I've only gone and taken part in my very first vlog!
Eleanor from Knit Nottingham invited me along to her wonderful yarn shop in the centre of Nottingham to make a guest appearance in her Vlog a Day April. I was super excited that she'd asked me, albeit a little daunted about speaking in front of the camera unrehearsed! Either way a great opportunity not to be missed.
Ay Up Duck!
After seeing my Ay Up Duck Cushion all over Instagram and Facebook Eleanor had fallen in love! She approached me back in January as she was super eager to stock the pattern in her shop. I have been selling my patterns for a few months over on Etsy but this was my first pattern to be developed into a printed version, how very exciting!
Eleanor and I have been chatting for months, planning and plotting our exciting collaboration and now my Ay Up Duck Cushion crochet pattern is printed and will be available to purchase exclusively from Knit Nottingham this May. Never fear, if you can't wait that long, you can purchase a downloadable copy over in my Etsy shop right now... go, go get your copy right now and hook up your duck!
Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day
Join me and Eleanor and all of her fabulous customers on Saturday 6th May at Knit Nottingham to celebrate Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day. There will be an open house in the shop, bring your crochet and knitting, have a giggle, drink tea (or bring a bottle and sip wine later on in the day!) eat cake and relax surrounded by a bunch of fellow creatives. Don't forget to bring your pennies too as there will be new yarns (AND PATTERNS!!) available as well as Eleanor's full stock range. And if you're lucky, I may even sign a pattern or two! What's not to love, right?! Get it in your diary.
" Knit Nottingham is an award winning, independent yarn shop in the heart of Nottingham. Founded in 2010 by Eleanor Burke, LLB escapee seeking refuge in her sticks and string. Since then, she's built up the most amazing, positive, affirming and conscientious little business, right in the heart of Nottingham.
As the only (and therefore best!) local and independent yarn shop in Nottingham City Centre, Knit Nottingham like to be involved in all things crafty and social! They organise regular pub meets, knit and crochet alongs and a number of shop parties each year. Knit Nottingham was based on Mansfield Road for five years, but earlier this year they found the perfect place to move to on Trinity Walk, right in the heart of Nottingham! "
If you haven't stopped by Knit Nottingham yet then its a must visit when you're next in Nottingham.
Please do let me know how I did in my first ever vlog. I bloody enjoyed it and would love to have a go myself one day.... I'll add it to that humongous to do list!! Oooo I wonder what you'd like to hear me talk about? Answers on a postcard please!
Celebrate April with me!
It's only bloomin' 6th April already!
To celebrate the best month of the year I thought I'd create my very own Instagram Challenge. Mainly to encourage myself to post more thoughtful, engaging posts but also to celebrate a fabulous time of year, Springtime. A time for warmth, happiness, a burst of colour, new life, and longer days. Oh how I'm loving the longer days, the light nights are a breath of fresh air. Oh and April is a month filled with Birthdays and celebrations, woohoo!! Who else is an April baby?
I have purposely kept the challenge to two weeks long because I know a full month can be bloomin' overwhelming. I just knew I wouldn't be able to keep up with a 30 day challenge. Been there and failed. I think I only got to about Day 16 of #yarnlovechallenge back in February and then dropped in and out when I liked the sound of the prompt.
Here's a few of my favourite images from #yarnlovechallenge...
If you would like to join in my Celebrate April Challenge here's how:
The 14 prompts I have listed are totally up to your interpretation. Take them literally or dream up something wacky. It’s up to you!
Have fun folks. I look forward to seeing your images and reading your thoughts.
For anyone that knows me well knows that I love a good clear out, a clear house means a clear mind! And at this time of year, when Mr Sunshine starts to makes more of an appearance, what better time to have a big spring clean.
The more and more I try to juggle being a mum and wife, the day job and my wonderful creative business, the more I seek a work space of my own. Somewhere I can store all of my lovely yarns, workshop supplies, and inspiring books away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life.
At the moment my creative world appears all over the house, there are baskets and baskets of yarn everywhere. Whilst it's nice to have all of my things to hand, I'm beginning to feel bogged down by the shear amount. I need to de-clutter my home and my mind.
Inspired by the Mollie Makes Big Comic Relief Crafternoon I thought what better excuse to arrange a colourful sale event of my own. The Crochet Clinic Stash Buster Sale event was born.
