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Monday, 28 April 2014

Giving Craftsy a lookover

I'm in the process of putting my patterns for sale on Craftsy as well as Ravelry, I guess some people may prefer one over the other.  Craftsy is quite interesting if you fancy trying your hand at something new.

The links I've stuck in this post are affiliate links which means Craftsy will give me a few extra pennies for sending you their way.  I've bought patterns myself from them before and not had any problems so I'm happy to recommend them as an alternative to Ravelry (which is also super great btw).

When I signed up to be a Craftsy affiliate, I get to try out one of their craft courses free.  I must say, I've not really looked at their courses before but if it's free, I'll certainly be giving one of them a go.  I might even deviate from crochet for a while!  If you have a crafty website and fancy joining the Craftsy affiliate program the linky is here.

There's cake decorating which presumably implies some sort of cake making ability so I'll probably give that a miss.

Although..there's cooking type classes too....oooh La la French pastries!!!!  Not sure it's really me though..much easier to pop to the supermarket and much more likely to be edible plus I tend to frighten the kids when I try to get creative in the kitchen.

This looks interesting, even though I rarely wear jewelry, I'm sure my family would appreciate gifts that aren't crocheted...not once have I seen my mum sporting the beard I made her (tho maybe it's because I only had a ginger yarn)...

The courses cost about as much as a book on the subject so I guess pretty good value.  Can't really say till I've tried one though.

Anyway, as I said at the top, I do get compensated for sending surfers to Craftsy but this and anything from pattern sales goes towards buying yarn and making new patterns so any happy clicking is much appreciated!   I'm gonna go back to creating but if I spot any other interesting courses, I'll put them here so I can narrow my selection down a bit.  If anybody has personal recommendations on their courses I'd be very interested.

Friday, 25 April 2014

fugly crochet is moving....

So I've finally given in to my daughter. She is right, Fugly is not a nice word (although it described my early crochet efforts perfectly!) After much wracking of my poor brain, I came up with .....The Crochet Stitch Witch.  According to my advisor (daughter), this name suits me perfectly...hmmmm.

I had a good search round the world of the web and couldn't see that anyone else was using the name and the domain was available so there it is.  Sincere apologies if I have poached someone's user name.

I've got loads of plans for the new site.  It was great fun being able to share a pattern almost as soon as I'd concocted it as with the bobble sheep so I plan to make it a regular feature, just sharing whatever pops into my head.  (Some of it could well be fugly!!)

I'm also in the process of creating an ebook which will be given free to all my email subscribers.  So if you fancy getting your crochet fingers on a copy - just fill in the subscriber box on the new site you'll also be among the first to hear of new patterns and freebies.

The past week has been an extremely steep learning curve for me - finding out about web hosting (I've only ever used free blogs and things till now!) and I've been making things far more complicated (and expensive) than they needed to be.  Getting to grips with wordpress blogging and the infinite possibilities and dusting off the photoshop skills to make banners and logos.  It's all good fun but just makes me realise how little I think I find google+ a challenge!  Even idiot guides to things leave me scratching my head so I'm thinking I might include some 'how not to' do things type guides. Or the idiots guide to the idiots guide....

Anyway, check out my countdown page and fill in your email address (go on, you know you want to!)- pre-launch subscribers get to go on a super special list with an extra special freebie (that I've only just thought of)!  That's another thing I'm learning all about - email subscriber lists with Mail Chimp.  (Can you tell I'm trying to do this as cheaply as possible too!) Oh what fun we're going to have :)

Oh, I'm gonna get really, really brave and do some videos too!!

Friday, 18 April 2014

crochet sheep free pattern!!

Still in the spirit of the sheep, I couldn't resist making a little bobble version. I love bobbles. They are easy but gobble up the yarn so you'll need more than you think. I probably used about half a ball (25g ish) of the bobble colour, this was Drops Nepal in off white I think they call it. It's aran/worsted weight and I used a 3.5mm hook. (Btw, I always use American crochet terminology since I taught myself to crochet using Youtube videos)

free crochet pattern

To make a crochet bobble (bob): yo, insert hook in next sc, yo, pull through sc, yo pull through 2 on hook, *yo, insert hook in same sc, yo, pull through sc, yo, pull through 2 on hook*  repeat from * to* until 6 loops on hook then yo and pull through all 6.

