Sunday, 3 December 2017

Toe up socks - with Arne and Carlos at Black Sheep Wools

 Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a Sock Knitting workshop with Knitting and Crochet Superstars Arne and Carlos, at Black Sheep Wools in Warrington.

I was really looking forward to learning some new techniques, as well as meeting the Scandinavian design duo, who are great hosts and tutors, as well as being funny and so incredibly interesting and talented.

Plus, I was looking forward to a visit to Black Sheep Wools, having a mooch amongst their gorgeous yarns and enjoying the delicious refreshments that are always in plentiful supply at their workshops. Just look at their amazing Rowan display - a wall of intense colour and gorgeous textures, just waiting to be squished and smooshed. I admit that I couldn't resist a little purchase!!

When I arrived, I was delighted to see that fellow designers and bloggers Christine Perry (aka Winwick Mum) and Emma Varnam were also there, so we spent the day chatting, catching up and generally enjoying ourselves. I loved Emma's granny square jacket and we all agreed it should become her 'signature' jacket.

The idea of the workshop was to knit a small sock in order to learn the different techniques for casting on, toe increases, heel and rib, so that you could take away your new skills and start knitting full size, toe-up socks. We all received a large 150g ball of Arne & Carlos Regia 6ply sock yarn, which I haven't knitted with before, and I have to say, I really enjoyed the thicker yarn as it knitted up quickly - which was a good job as I decided that I would knit a full sized sock instead of the mini-sock!!!

After a brief introduction  (that had us all in fits of laughter) we began to cast on, starting at the toe:

Usually, I knit cuff down socks. I like this method because when I cast on using the thumb method, I can create a really stretchy edge that is lovely and comfortable around my calf. So starting at the toe was quite a change for me. I cast on 16 sts and split them over 4 double-pointed-needles to work in the round. I was concerned about the gap at the toe - you can see the open cast-on stitches in the photo above. Usually toe-up socks start with a 'figure of eight'  cast-on or 'Judy's magic cast-on', which closes up this gap, but these methods can put off even the best of knitters. But as I learned throughout the day, Arne & Carlos have a very different and much more laid back approach to their sock knitting. They don't bother with anything complicated, so they simply gather up the stitches. We pondered between us whether this would work? Wouldn't it be a little bit lumpy? But no, it wasn't, and altogether much easier and less stressful than trying to master a new technique, especially as a lot of ladies in the room were also new to double-pointed needles.

If you're using self-striping yarn, I have a great tip for making sure that both socks are identical in terms of striping. All you need to do is make sure that you make your beginning slip knot at the same place along the yarn for both socks. It helps to choose a notable colour change, and there's no harm in taking a photo so that you don't forget. In the photo below, you can see my slip knot between a blue section  and a light brown section.

The next step was to start increasing for the toe shaping. Arne and Carlos use a Norwegian increase method which I was determined to master, and in reality, it was very simple and I really like it. If you look at the stitch that sits directly below the stitch on your left needle, you insert your right needle into the right 'leg' of the stitch, pop it onto the left needle and knit into it, to increase 1 stitch - how simple is that. I will definitely be using this neat method of increasing in the future.

Once I had increased to 48 stitches, I continued to knit in the round until my sock reached my ankle bone, when stretched. Then I marked the heel stitches with waste yarn so that I could work my 'afterthought heel' later. This was incredibly simple too - I just knitted half of my stitches onto waste yarn, then knitted them again in my main yarn. The waste yarn is here in yellow and I unpicked it later, once I had picked up the stitches along each side of the yellow line:

Next, I continued to knit the leg in the round, finishing with a (k1, p1) ribbed cuff. I used a simple rib cast off and it seems stretchy enough, but I'm not sure if I should have used a stretchy cast off - I'll try that next time, because I do prefer a more stretchy cuff edge. I might even unravel the cuff cast off and try again.

