Crafting during Covid kept me sane and happy in 2020

Crafting during Covid kept me sane and happy in 2020

Have you been crafting during Covid? I don’t know about you, but I’ve been crafting a lot more during the Covid lockdown. I work from home most days on either my designs, volunteering in my community and dealing with orders as they come in. But, for me, crafting is my joy.

My first project was my go-to when I’m stressed and that’s to crochet a blanket. I had some of Lucy at Attic 24’s colour packs in the house, which I have gathered over several years with a few projects in mind. I love Autumn colours and was immediately drawn to the Woodland Blanket Pack. I didn’t want to crochet the ripple blanket, but I did love the Granny Stripe Blanket. I find it relaxing to crochet stripes, it’s easy, it’s repetitive and it kept my brain calm during the stressful days immediately following our lockdown.

Crafting during covid, crocheted Woodland Granny Stripe Blanket
Woodland Granny Stripe Blanket

The first full day of lockdown here was my birthday and my son and I were both ill with suspected Covid19 and felt dreadful. It was a good two to three weeks before either of us felt well again and probably another month after that before we got back our sense of taste and smell. We both feel very lucky to have recovered but he bounced back a lot faster than I did being young and fit.

Knitting and Crafting Along Through Covid

At the time, Emma Sadler and I had just launched our first Cowlabunga KAL event and I had to tidy myself up for the launch live on Facebook on 19th March. I felt like death warmed up, but plenty of painkillers and hot tea did help, even if I couldn’t taste any of it. We made the choice that week to try and get online and chat live on most days during the first month of lockdown.

We missed one day out of 30 but kept going most days per week and gradually tapered off to the Thursday night and Sunday afternoon we are doing now. From 14th February, our first live on FB, we’re completed our 72nd live/session on Sunday 28th June. Our videos are loaded onto our YouTube Channel and you can see them here.

Yarndale, Woolfest and my Lady Mary Hat

Emma, our friend Helen and I were due to meet last Friday/Saturday for Woolfest. We had cleared the two days and booked our accommodation etc. I was upset to see it was cancelled due to Covid19 but completely understood it was the right decision to make. The last time we met up was at Yarndale where I bought this amazing hat from Felt By Bridget.

Lady Mary Hat from Yarndale, felted by Bridget
My gorgeous hat by Felt By Bridget, I absolutely love it and it reminds me so much of the amazing day we spent together at Yarndale in 2019.

Crafting for me

I wanted to knit myself some Summer tops and love Jutta Hinterm Stein’s patterns. She released a new one for testing last week called Hot in the City and I’m helping to test the pattern. I’m using some Drops Belle in the Moss Green colourway. It’s a fabulous yarn, softens with washing and wears really well.

Roll over the Top test knit for Jutta Hinterm Stein

I am about a third of the way through knitting Tidewater by Laura Aylor, this is in 4ply using some Bamboo Cotton 4ply in the Verde colourway, a zingy, green. I added sleeves but they’re not in the pattern, but I do prefer to keep my upper arms under wraps.

Tidewater by Laura Aylor, crafting for me
Tidewater using Bamboo Cotton 4ply in a bright, zingy green, it’s a bit grey in this photo though.

Last week I finished knitting my Edie top, by Isabell Kraemer, it’s my go-to knit for Summer and I’ve made one with Drops Belle, one with some Wendy Cotton/Silk dk and now this one with the Bamboo Cotton 4ply in Coral. I will get a photo of me wearing it, I promise but I do wear it in our Live on FB and YouTube on 25th June.

Edie by Isabell Kraemer, using bamboo cotton 4ply
Edie by Isabelle Kraemer

Crafting for Carers

I did crochet about 50 of the mask/ear savers using some Rowan All Season’s Cotton in a light green. I used up all my 1/2inch and 1inch button stash on them but hopefully they made life a bit more comfortable for the Doctors and Nurses at local surgeries.

What did you make during lockdown? Did it help you to relax and feel better during all the upheaval?

Say Hi on Facebook and let me know, I’d love to see your craft projects.

Loraine

Agrarian Artisan Interview Gift A-long 2019

Agrarian Artisan Interview Gift A-long 2019

Agrarian Artisan, Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 Interview

Today we’re chatting to knitwear designer Agrarian Artisan, who is a crochet designer taking part in the Indie Design Gift A-Long.  She’s known on ravelry as vbracegirdle.

