Crochet How To: Lovehearts

 dark pink crochet hearts 
I promised you crochet hearts for February and here they are. Perfect for newbies as you only need to work one round for a cute little version. Make them in whatever yarn and appropriately sized hook you have. They look so pretty on a card, made into fridge magnets or strung on a garland. 

So first the pattern. I’ve always used one by Planet June. It’s simple, offers options to add more rounds of work and is easy to follow. The pattern uses US terms so remember to translate it if you usually work with UK patterns. Double crochet is our treble crochet in the UK and treble crochet is our double treble. Chain and slip stitch are exactly the same. 

To help you along, I’ve added my favourite tutorials from Simply Crochet and Little Tin Bird for each of the techniques. 

  1. Magic ring
  2. Treble crochet
  3. Double treble 
  4. Slip stitch

My effort earlier today is here: 

  
Too easy for you? Don’t forget I have a dedicated Pinterest account at www.pinterest.com/thingsbyadele where there’s a new board just for Valentine’s Day.

If you make this or any others, please share your makes over on my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/nicethingsbyadele.

See you over on FB and Pinterest and back here next month,

Adele x

Trends for 2016

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Daisy Crochet for 2016

Just before the year ends, I like to browse the internet and magazines for upcoming trends. Predicting the future is a massive industry and the big companies spend a lot of time and money planning their next collections to ensure they make and stock things that sell. Perhaps I should do the same thing?

Trend predicting is a complicated thing and if you don’t think you’re influenced by trends, think again. Music, art, technology, politics and economy all influence how we live and consume life.

What you read, who you follow on Instagram, music you listen to, TV you watch, groups you join, bars you go to, festivals you visit and where you holiday all influence your life.

Companies keep an eye on ‘influencers’, people who adopt new trends early and other people copy. For some people these might be pop stars or reality TV celebrities. Others might be influenced by bloggers and journalists, art movements, designers, or just people living the lifestyle you want.

Trends evolve over time and you can learn to predict them yourself. What makes you tick? Chances are it relates to a lot of other people too. 2016 is predicted to see a desire to live a more simple life, eat fresh and natural and buy quality rather than quantity. Interior design and fashion will focus on a natural colour palette, florals will be the pattern of choice in spring and natural materials will be popular in the home (and diet).

So where do I get this information?

  • Pantone – a colour matching system used in design and print and now a leading voice on colour trends. Watch our for Rose Quartz this year
  • Magazines – Elle Decoration, Wallpaper Magazine, interior design magazines. They all share their predictions for the year ahead.
  • Trade journals for craft and artists
  • Makers I admire – I really like following other artists online from Sarah Moore to Kaffe Fassett
  • Pinterest – There’s no getting away from it, Pinterest is where I get a really good insight into what other people like me are doing. I’ve got my own 2016 trend board too.

It’s a bit overwhelming and how does all this translate to what you make? If you crochet like me you’ll see new ranges of yarn in new colours and materials, certain patterns will become popular and with everything, the response of your customers will tell you if you have it right.

I’ve sketched a few new designs for this year and have started adding daisies to my floral brooch collection. Later in the year, I’ll be looking at pastels for my winter tea cosies.

Other than that, I just cant help making things I like so for now, I’m making turquoise necklaces which aren’t on the trend list anywhere.

Oops.

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Crochet Plait Necklace

New Year and Fresh Motivation

Crochet hoooks and cottonWell happy new year to everyone. Are you making a host of resolutions, writing a plan for managing your work/life balance better or have you already ran a lap of the park and done 30 crunches?

Whatever you are doing today, it’s a day most of us spend looking to the future and what we are going to do differently. I’m no different. Even though I don’t make resolutions as such, I do like to reflect on what I’ve been doing and what I’d like to achieve in the coming 12 months.

The problem is I’m not really sure what I want. Crocheting makes me happy and helps me relax but fitting it round a full time job, my family and my friends is sometimes tiresome. So why do it? If the other things are more important, why not drop it? Crochet is what gives me a sense of achievement. It has helped me meet and make new friends. Plus I’m scared of what I’ll miss if I stop doing it. I’ve recently got a copy of Leonie Dawson’s Shining Year in Biz workbook. If you’re late to the party as I am, she’s a guru of life planning and has hundreds of global followers trying to find out what makes them happy and how they can achieve their goals.

At the moment, the workbook is helping me grasp that I don’t want a thriving financial business. I actually want a hobby that gives me enjoyment and I want to share that with other people who love crafting. I’ve actually got a lot of experience working in the arts sector, specifically the creative economy and more recently local economic development. Why aren’t I sharing that?

With that in mind, here’s my schedule of blog posts to help you and your creativity throughout the year.

  • Identifying trends and translating that into your work
  • A crochet tutorial for Valentine’s day
  • What you need to consider when setting up a business (or just selling your work)
  • Pricing your work
  • Selling online
  • Selling at craft fairs
  • Easy holiday crochet for your hand luggage
  • A crochet tutorial for festival accessories
  • Back to school: basic crochet tutorials
  • Your making space
  • Xmas craft fair and makers roundup
  • Last minute gift ideas and decorations

That’s one post a month which which I hope you can join me for. The first will be online this weekend and I hope you can join me on the first of each month for the others. If you’d prefer more regular updates you can find me on Facebook and Pinterest. The latter is where I spend a lot of time when I should be doing other things but I just can’t give it up. Are you the same?

If there’s anything specific you’d like me to cover this year, or anything you’d like to share please join in the conversation and comment here or on Facebook.

