1000 likes competition

Would you like to win one of my brand new yarn and pattern sets with a matching hook from the wonderful Fleabubs?

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Well, all you have to do is follow the rafflecopter instructions and the more you do, the more chances of winning you have!

To stand a chance of winning, you MUST be a liker of Truly Hooked and Fleabubs, and you must answer the following question:

Why should you (or your nominated person) win the gift set?

You’ll need to post your comment on the blog here, and then link to it in the rafflecopter tab on my facebook page for your entry to count. That way I can keep track of everyones entries more easily.

https://www.facebook.com/trulyhooked

The competition will close either within a week, or when I reach 1000 likes.

Good luck!!

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Behind the scenes at THHQ

A while ago on my facebook page a posted a series of ‘behind the scenes’ type pictures, of works in progress, my scattered table of stuff and boxes of yarn, so I thought why not do a whole post all about THHQ and how things operate over here. I’d love nothing more than to show you a gorgeous studio adorned with crocheted accessories, piles of beautifully colour co-ordinated yarns, mood boards, colour charts and all sorts of professional looking things that I see other people doing. Well sorry to disappoint, but operations here are not quite so efficient or professional looking. I have decided though then when we next move house, I want a room that can be my studio, for me to retreat to, and then I can have a defined work place that i go to, rather than having my work infiltrating my home environment. I’m sure my partner would be quite pleased to reclaim our front room from all the yarn thats stacked up in here!

Anyway, enough of my hopeful ramblings, lets start the ‘tour’!

The majority of the yarn is stored in the attic, away from cats and a toddler who is quite keen on chucking things on the floor. Since I took this picture last month, its changed dramatically as I’ve actually rearranged it all by colour and used up a quite a lot of projects – don’t worry though, I’m not running out! A lot of the acrylic yarns are being replaced with cottons for the summer as well as a limited range of colours for the winter (mainly red and white for all the santa outfits you’ve been ordering for your children!)

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It looks a bit mental doesn’t it? The shelves are obviously stuffed full, and then down at the bottom are a few boxes and bags full of stock that I take to craft events. You’ll also notice that the set of drawers to the left is stuffed full of yarn too. Thats where I keep all the small balls and scraps for using here and there. The bottom drawer contains hand dyed yarns that I use for longies/soakers etc. They are not organised in the slightest, its a bit of a free for all in there…

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But thats not all. I do also have a set of boxes which were intended as cloth nappy storage for my son, but instead were taken over by other scraps, and abandoned works in progress. I have this tucked round the corner so I often forget about it. The top right blue box contains two cardigans I started last summer for my son but never finished. One day I will, and the new baby can have them 🙂

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I also have a few bags stuffed full of yarn I’ve been given by various people, such as my partners grandmother and the lady who does my nails occasionally, but haven’t had chance to go through yet. I have a rough idea whats in there but haven’t had time to really work out what to do with it.

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Downstairs in the front room is where most of the magic happens, I have a bookcase in one of the alcoves thats shoved full of pattern books, my notebooks and order books, stationary for sending out orders, works in progress for myself and for customers.. and of course its overflowed into bags into bags on the floor. it did start off being really neat, and there is a sort of system but most of the time it looks like a mess. ha.

I actually don’t have many pattern books, the ones I do have were christmas gifts from my partner and his mum. I prefer to write my own patterns but will sometimes browse the books for inspiration or I will actually make something because I’ve been particularly captured by it. Those of you who are quite eagle eyed will notice the one called ‘Twas the Knit before Christmas.’ Its full of knitting patterns for St Nic, all the reindeer, little christmas trees, presents, stockings etc, and tells the story too. Its really quite wonderful, and the author did a version for the royal wedding too. When I’m on maternity leave, I’ll be knitting up some reindeer for my mantlepiece! You can find the books here if you’re interested in getting a copy for yourself http://compare.ebay.co.uk/like/111115664415?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar&_lwgsi=y&cbt=y&device=c&adtype=pla&crdt=0&ff3=1&ff11=ICEP3.0.0&ff12=67&ff13=80&ff14=63&ff19=0

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Tucked on the shelf somewhere are a few notebooks. One is for recording the details of customer orders, and allows me to tick them off as I work through them, theres also one for keeping a record of incomings and outgoings, one for patterns, and one for to do lists, ideas, colour themes, etc etc. I could probably do some of this on my computer but theres something nice about writing it all out, especially the orders. I find it helps me remember them more easily if I’ve written them out.

