Friday 20 January 2017

2017: The Year of Play...

'You can't use up creativity; the more you use, the more you have.' Maya Angelou

Hello, dear readers! It's been a while, eh? The last quarter of 2016 was a very busy one indeed, and I had definitely burnt out by the end of the year. In fact, I'm still feeling the effects of the end-of-year creative burnout now, 20 days into the new year. So I've been trying to give myself fresh new impetus, and allow myself time to explore new ways of being creative, and see how that influences my writing, blogging, IG photography and crochet design. So, having been listening to a few podcasts and read a few blogs, I've decided to adopt a word for the year. I dare say some of you have been mulling this over too; it's a fabulous way to inspire oneself from within, don't you think? 

So, my word for the year is (drum roll please...)


I feel like all work and no play has brought me to a point where all crochet is work, and therefore after a period of time, this then becomes a chore. Which is not fair- on me, or the people who love my work and continue to use my skills and willingness to design. So I want to do is try lots of new things, and see how they influence my crochet design. This could be learning new skills entirely, or trying new stitches or techniques within the making I already practice.

So when it comes to crochet, I think it's important to make some more things for me, just experimenting. I've been lucky enough to work with the exciting folks at, who send me their lovely yarns to play with, and allow me to come up with some fresh new accessories ideas. I enjoy it so much, and some of my favourite quick-to-make and stylish designs have been with these guys. Hop over to the blog here to see my free patterns. 

I want to crochet with some of my more luxurious yarn stash, and part of that will be using these beautiful undyed, natural and British fibres to make a triangular shawl. Too many distractions are stopping my from hooking right now! I also want to try some more textural stitches, and my new job working with a new magazine series called Simple Stylish Crochet (only out in Germany right now) is allowing me to do this, and really explore and expand my crochet skills base. It's hard work but usually involves elements of creativity and playfulness, so will continue to inspire me throughout the year. Also- this gorgeous new book from Claire Mongomerie! I love Claire's palette, and I just know there's still so much for me to learn. I'm going to start with the simple phone cover- love it!

When it comes to knitting, there's so much I want to learn! I want to try more cables, sock knitting and colour work, and pretty much use some of my starting-to-become-epic stash. I've cleared most of my unused stash now, and kept my favourite acrylics (more on that later). Leaving a lovely selection of luxury yarns! I'm trying to stop myself stashing beautiful yarns and actually use them. So I'm joining a mystery knit-along! The Curious Handmade #snowmeltmkal begins next month and will reveal a pattern week-by-week over five weeks, which seems perfectly reasonable, time-scale wise. 
Here are me three chosen yarns, all fingering-weight and from deep stash:
I love how each skein is attached to a memory of where and when it was bought. The pale grey is a beautiful alpaca- Angel from The Chester Wool Co. - and was bought at Bridport Yarn last summer, when we went to stay at lovely Lilac Cottage. It was a blissful family holiday, and we really liked Bridport. The Slate grey in the centre is an incredible baby camel and silk blend, bought from a stand called Sparkleduck at the 2016 Waltham Abbey Wool Show. I went with my mum, as she lives in Waltham Abbey, and we went back to hers and I taught her to crochet afterwards. It was a lovely, freezing, sunny winter's day and I admit I have not yet used any of the yarn I bought. So now I should! The beautiful mustard yellow is very special to me- it's the ultimate mustard luxury yarn and I cannot wait to see how it knits up. It's DyeForYarn merino and silk, this colour way is Golden Beehive, dyed especially for Loop. I bought it on a trip to Loop on my birthday in 2015! So I'm getting really exciting about the mystery knit-along or 'MKAL'. I love Helen's Curious Handmade podcast, so do pop along and add it to your list if you're a knitter or general yarnivore like me. 

Finally, I've got this beautiful and very cool knitting kit from We Are Knitters, and already cast on! I'll show you more next time with a progress update. (ps have you noticed my current grey obsession?!)

