Peppy Blossom Bunting in I Like Crochet magazine


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The latest issue of I Like Crochet electronic magazine is out now and it’s all about Summer. It’s difficult to imagine sunshine and warm weather when the temperature for the first official day of Spring in the UK was a mere 12 degrees, with heavy rain predicted for the Bank Holiday on Monday! Come rain, clouds or icy winds, the June issue with the bright colours and Summer themed designs, like the cute tote bag on the cover, is bound to get you in a Summer mood – or at least in the mood to bake a lemon meringue tart. A taste of Summer is just as good as the heat of Summer, right?

June issue

I’m also very happy to say that my Peppy Blossom Bunting is in this issue, helping you welcome in Summer.

The bunting is very colourful and not your average bunting – with the bright flower centre it just screams happiness.

Bunting is a great way to decorate any space, and this Peppy Blossom Bunting is the easiest way to add a vivid pop of color to your décor. Perfect for any summer party or gathering, you can easily add more or less flags to create just the size you’re after.

I love the styling of the bunting with the glass containers of colourful sweets.

Blossom bunting

Just like in the April issue when my clutch bags were used as the introductory page for the Springtime Accessories, the Preppy Blossom Bunting is the introductory photo for all the Household Trinkets in the table of contents! What a great compliment!

table of contents june i like crochet magazine

Do you see all the great patterns in this issue? It’s chock full! Two of my favourite patterns are the Deep Cut Moss Vest and the Vivid Coral Reef Top. The Deep Cut Moss Vest is for the advanced crocheter and uses Tunisian crochet and the Vivid Coral Reef Top is nice and easy, but so striking.

These patterns, and 29 others are available to subscribers only. A subscription to I Like Crochet include six issues annually, with each issue delivering at least 30 projects and 7 tutorials, for a total of 190 projects and 42 tutorials during the year. Subscription is available for website only, tablet only or for the greatest value and convenience, combine website access to with a tablet magazine subscription.

67 blankets for Nelson Mandela day


What an amazing achievement by the South African crocheters!

Originally posted on :

nelson mandela

67 blankets official logo

Well done South-Africa!

 67 blankets for Nelson Mandela Day has just set a new ‘Guinness book of world records’ for the world’s largest handmade blanket! The 3133 square meter blanket at the Union Buildings in Pretoria beats the old world record by more than 3 times.

aerial shot and quote

The BIG blanket is not only setting a new world record, but this winter 21000 underprivileged South Africans will be snug and warm under one of these handmade blankets, all in the name of Nelson Mandela.

peter morey collage

Cornel and Elsbeth went to see the BIG BLANKET and would love to share some of the blankets that caught their eyes.

They picked 67 blankets that they absolutely loved.


67 blankets for Nelson Mandela67 blankets for Nelson Mandela67 blankets for Nelson Mandela67 blankets for Nelson Mandela67 blankets for Nelson Mandela67 blankets for Nelson Mandela67 blankets for Nelson Mandela

67 blankets for Nelson Mandela










our favourites

May Nelson Mandela’s legacy of compassion, forgiveness, understanding and tolerance continue!

This is what South Africa is about.

NELSON IS PROUD by elsbeth eksteen at the union buildings 21 april

Please go here if you would like to know more about the 67 minutes concept…

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My crochet clutch bags in I Like Crochet magazine


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It’s March, which means Spring for us in the Northern Hemisphere. Yeah! Everywhere I’m seeing daffodils, the sky is blue and the days are noticeably longer. Triple Yeah! The Spring issue of the electronic magazine, I Like Crochet  is also available for download today.  Don’t you just love the very Spring-y cover of the April 2015 issue? I Like Crochet April 2015 coverThere are more than 30 patterns in this issue. Check out the Table of Contents here. I’m especially excited to tell you about this month’s I Like Crochet e-magazine because my Vintage Granny clutch bags appear in this issue! The bags were also chosen to be the introductory photo for all the Spring Accessories! I’m so happy!!! Springtime accessories cover Two of the other projects in this issue that I really like are the Retro Flower Cushion by Jo Bodley and Easy Homemade Organizers by Pauline Fitzpatrick. The organizers are definitely on my to do list! I especially love the grey one. Jo’s cushion is truly something different. It’s lovely to see a crochet cushion this artsy and unique.

