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You can also see me on Instagram (as @sdcrafter) where I often post my craft pictures

Cards & Crochet

So, Ms SDCrafts, what have you for us today?

I have cards...

Permit me first to apologise for the following images. Sometimes being unwell affects every area of life, including, it seems, my photography. 

Nevertheless, this is a set of cards for men in which I experimented with ink backgrounds.

Seasoned crafters (that's not the same as 'old') will recognise these stamped images that have crossed over from wooden blocks to clear stamps. They are still listed at Art Stamps at Personal Impressions and have helped me out many-a-time.

For this project, I wanted to take a sheet of white silk card and make my own piece of artwork. It took shaving brushes and Ranger Tim Holtz Distressed Ink Pads to get me there. For the stamped images, I used toning Tsukineko Memento Ink Pads.
Despite the poor images, I hope you can see how much love and fun went into these cards. I am now convinced there's no cardmaking like inky, painty or sticky art!

This is possibly my most-used male-themed stamp. I have it as both large wooden block and much smaller clear stamp (used here). However, I am mindful that not all men drink and that, for some, bad memories lie at the bottom of a glass. So I make sure I know my target well.

I have crochet...

My followers on Instagram (private account - just ask) know that I have a new yarn lover. I can't tell you what joy there is in achieving a long-held ambition to crochet. I am chronicling my journey as #2015yearofcrochet so please join in.

Following on from the collar here, and the Kindle cover there, I'm now an official granny. Not in the familial/birthright sense, just the going around in hooky squares way.

I used a textured baby wool (Woolcraft Sweet Dream DK) for the white rounds and a fab self-striping yarn (James Brett Baby Marble DK) for the coloured rounds that look planned but are entirely random.

Flushed with the success of this post-operative recuperation project, I am now setting myself up for the next bout of boredom-busting yarn hooking.

For Christmas, son #2 gave me this book. It is gorgeous and includes many how-to, tips, facts and designs from contemporary crochet designers, such as Tracey Todhunter at Granny Cool.

There's a magic cupboard in my craft room (according to Mr SDC) where an ever-increasing yarn stash is growing. Every ball, even the liddle-iddy-bits, is destined for a planned project.

Like many online crafters, I am enjoying crochet in the same way I loved knitting before the superhighway connected us all. Before we took photos of everything we made. Before we could go to yarn stores online.

Remember when you 'laid balls of yarn by' at your local shop? I'd be up and down there as the child benefit came in, fuelling an addiction that clothed my sons and kept me sane.

To your right, see the planning stage for the cushion covers that will be made using the book.

All these yarns came from, an outlet I can recommend with no payback. However, for you there are great discounts to be found. Plus, your yarn will be placed in these scrummy chiffon bags. Little touches that mean alot...

I'll tell you about my selections and the patterns used once the project is well underway - it all comes together neatly, in the end.

Collaring Crochet

My Second Crochet Ta-Da Moment! 

This clever "Chunky Neck Wrap" sits inside the collar of your coat. It is cosy and very warm because it is made from pure wool (Rowan Big Wool, in Pantomime shade, from Love Knitting).
made using a pattern from
by Alison McNicol

I slightly adapted the finish of the item by folding a section over and then I secured it with a row of stitching using the same wool (like top stitching in sewing). By adding a hidden press stud (popper) with a decorative button - as suggested by Alison in her pattern - the wrap becomes a complete garment.

Other Crochet Plans

I am about to have surgery twice, about six weeks apart. So crochet will be my recovery pastime of choice. I've amassed a credible amount of gorgeous yarn to make new cushion covers for the lounge. We have a rather green room - seating and curtains AND rugs) so injecting some bright shades will make a difference. That they will be handmade covers will make even more impact - as long as they don't look shabby. My main challenge - apart from hooking, following a pattern and getting to the end - will be sewing in the ends without creating unnecessary bulk - any tips?

The book, Crochet (DorlingKindersley), I'll be using is so inviting, I'm reading it whenever I can!

Wrapping Up my Reader

No, I have not invented a virtual rag week whereby my readers are bundled off to a far-flung location...I have simply crocheted a cover for my e-reader

My First Crochet Ta-Da Moment

I have already Instagrammed this item so you may have seen it but I also want to record my crochet journey here.

In line with my pledge to learn crochet in 2015, I've been following Alison McNicol's excellent tuition book: How To Crochet: A Complete Guide for Absolute Beginners.

I'm not too fazed by the stitches as such, but holding my hook in the right-hand while controlling the yarn tension with my left...that IS indeed a challenge, not helped by Multiple Sclerosis. I have found my own way of doing things and, so far, so good.

My First Proper Project

My Kindle Paperwhite has needed a cover since my husband upgraded it for my Christmas present (he now has my "old" one so we are both digitally connected at bedtime).
made using a pattern from
by Alison McNicol

Using a luxury wool has given this the tactile appeal I didn't want to lose by covering my Kindle. I know I take the cover off when using it, but it is also nice to have a touchy-feely relationship when it is off-duty.

The wool is from the LanaGrossa McWool Pencil range. With browns, beiges and greens in a self-stripe, it was an ideal choice, bought from online shop, Love Knitting.