Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Yarn Review: DMC Creative World Woolly

Let's start with the legal stuff; although the yarn featured in this review was given to me by DMC Creative World, the review below is entirely my own opinion.  I have received no payment for this review nor do I intend to!

Information on the brand
Woolly is a DK merino wool from DMC Creative World.  According to their website, it comes from Australia and is 100% natural and renewable.  

Information about the yarn
Woolly natural Knitting 50g, ~125m,/~136yds
Content: 100% wool superwash
Wash: machine wash, 40 degrees
Recommended hook size: 4-4 1/2mm, US 6-7
Recommended needle size: 4-4 1/2mm, US 6-7
Cost: £4:50 - £5:00 per 50g skein

Woolly in colours 061 and 063

First Impressions
There's 36 colours in the range, and they are really modern and vibrant, with a mix of pastels, neutrals and brights and I think there's even more colours to be added soon.  The merino in the yarn makes it nice and soft, and so would work well for any items of clothing you make that are going to be close to the skin.

Crocheting with the yarn 
I liked this yarn a lot.  I'd forgotten how nice it is to work with real wool stuff and not squeaky acrylic.  Woolly is not at all splitty which means it glides easily on the hook and creates even, well-defined stitches.  There were no annoying knots in the skein either.  I decided to make a pretty ripple cowl for a friend who loves purple using the free pattern from Crochet from J, and it worked up very quickly.  I realised about halfway through that I was crocheting pretty tightly (it's habit; I have to consciously not crochet tightly which is actually harder than you would think) and so this took away the natural hang of the fabric but I was still very pleased with how it turned out.  The yarn itself is strong and has a slight stretch and flexibility to it, and like other merinos will be warm in the cool and cool in the warm.

Final thoughts
This would be a great yarn for jumpers, cardigans and other items of clothing that you want to be soft against your skin, whilst being able to chuck in the wash.  In fact, the patterns that DMC have available are exactly those, although sadly, only knitting patterns.  It would actually also work well for amigurumi, as it's not at all fuzzy like some merinos can be.  It's not cheap though, and so I'd probably save it up for my very special projects.   

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Projects, Projects, Projects!

Arrgggh, what a miserable day it is.  Rain, rain, rain.  Poor Squitchy is feeling very sorry for himself as I won't leave the back door open for him to wander in and out of the house as he pleases, and so he's curled up on the sofa, occasionally huffing to make sure we know that he is one unhappy husky.

It is not such a problem for me though as I have plenty of projects to keep me busy.  Usually, January is the month that drags on forever where I have to watch every penny to make sure I can make it through to the 25th (otherwise known as payday).  And there's so many temptations; a final dash for some extra christmas presents, sales, splashing out for my birthday, January is definitely there to test me.  But not this year, no.  This year, it seems like I've been much more in control (plus I was very lucky to get money/vouchers for Christmas and birthday so I didn't have to dip into my bank account too much) and so I've had a little bit spare.  And what better way to spend it then buying more crafty goodness!  I hadn't really realised just how much I've purchased until I had to try and find a home for it in my craft room, instead of my usual spread around the house approach.  

There's been a couple of books:

First up is modern baby crochet by my fav, Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches fame.  Yep, I know I bang on about Fresh Stitches, but I genuinely love love love her stuff.  Now, I'm not a baby person, (I spend all day with other people's kids, it's enough to put anyone off!) but whilst this book certainly has a focus on designs for a new baby's room, there's so many other things in it that would work in any house.  I've already made a cute little amigurumi bird, but have my eye on the sea urchin pouf (I started making a pouf ages ago with Zpagetti yarn and it looks pretty average.  I want to frog it, but know how long it took me to get that far.  Maybe this is the push I need) the asymmetrical basket-weave blanket and the colourful wiggle pillow (which my sister has also put in an order for already).  

Then I bought My Crochet Doll by Isabelle Kessedjian.  This is a truly beautiful book; the first half is photos showing all the items in the book, laid out in a really inviting way that makes you want to make everything on each page RIGHT NOW!  I love that the crochet doll is in fact just a tiny part of the focus of this book; it's all the accessories that go with it that catch my eye, like the teeny tiny camera, or the little bucket and spade for the beach.  My particular favourites are:

There have been a couple of other pattern purchases, but these are for top secret projects and will be revealed all in good time :) 

I've also bought my first big yarn pack of the year, from Wool Warehouse, the Attic 24 colour pack.  17 skeins of Stylecraft Special DK in an Attic 24 inspired colour range. When I opened my huge bag, I was a little uncertain as to how this might pan out.  Not all the colours were those that I would pick myself, and certainly weren't ones I've put together in one project.  But I don't know why I doubted Lucy, it's not often she gets her colours wrong.  I've already made a good start by following her granny stripe tutorial:

...but being that it's 240 stitches across (about the size of a double bed) I've still got a long way to go!  I've decided to weave in the ends every so often so I don't have a big pile to work through at the end.  I'm sure you will be hearing a lot about this blanket over the coming months ;)

I was also very lucky that timing paid off in my favour.  I keep seeing a very lovely embroidery design popping up on Instagram which made me very tempted to give it a try.   It's Sew Laugh Love by Leanne's House but unfortunately it's no longer available to buy as a kit anywhere, except in Australia which just so happened to be where my parents were over Christmas, visiting my sister.  Following a desperate email, and a long flight it made it's way over to the UK and straight to my craft room.  I'm really looking forward to learning a new skill and hope I can do it justice on my first attempt.   

So I'm definitely going to be busy for the next few months!  I'm excited that it's a mix of projects that I love like amigurumi, easy going pattern free projects like the granny blanket, and a completely new skill in embroidery.  What are your crafty plans for 2014?