I am a designer, technical editor and tutor. With a degree in maths and a background in finance, I find the logic of pattern writing and charting is an easy blend with designing. One of my first tech edits came about because I queried a pattern in a magazine and was invited to write the errata!

Breeze by Agrarian Artisan

Breeze by Agrarian Artisan

How did you get into knitting/crochet and who taught you?

I think fibre of all types is in my blood, my grandfather had a textile business in Manchester! My mother was the seamstress of the family, all clothes were homemade. She also knitted but it was my aunt who was the knitter and crocheter and helped me learn both crafts.

What made you want to start designing?

It isn’t something I planned to do, which is why I call myself an accidental designer. Like many people I couldn’t just use patterns, frequently I would adapt them because I didn’t quite like the pattern or I thought it could be done a bit neater, and I guess it all grew from there.

Down Memory Lane Blanket by Agrarian Artisan

Down Memory Lane Blanket by Agrarian Artisan

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

The emergence of the idea into the fabric! Once the hook or needles start to bring the design to life it becomes quite magical.

What inspires you?

Anything and everything – from a leaf on a tree to an exquisite old tile on a floor. Often inspiration just seems to appear from nowhere, but I guess it is simply my surroundings talking to me.
 
Anniversary Mandala CAL by Agrarian Artisan

Anniversary Mandala CAL by Agrarian Artisan

Are you a full-time or part-time designer and how does that fit into your life?

I am part-time, I am fortunate to have the time to pursue what was a hobby into a glorious creative world.

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

I don’t really have favourites except perhaps the things I design that are purely things for me.
Precious Gift Bag by Agrarian Artisan

Precious Gift Bag by Agrarian Artisan

Do you have much time to make things for yourself or for gifting?

As my designing grew as an extension of my hobby, I still make things for myself or gifts. I also love to make decorations and garlands for my home at Christmas, in fact my Christmas gift and decoration making making starts in January!

If someone knitted or crocheted a gift item for you, what would you love the most?

I love anything that I receive which is handmade no matter how small. However, if anyone gifted a blanket I would be overwhelmed as I know the amount of work that goes into such a large gift.
Queen of May Wrap by Agrarian Artisan

Queen of May Wrap by Agrarian Artisan

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

I prefer all natural fibres and this year I have made a conscious decision to avoid all acrylic and nylon. I know that those fibres are now good quality (much better than the scratchy acrylic yarn of my youth) and good value, and affordable to many, but they are plastic and we are drowning our planet in plastic.

What’s your favourite of your own designs and what do you love about it?

That’s a tough question! I fall in love with each new design as soon as I start making it, so my current favourite is what is on my hook. But if I was pushed I would say Summer Garden Throw – this was a design I submitted to Inside Crochet, I didn’t follow their submission request but started making it and then emailed asking if they would like it. It is made of lacy hexagons which could be adapted easily to a shawl or wrap – and I have made a wrap from them. Hexagons are my favourite shape.
Twits Shawl by Agrarian Artisan

Twits Shawl by Agrarian Artisan

Is there anything new you can tell us about or a recent design you’d like to chat about?

I am currently working on a blanket for my blanket CAL in February next year. It is made of hexagons which have a simple transitional pattern on them and they are proving to be a lovely relaxing mindful make.

What’s your favourite colour?

Blue, blue, blue and maybe teal

Have you been a participating designer in the Indie Gift Along before and what do you love most about it?

This is my second year as a PD, so it is quite new. I love the community party, there is so much happening that it is difficult to keep up and there are so many fabulous designers that I get engrossed in looking through all their designs.
I have to confess that I always look at the 2 games – Designer Hunt and Alphabet Soup; I think they are fun and clever.
 

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

There are so many to choose from, that I just couldn’t make a choice. But the ones that inspire me the most are those that also commit so much of their time and energy to make GAL happen, as well as keeping up with their own designing – and that includes you Loraine blush

Summer Garden Throw by Agrarian Artisan

Summer Garden Throw by Agrarian Artisan

How do people get in touch with you or see more of your work?

