Thursday, 24 October 2013

BOO - scared you


Hello lovely people and thanks for visiting me here at The Wool Nest. I hope you're well and are making the most of the slightly extended warmer weather we seem to be having. We haven't had to put the heating on yet, which is a bonus. It's usually much colder around this time of year - I'm usually freezing on Halloween when we're trick or treating.

Talking of Halloween, there's still time to buy this month's issue of Inside Crochet (issue 46), which features my fab "BOO" Bunting, amongst many other gorgeous projects. I love using words within my designs; I think they create an eye-catching feature and with wooden letters and words being so popular at the moment, they're bang on trend too. So far my projects have included "HOME", "LOVE", BEACH" and "BOO" and I have many more designs to write up, so watch this space. You still have time to whip up your own "BOO" bunting, and don't worry if you miss this edition - you can buy a digital copy here: http://pocketmags.com/viewmagazine.aspx?titleid=1359&title=Inside+Crochet





There are some fantastic designs in this issue too, including my favourite - this pleated cardigan by Kat Goldin. I love the way it gathers at the back; it's really pretty. It's the perfect example of Inside Crochet - fresh, modern and stylish. It's the UK's only monthly crochet magazine and it's styled beautifully by the Editor Claire Montgomerie with amazing photography by Britt Spring


Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you soon  - happy crafting, Lynne xx



Sunday, 20 October 2013

Hat-tastic

Hello my lovely people and thanks for visiting me at the wool nest. I've been nice and cosy this week as I've designed a gorgeous chunky cabled throw and the sample kept me nice and warm whilst I was knitting it up. It felt all snuggly and warm which was great as I had such a bad bout of the flu and tonsillitis which made me feel very poorly and not myself at all - I didn't even want to knit but deadlines forced me to pick up my needles and hook and make things instead of staying in bed and sleeping.
 
I was pleased to read more fab reviews of my hat book this week, including one from my good friend Tracey, over at baking and making http://bakingandmaking.com/2013/10/16/books-by-friends/
 
Tracey contributed a spooky topper to my book, and I'm grateful for her continued support.
 
 
If you like the look of my hat book but don't want to buy a full book, you can find more fun hats in this month's issue of Knit Today (issue 91). I designed 3 festive warmers for children - a robin, a polar bear and a Christmas pudding. All easy to knit and are sure to brighten up those cold winter days.
 
 
I have more lovely projects in various magazines this month, and I'll share them with you soon, along with some free patterns for a handmade Christmas.

Are you knitting for Winter yet - I'd love to hear what you've been making.

Happy crafting, Lynne

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Book Review of Woodland Knits - Stephanie Dosen

 
Morning lovely people. How are you today? I’m enjoying a sunny morning here at The Wool Nest. I’m feeling a lot better today after a short illness over Friday night and Saturday. What a pain!! I’m glad I’m feeling better today though as I’m off to visit my parents then we’re out tonight with our lovely neighbours for a cheeky meal at the Chinese Restaurant across the road. Yum!

A few weeks ago, a lovely surprise popped through the letterbox here at The Wool Nest – my review copy of Woodland Knits by Tiny Owl Knits (Stephanie Dosen), kindly provided by Quadrille  Publishing. How absolutely exciting. I couldn’t wait to rummage through the pages, and see the delightful projects hiding within. I wasn’t disappointed as I love pretty much everything in this magical book. I’d already fallen in love with Stephanie’s work, having seen a few of her projects on Ravelry and in various craft magazines. Stephanie also sells her designs through Ravelry and they’re extremely popular. You can see her designs here:
 
 
Woodland Knits is a collection of her most popular and iconic designs, along with a selection of new hand-knits.
 

 
As soon as I set eyes on this inspiring book with its’ fairytale woodland setting, I was immediately transported back in time to my childhood days of reading and dreaming. Back to the days of fairies and elves, The Enchanted Forest and The Magic Faraway Tree. I imagined a land of knitting at the top of the Faraway Tree, where I had to stay until I’d knitted everything from Woodland Knits – now that would be fab wouldn’t it.  But what would I knit first? The charming Mr. Fox Stole? the pretty Catching Butterflies gloves? the Dragon Watcher’s Hood? Or the whimsical Bo Peep Scarf? So many lovely things to choose from, including a set of the cutest fairy wings………
 

Stephanie writes her instructions really well with great attention to detail. She includes handy hints which are a great resource for knitters and will help you to achieve a perfect result.
 
