Granny Squares

Today I want to share with you my two latest crochet projects; a Granny Square cushion and a Granny Square blanket.

Lately I’ve really not felt tip top and it has been hard to face crafting, baking or housework! I’ve been living in a house filled with WIPs, ironing piles and blankets.

Despite feeling sorry for myself recently, I did find a few moments to pick up my crochet hook and yarn for some hooky time.

Granny Square Cushion

I’m so pleased with this project. I didn’t follow a pattern and when I started it, I just wanted to practice the pattern following my crochet class with notsogranny. I got some luscious cotton yarn from Yves Town which came in the most gorgeous selection of pastel colours.

Once the Granny Square rounds started to grow, I knew I wanted to make a cushion cover and turn it into a housewarming present for a friend. I did make an error in the number of rows I did at one point, but I don’t think it notices that much (I hope).

The scalloped edge is a series of treble stitches. I think it looks really sweet and the cotton yarn feels so so so soft!

Granny Square cushion by claireabellemakes

I worked the rounds until it measured approximately 14″ x 14″ and made an envelope cushion in some polka dot blue Clarke and Clarke fabric. It was a little fiddly to stitch the crochet square on, but I managed it with a bit of patience.

Granny Square cushion by claireabellemakes

Before I began to crochet 6 months ago, I hadn’t ever managed to sustain a craft project for a lengthy period. It’s been really good to break that habit.

Granny Square Blanket

The next crochet project is a WIP which I hope to have finished by Christmas. I started this in my Granny Squares class with blue and white shades of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. It is a beautiful yarn to work with. I’m working 3 rounds per square and eventually it will be 9 squares x 9 squares to make a lap blanket for my craft room.

Any ideas on an edging?

Granny Square Blanket planning by claireabellemakes

Finally I want to share with you some really cool Granny Square themed things I found on Pinterest this week. How cool are these cookies and the giant felted Granny Squares?

Why I love Cambridge (and a yarn bomb)

I honestly feel like I live in the best place in the country. We moved from the big smoke to Cambridge 6 years ago and I utterly love it. Probably more and more as time goes by. Today I want to share with you some of my favourite things about the city.

The green space and river

Although Cambridge is a city, unlike London, the green space and idyllic river scenes make me feel like I can breathe. There is space. And cows.

The River Cam on claireabellemakes

People row and live on boats. After the rowing races they chuck each other in the river. Good old traditions.

I am also proud to say I can actually punt (only took me 5 years to learn).

The River Cam on claireabellemakes

Cycling

You have to own a bike here. If you know me at all, in real life or through my blog, you know I’m obsessed with my bicycle. So much so, that I decorated it with bunting (tutorial here). It just makes sense to get around on a push bike.

Bicycles on claireabellemakes

Students

As much as it is busy and sometimes noisy with the students around, the city doesn’t feel right without them there. During the holiday periods the city feels oddly deserted and the buzz returns when term begins. It’s a love/hate relationship. I should be grateful, I wouldn’t have a job without all 22,000 of them.

Architecture

The city centre in Cambridge is filled with ancient buildings and inspiring sculptures. I find myself diverting on my journey to and from work some days, just to enjoy a different cobbled street or back path. Spaced along the river are wooden houses surrounded by pretty gardens and in the city centre a fun sculpture stands to pay tribute to a local eccentric who fundraised for charity his whole life.

Cambridge Architecture on claireabellemakes

A compact city

I love that you can reach anywhere in Cambridge within 30-40 minutes on foot or by bike. We never manage to leave the house without seeing someone we know. It’s friendly and compact. People stop to help each other and a good morning greeting isn’t unusual.

Creativity and that yarn bomb I mentioned…

Finally, it’s a creative city. People take up hobbies such as art, music, dance and craft. A yarn bombed lamp post or bike rack isn’t unusual.

Look as this guerilla knitting/crochet we saw today by the river. I wonder who could have put it there (*wink wink*)?! Perhaps they were inspired by Meredith of the blog One Sheepish Girl? She has declared today Sheepish Yarn Bombing Day!