Then it was back to the heel and I have to agree that an 'afterthought heel' is quite ingenious. I have tried this method before for a mitten thumb but I have always struggled to create a neat set of picked- up stitches (in particular the stitches at the sides of the opening). So I asked Carlos if he had any tips and he patiently sat with me and explained how they do it in Norway. For an afterthought heel, when you pick up the stitches on each side of your waste yarn, it's best if you pick up in the right 'leg' of every stitch to create a neat pick up. Then I transferred all 48 stitches to 4 dpns to knit one round straight, and when I reached the large gaps at the side, I picked up one leg of a stitch and knitted it with the next stitch (so that you don't increase a stitch). If you do this twice at each side gap, you will avoid any holes. It really did work a treat. Then you simply decrease on every other round (as you would for a standard cuff-down toe decrease) and gather the last 12 stitches to close the hole - no fancy Kitchener Stitch needed here!! My heel was perfect, much to my delight. I love the squareness of the 'afterthought heel' and will definitely be using it again, now that I know how to make it super neat.

So after much chatting, learning lots of interesting facts, and eating and drinking plenty, the workshop drew to a close and off I went for a mooch in the Craft Barn to find some yarn to use in a potential book (shhh - it's a secret for now!!!)

I had a look at the Arne & Carlos Engineered Sock Yarn, but couldn't quite decide on the colourway, so I will save that for another visit. I quite fancy the green/brown/cream combination.

I'm looking forward to the Christmas Videos that Arne & Carlos are publishing on Sunday of December at 6pm - move over Kirsty Allsopp!!! 

You can join the party here: Get Ready for Christmas with Arne and Carlos

and visit Black Sheep Wools online here: Black Sheep Wools

Christine has a great collection of free sock patterns, tutorials and videos over on her award winning website here: Winwick Mum

and Emma's blog is a must - great tips, free patterns, yarn reviews, advice and general all-round great content here: Emma Varnam

I hope you all have a great week and thanks for reading - if you would like to join me on social media, I'm @the_woolnest on Instagram and @thewoolnest on facebook and twitter. It would be great to see what you're all up to.
Don't forget to tag me and use the hashtags #makeandbehappy and #knitcrochetcreate - I'll share my favourites.

If you would like to receive my newsletter and be the first to hear about my latest competitions, giveaways and free patterns, click the link on the right-hand side of my blog page, or visit my website here: Knit, Crochet, Create with Lynne Rowe

Happy sock knitting,
Lynne x

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The perfect socks

It's been a while since I've blogged, for various reasons, but here I am, back again with the first of what will be a weekly blog post that I will write at the weekend and publish during the week. I find that my head is clear at the weekend - free from the pressures of work and deadlines, so for me it's a great time to relax and share my thoughts with you.

I'm really poorly at the moment and there's not a lot I can do about it other than to distract myself with lovely crafty things, whilst I sit very still, breathe gently and try not to talk (some would say that's a bonus!!!). So this morning I was so happy to receive a couple of lovely parcels to cheer me up and even happier that my bright, new stitch library matches my latest finished object.

I'm excited to tell you that I actually knitted a pair of socks, all for me. I bought a skein of self-striping sock yarn from my talented friend Rebecca at @blackhorseyarn in a gorgeous combination of teal and oranges/rust. She kindly dyed up a mini skein for me in a contrast bright orange, for the heels and toes. It really is one of my favourite combinations and it's incredibly bright and cheery. Perfect for lifting your mood whilst you knit. I love the little pops of colour in the rust-coloured stripes - can you see them?

In truth, I'm on the search for my perfect sock, so when I have a skein of the most gorgeous hand dyed yarn, I will know exactly how many stitches to cast on, which needle size to use, how many rows of rib and which type of rib to work, how many rows for the leg, which type of heel, how many rows for the gusset and foot and finally, which type of toe and how many rows I need.

My starting point was my basic family sock pattern in my latest book "Knit Yourself Calm". These socks are knitted from the cuff down and have a slipped stitch ribbed heel. I find that socks are perfect for mindful knitting, especially as I use a small circular needle, rather than double-pointed-needles, so once I've cast on I can just knit! knit! knit! and get into my mindful zone, focussing on the stitches as I knit each one, and focussing on my hands as they work away merrily, creating and making. If you choose your favourite colours for your mindful knitting, your project will definitely help to improve your mood. I picked up my socks at the same time each day, to relax after work for 20 minutes, and before I knew it I had knitted a whole sock (within one week too!!). I was determined not to get 'second sock syndrome', so I cast on the next sock straight away.

For those of you who are new to sock knitting, Christine Perry, aka Winwick Mum, has a fantastic library of resourses available freely on her website, with detailed tutorials, sock patterns to download and helpful guidance. I'd definitely recommend a visit to her website here.

