No Fuss Fish Free Crochet Pattern

Crochet_Goldfish_free_patternI’ve just been lucky enough for this photo of my No Fuss Fish to be shared on The Crochet Crowd’s Facebook page and so many people are asking me fo the pattern and tutorial and I thought I’d knock something up quickly.

I should first apologise, I am battling the setting sun here in the UK, so the light on these pics isn’t great. I’ll try and do some more detailed, better lit shots soon.

Materials you’ll need to make your

A large jar (I used a snap lid jar but I can’t see any reason why a mason jar wouldn’t work.)

Fine gravel/ pebbles

PVA glue (Not sure what this is called in the US, maybe Elmer’s Glue? It’s similar to mod podge)

A small glass pebble (like the ones used in floristry)

Strong glue (I used UHU. It’s a clear glue that will bond most surfaces)

2 small safety eyes (Mine were 9mm)

Small amount of orange and green cotton (DK / light worsted weight)

2.5mm crochet hook (this is in between a US B/C hook, you could use either)

Small amount of toy stuffing

Invisible thread

Small Button

Starting off

I poured a thin layer of pva into the bottom of the jar and tilted the jar to make sure it was even, then sprinkled my pebbles over until there were no gaps. I’d advised leaving it somewhere warm to dry or it will take forever for the glue to go hard. Also, I’d really not recommend putting the pebbles in first and pouring the glue over. This creates a really thick layer of glue which takes FOREVER to dry. (My first go took three weeks in an English winter!) So go thin and pour the pebbles on. this is much quicker and will hold just as well.

image1

Plant Pattern

Chain 2, 6 sc in second chain from hook.

Chain 7, sl stitch in 2nd and 3rd chain from hook, sc in next four chains.

Chain 12, slip stitch in 2nd, 3rd and 4th chains from hook, sc in next 7 chains.

Chain 9 , slip stitch in 2nd and 3rd chains from hook, sc in next 6 chains. Fasten off and sew the bottom of your chain rows to the 6sc ring.

Cover in PVA (or you could use glittery mod podge), twist the strands to make them look like fronds and leave to dry.

image2

Fish Pattern

Written in US terminology. Fish is worked amigurumi style, in continuous rounds.

Body

Using orange yarn.

Round 1: Chain 2, 6 sc in 1st chan (6sc)

Round 2: inc in next st, sc, inc in next 2 sts, sc, inc in next st (10 sc)

Round 3: inc in next st, sc in next 3 sts, inc in next 2 sts, sc in next 3 sts, inc in next st (14sc)

Round 4:  inc in next st, sc in next 5 sts, inc in next 2 sts, sc in next 5 sts, inc in next st (18sc)

Round 5:  inc in next st, sc in next 7 sts, inc in next 2 sts, sc in next 7 sts, inc in next st (22sc)

Rounds 6-8: sc around

Round 9: sc 2 tog, sc in next 7 sts, sc2tog twice, sc in next 7 sts, sc2tog (18sc)

Stop and insert safety eyes. I put mine between rounds 4 &5, about five sts down from the top of head (the beginning of each round is the top of head)

Round 10: sc 2 tog, sc in next 5 sts, sc2tog twice, sc in next 5 sts, sc2tog (14sc)

Round 11: sc 2 tog, sc in next 5 sts, sc2tog, sc in next 5 sts (12 sc)

Round 12: Sc around (12 sc)

Round 13: inc in next st, sc in next 4 sts, inc in next 2 sts, sc in next 4 sts, inc in next st (16sc)

Round 14:  inc in next st, sc in next 6 sts, inc in next 2 sts, sc in next 6 sts, inc in next st (20sc)

Round 15:  sc around (20 sc)

Round 16: inc in next st, sc in next 8 sts, inc in next 2 sts, sc in next 8 sts, inc in next st (24sc)

Round 17: sc around (24 sc)

Stuff fish firmly, then sew tail closed using whip stitch.

Top fin

Chain 8

Row 1: skip 2 chains, hdc in next 2 ch, sc in next 2, slip stitch in last two. Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing.

Position on top of head, with hdc facing towards tail. Sew in place.

Side fins (make 2)

Chain 2.