 

 

Christmas Tea Cozies 3 sizes, 4 characters, ebook

 

Aline Modular Cardigan ladies knitting pattern is released

Quick links to our shop

Austermann Yarns, Baby Yarns, Debbie Bliss Yarns, Lanas Stop Yarns, Araucania Yarns, Schoeller & Stahl Yarns, Felting Yarns, Noro Yarns, DK Yarns, 4ply Yarns, Aran Yarns, Fur Yarns, James C Brett Yarns, Lion Brand Yarns

Darleen Hopkins Interview Gift A-long 2019

Darleen Hopkins Interview Gift A-long 2019

Darleen Hopkins, Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 Interview

Today we’re chatting to knitwear designer Darleen Hopkins, who is a crochet designer taking part in the Indie Design Gift A-Long.

Hello! Thank you so much for this opportunity.  I’m a crochet designer who designs a little bit of everything.  I believe life should be filled with laughter and love and my designs reflect that.  I’ve been married for going on 23 years now and have two boys/young men.  We live in beautiful north Georgia, US and can often be found hiking in the gorgeous nature that surrounds us.  We have been fortunate to have completed three cross-country road trips and have traveled, with the boys, to 49 states!  I’m not sure if I have actually crocheted in all those states, but it’s pretty close.   Now that the boys are growing up, my husband and I talk about traveling the US in an RV.  If we ever get one I’ll be sure to get one with plenty of room for yarn.    

Black Raspberry Shawl, Shawlette, Scarf by Darleen Hopkins

Black Raspberry Shawl, Shawlette, Scarf
by Darleen Hopkins

How did you get into knitting/crochet and who taught you?

I initially learned to crochet when I was a child.  My sister taught me what she learned from lessons she took at the local library. I never did much then but retaught myself in 2005 using a booklet/hook kit.  It came back pretty quick.  In 2008 I taught myself to knit using online videos.  My dad had mentioned he tried to learn to knit in the 50s because he wanted a pair of knit argyle socks but wasn’t successful.  So I learned and made him a pair for his 80th birthday.  He just turned 90 and still wears them.  I haven’t knitted since as I have been too busy with crochet.

 Cute as a Button Baby Blanket © Darleen Hopkins

Cute as a Button Baby Blanket © Darleen Hopkins

What made you want to start designing?

Once I started crocheting I immediately began to experiment with patterns.  I’d want to see what would happen if I tried a different stitch or technique.  Then I started crocheting silly hats for a group that collected them for children going through chemo treatments.  They were hats that I made up making whatever came to mind.  I received a lot of complements on those hats and realized others may want to make them as well.  So I wrote out the patterns.  Then a friend of mine was getting married and I designed a throw blanket as a wedding gift.  On a whim I submitted the design to a crochet magazine and it was accepted for publication.  There was no stopping me at that point and I’ve been designing and writing patterns ever since.

I crochet when I can and love the creative outlet design offers me. 

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zinnia-votive

Zinnia Votive by Darleen Hopkins

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

I LOVE to design crochet patterns that are easy so that others may enjoy the craft as much as I do. It makes me so happy when crocheters send me or post online photos of projects made from my patterns.  Seeing completed projects made from my patterns is the best part of designing.   

What inspires you?

My family. When I look back at my design profile I see my family.  There are hats I designed for my boys to wear to silly hat day at school, hats designed specifically for my husband because he didn’t want anything tight on his head, blanket designs my mother suggested, designs I asked my kids to help with the math calculations, designs inspired by the extracurricular activities my kids participated in at school, family members as models, etc. I could go on and on.  I design for my family and my portfolio is a reflection of that.  
 
Christmas Elf Baby Bib by Darleen Hopkins

Christmas Elf Baby Bib
by Darleen Hopkins

Are you a full-time or part-time designer and how does that fit into your life?

Part-time.  Family is always priority.  And then there’s my job and my husband’s business and my contributions to that, and the household chores and obligations….I crochet and design when I can fit it in.  

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

While I love designing all sorts of items, I really love designing baby blankets.  Who doesn’t love making things for babies?  We received some amazing handmade baby blankets as gifts when our boys were born so maybe that is why I love to design them so much.  And there’s so many options.  They can be simple or complex, sweet or silly, gender specific or gender neutral.  Lots of options.
 
