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.

Yarn and Crochet Clocks on sale

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I’m having a clearance sale in my Etsy shop. Yarn and crochet clocks are marked down by 25%!

crochtime sale cartoon knitting womanOMG indeed. I’ve decided to do a clearance sale with the view of eventually closing my Etsy shop. Everything must go. No, really. I’m not doing one of those fake clearance sales you see in dodgy high streets. I really am getting rid of everything and you guys benefit from it!

In stead of £3 for a ball Vinnis Colours Nikkim cotton yarn, you’ll only pay £2.25!!! In some shades I only have one ball left, but in others I have up to 17 balls of a shade. Here are my current stock levels:

5 plum, 13 white, 17 15 pink, 3 2 peach, 4 2 sunshine yellow, 2 baby yellow, 2 stone, 7 5 natural, 10 4 red violet, 7 antique, 1 camel, 1 lime, 1 lavender, 4 2 lilac, 2 violet, 3 slate, 5 2 deep blue and 6 3 mahogany.

Find all the yarn listings here.

Everyone who has bought Nikkim from me was very happy with the colours, the feel of the yarn, even the packaging. You can read their reviews here.

My crochet clocks are also still for sale and just like the yarn, marked down by 25%. I would love to sell one of these clocks to a fellow crochet lover. The clocks would be so happy if they hung on a hookster’s wall.

Will you be joining Helga and pop on over to my Etsy shop? I would just love to send my balls of cottony yarn and happy crochet clocks to you!

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!

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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
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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.

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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 2015? 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

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

Natasja:

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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Interview with an Etsy seller – Vanessa of The Pudgy Rabbit

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IMG_0372.JPGThis month’s interview is with Vanessa, the owner of a fun Etsy shop called The Pudgy Rabbit based in New York. The Pudgy Rabbit sells extremely cute amigurumi crochet kits and patterns ranging from penguins to coffee mugs.

For those who can already crochet, you will love the amigurumi patterns, but the Pudgy Rabbit’s speciality is crochet kits. The kits include absolutely everything you need. Depending on the kit you buy, it will include crochet hook, yarn, stuffing, safety eyes, safety nose, embroidery floss, needle, felt, stitch marker and a step by step instruction booklet. The packaging is beautiful too. Kits would make excellent gifts for crafters and non-crafters. Perfect for Christmas!

pudgy rabbit etsy shop crochet kit

Vanessa’s background is in animation and stop motion.  She got into crochet during college as way to combine her love of crafting with building puppets. After graduating and job hunting, she began crocheting constantly as a creative outlet. She built up quite a collection of goofy crochet creatures, so decided to put them up for sale online and The Pudgy Rabbit was born.

Vanessa has always been into crafting and making things with her hands, whether it’s working with paper mâché  or clay, but crocheting remains one of her favorite mediums because there’s so many different designs you can create with just a few simple stitches. Like most of us she’s also a bit of a yarn hoarder and crochet helps her work through the massive boxes of yarn under her desk.

 

Q: Why did you start making crochet kits and what made you decide to sell it on Etsy?

When I began the shop in 2010, I started off selling finished toys and dolls. A couple years later, I moved on to selling crochet kits and patterns. Through selling at craft fairs, people would tell me that they always wanted to learn how to crochet, but weren’t sure where to begin. I thought having a kit that combines a fun project with all the necessary materials would give them a great start to learning a new craft.

Q: Do you also sell in a bricks and mortar shop or at craft markets? If so, how do sales compare with your Etsy shop.

I currently have my kits in a couple of shops, The Brooklyn Women’s Exchange in NYC and Matchbox Studios in New Zealand. I also sell at craft fairs throughout the year. I really enjoy doing fairs because it gives me a chance to meet customers, answer questions, and see what other crafters are creating. I’m hoping to get the kits into more shops and markets in the near future, because I think it helps for customers to see the finished projects that each kit creates in person.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being an Etsy seller?

I love hearing from customers who’ve enjoyed my kits or people who received them as gifts. It’s always great to get feedback because it helps me make improvements and decide what designs to make next

Q: How do you find the right balance between being creative and being business minded?

As a small business and the only person running the shop, the creative and business side go hand in hand. I find it helps to prioritize what needs to be done and divide the work accordingly. In the beginning, I found the business part a bit overwhelming and wasn’t sure where to start. As the shop grew and I learned more about how to keep things running, I found that I actually enjoyed all the problem solving and challenges that come with the business side.

Q: How do you keep your pattern designs fresh and unique?

I’m inspired by feedback from customers as well as friends and family. They’ll ask for different colors or suggest designs they would like to see and this helps me pick what patterns to work on next. I also research trends and popular animals to get a better sense of what people are looking for.

Q: Do you worry about, or have you experienced, people copying your work?

I’ve been lucky so far in that I haven’t experienced anyone really copying my work. While I do check to make sure my images aren’t being used without proper credit or permission, I don’t worry about copycats. I think it’s a risk you have to take when putting your business out there. You simply have to be diligent about protecting your work and take the steps necessary to shut things down if you do find someone taking advantage of your designs

Q: Do you have any tips for crochet pattern sellers on Etsy?