And that's not all - when Stephanie isn't designing fabulous knits, she's a singer-songwriter who has toured with Massive Attack and appeared on Later with Jools Holland - Wow, what a girl - some people are super talented!! You can read more about Stephanie here: http://tinyowlknits.wordpress.com/
 
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s one of the very few books where I love and want to knit every single project – if not for me, for friends and family. Add it to your Christmas list and it will really make you smile on Christmas Day.

Thanks for reading  - I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book.
 
Happy Crafting, Lynne xx

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Easy like Sunday Morning (and a gluten free recipe)

Good Morning to you all - I hope you're having a fab weekend now that the sun is back with us. Hubby is out in the garden pruning and chopping and I'm enjoying a leisurely Sunday morning - for once I had a lie in (well deserved if I may say so!!). I've been so busy over the last couple of weeks that yesterday I felt absolutely shattered. It didn't help that for some unknown reason I decided to have a spring clean. But I'm feeling the benefits today as the downstairs of the house is lovely and tidy. Not sure when I'll tackle the upstairs, but it can wait for now!!

I've had a lovely week here at number 10:
 
  • I finished two nice Christmassy commissions that I really enjoyed although they were both extremely time consuming. I really need to tackle my time management at the moment as simple things seem to be taking me absolutely ages!!! I designed and made 4 Russian style Christmas decorations and also designed a non-knitting project that involved yarn, baubles and lots and lots of gluing and sticking. The good news is that I didn't get any glue on the carpet, the not so good news is that it literally took hours and hours (and hours!!!!). Not cost effective at all!!
  • I bought 3 lovely books from the book people for just £12, which is an absolute bargain as one of the books alone has a recommended price of £16.99. I really wanted the Knit Nordic book, and due to free delivery I splashed out and bought Mollie Makes Feathered Friends and Fiona Gobles Twelve Knits of Christmas (just because it made me smile).
  • Yarn support arrived for my next book. A lovely bag of gorgeous yarns from DMC. I think the cottons and merino yarns will be my choice, but I need to work up a couple of samples just to make sure I can achieve my desired results. I'll have fun trying!!
  • I made the most delicious gluten potato cakes this week with left over mash potato. Want to know how? Well here goes:
Gluten Potato Cakes Recipe
1. You'll need some cold left over cold mash potato (I had about one third of a mixing bowl full), a cup and a half of plain gluten free flour, toppings (butter/cheese/beans/bacon - anything you like!).


2. Slowly mix gluten free plain flour into the mash until it no longer feels wet or sticky - a bit like making dough but not as stiff (I used about 1.5 small cups full). I used a fork to begin with, then my hands.
3. Cut the dough into even-sized chunks and press into round patties.


4. Pop into a hot oven for 40 mins on 180 degrees (turning once after 20 mins). They will feel crispy on the outside but they'll be nice and soft in the middle.
5. Top with a sprinkling of cheese, beans or just butter. Absolutely delicious and almost as good as my mums. I'll be making more of these yummy and satisfying delights when I next make mashed potato.

 
I hope you've all had a happy, crafting week too and have a great week ahead. I'm off to YARNDALE next Saturday - yippee - and I'm making a list of yarns that I need for Christmas pressies. I can't wait and am super excited!!! Are you going to Yarndale? and what will you be buying??
 
Happy crafting, Lynne x

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Feeling Christmassy yet?

Wow - I know it's only just September but I think the weeks are racing by - don't you? I've noticed that most craft magazines are gearing up for Christmas with free books, yarns and festive designs. This issue's Let's Get Crafting is full of Christmas fun, including my mini Christmas brooches that you could pop on a gift or in a card.



I always like to add a handmade touch and I'll soon be sharing some free patterns with you so that you can use up those odds and ends of yarn and make something fabulous for your friends and family.
 
I've been working on lots of Christmassy designs including these festive baubles for Homemaker Magazine. They have printed the free pattern here: homemaker festive baubles and tea cosy and the charts for the baubles are in the tea cosy download. They're really easy to make and wrap around a polystyrene ball - simple shapes with just a touch of fairisle.
 

