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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ ❀

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 ❀

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 πŸ™‚

Mandala Designing and the Return of the Square Obsession

One evening I sat hook in hand and realised I had no projects on the go. What?!!

As July came to an end and with it an entire blanket of crochet squares and the publishing of my own square pattern, I found myself repulsed by squares and drawn to circles πŸ˜‚ I completed ‘Pebbles in the Pond’ by Haafner Linssen (pictured above) from her lovely book ‘Mandalas to Crochet’, and then found myself at a loose end after I finished my very first piece of knitwear, the asymmetrical scarf I shared with you last week.

One evening I sat hook in hand and realised I had no projects on the go. What?!! It was a very strange feeling after a few months of completing a great many wips, including four crochet blankets. I looked at my books but it was late in the evening, and nothing caught my eye. I felt lost, I don’t mind telling you. So I decided to just play around… and two hours later, well past my bedtime, the ‘Frank Mandala’ was born!

Within 24 hours the pattern was written and out with testers. The feedback has been great, and I’m happy to share that it will be released as a free Ravelry pattern at the end of next week. I had such fun creating it: a blur of joyful concentration. It would make a great first mandala project for a beginner who’s ready to go a little further, with back loop stitches and bobbles (link to photo tutorial included in the pattern). I’ll make the download available here too, so look out for it and do let me know what you think if you decide to make it.

In the midst of all that activity, my last pattern, the ‘Maya Square’, was tagged in the BAMCAL2018 Ravelry group in a member’s choice poll. After thanking them for considering my square – so very exciting for a new designer such as myself! – and looking at all the discussion and pictures in this ‘block a month’ project group, I decided to join in too. I didn’t think I’d be up for another blanket so soon, let alone one of squares, but I found myself powerless to resist! I’ve already finished one block and am almost done with a second. Below is ‘Maybelline’ by Polly Plumb, in progress. What is it with crochet squares that makes them so addictive?!!

I plan to make the group block plus the members’ choice block each month, then choose my favourites and do them solid or in different colourways, plus perhaps a couple of my own squares to bring the count up to 30 blocks. Of course it will be the height of summer by then, but never mind: I can join in the aircon! And I truly do believe that you can never have too many crochet blankets πŸ˜€

(As an aside, may I namedrop? Edie Eckman was a guest in that group, and I spoke to her, and she replied! I was a bit starstruck :D)

What’s your take on crochet blankets? Do you always have one on the go? Do you prefer huge intricate designs, or blocks, or rows?