I've just completed another rainbow coloured crochet shawl for a customer at yay retro! These are proving very popular and happily I have several rainbow styled yarn cakes to to choose from as well as a range of crochet shawl designs. This means that every shawl I make will come out different to the others.
Here is a rainbow coloured shawl using the Droplets pattern by Mijo Crochet, as you can see this lacy effect shawl can be worn as a cowl or scarf, yet unwound it works as a shawl or wrap. Perfect for any weather or time of year.
Check out my new Waves crochet pattern shawl...this one is currently available to buy in the yay retro! shop. Look at the incredible pattern on this one which has an inset textural triangle surrounded by open stitches! I've called this one Zing Zing as the rainbow colours are really bright and zingy!!
Here is another rainbow effect yarn cake shawl this time in the Secret Paths Mijo Crochet pattern. Again this can be worn in any way. I've seen my customers wearing their shawls in both of these designs and they look simply fabulous! Why not pre-order a shawl today? Simply opt for your design and choose a yarn cake from my huge range.
Here is my review of a 'Hand Operated Yarn Winder' which I recently bought on Ebay. It seems that there is one main type of yarn winder available to buy online, and they are very cheap ranging from £8 to £15 including postage. These are the cream and red plastic ones, which clamp to a table ahead of use.
Yarn winders are used to neatly wind left over yarn for storage or to divide up yarn cakes ahead of making an item so that you know precisely the colours and length of these that the cake has. Both knitters and crocheters would probably find a yarn winder useful. Up until now I've always wound yarn by hand, however if you have a lot of yarn to wind it can cause aches and pains - recently I had really sore arms after doing a large batch of winding!
As you can see the yarn winder creates very neat cakes or balls of yarn ready for storing in your yarn stash or for use in your current project. It's very easy to assemble. Simply put the spindle in place on the geared base and twist to lock. Then insert the wire yarn guide into the slot in the back. I must admit that initially I didn't get this locked into place hard enough and had to ask fellow crocheters what I was doing wrong. They advised to really pull it hard to lock into place, and since then I've had no problems.
The yarn can jump around and get a bit tangled if you wind the handle too fast, and I find it works best if you place your yarn in a bowl to allow it to move freely and without losing it on the floor under your chair! I also gently hold the yarn coming from the bowl with my fingers to guide it and keep a little tension in it.
To release your cake of wound yarn you simply lift it off the winder and you can then use yarn from the centre or outside of the cake.
I would thoroughly recommend investing in a yarn winder, it's very useful when you need to divide up a multi-coloured yarn cake to find the colour you require and to check on the length of that particular colour before starting the next section of your pattern. Additionally it means that less of your yarn goes to waste, as you can keep track of the left over and useful pieces you have across your projects. Having a neatly wound cake of yarn in your stash prevents jumbles and knots forming and encourages you to find ways of using your left over colours. Take a peek at the handmade crocheted items yay retro! has for sale right now!
I use yarn cakes to make crochet shawls, wraps, scarves or cowls like this one.
I have a lovely crocheted shawl ready for sale in my online shop right now. I've named this one 'Mint Cake' due to its gorgeous minty colour scheme.
This is super soft hand crocheted asymmetric shaped shawl is made using an ombré effect yarn cake with colours changing from grey through to cream and mint greens. Light, cuddly and warm this would be a pure delight to wear. As you can see, it has a range of lacy crochet stitches which creates lots of visual interest and you can use it as a shawl or cosy up, wrapping as a scarf or cowl.
You can wear this in all sorts of different ways with the point hanging down your back, or down your front to keep you warm inside a winter coat or as an airy wrap on Spring and Summer days. This design is called Droplets, a pattern by Mijo Crochet, and includes popcorn bobble stitches, as well as open work and decorative edges. If you missed out on this shawl, don't worry you can pre-order a shawl on the website, and get in touch to choose your colour from my extensive yarn collection.
