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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

xxx


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!

xxx


Happy National Donut Day!!

To celebrate there's a tasty, free little pattern waiting for you over at LoveCrochet, go collect it lovehearts xxx


I managed to avoid getting carried away with succulents.  I happily ignored the need for a geometric glass plant holder.  I even managed not to get an origami tattoo (oh, hang on...).  But I can't get away from triangles!  Or maybe to be more accurate - hexagons.  The hexie is a long established part of the crocheters repertoire, deftly patched together to make beautiful blankets and home wares.  Being a bit traditional, I was never really drawn to it, but during the most recent book I was very kindly gifted a pattern by the lovely Loes (@pomenco, go find her on instagram).  It was a quick way to make a 3d hexie, using colour changing.


Since then I have literally been hooked, and it keeps sparking all sorts of ides about how to use a traditional motif in a contemporary way.  Playing with colour and chopping and changing is really effective, and as long as you work over the ends as you go, is a quick way of creating something graphic and dramatic.

For now here are some geometric makes, and when I get a minute, I'll do a how to on the colour change hexie.  Oh, and the new wall in my craft room, which I am all sorts of in love with!







It's not a hexie, but it IS an origami fox tattoo ;)  

And with a triangle template, some tester pots and an afternoon, this is what happened to my wall...

It's been so peculiar seeing the magnolia flowers blooming alongside the rhododendrons, it's always saddening to see how climate change is playing havoc with the weather.  One of things I love about taking inspiration from the natural world around me, is how in tune you become with the changing cycle of the seasons.  You start to watch for when the flowers are blooming, which in turn makes you notice which birds are in the hedgerows, or when the berries are ripening. 

When I was stuck in an office all day, this was something experienced from the car on the way to school, on the train during the commute.  It takes you away from what's actually going on around you, and numbs you to reality of what's happening to our eco-systems.  Having the opportunity to live how I do; creating and capturing the colours of the hedgerows as part of my work, has really brought home how things are changing. 

I'm not a preachy sort, and I really understand how difficult it is to take on ALL the worries of the world, especially when you're just trying to get through each day.  But try and take some time to experience the world outside, on your door step, get in sync with it, and value it for how amazing it is.

Anyway, here's some more late-spring yarnporn and colour inspiration, courtesy of the hedgerows leading to my house.