I AM BACK !!!!!!

I am BACK!!!

I know it has been ages…

I have been so busy trying to finish several projects which I  had committed to it and I  was so frustrated because I couldn’t share any of the work I was doing… but now my last project is live  I am BACK  !!!!!!

It has been an amazing few months!

I have been working flat out on several things.. I should also say  I did take on board a bit too much and at times I was slightly overwhelmed by the all things but now that all the blankets are available it makes it all worthwhile.

The final chapter was to deliver my last blanket to CROCHET NOW’s HQ last month!  very exciting and a bit scary too… The RISE &SHINE cal has been a real labour of love! to create something to keep an audience interested and more so, happy to continue on a project that is going to run over 12 months it is NOT an easy task!!

I really hope you will like it, and with trepidation, I am waiting for the reactions online as it went live TODAY !!!!!!!!!

So I am back writing again… I missed writing my blog, but I know you all have very busy lives and I didn’t want to fill my blog with idle chit-chat and not been able to tell you what I was doing.  so where to start…

Let’s go in reverse order and start with the latest project…

here are some pictures, also you will find pieces of information on the CAL on Crochet Now website… I have a few more pictures but I will post them as the CAL progresses.

 

The blanket is a CAL and will run over 12 months.

Part 1 can be found in Issue 27 of Crochet Now which will be in shops on Thursday 12th April or available to buy online at www.moremags.com/crocheting 

I have used STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK, (mainly using 2 strands  held together)  the colours are:

 

Stylecraft Special DK – 295m per 100g ball; 100% acrylic

3 balls in Mustard 1823

2 balls each in Fuchsia Purple 1827, magenta 1084, Shrimp 1132, Grass Green 1821, Sage 1725, Bright Pink 1435, Emperor 1425

1 ball each in Plum 1061, Fondant 1241, Pistachio 1822, Empire 1829, Petrol 1708, Lipstick 1246

(Important Note: Based on the designer’s tension, 98g of Fondant 1241 and 96g of Empire 1829 were used in this blanket. If you are unsure of how loose your tension is, we recommend purchasing additional balls of these shades.)

Stylecraft Special Aran – 196m per 100g ball; 100% acrylic

1 ball in Lipstick 1246

 

What I can say, is that it is really great fun, it is a project for everyone and I hope you will love it.

It is all about texture, interesting techniques,  and more so COLOUR!!!

I don’t know where you are based around the world, but for us in the UK has been one VERY LONG WINTER!! we had snow in Scotland up to last weekend.. really  I’m still thinking spring will never come this year!! so the brightness of the colours of the Rise & Shine kept me entertained during the winter months. To be able to create something it can be really tiring and sometimes quite frustrating too…especially when things do not go to plan, but I loved every moment of it.

But thats not all…

two more blankets I designed for Stylecraft went live a few weeks ago… both bursting with colours, one is called HYPNO and the other BOHO…

you can find them as a Pattern  here:

https://www.poppys-holmfirth.co.uk/lucia-s-shop/lucia-s-shop/lucia-dunn-hypno-blanket-cushion-printed-pattern-9527

https://www.poppys-holmfirth.co.uk/lucia-s-shop/lucia-s-shop/lucia-dunn-boho-blanket-and-cushion-printed-pattern-9528

at the same time, I made the Valentina Shawl…for Poppy’s ,

and I wrote the pattern with the help of the ladies at Poppy’s for the Walrus blanket too..they are both available on my shop at Poppy’ s https://www.poppys-holmfirth.co.uk/lucia-s-shop/lucia-s-shop  and soon should also be on my Ravelry’s store.

 

I will write all about my Poppy’s adventures as it deserves a proper special blog entry!  everyone made me so welcome! and it has been amazing to be able to collaborate with others! but I will do it in a  separate entry,  this one is just for touching base, dust off the cobwebs out of my blog and just let you know I am back again.

So you have: a CAL, 2 BLANKETS, A SHAWL  and the WALRUS BLANKET too…

what am I doing now? …

I am helping to finish my daughter  Francesca’s granny square blanket… she made 180 squares and she panicked a little when it came to joining them so I said I was going to help… ( don’t ask me why…)

I also had a dip into amigurumi…

It all started because I needed a rest from Blankets and I wanted a little project.. if you follow me on facebook you might have guessed I got a bit obsessed with it! no idea why the amigurumis are so addictive!

it might be the fact that you work on a tridimensional plane and that is a bit of a novelty to me… so I started with a Crafter Granny… then I made a bear, then  I made another bear..( which I  still have to complete)..then I tried a bunny but looked like out of a horror movie …then my son Giuseppe asked me to make  a  chameleon for his girlfriend that loves  Tangled’s Pascal.. so I just finished that a day ago ready for her 18th birthday..

I am planning other things too… but I needed a few weeks of not designing, recharging my batteries by just enjoying other people amazing patterns!! and I feel the energy coming back which is a good news indeed!!

So, as I LOVE lists of TO DO’s my new resolutions are…

  • do not take too much work on!!!
  • write at least 2 blogs a month with updates on what I am doing,
  • walk and not be a couch crocheting potato!
  • be more social and not a grumpy bear hiding behind a mountain of yarn…
  • organise some new exciting material for classes ( because I love teaching!!!) and put some dates in the diary.
  • make more videos!
  • last but not least go to London to see my daughter Valentina!!
  • loads of more things that I am sure I have forgotten…

that is all for today! thank you for all your support, I love your messages and all your lovely comments on Facebook and Instagram!

and on that subject just a little note…

I understand how frustrating  it must be not to be able to get either the patterns or the kits for the Eastern Jewels and the Frida’s Primavera because often they are sold out or are not available as digital downloads , but as I replied to many of  you, I just designed both the patterns and I am not involved in how they are distributed.

