Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Short & sweet

I promised a quarterly update - it's time - and so here I am with my three of my most popular blog items to date, which you may or may not already be familiar with. And then I go off on a bit of tangent in my usual fashion... 

1. My call to arms (or hooks)!

Read: The Craftivism Manifesto 

And related to this - A book review of How To Be A Craftivist - essential reading, put it on your summer reading list.

2. My sock crojo is BACK!

Read: Crochet Sock Resources  from a Crochet Sock Along run by fabulous Fay & fantastic Claudia.

And at long last I'm teaching again - a class on Crochet Socks at a wonderful local yarn store Alterknit Universe in October. Do get in touch if you want a place! Kim, the sweet owner, led me down the fluffy rabbit hole of spinning with a drop spindle this month for the #tourdefleece. More details on what's that's all about here.

3. Can't get Crochet Garments out of my head!

Read: Crochet Sweater Resources from the Back to School Sweater CAL run by myself & lovely Helen 

And if you love crochet garments too, join the My Crochet Wardrobe Facebook group run by super Dora Explored. I can also highly recommend Tech Editor / Math(s) Teacher guru Lindsey Stephens' very useful Body Basics book (a primer on body measurements critical to garment design) if you're thinking of designing or like me, starting to tech edit crochet sweaters. 

And a shout out ...

Two friends Lisa and Sophie have set up a new Ravelry group The Craft BankIt's "a place for people who want to pay it forward and donate the cost of crochet patterns, knit patterns, destash yarn or provide yarn support." Such a great idea! Go check it out!

I'll be back with another little update of some sort later in the year. In the meantime, please do find me on all the social media InstagramTwitter and Facebook and also on Ravelry as Crafty Escapism. Hope you're having a wonderful summer all! And hook on!

Listen to the Audio Podcast

Monday, March 18, 2019

Springtime ramblings - a quarterly crafty update

It's time for a blog post. I'm going to call it springtime ramblings. And my plan for the blog/podcast - it has taken me forever to figure this out - is to produce it once a quarter - surely I can manage that? And I'll make it a bit of a chatty update. Thank goodness for Instagram to remind me of what I've been up to! I've grouped my chatter under four headings - Social, Projects, Career and Other Highlights.


I have been crafting with my regular group at a local pub every 2nd and 4th Tuesday. We are not a large group but we are getting to know each other very well. I've managed to persuade my oldest friend from Bristol to return to knitting - we lived together in a big shared house 22 years ago - and join us. I just found out another one of our group has her own Etsy shop RachsCrochetFriends for the cute amigurumi we admire at each meeting. Very cool! I also managed a new meet up last week - a lovely small group in the centre of town and made it to the January meeting of a larger more established last Monday of the month group. There are groups a plenty in Bristol to join in with and I love being part of all of these little communities of people sharing a similar love for yarn!

I took part in the International Fibre Share yarn swap for the first time in February. You need an instagram account to participate, fill in a questionnaire on your yarn preferences, pay $8 and then are matched with two other crafters - one to send to and the other to received yarn from. The minimum requirement is to send 200g of yarn/fiber by a set date. I was partnered up with two awesome fellow crafters - one in Germany @demelzathecat and the other in the Czech Republic @denisavlcak. It was really fun, you get to know each other, receive some happy mail and I'll probably sign up again.  

And I was invited by my dear friend and talented crochet designer Jo (@jojotwinkletoes) to the first Flock / South West Knitters get together in a cute village hall nearby - a day of mingling with other local yarn lovers, playing games, eating cake plus a little shopping. I'm hoping this will become a regular event. I am planning to attend Wonderwool Wales on Saturday 27th April - get in touch if you want to meet up or share a ride. It's a "Festival of Welsh Wool and Natural Fibres" and it's meant to be a really good one! 


Since we moved back to England and the weather has cooled down I have been wearing my own handmade socks and shawls EVERY DAY. I am not exaggerating. It's wonderful to have an opportunity to wear all the yarn after six years living in the warmer Texan climate. My socks have become very popular in the last few months with my family - our first winter back in the UK for seven years. My husband actually told me to focus only on making socks, for him. It's good to feel so much in demand but I really can't keep up. On the theme of socks - wonderful Claudia of the Crochet Luna Podcast is running a sock theme CAL (crochetalong) for the whole year - yay - for crochet and knit socks. Get yourself over to the Sock it to Me thread in the Crochet Luna Podcast Ravelry group to join in the chatter. I'm a moderator there and "crochet sock guru" - ha ha! Here are some FOs (finished objects) of mine...  