Anyway, if you want to explore your creativity and 'playfulness', I can't recommend enough Kate O'Sullivan's podcast 'A Playful Day', enough, where she explores creativity in all its forms- cookery, illustration, knitting, botany and everything in between. And while you're at it, I also love the PomPom Quarterly magazine's podcast- Pomcast! fun and giggles and of course knitting.  I don't have time to watch video ones sadly, but if you do try Potter and Bloom and Cherry Heart. Links in the sidebar I believe. Do you have a favourite podcast to recommend?

Stay in touch guys! I'll be back soon with more yarn talk.

Thursday 30 June 2016

The Cool Cottons Collection

Well, it's about time I blogged about crochet, eh? I've been so busy making things for all the magazines (and I do mean AALLLLLL the magazines) that I haven't had time to make anything for myself for a long time. So I've gathered together some of my favourite patterns from the past year or two, and I'm releasing them as PDFs for you to buy and download. 

I cannot tell you how excited about this! I recently met with and was so excited to be invited to be part of their movement. So I decided to release my downloads through these guys- and the great news is they sell just about EVERYTHING you need to make the projects. You can just add the pattern to your basket, and then add the materials listed below the pattern. Handy, eh?

 So if you search for me as a designer, you can see my first five patterns- the Cool Cottons Collection. Five crochet projects to take you through high summer, all in beautiful, crisp cottons. Some of you may have seen these patterns in magazines before, but for those that missed them first time around, they're now available to keep forever, in my newly-designed PDF format! Wanna meet the gang? Come on then...

 A lined watermelon clutch bag with a zip closure, crocheted in Rico Creative Cotton Aran- isn't it super cute and juicy!

 Is there an occasion when a pineapple bag isn't appropriate? I don't think so. 

 Sandy is a 70s-inspired fringed semi-circular shawl perfect for summer evenings and festivals 

This Woodstock messenger bag is one of my faves.

Delta Dawn is a pretty wrap which features an unusual Japanese floral trim.

To download any of these patterns to keep forever, search under my designer name Kath Webber or CLICK HERE to take you straight to my pattern page, you can also search for me on ravelry and click the links to the pattern. 

Happy hooking everyone!

Friday 24 June 2016

Sewing summer...

Like many of you sewists, Me Made May was huge inspiration to me. I can't believe how quickly the time has flown by since I pledged to wear my handmade wardrobe each day throughout May. The weather was largely fine, so I struggled little with my handmade choices, relying, as ever, on a uniform of floral, vintage-inspired dresses, cropped cardigans, leggings and clogs. Over the past few years it has become my uniform in the Spring and Summer, and if ain't broke, well...

So here are my favourites! 
Top row L-R: Made by Rae Washi dress in floral needlecord, with a sleeve pattern downloaded from Made By Rae's website; A free Ilsley skirt pattern by Marilla Walker (I wore this three times in the final week alone!) in Merchant and Mills chambray; my vintage barkcloth Dottie Angel Frock (Simplicity 1080

Middle row L-R: Mimi blouse pattern from Tilly and the Buttons' book, Love at First Stitch in a vintage floral cotton purchased for £3 at a boot sale; another Washi in spotty poplin and my tweed Miette Cardigan; *ULTIMATE FAVOURITE OUTFIT KLAXON* (my gingham polycotton Washi dress with an old primarni cardi, leggings and mint Sunjellies)

Bottom row L- R: Orange Needlecord Francoise dress by Tilly and the Buttons; Stripe ponte roma Coco dress by Tilly and the Buttons; another Dottie Angel frock in quilting cottons (LOVE this one)

For a daily headless mirror selfie of all my #memademay #mmmay16 outfits, check out the instagram yo. I really loved this challenge, and I wore almost everything in my handmade arsenal over the course of the month. Some things were not worn, either they were too 'dressy' for everyday wear or I just don't like them. So I think I fulfilled my first goal of the challenge- to identify the surplus items in my me-made wardrobe. Next up was analysing what I can make more of to enhance my handmade fashion. I rely heavily on stripes and denim on an almost daily basis outside of the challenge, so I think I need to sew some more there- I want to make a red stripe Coco tee, I have the Marilla Walker Robert Collection pattern (dungarees- I'm thinking more indigo chambray for a summer dress version)- and wear more of the Kath uniform. I'm considering sewing jeans one day- but to be honest that doesn't fit my pretty dress-and-cardi philosophy eh?! One of the best things I have found from the challenge is the connection to other sewists and dressmakers. I loved following my favourite famous stitchers, such as Juju Vail and Tilly of course. 