So please get in touch with ether Stylecraft or Janie Crow if you need some updated pieces of information.

https://www.stylecraft-yarns.co.uk/

https://janiecrow.co.uk/presta/

My only direct contact with the retail status is Poppy’s and I know they have  sold several packs of the Eastern Jewels, ( the Frida’s Primavera is just available  from Jane ) but again they too, as retailers, depend from Jane and Stylecaft for the  printed patterns so please, if you are interested, leave your email with Helen’s at Poppy’s and I am sure that if the packs will be back in stock she will message you .

https://www.poppys-holmfirth.co.uk/lucia-s-shop/lucia-s-shop

HAPPY CROCHET!  thank you for reading,

love to you all

LUCIA XXX

The “art” of blanket planning…a beginner’s journey

I am still thinking if I am going to have a theme or what I am planning for 2018… I have few deadlines I need to honour but after that, I am a free -bird and I can do whatever I fancy.

So in the midst of creating something new and exciting I am also putting together a program for classes for beginners and more advanced crocheters, because one of the highlights of last year was teaching, I discovered that  I LOVE TEACHING! I like the excitement to meet new people, I like the energy and buzz that they bring to the table and I like that they go home, hopefully with some new skills to work with.

teaching to beginners is probably the most challenging of all lessons as it is often their first encounter with this amazing exciting artform and you want to pass on the rudiments of crochet as well as possible,

but at the same time not be boring or frustrating or altogether scary!  so I engaged the help of my daughter Francesca to test some samples of possible projects to make sure that I teach them  to walk before to run as Hussein Bolt! Francesca is great because she can crochet already, she is what I would call a very keen beginner and I think that is a good platform to start with.

While testing and chatting about several possibilities she said she wanted to make a blanket “all by herself” for someone very special… so I started to say ..ok what do you have in mind, what size, what colours, what yarn …etc.

 

 

It became apparent to me that you can make an original, interesting and exciting blanket from scratch even if you are a beginner, just following some basic rules.

So that is what this  Blog entry is all about a beginner’s journey…and I will keep you updated on her progress and you might find something interesting to use on your projects at home.

So where to start…

WOOOW SO EXCITING I AM GOING TO MAKE A NEW BLANKET!….

then comes the frantic search on Pinterest , Ravelry, magazines, books, social media, and patterns of all sorts.. which is all good.

So I encouraged her to collect things, scrap of fabrics, leafs, stones , anything that can create a visual map .  Even the process to combine them all together it is very important because you can focus on the colours and that will reflect on the choice of yarns you are going to make . so make a bord, take a picture with your phone and THEN CHOOSE THE YARN!!

Bring the picture with you at your yarn-store or use it as reference if you shop on line  or even to select some hues from your stash..( because we all have one of those…).

So Francesca collected things she likes and patterns she finds interesting, but also I reminded her that if you make something for someone else your search should be focused not on the pattern you like or you want to make yourself, but on what he/she would  like to have!

She made the boards and took the pictures herself  …so this is a collaboration project!

Some nature’s inspiration….and , by the way, you do not need amazing skills or amazing landscapes, travelling or what so ever…just go outside !!!

Very often you see on social media fellow crocheters complaining that they spent a lot of time, efforts and money making  what they thought was a lovely blanket ar scarf or whatever but they encounter  a very  tepid reception. Now I do believe there is always a rogue one that no matter what you make he/she still could not  careless but you will find that 99% of the  time people love receiving a handmade gift made with  love. .. BUT  you must follow a few rules to succeed…

I have to confess, I have seen some shockers on my computer that made me think ..oh well no wonder it didn’t work out!

FIRST RULE:

ARE YOU SURE HE/SHE WANTS A BLANKET?????

that is a GREAT START  to figure that out first!  maybe he /she prefer a new t-shirt, a pair of shoes, a concert ticket, been taken out on a special day, a Transformer, some Kyle Jenner’s makeup or a gosh.. a Gucci bag! I don’t know..million of different possibilities and remember

if he/she doesn’t really want a blanket it is not all lost! don’t get upset or deflated..just MAKE A BLANKET FOR YOURSELF ! or find someone else 😀

SECOND RULE:

DO NOT BITE OFF MORE THEN YOU CAN CHEW!

aghhhh really delicate point… I know we all have seen the most amazing and intricate blanket and we want to make one exactly the same but you must  be realistic and not only look at your budget but also at your abilities especially if it is meant as a gift. it has to be right..none of that malarky “ohh I miss 2 stitches on my round 23..now I am at round 37  should I unravel and fix it?…if you noticed the answer is always YES!! totally utterly YES!!! I can’t stress that enough..the idea that you could call it unique means you are kidding yourself on ,it is like baking a cake and forgetting the sugar, apologies if I am being a little bit harsh.

I am going to tell you a little story… after the Frida’s  Primavera was released I had a lot of emails from ladies showing me their progress and I really loved to help and  compliment them on their efforts.. but I also had a lady who sent me a picture of the blanket and one of the  hexagons had only 5 sides… she  had joined the blanket and said to me..I know it has 5 sides and not 6 but will it be still ok? can you tell me how can I fix it ?.. what could  I say? there isn’t a nice way to say…sorry but you have to unravel the all blanket because it doesn’t look right.. I did say that and I don’t think she was very impressed at all.  I wish I had a “Magic Wand” or an a “Aladdin’s Lamp” to correct mistakes , but trust me..mistakes have to be fixed. I made tonnes myself and I have had to unravel countless times until I am entirely happy with it.  So the bottom line is;

if you see it, others, even if they do not crochet,  will see it too.

