Green fingers


When I was a little girl my grandparents owned a working farm. With lots of animals, few hectares of land, orchard, few bee hives and gorgeous vegetable garden with small green houses for tomatoes and cucumbers. I was living in the city with my parents but during every school holiday I would spend with my grandparents on their farm. As a little girl I would round around and play with other kids from the village but as I was growing up I started to help out a lot more around the farm, especially with the harvest and animals. I would also very often plant vegetable seeds with my grandma and monitored the grow progress of whatever greenery we planted so taking all this into account you would be forgiven to think that I have green fingers, but alas it is not so! 
To my frustration no matter how much I try and plant vegetables or any other plants they never seem to reach their full potential, mind you, I’m growing them in large plant post, I think they call this urban gardening Ha!
The best example is my recent adventure into baby carrot growing. It all started so well. The seeds started to shoot on time, the growth was perfect, however I can’t help thinking  my cat, Brick, trying to keep them warm somehow stunted their growth and after three months the harvest was rather disappointing.





I’ll keep trying with vegetables, might try my hand at radishes next, I heard that they are a lot easier

However, I do seem to have rather good fingers when it comes to orchids! They seem to be flourishing beautifully. 

They are truly the perfect plants for me as they require such low maintenance.

They all seem to be growing unusually well this year, but my white one has outdone herself completely! This orchid was given to me by Dave when we first started dating few years back and every year it flowers more and more, but this year she has flowered beyond expectations.

 Can’t wait to see the flowers on this one, as it hasn’t flowered for good few years. 
Really can’t remember what colour it is.
Anna x

Love Crochet……indeed I do


I have had two fantastic tutorials with the amazing lovecrochet.com, they are on their blog and both are free.

Both of the tutorials are technical, the first one sheds some light on the most common yet baffling crochet terms and the second one takes you through step by step instructions on how to tapestry crochet, which is one of my most favourite crochet techniques. 
The most rewarding part of being a tutor is explaining and demonstrating techniques that are totally new to someone or have baffled them, the pleasure I get from seeing people understanding them is immeasurable.
When putting together written and picture tutorials, things get a bit harder as I’m not there in person physically demonstrating each technique. However, I tried to take each part step by step and explain everything in clearest way possible. I hope you agree and find both tutorials very useful and of course the best thing about written tutorial is you can go back to it over and over again.
So……the first tutorial is about demystifying crochet terms.
In your crochet life you will come across some terms that just leave you scratching your head. The most common ones are:
Turn
Turning chains and working into them
Chain spaces
This great picture tutorial explains every single term, what they mean, what to do with them and how to work into them.
I also decided to release my bunting pattern accompanied by the tutorial. Each of those crochet terms are used in the pattern so it’s a fantastic way to practice what you have learned while making a gorgeous bunting of course.

Those of you who came to my ‘moving on from learn to crochet’ workshop will recognise the bunting. I’ve designed the bunting with my wedding in mind, then I realised it’s ideal for ‘moving on from learn to crochet’ workshop, as it just covers so many techniques and is perfect for understanding and practicing crochet pattern reading.
The pattern along with the tutorial is available exclusively at lovecrochet.com

The second tutorial is about tapestry crochet
Tapestry crochet is a technique for creating multi-coloured fabrics, very similar to Fair Isle in knitting, in fact this technique is very often referred to as Fair Isle crochet. The additional colour is carried along while you make your stitches, hidden on the inside of those stitches. The patterns for tapestry crochet are charted.

I’ve designed this super useful purse for this tutorial, it is perfect for carrying your small crochet projects around and a great way of practicing tapestry crochet.
In this tutorial I take you step by step through each part of tapestry crochet. Starting from understanding and working from crochet chart, to detailed explanation on how to create tapestry crochet, join and change colour.

