Do you travel light?

I’m still haunted by that one time I went away and didn’t take enough yarn with me. The sinking feeling as I watched the skein get smaller and smaller, and the end creep closer with every stitch, until…

A piece of crochet with a hook in one stitch and a short end of yarn leftover
Rats.

So this time I’m taking absolutely no chances.

Do you think I’ll have enough??

Hannah

xXx

Morag the higland coo

I can now cross “visit Toft HQ” off my bucket list!

It’s an amazing place, all open and light and airy with big windows all over letting in the glorious sunshine. So I have no idea why every single picture came out rubbish. I can only apologise, and (what a shame) I’ll have to go back again one day to get some better photos.

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A wall of Toft animals

Mum bought me a place on a Loop Stitch workshop because we could not get hold of a Morag the Highland Coo kit for love nor money, but all the materials were included in the workshop.

Of course, after Edinburgh Yarn Festival this year she became widely available, but I’m actually really glad I didn’t just get the kit on its own; that loop stitch is a bit tricksy and I really don’t think I would have managed without someone walking me through it.

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Aran (at the front) and DK weight Morag

We arrived about half an hour before the workshop started so I had plenty of time to wander round the shop and think of aaaaaaaall the money I could spend if I ever won the lottery.

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I never realised they had so many non-amigurumi patterns
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I kind of want a giant Toft tin…

I love the fact that there are finished animals hanging around all over the place.

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This one was smaller than my hand
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Giant Morag the Highland Coo (she’s taller than me)

Sadly, my dad wouldn’t let me make this giant version of Morag. So what if she wouldn’t have fit in the car? Details!!

Then I had to stop my browsing and head over to the workshop area for the lesson. There were four of us booked in, two locals and one woman from Wales, but I had definitely covered the most miles to get there. I am nothing if not dedicated!

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Yes this slab of cake was also included in the workshop price!

If anyone is considering attending one of these workshops, you really need a bit of amigurumi experience under your belt. Our first instruction was “go until you have 12 stitches” and it was up to us to make a magic ring and do the first two rounds.

After that Emma (our teacher) helped us figure out the loop stitch. It’s one of those stitches that’s super fiddly to pick up, but once you’ve got it you can just run with it.

I’m not even going to try explaining it.

Obviously we didn’t finish the whole thing in 2 hours, but we did get a few rows in and I got the hang of it. However, once I got home I noticed that all of my loops were different lengths so I frogged it all and started again.

This time is going much better so hopefully one day soon I’ll have a Morag to show off.

Hannah

xXx

Yarn review: Red Heart Unforgettable

My brother went to America a couple of months ago to visit some friends, and they sent him back with three balls of Red Heart Unforgettable to pass on to me. I’ve always said he has excellent taste in friends!

Candied

This is the Candied colourway. It looks and feels very much like Lion Brand Landscapes, with a fluffy-but-silky texture and a slight sheen to the beautiful colours.

As soon as I saw it I knew I was going to make something for my friend’s baby with it, and I’d been eyeing up the Leafy Baby Blanket pattern for a week or two, so the minute my circular needles were free I cast on.

It’s lovely to work with, all smooth and glide-y over my needles, but it’s also really variable when it comes to thickness. There are sections where it hardly seems spun at all it’s so loose and chunky, and then some where it’s twisted right down to what seems like sock weight. Which is not so bad as long as you’re working on a project that doesn’t rely on yarn being uniform all the way through.

It worked out pretty well with my blanket.

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It’s also one of those yarns that requires very careful frogging. All those lovely fluffy little hairs can really stick to each other if you try to pull things apart too quickly. Not that I would ever do such a thing….

Stats

  • 100% Acrylic
  • Aran weight
  • 250m
  • 100g
  • Suggested hook size 5mm

Overall it’s a pretty good yarn to work with, and definitely good to look at; I’m itching to use the remaining 2 balls for some matching baby accessories.

