I was planning to send this email last week (you may have noticed that the intro says there are 5 weeks until Christmas, when there are in fact now only 4!), but we ended up having a really busy couple of weeks, which meant my work schedule got a little bit muddled - hopefully I am back on track now and will be up to speed soon!
It is a bit of a shock to realise just how imminent the festive period is. I have yet to write a proper list, but after the nightmare that was 'chase the turkey' last year - where I tried, and tried and tried to get a smallish bird for the meat eaters in our family, but failed miserably as they kept disappearing from my cart each time I went to pay for them - I have at least managed to order a crown and secure our Christmas veg delivery. Last year it turned out we didn't need a turkey anyway as London went into lockdown and no one was allowed to come for dinner, but I am more hopeful that this year we will all get to be together and I do feel like I have scored a little victory for being a bit organised so early on!
Over the last couple of weeks I have been preparing a project for the Festive Workshop we hold in Bournemouth annually, so it has been nice to get stuck into a Christmas themed project. I will release the new design in time for next Christmas, but if you are looking for something to get your hook into this year, then I have a few festive themed projects you could take a look at.
My Beaded Festive Decorations design is an ideal way to use up bits and bobs from your stash. The designs would look lovely hung on the tree or could be used as the basis for some fabulous table decorations or corsages. The pattern is available as a 16 page paper brochure or as a download and it includes step-by-step instructions for the crochet beading techniques used.
If you are looking for some little projects to make, then you might also want to take a look at my Festive Stocking pattern and my Festive Decorations by following this link.
When we made up the kits for the new Fiori version of my Fields of Gold design a few weeks ago we discovered that the yarn delivery was a little short, which meant that we had 20 kits that could not be made up. Thankfully the missing yarn has now arrived, so we have some more kits in stock. The yarn kits are a limited edition as they include a special collaborative yarn that is not available elsewhere.
For more information about the Fiori colourway, which has been put together by my fabulous friend Lucia Dunn of Lucia's Fig Tree, follow this link.
I think Christmas crackers were one of the first things that people realised caused a lot of plastic waste, so it is quite usual for them to be plastic free these days.
I have a bit of a thing for garden birds so I fell in love with these crackers from the RSPB, which also feature one of my favourite animals - hares - in the design. You can find the full range of plastic free crackers from the RSPB by following this link.
There is a good list of plastic free Christmas tips via Friends of the Earth here.
The second part of my CAL project, Indigo Dreams has now been published in Inside Crochet magazine.
As with all my crochet along projects to date, Indigo Dreams starts off relatively easy and gets progressively harder as the project grows over the next five months. In the first part you were asked to make some very simple granny squares and some striped pieces and this month the design features a half and half granny square design.
Indigo Dreams will run in Inside Crochet Magazine over five issues through to February next year. The design for this blanket was inspired by a beautiful Kantha stitched quilt that I found on my travels in India a few years ago, as well as my love of traditional patchwork quilts and tessellations.
The patterns include the usual step-by-step images and detailed written instructions and charts. This is possibly one of my easiest projects to date, with most motifs based on the traditional granny square motif.
I love working with Inside Crochet Magazine and am incredibly proud of the outcome of this project. The styling of the blanket by Claire Montgomerie and the shots themselves by the fabulous Leanne Jade make me so happy.
You can find more information and a list of the Stylecraft yarns I used to make this project by following this link. Patterns are only available via Inside Crochet Magazine for the duration of the CAL. The magazine are offering a six-month subscription offer, which will guarantee that you receive each part of the CAL as it is revealed every month. You can find a great deal (which will save you ££££) for the print magazine by following this link and one for the digital subscription by following this link.
You can also find a wonderful Facebook community, so that you can share your progress and ask questions as you go along, by following this link. The group already has more than 2000 members, so it is a great resource to accompany the CAL.
My knitting in Iceland tour was cancelled in 2020 and then again this year, so I am really looking forward to the rescheduled holiday in May 2022. The tour, which is organised by the fabulous team at Arena Travel as part of their Stitchtopia programme of events, is called Natural Wonders of Iceland. It runs between 4th & 12th of May and you can find more information about the trip by following this link.
I will also be tutoring some mini workshops at the Knit For Peace event at Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford in January. I will be joining the amazing knit designer Debbie Bliss on what I am sure will be a great trip. You can find some more information about the event here.
Andy has started to sort out his batch of home brew Christmas drinks this week. He will be making the usual marmalade gin (which we all love), but he has decided to mix it up a little this year by adding mincemeat vodka to the list too!
Andy's idea to make this scrummy tipple, which he has already trialed, was possibly inspired by Jamie Oliver's Christmas Pudding vodka, which you can find by following this link. However, Andy's version is much more straightforward and simply involves mixing a jar of mincemeat into a large bottle of vodka and leaving it to mature for a couple of weeks before staining (and straining and straining it) until it is clear.
I recommend a quality jar of mincemeat, but it doesn't seem to matter what brand of vodka you use - it is a really lovely warming festive drink! Cheers!
We are only a couple of days away from opening the first door of our advent calendar. Ours is a pretty paper one with a motivational quote for each day, but if you are looking for a yarny one then you might want to take a look at the Jimmy Beans Advent Box, which is now available to order via their web site.
This will be the sixth annual Craftvent, a holiday-themed Advent calendar and there is something for every type of maker, as Jimmy Beans commissioned both knit and crochet project options and you can choose to work on either a 24 day project or 12 day one.
Designer Ambah O'Brien developed the large knit project called Festive Wrap and I came up with the crochet project, Tidings Wrap, which utilises a unique construction that begins at the centre and works each side outward. Adorable pom-poms are added to the outside using leftover scraps from each day and you can choose from 2 lovely colourways - Ribbon Candy is shown above and the Buttermint version is shown below.
Jimmy Beans' own knit and crochet designer Amy Gunderson created both the smaller knit and crochet projects, called 'Tis The Season Mitts. Gunderson owned a pizza place in Iowa City for seven years, which is also where she first learned to knit in between making pizzas. In addition to being a designer, she is also the Yarn Director at Jimmy Beans Wool.
Supermarket chain Asda has recently launched its Pre-loved Vintage range across 50 of its stores. Click on the image below or here for more information.
Cath Waters designs the most gorgeous tea towels that feature her water colour designs of the Scottish landscape. I came across her work a few months ago and think that one of her tea towels would look really beautiful framed like a print.
There are lots of lovely versions of the tea towel to choose from and, at just £14.99 each, I think they are fabulous value for money. You can find gorgeous prints, canvases, mugs and jewellery on Cath's web site too, so if you are looking for a stunning gift why not stop by her web store and take a look.
We are set for some pretty miserable weather here in London this weekend and have the threat of snow and strong winds for the next few days so we are hoping it doesn't affect our plans for the weekend too much..
I hope that wherever you are and whatever you have in store for the next few days that you have a great time. I really love hearing from you and Sarah and I do our best to reply, so if anything in this newsletter has prompted you to get in touch, please hit reply....
Sending lots of yarny hugs
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