Saturday, 30 March 2013

Crafty Podcast Love

I love crafty podcasts. They were all I listened to on iTunes a couple of years ago. I subscribed to Electric Sheep as I'm sure many of you did, then found Craftypod.



Last year, during Wimbledon I found myself wanting a break from jobhunting and tennis! So I did another search for knitting podcasts, but this time I wanted something to watch on my laptop.

I found The Knit Girllls, and I soon became addicted and couldn't wait until their video cast went up on Mondays.

Leslie from The Knit Girllls mentioned that she had attended someone's wedding who also did a knitting video cast. So I subscribed to her too.

Round the Twist is completely on my level. Carin is a nurse who helps people recover from stroke and live their life fully again. She is obsessed with knitting (big tick), loves Doctor Who and wears Doctor tees (another tick) and references The Big Bang Theory (yep that's a lot of ticks but there's more).

She loves cross stitch, spinning and knits baby sweaters for her doctor colleagues. She got married last year and has two adorable dogs, Phoebe and Daisy. Trust me, you'll be hooked. Go along to iTunes right now and subscribe.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

New Book Review: 100 Bright & Colourful Granny Squares to Mix & Match

'100 Bright & Colourful Granny Squares to Mix & Match' by Leonie Morgan is the most vibrant colourful guide to granny squares I've seen.



There is 24 pages of advice and guidance to start you off on your journey if you're new to crochet. You will love the edgings and the advice on blocking if you are a little bit more advanced. The pictures are very clear and the diagrams are big so you can see the crochet hook and yarn very clearly.



Each granny square has a clearly written pattern with yarn guides for different sizes of throws. All of the squares are based on aran weight yarn with a 5mm hook.



There are five projects to make with the granny squares including a child's blanket, two cushions, an adult blanket and a bag.



What really makes this different from other books is the successful use of colour. The colours are bold and brilliant but Leonie has put some lovely subtle and muted combinations together which aren't too in-your-face or jarring.



I also love that this book has so many variations of the granny square. The traditional granny square is a well-loved basic by all of us who crochet but it can get tired and need a splash of colour or some mad bobbles and writing sometimes.



'100 Bright & Colourful Granny Squares to Mix & Match' by Leonie Morgan is available now on the Search Press website.

Thanks to Search Press for sending me this book to review.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Malabrigo love

I treated myself the other week to a hank of Malabrigo from Loop.



Words cannot describe how I felt as I unwrapped it from its envelope and tissue paper. The intensity and vibrancy of colour, the amount of colours in the yarn and the softness of it blew me away. It's definitely the most beautiful yarn I've ever bought. I'm hoping to have felting adventures with it in the future. I bet it felts like a dream.

I am knitting it up into stocking stitch for a cushion cover. I'm knitting it straight on my 5.5mm circular knitting needles and it's really soothing and luscious. I keep running my fingers over the knitting just to feel its softness. Can you imagine what I'll be like with a 48cm x 48cm cushion covered with it?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Book Review: 'Stress-free Sewing' by Nicole Vasbinder

'Stress-free sewing' by Nicole Vasbinder is another brilliant book by an experienced craft teacher. It's a technically perfect book which makes you feel relaxed about sewing when you pick it up. It's very much aimed at the novice sewer about to buy a sewing machine for the very first time. The emphasis on machine sewing continues throughout the book so bear this in mind if you prefer to handstitch.



There are ten chapters in total: -

Section one - Tools and equipment - Sewing tools, notions and trims, marking, measuring and cutting tools, miscellaneous tools, and Section two - Solutions and tips - fabric solutions, pattern solutions, sewing solutions, embellishment and trimming solutions, fitting solutions and finishing solutions.



It covers all aspects of sewing such as choosing a sewing machine and a guide to different feet, to making a muslin and facings. It includes a guide to fabric and how to choose patterns. Basically it's all you could ever want to know about dress making and sewing with a machine.



I learnt many things from this book - for example I had no idea you could sew a button with a sewing machine. I thought maybe you could do the buttonhole but this is aimed at those who want to save time and get really whizzy with their machine. I also found out that when sewing knits you shouldn't use a 100 per cent cotton thread, it should be an all-purpose polyester as it stretches with the fabric. They may seem like small tips but they all add up to a better sewing experience and less stress.



Another tip amongst the thousands in this book is to iron fusible interfacings onto the back of your tissue paper patterns to make them last. All great advice from a sewer with a huge amount of experience and talent to boot.



This book is so well worth the money if you feel your sewing knowledge could be improved upon or if you didn't grow up with a parent who made a lot of your clothes in front of you. Maybe you have no-one to ask in your friends and family and you can't afford a class or proper tuition. This book is for you.



'Stress free sewing - Troubleshooting tips and advice for the savvy sewer' by Nicole Vasbinder is available from the Search Press website.

Thanks to Search Press for sending me this great book to review.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Magic loop sock pattern on Ravelry

This last ten days have been busy for me. Busy at work and at home too with a large custom order which was nicely repeated and added to a week later, I have been a busy busy busy girl indeed. It's a great feeling and I thoroughly enjoy having enough to do.

So in true busy stylee this week's post is being furiously tapped out after work. Here is a nice free pattern from Ravelry : )


Copyright Erica Lueder

If you haven't signed up for Ravelry you don't exist. It's official. So sign up now. It's free and is exploding with so many free and paid for patterns you will wonder why the day only has 24 hours in it.



The above pattern was picked by me because it's knitted with two circular needles. I wanted to try the magic loop method of knitting socks as I've tried knitting with four and five needles and I can't quite get the hang of it. I have watched YouTube videos demonstrating the magic loop and it looks a little bit easier than wrestling with multiple needles. Go and show your appreciation at Erica's blog here.

So I will put this on my list of projects and start it in a week or so. I hope you try socks too if you haven't before.
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