A (Very) Late Spring Clean

Yes yes, I am aware that its almost summer but better later than never I suppose.

Last year I decided to take a big break from designing crochet patterns to really focus on improving my skills and researching how other successful pattern designers write so well.

Well, I am not ready to start designing just yet, although I have some ideas in my head, but I thought it about time I reviewed some of my old patterns.

And my goodness aren’t they terrible! Some of them are written so badly, some are just plain ugly, there’s spelling error galore! But to my dismay, there is no way to delete a pattern from Ravelry. So I set about trying to find a solution to remove my hideous contributions to Ravelry. And I happened across this very handy blog post by Blackstone Designs.

So I created this little icon.

And I went through my Ravelry and addressed all of my problem patterns. I also went through my blog and replaced the retired patterns with a note to explain that it is no longer available.

The last 4 patterns I have decided to re write and re photograph. Perhaps even with photo tutorials. I may even make PDF’s!

I hope that this will help me to feel less weighed down and cluttered when I get back in to designing. If nothing it removes some of the frankly embarrassing “designs…?” I came up with years ago!

Goodness me!

Hello all! I am still here I promise. I have been on a training course as you know, the starting point of my Apprenticeship in Railway Infrastructure and Operations as it required by my job as a signaller. I really didn’t anticipate how much this would fill up my life. And unfortunately, my blog has been put on the back burner. Last week we had our first exam. This week we have our second observation. It is very full on so I have had little time to crochet! However, I did manage to finish my Kindred Spirits scarf yesterday. Unfortunately, living in a hotel I have no access to my good quality photography equipment so pictures will have to wait until I get home at the weekend. I hope to get you updated asap on my crochet. Now, what can I crochet next?

A Big Destash

Recently I have been looking at my stash and suffering extreme choice fatigue. And I realised that you can, in fact, have too much yarn. I have so much yarn that I bought because it was on sale or because I thought I wanted to make something with it but then never got around to it and now the inspiration is gone. So I decided to sort out my Yarny life.

First, I had to clear up my stash on ravelry. I discovered (after 6 years on Ravelry) the feature that allows me to remove yarn from my stash and place it into an ‘All Used Up’ folder. And all of a sudden my digital stash shrunk almost in half! I went from a tally of 157 to 90.

Then, I went through all of my yarn in my draws and cupboards and boxes and god knows where else, and assessed all of my yarn. Does this bring me joy. Am I still excited for or do I even remember what I had intended this for? If I didn’t love it, In the ebay pile it went. And my goodness, I was surprised by just how much yarn I no longer wanted:

5.85kg of yarn gotten rid of. That bought my digital stash on Ravelry down to 73.

Whilst chugging along I also organised all of my odds and ends into one location. The leftovers from other projects that still contain enough yardage for a small hat. I intend to turn these into hats for charity. Once they have been used up, my digital stash will have gone down to 62.and I have also resolved to use up all of my odds and ends of Cotton yarns in my OFAPUK stash, before starting a new skein.

Now I intend to cease purchasing new yarn (We shall wait and see how strong my will power is on this one) wherever possible, so in theory, the only new entry into my stash will be the WYS The Croft which I intend to buy with the Wool Warehouse vouchers I received from my Fiance just as soon as they are back in stock in the Colourways I want.

Now I feel much more organised and my craft drawers are much less over stuffed and I can focus on the projects that really excite me. If I can abstain from unnecessary yarn purchases until September then I will have more nmoney to spend at Yarndale, which would be an absolute dream!

What a year! 

Goodness. What a year 2018 has been. I feel like it has been my best year so far. And here is why. 

1. I lost 20kg. I started the year at 114kg and now I am 94kg. I started the year in a size 24/26 trousers, and now I am a 16. I havent been a size sixteen since I was 16 (thats a decade ago!) So I am really proud of myself. I am the lightest I have been my entire adult like.

2. We have booked our wedding venue! We have a date to work towards and a location and everything is starting to gain momentum! Yahooo.

3. I made a huge effort to get better at photography. I think my photography skills have improved massively this year.

4. I also made a massive effort to learn about design and new techniques – the quality of my stitching has come on a long way and I have learnt many new skills. Filet, Brioche, Lace, etc. I made my first, and second and third sweater, and I now feel like I could tackle anything. 

5. I got a new job! Which I will be starting on january 14th. I am super excited as this is the start of my dream career. I decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted to move on in the business, so I did everything I could to improve my skills and experiences. And here I am. 

When I think back to why I had such a great year, I think it comes down to one thing – I didnt set myself lots of goals. Instead I just decided that this would be the year I got it done. This would be the year of progress. And it was. 

And how about 2019?

Well, 2019 will be the year of new beginnings and learning. I will be heading off to signaller training school to start a year long apprenticeship to qualify as a signaller with Network Rail. It will be a lot of hard work. Lots of exams, simulations, studying. So my goal this year is just to learn as much as I can and enjoy the start of my new career. 

I am also hopeful that by the end of 2019 we will have got all of our finances in order and will have purchased or begun the legal processes of purchasing a house. 

And in 2019, I need to make a start on wedding flower making! It will be a mammoth understaking but exciting at the same time!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope you have a wonderful time with your family or friends or whoever you are spending it with. And I hope you got lots of yarny goodness! I certainly did. 

Rhapsodye yarn from step grandma in law, Shawl project books from mother and stepfather in law, and then Stolen Stitches, Gamer Crafting and Sylvan Tiger Yarn from mum and dad. I also have a £25 wool warehouse voucher! Yays! My family know me so well! 


Oh dear. 

I love my cat to peices but my god some days they test your patience. 

