Thanks to all our readers

off the record

Photo 28-08-2016, 10 09 11Master Griffin’s account of his visit to Big Pit has now gained 309 views.

It has been retweeted a dozen times, shared by seasoned communications professionals, elected representatives, and at least one hard-bitten real newspaper editor.  It’s also been replied to by the lovely comms team at Big Pit.

Thank you to you all, you sentimental, lovely people.  You are soft.

We now have a little boy who understands why writing is great, why one word after another word after another word is one of the most powerful weapons in the world, and most of all is proud of his hard work.  He’s beaten his Dad in page views, which to a little boy who’s shorter than his friends and trying to make his mark in the world is gold. He’s also a young man who wants to be a writer.

But most importantly of all, he sees in a…

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The World’s Most Expensive Card

cushobi

Materials + Labour + Expenses + Profit = Wholesale x 2 = Retail

The above seller’s formula is what most craft business owners are told to use when working out how to price their items.  It’s what isfair.  I mean, let’s face it, as much as we crafters, artists and other creatives do what we do because we love it, if we’ve taken the leap into selling our makes, it’s because we want to see a return for the time, money and passion we’ve invested.

And rightly so.

But, see, there is a fundamental flaw in using the above formula which most if not all crafters have to also take into consideration; what consumers will actually pay.  Most of the time the two figures don’t even come close to each other.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a popular item and work it through: The featured image on this…

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I’m a guest blogger!

  Just swinging by to share some exciting news that I have been keeping secret since September (and I really can’t keep this kind of secret!) 

Today I am guest blogging with Mrs Crafty B in the relaunch of her ‘Meet the Maker’ spot and as part of #craftychristmas.

I’m so excited!

Here is the link to my contribution (click on the blue words!) 

Tiny & Toad with Mrs Crafty B

It features a personal favourite of mine, you might be familiar with it!

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Happy Tuesday everyone, what does it hold for you?

I have an order of Santa hats to get to work on!

Enjoy your day, however you are spending it.

xx

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Why Blog?

This is a blog that I wrote just under 4 years ago on another page which I have not maintained. I have pontificated over sharing it here, but I passionately believe in breaking the taboo that is talking about pregnancy loss.

The very last thing I want to do in sharing this is to upset, my hope is that, in sharing, I can help at least one person to not feel the isolation that I did in 2009.

Should any of you reading be touched by molar pregnancy now, there is hope. Promise X

A Circuitous Route to Motherhood

Today, I left the house and car keys in the outside of the front door for nearly two hours. Today, I left the house and car keys in the outside of the front door for nearly two hours because my mind was elsewhere. Where elsewhere? Oscar, that’s where.

Oscar is my 12 week old son and Oscar is a miracle. All babies are miracles so what makes Oscar any different? Ostensibly, nothing. It is what went before that makes him our miracle.

Molar Pregnancy.

If you are randomly reading this blog and don’t know me, then you have probably never heard of Molar Pregnancy. If you dream of becoming, or are already, a Mum, that ignorance makes you lucky. You can trust me on that.

Molar pregnancy is a very rare form of tumour (effectively an abnormality of the placenta) that affects around 1500 women living in the UK annually…

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The Stylecraft Giveaway: It’s Coming!

the twisted yarn

Would you like a free pattern and the chance to win a whole sack of joyfullycolourfulyarn? You would?? Oh my friend, you’ve come to the right place: you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve mentioned this on the ‘Yarn’s Facebook page (do please ‘like’ for updates) but I hear a faint rumour that not quite everyone is accounted for on The Book Of Faces, so it’s only fair that I also mention it on Ye Olde WordPress(e).

Y’see, it’s like this. Cast your almost perfectly photographic memory back to Stylecraft’s competition to select a new shade of yarn, which I co-judged along with the editor of Let’s Knit magazine and Lucy from Attic24. So gorgeous were the ten shades that we shortlisted that the fine fibrous folks at Stylecraft briefly put…

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I missed you

Let’s just say that life has been complicated and complication does not complement creativity.

