Hi folks.

I know its not Friday, my usual bloggy day!  There are changes afoot and I thought I’d better explain what is going to be happening.

Life changes print by Makino Studios

Life changes print by Makino Studios

As the In a Spin Crochet Along starts this Friday, each and every Friday’s blog post for the foreseeable future will be devoted to a new crochet pattern.

Its going to take up a fair bit of my time, but I will still be having a non-crochet blog post every now and then.  It wont be weekly, but it will be on a Wednesday from now on when it happens.

Wednesday Addams Quote print by TheGeekerie

Wednesday Addams Quote print by TheGeekerie

As well as all that, the big news is that a new Spincushions website is in the works.  I am very excited about it – its going to be so lovely!  I just wanted you to be aware that sometime in the future, you will visit and it will all look very different – it will still be me, just a more attractive version of me and my ramblings.

Crafting makes me happy print by Tea and Ceremony

Crafting makes me happy print by Tea and Ceremony

That’s it 🙂  Hope you can join me Friday for the crochet fun!

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Hi folks

Before we get into the crochet fun, I need to announce that the winner of last week’s giveaway is :  Alice! Congrats!  I’ll email you with details on how to get your lovely pattern from TheMinersWife.  Hope you enjoy stitching up something gorgeous!

Willow Tree Journal Cover PDF Sewing Pattern by The Miners Wife

Willow Tree Journal Cover PDF Sewing Pattern by The Miners Wife

Now on to the crochet!  It’s just one more week until we begin the In a Spin Sampler Throw CAL.  I am so excited about it and to be honest a little overwhelmed with just how many folks are interested.  Hope its all you want it to be.

As I have only recently become a crochety type, I know I went looking for a lot of help when I first started.  So I thought before we start our crochet journey together, I’d put together a quick list of tips and tricks to help you out if you are just starting to crochet. Thanks to the Krista Crochet Group on Facebook ladies, this list is pretty long! This is by no means the definitive list of the info out there, it’s just a taster really. Much more is out there – google is your friend.

 Tips and Tricks for Terrific Crochet

  • My hot tip – weave in your ends as you finish each week’s block.  Its not much fun when you finish making something and you still have the job of dealing with a bazillion ends.  Do it as you go and you’ll thank me 🙂 This link has a mountain on info on ways to do it.
Ends! Weave them as you go

Ends! Weave them as you go

  • Are you a leftie?  Search YouTube for “tjw1963” – she has lots of videos that will help all you left-handed folk.
  • A very extensive US/UK terms and symbol conversion chart to be found here
  • Need to hook UK/US conversion info? Look here
  • Changing colours in a block can add a lot of interest and variety to your blocks.  A tute on how to is here
A change of colour

A change of colour

  • Holding your hook and yarn can be tricky – this article has the basics
  • Some patterns will include such words as “gauge” and “tension” “test swatch” – if it’s all gobbledygook to you, this article may help
  • If you want to get all technical about yarn weight and comparisons, good old Wikipedia can help here
  • The term “blocking” will probably come up at some stage in our throw. Now I confess here and now that I have never done it. Basically, it is a way of straightening and making your crochet look that little bit more finished.  There are lots of methods out there. This article has a couple of them.  I know, I know I should do it!
  • These tips come straight from the Krista Crochet Group on Facebook ladies
    • Jen says “I usually go up 2 hook sizes when I make foundation chains for bigger things like blankets to avoid that tight puckered look. it helps to keep your work flat”
    • Also from Jen ” when you’re experimenting or making something & don’t know how big you want it or how many stitches you need for your foundation chain, use 2 balls of wool, one for the foundation chains & one to work with, that way you can unravel if you have too many or extend the chains if you’re too short. learned that from an older lady at my craft group.”
    • From our Krista guru Kim ” Using a smaller hook for that final round of dc, it really does make a big difference.”
  • I like to start my blocks with a magic circle as an alternative to a chain loop.  This video shows you how if you want to learn
  • Hate weaving in ends? The Russian Join may be for you
  • This great if you dislike how a starting chain stands out – you don’t have to do it that way!
  • This tip is probably for your more advanced crocheter – starting without a foundation chain – must learn this one myself!

