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Last week we jetted off to Berlin for a week to stay with pals.  Not wanting to go through the rigmarole of having to check our luggage in and out, we settled on taking hand luggage only.  Luckily Berlin is hot this time of year, so we didn't need lots of big jumpers and snow boots, but I still wanted to maximize space, and still have something I could throw on in the evenings as it started to cool off.

This little shrug is one of three that I made a few years ago, as a novice crocheter.  It's the simplest pattern know to woman kind as all it is is a rectangle.  This one measures 75cm x 45cm and uses a basic granny stitch worked side to side.  All you then do is fold it in half and sew together 7cm at either end.  That is literally it.  And it was perfect while on holiday.

You can make yours wider and longer if you prefer, all you need to make sure is that the width goes across your shoulders, and there's enough length so that when you sew the edges together, you can get your arms through the holes.  And you can use any stitch that you like, I have another in an open scallop which looks awesome, and another in super chunky yarn which is great as a winter body-warmer.

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.