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Just popping in from my 'half term' break to let you know that I've published the pattern for A Great Big Cwtch which you can pick up at an introductory price (this will differ depending on your VAT eligibility status) of £1.50 less than the normal price, for this weekend only. The price will go back up on Monday 27th February.

Find the pattern on Ravelry now!
The design was kept simple to show off the stripes in Scheepjes Secret Garden yarn which I reviewed here and so it is suitable for novice knitters, although one of my testers was a very experienced knitter who, like me, enjoyed the relaxing nature of this project.

You'll find all of the information you need on the Ravelry page, and there are lots more photos and more about the design on my earlier post.  Please note that this pattern was written specifically for this yarn and so substituting may not get the same results. You can purchase the yarn from Wool Warehouse (affiliate) and most other Scheepjes Stockists.

If you like the pattern and buy it or even just add it to your favourites (click the heart at the top right of the Ravelry page) this increases the chance of more people seeing it, which will be a great help. Thank you.

PS Special thanks to those who have already purchased the pattern as I've been writing this post, I am so grateful for your support. Happy knitting!!!! 

Design Notebook: 'A Great Big Cwtch' (available now!)

Just popping in from my 'half term' break to let you know that I've published the pattern for A Great Big Cwtch which you can pick up at an introductory price (this will differ depending on your VAT eligibility status) of £1.50 less than the normal price, for this weekend only. The price will go back up on Monday 27th February.

Find the pattern on Ravelry now!
The design was kept simple to show off the stripes in Scheepjes Secret Garden yarn which I reviewed here and so it is suitable for novice knitters, although one of my testers was a very experienced knitter who, like me, enjoyed the relaxing nature of this project.

You'll find all of the information you need on the Ravelry page, and there are lots more photos and more about the design on my earlier post.  Please note that this pattern was written specifically for this yarn and so substituting may not get the same results. You can purchase the yarn from Wool Warehouse (affiliate) and most other Scheepjes Stockists.

If you like the pattern and buy it or even just add it to your favourites (click the heart at the top right of the Ravelry page) this increases the chance of more people seeing it, which will be a great help. Thank you.

PS Special thanks to those who have already purchased the pattern as I've been writing this post, I am so grateful for your support. Happy knitting!!!! 

One of my intentions for 2017 is to try some different crafts so an email from Sarah at Evermore London asking if I'd like to try candle-making was irresistible - I love candles, and Evermore's Instagram account, and have never tried this craft before.

So here's the DISCLOSURE bit: The candle-making kit I used was kindly provided by Sarah for this project, but as always, all opinions are entirely my own. 


Being new to this craft, I didn't have the necessary equipment, but the kit included the following: 
  • Detailed instructions
  • 2 x 175g tin containers
  • 2 x glass bottles containing fragrances (I used coconut and lavender - both gorgeous!) 
  • 2 x packets of soy wax
  • 2 x cotton wicks
  • 2 x stickers
  • Tools to hold the wicks in place while the wax set 
  • Glue dots to hold the wick in place (there are spares too)
  • A glass thermometer
The only other things I needed were a saucepan, water, hob, a wooden spoon and an aluminium jug for melting the wax. I didn't have one of those (neither did my local shops but they are about £20 to buy online)  so used a smaller saucepan inside a larger one, to create a stove-top 'bain-marie' and this worked perfectly well for my first attempt, although a high-sided jug would have been easier as I had to be careful not to let the water touch the wax while stirring.


The process itself couldn't have been easier. To make a candle you first prepare the container by fixing the wick in place. Then melt the wax in the bain-marie. When it gets to the right temperature the fragrance is added, then you heat it some more (temperature information is provided). Finally pour it (carefully) into the container - again, a jug would have been easier, but the saucepan worked well enough.  

TOP TIP: Put the container onto a plate, or something that's easy to move, before pouring the wax in. I didn't think of that and then needed to move it elsewhere to be left overnight and obviously, it was hot!


Once the wax is poured, the little wooden tool can be used to hold the wick in place. Repeat the process with the other supplies for the second candle. After 8 hours the wax is set and you have two beautiful scented candles.

Lately, I am seeing a lot of talk about toxic fragrances and products that are commonly used in the home, especially where they are being inhaled, so I particularly like that this set contains organic essential oils with toxin-free fragrances, sustainably grown soy wax, and soy wax coated cotton wicks. They happen to smell divine.  

I really enjoyed this quick and easy project and found the kit to be perfect for my first attempt at candle making - thank you, Sarah! As you might expect from a luxury brand, the kit is beautifully presented with great attention to detail (that little wooden peg!) and would make a lovely gift - perhaps for a birthday, Mothers Day or as a thank you. If you would like to make the candles yourself, they would also be perfect for gifting individually. 