Here are the results of my quest to find the perfect sock:

Yarn: Indie dyed merino sock yarn (75% superwash merino and 25% nylon) Colourway: Dirty Pond by @blankhorseyarn:
The verdict: Perfect - I love this yarn so much and can't wait to wear my socks. Superwash merino is perfect for me as there are no naughty floating fibres to cause irritation to either my skin or my breathing.

Needle size: I usually cast on with 3mm  needles, work a couple of rounds before switching to 2.5mm needles.
The verdict: This works perfectly for me, so no change needed here.

Cast on stitches: Whilst I would normally cast on 64 sts, I decided to try 60 sts, as sometimes 64 stitches are a little baggy on my leg/foot.
The verdict: 60 sts is perfect with 2.5mm needles, so this will be now be my choice going forward.

Rib: I have tried 1x1 rib in the past which I find a little tight, so I tried 2x2 rib for 12 rounds.
The verdict: I feel that the 2x2 rib is too slack. Next time I will try 2x1 rib (k2, p1). Also, 12 rounds of rib were not quite deep enough so next time I will try 16 or 20 rounds.

Leg: I knitted 66 rounds of stocking stitch, so together with the rib, this made 78 rounds in total.
The verdict: this seems a perfect length for me, so I will stick to this total length in future BUT I do feel that if I cut down the leg by about 4 rounds, then I will possibly be able to get 2 pairs of socks from 1 x 100g skein of yarn plus a mini skein for heels and toes. So I may try that next time.

Heel: I love a slipped stitch rib heel as I find that it hugs my heel well (you can find out how to work a slipped stitch rib heel over on Winwick Mum's website here)
The verdict: I'm more than happy with this, however, I would like to try other heels too, just to investigate further, so next time I will try a wrap and turn heel.

Foot rounds: I knitted 70 rounds of stocking stitch for the leg, including gusset, before the first decrease round of the toe.
The verdict: This is perfect for me.

Toe: I worked a standard toe decrease, on every alternate round and ended with 24 sts, which I grafted together with Kitchener Stitch.
The verdict: This is the perfect toe length for me.

So all in all this was a great experiment Now I can just cast on 60 sts and knit a sock following my own recipe above, without having to find a pattern. I think next time I will knit with a variegated yarn and I'll try a 2x1 rib for 20 rounds and a wrap and turn heel. I'll use a mini skein for heels and toes as I love the definition and contrast this gives. I can't wait to share my thoughts with you and create another pair of socks too.

Even more exciting is that I finally managed to buy a pair of handmade Bunny sock blockers from The Knitting Shed, so now I can block them properly and make them perfect. These are so very cute aren't they.  Thanks to Emma over at the Potter and Bloom podcast for alerting me to these, and they're much better than plastic ones.

Do you have a perfect sock pattern - I'd love to hear all about it and if you share the link to the pattern, we could all give it a try. I hope you all have a great week and thanks for reading - if you would like to join me on social media, I'm @the_woolnest on Instagram and @thewoolnest on facebook and twitter. It would be great to see what you're all up to.

Don't forget to tag me and use the hashtags #makeandbehappy and #knitcrochetcreate - I'll share my favourites.

If you would like to receive my newsletters and be the first to hear about my latest competitions, giveaways and free patterns, click the link on the right side of my blog page, or visit my website here: knit, crochet, create with Lynne Rowe.

Happy sock knitting,
Lynne x

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Book Review - 35 knitted baby blankets

I have to admit that I've had this cute and colourful book on my review pile for quite a while and whilst I would very much like to keep this gorgeous book for myself, I thought I'd share it with you as a knitting giveaway. To enter, either leave a comment below or simply subscribe to my website (no need to subscribe again if you've already joined, as all members will be automatically entered). Competition closes on 12th. July at midnight.

'35 knitted baby blankets' is authored by designer Laura Strutt, who is a knitting and crochet designer and all-round craft expert. Laura shares her expertise over on her website at and her website is really fresh and inspiring, so I'd definitely  recommend a visit.

For her latest book, Laura combines gorgeous yarns with simple techniques and stitches to create a collection of stylish, modern and adorable blankets that are guaranteed to become a baby's treasured companion.

