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As some of you who follow me already know I suspended the sale of soft toys a month or so ago due to the imminent Brexit deadline and potential safety testing changes. I have to confess I used this as a bit of an excuse to give me some time off from making them. With us still in the grip of Brexit chaos (yawnnnnnnn!) it's time for me to come clean and explain why I did this...…. 

Having this break from making soft toys has given me time to have a proper think about their future and make a proper decision. I've toyed (pardon the pun!) with this decision for probably the last year but with my business continually evolving it's time to re-evaluate the use of my time.

The biggest factor in my decision is that I just don't have the same love for making soft toys as I do for making blankets. With most things handmade you have to truly love doing it. I've started to find making the same toys in the same colours in continuous succession a bit of a chore and it has stifled my creativity a little. I don't want to dislike making them altogether so I need to change how I approach them to keep my interest and enjoyment.

The other factor is costs. If you're charging £20 for something that takes you at least 6 hours to make then it's a pretty poor return for the work involved. I could put prices up but as is common with handmade items the market value is low for this sort of thing as there are so many hobbyists underselling their similar wares which in turn makes it very difficult for a business like me to get a return that reflects the work. 

I will no longer make soft toys on a CUSTOM ORDER basis. I will still make them from time to time as ready made items but not on request

***** I WILL HOWEVER STILL MAKE SOME OF THEM AS PART OF MY BLANKET AND SOFT TOYS SETS *****

I know some of you will be disappointed with this decision however I hope this goes some way to explaining why I need to do this. I will be making a few changes to the website over the next few days to reflect my new approach.

Thank you so much to everyone who has ordered the last few years, I really appreciate your support.

Faye x

 

 

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Little Dove Designs Blog by Faye Walsh - 9M ago

It's been ages since I last blogged! A lot has happened in the last few months and it has provoked a few small changes in my business. Before I talk about the changes I'll give you some background.....

Before I had my daughter in 2011 I just ran the cross stitch side of my business alongside my day job at a building society. When my daughter was born the cross stitch side took a bit of a back seat, I didn't release any new designs for around three years and I re-discovered my love for crochet and it unexpectedly turned into a successful business in its own right. The cross stitch side ticked along in the background and I released a handful of designs over a long period of time but I didn't give it much focus and it all got a bit neglected! 

Anyways a couple of years ago I was contacted by Cross Stitcher magazine to do some commission work for them. It was a dream come true! I'd actually written to several Cross Stitch mags sending them my portfolio almost twenty years ago however I was politely rejected (see one of my rejection letters below!) so being contacted all these years later was a real result for me!

Working for the magazine has ignited my love of designing again and it has forced me to push my ideas and release designs more often. This in turn has resulted in an increased exposure and interest in my design work and has meant that after 6 years working every spare hour of every day crocheting to pay the bills I have finally been able to take my foot off the pedal a bit and get my evenings and weekends back (mostly!) 

What this also means is that my crochet productivity has slowly decreased, you've probably noticed that if you follow me on social media. Fear not though! I'm not stopping crochet completely, I love it too much! However it will be more on my terms...…..making ten unicorns one after the other all the same colour can be tedious work for even the most disciplined of people, so I have needed to take a step back and figure out a way I can still do custom orders but perhaps not to the level I was, I didn't want it to become tedious and I was scared it might eventually cost me my crojo if I carried on making the same things over and over.

So you will notice a few changes in the way I work over the coming months. I'll still take on a small handful of custom orders but perhaps not as frequently and in such volume as before. I'm going to try and work more on a ready made basis going forward so look out for shopping events the first one being on November 9th at 8pm.....several wreaths available!

Finally I want to thank all those who have ordered from me, cross stitch and crochet, and all those who follow me on social media, without you I wouldn't have a business at all and I am extremely grateful!

Faye 

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You'll have to bear with me on this one. It's been three years since I made this blanket and I'm really hoping I've remembered the colours right! 

This blanket was another one of those makes that I worked on in between orders to satisfy my creative urge. When you are making the same things over and over I find it good to have an in between project on the go that I've chosen myself just to keep things interesting.

I'm often asked how long it takes me to make a blanket. Difficult one to answer because there are many variables the most obvious being size....the bigger the blanket, the longer it takes to make! This one took a few months because I just had an odd half hour here and there to add a row or two. If I'm making a customer order I can usually turn them around in a few weeks but again it's depending on size and even style, as some styles take longer than others. It also depends on how busy I am at the time. It's a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string question'!

