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Sunday, 30 November 2014

My personal fitness goals- an update

Apologies for the photo of my smelly old trainers but I thought it was time to post an update on how I had been getting on with getting fit. Back in May I was generally unfit, and starting to seriously feel the effects of sitting on my bum crocheting away- so I decided to do something about it. I joined the gym and the rest is history as you say.....In this post back in June I made two fitness goals:

1- Go on at least one Park Run before August. 

Achieved? YES YES YES! It was great! I have since joined a running club and am now running regularly and have signed up for a half marathon in March (eeeek!!!)

2- Cycle the Manchester 100km in August.

Acheived? Sadly no. I have a pretty good excuse.....the race was on the day I moved so Wales. I have been going to a spin class though so better than nothing!

I guess I'm in need of some new goals then. Mmmmmmm......

1- Run the whole 13.2 miles in March

2- Go on a cycling holiday next year.

So, lets see how I get on.....

Have a fab week,


Friday, 21 November 2014

Introducing the new crochet range by Libby Summers......

.......designed by yours truly!

In the summer Libby of Libby Summers Ltd put out an email for crochet submissions. The brief was to design a hot water bottle cover and matching tea cosy with a vintage feel (possibly using granny squares) using three or more colours from the new Libby Summer Fine Aran collection. I was thrilled when my design was chosen. I swiftly got to work and here is the result..... 

What do you think? I hope you like them as much as I do! This patterns can be purchased on Ravelry here, and a hard copy can be purchased from Libby's website here for the hot water bottle cover and here for the tea cosy.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Thank you!

Thank you! It was so lovely to log on this evening (and with a renewed passion for blogging!) to find that you are still reading and that I even have some new followers. So hello, welcome, and thank you! 

I was so excited to post today that I didn't even sew in my ends before taking this photograph! I'm slowly coming round to getting on top of my Christmas makes so thought I would break myself in gently, by making a set of my retro coasters in Christmassy colour. Not too overtly Christmassy, but definitely getting into the spirit of things! These will be heading to the shop at the weekend.

Now for something totally different....I'm going to my first scientific conference in over 2 years tomorrow. I'm also writing a report of the meeting so need to be alert and pay attention. Early night I think, those ends can wait til the morning!


Monday, 17 November 2014

Hello? Anybody still out there....?

SO, maybe I should start with a bit of an apology.....I haven't been around much on this blog recently. So, sorry. I would like to thank all of my new followers for joining me, especially those who have joined me on Bloglovin' recently. I wholeheartedly promise that I will try to get back into the swing of things blog-wise.

I have been wanting to post for ages, but with little time for making, zero daylight hours for taking photos, what to write?!? Before I started this new job (scrolling down to find this post I went past all my lovely sunny August photos- they have made me very nostalgic for summer...)I had a list the long as my arm of tutorials I wanted to write, patterns I needed to finish, interviews I wanted to do, but well life got a bit in the way......the weekends have been fantastic whirlwinds of seeing friends and staying out late......coupled with loads of long-distance driving.....making for very little blogging (and crochet) time. 

However, I have been getting on with a few bits. Do you remember this from a work in progress post in August?

Well scroll back up to the top you can see it in all its completed glory. This is a present for a friend but until I see her it is looking very lovely on the back of our sofa! What do you think? It was from a pattern in Simply Crochet. It was so incredibly nice to be able to work from a pattern and not worry about taking notes and the meticulous counting required when I'm designing. Talking of designing I have some very exciting news but I will leave that for a post all of its own (and I promise I will actually write it.....maybe even this week if you're lucky :-p )

Do any of you follow me on Facebook?? If so you may have heard about the Chorlton Art Market Hub. This is a Pop-Up shop in central Chorlton, Manchester organised by Alice of Patchwork Papillion . I cannot get across how AMAZING this shop is. Fifty artists and makers are selling their work in this shop and the quality and range of stock is absolutely mind-blowing. Here are a couple of pictures. They were taken during set-up and the shop is looking even better now, with new stock every day! Really, do pop in if you are in the area. 

Here is my little shelf, but the stock has been changed over now so you will just have to pop in and see what is in store! (or wait a few weeks til I'm back in Manchester and can take some proper photos- you can see the dodgy phone ones over on my Facebook page).

