your strips of squares.

The lovely Cecilia used my Granny Square In Bloom pattern to make this blanket. It’s the first time ever she’s made a whole blanket. I am so honoured that she used CFK3 to challenged herself and I’m immensely proud of her.

Cecilia

Pauline was a huge contributor to CFK2 and this time she did it again by making a whole blanket. Those psychedelic squares are great!

Pauline

Wendy only found out about CFK3 two months ago but managed to crochet us a whole blanket. She felt she wanted to be part of the charity project as she has two family members with kidney problems and her grandfather passed away of renal failure. Thank you Wendy for your beautiful contribution.

Wendy

Suzanne had a bit of a Sizing Drama with her Delicate Daisy Square blanket but pulled it out the bag in a fabulous way with the addition of a funky border and two extra strips of squares.

Suzanne

All your strips of squares have now been made up into blankets. Yes, all of them! I was such an eager beaver I didn’t even wait to photograph the individual donations that I received for the blanket below. Between Cathy O’Keefe (CelticCathy on Ravelry), Heidi Lett and S. Jordan they had sent me nine strips and the colours went together so perfectly I just started joining them up straight away.

Crochet For Kidneys 3 blanket 3

Crochet For Kidneys 3 blanket 4 Crochet For Kidneys 3 blanket 5

As I said last time, I know the blankets look a bit wobbly but that’s because each strip of six squares is trying to line up perfectly with someone else’s strip of six so it’s really impossible to get it right. When the blankets are being used and lying on a bed I’m sure no-one will even notice a few bubbles – they’ll only see the lovely bright colours and interesting designs.

Now you’re probably wondering what our Blanket Count is. Well… there are three more blankets on its way to me, so counting them, plus the seven completed blankets you made and the squares made into blankets, there are

17 blankets for the dialysis patients of Royal London Hospital!!!

Isn’t that fantastic?! I’m so grateful to each and every one that sent me squares and blankets. You guys are the best!

Before we hand them over on the 25th of November, I still have to make tags that explain CFK3 and give the care instructions, tie ribbons round each blanket and take a last couple of photos of the 16 blankets. I’ll blog about the blankets again after we’ve handed them out to the dialysis patients

Remember to join the Crochet For Kidneys Facebook group where you can see all the blankets and tag your blankets from the Photo Album.

Free pattern for a Christmas Tree Ring

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It’s almost Christmas (shock, horror) so I decided to design a free Christmas crochet pattern for all my lovely readers, Facebook followers and Instagram followers.

Christmas tree crochet ring

Christmas tree crochet ring

The christmas tree ring is a cute accessory to wear on Christmas day, it’s a great stocking filler, or wear it throughout December to spread the Christmas cheer every day.

crochet thread crochet christmas tree

I use crochet thread for this ring. Please don’t be afraid of using crochet thread and the required 1.5 mm crochet hook. I used crochet thread for two of the projects in Crochet Pretty. Out of all the patterns in Crochet Pretty, the Oh What A Cute Oval Brooch is my favourite and that’s all down to the use of crochet thread for tiny flowers and picots. I’m falling in love with crochet thread more every day.

We are spoilt with choice when it comes to yarn weights and most of the time we go for the double knits or 4 plies, but crochet thread is made for us! Literally! Making something with thin yarn and a tiny crochet hook is just like regular crochet, you just need to look a bit closer when you’re crocheting. That’s all there is to it.

crochet thread crochet christmas tree with seed beads

Hopefully this tiny crochet christmas tree will give you the confidence to also use crochet thread more and see the 1.5 mm crochet hook as your friend.

crochet thread seed beads ring blank

You will need

1.5 mm crochet hook

Anchor Freccia ticket no. 6 in green

Ring blanks like this one sold at Hobbycraft

Clear super glue or use a mini glue gun

5 x size 8 red seed beads. I bought this pack of mixed colours at Hobbycraft and just picked out the red beads.

Notes and abbreviations

This pattern is written in US crochet terms. The sc (single crochet) in this pattern is the equivalent of a dc (double crochet) in UK crochet terms.