Round 1: In second chain from hook: sc, 2 hdc, 3 dc, 2 hdc, sc, slip stitch to first sc. Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Position on body. I attached mine about 1 row back from eye, in the middle of body. Sew securely and fasten off.

Crochet_goldfish

Assembling the Jar

Hopefully now everything will be dry (if not, try giving it a blast with a hairdryer).

Add a little blob of strong glue to the top of your glass pebble and to the bottom of your plant. Hold together until set.

Then add a blob of glue to your pebbles in the jar and the bottom of your glass pebble and position. Hold until set.

image4

Cut a length of invisible thread and thread through the top fin of the goldfish, so the centre of the thread is on his fin and the two ends are together (you’ll need To pass these through the button soon). Make sure he hangs level then tie a knot to secure.

Tie another knot further up. Exactly where will depend on the height of your jar. My jar was short so I did mine about two inches further up but if you have a taller jar you’ll need to make this longer. Thread an end of the invisible thread through each eye of the button and tie a couple of knots to secure. At this point check your fish hangs right BEFORE gluing it in place. I just used a little sellotape as a temporary measure.

image5

Once you are happy with how he hangs, glue the button to the lid using strong glue. Make sure the glue has set before closing the lid and letting our fish enjoy his new home. :)

image6

End note:

I have made a rainbow fish too, once he’s totally finished I’ll share him with you.

Also, this tutorial was knocked up in a bit of a hurry. If there are errors or you need something clarifying, leave me a message in the comments and I’ll sort it for you quick sharp :)

Hope you enjoy x

Pot of Gold – St Patrick’s Day Free Crochet Pattern

Crochet_Pot_Of_Gold

I thought that since today is St Patrick’s Day it would be nice for the little ones to find a Pot of Gold waiting for them when they wake up. After all, isn’t that why we all love a rainbow? The promise that we might find some hidden treasure among the beautiful shimmering colours.

So without further ado, here’s a free crochet pattern for you to make your own pot of gold.

You will need:

  • brown or black yarn for pot
  • small amount of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and pink for rainbow handle
  • hook appropriate for your yarn choice
  • yarn needle
  • pins for sewing
  • gold coins (or chocolate pennies)

I used a double knit / light worsted weight cotton and a 2.5mm hook for my pot. It turned out about 13 cm / 5″ high from base to top of handle. Using a hook size 1-2 sizes smaller than advised on your yarn label will ensure your pot is nice and sturdy.

Instructions

This pattern is written in US terminology. You’ll need to know the single crochet stitch, crab stitch (reverse single crochet) and slip stitch. The US single crochet is the equivalent of the UK double crochet

PotCrochet_Pot_free_Pattern

Round 1: ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd chain from hook (6 sc)

Round 2: [inc in next stitch] 6 times (12 sc)

Round 3: [sc, inc in next stitch] 6 times (18 sc)

Round 4: [sc in next 2 sts, inc in next stitch] 6 times (24 sc)

Round 5: [sc in next 3 sts, inc in next stitch] 6 times (30 sc)

Round 6: [sc in next 4 sts, inc in next stitch] 6 times (36 sc)

Round 7: [sc in next 5 sts, inc in next stitch] 6 times (42 sc)

Round 8: [sc in next 6 sts, inc in next stitch] 6 times (48 sc)

Round 9: [sc in next 7 sts, inc in next stitch] 6 times (54 sc)

Rounds 10-19: sc around (54 sc)

Round 20: [sc in next 7 sts, sc2tog] 6 times (48 sc)

Rounds 21-22: sc around (48 sc)

Round 23: slip stitch in next 2 stitches (to even up your rows) then reverse single crochet in these 2 slip stitches and each stitch around until you return to the beginning.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Rainbow handle

Crochet_Rainbow_Free_Pattern

Work over your yarn ends as you go across each row to save lots of weaving in later!

With red yarn, chain 41

Row1: sc in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain until the end. Fasten off red.

Row 2: With orange yarn, chain 1, sc in same stitch and in each stitch across. Fasten off orange yarn.

Row 3: With yellow yarn, chain 1, sc in same stitch and in each stitch across. Fasten off yellow yarn.

Row 4: With green yarn, chain 1, sc in same stitch and in each stitch across. Fasten off green yarn.

