Three months and one week at my new job and already everybody knows I’m a crocheter!
The internal communications team did this “fun piece” (their words, not mine) on me today. I had to bring in as many crochet items as I could and posed with reindeer antlers surrounded by my wooly projects. Such fun! (If you’re a Miranda fan, you will have the voice of Miranda’s mom in your head just about now.)
I’m hoping that this piece on the Sky intranet will generate some interest in a crochet & knitting group. So far four ladies have shown an interest in getting together once a month for some hooky and knitty action. There are around 10,000 people at Sky HQ in Osterley, so I’m hoping that with time a crochet and knitting group will grow to a few more. Surely there must be more than just five out of 10,000 who like to crochet or knit… I think a yarnbomb might be in order to “raise awareness”. Right?
Did any of my lovely readers receive the Inside Crochet magazine newsletter today? Did you spot the Complete Guide To Crochet Volume 5 bookazine? I did…. because I recognised my Iznik Cushion on the front cover! Yeah baby!
The pattern was initially published in issue 68 (read all about it here), but now it has also been republished as one of the 50 patterns in the bookazine (bigger than a magazine but not quite a book) Complete Guide To Crochet Volume 5. So chuffed!
The Complete Guide to Crochet: Volume 5 is now available for pre-order for £9.99. It is the perfect Christmas gift for crafters and features a wide range of projects, from childrenswear to homewares, fashion garments and smaller accessories.
Order by 30 November 2015 with voucher code VOLUME5 and save £1 (plus free P+P for UK residents)!
I’ve been telling you about the beautiful crochet blankets donated for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4 since June 2015. I’ve showed you photos of all the blankets, told you who made them and where the makers are from. I’ve thanked everyone for donating their skill, yarn and time to this project.
Yet pretty crocheted blankets is not what Crochet For Kidneys is about.
Crochet For Kidneys is about doing something for the people currently going through dialysis. John donated his kidney to a friend because we heard and saw what 3 4-hour dialysis session a week does to a person.
In writing this post I realised I had to find a first-hand account describing what it is like going through dialysis. I found a few articles and a NHS video which gave the impression that you can have a very normal, active life. This may be true for a lot of people but it wasn’t the impression I got from the man to whom John gave his kidney back in 2012. Yes, he was able to go to work and lead a relatively normal life, but he certainly did not feel like a million bucks after a dialysis session. The limitations of what he could eat and drink affected his life, the timings of the dialysis session and the after effects limited how much time he could spend with friends and family (and indeed his wife), not to mention the psychological toll.
I then came across “A Rookies’ Take On Dialysis: Ten Things I Have Learned So Far” a blog post by Tim Bergman of Ontario, Canada.
Please read his post. It’s an eye opener and gives a true sense of what it is really like being on dialysis. Tim’s account of dialysis is much closer to what the recipient of John’s kidney experienced and will give you a sense of 1) why John decided to donate his kidney and 2) why I felt I wanted to do something for dialysis patients.
Wait until you get to point no. 4 in Tim’s post – Crochet For Kidneys will make total sense.
The big day for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4 is almost here! John and I are taking the blankets to the Royal London Hospital on Tuesday so this weekend was spent writing note cards, putting the right card to the right blanket and updating the Facebook Group with all the blanket photos.
Each blanket has a notecard with the following message:
“I hope that you will feel the love that I put into each crochet stitch of this blanket, so that it may bring you hope and comfort. Love [name of crocheter]”
On the opposite side I wrote:
“Care instructions: Wash at 30 degrees on gentle wash. Do not tumble dry.”
“Feel free to join the Facebook Group “Crochet For Kidneys” if you want to get in touch.”
Here is one of the notecard, attached to Sue de Vos’s blanket.
Look how many beautiful blankets we have! The sun was shining into our apartment while I was folding and tagging blankets. I took that as a good sign.
I’m so proud of what you guys have achieved here. None of you skimped on creativity, quality of the yarn or the finish and some of you even made two blankets. You posted them from as far as Portugal and the USA without any thought to the cost of postage. Thank you so much.
Isn’t this a lovely sight? Nevermind the telly or the view, look at all those lovingly made crochet blankets for 27 dialysis patients!
I’ll update you all on delivery of the blankets, after Tuesday.
The blankets for the dialysis patients are coming in weekly now and our total blanket count is up to 13. Thank you everyone!!