The thing I’ve learnt about creativity is that it won’t be confined indefinitely. I think it was our family ‘holiday’ to Glastonbury that hooked my mojo out of whichever cupboard it had been hiding in, and what better place to find it?

I had to take bunting for the tent. I am having something of a love affair with it. But, I couldn’t just take bunting, I had to make it. I found a fab pattern at Cherry Heart which I put my own spin on, going for unusually vibrant colours. Glastonbury seemed to require that:

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This a pretty quick pattern to hook up and I loved watching my little pile of triangles grow. That thing was, they weren’t quite triangular in shape so I decided that this was the moment to have a go at ‘blocking’. I have no idea if I did it correctly, but it worked!

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Blocked triangles on the left, unblocked on the right

But what of the transport?

Tent prettification well under way, our attention turned to the question on the lips of every festival goer with small people. What ARE we going to do with them? The Glastonbury site is huge, there’s no two ways about it and we were going to have to take lots of stuff. Lots and lots of stuff.

Really, there was only ever going to be one solution, the Festival Trolley.

Take one garden trolley, introduce a woman who has nil sewing ability and her brilliant measurer of a husband to her dusty, once used sewing machine, throw in several very late nights and a burnt out (probably) bobbin winder and…ta dah!!!

   

    

And here she is in action:


Notice the colourful blanket covering the top half of T&T? Well, it’s an Attic24 Cosy Stripe and was such joy to hook – as are all of Lucy’s patterns that I have tried. I switched Stylecraft DK for Chunky (the Wool Warehouse Attic24 Special Chunky rainbow pack) and a 6mm hook and it worked up beautifully quickly.

Here it is as I was starting the border. The happy by product of the need for speed was that, in chunky yarn, this blanket is super-duper cosy and, even in midsummer, late evenings can get chilly.

G -day came and, I feel I need to admit, the ends weren’t all darned in. However, not to be defeated, I popped a hook (just incase) and a needle and finished it off whilst we were there – Thursday night when there was little else going on. They came in handy (together with the oddments of yarn I had slipped in at the last minute – again, in case of emergency) for hooking up some soft toy tethers – which allowed us to tie these little boy essentials to the trolley and thereby avoid the inevitable drama of a loss.

And, what an amazing time we had, vastly improved by the fact that Mr T&T had gone ahead to set up our tent, queueing before the gates had even opened.

Here’s a few of the best bits (and my Glasto-ized wrist!).

  
  
  
  
  

  

I have tried to do the Glastonbury experience justice but my word smithery falls short of the mark. However, a family member summed it up pretty well when, a week later, she asked if we were still suffering from the post-Glasto blues. I am quite sure that we were. Nobody wanted it to come to an end and the flushing loos, hot showers and mud free floors of home were no real compensation for the wonderful experience that we left in that beautiful corner of Somerset.

Appeasing those blues

Crochet, of course!

I came across a lovely pattern for a girl’s cardi in issue 32 of Simply Crochet magazine. I have a very special god daughter who absolutely needs a new cardi, so I picked my own colour scheme and away I went. To my surprise it came together in one evening minus the buttons and darning in.


I really am considering creating this beauty in a grown up size.

At the beginning of the year I set myself some crafty goals:

1. To start a blog  – but for a huge gap, done.

2. To publish my first pattern – the heart from that you can find here

3. To make my first crochet garment – woo hoo, done and what a lovely pattern to choose for that particular first.

4. To produce a replica of my wedding bouquet in something woolly (it) – I’ll come back to you (soon I hope) on that one!

7 months in, a creative black hole and I’m doing pretty well on my 2015 wish list!

On the topic of flowers – here’s my first ever bouquet – well, it’s more a of a posy really but it sits on my hall window ledge and makes me smile every time I walk past it.

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I’ll always be a hearts and flowers girl.

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Thank you to Tina Barrett whom I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday at our local show and who galvanised me in to action with her very kind words just when I needed them.

I promise not to leave it five months until you hear from me again!

T&T

xx

(p.s. my apologies for the totally random sizing of the photos in this blog – I had an argument with technology and it won! I need to work on that.)

Hearts, hearts and more hearts

Life has been busy. Very busy.

