New craft – learning to crochet

I remember as a child watching my grandma with her crochet hook and yarn, her hands feverishly constructing doilies, cushion covers and the like as if by magic. I had grasped the skill of knitting quite easily (although no doubt my family would say otherwise!) but crochet seemed like some weird science that was beyond me.

A couple of years ago I saw a learn to crochet series being advertised, so decided to try again. The Art of Crochet by Hatchette Partworks has simple and more complex patterns for you to make, and guides you step by step through the different techniques which had eluded me in my youth.

I decided to start with simple squares to make up the throw which is featured throughout the series – I have a short attention span which has seen me get fed up with larger knitting projects, so I thought this would be a good place to start.

My first square had a few tension problems! (it’s supposed to measure 13 cms!)



So I moved on to granny squares which once I’d got round the centre piece was quite easy, so I made two!



The next two squares are quite similar, they are waiting for embroidery detail to be added (I thought I would do all these at the same time.)




I’ve just finished this variation on the triple crochet pattern (above) which took a bit of getting my head around.  It has raised sections a little like rib with knitting – I think it looks quite effective but can be tricky to keep track of how many stitches across.



I’m now part way through a half treble square which again I’m finding tricky to keep track of the number of stitches across.  With knitting, you have a set number of stitches on your needle so you don’t need to concentrate too much on when to stop the row, but with crochet you are weaving into the top of each previous stitch and at the ends it can be hard to see where to stop for the turn.


It’s going to take me some time to finish enough squares to complete the throw but I am really enjoying my crochet at the moment – if you are busy with a new crafting skill or working away on a large project please share!

March Madness!

Ok, so maybe not as mad as a March Hare, but with the start of a new month, a bit of sunshine and a spring in my step I wanted to celebrate the unofficial start of Spring (so it might not be here yet but I believe, don’t you?)

A whole gang of us Etsy shop owners have let the warmer temperatures go to our heads.  We love all our customers (of course) so have started a series of promotional activities to say thank you for supporting us.


What?  Did I hear that right? (I hear you say)

Well I did say I’d gone a bit mad (thinking about it, I probably always have been a tiny bit mad….)


All you need to know is –


my shop UK Christmas Store on Etsy

other shops involved in the UK Etsy Free Shipping Promo


The Craftyfolk BNR is back!

Well, you probably realised I’ve taken a well earned break since Christmas and the madness of my first season of full on crafting/selling!

So when I heard that the fab Craftyfolk team on Etsy have announced the first BNR for 2013 I came running straight to my blog to tell you all (well, after tweeting, facebooking and sharing everywhere else I could).

If you can’t wait to take a look, pop on over to the preview here

I must admit that I do have a good reason to promote this so much (aside from the fact that my shop is included of course).  The team has recently had a somewhat phoenix like transformation and the new improved team has a lovely close knit community full of people who care more about promoting each other than promoting themselves – something I strongly believe is what Etsy teams are all about.

Please put the dates in your diary and even if you’re not looking for gift ideas right now do pop along and have a chat.

Craftyfolk BNR is 22 nd and 23 rd February, would love to see you there!

Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 11: Last Minute Gifts

The Craft Britannia team on Etsy have been busy producing a series of blog posts for all you last minute shoppers.  Take a look, all the ideas featured are handmade/vintage and will look like you put lots of effort into selecting them!  No one will ever know it was a last minute choice!  (and if you get really stuck there is even a selection of gift vouchers to buy)

Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 11: Last Minute Gifts.

Handmade Christmas – budget busting shopping.

So this year I decided to try a handmade Christmas (both because of lack of funds and my desire to get back to basics a little).

“A handmade Christmas?”  I hear you cry in shock, “How do you do that?”  “What about the toys the children ask for?”

Ok, so I can’t fulfil everyone’s expectations with handmade, but it is amazing how many gifts you can get by either making yourself or buying (and supporting) another crafting business.

My quest started in September – every year I have used our attendance at Christmas fairs to get as much of my seasonal shopping done as possible.  My husband found some gifts for my nieces, and my own two found things they wanted too (which of course get sent off to Santa).

However, now with the last fair of the season done and dusted I find I am somewhat lacking in the present department and with the last posting date looming, the panic is taking hold.  Yesterday I trawled through my fellow teamies on Etsy and managed to tick a few things off the list (with the BNS this weekend on the Craftyfolk team I am sure to find more to buy!)  Now all I need to do is find the secret place I put my dads present – why is there always something that goes walkabout?

My own handmade creations are ready for my nieces and my youngest (who loves playing with dolls).  I wish I could think of things for the rest of my family as making everything myself would definitely keep the costs down, but my crafting skills are limited to knitting and sewing – will work on it for next year.

I always hand make the teachers gifts (did that trend start in the US?) as I think it is nicer and allows more of the limited budget for my kids.  This year we have strayed away from the usual cupcakes and gone for mini Christmas cakes which I thought the kids could help me decorate.  I’m sure the teachers will love that I tipped way too much brandy in with the fruit and left it soaking for a lot longer too!

I would love to hear if you are attempting a handmade Christmas and how you have found it?  Any tips or ideas would be gratefully received and of course if you want to check out Etsy you can always start with my shop😉