Posted in My Journey, The Bookshelf, Woolly Wonders

April Wrap Up 2018

April was a month I spent doing a lot of day dreaming. It was a very relaxed month and I didn’t really feel like I’d done much until I came to write this blog. πŸ˜… However, it appears I was wrong to think that….

I booked a family holiday!

At the beginning of the year I wrote myself a little bucket list. On said list I included places I’d like to visit and holidays I’d love to book. In amongst was the dream of living in a cabin in the woods for a week, switching off from the world and just taking a breather. Well last month I took the bull by the horns and booked that dream escape for me and all those I love. It was rather spontaneous and the first time I’ve booked up a trip for a group of this size. But the website promises an amazing getaway and I literally cannot wait! 😁

I started knitting again!

I do truly wish there were more hours in a day. Actually let me rephrase that; I do truly wish there were more leisure hours in a day. πŸ˜‚ I love my hobbies, all of them. But I do find myself having fads and flirtations with each at different times. (I’d love to be able to commit to a long term relationship with them all sometime. Maybe a few more years practice at allocating my time and I’ll get there! #goals). However this month I picked up my knitting needles again and loved it. Maybe it’s to do with the fact I’m wielding those Knit Pro Zings 😍😍😍 or maybe it’s my infactuation with the colour mustard. Either way, I’m back to knitting again and I’m determined to finish this project. πŸ’ͺ

I got very nostalgic over Pop-Punk.

The boyf treated me to this MTV Pop-Punk album in early April and it just gave me all of the feels. Although we grew up miles apart we were definitely meant to find each other purely because of moments like this. I ended up starting a full iPod over haul due to this. I’m a strong believer that music speaks to the soul. I also like listening to music when I’m looking for writing inspo, so it maybe it’s a sign…

I conquered my reading slump.

I suppose this is something I’ve been a little hush hush about, but given that it’s over now and also the fact that my plan has always been to be genuine with all, I’m going to say it. I’ve just not fancied reading these last few months. It wasn’t even like it was my choice of book, Throne of Glass is AMAZING!, or necessarily my schedule. I just didn’t want too, which was a very sad state of affairs. But that’s okay, because with a little motivation from one of my besties getting back into books, I’m back on that reading train and I’ve already finished that novel and started a new one! You see, it’s okay to be an writer and take reading breaks. I feel there is so much pressure on aspiring authors to be avid readers. Don’t get me wrong, you should definitely read, but it’s okay to have slumps and breaks. Nobody’s perfect.

I picked a pattern for my holiday.

I spent most of April trawling the internet for a knitting/ crocheted garment pattern that I’d want to make to take away with me on holiday. I must admit this took me ages. The spectrum ranged from huntress cowls to boho bikinis. πŸ˜‚ In the end I settled for a granny square crop top by Beautiful Crochet Stuff. However, because it took me so long to decide I’m now having a race against time to see if I can get it done before we go away!

The Temperature CAL gained new colours!

April was a great month for my AIYSO Temperature CAL blanket. We had the introduction of not one, not two but three new colours! We seem to have very swiftly taken a hot tropical vibe and I love it! Here comes summer! πŸ•ΆπŸ‘™πŸ

What did you get up to in April? Let me know in the comments. (Oh and if you’ve ever stay in a cabin in the woods send me your tips and tricks! πŸ˜‚)

– B xo

Posted in My Journey, Woolly Wonders

March Wrap Up.

Sooo it’s wrap up time again! πŸ˜ƒ

Doing these wrap up posts this year has made me realise just how quickly a month can fly by, it’s kinda scary! But I also love compiling my list across the month and being able to look back, and really appreciate what I’ve done with my month. It gives me that feeling of fulfilment, like a little cheerleader inside my head chanting: “You go girl!” It’s very satisfying. I highly recommend starting a monthly achievements list on your phone.

Anyways March…

March for me was a very crafty month and I LOVED it. Looking back I wish I’d taken part in the #marchmeetthemaker tag on Instagram, as I would have easily had enough to post about in hindsight. However, for those of you whose feeds I follow, I loved seeing all your posts. There are some very inspiring people out there, let me tell you. #goals

So what did I get up to last month? Well…

I had a week away from my day job.

Being a self proclaimed “Girl Boss” with a full-time day job, author responsibilities and a hundred and one hobbies, it can be a little overwhelming at times! (Although I absolutely wouldn’t change it for the world!) So to be able to take a week out and just chill was an absolute dream. That week mainly consisted of knitting, crochet, puppy cuddles, good company, coffee and cake. Bliss.