If you would like to give it a try, you can order the same kit from Evermore London for £45. Individual candles, room sprays and potpourri are also available and you can use the code FREEDEL to get free UK delivery on any orders over £40.

I have another new craft lined up for April already, let me know what you think I should try in the meantime! 

FO Friday: Candle Making


One of my intentions for 2017 is to try some different crafts so an email from Sarah at Evermore London asking if I'd like to try candle-making was irresistible - I love candles, and Evermore's Instagram account, and have never tried this craft before.

So here's the DISCLOSURE bit: The candle-making kit I used was kindly provided by Sarah for this project, but as always, all opinions are entirely my own. 


Being new to this craft, I didn't have the necessary equipment, but the kit included the following: 
  • Detailed instructions
  • 2 x 175g tin containers
  • 2 x glass bottles containing fragrances (I used coconut and lavender - both gorgeous!) 
  • 2 x packets of soy wax
  • 2 x cotton wicks
  • 2 x stickers
  • Tools to hold the wicks in place while the wax set 
  • Glue dots to hold the wick in place (there are spares too)
  • A glass thermometer
The only other things I needed were a saucepan, water, hob, a wooden spoon and an aluminium jug for melting the wax. I didn't have one of those (neither did my local shops but they are about £20 to buy online)  so used a smaller saucepan inside a larger one, to create a stove-top 'bain-marie' and this worked perfectly well for my first attempt, although a high-sided jug would have been easier as I had to be careful not to let the water touch the wax while stirring.


The process itself couldn't have been easier. To make a candle you first prepare the container by fixing the wick in place. Then melt the wax in the bain-marie. When it gets to the right temperature the fragrance is added, then you heat it some more (temperature information is provided). Finally pour it (carefully) into the container - again, a jug would have been easier, but the saucepan worked well enough.  

TOP TIP: Put the container onto a plate, or something that's easy to move, before pouring the wax in. I didn't think of that and then needed to move it elsewhere to be left overnight and obviously, it was hot!


Once the wax is poured, the little wooden tool can be used to hold the wick in place. Repeat the process with the other supplies for the second candle. After 8 hours the wax is set and you have two beautiful scented candles.

Lately, I am seeing a lot of talk about toxic fragrances and products that are commonly used in the home, especially where they are being inhaled, so I particularly like that this set contains organic essential oils with toxin-free fragrances, sustainably grown soy wax, and soy wax coated cotton wicks. They happen to smell divine.  

I really enjoyed this quick and easy project and found the kit to be perfect for my first attempt at candle making - thank you, Sarah! As you might expect from a luxury brand, the kit is beautifully presented with great attention to detail (that little wooden peg!) and would make a lovely gift - perhaps for a birthday, Mothers Day or as a thank you. If you would like to make the candles yourself, they would also be perfect for gifting individually. 


If you would like to give it a try, you can order the same kit from Evermore London for £45. Individual candles, room sprays and potpourri are also available and you can use the code FREEDEL to get free UK delivery on any orders over £40.

I have another new craft lined up for April already, let me know what you think I should try in the meantime! 
Sponsored post*. As always, all opinions are my own and completely honest.


When I was contacted about trying out some innovative knitting needles which had been 'reinvented for human hands', my reply with probably tinged with a hint of scepticism. I've tried lots of different needles and already have my favourites, but when I saw the promotional video my interest was piqued. Take a look and see what you think...



It's a good point. Technology has advanced so much since people have been knitting, maybe there could be a way to improve upon our fairly rudimentary tools. I agreed to take a look and a few days later sample Prym Ergonomics needles arrived from Germany. I was sent 6mm single pointed needles (35 cm long) and 4mm double pointed needles (20cm long) to try out.


The needles are made from 'high-performance synthetic material' which makes them light to hold, flexible and smooth. The lack of weight is immediately noticeable so I got the scales out. Each 4mm x 20cm DPN weighs just 3g. Compared with a standard metal DPN of the same size and length at 6.3g, this is quite a difference. Especially when you multiply that difference by five needles, over a long project. This can only be good news for hands and wrists, especially those that are sensitive to repetitive motion. (The 6mm x 35mm straight needles weigh 17.8g, but I didn't have anything to compare those with as I don't usually use straight needles.)

