Before you get out of bed in the morning do you go over in your head what you need to do that day, I mentally list all of the jobs I have to do. I’ve been doing that for the last hour and I still haven’t moved, in fact I feel exhausted just thinking about my list. I’m becoming very good at procrastinating even though I absolutely have to fit in some pattern writing today but I really don’t find it fun. So I’ve spent the last hour mentally putting obstacles in my way. Why do we do this, all suggestions will be gratefully received. If only I had just got out of bed and started but as you can see I have started a blog post instead. I didn’t actually get out of bed I just started to draft this post using the notes facility on my phone.
My bedroom curtains are still drawn, my significant other went to the gym a little while ago but kindly brought me up a coffee before he left. I think it’s quite bright outside as some daylight is filtering through but the wind is howling which is also contributing to me staying put. My body is full of aches and pains this morning and doesn’t really feel up to doing much but my brain is on overdrive. I really need to muster some energy from somewhere and make a move. Then I need to shut down the brain chatter and distractions and start my pattern writing as my deadline is looming. I love the creative buzz of designing a pattern and then seeing it come to life but I’m just not good at turning that process into a coherent document.
I did eventually get my self going on Sunday and I managed to make a good start with my pattern writing. I also went out for lunch so from a poor beginning it became a nice day. I was much more inspired in the afternoon and did quite a bit of planning for the rest of the month.
Monday was a very productive day, pattern completed and emailed to the Head of Knitting and Crochet at the Knitting Network. I’m just awaiting feedback from the pattern checkers, which is suddenly feeling quite scary. It did feel felt great to be ticking things off my list of jobs, very satisfying. I also did some baking ready for Crochet Club which I run from home every Monday Evening.
I’ve sent my completed blanket off to-day and once my pattern has cleared the checkers my pattern will be available. I’ve just realised I haven’t explained properly about this commission I made reference to it in my last blog post but I’ve been given the green light to share the details now.
My brief from the Knitting Network in collaboration with Woman’s Weekly was to design a blanket for beginner crocheters that said spring and had a touch of Easter about it. It was also to be a blanket suitable for a child to snuggle under or maybe even to use as a childs picnic rug. The pattern is going to be released in 5 weekly parts, it’s my very first Crochet a Long, which makes it even more exciting.
I chose some lovely pastel colours with a few brighter tones thrown in. The pattern is very simple it is made up of stripes of double crochet, trebles, granny stripes and V stitch, so nothing complicated but it has turned out very pretty. I have designed quite a deep border which I think finishes it off well.
The Yarn pack to accompany the Crochet a Long will be available on Monday 26th March via The Knitting Network the pattern will then be launched in weekly installments, all of the details will be on The Knitting Network Blog.
My head is feeling a lot less cluttered now that I have completed some of my outstanding projects and met the required deadlines. I have space to think about new creative projects and designs. The hours have flown by today I’m just finishing up here and then I am going to do school pick up for one of my grandchildren. I love having all of the grandchildren round and the house full of chatter but it’s also quite nice to have just one and to plan something special. I’m going to take Noah shopping and out for tea.
I had better rush as I don’t want to be late
I’ve been dreading this birthday since the beginning of last year. The first thing I thought of in January 2017 was next year I’m going to be sixty, how did that happen where have the years gone. I wasn’t even 59 when the anxiety started to creep in, well I hit 59 last February and today I’m 60. I was going to keep this quiet as in my head all I could think about was how old I had become, who would want to read a blog post or follow a Instagram account written by me.
In reality I’m no different from who I was yesterday so with my head held high (or as high as a 60-year-old women can manage) I’ve decided that a number is not going to define me or interfere with who I am.
Even though I wasn’t looking forward to becoming another year older and hitting this significant milestone I was looking forward to spending time with my daughters. My birthday celebrations started early as my three daughters had planned a special weekend for me. It’s hard to remember when we last spent a weekend all together, just the four of us, it was such a precious time.