Hannah

xXx

Yarn haul

For several months I was absolutely certain I was going to Loch Ness Knit Fest this weekend. I had a free weekend, a friend in Inverness who offered their spare room, and a nice pot of money saved up so I could really treat myself to some special yarn goodies.

But then I realised it’s on at the same time as my choir’s annual weekend away, which I’d already booked and paid for. So I couldn’t go.

Cue a major sulk!

To make myself feel slightly less terrible, I decided to use my pot of money anyway and treat myself to some more generic yarn goodies. Any yarn is better than no yarn, right?

So first I went back to Hobbii, who seem to always have a sale on one thing or another, and found that Cotton Kings Twirls were still on sale and they had added lots of new colourways. I bought these beauties:

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Then I had a look at Hobbycraft and decided to get something a bit fancy all for myself. This here is West Yorkshire Spinners Exquisite, which is 80% wool 20% silk, in the most gorgeous forest green colour.

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I’m pretty excited to finally have some WYS yarn! The hope is to knit it into a Flax by Tin Can Knits for myslf.

I also got a couple of DPN sets, and another needle size for my KnitPro interchangeable cables.

So that’s my haul. It made me feel slightly better, but I’m totally still sulking. Next year I’ll stick it in my diary the second the dates are released so I can’t double book myself again. On the bright side, I now have a whole year to start saving again so by the time I get there I can have loads of yarn money to spend! I already can’t wait.

Is anyone going to LNKF? Or any other awesome yarny events? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

A little help from my friends

I had yet another sort of my yarn stash this weekend, thanks to some new storage donated by a friend of mine.

This sort out was much more thorough than the last one and I’ve ended up with a bag of teeny tiny scraps and leftovers. It’s great having them all neat(ish) in one place, but I have absolutely no idea what to do with them.

So I’m appealing to my bloggy friends for some ideas. Do you know of anything I can do with all these odds and ends? It can be crochet or knitting (bearing in mind I’m a new knitter), useful or decorative or downright daft – I just want to get them used up!

Please, please, please pass on your wisdom, my crafty friends. If you can drop suggestions into the comments I will be eternally grateful. Thank you in advance!

Hannah

xXx

I don’t have a yarn problem, I have a lack of storage problem.

So I mentioned that I had a sort of my stash last weekend. What I should have said is that I started a sort of my stash.

Three times I thought I was finished, and three times I found another box/bag/drawer full of even more yarn. It’s never ending!

The problem is the last time I thought I was finished, every box was full. So that bag of yarn I just found has nowhere to go.

In the spirit of my decluttering goal this year I’ve decided to get rid of some that I know I’ll never use, and I’m going to be ruthless. I’ve already set aside all the fluffy skeins for Rebecca, because I cannot use that stuff and I know she can. I’ve caked a few skeins of old acrylic that might go to a charity shop, and I’m considering selling on some of my natural fibre skeins too.

But it still won’t all fit in the boxes I have, so clearly the answer is a trip to Ikea this weekend for more storage! There’s no such thing as too much yarn; only insufficient storage space.

I also have about 20 more projects I want to start. Just seeing some of the yarn I forgot I even had makes me want to get on and make something with it, like NOW. We shall see how long I can resist.

So does anyone have any tips for maximising yarn storage? Just in case I’ve missed something that could make this a bit easier. Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

There’s no such thing as too much yarn

Did I mention it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago? Honestly, April has whizzed past so quickly it feels like it was only yesterday.

Another present I got from my parents was a big box of yarn!

30 skeins to be exact; one for every year. There’s all sorts in there so I thought I’d have a proper look and share what I got.

There are some classics like a Caron Cake (have these shrunk??) Sugar n Cream, and some Women’s Institute in various colours.

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Some gorgeously squishy stuff

Fun colourways

And my absolute favourite, the unicorn pack

It’s sparkly! I’m already digging around Ravelry trying to find the perfect project for it. Sparkly unicorn jumper anyone?

I really, definitely, absolutely must sort out my yarn stash now. Throwing it in all higgledy piggledy is just not working when I have so much. So that’ll be my exciting weekend!