I don't work exclusively on one thing either, I rotate several orders at a time again to keep things interesting, I think that's why it maybe seems like I get a lot done in a short space of time when in fact I might have been rotating things for several weeks it's just that that particular rotation group might all seem to get finished around the same time giving the illusion of getting 5 blankets done in a week. I'm quick but I'm not that quick! I can assure you though that it is just me here! No employees, no elves, no sorcery! 

Back to the blanket! When I'm looking for a bit of inspiration for my 'in between' project I consult my Pinterest boards for something I might have pinned months back while laying in bed at midnight and this is where I first came across the Juicy Fruits pattern.

Click here for pattern

I wanted to do a rainbow but not the usual bright one, a more muted version. I used Stylecraft Special DK in Claret, Gold, Meadow, Denim and Plum and alternated each row with Cream. I love the way the stitches in this pattern look like little ballerinas! Lots of texture and it creates quite a dense fabric so you might want to go up a hook size from your normal DK one. I think I used a 4.5mm for this.

A nice simple cream double crochet border finished it off lovely. Great unisex blanket combo this one! I desperately want to make another using this pattern.....however I already have around four 'in between' makes on the go so I should probably get them done first!

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A little while back I gave you a sneaky peek of some blanket patterns I have put together for Cygnet Yarns. I've been meaning to write this blog post for weeks as the Ebook containing the four patterns came out a couple of months ago! I've finally found time on the first day of the new year to sit down and do the blog post!

As I mentioned in my previous blog post about these blankets I discovered that I have a love/hate relationship with designing/writing patterns and have since concluded that it is not for me! Although I stressed about it more than I enjoyed it I'm really pleased with how all four came out and hope that you enjoy them too.

None are particularly complex so should be simple enough for a relative beginner but also hold enough interest for a more experienced crocheter who just wants something nice and easy on the brain to crack on with in the evenings in front of the telly :)

To purchase the Ebook visit Cygnet Yarns ravelry store. Here's the link

Four Coastal Blankets to Crochet

I've used Cygnet Yarns for a long time, they have some beautiful and very affordable ranges and the Cygnet DK that I used for these blankets is a lovely soft and practical acrylic in a wide range of colours.

I buy all my Cygnet from my friend Laurelin over at Snufflebean Yarn. She stocks most of the ranges and will always order in for you if there's something specific you would like. She'll happily put together all the colours you need for my Coastal Blankets patterns and provides a speedy, efficient service.

You can order the yarn by clicking this link

Snufflebean Yarn

 

 

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I'm lucky enough to now have an independent yarn shop close by called The Thrifty Thistle, 20 minutes walk away in fact! It's a double edge sword really.......close enough to buy yarn easily and well, close enough to buy yarn a bit too easily!! 

Anyways I was in that happy place one morning and couldn't resist buying a ball of Stylecraft Merry Go Round in Pastel Rainbow. The trouble though with this type of variegated yarn is that it lures you in with its beautiful colours and then when you try and crochet it into something it can end up looking a bit too busy! It's designed with knitters rather than crocheters in mind really as the colour changes are short.

I pondered on what I could do with it and decided that breaking it up with a solid colour might be the best way to go with it. After some experimenting I decided to use moss stitch which is a lovely simple but very effective stitch. Just google moss stitch and I'm sure you'll find lots of references to it, it's also called linen or granite stitch. 

I go up a hook size when I do moss stitch as it can crochet up tightly so if you want a nice drape and you have naturally tight tension like me then you might want to do the same. I used a 4.5mm for this blanket. Best to experiment though as tension does vary person to person. 

I used two balls of stylecraft special dk in white, one ball of stylecraft merry go round in pastel rainbow and one ball of stylecraft special dk in pistachio. I made a small pram size baby blanket around 55x70cm and there was plenty of yarn left over. 

I did 3 rows in white, then 1 row in pastel rainbow and this broke the colours up nicely

You could do all sorts of borders on this one! I considered using the rainbow yarn for the border but I thought it might then get too busy and take away from the stripes and I wanted the blanket to look quite crisp and modern. It needed to be gender neutral so I opted for a nice simple, crisp edging in pistachio. I did a round of half trebles, a round of double crochets, another round of half tebles and finished with crab stitch. 

I've loved making this blanket and couldn't resist knitting a little hat to match! I can't wait to gift this set to my friend :)

If you decide to make a blanket just like mine then it's always lovely to get a mention for the inspiration. And if you're in the Felixstowe area make sure you pay a visit to The Thrifty Thistle......it's not just a yarny paradise, you'll find fabrics and haberdashery too! 

