Bluprint Review and Some New Squares

Greetings, fellow hookers! I hope this week finds you well, and getting in some creative yarn time?

First up, regular readers may remember my excitement a few weeks back upon discovering Craftsy’s new subscription service. As I said, I happily signed up for the free 7 day trial, correctly figuring that there was nothing to lose and everything to gain by checking it all out. I browsed loads, chose a few classes, bought materials, and then paid my first month subscription. So far, so good.

I am a novice knitter, as some of you know, and happily embarked upon my first sweater with a highly recommended Craftsy class by Amy Ross. I ran into frustrating issues getting the gauge correct, and asked a question of the tutor. Having access to an interactive class and being able to ask questions was a big draw for me, so you can imagine my disappointment when over a week later I still had no response. I then struggled to find my original question in the discussion feed, quickly noticing that the time stamps made no sense, and that the feed itself is not user friendly. My own Bluprint feed was no help as it was showing activity from multiple other users, not just myself. So I contacted the customer support team using the Chat option.

A very speedy response explained how to make my Activity feed personal, so I could see my questions. However, it then came to light that there is an ongoing techincal issue which is preventing tutors from seeing / answering questions. Users have not been informed about this, and even more frustrating – no information is available as to when this issue will be fixed. So I was paying money for a time-based subscription, yet found myself unable to continue with the project until my tutor question was answered, and the service could give no estimate as to when that might be. The only response from the service rep was that I needed to understand that coding is a complex process!

So, alas I must report that, much as I have every faith in the quality of the Craftsy classes themselves, I have no trust in the (new to the market) Bluprint subscription service. I have been back into the forum today to see if my question of a fortnight ago has been answered, so at least I can proceed with the pattern for which I have purchased specific supplies, but I still cannot see any response. I have therefore cancelled my Bluprint subscription.

So disappointed to share this update with you!! Have you signed up? I notice that there are a few subscription services of this kind around right now. Have you joined any? Would love to hear about your experience!

Anyhoo. I wanted report back to you as promised, and there you have it. But there are worse things in this life than a poor experience with a subscription service, right?! One must simply move on. So, I’d like to end on a happy note and share with you the two new squares that I’ve hooked up this past week! This is ‘Star Crossed’ by Helen Shrimpton, a lovely free pattern on Ravelry. I added two rounds of surface crochet because I wasn’t mad keen on how my colours panned out at the end – happier now ๐Ÿ™‚

And this is ‘Paula’s Pendant’ by Margaret Hubert from her lovely publication, ‘The Granny Square Book’, extended by me to include four extra rows, thereby bring it up to 8 inches, for my ongoing blanket project:

Finally, I’m chuffed to share that I’ve got my design head on again and I’m working on a new square of my own, which I hope to share with you next week. Yah!

Until then, I wish you happy hooking ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

Free Pattern: Frank Mandala

This week I’m delighted to share my new pattern, the Frank Mandala (named by my daughters, after my husband, who is of course wildly flattered!). Suitable for adventurous beginners as it includes bobbles (photo tutorial link supplied) and back loop stitches, it’s also perfect for any hooker who just needs a quick fix of happy! You can add it to your Ravelry queue here, or download directly here. Enjoy!

In other hooky news my square obsession has continued right through the past week, and I am playing swift catch-up on the block a month CAL in which I’m participating. I have learned something new from each and every one of these squares and I am so excited by the myriad possibilities that our glorious craft offers us, fellow hookers!

Each of these designers is very talented and they have all inspired me greatly in my own design endeavours. Check them out on Ravelry! Clockwise from top left:

Sunrise Beach by Jen Tyler (paid pattern)

Passion Flower by Karen Smith (currently free)

Grumpy Grandad by Sadie Cuming (currently free)

Macey Ann by Pam Knighton-Haener (currently free)

I have used Paintbox Cotton DK in all of the above projects. As a lovecrochet.com affiliate I am happy to promote this lovely, durable and versatile 100% cotton yarn which is available in no less than 56 colours! Check it out here โค

I will be taking a crafty detour tomorrow and getting back to my knitting – hopefully I’ll be able to get beyond the gauge swatch in my first sweater and make some headway with it before Spring! What’s on your needles / hook this week? Do share, I love to read your comments and respond to every single one ๐Ÿ™‚

Free Pattern: Maya Square

Happy Tuesday, hookers! Or Monday night if that is where you still are ๐Ÿ™‚

I had planned a longer post today detailing the latest carryings on in my novice knitting journey, but instead I’ve spent my yarn-related time this morning publishing my new pattern on Ravelry, and closing out with all my lovely testers. Hurrah!

The Maya Square (named for my eldest daughter), is now available as a free PDF download. The file includes a full list of stitches used (US terminology), additional notes and clear, detailed pattern instructions.

You can add the Maya Square pattern to your Ravelry queue here or download the file directly by clicking this link: Maya Square.pdf

May I take this opportunity to draw your attention to my other free square pattern, the Winter Sun Square. Somewhere in the future I see an entire multi-block Hooks and Hills blanket in my mind’s eye! Of course, this will not happen overnight – oh real life, how you do interfere with my crochet life…! ๐Ÿ˜€ – but it all starts with a single square, right. And now I have created two ๐Ÿ™‚

If you make one or both of these patterns, please let me know how you go. I welcome all questions and comments. Enjoy โค ๐Ÿ™‚

Colour Me Happy Crochet

Another wonderful week of crochet has gone by, and the destash has continued most successfully! I’ve completed another few colourful kitchen cloths in cotton:

And over three metres of rainbow bunting in fun acrylic:


I love working with a big variety of colours, especially brights! Colourful projects are always especially feel-good for me. Are you the same, or are you drawn more to neutrals?

