Week 11 – this week has become a rather useful resource page!

Week 11 – a weekly challenge is proving to be more of a challenge than I can manage!!!

So here I am, 11 weeks into this challenge I set myself with no make or bake achieved this week. Not the plan for this blog.

However, as we all know life can get on the busy side. I have been busy spending time with my offspring. Mainly the youngest who popped home Wednesday evening for a long weekend home. We have tackled lots of very important issues over tea and pastries, including but not limited to – what colour sofa should we get next? whats for dinner? and is it ok to have a nap now? Really important stuff. We did also discuss this blog and things that we could incorporate into it and so it was decided that this week I could write about things I would like to make and do and take the opportunity to point you all at some of the wonderful blogs and websites out there that I use for inspiration.

Crochet

  • Moogly – this is pretty much my top go to blog for crochet inspiration. Tamara Kelly is the lady behind this work. Its a great site full of top 10 patterns for various things. Lots and lots of free patterns. It is an American site so generally using US terms for crochet patterns.
  • Attic 24 – love this site, particularly for colour inspiration and stitch choices. She has beautifully clear instructions. Her blankets are a thing of beauty and kits can be bought too.
  • Ravelry – this is a fabulous resource that I’m sure most of you have come across before. Lots of free patterns as well as paid for patterns.
  • Etsy – again another that most are familiar with. I have used this particularly to buy patterns for baby shoes as well as slippers. There are tons of free patterns out there but sometimes you need the security of a tried and tested pattern. With paying for a pattern you often get the support of the designer as well. Two girls patterns are a huge favourite and really great for responding to questions too.
  • Den Dennis – a designer from the Netherlands. The Amigurumi patterns on this site are a mixture of free and paid for and also a mixture of languages. Although a lot of the patterns are available in English. Do try some of the free patterns to get an idea of he puts his patterns together. You can buy patterns on Ravelry and Etsy too though. Great value patterns, easy to follow and consistently good results.
  • All about Ami – another great site for amigurumi, household items and clothes to make. Her site is a treat for the eyes too, I may have a go at making her gorgeous cardigan in the Autumn.
  • Its all in a nutshell – Esther runs this marvellously generous, fab site full of wonderful ideas and superb video tutorials. Lots of CALS (crochet alongs) to be inspired by.
  • Look what I made – another fabulous crochet site featuring most famously Sophies Universe. Dedri Uys is the designer of this blog. Featuring loads of free patterns that you will need to make 🙂
  • Crystal and Crochet – this site, run by designer Helen Shrimpton features paid for and free patterns. The mandala madness is a must 🙂
  • The Friendly Red Fox – my latest find and love, full of free patterns and super tutorials. A must if you love Amigurumi.

Food

  • BBC good food – this site is so easy to use. You can search by ingredient, recipe or keyword. Because it is such a reliable site and utilises so many chefs works, you can pretty much use just this site.
  • Madhur Jaffrey – Having not been a curry fan for many years, when I finally decided to start having a go at finding flavours that spoke to me, it made sense to look at Madhur Jaffreys books. She has been on the scene for many years, all the recipes that I use from mainly her book Curry Easy have been reliably easy to use and generally these days the ingredients have been easy to source. If you are not a fan of coriander like me then do try some of her recipes. Gorgeous flavours, varying levels of heat and lots that don’t use coriander 🙂
  • Nigella – not a lot I can say here really is there. I do prefer her sweet recipes with the Christmas recipes being used year on year.
  • The Great British Bake Off – every year since this cooking programme started there has been a companion book. I have bought almost all of them. You can however get hold of many of the popular recipes on their site direct. My Stem Ginger cookie recipe came from the first Bake Off Book and is consistently my most viewed recipe.

There is so much online these days. It can get a little overwhelming when looking for inspiration. Think that is why my go to list is possibly on the small side. There are of course loads more sites, books, magazines that I use but sometimes it’s nice to have slightly fewer choices to make 🙂

Keep it simple perhaps.