The bobbles are a lot easier to execute if you just accept that they are on the wrong side, this is just fine, turn it inside out when you've done.  A slight complication arises if you switch to normal sc crochet (as with this crochet sheep) because you don't want to continue working the sc with the wrong side out (or maybe you do - go for it!) It honestly doesn't show that much if, when you join the different colour yarn, you also make your rounds go the other way and any little hiccup that does show, is easily hidden under the ear!

Body & Head

Row Instruction count
1 Make 6sc in adjustable loop 6
2 (sc, bob) 3 times might want to skip this row to avoid a 'pointy bottom (tho I quite like the torpedo shape!) 6
3 inc 6 times 12
4 (sc, bob) 6 times 12
5 (sc, inc) 6 times 18
6 (sc, bob) 9 times 18
7 (2sc, inc) 6 times 24
8 (sc, bob) 12 times 24
9 24sc 24
10-11 repeat row 8 & 9 24
12 Switch to face colour, 24sc (going the other way so bobbles are now on the right/out side) 24
13 24sc 24
14 (2sc, dec) 6 times. Stuff firmly. (Stick safety eyes in if using.) 18
15 (sc, dec) 6 times 12
16 dec 6 times 6
cut yarn, pull last loop out (not through the loop) thread end through outer loop of remaining 6sc and pull up to close.

Legs (make 4)

1 Make 6sc in adjustable loop 6
2 inc 6 times 12
3 12sc 12
4 (dec, 2sc) 3 times 9
5 9sc 9
6 (dec, sc) 3 times 6
cut yarn about 9", pull last loop out and use end to sew to underside of body, between bobbles


1 Make 6sc in adjustable loop 6
2 inc 6 times 12
3 (inc, sc) 6 times 18
Pinch one edge of the circle and sew to the edge of the face, about a third of the way down.
Embroider some eyes and a nose.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Giving the blog an overhaul..

I decided it's about time I actually spent a while tidying up the blog.  I guess a bit of housekeeping doesn't go amiss every now and then.  As it happens, I'm thoroughly enjoying messing with all the templates and options available.  Resisting the temptation to over-complicate things as usual is proving a bit of a struggle but I keep my inner 'tone it down' mantra chanting away.

Of course, when I changed the template it totally lost the little do-dah for Pinterest that I'd managed to get on every image but this link here sorted me right out!  There's shed loads of useful posts on the blog.

An extension for chrome called Feedly was also recommended to me and so far it seems much easier to navigate than google+.  I can just dump the URL of a blog from anywhere presumably and follow it.  No faffing around with circles and wotnot.  Actually, I think half the trouble I have is that I seem to have about 6 different google accounts that I have acquired for one reason or another (*cough* getting freebies *cough*) and now I'm getting them all muddled up.  Serves me right for trying to get more than one free Netflix trial I guess.

I'm also going to be changing the name of Fugly Crochet sometime soon...when I can think of a better alternative.  According to my daughter, Fugly is not a nice word...(yes I know the F doesn't stand for Fairly or Ferociously but it seemed quite apt when applied to some of my early c.2010 creations).  So I'm trying to come up with something new and original.  Tricky.

I've also got to come up with a banner or logo type arrangement for the home page.  Goody!  Photoshop play time :)

Monday, 14 April 2014

Social networking nightmare...

It's no secret that I am possibly the most unsociable person I know  (due to the fact that I am unsociable, I know very few people, so that's hardly surprising).  The rare occasions that I am required to indulge in social discourse (that's discourse, not intercourse) I invariably stick my foot in it.  Which goes somewhat towards explaining my affinity to the internet.  If I find myself in an awkward situation, I can just....close the page...ta-dah! 