With my super soft crocheted shawls selling out fast, you may want to pre-order one from me. Many customers have already done this and the process is easy to do. You will be able to choose the colour of your shawl from my yarn stock, and also the design and then once you have chosen I will make your shawl to order.
Above is the very popular Secret Paths pattern designed by Mijo Crochet, this includes popcorn bobble stitches, as well as open work and decorative ribbed sections. I create these shawls using an ombré effect yarn with colours changing through the shawl in a creative way. The super soft yarn feels light, cuddly, warm and a pure delight to wear, the range of crochet stitches create texture and lots of visual interest.
Whether you like bold or soft colours I can usually find something to suit you. The shawl above is the Droplets design, again the pattern is by Mijo Crochet. This one has a lacier feel and I am set to do this in other colours soon. Why not be one of the first to get this in a different colour - and get in touch with me today?
This shawl I call Love hearts, mainly because the first one I made reminded me of Love heartsweets with the colours I used. I have now gone on to make this in other colour ways with more to come very soon.
You can use any of my shawls as a wrap on a cool summers day or to cosy up, and wear as a scarf or cowl. You can wear them in all different ways making them a must-have item for your wardrobe. Many of my customers have bought two or three to wear with different outfits! Search Crochet Shawl at yay retro now. *** You can even pre-order and pay in the yay retro shop here. ***
Once for sale, my crochet shawls sell out pretty fast, so thought I'd announce that another has been added to the shop now. I've named this one 'Pebbles' as the cream and grey colours used made me think of natural stones.
There are also a few rows of soft creamy mohair which adds even more texture to this shawl which features bobble and raised stitches. As with all my shawls they are washed ready for wear and arrive in super soft condition. They can be wrapped around your neck on cold winter days or worn as a wrap in the evening or in the summer.
Why not wear with one of the shawl pins I now sell at yay retro. This enables you to style your wrap and wear it in a poncho style?
Check out my crochet shawls for sale now. If they are all sold out, drop me a line (email@example.com) and ask to pre-order or receive a notification each time a shawl is complete.
I've just completed this crochet shawl which I've named 'Broadsands' as the colours reminded my customer of the colours in my beach photo at the weekend. Vivid sky blues, ink, burnt sienna a rusts abound in this detailed shawl made from the mijo crochet Secret Paths pattern. I love this design as it looks different in each colour of yarn cake I use! This sold before I had a chance to complete it. If you would like to get on the waiting list for a yay retro crochet shawl, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will notify you when one is ready to buy.
These shawls can be worn in a multitude of ways in all kinds of weather from a wrap in summer to a scarf or cowl in winter!
Broadsands beach in Devon, all the colours in my Broadsands Shawl. I finished my second Secret Paths shawl last night and was thrilled with the result! I used a lovely soft and airy acrylic yarn cake with swooshed from sky blues to turquoise, ink blues to charcoal greys. I popped it into the shop this morning and in sold in seconds! But don't worry I will be making more of these delightful crochet shawls.
The reason I love them is that you can wear them in a multitude of ways. With the point down the back as a shawl, or the point at the front as a cowl scarf. Pop a corner over a shoulder for a relaxed wrap effect or tie a knot to keep it secure. You can also pin a brooch in the front to close it up when wearing as a wrap! Check to see if I have any crochet shawls for sale now using this link or click on any of the photos.
As many of you will know, yay retro! is now selling handmade crocheted items. I have recently been making some gorgeous crocheted shawls, which can be worn in multiple of ways in both warm and cool weather. I began making two for myself. First was the Dragon Belly shawl designed by Mijo Crochet. I made it using a Lion brand yarn cake which changed from a mottled white through to a deep denim blue. The resulting textured shawl is ideal to wear as a scarf under a winter coat and would work for both men and women.