I had my podcast interview with The Slow Knitter.

March was the month I got to meet Rena, the lovely lady behind The Slow Knitter podcast on YouTube. In the month of March not only did we meet via video calling, but we also got to know each other , recorded our interview, recorded my WIPs and she edited and then uploaded the full interview to her email channel! If you look back through my blog posts you can read all about this adventure. It was very exciting!

I learnt to graphgan!

Speaking of YouTube… last month I taught myself to graphgan! (With the much needed help and advice of The Crochet Crowd and their fabulous YouTube channel. πŸ’– Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you guys!)

For this of you who don’t know, graphganing is the art of using a chart to change the colour of stitches within a crochet project to create a picture or words. I must admit, when I first looked at the chart from One Dog Woof I was slightly terrified. I fell in love with her Get Some Zzz Blanket as soon as I stumbled across it on Pinterest 😍, but having never tackled anything like this before it was a little bit daunting. However, I am so proud with how this turned out. I definitely recommend you watch The Crochet Crowd’s video before attempting anything like this as it was that video that gave me the confidence to get stuck right in.

I think someone is a little protective over their new blankie. πŸ˜‚

I finished my first ever shawl!

The new year’s resolution I’ve been sticking to the most so far in 2018 has to be “Finish What You Started.” I started my Seems Like Old Times shawl in the summer last year. The summer ended and so did my shawl… or so it seemed… until this March.

To jazz things up, I was unconventional, and created this beautiful traditional shawl in the gorgeous rainbow variegated 4ply by the Women’s Institute. I love love love it!

I went to the ICHF Craft Show.

Back when snow was the in thing, my Mom, my bestie and I braved the elements and attended the ICHF Craft Show in Birmingham. The things purchased that day were the stuff of dreams. 😍

  • TOFT wool in the correct colours to make a mini Bobby 🐾❀️ (With complimentary puppy tote bag!)
  • Brittany shawl pin to adorn my brand new shawl! (I love Brittany needles, hooks and accessories because they remind me of wands!⚑️)
  • Free tote bag from Create & Craft! (Very nice of them.)
  • Felt Piggies Brooch kit. (I love piggies, they’re one of my favourite animals. 🐷 Fun fact!)
  • Beaded Dragon Earring Kit. 🐲 (I just fell in love with these at the stand. Never tried the craft before but they were just so vivid! Can’t wait to have a go!)
  • Scheepjes Yarn Ball House. πŸ’– (To stop your ball of wool from getting dirty/ being chewed to death by a certain little puppy!)

I also wandered around flashing my Unravelled tote bag for some causal self promotion. πŸ˜‚ All in all it was a wonderful day and I’m looking forward to using all my new pretties!

I made a pair of tassel earrings.

Statement earrings look set to be the fashion trend of Spring/Summer 2018 and I’m loving it! Anything bold, bright and a little bit extra, I’m all over it. However after finished my rainbow shawl and having a ball or two of wool left over, I had a craving to make my own.

I debating whether or not to post the pattern for these on the blog at some point. All supplies are easily available from hobbycraft and are super affordable. So be sure to let me know in the comments if this is something you’d be interested in.

I did lots of easter crafting!

Everything seems to be happening really early this year and although Easter isn’t until April, it’s the 1st April! (Us crafters really have to be prepared this year!) So during the month of March I made sure to dedicate some time to easter crafting and dreaming about longer, warmer brighter days.🌸🐰🐣

My achievement list consists of:

  • Faux grass bunny and egg ornaments, which I accessorised with daisies.
  • Super cute creme egg cosies from a pattern I found on Pinterest.
  • Mini Emma the Bunny from TOFT, whose colour way I changed to suit the eastery theme.
  • Yummy Chocolate Nest Cakes made with Shredded Wheat to give them more of a nest-like texture.

The easter treat table looked so cute!

Temperature Blanket update.

I only took this one picture of my temperature blanket throughout the whole of March (and even that was taken quite early on!) In short, I spent most of the month playing catch up until right at the end, when I finally felt like I was getting somewhere, I ran out of wool! 😩 I’m determined to make April a better delicious blanket month, as a little birdie told me there may be new colours on the horizon. πŸ˜‰

B xo

Posted in My Journey

February Wrap Up 2018

Okay, so maybe this is another wrap up post that is a little bit belated… but February just flew by, didn’t it?

