Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Frida's Flowers - Block Six

Wow! We are on to block six already!

I have called the block featured in this pattern release 'Ring of Roses'. This is the very first block I designed for the blanket and it was the catalyst for the whole design. I remember being really excited when I worked out how to make the 2 tone leaves behind the flower and then managed to get the cream and yellow buds to sit nicely behind too! I hope you will enjoy making these pieces as much as I enjoyed designing them - especially as you need to make 6 of them!

I felt that flowers (and roses in particular) should make the centrepiece of the blanket. Roses feature in Frida Kahlo's work from time to time, but she often wore them in her hair or as part of her costumes.

If you have already worked the previous blocks I think you will find this block pretty straight forward. The leaves are made in a slightly different way to those on Block Five (Heart Rose), but other than that I think the block uses techniques that you have probably already mastered.

Below I have pasted copies of the step by step images for this block:

This sounds obvious, but do make sure you have 6 petals at this point - it is surprising how many times I have carried on happily crocheting only to find I have the wrong number!

On Round 5 you are asked to work a treble crochet (US double crochet) around the post of a marked stitch. This gives the flower shape a really good definition. Use markers to indicate the stitches you need to work around - again, check you have 6!

Once the main part of the flower is complete you can choose whether or not you wish to add in some sewn bullion stitches to the centre of the flower:

The leaves are made in 2 stages as the reverse side of the work over the following 2 rounds. The image below shows the stitch you need to work into at the beginning of Round 6:

When working Round 7 you need to find the turning chain at the tip of the leaf made on the previous round:

On Round 7 a chain space is made between the leaves - this is used on the subsequent round to make the base of the small flower buds that sit behind the rose.

I really love the rose motif at this point - it would make such a lovely corsage or fascinator don't you think?

Working with the black yarn on the next few rounds can be hard work. If you struggle to see the stitches, avoid working in poor light (in the evening for example). You could try working closer to the window or even get yourself a day light bulb. Working with a light coloured sheet on your lap or at a table with a light coloured cloth could also help.

I really hope you will enjoy making this motif. Don't forget there is bound to be lots of chat and discussion about it on the various Facebook groups - these are easy to find via the Stylecraft page.

If you want to keep up to date with my design work and the events we have coming up over the next few months you can join our mailing list by submitting a form via our Facebook page or via the homepage of our web site.

If you haven't done so already it would be really great if you could spare 5 minutes to visit the Let's Knit knitting and crochet award page by following the link at the top of the right hand side bar. If you would like to vote for me or any of the other amazing knit & crochet designers, authors, makers or sellers you can follow the link to complete an online form and by doing so could also be in with the chance of winning a luxury spa break!

Have a good day!
Janie x

Monday, 6 June 2016

British Knitting & Crochet Awards 2016

I am so excited to be able to tell you that I have been nominated in 2 categories of this year's British Knitting (and Crochet) Awards. I have made it through to the top 5 in 2 categories - Favourite Crochet Designer and Favourite Crochet Blog - so I am just about ready to burst with pleasure!!!

I am so grateful to everyone who nominated me and am really excited just to have made it through to the top 5 in both categories. I am up against some really tough competition, but I am so proud to have my name listed alongside some really influential and talented women from the world of crochet design. 

If you would like to vote for me in either of the categories and cast your vote within all the other categories too then you can click on the link here or on the button to the right of the screen to be taken through to the voting survey web site. Once you submit your on line form you will also be entered into a prize draw and be in with the chance of winning a luxury spa break!

The voting period for the British Awards opens on 7th June online and forms are also in the July issue of Let's Knit Magazine and issue 82 of Lets Get Crafting Magazine. Voting closes on 28th August 2016.

Each category is shortlisted to four or five nominees, and voting can be done either by using the forms in the magazines or online at the above link.

Let's Knit magazine Editor Sarah Neal says ' To win one of these now very prestigious industry awards is a great honour as they are voted for entirely by the public, the most important judges of all.'

Last year the final list of winners recognised a total of nearly 50 companies and individuals and was the result of over 13000 consumers voting for their favourites. 

Frida's Flowers Block Five

In 1939 Frida Kahlo painted a canvas that she named ‘The Two Fridas’. Frida painted it after her divorce from Diego and it shows one version of herself wearing what appears to be a wedding dress with her heart exposed and open on her chest. The other version of herself sits opposite with an exposed yet strong heart on her chest. The painting represents suffering versus strength and resilience.

When I first started working on the design for this blanket, and was therefore looking at traditional Mexican fabrics and iconography I came across designs which featured the heart shape all the time. The sacred heart motif is one of the most common motifs in religious folk art from Mexico as within the Catholic religion it represents the physical heart of Jesus as a symbol of his divine love for humanity.

Trying to incorporate a heart shape into the design presented me with a problem in that the shape of it would mean the blanket design would have a definite top and lower edge in order that the heart shape sat in the right position. I played with heart shapes a lot, but in the end I decided it simply didn’t fit within the design, however I then saw that the shape would work perfectly as a flower petal and set about designing this piece ‘Heart Rose’.

This is one of my favourite pieces within the design and once again it starts with those fabulous popcorn stitches made at the centre of Block 2.

Below I have posted the step by step images for this motif:

On Round 4 you need to work a 'spike dc' (US = spike sc) into the stitch at the base of a stitch made 2 rounds lower down.

Working the spike stitch between the petals gives a lovely heart shaped definition to them.

A frame work is made using Teal on Round 5 - this round becomes the basis of the leaves of the flower. The image below shows the round from the reverse of the piece:

Working out how to make the leaves took me quite a while, but I think they worked really well in the end!

Another framework is made on Round 7 using Sunflower.

The images below show the progress of Round 8 and 9

Using black in a design was a big decision for me as it can make crocheting quite difficult to see, however I felt that the colour was imperative to the design so tried to use it relatively sparingly! On this motif it is used on the 2 final rounds.

I hope you enjoy making this motif - it was one of my favourite to design and I think it will look great in lots of different colour ways.