As well as the material, the shape of the Ergonomics is another unique selling point, and the name pretty much gives it away - they are indeed ergonomic. The main shaft is triangular which is very comfortable to hold. It also means that stitches glide very easily, and you don't need to shuffle them along. In my experience, swapping metal needles for (lighter weight) bamboo or plastic usually means plenty of shuffling and 'drag' so this is a great feature. But these are not triangular for the whole length of the needle.


Behind the tip is a rounded section of the shaft - this is where the stitches are formed. The tip has a 'drop-shape' (to me it's more of a teat-shape, actually) which is designed to make the picking up and guiding of the yarn easier. I can see how that would be the case for a new knitter, but as is isn't something I struggle with, for me they just let me knit quickly and quietly - my go-to needles have metal tips and apparently you can gauge my mood by the noise level - beware if the clickety-clacking is loud!

Each section transitions neatly into the next and it all adds up to a very nice knitting experience. When you've finished a row and are ready to put down your knitting, you can clip the needles together to secure the stitches. Why on earth hasn't this been done before? It seems so obvious now!

  
In the title, I questioned whether these might be game-changers, and I think they might well be.  They are pleasant and easy to knit with - the stitches glide easily and they really are so much lighter to use than more traditional needles. When I consider my grandmother who really struggles to knit due to severe arthritis in her hands and wrists, I think these would make a huge difference. I'll be interested to see what she makes of these. I also think they would make learning to knit easier, as they feel manageable and comfortable to hold, although I realise beginners might be hesitant to invest in them compared with the range of cheaper needles available (as with 'cheap' yarn, I consider that a false economy, but I do understand the sentiment).

Single- and double-pointed needles go on sale this week in Europe and circular needles will follow in the summer.  As a price guide, John Lewis will be stocking the needles for between £7 and £13 depending on the size/type. Prices may vary with other retailers. The full range will include:
  • Single-pointed needles in 35cm length between 3mm and 10mm, and in 40cm length between 3mm and 12mm gauge. 
  • Double-pointed needles which are 20cm long and available from 3mm to 8mm. 
  • Circular needles in two lengths (60cm and 80cm) also between 3mm and 12 mm. RRP to follow when they are released.
I'd really like to try 10mm straights to see whether they help alleviate the cramps I often get with larger needles and can't wait to get my hands on the circulars. The cables are steel which gives me hope (my usual brand has coated steel cables and I love the way they function). If these needles prove popular, then I hope it's also possible to make them with a smaller gauge - I usually knit socks on 2mm or 2.5mm needles and would love to try these tips out on a fiddly little project where I think they would really come into their own.

As soon as I have any further information about the circulars I'll be sure to update you. In the meantime, let me know what you think of these in the comments, especially if you've already had the chance to try them.

*post sponsored by VIRAL LAB.

Game-changing needles? Prym Ergonomics Review

Sponsored post*. As always, all opinions are my own and completely honest.


When I was contacted about trying out some innovative knitting needles which had been 'reinvented for human hands', my reply with probably tinged with a hint of scepticism. I've tried lots of different needles and already have my favourites, but when I saw the promotional video my interest was piqued. Take a look and see what you think...



It's a good point. Technology has advanced so much since people have been knitting, maybe there could be a way to improve upon our fairly rudimentary tools. I agreed to take a look and a few days later sample Prym Ergonomics needles arrived from Germany. I was sent 6mm single pointed needles (35 cm long) and 4mm double pointed needles (20cm long) to try out.


The needles are made from 'high-performance synthetic material' which makes them light to hold, flexible and smooth. The lack of weight is immediately noticeable so I got the scales out. Each 4mm x 20cm DPN weighs just 3g. Compared with a standard metal DPN of the same size and length at 6.3g, this is quite a difference. Especially when you multiply that difference by five needles, over a long project. This can only be good news for hands and wrists, especially those that are sensitive to repetitive motion. (The 6mm x 35mm straight needles weigh 17.8g, but I didn't have anything to compare those with as I don't usually use straight needles.)

As well as the material, the shape of the Ergonomics is another unique selling point, and the name pretty much gives it away - they are indeed ergonomic. The main shaft is triangular which is very comfortable to hold. It also means that stitches glide very easily, and you don't need to shuffle them along. In my experience, swapping metal needles for (lighter weight) bamboo or plastic usually means plenty of shuffling and 'drag' so this is a great feature. But these are not triangular for the whole length of the needle.


Behind the tip is a rounded section of the shaft - this is where the stitches are formed. The tip has a 'drop-shape' (to me it's more of a teat-shape, actually) which is designed to make the picking up and guiding of the yarn easier. I can see how that would be the case for a new knitter, but as is isn't something I struggle with, for me they just let me knit quickly and quietly - my go-to needles have metal tips and apparently you can gauge my mood by the noise level - beware if the clickety-clacking is loud!