Any suggestions for a pattern to use my unicorn yarn pack on? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

Stitching santa 2017

I know I’m a bit late to the party, I didn’t manage to get any passable photos before heading to see my parents for a week. But I’m back now so here is my stitching santa gift!

Some gorgeous, squishy, beautiful yarn

Some lip balm

A pretty brooch

A notebook (you can never have too many)

A dinky little dove

Some candles

This super pretty…I think it’s a pot holder?

Look at this detail!

And buttons!! My favourite!

There were also some chai teabags and some hot chocolate, but they’re long gone 😉

Thank you sooo much Julia for my amazing present! Oh and a lovely card

And mahoosive thanks to Sewchet for setting this all up. It’s been so much fun, giving and receiving, and I’m definitely signing up next year.

Happy new year everyone!

Hannah

xXx

WIP Wednesday 20.11.17

Current WIP count: 4

I have honestly never crocheted so fast in my life. I made a little amigurumi cat in one morning. I made an even smaller amigurumi cat in around 3 hours (although spaced out over a couple of days because teeny tiny work makes my wrists ache). I’ve made octopoms and fingerless gloves and a robin, and I’ve still not finished my gift list!

All my friends up in Glasgow have been accounted for though, so now I’m back to working on gifts for my family and friends down in England. This week it’s back to the Snorlax I started a while ago.

Looking like a Cluedo piece so far

 

He’s turning out bigger than I expected. So much so that I made it a quarter of the way into the body before having to go and get more yarn. Oops.

If I’d realised sooner, I definitely would have frogged, halved the pattern, and started again, but I’ve got too far and it’s too close to Christmas now so I shall soldier on! At least I know for next time.

Despite having to crochet almost non-stop, I’m really enjoying making gifts rather than buying them this year. I always found the buying a bit fraught; running around the shops trying to look at everything in the hope that something will jump out as perfect for X, Y, Z person.

Doing it this way, I can just think of what each person likes and then go ahead and make it. Much less stressful!

So what’s everyone else working on this week? Are you making your gifts or buying them, or both? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

Stitching santa 2017

The final part of my stitching santa gift finally arrived on Friday so I’m ready to box it up and send it out!

I was actually waiting on the smallest part of the gift, but it’s also my favourite part!

It’s this here polymer clay, teeny tiny yarn skein!

Isn’t it cute!! I’ve threaded it with some ribbon to make a pretty necklace

Also going into the box will be:

This adorable little bauble

Some suitably Christmassy candles

It’s not Christmas without chocolate

A variety of tasty tea sachets (no photo, sorry!)

And this little guy

It looks far less like a skeleton octopom in real life. Honestly.

And I’ll stick in a skein of actual yarn or two, because that’s what we all truly love.

My secret santa was also organised so I’ve actually received my gift already! But I’m running off to choir now so I’ll have to post about that another day.

Has anyone else received their gift? Are you part of a secret santa outside the blogosphere? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

WIP Wednesday 01.11.17

White rabbits!

Current WIP count: 4

My parents came to visit last week and, as usual, Mum brought me lots of goodies. One of which was a skein of the utterly to-die-for gorgeous Lion Brand Landscape, in the Apple Orchard colourway.

Apple orchard

It’s even more beautiful in real life.

Of course every single other project was dropped immediately so I could play with my new pretty. I’ve been thinking about hats recently (yes, waffle hat, I see you looking at me) so I decided to make one.

The colours are such a feature that I went for a really basic pattern so it wouldn’t take away from them; just your standard double crochet in the round.

But I seem to have caught the fiddle bug and I couldn’t just leave it at that. First of all I tried alternating front and back post to make a kind of ribbing, but I didn’t like that so I frogged it. It needed some kind of transition from the main bit to the ribbing.

I’m tired so I got halfway through a round of front post dc before realising that made the step down on the inside of the hat. I frogged it.

Then I tried a round of back post, but I didn’t like that so I frogged it.