Next I made a Stormy Days shawl complete with lots of bobble stitches. This one was made using a Lionbrand baby yarn cake. It's super soft and includes grey, mauve and rich purples. I wore this a lot as a wrap on holiday, as it was perfect for the cool evenings in Gran Canaria. I got heaps of admiring glances! I have also been wearing it as a scarf with my purple corduroy coat now I'm back in the UK. I love the flexibility of these crocheted shawls!
My next project was a Secret Paths shawl, another design by Mijo Crochet. I used another yarn cake, this time choosing the colours which blended with an ombre effect from warm creamy caramel through to plum and burnt sienna. You can wear this styled shawl in heaps of different ways with the point hanging down your back, or down your front to keep you warm inside a winter coat.
This one sold very quickly and I am now making another for the shop. You can keep track of the shawls I am making and selling using the hashtag #yayretrocrochet on Instagram.
Right now I have a gorgeous shawl for sale at yay retro! I'm calling it my 'Love Hearts' shawl as the colours remind me of Love Hearts sweets. This rectangular shawl or wrap is light airy, very, very soft and warm. Wear this coiled around your neck as a scarf in winter or draped around your shoulders in spring.
Why not search 'crochet' at yay retro! now to see what I have made ready for you to buy?
Since I bought a wire sculpture from Becky Crawford at the Rotherfold artisan market in Totnes, I've been following her work on Instagram and regularly paying visits to her spacefruit Etsy shop. This culminated in my asking her to make a special commission and I also met up with Becky for a coffee and a chat recently. We decided it might be fun to feature her work on the yay retro! blog as I know lots of my customers will just love her work too!
above... A flowery wire sculpture by Becky Crawford of spacefruit on Etsy...
a long and bendy road to wire sculpture, with ceramics along the way....
Becky told me she's been messing about with wire for probably 30 years or more. She loves wire because she loves drawing, and sees her work with wire as kind of drawing. Surprisingly, her degree at the University of Central Lancashire was in 3D design, specialising in ceramics of all things. She had wanted to specialise in glass and jewellery but it turned out she couldn't do them both together, so opted for ceramics. This made sense as having been taken to craft shows since she was tiny, the potters always captivated her with their wonderful squidgy clay and potters wheels; she'd spend whole days watching them in amazement. She actually hung around the potters so much that they would give her lumps of clay to play with! In the end Becky's parents bought her a bag of beautiful red clay and she made lots of little creatures which sat on windowsills around the house for years. When she got to Uni, she found she still loved the feel of clay and the way you could change it from a lump into so many different forms. After graduating she saved to buy a kiln, glazes and equipment but as she always lived in temporary accommodation, she found it impossible to set up a proper workshop and it sadly all ended up in storage until recently.
jewellery making and selling her work in galleries...
Being unable to set up her kiln, it was easier to work with smaller materials. With parents who were makers themselves, Becky had often played with wire after her Dad had given her tools from a fairly young age; pliers and snips and solder and things to play with. She wanted to make silver jewellery so started with what she could afford; wire, beads and sequins. Her work however, was always very unique and creative.... one of the first pieces she made were crazy ladies with hair made from fishing line scrumples that she found on beaches. She sold these through galleries, saved up and eventually bought some silversmithing equipment. She says: "I loved making jewellery and I sold a lot for many years, in some fairly prominent galleries around the country".
above....Becky's wire 'doodles' which become wire sculptures when put together...
working from a garden studio to make 'wire doodles' into wirework sculptures...