Well I think I have rabbited on enough!  But if you still have questions – please ask away and I’ll do my best to help you out.

See you next week for our first block!  Don’t worry, the first one is easy 🙂 Its going to be such fun!

Today I am introducing my friend Mandie who goes by the name of TheMinersWife in the crafty world.


Mandie is a wonderful friend of mine who is very crafty. We like to get together to craft & chat when we have the chance.  If we’re not crafting, then we’ll be out to lunch,shopping  or  walking together.  We also love to do the odd market stall about the place together. My market buddy!

I thought it was about time I introduced her to the rest of you and so I asked Mandie a few questions.  She has also very kindly offered to giveaway one of her PDF patterns!  Details below on how to enter.

Embroidery PDF Pattern - Dance

Embroidery PDF Pattern – Dance

Tell me about TheMinersWife.

TheMinersWife shop is where you will find all of my PDF patterns to recreate many of my original projects – journal covers, dolls, softies and stitcheries.  I love to turn my original creations into patterns so that other crafters can personalise them by recreating them in fabrics and colour-ways that they prefer.  My patterns are easy to follow and have lots of photos, diagrams and hints throughout so that even if you have no sewing experience, you will still be able to confidently work your way through the project, and the end result will look just like it is supposed to.    Sometimes you will also find a few completed goodies available in my shop such as hair accessories, home decorating items and stationary items; I also like to play around with different ideas and create little bits and pieces that I don’t always turn into patterns.

Emmalani Seahorse Softie Pattern

Tell us what you do & what inspires you to create?

I sew!  I love to sew anything really, and then turn my creations into patterns.  Sometimes I am inspired by an occasion, such as birthdays, Christmas, Easter, births etc where I need to give a gift so I’ll come up with something suited to the particular recipient.  Other times I am inspired by my girls, who are also very crafty, and I often enlist them to draw certain objects for me as I love their interpretations – sometimes stripped back to bare basics, at other times taken to a new level with an added flourish, swirl or heart. I am lucky to live out of town and surrounded by bushland and forest, with the ocean only 10 minutes drive away, so there is always lots of inspiration from the natural environment too.

Fergus the Frog PDF Sewing Pattern

Fergus the Frog PDF Sewing Pattern

Have you always been a crafter?

Oh yes…for as long as I can remember.  I think it’s in my blood! I come from a long line of very talented and creative people!  Actually, I like to think that everyone has a creative bone in their body…it’s just a matter of finding it.

Maggie Doll PDF Pattern

Were you taught crafting skills by a close family member, or are you self taught?

My favourite aunt taught me to knit and crochet when I was 8.  She created beautiful pieces and was the most patient teacher.  She lost her battle with breast cancer when I was 20, and I still regret to this day not paying more attention when she was teaching me…I can not remember a thing that she taught me!  As for everything else, I am pretty much self-taught.  If I want to know how to do something, I usually Google it or hunt down a book at my local library or just play around experimenting.

Little Bird Journal Cover PDF Pattern

What other craft would you like to try?

Ooooh, it would have to be crochet.  I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet…although it is taking all of my inner strength to stop myself.  I have so many unfinished projects as it is and I fear that they will remain unfinished if I start to play around with crochet.  Hmm, we’ll see.  I’d also love to be able to paint…but unfortunately I wasn’t blessed with those skills.

Herb and Harriet Hedeghog PDF Sewing pattern

Do you have plans for any new designs?

I have lots of ideas floating around all the time!  My brain is buzzing with designs and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. I wish I had more time to bring them all to life.  I have soooo many half- finished projects, and many more just waiting patiently for their turn at having my undivided attention!  I’ve had a couple of new additions join the extended family in the last couple of months, so there a few ‘baby’ inspired designs planned. I am also planning on adding a few stitchery designs into the mix.