It felt so good to bring all of my stash together in one place and have a good sort out. Now that I am designing more of my own patterns its so important to keep track of what yarn brands, types and amounts I'm using so it was out with the old and in with the new. Ok, so I haven't bought any new yarn for a while but I do have a consistent range of go to yarns that I have been using so they've stayed and all of the acrylic DK yarn and fancy bits and bobs from my uni days were sorted, tidied up and offered out for sale at bargain prices to you lovely lot in my Stash Buster Sale. As well as yarn there were books, papercrafts and sewing goodies to be had.
On the day, I roped two of my favourite girlies into helping me and we lugged boxes and boxes of crafty goodies in to the entrance of Tesco Bulwell Extra for a fun filled day of colour and creativity. The event ran from 11am - 2pm on Sunday 19th March, 2017.
Not only was my stash up for grabs on the two large sale tables there was the opportunity to enter the raffle and take part in my kids craft activity too.
The raffle went down really well and there were eight lucky winners who took home prizes. I think my fabulous sister, Gemma wins the medal for most tickets sold on the day! Here she is deep in ticket selling mode...
Something for the kids
Yarn is such a versatile material to work with, it comes in so many different textures, colours and fibres. I was keen to get the kids involved at this event and introduce them to the world of fibre arts. We're all familiar with knitting, crochet and weaving but what else can we use yarn for?
There are just far too many possibilities to consider so I headed off to Pinterest for inspiration. You can see a few of my favourite yarn based kids craft ideas here. In the end I opted to make paper plate dream catchers. It seemed the right choice of craft as the money we were raising could help make someones dreams come true.
What is a dream catcher? Dream catchers are arts and crafts of the Native American people and are usually decorated with beads and feathers. They are said to capture good spirits and allow the sleeper to have peaceful, beautiful dreams. This project just seemed perfect!
The girls and I mocked up a few samples for the event, probably more than we really needed but they were just so much fun to make! On the day we had a steady flow of mini crafters, I would like to introduce you to some of Bulwell's finest creatives...
Everyone that took part in our craft did such an amazing job. So much better than I could have ever imagined. Their designs were imaginative and the use of colour was to die for. Great job kids, I'm so proud of your well thought out designs, use of colour and pattern and I hope your dream catchers hang proudly above your beds to allow for wonderful dream filled sleep.
I love my pom pom beard!
Hands up who's been following my beard adventures on Instagram?! After seeing the pom pom beard created by Lauren O'Farell from Deadly Knitshade for the Mollie Makes Big Crafternoon Magazine I was in love. I knew instantly I had to make one of my own. My initial thoughts were to have a mini photobooth area at my event for people to use my pom pom beard and other wacky handmade props to take selfies but I just couldn't let go. I have grown fond of my beard and I did not want to share!
As you can see here and over on Instagram I have shared my beard with a special select few...
Get your copy of Mollie Makes Magazine to get started on your very own pom pom beard.
I would like to thank everyone that made my fundraiser event a huge success. Thank you to everyone that purchased from my sale, everyone that entered my raffle, thank you to those that throw a pound or two into our buckets and a massive thank you to my very special helpers.
Gemma and Laura, I couldn't have done it all without you, you made the day fun and were super friendly, helpful sales girls. Thank you Dad for helping set up, taking photos and for donating all of the balloons to decorate the place. Thank you Sean for cutting out all of the paper plates for the kids crafts and for putting up with the mess at home whilst I prepared for the event. And finally thank you to Margaret for donating some of her stash to the sale to give you all an even more varied range of goodies to choose from.
firstname.lastname@example.orgThis event was a first for me and I feel it was a huge success. I hope to organise more family friendly events in the future as well as continue to build my monthly Crochet Clinic. Please let me know what you thought. What would you like to see next time? Would you like to get involved? Did you buy anything from the Stash Buster Sale?
Comment below or send an email to email@example.com, I'd love to hear from you. If you're on social media and want to share your makes from your Stash Buster purchases please use hashtag #crochetaprilfundraiser, I can't wait to see the journey my stash has made!
"I'm April and it's my mission to get people crocheting/crafting"
Being In Colourful Company is the best kind of company!
Sunday was a fun day filled with colour. My fabulous friend Jo from Hello Sunshine, who I have been buddies with for fifteen years (bloomin fifteen years... where has that time gone!) invited me along to a wonderful event called In Colourful Company Nottingham.