I have been thoroughly spoilt, we started with brunch and cocktails on the Saturday morning at Cloud 23 Bar which is at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester. This was a first as though I’m partial to a cocktail or a gin and tonic I’ve not usually had two before 11.30 in the morning, this could become a birthday tradition. After lots of fun and laughter we then went to the Radisson Edwardian Hotel and spent 3 pampering hours in the spa, we finished with a glass of wine in the bar and then our chariot was awaiting as the girls had arranged for their dad to collect us.
After such a busy day my daughters decided on a PJ evening so we spent the evening watching dvd’s eating yummy food, lots of sweet treats, champagne and prosecco. Going back to the sweet treats have you ever had a haribo candy kebab, if not you must check them out.
On Sunday we had a leisurely start, it felt as though I had really gone back in time with the girls coming into my bedroom sitting on my bed, chilling and chatting. Then we had to work out a bathroom rota so that we could all get ready for the next birthday outing.
After breakfast we went to the Treacle Market which is a busy monthly artisan market in Macclesfield’s cobbled market place. It has up to 150 stalls to wander round, with exceptional local produce, tasty hot food, vintage finds and unique crafts. I always manage to buy myself some special treats. We had just enough time to have some lunch before everyone had to return home to get ready for the busy week ahead, poor Kate had to travel back to London.
Today my actual birthday I’ve had lots of birthday cards and lovely gifts to open I feel very special and cared for so maybe 60 is ok.
One of my presents from Kate is a book called “A Glorious Freedom” written by Lisa Congdonan author, illustrator and fine artist. According to Lisa the glory of growing older is the freedom to be more truly ourselves—with age we gain the liberty to pursue bold new endeavors and worry less about what other people think. I have only had time to dip into the first chapter so will report back my findings after reading the book.
Although thinking of Lisa’s words when I was working full-time I was defined by my profession. Life was busy with my job, children, home, grandchildren, parents the list goes on. I never really sat down and thought what do I want and am I happy am I fulfilled. I had gradually over a 20 year period worked myself up the NHS ladder and moved from a hands on community nurse to an Associate Director with a big remit, big budget to manage, difficult decision-making and very long hours.
As most of you will know nine or ten years ago I had to leave my job due to ill-health which was really upsetting at the time but the difficult decision was made for me. You could say that this gave me freedom and the power to pursue new endeavours, as I wouldn’t actively have looked to leave my job.
Time has moved on and I am in a totally different place now, I occasionally miss the busy work environment, the stress and adrenaline buzz of meeting deadlines and challenging situations. But now I have the freedom to plan my own days, which commissions to work on, where and when to run workshops and the ability to build in time for designing. Of course it’s not quite as easy and straightforward as that as my chronic illness does tend to get in the way. But I have found that most of the time we work hand in hand and I’m fairly at peace with my illness I try not to be defined and ruled by it and keep the control. Some days this is a challenge and I will feel really frustrated when I want to do something but my body or brain has other ideas.
I do feel lucky though and try never to dwell on what ifs, I had to leave work and end my career but where one door closed so many more have opened. I’ve been able to spend more time with my family, helping with the care of my grandchildren much more than would have been possible if I had still been working.
I sort of fell into my career as a crochet teacher and designer, I had learnt how to crochet as a child but hadn’t crocheted for years. When I left work crochet became my occupational therapy it kept me busy and my mind occupied. Three years ago I met a great group of women on a felting course and after the course was finished we continued to meet monthly and took turns in hosting a craft day. My first hosting involved teaching Soozi, Susan and Rachel how to crochet and that is how my little crochet business started. After lots of encouragement from my friends I placed a small advertisement on a local Facebook crafting site offering beginner crochet lessons and haven’t stopped teaching since.
Earlier this month I was approached by the Knitting Network who in collaboration with Womens Weekly have asked me to work on a project with them which is very exciting. More information will be available later in March so watch this space….. although I have included a sneaky peep at what I have been working on. I love these spring colours they have brought colour into my home during the last few cold grey days.
I have another collaboration to share with you but I will save that until next time.
