manchester shawl update

I am completely overwhelmed by the response to the publication of the Manchester Shawl a couple of weeks ago.  Thank you to everyone who had purchased and given me very positive feedback.  This has been a MASSIVE confidence boost to me and I am now looking at ways I can make 2017 my year of designing and publishing.  I have lots of shawls made that I need to write up, and design ideas that I need to work through!

At the moment I’m working on a Tunisian shawl design.  I had looked for a shawl that had certain elements and found lots of shawls that were *nearly* right but nothing that was *exactly* right.  So decided to make my own.  After lots of false starts and ‘almost’ rights (I like this, and this but not that….) I think I finally have a combination that is working so that is finally coming alongTunisian Under Wraps

I’m loving the yarn though.

Talking of yarn I’ve decided that I need to pull out the Stash and reorganise it all (again).  I need to order some boxes for it and dedicate a day to putting it all on the floor and then back into some better order.  At the moment I have two large boxes (and several smaller ones.  And maybe a couple of drawers.  And my ‘current project bags’……oh dear) which is ‘sorted’ into UNDER 4ply and OVER 4ply.

As much as I love those beautiful photos of rainbow cascading yarn cakes, it just isn’t practical with my life and I really don’t need to split by colour group or fibre – it’s not that kind of stash.  Frankly if I sorted my stash into ‘yarn with silk’ I’d have one huge pile and a couple of balls of cotton.  So I’m thinking a box per yarn weight/WPI so when I decide next year to design something in DK or 4ply or cobweb I can just pull out that box for a play and inspiration.

Does anybody else do this?  Have a system for something for years and then suddenly one day realise it’s not working anymore?

I don’t have a free weekend until October – but watch out for a photo update!



It all comes back to Manchester

I’m very excited.  I’ve just published my first ‘paid for’ pattern on Ravelry. The Manchester Shawl is available to everyone here: buy now with Ravelry (and PayPal)

Manchester ShawlManchester has figured heavily in my life – I was born there, as my Aunt crocheted a traditional granny square shawl in the waiting room for my mother to wear during early morning feeds.  We moved frequently over twenty years, but after every move away we always moved back to Manchester – to within 2 streets of where we lived before in fact!

That original shawl is now mine, but much like me starting to fray around the edges and show it’s age.  It has been worn around my mother and me as a baby, it’s been a superhero cape, a den, a secure ‘hiding place’ and a portable hug.  It’s be worn in all weather, dragged through mud, tossed carelessly in bags and used to wipe benches dry… So I needed a new shawl that could withstand abuse required.

Luxury yarns were right out from the start, and the yarns I used are best acrylic – lovely soft modern squishy machine washable acrylic.  The pattern I found and adapted was originally published in the Manchester needlework pattern book (yet another tie to Manchester!).

I had nothing to lose and decided to take a risk on the colour choices – everything else I have is ‘safe’ colours and in the winter months everyone wears dark or neutral colours and I wanted something a bit more eye catching in the grey days.  I’m delighted with how the teal and orange pop together – and it’s certainly eye catching!

Having made one, I decided to write down the pattern – and made another for a friend who also needs a portable hug that can take a bit of abuse from her two lovely boys.  She’s a lot taller than me, so an upgrade to Aran weight and a larger hook produced a positive blanket of a shawl (she’s 5ft 10″ and it’s ankle length on her).  A bone-deep goth, bright colours just weren’t going to cut it, and the Women’s Institute aran rich purple was perfect – dark but rich and jewel like in saturation, this shawl gives a pop of suitably goth colour to her generally black ensembles.

Writing a pattern though takes HOURS.  Not just a couple, but the best part of a working week – somewhere between 30 and 40 hours.  I’m sure they can be written quicker but I take great care to make sure that my patterns are as understandable and as clear as possible.  Writing and rewriting and rephrasing and rereading takes time.  So I made the decision to charge.  Its a token amount, as there is no chart (those are coming for another pattern) but I really hope you will enjoy it!

Every cloud has a silver lining

In October of 2011 I posted a free ‘bandana’ style shawl pattern on Ravelry.

A member of Crochet Shoulder Wrappers (the group I administer) asked if there were any patterns available that were similar to a shawl that was (at that time) for sale in an English high street store called “Monsoon”.

I happened to be passing a store and popped in to have a look at this shawl and came home and crocheted up a shawl “heavily inspired by” the one I had seen.  This resulted in me publishing my Cloudburst Shawl (link to Ravelry)

cloudburst pattern


This shawl is by far and away my most popular upload to date with nearly 2,500 downloads – and 318 actual tagged projects on Ravelry!

I was delighted this week when Ravelry member “alondras” took the time to send me a message about a blog post she had done on her beautiful creations using my pattern.  A bilingual blog (English and Spanish I think) she has showcased just some of the shawls created – pop over and have a read!

I’m always really happy to get messages about this pattern and see what people do with it – and  answer questions people may have.