Woolly Chic Blog 

I will update this page as frequently as I can with things that I hope will be of interest to you, including work in progress projects (wips), new designs and photos of things that customers have made.  I hope to share with you my love of everything woolly and hopefully inspire your next crochet and knitting project!

Thank you for stopping by!


27th March 2017 

The Sixty Million Trebles Project
I have just finished making a 36 inch square Granny Square blanket for the Sixty Million Trebles Project - whatever is that, I hear you ask?

The UN at the end of 2015 estimated that there are 60 Million refugees Worldwide. So the aim of the Sixty Million Treble group is to create a yarn blanket. containing 60 million trebles, one treble for every life.  This blanket will then be used to yarn bomb somewhere in London highlighting the cause.  After the event the squares will then be taken apart and half of the blankets will go to UK homeless charities and the rest sent to the charity Hand in Hand For Syria.  
The project requires crocheted squares each measuring 36 inch square.  They can be any pattern and any yarn weight but they must come to that size.  All in all, they need 13, 050 36 inch squares.  My blanket had 41 rounds, which was 10.332 trebles in total!

If you would like to be part of this project you can join their Facebook group  https://www.facebook.com/groups/sixtymilliontrebles/ or come along to a special workshop on Thursday 27th April at the Nourish Wholefood Cafe in Letchworth between 10.30 and 12.30

28th February 2017 

Visit to the Halifax Spinning Mill 

Over half term, my husband and I took the kids up to York for what was a fantastic mini-holiday, and I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Halifax Spinning Mill on the way home to see my new wool being spun.  Paul, who owns and runs the mill gave us a tour and we could see the whole process of yarn production from the raw fleece being carded through to spinning and twisting the plies of yarn together. It was so exciting!  This new Woolly Chic yarn is a blend of 50% Wensleydale and 50% Pembrokeshire fleece, which I hope will be an even more luxurious yarn with a slight lustre when knitted.

20th January 2017 

Introducing the Hexie Handbag  

It's a new year and I am so excited to be launching a new crochet kit.  I started playing around with the design for a handbag using crochet hexagons whilst on holiday in Italy.  After months of trying to get the handle right and testing the pattern for errors (thank you to Kat, Fiona and Velvet!) I was finally happy with the bag and I hope you will like it too!

I especially love the bag lining, which has been custom made by Jane of GardeningWitch Designs http://gardeningwitch-designs.co.uk/home .  Made from calico, the bag lining has useful pockets inside and can be easily sewn into the finished bag.  Each kit includes one of these specially made bag linings as well as 200g of Woolly Chic Welsh wool.

2nd August 2016 

July was an incredible month!  

Usually the summer months are quiet for Woolly Chic, with knitters and crocheters putting away their WIPs and enjoying warmer weather outside, but not this July!  Wow, looking back it has been quite a whirlwind of activity.  The month started off with setting up the Vestree Yarnbomb Art Installation in Hitchin's St. Mary's Churchyard and ended with having a stall at the wonderful wool show Fibre East (with a Pop Up Shop in between!).

The theme of the yarn bombing was dressing up the trees and putting on a tree-mendous fashion show!  Thanks to the help of friends, many of whom I had taught to crochet, we made over 150 crochet flowers, which were transformed into a dress for a tree to go with a granny square Knitter's tree jacket and lots of bunting.  There is one magnificent horse chestnut tree in the churchyard which looked fantastic with mandalas hung along one of its huge branches.   

It was great to be part of Hitchin Festival and get such an amazing reaction from everyone who saw our yarn bombing display. 

A couple of the mandalas came with me to Fibre East, which was a huge two-day wool show in Ampthill, featuring every imaginable wool craft and so many talented designers and craftspeople.  I really enjoyed meeting everyone and talking about wool, knitting and crochet.  It was also an opportunity to launch some new patterns, kits and show off my new alpaca wool.  The teddy bears caught people's eye and the shoulder bag kit proved to be incredibly popular!  I now need to source some more fabric and sew a few more bag linings!