I’m sitting in bed with my lap top my view consists of tree tops and roofs. Today it is surprisingly bright with lots of lovely natural day light flooding in. It would be a great day to take photographs for Instagram as the light has been so poor recently. But today has to be a quiet day resting in bed, I’ve had a little set back with my ME and need to recuperate. I thought I could use the time catching up with a blog post as long as you forgive my ramblings. On days like this it’s sometimes difficult to find the right words to express myself.
I have such a lot to tell you as it was summertime when I last checked in, I think I will start with the Autumn Crochet afternoon which was in October. Carole and I worked so hard to make sure everything was perfect and it was such a great afternoon. The theme was all things autumnal and our tables were decorated with pumpkins, flowers, acorns, fir cones and conkers. The tables did look lovely and as much as possible we themed our afternoon tea as well.
Deciding on the crochet project is the hardest thing to plan as it has to suit all abilities from newbie crocheters to the more advanced crocheters. It also has to be something you can start off on the day but still be able to chat and enjoy lots of yummy cake, as it’s such a social afternoon. A project that needs lots of concentration and quiet wouldn’t work very well.
I came up with the idea of a cosy scarf for the project quite quickly but the actual pattern took ages. I made so many samples before I was happy. The pattern I decided on was for a granny striped scarf with pom poms and a simple headband to complement it.
I shared my idea with Lovecrochet and they kindly agreed to sponsor my workshop and provided some beautiful yarn to make the scarf and head band.
Working closely with Jenni and Csilla at Lovecrochet HQ the yarn we chose to use was Paintbox Simply Aran which comes in an amazing array of colours and is so soft to crochet with. It makes a really cosy scarf without being heavy. Carole and I put 3 different colourways together and then made them up into project packs for the day, everyone loved the different colour combinations. About 6 or 7 weeks after the autumn workshop, Carole and I attended a local Christmas Craft Fair and we bumped into at least four people wearing our granny scarf it was so funny and heart warming to see them wearing the scarf in all its different colour combinations. I’m planning to put the scarf pattern onto the Lovecrochet website as soon as I do I will update my blog post with the pattern link.
I was planning to run another workshop before Christmas but due to my health restrictions Carole and I had to cancel. This was very disappointing but I’ve learned to work around my condition and I have concentrated on smaller projects I can manage from home.
It’s amazing how many interesting opportunities come along when you least expect it. Hobbycraft asked me to design some fairy lights/baubles which was a fun project and the free pattern is still available on the Hobbycraft Blog
In November I attended the Lovecrochet “Flock” Christmas party which was great fun and it gave me the opportunity to meet lots of the Lovecrochet team and some lovely Instagrammars and Bloggers.
As well as drinking lots of prosecco, eating some lovely cake and networking we made an adorable little Christmas wreath.
We also got the opportunity to sample some amazing new yarns.
Lovecrochet recently launched Willow and Larks yarn on their website and as a member of the Flock I received this adorable little package in the post such a lovely gift I love my mug but think I love the yarn more. The Yarn has some beautiful soft muted shades and is beautiful to crochet with.
Lovecrochet support a number of charities and I’m excited to be involved with a charity event planned for later in the year. I have been busy writing a new pattern for the project and decided to use Willow and Lark’s Ramble a beautiful soft but hard-wearing wool in soft pink and grey shades but unfortunately I can’t share very much at the moment, more will be revealed later in the spring.
I have also been collaborating with a yarn manufacturer in Portugal. Welcome Yarn sent me some lovely samples to try. I adapted my crochet bag pattern and have made a big shopping bag and also tried my hand at rugmaking for the first time.
The yarn was great to work with but I did need to take it steady as it’s quite hard on the wrists to crochet with for prolonged periods. I used a 15mm hook for the rug with t-shirt weight yarn and a hook a little bit smaller for the bag I think it was a 12mm. Such sturdy and useful projects I was impressed with the yarn.