My Stylecraft Special DK stashbusting project continues apace and I’m getting a lot of joy out of it – doubtless I’ll be distracted by another project or two along the way to completion but the past few days I’ve been happy just making more Blooming Grannies (pattern by Margaret Hubert in The Granny Square Book). It’s a join-as-you-go blanket, my first and I’m sure it’ll not be my last. Love this join method – how about you?

Until next time, happy hooking!

Pam

Crochet Decluttering and Stashbustingย 

Last week I decided it was time to sort through my crochet corner, which was becoming ever more disorganised with hooks, books, notepads, yarn, tapestry needles, stitchmarkers, stickynotes and wips.

First I assesed my various tubs of stash and put aside some ‘what was I thinking?!’ impulse purchases of clearance yarn, for the charity shop. Then I went through all my crochet books and separated the best loved from the rarely if ever looked at, which I will sell on or exchange for credit at a local secondhand bookshop. 

Next I crossed off my list the cancellation of a crochet subscription box that I just wasn’t loving (Secret Crochet Club), and decided not to resubscribe to Amanda Bloom’s Little Box of Crochet for the time being, purely because I have five beautiful boxes containing gorgeous little as yet unfinished projects neatly stacked on one of my shelves. (Where do the months go?!)

I organised and cleaned my entire crochet space (a corner of our family room, containing a bookcase with a chest at the bottom and sturdy shelves up top, and a desk and chair), and resolutely declared a total ban on all yarn purchases until my planned pilgrimage with friends to Bendigo Woolen Mills early next year.

Needless to say, within days I’d been forced to place a Stylecraft Special DK order with Wool Warehouse because my Stylecraft Special DK stashbusting exercise will require a couple more balls of Meadow and Rose for the border…you understand, don’t you? ๐Ÿ˜

I did, however, bust some stash by having a brief but productive facewasher / dishcloth phase (pattern by Catherine Hirst in Granny Square Crochet). It was most enjoyable, and my use of Knitpicks CotLin and Dishie (adore these!) during this time certainly makes up for the Stylecraft purchase. So I tell myself. You get me. Right? ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Are you overdue a crochet declutter? Are you in the throes of some intentional stashbusting, or a total yarn purchase ban? How is that going for you? โ˜บ

Until next time, I wish you happy hooking ๐Ÿ˜Š

Pam

Books & Blocks

September turned into a sprint with lots of mum stuff going on and suddenly in the blink of an eye it’s October! I’m all for the slow life but there are limits to how slow one can in reality go with two boisterous little girls and a husband that works long hours – especially in the school holidays! It would be so nice to lie on the veranda appreciating the birdsong all day every day but people will need clean knickers and feeding (three times daily no less, how very dare they?! ๐Ÿ˜)

Not of course that I’m complaining – as they say, no mess would mean no precious family, always worth reminding oneself of that, particularly in my darker moments haha – but I am always mindful of monitoring my mental health and ‘self care’ needs. It’s very easy for me to allow things to get frantic in my head, fuel with coffee and neglect to eat well enough – which is of course a recipe for burnout. 

While keeping an eye on these things, in the spirit of ‘slow’ I also stopped creating crochet deadlines for myself and only hooked when the mood took me, otherwise reading fiction in my down times – a great way to calm my often anxious brain. Crochet has its (vital!) place in my mental health toolkit, but I am prone to ruminating and catastrophising and sometimes recently I’ve needed a bigger distraction than the block patterns I’ve been working on, relatively complex though some of them are. 

I’ve devoured several novels in recent weeks and have thoroughly enjoyed them:

The Captain’s Daughter by Leah Flemming

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A Pure Clear Light by Madeleine St John

I’m currently reading Freya by Anthony Quinn and loving it. I’ve been reading mainly non-fiction for ages and am truly delighting in getting back into fiction. Always interested in discovering new fiction authors – who are your favourites??

I guess it’s a measure of my usual hooky ‘output’ that although I’ve been crocheting a lot less, I’ve still done a lot more than I thought – 10 x 8.5 inch blocks! Here are 9 of them (you can find links to all the patterns in this blanket cal here)

Wishing happy hooking – and reading – to all ๐Ÿ˜Š Here’s to a fabulous month ahead!

Pam x

Wip Wednesday – Afghan Blocks

I’ve been really getting stuck into Dedri Uys’ 2014 Block CAL over the past week or so. I’ve had a lot going on – good stuff but hectic – and combined with an increase in symptoms of anxiety I’ve really needed my crochet therapy! These gorgeous block patterns meet my needs for creativity and calm entirely ๐Ÿ™‚

‘Wish Upon A Star’ by Melinda Miller

‘Never Ending Love’ by Aurora Suominen

‘Cocoa Puff’ by Melissa Green

‘Starfire’ by Melinda Miller

‘Winter Dream’ by April Moreland


‘Lace Petals’ by Chris Simon

Are you familiar with any of these designers? I’ve loved making their blocks and look forward to making many more ๐Ÿ™‚