Row 5: With blue yarn, chain 1, sc in same stitch and in each stitch across. Fasten off blue yarn.

Row 6: With purple yarn, chain 1, sc in same stitch and in each stitch across. Fasten off purple yarn.

Row 7: With pink yarn, chain 1, sc in same stitch and in each stitch across. Fasten off pink yarn.

Now at this point I wove in all my remaining yarn ends, which wasn’t very clever as it made more work for myself I’d advise keeping one yarn end each side to sew to pot.

Sewing together.

Crochet_Rainbow_Pot_Free_Pattern

Pin your handle to your pot. and whip stitch together. (It’s neater if you whip stitch on the inside of your pot. Turn it inside out to do this if it’s easier)

You’re all done!

Fill with chocolate coins and enjoy!

As always, you are free to sell physical items make from my patterns, but I’d be very grateful if you’d credit me as the designer and link back to this site. Thanks for your support :)

Crochet_St_Patricks_Day_Pot_Of_Gold

 

New Crochet Fingerless Gloves and A Rather Crazy Week…

It has been a rather crazy week. There’s so much that’s happened that I want to share but it’s all top-secret for the time being, so I’m taking to bouncing around, generally annoying people and trying to keep myself from exploding with excitement.

I know it’s annoying when people do that whole ‘I know something you don’t know’ thing but trust me, the suspense will be worth the wait if the whole thing comes off. Until it’s no longer at the ‘if’ stage, I’m going to have to keep my lips sealed.

I do have something really quite lovely to show you though…

Crochet fingerless gloves

New fingerless gloves!

Hurrah for being able to text, draw, doodle, type and most importantly, crochet while still keeping your hands warm. I love these little babies as they add a little retro glamour to dresses and look fab with jeans. They are highly adaptable and very, very practical.

So of course I couldn’t just make them in one colour. Oh no, I made them in every colour I could find. Here they are in their new upcycled pallet tray home that the other half kindly made for me (Click here for the tutorial to make your own pallet tray).

Crochet fingerless gloves in upcycled pallet tray

I even made a couple of pairs that glowed under UV light, one pair in orange and one in pink. Yes, Dada Neon Crochet’s influence is taking effect…

Uv crochet fingerless gloves

Pink uv fingerless gloves

If you’d like your own pair of crochet fingerless gloves handmade by me they are now available in both my Etsy and Folksy shops. Otherwise you can come and say hi to me in person at Proteus Creation Space’s Vintage Fair which is taking place this Sunday 14th September in Basingstoke from 10am – 4pm.

Proteus Creation Space

 

It would be great to see you :)

 

 

World Wide Artist Blog Hop

I was very kindly invited to join the World Wide Artist Blog Hop by the very lovely Julia of Dada Neon Crochet who is an amazing freeform crochet artist. She introduced me to the world of crochet beyond patterns and I highly recommend that you check out her blog and join in her crochet-a-long. It is so much fun!

What is the World Wide Artist Blog Hop?

It’s a chance for artists around the world to answer four questions about their art on their blogs and then nominate some fellow artists (minimum of one, maximum of three) to do the same. Some of the amazing people who have already taken part are:

http://lovingrd.wordpress.com/ 
http://www.kimwerker.com/2014/06/02/around-world-blog-hop/
http://carinascraftblog.wardi.dk/2014/06/around-world-blog-hop.html
http://pagesintime.blogspot.com/2014/06/blog-hop-last-week-i-received-email.html
http://inthehillsofnorthcarolina.blogspot.com/2014/06/blog-hop.html
http://kokopellidesign.blogspot.com/2014/08/worldwide-artist-blog-hop-and-four.html
http://zootyowlcards.blogspot.com

The blog post looks like this:

 • Link/ intro to the person/blog who invited them on the blog-hop.
 • Answers to these 4 questions:

1. Why do I do what I do?
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3. How does my creative process work?
4. What am I working on now?

So here goes…

Why Do I Do What I Do?

I have always crafted. As a child remember receiving craft kits for my birthday and Christmas. Lace-making, candle-making, sew your own toy kits. I literally couldn’t get enough of them. I was always making something and felt at my happiest when I was being creative. Oddly enough even though my mum knitted and my nan crocheted, those two skills I never learnt. When my nan passed on, I inherited all of her crochet hooks and it made me sad to think that it was a skill that had seemingly died with her. But at the time I was just entering adulthood and the bright lights of bars and boyfriends took up all my time.