To be taken to the relevant blog, just click on the links below:

Hope you enjoy both tutorial and find them useful. Don’t forget to share your makes 🙂

Happy crocheting

Anna x

Rowan Mill and the new collection


Two weeks ago on Monday I started my wonderful three day adventure up in Yorkshire, well, the Rowan Mill in Holmfirth to be precise and what an adventure it was!
It was just wonderful to catch up with all my colleagues and friends. We all work all over the country and very rarely have a chance to meet and truly catch up, those three days were exactly what was needed not only to refocus when it comes to work but have a proper good old gossip with good friends. Of course it wasn’t all a giggles and Pimms, we were there to work after all! However; playing with yummy yarns, trying on knitted garments, seeing the whole amazing Rowan Autumn/Winter collection and all the exciting things to come can hardly be called work, but work we did…..incredibly hard.
Rowan Mill is incredible, you enter it and feel like in woolly wonderland. The meeting hall is full of gorgeous knitted garments, yarns, fabrics and anything crafty, I could truly have happily moved in there. The hotel we all stayed in, Bagden Hall, was originally built by Benjamin Norton a wealthy mill owner, who made his fortune running weaving mills which supplied yarn to weavers, very fitting. Quite an impressive hotel, but the best bit was the lovely lake and old house at the back of the hotel.

Let’s talk about the new Rowan A/W 15 collection…….
In two words….LOVE IT!! And I’m not just saying that, I’m saying that because it’s absolutely true. This is Rowan back to its best!  For the past few years the collections have been good, but this is GREAT. You can really see the refocus in the magazine 58, the freshness, new ideas, every design is stunning!
As always the magazine is split into three stories Tranquil, Frost and Essentials, what is different this time is that a different designer was the art director for each story.
Tranquil
Directed by Sarah Hatton and is all about texture and delicate tones. From traditional fair isle to slip stitch textures, all worked in Rowan’s great variety of tweeds and flecked yarns. ‘Aldernay’ is just beautiful!
                               Yell                                    Aldernay                                     Unst
Frost
Directed by Lisa Richardson is shot in the stunning Copped Hall in Essex which dishalvened look provides a perfect back drop for the rather romantic collection. Frost is my favourite story in the magazine, the garments have simple shapes with lots of textures, from wrap stitches, fair isle, cables and few interesting yokes, loose fitting cardigans and coats perfect for layering to keep the cold away. Few interesting colour work pieces with delicate colours. I’m starting ‘Snowy’ as soon as I finish all my other projects, not only has it got the most fantastic yolk, but it’s also made in my favourite 
Rowan yarn, Kid Classic.
                                 Frosty                                Frozen                                      Snowy
Essential
Directed by Marie Wallin, it is a collection full of key shapes with subtle textures and a touch of colour work, easy to wear styles. ‘Brannagh’ is rather wonderful.
                               Bevan                                  Brannagh                            Sheenag
And if the 40 designs weren’t enough, there’s also a very interesting article about history of Swarovski crystals and an exciting glimpse of collaboration between Rowan and Swarovski.
Also an article about textile designer Zandra Rhodes who has created two fab garments for Rowan, which are available on knitrowan.com.
Let’s talk about the yarn…..to me this season’s winner is most definitely Hemp Tweed. A blend of 75% wool and 25% hemp, wool and hemp create ‘breathable’ knitted fabrics which are cool in warm weather and warm in cold. Hemp is a great fibre as its resistant to stretching and with its stunning texture and gorgeous colours it’s a must have yarn, it knits incredibly well as well.
Second favorite is Rowan Big wool Silk, its bit more luxurious sister of the original Big Wool yarn is 70% wool and 30% silk, giving a beautiful sheen to the knitted fibre. Very soft to touch I’ll be knitting some house socks in this yarn very soon. 
The all-time favourite, Pure Wool Superwash DK has returned, just new and improved in a massive range of 32 colours!! And last but not least is the Super fine Marino family, 4 ply, DK and aran weight, 100% wool made with high quality extra fine merino, it’s a yarn which is incredibly soft and perfect for any knitting, from baby to adult. 
I truly adore the full new collection, it is really a pleasure to see Rowan back doing what they excel at.
I really miss Yorkshire and Rowan Mill a LOT!! I’ve been back for two weeks now and it’s has been non stop busy, but busy is good. I’ve done some great tutorials for Love Crochet which I’m sure you have already seen. I’m so ridiculously happy with how they come out and the great response I had about them. I’ll write a lot more about it in next blog.
Anna x