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Archive | June, 2015

Dotty over Dashwood Studios Flurry

I had been planning on adding some more Dashwood Studios Flurry colours to the Poppies & Polka Dots collection for some time now and yesterday I was lucky enough to visit the Dashwood Studios HQ. It is hard to resist almost all of their designs and I was very excited to see first hand the greatly anticipated Nature Trail collection as well as the wonderful 'Bloom', which is due for delivery in the UK in early Autumn.

It seems Dashwood can barely put a foot wrong at the moment, it is genuinely fantastic to see a UK based textile design company doing so well.
I for one, can't wait for the next new arrivals from them and in the meantime am very excited to now have 17 of the Flurry colours available in the shop!

Flurry - Dashwood Studios

Crocheted Sunglasses Patterns by Steel & Stitch

So here they are our first yummy patterns created for Poppies & Polka Dots by Emma at Steel & Stitch.

Given the time of year and the fact that we have recently been enjoying some lovely sunshine here in the UK, we thought it would be a lovely idea to provide a pattern for anyone wishing to make their very own, unique and much prettier than the average shop bought sunglass case. Here Emma provides us with 2 very pretty designs, both using the tapestry crocheting technique. So take you pick - which do you prefer?

maypolecase johnolga case

All you need to make these lovely cases are the following yarns:

Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK:

John&Olga (Hearts) Design:
1 ball of Azure
1 ball of Fondant
1 ball of Teal
1 ball of White

Maypole Case Design:
1 ball of Azure
1 ball of Fondant
1 ball of Teal
1 ball of White

To make it a little easier for you, we created 2 packs especially for these designs:

John & Olga Sunglasses Yarn Pack Maypole Sunglasses Yarn Pack

To access and print your free pattern and instructions for these cases, please click the links below.

John & Olga (Hearts) Sunglasses Case Pattern by Steel & Stitch

May Pole Sunglasses Case Pattern by Steel & Stitch

If you have any questions or comments, please do feel free to get in touch with us or Emma directly.
Happy Crocheting!

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Emma Friedlander-Collins: No.1 Guest Blogger!

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Lots of very exciting things have been happening here at Poppies & Polka Dots over that last few weeks, not least that I am now able to introduce our very first and incredibly lovely guest blogger - Emma Friedlander-Collins. For those of you that haven't come across Emma before, she is the author of the fabulous Crochet Dress-Up book:

Emma Friedlander-Collins - Crochet Dress Up
A wonderfully original book full of delightful crochet patterns for children's dressing up costumes.

Emma has very generously agreed to create some exclusive tutorials and patterns for Poppies & Polka Dots which can be downloaded free from our website. The first two of these are going to be available from Monday 15th June!

In the meantime, I'd love to take this opportunity to introduce you a little more to Emma, so here are a few questions that I recently put to her.....

What first got you interested in crochet?

I remember seeing a little amigurumi unicorn somewhere and completely falling in love with it. I’ve always been a sewer, but knew I’d never be able to make it from fabric, so I’d just have to learn how to crochet.

When and how did you learn to crochet?

About four years ago I was on maternity leave, waiting for my littlest to arrive, I found some online tutorials, and started to teach myself. I’d tried knitting a few times and never taken to it, so was really surprised at how easily and quickly I fell for crochet, and now I think about it, am astonished at the journey it’s taken me on!

In terms of crocheting is there anyone in particular that inspires you?

I recently discovered Molla Mills, she’s the first crochet pin-up there’s ever been! Her designs are bold and graphic, and she definitely does her own thing.

How would you describe your style of crocheting to anyone that hasn’t seen what you do?

My work is quite playful. Having taught myself I’ve never been restricted by what you ‘should’ do. In my first book the editors called to say I’d been making up stitches! I like to play with shape and structure I suppose, and I also  really like subverting the traditional idea of what people think crochet is like, and making it a bit edgy.

Where do you get your ideas/ inspiration for new designs and patterns?

Oh goodness, they come from everywhere, all of the time! The first book was all from things that the children could play with and in so very much driven by them, but recently I’m obsessing about colours and flowers, so lots of things are going on in my head inspired by them.

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How did you come about getting your first crochet book published?

I’d been making my own patterns for ages, and it was my husband who encouraged me to write them up and get them on Etsy. I thought he was bonkers, but very quickly I started selling at least a pattern a week. Eventually there were enough patterns on there that I thought they’d make a fairly cohesive collection, so I went online to find out what I’d need to do to submit the idea to a publisher
It was a friend that suggested I try CICO, they specialise in non-fiction, arts and craftsy books, so I sent them an email and after a few weeks they got back to me and it all went from there.

What are you most proud of when it comes to your work?

Sometimes I get this sudden picture in my head of something that I just think would be so cool to make, and sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. What I’m most proud of is when I work through a hundred different iterations of something to finally make the thing I had in my head – the fairy wings is a really good example of that, but so are some of my newer patterns like the Aztec bag or the flowercrown that I’ll be releasing for Halloween.

