YARN REVIEWS – Stylecraft UK

I wouldn’t know where to begin to talk about my happiness with this company, and I have lots of reasons for that. Number one for me is that they make yarns with natural fibres, added.

Yarn has changed a great deal since I was a little girl who could walk into a yarn store and get some. Many of the brands I used to love are gone. They no longer exist, and these yarns are for the European and British markets.

Here is the link to their website, because I want to talk about this incredible designer they have, Janie Crow! So first Stylecraft https://www.stylecraft-yarns.co.uk/ and then Janie! https://www.janiecrow.com/

I had seen Janie’s designs a few years ago, and I found them in the youtubes. By accident!

Well let me show you what I have been making. It’s called Fruit Garden CAL!

I am madly in love with this yarn!

I am also madly in love with her designs, and this is where it begins. I had sort of seen these things called CALS in the youtubes, but then I went to the yarn company itself and I saw what Janie had designed. The first thing I saw of hers was Frida’s Flowers. I did not know we could get the sorts of cottons they make over in England and other places. Well, let me show you how I began on Frida. I had the wrong quality in the cotton! Still though, I was a determined American. I rushed out so fast to try and get some cotton yarn you would not believe it. To a big box store, because that is pretty much all we have. Over a two year period, I practiced with it. It takes me a few tries, you know?

Had I known there was a Stylecraft?

Well now I do.

I cannot tell you how much I love the Stylecraft DK “Life” series. I would choose that over anything, right now. The hand on this yarn in a project is superb.

What I love is the Batik series. I am not kidding. Wow.

This yarn has been such an inspiration to me I am going to design things with it.

This is how much I wanted to make Frida’s Flowers the minute I saw it. Frida Khalo!

I love the stunning bright flowers she designed, and it is the spirit of Frida in that design.

So let me show you what I was trying two years ago.

I think I did pretty well, but I didn’t have THE COLORS! Nor did I know there was a yarn kit?

That’s how badly I wanted to make it over a two year period. I’m serious.

Well, guess what?

This was box two from the Stylecraft ranges.

I guess you could say, never use the wrong yarn unless for practice?

I have the right yarn now, from the right company, and the color ranges are superb.

I’m currently testing it, for another CAL, and this is how it works up on a 4mm hook.

xxoo!

from Adrienne

Scheepjes CAL 2020

This was Herbarium in the Stonewashed colorway – so incredibly gorgeous! We have begun.

Watch this gorgeous video from Scheepjes!

Very exciting because it started today! I bought the kit for Herbarium in the cottons because I knew that Esther would be doing the tutorials in youtube. I love Esther’s Youtube channel and actually I feel that she might have taught me to crochet, by watching. But she also has projects and uses Scheepjes exclusively perhaps. It is gorgeous yarn. I had ordered some of their colors and skeins to try them out and to see the colors.

It was exciting to see the box of cotton colors, wow. This is the book we are to be reading along as well.

This is the first youtube Esther has been kind to make.

I bought many skeins of the Color Crafter yarn, not for this kit but to try it. The colors!

So I went off on my own tangent, a little with this design. I have just come from doing Janie Crow’s Fruit Garden CAL and because of the virus. I had much yarn left over, especially in the Batik ranges and so while the cotton will be my most special blanket, these colors that I got! I also got the little box of swatches, their tiny balls so I could see all the colors as an artist. For me they are like paints, and I have loved to crochet with them. This yarn is going to be a keeper for me for many reasons. So the first rounds I made with two of the Scheepjes colors Alphen and Dordrecht – gorgeous. I put them with some Batik and I am calling that the Oceanology version, as I will be choosing the colorway. It’s gorgeous yarn. I am using a hook that was a Loops and Threads kit hook here in US, a 3.75mm. I have already crocheted the lace version with this, you can see that here:

You are seeing the Alphen and Dordrecht from Scheepjes in the large balls above.

Below you see another two favorites of mine, Teal and Indigo, in the stash I have left over from Janie’s — like most artists we want ALL THE COLORS and with paint we mix them? — I am having so much fun. So thanks to these gorgeous yarn companies from overseas and these CALS, because, sigh, beauty can come from all of this having to stay in.

I was trying out some little sea motifs with the gorgeous yarn in the sampler box, above. I also tried some of their Secret Garden, above.

I have so much yarn now, I feel I have something to work with, for all the color I love.

I am going to do a sea and sky colorway I will choose, and follow the designer with her gorgeous Herbarium. Esther is also doing Herbarium in her tutorials, so I will be back with it, as well as talking about the book. I think they have groups in FB doing it, but I am off FB in the moment. I prefer WP and that is just that.

xxoo!

Adrienne

In Ravelry I am Adrienne101, you can see these pictures in there as well.