Take the best photos you can of your items and keep an open mind to keep learning new techniques. You never know what will inspire your next pattern.

Q: Where else, apart from Etsy, can readers find you? 

Blog/website: www.thepudgyrabbit.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thepudgyrabbit

Instagram: http://instagram.com/thepudgyrabbit

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thepudgyrabbit/

I can definitely see the animation influences in Vanessa’s cute amigurumi designs. Only someone with this kind of background can design a crochet pattern for a talking coffee mug or birthday cake that you just Have To Have. And just look at this penguin! Cute or what?!

This is one very talented lady who saw a gap in the market and she’s running with it. I wish her all the best for the future.

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Get 15% off your purchase at The Pudgy Rabbit with coupon code CROCHETIME. The coupon is valid from Dec 8th, 2014 to Dec 14th, 2014.

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You can see some of Vanessa’s pieces in an amigurumi exhibition at the RESOBOX Gallery in NYC from Dec 12th, 2014 to Feb 28th, 2015.

 

Review of More Than A Granny by Shelley Husband

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Having published my own electronic book for iTunes (Crochet Pretty) recently, you can imagine that I am a big fan of self-publishing and electronic books. I think it’s the way forward for anyone who wants to see their name on the cover of a book. Why wait for a publisher to contact you with a book deal if you can get your laptop and camera out and do it yourself? (Of course I will DEFINITELY not say no to a book deal! A hard copy  book in a bricks and mortar book shop is still a huge dream of mine.)

Getting back to self-publishing, I’d like to introduce you to a fellow self-publisher, Shelley Husband. Shelley is a very talented blog and Instagram buddy of mine. We  “met” when she asked to use my free Granny Square In Bloom pattern for her Crochet Along back in September 2013. Since then I’ve been hooked (I’m not going to ask to be excused for that pun) on her Spincushions Instagram feed and Spincushions blog.

Shelley’s electronic book of 20 granny squares, More Than A Granny, is available at Amazon for Kindle, on iTunes, kobo and Barnes & Noble. The book is available in US and UK crochet terms versions. Read what Shelley says about her book over on her blog here.

All the patterns from More Than A Granny are also in the Ravelry database. Check them out here.

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I love the cover of the book, don’t you? So colourful and it tells you exactly what you can expect.

As soon as I got my hands on More Than A Granny I knew this was going to be difficult. Difficult to decide on a square that is. Each and every one of the 20 squares are so pretty and Ihavetomakeitable.

In the end I decided to use Dawnie to make a tray mat for my ugly black tray. I use the tray to take the teapot, milk jug and mugs to the living room but it’s black. It’s a great shape, but the colour is so not me. I needed a tray mat to soften the black and match my teapot. Dawnie in light green cotton was perfect!

tray mat

Dawnie is a beautiful square with an open flowery design in the centre. Shelley called it as Dawnie because it reminded her of dawn and the sun rising over fields. I love this!

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Because I needed a square without raised stitches (don’t want my milk jug toppling over) I couldn’t go for the equally beautiful Ridge, Lottie or Dogwood. These beauties are definitely still on my to-hook list. Shelley really does design very interesting and beautiful granny squares!

The instructions for Dawnie was very clear and easy to follow. Shelly doesn’t tell you when to change colours, rather leaving it up to the crocheter to decide. You can of course use the accompanying photos for each pattern as a guide for the colour changes. You could also do what I did and make the whole square in one colour. This way the design of the square does all the talking – not the mix of colours.

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What I like about More Than A Granny is that you can have a good play with all the squares and mix and match them to make a unique blanket or cushion. Shelley gives suggestions at the beginning of each pattern of which square would look good with the one you are making.

I would highly recommend More Than A Granny. It’s available in lots of ebook formats, the patterns are beautiful, it’s well written and you will be able to make a myriad of crochet pieces with the 20 beautiful granny squares.

Well done Shelley, you have a great book and I wish you tons and tons of sales!

 

 

 

 

Crochet Pretty on Ravelry and a bit about housework

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Crochet Pretty book cover

How are you all doing today?

My living room is quite a bit emptier now that the 17 blankets have gone to the Royal London Hospital. I’ve been crocheting like a hooker possessed the past couple of months. Apart from joining up the blankets for CFK3, I had baby booties and baby blankets to make for colleagues, the ten patterns for Crochet Pretty, something Summery for I Like Crochet Magazine’s June 2015 issue, a design for another magazine due out October 2015, I made a beanie for a friend and today I’ll be working on squares from Shelley Husband’s book More Than a Granny. (I’ll be doing a full review of her book next week.) That’s a lot of hooky action! Oh, and my Crochet Mood Blanket is stuck on 24 June 2014 – there’s a lot of catching up to do with that blanket!

But before I sit down to crochet I wanted to quickly let you know that you can see the 10 accessory patterns from my iBook Crochet Pretty over on Ravelry. Just click here.

Bummer. I just had a look around the living room again. I think a good hoovering is called for. Probably a bit of dusting too. And the laundry basket needs attention rescue. I would love to get going with Shelley’s granny squares but I wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy the hooky action knowing that I still have to The Housework. Dyson first, PG Tips & Stylecraft Cotton second. Priorities blah blah blah.

I’m going in. Wish me luck.

 

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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