 

So CHECK YOUR WORK! and more importantly practice your square until you are completely happy with it,  before embarking on a full blanket!. It takes just maybe an evening  to practice a  motif or a  square,  please make a swatch of the stripe, or wave or  whatever pattern you plan to use..and I know it might be a bit boring and you are excited to start, but it will save you time and frustrations in the long run.

I have been going on a bit of a tangent..let’s get back on track…

 

so my advice is simple;

 

Do not bite off more you can chew.

Swatch whatever you think is good

Believe and be comfortable that you can do it.

And  tackle the project head on!

 

Please always remember, that  it is MUCH BETTER to make a beautifully executed properly planned, humble, granny square’s blanket, than  a wonky striped blanket or a complex hexagon blanket with  one of the sides missing .

Back to Francesca’s blanket…

As the blanket is for a guy she didn’t want a fussy pattern and she opted for ..the granny square. and I am very happy she did that because it allows me to show you what amazing potentials a granny square has!

So she did a few samples..until she was happy with it..then came the part I like most COLOURS !!! I leave you with a picture…and  I will tell you the story next time 😀

love to you all,

Lucia xx

Annabelle’s blanket colours and few more stories….

my plan to write a blog entry last weekend didn’t really work…due to a flu epidemic that left most of us floored for a few days.

I am on the mend now so I thought I could catch up with this.

Firstly I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU for all the lovely comments on the colours choice! I  thought Caro’s pattern was really lovely and unusual and it worked really well with the bright colours  I used.

 

Here is the link to the original pattern just in case you missed it on Facebook, as said, I bought it on Ravelry.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-blanket-in-overlay-crochet

and this is the list of the colours and yarn I used for my version:

STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK :

1 ball each in:

spice,fondant,fuchsia purple,magenta,mustard,aspen and buttermilk.

STYLECRAFT BATIK DK :

2 balls each in :

pistachio and coral.

a note on the quantities…

I listed what I started with, but as you know, I made the 48 squares suggested in the pattern, but I ended up using just 20 squares for Annabelle  because I wanted the blanket to be stroller’s size as I found it is  a very practical option to give as a present, they are not too big, they can be carried everywhere,  they can be fold and stuffed  in a bag if  not needed and, in my experience, you can get the most use out of it

 

So if you are thinking to make a blanket for a baby I would suggest anything between these 2 sizes:

a minimum of   60cm x 75cm  to  75cm x 100cm .

Annabelle’s measures: 65cm x 85cm and you can see it “in action” here…

How cute are Annabelle and her sister Rose? I was delighted that Siobhan and Andrew were ok with me sharing this lovely picture of their beautiful girls with you, so you have a chance to see the other blanket I made for Annabelle’s older sister, Rose when she was born two years ago. It still looks great and I am so pleased they use it all the time because that is what blanket -making is all about! making something that is useful, that can be washed, that can be dragged around and snuggle under and if the colours make you smile that is an added bonus!

Next, I have to organize my thoughts for 2018…

I have several things in mind and a few projects I have been working on, behind the scenes,  coming up too.

it is going to be a VERY exciting year! as I am NEVER tired to crochet, I have a head full of colours and ideas. but my aim this year is to take on board all the comments and advice I gathered in 2017 and to make my work more accessible to all of you out there, I want to do more classes so I can pass on my passion for this amazing craft , I want to be less erratic with my blog entries and improve my online presence too…

It is going to be a lot of work but it is going to be great fun too so stay tuned!

 

lots of love,

Lucia xx

 

 

DECEMBER’S blanket,Frau Holle and a little girl called Annabelle…

29th of December…in Italy, we say “meglio tardi che mai”  which translate… “better late than never”…..

Firstly,  I am so sorry for the lack of posts…and thank you for your patience and I hope you are all enjoying your festivities.

What have I been doing?

This month has been a bit of a blur … I had things to finish that, unfortunately, I can’t share until next year…I also had work, family and all the rest to manage as December seems to be the busiest time of the year!!! Yesterday was also my birthday.

If you are following me on facebook you might have seen some post about Frau Holle as she is the theme for my December blanket. So let’s start introducing this special lady which has been part of my Christmas since I can remember…

 

 

I should start by saying I have been brought up with books…  and yes, as you might have guessed,  I am old enough to remember apple just as fruit- yes, a time before iPads, mobile phones, internet and computers.

It was the time when entertainment meant books and I was so lucky to have a grandmother with the most extraordinary knowledge of folk tales and stories and the will to share them.

I was the little girl that always said ‘another one, please’…

I know now, after 50 years, that my grandmother loved mixing and matching.

she picked what she wanted from the stories, she also made some up on the spot.

One night was an episode from the Odyssey or Eneid, the other was some mythological beast. Another night was some exotic location, the other a tiger out of a Salgari’s book ( if you are Italian you might know him). One night would be some little girl lost in Nordic landscapes, a god with one eye, a grey horse with eight legs , a magical tree  with lots different worlds and my favourite …GHOST STORIES!

and I mean proper ones…none of this wishy-washy Twilights saga….

The common denominator of all these stories were that none of them were PC ( politically correct) , no annoying pig which jumps in puddles (she who must not be named).

My nonna’s stories were full of monsters, gore, dramas, swords, heroes, felons, dragons and skeletons on horseback, a LOT of pre- Disney’s  faeries, and amazing goblins lost little creatures which were always rather nasty … (I am still quite wary what is lurking under a bridge over a creek…)

so tales of all sort, I loved them so much and I still love them now.

One of my favourite stories is from the Dolomites, a range of mountains in northern Italy on the border with Austria.

I love those mountains so much, they are home to me and to Frau Holle.

You might be familiar with one of the versions of this folk tale’s  figure. The story is as old as the 1st century BC when Germany was populated by tribes.

The legend tells the story of an Earth Goddess that we know as Frau Holle or Hulda.

