The box of unfinished things.

It’s funny how there’s certain things that we get so used to that we don’t see them anymore.

This morning I thought the pup was too quiet & decided to see what he was up to. Turns out he had found my old sewing box & was having a good old chew.

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I’d completely forgotten about it. It doesn’t house sewing stuff, its been years since I done any serious stitching (not counting last years prom dress!). At some point I’d stuffed it with wool & sat it in a corner. It became invisible.

There’s nothing special in it. A few balls of luxe, a couple of monsters, some bits & pieces for a project long forgotten. A dolls body, complete with 3 different sized arms (not sewn on!), a crocheted furry ball, for some reason. There’s even a half finished Melvin in there, which to me is just wrong!

I painted the box years & years ago. Mum gave it to me when she was moving to the highlands, she didn’t have space for it. She picked it up at a car boot because it was old & she felt sorry for it.

It was a stained a dark tone & was sad looking so a quick makeover was in order. The outside was given a couple of coats of bubblegum pink, a scrap piece of fabric covered the pin cushion but apart from that I’d never really planned what to do with it. I’d had loads of ideas, but never followed anything through to the end.

Now, with the pup damage, it could do with some serious TLC.

I can feel another revamp coming on. Some stencilling and lining, I think. Perhaps new handles. Maybe even wheels! Or a lovely crochet collage!

I need to tuck it back in its place for now. I’ll finish the projects I’m working on now & come back to it when I have a plan, the time to finish it properly & better paint drying weather.

 

WIP – Easter update :-)

Hi everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine this Easter Bank holiday. It’s been a lazy start to the holidays here my busy household. With my youngest away at camp, I’ve had some quality time with the older teens. Just hanging out, watching movie marathons and having a laugh.

All this means that there’s not been a load of new crocheting going on, but I have been trying out a lovely bunting pattern.

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You can find the pattern HERE

It’s also about time I started my Happypotamous. I’ve had this Heidibears pattern for ages now & haven’t made a start on it. I’m crocheting it in a ‘production line’ method, so some prepping was required! 🙂 When I’m making something that needs quite a few parts, I find it so much easier to do it this way. Keeping things organised is the key, press & seal bags come in handy, you can even write on them. All pieces made at the same pace! I highly recommend it.

I finally chose the colour scheme for my ‘Happo’ from one of the African flowers made, I think these were February’s colours.

 

When I have got an hour or two to myself, I’ve been working on my hairy coo. I’m more determined to get it out in the world now. My eternal thanks to my readers for giving me good, common sense responses! I really appreciate it.

I hope you all have a great bank holiday 🙂

 

Crochet Dilemma – What do I do?

I have a problem.

For the last month I’ve been working on designing a pattern. It’ll be my first self designed  & published paid pattern. A prototype.  I’ve been so excited about it, it ticks all the boxes for me; it’s amigurumi, it’s drawn from my highland heritage, its cute and slightly quirky.

It’s a hairy coo AKA a highland cow.

I’ve been taking my time on it, doing a bit each day & taking time out whenever I made changes so I could view it objectively. I had a deadline in mind (its not passed yet!) But now something has come up.

Crochet Now magazine has a super cute crochet pattern for a highland cow in it this month. It’s be a great designer called Liz Ward & ‘hamish’ as he’s called, is one of the cutest creatures I’ve even seen.

What do I do?

There’s no similarities in them. The Liz Ward pattern is all curves and rounded shapes, while mines is all angles.

Do I still publish?

One moment, I think Yes. After all, just because someone crochets a granny square, doesn’t mean no-one else can crochet one. Then part of my mind says No, you cant publish now. Someone else had beat you to it. Time to move onto something different.

If I listen to the negative, I could end up spending my life designing pieces, only to be pipped at the post by someone else, every time.

What a dilemma. I’ve been mulling over it for a few days now.  I’m still conflicted.

Any advice would be appreciated, dear readers x

Itchy & Scratchy

Or, Why I’m not at the Yarn festival.

It all started 4 years ago, even if its affecting me now. I took a reaction to hair-dye for the first time in my life. I’d been dying my hair for 20 years & was at a loss as to why my body suddenly didn’t like it. When I say didn’t like, that’s an understatement. I had a strip of rash down each side of my body & welts behind my ears, the rest of my skin was blotchy and super sensitive. Luckily for me, women in my family go white young, so it wasn’t long before my shoulder length (fake) red hair was showing signs of silver. My hairdresser was great & encouraging & soon I’d forgotten why I’d stopped dying it in the first place. I was going natural, my hair growing a unique shade & I loved it.