Phew, I'm so glad I finally sat down to post. Will be back soon. In the meanwhile take care and have a great week,


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

7 things I wish I'd known when I started to crochet......

Did anyone see this post on the Love Knitting blog? 

....."7 things I wish I'd known when I started knitting".....

Go read it, I'm sure for your knitters out there some of it will definitely resonate. It sure did for me, a couple of the points especially. I thought that I would list a couple of the things that I wish I'd known when I started to crochet.

1. Fluorescent shades and black yarn are a massive no-no

Anything bright pink yellow or orange will hurt your eyes. Badly. This coupled with a headache from concentrating so hard is a recipe for disaster and will put even the most keen off! Ditto crocheting anything in black yarn as it is so incredibly hard to see the stitches. I made the mistake of learning a new stitch in a project using black yarn and it took my hours to crochet something that would have taken minutes in a lighter coloured yarn.

2. Just because you are beginner doesn't mean you should use really cheap yarns

These yarns will catch and squeak on your hook and and some may even hurt your hands. There are some good acrylic yarns out there, but nothing will delight you more than crocheting with some luxurious yarn...I'm thinking alpaca blends, squidgy soft wool.....don't go for anything too fluffy or chunky as a beginner though as it will make things harder.

3. Crochet is addictive, but don't do it all the time

Too much crochet is a sure-fire way to RSI (repetitive strain injury). You can read about my experiences with this here. This leads on to number 4.....

4. Invest in a couple of ergonomic crochet hooks in the sizes you use most regularly

A great way of preventing RSI if you just can't put your hook down. 

5. Crochet technique is very personal to the individual

Crochet how you feel comfortable, not how some book or YouTube video tells you. As long as you can make the stitches using your preferred technique, go with it. 

6. You will never remember it all

There are stitches and stitch combinations that how every many times you do them you will still forget. This is what stitch guides and the internet are for!

7. Your life will never be the same again (in a good way!)

Any crochet addicts will know exactly what I mean here, and I'll leave the rest of you to find out :-)

Monday, 29 September 2014

A beautiful sunny, crafty Sunday

Yesterday in a little corner of South Manchester something very exciting was occurring.....a joint venture by Chorlton Art Market,  Uprising Bakehouse and Miss Daisy's Tea Den....think delicious food, scrummy cakes and posh tea, live music and loooooooads of talented artists, all the the beautiful setting of Longford Park.

Best of all I got to catch up with some of my clever crafty mates and here are a few of snaps of their fab stalls:

Here you have Sian of Crafts by Sian. Sian is a crochet blanket genius. I love all the geometric shapes.

Now to introduce Alice of Patchwork Papillion, and the mastermind and power-horse behind Chorlton Art Market. 

Alice makes fabulous personalised scrabble art pictures patchwork quilts that any child (or adult!) would love. Can you spot the Care Bears?

Ames of Ames Likes Toast makes some of the most original crochet out there and you can't help but fall in love with her work! Ok, so Ames did a runner as soon as I got my camera out say hi to Nick!

Aren't these just the cutest things ever?!

I had a brilliant morning and I was sad I couldn't stay longer but I heard the music was great, the atmosphere buzzing and the day continued to be as fantastic for the rest of the day! 

Saturday, 13 September 2014


Cyfarthfa Castle. This fabulous castle is in my 'new' local park. I took the opportunity this afternoon to check out my new surroundings. From what I saw this park is beautiful, and has way more too offer than just the castle......lake, beautiful gardens......I will explore it properly in the upcoming weeks. 

Here are a couple of other snaps I took this afternoon...

A slight lack of crochet you might say? Sadly this job has been pretty all-consuming but I think when I'm settled I'll definitely get back to it. I'll be working on this evening, so watch this space!

Have a great weekend,


P.s.In the time it took for my laptop to charge in order to post this I made significant crochet progress, yeay!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

August, August, August

August was a funny old month, all was 'as usual' and then whoosh, I finished my waitressing job, had two weeks of holidays and then straight to Wales to start my 9-5. Here are a few snaps of my 2 weeks off.

We went to a lovely wedding......