Bsc is a Beaded Single Crochet. You make a beaded crochet stitch by moving the bead up against your crochet before doing the last “yarn over” of the stitch. Watch this video to see how to make a beaded treble – the technique is the same no matter what crochet stitch you use.

Beads have to be threaded onto the yarn before you begin crocheting. Watch this video to see how to thread the beads onto yarn.

Turn your work after every row.

ch = chain

sc = single crochet

bsc = beaded single crochet

st = stitch

Pattern

Thread 6 seed beads onto yarn.

Foundation row: Work 2 chains.

Row 1: 1 sc into second ch.

Row 2: 1 ch, (1 sc, 1bsc, 1 sc) into next st. (3 st.)

Row 3: 1 ch, sc in each st to end. (3 st.)

Row 4: 1 ch, (1 sc, 1 bsc) into next st, 1 sc, 2 sc in next st. (5 st.)

Row 5: 1 ch, 1 sc in each st to end. (5 st.)

Row 6: 1 ch, 2 sc in first st, 1 sc, 1 bsc, 1 sc, 2 sc in last st. (7 st.)

Row 7: 1 ch, 1 sc in each st to end. (7 st)

Row 8: 1 ch, (1 sc, 1 bsc) into next st, 4 sc, 1 bsc, 2 sc in last st. (9 st)

Row 9: 1 ch, 1 sc in each st to end. (9 st)

Row 10: 1 ch, 4 sc, 1 bsc, 4 sc (9 st)

Row 11: 1 ch, 3 sl st, 1 ch, 3 sc (last 3 st remain unworked). (3 sc)

Row 12: 1 ch, 3 sc. (3 sc)

Fasten off and weave away the ends.

Glue the christmas tree to the ring blank.

xxxxxx

Christmas tree crochet ring

Crochet Pretty is now available in iBooks

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Crochet Pretty book cover

This is my crochet ebook! I am so, so, so excited to say that I’ve published a crochet book and it’s ready for you to buy for £4.99 / $7.99 over in the Apple iBooks store!!! Just click here.

The ten accessories that I designed for this book are the drawstring pouch that you see on the cover, a pair of beaded earrings, two pairs of wrist warmers, a scarf, a wrap, flowery ring, necklace, brooch and a headband. The accessories are really pretty, colourful and easy to make.

Crochet Pretty iBook projects on chair

I loved every minute of writing this book. Everything about it was amazing, thrilling, exciting and so rewarding. It’s such a blessing to be alive in the 21st century where you can publish your own books, and not just any book, a book with five instructional videos, and an interactive quiz built in!

Unfortunately Apple are the only ebook publishers who support such an interactive book, so Crochet Pretty is only available on iPad and Mac. (You won’t be able to purchase Crochet Pretty on Amazon for instance.)

If you are as excited as I am and want to buy my iBook, you have to hop on over to this page on iTunes. If you already have iBooks installed on your iPad, just go ahead and click on the link.

If you don’t have iBooks installed yet, follow these steps to buy Crochet Pretty:

1. Download the iBooks app from the App store for free.

2. Once it’s downloaded tap the “Store” button in the top left corner of the iBooks app.

3. Search for Crochet Pretty in the top-right corner search box.

4. When you tap on the book title you will see screenshots of the book and you can download a sample of the book. Do this by tapping the “Get Sample” button.

5. When you are ready to purchase the book, tap the price. The button will turn green and read “Buy Book”. Tap it again to purchase the book with your iTunes account and password.

6. Crochet Pretty will start to download as soon as you’ve entered your iTunes account password. Once it’s finished, it will appear as a title on our bookshelf in the iBook app.

These screenshots give you an idea of what to expect from the book.

Zig Zag Wrist Warmers

Zig Zag Wrist Warmers

Beadazzling Earrings

Beadazzling Earrings

Basket of yarn in crochet pretty ibook

The first “page” of the book is a short video to show readers how to navigate through my book. Crochet Pretty is a different kind of book with features that not everyone would be familiar with, so I thought I needed to show off those features a bit. Luckily the video isn’t just inside the book – I uploaded it to YouTube too, so everyone can watch it. In the video you see the first three patterns of the book – it’s a nice sneak peek into my book ;)

 

When you’ve bought my book I would love, love, love to get your feedback. Please leave me star ratings and reviews on iBooks. I plan on writing at least three more crochet books with iBooks, so your feedback on the first one is crucial.