Now I’m having a go at back loop only dc, as a less severe step down to the ribbing part, and we shall see how this goes. At some point soon I’m going to have to make a decision and stick with it because this yarn does not like being frogged. If I don’t go slowly slowly it catches on itself and fuzzes up and just generally won’t play nice.

But I forgive it. I’d forgive a lot worse for these colours.

What’s everyone else working on this week? Got any new beautiful yarn to squee over? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

My first giveaway

I recently reached 800 followers on Instagram. Can you believe 800 people (over 1,000 now!!) like my crochet and doodles enough to follow me? I really can’t. To say thank you, I decided to have a giveaway for my Insta friends.

It was the first giveaway I’ve ever hosted so it was a little bit stressful at times, but I learned a lot and I’m definitely planning to have more in the future.

When the idea popped into my head, the first thing I thought of was the prize. It would be yarn, obviously, but what kind? What colour? How much of it? I initially thought Caron Cakes, but then that seemed a bit generic and we don’t even have all the fancy new ones that have been released recently.

Instead I decided to follow my tenet of supporting local businesses, and went to The Yarn Cake in Glasgow West End.

*1st learning point: plan, at least a little bit, and set a budget!

I wandered into The Yarn Cake with no real idea what I wanted or what it might cost. My only criteria was ‘something special’. Luckily, my radar for ‘special’ seems to be quite finely tuned, and I was in there less than 5 minutes before I spotted Joie De Vivre by Abstract Cat Yarns. It. Is. GORGEOUS!

But it also costs £18.95 per skein, which I didn’t find out until I was already at the till. I didn’t have a specific budget, but the strangled sound in my head when I heard the price tells me that any budget I made would have been lower than £18.95.

*2nd learning point: I really need to invest in a half-decent camera.

You may think this looks like beautiful yarn, but compared to real life this is nothing. There are dark blues in there so rich they almost look purple, there are lighter blues that perfectly complement the streaks of silver thread that you can’t see at all.

I can honestly say I’ve never photographed one thing so many times, in so many ways, in so many different places, and it still doesn’t look right.

In the end I just had to go with it, and hope that the winner would be pleasantly surprised when they saw how much better it was in real life. But I definitely need to start saving up for a better camera.

Next up I decided how exactly people could enter. It’s quite popular on giveaway posts I’ve seen to have an entry for every time you tag someone in the comments, which always seemed a little unfair to me; what if you have a million friends but only one of them is okay with being tagged in these things? You sometimes have to repost the image, but not everyone wants your picture on their account.

But I did want people to interact with the post, so I went for all the usual methods and made them optional. The only MUST was that they must be following me; it was a reward for my followers after all.

So I launched my giveaway HOORAY!

And then nothing happened. For several hours.

I was really starting to worry that nobody would even enter!

Of course I’m just impatient. That evening I got my first few entries, then there was a steady trickle all the way until the final day, and I ended up with 112 entrants – much more than I expected!

3rd learning point: I would need to look into some proper giveaway apps/sites

I entered every single entry from every single person into an Excel sheet and assigned a number. That’s over 250 lines of information. I have far better things to do with my time, and (much as I enjoy using Excel’s formula to generate a random number) there are so many less-faffy ways of doing it.

It was really very exciting when the number popped up and I had a scroll to see who had won, and even more exciting to realise it was Beth from Kick Arse Crochet!

Obviously I would have been pleased for whoever won, but knowing who it would be going to, and hopefully being able to see the resulting make on her blog, was just the cherry on top.

4th learning point: check for bank holidays when you plan your giveaway

I remembered only after the giveaway had closed that this weekend just gone was a bank holiday weekend. The Post Office in town was open on Friday, but I don’t know if the sorting office was running, and everything was closed yesterday. So it’s entirely possible Beth might have had to wait until today for her prize to arrive. Sorry about that!

So now I know what works and what doesn’t, my next giveaway should be even better than this one 🙂

Has anyone else ever done a giveaway? Got any tips for things I might have missed? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx