My First Roundup Feature!

So I had a quick squint at the metrics for my site, and there was a huge spike in the stats yesterday. Having no idea what could have caused it, I'm really excited to see one of my free patterns appear on a pattern roundup at's Crochet Section!

I really do need to get better photos of the wreath; I was quite new to using a DSLR when I took the original shots and the contrast is just awful, which does the finished thing no justice at all.

In other news, I have another pattern lined up for publication. It's a kitchen-themed item for Happily Hooked magazine, and will be in the February 2016 issue. I've also (finally) gotten myself a dressmakers form. Before I moved to Orkney, I had an old rusty adjustable model that worked fine for basic drafting, but was completely unsuitable for photography. I decided not to bring it with me, so I've not had one for a few years. Since I was given an online voucher for my birthday a week ago, I decided to spend it on something practical and while I couldn't afford a new adjustable model, the fixed-size one I got will work quite well for now. I'm currently working on a basic summer top in Sirdar Beachcomber, which I hope to have finished soon.

Skeletons and Sneak Peeks

I've had my Merlin Tree Hitchhiker spinning wheel for a few months now, but I hadn't gotten 'round to customising it despite sketching out a few ideas. The space on the wheel was like a new sketchbook - I never want to make the first mark in case I hate it and then I feel like the entire sketchbook needs to be written off. Only, a wheel isn't a sketchbook. You can't just rip a page out if you don't like it.

Last week I finally dismantled it and started working on decorating the wheel. Initially I wanted to do a Danse Macabre design, with skeletons spinning on wheels and drop spindles, but I went for a skeletal goat that runs around when I treadle. It's a good indicator for knowing if I'm treadling clockwise or anti-clockwise!

I used a Posca marker pen to outline the pencil work. Because I didn't seal the wood first, it's bled a little, but overall it's turned out pretty well. The subject is probably a little morbid for spinning but hey, it's a goat so it's kind of relevant. Not that I've spun any goat yet, but it's on my wishlist.

Two other things I want so share; first is a sneak peek of one of my entries for the design contest over at Amigurumi Patterns. I've still to set up a proper photo shoot for it, so for now all you're getting is a shot of its fluffy butt. The second is my Little Wave Purse pattern in print! The latest issue of Inside Crochet came out yesterday and the photos of my purse look fantastic.


The Cost of Crafting



One aspect of crochet and knitting design that's become more and more evident as I've moved onto professional pattern drafting is the cost of crafting. Both crochet and knitting are often seen as "cheap" hobbies - the needles and hooks themselves don't cost too much to begin with. In fact, my first set of both came from various charity shops, and even now I still buy second hand tools when I can. At 10p a pair of needles, I can't complain too much about the cost of my past times, even if I have invested in a set of interchangeable Hiya-Hiya needles and Denise crochet hooks. Two of my spinning wheels are second-hand, and I use locally sourced fleeces as much as possible. Long story short - I manage to find ways to spend as little as possible to ensure I'm never in the red when it comes to fibre crafts.

When designing a pattern, the single most important factor for me is overall cost, even if I don't need to supply the materials myself. If I have an idea for a colour palette and yarn weight, it's easier for me to go and look at what yarns would be suitable for the project, but if the ideal yarn costs £6.50 for 50g of yarn and I need at least 600g to ensure I have enough for the overall length, that's £78 to make a single item. Sure, going for the yarn at £6.50 a ball might produce a beautiful garment, but the cost to make it is high for something, that for many, is a hobby. Of course, there's nothing stopping someone from substituting the recommended yarn for something a bit more special, but when it comes to designing a pattern and working out what yarn to use, my main aim is to make patterns that are affordable for all.