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
Often when we go anywhere I am the designated driver, so there is zero car crochet for me!
Occasionally we do travel by train though and when we do I tend to take a small project bag with me and crochet during the journey. I have drawn some funny looks as I am perhaps not your typical crocheter. Unfortunately I do not possess any pictures of me making on the move, so instead, here is a photo taken in Starbucks (Leeds) taken last year.
Next weekend we have hired a narrowboat for @angcalvert’s 40th birthday! We did it last year, but strictly I was not making “on the move” as I was more or less coerced into the position of skipper for the whole weekend. That will not be happening this time though and I very much look forward to making on the move next weekend!
#MakersMay Day 19 - What I’m Watching
Slightly embarrassing, but my husband recently bought me the complete box set of Columbo on DVD! I love having it on in the background whilst I’m crocheting (I can’t knit and watch TV yet, I need to concentrate far too much!). It’s so predictable and cheesy!
We’re also watching Evil Genius on Netflix - it’s a documentary series of a similar style to making a murderer. We’ve watched just one episode and OMG we are hooked!
And my favourite movie, the one that I can watch over and over and over again is La La Land, I never get bored of it.
#MakersMay Day 20 - Fangirling!
Being one of roughly 50% of the population who has a Y chromosome, Fangirling would be difficult for me without extensive hormone therapy and complex surgery. So forgive me for FanBOYing on this occasion (#mencrochettoo #menknittoo #mencrafttoo #NotAllKnittersAreNanas) So here are the people I’m a huge fan of and who I would recommend you to follow if you don’t already.
@crochetandfairylights - Charlie chooses the best colour recipes I have ever seen. She has a perfect eye for what yarn will suit which pattern and the way she can turn patterns I’m sometimes not keen on into something I love just by her choice of colour and yarn alone never ceases to amaze me! In addition to her colour choosing wizardry Charlie is just lovely! She also runs a facebook group called Crochet and Fairylights Chinwag, the friendliest crochet group on facebook and the only group I’m in.
@pennyyellowyarns - Lisa is new to instagram, so please go and give her a follow! She is an indie yarn dyer and uses only natural dyes to colour her yarns (which are BEAUTIFUL!) Recently she has written a knitted shawl pattern and made specially dyed yarn packs to go along with it. We will be stocking a limited supply of Lisa’s Penny Yellow Yarns in our pop up shop soon. We’re excited to see how Penny Yellow Yarns develops!
@shaniscreativecrochet - Shani sells handmade baby / home decor crochet items. Most recently she has adapted our #pollencounts bee pattern and has been selling completed bees in aid of Park View 4U! I’m in awe of the excellent craftsmanship and the beautiful colour ways Shani uses. And the fact that charities benefit from some of her sales makes her extra special! Keep up the good work Shani!
And last but by no means least, my right hand woman @angcalvert - Angela has been a big part of seriously.hooked.up since we launched. Some of what we do has come about as a direct result of suggestions she has made. Angela seems able to turn her hand to anything and is very good at documenting our crazy schemes on her blog and ours! Follow Angela for a different perspective on our shenanigans!
#MakersMay Day 21 - Top Tips
As someone who is relatively new to following knitting patterns my top tip is quite simple….. READ YOUR PATTERN!
Not just as you’re going along, but before you start.
Have a look at the abbreviations, do you know what they mean? Is there a new stitch to learn? If there is, practice before you incorporate it into your final project.
Read the tools / materials section of the pattern. Do you have everything you need? Don’t just wing it, the tools are suggested for a reason, you don’t want to do all that work only to find that you really ought to have used a 3.25mm hook / needle for that bit after all.
Check for errors - it’s worth looking online for pattern errata just in case. Most patterns don’t have errors, but surely it’s better to know about them before you start rather than finding out too late and having to pull back your work. Incidentally, if you spot an error, most pattern writers would prefer you to let them know so that they can take steps to correct it.
#MakersMay Day 22 - Abandon WIP!
I’ve mentioned this a few times before, but when I first learned to crochet I started work on an african flower blanket. i thought I was really clever, until I realised that I had used, aran, DK, chunky in acrylic, cotton and wool all in varying combinations in the same piece. I learned very quickly the difference between yarn weights and yarn materials and will NEVER make the mistake again! Anyway, it got resigned to the bin, never to be seen again and I just can’t bring myself to make another!
#MakersMay Day 23 - Best Brands
These are the brands we have been fortunate enough to work with over the last year since we started this little venture!
We are SO proud to be able to stock yarns and tools by these fantastic brands! And we can’t wait to start putting some of these brands’ products to good use as our little venture develops. It may sound pretentious, but it’s such a privilege to be entrusted by these brands to use, promote and sell their products to all the lovely people that attend our social sessions!
Keep an eye out for giant arm knitting workshops and pom pom parties which we PROMISE will be coming soon……
#MakersMay Day 24 - Just For Fun
I have been a terrible participant this last week, I am going to have to blame it on the fact that partly because I was on holiday (more about that later) and also because I returned to work where I work 12 hour shifts which can be a shock to the system after 2 weeks off I can tell you! So today I’m afraid I will be posting a glut of pictures to see the #MakersMay challenge through to the end! I think part of the reason I fell behind on this challenge has to be because I hit a bit of a mental block with this prompt! And so just for fun I’m going to post a picture of my little dog Floyd! He’s fabulous.