Cambridge Yarn Bomb on claireabellemakes

Have you ever visited Cambridge? Or do you live in a place you love as much as I love Cambridge?

claireabelle

All images in this post are owned by claireabellemakes. Please contact me should you wish to use them.

I have shared this post on Handmade Monday – come see what others have been up to!

Creative Inspirations: Span Studio

Today I want to share with you a new series on the blog called Creative Inspirations. In each post I will share with you someone or something that has inspired me.

The first of the series starts with an interview with Hannah of Span Studio.

Hannah is a fantastic blogger, crafter and all round creative type. She is so supportive of others and inspired me to learn to crochet (after seeing her fab granny square journals). Sharing her story about crafting for health and wellbeing, really stuck with me, particularly as I’ve been suffering with poor health over the last two years including a lot of migraines in recent months.

Span Studio Crochet

  • Hi Hannah! Can you start by telling us how your journey with art and craft began? 

Well I went to art college about 11 years ago so I’ve had an interest in arts and crafts for a while now. Since then I dabbled in bits and bobs but would put would it back down for a long time, years sometimes. However 6 years ago everything changed as my head started to spin and it never stopped, I had to finish work and I kinda felt pretty worthless after that, then I was given a sewing box that was my grandmothers and in it there was a little broken crochet hook, I had no idea what it was but I researched it and found some youtube videos and gave it a go. The hook must have been a 2mm and it was broken in half but I spent hours crocheting the same stitch over and over and ended up with very holey, very wobbly fabric. And I loved it! I felt so proud and for that short while I wasn’t concentrating on how my head was spinning. So it all went from there. I have learned and had a go at many crafts since then but crochet is always me go to craft. It calms me.

  • What or who has been your biggest craft inspiration?

I am continually inspired by the awesome people I meet on-line and I am very lucky that most of the women in my family are creative, I have many things in my home made by those I care about from embroidery pieces to handmade bags, they inspire me.

  • You openly talk about how embracing your creativity has helped you live with health issues. What advice would you give to fellow crafters in similar situations?

Trust the process. Being creative is fun and rewarding but you get a lot more out of it if you just let go and enjoy the journey. Creating helps bring you into the moment helps you not dwell on what you have lost, on those hospital appointments you are worried about and what might happen. For that time you are just someone enjoying being creative. Watch children as they play with materials, they totally get it.

  • I know we and other crafters always have a continuous to-do list of projects and always strive to learn new skills. I love your idea of a Craft Bucket list – how did this come about and what have you learnt since you started it?

The craft bucket list came about as I kept finding more and more things I wanted to try,  they were going into my bookmarks and being forgotten about so I decided to write a  list. There’s no deadline so there’s no pressure, its all about having fun and discovering new things to try, I have already discovered mosaics and weaving both of which I really enjoyed and have plans to do more 🙂

Span Studio Mosaic Tray

  • My short experience of the craft blogging community has been overwhelming and I can’t believe I missed out on all these people with common interests for so long. I wish someone had told me about it sooner! What has you experience of the blogging community been like? Any revelations?

My biggest revelation is that people want to make authentic and honest connections. They are actually interested in who you are how you feel and if you allow it you will be shown great kindness and acceptance. Blogging has changed my life, it has widened my world and I have been given many opportunities I could only dream of because of it.

  • Now for a fantasy question…..If money and time were no object, what would be your ultimate crafting experience?!

Oh my I love this question! It’s a dream of mine to go to a art/craft retreat. learn new skills and take long walks in the countryside and eat gorgeous locally sourced food. hmmmm.

Crochet Buttons by Span Studio

  • Your new crochet buttons are a fantastic hit already, but what is next for Span Studio?

I am currently developing a pdf for people to download so they can have a go at making the buttons themselves. After that I don’t know, I never know what’s next I just go with where my instinct takes me 🙂

Hannah regularly contributes to Popular Crafts magazine and can be found blogging over at Span Studio. Be sure to take a look at her crochet buttons available on Etsy too! All images in this post are courtesy of Span Studio.

claireabelle x

I have shared this post over on Handmade Monday, so do pop on over and see what everyone has been up to!

