Friday, 28 February 2014

Design, design, design

It's been all about designing this last week or so! Now that I have learnt how to write up my patterns in the traditional format I'm able to work faster from idea through to finished pattern. It seems that no sooner have I sent a pattern off to be tested that I start on the next one. I'm sure the sunny weather and the pretty spring flowers which are beginning to open up all around are helping with my creativity too.

Yesterday I emailed 3 lovely testers with my latest pattern. It was an amigurumi design which I had made a few times 4 or 5 years ago but I didn't know how to write it up at the time. I looked at how my original amigurumi was put together, counted the rounds and thought about the colours.



 My new amigurumi in the centre with the original designs either side

I decided to use my current favourite yarn; MilliaMia ( http://www.millamia.com/home.php there are a few free patterns on the website, worth a look!). I buy most of my yarn from UK based Lemonade Yarns ( http://www.yarnandcraftshop.co.uk/  free patterns on this website too!). There is a pattern competition running at the moment which might have something to do with my increase in designing too! The details are on the Lemonade Yarns facebook page if you are interested in finding out more  https://www.facebook.com/lemonadeyarns?fref=ts



Cover photo for my new design

This morning I received a free sample of wool from Emma at Lemonade Yarns. It was a ball of Jenny Watson, pure merino DK, a new line of yarn for her shop and I was keen to try it and see what it was like. The wool felt lovely and soft and not at all scratchy so I thought it would be perfect for a cosy headband. I began working on a cable sample straight away and I'm happy with it, ready to move things on to a bigger scale. 


Work in progress

I am extremely grateful for all the work my pattern testers do. There is always something obvious missing from one of my patterns and I appreciate these little mistakes being pointed out, making the final pattern just right for someone to pick up. For every pattern tested the tester's name will be added to a prize draw to receive a surprise parcel of homemade goodies from me. I will do this every six months. If you are interested in pattern testing for me please get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Half Term Crochet Project

I have been enjoying some personal crochet time recently which I have thoroughly enjoyed. The boys were off school for their half-term long weekend so we were out and about swimming, going to the cinema and spending pocket money! On the Monday morning I managed to catch up with my friend Gwen and her 2 children. Gwen brought her current crochet project with her, the cowl she is busy pattern testing for me. It was good to see the pattern taking shape and watch Gwen working on it. My eldest son sat with us and began a new crochet project (using my lovely 70% wool / 30% alpaca mix wool no less!), I took a sneaky photo of them working away.



Concentrating on crochet

My husband surprised me with a copy of Mollie Makes magazine for Valentine's Day (a very thoughtful gift!) and I loved the pixie hood pattern in it so much that I started straight away, using wool from my stash.



All ready to begin!

This pattern uses front and back post stitches to create a cabled effect which looks fantastic. The first few rows required extreme concentration but then it began to make sense and became much easier to follow. The pattern is available in Mollie Makes, issue 37 or directly from the book, Aran Nordic Fair Isle (ISBN 978-4021905278).

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

More pattern writing

I've been pattern writing again! This time for a 4 colour, pinwheel granny square. I'm using this pattern on a blanket I am making for my sister and brother in law. It's a multi coloured blanket, crocheted using odd balls of wool, mixed with some new fresher colours too. I thought it was time I wrote it down because I'm taking a short break from this project while I wait for more yarn to accumulate. I have an Instagram friend in Australia, called Lynda, who is working on a crochet mood blanket, crocheting 1 different square a day for a year. Her blanket is looking beautiful so far with so many different patterns and textures.  I asked if she would test out my pattern and she has kindly agreed. I really hope it works out, it would be lovely to see one of my designs on Lynda's blanket.


 Finished pinwheel granny square


I have also been working on my felt bunnies for Easter time. I'm having fun playing with different colours and patterns, these bunnies are fun to make!


Work in progress


The fabric for the ears and tummies is either vintage fabric which my mum has given me or modern scraps from my own stash. The fabric in this picture is Liberty scraps, leftover from a dress my mum made me when I was 5. I am so glad she hung on to all these little pieces!

I currently have a promotion on in my Folksy shop; as a special Valentine's offer, all orders will receive a FREE felt brooch! Offer ends Friday 14th Feb 2014 at midnight.


Promotional brooches

If you'd like to see any of my items for sale,  www.folksy.com/shops/martasecocrafts  is the link.