New pattern: Ana Violeta (and a coupon code!)

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Hello there!

I am very excited to announce the release of my latest pattern: Ana Violeta. This tunisian crochet shawl is perfect to welcome the colder season and it uses beautiful yarn from Eden Cottage Yarns. You can find more information on the Ravelry page here.

There are so many ways a design can come to be, and in this case it was meant as a gift to a special person. I created the first version of this shawl as a present to a wonderful woman that has been part of my life since I was born, to whom I owe much more that I could ever share in a few words.

Some family you don’t choose, and some you do: even though we are not blood relatives, she has always been family to me. She taught me so many things: how to pray, how to set the table, how to make meringue, and most importantly, how to crochet. She showed me how kindness can change people’s lives, that patience is a virtue and that love, true love, can last a lifetime.

Her name is Ana Violeta, and to her I dedicate this shawl.

This design has made me think of the power that our projects have: how much love we put into them and how much love we can give if we present them as a gift. I don’t usually crochet for others, and therefore when I do it is extra special for me. Do you usually knit or crochet for others? Or have you ever dedicated a project to someone special that is no longer with you? Let me know in the comments.

Finally, as a little treat for you I am offering a 50% discount on this pattern until the 13th November, just use the code “TREAT50” when you are checking out on Ravelry.

Hope you a great day!

x

Sol

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Pattern release: Ocaso

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Ufff…. it feels like forever since I started this design but it is finally here! You can find it on Ravelry here.

This tunisian crochet shawl is constructed using simple stitches and increases, and you can find a tutorial for all stitches in this space. Below are the pattern details and the tutorials which I think would be useful to check out.

Materials:

1 100g skein Ginger’s Hand Dyed Yakety-Yak 4ply (100grams/366metres/400yards 60% Merino, 20% Yak, 20% Silk) in Sound and Fury (Col A)

2 100g skein Ginger’s Hand Dyed Yakety-Yak 4ply (100grams/366metres/400yards 60% Merino, 20% Yak, 20% Silk) in Crunchy Leaves (Col B)

4mm/ US size 6 Tunisian hook with extension (min 80 cm)
1 removable stitch marker
Tapestry needle

Gauge

22 sts and 25 rows in Tss to 10 cm/ 4in using 4mm/ US size 6 hook (or size needed to achieve gauge)

Size

Finished depth: 45cm/ 18in
Finished wingspan: 160cm/ 63in

Skills

Tunisian crochet – foundation row, forward and return passes, Tunisian knit stitch, Tunisian simple stitch, increases, changing colours and bind off in pattern.

Useful tutorials:

Tunisian Crochet 101: Foundation Row and Tunisian Simple Stitch

Tunisian Crochet 101: Tunisian Knit Stitch

Tunisian Crochet 101: Changing colours

How to read my tunisian crochet patterns

Tunisian Crochet: YO increase

Tunisian Crochet: Horizontal chain increase

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If you have any questions regarding the pattern just send me an email at acrochetjourney@gmail.com

Enjoy!

Sol

The value of slow

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For most things in my life, I strive for using as little time as possible. I also try to organise my day so that every hour is planned and therefore used efficiently, given my tendency to start watching TV and suddenly realising that is midnight and I didn’t do anything. These days everyone is working towards faster, faster, faster and I am not the exception.

I realised the other day however that the only slow thing I do is crocheting and knitting. If we think about it in terms of process and time, we are talking snail-speed here. From choosing a pattern (we have all spent countless hours on Ravelry), to finding the right yarn, swatching, then knitting/crocheting the actual project, finishing and blocking, it is a very slow way to get a shawl/hat/sweater/etc. into your closet.

There is a new term going around called slow fashion, it is mainly applied to the fashion industry and how to make the whole supply chain more sustainable and fair to all who take part in it. I believe that this is extremely necessary and important, and we should all support it as customers. But I also believe that this micro level of slow fashion, the personal one, is essential. Taking the time, however long that is, to make something with your hands that is to be worn and loved is something I have really come to appreciate in the last year. Instead of falling on this “go faster” mentality us knitters and crocheters are constantly looking for more challenging patterns that actually make us go even slower, ain’t that amazing?

