Thursday 28 October 2010

Joining Those Popcorn Grannies

Hello dear patient crochet friends (and other friends who don't crochet but are happy to scroll down to the latter part of the blog post for the other stuff that isn't wool related).

I've finally got around to doing you a little How To Join Popcorn Granny Squares Tutorial, and here it is for you.  As usual, the crochet terminology is USA, so if you work in UK stitches, just amend accordingly and it should all go swimmingly.

First of all, take two of your squares and join them evenly, corner to corner with the good sides facing in.  On my grannies there are two stitches per corner, try and match these up.

Push your hook through the corner stitch (this will be the left stitch of the two corner stitches as you look at them), and pull a loop of wool through.

Wrap your yarn around your hook again and pull it through the first loop on your hook.

Take your hook out of the loop, yes - don't worry it's quite safe, and pull on the loop to make it a little larger with your fingers.  Next, feed the short tail end of yarn through it and tug on the ball of wool end to make a secure knot.

Once the knot is firmly in place and you're happy it's not all going to unravel, wrap the yarn around your hook:

Push your hook underneath the two stitch loops on each square that lay on the outside, wrap your yarn around your hook and pull through another loop (2 on hook).

As per a slip stitch, pull the second loop through the first loop; one loop left on hook:

Push your hook through the next stitch, through the two outside loops of the stitches and pull a loop through...

Continue in this way, slip stitching along to the end of the row.

At this point, you can carry on around the corner, adding another square, or cast off in your usual way, sewing in your ends.

The front looks something like this when you join at the back, but you can also join on the front if you wish to have colourful strips running through your work, and instead use SC instead of SS if you prefer.  Just put the backs together at the beginning instead of the good sides facing.

As usual, I hope my tutorial makes sense, please do holler if you think I've missed an important bit out or if there is something you don't quite understand and i'll try my best to help.


For those of you who have just joined us and skipped the tutorial; 'Hello!'

Well we've had some wonderfully bright, sunny days of late.  The moors close to our home look gloriously wild and vast at the moment...

And to say it's almost November, things still look decidedly Septemberish to me, very green wouldn't you say!

This time of year is all about crunchy walks in the woods, big blue skies and cascades of crimson, gold and lemon yellow leaves.  It's also about cosying up in nice scarves, warm socks, eating roast dinners and lighting candles as the darkness draws itself in ever's starting a new crochet project (I caved in and bought Rowan Cocoon ~ more about that next time) and re-designing my note card collections.

Oh my, I am so happy with these...

Both sets of cards feature five of my most popular artworks, the choice of cards have been updated with some newer work and the boxes redesigned completely.  The only thing I haven't changed is the price, which is still £7.50 per box with free P&P to UK Mainland customers.

These boxes of cards would make a really nice gift for someone, or for yourself (why not!), and are available in my gallery shop here where you can have a look at the card images that come with each set.

They will also be available in my Etsy and Folksy shops within the next day or two.

Although it's still only October I'm finding myself rather busy with all things Christmas, so it's left little time for me to work on anything else!  I think I could do with advertising for a Little Helper.  
I did try engaging my three year old in a spot of leaflet printing the other day, and for a time she was delightedly making neat piles of freshly printed paper...but she got rather bored (after about six) and started pulling the leaflets through the printer before they'd actually finished printing...I discovered it before too many were ruined but needless to say, she was swiftly put onto house building duties in the lego department while I tidied up the mess.

Well, I must make an effort to visit Blogland now, as this last week I've hardly had the chance and I miss my little roamings and readings.  Do forgive me, life is rather full at times and the nice bits have to be shoved firmly to the bottom of the pile while the Important Stuff is dealt with.
Welcome also to some new followers, please do drop in and say Hello if you have the time, it's always lovely to hear from you!

Sending love and hot mugs of spicy pumpkin soup;  have a glowing and spooky Halloween weekend!

Much love, Julia x x x

Thursday 21 October 2010

I know it's early, but...

I'm too excited to wait a minute longer!!!

I am absolutely over the moon to be able to finally share my Christmas card design with you!  'Santa's Gift' is my 2010 offering, and already I am busy printing and packing up orders!  

This year, the card packs are tied with some festive red raffia and a coordinating tag.
There are ten cards and envelopes in each set, and each card is titled and signed by me.
I also do all the printing, making and packaging here (it's quite a cottage industry I've got going) and the cards will only be available to buy from me online.

...and I also designed some gift tags, which you can buy in sets of 8, or as a download!