Enjoy,

L 🙂

 

P.S Next week, I will have a few more granny squares made for the 49 week granny blanket as well as something made!! (or not, depends on what inspires me 🙂 )

 

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Mandala Madness 2018 edition

Love the saffron yellow

Well after giving away my original mandala to a very dear friend, I decided that I had to make myself one in all my favourite colours. The pattern is a wonderful free pattern by Helen Shrimpton. It was a crochet along that ran in 2016. Please see my previous mandala for all links to written pattern and video tutorials.

I have loved making these blankets, so imagine my delight when I discover that Helen has designed a new blanket that will be available as a crochet along starting on the 17th April 2018 🙂 Happy, happy days. Her website Crystals and Crochet has all the details and available yarn packs and links.

I am already intending to use my existing stash to make this but there are some cool colour suggestions on her site for those who like a well laid out plan.

 

Do have a go at making one of these yourself, I learned so much and the videos and photo tutorials make this very achievable for the adventurous beginner 🙂 As long as you can yarn over and jam your hook in somewhere, have a go 🙂

Enjoy,

Lx

 

2018, new year new me. January is so tedious with it’s demands to self improve :(

I have pretty much lost my life mojo over the last year or so. I feel like I have been coasting through the last few months, doing what needs doing but not really doing what I want to be doing.

I have come to the conclusion that this is due to the children getting their adult lives up and running and so not needing me as much. I also feel that my career is a tad off track (not sure what track it needs to be on though!) I have always taken jobs that have suited my family’s needs and now find myself in the terrific position of being able to choose a job that I want to do…………trouble is, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up (I do appreciate that time may not be on my side here!)

Anyway, with a view to doing something that gives me joy but not too demanding I set myself the challenge of using up the last half balls of yarn before I was “allowed” to buy more. I did make some very cute amigurumi items for my sister (see below for links to amigurumi patterns) as well as a collection of baby converse booties. Loads of patterns out there but after some trial and error I chose to buy a great pattern from Etsy for these. Good value, clear straightforward instructions and cute box to make for the shoes too 🙂

Then,  whoopee,  shopping at wool warehouse for all the style craft special DK colours that I can justify 🙂 I am now happily and busily working my way through another mandala madness. I am really enjoying this pattern. Usually I don’t like to make a thing again but this pattern is so varied,  it keeps me interested. I love the way this pattern lends itself to my use (overuse) of colour 🙂

The next task (thanks January for making me look at my life) is to really look at what I want to be doing Monday to Friday (hopefully to Thursday!)

February update – well for goodness sake, how are we half way through February. The only thing I have really achieved so far this year has been my mandala madness, currently just completed up to part 14. Love, love, love making this. It has proved to be useful avoidance tool when it comes to, well pretty much anything I’m wanting to avoid!! Ha ha.

Anyway, I have been productive with the crochet club too which now has added new members. I am enjoying the challenge of trying to teach people something that I have learned through the magic of youtube.

Note to self – I must print out UK and US crochet terms for everyone. I tend to use US terms but a lot of the patterns that we have been working from are UK. This is adding a level of difficulty we could do without!!

Enjoy,

Lx

The first two patterns are paid for patterns. The unicorn is a free pattern. Both of the paid for patterns had really clear instructions with helpful pictures. Highly recommended 🙂

Dendennis donkey pattern 

Lalylala kangaroo pattern

Unicorn pattern

Mandala Madness parts 10 – 13

section 13I have slowed down considerably over the last week, temperatures here are in the mid to late twenties which would be fine if I was on holiday and had a pool nearby. Sadly I have to work and my relaxing crochet time has been hampered by the heat generated by this blanket. Wherever it ends up for it’s forever home, let’s hope it’s chilly 🙂

Anyway, I have over the last month done parts 10-13. I love how each new section changes the feel of the blanket. I am still following my self imposed rule (sort of, I did buy some hot pink yarn the other day but haven’t used it yet!) of only using yarn I already own. As the blanket has grown I have had to add to those already owned colours as I can get through half a ball in one round on some of the larger stitches.