These patterns, and 27 more, are available to subscribers only. A subscription to I Like Crochet include six issues annually, with each issue delivering 30 projects and 7 tutorials, for a total of 190 projects and 42 tutorials during the year. Subscription is available for website only, tablet only or for the greatest value and convenience, combine website access to with a tablet magazine subscription.

I’m very grateful to I Like Crochet for publishing my clutch bag patterns. It’s a great electronic magazine with beautiful photography, which I’m proud to be associated with. If you have bought this issue, and especially if you make one of my Vintage Granny clutches, I’d love to hear from you!

The problem with buying yarn online


Like most of you, I do love my online yarn shopping. It’s convenient, the websites are very user-friendly, delivery is usually fast, online yarn shops regular send out great voucher codes and best of all you can do it from the comfort of our home.

This morning I decided to buy the yarn for one of the beautiful crochet and knitting tops in Marie Wallin’s latest book Filigree. She used Rowan 4-ply Summerlite so I thought I’d do the same. No substituting, no worry about getting the gauge right – all I had to do was decide what colour I want to use for Anemone.

I have two favourite online yarn shops: Deramores and Loveknitting, so that’s where I pointed my mouse, expecting to only have to compare the prices of their Rowan Summerlite.

Oh dear.  This was not going to be as easy as I thought. The shades of Rowan Summerlite on these two sites might as well have been two different brands, they were so different. The Pinched Pink shade immediately stood out for me, but for the wrong reasons.

On the Deramores site, this is what I saw. Pinched Pink is the colour in the big square. It looks like a muted orange-pink:

Rowan Pinched Pink Deramores

Here is Loveknitting‘s version of Rowan Summerlites shades with Pinched Pink as the main colour.  It looks fuchsia pink. Can this be the same yarn? Can it be the same shade? Apparently it is.  After reading this blogpost, Loveknitting have corrected the photographs they had on their website.

Rowan Pinched Pink Loveknitting

The correct shades are now showing on and they left a comment on this blogpost.

Loveknitting Rowan summerlite

On Rowan’s own website this is what Pinched Pink looks like. This is much more of what I would have expected from a Rowan shade: muted and soft. Not even close to how Deramores or Loveknitting has photographed the shade:

Rowan Pinched Pink Rowan website

I know we have to take into consideration computer resolution when looking at colours on a website, but I’m looking at these three website on my one laptop, so the differences are not in my screen resolution, it’s in the way the websites photographed the yarn.

I’m hesitant to make any colour decisions now that I’ve seen this. I was leaning towards Periwinkle or High Tide, but how can I be sure of what I’ll be getting? Go look for yourself the differences in High Tide on these three website. It’s quite shocking.

What would you do in this situation? It’s probably safest to use the Rowan colour chart to make my decision on what shade to buy. Or do it the old-fashioned way and just go to a bricks and mortar yarn shop.

Have you ever bought yarn online expecting one shade, only to find it looking totally different when it arrived?

Serina crochet top ta-daaah


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Long time no bloggy! Sorry I’ve been so quiet dear readers, but I was on holiday with my family in Cape Town. I met up with dear friends, met Instagram friends in person (that’s you @redheadmom23 and @Liezelvs) and made amazingly creative and lovely new friends (that’s you Ella and Ananda). Huge shout-out to the girls of the Hekel Innie Kaap Facebook group. (“Hekel Innie Kaap” means “Crochet In Cape Town”). Have a peek at their January meet-up photo album to see what I experienced – 50 crocheting Afrikaans-speaking ladies all in one restaurant! Cape Town is filled with extremely creative crocheters who love sharing their inspiration and knowledge, and enjoying coming together to crochet. People after my own heart. (I say “come together to crochet” but I only managed to crochet one row of DC in the four hours I was at the meet-up. Talking about crochet is just as good as crocheting right?)

