Sunday, 28 February 2016

Betsy's Business & Giveaway!


Worrying is a bad thing isn't it? Feeling out of control with events going on in your life is not fun. I can't go into detail about the horrible stuff that's going on right now - which I know is frustrating for you my dear reader - but suffice to say things have taken a turn that I wasn't expecting and I do not like. I am going through quite a few different emotions and one of them is, surprisingly, determination. Is determination even classed as an emotion? I suppose it is - I feel determined to take control and make my own life decisions. This has made me have a good old think about where I want to be and one place that is always lovely and kind is here; in the world of crafty blogging, encouraging Instagram comments, wonderful images, inspiring creations and friendship.

I value enormously the real and true friends - both virtual and in the flesh - that I have made in this happy world.

So I have decided to give a big boost to the business side of my craft life. For quite a while I have been running crochet workshops at my friend's cake shop, and have sold a few patterns via Ravelry and Love Crochet and this is pootling along quietly and nicely, but to add another dimension to my business I have reactivated my Etsy shop and have been stitching up project pouches and drawstring bags to sell there. This has been lovely, I so enjoy making and designing this sort of thing and when someone buys one I feel so complimented, I really do!



I've designed this project pouch particularly with sock knitting in mind as it has a DPN or magic loop cable needle keeper incorporated in it which  means your needles stay nice and neat when you're not working on your socks and it keeps the stitches safely in place too!
And anyway who could resist the cute fox sitting looking at you from the side of the bag?

There are a few different styles and sizes of bag in my shop, so hopefully will suit all kinds of different projects.

So what I need to do now is promotion.
Gaahhhh, that's the hard bit! I always feel so mercenary when I post a photo because I want people to buy my wares. But if I don't then how will you all know? It has to be done - but in the nicest possible way. My ethos for my little business is quality, honesty and great service and that goes across the board for my workshops, patterns and things I make. It's how I operate in my employed work, and it's the same here.

  So I would really love it if you could pop over to my Etsy shop and have a quick look at what's there. By the way, I do love a good hashtag and am quite giddy that I can use #betsyonetsy - childish things like that amuse me no end :o)

And as a thank you for having a mooch around my stall I am offering a 75% discount code to 2 lucky winners. You will need to favourite my Etsy shop and also leave a comment here to say that you have. Also if you're on Instagram you can use #betsyonetsy but that's not a requirement for my giveaway, just lots of fun!

*EDIT: THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED*

I'll draw my 2 winners on Mothers day - which is Sunday 6th March here in the UK. I'll do it in the morning as I think we might be going out for lunch somewhere, which will be lovely.
I'm going to use the Random Number Generator Thingy to pick the winners and I will email the code over to you soon after I do the draw. And strictly one entry per person please.

Good luck my friends!

'till next time...
                                                                

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Georgie Dress



One day at work this arrived for me in our internal mail. My sweet friend and colleague Georgie had gifted me this dress pattern thinking I would like it - and of course I do!

View A particularly appealed to me as it has the cutest little sleeve design so I just had to make it. I bought the fabric specifically for this project from Beales where there is the Coats / Rowan concession and the incredibly dangerous (and very large) sale bin full of amazing discounted yarns and half price fabrics. This shot cotton in petrol was reduced to £7 per m and I bought what was left even though it was less than the required amount stated on the pattern, but I loved it, it was a bargain, I would make it work.


Don't you think this sleeve is gorgeous? Something special from the designer Cynthia Rowley that adds a very couture feel, making a much more sophisticated puff sleeve that is perfect for this 1950's style dress.


The skirt is very full and the pleats at the waist are much more flattering than gathers would be. I have lined the whole dress which gives it a great weight and quality. The pattern gives instructions for lining the bodice only so I cut the skirt lining using the dress lining pattern pieces - basically cutting the lining exactly the same as the skirt. Once the side seams are done on both skirt and lining I then sew them together at the waist before folding the pleats. This dress has a zip at the centre back and I needed to keep the lining away from the centre back seam so it wouldn't get caught when I attached the zip so I just folded the CB seam allowance back 3cm on both sides and this formed a sort of 'V' shaped vent on the back lining seam of the skirt. 

Tricky to explain that in words...


Whilst stitching away on this dress my thoughts turned to what handmade accessory would go well and this skein of Hedgehog Fibres yarn in the birthday cake colour way put it's hand up and volunteered to be turned into a little shawlette of some sort that would be just the perfect partner to my new dress.