 Stayed in our little old caravan (for pics of this see this post from my trip last year).....saw the sea.....saw some sun!....saw some fireworks....

........all in all a great couple of weeks! Now back to the grind.....

I hope you have all had an awesome summer!


Friday, 22 August 2014

A new pattern!! Jenny Scarf

Introducing the Jenny Scarf! This scarf is named after my grandmother (nanny) Jenny who is never seen without a scarf. She is also a massive fan of the colour red and anything flowery. The inspiration for this scarf initially came from the yarn- Rowan Wool Cotton. It is a 50:50 mix of wool and cotton, making it perfectly cool for the late summer months. Knowing that this is a top priority in scarf choice for my nanny the design developed from there, incorporating her favourite things into one item! I hope she likes the final design!

You can purchase this pattern from my Ravelry Store, or by clicking here-  buy now.

I hope you all have a great back holiday weekend!


Friday, 15 August 2014

Friday Favourites.........'other' blogs

...'other blogs' 

When I say 'other', I mean blogs I read that are not solely focused on yarn. You may remember my Friday Favourites post on my favourite yarny blogs, well these are my other favourites, encompassing other crafts, food and lifestyle.

Rock N Roll Bride- I just love Kat's blog, the stunning photography, the amazing unique weddings, Kat's witticisms and no nonsense approach to life and the blogging business. She really is an inspiration and can teach us all a valuable lesson that working your ass off whilst doing something you love can bring with it great success. 

A Beautiful Mess- no explanation needed. A fab blog encompassing food, fashion, photography and DIY (and more!). 

The Simple Veganista- this is a lovely blog full of inventive, quick and simple vegan recipes. Even if you are not vegan (which I am not either) you will be hankering to try out some of Julie's recipes. Her banana and oat bites are a favourite of mine and is a great recipe for using up those manky bananas that have been lingering in the fruit bowl. 

Frugally Peachy- sadly, but for good reason, Emma has recently ceased to contribute to her blog. However she shares fantastic tips for frugal living and shared her experiences of boycotting the high street for a year. An inspirational, superbly written blog- go check it out!

What are your favourite blogs??

Further to my post on Wednesday, I will be a bit slack on the blogging front over the next couple of weeks so may be missing some of my regular blog features, such as this. I am taking a week off, visiting family and then moving. Internet access may be limited but I will keep you all updated of my news and makes on Facebook and Instagram so give us a follow other there :-) 

Have an amazing weekend! 

SS xxx

P.S I'm hoping to do my first parkrun (in many years) tomorrow so wish me luck! 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

WIP Wednesday

In a departure from my normal WIP posts where I update you on my latest crochet projects I'm choosing this moment to fill you in on the progress of my crochet business and the direction in which my life will be leading shortly. 

If you jump back to a year ago I was crocheting at a crazy speed, trying to finish loads of projects before a family holiday, this resulted in a nasty bout of RSI which to be honest I have never 100% recovered from, and as soon as I was able to crochet again went mad again crocheting for Christmas markets. These markets didn't go massively well for numerous reasons (I don't think to do with my stock, more about the low footfall and lack of advertising). I sold well at better organised markets in the spring, and some of my items were really popular which gave me a bit of a boost. All of the work I sold was made from original designs, made by me. I really got a buzz out of designing something new, and after a couple of markets realized that it was the designing that I loved, and not making items in bulk for a market stall.

Please, don't get me wrong, I think doing markets has been the single best thing for my crochet work. I have met loads of great people, I have become more confident at talking with strangers, I have even (just about) got a bit better at selling myself and my work. I have also made great long-lasting connections with people in the craft world. I loved standing on a stall all day, playing market trader, but I got so bored with making the same pieces over and over. If I could be a trader selling someone else's handicrafts then I would, but that would defeat the object really....

For the past year and a half I have been trying to grow my crochet business whilst working in the evening at a restaurant. It has been hard work, I have had no money, and the long hours have been tiring but I think I will look back on it as a great time in my life....a time when I can manage my own time, work as hard or as little as I like, and enjoy the odd day sitting out in the Sun! 

