Thursday, 18 September 2014

popcorn flower blanket

This blanket was returned to me in the post from DK books recently and I am really rather pleased, as it is lovely! Littlun agrees and has taken to hiding under it, snuggling under it and wrapping it round her while she pretends to be a rather colourful ghost!
It was originally published in Crochet, from DK books, a bible I commissioned for, consulted on and contributed to. It is rather fabulous, as I have highlighted here, so if you are looking for a how to crochet guide, do check it out. (And yes, that is it on the cover!!)

This image is by the wonderful Britt Spring, who is leaving the UK to return to her native Australia later this month, and I will miss our monthly photoshoots immensely. More about that soon...

Monday, 25 August 2014

crochet colourwork hat

 The latest issue of Inside Crochet came out on Friday, which has a very autumnal theme and so the weather has been quite appropriate for some of the projects inside it. I am rather proud of the lovely little hat I designed for it. I wanted to recreate some of the beautiful scalloped colourwork patterns I have been noticing in knitwear recently, but without the faffing of doing any Fair Isle or Tapestry crochet, so I utilised the scallop stitch, comprising of shells, with some block stripes of colour to create the pattern. Here's the result!

All images by the talented Britt Spring Photography

Thursday, 17 April 2014

tapestry crochet blanket

I have just received my early copies of the latest issue of Inside Crochet and had to share the blanket I have designed inside. I have been meaning to master tapestry crochet - the art of colourwork patterning within crochet - for a while and have been toying with the idea of a geometric triangle pattern. Triangles are everywhere in homewares at the moment and I thought it would be perfect in a blanket for my littlun. So here it is! 
Using Sublime Merino DK, which is beautiful and comes in an array of gorgeous colours, this is my new favourite project, it was a joy to make and snuggly to use - I have to say I have used it more than the littlun! If you haven't had a go at tapestry crochet before, do not fear, the Polygon Blanket is published alongside a straightforward how to guide. If you aren't a subscriber, the issue is on sale in all good newsagents and supermarkets from the 23rd April.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Gawthorpe Textiles Collection

In my last post about the exciting project for Gawthorpe Hall Textiles Collection, I realised that I didn't show a picture of the beautiful scrap books I was inspired by. Here are just a few examples, mainly of the ones labelled 'poor quality' by Miss Rachel, along with the actual fragment which was the initial inspiration. I have so many of pictures of these - a wealth of inspiration for years to come! Thinking about the people who made them and used the the books to create new pieces so many years ago and the fact that these few tiny scraps of material have survived, thought worthy of recording by the foresight of Rachel Kay Shuttleworth, is just amazing, inspiring, humbling.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Gawthorpe Collection

I am really late in letting you all know about this, but one of the most exciting things I did last year was take an inspirational visit to Gawthorpe Hall's amazing textiles collection. I was asked to contribute a pattern to the collection as part of the "Miss Rachel's Crafthouse Patterns" brand, which would become part of the permanent collection and help to raise money through pattern sales for the collection's upkeep - how exciting can you get? Well, it gets better, as I was in illustrious company, the other designers were Debbie Bliss, Kate Davies, Jane Ellison and Emma Varnam and I got to spend a day in their company looking at the most beautiful old textiles. 

I cannot emphasise enough how inspirational a trip to this collection is, if you get the chance, grab it - the house is wonderful, the collection extensive and interesting and the story behind the collector, Rachel Kay Shuttleworth, is both inspiring and fascinating.
My pattern was a capelet inspired by some crochet fragments labelled as ‘poor designs’, by Shuttleworth which reinforced my attractive for them further, especially as they are really very intricate compared to many modern designs. These scraps were from scrapbooks used instead of pattern ‘recipe’ books by whole villages. I liked the idea that I would be using one of the first crochet stitch compilation books to create my design! I could easily have chosen any one of many fragments as a starting point (and will no doubt use some others in future designs) but I settled on a stitch with very noticeable and striking ribs and geometric lace using what looked like a crocheted ‘X’ stitch, which seemed to suggest a shape and structure from their strong lines.
Taking this as a starting point, I thought that the ribs would lend themselves perfectly to a cape or shawl worked in short rows from side to side, rather than working the piece bottom to top, to utilise the structure of the stitch.
I wanted to crochet with a very special yarn with a luxury feel and beautiful drape and handle, as a capelet speaks to me of special occasion-wear. The vintage feel to the garment also seemed relevant to the time in which the original, inspirational fragment was made. I finished off the sample with some lace ribbon from my own collection of vintage haberdashery and textiles, which I felt finished the whole circle of the Gawthorpe experience extremely neatly.

All the other patterns are so amazing, I still cannot believe that mine is amongst them, go take a look at the others - I must make Kate Davies stunning beret, I love her post about it here.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Crochet; the complete step by step guide

This month, a new crochet book for beginners was released by Dorling Kindersley which I had the pleasure of consulting on and commissioning for this time last year. It was all well worth the effort as DK have come up trumps with the design and quality of this fabulous book. There are over 80 great projects, here are some of mine - one of my projects even features on the rather striking cover, I am so chuffed!

If you are here before the 9th March 2014 get over to the Inside Crochet website to win yourself a copy! 

'Woven' lap blanket by Claire Montgomerie

Ruffle scarf by Claire Montgomerie

Rainbow blanket by Claire Montgomerie

Raglan Sweater by Vicki Brown - simply adorable!
Stool Cover by Tracey Todhunter - beautiful colours

Rag Doll by Liz Ward, Littlun want one of these!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Cardboard City

This week, I have been helping out at the Imagine children's festival at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank. The guys from Land of Kids have put on a pirate school and a cardboard kingdom workshop and a couple of days this week I was part of the team overseeing the children who are making the cardboard architecture in their half term. 
It all started with a stunning red routemaster, the creative genius Sarah Waites of The Bungaloo, who has been running the workshops, and has grown since there into a beautiful, imaginative, inspiring installation which all the children seem to love being part of. 
They like looking at it and spotting familiar landmarks like the London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Wembley, London Zoo, even Willy Wonka's chocolate factory! I think it is fab that lots of children have included their own homes. They also love playing with the cardboard pieces, especially the vehicles and boats on the Thames, which I realised after resurfacing the napkin road what seemed like hundreds of times while continually rescuing sinking ships!
If you have children, get down to the Southbank this weekend and add to the city, become a pirate, colour in the walls, see shows and hear stories, all completely free! Here are some pictures from the cardboard kingdom - wish I could have taken pictures of everything.