Sunday, 8 October 2017

Edward's Crochet Doll Emporium

You may recall a little while ago, at the beginning of this year, that I wrote a review for Pavilion Books' rather quietly racy book Nudinits, which I was very happy to do, and still to this day will chuckle when Nudinits continue to show up with seasonally appropriate inappropriate jokes over on Facebook. So when I was again asked if I would like a copy of their new book, I was more than happy to jump on board to share my thoughts!


Edward's Crochet Doll Emporium is the brand new book from TOFT's Kerry Lord, who also wrote the fantastic Edward's Menagerie, and the book that has featured in a few makes on this blog, Edward's Imaginarium. In the same vain as Imaginarium, the Doll's Emporium is also a fun flip book, in which you can mix and match the pattern pieces  from head to toe, with different basic doll shapes and hundreds upon hundreds of costume and hair combinations.


Here you can see the opening page - already I want to just start hooking a superhero doll!


As a test, I just flicked through the pages to see what sort of combinations you can make, and you can see immediately I fell on a winner - a punk ballerina? Don't mind if I do!

Don't worry about there being too much choice though, there are plenty of suggestions and inspiration in the book to get you started! Towards the back of the book there are pages and pages of inspiration for different dolls, and I am always impressed by Kerry's creativity when it comes to this sort of thing. There's a bearded merman...

A classic superhero...

AND A WIZARD


That's not everything though, oh no! The idea of the book is you can use it to combine the costumes and hair etc to create your very own dolls, inspired by your kids, your friend's, your family, and really tailor the dolls to each person you want to make it for. I've already got a pretty good idea as to what I could make for my brother for Christmas (bless his patience, I keep making things and I wonder what he does with them all!). 

You will also find at the back lots of clear and easy-to-read step-by-steps on the basic crochet stitches, so if you are relatively new to crochet, or you want to give this as a gift to someone who isn't sure about crochet, Doll's Emporium would be a really good choice. 

I'm having a lot of fun simply flicking through the book and wondering what I should make next - I would have already started a doll for this review, had I not already a million other WIPs on the go! Give it a week perhaps...I might have almost finished something which is excuse enough to cast on many many new items... but nevertheless, I can't wait to get started on something soon! I mean, just look at all the possibilities in one book - just one!

Edward's Crochet Doll Emporium, by Kerry Lord - £16.99 (Pavilion Books) is available to buy now!

Thanks to Frida at Pavilion Books for sending me a copy to review for the blog. All thoughts and opinions and sequels of excitement are my own. 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

oh, what a wonderful Yarndale


Last year was my first trip to the (in)famous yarn extravaganza called Yarndale, and as soon as it was over I just couldn't wait to get back there, particularly after a year in my job with more experience, yarn-y connections, and the confidence to talk to new people about all things knitted.


Unsurprisingly, the show (on Saturday) was busy! Just take a moment to absorb that queue. This was the first year that the show organisers had introduced bag searches, and while I appreciate their thoroughness and attempts to keep everyone as safe as possible, I mean, come on....Yarndale... I went for the day with Kate (Knit Now - oh, incidentally, the Knitter of the Year competition is open again, go and enter!!!) and Amy (Crochet Now) and we had a great little road trip down, a fun day which we split up with a picnic in the car, and a tired drive home. Oh, such a tired drive home.





The creativity of the show organisers, the people who attend, and the show volunteers is just so outstanding and inspiring, you can't help but walk around the show with a smile on your face while you attempt to absorb everything. Outside the show, they had the same, or similar, mandala's hanging in the tree over the knitted river, and on the grass on the other side of the path into the show they had a lovely knitted mini-forest and pasture motif, with adorable details such as these gorgeous little hedgehogs. As you enter the show it's easy to lose time while you admire the hundreds, if not thousands, of hand crocheted bunting strung up in the entrance hall, and it's a lot of fun to try and hunt them down in the show and on the stands throughout the day. In the Knit and Natter lounge, which was hosted by Wool Warehouse and Lucy from Attic 24, we also found and said hello to Christine (Winwick Mum, who I met on my day out to Sirdar about 18 months ago) who had organised the Yarndale Sock Line, and had them all strung up around the area and it was so impressive. 





There was, of course, yummy scrummy yarn as far as the eyes could see - it really looks like glittery, sparkly yarn is on the up this year, and of course you could see yarn cakes at every turn which was to be expected with how Caron Cakes exploded the popularity of these very lovely things. I also spotted this group of lovely smiley ladies with fascinating, matching hats! I was told they were knitted by Ann, the lady on the far left, so that they wouldn't lose each other at the show - and that she does this every year to coincide with a theme - how AWESOME is that?





