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Friday, 1 July 2016

Yarn Review: Rowan Cashmere in Light Blue





Yarn Review:  Rowan Cashmere in Light Blue  

This was made possible by Laughing Hens

I’ve been crocheting since I was a child and come into contact with many a wool and yarn so today I decided to bite the bullet and review some for you. Usually I would go for an acrylic yarn if teaching & a wool or wool blend if I was making something for a friend or myself, so I was delighted when I got hold of a beautiful ball of cashmere from the upcoming Autumn/Winter season from Rowan.
Rowan began in Yorkshire and has its roots providing wool for designers and creative crafters. It’s now a hugely popular premium fibre brand and sold all around the world. They sell a variety of yarns and are always bringing out new colours. I was lucky enough to get hold of it thanks to Laughinghens.com. However, all opinions are my own and completely honest. So here goes…

The Make Up: 

Rowan Cashmere is 95% Cashmere & 5% Wool.  It comes in dainty 25g balls, approx. length 75m (82yds).  The recommended crochet hook size is 4.5mm & this wool is made in Italy.

“It’s like holding candy floss.  You feel like you have to treat it very gently or it might break.”

First Impressions

I loved the colour I was sent. It is called LIGHT BLUE (Shade 00052), but as soon as I opened the envelope, I saw “denim”.  I love denim.  I love my jeans, I live in jeans & welly boots, as I live in the countryside & I am a part time farmer of 6 claves plus I also have 9 ducks & 2 mad Lurchers, so this immediately appealed.  Being 95% cashmere, you can only expect me to say that this wool is super soft, and it is indeed.  It’s like holding candy floss.  You feel like you have to treat it very gently or it might break.

Using the Wool               

I love wool.  Due to my age, I call every little bundle of “wool” wool, even though it’s yarn, so therefore not really wool, but this IS REALLY wool.  Using an aluminium crochet hook, I worked a small foundation chain and simply hooked a few rows of double crochet.  It was a dream to work with.  The wool slipped quietly through my fingers & didn’t split or snag or even squeak, as some wools do when being hooked.  The aluminium hook worked well with this “real” wool, allowing to flow just as it should: perfectly. 

This little ball of wonder wool unravels effortlessly as you work, out of its little doughnut-shaped cocoon, leaving you with even stitches and a good tension.  I hate it when you have to fight with your yarn (some acrylics I mean) as it seems to Velcro itself together as you try to unwind it, therefore leaving you with a slightly uneven tension.  This is really annoying - unless of course you are an experienced knitter or crocheter and you’re prepared for this.

Shades Available:                          


Rowan Cashmere  is available in Cream, Pink, Light Blue, Marl Grey, Dark Grey & Black. You can order yours direct from Laughing Hens https://www.laughinghens.com/knitting-wool/rowan-cashmere.

I am already combining these colours in my crochet designer head and coming up with a host of things that I would like to make with this wool for this coming winter, e.g. a head band to keep my ears warm when I don’t want to wear a hat, wrist warmers for when I can’t wear gloves & lots of baby booties, as this wool would be perfect for a little ones little feet.


Care:                   

Caring for this wool couldn’t be simpler; Rowan recommends that you wash it before you wear it, for the perfect cashmere softness. A 30 degree wash will do the trick, so nice and eco-friendly.  You can also get it dry cleaned, with advice sought from a specialist. 

Finale:                 

Quality is the key word here.  If you can afford it, buy it!  It’s truly sublime.  Cashmere soft, as you’d expect.  Only the best from Rowan.



Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Where has the year gone so far ?


This year has gone so quickly already!  It's now the last week of May and this is what's happened since my last blog post:



I can't wait to share this.....


I was on Amazon earlier today and I recognised my work on the front of a book that I had contributed too  Crochet Therapy



Click on the underlined book title above,  to be taken to Amazon where you can pre order this book (released July 7th)
Written by the talented Betsan Corkhill.


Wow! They are my therapy balls & the flower coaster, top left, is mine too!  I am on the Front Cover!!!!!! YAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY



****************************

In other news.....