Each section transitions neatly into the next and it all adds up to a very nice knitting experience. When you've finished a row and are ready to put down your knitting, you can clip the needles together to secure the stitches. Why on earth hasn't this been done before? It seems so obvious now!

  
In the title, I questioned whether these might be game-changers, and I think they might well be.  They are pleasant and easy to knit with - the stitches glide easily and they really are so much lighter to use than more traditional needles. When I consider my grandmother who really struggles to knit due to severe arthritis in her hands and wrists, I think these would make a huge difference. I'll be interested to see what she makes of these. I also think they would make learning to knit easier, as they feel manageable and comfortable to hold, although I realise beginners might be hesitant to invest in them compared with the range of cheaper needles available (as with 'cheap' yarn, I consider that a false economy, but I do understand the sentiment).

Single- and double-pointed needles go on sale this week in Europe and circular needles will follow in the summer.  As a price guide, John Lewis will be stocking the needles for between £7 and £13 depending on the size/type. Prices may vary with other retailers. The full range will include:
  • Single-pointed needles in 35cm length between 3mm and 10mm, and in 40cm length between 3mm and 12mm gauge. 
  • Double-pointed needles which are 20cm long and available from 3mm to 8mm. 
  • Circular needles in two lengths (60cm and 80cm) also between 3mm and 12 mm. RRP to follow when they are released.
I'd really like to try 10mm straights to see whether they help alleviate the cramps I often get with larger needles and can't wait to get my hands on the circulars. The cables are steel which gives me hope (my usual brand has coated steel cables and I love the way they function). If these needles prove popular, then I hope it's also possible to make them with a smaller gauge - I usually knit socks on 2mm or 2.5mm needles and would love to try these tips out on a fiddly little project where I think they would really come into their own.

As soon as I have any further information about the circulars I'll be sure to update you. In the meantime, let me know what you think of these in the comments, especially if you've already had the chance to try them.

*post sponsored by VIRAL LAB.
If you've been following this blog or my Instagram feed lately, you'll know that I've become more than a little obsessed with painting in my art journal. This year I'm following a few online art courses/prompts, although I will admit to picking and choosing, and to following them on my own terms. It's most nourishing when I get lost in the process, so having a fixed idea of how the finished piece should look doesn't really work for me, but I do love to have a good starting point. (This is also the reason I love to knit big plain items, that don't need much concentration.)

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links to Creativebug, including a free trial offer. If you choose to continue with the subscription after the trial, the fee if $4.99 a month for unlimited access to ALL classes across all disciplines. 

I've had my own Creativebug subscription for quite a long time but only stumbled upon this great class from 2016 in the last week or so - it went live when I was busy with knitting, and completely passed me by. Intuitive Painting with Flora Bowley is a three part lesson, which goes through everything from gathering inspiration to creating an abstract masterpiece on canvas (or paper, if you prefer) in over two and a half hours worth of tuition.

Images from Intuitive Painting class on Creativebug - used with permission

In Part 1, Flora shows how to gather inspiration - a doodle repertoire, if you like - from the local environment or from magazines and online images. You'll learn how to look at common objects differently and to record them with your phone or camera. You'll also make studies which will help you to incorporate these images into the layers of your paintings.


Part 2 is all about mark making and building up a visual reference library. Using brushes, fingers, food (!) and anything else which will produce and interesting texture or shape, you'll see how to create all sorts of motifs and marks.


Part 3 covers working on your main painting - in fact, Flora works on two canvasses at the same time, pulling together everything from the earlier lessons. It involves working in distinct layers which keeps the cool and warm colours from 'sludging' together (my own term) and how to build the painting using a mix of your own intuitive marks and the visual reference library from the earlier sessions.


I'm working in an art journal rather than on canvas but having SO much fun with the things I've learned so far. Most importantly, it isn't about the finished piece but the process of making it. I'm sharing these pictures here to illustrate that point - this one was incredibly fun but turned out really messy and dark - I wouldn't put it on the wall!


Below is my latest work in progress - I'm hoping to get a couple of hours to finish it this week and by then it might look nothing like this, but it really doesn't matter.

In progress: Abstract painting in my art journal

If intuitive painting (and having fun with paint) appeals to you too, I'd highly recommend giving it a go. Subscribers can find the class using the search bar, or by filtering the art classes, and if you're not a subscriber you can either buy the class as a one-off, or take a free trial subscription here.

