Crochet Decluttering and StashbustingΒ 

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? 😁

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? 😁😁

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? ☺

Until next time, I wish you happy hooking 😊

Pam

Crojo Restored – Mandala Madness!

My crojo was fast disappearing last time I wrote – my latestΒ amigurumi attempt, while interesting, was not enjoyable – and I am not into crochet for the struggle! I crochet to relax; to clear and calm my mind; and for the pure joy of creativity and colour! So I put down the 2.5mm and picked up my trusty 4mm. I abandoned the splitty cotton and took out my basket of Patons Cotton Blend 8ply. And then my family went away for the weekend!! Below is what followed, in pictures ☺☺

Picot-Edged Mandala (Designer: Marinke Slump)

Crochet Coaster (Designer: Carmen Hefferman)

Tulips from Amsterdam (Designer: Haafner Linssen)

Dreamcatcher – using the first rounds of Haafner Linssen’s Dainty Daisy mandala pattern

Rounds 1-5 designed by Edie Eckman (Motif #3 from ‘Beyond the Square’); rounds 6-8 my own

And just like that, all is well in my crochet world once more! It’s great to try new things, and I will always strive to stretch the boundaries of my crochet skills – but if a project or technique or yarn just doesn’t feel good, I’ll stop working it. Life too short!

I wish you the crochet joy in your own endeavours that I am once again experiencing. Crojo restored and on fire! And now, back to my current mandala…. 😊😊

Pam

Tiny Hook Tales

After a few weeks of school hols and family from overseas visiting, I’m now able to return to my daily hooking habit. Hurrah! 

In the aftermath of this unintentional hiatus I find I’ve lost all momentum on my afghan blocks, which is a bit sad – but as I’m now over two years into that project I don’t suppose another few months makes any difference! Instead, this week I’m having another go at amigurumi. Behold, the body of Santa – and one arm ☺


Lord, but it’s fiddly! And not relaxing in the least. I am not a friend of the 2.5mm hook – even if it is one of my beloved Clover Amours! I’m using DMC Natura Just Cotton, which I was very excited to obtain but it’s driving me batty splitting into 8 strands all the time, a bit of a horror with a 2.5mm. 

There are of course much smaller hooks to be had, but this is definitely tiny to me, and I for one couldn’t go any smaller. I’ve been trying to practice by using the same hook and yarn to make a simple mandala coaster (using Marinke Slump’s Picot-Edge Mandala pattern) but while I love the way it’s working up, I’m just not feeling the 2.5mm. I like to relax with my crochet, not fight with it!


This will definitely be my last 2.5mm piece. I may try a 4mm / dk fairy. But then again, I may not – to be honest I rather feel the call of another relaxing and satisfying Willow project β˜Ί 

Do you like amigurumi? Did you struggle at first but then fell in love? 

Until next time,

Happy hooking!

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?! 😁)

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 😊 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 πŸ™‚

‘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 πŸ™‚

FO Friday – Pixie Waistcoat

It’s a beautiful, sunny Friday here in Australia, in our first week of Spring – but my toes are still cold and it’s nice to rug up just a little on chilly mornings – for which this little pixie waistcoat is perfect πŸ™‚

It’s my take on the granny-stripe shawl/vest/cowl/wrap – so versatile! – pattern by Michelle Greenberg. I used one Lincraft Cake (Aussie store brand) in ‘Blooming Roses’ instead of two Caron Cakes, and I added an sc (US) border to the long edge. 

It worked up super fast – a most satisfying and practical Spring make. If you’re heading into Autumn you can just keep on with those repeats for two cakes. Happy hooking! πŸ˜€

Willow Baby Boy Blanket

My last Willow blanket was for a baby girl and, loving the design, I wanted to see if I could put a little bit of a masculine twist on it and create a baby boy blanket.

To this end I chose Baby Soft Steps by Red Heart Yarns in Aqua, Grass Green and Elephant. Then, instead of a pretty scalloped edge, I chose a slightly more angular border. I’m really happy with the end result and I’m looking forward to sending it to its new home πŸ™‚

The Willow square pattern is by Jan Eaton and can be found in her book 200 Crochet Blocks. I’ve crocheted 30 unique blocks from this book, including probably 50+ Willows by now – yes that one’s my fave πŸ˜€

The border is by the fabulous Edie Eckman. It’s #25 in Around the Corner Crochet Borders, a firm favourite in my crochet library.

I have developed a bit of a thing for squares and am now getting stuck back into another afghan with about 40 blocks in total, all different. I’ll share more next time. It’s very satisfying completing a small, intricate piece of work and I think it will make an excellent Spring/Summer project with a view to joining and bordering come Autumn. 

Do you like big projects made of little pieces? 

Until next time, happy hooking! πŸ™‚