Cobbled Street Cowl Ta-dah!

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Hello my dear readers! How did January treat you? This month went incredibly fast for me, despite the bad weather and short days. I did get quite a lot of crochet time with all the travelling that my work requires, many train rides to just relax, crochet and listen to podcasts.

I have realised that crocheting in trains is where I enjoy it the most, and thinking about this today I realised there is a very simple reason for this: there is nothing else I have to be doing. We all have busy lives and you probably struggle just like me to fit in some crochet time in the day. Even if we managed this there is always something in the back of our minds that is screaming for our attention like laundry to fold, plates to clean, or sometimes in my case even having to make myself some food. When I am on the train, there is nothing else that I could be doing. I couldn’t possible use that time to clean or cook, or anything else for that matter and I think that is why crocheting on the train is such a bliss, because it gets all my attention and it fills up a time that otherwise would be “wasted”. I always want to be productive, can’t help it, its the engineer in me.

By the way, I am obsessed with a few podcasts lately, specially Woolful and Knit British. They are quite different, Woolful is the podcast of Ashley, in each episode she shares interviews with people in the fibre industry and you get to hear their fibre journey which is always so inspiring. Knit British is the podcast of Louise, and here she shares her love of yarn produced, spun or dyed in the UK. Be sure to check them out if you are looking for a new podcast.

The reason for this post is that my cobbled street inspired cowl is finished! This cowl was, as many of my projects recently, a lovely train companion. It is worked in tunisian crochet using only two stitches, it was very easy to work and the yarn is lovely. It really does remind me of cobbled streets so I am very pleased with how this turned out. It uses only one skein so it is a great little project if you want to start with tunisian crochet.

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The only problem I had with this project was that the yarn (Madelinetosh Merino Light 4ply) smelled a bit like vinegar when I bought it. It went away while I was crocheting with it but when I blocked it (just spraying some water)  it came back and it smelled awful! Had to do an intense wet blocking to get the smell off but it is all good now.

I will post this pattern soon, need to do a chart for it so may take a bit. I am not a fan of opening Excel when I am not in the office but will do it for you guys 🙂

Hope all is good with you, I am working on a couple more tutorials and of course some more patterns. I will share my progress of that Moroccan-inspired bag soon 🙂

Have a great day!

x

Sol

 

Creative Blog Hop

Hello! Hope you are having a nice Sunday, I have finally finished all my house chores and have sat down for a lazy evening. As I mentioned in my last post, I was nominated on Jess’s blog for the Creative Blog Hop, it is basically four questions you need to answer about your creative process which in my case is designing crochet patterns. So here it goes!

What am I working on?

Sneak peak of my latest pattern in progress!
Sneak peak of my latest pattern in progress!

I am currently working on a new pattern for a shawl in Ginger’s Hand Dyed Splendor 4 ply. This is definitely the most luxurious yarn I have ever worked with and because the yarn is so amazing by itself I decided to make a really simple pattern with it. It has been so relaxing to crochet without counting or following a chart! I am also doing a swatch for a pair of mittens I liked in the last issue of Inside Crochet. I definitely want to get some more mittens and hats done before the (cold Scottish) winter comes.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I have consciously tried to create patterns that use techniques or stitches that are not very common or even known sometimes to people who crochet. I have been crocheting for many years and was getting a bit bored of it until I realised there was more to crochet than just a couple of stitches and granny squares (though I still love granny blankets and have one in progress). I wanted something different, a bit more challenging and refreshing. First I discovered tunisian crochet and fell in love with the fabric that it creates, and later on I decided to dive into colourwork simply because I wanted to try fair isle and I can’t knit even if my life depended on it. So I guess my work differs from others in the sense that it challenges what you think crochet can and can’t do, if that makes any sense? 😛

Why do I create what I do?

I started creating patterns as a personal challenge to be a bit more creative and less… structured, logical and well, less the engineer I am by profession. I wanted to see if I had it in me to create something from scratch, from idea to pattern to sample. It has always been really hard for me, in any aspect of life, to be creative. Well it turns out I am now an structured, logical engineer that can design patterns. We are who we are, but I have learned we can always be more and better. That is why I started designing patterns but the reason why I keep on doing it is simply because it makes me happy. I struggle most of the time, it takes forever to finish and I could definitely finish more projects if I just followed other designers patterns all the time, but that won’t make me feel the joy I feel when I share a pattern with the world and contribute to an amazing community of crafters, makers and creators.

How does my creative process work?