As well as the Creativebug class, you may also like Flora's website and her latest book, Creative Revolution, which came out a few months ago and is about Personal Transformation through what she calls 'Brave Intuitive Painting'. It's on my wishlist!

Do you paint? Draw? Would you like to? Leave a comment and let me know! 

WIP: Intuitive Painting with Flora Bowley

If you've been following this blog or my Instagram feed lately, you'll know that I've become more than a little obsessed with painting in my art journal. This year I'm following a few online art courses/prompts, although I will admit to picking and choosing, and to following them on my own terms. It's most nourishing when I get lost in the process, so having a fixed idea of how the finished piece should look doesn't really work for me, but I do love to have a good starting point. (This is also the reason I love to knit big plain items, that don't need much concentration.)

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links to Creativebug, including a free trial offer. If you choose to continue with the subscription after the trial, the fee if $4.99 a month for unlimited access to ALL classes across all disciplines. 

I've had my own Creativebug subscription for quite a long time but only stumbled upon this great class from 2016 in the last week or so - it went live when I was busy with knitting, and completely passed me by. Intuitive Painting with Flora Bowley is a three part lesson, which goes through everything from gathering inspiration to creating an abstract masterpiece on canvas (or paper, if you prefer) in over two and a half hours worth of tuition.

Images from Intuitive Painting class on Creativebug - used with permission

In Part 1, Flora shows how to gather inspiration - a doodle repertoire, if you like - from the local environment or from magazines and online images. You'll learn how to look at common objects differently and to record them with your phone or camera. You'll also make studies which will help you to incorporate these images into the layers of your paintings.


Part 2 is all about mark making and building up a visual reference library. Using brushes, fingers, food (!) and anything else which will produce and interesting texture or shape, you'll see how to create all sorts of motifs and marks.


Part 3 covers working on your main painting - in fact, Flora works on two canvasses at the same time, pulling together everything from the earlier lessons. It involves working in distinct layers which keeps the cool and warm colours from 'sludging' together (my own term) and how to build the painting using a mix of your own intuitive marks and the visual reference library from the earlier sessions.


I'm working in an art journal rather than on canvas but having SO much fun with the things I've learned so far. Most importantly, it isn't about the finished piece but the process of making it. I'm sharing these pictures here to illustrate that point - this one was incredibly fun but turned out really messy and dark - I wouldn't put it on the wall!


Below is my latest work in progress - I'm hoping to get a couple of hours to finish it this week and by then it might look nothing like this, but it really doesn't matter.

In progress: Abstract painting in my art journal

If intuitive painting (and having fun with paint) appeals to you too, I'd highly recommend giving it a go. Subscribers can find the class using the search bar, or by filtering the art classes, and if you're not a subscriber you can either buy the class as a one-off, or take a free trial subscription here.

As well as the Creativebug class, you may also like Flora's website and her latest book, Creative Revolution, which came out a few months ago and is about Personal Transformation through what she calls 'Brave Intuitive Painting'. It's on my wishlist!

Do you paint? Draw? Would you like to? Leave a comment and let me know! 
This week sees the launch of a new crochet resource book by Edie Eckman called 'Every Which Way Crochet Borders'*. I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour to mark the launch for two reasons - it was Edie's Craftsy class on pattern writing for knitters that gave me the confidence to start publishing my own patterns, and two of her previous books - 'Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs' and 'Around the Corner Crochet Borders' - are essential resources in my own craft library. I'm sure the new addition will be no different and am happy to be sharing it with you today and giving you the chance to win a copy for yourself.

The new book includes a total of 139 patterns which can be used to make customised edging on your crochet projects. Each pattern includes step-by-step instructions for working in rounds or rows, charts, and in-depth notes on how to get perfect results when working around 90-degree corners. The designs would be perfect for finishing blankets, washcloths and many other projects - not necessarily crocheted. (How about adding a crochet border to a knitted shawl, a wool blanket or a felted jacket? That's covered too!)

With so many designs to choose from, you may wonder where to start, but you need not worry. At the back of the book you'll find a table of attributes so you can search by particular characteristics (e.g. reversible, open/lacy, textured, etc), plus a four-page visual directory so you can easily narrow down your options to suit your aesthetic.

The options range from simple to complex multicolour designs and are certain to get your creative juices flowing - they would add the perfect finishing touches to your own creations and patterns. Here are some of them...

 © 2017 by Edith L. Eckman. Photography by John Polak

I feel it's important to point out that this is a lot more than just a pattern book with a good indexing system. With her wealth of experience, Edie offers lots of advice on how to choose and work with the patterns and select yarns. She also talks about complimentary vs contrasting colours and how to customise the borders with elements of the main design.