I’ve just been  away for a fab weekend with the girls and suddenly realised that it’s been a while since I blogged. With each day recently busting at the seams, I’ve got quite a lot of creativity to share and, I’m really excited to be sharing my first ever pattern. Complete with pictures (and a link to a video!). With that in mind, here’s the last 10 days in pictures:

Valentine’s Heart- it’s this little heart that you will find the pattern for below!

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“Be my Valentine”

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This was how I spent my Valentine’s evening: IMG_0596_2

G was poorly and doesn’t do Valentine’s day anyway…wine, chocolate and crochet wasn’t a bad second best!

The beautiful hyacinths have bloomed:

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It was my Mum’s birthday. Her favourite flowers are freesias…and I had to accept that challenge:

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That tiny little bud at the end was the greatest challenge.

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There is a lot of wire inside that bloom and I ended up oversizing it a little, but this is the by product of not following patterns- it’s all a little ad hoc. That’s the way I like it.

One Freesia was insufficient so I added some roses and little blue creation of my imagination and woo hooooo, I had a posy. Or, really, Mum had a posy. I had Toad (he’s 3) deliver Grandma her posy…there was a little lump in my throat. He just loves delivering flowers…and he does it so beautifully. He even made sure that Grandma knew that “Mummy made them” I think she might have guessed.

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On Friday I was flicking through my Comic Relief Crafternoon magazine whilst Tiny (who had been up most of the night…with lucky old me) slept when I happened across the idea of making Toad a beard. The beards in the mag are knitted and I can’t knit (Well, I tried. It was not a success. The second stick just confuses me) so, after a quick online search, I came up with a fun looking pattern from Autumn Falls Creations. Which you can find here. I am a compulsive pattern fiddler, thus my version is a twist on the original not least because she doesn’t have a child sized pattern. I used DK yarn and a 4mm hook.

Toad, predictably, asked for a pink beard (he’s a fan, a big fan. He’s possibly actually more of a fan of pink than me) and a couple of hours later whoo hooo…..and he spent most of Friday afternoon wearing it.

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I’ve been working on a secret new baby gift for which I have run out of yarn so, whilst I wait for my Wool Warehouse delivery, I’ve been adding to my Attic 24 Ripple blanket. This is such a lovely theraputic pattern and I am in love with the colours:

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Now for the hearty bit

Please treat me kindly. This is my first ever attempt at writing a pattern. I hope it creates something that resembles a heart…I hope!

This is what we’re aiming at:

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The pattern is written in UK crochet terms and uses the following stitches:

Double Crochet (dc)

Half Treble Crochet (htr)

Treble Crochet (tr)

Double Treble (dtr)

Slip stitch (ss)

I used dk yarn and a 3mm hook to make the heart nice and tight.

This pattern starts with a magic circle. That will work up something like this:

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You can find a how to video for the magic circle on my Facebook page here

Row 1: Chain 1 (this doesn’t count as a stitch) then work five dc into the magic circle – you work over the tail with each stitch and the finished row will look something like this:

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The next step is to pull your tail tight so that your five little double crochets make a circle:

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Then SS to the first dc (NOT the chain 1)

Now we are going to work into the five stitches around the edge. Don’t crochet into the stitch that you have put the ss into. Instead start in the next stitch (you will still have five to work into) (I am not sure that this method is conventional, but it’s how I do it)

Into the first stitch work 1dc, 1htr and 1tr:

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Into the second stitch work two tr and then two htr

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The stitches that you work into the third stitch are going to make the point. Work 1dc, 1dtr, 1dc and here’s your point:

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Into the fourth stitch work two htr followed by two tr (this is the reverse of the stitches that you worked into the second stitch)

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Finally work 1tr, 1htr and 1 dc into the fifth stitch – this is the reverse of the stitches that you worked into the first stitch.

Now finish it off to your taste. Sometimes I ss down into the middle of the original magic circle and finish off. Other times I don’t join and just finish off. Then I use the darning in to make sure that the second ‘lump’ is finished off to match the first.

You can see that I have dropped down into the middle of this one:

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But not here:

       IMG_0591So there you go woo hoooo, my first ever pattern….any questions, you know where I am!