Are you playing along with Me Made May this year?

me made mayWell May just seemed to sneak up out of nowhere this year. Maybe it was because April was such a hive of activity (and inactivity at times.) Or maybe because the weather at the end of April was so vile here that I couldn’t possibly believe that May would even happen!

Anyway here it is and it is one of my favourite months. May is my birthday month although this year it is a big birthday (I will smack anyone who says happy 50th or 60th!) so I intend to declare birthday Summer instead of birthday month. May always hints at summer, and spring and hope and the change of pace of life that a little sunshine and longer days bring. No more rushing home through drizzle to hot chocolate, we switch to long park visits after school.

The past three years I have also enjoyed May for the fun and inspiration that Me Made May brings. Dreamt up by Zoe, of the So Zo What do you know… blog, it is a month long celebration of hand made and home made clothing. Whether you sew, knit, crochet, weave or upcycle this challenge is a great one to get involved with. Participants make a personal pledge that is challenging but not impossible. For example you might pledge to wear a handmade item every day through May or wear an entire handmade outfit once a week. You choose. You can sign up and pledge here or just find out more about it.

I was a little late pledging and deciding but here is my pledge:

‘I, Joanne of Not So Granny and The Crochet Project blog, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item (preferably two) each day for the duration of May 2016′

I love this challenge because it really makes me think about my making and how it fits into my everyday life. I always end up digging out something I haven’t worn for a while or find a new way to style an old favourite.

In the past I have become a bit fatigued with taking endless selfies (because I really enjoy seeing other peoples outfits and sharing my own) so I plan to use the challenge as a prompt to get a bit more creative with my photography and try out some different styles of photography for outfit posts. I’m going to be playing along on instagram so follow me there to see the feed. They should also get copied over to my facebook page (provided I remember to tag them correctly!)

I feel like this year is going to be the best year ever – mostly because I have three new cardigans to swan around in! Yes I have the samples from our new book Three From The Top and I am not afraid to wear them!

If you’d like to come along and see the cardigans in the flesh I am at The Sheep Shop in Cambridge this Saturday (7th May 2016) I’m teaching crochet cardigans from the book all day followed by a show and tell and book signing. All of the class places got snapped up a long time ago but if you’d like to come and say hi, see the cardigans and pick up your copy of the book then please come by the shop between 4pm and 5pm.

Three From The Top Collage

 

Book Two is Go!

Hello!

After giving our lovely newsletter subscribers the first crack of the WIP, I am delighted to be able to tell you that you can now get your hands on The Shawl Project: Book Two!

book two small

 

 

All this week and next we will be introducing the patterns across our three blogs, giving you a different perspective on the design in each place hopefully (like a very tiny blog tour!) Until then you can find the technical details for all the designs on Ravelry.

The book is available as an instantly downloadable e-book (pdf) which you can >> 

 

If you prefer print, pre orders are now open in our Etsy shop

Print orders will be shipped within two weeks – the little app on my phone that makes a lovely little cash register kerching noise has been trilling frequently since we opened up the preorders. Orders will be going out strictly in the order they were placed as I may not be able to ship them all in one day!

Joanne

PS: all the lovely comments you are putting on the etsy order notes are absolutely making my day! Thank you all!

Swiss Wulle!

I may be more than a little bit excited right now! The old flight bag is down from storage and dusted off (not many hand-luggage only trips happen with children in tow – it very much harks back to a past life when weekends abroad were more the norm) for I am jetting off this weekend to Switzerland!

This is the view set to greet me on touch down

from the Swiss Wulle site

I will be teaching two classes at the festival and it is not too late to book if you’d like to join me (just click on the link) :

Making Crochet Wearable 10am-1pm Saturday

This class is for the adventurous and inquisitive crocheter. What makes a good wearable fabric, what we need for various types of garments and accessories and how to combine hook size, stitch pattern and yarn to create them. All the secrets which make our designs for The Crochet Project so special!

Crochet Shawls 3.30pm – 6.30pm Saturday

Based on our successful book this class teaches the tips and tricks for making dazzling crochet shawls, whether you have lots of single sock skeins to use up, want to get started on a design from the book or tap my brain for design ideas this is the class for you. The class includes a copy of the book.

I’ll also be smoozing the night away on the first night party cruise where you can meet all the tutors and many of the vendors and enjoy socialising and chatting all things yarn.

With a fab array of vendors  it is sure to be a great market place. I am especially looking forward to popping to see Daisy from Devon Sun Yarns who will have samples from The Shawl Project Book One on display (and books to sell).

I’ll also be packing any granny squares I can find around the studio to contribute to the wullecube art installation

I believe there may also be a meet and greet book signing that I’ll be involved in – I’ll be bringing both Shawl books and I also have a shawl design in the special festival shawl book.

Hope to see you there!

teeny shawls pic

How I rocked it

Thank you so much for all the kind feedback about my packing post, here and on social media. I am glad it is a useful thing to see – I don’t get away ever so much but I shall try and remember to blog the capsule each time I do.

I thought you might like to see how I put the outfits together over the three days and my thoughts on the packing.

