Thursday, 22 September 2016

Paintbox Yarn Review and Free Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern






'Fallen Leaves' - Cotton DK 10 Colour Pack
Another gorgeous yarn review coming your way today, this time for the new Paintbox yarns! and of course a free crochet pattern from me for this squishy soft Loop Stitch Braid Baby Blanket.

I was delighted to be one of the first to get my hands on the new range of yarns by Paintbox, which are exclusive to LoveKnitting.com and LoveCrochet.com who I am big fans of as you know, and I've been working with their DK (double knit) range for over a week now with this blanket and I have to say, I am loving it.

I'm a big fan of 100% acrylic and 100% cotton yarns anyway for ease of use as a mum, so what better than a whole host of colours to choose from, which can all be shoved in the wash at a moment's notice! The name Paintbox is most definitely apt for this range of yarns because they literally do come in every conceivable colour!

60 shades to choose from!
Paintbox describe their yarns as "modern, playful and all about colour" and I have to agree.

The range comes in 3 weights in the acrylic, DK (light worsted), Aran (worsted) and Chunky (bulky), and the cotton comes in a DK (light worsted) weight, which is perfect for those amigurumi projects!

I have yet to experiment designing and crocheting with the Aran and Chunky weights yet (stay tuned for that), but the DK weight has been an absolute pleasure to work with. The texture is smooth, soft and easy to crochet. I haven't found a single knot and the yarn doesn't smell chemically at all. These are some of the big things I look out for in a new yarn I haven't tried, as well as of course the most important squish factor he he, which in this case is extremely high!


'Winter Frost' - Simply Chunky 10 Colour Pack
There are 60 shades in total to choose from, and the Paintbox yarns are an affordable choice as well. 

There are also lots of free patterns that come with this new yarn range, which you can download now on their website, such as this adorable Caitlin the Caterpillar.

But for now, why not try my Mile-A-Minute Loop Stitch Braid Baby Blanket (phew what a mouthful), which I designed to show off a rather plummy pink palette choice. This blanket measures approximately 30 inches x 30 inches, so works perfectly as a cot blanket or stroller blanket.

This took me about a week to finish so it also works up really quickly, strip by strip, or millipede by millipede as I called it. It has also become a huge hit with my daughter who now takes it everywhere with her! If that isn't a good enough sign of just how gorgeous this yarn is, I don't know what is he he

Part 1 Video Tutorial


Finishing the Blanket Video Tutorial


Written Pattern

You can of course use any brand, or weight of yarn for this blanket. A thicker yarn used with an appropriate sized hook for that yarn will make a bigger blanket, and a thinner yarn a smaller one.

If using Paintbox yarn, I chose 5 colours in total; 1 ball in each of Dark Aubergine, Pansy Purple, Dusty Lilac, Blush Pink and Peach Orange in DK weight, and with this yarn I used a 4mm crochet hook.

Step 1. Chain 132 half double crochet (half treble in UK terms) foundation stitches - (132) 

If you prefer you can chain 133 normal chains, and work 1hdc in your 2nd st from hook and in ea st along - (132)

Step 2. Ch1 (don't count as st), turn, 1hdc loop stitch in ea st across - (132 loops)

Step 3. Sl st twice down edge to opposite side, and crochet 1hdc loop stitch in ea foundation ch across - (132) Fasten off, keeping a short tail for securing braids.

Finishing & Braiding
- Repeat steps 1-3, 19 more times until you have 20 strips with 132 loops either side. Take two strips and braid them together by dividing the loops into sets of 4. Pass 4 loops onto your hook from one strip, then take 4 loops from the opposite strip and pull them through the first 4. Then take 4 loops from the opposite strip (the first one you started with) and pull them through the 4 loops now on your hook. Repeat this until the end. Secure the last 4 loops with your tail end.

- Now take your next strip and repeat the same process, but start from the opposite side. This is important to level off your blanket. If you start the same side each time your blanket will look wonky. See video if unsure of any of these steps.

- To finish braid edges, take 4 loops, and another 4 from the same strip (you have to as there is no joining of strips) and pull the second lot of 4 loops through the first 4, take another 4 loops and repeat until the end. Secure with tail end and repeat for other side of blanket. Make sure they face the same direction as all your other braids. Tie in all tails.

Optional Edging: Re-join yarn in one corner, *crochet [2tr, 2dc, 2tr] into centre of first two sets of loops (2dtr, 2tr, 2dtr in UK terms), sl st in centre of next strip* repeat from * until end. Repeat for opposite edge. Tie in all tails.

This blanket used about half of each ball as shown here.
Happy crafting and see you soon for some more crochet fun! #pickyourpalette

    

Visit my website at: www.happyberry.co.uk



*Please Note* I am not being paid by any of the mentioned companies to make this content other than receiving yarn to review, and neither Paintbox or LoveCrafts have control over my content. The views in this blog post and the video tutorial are strictly my owns. Proud to be a genuine reviewer! 

Friday, 9 September 2016

HappyBerry has Joined the Flock!

I was so excited this morning to realise I have been accepted into the awesome new blogger ambassador programme from LoveCrafts, that I just had to share its awesomeness with you all!

I've worked with a few companies over the years as a crochet designer, but none so amazing and kind as the team at LoveKnitting and LoveCrochet. Since late 2014, the lovely people at LoveKnitting and LoveCrochet have been so amazingly supportive of what I do. From the very beginning of me joining their team of indie designers they were there for me to help promote my work, and support me at a time when EU tax rules were causing great concern with online digital pattern sellers. They literally swooped in amongst all the chaos and worry, with a great virtual cushion and said, "hey, it's all going to be ok", and it was. Since then they have been a valued support network for me, from promoting my work, to supporting me with the growth of my profile, and of course helping me see my pattern sales grow. I am now blessed enough to be offered yarn support and new products to review and play with.

I feel so honoured to be apart of something so exciting and fun! And I can't wait to see what the future brings. But you can get involved too!

So what is the Flock?

The LoveKnitting and LoveCrochet teams have been working tirelessly to continue building a cozy home for us knitters and crocheters, and they wanted to build the blogger ambassador programmer to recognise what us bloggers do for the yarny community. They wanted to create a community where we can come together and share ideas, collaborate on projects and review products, as well as have some fun along the way!

So how does it work?

The LoveCraft teams are way more than just an online yarn shop. They are real people who actually care about what you do, and what you bring to the crafting community, and the Flock is about developing you and your blog. As a Flock member your content will be featured regularly on their websites and social media channels and you'll be kept up to date with all the latest collaboration opportunities to help you connect with your fellow makers!

Here are just a few of the rather cool benefits you can expect and be involved in as a blogging ambassador;

- Road test new products
- Share your views via surveys and focus groups
- Contribute your content to our popular blog and newsletter
- Take over our social channels
- Lead your very own KAL/CAL and create your own custom colour packs
- Receive competition prizes to give away on your blog
- Be invited to our VIP Flock parties
- Be a featured blogger with an interview on our blog

I have a blog, and I want to join I hear you cry!

If this all sounds amazing for your blogging future, then you can easily express an interest in joining by signing up here. Once the LoveKnitting and LoveCrochet teams know you're keen, they'll pop over to your blog and take a look at what you do. If your blog looks like the kind of thing their makers will love then you will automatically become a VIP blogger and member of the Flock. Once fully immersed in the flocky goodness you will receive their latest updates, collaborations and content opportunities before anyone else and you can start to enjoy the benefits listed above.

Click here to get started!! or find out more here.

Now, I'm off to plan my next CAL he he