basic_crochet

Curious about crochet?

Getting all hooked up!

basic_crochet

Learning to crochet  is one of my most requested workshops and it’s a great way to dip into the world of crochet.  There are some fantastic resources available online – Craftsy, Simply Crochet Magazine and The Craft Network to name a few, but there’s nothing like a bit of hands on tuition.

 

basic_stitches_2

basic stitches

The workshop is designed to cover all the basics you need to get started, perfect for complete beginners or for folk who just want to brush up on their skills.

  • holding the hook and yarn
  • basic stitches
  • changing colour
  • reading a simple pattern
table_action_1

Learn to Crochet, McAree Brothers, Stirling

There’s also the social aspect of gathering together with a group of like minded people, giving yourself dedicated time to play with yarn, learn something new and have a good old chat. It’s all very informal and fun, questions you might think silly are encouraged  – I’ve certainly had plenty of them!

We all have to start somewhere. . .

It probably helps that I’ve been in the exact same position myself and wished I’d had my Grandma around to give me the benefit of her knowledge. I was already teaching  knit classes/ workshops in John Lewis Glasgow for Rowan Yarns and kept being asked if we had anything for crochet- so no pressure to brush up my skills! This was all before the internet was readily available, I couldn’t look at You Tube clips and Ravelry  hadn’t been invented.

Off I went, crochet hook in hand trying to remember everything my Grandma had shown me as a kid. My right hand naturally held the hook – a bit like a drumstick, I knew how to make a slip knot, but it was the left hand….holding the yarn, it took time & determination to figure out this crochet thing and I’m so glad that I did.

my first crochet project

my first crochet project

With lot’s of trial and error, checking through reference books  and crochet patterns, it all gradually started to make sense. Looking at it from a knit knowledge angle really helped, the technique might be different but there is a lot of cross over; rows are rows, stitches are still stitches, you take away for a decrease and add for an increase, right?

How I developed my crochet logic is pretty much the basis for the Learn to Crochet workshop and hopefully folk on the workshop start to develop their own, to gain confidence and have that light bulb moment.

Practice makes perfect. . .

The more you practice the easier it gets, if you can hold the hook / yarn and make a chain, you’re able to do the rest. We take things a step at a time, gradually building everything up, getting familiar with the different stitches and abbreviations. Once the fingers are under control and actually do what you want them to there’s no end to the possibilities.

Spending a day dedicated to crochet being gently guided along is the perfect place to start. So if you’re curious about crochet or looking to expand your stitching know how, why not join me on my next Learn to Crochet workshop, it would be great to see you!

Carol x

 

 

Northern Lights Adventure 2015

It’s hard to believe that only a few short weeks ago I was rushing around getting everything ready for our Arena Travel Northern Lights Adventure. I’m back home in Glasgow, the sun is shining and spring has now arrived. It’s a complete contrast to the dramatic snowy scenes of the Norwegian fjords.

What more could you ask for? A week spent with like minded folk, dedicated to knitting, crocheting, chatting and swapping stories, catching up with old friends and making new. We were a 26 strong group gathered together from all over the world, excited about the adventures ahead of us.

Day one was sight seeing around beautiful Bergen and hunting out the local yarn shops dotted around the town center. I was impressed by the choice and quality of yarn available and felt like a kid in a sweetie shop not knowing what to pick first, dreaming of all the project possibilities.

We set sail in the early evening under blue skies on the Hurtigurten  M.S Nordnorge, quickly making ourselves at home on board, getting used to the layout and ready to take full advantage of the most eye popping selection of food. Personal restraint was required….but when your faced with such a variety it seemed wrong not to have a taste of everything!

 

Fellow tutor Jane Crowfoot and I had each designed a Scandinavian inspired project for people to work on throughout the trip. Jane’s knit design was a gorgeous Norwegian Wood cushion cover while my design was a crochet bag made up of squares allowing people to dip into lot’s of different techniques.

Jane and I are both experienced tutors, actively encouraging folk to develop skills and make projects their own. Having the week on board was a luxury, the perfect opportunity to get creative, swap skills, mix things up and we certainly did. Have a peak at our before, after and during makes on pinterest, such talent!

It was a whirl wind week of trips and tours, sight seeing, stitching and shopping under the watchful eye and guidance of our brilliant tour guide Caroline McKenna. Equipped with maps in hand, all the must see places marked and strict instructions to be back in time for leaving port as the ship waits for no one!

