Apparently there’s some sort of rule hanging around the blogosphere these days that you shouldn’t start a post by apologising for bad photography. Perhaps that’s because it’s no longer acceptable to post non-Pinterest worthy photography in the first place. Sadly, finding a time window of daylight at this time of year is a wholly tricky business, and the images in this post were taken in a ten minute slot where I could leave the house a little later because I had an early morning dental appointment. So they aren’t images to be proud of, but as long as you can see what they are photos of, we’ll say no more about it.
It’s been a quiet year for craft fairs at Miss Beatrix, with life being so busy and all, so I’m doing just the one before the clock ticks over into 2015, and I intend to go all out. Even better, I am sharing my humble plot with the talented crochet genius, Adele of Nice Things By Adele. Even better than that – we have made a few collaborative pieces, teaming my handmade, hand illustrated buttons with her splendid crochet to make some special one offs. And even better than that …. we decided to hold an online pop up shop at the same time as holding our real life one.
What?! Yes, we are like slightly eccentric but very enthusiastic Christmas elves.
I haven’t managed to share many crafted makes for a while, but between making Christmas gifts, winter woollies and preparing buttons for this year’s seasonal craft fairs I have actually been crafting non-stop.
The hook has not been picked up for some time, folks.
It’s non negotiable that I have to wear my staff badge to work, and for that, like many people, I wear a lanyard on a daily basis. I’d been given mine second hand. It looked grubby however often I washed it, and its cheap fibres had started to irritate my neck. Most evenings I’d rip it off and stuff it in my handbag before I even made it as far as my car. So I decided to whip up a new one, and this time, one with a bit of personality. This makes a great first crochet project, or if you’re experienced at crochet, you can be wearing your lanyard with pride within half a hour!
Well it’s happened.
I have a feeling that the reason I procrastinated about learning to crochet for so long was because really, I knew it would be addictive. I have spent enough time reading blogs and on Instagram to know that housework gets left undone, to-do lists are left unticked, and entire days end up wrapped around the hook once the crochet bug has been caught. …But I’m very happy about it!
I never want it said about this blog that I am a crafter in pursuit of perfection, which is why I try to show my projects, wonky shonkyness and all. As a crochet newbie I’m yet to make anything without a few flaws, but that’s all the fun of the learning process, and of course producing anything handmade.
I crocheted an actual thing! Instead of spending my evenings frowning over the basic stitches and sticking to nice, safe practise rows, this week I finally bit the bullet and made something.
I’m taking a little break this week so please give a hearty welcome to the first of my guest bloggers, Claire of Claireabellemakes. Talented multi-crafter, Claire is here to talk about a world I’m so excited to get stuck into…
Hello all! I’m Claire and I’m delighted to have been invited here to guest post on Anna’s wonderful space.
Getting Started with CrochetToday I’m going to talk to you about crochet. A discovery of 2012 for me, the hooky craft was something of a revelation. I’d been a knitter for years, but the versatility and creativity of crochet grabbed me.Anna tells me she is keen to learn how to crochet and many crafty types on Twitter have said the same. I thought it might be useful to share with you a few things I learnt along the way.· Hunt down your local yarn shopI am a big fan of supporting local businesses so when a yarn shop opened close to my house I took beginners classes in crochet and am continuing to learn at the shop and buy yarn here when possible. You may find that the small independent shops offer lessons or knitting/crochet groups in small numbers and often with cake! I’m sure that helps me to learn more quickly….· Obtain good quality hooks and yarnI ordered a basic set of aluminium hooks to get started and found these were the best for manovering the yarn on the hook when learning. 100% acrylic yarn wasn’t great to learn with, so I tried to use yarns with some cotton in so they were able to slide on the hook more easily. There are some great places selling ergonomic hooks which can be popular, but I prefer the wooden Knit Pro Symfonie hooks. Finding the hook that’s right for you is quite personal and it can take a while to find one you are comfortable with.· YouTube is your friendWe are lucky to live in a world where people share their skills for free online. You can find anything on YouTube (after wading through the cat videos) and there are a few I would recommend for tips and advice. I’m very much a visual learner, so I’ve found this to be invaluable when I get stuck in a stitch or pattern. Have a look at Crochet Ali and Crochet Guru although the latter is in US terms.I found a few books with basic stitches very helpful too. Simply Crochet, a new magazine from the publishers of Mollie Makes, has some great beginners diagrams in the back pages of each issue.· Identify US and UK terms from the startOne of the things that confused me the most at the beginning was the difference between UK and US terms. My first class was with an American tutor and I left feeling rather confused, even though she had tried to explain. I quickly learnt the terms and for a while used this fantastic cheat sheet by the Stitch Sharer.· Join RavelryThis is a must for anyone interested in yarn crafts and is a well constructed site offering a pattern database, social networking via forums, stash records and project sharing. You won’t be stuck for inspiration and can even search for projects to make with particular yarns should you so wish. There are many groups to join via the site too.· Practice makes perfectCrochet has a wonderful meditative quality, with patterns often offering repetitions and rhythmic elements. I sat for hours on end repeating stitch after stitch until the ‘click’ moment happened. I promise, it does happen and when you get it, you won’t be able to put your hook down. It is addictive.· Stay InspiredI absolutely love reading blogs and the crochet ones are by far the prettiest online! Here are some of my favourites with most of them offering beginners tutorials:I hope these tips have helped you if you are considering learning, or perhaps they have inspired you to learn! You can find me on Ravelry using the name Claireabellemakes and follow my yarn projects Pinterest board here.Happy Hooking!Thank you so much, Claire! Learning to crochet is high on my list for my little break, and I’m feeling really inspired. I happen to know that my local haberdashers serves cake with their crochet lessons too, so I’ll definitely be heeding that tip, and I’m already finding Simply Crochet magazine really helpful.
Do you crochet, and if not, do you have plans to learn?
Join me as I simultaneously laugh at and glomp all over this bizarrely charming latest craft book to be added to my collection…
If you can’t view the video you can watch it on my YouTube channel here.
Since making this video I have popped on Amazon to read others’ reviews of this title (buy it here), and notice some people comment that they had a few difficulties with making some of the book’s patterns work properly, so you may want to bear this in mind if you’re not an experienced crocheter.
Happy Friday me dears, I’m taking Beatrix to Wales for some beach time this weekend, and will be back on Monday.