Dear Friends Journal Cover PDF Sewing Pattern

What was the first thing you ever made?

Actually it was an ashtray for my dad!  I was nearly 5 years old and my kindergarten teacher (who was a pottery fanatic) decided to bring her pottery wheel in one day so all of us kids could have a go and make something for our dad’s for father’s day.  Mine was surprisingly perfect and I remember the teacher making quite a fuss over it at the time.  My dad gave up smoking not long after that, but I still have the bowl to this day…and even looking at it now with adult eyes, I must say I was a clever little 4 year old! The first thing I ever made out of textile though was a cute bookmark!  It was a hairclip (used by hairdressers I think) covered in felt and lace to resemble a mitten…I made quite a few before moving on to something else.  I went through an obsessive stage of making funky clothes for my sister’s cabbage patch doll too…Miss Raelyn was the best dressed girl in town!

Stella, Steve and Stanley Starfish PDF Sewing Pattern

Thanks so much Mandie for letting us into your crafty world.  I can recommend any of Mandie’s patterns.  They are so well written and have every detail you need to have a go – even if you are not all that confident a sewer.

Kids Room Name Sign PDF Sewing Pattern

Kids Room Name Sign PDF Sewing Pattern

Would you like to win one of Mandie’s PDF Sewing patterns?  Well its easy to enter, just visit The Miners Wife etsy shop and have a poke around, then come back here and leave a comment with your favourite item.  Pure chance will decide the winner in a weeks time. I’ll announce the winner in next week’s post. Good luck!

And so on to next week. It will be my last post before the In a Spin Sampler Throw Crochet Along begins.  It will be full of crochety goodness to whet your appetite for the kick off on the 16th!  I’m so excited!

Hello my friends.  I’ve been teasing you with a vague page about a crochet-along for a while now, but the teasing is almost over.  It’s nearly time to begin!

But first a little background for those of you new to my blog.  At the start of this year, I decided it was time to try (again) to teach myself to crochet. And I did it. I learned by making a new block a week – well in the end I made 4 of every block, just to make sure I knew what I was doing. Now these blocks weren’t your average granny squares, oh no.  Some had flowers, some were very textured, some lacey.  By the end, I found I could actually read crochet patterns – they are not a foreign language anymore.  So I made 3 throws and 3 giant cushions using all the squares I made. Great. Then I made, just for me, a huge, heavy, thick basket-weave throw.  Yippee.

But then I was stuck.  I missed sitting down once a week with a brand new stitch and pattern to try.  I felt lost without it after 25 weeks of it.  What to do?  Well do another, obviously!  But which one?  There are so many out there.

About half way through my “block a week”  thing, I really discovered Ravelry.  I’d known about it and joined ages ago, but never really got into it.  Now I am into it.  Its so wonderful if you like to be organised.  You can catalogue your stash, keep libraries of patterns, keep project diaries with pics and so much more. The  best bits though are the patterns! Oh so many.

And so we come to the “In a Spin Sampler Throw”.  Starting on Friday 16th November 2012, I will be posting a new pattern every week for I don’t now how many weeks.  We could go for years just using Ravelry patterns, and there are many, many other sources of patterns out there too.  I’ve contacted a few designers out there already and they are all keen 🙂

It will be “random” – to coin a teenage phrase.  There will be challenges, but I think we can help each other out and iron out any problems we find out by working on it  together.  To help with this I’ve set up a group on Ravelry where we can talk and help each other.  You’re welcome to go join it now.  It can be found here. There is also the Krista Crochet Group on Facebook where a lot of the members will be joining in too and helping each other.  I would not have completed my last bock a week project without the help of the awesome ladies there.

I wanted to let you know about it now so you can get some wip’s finished and go shopping for some shiny new yarn before we start.  That’s always fun right?  I can’t tell you how much you’ll need, but I have 7 x 200g balls of 8ply cotton on the way to me for mine.  That will be way too much I think. Better to go over though eh?