I usually start with the yarn: I have a big stash so have been wanting to get rid of some and save money (which of course hasn’t  happened). After the yarn comes the research to find stitches and techniques, I go and get books from my local library and search online as well. I really enjoy this part of the process but it can take quite some time! For any pattern I will have in my head the feeling and type of project I want for that yarn (is it lacy or textured, does it go around the neck, or my hands, etc.), so as I go through stitches something eventually clicks into place and I can see the final project. Then comes the shaping, which is supposed to be just math but I have to say years of calculus and algebra doesn’t mean you get it right the first time around! After a few attempts I have a sample, then I write down the pattern and wait for you guys to point out all my mistakes 😛 It doesn’t always start with the yarn though, for the pattern I am working on right now it started with a stitch I fell in love with and the shawl just came to my head.

 

 

That was really fun to answer 🙂 This is the part where I nominate people to do this but I don’t know who! I don’t know many bloggers… does it have to be someone you know? I am not sure… Feeling really dumb right now but if you create anything (doesn’t have to be crochet), please welcome to nominate yourself by me, you can even let me know and I can make it official!

Thanks for stopping by, I will post a “journey update” in the week with what I have been working on lately.

Cheers!

x

Sol

 

A new crochet world: Kat Goldin

Slugs on the Refrigerator
Slugs on the Refrigerator

Hello everyone! I assume you are as happy as I am that tomorrow is finally Friday (yay!). I have been so busy lately that weekends seem to come rather quickly and they are gone even quicker. I had some time today so I thought I would start to talk a bit about my inspiration and how this crochet journey began. I will write a series of posts highlighting designers and patterns that I like or have tried and hopefully it will help when you are looking for some inspiration yourselves or just some really nice pattern to try.

Before I jump to it, I wanted to give you an update on the fair isle pattern I have been working on: both mittens are done and I was going to start writing the pattern when I realised that a photo tutorial would be very useful for some parts that might be confusing with just written instructions. So, I have decided to take a bit longer and do a proper tutorial for you guys, hope it is worth the wait! Have never taken photographs of me crocheting, I am predicting it will be quite interesting…!

Back on subject, let me tell you a bit about my crochet journey. I learned to crochet when I was around 10 years old and have been crocheting on and off ever since. A few years ago I started to find some free patterns online and was drawn back into crochet once again, but it wasn’t until around 2 years ago that there was a real change in the way I saw crochet.

As it happens, some friends were having a baby and I decided to crochet something as a gift. I was already living in Edinburgh and I went to the library to find some books when I came across Kat Goldin’s book “Crochet at Play”. I have crocheted many baby items, but for the first time in my “crochet experience” I was seeing something different, something I hadn’t seen before. Fun and different patterns that weren’t the typical light pink or blue baby blanket or the white cardigan with matching hat. Those patterns are lovely, but I have seen them MANY times before.

 

 

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“Crochet at Play” has slippers with claws, hedgehog mittens, wolf cardigans, fox scarves, octopus pillows and much more. For the first time in my crochet experience I was seeing fresh, interesting, inspiring patterns. I think that is one of the reasons why I had left crochet aside: patterns didn’t have attractive colours, didn’t look wearable or practical, sometimes they looked outdated. I am not sure of the timing when patterns like these caught my eye, maybe they have been around for a while but it was my first encounter and that really kicked off this crochet journey.

Slugs on the Refrigerator
Slugs on the Refrigerator
Slugs on the Refrigerator
Slugs on the Refrigerator

I really recommend Kat’s book, she is great if you have any questions (talking from experience!) and she has some other beautiful patterns that, as her book, are different. She has designed modern and wearable garments and accessories, with lovely colour combos and fibres (check her website here). She has become one of my favourite designers and can’t wait for her new book coming out in September.

Maybe the knitting/crochet boom has helped, maybe the beautiful new yarns available online to every part of the world has contributed as well. I often go on Ravelry and there are so many lovely patterns, but only some of them catch my eye: those that use techniques I haven’t seen before, or different stitches, or combine colours differently. The ones that I think: “I have never seen that in crochet” or “That doesn’t even look like crochet!”. This has driven my own creative process for my patterns: I am trying to design things I haven’t seen before. I think granny shawls are lovely, but I won’t make a pattern for one when there are so many around and when I know more talented people can get more beautiful colour combos than me. I want to try new things, challenge myself and make my small contribution to this new crochet world, one with endless colourful opportunities.

Have a great Friday 😉

x

Sol