Scheepjes CAL 2020

I just got a box of beautiful yarn. Two, actually. Three, actually.

I have wanted to participate in a CAL since I became aware of them a few years ago, but didn’t think I was talented enough to do the kind of complexity that is required to crochet one of them. The yarn is gorgeous, a cotton string, but it is the colors that are so fantastic.

One thing that makes this one really special is that a writer is being honored for his book and you can see that here, he won the Pulitzer for the book, which takes place in WW2. I picked up my copy at the SB Writer’s Conference a couple of years ago, but didn’t have the time to look.

Imagine.

Your work as a writer spinning off into such glorious directions. I chose Herbarium for my colorway on this. I had wanted to try the yarns from Scheepjes for some time, and now I am.

I got the little artist’s sampler box as well, for their Stonewashed and Riverwashed colors.

Practiced using it.

This design came from Bianca, of Bianca’s Crochet Palace in Youtube. Her “Say it With Flowers” and you can see that here:

If you aren’t writing, use a crochet hook. That is what all of us know as writers.

We leave a yarn, and we stud it with hooks.

The yarn has been amazing to look at, and to work with. Really looking forward to making this one. It starts in a few days, and there are several colorways you can read about at the Scheepjes website. These yarns come from The Netherlands, and so they have them in Europe, but not here.

It’s always important how the writer chose to open and end a book, on a sentence.

Here is the first sentence, and the last sentence.

“At dusk they pour from the sky.” — Anthony Doerr

“Until all she can hear are the sighs of cars and the rumble of trains and the sounds of everyone hurrying through the cold.” — Anthony Doerr

Imagine the Pulitzer, or the Booker. Or the Nobel.

(file under things writers want)

What lies between those two sentences is about to take crocheters all over the world into his book and a design they can craft.

How lovely that is.

xxoo!

Adrienne

Fruit Garden CAL!

Progress!

I am ready to do the stripey border, very soon now….

So in the months I haven’t been writing, I started to crochet.

I am loving the Stylecraft yarns, and I know I am going to love Sheepjes as well. Yarn on the way, gorgeous things to create.

The complexity of this pattern is so gorgeous and since I joined Ravelry I have found all my fave designers. In a lockdown of misery what else can we do?

It’s been sheer hell on earth, and boring as hell, but there is YARN, and where there is fab yarn there is beauty! Here you can see what the edging is all about. This blanket is so gorgeous. So I am a bit nervous about the edging, but have a great teacher, in the designer!

xxoo!

from Adrienne

Yarn as paint

That is how I have been feeling as I complete the Fruit Garden CAL designed by Janie Crow. To explain how I feel about all things Brit goes back to being 13 and getting Mary Quant so, well, getting this gorgeous yarn from Stylecraft is a bit like that. But so is this pattern as it is a real design by an artist. So you can check out her other designs!

So, I wasn’t able to get a kit with the correct colors and it was a mad hunt trying to think what to use, but, the colors that I chose remind me of Brideshead Revisited, many moons ago. The original.

I wish I could show you this pile of colors I have had to work with, but here is an idea of that.

I am crazy over the Batiks, especially the Inky Navy. The Hollyhock motif is my favorite, but I love the orange in the dusky orange, and Old Gold.

This DK weight of yarn is new to me, and I love it.

I had to sub Cream for the Parchment as it was sold out, and I was really worried because I wanted that butterscotch feel of the antique version she designed. I think Cream will work with the Caramel.

That the DK Life range has wool in it, has been fantastic. Just that little bit of wool seems to make all the difference. There aren’t yarns here like this. So it’s like getting a box of very happy paints.

I want it to come off as the 20’s. Over in Ravelry they said “Romantic” – well yes, I suppose so.

Oh boy more yarn is coming soon. I was really tempted once I saw that Duck Egg Nepp. So I may go for this all over again in greens and purples. The cream colored Nepp as a backdrop and the Duck as border.

Just thinking of Waugh, and listening to the voiceover…. this is one of the most gorgeous things you will ever watch. I saw it was on Tubi TV.

So happy with this yarn.

This gorgeous design.

Tea is in order.

I switched the leaves in the center. Fern and Gorse Nepp.

xxoo!

Almost there.

Almost in that beauty that is England.

Yarn and memoir

So the fantastic first package of yarn arrived yesterday, bursting with Stylecraft and the Janie Crow colors to make her design for The Fruit Garden CAL. I joined Ravelry a few days ago, am Adrienne101 there. It amazes me that all the designers from around the world that I had been looking at in Youtube are in there. Crocheting sort of saved me during the last two years. I’m not sure how that worked exactly, but it did.

Anyway, it had been years and years and years since I picked up any yarn or thread to do anything. I practiced and practiced by watching videos of all kinds of women and people around the world in all of their different languages.

