Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A Tetris Sampler and a Secret Project

I can hardly believe it is nearly the end of January already! Here in the South West of England, it has been a grey, wet stinker of a month, so to keep things cheerful I have been working on projects that wouldn't be the same without COLOUR!

The first is a large commission that is destined to be part hat, part work of art. I've been enjoying going right back to basics with consultations, sketches, tension swatches and a Plan, it has all been very exciting so far. For the time being, all I am willing to show you is this:

When Megahat is finished and the recipient is happy with it, I plan to tell you the whole story here on Cogzspot, so make sure you keep checking back! I have a sign up button for you to be notified by email when (and only when) new blog posts are published so please add your email address to the box on the right if you would like to find out what it turns into!

The second is a just for fun project that has brightened up my January and brought out my inner geek. Coloured squares joined together in groups of four, in a design that is not quite a pattern but definitely carefully planned. A TETRIS inspired blanket!

First of all, I had to decide which colour to use for each shape (or "Tetromino"). There have been several combinations depending on era and platform, so which to choose? I spent many happy hours playing Tetris on my flatmate's PC in the early 90s, but in the end I decided to aim for the current set of colours, standardised by The Tetris Company in 2001. With hindsight, I also think it would look nice in three or four harmonising colours, such as shades of cream and blues.

I decided to use plain treble crochet squares rather than granny squares so the blocks of colour would be solid. I made the pattern up by myself by trial and error. It is quite straightforward and I expect there are many similar patterns out there, Just in case you would like the exact pattern, I do intend to share it here on Cogzspot as soon as I have written it up...

I made and joined each individual Tetromino separately, so I could piece lay them out as I went like a jigsaw to plan the final design. Being a little OCD about these things, I didn't want to end up having to use half a piece just to finish a line. After a lot of rearranging I was really happy to find I could make a square from two of each Tetromino, with just one extra S, one extra I, and no fillers!

I have very little patience for a needle and thread, so I joined the squares using a slip stitch along just the back loops of the wrong side:

Once I had all the pieces and a plan, I set about joining them together. This was very fiddly because of all those corners. If I was doing it again, I would join the individual squares together one by one in rows then join each row together at the end.

To help strengthen the edges and keep them neat, I added a simple border. Now all that remains is to sew in all those ends. Hmm, perhaps I'll make another square and turn it into a cushion cover instead..

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Here's to a Happy Hooky 2014

The children have been back at school for a week, and I am back into my work routine too, hurray! The best thing about this time of year is having a chance to to look back at the last twelve months and think about what worked, what didn't, what's changed and what's next.

So here for you is a short review of some of my favourite bits of 2013:


The first things I made in 2013. Filled an immediate need but no need to repeat...


I made my first amigurumi elephant back in Autumn 2012 when crochet was still a hobby rather than part obsession, part source of income (to see my shop, click here). Since then I have refined the pattern, spent a lot of time ensuring they are safe and legal for sale as toys, and increased the colour range. Different elephant designs have different names and characters and they all have their own characters. Here are a few introductions:

Meet Joseph (the amazing technicoloured elephant), Oscar, Alfred, Ollie, Emily, Bob Rastaphant, Esmeralda, Emma and last but not least, Agnes.

I haven't run out of names or colours yet, so there are definitely more to come...


One day I was struggling (and failing) to carry my drink, my laptop, and a biscuit from the kitchen to the office all at the same time. I thought to myself "if only I had somewhere safe to stash my biscuit"..... and so the Nice Cup of Tea and a Biscuit mug hug was born. I help out at the Clic Sargent eBay department ( once a week, so in recognition of the fabulous work done by the charity, and the fabulous people who work there, I decided to include a donation to Clic Sargent with every finished mug hug and every copy of the pattern I sell. They turned out to be my bestsellers before Christmas, which I am thrilled about.


A surprise hit in the spring, this daisy chain was the first item I sold on Etsy to someone I didn't already know, so it will always be special to me.


If you know how to handle a ball of wool, your life is not complete until you have made some hats :-)


Sometimes I make things just for fun, and here are a some of them:

I also make granny squares....


I am so happy that people want to buy what I make, but there are only so many hours in a day and I love to invent as much as I love to create.  Writing and publishing patterns is one thing I plan to focus on more this year. I'm sure lots of you lovely readers are fellow hookers, so I think giving people a choice between a pattern or a finished handmade item covers more bases. What do you think? I just need to remember to write down what stitches I used as I go along!

What is on your to do list for this year?