Love Knitting / Love Crochet #MakersMay photo challenge
This month seriously.hooked.up is taking part in the Love Knitting / Love Crochet #MakersMay Instagram challenge! You can follow the seriously.hooked.up instagram page by clinking here. This blog will bring all of our pictures and photo comments together.
#MakersMay Day 1 - Making me
Hello! I’m Anthony and I am the man behind @seriously.hooked.up. I work full-time as a registered nurse, but my passion is definitely yarn!
I learnt to knit when I was very young, perhaps 8 years old, but never graduated past making small clothes for teddy bears and dolls. I learnt to crochet about 5 years ago and crochet has absolutely become a passion of mine. I am also now learning to knit again (properly this time) and I’m enjoying every minute!
With my husband and my best friend I run a number of yarn related socials in towns close to where I live where people who enjoy crochet or knitting (or want to learn) come along each week to Stitch & Bitch with likeminded people. I’m hoping that one day I will be able to make a career out of my love for yarn craft…… (I’m not holding my breath 🤣)
#MakersMay Day 2 - Why I make
Ultimately I crochet and knit (well almost knit) because I enjoy it. With crochet in particular I find the mindless repetition of something like a chainless V stitch blanket very soothing. For me there is something a bit hypnotic about the rhythm that my hands get themselves into that is so difficult to explain!
I’ve quietly suffered with anxiety for most of my adult life and last year I was diagnosed with depression following a particularly stressful 10 years working as a nurse (a career I’ve worked incredibly hard for but that I will be all too happy to abandon at the very earliest opportunity). Throwing myself into my own little crochet bubble quite literally saved my life. I had what I thought were some fantastic ideas, many failed to get off the ground in the end, but almost as an afterthought I started up our first Stitch & Bitch sessions in Kirkham, soon followed by Lytham and now Poulton. These sessions have brought new people into my life and have given me hope that one day I may actually be able to leave some of the stress behind and forge a career in something that I love and which excites me (I could talk about yarn, crochet and knitting literally all day!)
And lastly, quite often I make for charity. Whether it is making a blanket or poppies for a charitable cause or raising awareness of the importance of bees by facilitating woollen been making workshops in aid of the #pollencounts project.
#MakersMay Day 3 - My Toolbox
I have 2 or 3 “toolboxes” really, but here are my most used tools. When I first started crocheting I only ever used bamboo crochet hooks, however after trying a tulip hook for the first time last year my mind was set and there was no going back! I bought myself the Tulip Etimo Gold set as a treat and I rarely use anything else now. For larger hook sizes I use clover amours. I’m relatively new to knitting, and again, in my younger years I knitted small items exclusively on bamboo needles, however this time round I am trying to learn properly and so have purchased knit pro Karbonz which I LOVE! I’m only using circulars at the moment, but may graduate to using single pointed needles too once I’m confident that I can keep my stitches on the needles where they belong! Whilst there are none in this picture, point protecters have proved to be invaluable! I use clover point protectors for circular needles. Also in this picture are a couple of pairs of scissors (I have more pairs of scissors than I could ever need). The silver ones in my knit kit are actually nail scissors (though they have never been used for that purpose) they’ve been with me for years so no matter how many pairs I buy they will always be my go to scissors! Other things I can’t live without include stitch markers (you can NEVER have too many) wool needles and a tape measure.
#MakersMay Day 4 - Sci-Fi
These little guys have a lot to answer for! The pattern is “Voodoo you love me?” By Susan Claudino (@noknitsherlock on instagram) Making these little fellas got me back into knitting, which in turn led to me learning to crochet. And that has led to me meeting some amazing people, has completely changed the direction that my life was headed and has given me true ambition to make myself more than what people expect me to be. So if you’re reading this Susan, thank you! You can find the pattern for these cute little monsters HERE
#MakersMay Day 5 - Fave Place to Craft
Considering I spend so much time arranging events for other knitters and crocheters I actually don’t get time to do that much crochet or knitting myself anymore! However when I do get some quiet time at home (which is insanely rare!) I love nothing more than getting comfy in my giant armchair with my little dog Floyd by my side and a hot cup of tea (which invariably goes cold and gets tipped away) listening to a bit of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone or Amy Winehouse. This is definitely my favourite place to craft.
Even rarer than time on my own is time off with my best craft buddy Angela! When we do get rare time off together where we aren’t prepping for or hosting a social session we help each other on with our projects (or point out each other’s mistakes!🤣)
And of course there’s Stitch & Bitch and our Crochet & Knitting Socials! I LOVE these sessions, but I get so engrossed in conversation or looking at other people’s work that I end up making so many mistakes and frogging all my work! So for me these sessions are actually a little less productive than they are for most that attend!
