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Collar Down Cowl + Sale

Hello everyone!

I hope you're all doing well! I can't believe I'm writing this as the sun is shining again. Winter has been quite miserable and rainy here in Germany. Occasional snow, temperature changes between -8 and +8 degrees. Sometimes almost within one day. It's been very unpredictable but that's pretty common over here. However, I've spotted the first flowers popping up outside and I can definitely feel spring peeking through the winter. It's really exciting to me, as I'm not a big fan of the winter.


Even though the weather is getting better, it's still not warm enough to walk around in a t-shirt, and most days I will still need to wear a scarf or a cowl outside. Since a scarf can be a bit bulky I mostly opt to wear one of my cowls. I've especially grown very fond of my most recent pattern: The Collar Down Cowl.


Now I say most recent, but I actually designed this cowl before I even made the Greystoke Cowl! The idea popped up in my head somewhere in November, and within an hour, it was done. I really enjoyed the look of it, but thought it was maybe a little plain at that time to actually write it up as a pattern. But a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly realised it was one of my most worn items, and I loved how it looked when wearing a coat, or just by itself over a sweater. Bold stitches and an almost 'cable-like' effect without actually having to learn how to make cables in crochet.

This pattern

What I love about cowls, is how fast they are to make, and how they provide warmth without adding too much bulk around the rest of your body. It's also something that easily fits in your bag, when you take it off. It's like a 'pocket scarf' really.


I always like my designs to be aimed at men and women. This cowl is another example of that. I've already had some pictures sent to me of people who finished making the cowl, and it always fills my crafty heart with so much happiness! The idea that someone on the other side of the world sat down with the pattern, some yarn, and made this product that I developed in my head once. I picture these people walking around the streets with their finished item and it makes me want to do a little (big) happy dance.


Since a flat photograph of the cowl is not very interesting, I decided to model the cowl myself. It's really not as glamorous as you might think to 'model' a crochet item. It involves me setting up a tripod in the room, with the camera on top, facing a white wall. I then connect my camera through wifi with my phone (technology these days) and hold the phone in my hand as I take the pictures myself. I'm wearing my pyjama trousers which don't show on the pictures. It also involves deleting about 98% of the photos as they are just ridiculous. Luckily I always manage to find a couple that I'm happy with, especially after a quick little edit in Adobe Lightroom!


Like all my recent patterns, this one also includes a video tutorial. Since the cowl is not too difficult to make, the video tutorial is 'only' 30 minutes. I show you how to make the cowl from start to finish and explain all the stitches very clearly. I always thinks it really helps out those people that might struggle with a written pattern, but feel very confident about copying someone from a video. That's how I learned to crochet myself after all.

The yarn I used in this cowl is a chunky / bulky weight yarn. It's called Rico Essentials Super Super Chunky. It's perfect for this project, as you need only 1 skein to finished the item. The recommended hook size for this yarn is a 10mm hook, but I decided to go with a 9mm hook. You can use any chunky / bulky weight yarn that suggests using somewhere between a 9 and 11 mm hook. Also, the pattern is very easily modified, and I've added instructions in the written pattern as well!


Since the winter is almost over, I've also decided to give you guys a little discount code! Since Etsy doesn't offer discount codes for specific items, feel free to use the code for any item in our shop.
I've just put up a new listing as well, where you can purchase all 4 of my recent patterns (The Greystoke Hat, Greystoke Cowl, Point Made Scarf and the Collar Down Cowl) in one set for a much lower price than buying each one individually (note: this pack is only available on Etsy, as Ravelry doesn't have this option).


The following discount code will give you 25% off on your purchase, on either Ravelry or Etsy:

SPRINGSALE

It's valid until Sunday the 19th at the end of the day (midnight EST). 

I hope you're all experiencing some better weather at the moment, although I've seen a lot of people experiencing lots of snow at the moment! Stay warm, take care and keep on hooking!



Simply Crochet - Ikea Hack

Hello lovelies! I do hope your weekend has gotten off to a splendid start?
I'm back again with a quick post and can't tell you how happy I am that I've found the time to get back into my blogging. I'm going to try and bit a little more consistent with it, something I  think Dennis and I always seem to struggle with. But hey, I'm/we're back on the blogging train and will be riding it for as long as we possibly can.

A few months ago we were contacted by the lovely people at Simply Crochet magazine, to see if we would be interested in working on a project collaboration. We were so insanely excited, I literally squealed at the idea!!! EEEEEK!

Simply Crochet had seen the flower lampshade which I had made back in 2014 (pictured above. The original post can be found here.) They wanted us to make a special version out of stars for their upcoming February dreamland edition of the magazine.

So after happily agreeing to work on the collaboration, we received a package in the post of the most glorious yarn, Drops Muskat, a mercerised cotton in some yummy pastel shades.