 What can I do? 
I have to listen to the yarn....

It felt good to finish this off on Sunday morning, it takes a few sewing sessions to complete. I tend to break the whole project up into time chunks, for example cutting it out is the first bit (after I had washed the fabric of course - definitely recommend doing that). Glad the least favourite bit was out of the way I made the sleeves first, next session I constructed the bodice and attached the sleeves. The next sewing time I had I got out my (brand new - yay!) Janome overlocker and made the skirt with the lining and sewed it to the bodice and on Sunday it was a case of installing the zip and finishing off with hems etc.

Oh and then I have to take the photos...


But someone was getting really bored waiting for me to faff around in my sewing space so it was time to get dressed and head outside.

We headed up to the park and spent a good hour playing on the swings and slide, then we decided to go into Putnoe woods and was greeted by the abundance of snowdrops that carpeted the ground. It was so good to be there, the first time we've been for ages and certainly this year. It was quite a windy day but we were sheltered by the trees and it was so pleasant to be there enjoying nature. The main thing that struck me was how much further little poppet walked, we didn't need to have a 'carry'.



Have a great week my friends,

'till next time...



Thursday, 18 February 2016

Showing it how it is...



Good morning! I'm popping in to share with you my progress on my sock scrap crochet blanket, it's not grown tremendously I will admit, but nevertheless I'm still loving it and am happy to add a square in here and there.


I wanted to show you this photo of the latest square I've added. As you can see it's very curly and not really wanting to sit flat right now. As I add in more around the square it will help straighten things out but I am also doing a little blocking as I go. I use a spray bottle filled with water and a small squirt of wool soak and spritz the new squares until slightly damp and then pin out for a few hours to dry. At the moment they don't take that long to dry as we have the heating on in the evenings so it's nice and warm. I'm only planning on doing this here and there as I work through the blanket, but it's my preference this way rather than at the end when I have a (hopefully) large blanket.


Now I am wondering if you might think this is a bit of a faff and it might put you off the project entirely? 
For me it's all part of the process and I actually enjoy blocking my projects and seeing how the yarn relaxes, so it doesn't phase me at all. Like I said it's only something I will do every now and again and as this will be a long term project it's not going to be that often. I would be interested in your views though and whether you would be bothered to do this or not.


I'm particularly liking the diagonal lines made by the decrease stitches through the middle of each square and the pattern that that is forming. Oh yes I am really enjoying this project :o)


And finally I thought I'd share with you where I'm getting the yarn that I'm using. Some of it is left overs from my other projects that I have been saving up, I have also done a couple of swaps with some yarny friends. But I have bought mini skeins as well to add in so I wanted to include the links for your info. (This is not sponsored or anything - just want to be helpful)

The My First Regia cute little balls are from Purple Linda Crafts , and my other mini skeins are from Sara's Texture Crafts, The Wool Barn and Tangled Yarn

***********************

The job of the day is to strip the wallpaper in my daughter's bedroom as she wants a bit of a change. She's not up yet and I'm stalling by writing the post to you :o)
But we do need to get cracking or it will drag on and really annoy me!

I'm going to put the kettle on first though...


'till next time...


                      

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

#Knit for Winter





Hello all you lovelies! I'm here today to share with you the 2 little bonnets I've made for the #KnitforWinter campaign.  The cute hats are especially for premature babies at St George's hospital in London, and I made them for First Touch charity in conjunction with the Sunrise Senior Living blog.

I think we are all aware that a lot of heat is lost from our heads and it is particularly important to prevent heat lost for tiny babies born early. As I was knitting these I was pondering about the design; the row of holes around the brim, the flap at the front and the little side ties. I can only assume they are there to help incorporate the medical monitoring equipment vital for the baby's care.
My 4 children were born at pretty much full term and didn't need incubators etc. I did have a little boy called Toby who was born too early but he didn't survive. I can't deny that this little project has bought back lots of memories, sometimes a bit painful, about having him and all the ups and downs of that pregnancy. Medical science for early babies is amazing and some can survive being born as early as 24 weeks gestation and grow up to be happy children. It must however be a very difficult and stressful time for the family so it's great that the charity can offer support for the families as well as raising money for equipment and specialist training.

I've copied and paste a bit of the info for you to read from the Sunrise Care blog and have included the link to download the pattern incase you would like to do some charity knitting yourself.