Some took up the offer of  excursions organized by Hurtigruten including Husky Adventure Dog Sledding, a North Cape visit and a chance to Snow Mobile in Lapland. Guided city walks were also available, but I enjoyed exploring with our group, hitting the yarn stores and other boutique shops, with a few culture stops as well.

We crossed the Arctic Circle with much merriment and celebration. Neptune God of the Seas made an appearance, blessing folk with a splash of icy cold water swiftly followed by a necessary warming shot of alcohol. I’m afraid I wasn’t brave enough, opting to watch from the sidelines instead.

Heading into the Arctic the scenery became more dramatic and a chance of seeing the Northern Lights increased, weather conditions looked hopeful and we weren’t disappointed. On the last few evenings as thoughts turned to bed, a call went out to grab the winter woollies, head outside for a spectacular light show! I’ve committed these wondrous dancing lights to memory as the camera just didn’t do them justice.

Our time on MS Nordnorge was at an end we’d traveled up the coast from Bergen to Kirkenes, but the fun wasn’t quiet over, today promised a trip to the Russian Border and lunch at the Ice Hotel with an opportunity for dog sledding.

It’s hard to believe we packed so much into such a short space of time, the weather was sunny when needed with flurries of snow adding to the atmosphere. Only a few stretches required sea legs, it took me longer to find my land legs back on shore.

I’m such a lucky lady to have been part of this trip, it combined my love of meeting new people, textiles and travel. With lot’s of laughs along the way we couldn’t have had a better crowd to travel with and I’m looking forward to staying in touch with everyone and keeping our friendships going. A huge big thank you to all for a fantastic time on our Arena Travel Northern Lights Adventure!

teddy_1

Where did January go?

Already this year is moving far to quickly for my liking, where did January go?

The calendar is jam packed with new knitting destinations and workshops galore, so bring it on 2015, just keeping my fingers crossed that the passport renewal is back in time!

March kicks off with the Edinburgh Yarn Festival taking over the Corn Exchange on the 14th and 15th  of the month with all things knit, crochet, weaving, spinning and felt.  A huge selection of  things to do and see over the weekend…oh and plenty of goodies to purchase at the market place.

10537126_1032052303476796_7553872674486279201_n

I’ll be there both days hosting a selection of knit and crochet sessions with the helping hands of The Teapot Trust  a wonderful charity who use art therapy to help children and young people cope with long term medical conditions, all funds from the classes will be donated to The Teapot Trust, so come say Hi and join in the fun.

Later in March I’m setting sail with Arena Travel Northern Lights knitting and crochet cruise with friend and fellow textile designer Jane Crowfoot, last years trip sounded amazing, read all about it on janeknits blogspot.

 Lot’s of other knitting adventures to new places on the cards for this year and look forward to sharing the details over the next few weeks.

May –  Jean Moss Knitters Tours – Knit Greece

convent_oranges

August – Arena Travel – Knitting in the Faroe Islands

440xNxkirkjub_ur.jpg.pagespeed.ic.77afOqrZW0

October – Knitting and Crochet holidays – France

2014-10_studio

Getting all creative in the N.E of Scotland

Meet Your Maker at Touched By Scotland

It’s been a busy week for me up the North East of Scotland with a packed schedule of events. Last weekend I was based at Touched By Scotland  for the Craft Scotland Meet Your Maker event. This runs throughout the year at various venues up and down the country, it’s all about connecting Designers / Makers / Crafters with the public and letting folk see the design process and techniques involved with their individual craft.

mym_4

setting up for Meet Your Maker

I was lucky enough to be teamed up with the lovely Susan Connon an extremely talented craft person and book binder from the NE of Scotland.

susan_display_1

Susan Connon @ Meet Your Maker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was plenty time to share our skills with the visitors and a spot of indulgence on my part as I just HAD to have a go at making one of Susan’s beautiful notebooks.

The weather might have been misty and grey outside but we certainly had plenty of colour and creativity going on in doors! A big thank you to all for a very inspirational day, especially Dora Osborne Touched by Scotland’s artist in residence for getting me all excited about weaving again!