I've also been working on some Christmas decorations that will be published in Russia. It made me smile to think I'm going global. I also have an 80 part blanket published in the same weekly magazine made from pretty squares of knitting and crochet. Sadly I can't share photos, but I've found some lovely free patterns for a snowflake and snowman that you might like instead if you want to get your Christmas knits going (click the image for the pattern). The snowmen are by Jill Watt and the snowflake is Lucy at attic24 :



I'll be back soon with some of my own free patterns for Christmas and until then, happy crafting. I'd love to hear if you've made any handmade gifts yet xxx

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Book review - Ros Badger "hook, yarn and crochet"

A few weeks ago, I heard a dull thump on the carpet as the postman delivered my review copy of Ros Badger's latest book, "hook, yarn and crochet". How exciting!! As soon as I saw this quirky little book I fell in love with it.
  

Crochet is increasingly popular at the moment and my learn to crochet classes are always full. My students amaze me with their enthusiasm to make something pretty from just a hook and a ball of yarn. I can see that I'll be recommending this book to them as it contains 20 simple and very cute projects that suit all abilities, from new crocheters to the more experienced, like myself.
 
To be honest, this book is right up my street as I loves quick and whimsical projects that can be whipped up in no time at all.
 
The book is styled beautifully and projects range from accessories and homewares to gifts and decorations. On my to-do list are the tea light covers, storage bowl, wrist warmers, jute shopper, scarf and star garland. These will make perfect Christmas presents for friends and family and I can't wait to get started. The jute shopper and star garland are my absolute favourites.
 


 
 
The introductory chapters take you step-by-step through the basics of crochet, showing you everything you need to know in order to make the projects in the book, including how to hold the hook and yarn, how to make a slip knot, foundation chain, basic stitches, shaping, tension guide and finishing off. The accompanying image guides demonstrate the various stages using a large hook and chunky yarn so everything's really clear. Perfect for those just about to embark upon new crochet adventures. But be warned - crochet is addictive and before you know it you'll have an ever-growing yarn stash and a list of projects that you just can't do without.
 
So if you love to crochet pretty, contemporary projects for yourself, your friends and your family, then this book is perfect for you. I'd definitely recommend it and I'm off to find some pretty yarns to make a start on my star garland.
 
You can have a look inside the book here on amazon and I think it's great value at just over £9.00.
 
Happy Crocheting xxxx

Quadrille Publishing kindly sent the review copy, and all of the comments above are my own.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Do you love your Granny?

I was recently invited by Valerie at Agrarian Artisan to join the ever present debate on the crochet Granny Square – do you love them? Or hate them?

The Granny Square first saw its heyday back in the 1970’s. Thanks to my Nan, I was the proud wearer of all things granny including waistcoats and poncho’s, and according to my Mum, most of the residents of Orford (Warrington) were the height of fashion in their granny square waistcoats, thanks to my Nan who could whip one up as quick as a flash.
 

Thankfully, the Granny has moved on to bigger and better things. Now more popular than ever, there are many contemporary designs that feature the Granny in all it’s glory. From blankets and cushion, to bunting and bags, the Granny has taken on a new lease of life helped along by the myriad of beautiful yarns that can turn a plain old Granny into something amazing.
 
Julie at little cotton rabbits has the knack of choosing the most perfect colour schemes for her gorgeous blankets.
 
 

You can see more of Julie's  amazing work here: http://littlecottonrabbits.typepad.co.uk/my_weblog/

This Dolce and Gabanna bag retailed at around £900 last year – isn’t it gorgeous (not the price tag!!). I’m pretty sure I could whip up something similar for a lot less.

 
 
So I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I sit in the “Love” Granny camp, although I have to admit I’m not one for rainbow colours; I much prefer more subdued shades. My current Granny project is a Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed Blanket in shades of green, cream and lilacs. It’s been a work in progress for about 18 months and so far I only have 20 squares. I need to get a move on before they yarn is no longer available!!!