While I was in Cape Town I of course did a bit of crochet. I worked on the Convergence top (it’s half way done!) and finished one sleeve of this crochet top. I ran out of Vinnis Serina Bamboo yarn just before I left for Cape Town. I left the front piece, back piece and one sleeve in the UK, bought the extra yarn and finished the second sleeve while I was there. Yesterday I sewed all the pieces together and today I wore my top. I was positively glowing with pride. I just love it!

Drops Design crochet top

I am over the moon with this pattern and the Vinnis Serina yarn!

Drops Design crochet top

As I mentioned in this blog post, Drops Design Collection 136 contains the most beautiful collection of crochet pieces for me. I already made Whispers and Country Dreams, and now pattern 136-23 “Blues” Jumper is my third and I have to say, it’s my favourite. The pattern was easy to follow and it works up really quickly. The square motifs are done quickly “join as you go” and they make up almost half of the top. For me it went even quicker because I didn’t have any colour changes. Not that I needed colour changes to make my top interesting – look at the subtle marbling from the hand dyed yarn. Isn’t it amazing?!

Drops Design crochet top

As for the Vinnis Serina bamboo yarn – oh my word. So super soft! I am aware though that the yarn has a tendency to sag a bit after a few hours of wear. There is no cotton in this yarn that will help it keep its shape; it’s just 100% bamboo. That makes for a super lustre and lovely drape, but it can become “floppy”. To compensate for this, I made my top in Size M, even though my measurements are for a size L. It worked like a charm. The top fits beautifully and even if it does stretch a bit during the day, I’m not going to look like a bag lady by the end of the day.

Drops Design crochet top

Drops Design crochet top

The nitty gritty of my Serina Top:

  • Pattern: Drops Design pattern 136-23 “Blues” Jumper
  • YarnVinnis Serina 4-ply bamboo in shade 631 Turquoise Green
  • Amount of yarn used: 12 x 50g balls
  • Size made: M
  • Crochet hook: 3.5 mm for the sleeves & squares and 3 mm for the body
  • Modifications: An extra row of SC around the neck before doing the edging. Also using a larger size crochet hook for the sleeves as I know from previous experience that Drops Design sleeves tend to be a bit tight for me.

Drops Design crochet top

I have a few crochet wearables that I don’t really want to wear outside the house, but this one is definitely not one of those. If you’ve never tried crocheting a wearable piece, give this pattern a try. It’s a winner!

Crochet Pretty in crochet magazines


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I’m super excited today to show you two, count it, two, news features about my iBook Crochet Pretty in UK crochet magazines!

One appeared in Issue 61 of Inside Crochet magazine;

Crochet pretty in Inside Crochet

and the other is in Issue 27 of Simply Crochet magazine.

Crochet pretty in Simply Crochet issue 27

I am so happy to see my hard work mentioned on the pages of a magazine. That’s huge! Thank you very much Inside Crochet and Simply Crochet.

Unfortunately, since the new EU VAT changes, my book is no longer available in EU iTunes stores. Crochet fans in the UK, USA and Asia Pacific can still purchase the book here.

If you’ve bought Crochet Pretty, I would love to hear your thoughts on the patterns, and interactiveness of the book.

Crochet Mood Blanket 2014 ta-daaah!


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Behold my Crochet Mood Blanket 2014!!! All 357 squares of it in its colourful glory! I started it on 1 January 2014 and completed it 31 December 2014 – precisely one year in the making.

crochet mood blanket 2014

The Crochet Mood Blanket is the brainchild of Stacey Wentworth-Hall (@frofunky on Instagram). You basically just crochet or knit a block or stripe everyday (or once a week if that suits you better)  using a colour that you feel reflects your mood.