If you've ever made something and the border affected the flatness of the main fabric, you'll appreciate the troubleshooting section, working with the stitch multiples and even how to 'fudge' the stitch counts to make it all work. If you're really impatient, there's even a 'quick start guide' (p30) so you can dive right in without reading the design concept chapter. It's as if everything has been thought of! UK crocheters should note that Edie's books use US crochet terms, and you'll find a handy conversion on page 29, although using the charts will be a huge help as they are the same in both 'languages'.

FREE PATTERN

Excerpted from Every Which Way Crochet Borders © 2017 by Edith L. Eckman. Photography by John Polak. Charts by Karen Manthey.

So that you can see how the patterns are presented, the publishers have kindly enabled me to share a pattern from the book. The finished border looks like this:
This is the accompanying chart:
And the written instructions are below, in US terms: 

Base rnd, each side: Multiple of 6 + 3 + corners.
Begin 5 sts to left of corner st.
Rnd 1: Ch 1, sc in first st, ch 3, skip 2 sts, *V-st in next st, [ch 3, skip 2 sts, sc in next st, ch 3, skip 2 sts, V-st in next st] to 1 st before corner, ch 3, skip 1 st, sc in corner st, ch 3, skip 1 st; rep from * around, ending last rep V-st in next st, ch 3, skip 2 sts, join with slip st to first sc.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same st, *ch 3, (dc, ch 3, dc) in center of next V-st, ch 3, sc in next sc; rep from * around, omitting last sc, join with slip st to first sc.
Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in same st, *ch 3, skip ch-3 space, (3 dc, picot-3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 space, ch 3, sc in next sc; rep from * around, omitting last sc, join with slip st to first sc. Fasten off.

Stitches & Notes
Picot-3: Ch 3, slip st in third chain from hook.
V-st (V-stitch): (Dc, ch 1, dc) in st or space indicated.

Pattern categories: Reversible, Medium, Undulating, Open/Lacy

'Every Which Way Crochet Borders' is available to order now - either in the spiral hardbound edition I've shown you here, or as an ebook. The spiral bound version is the same format (size, binding etc) as the Crochet Motifs book, so it makes the perfect companion on the shelf! 

About the Author: Edie Eckman is the best-selling author of Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs, and The Crochet Answer Book, and co-editor of Crochet One-Skein Wonders® and Crochet One-Skein Wonders® for Babies. A nationally celebrated crochet and knitting teacher, designer, writer, and editor, Edie lives in Waynesboro, Virginia. You can find her designs on Ravelry and visit her website here


You might also like: Fantastic Finishes - Edgings and Borders Craftsy class and 'Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs book. Edie has a selection of classes on Creativebug too - including knitting and crochet. Find them here.

Valentine Giveaway: One lucky reader can get a copy of the book courtesy of the publisher. To be in with the chance to win, all you have to do is to leave a comment below, letting me know how long you've been crocheting and who taught you. Leave your Ravelry/ IG name or another way to contact you if you win, and I'll randomly draw the winner on February 14th 2017. Good luck!

You can follow the rest of the blog tour posts by clicking the image below.


*Please note that while my copy of the book was provided by the publisher for review purposes, all opinions are entirely my own. Amazon, Craftsy and Creativebug affiliate links are included in this post. 


Online Crochet Class

Every Which Way Crochet Borders (& Free Pattern)

This week sees the launch of a new crochet resource book by Edie Eckman called 'Every Which Way Crochet Borders'*. I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour to mark the launch for two reasons - it was Edie's Craftsy class on pattern writing for knitters that gave me the confidence to start publishing my own patterns, and two of her previous books - 'Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs' and 'Around the Corner Crochet Borders' - are essential resources in my own craft library. I'm sure the new addition will be no different and am happy to be sharing it with you today and giving you the chance to win a copy for yourself.

The new book includes a total of 139 patterns which can be used to make customised edging on your crochet projects. Each pattern includes step-by-step instructions for working in rounds or rows, charts, and in-depth notes on how to get perfect results when working around 90-degree corners. The designs would be perfect for finishing blankets, washcloths and many other projects - not necessarily crocheted. (How about adding a crochet border to a knitted shawl, a wool blanket or a felted jacket? That's covered too!)

With so many designs to choose from, you may wonder where to start, but you need not worry. At the back of the book you'll find a table of attributes so you can search by particular characteristics (e.g. reversible, open/lacy, textured, etc), plus a four-page visual directory so you can easily narrow down your options to suit your aesthetic.