She was known in Northen Hesse and quite popular on my mountains too until she became famous in the 19th century thanks to the work of the Brothers Grimm. So if you don’t know it you should read Wilhelm’s version- it is a lovely story.

For us, on the Dolomites, Frau Holle is not just the depiction of a nice lady who shakes her pillow and the feathers which fall become snow on Earth… she is also the sky queen who, besides mastery of clouds and winds, she had the power of granting sunshine and prosperity to the fields. She is the motherly protector of women’s lives, she controlled feminine work, namely favouring spinning, and, as Frau Holda or Holle, she kept the souls of the unborn children.

In some countries, it was said that her home was on a mountain, a magnificent cave, and still in some others, it was in the waters of some fountains or ponds it all depends on where you are.

So I made a little one to hang over my table to remind me that, sometimes,  we all need a bit of magic too!

 

anyway back to the blanket…

A new baby girl has just joined the family, she is the daughter of my husband’s cousin Siobhan. Her name is Annabelle and she has a beautiful big sister called Rose who is truly adorable.

Annabelle was born about 6 weeks ago and she is well overdue a blanket!

I made a blanket for her older sister so I making one for her now. I used, as inspiration, one of several beautiful images of Frau Holle from the Grimm’s tales…

I loved the colours and the details of these illustrations as much as I love the story.

So here it is my last blanket on the go..hopefully it will be ready in a few days but here you can see the first square…on some very “on theme” fresh snow!

and the usual production line on the go…

and some very appropriate, fresh snow, shot of the garden this morning…

 

The colour choices are mine but the pattern is not- I bought it online, I will give you all the details once I have finished the blanket.

To you all, I wish you a peaceful New Year and the best for 2018!!

I will write a final post with a summary of this amazing year VERY SOON

lots of love

lucia xxx

November blanket: the WALRUS HUG

Ok it is December already… and I finally found the time to write a post about the November blanket. I don’t really know where my days go especially at this time of the year, it feels like I am always chasing my tail! I had a couple of project to finish and deadlines at work too. plus we had a bit of a drama with frozen pipes and burst pipes… the joy of living in a house that is 200 years old…

any way back to the Blanket..do you like it?

 

I started joining the pieces together at the end of November and finished the blanket a couple of weeks ago . Joining the pieces is one of my favourite parts as the blankets start to take shape. Until this stage, it is a bunch of squares that “should” work nicely together, that is what happens when you start a blanket from scratch without a pattern to refer to- so there is always some risk involved!

 

It might be a bit daunting to create something from scratch but it is very exciting too, until the end you don’t know if it is going to all workout or if it is going to be something “OK “… I make several attempts before getting it right, and there isn’t really a plan of action. I do start with an idea of a general feeling, then I try to match the yarn to that feeling.Then I look on the internet for images that might convey my idea, as inspiration, then …even if I have been doing that for many years, I still need to put them on a scrapbook. There is nothing like a visual aid if you plan a blanket and that is what I was teaching to the ladies that came at Poppy’s in November.

On that matter if you haven’t read it, please read the Blog entry that Sophie from Stylecraft did of the weekend, it is so well written and has lovely pictures too…I was far too busy chatting and playing with the yarn that I took virtually no pictures at all!!!

This is the link if you haven’t read it yet….https://stylecraft-yarns.co.uk/blog/lucias-eastern-jewels-workshop-at-poppys/

so back to the blanket.. why WALRUS HUG?????

Well, there is a story behind… Like many of you, I crochet while doing other things, especially at night, I might listen to audible if I need to keep my eyes on the project, but if it is something I am quite comfortable with I watch TV with the family. One date that we never miss is a Sunday night Sir David Attenborough’ s BLUE PLANET 2. All my kids love it and we make a point to watch it together. It is a bit of  a routine..cups of teas, biscuits, blankets, I always have a WIP in my hands, but I choose something easy so I can follow the program at the same time…( I have been known  to crochet without looking..) Blue Planet is amazing, I watched all David Attenborough’s programs but there is something really special about this last one. I think it is not only about the amazing, extraordinary beauty of the world that we are living in, but there is also an emphasis on how important it is to be aware of the fragility of the environment. What we can do, even on a simple domestic scale, to make a difference.

Nothing hit home as obvious as the mother walrus, swimming in the icy waters of the Arctic , holding her exhausted pup as she grows increasingly ­desperate to find a resting place for herself and her baby. As ice flows diminish, she finds competition for a spot is so fierce she must fight her way through the other breeding walruses. It brought tears to my eyes and all my children were the same…that is why it is so important for them to see programs like that.It creates an awareness of the situation and it might help in the long run.

That is why the blanket is called a walrus hug, it doesn’t matter if it is a human or another mammal, the maternal instinct is always there to protect, comfort, and keep our children safe. A blanket, as trivial as might be, can help to make something feel better.  So while I was watching the program I thought about the blanket I was working on in my lap and that is how the name came along.

If you have a chance do watch  BLUE PLANET 2, it is amazing and such a breath of fresh air in a very disappointing selection of programs to watch with the family on a Sunday night.

so here is my walrus hug..it is heavy, cosy and perfect for the season.

I am writing the pattern and I am determined to get it out before the end of 2017!! so yeah still a few days in the office then Christmas then hopefully some chilling time and plenty of crochet ahead! so wish me luck!

I am getting there..well maybe 😀

happy crochetting and thank you for reading,

Lucia xx

 

 

November blanket….time to cosy-up!

Halloween is over, yesterday we had the first frost, so as the temperatures plummet, no excuse is needed to wrap up warmer…and that is what I am aiming for with the NOVEMBER BLANKET.

I like the colder months very much, I do not mind shorter days, the cold, the wind and the rain as the key to enjoying this time of the year is to surround yourself with the softest, cosiest textiles around and maybe the odd hot chocolate or two….