All of my children had their own favourite handmade cuddle blanket so I always have a soft spot for baby blankets and can appreciate the important role they play in a little person's life.

Coming up with 35 different designs is no mean feat, but Laura has succeeded in delivered a delightful array of very different designs using colourful patterns and interesting techniques and I'm sure you will want to make them all. 

There are square blankets, hooded blankets, sleeping bags, small comforter blankets, entrelac, intarsia and fairisle blankets, as well as soft and textured wraps and cabled and brightly coloured works of art.

Yarns used are mainly double crochet and aran weights, although there are a couple of chunky and 4-ply blankets thrown in for good measure. Some blankets only need 150-200g, and there's is a 100g project for a baby cocoon and a stash blanket made from small squares - ideal for raiding your stash and using up those odd balls of yarn.

You can try one of the patterns for free over at CICO's website called Make etc. Click here for the free pattern for Bunting Blanket

The Book ISBN is: 978-1-78249-368-6
Number of Pages: 128
Book includes: 35 patterns and a full 'Techniques' section with lots of helpful illustrations, which are perfect if you're new to knitting.
Publishers are: CICO Books
Buy the book online here at Amazon

I hope  you have a great week and thanks for reading - if you would like to join me on social media, I'm @the_woolnest on Instagram; @thewoolnest on twitter and @thewoolnest on facebook. It would be great to see what you're all up to. 

Don't forget to tag me and use the hashtags #makeandbehappy and #knitcrochetcreate - I'll share my favourites.

If you would like to receive my newletters and be the first to hear about my latest competitions, giveaways and free patterns, click the link on the right side of my blog page, or visit my website here: knit, crochet, create with Lynne Rowe.

Happy Crafting,
Lynne x

Friday, 23 June 2017

Friendship Flowers Bunting - A crochet gift along

Last weekend, I confess I worked on a quick commission. Something I've 'banned' myself from doing, but I'd been asked if I could design up something really quickly in time for a photoshoot that was just a few days away, and so I said yes.

In truth, I really enjoyed this quick commission. It was very therapeutic and calming, especially given the worrying circumstances of the recent horrific attacks and events in London and the previous events in Manchester. My heart goes out to all those caught in the these traumatic and life-changing incidents.

Whilst my knitting and crochet doesn't solve the world's problems, it certainly helps me to focus my mind, meditate and improve my wellbeing. Here's how it works for me.

A Mindful Knitting/Crochet Exercise:
The repetitive movements of your hook or needles can really help to calm the mind and shut out the stresses and strains of daily life, just for a short time. I breathe in and out with the rhythm of the stitch and either focus on the movements of my hands, or on my breathing. I repeat the words "In" and "Out", "In" and "Out" over and over as I breathe, until they are the only things in my head. Eventually I can stop saying the words and I'm able to really focus on just my breathing because my knitting or crochet come naturally, without thought. Combining your breathing exercise with very simple and repetitive crochet or knitting stitches will help your mind find some clarity, peace and mental stillness. It has taken me a while and a lot of practise but if you persevere it can be really enlightening and refreshing. If you can practice this exercise for at least half and hour a day it can be extremely beneficial for your wellbeing.

Note: It works best if you can find a quiet place to work on your mindful knitting or crochet exercises, but with practice I find that I can now do my mindful knitting exercises in a room where the TV/radio is on - as long as I don't need to talk to anyone then I can shut the noise out whilst I'm focussing.

A Mindful Crochet Project:
My quick commission gave me a thought. One thing often leads to another, as they say, and a new design popped into my head along with an idea for sharing. I've called it my 'Friendship Flowers Bunting' and once you've mastered the first triangle you can use the simplicity of the granny stitch to practice my breathing exercise above. The central flower itself requires a little bit of getting used to, but it is a memorable combination of stitches and the rest of the triangle is very simple and repetitive - just perfect for a bit of mindful crochet.

What is the purpose of the bunting?
The idea is that you use your yarn stash to create a lovely strip of colourful bunting - bring all those wonderful colours together - don't be choosy - just embrace the different combinations that you can create. Image that each colour is a person from a different country/a different culture/a different religion/a different sexual orientation to you and bring them all together in one long happy strip of bunting; all happily sitting side by side, working well together and complimenting each other.