Some of my nan's crochet goodies

Some of my nan’s crochet goodies

It wasn’t until I settled down and had a child of my own that I decided to pick up the hooks and teach myself to crochet. I borrowed some books from a library and started making things. Some of it was more successful than others, and most of those early pieces have since been frogged and turned into bigger and better projects. Once I started though I found that I couldn’t stop and soon my crochet -and yarn collection- had taken on a life of their own. I now design and write my own patterns. Something I hope my nan would be proud of.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

There are so many talented crocheters out there that I do think it is quite hard to stand out from the crowd and part of me feels like I would be quite egotistical to try and convince you that I am unique from the other yarn artists. What I really enjoy though is trying to push the boundaries of what non-crafty people expect from crochet, be it through cute amigurumi animals, stepping beyond traditional materials and using something more unexpected such as fabric or plastic bags as yarn for rugs, and showing people that crochet can be used as jewellery, or top hats or made into a rocking horse. Crochet doesn’t have to be all about granny blankets and throws. It can be extremely fun and playful too. I love how the current trend for yarnbombing towns and cities is making people realise that.image

How does my creative process work?

When it comes to designing my amigurumi animals it is very often the result of a request by someone, often my daughters. Before I started writing patterns to sell, I would just pick up a hook and some yarn and create whatever it was that they wanted. Moshi Monster hat? Yep. My Little Pony? Been there. Minion? Done it. Now I am beginning to sell my items I am much more aware of copyright and know that items I make for my family are not suitable for a wider audience. I do love making animals though and at heart I am quite the puzzler so working out how to create something three dimensional satisfies that.

image

Away from the toys I am often inspired by colours. I will very often spontaneously buy a yarn just because I am in love with the colour of it and the idea for the project will come later. Other times it might be an item that inspires me. My aunt found me an adorable rocking horse that is just begging to be yarnbombed. I have a chair that is still waiting for its crochet transformation. There’s so many things like these that I still want to make. In some ways I have too many creative ideas and not enough time. But then I think that is the curse of most crocheters. We need to be born with extra fingers!

What am I working on now?

Too many things! I have a pattern for a sausage dog which needs typing up, along with a million patterns that I have stashed in old notebooks. I’m also making a bright and beautiful rainbow coloured African flower blanket which is still in progress (it’s been on the go for months). I am making lots of items for stalls at craft fairs which are coming up in the next month. I have a couple of handmade dresses which are still waiting for hems to be sewn or zippers inserted. And I am thinking about beginning work on a book which has been rolling around in my mind for the last couple of years. So I’m busy but loving every minute of it.

image

For me, it’s the only way to live.

I hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about me and I would like to invite Lindsay of Slumbermonkey Designs to take to World Wide Artists Blog Hop torch from me.

Thanks for reading! xx

Crochet Cowl – Free Pattern for all seasons

Crochet cowl free patternI am rather partial to a crochet cowl. They look great over t- shirts, keep your neck warm and don’t have any trailing ends that can get caught under a heel if you stand up too quickly.

Not that you’d ever catch me doing something like that in front of a room full of people…

In fact I love cowls so much that I wanted to try and make something that would work all year round. I wanted a cowl that was a little lacy and look pretty made from cotton in the summer, but something that would also keep me warm when the weather turns and the evenings draw in. I wanted something that would work up quick but look beautiful. In short, I wanted a cowl that would do it all.

Crochet cowl stitch used for free pattern

I think I may have found a perfect solution in an old notebook where I’d scribbled the instructions for a crochet fabric. I have no idea what the proper name for the stitch is or where I found it originally so if you can enlighten me about this I’d love to know.

After trying out various hooks and yarns I turned this random stitch into a lovely new cowl that I wanted to share with you.

All Seasons Crochet Cowl – Free Pattern

You’ll need:

  • About 200m chunky yarn for adult size. I used about 1 & 1/3 balls of Stylecraft Special Chunky in Meadow for the instruction photos. (If you are making the large child size – shown in lilac, or neckwarmer version – shown in white you’ll only need 1 x 100g ball
  • 10mm crochet hook
  • Yarn needle

Instructions

Chain 50 for child / neckwarmer version or 62 for adult cowl.