We got to work making stars (using our free star pattern). Dennis was an absolute star (excuse the pun) making machine and made all of the stars over the course of a couple of days. What a champion!!! 
They were all so perfect and looked great in the playful colours.


Stars were complete...Check
Now it was time to mail them off to England, so that the magazine could assemble them to the Ikea lamp and make some crochet magic.

The Dreamcatcher

Hello Lovelies,
Hows it going?

Today's blog post is one that I'm very proud of, a project that I've been working on for a good few weeks and am so insanely happy with not only the process of making this project, but also the final finished product.
This project came into my mind last summer when Dennis and I were on vacation in Croatia. Whilst walking around one of the towns we were visiting, I spotted a beautiful crocheted dreamcatcher and was drawn to it like a moth to a flame.
It was totally turquoise and shaped around a large wooden hoop about 70cm in diameter. I was so tempted to buy it, but having had a good look at the rather hefty price tag and looking at the workmanship, I decided that It wasn't worth my hard earned cash and that I would get more enjoyment out of making one for myself.
So after things settled with us moving house, I decided to get stuck into working on a new project.


Having had a look online I went and bought myself a wooden gymnastics hoop from amazon.  This would be the perfect frame for my dreamcatcher.
It measures 80cm in diameter, so it's pretty big! I knew that I was going to hang the finished dreamcatcher on the wall in the bedroom. So I wanted it to be fairly large so that it became a feature, a piece of art in the bedroom.
It was to be no ordinary wall hanging, it needed to be a statement! So large definitely seemed the way to go.

Once I had received the gymnastic hoop in the mail, I got to work starting the main section of the dreamcatcher. I started working on a crocheted mandala, as opposed to the classic knotted style dreamcatcher and worked each row carefully trying to keep the circle nice and flat, as well as keep track of my stitch count.
I used a sport weight cotton from redheart, which I bought from the local garden center (of all places).  


I jotted down the pattern as I went along, with the hope of sharing a pattern with you all at a later date. The pattern worked well in the beginning, but definitely needs a little revision on the later rounds before its ready to share with you guys.

For each round of my mandala I performed the invisible join, trying to make each round look as neat as possible without any obvious start or finishes to the round.
Working the mandala in this way meant that I had to sew in ends for each round, a little extra work, but definitely worth the extra time. Each round seemed rather meditative to crochet and ended up being somewhat hypnotic to look at.


I worked hard on my dreamcatcher trying to finish a little section each day. I loved watching it grow. It certainly was turning out to be a rather large project.


Once the mandala was large enough to fit to the hoop I joined it to the hoop by sewing through the last round of stitches, as well as around the frame of the hoop. This took for some tedious work, as I wanted to make sure that I stretched the mandala evenly around the circumference of the hoop.

The crazy thing was, that once I was finished sewing,  I realised that I wasn't happy with how things were looking. I didn't like how the wood of the hoop was looking showing through the stitched circumference of the mandala.


Being the perfectionist that I am. I took to my project with a pair of scissors, cutting through the stitching that joined the mandala to the wooden hoop. 

I decided to rethink think and chose to wind yarn all of the way around the circumference of the wooden frame. Covering  the frame so that no wood could be seen. This ate up the yarn and took a little moment to do, but for me it was worth the perseverance.
I then resewed my mandala to the frame, this time being much more satisfied with the outcome of my work. 


The hoop stretched the mandala out pretty well, but I still gave it a quick run over with the iron to steam out any bumps or uneven parts. With a quick whiz over from the iron I was super happy with the neat results.
Now time to decorate....
I raided my craft supplies for beads and feathers that I could hang from my dreamcatcher, trying to keep the white theme.


I settled for some plain white beads, along with some larger wooden beads which I painted white with acrylic paint. I threaded the white beads onto some string adding some metal beads from an old bracelet I had hidden away in a drawer.
These strings of beads along with some braid worked as my fringing. I attached the fringing to the dreamcatcher by threading a length of wire along the back of the frame. This made it easier to attach the fringing without disrupting the look of the covered frame.


Finally I added some plane white ribbon, for some contrast to the yarn fringing.


I was so totally over the moon with how my dreamcatcher turned out! it looked like a traditional dreamcatcher, matched the simple decor in the bedroom, but also made for a feature on the wall. 


Because of this project being totally white, it was a little tricky to get some decent pictures.
But I tried my best as I wanted to show you all how it looked in the bedroom.
Not the best pictures in the world but at least you can get an idea of the size of the dreamcatcher.

   

I am so very happy with how this project turned out.
It ticked every box, It was a joy to make, it ended up being better than I had anticipated and it seems to reflect my thoughtful mood at the moment.

I'll be back soon lovelies! Until then....