Pimp each triangle with a funky tassel (they're such fun to make) and here's the best bit - give your strip of bunting away as a gesture of friendship. You could give it to a family member or friend; post it to someone that you haven't seen or chatted to in a while; give it to a new neighbour or a work colleague, or if you're feeling brave enough you could give it to a random person on the train or tube, or to someone that works in your local supermarket or shop. I'm sure it will really make their day.

Here are the details of how you can join in:
1. First, have a good mooch in your stash and pull together oddments of yarn of a similar thickness - this could be double knitting (US light worsted) or 4ply (US sport) weight. For each bunting triangle you will need approximately 5-6g of yarn in total, and 3g for each tassel.
2. Grab your favourite 4mm (US G/6) to use with double knitting yarn or 3.5mm hook to use with 4ply yarn.
3. Cut a piece of strong, thick card that is 9cm long and about 5cm wide (for making tassels)
4. Find a pair of sharp scissors and a large tapestry/wool needle.
5. Cut a piece of thin ribbon that is around 2 metres long (or you could use yarn if you have no ribbon)
5. Make 9 or 10 bunting triangles following my free pattern which you can download below.
6. As you make each bunting triangle, use my mindful exercise above. Combined with the act of gifting, it makes the perfect Mindful Crochet Project.

You can download a free copy of the pattern by subscribing to my website here:
Subscribe to Knit, Crochet, Create with Lynne Rowe

Once you have subscribed, you will receive an mail with the free pattern code, with a link to buy on Ravelry (you don't need to be a Ravelry user to download the pattern).

I do hope that you enjoy the pattern and that you feel the benefit from this project as much as I did.

I'd love to see your Friendship Bunting so don't forget to use the hashtag #friendshipflowersbunting or #knitcrochetcreate when you share your makes on social media. I'd love to hear more about who you gave your bunting to, and how they reacted.

If you tag me when your share your project, I will repost. You can find me on social media as:
@thewoolnest on Facebook and Twitter
@the_woolnest on Instagram
Lynne Rowe on Ravelry.

You can join my 'Knit Crochet Create" group on Ravelry (click here) and share your finished bunting there and ask me any questions about the pattern.

Happy Mindful Crocheting and Knitting,
Lynne x

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Book Review - Mrs Moon Simple Chic Crochet

I wasn't surprised at all when I read that at a recent yarn festival, Karen and Susan from Mrs. Moon had completely sold out of their latest book "Simple Chic Crochet". As soon as I received my review copy of this gorgeous book, I knew from the cover that I was going to love it. It's so fresh and inviting that I couldn't wait to dive straight in. "Simple Chic Crochet" proves without doubt that crochet is just as versatile and stylish as knitting.

The book was sent to me by the lovely ladies at CICO books because I'm on their list of craft book reviewers. This means that CICO send me a copy of their latest knitting or crochet titles, and in return I read it through them and post my views (which are all my own). It takes me a couple of hours in total, as I like to look through the projects fully, see how the patterns are written and assess the book in terms of variety of projects, range of difficulty, ease of reading etc. Sometimes I pass the books around friends or offer them up as a giveaway, but I think I will be holding on to this one for a while myself.

Simple Chic Crochet is exactly as described - simple stylish and very chic indeed. The book contains 35 projects, which represents fantastic value for money. Many of the projects are perfect for new crocheters, including bed-runners, cushions, scarves and a beautiful granny square hot water bottle cosy that could be tackled by an absolute beginner.

If you're feeing a little more adventurous you could hook up a stylish skirt, a elegant ripple shawl or a beautiful blanket or scarf. 

Yarn used ranges from crochet cotton through to double knitting and super chunky and there's even a gorgeous doormat made from twine. It's so beautiful that I would need a sign above mine say "DO NOT WIPE FEET".

Many of the projects use Mrs. Moon yarn which is so soft and fluffy - it's like a giant marshmallow just waiting to be eaten. I think it's the softest and squishiest yarn I've seen. Admittedly, it is a luxury yarn at £8 per 50g skein for the double knitting weight and £16 per 100g skein for the super chunky weight. However, the great thing is that all yarn used is standard weights, so you could dive into your stash and re-create most of the projects in your own favourite colours instead. With careful substitution I'm sure you could achieve the same "WOW" factor. If you can treat yourself to a single skein then I can recommend the cosy fingerless mittens, which are a one-skein project.