Anyway, I digress, the only reason I felt like posting anything right now is because I am unable to work out how to follow another blogger.  I'm probably over-complicating things as I am prone to do but the hell do I just follow someone's blog?  Should it really be that challenging?  I can like a post, or rather 'recommend' a post as google puts it..but I figured somewhere, somehow, I should be able to 'follow' a blog, y'know?  Just so's I get to see when the people I choose to follow get updated.  I dunno, maybe I'm asking too much.  Maybe I'm just getting confused with Facebook (don't even let me get started on that one).  Bloody 'social' networking, I can see why companies are springing up all over the place to advise people how best to use it.  Thing is, I don't want to pay someone to do it for me.  I want to be able to work it out!  I'm not stupid (OK not as smart as I was pre-children but hey ho) just easily sidetracked.

So anyways, I can't be the only one with these difficulties which leads me to thinking that maybe I will post the results of my foray into the social networking ideal- mostly so that I can remind myself when I forget and maybe to help some other dozy sole suffering the same dilemma.  End of rant.  Mwah.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Sigmund the Sheep

I never actually intended to make a sheep, it was all the fault of the scrummy curly yarn I'd been unable to resist.
Crochet lamb

So, if you have a hairy/textured/curly whatever yarn that you've been searching for a suitable project ya go!

It does occur to me that by using different sorts of hairy/textured/curly yarn you could create something totally different to a sheep...but with the same pattern...I will be experimenting with this in the future I where did my 80's mohair collection go?

A few notes about textured yarn:

The other thing about using textured yarns for crochet (as I discovered by much trial, error and misunderstanding) is that they work up with the texture on the INSIDE!  So just turn it inside out when you've done of course.  Sadly, this was not obvious to me as I battled to work the stitches in some form that would have the texture on the outside.  So don't bother, just turn it.  This also applies when changing to an ordinary yarn in the same piece, turn it, join your plain yarn and carry on, it'll be a bit muddled since you're now going the other way but any twists, turns and bumps should be hidden under the fluffy bit.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Joining crochet pieces together

This is a little photo tutorial that I've started including with my patterns.  I daresay this is not the only or the best way to attach your arms and legs and wotnot but it is the way that I've found the most satisfying.

It can really make or break your creations if the bits don't stick together right, some of my early efforts prove that! So I spent quite some time working out how to piece them together better and find I spend almost as much time getting this last bit right as in actually crocheting the pieces in the first place.  I will also add that I nearly always have to have a few goes before I get it right, for that reason, I'll always leave the end where I can find it for a while in case I have to unpick it all and re-attach then poke all the ends into the body when I'm satisfied.

Hope this helps someone :)

How to join crochet pieces

I'm a bit sheepish about my latest project...

Ok, so Brian the Sheep may owe a little in looks to Shaun the Sheep...some things are just so deeply embedded in the psyche there's no getting away from it.  I obviously watch too much (childrens!) TV.  

crochet sheep

Brian has already made his debut on Instagram (my new favourite place) and I'm finishing up putting the pattern together for retail soon.  I've used a gorgeous hairy yarn from Drops which I got when they were doing an Alpaca event.  It's worth watching their website as every now and then they do a promotion with 25% or so off various yarns - good time to stock up...(I'm still wondering what to do with the stripey sock yarn I got last time)

I'm a bit new to textured yarn and discovered that you have to work it inside out since all the texturey bits end up on the wrong side. I'm going to have another go at it using a loop stitch instead of a textured yarn, I think that normally works wrong side out too.  I'll post the results here or Work In Progress on instagram. :)

I actually intended to make him an all white sheep, maybe black ears but discovered I'd actually run out of white yarn.  I've still forgotten (too poor to buy it anyway!) to get any more so, the next prototype may be a teensy bit multi-coloured.  Depends what I can find in my stash..stripey sock yarn here I come..

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

I've discovered Instagram!!

Pffff...I thought....yet another social media app that I won't be able to get to grips with (yes, I struggle with facebook) but lo, and behold...I really rather like instagram.  I can even see the point of #, there'll be no stopping me now hashtagging, following and liking (folliking??) like there's no tomorrow. Huzzah!  Now I just have to work out how to drag my pics from instagram to facebook to this page etc...sigh..