I hope you are as excited as I am about Crochet Pretty – Ten Accessories To Make You Feel Pretty.

Interview with an Etsy seller – Elizabeth Prince

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IMG_0372.JPGSo you all know I love crochet, right? What you may not know is that I also love pottery. I studied Ceramics as one of my subjects in High School and my Mom was a ceramics teacher who taught from her studio at our home. I went to sleep many a night with the sound of clay being thrown and the  ticking noise of a kiln firing at 1000+ degrees.

Imagine my sheer delight when I stumbled upon Elizabeth Prince Design UK on Etsy a few years ago: in her shop she sells homeware that are a combination of vintage lace textures and ceramics! I mean really. It’s my two favourite things put together. Needless to say Prince Design UK is  one of My Favourite Shops.

Elizabeth Prince hails from Manchester, United Kingdom. She has a background in interior design and fine art. Add to that a great love of clay and designs that grow out ideas that start life as gifts for family, friends and loved ones, and you have a recipe for success. For example, Elizabeth’s first worked with crochet to make a ceramics present for her Mum using a piece of crochet that belonging to her mother.

I wanted to know more about Elizabeth, the “Ex-interior designer, ginger tea drinker, perfectionist maker, roof gardening music lover with a long term addiction to clay” behind the beautiful ceramics.

Q: How did your ceramics business start and what made you decide to sell it on Etsy?
My business started because I thought I would see if I could sell a few of my ceramic pots that I had been making as a hobby for years in my spare time whilst I worked as an interior designer. I’m delighted to say that I have sold far more than I ever imagined I would at the start, and I am very thankful that I am able to make a living doing something that I enjoy.

Q: Do you also sell in a bricks and mortar shop? If so, how do sales compare with your Etsy shop.
No. Right now, I think that running a bricks and mortar shop would involve too much management and would take too much time away from my creative practice. Also, whilst I love studio visits by arrangement, I think people coming in and out of a shop all day would be really distracting for me.

Q: I adore your Bird Bowls with lace texture. Please tell me more about the vintage lace you use.
I am always on the lookout for interesting textures and lace. Some of my favourite textures have come from antique hand embroidered ladies handkerchiefs that were passed down through my family, and crochet doilies that were my grandmother’s. Others come from my travels – I have some gorgeous cut out embroidered pieces that I collected in Spain.

Q: How do you keep your designs fresh and unique? What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature, people, interiors, homes, vintage design and craft, fine art – the list really is endless. Making gifts for people I love often has been a starting point for a range of ceramics – after all, your customers might not be so different from your friends and family. Also my customers inspire me. They might for example ask for a certain colour or size that I might not have thought of using, and that can influence my choices too.

I research a lot about other cultures and traditional design from around the world, so that can feed in to my work too.

Q: Are there big differences between working with porcelain and ceramic clay?
Porcelain is a type of ceramic clay, but the particles that make it up are smaller. That means that when they are treated with extreme heat in the kiln ( I fire to around 1250 degrees C ) the effect is that they bond more tightly and vitrify. That mens that it is similar to glass, and can sometimes have a translucent effect when you hold it up to the light. The small particles also make a very smooth surface. However, most ceramicists will tell you that it is a more difficult type of clay to use – it’s more prone to cracking and sagging than other types of clay, so you have to accept that there may be a couple of casualties in your firing. Of course, it also has the pure white colour which can make glazes seem brighter in colour, and the feel is just lovely! That said, I also use a creamy textured clay that is special too – it has a texture and colour that I love and it is strong.

Q: How do you find the right balance between being creative and being business minded?
When I started out I was a little intimidated by the business side of things. However, I found as I went along that I found the business side of things to be unexpectedly creative. A lot of it is problem solving, and I have found that I actually enjoy the business side of things far more that I expected to. I wouldn’t say there is a balance as such – I am a small producer, so things come up on a day to day basis and have to be prioritised appropriately. So that means sometimes business or admin stuff has to be done that day, and other times, creativity has to happen that day.

