Saturday 31 December 2016

Bye 2016, Hellllooooo 2017!!

New Year is fast approaching and I have to say I can't wait for 2017 to start! Don't get me wrong, I do not want to wish the year away, but 2016 has really tested my patience and we just haven’t gotten along at all. I mean there were some good bits, of course, and I appreciated and treasured them even more.

For the most part 2016 has been filled with tears, fear and anger. I have been made redundant from my Rowan employment, a job I have loved with all my heart, but what is even sadder that this saw the end of Rowan consultancy, 30 years of dedication from some incredibly talented people. However I shall always be grateful for the experience and knowledge I have gained while working for Rowan. It was a truly amazing position. 

Apart from the redundancy, 2016 professionally for me wasn’t that bad. Losing the Rowan job meant I had to stop teaching workshops at John Lewis branches, but that’s ok because I still teach at the amazing The Yarn Dispensary in Faversham and I also have new workshops starting in 2017 at Sew Over It in London. As well as this there have been the tutorials I have been doing for Love Knitting and Love Crochet, the response to which has been overwhelming, thank you so much, and there will be more coming in the new year, so watch this space.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with Crochet Now magazine, and I’m truly thankful to them for featuring my designs in their fab magazines and to all of you for making them and showing me the love, there’s more fantastic things to come. I have been also very busy working on some fab projects which will be revealed in mid-2017, there are two in particular I’m beyond excited to share with you. 

Other than that the whole world seems to be crying, politically it feels like one disaster after another, so many lies, so much hate and deceit, a referendum and elections that have been turned into lying circuses. Just when I thought that politicians cannot sink any lower a new depth has been found, not to mention the cesspit of racism, xenophobia and islamophobia their irresponsible actions have triggered. The very real fear and reality of war and terror attacks has shown the terrifying face of human species, but it has also shown the beauty of the human spirit of working together against those that are adamant on destroying humanity and decency. People are uniting and standing strong to help those in need.

2016 has also seen us saying goodbye to huge amount of actors, musicians, politicians, and authors, we have lost much talent that has changed the face of music and films such as David Bowie and Prince. It seemed like a week didn’t go by without us mourning another death and just when you think it was all finished with, that the year is almost over, 2016 claims few more lives, George Michael and Carrie Fisher to name just two. 2016 has felt relentless!!

 Photo credit @ChristheBarker / Twitter

On the positive note….. We have achieved a few wonderful things for our mother earth - the tiger population is growing, the banning of micro beads from production is in progress and should be in place in 2017 and the Arctic Ocean is protected from industrial fishing, thanks to a historic agreements.

Whatever your experience of 2016 are, I would like to wish you the happiest and most wonderful 2017!! I hope for all of you it will be your best year yet!!
Thank you all for your support and all the love you have showed me through the year, you are all fantastic!!

Come on 2017, be AMAZING!!

Anna x

Sunday 27 November 2016

Granny square part 1 - Pattern and keeping order

I’m still stuck at home, still feeling ill and very sorry for myself, but the one positive thing as a result of this is… gives me a chance to catch up on some of my projects. 

One project that I was very excited to start was the one made out of the huge bunch of Anchor tapestry threads, which I brought a while back at a bargain price of 10p each at John Lewis!

The first idea was to make something for the home, like a cushion, small blanket, but then I realised I have huge amount of cushions and probably not enough threads for a blanket. As the threads are pure wool I thought an accessory for winter will be perfect, so a cowl or a wrap or, my favourite idea, a triangular shawl. with tassels on each corner and one colour for edging and joining the squares. I want the shawl to have an ombré effects, which is ideal with such an amazing array of colours. However I decided to wait when all squares are made before I make my final decisions on the final item they will become.

I separated the threads into a colour order, four hanks of same hues in each bundle and got started. My idea was to have the squares starting from the lightest colour to the darkest, but I very quickly realised that the hanks are just too short to get enough squares out of four hanks, I only have one hank of each colour and each one is 10m long, not to mention all the ends I will have to weave in!

Then I decided to make a lot smaller squares in one colour, which will be easier, quicker and a lot less ends to weave in! It’s gotta be a winner.

I’m loving the little squares! They are dinky and super cute. I can make three out of each hank of thread, which is a lot better.

If you would like to make some as well, the pattern is as follows:
The pattern is written using UK terminology with US conversions in brackets in abbreviation list.

[] – work instructions within brackets as many times as directed
Ch – chain
Ch-sp – chain space
Dc (US sc) – double crochet (US single crochet)
Tr (US dc) – treble (US double crochet)
Ss – slip stitch 

I have used 3.50 mm (US E/4) crochet hook to achieve the size of 4 cm (1.5 in) square.

Foundation ring: Ch 4, join with ss to first ch to form a ring.
Enclose the tail inside the stitches as you work the first round, you can just cut off whatever is left, so much quicker than weaving it in.
Round 1: ch 3 (counts as 1 tr), 2 tr into ring, ch 2, [3 tr into ring, ch 2] 3 times, ss to top of ch 3.
Round 2: ch 1, 1 dc into next 3 sts, 3 dc into next ch-2 sp, [1 dc into next 3 sts, 3 dc into next ch-2 sp] 3 times, ss to first dc.
Fasten off

I have made quite few already but still have lots to go. To keep some order I am keeping all the finished little squares on spare bobby pins, six per pin. Large safety pins will work a treat as well, but I don’t have any available.

I want to keep all the threads bands in order so I know the shade number of each colour (will write out a full list later), I decided to staple the remaining thread to the band and keep the four colour from the bundle together with paper clip.

I also decided to take this projects over three parts with part two coming soon.
Part 1: Pattern and keeping order
Part 2: Joining together and deciding on the finished accessory.
Part 3: Finishing - edging and finishing touches.

Happy crocheting,

Anna x

Sunday 21 August 2016

The Big Mandala Swap

There is something very exciting in issue 5 of Crochet Now magazine – it’s a gorgeous book full of beautiful mandalas. In it you will find not only patterns for 9 mandalas but also a great project you can get involved in called The Big Mandala Swap. 
 What is the big mandala swap?? I hear you ask….well…We all know, experienced or have heard how crochet can help with one’s mental wellbeing, it certainly helped me a lot through some dark times and it still does, but talking with someone about your issues is incredibly important, so as a way of opening a dialogue Crochet Now has teamed up with Rethink Mental Illness charity to raise awareness of mental health issues and The Big Mandala Swap was born. You can read a lot more about it in the book, or go to Crochet Now blog

How it works……pretty simple really, you make a mandala of around 20cm diameter, write a letter about yourself, parcel it up and send it to the address below before 1st January 2017, Crochet Now will swap the mandalas and send them out to their new homes, you can provide contact details so your new crochet friend can get in touch. 

The Big Mandala Swap
Crochet Now, Practical Publishing
Suite G2 St Christopher House,
217 Wellington Road South,
Stockport SK2 6NG

If you have a story to tell about how crochet has helped your life, write it in a letter to your swap partner, send it in to the editor at or post it online, tagging Crochet Now as well as the #thebigmandalaswap hashtag.

  Passion by Lynne Rowe

You can also drop your mandala to one of the participation yarn shops across the country. This is a great way to involve your community and help your local yarn shops to hold workshops and support this great project. 

I’m truly honoured to have designed one of the mandalas included in this great little book. My mandala is called Energy and it's also shown on the cover with more gentle colours.
Energy is just one of many beautiful mandalas designed by very talented designers.


Crochet Now issue 5 is on sale now so go on get your hooks out and get involved!! 

Anna xx