I'd love to hear your views on the Granny Square and if you'd love to make one but can't crochet, then you can come along to my next "Learn to Crochet" course at Sandbach High School (Cheshire) in September and I'll show you how to make one. Details can be found here http://lynnesknits.weebly.com/classes.html

When I ask what people want to get out of my course, the most popular answer is "to crochet a granny square". After the end of the 5 weeks I'm pleased to say that my pupils can crochet a lot more than a granny square and they are usually more than delighted with their new found skills.

Alternatively, Heather at Little Tin bird has a great tutorial here http://www.littletinbird.co.uk/basic-granny-square-pattern/

So go on and crochet a granny, the possibilities are endless, rewarding and inspriring.

Happy Crafting, Lynne x

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Fun Hats and Flowers

I can't believe how quickly time is flying. The days are racing by and I've already designed and made a whole stack of Christmas projects, from knitted baubles to hot water bottle cosies and more fun hats. The world of designing is a little topsy-turvy as magazines are created about 4-6 months in advance. Knitting Christmas projects in the sun felt quite strange, but I enjoyed them all the same.

Talking of hats, my 30 fun hats arrived back home safe and sound recently. What a lot of hats, soon to be published in their own book, which I'm waiting patiently to see. I had my firm favourites at the designing and making stage, but then when I saw the fabulous photography, I found that I changed my mind. But here's one that has remained my favourite from start to finish - Red Riding Hood. It's simple and pretty and has some cable detail along the sides that you can't see in the photo. It's part of a hat duo as I've also designed a wolf hat - these make a great pair, especially if you have a boy and a girl. They're both really simple to make, knitted on straight needles with a sewn back seam - great for beginners. Images are courtesy of Quintet Publishing.

Lately, I've also been the proud recipient of flowers, thanks to some very thoughtful and kind friends and family. I've been given a beautiful bunch of lilies, a gorgeous lily plant which smells absolutely delightful in the conservatory, and some equally beautiful dendrobium - a flower of the orchid family. Lucky me. I'm doing my very best to keep them alive for as long as possible - could this be a first for me? Do I have green fingers after all? Don't tell hubby or else he'll have me pruning the plants in the garden.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

My Work in Print and a free pattern

It's been a while since I've blogged. We've had a sad and busy couple of week in which we lost my dear father-in-law who was kind and funny and will be missed by us all. It's been a hard couple of weeks supporting my both my husband and mother-in-law, and there is still lots to do. I've managed to find a little time to continue with my designing and somehow have met my deadlines, despite everything.  I've just designed 3 fab Christmas hats, and one of them is named after my father-in-law as I know it would have made him smile.
 
Meanwhile, I have some really lovely projects in various fab magazines this month. First of all, I have 3 gorgeous knitted vase covers in Homemaker Magazine. The yarn supplied was Louisa  Harding Grace hand dyed wool and it was a dream to knit with. The pattern is available as a free download, so you can knit your own straight away. The pattern can be found here. My favourite is the brown cover, with the leaf pattern.
 
 
Still on the shelves is Issue 52 of Let's Get Crafting Magazine, which features my very cute draughtie doggie. It's really simple to make, knitting mainly in stocking stitch on two needles. This would make a great gift, especially for a new home, but if there are children around I think it will soon go missing........
 
Also on the shelves is issue 42 of Inside Crochet. I really look forward to each issue of Inside Crochet as there's always a great mix of projects. This month I have a Geometric Cushion design for you, using simple intarsia. It's quick to make and look rather striking.
 
 
And last but certainly not least are my 6 quick knits in Knit Today Magazine - a cat mask, a beach bag, some pom-pom bunting, a passport cover, a camping pillow and a headband and a retro ice lolly key ring which I love.
 

 
I had a really busy month designing and working up all of the samples, but it's a bit like having a baby - you tend to forget the pain .......
 
xx happy crafting xx

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Make With Mabel - Fairisle and Cables

Yesterday I ran my first Workshop at Make With Mabel in Knutsford, Cheshire.
 
I'd spun some gorgeous merino wool into neat yarn cakes, designed a cute fairisle and cable pin cushion, researched, wrote notes, prepared a sample, prepared my materials and surprised myself at how organised I was.
 
