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So you know I take a LOT of yarn porn?  And it's not necessarily obvious what it's for?  Well, I can finally show you!

This is the first piece of clothing I've ever designed, and it was inspired by the colours of the autumn leaves in the Sussex countryside.  It's a really REALLY simple design, you start at the neck, and work your way down, this means you can keep trying it on until it fits you  perfectly across the bust, and then it's a case of just joining up the body.  If you fancy giving it a whirl yourself, you can get the pattern here, I promise, it's a perfect place to start if you've never made clothes before.

I'd also fully advocate playing with your own favourite colour palettes, and experimenting with your own stripes.  I'd love to see them!  If you want to share just tag me up on instagram (@steelandstitch) xxx

Hello ladybirds, one of the things you learn during teacher training is that people take things in, in different ways and at different times.  So to support the students on my current course, I've been making vlogs of the techniques and patterns we're following each lesson.  They're all there for you to access too, from the very beginning (it still doesn't quite match up tp being in an actual lesson, where you get proper guidance on things you don't understand, and helpful hints and pointers, but it's a pretty good start).

This weeks lesson is going to incorporate how to make a magic ring.  This is one of the single, most useful things I ever learned, and as a result it has a video all to itself.  It is quite technical to master, and definitely takes a few goes, but it's really worth sticking with.  Here you go: How to Make a Magic Ring.

p.s. everyone asks about this yarn!  It's Debbie Bliss 'Cleo', it's super easy to work with and gives great definition.

We're off on a mini break, and rather than packing clothes/toothbrushes/swimming things I literally can't decide which of the many WIPS to take with me!  As I crochet everyday for work, I figure it should be something that's for play, and so far I've whittled it down to two - 1. the hexie blanket that's supposed to be a gift for a friend (it may end up becoming a gift for me, I LOVE it).  2. - the GORGEOUS natural dyed, South Downs yarns that I've been waiting a lifetime to get a chance to use, with the South Downs inspired shawl thrown in to keep me warm in the evening.

To hell with it, I'll just take them both and forget about the clothes.  See you next week.

The Beginners Guide to Crochet Course that I'm currently teaching is nearing the half-way mark.  This weeks session is a lesson in how to change colours and work over your ends so you don't have to spend FOREVER sewing them in.  Honestly, it's so demoralising when you get to the end of a blanket and have another 3 hours worth of tails to sew in.  So even if you know the basics, there may still be some snippets of info that you can benefit from by having a quick look - and don't be afriad of skipping through things you already know, or pausing and rewinding the bits that you don't!

It's also an excellent excuse to jump on the 'loveheart-granny' bandwagon. This is such a simple design, but as with most simple designs, it's one of the best.  So for a full 'how to' make a heart granny square, it's right here.

I will apologise up front for the lack of professionalism of the production - no, I still haven't nailed that!  Although, I am MUCH less terrified in front of the camera now, and am finding it easier to talk through and explain the techniques and steps without feeling like my tongue and fingers are made of plasticine.  So anyone that is thinking of taking this route - practice is clearly the way forward!

Some of you will know that I recently I became a fully qualified, bona fide teacher.  As part of the crochet courses I run, I've started uploading videos to youtube, so that after students have left they can 'reinforce their learning' and revisit what we did in the sessions.

It seems a perfect opportunity for those of you that have been either toying with the idea of learning, need a refresher, or may just need a couple of extra pointers to have a look.  There are three so far - single crochet, double crochet and how to make a basic granny square.  Over the next few weeks there will be others that cover everything from colour changing to working fancy stitches.  You'll also get to know a little about yarn and materials, reading patterns and understanding terminology.

So here you go ladybirds, please feel free to email me with any queries.

How to Crochet by Steel&Stitch


There is literally nothing more to this post than good, old fashioned yarn porn.

I have coveted this Lily 'Sugar&Cream' yarn for years.  Don't ask why I never owned any before, I honestly have no idea (and considering the size of my yarn stash, I REALLY don't have an excuse).  But this week I trotted to the new 'Heathfield Crafts' and ah ah ahhhhhhh *glory hosanna singing*, they have an excellent selection.  So I now own some.  And I flipping love everything about it, from the retro label to the candy stripes.

Check it.

In the last few months things have been going swimmingly in freelance-crochet-world.  Don't get me wrong, there can be weeks where nothing is coming in and the bank account gets emptier and emptier and you start to wonder if everyone can live on cereal for dinner.  Thankfully, at the moment, there are commissions to design and courses to teach.  There's also been a request for a youtube tutorial.

You. Tube. Tutorial...

This FILLED me with dread.  I'll merrily take pics of bits of me and share them in insta-world.  I'm happy to pop the odd head shot in the blogsphere.  But an actual video?  Gaaaaaah.  And I don't think I'm the only one that feels like this.  Most of us makers are happy sharing our creations, but never our faces.

But do you know what?  I did it.  Only one, but still, that's one more than I've ever done before. And yes, it was excruciatingly awkward.  At first.  But I found a few things that started to make it easier, and thought I'd share them with you.  (Clearly, after a 6 minute video, I am no expert, these are things that made me feel more comfortable - they are not necessarily tips to make a good video!)

1. Practise - plan what you're going to share/teach/say.  This may sound obvious, but knowing exactly what it is you want to share will make it more concise and less babbling.

2. Pretend you're talking to a friend - I put a pic of my sister up by the camera, and mental as it sounds, it really helped me to stay calm and feel less formal.

3. Do what you're good at - I'm way more practiced at teaching crochet than presenting videos, and I found that once I'd done the tutorial part, I was WAY more in my comfort zone, and much happier about doing the intro part.

That's it for now, I was still drenched in fear sweat by the end, and I will have to remember to breath and swallow when I do it again.  But I actually WANT to do it again, it felt good being able to share a skill with everyone.

So, here it is: Steel&Stitch Basic Crochet.  There's still stacks and stacks to learn, but hopefully this will get you going, and if you have any tips, please feel free to share them with me too!