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each chain to end. Turn. (By the way, I almost always flip my chain over and crochet into the bottom of it as it creates a neater edge. It’s a little tip I picked up from Debbie Stoller’s The Happy Hooker book. Not necessary to make this pattern but looks kinda cool if you want to give it a try).

Crochet chain

Row 2: Ch 1, sc in each st. Turn.

Row 3: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), *skip 2 sts, 1 dc into next st, ch 3, work 3 dc around post of the dc just made, skip 2 sts, 1 dc in next st* repeat to end. Turn. (Take care at the beginning of this row to remember that the ch 3 counts as the first dc so you are making the next dc in the fourth sc of row below. I know this sounds confusing so check photo if you need clarification).

Crochet cowl pattern row 3

Row 4: Ch 5, (counts as dc, ch 2), * sc into 3rd ch at beginning of square, ch 2, dc into single dc below, ch 2* repeat to end, making last dc into 3rd ch of row 3. Turn.

Row 5: Ch 1, sc into dc, * sc into each next 2 ch, sc into next sc, sc into each next 2 ch, sc into next dc* repeat to end working last sc into 3rd chain of ch 5 of row 4. Turn.

For neckwarmer: repeat rows 2-5 twice more.

For child’s and adult’s crochet cowl: repeat rows 2-5 four more times.

To finish all versions: work two more rows of sc and fasten off, leaving a length of yarn three times the height of the piece for sewing.

Using stitch markers or pins, match up the rows along the sides. Stitch together and weave in loose ends.

Crochet cowl pattern-align the edges

Enjoy wearing your new cowl!

Crochet cowl - free pattern

Free Crochet Cactus Pattern

Crochet-cactus

Yeehaw! If you are looking for a free cactus crochet pattern then you have come to the right place. This little fellow is quick, simple and would make a fun addition to your desk or last minute gift for a friend.

Best of all, it is a plant that even I can’t kill. ;)

To make your crochet cactus you will need:

  • Green, sand and blue (or your choice) yarn of all the same weight. I used a DK / light worsted weight cotton.
  • 2.5mm crochet hook or size appropriate to your yarn choice.
  • Toy stuffing
  • Yarn needle
  • Pair of tights (optional)
  • Gravel, rice, glass beads etc to weight the base (optional)

Free Cactus Crochet Pattern

Main stem

Using green yarn.

Round 1: Ch 2, 6 sc in 1st ch. (6sc)

Round 2 : [inc in next st] 6 times (12 sc)

Round 3: [sc in next sc, inc in next st] 6 times (18 sc)

Rounds 4-28: sc in each st around (18 sc)

Round 29: [sc in next sc, sc2tog] 6 times (12 sc)

Round 30: sc around, changing to sand coloured yarn on last sc (12 sc)

Round 31: [sc in next sc, inc in next st] 6 times (18 sc)

Round 32: [sc in next 2 sc, inc in next sc] 6 times (24 sc)

Round 33: [sc in next 3 sc, inc in next sc] 6 times (30 sc)

Round 34: [sc in next 4 sc, inc in next sc] 6 times (36 sc)

Round 35: [sc in next 5 sc, inc in next sc] 6 times (42 sc)

Round 36: [sc in next 6 sc, inc in next sc] 6 times (48 sc)

Round 37: sc around (48 sc)

Fasten off, leaving a long sewing length.

Stuff firmly.

Crochet_cactus

Arms (Make 2)

Using green yarn.

Round 1: Ch 2, 6 sc in 1st ch. (6sc)

Round 2 : [inc in next st] 6 times (12 sc)

Rounds 3-10: sc around (12sc)

Rounds 11-15: Front loop sc in next 6 sc, sc in next 6 sc

Fasten off, leaving a long sewing length.

Stuff, making sure you can still bend the arms into shape. The front loop sc should be at the bottom of the arms, allowing you to curve the piece.