I was so excited about joining in the fun. Having a child free day, with a bunch of creatives, what's not to be exciting about, right! I wasn't too sure what to expect. I had stalked the Facebook pages and browsed Instagram but I couldn't picture where our hosts would be taking us. The idea of the event is for a bunch of creatives to come together in their most colourful of clothing and explore a new city capturing the journey along the way. The event happens monthly (I think?!) so look out for one near you. I think the next one is in Leeds on 27th May.
I was ridiculously nervous beforehand but I'm so glad I went. I still have work to do when it comes to mingling and putting myself out there though. I didn't speak to many people outside of my group or join in many of the group photos or boomerangs but its a big bloomin start. I got to hang out with two of my oldest friends Jo and Sarah from Art foundation, put faces to the names I'd been following online as well as be overwhelmingly inspired by the entire day.
I often feel isolated, juggling everything in my life. Creativity is a huge part of me, within the day job as a graphic designer and marketing assistant, within family life (juggling home, activities, outings, meals, tantrums....!!!) and obviously within my crochet business, when I manage to squeeze in anytime that is. It often gets a little overwhelming at times. It was nice to take time out of real life and be inspired by my surrounding and the wonderful ladies I shared the day with, with no purpose other than to capture the moment and make a few new friends along the way. Bliss!
Here is just a few of my favourite photos from the day....
Jo and I met on our Art foundation year and she is probably one of my biggest creative inspirations. We started out craft fairing together way back when, sharing tables and exciting adventures. (We've definitely done our fair share of dodgy craft fairs in our time.) I then went off to buy a house, become a wife and have babies and Jo turned her artistic vision into the amazing creative business she runs today. I bloody love this girl and her passion. We all need a bit of sunshine in our lives.
Colourful company is most definitely the best company to keep. I feel my style is pretty colourful, I like to express my creativity through what I wear but Sunday has made me realise creativity comes from within, it is beautiful when shared and I am so thankful to have been apart of such a wonderful event. I super hope to get along to more and meet these fabulous people again. Thank you to each and everyone of you that made Sunday's colourful photowalk a brilliant day out.
Thanks my lovelies
February is jam packed with some amazing events and pattern releases.
I'm excited to share with you, not just one but two, brand new patterns. They are definitely the cutest I've designed so far, so much so I almost lost them before getting a photograph of them as my girlies have already put dibs on the one they want.
Join me this February for a spot of crochet...
Who's going to have a guess at what they are? Sneak peak at two brand new crochet patterns to be released February 2017. I may even do a couple of custom orders, I love making them that much. Who'd like one?
Visit me Etsy shop to view my full range of patterns.
I have a busy month ahead of me, I'm looking forward to meeting some more amazingly creative people and hearing all your feedback. Dont forget to leave me a comment so I know you're listening.
Like with anything new you try confidence comes with time and practice. If you have the right instructor and you practice enough, you’re sure to be able to crochet with confidence. Easier said than done, right?!
Whether you’ve never picked up a hook before or you’re just starting out and feeling overwhelmed, I hope you find this post useful. The same also goes for seasoned crocheters in need of a confidence boost. With the right guidance, I believe, anyone can give crochet a go.
Where do you start?
With so many books, YouTube videos and creative workshops out there, which one do you choose? The answer is, the one that is right for you. So, which one is right for you?
I, like many of my students, prefer to learn from a real person, right there in front of me, guiding and encouraging me and telling me where I’m going wrong. Others are happy to sit at home and teach themselves via the internet, YouTube or trawl through books for the most appropriate tutorial for their learning style.
So, which type of learner are you?
Whichever way you learn, confidence cannot be taught. Confidence comes from within. I taught my first workshop of the year the other day, I was joined by four ladies who lacked confidence with crochet. Almost all of them had had a go at crochet before but just couldn't quite get to grips with it. This is where I came in.
How to feel Confident!
Simply, take baby steps, practice lots (and lots, and lots), ask for help, experiment with materials and take your time. You are not going to be crocheting master pieces on your first try and yes, no doubt, there will be lots of frogging, yay, new word… frogging means pulling your work out… Not your hair out!
I would start by learning the stitches, finding a comfortable way to hold your hook and yarn and relax. Simple squares work better than long continuous rows as you will gain more of a sense of accomplishment. One of the worst things you could do is start an elaborate project to then become bored of the repeat. Squares allow you to play around with colours and textures easily and they can then be joined together to make a blanket or cushion cover for example.
Within my Introduction to Crochet workshops I always begin by explaining that everyone's crochet journey is different. Some struggle to grasp the basics in the early stages (I know it took my Granny a while to teach me those many years ago) and others pick things up very easily, just like Tracey who attended my January Introduction to Crochet Workshop. Within the three hour session Tracey mastered the chain stitch, double crochet, treble crochet, double treble as well as experimenting with the shell stitch.
