John Lewis Open House Blogger Event

Recently I received an email telling me that I had been ‘hand-selected as an outstanding blogger in the craft sector’ – this is a very promising start to any email, though I have to admit that I scrolled back to the top of the message just to check it hadn’t been sent to me in error! I’d been invited to the John Lewis pop-up shop in Islington, London to attend an exclusive lifestyle, fashion and craft blogger event, with workshops instructing us how to customise and personalise household objects in their new HOUSE range.

The invite included a plus 1, a friend, partner or someone else from the blogging community. I invited Emma from eskimo*rose  as we’ve been in touch for a few years now. It was lovely to meet before the event and have a good chat, something at which we’re both excellent!

Here’s a selection of photos from the afternoon. Because we were seated in an area near one of the shop windows I noticed quite a few members of the public taking our photo – I guess we were a living sewing group window display….eek!

Click on an image to view a larger size….

I had been hoping to meet Lisa Comfort from Sew Over It but she wasn’t able to attend as planned. Freia and Tugba represented the Sewing Cafe instead and showed the group some simple sewing techniques. They chatted and sewed along with us during the afternoon which was nice. It’s amazing how long it takes to sew a strip of ribbon to a cushion cover when you’re chatting, stopping to drink bucks fizz and eat delicious sandwiches and cakes. At the end of the afternoon we were urged to take buttons and ribbon home, so I’m going to carry on adding some more to my cover. In fact I staggered out with 2 bath towels, the customised cushion, and a goodie bag. It really felt like Christmas had come early!

The other bloggers who attended apart from Emma and myself were: Aimee of Clones ‘n’ Clowns blog and Lisette of Lisette Loves. Holly from the online marketing department of John Lewis couldn’t have been sweeter or more helpful in looking after us.

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On Saturday we came across Disney filming scenes for Cinderella at Blenheim Palace. Although Kenneth Branagh (directing), Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham-Carter were there we didn’t spot them, apart from the many costumed extras including riders on highly groomed horses, different carriages and four white horses with golden bridles, we did come across this beauty…

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As weekends go this was a pretty good one.

Hip Hurray!

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I’ve been working on a cushion front from the Hip Crochet book I won in a giveaway last week. It’s been quite funny because it was impossible to keep the balls of yarn organised. It all begins well, then of course you turn the piece at the end of rows and the balls are on the wrong side and you’re gradually wrapped up like a fly in a spider’s web. I’ve missed a couple of ‘phone calls over the last week trying to untangle myself!

This is a jacquard pattern, unlike intarsia where you have separate bobbins or small balls of colours for each section, you strand the yarn across. I like this method. You have to be careful with your tension, leave too little yarn stranded across and you’d have a very scrunched flag.

This needs to be blocked, there’s plenty of give in the strands so I’m not worried. I haven’t blocked a thing yet, to be honest it’s going to be more like ‘stretch gently as I crochet the front and back together.’ Acrylic doesn’t wet block well I’ve read as the fibres just go back to the way they were before. Maybe steam and tugging would be the way to go, if I was going to….?
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The colour chart pattern is easy enough to follow though the technique of changing multiple colours (and not choking yourself in a ‘death by yarn wrapping’ manner) is probably middling to boffin level of crochet. I used a post it note stuck above the row I was currently working on to keep my place in the pattern. A Pony row counter ensured I was on track too. Like others, who’ve reviewed the book, I feel the omission of a skill indicator required for each project is a shame and would be a useful guide for newer crocheters.

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Next I need to make the stripey back cover which is worked in two parts that button together. It’s a little disappointing that there’s two pages showing the front of the cushion, but no photo of the back. However you’ll have nothing to compare mine to, so it might be in my favour!

I like Natalie’s notes at the end of the pattern: ‘The Union Jack is not a symmetrical pattern, the bottom corners are the reverse of the top opposite corners. Purists will point out that this flag is upside down. Popular culture in the 1960s saw the motif used as clothing and even on the mini car.’ No purists here.

Have you tried the intarsia or jacquard technique?

Blooming Flower cushion #2 finished

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I finished this on Saturday. I took the next two photos when it was dark so they’re not the sharpest, sorry.
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Here’s the first Blooming Flower cushion I made back in the summer.

They’re really quite fast to crochet and you can use up lots of odds and ends of yarn. The pattern is one that Lucy adapted, if you fancy making one too you can find the pattern here on her Attic 24 blog.

Blooming thing

I have finished my blooming flower cushion, well thought I had anyway…
After I’d dc-ed the edges together at the beginning of the week, around the sumptuous feather cushion pad I bought from a seller on Ebay, I realised that the joins of the red rounds in the middle are quite not very good. B****r!!!!
I’m going to have re-do it I think. It’s going to be a present along with the Rainbow Granny Stripe blanket but even if it wasn’t I don’t like knowing its not very good.

I have yet another cold this year, I haven’t had so many for years. I can’t believe it. The new Let’s Get Crafting Knitting & Crochet magazine was going to help operation cheer-up Rachel this morning, but wasn’t in Sainsbury’s this morning. Boo.

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I never said this was a crochet blog from an expert, to inspire awe and wonder, did I?

I know I only really started to follow patterns and really learn to crochet last New Year; but I do get despondent if my item doesn’t look exactly the one in the picture which accompanies the pattern.

I’ve been really enthused about tackling the lovely circle cushion in Nicki’s Trench’s fab crochet book and have been holding out until I have a proper posh supply of yarn. Then last night I came to the realisation that what does it matter? I need to just have a go at it.

So, I’ve had a go at it. I’ve used scraps and oddments of yarn. Not necessarily the colours I’d have chosen if I’d bought yarn, or which go anywhere in my home, but whatever! Just crochet the  thing.

Nicki Trench states that this is the easiest thing in the world, that she often starts beginner crocheters on circles since they grow fast and are rewarding (or something like that..) Well, they would be fast if I didn’t have to keep undoing the circle as I go…

The issue is knowing where to go in at the end of the circle and me disliking the look at the joiny part. I just HATE the gappy bit where you’ve chained 3 at the start, then slip-stitch the 3rd chain at the end. Do you go in one loop of the chain? If you do, or if you don’t and ss to into the whole gap in between the chain and first treble, there seems to be a gappy bit. Then you have the issue after another circle of knowing whether to go into that stitch or not. The answer’s probably no. Almost certainly since I seem to have an extra stitch at the end of each row.

I decided not to let it worry me, hey let’s be free and experimental with our crochet. We’ll call it ‘free-form-Rachel’. BUT that doesn’t work when you’ve got to make a matching circle for the other side of the cushion. Shall it be a bag instead???

No.

It needs to be a circle cushion.

Back I go to undo, undo, undo.

Grrrr.

Here’s some pics before I unravel it.