Posted in My Journey, News & Events, Unravelled, Woolly Wonders

Belated January Wrap Up 2018

Not many people I meet are a fan of January, in fact I know quite a few people who were very glad to see the back of it this year. But besides catching the flu and struggling against wisdom tooth pain that had me wanting to chop my own head off, I had a pretty fantastic January. So I thought today I’d share my January with you all and I’d like to encourage you to do the same in the comments. Go on, show January some love. 💖

I started my AIYSO Temperature CAL.

know I mentioned this in a previous post but I thought this wrap up would be a good way to show you my progress. My blanket has already grown so much and it’s only been a month, it’s going to be huuuuuge!

I started jotting down ideas for a sequel. < /strong><

I don't want to get anybody too excited with this one but, along with the "new year new start" marlakee, I made myself a promise to start working on another novel this year. We're still in the very early stages of ideas right now but definitely something that happened that I thought was worth a mention. ❤️

I received my second delivery of Unravelled. 📦

I am aware that I’m just posting a picture of three cardboard boxes here, but for me this was such an exciting moment. I’m already on my second print of Unravelled!!! Thank you to everyone who’s already got their copies, you’re all a part of making dreams happen.

I received my first piece of hand written fan mail.

There’s just something nostalgically beautiful about hand written letters. Receiving this card really touched my heart. How lovely. ❤️ So far I’ve heard nothing but wonderful feedback about Unravelled. Thank you and please keep that feedback coming!

I was featured in Simply Knitting Magazine! This is another of those pinch me moments. Unravelled continues to offer me some truly amazing opportunities, just like this one. Haven’t got your copy yet? Find it here. (Issue 169)

I took part in the second ever Wolverhampton Literature Festival. And the festival as a whole was a huge success! In fact I am happy to announce that the festival has been awarded funding for next four years! 🎉

I learnt how to C2C crochet. I’m always up for a challenge, especially if it’s for a good cause. Last month I heard the story of a brave little girl called Grace and the amazing guys at littleheartsforgrace who were trying to make a difference. Grace is only three and she’s already undergone open heart surgery… more than once! Friends of the family asked crocheters from around the world if they’d help raise money for the charities that helped this little girl by crocheting hearts themed squares. You can read more about their story here. I instantly wanted to help out and grabbed my hook and wool. One of the patterns was for a C2C heart square and well, I set about teaching myself a new skill with the aid of YouTube! My square may not be perfect by any means, but I really enjoyed doing it and I can’t wait to see what the blankets will look like when all the squares are put together.

Crocheted Face Scrubbies.

January for me is home to a couple of birthdays. So I set myself the challenge of giving my gifts the personal touch and hand making a little something. Online I found the pattern for these cute, eco friendly, face scrubbies. The perfect re-washable alternative to cotton pads. What lady doesn’t love a nice pamper session? I had great fun making these, even if I did break my hook doing that puff stitch! 😂

And that’s a wrap!

– Bxo

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Posted in Unravelled

Happy Valentine’s Day! 💘

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you’re all enjoying this day of lurrrrve. 💕

Weren’t sure what to get your valentine? Don’t worry, you can order a copy of Unravelled today and treat your loved one to a cosy romance that they’ll love to snuggle up with. (Just like Baby Bobby is doing today!)

Unravelled is available now from www.hallgoodbooks.com

– B xo

Posted in My Journey, Woolly Wonders

Review: TOFT Advent Calendar

Last year I was one of the few lucky people who managed to get their hands on the first ever TOFT Advent Calendar! And well, before we completely get into the swing of 2018, I wanted to fill you all in on how that went. So can we embrace the Christmas spirit (and just pretend like it’s still January) for just a teensy little bit longer whilst I bring you this review? 😇

What is a TOFT Advent Calendar?<<<
he TOFT advent calendar was every crocheters dream. ❤️ Behind each door was an adorable skein of TOFT's signature wool which, when used every day with the accompanying pattern, would create a mystery animal toy. The pattern was broken down into twenty four manageable chunks, which were emailed to me daily from TOFT themselves. This meant that you couldn't skip ahead and spoil the fun and kept the project a surprise for as long as possible. In short, you were given all the materials you needed to crochet everyday on the run up to Christmas, but you didn't have a clue what you were making until Christmas Day. 😂 A festive themed crochet-a-long, pitched at crocheters of all abilities.

Who are TOFT? TOFT are a British wool brand who specialise in luxury yarn. They are based on an alpaca farm on the border of Warwickshire. TOFT are well known for their cute animal patterns, which are designed by founder Kerry Lord, and are known within the brand as “Ed’s Animals”. You can find out more by visiting their website. I’ve been a fan of TOFT for a few years now and I always keep up to date with their new releases. So it was no surprise when I announced to my family I would be taking part in their advent calendar. You may have heard me talk about TOFT in some of my previous posts. Purchasing their kits or visiting their HQ is always a treat for me and this advent calendar was no exception.

First Thoughts: All I remember feeling when I found out about the TOFT advent calendar was excitement. I’d been looking for an advent calendar with a difference that year and TOFT completely fit the bill. In all honesty, I didn’t really think too much about the difficulty of the project, which in hindsight may have been a little silly. But TOFT always give such confidence to novice and beginner crocheters when facing a TOFT project that the thought never crossed my mind. I had a few amigurumis under my belt by this point too, so I felt like I was good to go. I also hazarded a guess that the mystery creature may be something of a festive theme. Like a reindeer or a turkey. The only thing giving me second thoughts was that TOFT told us early on that Gloria, whatever she may be, was an exclusive, never been done before, pattern especially for the advent calendar. And well TOFT had already done a reindeer and turkey pattern. But I thought maybe there was a specific breed…

My Experience: I remember going to bed on November 30th and being so super excited about this project! I’d already packed my project bag with all the essentials and couldn’t wait to get started! The next day I woke up to the pattern already in my inbox and a cute skein of cocoa wool.