Crochet_cactus1

Pot

Using blue yarn (or colour of your choice)

Round 1: Ch 2, 6 sc in 1st ch. (6sc)

Round 2 : [inc in next st] 6 times (12 sc)

Round 3: [sc in next sc, inc in next st] 6 times (18 sc)

Round 4: [sc in next 2 sc, inc in next sc] 6 times (24 sc)

Round 5: [sc in next 3 sc, inc in next sc] 6 times (30 sc)

Round 6: sc in back loop only of each st around (30 sc)

Rounds 7-9: sc around (30 sc)

Round 10: [sc in next 4 sc, inc in next sc] 6 times (36 sc)

Rounds 11-12: sc around (36 sc)

Round 13: [sc in next 5 sc, inc in next sc] 6 times (42 sc)

Rounds 14-15: sc around (42 sc)

Round 16: [sc in next 6 sc, inc in next sc] 6 times (48 sc)

Rounds 17-18: sc around (48 sc)

Finish the pot with three slip stitches in first three sc of previous round. Fasten off and weave in loose ends.Crochet_cactus_pot

Assembly

Pin arms to the main stem and sew in place.

If you want to weight the bottom of your pot, cut a foot of a pair of tights, place some gravel, uncooked rice or glass beads inside, check it fits the pot and tie securely. Place in bottom of pot and begin to sew the stem piece to round 17 of pot, stuffing firmly with wadding before you sew closed. Weave in ends and enjoy!

Crochet_cactus_free_pattern

As an alternative idea, you could use a terracotta pot or teacup as the base for your crochet cactus. Simply complete the stem and arms as above, increasing or decreasing the sand base to fit your pot as necessary. stuff and glue the rim of base to your pot. A glue gun or an all-purpose adhesive like UHU works well.

Crochet_cactus_pot

Copyright Notice

This pattern, its illustrations and images are copyright ©2014 Tracy Braybrook

You are welcome to sell any items you make from this pattern but please do not copy or post this pattern on another blog, website or in printed format without prior written permission from me. You are welcome to link to this site or pin images directly from it as long as you credit me as the author.

Please feel free to share you makes with me via social media or leave your link in the comments below.

Enjoy your crocheting! :)


Increase Your Facebook Reach With Imagination

As I sit and type this I cannot quite believe what is happening. In fact, because I am so stunned, I am having to write this down just to make it seem real.

Two days ago I had a thought.

I had been scrolling through my Facebook news feeds for both my personal and page accounts and I noticed something. So many of the wonderful artists and crafters that I follow were posting that their reach was down.  I mean a lot of them. Almost everyone had said that within the last week, they were struggling to reach even ten percent of their followers.

The networking pages were saying the same. There was a lot of speculation whether people shouldn’t post pictures or put a link in their post or limit the amount of hashtags. The rumour was that text only was the way to go. The conclusion was that Facebook was trying to make everyone pay to get their posts to the people that had already liked their page.

It seemed unfair and quite worrying. After all, I am only a little page compared to others out there. If they were struggling, how the hell was I going to get anywhere with my fledgling business?

I love the people that follow me. I love reading their comments, I love their interaction. I love how they are willing to share their makes with me and vice versa. I didn’t want to lose that.

And so as I scrolled I had a thought. It was a little thought that tumbled around in my mind and as it tumbled it began to grow. The thought was this: I wonder if there is a way to remind people that supporting handmade business doesn’t have to involve money?

Every time someone clicks the ‘like’ button, everytime someone leaves a comment on a post, everytime someone is kind enough to share a post. They are all helping to support that page. And that action could be the difference between that business finding a potential customer and surviving or being another dream that falls by the wayside.

I wondered how to articulate what I was thinking in a way that didn’t put guilt or pressure on people. I wanted something that would conjure hope not obligation. I wanted people to feel inspired.

I have a box of crocheted flowers. Little things I have played with and tried out over the years and never used. I grabbed that box and a black cloth. I laid out the contents in the shape of a frame, leaving a gap in the middle for some text. I played with the arrangement until I was happy with how it looked and then I took a photo on the iPad. I opened up a free app I have called After Photo and I added some text. It was nothing ground-breaking. Just a little friendly reminder that every click is a way to share some handmade love.