 

fri night

Friday I arrived (sadly too late for the planned dinner but in time to grab a bite with my good friend and room mate Vicki in a pub near the hotel)

It was hot and humid as hell on the train, streets and especially in the hotel room. The wide legged trousers and vest top kept me cool and the transposition shawl finished off the look and I felt smart. Worn with flat sat day sandals.

On the Saturday day it was a little cooler and more comfortable. I wore Alyssium cardigan and the Transposition shawl with a long grey skirt and black vest with flat sandals. I was glad I chose the vest as the day quickly warmed up it was really hot in the venue and the Alyssium cardie stayed in my bag all day. It was nice and comfortable for all the walking we did.

On the Saturday Night I glammed it up a bit for the Pintacular craft party, breaking out a summer dress and heels with Cherry Pi shawl. I am so pleased these work well together as the yarn was chosen especially to make something glamorous to team with these lovely little shoes.

 

sat night

On the way home I wore the wide legged trousers, grey t-shirt, Alyssium cardigan and flats (but failed to get a picture, I was a bit tired by then!)

So what didn’t I wear? Only two t-shirts (I had packed a variety in case the weather was a bit cooler) and my knitting needle bracelet – I forgot to put it on :-( I’m not good with dress jewelry! Pretty good packing I think. I am very glad that I didn’t assume I would be able to wear the skirt as a dress in the evening. Even not pulling it tight over my hips it was still far too stretched to stay up as a dress after a days wear – I do wonder if it will be even okay to wear as a dress with that little elasticity/memory in the fabric. I am not sure I could pull off a wardrobe malfunction of that magnitude!

Packing and blogging this has made me think about how I wear handmade and how I use key basic pieces to set my handmade off to its best advantage.

Tomorrow I shall tell you all about the wonderful time I had wearing these lovely clothes at the truly fabulous Blogtacular. An extra day to digest it all will lead to a more coherent post I hope.

 

 

Handmade capsule packing

This weekend I am leaving the children in the very capable hands of my husband and heading to the big smoke for a weekend of fun, learning and creativity at Blogtacular.

The weather forecast is especially British this weekend, it could be very hot or very not hot, maybe rain, maybe not so I need to take a variety of things that can layer and be worn in different ways. I am travelling by train and tube  so only want to take a small overnight bag but because I am networking it is really important (to me and maybe my business) that each outfit centres around something handmade.  I want to look good at the different events because its instagram heaven at blogtacular!

I thought I’d take you through how I packed for the event and afterwards (if I remember to take them!) I will show you how the outfits went together from what I took.

When I capsule pack I like to stick to colour schemes so that everything goes with everything else. I chose grey and black this time which will be livened up by turquoise or red crochet shawls.

capsule

 

The handmade items I am taking:

Alyssium cardigan – its pretty, its light and it goes with everything here.

Cherry Pi shawl, adds a pop of red to any of the possible outfits.

Transpostion shawl, as above but a turquoise pop.

What I am paring it with:

Summer dress – not sure I’ll wear it, if I do it will be to the craft party.

4 t-shirts in shades of grey and black: a vest, a low cut tee, a regular tee, a long sleeve tee.

Long grey skirt from Gap that can also be worn as a dress.

A knitting needle bracelet – I don’t wear much jewellry but this sums up my personality and will really go nicely if I am wearing transpostion.

Wide legged black patterneed  trousers – a new purchase that I’m a little unsure about but think I like. I am vaguely expecting a call from 1992 asking for their trousers back! :-) They are very comfy though and, I hope, quite  elegant.

Super comfy but pretty flats and a pair of heels that were made for paring with cherry pi.

(My mum reads this and I know she might be worrying – Mum its okay there are undies and pyjamas packed too, just not pictured!)

I think this gives me quite an array of possible outfits. I am super excited about the conference now!

Do you have a system for packing for weekends away?

Top Tip: securing a shawl with a loom band

top tip secure shawl loom band

I love a good shawl (had you guessed?) and if you follow me or the #makeitwearit tag on instagram you’ll know that I mostly like to wear them bandana style. But I live a pretty busy lifestyle (who doesn’t though!) which involves lots of walking near windy fens, leaning down to help/pick up after small children, getting tugged at by small children, running after small children…the list goes on and all of these things can unwind the shawl or scarf from your neck, particularly shorter one skein shawls.

As an owner of small children I also own a large selection of loom bands (now utterly discarded) and I suspect I will be finding the damn things for many a year to come. So I put the two problems together to come up with an elegant solution:

I use the loom band to fasten the shawl around my neck. Ta da!

Here’s how:

shawl loom band tip steps

Step 1: Pass one end of the shawl through the loom band

Step 2: Pass the other end of the shawl in the other direction through the loom band (so they cross)

Step 3: Adjust the shawl and place over your head. It can be further adjusted while worn.

And here is why it works better for me than a shawl pin:

  • If the shawl gets caught  then the loom band will break before the shawl or my neck.
  • No sharp ends to dig into small children when I cuddle them.
  • They come in a wide range of colours so you can always find one that blends in.
  • Its discreet and hidden by my hair/the fullness of the shawl.
  • It doesn’t harm the shawl at all unlike pins which can sometimes leave holes.

shawl finished

The pictured shawl is Northmoor Lock from The Shawl Project Book One

Me Made May 15: a retrospective

So here we are in June. Since my last post I have had a lovely break from work – we celebrated my birthday and went camping for a few days. I feel much refreshed and my creativity and problem solving abilities have returned (hooray, I rather need them!)