The options range from simple to complex multicolour designs and are certain to get your creative juices flowing - they would add the perfect finishing touches to your own creations and patterns. Here are some of them...

 © 2017 by Edith L. Eckman. Photography by John Polak

I feel it's important to point out that this is a lot more than just a pattern book with a good indexing system. With her wealth of experience, Edie offers lots of advice on how to choose and work with the patterns and select yarns. She also talks about complimentary vs contrasting colours and how to customise the borders with elements of the main design.

If you've ever made something and the border affected the flatness of the main fabric, you'll appreciate the troubleshooting section, working with the stitch multiples and even how to 'fudge' the stitch counts to make it all work. If you're really impatient, there's even a 'quick start guide' (p30) so you can dive right in without reading the design concept chapter. It's as if everything has been thought of! UK crocheters should note that Edie's books use US crochet terms, and you'll find a handy conversion on page 29, although using the charts will be a huge help as they are the same in both 'languages'.

FREE PATTERN

Excerpted from Every Which Way Crochet Borders © 2017 by Edith L. Eckman. Photography by John Polak. Charts by Karen Manthey.

So that you can see how the patterns are presented, the publishers have kindly enabled me to share a pattern from the book. The finished border looks like this:
This is the accompanying chart:
And the written instructions are below, in US terms: 

Base rnd, each side: Multiple of 6 + 3 + corners.
Begin 5 sts to left of corner st.
Rnd 1: Ch 1, sc in first st, ch 3, skip 2 sts, *V-st in next st, [ch 3, skip 2 sts, sc in next st, ch 3, skip 2 sts, V-st in next st] to 1 st before corner, ch 3, skip 1 st, sc in corner st, ch 3, skip 1 st; rep from * around, ending last rep V-st in next st, ch 3, skip 2 sts, join with slip st to first sc.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same st, *ch 3, (dc, ch 3, dc) in center of next V-st, ch 3, sc in next sc; rep from * around, omitting last sc, join with slip st to first sc.
Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in same st, *ch 3, skip ch-3 space, (3 dc, picot-3, 3 dc) in next ch-3 space, ch 3, sc in next sc; rep from * around, omitting last sc, join with slip st to first sc. Fasten off.

Stitches & Notes
Picot-3: Ch 3, slip st in third chain from hook.
V-st (V-stitch): (Dc, ch 1, dc) in st or space indicated.

Pattern categories: Reversible, Medium, Undulating, Open/Lacy

'Every Which Way Crochet Borders' is available to order now - either in the spiral hardbound edition I've shown you here, or as an ebook. The spiral bound version is the same format (size, binding etc) as the Crochet Motifs book, so it makes the perfect companion on the shelf! 

About the Author: Edie Eckman is the best-selling author of Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs, and The Crochet Answer Book, and co-editor of Crochet One-Skein Wonders® and Crochet One-Skein Wonders® for Babies. A nationally celebrated crochet and knitting teacher, designer, writer, and editor, Edie lives in Waynesboro, Virginia. You can find her designs on Ravelry and visit her website here


You might also like: Fantastic Finishes - Edgings and Borders Craftsy class and 'Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs book. Edie has a selection of classes on Creativebug too - including knitting and crochet. Find them here.

Valentine Giveaway: One lucky reader can get a copy of the book courtesy of the publisher. To be in with the chance to win, all you have to do is to leave a comment below, letting me know how long you've been crocheting and who taught you. Leave your Ravelry/ IG name or another way to contact you if you win, and I'll randomly draw the winner on February 14th 2017. Good luck!

You can follow the rest of the blog tour posts by clicking the image below.


*Please note that while my copy of the book was provided by the publisher for review purposes, all opinions are entirely my own. Amazon, Craftsy and Creativebug affiliate links are included in this post. 


Online Crochet Class
I love trying new things and when I came across a new-to-me cast-on method the same day I took delivery of new yarn, I couldn't resist swatching it. The yarn was sent by Scheepjes in return for honest feedback, which I'm including below (a perk of being a part of the bloggers group). As I think this will be a popular yarn,  and I know how frustrated you get when I preview new yarns, I waited to post until it's available to order so you don't have to wait to try it!  

So first let me share the cast-on which is a different way of knitting from the centre-out. It uses a provisional cast on, which is then removed, and the tail sewn through the first row of knit stitches. Although I've removed the provisional cast on and threaded the yarn through the stitches,  I haven't sewn the tail end in yet - when I do the little centre 'hole' will completely close up. It's a nice neat method and one which I'll certainly use again. You can find a tutorial here. This would be a really nice method to use for a motif blanket or a top-down hat, both of which would be suitable projects for this yarn. 

