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All About Me: Willow Yarns Newsletter July 2014

Willow Yarns a US online yarn company, have done a little feature about me in their latest Newsletter.

See it HERE

Willow Yarns are a super yarn company to work for.  I did some designs for them last year:

Image: Willow Yarns

Image: Willow Yarns

Rococo Waistcoat

Image Willow Yarns

Image Willow Yarns

Loveheart Apron

Image Willow Yarns

Image Willow Yarns

Sorrento Top

Tic Tac Toe Place Setting

Tic Tac Toe Place Setting

Tic Tac Toe Place Setting



I was very pleased to be able to work with them again earlier this year.

My new designs with them should be coming out in time for the Autumn season.

Ode to a Tee

A little poem, inspired by the nice comments I have received from people about the Front Pleat Dolman that appears in the latest edition of Knit.Wear (Spring/Summer 2014)


‘Oh dear little tee shirt, you’re cute, and so ‘me’

I like you a lot, and my friends all agree

That tee shirts like you aren’t easily found -

I’ve looked quite a bit, but there’s none around.


‘How are you made, can you tell me? I dream

That  you’re made all-in-one, with nary a seam.

But no matter the way, I’ll take it as read

That I’ll start you tonight, and not see my bed

’til you’re finished and blocked and put over my head.


Image copyright: Interweave


And what, I hear you ask, would this Front Pleat Dolman Tee reply?

I’ll leave that for another day, unless y’all fancy having a go?


5KCBWDAY3 Mayflower Lace

Mayflower Lace with words


My Latest Crochet Design

Available in Inside Crochet Issue 53

Original Image Copyright Inside Crochet



Rugged, Outdoors type would like to meet same: 5KCBWDAY2

I’m Hector:

Hector 1

Confident and warm, I’m quick to knit in Super-Bulky yarn, but there’s more to me than meets the eye – I’ve got hidden assets.  Do you want to see my cables?  OK, seeing as its you, you can have a peek:

Hector 2

I’m interested in meeting similar sweater for woodland walks, hill climbing and spending autumnal evenings sitting outside the pub.  Style optional, but must be 100% wool and cable work preferred.  I’m not interested in midriff-exposing sweaters,  it’s just not my thing.

I can offer all-in-one construction, raglan sleeves and V-neck shaping.  I’m a confident sort of sweater, and don’t have a problem in bearing all my assets in the right environment:

Hector 3

I offer a lifetime’s devotion and loyalty.  I’m dependable, hardworking and hard wearing.  I do have a tendency to pill, because of my  loose-twist, one-ply construction, but an alternative yarn choice would solve that issue.  My yarn is dye-fast and I don’t require any notions.  Interested sweaters should contact PO Box 5KCBWDAY2.




What I did today: 5KCBWDAY1



I’m Mishka, and this is Natalie.  She’s smaller than me, and sleeps inside her egg when she’s tired. I’m bigger, and older by around 7 minutes (I definitely remember seeing her hatch, so don’t listen to anything she might like to tell you about her being the oldest).


I got woken up by the boy we live with.  I was quite relieved, really, as I was squashed between the side of the bed and the wall. My shell was a bit dinted, and my head was out of shape too.  I think I heard Natalie snicker when she saw me – she had spent the night under the pillow, and was in pretty good shape.

As we don’t eat, or need to use the bathroom, we were transferred to the bedroom windowsill for the rest of the day.


It’s pretty boring, I can tell you. Hello Postman… goodbye Postman.  As it’s Monday, we got the Binmen too, as an extra bit of excitement.  There was a parcel delivery van too, around 2 o’ clock, and the man actually came here, but no one was in the house so he had to go next door with the parcel.  Natalie and I spent an hour or so playing ‘guess what’s in the parcel’, to fill in the time.  By the time we got on to , ‘It might be a necklace made out of walrus teeth,’ I knew we had exhausted that subject, and started counting the leaves on the tree outside; 52,783, I think.   I’ll count them again tomorrow, just to make sure.




Hall of Famer for May 2014

Here’s one for all Vikings out there: a great interpretation of the Colum Sweater by Seroflorus:


Copyright: Seroflorus

Copyright: Seroflorus


Here’s another, showing good detail of the shoulder cast off (three-needle bind off) and a good job done of inserting the sleeve into the garment.


Copyright Seroflorus

Copyright Seroflorus


I like how she’s altered the back to make it a mirror image of the front too.

Eureka Page Launch

Do you ever get those moments when you realise something so basic, or so important, that you spend the next hour/day/week/month asking yourself why you hadn’t realised it before?

Me too.

I’ve created a new page – my Eureka Moments, where I share these ‘light bulb’ moments.  If it wasn’t obvious to me, maybe it wasn’t obvious to you either.

My first entry is about blocking a tension swatch.  Simple, No?  Where have I ever seen the instruction to block a tension swatch?  Nowhere.  Was I just supposed to know this – clearly I was – but it took me years to work it out.

Here’s the full story:

Block your Swatch

This sounds basic, No?  I can’t tell you how many years it was before I realised that I needed to block my tension swatch before measuring it.  I must have made hundreds of things before I worked this one out.  It never says it anywhere, and in the days when I was definitely a follower of patterns, I did what the pattern told me to do.  Patterns told me to block the garment, but not the swatch, so that’s what I did.

I used to wonder why things used to get bigger after a while, especially after washing.  I put it down to the yarn, or the pattern being a bit on the big side.  Note it was never anything I had done – or not done – as in this case.

Does it make much difference?  Well, YES.  Look at these examples of before and after swatches.

Here’s a couple of crochet squares before blocking – look ok, don’t they:

Granny Squars: Pre-blocking

The same squares during blocking – hmmm, looking a bit stretched out, maybe the hook was too big:

Granny Squares blocking

And here they are afterwards – stitch formation is still a bit too open:

Granny Squares after Blocking

The stitches are too loose, it’s not a good-looking square, I need to change down to a smaller hook and try again.

The other crucial thing to be learnt from blocking a test swatch is the final measurement, in comparison to the original measurement.

Before blocking, these squares measured 20cm x 11cm.  After blocking they were 22cm x 12cm.  Now we can all see that that’s not too important if I was making a blanket, but what if I was making a cardigan, or anything else that actually has to fit? Something made out of these crochet squares that appeared to measure 100cm before blocking, would measure 110 cm afterwards, that’s a whopping 4 inches in old money, and very likely to be far to big to be worn.

I know some people are reluctant to spend time making tension squares – I used to be just the same way.  When I start a new project now, I put aside the first evening (because that’s when I do my knitting/crochet) as a kind of preparatory evening.  It’s when I do my swatching, blocking and measuring, and I don’t expect to start the actual project on that evening – if I do, that’s a bonus.  Going in to a new project with this mind-set made the transition into swatch-blocking much more pleasant for me.

And guess what? Garments fit me now, even after I’ve washed them.


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