May you have lots of success and happiness in 2016.

Adele x

New crochet Workshops

  
I am so excited to announce that the first of my autumn 2015 workshops is at Live Late:Craft Jam in Sheffield on 9th October. If you’ve not been before you’ve missed out. It’s a brilliant evening at Millennium Galeries starting at 7.30pm. There are lots of crafty workshops, live music and a bar. No need to book either, you just turn up and have a go. 

I’m going to have two things on offer that night: My 10 minute crochet challenge for newbies; and a recycled plastic bag project for anyone that can already use a hook. 

I’ve already created and tested the pattern using old plastic bags to make a trinket dish and I’ll be sharing it with you on the night. I’ll make it available online so you can craft jam at home but I insist on pictures in return. 

My other workshops will be at my local wool shop. I’m planning two granny square tutorials in October; some Christmas themed makes in November; and a beginners class in January (which would make a fab gift). Booking information, dates and prices will be confirmed later this week. 

Who can join me at Craft Jam? I’m so excited about it. 

Keep it crochet,

Adele x

Crochet Inspiration: Pinterest

  Is anyone not on Pinterest looking for inspiration, collecting patterns and generally having a nosey? I don’t know how I get any crafting done. I spend an awful lot of time looking at cats, healthy recipes and mid century homewares, none of which feature in my offline life. 

It’s just so easy to browse though so I’ve created a specific crochet account pinterest.com/nicethingsbyadele to share all things crochet. Since last week’s blog about colour, I’ve been using Pinterest to collate lots of garden flower pictures so I can really study the colours and shapes. 

I’ve also got a board for beginners where I’ve pinned my favourite how-to crochet tutorials. These are my favourite references when people ask me online for help. Although I run crochet workshops, I’ve not recorded any videos because there are already some really good ones out there. Just follow my account to see them all in one place – simples. 

What’s your biggest Pinterest distraction? I’d love to know and follow you for more inspiration. 

If you don’t regularly check in at Pinterest, I have a weekly themed share on my FB page. With a ‘heatwave’ predicted for this week in the UK, I might go for comedy crochet beachwear this week. Just pinning it though, not wearing it! 

Until next time,

Adele xx

Crochet Inspiration: Colour

I spend a lot of time admiring other people’s crochet on Ravely, Pinterest and blogs and it’s usually the colours that stop me scrolling and pause a while. 
How do they do it though? I know about colour wheels; complimentary and contrasting looks; Pantone trends; and ombré shades but it doesn’t stop me coming out of a wool shop with a pile of stuff that just doesn’t match. 

As a recreational crocheter, I see a ball of wool that I like: it sqidges nicely; the colour is pretty; and it looks easy to work with. I’ve no idea what I’m going to make and I therefore end up with ball upon ball that doesn’t work with anything else. 

Now I sell my work, I do think about colour much more. I still find trends and colour rules difficult to stick to but I’ve another top tip up my sleeve: Nature. 

Look in your garden, a park, allotment or beach and when there’s a plant or view that makes you stop,take a picture. Study the colours in that shot. If it’s right naturally, it’s going to translate for other colour work like crochet. 

A few favourites at the moment have come from my garden and recent holiday:

garden chives

Chives : purples & greens


home grown poppies

Poppy: ombre reds and oranges

  

Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-not: pastel combinations

Lichen

Lichen: Stunng yellows

I’d love to know your approach to picking colours? Are you disciplined enough to only buy what a pattern suggests? I’ve started a dedicated Pinterest board for colour inspiration and I’filing my own pictures on Instagram. Come over and join me so I can follow your ideas too 

Until next time

Adele xxx

Crochet: Inspiration

What inspires you to pick up a hook or needle with a new ball of wool? 


I’ve been arranging things for my upcoming wedding recently and my Nanna reminded me that Aunty Joan had a bouquet of roses and pink carnations. It got me thinking about a new collection of work and in looking at those small ruffled petals I was inspired. 

 

picture of Aunty Joan on her wedding day.

Aunty Joan and Grandad

 
Carnations are often overlooked for more fashionable contemporary blooms, but just like roses, the different colours have different meanings and the history of the carnation goes back many years. The name originally comes from the Greek meaning Flower of God and in European culture symbolises a mother’s love. Aunty Joan isn’t with us anymore but my Nanna’s  love for her is still as strong as ever and I’ve worked on a small collection of work inspired by them both and her wedding carnations.

Using very fine cotton yarn and a teeny hook, I began working on a few prototypes to try and replicate that distinctive ruffled petal edge. My work doesn’t try to directly copy flowers, you can admire the real thing for that. Instead, I focus on something specific, usually the colour or the shape. With this, I’ve taken inspiration from that familiar crinkled edge and worked up a set of ruffled stitches. 

close up photograph of carnation petals.

Carnation Petals.

Initially working in grey (well the picture is in black and white!) and pink, I’ve created a small delicate ruffle which will be hung from silver colour chains and my next step is to work up a small cluster brooch and hair clips.  

 

Pink Ruffle Necklace

 These have been quite a while in the testing and making stage. I have to admit that working with a 1.5 hook is very challenging and it takes me a little over two hours to complete just one necklace ruffle. My fingers ache trying to hold the yarn and I’m sure everyone who has been on one of my crochet workshops will be glad to know that I also suffer with sore joints. 

This is still a work in progress but I hope my Aunty Joan collection is something you enjoy to look at and wear. 

With fond memories,

Adele