#MakersMay Day 6 - Stash Flash
I’ve really struggled with this one! I used to have quite an enviable yarn stash and still do have quite a few one off skeins / balls which look quite beautiful but will likely never become anything else.
So I’ve chosen to share a picture of my little pop up shop! I’m so fortunate to be able to stock yarns from my favourite bands including stylecraftyarns Sirdar / Hayfield yarns and scheepjes.
We’re very much looking forward to working with other fantastic brands this year too!
#MakersMay Day 7 - Proud Moments
Oh my goodness I have so many proud moments! most recently I managed to make a start on a knitted cardigan, learning to cable and all sorts along the way! (Sadly it’s likely I’ll have to pull it back to the ball because seemingly I’ve been knitting wrong all along and now that I know how to do it my front panels might not match the back!
I have so much pride in what we’ve achieved with our Stitch & Bitch / Crochet & Knitting Social groups! the #pollencounts campaign is just one of a number of charity initiatives we’ve been involved with and so I’m very proud of that too!
However I’ve chosen a picture that makes me incredibly proud. The picture is of my first Stitch & Bitch group and our first joint project incorporating crochet and knitting into the same blanket. I learnt so much putting this blanket together! The ladies and I still meet in my living room every other Wednesday, just as we have for almost the last 3 years! So thanks and love to Angela, Jo, Kate, Kathy and Norah, without whom seriously.hooked.up might never have even been dreamt of.
#MakersMay Day 8 - My Project Pals
I have SO MANY crochet and knitting friends thanks to our wonderful Stitch & Bitch groups, Crochet & Knitting Socials, Facebook and Instagram, but my very best project pal is without a doubt Angela (@angcalvert on instagram), without whom my other half would have been yarn bombed to death by now!
We learned to crochet on the same day and have both made great progress over the last few years (although we have very differing tastes which keeps things interesting!) We’ve met such wonderful people and been to some amazing places because of our love for yarn crafts and I very honestly can not think of any other person I would rather share this little adventure with. So huge thanks to my besets crochet buddy for sticking with our harebrained ideas and crazy schemes - some of which have turned out alright!
Please give Angela a follow, you will see more of what we get up to at seriously.hooked.up headquarters but from a different perspective!
#MakersMay Day 9 - Work in progress…
Oh dear. This one will be a bit embarrassing! I used to be quite strict with myself. I’d only ever work on one big project (say a blanket) and maybe one small project like a baby blanket or something similar and would not start a new project until one or the other was completed. That all changed when I joined the Crochet & Fairylights chinwag group over on Facebook! It is the only crochet group I’m in (besides the small groups we set up for those attending our social sessions) and is the only group I would endorse. The members are so friendly and supportive and rarely stray off topic thanks to the great work of the admins, but more than anything else it is filled with inspiration and talent! And that’s the reason I have so many WIPs! I see these beautiful makes that I literally can’t wait to try myself!
The photo is a collection of my current WIPs. I am working through getting them finished, but as mentioned in a previous post I actually have very little time to actually sit and crochet these days! I’m hoping over the coming months to turn some of my WIPs to HOTHs, but that remains to be seen!
#MakersMay Day 10 - Crafting in Public
Crafting in public is more or less the only way I get to craft at all these days! We run social sessions 3 nights every week and if I’m lucky I manage a row or two during each one!
Other places I’ve enjoyed crafting in public include on the train, in Starbucks, on the beach, at special events and festivals like bee wild day, yarn shop day, the crochet retreat and yarndale. 😊
#MakersMay Day 11 - Selfish Projects
Another fairly difficult one really. I interpret this as projects which are just for me. As it stands at the moment I only have one project on the go which is 100% for my own benefit and that’s the spicy diamond blanket by @haakmaarraak. I love it and only I will benefit from it once I FINALLY get round to completing it!
I’ve been making it for about 8 months now, but all those non-selfish projects get in the way! All I have left to do is weave the ends in on the individual diamonds and then join them all together. The pictures (and my handiwork) do not do this lovely pattern justice!
The pattern is available at https://haakmaarraak.nl/spicy-diamond-blanket/
#MakersMay Day 12 - Snacks
My taste for snacks is an ever evolving beast! I go through (very) short periods of “healthy” snacking - for example, celery and carrot sticks with low fat humous - but these healthy periods are regrettably few and far between, but carbs on the other hand? Oh my. Carbs (and beer) are the reason I am the weight that I am. Whether it is chips, pringles, peanuts, anything beige and bathed in saturated fat really, there’s always an unhealthy supply of it in our house.
At the moment my go to snack is cheese thins with primula cheese (the one in the tube - with chives preferably). I could quite easily eat an entire pack of them and half a tube of cheese in one sitting. I think maybe I need one of those short healthy bursts sooner rather than later!
