What’s taking shape?

All my WIP have been put on hold the past wee while as I work on my heidibears project. I though I’d give you all an update!

WP_20170422_15_22_23_Pro

I started using the yarn left over from last years CAL, the photo above shows rows 3 and 4 being completed. I do them in bulk, I’m kinda impatient & want to see how this turns out.

All the pieces are being kept in sandwich bags, mostly to keep them together, but also to keep the dog hair off it! I think the bag was originally for trainers or shoes, I got it for 50p in a charity shop. The fact I can see whats in it, without opening it is a huge bonus.

 

I’ve still to decide if I’m ‘joining as I go’ in row 5. This is a new technique to me. I tried it in the Stylecraft Carousel CAL but couldn’t get the hang of it, so might end up sewing it together.

Well, that’s about all for today. I figure I’ll be ready to make this guy by the end of the next bank holiday. Which is next Monday! It’s definitely the holiday season here in the UK at the moment 🙂

catch up with everyone soon xxx

The value of vintage.

Have you ever noticed the massive pile of vintage patterns sitting gathering dust? No? I don’t blame you.

Miles away from the shiny, glossy magazines that we are all buy and love, there’s old, battered prints. You can find them in charity/thrift shops & second hand book shops. Whether they are wilting in a cardboard box, shoved in a corner or organised in a big pile that no one dare touch for fear of it falling, they’re waiting, waiting to be read.

I love rummaging through old patterns. Of course, there’s the giggle factor. I mean, seriously, did people really wear that stuff! But the range is incredible. Every now and then you get one that has scribbles on it, or a row of numbers scored through. It’s like the past saying to you “this patterns good, go ahead and get making!”

I inherited a lot of patterns when my gran passed away. Among the hand & machine knitting there were a some crochet. It seems to be the fortune of the craft, to be in the shadow of knitting. Forever the bridesmaid, never the bride, as my gran would say.

I started knitting before I took to crochet. Once I had a hook in my hand, I never looked back.

Maybe it’s something to do with being left handed, knitting never seemed natural to me,  simply ‘mirroring’ doesn’t work for all us south paws! Some of us knit back to front and backwards (just to be awkward).

But crochet came as easily as breathing. These days it’s just as instinctive. As the years have passed, I’ve found that reading patterns is quite easy for me. I can see the shape forming as I read,  reading charts took a while to master but I’m so glad now that I can!

I hate the idea of a pattern being lost and for quite a while I would bring home ‘strays’. When we got Jax, I quickly realised that bookcases and puppy dogs don’t mix. So once again the patterns were passed to others, perhaps never finding their forever homes.

I know that its unlikely that there’s a pattern in print that’s not online already, but don’t you just sometimes want a ‘hardcopy’ in your hand. To feel the paper, the folds and to perhaps make a few scribbles of your own? Logically, I know we can print off any pattern we have on our computers, but older patterns feel different. I love the feel of the old paper, it’s almost like linen. As for the old books of patterns, I’m forever coming across some wonderful now treasure nestling in the pages.

Perhaps one day, I’ll manage to get all the patterns together for a ‘family’ photo but for now, here’s a pic of my favourite 2.

wp_20170226_22_07_19_rich

 

The book covers loads of different crafts, but has an excellent crochet section, including Irish Crochet, which is high on my TO DO list. The Tunisian pattern was my grans. It’s been laminated, which means she really, really liked it. I made these waistcoats for my girls when they were 4 and 5. They were super cute!

book review – Easy Crochet Vintage & Retro

This is my first review so bear with me.

I borrowed this book from my local library simply because I liked one of the jumper patterns. Having got the book home I found that it’s full of amazing patterns (hence the review)

*please note I haven’t made anything out the book yet, so this review is based on how it looks and reads at this point.

Easy Crochet Vintage & Retro. Published by Hamlyn.

The book is well laid out, its easy to flip through the pages and they don’t ‘turn themselves’, a pet hate of mine when trying to follow a pattern in a book. The patterns are grouped as : one star (easy/beginner), two star (intermediate) and three star (experienced).  The book assumes some basic knowledge of crochet and the terminology used, so no instructions on ‘how to’ are included. In total there are thirty patterns in the book.

The patterns are written out in full, with ample instructions for sewing up. There’s no charts in this book, which is understandable as not everyone can read them, but there are a few patterns that could have been great introductions to chart reading for the average reader ( I’m thinking of the beaded drawstring bag pattern here)

The range of patterns is well thought out. From doilies to cardigans, gloves, socks and sweaters. There’s home furnishings too, in the shape of mesh curtains (think Irish crochet), table runners and pouffes.  Although the title of the book is Vintage &Retro, it could easily be Timeless & Classic. There’s a nod to the sixties with a shift dress and target pouffe, but the majority of the patterns fall into the ‘timeless’ description with the ‘retro’ label covering choice of colour or material (there’s viscose!). There’s a nice range of stitches too, so a more experienced crocheter won’t be bored. Patterns are easy to follow on a read through.

Each pattern has a full page colour photo of the finished item, with additional photos showing close ups and yarn colours used. The materials used range from thread all the way to chunky.  Hook size and gauge are given in mm, with the addition of UK imperial hook sizes given as well.

All in all, its a tempting book, with plenty to grab the attention of any crocheter.

Best bit – sock pattern, I’ll be trying this asap, them the sweater, then the pouffe 🙂

Not so best bit – no charts, only because it seems to be a missed opportunity. Not a negative as such, the aesthetic of the book is fantastic, charts may have distracted from that.

