Inspired handmade crochet, unique items and gifts to buy

our blog - November 2018

Millward Crochet Blocking Board Review by yay retro!

I've just recently invested in a blocking board for my crocheted Granny Squares. It's by Millward and I know a lot of fellow crocheters wonder about blocking so thought I would write a review of it. First I'll talk a bit about Blocking and then about the Blocking board itself.

What is Blocking in Crochet, and how can it be done?

Blocking is a term for when you wish to neaten, shape or 'finish' a piece of crocheted work to a certain size. It doesn't have to be done, but many people like to do it to square off things like granny squares, and it is also used on shawls and blankets. Up until now I have used various other methods of Blocking. Firstly I used a little chopping board with brass pins for my granny squares (below), however this was tricky as I needed to rearrange the pins regularly according to the size of square I was working on. This was cumbersome since I was using a pair of pliers and a hammer! 

Another more traditional method is to pin out the work and hover a steam iron over it and leave to dry. I have done this on my ironing board and for larger pieces on a clean carpet or rug. Other people use foam mats which can be specially made for crocheters or the toy foam mats work just as well. Although this is the way forward for large works, this is not conducive to a relaxing afternoon session of crocheting Granny squares and so a Blocking board was the answer.

Should I invest in a Blocking board for Crochet?

What I love about the Millward Blocking Board is the quality of the board and it's flexibility. It's 30cm square and made of what appears to be a beech ply. Drilled with nearly 200 holes it comes with 12 dowels which enables you to block different sizes of Granny square. Squares can be blocked during their different stages of development, and there's room for several Granny projects to be pinned to the board at any one time. I know a lot of fellow crocheters like to make their squares in batches, maybe making all the centres first and then all then adding subsequent rows again in batches. So the blocking board allows you to stack the squares together in a pile, all being blocked to the same form before the next stage of your make.


This is particularly useful with an open pattern like the one above on the bottom right. This open design benefits from blocking after working to get it into the optimum shape before the next rows are added. I did find the dowels to have some rough edges, but these have improved the more I've used it, and I guess you could sandpaper the ends before use if you preferred. I also would have liked more dowels and have used upended crochet hooks on occasion for blocking larger work.

(above a stack of Grannies on the Blocking Board)

The board is a very attractive way thing, which I'm happy to have lying around mid project, and it kind of frames the work enabling you to consider the patterns and colour choices as you work.  

Are there any downsides to Blocking Boards?

There are a few factors I had not considered, which have come to light now I've got a blocking board:

1. I actually use the join-as-you-go method when making my Crochet Blankets and Crochet Hot Water Bottle covers. This means that I would not actually not be able to block a very small square prior to it being joined, and with larger squares they need to be blocked before the final joining row.
2. The board is only just big enough to block the front of a hot water bottle cover and I ran out of dowels and so needed to use upended crochet hooks - you could easily make more dowels I would imagine.
3.If your Granny square has 'closed' corners the dowel won't fit through without quite a bit of poking (and you may not wish to open up the stitches in this way)
4. Larger pieces still need to be blocked on a foam mat or clean carpet as described above

I got my Millward Blocking Board online from Woolwarehouse. Click here if you would like to take a look at my crochet for sale at yay retro!

Posted in Crochet by yayretro on 27/11/2018

Peter Lanyon Steam Bent Shelving - The Perfect way to Display Vintage Collectables!

Recently I purchased a wonderful display shelf to show off my vintage ornaments and collectables. I bought this from Devon based furniture maker Peter Lanyon after seeing him at the Rotherfold Craft Market in Totnes. I fell in love with the curvaceous shape and high quality finish of the shelf, and saw it as the ideal artwork to invest in. I wanted something that would become a family heirloom and that could house my most precious finds.

What I love about it is the fine delicate woodwork and the way it draws and holds the eye. It’s beautifully light yet strong and sits perfectly in an alcove in my lounge. Speaking to Peter I found out that the shelf is made of a steam bent ash hoop, with wild English cherry shelves. I think you’ll agree it looks fantastic with my most favourite ornaments on it. 

I first came across the work of Peter Lanyon in my local town of Totnes in Devon, when he created the Rotherfold bench which is a feature in Rotherfold Square. This was created with the help of 16 volunteers and put in place in 2015. When I bought the shelf I had no idea that he was the maker of the bench, and also the award winning furniture maker of the gorgeous seating on the Sharpham Estate (pics below Rotherfold & Sharpham Bench Projects).

I’ve now gone on to find out that Peter uses sustainable, home-grown British woods in his work and that he creates a wide range of furniture for the home. Some of the designs I would love to have in my home include the stunning hand-split and shaved legged desk which has a minimal Scandi feel and the sculptural dining table which would make a superb feature in any kitchen, dining room or open plan hallway. I think these up-to-the-minute timeless designs would really withstand the rigours of everyday living, and become part of the family. 