Aberdeen Art Gallery

Inspired by Colour workshops

This summer Aberdeen Art Gallery have been celebrating the work of knitwear and textile designer Kaffe Fassett. The exhibition takes you through his career spanning over 50 years with a coherent and wide selection of his work, from the paint and sketch to the knit and stitch.

kaffe fasset

 

I was invited to host a couple of knit based workshops all about being inspired by Kaffe’s colourful work. On both days we spent time wondering around the collection focusing on the shapes , techniques and colour combinations that caught our eye collecting images to use as the source material to develop our own fabrics ideas.

exhibition_2

50 years in colour exhibition

exhibition_1

follow the flowers up the stairs and enter a world of colour.

I was first introduced to Kaffe Fasset’s style of textile design at Art School in the 90’s, and am still blown away by his creativity. It’s all his fault I became a textile designer and seeing this collection of fabrics close up just confirms that I made the right choice all those years ago. I still have to pinch myself that my own work is featured in the same Rowan Yarn  collections as my knitting hero!

rowan_mags_1

a selection of Rowan Magazines featuring my designs

With so much to choose from the creative possibilities were endless…..

As always I’m so inspired by the ideas folk develop at workshops and to me a sign that a good time was had is always the before and after shot…..

workshop_1

before….

workshop_4

after….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m back home now trying to catch up with all my future knit and stitch commitments, but the mind keeps wondering back to a fun week spent in my home town of Aberdeen and the beautiful countryside surrounding Touched by Scotland.

France knit and crochet workshops 2014

Where to start with all the travels I’ve been on lately. My knitting and I have been on quiet a few adventures over the past month, France, Ireland and slightly closer to home Dundee and Edinburgh all in the name of spreading the word of knit & crochet.  But I guess I best start at the beginning, far to much to fit into one post!

France June 2014

view_8

After an anxious few days waiting to hear whether the French Air Traffic control strike would be cancelled I set off for France for a spot of teaching a lovely group of ladies all about mixing up knit & crochet.  Armed with lot’s of notes & ideas I was looking forward to individually tailoring the classes to fit  everyone’s needs and hopefully showing that you don’t have to follow a pattern exactly along with a blank canvas bag project folk could work on and embellish adding their own personality.

We were staying  with Sue, Cullli  the most fantastic hosts along with Buddy & Bebop the golden retrievers in a converted farmhouse in the small rural village of La Verderie in the heart of Cognac country.

We set up camp in the converted barn studio, the perfect place to be creative and relax, getting to know one another with a spot of crochet in the morning, then off to the near by town of Saint Jean d’Angely  for the biannual exhibition  of  Le fil en fete . The exhibition took us on a trail around the town to 9 different venues showing a wonderful mix of fabric and stitch works of art, just what we needed for a source of inspiration at the start of the week for embellishing our bags!

Where did the time go, we managed to pack so much in from days out to local towns and events

I’m amazed everyone managed to be so productive, it was a pleasure guiding  folk along the way and watching their ideas and confidence grow

So impressed with the end results

After all that hard work it was most certainly time for well deserved refreshments….Where’s my straw!

refreshment_1

Bottoms up

I can’t speak highly enough of our hosts Sue & Culli, if you ever fancy a week away in France then look no further.

Counting the days until I’m back next year in October.

Carol x

 

Spring has sprung along with the garlic!

Time to shed those layers and get out of the house!

I do enjoy exploring my local parks one of my favourites is Pollok Country Park, its Glasgow’s largest and only country park and well worth a visit.  There’s plenty for everyone to see and do regardless of the weather, for those rainy days you have the world famous Burrell Collection and Pollok House, but today the sun was shining,  perfect for a bike ride around the grounds.

 

 

pollokpark_welcome_1

entrance to the west of the park

Everything is bursting into life especially the wild garlic, the smell was out of this world. I think wild garlic pesto might be on the menu very soon!

On the way home I stopped to say hello to these guys. The highland coo’s are dotted all around the park, you can catch them having a munch at feeding time. The wee ones are ever so cute and the big ones are just scary especially up close. They escaped a few years back, I had to jump up a tree to get out of their way – you don’t want to argue with rampaging cows!

So now to find a wild garlic recipe and see how much I need to forage!

Carol x

 

 

Day trip to Stirling

I didn’t have to travel far for Saturday’s workshop at McAree Brothers in Stirling. It only takes 20 min on the direct train from Glasgow and a short walk up to the store.