However, as you may have gleaned from recent posts I have a job starting in 3 weeks where I can use all my years of scientific study, and could provide a great career path. Yep, you got it, I'm joining the world of the 9-5. So, what will happen with this blog and my crochet? It is a double-edged sword really. One the one hand I'm embarking on a career that can have real positive impacts on peoples' lives, where I can use my knowledge and expertise and learn something new everyday, on the other hand I will have to answer to others, work to someone else's time scale and I will have less time for crochet. But, if you have less time what do you do? Use it wisely! I will have my evenings free for crochet, and as I'm moving to an area where I know absolutely no-one, I will have plenty of time to knuckle down and get on with some designing.

Ah, yes, designing. That was where I was getting to. I have realised that designing is where my true passion lies. I'm not saying I'm a great designer, but I am practicing, and practicing and I am definitely improving. Luckily, being from a scientific, maths background I find the pattern writing side fairly painless, as number patterns come to me very naturally, not to mention the double and triple checking that I had to do as a research scientist! 

I have two patterns to release very shortly, a third is getting there, and another a secret project in collaboration with a great yarn company will be released in the Autumn which I am oh so very excited about!

That's it from me today, and I hope you get where I'm coming from (my writing is a bit more mad scientist than literary genius too!).

Have a great one,

SS xx

Linking up with Ginny today :-)

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Beginners Learn to Crochet: The Treble

Welcome back to my next installment in my beginners 'Learn to Crochet Series'. If you have not seen my previous posts in this series do check them out (for one they may answer some of the questions you may have). 

The kit- here
The Slip Stitch- here
The Chain Stitch- here
Double Crochet- here
Half Treble -here

This is the final installment of a 3-part post into the three most common crochet stitches, the double crochet (US single crochet), the half-treble (US half-double crochet) and the treble (US double crochet). This post is focused on the UK treble crochet stitch, abbreviated to 'tr' (which in the US is called a  double crochet, abbreviated to 'dc'). As you will see in the last picture in this post, rows of double crochet give a fairly loose fabric, with quite a bit of stretch. Treble crochet is suitable larger projects as crochet using this stitch grows very quickly, but where you are looking for a stretchier, more gappy stitch. I wouldn't use the treble for hats as I think it stretches too much, nor would I use treble stitches if I wanted to create a solid piece of fabric. The most common use for treble crochet stitches is for granny squares, the tutorial for which is set for release next week. 

To start a row of treble crochet you need to crochet a length of chain stitch. If you don't know how to do this, see this post. Here I have crocheted 12 chain stitches. You will then crochet into these chain stitches to form your half-treble crochet stitches. 

Right, let's go!

When working half-treble crochet, you always start by crocheting into the fourth
chain from the hook, as shown by the needle in the image below. 

These 3 chains at the beginning of your row do NOT count as a stitch. 

1. Wrap your yarn over your hook ('yarn over' in crochet speak) and insert your hook into the third chain stitch (either under one or both 'V's of the chain stitch- see the double crochet tutorial for more guidance on this), wrap your yarn over the hook again and pull through the chain stitches. 

2. You will now have 3 loops on your hook (exactly the same as for half-treble crochet)

3. Yarn over hook again and pull through the first 2 loops on your hook, leaving 2 remaining loops on your hook. 

4. Yarn over hook again and pull through the remaining 2 loops on your hook. You have made one treble crochet stitch! 

Repeat steps 1-4 until you get to the end of the chain. You will have made 9 treble stitches.

Now all you need to do is crochet a few more rows! First you must remember the turning chain. This ensures your piece of crochet will be straight at the ends. 

For treble crochet you need make THREE turning stitches at the beginning or end of each row as shown in the image below:

To crochet the next row flip your work around (either way is fine, as long as you are consistent). The first stitch of the next row is make into the very first stitch as indicated by the arrow and crochet hook in the two pictures below:

Follow steps 1-4, to complete your next row. Crochet, chain, turn, repeat.

This is how your work will look like after 4 rows of treble crochet:

To finish off, snip the yarn....

....... and hook the  yarn through the stitch on the hook to secure....

Viola! Treble Crochet :-)


Monday, 11 August 2014

Weekend- In pictures

We spent a lovely weekend in the Northumberland countryside. Here are a few of my favourite snaps from the weekend. 

What were you up to this weekend?