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These boxes contain everything I’m working on, and you can see my pot of hooks and needles at the back there too. Each of the boxes contains a project, or order so I can keep it altogether. It them means that if I want to work outside or take stuff int he car then it’s all in one lace so I can grab it easily.

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Of course the projects have spilled over and some of the bigger ones are in bags on the floor or shoved int he gap between the shelves and the wall. When I have undyed yarn it gets put down there too.

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These are some of the boxes from last month when I was working on an alpaca scarf cardi, a ripple blanket and a pair of shorties. Theres also a partially balled up skein of laceweight that I just can’t motivate myself to do anything with at the moment.

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And heres where I sit while i work. In my front room so I can hear the postman bringing me more yarn, so I can see the TV to watch hours and hours of Greys Anatomy, Criminal Minds and CSI, and I can use my computer easily too. I do sometimes sit int he garden but find it harder to get comfy out there so the sofa is my preferred choice.

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My kitchen is the home for yarn dying, I have my own pans and tools to do it with, and a huge pile of disposable gloves to stop my hands turning funny colours. once the yarn comes out the pot, its laid out on the drying rack, outdoors if its nice, or indoors if it s not, to dry. If I reskein it, then I use my dining table!

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Once everything is ready to be sent, out come the trays of tissue paper, envelopes, stickers etc for me to parcel it all up.

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Ta daa. Looks so organised doesn’t it?

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Its usually at this point my little helper likes to get involved, so if you ever get a parcel with random scribbles all over it, or a few extra stickers, then its because its been packed by a two year old.

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He particularly enjoys checking they fit through the Royal Mail parcel guide, which is a very useful tool to have. At least it was until Alf shoved a massive marcel through it and ripped it. So now its not quite so accurate.

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So there you have it! The inner workings of a Work at Home Mum business, is it as glamorous as you thought?!

A business event at a posh house

Last week, marvellous Eleanor (bff, yarn guru and all local celebrity) texted me in her usual excitable manner to tell me I was going with her to an event next friday, where we had to dress smartly (us, smart?) and would get a free lunch. Brill, I thought. Free food is always a good thing. As I learned more, it transpired this event would feature various local MP’s, representatives from Police Commissions and the city council, as well as other small business owners in the region. Ah. I thought. This could be one of those things where I just feel really awkward a day and make an epic tit of myself when someone tries to speak to me. Eleanor had been asked to give a talk on policing for small businesses, and I wanted to be there to support her, so I sucked up all my fears, put on a nice frock (shoved some emergency knitting in my bag) and off I went.

We met in Starbucks before hand for coffee and some relaxing knitting while we waited for a taxi and discussed our plan for the day – if theres booze, get drunk, try not to make a tit out of ourselves in front of anyone, and if in doubt, just sit down and knit).
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Then we hopped into a taxi and off we went to Colwick Hall, me trying to keep Eleanor calm by chatting about absolute rubbish, and Eleanor looking paler and more anxious the closer we got. And then we were there, cue gasps from Eleanor ‘oh my god Vezza look at it!’ Shes right though, look at it…

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So, we went in and found where we were meant to be going.. now is the point where i should probably say that the event was for the Federation of Small Businesses (of which Eleanors business http://www.knitnottingham.co.uk/ is a member) and was to get lots of local businesses, and policy makers together to discuss the issues we face as small business owners in and around the city.

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Once we’d collected our name badges, which we agreed makes it a proper posh official event, we went outside so She could have a fag and we could take some pictures then suddenly the lady who had greeted us came running out to say that Eleanor had to go and do some filming. ‘Bloody hell, what filming?’ As if she wasn;’t flustered enough, we were then ushered into a room containing not one but THREE FIT men. I wasn’t sure if they were fit but we consulted with one another afterwards and agreed they were fit. (Their business also part of the FSB is here: https://twitter.com/AffariMedia ). Ever the professional though, Eleanor gave a rousing interview for whatever it was they wanted, and looked dead good in the process. Annoyingly, you can’t see the fit man because the light was coming through the window too much.