At the end of 2015 I made my first knitted cardigan. I started on a train journey at the beginning of October and finished it by the holiday time in December, it was a beginner pattern and it actually felt like a quick project. Hallelujah for knitting/crocheting and its magic to make us go slow in a world where faster is king.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

xx

Sol

PS If you are looking for a great beginner sweater pattern, the Ramona Cardigan is perfect. Top down construction in aran weight yarn, a very well written pattern and a lovely and simple fit. Can’t recommend it enough.

January 2016 Favourites

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A few years ago I got very obsessed with make up, so much that I created a blog and YouTube channel. In the online make up world YouTube videos are very popular, I guess they are a kind of video podcast where people talk about their favourite products and share great tutorials. One of my favourite types of videos were the “monthly favourites” where each YouTuber would share their favourite products of the month for skin, make up, hair and sometimes non-beauty favourites as well.

I was thinking about new ideas for the blog and thought that I could do my version of monthly favourites, with new patterns I have favourited in the month, yarny tools/accessories I am enjoying, favourite WIP, FO or yarn and some life favourites as well. I don’t want these posts to have a very structured format cause I don’t want to end up choosing a favourite yarn of the month if I didn’t really have one, so I will improvise as I go but I think it will be a fun way to wrap up the month. I won’t put too much detail into these and will opt for making individual posts for things I want to share in more depth with you, such as FOs, WIPs, yarn acquisitions, etc.

Let’s start with a few stats for this month:

  • FOs: just one, a cosy shawl I crocheted for someone very close to my heart while I was in Chile. It was my own design and would like to release it eventually, just need to find the time to write it down and make another sample. In the meantime you can see a sneak peek below…!

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  • WIPs: Apart from the FO I just mentioned, during January I worked on my new shawl design and I also started the Owls jumper by Kate Davies as part of a small KAL we are having at my local knit club. I think I’ll do a post for this later in the month to tell you how its going (in one word: BIG).
  • WIPs on standby: I started a pair of crochet socks by Kat Goldin in the plane and one of the shawls from the Crochet Project but they are both on standby until I finish my shawl design. Has anyone crocheted socks before? Would love some pattern recommendations 🙂 Also on standby are my Freyja shawl by Aoibhe Ni and my Red Robin shawl by Helen Stewart. Both were giving me a headache for different reasons (a complicated chart and a dumb mistake that requires loads of unknitting) so they are in the naughty corner until further notice.
  • Yarn purchased: Way too much! Yarn in Chile is a lot cheaper than in the UK so I admit I went a bit mad… I will share more of what I purchased throughout the coming months, though probably not ALL I purchased…

Now onto the favourites of January 2016:

Patterns

jan faves

Here I want to share patterns that I discovered during the month and fell in love with or patterns I have worked on and really enjoyed. For this month I don’t have any favourite patterns I have worked with but I did fall for a few on Ravelry and are now happily sitting in my library:

For knitting I have been obsessed with hats and garments, while for crochet I am always looking for something different and the shawls by Yarn and Style definitely hit the mark. Simple, modern and with great use of colour: now that is the crochet I want to see more of in Ravelry.

Favourite WIP of the month

I think it has to be my shawl design. It has been a love/hate relationship since I started it but overall I am very proud of it so far. Just can’t wait to put it down though… 🙂 For now I will only share the yarn that I am using: some lovely Ginger’s Hand Dyed Yakety-Yak 4ply, you can see one of the colours I am using below… isn’t beautiful?

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Favourite yarn of the month

I haven’t worked with this yarn but it was my favourite purchase while in Chile. It merits its own post but all I will say is: merino yarn in natural shade handspun by Chilean artisans in Patagonia… stay tuned!