Chunky knit, throws but also some soft cushions, maybe a sheepskin rug, some lovely scented candles, mood lighting ..it is all over magazines and shops windows as a way to create a perfectly plush refuge from the wind and rain and to lighten up your home as the days get shorter.

This trend is getting more and more popular, and has a few names: it is called Hygge, Gezellig and many other names…all of which encompass this desire for something cosy, nice, homey, friendly, snuggly, fun, comfortable or enjoyable…I guess it’s a feeling rather than a word.

It is everywhere… I went to IKEA a couple of days ago to get few bits and pieces ( they have the best and cheapest unscented candles…)  so I took a couple of snapshots with my phone of some neutral interiors set-ups, I always feel IKEA is a good indicator of what is trending and what people are seeking.

 

 

so I decided for this month I am going to go cosy, chunky and neutral!

 

neutral what a word for me!!!

I love colours and I am always surrounded by colour but for this month I thought would be fun to step out of my comfort zone and try something new and go NEUTRAL…

How scary!

so where to start..

the first thought that came to my mind was my nightmare hue, the unnameable one …it starts with an “M”…

the colour of the 90s: If like me you are 50 something you know EXACTLY what I am talking about, it  was omnipresent and everywhere, public spaces, hotels, new homes, old homes……well I bet you guessed what I am referring but I might write it down just ONCE: “m-a-g-n…” I bet ALL of you have used, have lived with, have bought a tin of…

MAGNOLIA!!!

I still have nightmares of designing houses and been told that the colour for walls, ceilings, woodwork and everything else that could be painted, was going to be magnolia, because “it goes with everything, it looks clean and fresh…” and me thinking “gosh not AGAIN!!!!”

Now I think that nearly 20 years later, neutral rooms don’t have to be a bore.

the trick is to create contrast and avoid everything been ” too plain and too matchy”  because that is what causes dullness is the same tonality;  so what is vital is to play with the saturation levels and undertones to create a warm, calming, inviting environment that has still freshness and crispness.

Another key to ban dullness is TEXTURE, and that is chunky yarns, sheepskins, washed wood, earthy pottery, candles, greenery and maybe even a pet!

Now if you go in a DIY store you find rows upon rows of neutral colours and undertones available for your home.

What I find really funny is that they aren’t called white, cream, beige, pale grey anymore…

they are called…

newborn, falling snow,lambskin..polar drift, icing sugar ..hahhaha you name it!

said that one thing is true…neutral colours, when used properly, work anywhere and everywhere.

So this is my challenge this month a neutral blanket!

 

I have already made a sample or two, I cant make up my mind yet about which one of the 3 colours to choose …so I have to sit on it for a little while I guess…

 

 

 

Chat  to you soon,

love you all,

Lucia xx

 

 

October…October…it is over.

October has been one amazing month…I cannot believe it is already gone!!

I feel my feet have not touched the ground, I have been running around even more than the usual.

I went to Italy just for a couple of days at the beginning of the month because was my dad’s 84th birthday,  then back home for a few days, some final touches on the new blanket ,the Fiesta,  which I made for October, as an alternative kit to offer with the  Eastern Jewels at the Knitting &Stitching show  at the Alexandra Palace in London,

also, I made,re-made, and made again my entry for the blog tour2017..but you probably have already read the all saga in my last blog.

Now that the BLOG TOUR2017 is finished I can say it was amazing! so many projects and so much variety !!

I am so pleased you loved my Spanish moss scarf!  there were so many downloads of the pattern that it crashed my blog!

I love the scarf too, I have already used a few times, hopefully, you will enjoy yours too.

 

So two projects for October: here they are together the FIESTA and the SPANISH MOSS SCARF.

and few more pictures from AllyPally:

a nice collage Sophie did ( I was too busy chatting and took virtually no pictures!) as few friends came and visit us on the stand, so you got  Phil  from https://thetwistedyarn.com/  and  Sarah, https://annabooshouse.blogspot.co.uk/and Emma, http://emmavarnam.co.uk/

 

London was amazing, the Stylecraft team made me so welcome, I had a fabulous time, I loved every minute of it.

It was also quite ” dreamlike “too as I am not used to the attention, the compliments and general extraordinary kindness.

Been a crocheter and a blogger can be quite a solitary pursuit, You sit at home with your yarn and your laptop and you just ..crochet, write, frog, read comments, answer emails, mix  more colours, make swatches…more frogging…drink endless cup of teas…it is a marvellous thing  but it is also a bit of an obsession too….

I grab EVERY second I got free to do yarny things, yarn follows me everywhere it is in my handbag, it is in my drawers in the office, it is  ALL OVER my craft room, I have some in the car..( just in case there is a traffic jam …) I carry some in my pockets too, my children tell their friends that, in our house, you can spot the odd skein or two in the fridge too…I always attempt to denial but, if I am entirely honest, I have to admit that “maybe” a lonely ball of mohair has  occasionally made her way  in the vegetable drawer..as I read somewhere that to  avoid the fine hair to catch on your hook you should stick the ball in the fridge..( I have to say I m not so sure it works after all! Mohair is, cold or room temperature, still a bismal  to work with a hook!!)

So back to Ally Pally…what can I say?? AMAZING ! thank you, SOO MUCH for coming to see me, and for being so kind! I loved talking to everyone that came to the stand, some chats were technical questions about the blanket, some were just general yarny chit-chat, it was great fun. I also had the privilege to meet in person some of you that have been following my blog and my facebook since day one!

So besides the huge feel-good-factor of being able to meet some of you crocheters out there, there was another bonus, as being at a show gives me an opportunity to understand better what you like, what you are interested in, how you choose a project and why.