To find out more, you are very welcome to visit the Christmas page on my website here.

So, aside from beevering away on Christmas stuff, I have also been making a bit of time for myself too.  Last Saturday afternoon I had a gorgeous couple of hours in town, most of which were spent in the book shop and John Lewis where I went into something of a trance in the wool department!! I'm looking for some chunky wool for a new project I've got in mind and came away deliberating on that gorgeous Rowan Cocoon...just the problem of choosing a colour now and then I'm away!!  
Talking of wool, I haven't forgotten I promised you a Joining Popcorn Squares tutorial, I'm sorry it hasn't materialised yet, but it will - I'm going to try and do it for next week, so please bear with me and I'll do my best for you!

On Sunday, continuing the theme of relaxing and switching off, we headed out into the brightest blue of Autumn days armed with a huge picnic.

The morning looked promising as we left home...

...and headed down familiar lanes...

We took ourselves to Clumber Park for the day, and enjoyed a gorgeous Autumn walk in the woods.  We managed to find a few chestnuts, but we reckoned the greedy squirrels had already stashed the best of them!  Our wee girl was in her element, running about, collecting acorn cups, chestnuts and pointing out clusters of plump mushrooms and those beastly chestnut stealing squirrels!

It was very peaceful in the woods, away from the well trodden path, only sunlight and birdsong filtered through the gauzy branches of the tall pines - our relaxing walk ended up at the kitchen gardens where there was an apple festival taking place.  The gardens still look marvellous at this time of year, with colourful splashes from dahlias here and there, and fantastic, architectural forms of seed heads towering above.

There was also a display of pumpkins and squashes in the glass house, as well as a table selling locally produced honey (a jar of which came home, so delicious on warm crusty bread).

Just before I go, I would like to say 'Hello' (waving) and Welcome to some new Followers - please do say 'Hello' back if you feel inclined, it means I will be able to visit your blog too if you have one, and it's always nice to 'meet' my readers!

For those of you who are interested in reading a little bit more about my doings, I've just done an interview for the Craft Candy blog - It's being posted this Friday, the 22nd October.  The link to their blog is here, if you want to hop over and have a read :D

Next week, I am going to be mailing out an exclusive preview of my hand illustrated Christmas cards.  They are very Limited Edition (meaning that there literally will only be a handful of them produced).  If you too would like a peek before they make it into my online emporiums, and perhaps be first in the queue to snap one up, you can sign up here .

Right!  I'm off - I hope you all have a day filled with lovely things, and I will see you all again (with a tutorial) very soon!

Much love, thanks for dropping by!
Julia x

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Gently Bobbing Along


I hope you are all well and will forgive my little absence - I meant to write last week, I really did, and then, you know how Life Happens and sneaks up on you, gets in the way of the nice normal stuff...

That's kind of what happened here :)

Anyway, in between the hectic happenings and early nights (necessary from all the hectic happenings), we have been doing some rather gentle nice things here and there...

There have been some genuinely lovely Homey Moments these last couple of weeks, those moments where you suddenly feel very cosy in your little abode and so very glad to be surrounded with your own bits and bobs, books and pictures, jugs of golden autumn flowers, and Stuff.
Ive noticed this feeling usually starts to happen at this time of year, like a Nestling in preparation for the colder months - I feel very happy pottering about in the house, baking things and just appreciating my little domain and it's little lived in corners; switching on my white fairy lights whilst cooking tea, lighting candle lanterns early evening...little things like that :)

We have been on slow jaunts, enjoying the ruby amber beauty of these warm autumn days...something so inspiring about those bright red leaves against a cerulean blue sky and the comforting feel of smooth, shiny conkers clustered in your pocket.

Did I mention we had been baking? After what seems like weeks of not doing any, Nigella seems to have worked her magic on us here and we are happily road testing all manner of delicious treats from her new book which I treated myself to whilst in Wales over the weekend (told you it had been hectic). Yesterday we made her Choc Chip Cookies:

There aren't many left :)

On the art front, I have managed to find snippets of time to create..

...I'm currently finishing hand illustrating some Christmas cards - here's a wee peek into my sketchbook as I played about with some seasonal images...

I'll be launching the first peek of these cards on my Newsletter - and I will also be offering one as part of a giveaway Im hosting on my Facebook Page ~ you are most welcome to sign up to either by clicking the links.

Thank you for bobbing by today - hopefully life will settle itself down a bit now and things can resume their usual happy pace which means more time for Blog Visiting and the like.
Sending you love, see you again soon.

Julia x x x
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