Favourite knitting/crochet accessory

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I was looking for a small pencil case to use as a notions/needles/hook case to put in my suitcase for my trip to Chile and found this one in Paperchase. It is just perfect, not too big or too small, it has three separate compartments when you open it and the one in the middle has its own zipper which makes it perfect for small things such as stitch markers.

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I think those are all of my yarny favourites for the month, other things that brought joy to my life during January are:

Life Favourites

  • Yoga for Bedtime by Yoga with Adriene: I love all of Adriene’s routines and have mentioned her in the blog before, but this was the practice I kept returning to during the month for relaxing and unwinding at the end of the day. It only lasts for 20 minutes so it is very easy to fit it into my evenings. Thank heavens for yoga.
  • Flavoured green tea, particularly Regents Park from Yumchaa Tea. The first time I tried green tea I hated it with my life. Then while in London a few months ago a girl in a stall in Camden Market convinced me to buy this green tea but to only brew it for a minute or two since green tea didn’t need more. Oh boy, I didn’t know what I was missing. This tea is deliciously fruity and is perfect after brewing for just one minute.
  • Marvel Agents of Shield: This show saved me from killing myself during 17 hours of flying time, I’ll be forever grateful 🙂 If you like all things Marvel and want something entertaining but that doesn’t require much brain power then this is your show.
  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown: This is my third Brene Brown book and it has been my go-to book for those 10 minutes before I go to bed. At first I was a bit disappointed to see that it repeats quite a bit from her older books but it has actually been helpful to revisit some of her insights. If you are feeling stuck in life and looking for some inspiration I cannot recommend this author enough. If you ask me, her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” is the one you should grab first.

What are your favourites for January? Let me know in the comments!

xx

Sol

Crochet in Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 16

Unfold by Yulika Tkacheva © Amy Gwatkin
Unfold by Yulika Tkacheva
© Amy Gwatkin

Hello there! How is the weekend going? I had a very lazy afternoon yesterday watching Gilmore Girls and working on a new crochet pattern (details to come!), don´t you love Saturdays?

I have a quick post for you to share something I came across this week: Pom Pom Quarterly released the preview for their new spring issue and there are some lovely crochet patterns to check out.

Riveret my Merrian Holland © Amy Gwatkin
Riveret my Merrian Holland
© Amy Gwatkin
Imitation by Judith Brand © Amy Gwatkin
Imitation by Judith Brand
© Amy Gwatkin

I particularly like the Riveret pattern by Merrian Holland, I love oversized tops like that. I am really excited to see crochet featuring in great publications such as this one, though I would like to start seeing more garments and less accessories but that may be just because I have been in a “garment mood” for the last year 🙂

Go check them out and let me know which one you like the best!

xx

Sol

Obsessed

© Patrick Hassel-Zein
© Patrick Hassel-Zein

I consider myself to be easily obsessed by a lot of things. My mum has always commented on this and according to her I have always been that way:, if I really liked something I suddenly got obsessed with it and liked only that specific thing until I got bored and found another one.

I can think of many examples of this, from books I can’t put down and therefore can’t sleep or eat until they are finished, to food I just can’t stop eating (jammy biscuits at the moment) and many things in between. Some last longer than others and I guess this crochet phase fits into that category, along with my “I can’t live without make-up phase” which lasted a couple of years.

Being obsessed with something is different than liking, or loving it. Obsession is when you can’t stop thinking about it, when the longing interferes with your life and basic needs. I have loved many crochet patterns for example, either by first sight or after working through them and just really enjoying the process.

Lately however I have found myself obsessed with a pattern I saw on Ravelry and can’t get it off my head! It is a tunisian shawl designed by Patrick Hassel-Zein using some beautifully rustic Icelandic wool. I saw it and I knew it was not love… this was once again an obsession.