So I came back with a lot of new ideas of what to make next, how to improve the page and the patterns and also I came back with a little present too…

In the past few months, I have been chatting online with a lovely lady called Joy which owns a shop in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, the shop is called Wool &More  https://showme.co.za/plett/lifestyle/woolmore/and they are stocklists for Stylecraft but they also have a lot of amazing local yarns.

 

Joy was in London visiting her new grandchild and also she came to see us at Ally Pally, she was so kind and brought me a selection of beautiful South Africans yarns! I loved reading the story behind these amazing mostly artisan-like fibres, I could appreciate the passion and skill required to produce the yarn and it makes using the skeins even more special. without people like Joy and her team, it would be really difficult for these yarns to reach the end consumers so

support your local shop wherever you live and  WELL DONE  Wool&More!

look a beautiful array of south African yarns!

and here a picture of   Joy ‘s friend Nicki and myself and in the background the VERY busy Stylecraft stand!.

 

I did make another scarf too , and loads of samples for the months to come, some will see the light and some others will go back at the bottom of the basket.

oh i nearly forgot…I made a bag too!!

so  November here I come!

 

stay tuned and remember…..

 

 

lucia xx

 

 

 

BLOGTOUR TIME !!! the “Spanish moss scarf”

Gosh! my first blog tour…..!!!

What can I say? it is very exciting and a bit scary too. It feels quite daunting to have to add my small contribution to this amazing array of fabulous projects made by my friends and fellow blogstars. Yesterday was the turn of  https://annabooshouse.blogspot.co.uk/  : Sarah made the most amazing knitted shawl I thought was beautiful, I used to knit all the time, then crochet took over, but that shawl is really tempting!…

Anyway back to today project, I gave it a go  and I hope you will like my scarf it is called “Spanish Moss”.

I got one of my daughters, Valentina,  to model it ,so you can see it on an actual person and not on the floor or a table.

 

 

 

As you know, back in July, at the Blogstars meeting, we all got the opportunity to pick one of the packs of BATIK and BATIK ELEMENTS  to make something with.

The packs are 500 grams and contain 10 balls of Batik :

 

 

the main colour is   Krypton, then there is  Indigo, Sage, Storm, Silver, Teal and  Lupin

 

The colours are fabulous, it is a great yarn to work with, one of my overall favourites, I have to say, in fact, as you know, I have used Batik a lot in the past months, not only alone but in combination also with other yarns like Cotton Classique and Special DK.

So do you want to know how the scarf came about?

 

As I like to share with you the creative process I also have to say that has not been the smoothest of all experiences.

Nothing to do with the yarn which I LOVE  but all to do with ME!!

I do panic when I get told that I have a limited amount of yarn to use and  also  when I get told what colours to use…500 grams in the big scheme of  blankets production is a minuscule quantity , I use at least the double, sometimes even 3 times the quantity so after few failed attempts to conjure a blanket  of some sort I had to give up and make something else..so..here as a testimony how creating a pattern out of the blue is not that simple (for me  at least )… a small selection of loads of  debris…!!

Back to inspirations…during the summer I went to visit a couple of places that are very dear to me, one is the Bomarzo’s Gardens, near Viterbo in central Italy.

 

 

A strange and fascinating  garden build by Pier Francesco Orsini in the 16th century, full of bizarre and fascinating sculptures , statues covered in moss , strange crooked buildings and a huge monster  mouth (known as “the mouth of hell”), inside which, on the tongue, stands a picnic table where you can  have lunch.

Why do I like it?

I don’t know ,probably because it is something halfway between a dream and a nightmare… I always loved places that are unsettling like the steps of the Franciscan Monastery of La Verna, in Tuscany or

 

or indeed something that you might be more familiar with:  the beautiful Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall.

 

 

On the unsettling theme, one of the places that I haven’t visited but do fascinate me are the Swamps of the Southern States of America like Great Dismal.

Somehow the changing colours of the Batik Krypton reminded me of the variegated colour of the moss, the one I am familiar with, in Bomarzo, La Verna and Heligan and the so called “Spanish moss” that I have just seen in documentaries hanging down from some ancient cypress trees in the Lousiana’s bayou.

I have seen some speciments of Spanish Moss “live” in Botanical gardens too:

the picture of the Spanish moss is from the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh.

 

So there is how the Spanish moss is scarf came about…

I wrote the pattern for you to try if you like.

The scarf has a main body made of ‘trellis’ using Krypton,

then some 3D  strange flowers, which I made using some of the other colours available in the pack, plus some “dangling bits”  my attempt to imitate the Spanish moss.

 

I used most of the Krypton available in the pack and a bit of the other colours. I was tempted to make flowers all around the edge of the scarf but I estimated that I  wouldn’t be able to manage to do so with the quantities in the pack so instead than having a few sparse lonely flowers hanging about on the longer sides edge I opted for 8 flowers huddled up together  at the two  extremities of the scarf.

 

Also a note about the pattern…I tried my best, it is most likely the most complex pattern I have written so far and I am still learning so, fingers crossed, I hope it is comprehensible enough for all of you to try,  I added some pictures that I hope will help when my pattern writing it is a bit puzzling…

CLICK THIS LINK TO DOWNLOAD THE PATTERN: Spanish Moss Scarf- luciasfigtree 

Stylecraft is doing a competition today where if you enter you got a chance to win a pack like the one I have used.. so give it a go! this is the link to the competition:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28570cc5126/?.

I am sure you can use for any of the amazing projects that the rest of the Blogstars have made so far and in the next few days!

The great thing is that, by the time the Blog tour is over, you will have 16 different projects to choose from!! and you will find for sure one that appeals to you!