My next three projects are another washi dress! This time straight up, with pleats and the notch in the neckline, in this gorgeous 'Sommar' painterly gingham from Michael Miller Fabrics. Then, a short-sleeve coco dress in this bold stripe viscose jersey for summer, then this beautiful addition- the new Tilly pattern- Marigold! I'll be using a navy polka dot crepe for the jumpsuit version. I'm considering adding a hot pink piped edge to the pockets and sweetheart neckline. I may well order the chambray for my dungaree dress shortly too. 

So anyway, that's my sewing head muddle out my head on here! Can't wait to get back behind my machine tomorrow to get stitching. Did you take part? What did you learn about your style? PS Do you like the simple update to my blog? Just the header really, I think it's fresh. 


Monday 2 May 2016

Me Made May 2016

Over the past couple of years, I've quietly been building my handmade wardrobe. It was a challenge I set myself in April 2014, when I made my first garment- a Colette Sorbetto top. I made two more, then branched out to other patterns, mainly those that didn't involve any kind of fastening!

Since then, I've made several garments, enough that I've decided to take part in Me Made May 2016. The challenge, laid down by the So, Zo... blog, asks those taking part to make a pledge on what to do to take part, and think about how it will improve your sewing, inspire you through interacting via the #mmmay16 hashtag on social media, and think about your wardrobe demands and needs.

So, without further ado! I, Kath Webber, pledge to wear something handmade everyday throughout the month of May. I hope to identify the types of clothing I need from my everyday wardrobe, be inspired by other people's daily outfits and style up some of my beloved pieces in exciting, new, wearable ways.

Partly I want to challenge myself to wear those dresses and woven tops I have lovingly stitched, re-fashioned and crocheted or knitted, and see how well I can function with a pared-back wardrobe. It's day two of the challenge, and already I've been so inspired by the hashtag on Instagram that I've ordered a PDF of a French top pattern ready to be assembled! Another aspect of my pledge will be to try two new patterns in May. These will be a the Republique du Chiffon Marthe Blouse and the Christine Haynes Emery dress. I've been wanting to sew the Emery dress for the past two years, and with the aid of Miss Clarice (my new-to-me Singer Confidence machine) I can achieve it! I want more versatility from my handmade wardrobe so I think it will push me into looking into more patterns for knit fabrics, like Tilly's Agnes pattern. We'll see how I get on with my Cocos first! Of course I can pair my shop-bought jersey tops with hand-sewn skirts or layer them with my many Dottie Angel frocks. Follow me on Instagram to see how I get on!

Happy making folks xxx

Wednesday 6 April 2016

91 Magazine

As you might remember, I recently joined the team at 91 Magazine- just in time for it's launch as a print magazine! I've been absolutely loving reading all the wonderful words and looking at the beautiful photography as I've been sub-editing and it's a real thrill seeing it all come together. For me, it's the perfect mix of creativity, style, interiors, craft and cooking- totally celebrating a slow, creative lifestyle. You'll love it, I promise.
We're in the process of arranging a very exclusive and exciting launch party for when the magazine is released in May, so watch this space! In the meantime you can now order the print copy here:

And if you have't had enough of me yet, visit the blog here to 'meet' me all over again and see some of my latest photos and happenings. You can also get an idea of the mag's beautiful content and join in some of the projects and hastags we have going on right now.

Here's my current yarn obsession- Grey! Clockwise, from top left: Lang Kim (super chunky), Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift (4 ply), Drops Andes (super chunky); Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (light DK); Drops Lima (DK); Sparkleduck Baby Camel/Silk (4 ply), King Cole Bamboo Cotton (DK); LGC free yarn (aran); King Cole Vogue (light DK); Drops Paris cotton (aran). YUM.
Image by Kath Webber (@kathwebbercrochet on Instagram)

Happy hooking friends