13th June 2016 

New DK Wool from those super cute alpacas!  

I had a very exciting delivery of wool today from the Halifax Spinning Mill.  They had already sent me a sample last month and I have been busy knitting with it.  It has a lovely springy feel and great stitch definition, but with the 20% brown alpaca fleece added it has softened the Pembrokeshire wool and has come out a beautiful fawn colour.  

I hope to have this wool available for sale on line at the beginning of July and for those that are coming to Fibre East, you will be able to have a good squish then.

Also delivered was some more dyed purple DK wool, which I had sold out of last month, so is now available to buy once again!

26th February 2016 

Super cute alpacas!   

Yesterday I went to see Jo and Neil at Rushmere Alpacas and met some of their gorgeous alpacas.  I was so happy and excited to be able to buy some of their fleece, which I hope to blend together with our Pembrokeshire sheep's fleece to make some new Woolly Chic DK yarn.

Jo and Neil have 28 alpacas at the moment and they all seem to have their own personalities.  Fleur, pictured below on the right, is a toffee coloured sweet-natured alpaca and it is her super fine, super soft fleece that will go into the mix!  

I have now just got to parcel the fleece up and send it to the Halifax Spinners Mill in Yorkshire to get it spun into hand-knitting wool.  Watch this space for how it turns out...

For more information on Rushmere Alpacas visit http://www.rushmerealpacas.co.uk/

2nd February 2016 

Share the Love - Free Heart Pattern  

Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are just round the corner and so here is a crochet heart pattern just for you.  Make in DK or 4ply yarn and stuff with fibrefill toy stuffing, add a bead and you will have an instant love token!

Abbreviations (UK)

ch                    chain

dc                    double crochet

dc2tog             decrease by crocheting 2 together

st(s)                 stitch(es)

ss                     slip stitch 

Method

The heart is made in spirals with no turning chains, for this reason place stitch markers at beginning of each round. Start with a slip knot and a long tail of yarn (this you can add a bead to at the end).

To make the bottom of the heart

Round 1                    2ch, 4dc into second ch from hook, ss

Round 2                    *1dc in next st, 2dc in the following st, repeat from * to end (6 sts)

Round 3                    *1dc in next st, 2dc in the following st, repeat from * to end  (9 sts)

Round 4                    1dc in each st.(9 sts)

Round 5                    *1dc in next 2 sts, 2dc in the following st, repeat from * to end  (12 sts)

Round 6                    *1dc in next st, 2dc in the following st, repeat from * to end  (18 sts)

Round 7                    1 dc in each st. (18 sts)

Round 8                    *1dc in next st, 2dc in the following st, repeat from * to end (27 sts)

Round 9                    *1 dc in next 2 sts, 2 dc in the following st, repeat from * to end (36 sts)

Round 10                  1 dc in each st (36 sts)

To make the top of the heart make each half separately

First Half

dc into the 18th st joining the work in the middle and continue in rounds

Round 1        1 dc in each st (18)

Round 2        1 dc in each st (18)

Round 3        * 1 dc in next 8 sts, dc2tog, repeat from * to end (16 sts)

Round 4        * 1 dc in next 2 sts, dctog, repeat from* to end (12 sts )

Round 5        * 1 dc in next st, dc2tog, repeat from * to end (8 sts)

Round 6        dc2tog around until hole closes.

Fasten off leaving a long tail.  Stuff this half with the stuffing

Second Half

Start by adding a loop into the stitch nearest the middle of the heart, once again with a long tail of yarn.

Round 1        1 dc in each st (18)

Round 2        1 dc in each st (18)

Round 3        * 1 dc in next 8 sts, dc2tog, repeat from * to end (16 sts)

Round 4        * 1 dc in next 2 sts, dctog, repeat from* to end (12 sts )

Fill with stuffing

Round 5        * 1 dc in next st, dc2tog, repeat from * to end (8 sts)

Round 6        dc2tog around until hole closes.