This week I received Wendy “Eddy” Gould’s very non-square purple and white blanket. This is our second striped blanket in Crochet For Kidneys Part 4. Wendy also contributed a blanket for CFK3 last year. She really embraced this year’s brief of “any design” :)
This extremely sunny blanket was made in Faro, Portugal. It’s the crochet work of Linda Baker, a friend of Barbara Booth whose blanket I showed you last week. Even if I hadn’t known Linda lives in Portugal I would have thought that this blanket has a distinct sunny Portuguese or Spanish feel to it. Don’t you agree? These two ladies are bringing the sunshine of Portugal to our blanket collection and they are making two blankets each. Fantastic!
Not so much sunny as girly, my pink blanket is almost finished – I’m crocheting the edging at the moment and then have to work away the ends.
Thank you again to everyone who has crocheted blankets for the dialysis patients. Most of you are repeat contributors to Crochet For Kidneys which makes me appreciate your efforts even more. Blessings to you all!
The Rose top is finished!
The King Cole Bamboo 4 ply was the perfect choice. It drapes beautifully, it’s soft, it’s cheap and I only needed 3 balls of yarn. I will definitely use this yarn again.
All credit should go to Marie Wallin for designing such a beautiful piece of wearable crochet. The neckline really sets it apart from other motif-based crochet tops.
I just couldn’t resist making the bottom rows of the body and the sleeves in a second colour. I’m really glad I did – I love the contrast and extra bit of detail. The greenish grey Glazier shade is so pretty!
The nitty gritty of my Rose Top:
- Pattern: Rose from Filigree: Collection Three by Marie Wallin
- Yarn: King Cole Bamboo 4 ply in Denim and Glazier
- Amount of yarn used: 2.5 balls of Denim and 0.5 of Glazier
- Size made: M for the body, L for the sleeves
- Crochet hook: 2.5 mm
- Modification: It isn’t really a modification, but I did mix two sizes for this top. The body is size Medium, but the armholes for size Medium were to tight for me. In size Medium the sleeves, and therefor the armholes as well, are 4 motifs. I increased this to 5 motifs as for size Large. This worked out beautifully because now I have a roomy sleeve, but a fitted body.
I can highly recommend Rose and also the King Cole Bamboo 4 ply.
Now that Rose is finished I’m on to my next crochet top. At the moment I’m still busy with the gauge swatch. Unlike other gauge swatches, the stitch count isn’t as important as the row count with this one, because you crochet the pieces from from side seam to side seam. The crochet rows therefore lie vertically in stead of horizontally. I’m hoping it’s going to be a very slimming top.
Wanna see what I’m making? Have a look at the Ravelry page here. I know you’re just going to love it!!!
Other people have goals like climbing Mount Everest, seeing the world or being CEO of a big company. Me? I wanted to have a pattern published in a UK crochet magazine and today I can tell you that I achieved my goal. Consider Everest climbed, the world seen and business cards printed – issue 68 of Inside Crochet magazine holds a pattern which I designed: the Iznik crochet cushion.
It was during a visit in June 2014 to the V&A Museum that I first saw the pottery made in the Turkish town, Iznik, and the geometric & floral designs of the tiles in the Turkish and other Islamic mosques. I fell in love with the dark blue, turquoise, sage green and highlights of red used by the craftsmen more then 500 years ago. Ever since that visit to the V&A Museum I wanted to make something that would at least incorporate the four main colours of Iznik pottery, but ideally also be geometric and/or floral.
When I received the Inside Crochet email for pattern submissions and saw that issue 68 was themed around adventure and travel I knew this was the perfect opportunity to crochet that Iznik inspired piece – and achieve my goal of having a pattern published in an UK magazine.
I designed the cushion so that the white joins between the squares could represent the tile grout and by crocheting squares, but dividing them into two coloured triangles, I reference the tile inspiration and create an intricate geometric design all one. In Iznik pottery the main colours are turquoise and dark blue. Sage green was introduced later and red even later still so my colour scheme reflects this.
I imagined that my red beads are like tiny flowers which sparkle when the sun rays catch them. The red glass beads are my favourite part of the cushion. I liked them so much I even used them for the back.
In the pattern I describe how to make the BDC (beaded double crochet) stitch and how to thread your seed beads onto the yarn before you start crocheting. In fact, Nicky Hale also designed a cushion for this issue using beads (it’s the beautifully bright zig zag bolster next to my cushion in the photo above) and the editors thought it a good idea for her pattern to have a reference to my pattern for the instructions on how to thread seed beads onto yarn.
