Freddie's Knitting and Crochet Workshops

Freddie is next teaching workshops with Woman's Weekly Magazine. For more info, click here. Can't knit yet? Check out Freddie's online tutorials here.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Sparkly Bezelled Beads For A Dreary Day

It's almost a running joke in the office about the craft phases I go through. I have so many crafts that I do, but I only tend to stick to one for a few weeks and then move on to something else. They're like clockwork, and last about six weeks each. Knitting is not the current phase, it's something slightly sparklier.

Cross stitch is another frequent recurring phase...

Last Autumn, I went on a bit of a tour around the country teaching various workshops with ICHF and Woman's Weekly. I visited Birmigham, Exeter, London, Manchester and Glasgow for a few days each, all over three months and although was totally shattered by the time I returned, I had an AMAZING time.

...but I brought a new phase back with me. One I hadn't done before.

The first stop was Exeter where I purchased my very first beaded bauble kit in between teaching classes (ahem, in between actual work, that is). I'd seen the kits from afar at various other shows in years previous, but never actually got around to buying one. They just looked too complicated. Turns out, they weren't!

And then by the time I reached Glasgow (penultimate on the tour if I remember correctly), I was zipping around the SECC in between teaching classes to buy random beady bits from all the sellers. I didn't really know what I was going to do with them, I just knew I'd caught the bug!

Into one of my full-day crochet classes, wandered Lesley - one of my 'students', wearing the most stunning pendant you have ever seen. So much so, that while I was trying to teach the group, I just kept getting distracted. It was so sparkly, the more I think about it, the more I blame the 'magpie' effect.

She told me how to make one [I'm all like 'you actually made that?!'] and at Glasgow airport on my journey home, I ordered all the kit on my phone and had a go at it a few days later.

I had to try and remember the colours she used from memory (in my honest opinion, colours aren't something that memory records very well - I should have just taken a picture of the thing). I gave it my best - and despite a couple going wrong, I did alright!

 You start off with a single Swarovski rivoli stone in the middle (for this one I picked a cool dual coloured one - but most of them are just one solid colour) and then weave beads around the edge in different sizes to enclose or 'bezel' the stone...
 I made up a little woven strap loop to hang them on some pretty ribbon cords I get from eBay. The strap uses super tiny beads (size 15s if that means anything to you), so they come out really fine.

Excuse the blue fuzzy background, these are special bead mats which stop the beads from rolling around, they're like a velvery kinda surface.
Next comes stitching on columns of accent beads around the edge - one row of bicone-shaped beads in a large size (4mm)..
 ...and then another row of smaller ones (3mm) on top. The results are mesmerising. Not a day goes by where I wear mine and nobody comments or asks about it. I got caught out in Sainsbury's today with someone very kindly passing compliments. Thank you!
So recently, in this phase, I've been experimenting with different colour mixes for some really fun designs. I've done a few custom orders where I can pick and blend shades according to the personality and preferences of an individual. Those are always fun. But these are just me playing with colour, which is also great fun.

One of my freinds who I made one for recently suggested I try selling them at an annual charity benefit we have in our offices each year. They invite members of staff with 'making' skills to bring their handmakes to sell, and donate a bit to charity. So I've been experimenting with all sorts of colours and styles.
The itsy bitsy beads around the edges are called Czech Charlottes and although are described as a size 15, are considerably smaller. I've invested in a few different ones, although the bronze are my favourite, I've also got some gold and silver plated ones for a more luxurious finish.
Another lady told me recently that they looked like something Imelda Poldark would wear, which didn't mean anything to me at the time as I don't watch it, but I looked it up and lo and behold, not far off at all!
I must watch it one day. Period dramas aren't really my sort of thing but I could always give it a go. I might get some inspiration, who knows!

Anyway, any left from this charity sale at work [if it happens - we're currently moving offices], I'll be selling them off for charity anyway. So if you see anything you like, or you fancy a custom order, proceeds will go to Myeloma UK in memory of my grandmother who sadly passed after a short battle with the illness earlier this year. Just let me know.

I do think that 2016 has been a SHOCKING year for all of us, especially today. So I just thought I would talk about pretty things and enjoy a bit of healthy escapism before The Missing starts (love that show, and David Morrissey is goooorgeous).

Have a lovely evening, all - and look at it this way, 2016 is [thankfully] very nearly over.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Introducing - Love To Knit And Crochet Magazine

So I've been saying for ages that I had a bit of news. Well the time has come where I'm safe to blab.

I'm very pleased to announce that I am now writing and designing for Love To Knit And Crochet magazine!

There's actually been two issues now, they come out at the end of each month and every issue comes with a free gift. We've been making a few videos teaching you how to make them, including the first one which was how to crochet an amigurumi cat;

The top that I'm wearing is one of the knitting patterns from the inside, a multi-textured handknit designed by Pat Menchini that I have 'adopted'. It's so easy to wear and very comfortable. S-wish!

Love To Knit And Crochet is aimed at a fresh and modern audience, so it's been great fun linking up with bloggers for interviews. My first was with Ruby of Frank & Olive fame. A fab design house boasting workshop retreats and collaborations with big brands such as Patons.

Issue 2 landed in shops last Friday, and featured a fun granny square phone cover kit. It's great fun too because so far each freeb kit has come with a colour-coordinated crochet hook and I'm in love with this pink one.

It's a really extra special issue for me this second one, and it sounds completely silly I'm sure but see the crocheted tee on the cover?

You know, the one being modelled by a real-life grown up adult model? That super-easy crochet design is one of MINE and I was squeeing in the office for a good couple of hours at least, when I'd discovered that I'd made the front cover. What an honour!

I never thought I'd say this but I seem to be designing more crochet than knitting these days - weird considering knitting was always the one I was madder about. It's great fun though. These new challenges all feel wonderful.

And what a lovely model!

I also had the pleasure of getting to know EmmaKnitted for the interview in this month's issue which was a real honour. She's super nice and has a very distinctive style. Love her pattern detail.

Part of the fun of the mag is simply that it uses both knitting and crochet so there's something for everyone, in a wide variety of sizes. Plenty for the total beginner up to much more challenging designs that you can get your teeth into.

It's a very exciting time working with such a refreshing, vibrant team on this new project. I can't wait to see what's around the corner with Teresa Conway at the helm (Previously of C + B).

Teresa (above, right) and I at a press launch for Pompomania, a super-fun book by Christine Leech aka SewYeah
She has more ideas in her head than I'd previously thought possible and I'm greatly looking forward to learning a lot from her.

...and as much as I want to tell you more about what's in the mag, I can't! Go buy one. Don't take my word for it, either - Katherine Lymer has done a great review of our first issue on her blog (thanks, Katherine!).

I'd really like for you to get involved - find the new mag on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Ravelry. If you're a yarn company, a blogger or designer, come say hi. Ideas and feedback always welcome.