I mean, I remember February beginning, and all the plans that were falling into place for that coming month, and then BAM! It’s now nearly the end of March and I still haven’t posted this blog! (Bad Briony!) But I’m sure you’ll forgive me when you see the tiny excuse for why I’ve been so distracted…

We got a puppy!!!!

And he is just the cutest thing. I mean look at him. That picture was taken the day we got him. He’s just so small! πŸ’• The beady-eyed among you may have already spotted him in my Valentine’s and Mother’s Day posts. (I just couldn’t wait to share his cute little face. 🐢) And well if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know exactly what’s been going on. πŸ˜‚

So besides puppy cuddles, puppy cuddles and more puppy cuddles what did I get up to during February 2018 ? Well…

I made a dog hoodie!

When we first got Bobby nothing fit him. He was so tiny! Here in the UK we’ve had such cold weather, I couldn’t let him go around naked. However, thanks to Cami Weaver’s Crochet Chihuahua Hoodie on Ravelry, I got to make something tiny enough to keep him cosy and warm. (Fun Fact: He’s already out grown it though, so I’m going to have to start making another!)

I visited the Coombs Wood Book Club

This was a wonderful evening. I made an author appearance at a book club who had read Unravelled as their Valentine’s read. ❀️ It was so amazing to sit around a table with so many people who had read my story and just talk. Everyone was so very welcoming. Thanks again for having me Stephanie, I hope to be able to visit you and your lovely book club again in the future! (They even gave me this gift to say thank you, how nice of them was that?!)

I took Cupid off the needles.

At the beginning of February I posted this picture on my social media, asking people to guess what my first cast on of 2018 was. I can now reveal it was the beginnings of a knitted Cupid. However, with everything else that happened last month, I never got around to finishing him, so I made the sensible decision to take him off of the needles and save the pattern for another time. (A decision of which I am very proud of. The usual thing would have been to dump the pattern, the needles and the cast on stitches in a bag ready for next year or , you know, never. I’m taking this “finish what you start” thing very seriously. I either cast it off or take it off the needles these days. My WIPs list is long enough!)

My case study was published in my Alumni e-zine!

I know I wrote a separate blog post about this, so I won’t go on. But I just want to say that I am still super proud of this achievement and the recognition I’ve been given from my university. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸŽ“

More fan mail!

I was lucky enough to receive some more fan mail last month too. This still blows my mind and warms my heart in equal measures. This letter in particular highlighted my reader’s appreciation of my believable characters. Thank you so much for all of your kind words. I honestly cannot tell you how much all of your wonderful feedback means to me. ❀️

And finally …

My Temperature Blanket Update.

My Temperature CAL blanket is still going strong. Sundays have become a kind of weekly catch up day, but I’m still on track. February saw the introduction of a new colour too. Grey symbolises the fact that it was 0 degrees at noon here in the UK last month and there was even more snow!

And that’s a wrap! With March almost over, it won’t be long until you’re hearing what I’ve been up to this month, but until then be sure to get in touch and let me know what you got up to last month. I’ve love to know. 😊

– B xo

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

The Slow Knitter Podcast & Giveaway!

You may remember, a few blogs ago, I announced the wonderful news that I was going to be a part of The Slow Knitter podcast!

Well, last week I spent some time chatting with Rena, the lovely lady behind The Slow Knitter, all about Unravelled as well as my knitting & crochet journey.

Today, her podcast containing my interview went live!

You can watch it here.

I’m so excited to share this experience with you, because I had so much fun doing it! Rena was a great host and asked some really interesting questions.

And if that wasn’t enough!!! Rena is also hosting a giveaway via her podcast where, not only could you win a copy of Unravelled along with the Adrian’s Scarf knitting pattern, but one lucky winner will have a chance to win the whole Ultimate Unravelled Kit… and it’s so easy to enter! (Be sure to watch the podcast for more details!)

Enjoy and hit the subscribe button whilst your there, so you never miss an episode of The Slow Knitter podcast. 😊

– B xo

(Image Credit: Yasmin Qureshi Photography.)
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. πŸ’–

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. πŸ“¦

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! πŸŽ‰

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! πŸ˜‚

And that’s a wrap!

– Bxo

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? πŸ˜‡

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. πŸ˜‚ 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