This morning I thought, wow, you know? I did this instead of writing. But writers do many things if the words aren’t there. They will be again. Walter’s death really was heavy for me at last year’s conference. I learned much from him about writing scenes. It’s not that much different from crochet. So my best friend and I at 13. That is in my memoir. We started off crocheting to escape in those years. We were escaping everything, I expect. You are on such a cusp at 13, you know? So this is a chapter called “Strings” https://valentinebonnaire.com/2010/12/29/strings-from-memoir-whitegirrrl-short-chapter/ that I was working on in 2010 – that whole book needs an edit, ooof. Some of the chapters make me cry they are so hard to look back on.

Anyway, the two of us would go downtown to a place called The Yarn Mart in those years. We would wander through, after school. It’s long gone now. But I love to get lost with yarn and fabrics. It takes me so far back I’m practically in childhood, as in “FUN” so this morning I finished off a little heart by a South African designer called Jen Tyler.

So, one of the boxes of the new yarn arrived, yesterday!

OMG. It puts the Big Box yarn I had to shame. I think this yarn and I are going to be beloved friends.

Check it out!

That’s the little Forget-Me-Not flower from the Fruit Garden CAL. My best friend Pam at 13 grew up loving the Pre-Raphaelites. Funny, this pattern – the colors.

Her grandmother had made her a classic blanket, that was in her room when we were so little. I started one of those blankets where you keep going around and around the square, you know?

Well, who knew that I was going to grow up and attempt something as gorgeous as what Janie Crow has designed. Neither my mother or my grandmother did anything like this. I did hear that my Irish great grandmother used to make lace, but I have never seen it.

Forget me not.

xxoo!

from Adrienne

(who will be back on the writing jag soon enough)

I am so over politics, and this virus.

Crochet, color, yarn and art

I was drawn immediately to Janie Crow’s design for Frida’s Flowers on account of the complexity. I mean, at first I thought, oh my god, the beauty. It’s the same thing with the new one for Fruit Garden. The only trouble is the yarn I could get. It had been years since I had shopped for yarn and I wanted natural fibers, which we cannot get here in town anymore. The boutiques are long gone, and the only craft place is a big box that took over. So, I gave it a start but? Garish. As you can see. Still though, I gave it a start. My feeling is, if you are going to put that much work into something, have the yarn be great. On this new one, there is a Bamboo/Cotton blend, and if the colors? Well, that or, my fave Mercerized, but from where? It is not to be had. Not in stores. I found it! So, some of Frida’s Flowers and the various passes.

I have no idea how any of us will get through this time.

Maybe by making some art.

So, I am drawn to natural fibers, and the only trouble with this yarn is that it is for things like dishcloths or something. It does not have the “hand” or the tight twist, or the shades or? Dunno.

That image is from a fave Mexican Restaurant here, that I miss so much. If they closed it would be hell.

Life as we have known it is over.

Hope you are having an easier time of it where you are.

I’m keeping my old Teddy near me. Watching lots of film. It’s as if all the fun is gone, here in California.

So, yesterday, while I was waiting, am waiting, for the yarn to arrive from overseas, I began. I crocheted a little square for Fruit Garden. I was able to do it! The first square is called “Forget Me Not” and let me show you the vid she has done. The shades she has chosen are gorgeous. I just used some yarn I had hanging around, and it is pure cotton. I found it in a box. That children’s book I wrote has a theme in it about the plastic problem in the ocean. So, age 13 was all about crochet for me, and we used to have a thing called Speed Cro-Sheen that was brilliant spun cotton on a ball. This would be fantastic in that. Thirteen was also all about Mucha for me. Anyway, triumph. I did it! We need the small victories, in the middle of so much sad.

So, just practice, until the gorgeous yarn arrives. I made it blue, and what I love is the intricacy of how she changes the colors. One thing I did, was use some white and the red. I used three single crochets to stuff that area with color. The yarn is made by a company called Takhi – it comes from Greece and is so gorgeous. I actually crave the colors, as if they are paints.

So, both the red and the blue, are mercerized style cotton.

Look at these colors!!!!!!!!!!!! The red is from here, Tahki, ages ago. I love, love, love the color ranges. So maybe I can get that for the Frida’s Flowers pattern, down the road.

Looking back over the heaps of squares and things I made, I can see that with the Frida pattern, I was able to put even the most garish of colors together, on my own. So this one was a fave from that time. It’ s funny how much the design changes given how the colors work. In this one I had to unravel parts of yarn balls to get to the beige, or the red, or even some of the greens. This will be so much easier with higher quality yarns. It really will. Still though, I have a tendency to not like things, and these took so much effort, I can see that now.