The final result result looked like this…

Spread_Handmade_Love

I uploaded it to my Eden Reborn Facebook page along with this text…

It is becoming increasingly hard for small businesses with little advertising budget to compete against corporations with millions of dollars in the bank. We are almost entirely dependent on social media to display our wares, connect with potential customers and make new friends. Pages who have thousands of followers may still reach a handful of their fans with their posts. Seems unfair eh? You can help! Every time you like, comment or share a post from your favourite page, you help to increase their reach. One little click could be the difference between them making a sale or them failing. Without spending a single penny, you have the power to shape the world as you want it to be. Help local businesses. Spread handmade love.

And I pinned it to the top of my page. I then went across to a couple of other networking pages and share it to their wall and then I waited.

The likes began to come in. So did the shares.

Before I knew it, that one little picture that took me five minutes to make on the iPad had reached over a thousand people.

The shares kept coming. As I sit and write this 48 hours after I first posted it, that picture has reached over 7,500 people, which for a little page with less than 700 likes, ain’t bad. I am so very grateful for that I can’t even begin to articulate it.

Has it got my page a whole load of new likes? No. Has it proved that it is completely possible to increase your Facebook reach without spending any money on advertising? Absolutely.

To be fair, I never posted this with the goal of gaining myself new likes. I want people to like my page because they genuinely want to. I want people who will inspire me and laugh with me and who are willing to wander a while on this crazy journey called life with me. I want friends, not followers.

And I wanted to prove that social media can be used in a positive way to transform the situation in which we find ourselves. I wanted to prove you can increase your Facebook reach without paying for advertising. I wanted to inspire people to not just sit there and take the hit on their visibility. I want to tell you that you absolutely CAN do something about it. All it takes is a little imagination.

I have always been a big fan of social media. Never before in the history of mankind have we had the opportunity to reach so many people in such a little amount of time. We can talk with people on the other side of the globe with a single click of a button. Information can be shared across continents within seconds. We should be celebrating that.

I know it’s easy to get caught up in your own sphere of experience and not be able to see the wood for the trees. But we have to pull together and stop being little islands shouting at each other from a distance.

Gandhi said, ‘We have to be the change we want to see in the world’. If we want people to engage more with us, we have to be willing to engage more with them. We can’t want people to like, comment or share on our pages if we are not willing to do the same to theirs.

I know it’s hard. I know there are only so many hours in the day. I know we all have lives and family and work and commitments. But we have to find the time to put the social back into the media. For everyone’s benefit. Because as Albert Schweitzer said, “Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier”.

So call it what you want: pay it forward, random act of kindness, doing a good deed. Next time you are scrolling through your feed and see something that you like, click the ‘like button’. If you feel like saying something, then say it. And if you want to share it, then do.

That one little click could be the thing that changes someone’s life for the better.


Learning to Freeform Crochet – and Loving It!

As someone who spends their life creating patterns and working from them over and over again to make sure they are just right, the world of free form crochet is a little scary.

Ok, a lot scary.

I mean, I have always admired the organic, crazy, spontaneous freeform crochet creations as I scrolled through the feeds of fellow hookers but I always set out on a crocheting session with a particular design in mind. The thought of just randomly making stitches as and when the mood takes you. Well, to be honest I didn’t know if my slightly OCD-addled mind could deal with the randomness.

Could I learn to let go and stitch with the flow?

One of the thing that I love most about the crochet scene is the sense of community amongst us. There is a great sense of camaraderie, a willingness to help each other learn and grow in our skills and an enormous joy that is to be found in sharing your new creations with your hooking friends. So when I saw some of the people I follow on Facebook updating each other with how their new freeform crochet projects were evolving,

I kind of felt a little left out and I have a big jar of yarn ends that are just begging for a new project…

Jar_of_yarn

Fortunately, the rather lovely Dada Neon Crochet has very kindly put together a freeform crochet-a-long. The weeks are broken up into easily manageable chunks and the ideas for each week are definitely going to get the creative juices flowing. Seriously, check it out, it’s amazing. From making your hand print, to imagining your dream house to portraying your favourite song in yarn, it’s all there with handy ideas of how to go about stitching each task.

