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Happy Holiday!!  A few years ago the the gorgeous US crochet Superstar @suregal27 (Susan) launched a new annual holiday - Granny Square Day.  On the 15th of August, we all hop on instagram, share a pic of our favourite granny squares, and then Susan turns them into gorgeous blankets.  Each year it's had more and more people joining in, and I feel like it's a brilliant way of everyone sharing a little bit of something that we can all master, regardless of where we live, what we do or who we are.

This year Susan asked if I'd like to make a drawing to celebrate the day, and I jumped at the chance!  I've created something that you can all down load and colour in yourselves, so feel free to copy this image to your hearts content (although, as usual, not for nefarious purposes please!) and we'd love to see your finished colour combos on instagram.  Just tag us up and happy holiday!

I don't know if you do this, but I have this unconscious habit of trying to find a theme for my day/week/month/year/life.  I guess it's a bit like finding a story that fits what's going on, that helps you make sense of the world.  (I realise this sounds like it could be getting pretty deep, pretty quickly, don't worry.  It's really not).

This month the planets have aligned and my theme seems to have become working with Natura XL Cotton (see?  Told you).  I had a very exciting commission from a super mag, using this lovely, smooth, chunky yarn.   I'd also started working on Modern Granny hexie design using it because of the very beautiful, deep, burnt colour palette they have, and THEN the very clever and super lovely MarRose aka Marianne Dekker-Roos, asked if I'd like a copy of her new book 'Colorful Crochet'.

Well, you don't say no that do you?!  It's very much in Marianne's vibrant, eclectic style, and  amongst all the lovely, bold patterns was a very cool, graphic, linear cushion that is right up my strasse.  And it is made using?  You guessed it: Natura XL Cotton.

There's a whole variety of patterns for all sorts of skill levels (and using all sorts of yarns!), and she has very kindly also given me an extra copy to give away to one of you guys.  So if you'd like one too, just leave a comment here, and on Monday 3rd July we'll randomly pick a winner ;)

Em x
Well hello there little ladybirds, long time no write!  I've been having a bit of a hiatus from the electronic and social media side of things, and I won't lie, I've loved it.  I thought I'd take a minute, just sit right there, I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air.  Ahem, sorry, force of habit.  I thought I'd take a minute to write about how caught up we get in the electronic world, especially as independent makers and designers, and how taking a break every now and then is healthy.

During my hiatus I've made a collection for the front cover of Mollie Makes...

I came to social media as someone looking to get in touch with the wider world and find my tribe and my goodness, I found them!  (Hi everyone!)  I love the very genuine relationships I've made through instagram, not to mention the lovely commissions and incredible offers of work and experiences I've had because of it, but, there has been a downside.  In nuturing my online community, I neglected the bit of me that is very much a social creature, that thrives and is utterly present when in the company of those I love.

...a little motivational banner for Mollie Makes too...

Now, like a lot of us yarnaholics, I'm not so good at the social interaction.  As much as I love it, I can come away and dwell on things I've said or done faaaaaar too much, and often find it easier to entertain myself.  With wool. And with social media in my pocket, and my instapals right there at the click of a button,  it's even easier.  But also like a lot of us yarnaholics, I get The Anxiety.  The Anxiety feeds on us when we're alone, even with instapals in our pockets.  The remedy?  Spending time with real people, as difficult as it may be.

...started work on an exclusive design for HobbyCraft (eep! SO exciting)...

But do you know what?  The more I do it, the less difficult it becomes. 

...started building a collection for a new book...

There is a fear that if you're not posting something ever day, or responding to things when they pop up on your device, that you'll lose your online presence.  As someone that relies on it, it's a genuine worry.  But the benefit that spending time with people brings, has to out weigh that fear, DOES outweigh that fear.  So I'm going to try and keep it up, and hope that I can nurture my online and offline relationships, in a balanced and happy way.  So I will see you soon, but I'm going to hang out with my other pals too.

...but most importantly, invited all those special people to share a special day with us :)

Ok, so I said I wasn't going to post for a while, but the Easter hols have hit, I'm home alone with the Beast's, and this is the perfect space to touch base with my community and find some sanity.