I nervously arrived and prepared the lovely craftroom, ready for my 5 ladies, who were eager and ready to learn something new. I wasn't sure how competent they already were and hoped my lesson plan was adequate but also not too hard or complicated.
 
We enjoyed a busy and intense day, along with a scrumptious lunch supplied by Luise and complete with a bottle of Cava to celebrate one of the ladies birthdays. (I didn't secumb to the Cava - I only need to sniff alcohol and I'm squiffy!!! - not wise when I'm teaching!!) 
 
There were a few sighs and groans, but most of all there were lots of smiles and laughs. 
 
I was really proud of the ladies, who worked really hard for 6 hours. Here's the results of their hard work and concentration and I'm sure you'll agree they're rather lovely:






 
xx Well Done ladies, and I hope to see you all soon xx

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

At last - I've crocheted a gift

Wow - this is a landmark. I've actually handmade something that isn't for a commission. Put the flags out!!!!
 
I crocheted a pretty scarf as part of a birthday gift for my cousin. I bought a couple of bags of yarn when my local(ish) yarn store - Fibre and clay - closed down, and in one bag were 3 skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk. 
 
 
I wanted to make something special with this beautifully soft yarn, so I set about making a scarf. After two or three attempts of various free patterns that were already out there (which didn't seem to work out particularly well for me), I decided I'd design something quick and easy myself. So I delved into my pattern library and modified a shrug that I made a couple of years ago. This is the result - what do you think.
 
 
It's really soft and silky and has a nice sheen. I wondered about adding fringing, but decided against it. I like the nice, straight edges.

I rolled up the scarf neatly, tied it with a braided cord and tucked in the yarn band with the care instructions. Perfect.
 
 
If you'd like to make one  for yourself, you can download the pattern here from my "Found, Made and Reloved" blog - a blog dedicated to my stashbusting attempts. Two skeins down - hundreds to go!!
 
xx happy crafting xx

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

LOVE Letters - Inside Crochet issue 42

I've recently designed a few projects for my favourite crochet magazine - Inside Crochet (how exciting!!!). I've really enjoyed watching Inside Crochet develop into a beautiful, stylish and creative magazine, packed with gorgeous projects and informative articles, so image my delight when issue 42 popped through the door. Not only is it my favourite issue so far, it also features my LOVE letters. I think the setting and photography is perfect.

 
They're a fun project, made with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and a 3mm hook. Each letter only uses a small amount of yarn, so you could just try them with two colours if you don't want to buy 4 balls of different shades. They'd look great in a bedroom, or on a little girl's shelf and I'd love to see your makes (you can add your project here on Ravelry: (love letters on Ravelry).
 
There's also a sneaky peak at next month's projects, including my geometric cushion which is now sitting proudly upstairs on the spare bed.
 
There are lots of other lovely projects in issue 42, including Tracey Todhunter's colourful potholders, Emma Varnam's cute baby set, Simone Francis's pretty (and stunning!) lacey top and Vicki Brown's feminine T-shirt - all of which are on my to-do list:
 
 
 
So grab yourselves a copy whilst you can and enjoy this colourful issue packed with lots of lovely crochet inspiration.
 
xx Happy Crafting xx
 
 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

And The Winner is .... Ta Da.....

Thanks to everyone who entered my book give-away to win Debbie Bliss's latest lovely book Knits for you and your home, kindly provided by Quadrille Publishing.
 
 
The winner (as picked randomly by hubby) is Rachel, blogger, knitter and crocheter from https://thelittleroomofrachell.wordpress.com/
 
Congratulations Rachel, I hope you make some lovely things for yourself from the book,
 
xx Happy Knitting xx

Saturday, 18 May 2013

A handmade gift using new skills

I'm just coming to the end of my current 'learn to crochet' course at Sandbach High School. I had 10 ladies on the course, which is quite a large group to get around and give everyone the attention they deserve. But everyone seems really happy with the new skills they've learnt and I've enjoyed teaching them and passing on my skills, knowledge and tips and tricks to make their crochet look really neat and professional.