Still not sure how to thread seed beads onto yarn? Fear not. As part of the iBook I wrote, Crochet Pretty, I made a video to show my readers exactly how to thread those seed beads which I will share with you now.
Here is the video that shows you exactly how to thread seed beads onto yarn:
See, it’s very easy. Once you’ve crocheted with beads you’re not going to want to stop. It’s such a fun and effective way of adding a little something special to your work.
Inside Crochet issue 68 will be available in stores from 30 July and as a digital download here.
If you decide to make the Iznik cushion, I would love to hear from you! Inside Crochet has listed the pattern on Ravelry so you can link your project. Just follow this link to the Ravelry project page.
I’m making progress on Rose! I actually turned the corner right after I wrote last week’s post. Funny that. As soon as I put down in words what was bothering me, it stopped bothering me.
The sudden burst of enthusiasm may also be because I’m seeing the top take shape. I now have a neck and armholes. Whoohoo! I had to keep my wits about me when I joined the shapes for the armholes and neck. I made a mistake once (okay, it was twice) and had to undo a few motifs (not easy when they are join-as-you-go!) but I enjoyed the problem solving. Oh, I also realised that I had to go up a size for the armholes, so that caused a few problem solving situations as well.
And what do we have here? A single greenish motif?!
It had always been the plan to make the last row of the body and the sleeves in this colour, but of course I had to reach the second-to-last row before I could add the green. I just HAD TO hook up the green motif as soon as I was able to join it to something just to see what it would look like: me like-y!
I’m excited about this crochet top and can’t wait for Sunday when I plan to do a lot of hooky on Rose.
Have you ever felt excited about a crochet pattern, bought the perfect yarn, started crocheting and one week in you just feel kind of bleh about it?
I’m sure other people must loose interest in their crochet projects because something new comes along, but I’m not one to leave a project halfway for something else unless it’s something with a deadline (like a pattern for a magazine). That means that if I’m bored/frustrated/uninterested with a project it bugs me soooo much because I just can’t pack it up and get on with something else – I HAVE TO finish is. But if I do decide to start a more interesting project I can’t fully enjoy it, no matter how much more interesting it is, because the boring one haunts me.
The piece of crochet that has me feeling so uninspired, is the beautiful Rose top from Marie Wallin’s book Filigree.
I’m using a lovely blue King Cole Bamboo Cotton 4 ply yarn which is a joy to work with. I have the motif memorised and I know the Rose top will be very wearable. I really want to finish it so that I can wear it, but I just can’t “get stuck in”. Do you know what I mean? I crochet a motif, I join it to the others and then I put it down and stare out the window. Or I make a cup of tea. I return to my spot on the couch and with a big sigh start the next motif. Two rounds in, I put it down and stare out the window. Or rearrange the flowers in the vase. Then I check my Instagram feed and think to myself “Should I take a photo of Rose? Nah. Can’t be bothered”. I pick up the half finished motif and do two more rounds, join it to the rest and…. stare out the window. This goes on for about 30 minutes and then I give it up until tomorrow. Or not. Sometimes I give it up until next week.
Can you see where I’m going with this? (At least something is going somewhere – unlike the progress on Rose!)
When I was making the CFK4 blanket (I gladly interrupted Rose for this very worthwhile cause) I was flying through the granny squares. Granny squares are a million times easier to make than the motif for Rose, so you would think I would have been bored. But I wasn’t. I was excited and driven. I had to decide which shade of blue to use and think really hard about it, because I was doing join-as-you-go, so if I didn’t like my colour choices, I was stuck with them. There was a lot to think about, but I loved making that blanket and finished it in three weeks!
Last week I bought a new Japanese crochet pattern book which arrived yesterday. Having paged through the book all I want to do now is figure out those diagrams and get started with a beautifully intricate crochet top. The challenges of reading a Japanese crochet diagram is super enjoyable for me. Even if I only use one colour (like I did for this one) I just can’t stop crocheting because the pattern is so interesting.
Now that I’ve written down my thoughts here I think I know now what the problem is with Rose: it’s not challenging enough. I need to play with colour, solve colour problems or figure out a tricky diagram to get me excited about crochet.
Knowing why I’m bored with Rose, still doesn’t solve my problem though. I desperately want to finish it so that I can wear it and get on to other Japanese-y crochet patterns, but I’m just not motivated.
I guess I’ll just have to suck it up, buckle down and get on with The Business Of Rose.