What is Knit for Winter all about?
Knit for Winter is a charity initiative where we ask Britain’s knitters to knit for a good cause.
As temperatures drop the vulnerable need to wrap up to keep the cold out. So we’ve decided to dedicate this year’s Knit for Winter campaign to help keep premature babies warm.

To download the knitting patterns click here. 

About First Touch
First Touch is the charity for the neonatal unit at St George’s Hospital in London, The neonatal unit and its wonderful staff care for 600 sick and premature babies each year.
Many of the babies we care for have been born prematurely, with some mothers having only just reached 24 weeks of pregnancy (40 weeks is generally considered normal). Some babies require life saving surgery. We want these babies to grow up to be healthy, happy children with bright futures. Donations to our work at St George’s help to achieve this.
The majority of the money raised for First Touch is used to fund state of the art medical equipment. First Touch also funds specialist nurse training not available from the NHS and a welfare scheme to help families through the stressful time of having a poorly newborn, including funding the post of Family Care Co-ordinator who is employed to provide practical help to families.
With just two part-time employees, we are a very small charity with a massive cause - tiny patients! Money raised for First Touch goes to the neonatal unit, so donors know that their money is used for the cause they care passionately about. We are all united in wanting to help the smallest patients at St George’s Hospital to happy and bright futures.

'till next time...

Sam xx

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Scrappy Sock Yarn Crochet Blanket



So hello, I hope you're doing ok?
A little while ago I posted about things on my needles, do you remember? Well, I haven't since given either of those projects any attention because I have been totally drawn in with a new blanket project. So addictive is this thing that it's hard not to keep adding squares, and playing with small amounts of yarn to see whether the colour will work next to it's prospective neighbour.

I have seen a lot of knitted mitred square blankets, made with left over sock yarn and have for a while been a little bit tempted to knit one. But then I thought it would be nice to crochet one and the obvious choice would be granny squares of course. I pondered this for a while, not really wanting to jump into a blanket project when I have so many other things I'd like to make. Lovely Sandra has had a similar idea and has shared it on her podcast and I really liked her design and pondered that option too. In the end though I opted for this mitred crochet square, made with dc stitch (that's sc for those who read patterns in US terminology). I gave in and just went with it, deciding that it would be my long-term project of 2016.
The yarn is oddments and mini skeins of sock yarn and fingering weight, about 4 - 5 grams in each square. I love the patchwork effect that you get with all the different colours and textures. I see this as a real heirloom piece that (once it grows a bit) will be used a lot by my family to snuggle under.

I thought I'd share with you how I'm making it, it is a simple pattern and the squares are joined to each other as you make them. There are 4 different ways to start the squares, depending on their position in the blanket and I've given instructions here on how to do that. Lots of photos to aid you with the written instructions underneath.

Yarn: small amounts of sock / fingering weight wool for each square approx 4 - 5grams.
Hook: 3mm
Gauge: not too critical for this project, but my squares measure approx 9cm x 9cm
Special Stitch: dc3tog - insert hook into stitch and pull up loop, insert hook into next stitch and pull up another loop, insert hook into 3rd stitch and pull up another loop (4 loops on hook). Yarn over and pull through the 4 loops.

Abbreviations: 
ss
Slip Stitch
ch
Chain
dc
Double Crochet
dc3tog


dnc
Double Crochet 3 Together


do not count in the over all stitch count

First Square:






ch40 ,
Row 1: 1dc in 2nd ch from hook. 1dc in each of next 17 ch. dc3tog over the next 3 ch, 1dc in each of the next 18 ch. Turn

Row 2: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 17 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 17 stitches. Turn

Row 3: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 16 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 16 stitches. Turn

Row 4: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 15 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 15 stitches. Turn

Row 5: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 14 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 14 stitches. Turn

Row 6: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 13 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 13 stitches. Turn

Row 7: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 12 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 12 stitches. Turn

Row 8: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 11 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 11 stitches. Turn

Row 9: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 10 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 10 stitches. Turn

Row 10: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 9 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 9 stitches. Turn

Row 11: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 8 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 8 stitches. Turn

Row 12: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 7 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 7 stitches. Turn

Row 13: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 6 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 6 stitches. Turn

Row 14: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 5 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 5 stitches. Turn

Row 15: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 4 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 4 stitches. Turn

Row 16: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 3 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 3 stitches. Turn

Row 17: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into each of the next 2 stitches, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into each of the next 2 stitches. Turn

Row 18: ch1 (dnc) 1dc into first stitch, dc3tog over the next 3 stitches, 1dc into last stitch. Turn

Row 19: ch1 (dnc) dc3tog over 3 remaining stitches. Fasten off. 