I’ve also knitted (yes knitted!) a small lap blanket using a Weareknitters Blanket Kit. The yarn is the softest Peruvian Wool so easy to knit with, I was worried about knitting a blanket because as you know I’m mainly a crocheter but I needn’t have worried as the pattern was very easy to follow, everything was included in the kit, wooden knitting needles, sewing needle and the cutest label to stitch onto your completed blanket.
Weareknitters kindly sent me the kit to review and I can honestly say it was a lovely project from start to finish. The colour of the first image isn’t quite true to life the coral shade is much truer on the second image, sorry to cause confusion, it was the light when I took the photo. Just to confirm I have had no financial payment from the company, I loved making my little lap blanket..
Since Christmas I have fallen back in love with amigurumi as I received an amazing crochet book as a gift from my husband ( he had some help) Beetles Bugs and Butterflies by Lalylala.
It has totally inspired me the creatures are adorable I can’t stop making them. Lydia Tresselt is such an amazing designer I love her attention to detail. I made a few of her patterns for Posy when she was first-born, my favourite was a kangaroo with a little baby in her pouch.
One of the things I have missed is teaching so I have started running my crochet lessons from home again, which I do really enjoy
I find teaching on a one to one basis the most rewarding and I have quite a few new students booked in over the next month or two, I have also just run a crochet bag workshop and have another couple of workshops planned.
Before I go I have one last bit of news to share with you, a few days ago I was approached about a possible collaboration for later in the year. The project is really interesting and will be challenging for me but I am so so so excited about it, I will share more information as soon as I can I promise.
I am such a poor blogger these days and can’t really understand why as I do enjoy writing my blog posts. I think it’s just getting myself motivated that’s the problem, however it has been really nice catching up and reflecting on what I have been up to over the last six months or so. I say this every time so I apologise for being so boring but I am always surprised by how much I do manage to achieve and share with you.
I have to say my view from the bed has now changed somewhat as it’s dark and the curtains are closed.
It has taken me most of the day to write this post, with lots of rests and stops and starts but at least I have achieved something during my day in bed. ME can be so hard to deal with at times, it’s the unpredictability that I hate most of all. I missed my grandsons birthday party yesterday because of it, I need to get stronger as I have things booked in for later in the week that can’t really be changed, so it’s lots of enforced rest for the next few days.
talk again soon and I hope I haven’t sent you all to sleep
Last time I sat at my laptop talking to you the sun was shining but unfortunately today I can hear the rain pounding on the windows. I’m happy to be warm and cosy indoors let’s hope this is just a heavy shower. Writing this post has given me the opportunity to reflect on everything that has been happening over the last six weeks or so. I’m always pleasantly surprised how much I manage to achieve.
I finished the pattern for my Summer Crochet Event and after worrying about it for weeks, everyone loved making the round cushion, most people went on to make two. The event wouldn’t have been such a great success without the amazing people at Love Crochet who kindly sponsored my project and provided lots of beautiful Paintbox chunky yarn in lovely pastel colours. If you would like to make your own cushion the pattern is free on the Lovecrochet website, you can download it over here.
The day was lovely; Carole and I work really hard to make everything as perfect as possible. Our theme was a lovely summer’s day with glasses of fizz, sandwiches, raspberry trifle and cakes galore. The tables were decorated with flowers, marshmallow pops, sweets and lots of lovely yarny treats. In addition to the amazing Cushion project everyone had a special goodie bag to take home.
This was our 4th event and each time we have more and more people wanting to attend, we are already completely booked up for October when we are running our Autumn Crochet Afternoon Tea. It’s such a lovely way to spend an afternoon and I love seeing my patterns come to life.
Last time I posted I had just finished writing my Posy + Petal pattern which was very exciting. The pattern is available as a download here on Lovecrochet and you can also purchase a Posy + Petal yarn pack which we have put together using lovely pastel Paintbox cotton DK. Lots of people expressed an interest in making the Woodland Creatures so I decided to organise some small Amigurumi workshops. I advertised 3 workshops to run throughout July and I finished the last one on Saturday. I think they have been my favourite workshops and I’m so delighted with the lovely little Petals that were created on the day. I’m sure Kate will be pleased at how popular her little Woodland Creatures have become.