Becky now works in a lovely studio in her back garden. As mentioned before, she sells her work via her shop called spacefruit on from Etsy
, and she also sells work through galleries, artisan fairs and shows. Working from her garden means she is often inspired by the things she sees around her, she says: "The chickens in the garden make me smile and inspire my wire bird pieces. Flowers, the shapes of leaves, patterns of stems in gardens, hedgerows, my local woods and being on the Devon cliff tops all rattle around in my head and influence the shapes I make in wire. I LOVE the time I spend in my studio... I always say that I actually barely notice what I'm making, my things tend to 'make themselves' if that makes any sense... I'm there listening to some amazing music or something on the radio but the wire or pen or whatever is actually doing the work itself!"
above.... spacefruit cork and bee sculptures, bring to mind warm sunny days...and have raised money for charity
Much of Becky's work features bees, hares, birds etc...She says: "The natural world is very important to me, so it does feature a lot in my work. Without the natural world we have nothing, and I worry about the future of our planet and what is going to be left for my daughter. Last June I started donating £2.50 to the Bumblebee Conservation Society for every bee on a cork or bee on a block I sold; in 6 months I managed to raise over £50!
Customers who collect her work and commissions...
Becky says: "I have customers around the world who collect my work. A lady in Australia collects my mobiles and buys them for her family members as well, another lady in America who collects wire artwork now has quite a few of my wire pieces. My work gradually changes over time and new ideas come along so there's always something new for people to buy". Becky is also available to make commissioned pieces. I asked her to make a sloth hanging from a branch for my daughter in law for a gift, and the result was fabulous! It arrived in a beautiful package and was exactly what I had hoped for!
above....coloured wire hanging sculpture....lovely to prop on a shelf or hang in a little nook or window...
Personally, I love the characters in Becky's work, and I wondered if they have names? Becky told me: "I don't exactly give them names, but they definitely have conversations with me and each other, and have very real personalities; I've done a lot of people watching in my time and real people do seep into my work. When I'm making a commission like a portrait I like to get an idea of personality and character and even taste in clothing before I start. My friends and family also probably don't realise that they've been turned into wire characters!"
above....a roller skating lady - full of movement
Mobiles, cards and much more...
Becky also creates mobile artworks, she started making these way back in 1999 by picking up rubbish from beaches in Cornwall and turning coloured bottles into jewellery. However, when she started working in a recycling centre she suddenly had access to many more colours, and started turning the waste plastic into mobiles instead. She says: "I do find some of them quite tricky to make – all that working out of balancing can take a lot of brain power!"
above...one of Becky's mobiles with one of her drawings behind...
In her spacefuit Etsy shop, you'll also see that Becky sells cards, and even instantly downloadable colouring in sheets. So it's certainly worth a visit. Becky says: "My work develops and changes all the time so there are always new designs. I've done a few bespoke wire family portraits recently which I would like to make more of this year. I would also like to develop some designs for paper based products."
The artist at home...
I asked Becky to tell me all about her home and she explained: "Our home has lots of handmade items in it, as it's quite hard doing shows and not coming away with lovely things from neighbouring stands! I've always collected beautiful vintage plates from the 1930s – 1970s, and used them daily until I moved into this house. Sadly they all got broken when the shelf they were on fell down! I was utterly devastated at the time, but they are all in a box waiting to be turned into mosaic things; so far I've made a bathroom mirror from them with more ideas yet to come. Our house is also full of beautiful paintings and things that our young daughter has made".
Becky talks yay retro! and crochet...
"I love bold bright flowery patterns from the 1970s as they remind me of my childhood; same with all yay retro!'s gorgeous crochet stuff, as all our childhood photos have some kind of crocheted item in them made by my Mum or Granny!"
Visit www.yayretro.co.uk for the last of the vintage items for sale.
I am currently stopping selling vintage, the past year has been practically impossible, along with the High St Big Brand names, small businesses are also suffering dreadfully with the down turn, even online ones.
I have consequently lost the joy of it and am no longer confident to invest time and effort into buying more stock. It's incredibly sad as yay retro has been my successful baby for 6 and a half years. But the past 12 months has been heartbreaking.
I will continue to sell crocheted items on the yay retro website and a few pieces from my personal vintage collection from time to time. yay retro will also remain very active on social media crochet-wise. I may send the business in a different direction when things pick up again.
Thanks so much to ALL of my loyal customers over the years xxxx Sue