*The position of the first square is situated at the bottom left corner of your blanket.*

Joining horizontal squares:






Pull a loop of yarn through the turning chain at the bottom right corner of the square you need to join to and ch 20. 1dc in 2nd ch from hook. 1dc in each of next 17 ch, dc3tog in the last ch, the turning ch of the square you are joining to and the end of the first row of the joining square. Work 18dc along the side edge (at the end of each row) of the joining square with the last dc in the last stitch at the top right of the joining square. At the same time hold the yarn end in line with the edge of the joining square so you can crochet over the yarn end making it more secure. Turn.

Continue making the square as set in the pattern from Row 2 onwards.

Joining vertical squares:









Pull a loop of yarn through the turning ch1 at the top left corner of the square you need to join to and ch 20. Turn. 1dc in second ch from hook, 1dc in each of next 17 ch, dc3tog in the last ch, the turning ch of the square you are joining to and the end of the first row of the joining square. Work 18dc along the side edge (at the end of each row) of the joining square with the last dc in the last stitch at the bottom right of the joining square. At the same time hold the yarn end in line with the edge of the joining square so you can crochet over the yarn end making it more secure. Turn.

Continue making the square as set in the pattern from Row 2 onwards.

Joining middle squares:








Pull up a loop of yarn through the last stitch at the top right corner of the first square you need to join to and ch1, 1dc in same stitch and work a further 17dc along the top edge of the first joining square (at the end of each row), At the same time hold the yarn end in line with the edge of the joining square so you can crochet over the yarn end making it more secure. dc3tog in the last row of the first joining square, the corner of the square to the left of the joining square and at the end of the first row of the second square you need to join to. Work 18dc along the side edge (at the end of each row) of the second joining square with the last dc in the last stitch at the top right of the second joining square. Turn.

Continue making the square as set in the pattern from Row 2 onwards.

Your may find your squares come out a bit wavy with curled up edges, this will improve when the next square is joined to it, but I also recommend blocking your blanket to make it nice and flat.

Make your blanket any size you desire, and enjoy making it, using it and keeping warm in it!


I hope you find this tutorial useful and clear to follow. 

***EDIT*** Hi there, I just thought I'd pop in with a quick edit. Sweet Erin from Holland Handmade podcast has a tip for getting less wonky squares: when crocheting out of the starting chain, work out of the 'purl bumps' at the back of the chain. I tend to use the 2 stitches at the top of the chain which seem ok, so have a go at both and see which one works better for you xx

'till next time...

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

I'll see you when you wake...






With the beginnings of a new blanket design popping into my mind and having seen some perfect colour yarns that would work so well for the said design, it seemed like crochet fate when a friend announced she was having a baby and I would have someone to actually make it for. Although I am a firm advocate of crochet for crochet's sake, it's still nice to have a 'real' purpose for many hours hooking away.

So the yarn in question is Sirdar Snuggly dk and I was completely drawn in by the unusual colours, particularly the purple-grey which is called 'Eyeore'. In fact a lot of the colours have nursery inspired names making it even more perfect for the job. It is acrylic but certainly has a nice feel and when it comes to anything used by small people it's a good idea to have something washable!


The stitch pattern is ripples and puffs, giving a gorgeous texture that I wanted to achieve. I love it despite the fact that it is a yarn eater, and have really enjoyed working out the pattern and playing with the colours. It's such a satisfying thrill when something imagined comes to life and is even better than the image in my head.

The name of the pattern 'I'll see you when you wake' crochet baby blanket is inspired by the song 'Powder Blue' from this CD. I sing this to my little poppet at bedtime and she loves that, being still a bit young to realise I've got a voice like a foghorn, bless her :o)

Go to sleep my baby
Sleep now little you.
Go to sleep my baby and dream of powder blue.
Flowers in the sunshine and boats upon the lake,
Dream my little baby,
I'll see you when you wake.


I have written up the pattern, and it's all ready and waiting on Ravelry and Love Crochet. Included in the pattern is a link to a You Tube video tutorial on how to do the 'puff' row so that newbie crocheters will be able to make it too. 
Get me - You Tube tutorial! Good job I have the teenagers to help me with the tech!







'till next time...