And, let's face it, what yarn-event would be complete with the outrageously quirky side of things? The, ah, 'on-the-nose' notion bags you see above are from the eclectic The Knitting Goddess, and directly above is the new jumper knitting patterns from Sincerely Louise, using her new 100% wool which I am VERY excited to get my hands on as soon as I can! :) Unfortunately, being at the end of the month, this event was out of budget for me...I will save better next year! I did however manage to buy 6 balls of 100% British wool from Blacker Yarns in scrumptious colours, ready for a little stripy top-down jumper I don't doubt!

I loved the trip to Yarndale so much, that I have even written a 2-page report for the magazine next month - keep your eye's peeled! :) If you haven't made  your way to Yarndale before, and you are based local-ish (I'm willing to travel the 1 and half hour journey after all!) you have no excuse, you have to get to Yarndale!! Next year, the show takes places 29 and 30 September 2018 (erm...one week before my wedding...ARGH!) so let me know if you will be going as I am sure I will be, if I'm not mega stressed that is - and we can meet in real life! :)

Did you go to Yarndale this year? What was your favourite part of the show?

Sunday, 17 September 2017

hello, stranger

We'll get right to it - I've been a stranger these past couple of months and I'm sorry, shall we start a new for autumn, the best season in the year? Run up to Christmas, such such excuses to stay inside and knit with hot chocolate and wine, mm mm mmmmmm (not necessarily at the same time). 
 
It's been, as ever, busy busy busy in work and in life! Work's going fabulously - we've had a run of short print deadlines, and the run will continue for another couple of months, which when in the thick of it, is incredibly stressful, but I find I am thriving on the challenge and loving every second, even when I feel like I can't possibly finish everything. But I can and I do and I love it - it feels so good to say I love my job, I and hope you all can say the same, or will manage to one day soon if you are looking. I will also have a sock knitting pattern (my first sock pattern!!) publishing in Knit Now before Christmas too, how terrifically exciting I can't wait! Don't worry, I will let you know as soon as it is available.

Not only has work been hectic, but we have big big plans in the pipeline too - we're finally getting married! We've set the date for next year, booked many a things that needed to be booked, the honeymoon deposit is down - It. Is. HAPPENING and I couldn't be more excited! I have plans to hand-make a lot of the bits for the wedding, from decorations to, wait for it, the dress itself! I'm going to sew my own dress and I can't wait to share some updates with you when that ball starts to pick up speed, but don't worry it won't all be sewing - I plan to knit a wedding shawl (be prepared, it WILL include Wonder Woman) and crochet many a bits and pieces for centre pieces, because let's face it, it wouldn't be my wedding if it wasn't at least partially covered in yarn and video games. 

That's my quick update-how-do-you-do-its-been-too-long-lets-catch-up - how about you? What have you been up to since I've been gone? In between all this of course, much knitting has occurred, including a hoodie for Ben, sewing is also taking place such as for London MCM Comic Con next month, and crochet aplenty - including the little chap I want to show you today as a little welcome back to the geeky knitter. 


Longhoh is a Pocket Monster from Sabrina Somer's new book Pocket Monsters which, let's face it, might be heavily influenced by a certain video game/mobile game/TV show/Japanese cult phenomenon, but I don't want to pry! Longnoh's pattern is featured in issue 19 of Crochet Now as well, which is the other magazine I work on (and love!) and as soon as I saw this pattern for the magazine I knew I had to make him!. 
 
 
A bit like a baby Charizard, Longnoh is designed to be made with a red 4-ply cotton and small hook, so he should be no more than 10cm high and fit, literally, in your pocket. I however am partial to a larger toy so I upped my yarn choice to an aran wool-acrylic blend and 5mm hook. I used Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool in shade Peppermint - mmmmm, I have enough to make a jumper that I haven't started yet, but having seen how gorgeous the colour looks worked up I know I will cast on as soon as I finish Ben's jumper.
 
 

The pattern was easy to follow and he is so full of character and looks so adorable with his big felt eyes, I'm rather tempted to make more from the book and have a little collection. I think he is so cute, and he now sits with me at work.

Gosh, I do always forget what a pleasure it really is to bash out a blog post and say hello to you lovely people! Rest assured I will do my best to keep you informed more regularly, if nothing more than I am waaayyy behind on the #EnchantedCottageKAL and we are nearing the end of it, and I want that blanket gosh-darnit! Tell me what you've been up to since I've been gone, and let's keep in better touch!