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yay retro! Talks Crochet and Life with Zeens and Roger

Recently I have started crocheting again, having been inspired by blogger and pattern writer Rosina who publishes under the name of Zeens and Roger on her Blog & Instagram. She recently set up #grannycal18, and I got back into crochet big time thanks to this fantastic crochet along.

Rosina mentioned the idea of a group Crochet Along on an episode of her vlog on YouTube and everyone was really positive about it. Her main reason for doing it was to get everyone involved in something simple and fun; make what you want as long as it has a granny stitch. No pressure crochet.  She also wanted to breathe life back into the granny square, as she's really keen to see some different takes on it. It’s her first CAL and she’d love to do another because the feedback has been amazing. She really didn’t expect it to take off quite so successfully! 

above one of Rosina's Granny Square Blankets with resident cutie xx

Crocheted clothes were a big hit in the 1970s with people such as Paul McCartney being seen sporting a granny square waistcoat, Twiggy regularly being photographed in crocheted dresses and tank tops, and trousers and hot pants being crocheted and worn by hippy types. Now there is a resurgence in crocheted clothes, blankets, cushion covers, shawls and of course Amigurumi toys. With the resurgence in all things 1960s and 70s, crocheted clothes are also being shown by some of the big designers, so it's the in thing for sure!

If you are looking for crochet patterns, want to talk crochet or find out hints and tips then Zeens and Roger is definitely your kind of thing. Rosina designs crochet patterns which are available from Ravelry, where you'll find patterns for bags, hats, scarves, blankets, toys and more. She has recently had her patterns featured in several crochet magazines and says that her shawls are one of the most popular patterns of hers adding: "shawls are awesome, I love them!!"

above Rosina's Holey Smokes shawl which is available from Ravelry

Rosina lives with her family in a beautiful part of Devon called Ottery St Mary. It is about twenty minutes outside of Exeter, just fifteen minutes away from the coast and a five minute stroll to the countryside. She says, "I'm a little bit in love with Devon at the moment!! I love it here and it quite often feels a little bit magic!"

She started to crochet just over a year after she had her first son (he’s coming up for nine): She tells me when her son was born her "Nanna made him a blanket, my sister in law made him a blanket and Mum also handed me two baby blankets that she’d made in the seventies. I felt sad that I hadn’t made anything for my baby and I wanted to remedy that. I bought a simple beginners book and sat in front of YouTube for a week. Finding the correct tension was the hardest thing but once I had that, off I went!!"

above Rosina's Embroidered Amigurumi Easter Eggs

Zeens and Roger is Rosina's online home, you’ll find stuff related to all things crochet and she occasionally throws in posts about a different craft she's tinkered with, and maybe something about the garden, or a recipe she's made. Things have gradually evolved and she now also has a fortnightly chat over on YouTube which is well worth having a watch of.

She tells me that: "Most of my patterns are pretty simple but even with the ones that are trickier, I try to provide everything I can think of to make the pattern as easy as possible.  Anything with as granny stitch is pretty fun and easy......My Holey Smokes shawl has some pretty complicated stitches but once you get your head round those, the shawl flies off the hook. This is a pattern where I have everything I can think of to make it as easy as possible: written instructions, chart, photo tutorial, video tutorial. In the end it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!"

She's discovered that seasonal crochet patterns are very popular. At this time of year her embroidered Amigurumi Easter eggs are a top choice with her followers, there is a currently a freebie pattern on her blog for you to work from.

above Rosina's crochet corner in her lounge

Emergence of Spring Shawl - The pattern is in issue 99 of Inside Crochet Magazine

Rosina tells me she has two favourite makes: "My colourful Geo Rainbow Corner to Corner blanket (below). People can’t believe it’s made all in one piece. And then there’s my new shawl/wrap, which is in issue 99 of Inside Crochet magazine. It’s called the Emergence of Spring (above) and it’s a filet number with pretty, lacy details. I’m really proud of it as it involved lots of maths to work out the multiples. Maths and I are not friends."

Rosina's Geo Rainbow Corner to Corner Blanket

I asked Rosina for her top tips on yarn, and she says she has a thing about local yarns. She has a handful that have been spun or hand dyed relatively nearby and she’d love to have more. Her favourite yarns to work with are Merino and Blue Faced Leicester. Both are beautifully soft, squishy and warm.

She's always thinking about the next thing and how it can be better from the last, and is curious about new ideas, new stitches, new yarn, textures, methods of making. She tells me: "I want to know everything! Crochet has kind of taken over but I also like to sew and mess about with embroidery every now and again. I love to draw however weeks can go by and I don’t pick up a pencil. I haven’t mastered knitting yet, anything beyond the basics and I’ve got no clue! I’ll get there one day."

Above a shelf of vintage collectables in Rosina's home including her Sylvac rabbit.

Rosina's Home is apparently a mish mash of brown furniture "I don’t like my sideboards painted, shabilly or otherwise!" she says! We live in a 1950’s semi so it’s always good when I find something that fits in with its age but there’s a lot of Victorian stuff too. In amongst the furniture is a lot of junk collected from jumble sales, charity shops and places like the antique centres in Topsham and Honiton. Illustrated books are a real draw but my favourite things are those with provenance; a 1930’s Grandmother clock inherited from my Great Aunty Alma, it’s lovely but very loud. The desk I work on was Grandad’s for decades. It became mine last year. And we have a mid-century table that was made by my father in law when he was at school. It’s simple yet beautifully made."

Rosina's beloved bureau with vintage books, ornaments and Arthur Wood Coffee Pot

Rosina says that her favourite item in the yay retro! online vintage shop is a Prestige Skyline ladle of all things!! "All the kitchenalia reminds me of a ladybird book I had as a kid; Cooking with Mother (I don’t have the same copy anymore but I do have the same book in my Ladybird book stash). I remember my dad cutting tomatoes all zig zaggy for me just like the way they did in the book. And Mum making me the ladybird cake for my birthday!"

Pop into yay retro! for a browse of vintage wares now or visit Zeens and Roger on Instagram for a feast of crochet!
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