And, the last thing, DO NOT MISS  tomorrow Blogtour’s entry from   Zelna from http://zootyowlcards.blogspot.co.uk/.  she is amazingly talented and I can’t wait to see what she has come up with…

love you all,

happy crocheting,

Lucia xx

 

The August blanket: when things do not go as planned….

My august blanket…you might all think what happend?

Normally I blog a few times during the month and I have a ‘plan’  but blankets can have a mind of their own and this one took a different route.

This blanket was not going to be a place or a painting or a memory. This blanket was going to be about something really special that comes with blogging.

Blogging for me is about throwing  all your dreams, time, passion and the odd ball of yarn…  to this virtual space like paper airplanes. Some are just not meant to fly and they dive down or land on a puddle. However, some take the wind and they bring back amazing things, they bring back possibilities, new ideas, even more, paper in magazine articles’s form or patterns, but my favorite planes are those who bring me back friendship.

We all need that. It is as important as the air we breathe.. it keeps us healthy, focus our minds, helps us when the chips are down and also help us to celebrate good things.

I am sure there  are many more  reasons why people blog, people blog for support a cause or sharing information that matters to them, people blog for expanding their business, or for financial gain, some blog to educate others on different topics, but a lot of people blog for fun and sharing things that they like. Regardless what your reasons are often the  audience you attract through blogging doesn’t have to just be your “audience.” They can become your friends

I think deep down that is one of the main reason why many bloggers spend hours upon hours writing. Of course, I am not so naive thinking that it is all pink and fluffy and some of us are out there for purely personal or financial gain but I m pretty sure that loads are there because they genuinely want to share their passion with the world

Blogging is an amazing platform to communicate and share experiences, dreams, passions and is not just a one-way route, the best part for me is all of you out of there. I love getting comments and response, I love knowing that we have something in common, we share an interest but sometimesI found that crochet opens the doors to much much more that goes beyond some lovely comments about a well-executed blanket.  Crochet opens the door to friendship… such a big word!

So you might are wondering if I am diverting once again, but I am not..Ok I m maybe taking the scenic route to come to the point. The August blanket is about the online friends I made been a blogger.

I met a lot of amazing people been on social media from all corners of the world which have inspired me with their amazing creations, kindness, patience on putting up with my chaotic mind and most of all general good chat.

If you have seen this picture I posted on Facebook at the beginning of the month, you might have noticed the beautiful Durban girl square designed by Jen from Hooks and Tales. https://hooksntales.blogspot.co.uk/

in this past months I have been chatting with Jen about many things and not only crochet, she is a most extraordinary lady with a track loads of talent and a great deal of humanity too. After chatting with her I was going to make an amazing blanket using some of her beautiful patterns. So I left with a bag full of yarn ready for ACTION!!

 

 

 

Then I boarded the plane…with some planned plane-friendly yarn and small project because there is always some crochet you can do on a plane that doesn’t involve invading your fellow passenger’s space with scissors, loads of balls of yarn…

 

Then I landed in Venice…

and I got HIT BY A WALL OF HEAT! I obviously was aware that the difference between Scotland and Italy’s temperatures is huge, but I wasn’t expecting 41 celsius!

I suspect 25 years in Scotland lowered my tolerance to the season but I found the heat so fierce that it made working with acrylic an impossible task even if with air conditioning. So disappointing…

all my plans had to be revisited…

My parents live in a small village now at the foot of the Euganean Hills in a region called Veneto. My brother lives there too with his family. It is the Pianura Padana or the Po Valley and with Bologna, Florence and a handful of other urban areas probably the hottest /humid place in Italy.

So I went back rummaging in my bag…and I did bring some cotton with me too, but I am so spoiled at home with my wall of yarn and colors that I was missing some of the colors I wanted and I couldn’t come up with something to make to keep me busy for the month. So before leaving for the mountains and the sea,  I went to visit the local Yarn shop in the village. It is called ‘Non solo mercerie’  which translated in ‘Not only haberdashery’ and it is run by a lovely lady called, like me, Lucia.

this is Lucia, the picture is the work of Alessio, a local talented photographer  https://www.facebook.com/Fotostudio4A/  the one I took was out of focus.

Lucia and I are friends on Facebook and we sometimes chat a bit on line, so was really nice catching up with her and Claudia in person, in their lovely shop 😀

and chatting about the inevitable heat, but more interesting about yarn, the difference in trends in Italy and the UK, the retail business, and how difficult it can be owning a brick and mortar yarn business,  new colors and blogging. I decided then to put my beloved Durban girl in her bag and find something new to do. Lucia had a box of Anchor cotton sitting in the shop,

I haven’t used Anchor cotton in years, I didn’t even realize that it came in so many different colors, so I bought a few random balls, not much of a plan and I left for the mountains to escape the heat. Look how glorious the Dolomites are!

As I had not a clue what I was going to make, and I also had some poor internet connection with the phone, I opted for something very simple also because these three weeks have been really busy. in an ideal world I would have sat  high in  the Dolomites trekking and looking at the amazing scenery, but I also wanted to catch up with my family cousins and Olympia, my youngest daughter,

and travel companion wanted to go to the beach…so  I traveled 2500 kilometers up and down the country catching up with people and places.

here some pictures… mountains and sea…:D

 

I am going to write another entry with the details..sorry is a bit late but please stay with me I am trying to catch up…:D

oh…here is the  August blanket made photographed on the beach 😀

love to you all,

Lucia x

 

 

JULY IS NEARLY OVER…THE HARLEQUIN BLANKET’S DETAILS

Hello everyone,

This month I am very ahead of myself! It has been a really busy month, I had a lot of deadlines and also I went to the Blogstar’s summer meeting last weekend which was absolutely fantastic! I came back with a bag full of new yarns and shades!! I met several of Stylecraft’s retailers too which was very interesting but I will tell you all about in another entry because the purpose of this one is to give you the details of the ‘Harlequin’. Having said that, I have been messing around in my studio all week clearing up yarn and upgrading the space, those of you that follow me on facebook will have seen some of the pictures…the purpose of the clear up was to be able to play with all that squishy, colorful new yarn!