The Book ISBN is: 978-1-78249-425-6
Number of Pages: 128
Book includes: 35 patterns and a full 'Techniques' section
Publishers are: CICO Books
Buy the book at Mrs. Moon online here: Mrs. Moon online

So, next time you attend a yarn festival - pop Mrs. Moon on your list of stalls to visit and go and have a squish and a smoosh of their gorgeous yarns, buy their fantastic books or just have a lovely chat with Karen and Susan.

I hope you have a great week and thanks for reading - if you would like to join me on social media, I'm @the_woolnest on Instagram; @thewoolnest on twitter and @thewoolnest on facebook. It would be great to see what you're all up to. 
Don't forget to tag me and use the hashtags #makeandbehappy and #knitcrochetcreate - I'll share my favourites.

Happy Crafting,
Lynne x

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Don't Give it Away

Welcome to Episode 5 of my mini audio podcast. This week I chat about:
  • what I'm up to that's not knitting or crochet
  • what I'm knitting
  • what I'm crocheting, and
  • what I've created
  • Plus I've shared some tips along the way, including advice on your designs and your intellectual property.
I've been a busy bee as usual and have had the pleasure of working on an amazing book by Lydia Tresselt, also known as "Lalylala". Lydia's first book is super cute and follows the life cycle of Bugs, Beetles and Butterflies. Lydia has a huge following, and creates the most adorable amigurumi, and I guarantee that you're in for a treat with her delightful new book that will be published later this year. Lydia's blog is here: Lalylala

image copyright Lydia Tresselt 

What I'm Knitting:
I joined a yarn club in January, run by the very talented Petra at "Made byBlack Elephant". I really love her work and its been a real treat to receive the yarn in the post each month, together with the cute little extras that she sends. I'm determined to use up the yarn and not just add it to my stash so I've used the first skein to knit up a sample for a new design. I love how the bright pink and electric blue jump out every now and again from the black base. This colourway is called "Wasting Light" and is 100% superwash  4ply merino; 10% cashmere and 10% nylon. It's beautifully soft to work with and I can definitely recommend it.

I've also been knitting with Erika Knight Gossypium Cotton, which is a complete dream to work with, plus it's sustainable too. I love how Erika can trace every step of production, from the fields it's grown in, through to the eco-friendly mill that it's spun and dyed in. The colours are gorgeous, as are all of Erika's yarn ranges. I've even used the cotton for fairisle and it works a treat. Lots of new ideas leapt into my head whilst I was working with this amazing yarn, so look out Gossypium Cotton, here I come!!!

What I'm Crocheting:
Mainly, I've been crocheting shawls, as I have 2 new designs to work up. These are my own designs and so it's been a little time  consuming getting them right. My first sample used a variegated hand-dyed yarn from Sylvan Tiger yarns, and I love how it has crocheted up - it reminds me of confetti. The design is the perfect shape, but I misjudged the rows of "V" stitch, so it needs tweaking a little. But my mum-in-law really loved this shawl so I gifted it to her for Mother's Day, rather than ripping it out and starting again. I've switched to a semi-sold shade for the sample, so that the "V" stitches really stand out. 

I'm also crocheting some baby items with Erika's Gossypium Cotton, which have all turned out rather cute. Tweed stitch is one of my favourite crochet stitches, especially in 3 different colours.

What I've created:
Here's a sneaky peak of my finished shawl (yet to be named). I loved the tassles and first time that I've ever made a tassel. I love them almost as much as a pom-pom.

I made a cute little hippo toy for a raffle prize, and also some crocheted flowers for a guest blog post over at Laughing Hens, which is an online yarn shop (UK based). I used Erika Knight's British Blue yarn, which comes in the cutest 25g balls. One flower used about 12g, so one ball would make 2 flowers. My guest blog post talks about the importance of passing skills from generation to generation. You can read my blog post here .