It’s a journey I’ve done many times before having previously worked in the store and being a regular workshop tutor I feel very much at home.

crochet_flower_scarf

creative crochet floral scarf project

This Saturday was all about getting creative with crochet, we were focusing on a floral theme and how to join motifs together as you go.

creative_crochet_mcaree_6

getting all creative with crochet

 

 

 

It was a smaller group than usual which was great as we could really get our sleeves rolled up, spread ourselves out and take over the workshop space.

 

Everybody was up to speed with the basic stitches so it was straight into being creative and getting to grips with the different motifs and introducing folk to the wonderful world of crochet graphs.

Graphs are being used more widely nowadays with crochet which is great, especially with the differences in UK & U.S crochet terminology. The stitches might have different names but the symbols are the same regardless of what language the pattern is written in, it also helps you figure out how everything fits together.

We started by working through a selection of the motifs and familiarising ourselves with the construction, then looked at the different methods of how to join them all together.

McAree's_2

mix n match

With this type of project you can be very free form and almost make it up as you go along , although if this isn’t your thing you can plot everything out by pinning the motifs onto a piece of fabric or paper and linking together with chains similar to Irish Crochet.

The pinning helps stop the motifs from moving as you link them and will give you a guide as to how long the chains need to be to keep the fabric flat.

creative_crochet_mcaree_12

linking with chains

 

 

 

I chose a selection of Rowan Cotton Glace and Patons 100% cotton DK for the project and we dipped into PatternBank’s Pinterest page for inspiration – well worth looking at!

The mix of gorgeous yarns, great company and plenty refreshments made the time fly by, it was all over far to quickly!

 

Thank you everyone for a wonderful day and looking forward to seeing all your completed projects on my beatknit Facebook page

Carol x

 

 

Spring tidy up

The burst of sunshine over the last few days has inspired me to attempt a tidy up. Working a room at a time , amazed at the amount of oddments of yarn and projects I’d managed to scattered about the place!

tidy_up_2

bag of tangles

In my defense, I do have a busy workshop schedule.

Most of the – creative chaos – was from workshop prep & swapping over workshop kit / samples from my travel bags!

I did however come across a few crochet projects and samples that gave me an idea how to use up the bag of tangles.

 A theme had started to appear, the tidying up and spring clean finds had spoken. . . . . .It was going to be. . . . . . .modular crochet

granny_2

Melody cushion cover

melody

Melody by Kim Hargreaves Rowan Mag 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lurking about in a bag was Melody, the first crochet project I tackled after getting back into the craft. Rowan had started to introduce more crochet into their magazine and as Rowan Design Consultant I needed to know my stuff!

rowan_mag_31

 

So this little find took me slightly off track and on another little rummage to locate the pattern.

Rowan Magazine 31 published 2002 I managed to distract myself for a good wee while dipping back into the pages. Some classic Rowan designs from Kim Hargreaves, Kaffe Fasset, Martin Storey , Sarah Dallas and Me!

 

 

Below: Maggie by Kim Hargreaves and Smoulder by Kaffe Fasset


kim_hargreaves_1kaffe_fasset_1

orient_rowan_31

Orient by Carol Meldrum

 

With my focus back on the tidy up mission and all gathered up.

Decision made the bag of tangles was going to be a hexagon crochet motif modular blanket as big as the tangles will allow!

 

 

 

 

motif_graph_1 crochet_hexagon_3

I’ll be posting the pattern soon so feel free to crochet along. The main idea is to re purpose the tangles into something use able. To keep me from going off in a tangent I’m going to try and stick to a colour theme….but can’t promise, hexagon pattern and update coming soon!

I’ve no excuse for not bringing a project with me on my travels

Carol x

 

Travels with my knitting

As workshop tutor I find myself most weekends on my travels heading towards a workshop venue, bags packed full of samples and my knitting tucked away ready to be pulled out at the earliest opportunity.

Sometimes it’s a day trip and others it’s over night or long weekend, with a few longer visits to foreign locations dotted in between.

This year’s workshop calendar has been up and running since the beginning of February and it’s been quite an adventure so far with unexpected stay overs and catching up with knitting friends from years back.

I’m looking forward to sharing my textile tales and travels with my knitting!

on my travels