Patchwork Baby Kitty Throw Blanket by Darleen Hopkins

Patchwork Baby Kitty Throw Blanket by Darleen Hopkins

Do you have much time to make things for yourself or for gifting?

Very little.  It is just a few days before Christmas and I still have to make the very small stocking stuffers I plan to make for my boys!

If someone knitted or crocheted a gift item for you, what would you love the most?

A potholder!  I LOVE potholders!  And the sillier they are, the better.  Potholders are used everyday, they can be made with scraps, and you can never have too many.  I participated in a couple potholder swaps before and really enjoyed seeing what everyone came up with.   I hope to get back to the group in 2020. 
 
Owl Always Love You Amigurumi by Darleen Hopkins

Owl Always Love You Amigurumi by Darleen Hopkins

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

In general, I love cotton and cotton blends.  Probably my favorite yarn is one that is, unfortunately, no longer available.  It was an organic, colorgrown cotton.  The yarn came in a variety of tans and greens, all of which were the natural color of the cotton.  I never knew cotton grew in colors other than white.  When I first started crocheting I made a huge log cabin style throw blanket, all in hdc, in this yarn. It took forever but is super soft and great to snuggle under.

What’s your favourite of your own designs and what do you love about it?

There are many designs that have stories behind them on how the came to be but I believe my favorite is the Patchwork Baby Kitty Blanket.  My youngest son suggested the design and was a significant helper in the design process.  I wrote a blog post about it. (link:  https://crochetbydarleenhopkins.com/2016/03/20/the-story-behind-the-baby-kitty-patchwork-throw-blanket-crochet-pattern/)
 
Peppermint Pals Hot Pad Set by Darleen Hopkins

Peppermint Pals Hot Pad Set by Darleen Hopkins

 

Is there anything new you can tell us about or a recent design you’d like to chat about?

I wasn’t able to do much designing in 2019 but I did manage to publish a pattern that had been “in the queue” for some time. The Cute as a Button Baby Blanket (see above).  Aren’t all babies cute as a button?  And I’m working on a design for dog lovers.  It’ll be a blanket but that is all I can reveal at this time.  I hope to publish it in early 2020.  (link:  https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cute-as-a-button-baby-blanket)

What’s your favourite colour?

I love blues and anything that goes with blues-greens, purples and berry colors.

Have you been a participating designer in the Indie Gift Along before and what do you love most about it?

I’ve participated in the Indie Gift Along every year since the beginning. I’d love to be more involved as time allows.  I love the camaraderie among the designers and the interaction with the participants.  The Indie Gift Along is great and I look forward to it every year.
 
Blue Rivers Hat by Darleen Hopkins

Blue Rivers Hat by Darleen Hopkins

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

In general I’m really inspired by the first time participates-the ones who worked hard publishing patterns so they would have the minimum number of patterns available in order to participate.  It’s a great motivator as the event can be a lot of fun for all involved.  Another great thing about the Indie Gift Along is learning about other designers.  I’ve discovered some amazing, talented people every year.  One designer that really stood out to me this year is Irina Mulyavko.  Her amigurumi work is about the cutest I’ve ever seen. (link:https://www.ravelry.com/designers/irina-mulyavko)

How do people get in touch with you or see more of your work?

 

 

Christmas Tea Cozies 3 sizes, 4 characters, ebook

 

Aline Modular Cardigan ladies knitting pattern is released

Quick links to our shop

Austermann Yarns, Baby Yarns, Debbie Bliss Yarns, Lanas Stop Yarns, Araucania Yarns, Schoeller & Stahl Yarns, Felting Yarns, Noro Yarns, DK Yarns, 4ply Yarns, Aran Yarns, Fur Yarns, James C Brett Yarns, Lion Brand Yarns

Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019

Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019

Don’t forget the Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 starts 8pm EST Tuesday 26th November 2019

Gift A-Long 2019

Gift A-Long 2019

What is the Indie Design Gift-A-Long?

The Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 is an awesome multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long 2019 is a 5 week long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by a rather extensive list of independent designers. From November 26th, 2019 at 8:00 pm US EST through December 2nd at 11:59pm US EST tons of indie designers will be discounting between 10 – 20 of their patterns 25% for this event. Use coupon code: giftalong2019. From November 26th, 2019 at 8:00 pm US EST to December 31, 2019 at midnight US EST there will be fun games, contests, and 8 KAL/CALs that will help you get your holiday knitting and crocheting done with companionship and fun!

You can read all about the details in this post: click here, or on the FAQ page in our group pages.

Which designer’s are taking part?  Here’s the Indie Gift A-Long 2019 Participating Designers Thread 

Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, we encourage you to join a relevant KAL/CAL! (For instance, if it is a cowl, please join the Cowls, Scarves, & Other Neck Things KAL/CAL.) To join, simply write a post in the KAL/CAL thread you want to join, including the pattern name you will be knitting and a link to your project page. KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes but you’ve got to post to win Please Note: all prize winners must be group members!

KAL/CALs will run from November 26th 2019 at 8:00 pm US EST to December 31st, 2019 at midnight US EST, plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting. We have tons of prizes, games, and great conversation, plus a lot of other fun, so pull up a chair and join us!

On your mark…get set…. GIFT!!

Other things:

  • Please use #giftalong2019 and #GAL2019 to tag your social media-ing!
  • Please only share Giftalong projects in the “shared projects” section of the group

As an example only, I’ll show you my collage for the event, there are 286, yes two hundred and eighty six designers with gorgeous patterns to knit or crochet for gifting.

Gift A-Long 2019 Bundle for Woolly Madly Deeply

Gift A-Long 2019 Bundle for Woolly Madly Deeply

 

 

 

 

Quick links to our shop

Austermann Yarns, Baby Yarns, Debbie Bliss Yarns, Lanas Stop Yarns, Araucania Yarns, Schoeller & Stahl Yarns, Felting Yarns, Noro Yarns, DK Yarns, 4ply Yarns, Aran Yarns, Fur Yarns, James C Brett Yarns, Lion Brand Yarns

Indie Design Gift Along 2018 – Beginner Patterns Part 2 – Crochet

Indie Design Gift Along 2018 – Beginner Patterns Part 2 – Crochet

Indie Design Gift Along 2018 Crochet Highlights

I’m sorry I’ve not blogged for a few days, it’s a busy time of year for my day job and I’ve also been helping out with the Gift Along (as I do every year).     I’ll catch up a bit today with two posts crammed with goodies and ideas and a few discounts and offers I saw along the way.    I’ll also show you a super little gift I bought for myself and one for a very good friend and I think is awesome.   I’m not affiliated with the company and I don’t get commission, I just loved the product and wanted to share it.

Today I wanted to focus on some beginner patterns in the Indie Design Gift Along, a pattern where a total newbie can have a go and create a finished item pretty easily or where a more experienced knitter can learn a technique or skill that’s new to them.     Part 1 is Knit and Part 2 is crochet.

Quick and Easy Headband Plus Loop Dee Loop Scrunchie Pattern

Cute and easy little crocht set, you could make quickly to gift or keep for yourself.

Squeeee-easy crochet cowl

a very easy crochet cowl with instructions on how to adapt to different yarns, make longer (wrap twice) or deeper.

Hexaghan

A great intro to crochet hexagons and some new techniques.   If you follow the pattern, you’ll learn as you go along and Julie is really helpful

Bouncing Bubbles

a quick to make crochet baby bib, with cute details and full, very clear instructions.

Benedict the Bunny

Lots of step by step instructions and photos to take you through this gorgeous little crochet Bunny pattern.  Give it a go, you’ll love it so much you won’t want to gift it 🙂

Nighty Night Baby Blanket, lapghan or throw adjustable sizing EASY

A nice, relaxing and easy crochet blanket/lapghan pattern to follow with lots of help on sizing to suit you.

Jacqui’s Easy Coasters

It’s rare for me to include one of my own crochet patterns in a round up for the Indie Design Gift Along 2018 but this really is an easy set of coasters, great for using up stash and you have the option of a photo tutorial or line by line written instructions.
Jacqui's Simple Coasters crochet pattern from the Indie Design Gift Along 2018
A quick link to our shop
Woolly Madly Deeply Online Yarn Shop Cumbria UK

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