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As the blanket has grown I have started to see that counting has become a problem for me! I think I have merrily counted correctly and it is not till the next section that it becomes clear that I have added one or lost one here and there. For the most part it hasn’t caused me too many problems. I can usually pull two together or add a stitch if needed. Luckily, as this pattern has sections, I have managed to maintain an even shape (ish!) Blocking it will I’m sure solve this too. Quite frankly once you’re under it, you’re going to be too cosy to care 🙂

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As always, a big thank you to Helen Shrimpton for creating this amazing pattern and sharing it for free.All the links can be found on her website Crystals and Crochet.

And of course thanks to It’s all in Nutshell for the fabulous video tutorials without which I would be lost around part 10!!

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Enjoy,

Lx

P.S yes part 10 is a tad tricky but read the pattern, follow the video and go slow. It’s so pleasing when you nail it 🙂

Mandala Madness parts one – six!

IMG_3113Ooooh, I am loving this pattern.

Yet again, I am some way behind everyone else. I stumbled across the pattern as it was coming to the end of it’s CAL!! However, there is a bit of an advantage to this, in that I can see all the wonderful finished versions already made. There are a couple of groups on face book worth checking out too.

The links to all the parts can be found on the Crystals and crochet site. Lots of really lovely things to make on this site too. The written pattern is really well done with clear pictures and lots of useful tips and tricks.

Have a look online for some colour inspiration. I decided that this would be a potential perfect stash buster and so far have managed to only use yarn left over from previous projects or random purchase!!! Think this pattern really lends itself to some seriously random colours, although that may just be me!!!

I have seen some truly delicious ones online where the maker has been more restrained and planned better than I.

Anyway, will continue to post parts as I am finishing them.

Before I forget, the wonderful Esther Dijkstra from It’s all in a Nutshell has also done some fabulous video tutorials. I would not have achieved half of this pattern without these.

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Enjoy,

Lx

 

Half way through the year, new crochet buddies and crocheted lovely stuff made

Cute DragonWhat a year this has been already. I started this year finishing the xmas blankets (ha ha) and have just reached the longest day of the year having made a bunch of new crochet friends. Happy days.

Crochet seems to have been gathering a bit of popularity of late. A couple of friends wanted me to show them how to get started with crochet. We set a date and a new crochet club was born. Friends told friends, and hey presto, once a month I spend a Thursday afternoon and evening teaching the most delightful bunch of girls how to make stuff from yarn. Some, it has to be said with more success than others but that is probably in part due to my teaching skills or lack thereof !

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We have had three meetings so far and already there have been blankets, bunnies and chicks made not to mention a hat 🙂 I’ll have to seek permission from the artists as I hope to share their work.

Meanwhile I have been busy creating baby blanket, lovey and shoe set for a friend who’s baby is due next month and starting a new CAL. I so loved making Sophie’s Universe that I have been hunting for a similar project that I could get stuck into. Found Mandala Madness (by Crystals and Crochet) through the It’s all in a nutshell blog, the same lovely lady that did the video tutorials for Sophie has done some for Mandala Madness. Have a look at her youtube page for all the videos. I have already tackled part 1, and loving it already. Some new stitches that I haven’t come across before but the pattern is well written and easy to follow with lots of pics. The video tutorials are there as well should you need (I suspect I will further on in this pattern as the stitch count get’s higher).