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A while back I made a lovely ripple blanket for a friend's new little boy. It wasn't an obvious colour combo but it really worked and has been one of my favourite ripples so far! You can read about it in a previous blog post

Fast forward a year or so and she asked me to make another ripple, this time for the little girl she was expecting this summer. It would be in a similar quirky colour combo just with a few colour changes. 

 

We kept in Stylecraft Special Dk in Petrol and Lime and then added Fuschia Purple, Cream, Duck Egg and Cygnet DK in Vintage Rose. I love these colours together! 

I finished it off with a plain border again this time in Fuschia Purple. I love how these two ripples compliment each other, perfect his and hers blankets :)

 

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Little Dove Designs Blog by Faye Walsh - 1y ago

Firstly apologies if you are expecting to find this blog post to contain all the information to make this blanket.........It's more an explanation of why I won't be sharing the details.

I love Orla Kiely so I was excited to be asked to make an Orla inspired blanket recently in a lovely warm, autumnal combo. I remembered that some time ago lovely Anita from My Craft Life started making her own Orla style blanket and so the idea really came from that. Unfortunately Anita didn't share the finished blanket or the pattern she came up with before she disappeared from social media so I had a play around and after quite a lot of trial and error I came up with my version. I've had a lot of people request the pattern but after a little consideration I won't be sharing it out of courtesy to Anita just in case she wants to pick up where she left off one day.

If you're out there Anita and perhaps reading this I'm sure I speak for many in the crochet community when I say that I hope you are keeping well and very much hope you'll be back sharing your beautiful crochet with us again soon, you are missed x

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This time last year I was approached by Cross Stitcher magazine to design a festive themed sampler for their October 2016 issue. Since then I have done a further 3 designs for them the most recent being a birth sampler in the latest issue 317 (May)

It has been really fun designing again and made me realise how much I miss a bit of stitching! I just don't get the time these days with the crochet side of my business being so busy......a good problem to have of course but I really do miss relaxing with my cross stitch

Today 'Home for Christmas' has been released onto the website

It comes in kit or chart form and you can also buy the downloadable PDF version from my Little Dove Samplers Etsy shop

If you are a subscriber to Cross Stitcher you may have already spotted my latest design for them, a gender neutral birth sampler. This design will be released onto the website towards the end of this year

I hope you like the new designs and I'm looking forward to working on some more new samplers over the coming months

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As soon as I saw that Laurelin at Snufflebean Yarn had got this gorgeous colourway in I knew I just had to have some!!! It is Cygnet Kiddies Kaleidoscope in Rainbow Drops and it is very aptly named, just like those Rainbow Drops sweets! With it's long colour changes it crochets up a dream particularly when using the fantastic corner to corner stitch. I haven't used a specific pattern for this one, I've done it so much it's stuck in my brain haha but if you google C2C you'll come across lots of info and tutorials.

Its a great one for beginners because it's very repetitive, next to no counting really and you don't need to do a foundation chain or worry about getting the right number of chains to get the width from the start. Of course there's also the best bit.....if you use a variegated yarn with long colour changes like this one you'll not only get a great striped effect without the need to change colours but there's only a couple of ends to sew in! Win win!!!

 

I used Stylecraft Clematis for the border which I thought would give a great contrast although I've recently discovered Sheepjes Colour Crafter which is an even softeracrylic and funnily enough their colour range are exaclty the same as Stylecraft! Snufflebean Yarn also stock Colour Crafter now so if you want the Stylecraft equivalent then order the shade Amersfoort for your border along with the Cygnet Kaleidoscope in Rainbow Drops. The border is very simple, just a couple of rounds of double crochet (UK) and then a shell stitch scalloped edging. I used around 200gms of the Rainbow Dropes yarn, this made a baby sized blanket around 60x70cm ish (including the border)

Want this yarn so you can give this blanket a go? Pop over to Snufflebean Yarn to order this one and tempt yourself with lots of other lovely yarns. I'm not on commission, honest haha, I just like good customer service, great prices and supporting independent/local businesses whenever I can :)

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I was asked recently to make a sampler style blanket...ie a blanket using all different stitches :) I love a bit of variety in my work and although I know there are patterns for these types of blankets out there I decided to see what I could come up with just by putting random rows of different stitches together myself. It's been a great challenge because you have to be very careful of stitch count all the way through. Different stitches have different multiples so a little bit of maths is required to make sure the stitches fit and the edges stay straight and I also had to take care with my right and wrong sides as not all stitches look the same on both sides. I have really enjoyed making it!

