Friday, 14 August 2015

Artesano Designs

One of my fellow hookers recently put me on to the very gorgeous Artesano Yarns in the village of Spencers Wood just down the road from me. Up until the last few months they were only selling their beautiful yarns in shops but they have now pulled out of retail and are selling direct to the customer on-line which means they can pass on some amazing savings.
 All of their yarns are 100% natural with beautiful blends of Alpaca, Peruvian Wool and Silk.
  There is the exquisite Handpainted laceweight, stunning handpainted 4-ply as well as really thick and cosy Aran, some fabulous Superwash Blend and delicate Defintion Sock Yarn.
 Since concentrating on their on-line business they have also opened up their warehouse doors twice and invited the public in to browse through and stroke the beauties on display!
They plan to run these open days on a regular monthly basis and hope to run workshops too so keep an eye on their website for details.

I approached Jenny and Tom (who own and run the company) with a view to showcasing their yarns at my classes and more importantly on the Hooky Workshops Weekend Away I'm organising for September. They were as enthusiastic about the idea as I was and I came away with a bag of swatches and colour cards to show at all my classes.

This hand-painted lace is simply delicious!

I noticed that whilst there were lots of lovely patterns for knitters on their website there weren't for hookers...and this needed to change! I volunteered to try a few new things out and so my new venture began. I left the warehouse with a bag full of beautiful Aran,  a design in my head and, more importantly, a fresh notepad!

Whilst I was busy designing  and writing the pattern Jenny was busy emailing her contacts in the media who were keen to hear all about our new venture together..there has already been a little piece in The Knitter Magazine,  Knit and Now 

and watch out for next month's Simply Homemade Magazine too...

Apparently we'll feature soon in a rather well-known crochet publication so watch this's all very exciting and I still quite can't believe how quickly it's all about living the dream!

In the meantime here's a very sneaky peek at my new poncho designs which will be available to buy in a pack from Artesano in September...

Who said photo shoots were glamorous??!

I have already done the next design which is a pair of  Fair-Isle style Fingerless Gloves using the
delectable Handpainted 4 Ply. 

My favourite is the pale pinky mauve one in the middle of the just looks SO beautiful when worked up. 

 It is such a simple pattern but so effective as the stitch I use combined with the colour-changing wool really does make it look like hand-knitted Fair-Isle, a look I've always loved but never thought I could achieve in crochet without changing colour every other stitch.
This is's called Meadow Flowers...isn't it stunning?

 The pattern will also be available through Artesano from September/October as a pack so all you need to do is choose the colour you'd like!

So life is pretty busy here in Barkham. I'm in the middle of the school summer holidays with 3 kids at home, in the middle of a large house extension too which means no proper kitchen for a few weeks and dust everywhere,  in the middle of designing my next pattern pack for Artesano as well as running my hooky class and planning the Hooky Weekend away in September. Phew. But  I wouldn't have it any other way.
 Oh yes, I'm also planning a new Mystery Cal which will start in February called The Lazy Hookers's  a taster...

Monday, 3 August 2015

The Barkham Hookers Charity Calendar

The traditional WI /Cupcake shot...all cakes are crocheted of course!
We've finally done it...after a couple of years of just talking about it and several months of actually working on it, I am incredibly proud to announce the publication of the 2016 Barkham Hookers Charity Calendar!
There have been over 40 of us involved in the whole procedure, from deciding what to feature each month to crocheting the props to finding appropriate venues for taking the photos. A HUGE HUGE THANK YOU has to go to our very own in-house photographer, the very talented Sue Phelps from Sue Phelps Photography who worked tirelessly over many months to get all the photos taken and edited and sent to the printers. I am indebted to her and very proud to have worked with such a talented, kind and cheerful lady!
Here are some of us at the launch party (Sue is 6th from the left on the back row and I am on her right as you look at the photo...with a  glass and the calendar! )

This is our rather amazing Pixelated  Poppy Blanket that we have made over the last year to raise money for the Poppy Appeal and is featured in the Calendar for November of course. It is made up of 1,600 crocheted cotton squares made by over 40 of my group. The project was the brain-child of one of my group after another member had shared a similar pixelated picture found on Pinterest. We hope to raise thousands of pounds for the charity by asking people to sponsor a square . I do have big plans for the final resting place of the blanket so watch this space...
The launch party for the Calendar was at our local village hall in Barkham where I  hold my Wednesday sessions. The weather was gorgeous so we celebrated in style with bubbles, Pimms and strawberries.

All the profits from the sale of the calendars (@ £10 each) will be split between our two chosen charities which are The Link Visiting Scheme in Wokingham and the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

They can be bought from my local Yarn Shop in Wokingham called 
from Lockey Farm shop in Arborfield, Barkham Post Office, Ashridge Farm Shop in Wokingham and also Nine Mile Ride Dentist in Finchampstead. 