One of my current students, brought along something special to the class last week - a beautiful and thoughtful handmade gift for a friend who'd apparently made a few jokes about her learning to crochet. I'm sure she'll be fully converted through when she sees the beautiful projects Kathryn has made for her. Kathryn kindly sent me some photos for me to blog about and I'm sure you'll agree that her work is really beautiful. First she made a basket to hold her handmade crochet gifts, and added a scarf, a washcloth, and a crochet-covered pebble. Kathryn also added a freebie from a magazine and a daisy washcloth - although she said she may struggle to part with the washcloth and I can understand why!!







I thought this was one of the nicest ideas for a handmade gift that I've seen for a while and I might have to steal Kathryn's idea for a relative who has a big birthday coming up soon. I see crochet bunting, some wristlets, a brooch and a cute little amigurumi in my basket - what would you put in yours?

If you'd like to learn some new skills, I'll be continuing to teach knitting and crochet at Sandbach from September, but if you can't wait until them you could pop along to "Make with Mabel" (click here) in Knutsford where I will be running knitting workshops and courses. Tracey Todhunter will be running crochet classes (click here) and there are lots more skills to learn too, from beading, felting and quilting, to lampshade making and sewing. I will be listed my courses shortly, so watch this space.

Handmade gifts are always the best xx happy crafting xx

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Book Review - Debbie Bliss Knits for you and your home - and Book Giveaway

I was absolutely delighted last week when my review copy of Debbie Bliss’s latest knitting book dropped through the letterbox, kindly sent to me by Quadrille Publishing Ltd. I’d only seen the fabulous front cover and couldn’t wait to see what knitted delights awaited me. I have to admit that Debbie Bliss is one of my favourite designers. I have quite a few of her books and magazines and her yarns are amongst the best to work with (in my humble opinion). I was hoping that her latest addition would live up to my expectations, and to my relief, it did and here’s my review:

Debbie Bliss
Knits for you and your home
Hardback published March 14th. 2013 by Quadrille Publishing Ltd
Enticing new collection of 30 hand knit projects from world-renowned designer Debbie Bl
RRP £18.99 (however, you can find it cheaper on most book selling websites)

Knits for you and your home is a whimsical treasure trove of 30 creative knits, ranging from quick and easy projects that can be made in just a couple of days, to larger pieces that are longer term projects. Whatever you choose to knit, you can be sure it will become a treasured addition to your home or wardrobe.

The aim of the book is to entice you away from the projects you are knitting for others and make something beautiful for yourself. Hence the book is divided into 4 aptly named chapters with titles that will draw you in with excitement – Indulge, Cocoon, Pamper and Detox. Each chapter contains a variety of projects, from cosy homewares and accessories to casual garments and jewellery. Already, I want to make them all and decorate my home with knitted loveliness.

All projects use Debbie Bliss’s sumptuous yarns, including my favourites – baby cashmerino, cotton dk and rialto aran. Colour schemes are beautifully muted tones throughout, with a splash of colour here and there to catch your attention. There’s a handy list of yarns at the beginning of the book, so you can check yarn weights and tension just in case you need to subsititute yarns, depending on your budget.

I will be knitting quite a few projects from the book when time allows, and here are my favourites:
 
  • The stunning and elegant beaded cushion. I can’t wait to have a go at the bead detail which is added at the end.

  • pretty beaded lavender hearts – these will be perfect for my friend’s wedding. I’m delighted that she’s asked me to knit some hearts for her table centre pieces.
 
  • The comforting armchair throw in luxurious purple with a red trim – although I may make it in different tones.
  • These chunky cabled socks to keep my feet toasty and warm
 
  • The elegant chevron cushion cover with it’s zingy zig-zag design. Perhaps I’ll use monochrome shades or muted tones.
 
  • and last but not least the pouffe – I’m desperate to knit this utterly gorgeous pouffe, although it may be a while before I tackle this as it takes 21 balls of yarns – I’ll have to set up a pouffe fund!!!
 
 
I hope you really enjoy Debbie’s latest book – it’s really lovely to browse and choose what knitted luxuries you’re going to create for yourself. And here’s the best thing:

I’m offering this book as a giveaway.

Just leave a comment below as to what you love to knit for yourself if you had the time and could buy any yarn.

The competition will close in two weeks, midnight on Monday 20th. May 2013. Entries will be compiled into a database and a random number drawn on Tuesday 21st. May.

Happy Knitting and good luck xx