Q: Do you have a day-job?
No – I work full time on my ceramics business.

Q: Describe your typical day.
I usually start with emails/admin at home first thing before I leave for the studio because I prefer to travel after rush hour. That quiet time in the morning allows me to focus and plan my day a little before I arrive at my studio. In the studio I often have an assistant, so I assign her some tasks and we ensure all the orders that are ready to ship are packed and sent out. After that I will usually be making, finishing, designing or experimenting with new ideas and designs.

Q: Do you worry about, or have you experienced, people copying your work?
I don’t worry about that really, just because I don’t waste time thinking about negative things that might happen. Unfortunately though, I have experienced my work being copied several times. I have even found Chinese wholesalers using my photographs and offering to make my work by the 1000s on their websites, but I have swiftly had them removed. I think that people might see my work and imagine me to be a sweet little push over. Sadly for them, they are mistaken – whilst I can be sweet in my personal life, I have taken, and will take, action where necessary to protect my work.

Q: Apart from your etsy shop, where can we find you?:
Facebook: princedesignuk
Twitter: PrinceDesignUK
Pinterest: Elizabeth Prince
Blog: Gone Potty
Website: Elizabeth Prince

Elizabeth is a force to be reckoned with as a ceramics artist and a business woman (did you read what she does when people copy her work? – you go girl!). As a fellow Etsy seller I can only hope to one day be as successful as she is.

xxxxxxx

As a special treat for my readers, Elizabeth will give 10% discount on all purchase until Christmas!!

Use the Coupon Code: CROCHETIME

 Go straight to the Prince Design UK Etsy shop by clicking here.

xxxxxxx

My pattern in a magazine!

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I have some very exciting news to share with you today. Something that I’ve had to keep under wraps for months and months. It’s been so hard not to shout it from the rooftops, but now I can:

I am a published crochet pattern designer with a pattern in a magazine! Whoo-hoo!!!!

My very first published pattern is the Festive Lace Doily in the December 2014 issue of  I Like Crochet magazine.

I Like Crochet Festive lace doile I Like Crochet is a bi-monthly interactive digital magazine optimized for tablets and feature top-rated projects, gorgeous photography, step-by-step instructions, patterns, charts, video and more.  Each issue has 30 projects and 7 tutorials. You can buy individual issues for $6.99 or subscribe to any tablet edition , or use your iPad to subscribe in the Apple App Store. It’s a great magazine – and I’m not just saying this because I design crochet patterns for them!

I Like Crochet December 2014

I’m so grateful to finally see one of my designs in a crochet magazine. I’ve worked hard to get to this point in my crochet career and it feels good!

Your squares for Crochet For Kidneys Part 3

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This week four more parcels arrived for CFK3. They contained a whole blanket and 18 strips of squares. The grand total of donations now stands at  five complete blankets and 55 strips of six squares. How fantastic is that?!

Although I only received four parcels in the post, our beautiful contributions come from seven crocheters! Thank you times seven!

Trish sent me eight strips of solid colour squares which I showed you in this post. Now Trish went one better and joined up her colourful squares to make a whole blanket. Not only that, she embroidered sunflowers on some of the squares. I just love that!!!  Thank you very much for your huge contribution Trish.

Trish blanketSeeing as I only need to join strips of squares, and not hundreds of individual squares like in previous CFK, making up the blankets are going so much quicker. Yeah! I’m flying through these blankets! It’s going to fast that I can show you two completed blankets!

Crochet For Kidneys blanket 2 Crochet For Kidneys blanket 1

If you think the blankets look a bit wobbly it’s because the tension between the two rows I have to join up, is always different. I can confirm that No Two People Crochet With The Same Tension! And of course everyone used different patterns, with a different amount of stitches in the last row, which makes it more difficult to get a flat joining seam. Despite the little wobbles, I still think the blankets look great!

As I’m typing here all the blankets I’ve received so far, including the two that I put together, are drying in the Autumn sun after having been washed with non-biological washing powder. No offence to anyone who contributed squares, but I have to wash the blankets seeing as they are going to be used by people with weak immune systems so have to make sure they are 100% clean.