I enjoy all the workshops I run but I especially like the smaller group sessions which I run at home where I can make the table extra special with lots of goodies and pretty things to take home. The Posy+Petal workshops were so popular I still have a few people on my waiting list so I am going to run at least one more in late September.
I have had a little time away from teaching and my favourite make that was just for me has been another bag using some lovely yarn from Woolandthegang. The yarn is Billie Jean and I’ve made the “Get Lucky Bag” which was really easy to make, the sort of crochet project that you can curl up with on the sofa with a cup of coffee and a good box set playing. It’s going to be great for shopping. I’ve also made a fab little coin purse for my holidays using Tina Tape yarn which is a fabulous yarn, so silky and smooth.
I’m also writing my own bag pattern which is a small fun bag with pom poms. I am beginning to be over run with my samples as I keep tweaking the design. With a bit of luck the pattern will be ready by next week. I am going to put little kits together so that you can buy everything you need to make the bag in a variety of different colourways.
August is going to be much more of a family time month, as it’s the school holidays I will get lots of opportunities to spend time with my grandchildren. I also have a few trips to London planned to catch up with Kate. So no workshops or crochet lessons this month but I can’t completely switch off from crochet as behind the scenes I am planning the Autumn Project, Carole and I have spent hours choosing yarn and colours I think we have almost got it sorted but that’s a secret!
You may see me busily crocheting on the train when I’m off on one of my visits, no better way to pass the time. I think I have caught up with you and shared all of my projects hopefully catch up with you in September.
It’s a lovely morning and the sun is streaming through my window, I feel really happy to be sitting at my lap top composing this blog post. It has been a while but I’ve been keeping up with you all via my Instagram and Facebook page so I have been around.
I’ve started to feel a bit nervous when I think about blogging especially if it’s been a while but this morning I have a spring in my step and the words are flowing onto my screen. Lot’s of lovely things have been happenning since I last did a post which I must share with you.
Our Spring Crochet Afternoon was such a lovely occassion everyone had a really good time. Carole my friend and business partner spend weeks if not months worrying that our next event won’t be as good as the last but it was. We are now having the same worries about our Summer event which is on the 24th June, but we are already fully booked and have reserved places for our Autumn and Christmas Event, so hopefully we are doing something right.
The project for the Spring event was lovely and we found the perfect box to pack everthing into, the patterns were for a bottle cosy, flowers, picture frame, Easter basket, and little crochet eggs.
I’ve been working on the Summer project for the past two months and after 3 if not 4 false starts and having to go back to the drawing board I’m now happy with the project and have made lots of lovely samples.
As well as the Afternoon Tea Workshops that are held quarterly. I have also carried on with my smaller Sweetpeafamily crochet lessons and workshops that I run from home. These have become less frequent but I have just released some July dates which have filled up quickly.
One of the reasons I have been neglecting my blog has been my increased attention to my Instagram account, it’s hard to make time for everything.
I have really enjoyed taking photographs and perfecting my images and use of flat lays and this attention has paid off. It has been lovely to see my following and engagement grow and it’s not all about numbers I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing my own personal progression and it’s been lovely to see my gallery improve.
In early Spring Lovecrochet made contact with me through my Instagram account to ask if I would like to join their Flock. This was very unexpected and very exciting and of course I said yes but didn’t really understand what the Flock was. After a little bit of a google search I was even more flattered, The Flock is a blogger ambassador programme built to recognise hard-working, talented bloggers or Instagrammers bringing them together to share ideas, collaborate on projects and review the latest products.
Since working with Lovecrochet I have had the opportunity to work with lots of lovely yarn from the Paintbox collection which I hadn’t tried before and this in turn has inspired me to start pattern writing.
I have worked in collaboration with Kate Housden from Posy + Petals to recreate her adorable woodland creature illustrations. With Kate’s permission I have brought them to life using a crochet technique called amigurumi and I am delighted with how they have turned out.