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Trolled :(

It seems that I have attracted an unwanted pest.  A troll no less.  Now I know what has sprung to mind...

But alas, it is not the troll I remember fondly from when I was younger.  No, unfortunately, it's one of those unpleasant internet trolls that seem to be cropping up all over the place.  In case you haven't heard of it before, here's the Wikipedia definition of my lovely little friend.  

I can't lie, it's bothered me.  It's bothered me that someone has the time/will/inclination to sit down in front of their computer and send me messages that question my ability, integrity and everything else.  Perhaps in time I'll learn to look at it as more of a compliment (?) but for now, I'm just plain angry...

Monday, 13 January 2014

My birthday :D

Last week it was my birthday and what a fabulous birthday it was too.  Not quite a big one yet, but creeping ever closer.  

It was a nice quiet celebration which started as every birthday should; with a modest pile of presents!  Lovely Coop treated me to a fantastic new close up lens for my camera accompanied by this fabulous book 'The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos" by Heidi Adnum.  I've only had the chance to flick through the pages so far, but I can't wait to sit down and have a good nose through the recommendations listed for each craft and have a chance to try them out.  

I was also spoilt by my fantastic friends too.  Leanne Leanne bought me a beautifully bright lunch bag so that I don't need to take my lunch to work in a carrier bag anymore (i think she may be ashamed to walk in with me?!)  she also treated me to a new cowl as I do like snuggling into a warm wooly scarf on these chilly winter days.  

I was also especially impressed with my next presents from A Bunch of Buttons.  Check these out...

Yep, hand crafted stamps just for me!  I can't even explain how overwhelmed I was by such lovely gifts; I really am lucky to have great friends and family who know me so well.  

It was a beautiful day luckily weather-wise and so Coop and I spent the afternoon on Gorleston seafront, trying out Sasuke's new scooter.  Yes, you read it correctly; a scooter for a dog.  I had the same reaction when it was sneakily delivered to my house without my prior knowledge.  But actually it's quite good!  As you know, Sas is a husky and so requires lots of exercise.  Being able to pull a scooter satisfies his innate urge to pull but also means that he is getting more exercise than normal.  Although I was a bit sceptical, it's actually pretty good fun.  
Very beautiful Gorleston beach

There were a few hairy moments involving pedestrians...
Although Squitchy is an exceptionally well behaved husky, they do so love to pull on their lead.  Having witnessed Sas with a scooter, I now know how much he must be holding back on a normal walk, as scooter pulling is almost effortless for him.   And fast!  Boy can he soon rack up some speed.  I'm a bit of a chicken about things like this, but Coop looooveeed being dragged up and down the seafront, and we certainly attracted a lot of attention!

We also went out to one of my favourite meals for an extra special treat in the evening.  The Wildebeest is a glorious restaurant just outside the city which serves picture perfect food.  We splashed out on a three course meal...

Ahhh it was sooooo good!  It's not often that I clear my plate for anything, let alone all three courses but I just couldn't resist.  It also made a nice change to get dressed up and make a bit of a fuss; it seems like ages since we have eaten out for the evening so it really felt like the perfect ending to a fantastic day.

So birthday number 29 lived up to my expectations surprisingly (early January birthdays are never good - everyone is too full up and spent out from Christmas).  Best I start planning on birthday number 30 if it's going to beat this one...  

Saturday, 4 January 2014

2013 Round-Up

Wow!  So it's 2014 already.  Where has the year gone?  The older I get, the faster and faster time seems to pass.  2013 was a good'un, there's no doubt about that.  Mostly, because I started Curly Girl Coop, and found a place to jabber on about crafting with like-minded people.  I enjoy writing this blog so much and can't tell you how happy it makes me when you comment on things :) 

There's been a lot of crafting...

Which has made me very happy.  And there were a few stand-out pieces for me...

  1. Sheldon the Sheep

Sheldon was a game changer.  He was my first attempt at designing something rather than following a pattern and I was so chuffed with how he turned out.  Sheldon has brought a lot of traffic to my blog, has led to me getting involved with a couple of fantastic British yarn companies which is so exciting but most of all he gave me the confidence to try my hand at designing.  Not bad for a little fluffy sheep. 

   2.  Yarndale

Yarndale was a great event to be part of.  Tracking the build-up online, the across country road trip across and then being there for the very first one was really great.  Will I go every year?  Probably not.  It's such a long way from Great Yarmouth and it has a definite emphasis on hand-dyed yarn which isn't necessarily my thing but another trip will be on the cards in the future I'm sure.

 3.  One Sheepish Girl Bloomdrop

I loved this yarn bombing.  It was the first yarn bombing that I have taken part in and I was a bit nervous about how it might go, but the flower drop was well received (with a little family drama thrown in for good measure but hey, when isn't there?!) and I was proud to honour my grandma in a way that was personal to our relationship.  This year, I hope to be brave enough to do some more yarn bombing without worrying what anyone else might think.  

So how about 2014?  Well, top of the list is to keep this up!  I really do love writing my blog and am determined to always make time and space to do so.  I also really want to carry on designing things as inspiration comes to me, but don't want to force ideas and take away the fun of it, so I'll just have to see how it goes.  I really want to get into using my sewing machine too.  I got a sewing machine last year but have hardly used it (I broke it once and then have been a bit scared to try it again) but I got a real urge to sew over the Christmas break and so am hoping to take this forward in 2014.  On the sewing front, I'm also tempted by some beautiful embroidery that's been cropping up on Instagram recently.  Perhaps this will have to feature in my 2014 plans too?!  
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