I am working nights right now and the other morning I happened to arrive home just as my Fiance was going out the door. I said morning and gave him a kiss and as he turned to leave then turned mach and said those anxidty enducing words: “Now dont be mad…” 

(Please excuse the awful lighting)

Whilst I had been at work that night max had been busy playing with my yarn! 

Luckily I was able to rescue it – at least this time she hasnt actually damaged it, she has just tangled it up, but I managed to untangle it. I think this must be her way of telling me its too nice to be sat in a drawer and I should make something with it. Watch this space.

I just dont know what it is that makes her so destructive! When I finish nights this week I have 3 weeks holiday. When I return from San Francisco. I plan to go through my crafting shelves and I will be slimming down my gear so hopefully I will make enough room for a clip lock box to keep my good quality yarns in! 

A Very Proud Teacher

I have taught my very first person to crochet! How exciting. I am checking in today to share her progress! 

My colleague and friend Niculina has been wanting to learn from me for a while but we never got around to it. What with me leaving for a new job in a few months she became more persistent and this week whilst we have been working nights together we have finally gotten around to it! 

First I taught her double.

Then single.

Then triple. 

Then I challenged her to half doubles, stars and bobbles and she didnt dissapoint!

I mean WOW. There are a dew tension  issues here and there but she is signifficantly better than I was at my first attempt – not once did she drop a stitch and she only had to be shown once or twice then she had it! 

We purchased some yarn together online so when that arrives we will have a crack at her first ever project – the 1hr Crochet Beanie by Make and Do Crew. Then once we have made that it will be time to try crochet in the round. I cant wait! 

The Great Declutter

Good afternoon all! I am incredibly pleased with my self. As you will premember, I have been making an effort to de-stash and declutter. I have been pulling out yarns from the back of my many boxes and using it up for christmas presents. 

Well yesterday, I took the next step. I sorted my yarn out and sent some of it to the charity shop. Yarn I wasnt going to use in all reality. I also sent some board games, some unlived and unworn handmade bits and bobs and a tonne of clothing that I never wore. (It was super easy – about a month ago I went through my wardrobe and packed away a bunch of clothes I dont wear but kept being reluctant to get rid of. By putting them in a box without the commitment of immediate disposal it was easier to be ruthless about what I do and dont need, and as a result, I managed to cut my wardrobe in half! You realise just how much you dont miss most of it.)

Anyways, back to the point. After the trip to the charity shop, I went through my vast stash. I had it stashed everywhere. The main site was 2 sets of draws in the spare room, then I also had a box in my Kallax unit, a bag stashed down the side of the kallax unit, a bag wedged into my book shelf and 2 bags in the cupboard under the stairs. I am very proud to say that now it occupies only the 2 drawer units in the spare room, and the box in the kallax unit – this is more a wip box, so stores just current projects. Previously it was stuffed to bursting with yarn I had bought and was too lazy to put away properly. Wahoooooo. Isnt it a great feeling to get organised.

I am also very pleased to report that I am so close to finishing my Hotel of Bees shawl! It is blocking as we speak so hopefully I will be able to share it with you in full soon! 

Secret Cinema

Oh My Gosh. Secret cinema was absolutely stunning! 

For anyone who doesnt know of Secret Cinema, its a fully immersive cinmea expenrience, where they rebuild the setting of the film, assign all attendees with carachters, costume requirements and agendas and when you get there on the day you get to be a part of the story that precedes the film you are going to see. 

The first time I went, it was Star Wars. They had rebuilt Tatooine and the Mos Eisly Bar. Later on we escaped Tatooine after a raid searching for rebels, and we flew off to the Death Star. They reenacted key moments from A New Hope, and you colud get imvolved in mossions involving many of the cast and then we watched The Empire Strikes Back, again with hey parts accompanied by live re-enactments. I went twice and was a mercenary (I designed and crocheted a vest for this costume which you can find here) then an X Wing pilot.  I got the tickets cheap as I had an actor friend who was in it but it was totally worth the full price. So when I saw they were doing a Blade Runner event, I just HAD to go! 

They assign you and identity and some identity documents, a Class and an agenda. They tell you what you are required to wear and what you are required to bring. When you book they only say it is Zone 2, no more until a week before you go. 

I these are the only 2 pictures I habe from the night as photography is strictly prohibited – in fact, before you enter they make you seal your phone away in a protective bag. 

They had rebuilt Downtown LA Chinatown. The bazzaar. They had even simulated the acid rain. They rebuilt the Snake Pit. The story concerned the Blackout that led to the Ban on Replicants. We became bart of the Blackwatch. It was so much fun. 

My carachter was Florence amd my partner was Franesco. We were Tannhauser Industrialists. Here was my costume:

As you will remember I made my own hat (it turned out more of a Facinator but you get the gist). 

First I crocheted a couple of roses. I made a semicircular fan of net. Then I layered the net, followed by the feathers then finally the roses onto a semicircle of felt then glued it to the base. 

I would urge anyone who is hesitating because of the price to just book it. You wont regret it. It may seem pricey (tickets start at around £50) but it is so worth it. In fact, its worth way more than it costs – its so much fun! I cant wait to see what they come up with next!

A Departure from Pattern Writing

Hello all. Welcome to a brand new week. I hope it is going to treat you well!

I have been thinking a bit over the weekend, about my crocheting, and I have come to a decision.

I am going to make a departure from pattern writing.

I love writing crochet patterns and one day I would love to be able to reach the levels of some of the wonderful blogs I follow – who are good enough to write books, collab with yarn brands and feature in magazines. But I need to improve my skills.

I really felt I learnt a lot from doing my last dance on the beach blanket, and so have decided I should focus on improving both my crochet and writing skills by learning from other peoples patterns.