Here's a couple of sneaky peeks...please do go and buy one or more to help us raise as much as we can for our well-deserved charities. xx
Festival Fever

September Sunflowers


Not long after  I started designing this CAL back in February I really did wonder whether I'd been completely mad!

Many of us had teething troubles with stitch-counting calamities and tension-torments but we all soon relaxed and began to enjoy the CAL when we realised that we would all have different amounts of stitches which was really ok!

If I'm completely honest my stitch count has varied quite a lot but it all looks pretty straight now as the EDGE has worked its magic and tidied up everything quite nicely.

I have learnt an awful lot whilst designing this blanket; whether it was new stitch combos like the Catherine wheels,

or whether it was writing the charts each week...

I had to learn to read everything over and over again before pressing PUBLISH and holding my breath for a few hours every Sunday morning while waiting for the questions to come flooding in!

I had  my favourite combos which I had to repeat like the Tulips...mark 1

and then...mark 2...

as well as the Linen Stitch...mark 1

and Linen Stitch mark 2...

I loved the bands of single colour like the Butterflies...

...and the Filet... it meant there weren't loads of ends to sew in those weeks...and I loved the simplicity of the Rib..

...and the V-Stitch

I have discovered almost endless combinations for so many stitches and it has only encouraged my addiction to this wonderful craft more than ever...I am currently working on a Poncho in V-stitch and gloves in Linen stitch...all will be revealed in good time.

My blanket has been finished for several weeks now

and has been well loved already...every time I put it on the bed upstairs it finds its way back down to the sofa...or outside in the sun!

 And now for some gratuitous CAL shots...

I love folded blankets...

The edge...

I have to admit I am ridiculously proud of this blanket; it is the first time I have shared a pattern and the thrill of seeing all of the growing blankets each week at my classes has given me enormous pleasure. I would love to post a photo collage with as many finished ones as possible so please send me your photos!

This was a stash-busting exercise for me and I have managed to use up a lot of old yarn. I do, still, though, have FAR too much left so am now planning a new CAL using Chunky wool ...WATCH THIS SPACE! x

Saturday, 1 August 2015

I'm a Hooker On The Edge!

I've been dying to say that for the last few weeks! So here we are, finally ON THE EDGE.

I wanted to make it special without being too frilly so have opted for a mix of stitches with gaps and solid bits. I do hope you like it and that it completes your blankets as you'd hoped.

ROW 1 ( purple)

I started at the top right of the blanket on the RIGHT SIDE if you have one as we will be going round and round without turning from now on.

Starting at the 2nd treble from the corner , Ch2 then 1 htr in every stitch along top edge, 2htr, 1 ch, 2 htr to make a  corner (go in the space between the second to last and the last treble), now work down the long side doing 2htrs where the trebles are and 1 htr where the dcs are. Keep an eye on it and don't let it curl. If it looks like it is curling then take those stitches out and do a few less. Each of our blankets will need a different amount of edge stitches according to our different tensions so just work with yours and make sure it lays flat. Finish with a slip stitch to join.

Row 2 ( blue)

1dc in every stitch around doing just 1dc in the corners and slip stitch to join back to the first stitch

ROW 3 ( green)

This row will be basically *1 treble in each of  the next 3 stitches, ch2, miss 2 stitches, repeat from *. At the corners you will be doing 1-3 trebles either side plus 2 chains for the corner space, depending on how many stitches you have when you get there. Look at mine  to see what I'm talking about! You will have to work yours out for yourselves but it's a pretty simple pattern repeat to follow.

I started just before the corner with 3 trebles then 3 chains in the corner then 3 more trebles

when I got to the next corner I only had space for 1 tr3ch1tr but it won't affect the look I promise!

all the way round ending with  slip stitch to join


Ch3 to start then do 1 treble in every treble, 2 tr in every 2-chain space and 7 trebles in every corner.

(this shows rows 4 and 5)

ROW 5 (grey)

USE A HOOK half SIZE BIGGER or don't do it too tight

1dc in every stitch and 3dcs in every 4th tr of the corners. (see photo above too) Slip stitch to join.

ROW 6 ( blue) not too  tight again

1ch 1 dc in same place, * 1ch,  miss 1 stitch, 1dc, repeat from * Slip stitch to join.

ROW 7 ( purple) (use your original hook )

Ch2, 1 htr in every stitch or space along, doing 3htrs in each corner. Slip stitch to join.


Here's one little photo of the WHOLE THING...the rest will follow on the CAL 2015 TA DAH!