#MakersMay Day 13 - Meet My Mom
My mother (and her mother) were the two people that really introduced me to crafting. My grandmother taught me to knit and my mother bought me the tools so that I could do it. I have ALWAYS been someone who flits from one thing to the next and my mum did what she could (with very little spare money) to ensure that I could try my hand at most things. She supported all my “hobbies” I suppose in hindsight because it kept me quiet and out of trouble. So whilst my brother and sister were spending hours out with their mates or playing on some games console or another I would be in the garden taking cuttings or knitting clothes for my sister’s dolls, or playing the cello or the flute or the keyboard (later piano) I could go on.
My mum would have LOVED what has become of my hobbies now, she would have been so proud of the fact that I spend so much time and put so much effort into helping others find a love for something and bringing those people together.
My mum died after years of ill health when she was 53. I was 27. It was devastating and has become the one event in my life that has had the biggest impact on it. Losing my mum at such an early age taught me that life is too short to simply live as others expect you to live. It made me realise that our time on this earth is limited and we owe it to ourselves to make the most of the time we have.
#MakersMay Day 14 - Selfless Projects
We are always doing one thing or another for charity and more often than not we fund a lot of our charity projects personally. Yesterday saw the completion of the #pollencounts campaign which culminated in the setting of a new world record for the largest collection of woollen bees whilst collecting money for local charity @parkview4u.
We are having a well deserved week off this week, but when we return, our next charity initiative is going to focus on making poppies for our local hospital @blackpoolteachinghospitals #GreatBTHKnit. They are hoping to receive about 30,000 knitted or crocheted poppies (without leaves) to create a unique art installation marking the #WW1centenary. Once the project is over they will be sold to raise money for The Royal British Legion. For those attending our groups, there will be red and black yarns available should you wish to join in! Anyone else wishing to contribute finished poppies, please get in touch and I will give you an address to send them to.
As with most knitting and crochet charity projects, any pattern will do so long as it’s knitted or crocheted, we have written our own crochet pattern which is available for free on our website here, and also there are patterns available at www.bfwh.nhs.uk/thegreatbthknit/make-your-own-poppy/
We’re so happy to be supporting another local charity and also in our own small way pay our respects to those who fought and died during war.
#MakersMay Day 15 - Challenges
Right now one of my biggest challenges is finding the time to turn my works in progress into finished pieces! Working full-time and then running our social sessions (which really do take quite a lot of work behind the scenes) means that I have precious little time to work on my projects. Then what tends to happen is that I start something new before finishing the previous project and before you know it I have 20 works in progress! However for this post I will focus on another challenge of mine. I am learning to knit. And boy am I learning by my mistakes! I recently cast on and started this, the back panel of an aran cardigan. I was SO proud of myself…. until it was brought to my attention that I had completed every single purl stitch incorrectly (it’s a long story, but basically for reasons I can not explain, when I knit I yarn over anticlockwise and when I purl I yarn over clockwise) I am so grateful that this was pointed out to me before it became a habit! And so I have decided (perhaps against my better judgement) to pull back my first attempt at an aran cardigan and start over - I just haven’t brought myself round to doing it just yet….
#MakersMay Day 16 - Most Loved
How on earth do you choose a most loved project?!
I would say my most loved varies throughout the year. In winter it would probably be my chainless V stitch blanket made in greys and cream. At Christmas it’d probably be my Christmas tree bunting, however right now it is my big scrap granny blanket. It’s the perfect size to snuggle under and not too heavy or too warm, perfect for the changeable weather we’re having here in the UK. And what’s more it is made using scraps of yarn! I add a new row using left over yarn when I finish a project so it creates a timeline which runs from the centre out. My lovely friend Angela has added rows to it and I’ve incorporated yarn which belonged to my mum, so it has sentimental as well as practical value.
#MakersMay Day 17 - My First Project
I have to cheat a little on this one, as my first ever crochet project never actually made it to completion. At the time I had just learned to crochet and did not understand the differences between yarn weights, materials, properties etc, so my African Flower blanket was doomed from the start and no longer exists. So instead I’m going to focus on the first thing I started which I saw through to completion.
About 18 months after abandoning my African Flower blanket I found myself working three nursing jobs, one full-time, one part time and one casual. The casual job had asked me to work a nightshift. I HATE nightshifts but I hate letting people down even more and so I agreed to work it for them. There was no way I was going to get sleep during the day and I needed to keep myself busy without burning out all my energy, so I measured my bed, grabbed a crochet hook and some cheap acrylic aran, chained 210 (+3) and started a granny stripe blanket...... which would take 13 months to complete🤦🏻♂️
#MakersMay Day 18 - Making On The Move