It is so amazing in fact that even a slave to crochet patterns like myself couldn’t resist joining in. This is my attempt at week one…

freeform_crochet_beginning

 

Not exactly groundbreaking in freeform crochet terms but well outside of my personal comfort zone. So pretty proud of it all the same. So although I have a million works already in progress (who doesn’t?) by learning to freeform crochet I am making some new friends and learning something new along the way. There is a great support network and even though we are all following the same instructions everyone’s interpretation is different so each design is totally unique.  The best bit is that I have absolutely no idea what the finished piece will look like. Neither does anyone else.

But it is sure going to be fun finding out. :)

If you want to join in the fun for yourself, just head over to Dada Neon Crochet’s blog where you can find all the instructions for getting started

 

Sparking the Imagination at Winchester Hat Fair

Yesterday we treated ourselves to a rather lovely day out at the annual Winchester Hat Fair. I hadn’t been since I was a little girl and now I have two of my own I thought it was time to revisit the slightly strange, weird and highly entertaining attraction which takes over Winchester, Hampshire for three days a year.

Show_Winchester_Hat_Fair

 

It didn’t disappoint. The weather was bright and sunny and there was just the right mixture of performance shows, hands-on interactive exhibits and stalls filled with handmade goodies and mouthwatering wares to keep the whole family entertained. Plus it was free! Hurrah for small mercies!

There was a Steampunk style ride-on flying machine which would whizz the kids around Abbey Gardens…

Ride_On_Flying_Machine_Winchester_Hat_Fair

There was some rather haunting and eerie dresses hanging from the trees in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral…

Winchester_Hat_Fair

Some rather lovely paper bunting…

Bunting_Winchester_Hat_Fair

And the chance to hone your circus skills (even the big kids couldn’t resist)…DSCN0661

 

There was also a rather marvellous tent called The Imaginarium which was the portal to an Alice in Wonderland inspired tent full of fun games and films telling the stories of some of the creatures from Lewis Carroll’s story. I wish I had taken a photo of it but unfortunately I didn’t. All I can say is that it is a big white tent in the Cathedral grounds and is well worth a visit and twenty minutes of your time.

We all came away from Winchester Hat Fair brimming with ideas of things to make inspired by things we had seen at the fair. It’s only on for the rest of the weekend so if you are looking for something to do that won’t cost the earth, this is the place to go.

Have a great weekend everyone! x

 

Feeling Foxy! A New Crochet Fox Pattern is Available!


Wow! So much has happened over the last week that I thought it was best to take a Fox_Crochet_PDF_Pattern_Imagemoment and record it all for gratitude’s sake. First up, I have a new fox pattern available to buy. You can download it direct from this site, just click onto the patterns tab and press buy now. This will take you to Ravelry’s secure site where the PDF will come to you as an instant download. If you prefer to buy on Etsy or Folksy, you can go right ahead and do that too.

It seems a little unbelievable that I am here. I have thought about writing patterns for years but never found the confidence and managed to talk myself out of it. And so the pattern notes grew and they sat untouched on a shelf whilst I got on with my all the other things that life threw at me.

Crochet_fox_pattern_piecesLast week I decided that enough was enough and it was time to start following my dreams. I was working in my day job and as a series of minor irritations grew to the point of making me seriously miserable, I decided that I had to do something about it. So I dusted off my fox crochet pattern notes and tested them and them tested them again, and typed them up. And then I took lots of pictures to help people sew their ami together and then, before I knew it, I had a completed fox crochet pattern! Hurrah!

I then started sending the photos out into the world and the response I got overwhelmed me. So many people loved the cute little fellow. People wanted to make him. People starting following me on my social networks. I wanted to thank them for all their support and encouragement so I decided to give away a limited amount of people And now my little crochet fox pattern is being made in places as far flung as the USA and Spain and New Zealand. Crazy really. Even more so considering that all this has happened in a week!

Crochet_fox_pattern_twinsI guess it just goes to show that hope can be found even in your darkest moments and there is always something to be grateful for, even if some days you have to look a little harder to find it.

Now I have a whole crochet amigurumi army planned to unleash upon the world! I plan on keep giving away a limited amount of my patterns on their release so if you want one be sure to follow me (social media buttons are on the top of this page) and keep your eyes peeled.

Thank you everyone for your support in the last week. It is very much appreciated and I am truly grateful.

Enjoy your crocheting!

x