Thank you once again everyone for all your contributions. I’m going to start joining up the third blanket now. Check in again next week for another update.

Update on my crochet iBook

Would you like to see a sneak peek at some of the patterns in my crochet iBook?

Do you?

Oh all right then. Here you go.

crochetime ibook sneak peek

Ha-ha! I’m not going to give away the surprise that easily! Blurry, unrecognisable close-ups are all you’re going to get out of me today.

What I can say is that the 10 patterns have successfully been turned into 10 chapters, the basic outlay has been decided on and now I’m just counting down to Sunday for the photo shoot. Oooh, the photos are so important! Don’t you agree? No matter how great the crochet patterns, how great the theme, how great the layout of the book, if the photos don’t make us want to put hook to yarn, we don’t buy the book. No pressure Photographer!

I really can’t wait to hit the Publish button on this book. It’s a totally different type of electronic book. You guys with iPads and Macs are going to love it! It’s fun too and you’ll get the chance to hear my voice and see my hands five times throughout the book….

If you’ll excuse me I need to go triple check my spelling, grammar and ;repeat from * to * bits. Checking, checking and checking again, that’s the name of the editing game.

Oooh, I’m excited! Can’t wait to tell you that the book is “live” and ready for you to buy!

Okay. Now I’m really going to get on with the editing.

No really I am.

Your squares for Crochet For Kidneys Part 3

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It’s time for a long overdue update on the Crochet For Kidneys Part 3 contributions. Since blogging about your generous contributions last time, I’ve received two further complete blankets and 22 strips of six squares!

The grand total stands at four complete blankets and 37 strips of six squares. The 37 strips will make four blankets with one strip left over – that’s eight blankets to give to dialysis patients so far! Fantastic! (And I’m very grateful that I only have to join up 37 strips, in stead of 222 squares!)

Jan Appleton, the blogger behind Lunch Lady Jan’s Fabric Frenzy sent me this “riotous rainbow” blanket. She said CFK3 was a great stash busting project. You have one crazy beautiful stash Jan! I love the design of your blanket and I’m sure it will definitely cheer up a dialysis patient!

Jan collage

The next beautiful blanket is from Tamy. She used an interesting, colourful mix of square and colours for her sample square blanket, including my Delicate Daisy Square and the Smiling Kidney Square from CFK1. The colours of this blanket make it perfect for a man or a woman. I would proudly have this blanket in my home, so I know it will be well loved by the recipient.

Tamy blanket

The strips of six squares were made by lovely crochets in the USA, UK, Portugal, Australia and Ireland! Thank you so much ladies for your hard work and fantastic contributions from all four corners of the world.

Don’t you think it looks like Deb and Tanya planned a blanket together? Same with Alyx and Gerlene, and Linda and Soo? These squares prove that no matter where you live in the world, deep down we are all the same. (World Leaders should really take note…. mmmm… maybe the United Nations should arrange a worldwide crochet along?)

Soo sent me 10 strips of colourful squares. That’s a whole blanket plus one strip! I’ll be able to use Soostrips for every blanket that I’m crocheting together. Great job Soo!

Tanya tells me she also contributed yellow bunting triangles which was sent to York for the Tour de France. This lady loves to share her crochet far and wide.

Linda’s contribution is in memory of her father who could not face any more dialysis and passed away eight years ago. Thank you so much Linda. Your beautiful squares are going to be part of a blanket which will bring comfort to a dialysis patient. Your father is sure to be very proud of you.

I will soon start to join up the 37 strips into blankets. My favourite part is arranging everyone’s squares into new blankets. I know I can try to make one blanket with as few as possible different crocheter’s contributions so that it would match, but I don’t want to. I love that a blanket can be made up of up to nine different crocheter’s work. That’s the good vibes and well wishes of nine people coming together into one blanket to be given to one person. Nine strangers working together to make one lovely blanket. How amazing is that?

xxxxxx

If anyone else wants to send squares please don’t wait too long. I need enough time to join up all the squares before handing it over to the dialysis unit of Royal London Hospital on 25 November, so 1 November (give or take a few days) is the deadline for getting squares to me.

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