From top left clockwise: Perspective by @karenwhooley 
Doppio Colosseum by @faydhdesigns 
scrappy stripe knitted Basic Socks by @winwickmum 
& Fabulous Socks! by @mrsdaftspaniel

The Ribbet Tee by @detroitknots


I will be teaching at two local Age UK Friends Ageing Better events shortly. It was so much fun chatting, crafting and eating yummy cake at the last event in mid November. Best morning of volunteering ever! I'm not teaching enough really but if I can work it around my day job and the family and the dog, trying to stay fit, and all the yarny get togethers I will... I really love teaching and hanging out with older people. And they seem to enjoy me too. We become quite giddy together - there is not always a lot of learning - maybe it's all the sugar in the cake!  

And rather surprisingly my tech editing career is now up and running. I have regular paying clients. Yay! And they are lovely to work with. And it's flexible and I can fit it in around my life. Four of the patterns I have tech-edited have now been published on Ravelry. Look at all this crochet loveliness:

Fabulous Socks by Marta Mitchell / MrsDaftSpaniel

Waking Winter by Rosina Northcott / Zeens and Roger
Aideen Wrap by Carmen Heffernan / Annie Design Crochet
Waroo by Deanne Ramsey / Addydae Designs

And I've learnt how to make crochet charts for one of my clients using Crochet Charts Stitchworks Software. It has been very fun fiddling around with this. And I have got to grips with garment grading - I"m going to be tech-editing a gorgeous crochet sweater for one of my lovely crochet designer clients soon. Exciting! And I've managed to get a page up on my website on tech-editing and teaching. Go me! 


There was a Yarn bomb on College Green right by my office. What a delight! 
Local volunteers made these gorgeous knit and crochet hearts to celebrate the community support given to the @aboveandbeyondcharity Bristol Heart Institute Appeal. Beautiful! This really cheered me up for a couple of dreary weeks in February.

I also visited a new to me yarn store: Alterknit Universe. Oh my, it was the briefest of visits but I really want to return. It is such a gorgeous welcoming place. They have a Sunday afternoon knit group - crochet is permitted too. So tempting!

Planning to be back at the end of June with another blog post / podcast episode.... In the meantime find me on all the social media InstagramTwitter and Facebook and also on Ravelry as Crafty Escapism. Until then happy springtime y'all!!

Listen to the Audio Podcast

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Book Revew: The Art of Crochet Blankets by Rachele Carmona

Happy New Year readers and listeners!

I'm back with a book review of a new crochet pattern book - The Art of Crochet Blankets by Rachele Carmona, of Cypress Textiles. Even though I've moved back to the UK this summer, Interweave continues to send me a list of publications to pick from to review on my blog. I only pick the ones that I know that I will love and I write the review in exchange for a free copy of the book. Hurray for Interweave!! 

Back in September, several of the Sheepjes bloggers at Yarndale told me about the most amazing crochet blanket book one of their fellow bloggers Rachele Carmona had coming out soon. So when Interweave asked if I would like to review this book I was keen to find out what these amazing blankets looked like!

Rachele lives in Houston, Texas where I also lived for six years! Why didn't we meet? And I missed her at Yarndale in Skipton, Yorkshire this September, in attendance with all the Sheepjes bloggers. 

Rachele's amazing blanket designs are inspired by other art forms. They are fusion works of art themselves. She has selected influencers in six art fields (weaving, digital art, fabric design, paper cutting, cement tile and quilting) and drawn her inspiration from three works by each artist. And the resulting blankets look quite different.

The book consists of mainly written instructions and helpfully some of the more complicated motifs and borders are charted. There are also colour chart schematics too.  There are plenty of techniques to keep you entertained - puff and bobble stitches with great textures, corner to corner technique and a whole host of different clever joining techniques. But what stands out most for me from this book is the fabulous use of colour - in both the colourwork of individual motifs but also the way the colours are put together. I also very much appreciate that Rachele has included a techniques section where she shares her tips, sometimes nonstandard, for making stitches as neat as possible. This is invaluable information from a guru of crochet blankets - she has made over 300!! And she started out like many of us did with granny square blankets!

My three top picks from the 18 fantastic blankets are: 

  • Color Garden - This blanket features amazing paper cut flower petals crocheted in stacked layers. They are then randomly placed (but Rachele tells you how many to make, how and where to join them together!) This design inspired by Flora by paper cutting artist Maud Vantours
  • Moroccan Tile - I just love the fresh blue and cream geometric squares inspired by cement tiles by designer Caitlin Dowe-Sandes.
  • Ombré Stripe This design is inspired by Tula Pink's Shoreline quilt with monochrome long colour changing yarn.  I can imagine having so much fun cutting up yarn to achieve this effect. 
All of the patterns are up as projects on Ravelry here and Ombré Stripe is coming out top right now as Rachele's most favourited blanket. If you're looking for a more unique blanket design look no further than one of these works of fusion art.

I do apologise for being so intermittent in posting but you can find me more regularly on all the social media Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and also on Ravelry as Crafty Escapism

Listen to the Audio Podcast