A year or two went past & sometimes the hives came back. Friends & family got used to me commenting from time to time on my itchy skin, but I didn’t do anything about it (except try not to scratch). It wasn’t all the time, just occasionally. There seemed to be no pattern to it. I’d been to doctors one time with it & been told it was a sweat rash. The steroid cream I was given made it worse & hurt 😦

Then one night changed all that.

My friend text me to say that ‘there’s a woman on watchdog & she’s got one of your rashes!’ I immediately tuned into the programme in time to hear the presenters talking about MI. It’s ‘Sunday’ name is Methylisothiazolinone. It’s in everything (it seemed) & it is/was causing a huge amount of allergies across Britain. They were talking about it being banned. As I watched the lady on TV describing her symptoms & how it had affected her life, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I knew exactly how she felt.

I searched through the bathroom and found one bottle of body wash that DIDN’T have MI in it. Everything else, shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, bubble bath. All had MI in it. By now my boyfriend & kids had joined in and we headed to the kitchen. The laundry detergent was ok, dish soap had MI in it. The anti-bac wipes had MI in them (explained my itchy hands!)

A trip back to the doctors was on the cards. This time I saw a different doctor & she agreed that MI was the likely cause. I could choose to go to a dermatologist for the tests or I could cut out MI & see what happened. The doctor was clear on one thing though, if the rash was still hanging on after MI was removed, I was headed to the hospital.

3 days after seeing the Watchdog programme & my skin was happy skin. Injuries related to the rashes were healing & I became one of those people who read the back of packages for ingredients lists.

Life was great again. I wasn’t constantly fighting the urge to claw at my flesh anymore. I even risked growing my nails. Sure, sometimes I had flareups. While in Crete, I used the hotel towel one day & spent half my holiday with prickly heat type rash all over my legs. One winter, after being soaked to the skin, I had a lovely, long bubble bath. It didn’t end well. The itching on my stomach reduced me to tears. I couldn’t understand why my once health, strong body was doing this to me.

Winter 2015 came along & I pretty much had the MI thing under control. I developed a wee bit of insomnia & a few niggling things that had be back at the Doc’s. After the quickest of catch ups (she’s a crocheter too!) I explained about what brought me in. As I was retelling my symptoms, she asked me a few questions I thought were odd. I was talking about sleeplessness & extremes in body temp & she was asking about my periods. Then she asked again about the allergy, any aches & pains I had. She asked about my mum, gran and female relatives. By this time I could see where she was going. She did a blood test to be sure, but by the time I left, I had a REASON for my allergy & restless nights. I was going through the menopause, at 38. I’d been going through it for a while.

I didnt know the menopause could trigger allergies, but it can.

My first reaction was relief. I knew what had triggered the allergy to start with.

Intellectually, I could get my head round it. I was leaving a stage of life as my daughters were entering it. It was symbolic & meaningful & helped me deal with what was happening………..for about a fortnight. Then it hit me. It’s taken me a long time to get my emotions around it. My body’s doing something that I didn’t intend it to do, there’s nothing I can do to stop or change it. All I could do now was take care of my body, as it was now.

Fast forward to April 2017. I’m keeping an eye out for MI. I walk a lot. I’ve gotten in tune with my body in a way I never have before. I listen to my instinct & work on things that are meaningful to me. I’ve been vegan since the start of the year (technically whole food, plant based) & I haven’t smoked for 15 months. I should be fit, healthy & whole, right?

As it turns out, no. I’m frugal by nature & that’s been my downfall!

I bought a triple pack of soap at the local pound shop. It was a big name brand. I’ve used it before. I didn’t check the label. I knew within minutes of coming out the shower that it had MI in it. So, instead of wandering round St Abbs Yarn fest, looking at all the loveliness, I’m at home. My skin slathered in aqueous cream, downing antihistamines, filing my nails down. I couldn’t face going out in public while I’m this itchy. Fighting the urge to scratch all the time. It makes me self conscious & I’m sure no-one would want to buy yarn with someone scratching away beside them 😉

Luckily for me, the yarn festival runs twice a year.

I’ll keep a closer eye on my skincare in future!

Guess who rescued more old patterns?

I’ve picked up some new patterns that I can’t wait to try out.
The first is an amazing looking book called crochetterie. The projects inside look incredible & I’m hoping to have a review of it for next week.

The second is a pair of patterns that I ‘rescued’ from the local charity shop. The stitchcraft is from 1968 & had some really funky knitting patterns inside & the loose page is a lovely baby blanket that i think looks really simple & classic. Not bad for 50p.

My oldest daughter had been busy in a school play Alice in Boogy Wonderland’. We went to the opening night & it was fantastic. The whole drama group have worked so hard & are so professional. Our kids really do shine here in Berwick.