Over the first couple of days we made Gloria’s legs. This was all crochet territory I was used to and so I happily got to work on these. I think this was the perfect start to this project as it would have eased beginners in gently and was a nice and easy start for more experienced crocheters.

Next came the body and this is where my crochet learning curve began. The body was made out of three different colours of yarn; cocoa, chestnut and fudge. I’d changed colour during crochet before, but only when making a granny square, so this time was rather different. I figured out how to colour change whilst crocheting in the amigurumi style and how to carry the yarn across as you work you way up the rounds, still colour changing throughout.

However, it was good I took to this new skill so quickly, because straight after the body came Gloria’s tail. The tail in question was stripey and loopy. Never had I attempted a loop stitch before in crochet! However, after watching the video tutorial on TOFT’s website I was soon popping those loops into stitches like nobody’s business.

By the time it got to Gloria’s head, I was prepared. More loops, more colour changes and decreasing! I loved how the head took shape. At this point I was still none the wiser about what animal Gloria was. I know on social media a few people had made a few guesses. If asked, I still would have said she was a Scandinavian Reindeer, like Sven from Frozen. Only the tail was making me doubt myself.

Now, can we just take a second to really, truly appreciate these ears. These ears were probably the biggest crochet hurdle I’ve had to jump since getting my head around how to hold a hook! Colour changes, loops and decreasing something that wasn’t even that big to begin with… but I love them. They are a visual representation of how far I’ve come on my crochet journey and they make me so super proud to look at them. I’m not gonna lie here, the ears started on day nineteen and this was the place I fell behind on my advent calendar. Trying to do all that twiddley crochet and coupe with Christmas in retail, something had to give. So the photographs of this parts progress don’t exist. But I got there in the end and they may not be perfect, but I’m so proud of them.

I think after the stress of those ears, Kerry let us wind down gently with Gloria’s arms. The arms were exactly the same as the legs so these got whipped up in no time at all. (I almost managed to catch up at this point.)

The final couple of days were reserved for putting Gloria together. I always get super nervous at this part and of any project. I always think of it as the “make or break” moment. You’ve worked so hard on something, yet this can still be the moment where it all goes wrong. But to be honest, there wasn’t that much sewing up to be done with Gloria and the same goes for many of Ed’s Animals. The simplicity of their designs in this sense is one of my favourite things about TOFT projects and this is what I ended doing Christmas Day afternoon.

My Gloria’s nose may not be perfect and cutting those loops to make her tufty ears and brows was terrifying but I absolutely love her and I’m so proud of my finished project.

For those of you who haven’t guessed it yet, Gloria turned out to be a Red Panda. I remember googling these early on in the CAL after someone posted this as a guess on the Ed’s Advent Instagram,!but for some unknown reason I didn’t completely believe it until I finished those ears!

Conclusion: Overall, I really enjoyed making Gloria. It tested my skills as a crocheter and it was great to face some new and exciting stitches along the way! I feel it was probably a challenge but also very clever of TOFT to devise a pattern that had both basic but also intricate levels of crochet in order to incorporate something for everyone. So although at times I found Gloria to be a bit of a challenge, she is also a project that I came away feeling immensely proud of.

The only trick I feel TOFT missed was that a Red Panda isn’t very Christmassy considering she came out of an advent calendar. But then Gloria is still sat on my desk as I type this and I suppose a festive themed animal would have been retired with the rest of my Christmas decorations well over a month ago now. So at least this way I get to appreciate Gloria every day of the week!

I really hope after the success of last year’s calendar, TOFT will do another this year. And if they do, I highly recommend you try and get yourself one. But you’ll have to be quick, I know last year very sold out almost instantly!

I hope you enjoyed this review, something a little different for the blog. Be sure to give this post a like if you did and I hope to see you joining in with Ed’s Advent this year, if it goes ahead.

– B xo

Posted in My Journey, News & Events, Woolly Wonders

Simply Knitting Magazine!

I am very excited to announce that Unravelled is featured in this month’s Simply Knitting Magazine!!! 😍😍😍

So, for your chance to WIN an Ultimate Unravelled Kit, as well as find out what they thought of my book, grab yourself a copy today! (Available now at all good newsagents.)P.S: How cute is the free gift? Plus, how adapt for a issue involving Unravelled? ❤️❤️❤️- B xo

Posted in My Journey, Unravelled

International Friends!

Recently I’ve had a lot of enquiries from some lovely people overseas asking if Unravelled is available for them too. So, for any of you out there still wondering, the answer is… YES!

My publisher’s website ships internationally! 🎉<

o not hesitate, head over to www.hallgoodbooks.com today! And get yourself a copy.

Once you’ve added Unravelled to your basket, you can calculate your shipping. The website offers you a whole list of countries we can ship too. So if you’re on the list, you’re in!

So, lovely readers of mine, I hope that helps. But if you still have an queries, please get in touch. I’m more that happy to help. 😊

– B xo

E-Mail: brionymarshallauthor@gmail.com

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