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Any of you that follow me in insta world will know that recently I started a group called Make it Better Social Club, it was a knee jerk to the extraordinary, divisive feeling that has grown out of Brexit here in the UK, and the result of the US elections.

I just got so frustrated with all the divisive, negativity in the world at the moment, and spent ages thinking that I had nothing to offer but craft.  Then I thought about what making stuff means to me, and it's about creating something with meaning, that isn't part of a throwaway culture, and it's also about making other people happy.  So I figured I could create a little space for like minded people, with a similar, social conscience, that love to make.  We can fight the fear and negativity in a modern-day, WI kind of way (without the lessons in how to work defibrillators or CPR!) by swapping skills, supporting each other and offering a gentle message of sustainability and political inclusivity, without it feeling like activism. 
Just nice, with making stuff.  
Make more, take less.
I'm still working out how best to use it, but please come and join us if you feel this way too, and we can work it out together!
There are literally no words I need to write to go with these.  If you know what they are, then you know which ones are yours. 

Three hours is all you need, pattern in Shop.

(And Ravenclaw, in case you're wondering).
;) x

The weather keeps luring us in to a false sense of security here in the UK, it'll be bitterly cold for a day or two, and then, like today, it'll be practically spring like in the sunshine.  As a compulsive wool wearer, I literally love to find any excuse to have a snood/scarf/shawl about my person, but with the changing temperature, you need to pick your woollen, neck wear carefully.

For me, an infinity scarf is the perfect accompaniment, looped over a couple of times when the cold winds blow, or loose and hanging when the sun is shining.  And you know me by now, if I can get a bit of inspiration for a make from the hedgerows of Sussex, then I will!  So when I came across Noro's Hakone from Laughing Hens it seemed the ideal culprit for a little, sloe inspired infinity scarf.

I've used Noro yarn before, and I really love the way they variegate their yarn - the colours change form one end, to the middle and then back again, none of this stripy style, repeat, it feels much more natural than that.  They're a company that's close to my heart as they believe in using natural materials rather than acrylics and chemicals, this particular blend is all wool, but they also do amazing things with silks, mohair and alpaca.

As soon as it arrived I knew it was destined to be a one skein infinity scarf, but as soon as I'd finished it, Mr.Steel pinched it to go with his tweed jacket, and I literally haven't seen it since.  They do look beautiful together though (the tweed and the scarf, not the husband!  Although I think he's alright too).  And the natural, sloe coloured tones in the Noro made it feel perfect to be named the 'One Skein Sloe Gin' scarf.

(The blur in this pic is actually because the texture of the wool is so soft  - you can see it in contrast to the hook, it's just lovely!)

You can find the Noro Hakon at Laughing Hen's website, and the pattern for this infinity scarf in my shop.  (And if you're feeling generous you could make it for your husband, and that is quite a big if...)
Hurrah for the final arrival of the frost!  Hurrah for the autumn and wrapping up warm!  Hurrah for massive scarves and the excuse to cover yourself in a blanket ALL day!

Yes, I do properly love autumn.  Somehow I find the colours and the crisp air extremely energising.  Summer leaves me sluggish and horribly blaaahhh, where as autumn just brings out the sparkle in everything.  It is also the perfect time to dig out the winter-wear case, find all the hats, mittens and scarves (a LOT).  Some things are old favourites and I 'll wear year after year, but trends will also change, ideas will be inspired, and sometimes you don't need much of an excuse to whip out the ole hook and get makin' somethin' new.

This year I've just wanted to feel like I'm wrapped up in a blanket all of the time, I also wanted something that felt super comforting.   Although I'm not a great one for the humble granny square, it just seemed like the perfect candidate for a super cosy, cuddly blanket scarf.  Then the stars aligned and the gorgeous Yarn Master (true story) at HobbyCraft got in touch to ask if I'd like to make a pattern using some of their wool.  Being a regular browser of their WI range I instantly knew what I wanted to do.  A blanket shawl in their chunky yarns, in grey and neon pink.  I instantly said 'yes!' and had it made in 4 hours flat.

The pattern will be totally free for you to get next week, from the HobbyCraft website.

I literally haven't taken it off (I'm in it write now, typing this, with the cat on my lap and the rain outside, it's ace), and my bestie has been coveting it so much, that I've made her one too.  So that we don't look too creepily the same - we already have the same jacket, jeans and shoes - I've made one in her favourite colours, gold & green.  You can find the pattern for this guy in my shop, he uses different yarn, hook and has a different edge, so you can pick and choose which one works best for you.

We're firmly in the grips of autumn here in the UK, and you know I tend to prefer to write seasonal posts, but today I have to make an excepetion.

One of the awesome things about designing crochet patterns, is that you often get given a brief that'll send your brain down avenues it may not have considered before.  When Now Crochet magazine got in touch, and asked for a collection of bright, bold chunky patterns, I'd tentatively proposed a big ole doiley rug, but as I was sat making it, it wasn't lighting me on fire.

For some reason, Brain then happily trotted off down a new route, and ended up at Geometric Pineapple Place.  I completely fell in love with the idea, and you know that when you love something, that other people will too.  I busily set too, and this was the finished piece, a super cool, bold, pineapple rug using ribbon tape.

For those of you that missed the chunky Now Crochet issue, I've now listed this pattern at Etsy & LoveCrochet, so you too an visit Geometric Pineapple Place!
I know there are still three weeks to go, but now I've got my wreath all ready I can get to work on the costumes!  This is actually a deceptively simple design.  If you can work a basic increase in crochet, then you can make all the elements on here.  Add a few pompoms and a tassle and you're done!

You will need:

20cm wreath base
Small amounts of yarn in any colours you like (I used PaintBox Aran as they have a great range of colours, and Aran weight always works up quickly!)
Suitable Size hook for yarn

Flower Pattern
Ch4, ss ends to make loop
Rnd 1: sc 10 around loop
Rnd 2: *(sc, 2dc, sc), ss* rpt to end

Leaf Pattern
Ch 7, ss in 2nd ch, sc, dc, htr, tr, tr, htr x 5 in end ch, working up the other side of ch tr, tr, htr, dc, sc, ss

Make as many flowers and leaves as you like, I made 8 flowers with 5 leaves each (yep, that is 40 leaves, but you don't have to make as many if you don't want to).  Whip up a few pompoms, on this wreath there are 4 large and three small, and affix them to your base. 

Pop your candy skulls in among them (Skull Pattern on previous post), I made three as I think it's a good number, but you could make as many or as few as you like.  A nice, chunky tassle gives it a bit more glam and ta da!

Do you remember those cardboard candy skull decorations I made last year?  Well THIS year I thought I'd step it up a notch, and sticking with the Day of the Dead theme for Halloween, have started work on a crochet-candy-skull-pink-pom-pom garland!

If you want to make one too, the instructions are super simple:

Any yarn and suitable sized hook.  Chunky white makes it easier.
Rnd 1: mr 6  (don't be afraid!  Click on 'mr' to take you to a video tutorial, you can totally do this!)
Rnd 2:  2sc in each st  (12)
Rnd 3: *2sc, sc*, rpt to end  (18)
Rnd 4-9: sc in each
Rnd 10: *sc2tog, sc*, rpt to end  (12)
Rnd 11: sc2tog, rot to end  (6)
Close up with yarn needle.

Use a little dark coloured yarn and an embroidery needle, and whip on a few stitches to make a face.

When it's finished I'll put completed pics and things on here, and add any other instructions that you may need.

Here comes Halloween!