I also really like the Double Stem Standard Lamp which has an organic feel, since each piece has been cleaved out from a log and then hand shaped into restful curves. If I had one of these I would have it displayed prominently in the room as an artwork. 

The Tall Beech stool would be great as a side table as well as a stool and is a handy piece of furniture to have when guests descend! When not in use it’s clean lines would make a very pleasing addition to a lounge diner. All of Peter’s work is hand crafted in his Devon workshop and it’s worth knowing that you can buy his work online, great news if you are out of area. Why not visit Peter Lanyon’s Furniture shop here?   

You can find out more about Peter's furniture making courses in both Devon and Portugal and his other community furniture projects on his website here.

Fancy buying some quirky vintage collectables to put on your shelving? Visit yay retro! now.

Delicious Crochet Hot Water Bottles For Sale at yay retro! now!

yay retro! now sell handmade 60/70s inspired crocheted wares, including blankets, mandalas and hot water bottles.  These hot water bottles are the perfect gift or treat, and are individually & uniquely made to my own design.  

Take for example this cutie which has snowflake patterns in sparkling white wool!  Whether you are wanting to keep your toes warm or wishing to ease away aches and pains, these are the ideal gift or treat for yourself which lasts all year round.

Here are a selection of bottles for sale at yay retro! now. Take a look at the crochet in my shop here.

Posted in Crochet by yayretro on 25/11/2018

Lovely 1960/70s Inspired Crochet for Sale

I have been busy crocheting this month and here are a few of my crocheted items are still currently for sale at yay retro! With the Christmas season coming along I am finding things are selling well, and with each make being unique it's probably just as well to bag the ones you like quickly.

I tend to make what comes to mind, trying out different colour schemes and designs as the whim takes me, so I am unlikely to ever repeat a design. This keeps things interesting and exciting for me.  I adore the colour scheme on the above Flower Power Hot Water Bottle set. Whilst the design Hygge Hot Water Bottle below was fun to make with the the heart patterns in it.

A popular colour scheme right now are ice cream pastels, this is because it makes people think of magical things such as unicorns. This lovely crochet cushion would certainly be a fun addition to a unicorn lovers home! It's securely made with no buttons to worry about and is soft and squidgy!

The delightful blanket below which was made using the Winnies Wonderland pattern has just sold. Many people expressed an interested so I am now working on another in a stunning range of colours, keep an eye on my Facebook and Instagram page for updates on how it is coming along!

Some makes don't quite make it to the shop, this waffle crochet blanket was so admired by my Mum that I posted it off to her yesterday!  Why not pop in to the yay retro! online vintage shop now and search crochet to see what lovelies are available to buy right now?

Posted in Crochet by yayretro on 17/11/2018

yay retro Love the Range of VW's for Hire at O'Connor's Campers!

About ten years ago we hired a fantastic VW camper van from O'Connor's Campers in Okehampton, Devon.  We'd never been in a camper before and hiring the VW Splitty called 'Noddy Windsor' from them was one of the very best holidays we've ever had (see below). The van came complete with a basket of goodies and we spent a fantastic fortnight touring North and South Devon.  We loved it so much we actually bought a VW California Camper when we got home!

This meant we kind of lost touch with O'Conners, as based on our fantastic camping experience we had bought our own van. The years have passed and we have sold our van,  and consequently have been thinking of holidaying with O'Connor's again. By Happy coincidence Zoe from O'Connor's got in touch to say they had recommended yay retro! for 'Glorious Vintage Accessories for your camper van' on their blog. What a lovely surprise! Added to this I was seriously blown away by the huge range of vans O'Conner's now have in their range!


If you adore VW vans then you are spoilt for choice, from 1960s Splitty's to 1970s dubs and up to the minute VW California T6's there is something for everyone to hire.  Do pop in to O'Connor's Campers to book your next holiday. You won't be disappointed! 

If you are looking for vintage camper van accessories, vintage bedding or vintage inspired crochet to go in your camper van then yay retro! is for you, my online shop is here. 

Gorgeous 1960/70s Inspired Crochet for sale at yay retro!

yay retro now sell vintage styled handmade crochet items from blankets to pot stands, mandalas to table runners and even hot water bottle sets.  Made with care using brand new yarn, the range can be found in my 60s Inspired Crochet section in my online vintage shop here.

This lovely hot water bottle set features a Scandi styled design featuring deep red hearts. This gives it a Hygge feel and would be a superb gift,

Wanting a stylish throw? This Granny Block stitch blanket features carefully stitched bright orange and sky blue stripes with cream. Ideal as a blanket whilst watching TV!

My cotton yarn pot stands double up as wall hangings when not in use! These new additions to the yay retro! shop are ideal for vintage and Scandi lovers alike! Pop in now and explore the vintage inspired crochet for sale.

Posted in Crochet by yayretro on 07/11/2018

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