If you would like to get on board for 2015, have a look and join the Facebook Group here.

Our blanket will be moving between the living room and the bedroom. I just love how colourful it is! It cheers up any space!

Crochet mood blanket 2014IMG_1251

The Mood Blanket has taught me a lot about myself and how my moods change. John said the blanket is a testament of his patience :-)  I love that for years and years to come I will always be able to look back at my blanket, and therefore on my emotions during 2014. It’s been a good year and for that I am very, very grateful.

lacy cross crochet squares

The border I chose for my Mood Blanket is a variation on Border #39 that I used for my Dad’s Atlantic Waves Ripple blanket. The border is made up of  three rows of single crochet, a row of double crochet (which in the original Border #39 is a treble) and a final three rows of single crochet. I used all seven of my colours for the border.


Seeing as the Crochet Mood Blanket is based on the days of the year, I wanted to be able to remember where it all started. In other words which square represents  1 January 2014? I did this by switching around the colours of the first two rows of the borders. See?

mood blanket corner border

Around the square for 1 January, I used purple as the first row, whereas for the rest of the blanket I used yellow for the first row of the border.  I don’t think anyone else would even notice this small switcharoo, but it’s the perfect reminder of my very first mood of 2014 – in this case a happy lime green.

The nitty gritty of the Crochet Mood Blanket 2014:

  • PatternLacy Cross from 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton
  • Yarn: Hayfield Bonus and Hayfield Baby Bonus
  • Crochet hook: 3.5 mm
  • Joining method: Join as you go
  • Border: No. 39 from Around The Corner Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman.
  • Size: 21 rows of 17 squares, which makes 357 squares. Completed size with border is 165cm x 135cm.
  • Colours: The colours of the Mood Blanket were chosen to represent my seven moods. This is how may of each colour I used for the blanket:

Crochet Mood Blanket 2014

I did some number crunching and at the end of 2014 I can reveal that I had 6% sad, 7 % irritable, 7% ditsy, 4 % stressed, 30% not great but not bad either, 29% happy and 17% grateful days.  I know this because of a crochet blanket! How crazy and amazing is that?!

Making the Mood Blanket was a great eye opener. I had to be honest with myself about my moods. If that meant that there were three days of being depressed, then so be it. Three grey squares it shall be. I also had to reflect on my day at the end of every day. Some days may have started as green (happy) days, but then something would happen at work which upset me and the day turned into a stressed day. At the end of the day I had to look back and decide what was the prevailing mood for the day: the happiness of the morning, or the stress? Did I allow the stress to get to me or did I look on the bright side and manage to keep my day happy. If I allowed the stress to get to me, then it had to be honest with myself and make the day a red day.

At one point during 2014 I also realised that although I had lots of green (happy) days, I didn’t have that many grateful (turquoise) days. That’s not good and that’s something I had to, and still have to, work on.

If you are ready to be honest with yourself and stick with it, you can use a crochet project to analyse your moods, attitude and emotions for a whole year. As a bonus you’ll have a blanket at the end of the year. I highly recommend it.

Three projects for 2015

How are you all doing on this the eve of Christmas eve? I’m in the office doing my PA thing, hoping for things to quiet down soon.  I’m very much looking forward to hometime tomorrow which will hopefully be earlier than the usual 17:30! John and I are going to friends for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas day I’m cooking a pimped-up-Sunday-lunch-type-Christmas-theme-sort-of-meal. Apart from these two things we have absolutely nothing planned until we are both back at work on 5 January! Isn’t that fantastic?!

I say “nothing planned” but what I mean to say is that we don’t have places to go or people to see – I actually do have one thing planned: FINISH THE CROCHET MOOD BLANKET 2014!!!