"But I just can't seem to get it. I don't think crochet is for me!"
The beauty of crochet is that it only requires two things to begin, a hook and some yarn. Ok, so patience, willingness to learn, creativity, and an interest to create with yarn are also required but if you’re reading this then you’re almost there! Of course, the right teacher also helps!
Often, the yarn or hook type you choose can determine whether your first experience of crochet is a success or not. The best way to start is to purchase a value ball of yarn and a basic crochet hook. Choosing a yarn that is too textured or the wrong colour can prove to be a nightmare. For instace, never choose a dark coloured yarn whilst you're practising as you will struggle to see the stitches. These challenges may be what are holding you back from feeling confident and moving forward with your crochet journey. I use double knit (DK) acrylic yarn in my beginners classes and a 4mm crochet hook. Stylecraft yarn is a great yarn option as it comes in a huge range of colours, I buy mine from Knitworking in Gedling but you can also buy online.
Did you know?
Remember, learning to crochet is a journey and there will be bumps along the way. Take regular breaks, stretch your shoulders, wriggle your fingers and enjoy. Once you find a comfortable way of holding your hook and yarn, which is often the hardest thing to master, you'll be away. Start small and your confidence will grow. Jumping in at the dead end can only mean disaster!
I run a monthly Crochet Clinic which is a great place to gain support when you're struggling, be inspired by others and crochet in a social environment. If you're not local to Nottingham then why not see what craft groups are running in your area. Knit and Natter, Craft and Chat, Stitch and Bitch are just a few terms you could pop into a Google search.
Be confident my lovelies, you can do this! Happy Crocheting!
Introducing the Joshua blanket
Following on from my last post about my best friend Nicky’s crochet baby shower and the excitement around the birth of her third bundle of boy, I would like to introduce you to baby Joshua and his completed memory blanket.
I have loved everything about this blanket. I love that it’s for one of my closest friends, I love that all of her nearest and dearest have crocheted bits of it, I am blown away by the colour choice (its bloody lush!) and I love that as Joshua entered the world, the now very cold world here in Nottingham he was instantly wrapped up in this handmade beaut!
I will be writing this pattern up shortly and it will be available over in my Etsy shop… when I get round to it of course, in between Christmas prep, house duties, being mum, employment and the like! If you haven’t already spied it via social media, keep your eyes peeled for another colourway coming soon.
Thanks for reading my lovelies.
Whether you’re planning a birthday treat, hen do surprise or beautiful baby shower, get crafty and learn to crochet! Thats just what my bestie Nicky did!
Nicky and I have been friends since childhood, we lost contact for awhile when we went off to university but were reunited when we both had our second child. With two years of weekly playdates and another bundle of cuteness on the way, Nicky not me, we're closer than ever. This is why I was so excited when she asked me to host a crochet baby shower at her home for her friends and family.
Nicky and I chatted in length about what kind of crochet party she wanted. Nicky chose the granny square project and the yarn colours, which I have to add are to die for, and I provided all the materials and equipment for the session along with my years of crochet experience.
Crochet granny squares are super addictive and a fun 'together' project. Nicky and her friends worked as a group to create an array of beautiful crochet squares which I will patchwork together into a fabulous keepsake blanket for the baby. See Part 2 for the big reveal.
I'm in love with the whole creative baby shower concept as everyone close to the mum and baby create a little piece of love that can be treasured forever. Yuk, I know right, but I think it's brilliant.
Nicky invited ten of her closest girlies and we all enjoyed an afternoon of crochet and cake. Most of the group were beginners with only a couple who'd crocheted before. 'April' 'April' was called from all sides of the room and I darted around the group as best I could to offer my support where needed. It was a busy old afternoon but I loved it. As you can imagine there was lots of giggles and girly banter.
Tea, wine, cake and crochet, what more could you ask for. It was a perfect afternoon. There was a constant supply of fabulous refreshments courtesy of Nicky herself. (Not that I got to sample much of it because I was so busy!) And a beautiful afternoon tea lovingly created by the talented Gemma May Cakes (who just so happens to be my big sister). If you haven't already sampled her delights, pop over to her Facebook page and have a gander.
