As February approaches, so do many many hearts all over the place. The 14th has long been Valentines Day - a day for lovers to express their affections and for secret admiration to be chanced at with anonymous cards. A day of hope that weeks or months of flirtatious advances might be mutual and one of the only days that you sort of hope to have a stalker.
In my last relationship, I long pretended that I did not care for the day, for - and it is true - there shouldn't be just one day to share affections, particularly in a relationship, agreeing it was purely commercial garbage. But, in other truths, having grown up with Disney fairy tales and always ready to throw myself at any special occasion going - I do care! As ever, it's uplifting to make someone else feel good and rather lovely to be made to feel good yourself and to be thought of (bar any awkward moments where you are the party adored and need to side step advances gracefully). I'll admit though, to date, the majority of my valentines cards have been from my father - but even those have stopped, very much appropriately so! So, I shall not be expecting any this year.
And alas, for the singletons out there, it can often be a sad day of self reflection (woo!). When you don't have a stalker, or the affection hasn't been mutual. You can try and channel Bridget Jones, walking across London Bridge with the wind in your hair, but now - there is an extra commercial opportunity for us! Gal-entines Day - 13th Feb. The celebration of friendships between strong independent women - because that's all we should need right?!
Anyhow, as always, I have diverted. Let's get to business.
These hearts can be crocheted from anything chunky with 12mm hooks. I've done some in Stitch and Story's chunky merino and Hoooked's Zpagetti. To keep the shape, I've threaded some craft wire around the edge. You can find some on the link here. I think I'm going to stick them onto blank gift cards and flog them at the market. You could make a few and chain them together for bunting or little bauble type things or start with this heart, and keep on going and see what you end up with!
Before we get confused with US/EU crochet terms, this is what I'll be meaning:-
SC - Single Crochet - hook into stitch, wrap, pull back through, wrap, pull through 2 stitches
DC - Double Crochet - wrap, hook into stitch, wrap, pull back through, 2* (wrap, pull through 2 stitch)
HTC - Half Triple Crochet - wrap twice, hook into stitch, wrap, pull back through, pull through 1 stitch, 2* (wrap, pull through 2 stitch)
TC - Triple Crochet - wrap twice, hook into stitch, wrap, pull back through, 3* (wrap, pull through 2 stitch)
I believe this is US notation, but I prefer it - as single, double and triple wrapping once you've pulled through makes sense to me.
Row 1: Slip knot, chain 4, connect ring by joining in the first chain. (4)
Row 2: Chain 1, 2 SC in each stitch, connect ring by joining with the first stitch (8)
Row 3: Chain 1, 2 SC in each stitch, connect ring by joining with the first stitch (16)
(- = move to next stitch)
Chain 2 DC - HTC TC - TC - TC TC - HTC - DC SC - SC - DC chain 2
- DC - SC - SC DC - HTC - TC TC - TC - TC HTC - DC Chain 2
connect ring by joining into first stitch and secure off.
Your completed hearts will be about 13cm in diameter.
Go spread them through-out the world, drop them into the bags of frowning strangers and send them to all your friends with packets of chocolate buttons and all the reasons why they're super great!
The Stitch and Story slipper kit is a very popular gifted item on the stall. You may not know, that all the Stitch and Story kits are built and designed for beginner and I can now advocate, this one really really is.
As I'm sure you've seen, I've run beginner knitting workshops before, learning beanie hats and my own slipper pattern with t-shirt yarns - and this is not dissimilar, with 2 basic stitches, no increasing and some super simple decreases and you'll be done. SPOILER:- you are basically knitting a big square-ish-thing - that sounds simple enough, doesn't it?
The pack includes some beautiful stubby 12mm knitting needles, the yarn, pattern and instructions on how to knit - Stitch and Story also have lots of videos you can watch to help with this bit too! All you need to learn is how to cast on, a knit stitch and a purl stitch. It'll be a frustrating 5 minutes - but perseverance is key! I promise you'll have it and unending satisfaction in no time.
I knitted one slipper in an hour - so for beginners maybe allow 2-3? You'll see it growing quickly, which is super rewarding and in an evening you can get one done! The 100% merino wool is super super soft, will keep those toes warm (the pattern splits between sizes 3-5 and 6-8 for a snug fit) and you can make the cute little pom poms for the embellishment on top without any additional tools or cutting of card circles - the pattern recommends using a fork! - I used my fingers.
In August, I had my flat refloored throughout with engineered wooden floors. Since I bought the flat five years ago, it had had the same cream carpets (which with all the crafting that goes on had become a sewing needle infested disaster waiting to happen.. and not really cream anymore!). Anyhow! I missed the feel of carpets under my feet instantly and started rug shopping. It turns out nice rugs are pretty expensive - especially when you have a particular taste... so I started on the pursuit of ways to make one.
This is how I originally discovered Hoooked and rekindled my love of knitting. At £8 a giant bundle, it goes far and is quick to work with and because it's cotton, it wears and washes well. With 3 colours and a pattern from Stitch and Story you can find here (I made it a little bigger, casting on to 30 instead of 25 stitches) I made a sunshine for my bedroom in about 12 hours. At £24 of yarn and £7 for the needles - and the inspiration for the knit shop - it's really rather a bargain!
I recently painted the room in white and deep dark blue and painted some of the furniture a bright yellow. It started as classy adult room (I promise) - but has since become a whimsical kid-ult fandango, with cloud lights (inspired by a Magritte poster, I'd like to add) a few brightly coloured touches, a shoe-place - and now, a sunshine rug - because the best thing about being an adult, is the being able to do exactly what we want and be exactly as we wish (and trying not to care what others think!).
Last night I gave the Luca Pom Hat a go. It's the first Stitch and Story kit I've tried, but there's always a lot of interest on the stall, so as sample for people to see and feel is a must!
It's got everything you need to complete the hat. The two 100% merino wools (also stocked in Grey with Pink), beautiful bamboo needles and both basic knitting instructions (for which there are also online guides too) and the pattern for the hat.
I sat in front of the tv and must have completed it in 2-3 hours. My little kittens were enchanted by the wool, which was a little distracting, but it was lovely to see the detailing of the hat emerge as the patterns came together - and being such a short knit definitely gave a sense of accomplishment quickly!
Great for beginners, this only uses knits and purl stitches, but in combinations that create the ribbing and the swirl pattern on the main bit of the hat, which feels pretty fancy to have created - and with being on big straight needles, it's much simpler for a beginner than a knit on round needles.
All in all, a big old recommend for me. I think I made my pom pom a little small, but thankfully there's more wool to give it another try - and having worked with t-shirt yarn for a month of so now, the soft merino was dreamy. If you don't see it on the stall, it's because it's made it's way into my private stash - if I wear it, it'll still count right?
Click here to buy the kit for £35