Anyway, check them out and give it a go,

Mandala Madness

 

Enjoy,

 

Lx

P.S have made one or two other bits and pieces this year which turned out rather lovely including some new creatures for my sisters new class next year 🙂 Check out allaboutami for the dragon

Crochet Creatures

Sophie’s Universe parts 8 and 9

IMG_2799Well my Sophie keeps growing and growing. It’s now several feet across and a magnificent beast, even if I do say so myself 🙂 Long suffering husband keeps asking me if I’m done yet. Not sure I have the heart to tell him, I’m already planning my next project 🙂 Tee hee 🙂

I have gone a little astray on the original planned colour placement. I was initially following the spreadsheet template that is in the helpful templates section on the lookwhatimade site. I then got carried away with the gorgeous shade of pink that I have been using and well, I am now making it up as I go along 🙂 Thank goodness that this pattern really lends itself to a more lackadaisical approach to colours. If you have a look online for images of Sophie (and there are lots) you will find every possible colour combination including one I found that used just one colour. It looks divine 🙂 Have a look at them all here .

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I have found the last few parts have moved quite quickly which has been very pleasing. I think it has also moved quicker as I have got used to the style and approach of the pattern and so it is getting easier to follow too.

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One thing I have noticed is that despite me counting up to sometimes as far as 100, it becomes clear on the next round that I stuffed up somewhere along the line. I think I touched on this briefly on my last post but felt it worth repeating. Once I realise I have missed one or added one it is much much easier to add an increase or decrease on the end of a short side rather than attempt to find out where I miscounted. So far it seems to be paying off and hasn’t caused the pattern to look “off” at all.

Hope you like the pictures, one of my cats decided that this was too good an opportunity to miss 🙂

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As always go along to the lookwhatimade site for all the details of the written pattern and to it’s all in a nutshell Youtube channel for the video tutorials 🙂

Enjoy,

 

Lx

 

 

 

Sophie’s Universe part 6 and 7

12842404_10154069496058487_1021034734_oWell, I am moving swiftly through this pattern and loving every minute of it.

I have so enjoyed making these last few rows but especially the roses right at the very end of the pattern. They look far more complicated than they are and I cannot recommend them enough for sheer pleasure factor.

Rose

You are also advised to block your Sophie at this point as it does start to curl up on the edges. I couldn’t find my blocking pins anywhere so improvised on the ironing board and then on the floor. Think it worked fairly well.

Sophie being blocked, sort of!

Links to the pattern video tutorials can be found here and the link to the original written pattern can be found here

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Not much more to add as the pattern pages are so full of useful tips and tricks, there is not much more for me to add other than, please, please, please do give this a go. Between the written pattern with really comprehensive pictures and the video tutorials you have all the tools you need to make a truly beautiful thing 🙂

 

Enjoy,

 

Lx

Sophie’s Universe, parts four and five

Sophie's Universe parts 4 and 5I am still loving this pattern but starting to find the written pattern is becoming increasingly complicated. I am now starting to use the video tutorials from It’s all in a nutshell more frequently just to make sure I have followed it right. Sometimes I have done a beautiful job, and sometimes I have done something a little random!!!!

It is really important to keep count as the blanket grows as I have managed to add the odd stitch here and there and occasionally lose them too. I can usually fix it on the next row. I’m sure I will eat my words later on but so far I’m getting away with it  (I think!)

I found it really useful as well to make notes as I went. Notes on colour choice and planned rounds to use it on. I also numbered my colours and popped them onto pegs. It helped a lot and is also a stupidly pleasing thing to do! 🙂 This tip came from the rather wonderful Attic24 blog – Blanket planning with Yarn pegs 🙂

This pattern really lends itself to a make it up as you go along approach with choosing of your colours. You can of course plan it out and make sure the leaves for example are always green. In my version of Sophie, one set of leaves are now parchment, and although I did twitch a bit with a hankering to frog that row. I am very glad I left it as it looks fine,  and as long as I try and hold back from telling people where I stuffed up no one will ever know (apart from you of course!!)

Sophie's Universe (1)

As ever a special shout out to my sons talented girlfriend Jasmine Poole, who did the photographs for this section of Sophie. Click here to have a look at her blog 🙂

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Now to get busy with the next section of Sophie, can’t wait to post 🙂

Enjoy,

 

Lx

P.S the last picture does include part 6 of my Sophie but love the pic that Jasmine took so included it anyway 🙂