Fasten off leaving a long tail

To make up

To finish the hearts, thread each of the tails at the top of the hearts onto a yarn sewing needle and thread through the heart to the bottom of the heart.  The tail in the middle, thread onto a needle and make a loop, knot and then thread through to the bottom of the heart. Thread a bead onto all three tails and cut to the required length (about 3 – 5 cms)

These hearts are made with Woolly Chic Raspberry DK Pembrokeshire Wool using a 3.5mm crochet hook

british-wool.php


17th January 2016 

New Year Resolutions  

I very rarely make new year resolutions, but last year I set myself a challenge instead - I really wanted to learn to knit socks on 4 needles.  Although I find crochet easier and quicker, I love how knitted fabric looks and so when Isla of Brityarn launched a Sock KAL (Knit A Long) in October I couldn't put it off any longer.  With the help of a Craftsy class, I reached for my DPNs and cast on  - a long tail Norwegian cast on that was also new to me!.  I think I made this challenge even harder, as I wanted to knit the socks in my Woolly Chic 4ply yarn and this meant using 2mm needles and casting on 80 stitches. 

I really enjoyed knitting these socks.  I think they were one of the hardest things I have ever made, but loved knitting on 4 needles and learnt lots of new techniques along the way, like how to turn a heel and the Kitchener stitch to finish off the toes seamlessly.  They are far from perfect, but I have caught the sock knitting bug.  This year's challenge; to make another pair!  I thought I'd try from the toe up next time.  I think 2016 is going to be an exciting year for Woolly Chic, as I hope to have some more wool spun and launch some new knitting kits too. 

19th November 2015 

Fantastic Festiwool! 

I had such an amazing time at Festiwool last Saturday.  So many incredible exhibitors and talented people all in once place and the amount of beautiful and colourful wool on display brightened an otherwise grey and wet day!

Thank you to Sharon Cooper http://sharoncooper.co.uk/ for taking these photos.

Above the photos show some of the highlights of the wool show; Big Crocodile's big wool and big hats , teddies misbehaving, Unbelieva-wool's stunning colours, seeing Louise of Sincerely Louise again, being happy with how my stall looked, really glad that Debbie my friend helped during the busy times, hearing the feedback about my designs, Gardening Witch Jane's lovely stitch markers and project bags and  the fact that the rain didn't keep people away!

It was also lovely to meet some of the bloggers that I follow in person and I am so glad they enjoyed the event too.  Here are some links to their blogs with some more stunning photographs of the event:

http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/festiwool.html

http://betsymakes.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/festiwool.html

https://offthehookforyou.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/festiwool/

http://theknittingexploitsofjosiekitten.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/festiwool-2015.html?m=1

http://snoopydogknits.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/festiwool-2015.html

http://rachelgibbs.co.uk/festiwool/


17th October 2015 

New photos, new wool and a new kit! 

Thanks to Kasia Burke of http://www.kasiaburkephotography.co.uk/ for taking some great photographs of Woolly Chic wool and the kits, which hopefully will give this website a professional look!  I think the new Pembrokeshire wool looks great against a bright white background and now I have some lovely photos of my crocheted robins I can launch this as a new kit ready for Christmas.

Updating the website is a slow process and I would much rather be knitting my #gbsocksawaykal socks that has been challenging my knitting skills (never having knitted on 4 DPNs before!).  More on socks in a future blog post I think!

I hope you like the new look website and photos!

14th September 2015 

Thank you Knit British!

Knit British is a blog written by Louise Scollay and celebrates British yarn.  I am so excited to have been interviewed and featured on the blog today and Louise has reviewed some of the Woolly Chic Pembrokeshire wool.  She writes "The yarn has a lovely rustic handle and has an excellent grip on the needles, which is really great for Fair Isle."  To read more of her review and to see my interview go to http://www.knitbritish.net/  

11th September 2015 

Wonderful weekend at the MK Vintage & Handmade Fair! 