Wanderlust in Lake Louise (452)

Wanderlust* is a brand new 100% Acrylic yarn which features a long smooth colour change. It is a double knitting yarn with 232m per 100g and a recommended needle or hook size of 4mm. It has a slight sheen and is incredibly soft to the touch. This is something that Scheepjes seem to be focussing on at the moment, the new yarns are all very tactile. This doesn't feel like any other acrylic yarn I've used, although there are some others with a similar long colour-change and sheen. 

The yarn has a fluffy halo which also adds to the next-to-skin softness. It will be interesting to see how it wears over time, especially if used in high-friction areas if used for a garment. Personally, I see this as a great accessories yarn - it's soft enough and pretty enough to use for shawls, scarves, hats and arm warmers/legwarmers. Those are the things I like to knit, though, so I'm probably biased. 
It looks beautiful crocheted too - a few of my friends are using it for crochet patterns. 

Wanderlust is washable at 30℃ and may be dry cleaned. Being 100% Acrylic, it can't be ironed but will block into shape when damp. It comes in 18 colourways, all inspired by different locations around the world. 




Wanderlust is available from Scheepjes stockists (full list here), including Wool Warehouse where it is priced at £3.99 per 100g ball - at the time of writing, you can't see the pictures on the website, but you can cross reference with the image above if you can't wait to order. Of course, if you're lucky enough to have a local yarn shop which stocks it, you can go and squish it! 

POSTSCRIPT: The Sophie's Universe book is also back in stock at Wool Warehouse. I know many of you were disappointed when you missed out on the first release - they don't hang around long! Read more about it here.

*Wool Warehouse affiliate links are included in this post. 

Show & Tell: Swatching with Scheepjes Wanderlust

I love trying new things and when I came across a new-to-me cast-on method the same day I took delivery of new yarn, I couldn't resist swatching it. The yarn was sent by Scheepjes in return for honest feedback, which I'm including below (a perk of being a part of the bloggers group). As I think this will be a popular yarn,  and I know how frustrated you get when I preview new yarns, I waited to post until it's available to order so you don't have to wait to try it!  

So first let me share the cast-on which is a different way of knitting from the centre-out. It uses a provisional cast on, which is then removed, and the tail sewn through the first row of knit stitches. Although I've removed the provisional cast on and threaded the yarn through the stitches,  I haven't sewn the tail end in yet - when I do the little centre 'hole' will completely close up. It's a nice neat method and one which I'll certainly use again. You can find a tutorial here. This would be a really nice method to use for a motif blanket or a top-down hat, both of which would be suitable projects for this yarn. 

Wanderlust in Lake Louise (452)

Wanderlust* is a brand new 100% Acrylic yarn which features a long smooth colour change. It is a double knitting yarn with 232m per 100g and a recommended needle or hook size of 4mm. It has a slight sheen and is incredibly soft to the touch. This is something that Scheepjes seem to be focussing on at the moment, the new yarns are all very tactile. This doesn't feel like any other acrylic yarn I've used, although there are some others with a similar long colour-change and sheen. 

The yarn has a fluffy halo which also adds to the next-to-skin softness. It will be interesting to see how it wears over time, especially if used in high-friction areas if used for a garment. Personally, I see this as a great accessories yarn - it's soft enough and pretty enough to use for shawls, scarves, hats and arm warmers/legwarmers. Those are the things I like to knit, though, so I'm probably biased. 
It looks beautiful crocheted too - a few of my friends are using it for crochet patterns. 

Wanderlust is washable at 30℃ and may be dry cleaned. Being 100% Acrylic, it can't be ironed but will block into shape when damp. It comes in 18 colourways, all inspired by different locations around the world. 




Wanderlust is available from Scheepjes stockists (full list here), including Wool Warehouse where it is priced at £3.99 per 100g ball - at the time of writing, you can't see the pictures on the website, but you can cross reference with the image above if you can't wait to order. Of course, if you're lucky enough to have a local yarn shop which stocks it, you can go and squish it! 

POSTSCRIPT: The Sophie's Universe book is also back in stock at Wool Warehouse. I know many of you were disappointed when you missed out on the first release - they don't hang around long! Read more about it here.

*Wool Warehouse affiliate links are included in this post. 

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The free patterns and tutorials on this site are provided for unlimited personal use. You may print a copy of a pattern or keep a digital copy for personal use only. Please feel free to share links to the relevant posts but do not reproduce or sell any of these patterns (either digitally or in print). If you would like to use any of my images, please get in touch!

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