I definitely recommend this book, it seems to be one of the ones that you go back to time and time again. If you’re unsure, borrow it from your local library first, you won’t regret it.

wp_20170211_21_57_39_pro

A Famous Face

Meet Doug, the energy saving caterpillar, courtesy of Greener Scotland

WP_20160620_18_10_10_Pro

He’s retired now, but once was quite the celeb on British Wintertime TV. He spent many a night keeping the cold wind out while my family and I slept in our drafty old house. Fortunately, we now have a nice, new house and Doug gets to rest on the radiator, watching over us all and well out the way of visiting dogs. There’s something about the texture of knitted or crocheted toys that Jack Russell’s seem to really like.

I love Doug. I love that when I first read the pattern I thought “there’s no way I can knit with all these needles” DPN’s were a new and scary thing to me. I love that I was able to make something that was so recognisable & the colours were so cheery in a winter and house that was so cold and bleak. What I love the most about Doug isn’t his multicoloured wonder, or his Lego cute legs or even the fact that he has, on occasion, been worn around the house as a scarf! (I’m naming no names, they know who they are!)

It’s the fact that crafts – knitting this time – were once again brought into the mainstream consciousness. Not  everyone knows how to knit but for a while at least, everyone knew Doug. Any child that visited that house left knowing ‘Doug off the TV’ – he lived in my house and he made us all smile. He still does.

My (current) favourite Tunisian Patterns

These are a few of the best patterns that I’ve come across on the internet recently. Usually my curiosity is hooked while I’m wandering round Pinterest and before I know it, the yarn haul is getting pulled out and the hooks are being warmed up.

DISCLAIMER – I haven’t made them all yet and all patterns are available publicly and for free. Enjoy.

  1. The Crochet beanie  HERE – this pattern is my all time favourite mostly because you make it sideways, and there’s something about watching it ‘appear’ that really appeals to me 🙂 Add a few extra stitches or a band if, like me, you have a lot of hair or like your hats a bit looser. Very quick to make and great stash buster.The patterns by Becky Rainford
  2. The Tank Top HERE – I haven’t gotten round to making this one yet, but it looks so lovely. Definitely near the top of my to do list. Pattern by Amy Depew
  3. Tunisian Slippers HERE – this pattern is in Japanese but there are charts and photos. Toe curling cuteness. I’m making these this weekend & expect once the girls see them they’ll be begging for their own pair.
  4. Spiral Blanket HERE – I have started this pattern (more than once), its not the clearest of patterns but, by golly, the effect is worth the effort. Worth a blog post in itself, which I’ll get round to soonish. Pattern by Margaret Zellner.

So, this is what’s been distracting me recently, luckily there’s a few would-be gifts among them. I’ll post photos of my wares once I’ve finished working my way through them.

bye for now xxx

It’s all about ME!!

I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce myself a wee bit more and let you know the kind of things I’m working on at the moment.

I live in Northumberland, just a few short miles from the Scottish Border. I’ve lived here for 12 years now, with my partner and 3 teenage kids, although originally I come from Glasgow.  I work as a community artist and arts & crafts tutor, which I love. I’ve been crafting as long as I can remember. I come from a huge creative family; woodworkers, mechanics, poets, illustrators, embroiderers, there was always something being made or fixed when I was younger.

Now, I pass the skills on to the next generation through my own kids and those I work with. There’s not a craft that I can think of that I haven’t at least tried! I’m not keen on card-making, or decoupage although I could do them if I had to. 🙂

I prefer making amigurumi and crochet toys mostly as I think they’re really cute, they make great presents, you can personalise them and so on. When my son was younger I knitted him a teddy bear just like Mr Bean’s and to this day he talks about it ( he gave it to his sisters a few years ago) I make blankets as well, recently I finished a mermaid tail Tunisian blanket, which is an amazing way to use up odd balls of yarn. My gran used to make crochet blankets (she taught me how to crochet) and my children still want their great granny’s “cosy” when they’re ill. It’s one of their precious items.

So, the things I’m working on just now. Like most creative people I have more than one W.I.P on the go because I get bored REALLY easily.

My youngest daughter wants to make her own prom dress, so that in the early stages just now. I’m working on a pixel blanket that was ordered recently – making over a thousand 3cm squares is no where near as much fun as it sounds! All those ends!

I made my first African violet hex crochet recently ( see I’ve been hexed!) and I’m creating a bundle of them to play about with and to establish the pattern in my muscle memory, I’m also working on preemie hats for a local hospital ( I do these while travelling) and some 20cm squares for the haberdashery department of John Lewis in Newcastle. These are being collected and used for charity items.

And I think that’s it for now, although my brothers birthday is in late August and I’m planning a Pokemon hat of some sort for him! Oh, and there’s a few designs I’d like to draft up & lalylala has a new pattern out & Heidibears & I saw a fab scarf recently that my mum would love, and my eldest daughter has asked for captain America sweater & & & …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… you get the idea!

 

There’s a first for everything.

Welcome to the blog of Agent Crochet, dedicated wanderer into the wonderful and weird world of all things crochet.

HQ is in the historic and beautiful town of Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland.

I’ll share my favourite patterns,reviews of yarns,  stitches and accessories as well as solving the woes that plague the best of us.

From trying out the most popular designers on the market to trying my hand at designing for myself, I’ll be sharing every step of the journey.

I’ve been crocheting for over a decade. My favourite things to make are Amigurumi and blankets, but I have expanded into the world of wearable crochet over the last 18 months.

So, if you love crocheting & fun things, you’ll feel right at home here.

Agent Crochet