How have you been? I hope you all had a lovely and relaxing break and I am sending every best wish for 2016 your way.
Christmas here was a quiet affair, just the three of us (and Max of course!). It rained almost continually the whole time, which meant that we couldn’t spend much time outside as everywhere was totally water logged. Reading, knitting for pleasure and watching movies was how we spent our time…Bliss!
I knitted this jumper for ‘my girl’ in just 3 days – So soft and cosy!
We spent a week in Germany, celebrating New Year with family. What fun and so lovely to see everyone,we even had snow which was a big bonus and enjoyed by us all.
Today it’s back to work! I am actually looking forward to being back in my studio as lots of new ideas have been swirling around my head during the holidays. There are two new design releases over the coming weeks as well as my first published book, all co-productions with my friend Claudia of Wollsinn.
As you can see, a lot to look forward to and very exciting!
Hello friends! I don’t know about you, but I am almost ready to unwrap my presents as it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our house. The tree is up and the house is looking festive with all the decorations around. I am looking forward to some relaxing time in front of the fire with some knitting or crochet making something for myself or loved ones, rather than work related.
A few things have already been finished over the last couple of weeks…
Today I want to show you what you can do with some old curtain rings, some left over yarn and a crochet hook. If you are after a pretty hand made decoration for your Christmas tree or a quick festive little gift for a friend, these cute wreath’s are just the thing.
Let’s start: (UK Terms)
1 – Using Yarn A (green), work 54 dc’s around the curtain ring.
2 – *Ch2, skip 2 dc’s, 1 dc in next dc; repeat from * around (you will have 18 2ch-spaces).
3 – *5 tr’s in first 2ch-sp, skip next 2ch-sp, slip stitch in next 2ch-sp; repeat from * around.
Fasten off and weave in ends.
4 – Using Yarn B (red) thread through the 2ch-spaces and tie a bow.
Hello friends, how have you been? Well I hope and looking forward to the festive season.
Today I want to introduce a wonderful new book to you: Hook to Heal by Kathryn Vercillo. Many of you will know Kathryn from her beautiful stories and pattern sharing over on her blog at crochetconcupiscene, and some of you might have read her first book: Crochet saved my Life, which was published a few years ago.
First of all let me tell you a little about Kathryn…
Kathryn writes regular columns for Interweave Crochet print magazine and Happily Hooked digital magazine, as well as writing about crochet health for the Lion Brand blog. Kathryn was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona but fell in love with the city of San Francisco the moment she saw it and has been living there for over a decade. She thrives on the creativity and celebration of creative expression that this city nurtures. That said, she still has some of the whimsical desert spirit in her heart, and misses the sunsets and lightning storms of her Arizona home.
Kathryn is a freelance writer and indie author who has written across a diverse array of mediums and topic areas. She especially loves to write about the intersection between crafting/ creativity (with an emphasis on crochet) and the mental health/ wellness/ personal growth. Hook to Heal is an outgrowth of exactly this type of writing.
Most importantly, Kathryn believes in writing from the heart, allowing her work to radiate outward from the center and into the world, where she hopes it can improve lives and affect change. She believes that self-expression is the key to self-realization and also the key to connecting communities.
Hook to Heal is a creativity exercise book that offers suggestions for utilizing the medium of crochet to improve all aspects of life and develop your inner artist. It doesn’t have any crochet instruction but can be adapted for use by crocheters of any skill level including beginners. Wherever you are is a great place to begin!
Each chapter begins with Kathryn’s own thoughts about the topic, such as the topic of “facing fears” or the topic of “creating abundance”. She shares her own experiences and her research as a graduate student studying Integral Counseling Psychology to explain what the topic is all about. Then she shares exercises for using crochet to work through some of the issues related to the topic. For example, the “facing fears” chapter has an exercise for facing a fear of change by learning to work with felting; the felting process changes the end product and gives you a hands-on, symbolic exercise in working with change.
At the end of each chapter, you will find “Yarn for Thought” questions, which are a set of questions related to the topic that Kathryn encourages you to think about or journal upon. The entire book is designed to help you learn more about yourself and make strides in your own personal growth all through channeling your love of crochet into a variety of exercises.