I kind of want to say something about that I've been keeping in for an age, but it was never the right time to say.  I also don't want to come off as a whinger and a whiner, as the online community has been my lifeblood for the last couple of years, but it seems important, so, here I go (deep breath).  Just over a year ago I started the CrochetGirlGang on IG, invited some other makers on board, and in the beginning it was a genuine, positive, collective experience.  But then I gave over the account log in info, and passwords, and was very unceremoniously booted from the set up.  It's left me feeling incredibly jaded and untrusting of the IG and online world, and I've been struggling to engage with it since then.

Gorgeous IG family, I keep trying to get back on board with the whole thing, so please forgive me if I've seemed absent, but it's been much harder to recover than I thought.  I will get there!  Mrs.Steel's is absolutely a bid to find my tribe again, but I can only apologise if I'm not as on board with it as I should be.

Whinging over.  In other news, I've had the incredible good fortune to have made 3 separate makes for Mollie Makes mag, as well as some brilliant challenges for Simply Crochet, and some sneaky filming for a new project that I can't tell you about just yet.  I've also been carrying on with my Modern Granny Challenge that I set myself in January, it's been really exciting and a lovely way to engage with the online crochet community.  So here are some pics of the makes so far, (I was thinking about turning them into a calendar for next year, assuming I get that far!) they're all using traditional hexies or Granny squares, but using some contemporary colours and interesting patterns to bring them bang up to date.

My dear, sweet darlings.

I'm going to have a break from blogging over here for a little bit, to focus on building up Mrs.Steel's School of Stitchcraft and Scissory.  I want to get as much energy behind it as I can, to promote the ethos of living in a crafty way to help make the world a better place.  I know it's only making stuff, but if I can find the time, I know I can show everyone that there's a whole way of life connected to creating things with your hands, and Mrs.Steel's is the forum I'm going to try to do it with.

That's not to say I won't still use this space, I will!  But for now, you can come and see me by hitting the link in the side bar ;)

In Januray I set myself the resolution of falling in love with traditional crochet motifs: the granny square and the hexie.  I'm far too fidgety to sit and make the same thing over and over, usually these sorts of traditional makes wouldn't appeal to my, wriggling child.  However, they're so ubiquitous, and SO popular, ,that I figured there must be something that keeps people coming back.

I regularly write for, and as I like to make tutorial for them each month, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to have an experiment, and see what a playful attitude and some very contemporary colours could do.

So far we've had 3D Geo Hexies, a bold design with 2tone granny squares, and this month it's the turn of the Honeycomb Hexie.  This months is my favourite so far, but I'm genuinely excited to see what the rest of the year will bring.

I'm gradually getting the full patterns written up and in the Shop, but if you're happy to hang out and don't need full instructions, I will eventually be getting most of the tutorials up at Mrs.Steel's School. 

I used to work with a very dear, acerbic chap, who used to refer to me as Headmistress.  It made me feel like I was in a very particular role, and made me come over all Margaret Rutherford or Alastair Simm's in St.Trinian's.  As a result, whenever we would email about work, I'd get a particular persona in my head, and would find myself writing in the style of a slightly pompous, slightly posh governess, and I enjoyed it enourmously.  (I'm starting to do it now, I literally can't help it).

It's this voice that overtakes me when I'm writing Mrs. Steel's School if Stitchcraft and Scissory blogs.  In fact it's partly what inspired me to open a school in the first place, the enjoyment of playing a headmistress.  It just got me thinking about how all of us that use the internet to communicate with the world develop our own voice, but also that we can have as many 'voices' as we like.

I'm hoping everyone enjoys Mrs.Steel as much as I enjoy being her, and that's it's taken in the slightly farcical tone in which it's intended.  But also that it makes the school accessible and fun too, and that's the real point of it.  Which reminds me: if you're trying to find us on Instagram, due to a 'technical error' the original account has disappeared.  So in the good, old fashioned, 1940's spirit that seems to possess me when dealing with the School, we have relaunched as @stitchcraftandscissory.

Do come and join us. 

Today's lesson has just been released; there's a free crochet lesson AND a cross stitch pattern today, all Valentine's related.

AND I've FINALLY released the Secret Loveheart Mitten pattern for general sale, which is over at the Shop if you'd like it xxx