I need to do this pattern. It’s not that I would like to, I just have to. I know myself by now and I know I won’t let it go until it happens. I have yarn for MANY patterns, including yarn for some designs I have in my head that I would really like to start sampling for but I know it will all probably be delayed a bit. From the moment I realised that the perfect yarn used in the pattern is stocked by one of my LYS I knew what was going to happen.

And I sense it will happen soon…

x

Sol

 

My 2015 project queue

Happy New Year everyone! I hope this year brings you loads of good things, including loads of crochet of course 🙂 I have been thinking about what projects I want to start working on this new year, I have loads of magazines and books but put them aside on 2014 to spend more time designing. I will continue to work on my own patterns but I do miss working on other people’s designs, there are such lovely things out there that I want to give a try.

This is a long list and I am aware that there is probably not enough time in the year to crochet all this and also do my own patterns, but a girl can dream right?

Let’s start with magazines, I went through my collection and narrowed down my crochet wish list to the following patterns:

  • Leaps Cardigan by Annelies Baes: I came across this cardi on Issue 57 of Inside Crochet and immediately fell in love. As you know I am always in the lookout for some wearable crochet and this pattern definitely hits the mark.
© Tailor Made Publishing
© Tailor Made Publishing
  • Penelope Top by Jennifer Reid: Another find from Inside Crochet, this top is gorgeous and can see myself wearing it all summer long. I think that the alpaca in the yarn used makes it look even nicer so will try to find a similar yarn to the one used by the designer.
© Tailor Made Publishing
© Tailor Made Publishing
  • Rockin Red Dress by Doris Chan: I purchased a few more Interweave Crochet issues during the holiday sales and there were quite a few projects I really liked. I always check the patterns on Ravelry and was surprised to find that most of the ones I had liked had very poor ratings and comments of badly written patterns. I am not sure if this is common for Interweave Crochet, I had an idea that their patterns weren’t so throughly checked and I believe I had mentioned it before, but I didn’t think it would be that bad. Anyway, I did find a beautiful crochet dress by Doris Chan, she is quite a famous designer and her pattern had good reviews. I have found that for Interweave magazines it is safer to look for patterns with known names, I guess they have a reputation to keep and more experience as well. I have never crocheted a dress but this is really stunning.
© Harper Point
© Harper Point
  •  Quartz Lace Top by Dora Ohrenstein: You know by now that I am a fan of Dora Ohrenstein, but didn’t know this pattern was hers until I looked it up just now! I saw it on Ravelry a while ago but found it recently in one of the Interweave magazines I bought.
© Harper Point
© Harper Point

Moving on to books now… I have purchased a few books this year, haven’t reviewed them yet but thought I could still list the projects that are at the top of my wish list. As you can imagine some designers will sound familiar!

Haru from Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan: I found this book at a charity shop at a very cheap price so had to get it. My favourite pattern is this striped long cardigan, I love how colourful it is.

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  • Buttoned Capelet from Hook, Stitch, Give by Kat Goldin: There are quite a few things I would like to make from this book including this beautiful capelet, I am so drooling over that yarn!

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  • Slouch and Bobble Hat from Hook, Stitch, Give by Kat Goldin: Love the hat, love the colours, love the pompom. Love, love, love.

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© Dora Ohrenstein
© Dora Ohrenstein

Finally, I have a few patterns found on Ravelry and other places… and then I’m done I promise!

© Caro Sheridan
© Caro Sheridan
  • Freyja by Aoibhe Ni: I purchased the Legendary Shawls eBook and still have many left to do… this one is at the top of the list though!
© www.halfadreamaway.com
© http://www.halfadreamaway.com
  • San Marino Bag by Hooked: I have never liked crochet bags, I had never really found a pattern that doesn’t look a bit tacky but this one caught my eye. I love that the kit comes with the handles as well.

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As you can see I am drawn to garments, mostly because I can’t design garments yet so I look for other designers for these patterns. Have plenty of ideas for accessories for this new year so as usual, stay tuned 🙂

Let me know in the comments if you have any patterns in your queue for next year that you can’t wait to try!

x

Sol