Sunday, 28 April 2019

Oh baby!

Amidst all the secret knitting currently going on at josiekitten hq, I have been busy with some baby knits. Baby Dorothy was born seven weeks ago and I made her a little cardigan and hat using some Stylecraft Merry Go Round yarn in Dark Rainbow. I managed to get both cardigan and hat out of one ball. 

Mum was so pleased with them that she asked if I would knit another one - 'the brighter the better'! So not one to be defeated by a challenge like that, I dived deep  into my stash and found another ball of Merry Go Round, this time in Rainbow. 

The pattern is my own; it's not been published yet as I am working on some more variations at the moment. It's lucky that I've got such a grateful recipient willing to test out my baby knits! I met baby Dorothy or Dottie as she is called this week. She is such a sweetie. I made her a pair of ruby slippers. They are too big at the moment, but at the rate she's growing, it won't be long before she has sparkly toes! The pattern is called Saartje's Bootees and you can find it here on Ravelry. I used Stylecraft's Wondersoft Stardust yarn - it has just the right amount of sparkle - and little star buttons finished them off perfectly. They are so cute, I'd quite like a grown up pair for me!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway to win a copy of Tracey Todhunter's book. The random number generator picked PixieFoxtrot as the winner and I have messaged her on Ravelry. There will be another crochet book giveaway soon as I have another of Tracey's brilliant books to review. Catch up with you all again soon. xxx

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Crochet Learn it. Love it. - a review

I was delighted to receive a copy of a couple of Tracey Todhunter's books recently. The book I'm reviewing today is called Crochet Learn it. Love it. with the description 'Techniques and projects to build a lifelong passion, for beginners up'. Although I have been crocheting almost as many years as I have been knitting, my crochet skills haven't really progressed much beyond granny squares and in recent months, some of Lucy Attic24's blankets. I first came across Tracey last year when she offered to donate a couple of her books as prizes in my Great Yarn Giveaway. (I can't believe that was a whole year ago!) Tracey, who blogs over at GrannyCoolCrochet, is a well-known, popular crochet designer with more than 20 years of experience teaching crochet, so I felt I would be in very safe hands. 

The book is divided into five very comprehensive chapters: Essential Skills, Working in the Round, Stitch Patterns, Finishing Touches and Taking Your Skills Furthers. Within each chapter, there are some really lovely projects so you can have a go at practising your newly acquired skills, as well as a Be Inspired page with links to other patterns. I loved this feature as it showed you what you could achieve with your new skills. 

Some of the projects you can make from this book...

Each chapter is really clearly set out, packed with helpful photos, charts, tips and crochet clinics. I almost felt as if Tracey was sat there beside me, encouraging me as I worked my way through the book. Despite my years of crocheting, I learnt a lot in the very first chapter about shaping crochet, tension and reading crochet charts which in all honesty I have found pretty terrifying in the past! And as I progressed through the book, I had a go at various stitches and learnt a huge amount. Here are just a very few of them...

*** A Granny hexagon ***

*** Crocheting a circle in a square ***

*** Spiked Stitches ***

*** Bobbles ***

*** Filet crochet ***

*** Colourwork ***

*** Beaded Crochet ***

In the final chapter, Taking Your Skills Further, Tracey introduces you to Tunisian crochet, Hairpin crochet and Broomstick crochet, so it really is an excellent book, not only for complete beginners, but also for crocheters who want to improve their skills. I know that it's going to be a very useful addition to my bookshelf. 

Crochet. Learn it. Love it. by Tracey Todhunter is published by Search Press and is available now. 

ISBN: 978-1-78221-727-5

RRP: £12.99

Search Press have very generously offered to give a copy of this book to one lucky person. I'm really sorry but due to publishing restrictions, it's only available to people in the UK. If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning this brilliant crochet book, please leave me a comment and also a way to contact you if you're the winner (Ravelry/Instagram name or email address.) The giveaway will run until midnight on April 22nd (Easter Monday) and then a winner will be randomly selected. If I don't hear back from the winner within a week, I will pick another one! Good luck to all you UK crocheters and may the power of the hook be with you! xxx

Friday, 12 April 2019

Latest Stylecraft yarn releases

Stylecraft has just released the last of their new yarns for the Spring and Summer collection. I should really say new colours rather than yarns as they are adding to the colourways in two popular collections. 

Four new colours have been added to the Stylecraft Special DK range. I've used this yarn to make blankets and I love it. Soft, easy to care for, long lasting and economical. There are now more than 90 colours in the range - we are so lucky that Stylecraft keep adding colours and not discontinuing any in this range. The colours are: Cornish Blue, Powder Pink, Toy and Spearmint. They are all now available from bricks and mortar shops and online stockists.

I thought it might be helpful to show you where each one fits in with existing colours. Firstly, Cornish Blue. It's a very pretty medium blue colour, reminiscent of the lovely Cornish Blue pottery range. (My family had a jug that custard was always served in so I am especially fond of this pottery!) 

Powder Pink is a very delicate, soft pink colour and goes beautifully with the other pinks in the range. 

Toy came about because of requests from toy makers. It's a fairly neutral colour that will work very well alongside brighter ones.

Lastly, Spearmint is a more pastel version of Aspen I think, but still quite fresh looking.

I believe that my fellow Blogstar Lucy from Attic24 is using some of these new colours in her latest blanket, Dune, which will be released very soon. So check out Lucy's blog to see how they work alongside some of the existing colours. 

The other yarn range which has been added to is Wondersoft. This is a very soft yarn for babies and children. I've used it recently to knit some baby clothes and the recipient couldn't believe just how soft it was. It certainly lives up to its name! Firstly Merry Go Round has three new colours. From left to  right, these are Fruit Salad, Blackcurrant Bonbon and Seaside Rock. The yarn knits up in a self striping way and is perfect for easy care baby knits.

Also added to the Wondersoft range are two colours of Wondersoft Prints. These knit up to give a Fair Isle effect, so you can impress people with your stranded knitting look without any of the hassle of knitting with multiple balls of yarn. 

The two new colours are from left to right, Georgy Porgy and Rapunzel. Another of my fellow blogstars, Catherine, has released a free pattern on Ravelry to crochet a cute little lovey. You can find out more if you take a look at her blog. xxx