It’s important to note that these are not crochet patterns or tutorials. You won’t find step-by-step photos in this text-rich book. These are exercises that challenge you to adapt the idea to your own process, skill level and crochet interests. It’s all about finding new ways to expand your own creativity to improve your health, well-being and quality of life.
These crochet exercises are derived from Kathryn’s own experience into using crochet to heal. In a previous book, Crochet Saved My Life, Kathryn wrote about how learning to crochet helped her through a debilitating battle with depression. Since then, she has done extensive research into the ways that crochet is helping people through myriad issues and life circumstances. She has applied this research to creating accessible exercises for people who want to improve their lives with crochet. Kathryn has used each and every one of these exercises herself and believes in the power of them. She genuinely hopes that others will find them helpful as well.
After receiving my copy last week I have dipped in and out of the book, trying various exercises along the way. Today, with Kathryn’s permission, I want to share one exercise with you that I find especially useful at the end of a very hectic day when my mind is in overdrive mode and I need to calm it all down. Here goes:
In this exercise, you will crochet a triangle and as you do so your breathing will get deeper and deeper.
First you’ll start your triangle. You can use any simple crochet triangle pattern of your choosing. Here is one example of making a basic crochet triangle: (American Terms)
Chain 2, sc in second chain from hook, turn.
Chain 1, turn, increase, chain 1, turn. NOTE: increase means that you crochet two stitches in the single stitch that is there.
Now, for each subsequent row, you will increase in the first and last stitch and will just sc in all of the other stitches. NOTE: increase means that you will crochet two stitches in each of the first and last stitches of the row and one stitch in every other stitch across each row.
The breathing part is what brings you to meditation. For each odd numbered row, you will inhale throughout the row. For each even numbered row, you will exhale. So you’ll inhale as you start the triangle, then you will exhale on row two, inhale on row three, exhale on row four, etc. You want to start the breath on each turn and continue it all the way through to the end of the row. You will always be exhaling for a beat longer than you inhaled on the previous row. Eventually, you will reach a row where you can no longer exhale or inhale to the end of the row. That’s when the mindfulness exercise is complete. At this stage, you could frog the work. Alternatively, you could finish off and over time you’ll have a large set of triangle motifs that will remind you of your meditation progress. Turn them into a blanket or wall art display.
It works for me, so why not give it a try and see how you feel.
Hello friends, how has your week been? Good I hope!
Today I want to tell you about this year’s Snowflake Appeal for vulnerable children. This annual appeal, organised by Home-Start, one of the UK’s leading family support charities, helps children facing tragedy and hardship across the UK. Home-Start’s specially trained volunteers tailor-make their support for each child and their family, helping them build their resilience until they can all cope with life again. In 2014, there were thousands of children the charity could not support. Home-Start simply didn’t have the funds to recruit and train the specialist volunteers who could support those children and their families. The Snowflake Appeal runs annually from 1 November to 31 January to raise funds to help Home-Start locally and nationally as they try to reach every child in every family that asks for help.
If Kirstie can do it, so can you! – LoveCrochet launches its support for Home-Start’s 2015 Snowflake Appeal – Get your crochet hooks out and be part of this great cause – Every snowflake made will be sold to raise funds or sent to Home-Start UK.
The lovely peeps over at LoveCrochet have just launched their support and asking crafters everywhere to pick up a hook and crochet a snowflake (or ten). They have enlisted the help of Kirstie Allsopp to show that everyone can have a go.
Keen crafters can watch Bella-Coco, the popular crochet blogger, teach Kirstie how to crochet her exclusive, free snowflake pattern.. Eager crocheters can then get involved by downloading the free snowflake pattern and watching Bella-Coco’s step-by-step video tutorial, both available at www. lovecrochet.com/snowflake. They can also donate to the charity directly from the LoveCrochet site.
Finished snowflakes can be sold to raise more funds or sent to Home-Start UK; and crocheted snowflakes that are donated to Home-Start UK before 16th November will be on display at Kirstie Allsopp’s Christmas Handmade Fair from 20th – 22nd November. After that, they will be included as festive decorations in the Christmas survival boxes sent to struggling Home-Start families.
So what are you waiting for…as you can see above,I am well and truly hooked! X.
PS. I have just learned that there is a FREE snowflake kit available – HERE is the link – Enjoy X.