I can’t wait to show you some of the new shades !!!!

I will update the blog and the Facebook once I start to make some samples and decide what to do with the haul….I am also going camping next week just for five days near Gloucester, with my daughter Francesca, and my friend Yvonne, another fabulous crocheter, so guess what get put in the boot of the car before anything else:

I bet you already know… YARN, YARN, YARN !!!!!

But as usual, I m going on a tangent… back to the ‘HARLEQUIN’:

I haven’t had a chance block the blanket yet as you can see the weather is really poor and I had no chance to do it properly as I  can’t dry it outside, so apologies if the border looks a bit “curly” it is actually perfectly flat.

 

first the PATTERN:

As said on facebook it is not mine but I found it free on the internet. It is the work of Solveig Grimstad , a very talented  Norwegian crocheter. This is her page :https://www.facebook.com/Solstrikke/.

She has fabulous projects, some are translated in English too, there are charts ( I followed the chart for my Harlequin)   and this is the link to the harlequin blanket which I used for my version:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/harlequin-blanket-5

I followed her pattern and my blanket measures: 92 cm x 102cm including the border. ( the original one is 75 x 80 cm.) I think the discrepancy between sizes is due to the yarn used, and the fact that  I made a different border.

As in the original version, there are:

38 full diamonds motifs,8 half diamonds

8 half diamonds  (vertical),

12 half diamonds ( horizontal).

The joining method is a JAYGO and again she has a lovely very clear photo tutorial on her blog’s entry I  gave you the link to, which I have followed.

 

BORDER:

I wanted a border a little bit more substantial so I opted for a different one:

Many of you I am sure are aware of the fabulous CAL called: NUTS ABOUT SQUARES. sponsored by Scheepjes. http://www.scheepjes.com/en/

It is free on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/nuts-about-squares-cal  and also comes with Esther Dijkstra ‘s fantastic video tutorials too!!!

Nuts about Squares CAL

 

I really wanted to make the Nuts about squares blanket but sadly I have not enough time to squeeze another project in! I have still followed the different squares’ entries online as many of my favorite designers have participated designing one of the squares.

The border I used is week 15 of the CAL ,  it has been designed by Tatiana Kupryjanchyk    here is the link:

http://www.lillabjorncrochet.com/2017/07/nuts-about-squares-cal-border.html

the only thing I have added is a row of trebles all around to adjust the number of stitches to the requirement of Tatiana’s pattern repeat.

and a final row of: 1dc,3ch,1dc on he same dc of the precedent row, skip one dc and repeat. It is my mini shell finishing that I use in most of my blankets.

The joining color is CREAM  ( 2 balls)

 

crochet hook: 3,5 ( normally I use a 4,0 for the Stylecraft’s dk but I wanted a more tight fabric hence the 3,5. please do a swatch if you want to crochet the blanket and see what you like best).

YARN USED:  STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK

STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK in:

GOLD/GRAPE/VINTAGE PEACH/SPICE/FONDANT/CANDYFLOSS/BUTTERMILK/CREAM;

FONDANT/CANDYFLOSS/BUTTERMILK/CREAM;

STYLECRAFT  LIFE DK in:

DAFFODIL/MELON/CLOVER/LILY/FUCHSIA;

BATIK:

CORAL.

with the option of one ball of  KING COLE  SPRITE shade KOS.

I said option because you really don’t need it as there is plenty of yarn left from the Stylecraft to finish the project.

 

The reason I used the Sprite is that I wanted to create the effect of the crumbling walls of many of Venice’s buildings and the variegated effects of the Sprite did the job.

Here is a picture that let you understand what I mean with crumbling walls if you never visited Venice in person…they have a wonderful color/texture. the image is the House of the Rennaissance painter Tintoretto :

I love the colors not only of his house but of his paintings too. Look at this is called “Christ in the house of Mary and Martha” painted in 1580.

The warm oranges gold and pink are very common in the Rennaissance art, especially when linked to Venice.  I got another painting for you: this is a portrait of the Doge Andrea Gritti ( the Dogi were the rulers of Venice )  painted by Titian in 1545.  Just magnificent!

 

Anyway back to the Sprite …I got my ball as a sample from Linda at Threads…( she always tempts me with something new to try!!)  Now the Sprite looks lovely but I haven’t tested it.  I am saying this because I noticed it has an ever so slightly fuzz that I am not so sure how it will behave after several washes and use. I am very thorough with my testing, especially if I am going to recommend a yarn to you I feel the responsibility to make sure it behaves as it should as there is nothing more disappointing than spending loads of hours on a project and then ruining it through washing or use.

All the blankets I make are not just made to be PRETTY they are also made to be USEFUL, dragged by children, family pets, back of your sofa, car, taken on family holidays,  or simply used when you want something comfortable to wrap yourself in.

every yarn I use, regardless of the brand,  goes under the same process: I make a sample and then I hand wash it first to see the color fastness, then I put it in the washing machine and tumble dryer several times before using it for my projects. I didn’t have time to do all the above for the Sprite, so fingers crossed.

QUANTITY:

the blanket weight just 560 grams. I used probably about 45 grams of each colour…some more some less, plus 150 grams of cream again the quantities are approximate. But , as I said before, you can really decide if you want more motifs in one color instead than the other. I did about 3 motifs for each color to distribute the hues  evenly.

 

 

So this is all for today, I leave you with a picture of oranges and pinks in my garden…have a wonderful weekend and thank you for reading,

Lucia xxx

 

 

X