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After that was over, we went and found THE BEST toilets in the history of the world ever. We jumped up and down and screamed like overexcited teenagers. Bit embarassing if anyone heard us, but seriously, wouldn’t you scream if the bathrooms looked like this?!

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There was an ENORMOUS mirror

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and thrones. Actual thrones. Which matched my beautiful bag perfectly.

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and I snapped this pic of Eleanor which I think she looks amazing, but she was just messing about when we took it!

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Anyway, we went back down to the reception room and more people had gathered. We had our picture taken by a photographer, and i joked that it might be for the societies pages of Nottingham Life magazine or something (watch my mum ring me next month to ask why I’m on the societies page of the nottingham life magazine) and then felt really awkward so sat down and got some wool out… we probably looked a bit antisocial, but actually a few people came over to chat to us, the photographer took more pictures of us, and throughout the day it gave people a bit of icebreaker, which was great. Just goes to show that yarn should always be in the hands of a woman whose business depends on the stuff. We were also sat in front of a huge cabinet of champagne which made us feel a bit giddy… it was three times the size of this, and went across the whole wall of the room. Beauts, we said.

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We sat out in the garden briefly so local celebrity and guest speaker Eleanor could compose herself (have another fag) and took some more pictures of the building and grounds. It looks SO much better from the back than the front.

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Then it was time for the presentation. In we went, and after listening to a few other people whose names escape me ( and to be honest I didn’t really listen too because I was more concerned about keeping Eleanors phone on the right screen so i could film her). She was brill. I felt like a proud mother. She was worried that she came across a bit ranty, but she was funny and passionate, and got her point across so well that all throughout dinner people came to talk to her about it, including Gedling MP Vernon Croaker who texted Paddy Tipping, Head of Nottinghamshire Police Commission, saying that her must phone her!! Such a celeb that woman. The video, if you want to see it, is on her blog, here: http://knit-nottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/fannying-about-in-front-of-proper.html

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Then it was lunchtime, in this lovely dining room

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and lets be honest, that was the only reason we went to begin with.

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Very nice thankyou. Especially the chocolate fondant. No booze though, but there was some lime cordial which I seem to be really enjoying at the moment, and some orange cordial which Eleanor thought was orange juice and nearly poured herself a whole glass of. We were sat with an MP, Mark Spencer, who is MP for Sherwood and he was talking about spinning yarn and whether Eleanor did it. He said he had two alpacas that needed shearing and wanted somewhere to give the fleeces too. Well I jumped at the chance of having those! I don’t spin, yet, but the thought of getting hold of something like that for free was very exciting. So I gave him my card (which has pictures of crocheted boobs on it, really professional) and he said he’d be in touch. Boom.

Then it was all done, and we left without saying goodbye to anyone, but to be fair, a lot of people didn’t say goodbye, lots of them left before the desert was even served. Silly people. We had a nice stroll down the little garden and found that the water there was SO clear.. like tapwater almost. You’d think we’d never seen water before the way we were staring at it.

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We took a few pics of the new bag Eleanor had finished making, which are to go on the pattern that shes writing up asap.

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And then we walked through some woods in the dappled sunlight

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and found a hidden away tower.

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There was another lake that we walked round for a bit,

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and then it all got a bit much so we sat by the side of the road waiting for our taxi back to town.

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All in all, an excellent day. A nice meal, and lots of fun in the sun with my mate. Brill.

Time for Tea

Earlier in the year one of my customers got in touch with a very special request for her daughters birthday. She knew exactly what she wanted but also gave me a bit of scope to add my own stamp to the project.

Over the next few weeks it all came together & it was great fun posting little teasers on my instagram and Facebook pages.

The first thing I made was this, a cute little cup & saucer.
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Another cup and the beginnings of the tea pot came next

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Followed by more cups, plates, a sugarbowl and some biscuits.

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this little too the teaser went down well on facebook & everyone started to get quite excited.

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Then I tackled some tiny cupcakes, which, like all the other element, came with their own challenges, anf. I finished the teapot, adding some flower decorations.

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Then suddenly, then suddenly, the tea service was done. A teapot and cups, a milk jug, sugarbowl complete with sugar lumps and a spoon to serve them.