#MakersMay Day 25 - Couldn’t Live Without
My tulip hooks! Simple! Switching to tulip hooks and improving my yarn holding technique was a bit of a game changer for me. Very quickly I went from being able to crochet for 20 minutes or so before the cramp set in to being able to crochet for hours! I can not over emphasise how important it is to find a hook that you find comfortable. Similarly with your yarn hold, it is so important to find one that works for you, allows you t remain comfortable and maintains tension.
#MakersMay Day 26 - Send Help!
One of the lovely ladies who attends one of our crochet and knitting socials asked if we might be able to identify a pattern for her on a cushion cover that has been in her family for almost ONE HUNDRED YEARS! No problem….. or so I thought….. Then two weeks later she arrives with this! Looks simple enough at first glance, but trust me, it’s not nearly as simple as it appears! However through pulling back a few stitches (which I really didn’t want to do as so much love went into it once upon a time) I think we just about managed to help this lady with the pattern. I still have no idea what the technique is called, but the closest I can find is long loop crochet. If anyone out there can shed any further light I’d appreciate it!
#MakersMay Day 27 - Behind The Scenes
We run social sessions three times a week practically every week. And whilst we may appear to take it all in our stride, we really don’t! It can be so stressful trying to make sure you have everything you might possibly need. You kinda have to be a bit psychic too because if someone asks for something and you don’t have it you have potentially put someone off coming along next time!
So much time goes in to liaising with stockists, meeting with reps, selecting the yarns to stock, how best to display and promote them, working out which patterns people might want, how many we should get, what shades to stock (we’re small so we can’t go for full ranges of most things). Then of course there is advertising and promotion! People will only attend our sessions once they know about them, but hitting the right target audience without spending a small fortune is easier said than done. And inevitably there is the disappointment that comes when you have gone to all the effort to put on a session but so few people attend that you don’t even cover the cost of the room rental. This ignites a whole new range of anxieties and raises questions like the following; “Should we stick with weekly sessions and hope turnout improves or should we move to fortnightly sessions so that our expenditure is less and attendance may be higher, but then what if people get mixed up about when we’re on and when we’re not? They’re not all on facebook and GDPR has kinda ruined email / text…….” and so on and so forth ad infinitum
Essentially, behind the scenes, it is actually fairly difficult to keep three (four really) social groups ticking along whilst holding down a full-time job which sometimes prevents me attending the sessions at all - which drives me CRAZY!
So I suppose the message here is continue to tell your friends about the Stitch & Bitch / yarn social groups that you attend, continue to drum up a bit of support for those running them by commenting on and sharing social media posts and by giving feedback to those running the groups. I speak from experience when I say that I would much rather hear negative feedback than hear nothing at all (but positive feedback is what we really want of course!)
#MakersMay Day 28 - Holiday!
This one is easy, we recently went away to celebrate Angela’s 40th birthday (hence why I’m behind with the #MakersMaychallenge) We hired a narrowboat and chugged up and down Lancaster Canal for 3 days. The weather was lovely, the people we encountered were friendly and the peace and tranquility offered much needed respite from what has been a hectic few months for us all! Later this year we are off up to Edinburgh for a couple of days, from there we are flying to Amsterdam for a few days and from there we are flying to Lake Como (Italy) to finish our holiday. So if any of you have any advice on yarn stores, vinyl record stores or any other ‘must visit’ suggestions, please send them our way! The picture here is one I took during a past trip to Lake Como which is absolutely one of my very favourite places to visit.
#MakersMay Day 29 - My Notebook
My notebook is actually on my laptop, I use the notes app and sticky notes all the time. It does not help me to keep organised. Not one little bit. I used to be very organised, but that was the old me. The old me was replaced almost overnight by an older, heavier and more disorganised version about 12 months ago. I have even bought planners and notebooks but none help. I think I am destined to live out the rest of my days surrounded by bits of paper and with 300 tabs open on the internet 24/7.
I guess the most obvious thing to post about today is the #pollencounts campaign! That has definitely been a highlight of our year so far and it all came to a head mid May. I love being involved in charity and community projects, I think knitting and crochet are a great way to bring people together, and teaching people a new skill in the process makes it even more worthwhile. Pictured here is the bee that kicked off the madness and led to so much love and sharing. Thanks all of you who took part in any way!
#MakersMay Day 31 - Coming Up Next…
Coming up next will be more of the same! We plan to continue our social sessions through the summer and into autumn, winter and Christmas (the pinnacle of the craft year!). You can expect (I hope) to see more exclusive seriously.hooked.up patterns, new charity initiatives and new community projects. We also plan to launch our own take on giant arm knitting workshops and also pom pom parties. So watch this space!! Pictured from top left clockwise are: The amazing pom pom makers from @pom.maker, we will be stocking these soon and will be using them for our pom pom parties! The BEAUTIFUL “Knit the Natural Rainbow Shawl” pack from our friend Lisa at @pennyyellowyarns - we’re hoping to be stocking Penny yellow yarns colour packs in the future with all proceeds going directly to their creator Lisa so that she is able to develop many more gorgeous yarns. This specific pack is next in line to grace my hooks very soon which I’m very excited about! Next up is my ugly mug and harks back to when Angela and I attended a workshop with @woollymahoosive. We’ve been sitting on this one for too long really thanks to things like work getting in the way of our plans, but you can expect to see our take on the giant arm knitting coming to the Fylde in time for those Autumn nights we promise! And bottom left is a reminder that we will be working with @blackpoolteachinghospitalsand helping them to r