Creative get togethers are becoming a more and more popular option when celebrating a birthday, hen do or baby shower. If you know someone that's creative and wants to learn a new skill then why not get in touch. I love sharing my knowledge and love of crochet with others and what better excuse than a gathering of friends with tea, wine or cake or even better, all of the above!
Thanks for reading my lovelies.
Does anyone ever feel like they’ve taken on too much? This week I have had those feelings. Don’t get me wrong I am more organised and prepared for things than I have ever been but this week it has all got on top of me.
It’s so natural to want to compare myself to others and feel left behind but I have to constantly remind myself I am not them, I am my own person with my own ideas, I am also a mum of two beautiful girls and work a part time job, a job which is currently super hectic.
Many of my competitors /creative peers run their businesses full time and don’t have children or if they do they are older and time is more flexible. I am not saying their lives are easy by any means but circumstances are different so I cannot compare, I must not compare! (I must NOT compare!)
This week I have been very low. My brain has said one thing (strong positive thoughts) but my body and emotions have said another. I am feeling exhausted. My girls have been testing and the house has felt tense. No one thing has been a trigger but it’s been hard to shift that mood. I want so much for each element and love in my life but sometimes somethings got to give and that thing this time is my business.
If I take anything from these feelings it is that life is short, it's to be lived and appreciated and often I can lose track of this.
As we move closer to the weekend and I plan some exciting activities I slowly feel these feelings shifting. I have a super awesome crochet baby shower to host tomorrow for my bestie who is due her third little bundle of joy in just a few short weeks. Hubby and I are also having a massive sort out of stuff to charity shop or sell… and there’s a lot. I do love a good clear out and am so excited to get stuck in. A clear house means a clear mind, just the tonic I think! I know this might seem strange but I’m sure I’m not the only one with an addiction to organisation! It's going to make me feel so happy to tick this off the to do list.
So, the to do list! If you have to have one thing on your to do list it is to have a to do list. I cannot function properly unless I have all of my thoughts scribbled down in my notebook, this applies to all aspects of life. I have a jobs list for home, an action plan list for my creative biz and I even have a list with lists I need to create.
I've not ticked much off my to do list for a few days but its not for want of trying. I keep finding more things to fill my time and the list keeps getting bigger. This blog post for instance wasn't on the to do list but I just had to share my words with you. Not sure if any of this is of any interest to anyone but for those that have taken the time to read my ramblings I thank you. Its amazing how my woes are lifting after just a few words. Here's to a productive and motivational weekend.
Happy Friday folks!
Curious about crochet!
Curious? Who’s Curious? I am. On Saturday I joined the lovely ladies over at Curious for my first crochet workshop of the new season.
If you haven’t heard about Curious then you’re in for a treat. Curious? Is the working studio of artists and makers Sarah Manton (theSarahManton), Sarah Sewell (Wildgoose Designs) and Jess Kemp (Jakinthegreen). The girls have 3 fantastic units in the newly renovated Sneinton Market avenues in Nottingham. One is their shared studio space and the other two are where they invite local artists and talented folk to run creative workshops.
This is where I come in. I feel so privileged to have been invited to run my crochet workshops at this wonderful location. Just like my own business Curious is a brand new venture and it’s so exciting to be joining their collaboration from the very start.
Saturday saw my first crochet workshop back after months of prep and launch mayhem. I kicked started my workshops with an Introduction to Crochet class. I was joined by four talented ladies who all had their own stories to tell about their crochet journeys so far, one of which was Curious' Jess Kemp herself.
Beginners crochet workshops are my favourite because students come in feeling lost and go away with the skills and confidence to tackle their crochet desires. In this session we covered holding the hook and yarn, creating a foundation chain, double crochet, treble crochet and then moved onto producing a couple of granny squares. Not bad for a 2.5 hour workshop, oh I almost forget we learnt how to change colour too!
Here's a picture summery of our day...
I bloomin’ love to teach and hope to see some of you soon at my future workshops and events.
So what’s coming up?
I have a Crochet Squares workshop in October, Crochet Colourwork in November and then I am working on a special Christmas themed workshop for December. All of these workshops are great for experienced beginners and by experienced beginners I mean anyone that knows how to hold their hook and yarn and produce the basic stitches… Is that you?
If you’re in to crochet but not keen on joining a scheduled crochet workshop then why not pop along to Crochet Clinic on the first Wednesday of the month. Crochet Clinic is a drop in social session suitable for anyone wanting a bit of guidance or inspiration, plus there’s tea and cake on tap.
Thanks for reading my lovelies. Tatar for now.