Saturday is St Abbs Yarn fest, in Eyemouth. It’s a while since I’ve been (it’s on twice a year & I’ve missed 2, I think).  I’m really looking forward to it & cant wait to increase my yarn supply 🙂 Although I’m donating my yarn budget to charity this lent, I sat pennies aside for the fest. Well, I’m not a saint 🙂
I’m still quite new to the while yarn festival scene. I guess I’m not naturally social. Having a great, smaller event practically on my doorstep tempted me out. I want to go to at least two this year, if not more.

Do you go to yarn fests?
Let me know what you think of them in the comments below x

Crochet in the world’s words.

If you’ve been over to Instagram lately, you’ll notice there’s dozens of hashtags that crocheters use. Hashtags (#) are how people online distinguish themselves and their makes. It’s one of those ‘languages’ that’s developed in the technological age, along with emojis.  I can sit here in Northumberland & using a hashtag, connect with a fellow crocheter in Norway or even Australia!

Whether you’re a Jack/Jill of all trades or you make only amigurumi, hashtags help you find your tribe.

If you fancy tagging your work with new labels, here’s some to consider:

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How to say Crochet or haken or ganchillo or croche or hekle or krose #agentcrochet

Each of these words means crochet!

Croche – french           ganchillo – spanish            Haken – german          virka – swedish  krose – turkish            hækle – danish

These are a few of my favourite hashtags at the moment!

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my favourite hashtags for Instagram #agentcrochet

Some for the toymakers 🙂

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amigurumi hashtags #agentcrochet

So, next time you’re over on Instagram, give your posts some pazzazz with a new hashtag & don’t forget to come say hi to me

Let me know below what your favourite hashtag is 🙂

More Crochet Flowers- Work in Progress

I’ve decided to give myself a few days of grace to complete my African flowers from March. I make them when I’m travelling & I’ve a few rounds to do so they’re completed.

 

Just a quick post today, it’s been super busy here, all the kids have stuff going on & it feels like we’ve done nothing but taxi teenagers around. Now got an early night, before the puppy wakes up at the crack of dawn, ready to play 🙂WP_20170401_22_06_57_Rich

5 things no-one tells you about crochet

Crocheting is one of the best skills anyone can learn. It has structure and scope for creativity that rivals anything else labelled ‘handicraft’. I adore it and am incredibly proud to be able to crochet & to show others how to.

Yet, there’s a few things I wish someone had told me. Or even just hinted at, so I could be prepared, you know?

So here are 5 of the things I really wish someone had told me.

  1. It’s addictive. From the first moment when you ch your first sc, you’ll be looking for pockets of time to do your thing. On the bus, in a queue, waiting for the kettle to boil. Anytime, anywhere, have hook, will crochet.
  2. There’s no-one you can’t crochet for. Brothers in law always need a scarf or two. There’s even patterns for beloved pets. The world is so much brighter when you know you can rustle up a tortoise cosy, should the need arise.
  3. You’ll fall in love………………with yarn! Alpaca, silk, bamboo are just a few of the luxurious blends that will slip through your fingers like jewels. The pull of artisan yarn will grab you and soon you’ll be tangled in thoughts of dyeing & fibers. At this point, you are beyond saving 😉
  4. Its good for your health – Crocheting keeps joints mobile, helps with concentration & memory. It also reduces stress, but any crocheter can tell you it can occasionally increase it 🙂
  5. You’ll never stop learning. From Pinterest to the archives of the V&A,  there’s millions of patterns out there & like Pokemon, you’ll want to catch them all!

So there you have it, 5 things you should have been told when you started crocheting. I hope it helps some of  you before you take the plunge. It’s too late for the rest of you, of course, you’re already hooked!

 

If crocheters ruled the world……

..bus stop seats would be a lot comfier. If the bus came while you were half way through a row, they’d wait.

…everyone would be taught the difference between crochet and knitting at an early age, no-one would ever have to ask again.

…crocheting would be an Olympic sport

…whittling crochet hooks would be more than a post apocalyptic life skill

…kids would leave school knowing how to crochet (obviously), as well as knitting, cooking, sewing, basic mechanics & DIY.

…yarn markets would beheld in every town, Wednesdays & Saturdays. You could ‘meet the sheep’ your yarn was coming from

…everyone would want a hooker as an ancestor

…someone would add a snack dispenser to the beer can hat, so we could eat and drink without putting down our work

…crocheted goods would be bartered. A simple scarf would be worth 1kg carrots & a bag of tatties at least (depending on season and type of tatties) A blanket would be worth 4 hours babysitting or a full MOT on your car, easy peasy.

Can you think of anything to add to the world?

 

Share it in the comments below x