As you may have read or seen on social media, I took part in the Me Made May challenge and set myself the task of wearing something handmade every single day in May and to complete a new wearable for myself (this also doubled as taking part in the Crafts from the Cwtch makealong)

Well I am pleased to say I did it and here is a little collage of some of the best outfits

mmmay15

And here is the beautiful shawl I finished

dissent

It is made from Lotus tibetan cloud, which is soft as kittens and amazing to wear. It has already been pressed into much service. I love it.

The purpose of the makealong was to learn something new so I challenged myself to learn how the short row shaping for these multi coloured shawls works. You may well expect to find this expanded upon and written about for the second book in the Shawl Project series but I couldn’t possibly comment. (to paraphrase FU from House of Cards)

So what did I learn during Me Made May?

  • I have plenty to wear, I didn’t struggle at all. If I banned shawls next time then it might be a bit tougher.
  • I actively enjoy choosing the handmade first and building an outfit around it. It made me consider my store bought wardrobe more than my handmade, how it needed to evolve into more plain basics that allow my handmades to do the talking. I am not much of a shopper nowadays so this will be a slow progress but as things wear out and need replacement I will be thinking about it.
  • I get selfie fatigue. Taking a picture of your outfit everyday is draining and I had to give myself a few breaks. There were plenty of times when wearing handmade meant a cosy cardigan (Vanna and Walk in the Woods) and scruffy jeans with hair scraped back. I think that is perfectly reasonable and I love that my handmade wardrobe  is such a continual comfort to me but neither do I particularly want to record it and share it on the internet.
  • I love love love Hut8. there is not an outfit that that cardigan doesn’t go with!
  • If there is a gap in my wardrobe then it is for a going out top – I often wear Carolyn out but its now time to rotate that for everyday more.
  • I have a bit of a shawl obsession. I think this is okay.

Did you take part or enjoy watching the #mmmay15 hashtag? What did you learn?

Me Made May 2015

outfit 14 May 14Hi,

Its nearly May – that time of year where social media gets filled with people sporting their wonderful handmade items. Brain child of Zoe at So Zo What Do You Know blog  the challenge takes place for the duration of May and encourages everyone to wear their handmade and upcycled clothing.

As you probably, guessed I am pretty passionate about making to wear so I am really excited to be joining in the fun.

I joined in part of last year (I didn’t find out about it until mid-month when the hashtags kept appearing) and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the prompt to get wearing. I found it a really useful way to spot gaps in my handmade wardrobe, celebrate my favourite pieces and learn to love some others.

Here is my pledge:

‘I, Joanne of notsogranny.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item each day for the duration of May 2015 and complete a new item to wear’

If you’d like to make yours you can sign up here. Everyone chooses their own level of challenge from wearing an entirely handmade outfit to including handmade in 2 outfits a week. As long as it challenges you its all good.

I’ll be blogging the challenge and posting photos on twitter, instagram and facebook with the hashtag #mmmay15 and my own hashtag #makeitwearit

Exciting!

Make it. Wear it.

photo of Alyssium - credit Victoria Magnus

me wearing my Alyssium Cardigan – credit Victoria Magnus

Its no secret that I am a huge fan of knit and crochet garments. They are what I like to make and design. In the search for other like minded folks I’ve started a facebook group for people interested in knitting and crocheting items to wear – whether that is socks, cardigans, shawls or hats.

At the moment we are just getting to know each other over there. We hope it will grow into a great resource for everyone. Why not come join us?*

*it’s a closed group so you just need to request membership and I’ll add you.

 

A very special commission (with a crochet recipe)

This week the weather turned distinctly colder around these parts and gloves and big woolly jumpers were dusted off and gladly put on in the mornings. My littlest was admiring my fingerless mits and asked if I could make her a pair please.

Her favourite colours are pinks and purples so we had a little stash raid and found some suitable yarn. I say “suitable” with some reservation, Manos Silk Blend Fino feels a little decadent for a three year old, but it seemed daft to go buy a ball of acrylic something rather than use what I had.

mitts 2

I whipped up the first mitt in no time while we watched some morning tv together and she was so pleased with it she kept stroking it and insisted on wearing it through breakfast. No pressure to finish the second one then! Luckily I made it while we were on a playdate with her bestie and she has been wearing them and looking after them.

 

mitts

Making these simple little mitts for her reminded me why I started knitting again and learnt to crochet. There is something so lovely about being able to make just the thing that is needed for someone you love.

In case anyone is interested here is the recipe:

Materials:

Manos Silk Blend Fino in Jewel.

4mm hook.

Method:

I worked 20 stitches and 14 rows in linked trebles and then slip stitched the edges together for 10 stitches, slip stitched one side only for 3 stitches then slip stitched the remaining 7 stitcheswith both edges held together. Fasten off, weave in the ends. One happy girl.