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Adding the plates, sandwiches, cakes and biscuits really made the tea set come to life, and the additional picnic blanket made it the perfect play set for any child.

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It was one of those projects that I was excited about the whole way through because every element was different and required a bit of thought to get it right. I was SO pleased with the finisjed result and I had some great feedback from the lady who ordered it too.

One day there will be a pattern for this, I just need to find the time to make another!!

Fathers Day Bow Tie – Free Pattern

Heres a little gift for you all for Fathers Day, a free pattern to make a cute little bow tie.

 

Please DO NOT sell items made from this pattern. Charity makes and gifts are ok. If you post pictures online anywhere, please credit Truly Hooked or link to the pattern. Thank you

 

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This pattern will show you how to make a bow tie for an adult, and also has instructions for a child sized bow tie too.  At the end of the pattern are pictures to show you how to do each stage, including how to work a double crochet stitch.

 

To make the bow tie, you will need:

A small amount of DK yarn, any colour you like.

A 4mm crochet hook

A button

A tapestry needle for sewing up

Scissors

Pins to block it

Starch spray (not essential but will help keep it firm and in shape)

 

You need to know how to chain, double crochet and treble crochet.

 

Stitch-onary:

Ch – chain

DC – double crochet

TRBL – Treble crochet

 

Note: For the neck band, if you prefer to have it thinner, you need only work the first row of trebles.

 

For the Adult bow:

Ch27, turn.

DC into the second ch from hook, *DC to end of row ch1, turn*.

Repeat from * to * until you have 10 rows.

(If you prefer a wider bow, add more rows.)

Fasten off and weave in ends.

 

For the bow centre:

Ch 17, turn,

DC in second ch from hook, *DC to end, ch1, turn*

Repeat from * to * until you have 6-8 rows. Fasten off and LEAVE LONG TAILS.

You need to be sure that BOTH tails finish up on the same side of the piece.

 

For the neck band:

Ch 55-65 depending on size of the mans neck, ch1, turn

Trbl in 3rd ch from hook, trbl to end of row. Ch 2, turn.

Trbl to end of row, fasten off and weave in ends.

 

Squeeze bow in the centre and wrap the bow centre piece around it tightly. If the bow centre is too long, you may need to fold it under, so the bow looks how you want it. Use one of the ends to sew together, ensuring a couple of stiches catch the bow itself. This will hold the centre in place preventing it from slipping around.

Use the other end from the bow centre to attach the neckband securely.

Sew a button securely onto one end of the neck band, ensuring it is the right size to pass through the gaps in the trbl stiches, but not small enough to slip out.

 

You will now need to block your bow tie or starch it.

To do this, pin the corners of the bow to an old towel. If you do not have any starch spray, then you will need to wet the bow first. Just run it under cold water and gently squeeze out any excess. Leave pinned to the towel in a warm place to dry.

If you have starch spray, then pin out, spray and leave to dry as per instructions on the product.

 

For the child size bow tie–

Ch 17, turn.

DC into the second ch from hook, *DC to end of row ch1, turn*.

Repeat from * to * until you have 8 rows.

(If you prefer a wider bow, add more rows.)

Fasten off and weave in ends.

 

For the bow centre:

Ch 9, turn,

DC in second ch from hook, *DC to end, ch1, turn*

Repeat from * to * until you have 4 rows. Fasten off and LEAVE LONG TAILS.

You need to be sure that BOTH tails finish up on the same side of the piece.

 

For the neck band:

Ch 30-40 depending on size of the childs neck, ch2, turn

Trbl in 3rd ch from hook, trbl to end of row. Ch 2, turn.

Trbl to end of row, fasten off and weave in ends.

 

 

Picture instructions:

How to do double crochet.

 

You are working into the second chain from your hook

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Insert hook into chain, and catch the yarn with your hook

 

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Pull through, so you have two loops on the hook.

Catch the yarn with your hook once more and pull through both loops on the hook. This forms your double crochet stitch.

 

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When you get to the end of the row, chain 1 and turn. The needle shows where you need to make your next double crochet stitch.

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This is what your bow should look like after you’ve added the centre piece.

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and how it looks once you’ve added the neck band.

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(Apologies for the rubbish pictures!)