The MK Vintage & Handmade Fair in Central Milton Keynes is such a fantastic mixture of talented craftspeople and curious antiques with an eclectic vintage feel.  It was great to chat to people and get instant feedback on my Woolly Chic designs, lots of oohs and aahs and laughter at some of my tea cosies.  My knitted clanger, was not for sale, but got the kids dragging their parents to look at the stall (the pattern and wool was available, if anyone wanted to give making one a go!).  I was really pleased with how my stall looked.  These fairs are a great opportunity for me to see all my wool and designs out on display in once place, as normally it's all packed away in boxes!

31st July 2015 

Yarnbombing display all packed away

Following a month’s worth of rain in a day, the yarnbombing art installation around Hitchin’s St. Mary’s Church had to come down.  On display for a month as part of the Hitchin Festival, the decorated trees raised lots of smiles and comments and posts on Instagram.  Thanks to Velvet Cooper for taking these gorgeous photos.

The pompoms, flowers, fruit, fairies, lollipops, granny squares and bunting have all been taken down, a bit damp and muddy (and full of bugs!) but will be washed and spruced up to be on display again at Festiwool, Hitchin’s wool festival on Saturday November 14th.  Our Woolly Chic crochet work will be on display and on sale at the MK Vintage and Handmade Fair in Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre on 5th & 6th September. 

 4th July 2015

Yarnbombing Hitchin

Last Friday we spent the day decorating trees around St Mary's Church in Hitchin yarnbombing!  Coincidentally, the term yarn bombing was also included in the latest update to the Oxford English Dictionary last week.  We had lots of people stop by, take photos and ask what we were doing!  One man exclaimed - have you seen the tree dressed in a jumper?


 

The yarn bomb installation will be on display until July 25th in Hitchin all around St. Mary's Church.

More photos can be seen on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/woollychic 


17th June 2015

The art of a good yarn 

I was thinking the other day how lucky I was to be part of two community knitting and crochet groups.  The groups bring together people of all generations and backgrounds to share their simple love of making things with wool.  Such talent and creativity is truly inspiring and I always learn something new and end up adding to my ever growing list of things I must make next!

I was recently asked by Hitchin Stitchin, a weekly knitting group of over 30 members, to participate in a Yarnbomb Installation as part of the Hitchin Festival.  I jumped at the chance.  I was so excited to have the opportunity to decorate a tree and show off the beauty and versatility of wool.  As a celebration of British Wool, I was determined only to use wool farmed and spun in the UK in my display, some of the wool in fact, has been spun from the fleece of my family’s sheep.

It is fitting that this exhibition should take place in the green space around St Mary’s Church in Hitchin, which was built with money from the wool trade, its size and beauty demonstrating just how prosperous sheep farming and the wool industry was in the 13th Century.   

I have chosen a beautiful cherry tree to decorate, with a trunk not too broad and branches that spread out wide just above head height!  A single granny square from the Simply Crochet granny square app has provided the inspiration and theme of my yarnbomb display, combining my love of crochet with my passion for using British wool.  “I wool always love you”, corny but true!

In addition to bunting and pompoms the trees will be decorated with fairies, butterflies, fruit, lollipops, hearts and flowers. 

Hitchin is once again re-establishing its reputation as a wool town not only with this yarn exhibition but also with the return of Festiwool, a spectacular wool festival in November, where over 50 British designers, makers and wool manufacturers will be exhibiting at North Herts College.  The organiser of Festiwool, Philippa Gregory, will be decorating one of the trees to promote the event.

The Yarnbomb installation will be on display from 26th June to 25th July.  More photos to follow. 

1st June 2015 

A gallery of customers' photos

We love to see photos of things people have made, please keep emailing us your pictures and we will feature them in this gallery!