Do you have a favourite crocheted costume from your book? If so, which one and why?

Probably the pirate costume, because it’s the first ‘set’ I ever made and my boys wore the hell out of it, it’s still seems bonkers to see it in a book.

Pirate Costume - Emma Friedlander- Collins

Where did you find inspiration for your second crochet book?

I’d bought some really chunky yarn but couldn’t find a hook big enough to get the tension I wanted, so my husband sawed the end off our broom and carved me a new, super-size hook. Then it was a case of seeing what I could find to use it on!

What’s your favourite type of yarn to work with and why?

At the moment I’m really into natural wools, but that’s because I’m learning to spin my own. The more wool you get in a yarn mix the more elastic the finish and I’m finding that really interesting to work with.

Do you have a favourite item that you’ve crocheted for yourself?

Right now I’m going over all the things I’ve made and getting excited about almost all of them. The thing I use the most though, is a tapestry crochet bag I made for myself, it’s just the right size and has a big blue block of colour above a geometric design and is just really cool.

What does the rest of the year hold for you in terms of crochet and your work?

I’m learning about the submission process for magazines at the moment, as well as working on a new collection to take to the publishers. I’m also getting a teaching qualification to start teaching adult evening classes in ‘modern’ crochet. So there’s a lot going on, but it’s all crochet based which is really rewarding.

 

Emma Friedlander-Collins - Big Hook Crochet

Emma's second book, Big Hook Crochet is out in September 15 and is available at Waterstones and other good bookshops as well as Amazon.

If you'd like to follow Emma's crocheting adventures, then why not keep up to date with her blog Steel & Stitch or follow her on Instagram @steelandstitch.

Remember to pop back on Monday as we'll have two fab crochet patterns on our blog created by Emma, exclusive to Poppies & Polka Dots, so keep in touch, Katrina x

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Pom Pom addiction....

Pom Poms

Is it just me, or is there something oh so lovely about a pom pom.....? In my opinion, it's like they take on a little bit of a life of their own once that final trim (or hair cut) has taken place.

My kids love making them, playing with them and using them for crafts. I love to decorate things with pom poms (I can't resist a cushion with a pom pom trim!) and all in all, they are a very welcome addition in our home.

I had intended writing something about pom poms a few weeks ago, but got distracted with half term holidays and other jobs, however having now taken delivery of the 'Multipom', I cannot resist any longer!

First of all however, lets start with the Clover Pom Pom maker, which I have to say is an absolute hit in our household. The Clover Pom Pom maker comes in three different pack sizes :

- Extra large, which makes a scrumptiously big pom pom measuring approximately 12cm in diameter

- Large pack: this contains 2 pom pom makers, one will make a pom pom approximately 65mm diameter and the other makes one 85cm in diameter.

- The last option is the small pack, which again contains 2 pom pom makers. These two make pom poms which are approximately 35mm and 45mm in diameter.

The overriding feeling about these pom pom makers is the ease and speed with which you can make a perfect pom pom. My 5 year old son has become very adept at making his own pom poms and when we've brought out the pom pom makers during play dates, all of the children have been very happy to give it a try and have loved the results! I help them with the cutting and tying the knot tight enough at the end. They particularly like to give the pom pom a haircut at the end to ensure it is lovely and round!

I thought it might be useful to include a sequence of photos illustrating how the Clover Pom Pom maker works,  which may also be of use to anyone having purchased the product. However, there are clear instructions included in the packs.

Clover Pom Pom Maker Instructions

 

As I said the Clover Pom Pom maker is hugely popular in my world and I think it is perfect for both adults and children.

So what is the 'Multipom' and how does it compare?

The Multipom is a specially designed metal frame which enables the user to make up to 20 pom poms at any one time (how good is that?)! The pom poms can be between 1cm and 12cm in diameter and again it is fairly simple to use.

I've included another sequence of photos illustrating how it works - I started as the instructions recommended, making 6 pom poms, however you can quickly move on to other amounts and sizes. Here's also a great video to really help explain what it's all about: Multipom Video

Multipom Instructions

For me the multipom is more of an adults tool (although not exclusively). You have to be more aware of details with it, ensuring you wind the correct amount of wool depending on the size of pom pom you are opting for and then tying the knots at the correct intervals according to the number of pom poms you intend to make.

It is absolutely perfect if you need to make lots of pom poms in the same size for a particular project. It is also ideal for making your own pom pom braid, meaning you can select the perfect wool colour match and the exact size of pom pom you require on your braid. It would also be ideal for a class / group where lots of pom poms are required for a project, so they could easily be made in advance.

I can definitely say there is a place for both the Clover Pom Pom makers and the Multipom in our house, but hopefully this brief explanation can help you decide which tool would work best for your needs!

I couldn't finish this post without adding a few more pom pom pictures - I just can't resist them!

#pompomaddict

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