For the past two weeks I’ve been trying to catch up on my daily (hahahaha, that was wishful thinking!) squares. As of 23 December, I’ve crocheted squares up to 1 October. That means roughly 80 to go, plus the border. Luckily the last nine days of 2014 won’t be mood-hooked because that would leave a row of only 9 squares in my blanket, so I have a bit of breathing space, and time to finish the border before 31 December 2014. I have to, have to, have to, finish that blanket before 31 December!

After that it’s on to three beautiful pieces of wearable woolyness: one knitted and two crocheted. I just have to share them with you. I’m super excited and can’t wait to get started.

Number one on the list is pattern 136-23 “Blues” by Garnstudio.

Drops Design Blues squares and stripes crochet top

This top will be the third crochet top from the Garnstudio 136 collection.  The other two are Whispers and Country Dreams – both pieces I loved making and still enjoy wearing.

I’ll be using one shade of Vinnis Serina for this baby. I showed you how beautifully Serina (a 4-ply Bamboo yarn) works up back in June, and complained that the Japanese diagram top I wanted to use it for, would use too much yarn. I’ve since changed my mind (there’s a shocker) and will use Vinnis Serina for a top, no matter how much yarn it uses. I changed my mind because I’ll be on holiday in South Africa at the end of January which means I’ll be right there to buy more yarn from I Love Yarn if needed. Yeah! Hopefully Blues will turn out to be a super fun holiday project just like my Rowan Dusky top, which I finished whilst on holiday in Corfu.

Second project for 2015 will be Paget, a knitted cardigan which can be worn back to front!

paget by berroco

Just yesterday I was looking for an easy knitted cardigan pattern but gave up the search. This this morning I stumbled upon the Berroco Design Team Blog post called “Style Your Knits: Paget” in my WordPress Reader. The video in the post demonstrates four ways of styling the very versatile Paget . It was absolutely perfect for me! I immediately bought the pattern for $6 through Ravelry. The suggested yarn is Berroco Flicker but I think I will rather use Drops Paris. The shade is yet to be decided…

Last item on the 2015 To Hook List is the Convergence Top by Linda Skuja for Interweave Crochet Spring 2014.

convergence top
Isn’t this just amazing!?! I bought the pattern yesterday for $5.50 directly from the Interweave store, only to see that it is on sale as of today for a mere $3.85. Click here. Go, go, go!

I plan to make my own self striping yarn for this one. I have two balls each of King Cole 4 ply Bamboo in Glacier and Denim. I desperately want to use it, but I love the effect that self striping yarn gives to Convergence. In fact, I think self striping yarn is essential to make the design of Convergence work. Luckily there are very clever knitters out there who blog, and make videos, to show you how to make your own self striping yarn! Lorraine of Knitting Pipeline explains how to make self striping yarn with small bits of leftover yarn in her blog post here (she calls it a Magic Cake). You join the pieces of yarn with a super strong Double Knot. Watch the video of the Double Knot method on YouTube here.  Closer to the time I will work out a method of ensuring my two colours are truly randomly joined, but for now at least I have the beginnings of a plan.

I can’t wait to get started crocheting and knitting wearable pieces again. I was very busy the past six months designing patterns for I Like Crochet magazine and I published my iBook Crochet Pretty (which Inside Crochet magazine wrote about in Issue 61!!!). Things have also changed on the work front (with more, bigger changes coming) so I’m a bit tired now and ready to take it slow, easy, bright and breezy.

Do you like any of my three upcoming projects?  It will be great if you join me making one, or all, of them! What are your yarny, hooks and needles plans for 2015?






Hema just a little in love

Do you also have a thing for pretty stationery? Stickers, post-its, colourful pens, to do notes? As a PA I am forever writing to do lists, or instructions like “please sign”, “please pass this on” or “send by courier” on post-its. The stationery cupboard on each floor of our firm has the bog standard pastel yellow post-it notes, but I HATE them. I buy my own post-its. They have to very colourful and preferably in a weird shape. I’m the only one who uses my own post-its, so much so that I don’t even have to write my name on the bottom anymore because everyone knows the green apple or orange star post-it comes from Natasja.