I have hatched ducklings (Indian Runner Ducklings)


I have bought another 2 calves

The black one is a Heifer Aberdeen Angus & the other is a Bull Hereford.  We have named the Florence & Freddie.


I have made time for crochet too!  Teaching, Designing & making presents and stuff for me too!

The first one here is a Star Blanket made for a baby of unknown sex, due to be born in July.  I thought I had better get it started as soon as I heard that a friend in the village was pregnant, as I never know when I am going to be caught up with commissions.


This is a Rectangular Granny blanket that I am making for one of my two sofa's, so that my dogs can sit on them comfortably and to protect the sofa a little as well!


One of my pupils made this fab Granny Square Bag & lined it too.


We had a lesson out in the courtyard, just outside my classroom


It was lovely to make the most of the sunshine & hook at the same time.  The Giraffe also enjoyed the sun in sitting is a tropical plant


This is the class that attended my Third "Crochet Weekend in Dorset" course.

It was for beginners


And they all had a lot of creative fun


and lots of refreshments including chocolate fudge cake



 The improvement in their swatches are fantastic, after practice, you can see how quickly one can improve!


I found this online & thought that I should share it with you.  Isn't it just super?


I do manage to get my feet up every now and then, but you can be assured that there is a crochet hook in my hands!


Again, I am crocheting away, with my ducks for company this time.


Another picture of me with my feet up, working on one of several blankets that are WIPS





 I taught my pupils a new stitch in improvers class.  I like it so much that I added it to yet another blanket WIP




And here I am hooking away at the Car Wash whilst my car was getting a mini valet (it really did need one - it was filthy = country life + road mud)


I came across Two Sisters on Twitter who are called Chameleon Crafts, and the have a CrowdFunder target of £500 to meet very soon.  Can you help?

Chameleon Crafters: Colourful, Quirky, Creative

Two sisters wanting to start a new online business specialising in colourful and unique amigurumi crochet kits and pattern writing.



So that's it from me for now.  I am off do diarise a few commissions that have come in from magazines this morning & then I am off to the greenhouse for a bit of a potter.


Hope you've enjoyed the read.


Thursday, 14 April 2016

Crochet Days in Dorset #2 - Beginners

Keep Calm and Crochet On


The classroom was prepared

The Fairy Lights were turned on



Chocolates were put out (in a Crochet Bowl of course, that sat on a Crochet Blanket & a Granny Square WIP !!)


Supplies were arranged on the table


And the scene was set!


The girls arrived!  The came from all over, including Ireland, Swindon, Wiltshire, Leicester, The Isle of Wight & of course Dorset!


We got going with the basics


Slip knots to start



which then turned into chains



Which were used to decorate the name badges!



More serious stitching took place



And as you can see, with the help of stitch markers (A hookers best friend), straight edges were soon achieved!


Then it was working in the round


Again using stitch markers


So that essential stitch joins were not missed


Working in the round soon turned into making Granny Squares


Which burst a bubble of excitement in the room


by B who had always wanted to make granny squares


And S who had been on a crochet course before, said that she'd learnt new, and better techniques than she had before, which she really loved


We also covered finishing off techniques, colour changes & fake finishes, as well as a little JayGo & magic knots!

Goody bags, made up of magazines, yarn packs & hooks etc. supplied by Lets Get Crafting Knitting & Crochet, Inside Crochet, Purple Linda Crafts & more, where received with huge beaming smiles.


We had some lovely lunches and a GREAT meal on the Saturday night at The Willows in the village, where the chat flowed well into the night.

The feedback forms that the girls completed made me glow with pride.  I don't think that I can change anything that I am doing to improve this course from what they have told me.

This crochet retreat, plus the Improvers one a month ago, have both gone extremely well.


The girls set up a Facebook Page!


I was able to post a little pattern on there for them to try at home and here's the results so far.....

Daisy Flowers!




Don't they look amazing.

If you would like to come to my next Crochet retreat in May then there are still 2 places left, so do get in touch.

The cost of this Crochet retreat is £150 for the two days with ALL materials supplied.

There is more information on my website


IF YOU WANT TO LEARN TO CROCHET IN 12 HOURS THEN MY CROCHET RETREAT IN DORSET IS THE PLACE TO COME IN MAY!