Adventures in Crochet

I never really understood when people said they were ‘addicted’ to crochet. I’ve knitted for a while now, but haven’t really progressed further than basic patterns. After a lengthy knitted bear project and a couple of cushions, I felt as though I wanted a break from knitting to explore different crafts. DPNs and knitting in the round could wait, but yarn couldn’t – so I discovered crochet.

Ever since my first crochet class, I haven’t been able to go a day without picking up a hook and practising stitches or creating a granny square. I get it now.

It’s official. I’ve well and truly caught the crochet bug.

There’s something so satisfying about how crochet grows. In my mind, it makes more sense than knitting and is way more flexible and forgiving. Of course I am still a beginner and have plenty more to learn. Even if you are not handy with a hook, I hope you will enjoy my recent creations and finds below.

Granny Squares by claireabellemakes

I have been working on these blue coloured granny squares for a small lap blanket for my sewing room. I love being able to make a quick granny square each day and this has totally broken my ‘don’t have an ongoing project/WIP’ habit. I’m sure I will share it once complete. The yarn is Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino, lovely and silky and fabulous to work with.

This crochet basket certainly has its imperfections, but was a really fun project – my first with t-shirt yarn. I’m not sure what to keep in it yet.

Crochet Basket in progress

Crochet Basket by claireabellemakes

I discovered Hooplayarn last year and fell in love with it, as it fully embraces the upcycling trend. Hooplayarn is a selvedge from the textile industry and is made from offcuts of clothing. Usually 100% cotton or a cotton/stretch mix, it is really versatile and can be worked into some fantastic projects. Check out this pinterest board of free patterns.

There are many free patterns on this great Dutch crochet blog (posts in English too!) and the writer is more than happy to be contacted with any pattern/general crochet queries. She hosts a great link up party once a week too – great for inspiration!

This week I also discovered another crochet blog, Fiddly Fingers. Alison explores ‘extreme crochet’ and made this amazing crochet cat named Chester! Do pop over and check out the blog post, it’s really fun. Just click on Chester below.

Finished Chester

It was thanks to Rachael from Sew Ray Me that I discovered Chester above. Rachael is super lovely & a hugely talented crafter. When I spotted her crochet hook rolls on twitter this week, I knew I had to treat myself to one.

Crochet Hook Roll

Rachael’s service is fantastic, with customers voting on her selected fabric choices via Instagram pictures. It was great fun and many people chimed in and helped out with my choice above. To be honest, it was a pretty difficult decision as she has such a good eye for fabric combos and her stash is amazing! It is beautifully stitched and organises my hooks perfectly. An utter bargain at £10 including P&P, thanks Rachael.

Do you enjoy crochet?

claireabelle x

Sew Chatty

In My Bag

Here are the items I carry around in my beloved Cambridge Satchel bag…..

  • Bespoke phone case (Cath Kidston fabric)
  • Eye gel. I seriously need this stuff for the dreaded dark circles.
  • Watermelon tic tacs. These things taste amazing.
  • Personalised notebook. I have about 4 different notebooks on the go at once as well as the Evernote app, which always gets neglected for handwritten lists.
  • Natural lipbalm. A friend sent me this handmade lip balm from Canada and I loved it so much I ordered about 10 more. This one is dulce latte flavour mmm.
  • Bobbypin by Mummybirdpretties kindly sent to me in a set from Claire, a fellow Cambridge maker.
  • Mini Sharpie.  I love a Sharpie.
  • Cath Kidston bike seat cover. This is a must in the UK where it never stops raining & I only get around on my dutch bike.
  • Crochet Practice. My next crochet course is Granny Squares so I always try to get a bit of practice in when I can.

There were also loose coins, random notes about my prescription, work notebooks, anti-bac hand gel and other equally boring things!

What do you carry in your bag?

Claire x