So off you go – go get some yarn!  I’m so excitied!

The cushions I made with my practice squares

Well – what a week I’ve had!

Thank you so much to each and every one of you that signed up to follow my adventures.  I am super chuffed that you are here.  I hope you stick around 🙂 The winner of any pincushion is at the end of this post – you can scroll straight to that if you wish – I don’t want to be a tease 😉

Last week, I had a stall at Port Fairy MADE Artists Market. It was very successful and so busy!  Hooray!

All set, ready to go

Here are some pics of my fellow stallholders wares – they were awesome!

Just some of the gorgeous stuff

More wonderful things

I was lucky enough to be able to come home with a few things too 🙂

Hand drawn mini cards – now stuck up on my wall 

My new favourite earrings

Cotton crochet cuff – so lovely

But enough about all that, we need a winner don’t we?  I used good old random.org to draw the winner.  And that winner is :

T Hurly – (thhurly on Instagram)

Yay!  I’ll email you so you can choose which pincushion you would like. Thank you everyone for joining up 🙂

So on to the future.  You may have noticed me teasing you with a Crochet Along page, well its almost time to start.  All the details next week!  I’m excited.

This week has seen me reach some great milestones with my pincushions and to celebrate, I am giving away a pincushion! Details on how to be in with a chance later.

First though, I want to share with you my plans for the weekend.Tomorrow I am packing up my pincushions and heading over to the lovely coastal town of Port Fairy to take part in the Port Fairy MADE Artists Market.  Its a unique market where you will find some truly one of a kind wares, held 4 times a year.

I thought today I would share with you some of my fellow stallholders and their works.

First up is the super cute Pint.

Ernest T. Bear by Pint

Next up is Poesie (It’s French for poetry)

Emilia’s-Moccasins—Liberty by Poesie

If you are after some gorgeous journal action, then Luciandjoe is where to go

Handmade journals and paper goods by luciandjoe

The last I’ll share today is the work of Foxowlroad.  Oriel makes a variety of beautiful things.  Her felt stitchery is among my favourites though.

Hare wool felt Brooch by Foxowlroad

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow!  I’ll take some pics and share with you the action next week.

Now, on to the giveaway!

All you need to do to be in with a chance to win, is sign up to follow this very blog.  Its open to everyone in the world too!  There’s a lil box up the top right to add your email address too.  I promise I wont spam you – you will only get an email when I post something new.  Of course, you are free to unsubscribe at any time.  I’d love you to stay, but if I am annoying you, then by all means hit that unsubscribe link in the emails.  If you are already signed up, then thank you and you are already in the draw!  I will be drawing the winner just before I post next Friday morning – Australia time.

Good luck!

Hello my friends.  Its been all go here over the last week or so.  We are currently on school holidays and have been very busy.

So far, I’ve painted 3 bedrooms

They all chose a variety of blue

My eldest and I visited Melbourne and saw many sights

Such fun!

I managed some crochet on the train

Crochet hearts with my new bamboo handled hook – love it!

And I finished my basket weave throw I started last holidays!  I really love it and it works – I had an accidental snooze after lunch snuggled up in it. Some interesting facts – it weighs 1.4 kgs and took 2.4 km’s of wool!

All finished!

As for the kids, well they’ve been busy too.

Oldest Miss made this paper heart garland to decorate her newly painted room

Paper hearts

Middle miss is an origami master and she is making these for a garland for her room.  The tutorial can be found here.

Origami bows

And the youngest has baked the scrummiest gingerbread cookies.  They didn’t last long.

Cookies – nom nom

Apart from all that, I have a market coming up next week so I have been busy making pincushions.

Cherry Blossom inspired pincushions

Embroidered leaf mini pincushion

Next week, I’ll feature some of the other stall holders and you can see just how fab the Port Fairy Made Artist Market is going to be.

See you next week!

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