Kate is not only a very talented illustrator she is also an amazing stoty teller and has a notebook full of little Posy + Petal tales which I hope one day will be published.
Meet Posy and Petal, two tiny bears who live in a tree house in the tallest oak in Little Dot Wood. Posy is the big sister and is very calm and sensible, Petal however is a little mischievous and gets herself into all kinds of scrapes. The two sisters love to pick flowers to make midsummer floral crowns. If you carry on past the tree house and keep walking you will stumble across a tiny orchard of apple, pear, plum and apricot trees with secret messages carved into old tree trunks, tumbledown greenhouses full of seedlings waiting to be transferred to the vegetable patch and wheelbarrows perfect for transporting tired ones home after a busy day. There is a tiny stream for dipping tiny toes, fire pits for late night marshmallow toasting, hopscotch and chalk drawings almost washed away by rainy showers and many half built dens and hide aways from days gone by. This is where Posy and Petal meet their friends Maple and Clover and have fun dipping their tiny toes into the cool stream whilst nibbling some sweet fruit from the nearby orchard…………………..I’m sure you would love to hear more of these equisite stories.
I’ve written simple crochet patterns for Posy, Petal, Clover and Maple. The pattern for Clover is a free PDF download available here at Lovecrochet.
The pattern for the four woodland creatures has just been released and is available here.
Lovecrochet have helped me create a perfect colour palette using Paintbox Cotton DK which is available as a Posy + Petal Yarn Pack which is so exciting and will complement the crochet patterns perfectly, you can find it here
As well as working with Lovecrochet I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some beautiful yarns from WoolandtheGang A few weeks ago Woolandthegang launched a new yarn called Tina Tape and I was lucky enough to have a sample of the yarn prelaunch. I took the yarn on holiday with me and had a little play in the sunshine. I started a lacey shawl/scarf – it’s so lovely and cool to work with, a cross between linen and silk.
I’ve also started a holiday bag using the yarn in peach and grey, I can’t wait to finish it.
As well as good things happenning we have had the terrible bombing in Manchester which has left us realing after such a shocking atrocity. A local women started a campaign called #aheart4mcr and asked for donations of hand crafted hearts to show our solidarity and love for the victims and our City. I made a little collection of hearts to support the campaign and my Monday night Crochet Club also joined in. The responce to Beths idea was incredible, hearts started to pour in from all over the world. On Monday Beth and her family decorated Manchester with over 18,000 hearts and people were asked to take a heart away with them. It has brought a little sunshine during this very sad time.
Gosh I feel as though I’ve caught up with lots of my news and it’s been lovely to share it with you. I hope you all have a little bit of sunshine today and I hope to be back soon.
This week has been full on business which sort of gets in the way of creativity but can also be fun. My list of must do’s for the week included my tax return, advertising workshops and dates for our Crochet Afternoon Teas. I have been quite productive I’ve almost finished my tax return, D day is the 31st of January but I’m on track to finish before the weekend.
I advertised a few crochet workshops for January and February. I run the workshops from home and keep the group size to between 4 and 6 depending on what I am teaching. When I checked this morning most are full and I just have a couple of spaces left for my Mandala workshop. Whenever I advertise my courses I always have a little knot of anxiety in my tummy, in case no one books in, so it’s very reassuring to see them fill up so quickly.
Carole and I have planned our Crochet Afternoon Teas for the year. We are mostly following the seasons and have one in Spring, Summer, Autumn and then a Christmas themed event.
I’m already playing with some pattern ideas and met with a yarn rep on Monday to order some lovely Springlike yarn for our first event. We work so hard to make our events special, always trying to add that little something extra so it’s quite a pressure to keep improving but we have some great ideas for 2017.
The Spring Crochet Extravaganza is on Saturday 11th March
Time: 1.30pm – 4.30pm
Ticket Price: £45
Venue: St Albans Church Hall, 1 Salcombe Road, Offerton, Stockport SK2 5AG
Booking request form is at the bottom of the page
Booking Request Form:
Once I’ve received your request I will email with details on how to make a payment to secure your booking