My Top Tip:
If you are a designer and you are asked to sign a contract for work carried out, make sure that you understand the terms of the contract that you are signing. For example, there is likely to be a clause that states that there is a period of exclusivity for the company - this means that for a fixed period of time you are agreeing to them using the pattern as they wish - either in other magazines, bookazines, or on the internet (e.g. as a free download). Make sure that you are happy with this clause and if anything isn't clear enough then don't be afraid to ask for clarification. Also, if there is something that you're not happy with, then speak to someone about it and ask for it to be changed so that you feel happy with what you're agreeing to. If they won't change it perhaps think twice about signing the contact. But I wouldn't recommend signing away the full rights to your designs, because this means that they are no longer your property and you will never be able  to publish them again as your own - in effect you're  giving away your design for the initial fee agreed, and then allowing the company to do whatever they wish with your designs, including selling them as individual downloads. They will therefore continue to make money out of your work for ever and a day, having only paid you for an initial one-off fee.

Obviously you can make whatever decisions you please, all I'm recommending is that you fully understand what it is that you're signing.

I hope you have a great week, and look forward to another chat soon. Thanks for reading - if you would like to join me on social media, I'm @the_woolnest on Instagram; @thewoolnest on twitter and @thewoolnest on facebook. It would be great to see what you're all up to. 

Don't forget to tag me and use the hashtags #makeandbehappy and #knitcrochetcreate - I'll share my favourites.

Happy Crafting,

Lynne x

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A visit to a Trade Show

Last week I visited a Trade Show in Birmingham. I woke early to catch the train, and I even scrubbed up and wore a dress (a welcome change from my holey leggings and baggy jumper!!)

First stop of the day was a presentation by Warren Knight of Think#digitalfirst. Warren is a social media marketing expert and  business builder and always presents an interesting, factual and useful seminar. After listening to Warren for just 45 minutes, I have a list of useful sites and tips that I need to check out and put to good use.

Next, I called by the Search Press stand where I caught up with the lovely  people I deal with and had a good chat with Amanda Perkins who was signing copies of her latest crochet book called "Rainbow Crocheted Blankets", which is packed full of colourful and cosy throws and blankets of all shapes and sizes. I was delighted so see my next book being advertised on a rather large board.

Time for a break and a natter with another knit and crochet designer, Sarah Hazel. Sarah is a knit and crochet designer, author, blogger and tutor, and we chatted like we'd know each other for ages, which is always a good sign. Sarah recently ran a workshop in India for charity 'Knit for Peace', and I really enjoyed watching her Instagram feed and seeing all the brightly coloured textiles and trims that she found locally. I was delighted when she gave me a couple of strips of some beautiful embroidered brocade. I will use these wisely and carefully to trim something lovely.

I popped by the Toft stand to see the lovely ladies there and see their latest issue of Toft Quarterley in person, which I was delighted to tech edit for them.  It's the spring issue and features a very cute dog on the front cover. For just £8 it's packed full of great designs for both knitting and crochet, from accessories and homewares to clothing and toys.

After a quick chat with Kerry and Jo I headed off for a meeting with F&W Media. I do a lot of freelance tech editing work for them, and it was the perfect opportunity to meet in person and chat about future work. I also managed a quick chat with Rooster Yarns and I had a good squish and a smooch of the gorgeous yarns from Baa Ram Ewe - I was completely inspired by their stand and even went away and bought myself a skein of Titus in Shade Bramley Baths, (the most beautiful soft blue), which I can't wait to dive into.

I managed to escape the giant tinsel hedgehog (my arch enemy!!!) and enjoyed a chat with the very lovely Erika Knight, Emma Wright (EmmaKnitted) and Georgia Farrell. It was interesting to see the industry through the eyes of two very popular and talented knitwear designers. 

I had a lovely train journey home looking through my samples and shade cards and was even recognised by a fellow traveller from my Crochet Now column photo (Crochet Now were giving out copies of the latest issue). I heard my name shouted across the carriage and she held up the magazine and smiled. It turned out that she is an indie dyer and we had a lovely chat across the aisle about yarn .

What a day - I came home with my head full of ideas and inspiration for new projects. It's such a shame that there's only one of me and only two hands, when I could do with twenty!

I'm felt so glad that I work in such a creative and inspiring industry and I'm honoured to be part of it and to share my passion with you too.

Thanks for reading - if you would like to join me on social media, I'm @the_woolnest on Instagram; @thewoolnest on twitter and @thewoolnest on facebook. It would be great to see what you're all up to. 

Don't forget to tag me and use the hashtags #makeandbehappy and #knitcrochetcreate - I'll share my favourites.

Happy Crafting,
Lynne x