I also love notebooks. I have a notebook for everything!  I buy different size notebooks with different purposes. My notebooks are for “crochet designs” or “inspiration” or “soul trader business notes”, but in the end all my notebooks become a combination of all three of these – I just grab whatever is closest and start scribbling. I’ve stopped trying to restrict myself. Instead I’m embracing this by buying big, thick notebooks that can hold all my jotting, no matter what the subject matter.

Being so in love with stationery, I’ve always gone to Paperchase with their beautiful prints and designs but it is quite pricey, especially if you have a paper addiction like I have. What I need is a shop where I can buy cheap, but fun, practical and crafty stationary. I think I found it:


Hema is a Dutch chain that recently came to the UK. They have three stores (Victoria, Brompton and Kingston Upon Thames) and an online shop. I visited the Kingston branch this morning and I fell in love! If you like Ikea designs and Tiger stores prices, HEMA is the place for you.  Hema design and test everything they sell, themselves. It has a distinct Dutch feel to it, which I love. Their Dutch biscuit range is out of this world! (If I didn’t have a sugar intolerance this blog post would have been about Hema biscuits, not Hema stationery!)

Here are a few of my favourite things from the Hema online shop.

Hema selection 1

  1. First off, a set of 5 erasers shaped like balls of wool and knitting needles. I mean really. How perfect?! Price: £1
  2. A “knitted” iPhone 5 hard-case cover. I know it’s not stationery but it goes so well with no. 5 I just had to include it in my list. The knitting is photographed so it really looks like your iPhone has a woollen cozy. The covers are also available for iPhone 4 and Samsung S4 and S3 Price: £5
  3. Postage themed washi tape. Perfect for when I post Vinnis yarn to my Etsy customers. Price: £3
  4. Packaging boxes with mint green stripes. I might just switch to these when I post balls of yarn. The boxes are great for wrapping and/or posting oddly shaped items. Price: £2 for a 2-pack
  5. An A5 notebook to match the “knitted” iPhone cover. This design is also available in other colours and in other sizes. If this notebook was available in the Kingston shop I would have bought it. Instead I bought a light green notebook with the words “Anything is possible” on the cover. It’s so lovely! Not everything in the stores are available online, so it is worth checking in store and online. Price: £2
  6. I bought this set of sticky notes for work. Wow, wow, wow. Did you read my first paragraph? Can you see why it would be perfect for me to use at work? Owls that say “hello” and goldfish that say “lala”. Just what the lawyers need to liven up their desks! Price: £2
  7. Postage themed stickers. This was my third purchase, so expect a sticker on your parcel of yarn when you buy from my Etsy shop. I just love it! Price: £1

There is so, so, so, much more that you will love in Hema. And it’s so cheap! Expect a few more of these #loveHEMA posts. I can go on about them for days!

(I have not been asked, or paid, by HEMA to write this post but it does contain affiliated links.)

A review and a giveaway


The lovely Janette of The Green Dragonfly made the flowery brooch from my book, Crochet Pretty. It looks great! She is also giving a way a free copy of the book for iPad users.

Originally posted on The Green Dragonfly:

Today I’m sharing a quick little project from a lovely crochet e-book I was asked to review…

Crochet flower brooch Its a wee crochet flower brooch, made using 3 ply cotton and the pattern can be found in an e-book by Natasja King called Crochet Pretty

Crochet flower broochThis is just one of 10 lovely accessory patterns in the book. I’m thinking the little drawstring bag from the cover will be next on my list because I have some cotton left over from the tangerine cardigan Ive just finished for Maia (more about that soon) and I’m sure she needs a little bag to go with it! If I hurry I might be able to get it finished in time for her birthday on Thursday! I also really love the earrings. To see all 10 patterns from the book over on Ravelry, just click here.img_6590The really neat thing about Crochet Pretty is that…

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