Quite a few people have asked me to share how I made it however I'm no pattern writer so the best I can offer you is a list of the stitches I did together with the colours I used. You may need to then do an internet search for full details of how to do stitches if some are unfamiliar to you. I made my blanket around 100x120cm with a foundation chain of 142 but it's really important to point out that this figure will not make all your different stitches work necessarily, you will still need to do lots of counting and put an odd stitch in here or miss an odd one there to keep your stitch count right. If you've counted right you will start with 139 stitches all the way along the bottom and 139 stitches all the way along the top! The other thing to note is that unless your tension is exactly the same as mine your blanket may measure slightly differently when finished.

The customer wanted rich, retro style colours so we agreed on Stylecraft Special DK in Plum. Magenta, Walnut, Copper, Gold, Parchment, Cream, Mustard, Teal and Sage

So here is the run down of the different rows (UK terms throughout)

NOTE: RS = right side WS = wrong side

  • 2 x rows of trebles in Teal
  • 2 x rows of granny stripe in Magenta
  • 1 x row of granny stripe in Parchment
  • 1 x row of trebles in Walnut
  • 1 x row of kiss stitch (2 crossed trebles) in Mustard
  • RS 1 x row half trebles in Copper
  • RS 1 row trebles in Cream in Camel Stitch fashion (working in third back loops)
  • 1 x row of trebles in Sage
  • RS 1 x row of bobbles in Gold
  • RS 1 x row of half trebles in Cream
  • 1 x row of half trebles in Cream
  • 1 x row of trebles in Plum
  • 1 x row of V stitch in Mustard
  • 1 x row of V stitch in Teal
  • 1 x row of half trebles in Magenta
  • Next two rows are in star stitch in Cream starting on the RS
  • 1 x row of half trebles in Walnut
  • 1 x row of trebles in Copper
  • 1 x row of kiss stitch in Mustard
  • 1 x row of half trebles in Plum
  • 1 x row of granny stripe in Sage
  • I x row of granny stripe in Teal
  • 1 x row of granny stripe in Sage
  • RS 1 x row of half trebles in Cream
  • RS 1 x row of half trebles in Gold in Camel stitch fashion
  • RS 1 x row of trebles in Walnut in Camel stitch fashion
  • 1 x row od double crochet in Magenta
  • 1 x row of trebles in Mustard
  • The next 4 rows make up harlequin stitch in Parchment, Copper and then Parchment
  • 1 x row of double crochet in Parchment
  • RS 1 x row of half trebles in Sage
  • RS 1 x row of trebles in Plum in camel stitch fashion
  • WS 1 x row of a textured stitch (1dtr, 1dc, repeat) in Mustard
  • 1 x row of trebles in Teal
  • 1 x row of Kiss stitch in Magenta
  • 1 x row of kiss stitch in Cream
  • 1 x row of half trebles in Walnut
  • 1 x row of trebles in Gold
  • 1 x row of double crochet in Parchment
  • 1 x row of granny stripe in Plum
  • 1 x row of trebles in Sage
  • RS 1 x row of bobbles in Cream
  • 2 x rows of half trebles in Mustard
  • 1 x row of trebles in Copper
  • 1 x row of half trebles in Parchment
  • 1 x row of granny stripe in Teal
  • 1 x row of granny stripe in Sage
  • 1 x row of granny stripe in Teal
  • RS 1 x row of half trebles in Magenta
  • RS 1 x row of half trebles in Cream in camel stitch fashion
  • RS 1 x row of trebles in Wanut in camel stitch fashion
  • 1 x row of V stitch in Gold
  • 1 x row of trebles in Teal 

This made up half of the blanket - I then repeated this list starting with the Magenta granny stripes ending with 2 rows of trebles in Teal

The border needed to be simple so as not to overshadow the rest of the blanket so I chose parchment and cream. 

I did one round of half trebles, followed by one round of double crochet, another round of half trebles, followed by another round of double crochet all in Parchment. I then did one round of double crochet in Cream and finished with a Cream crab stitch edging

I hope that has all made some sense. Apologies that I can't go into a bit more detail with how to do the stitches etc. Writing patterns/tutorials is quite a time consuming task and not one I'm particularly good at! I'm not a crochet designer at all, I just like to experiment but if you are inspired to make a blanket exactly like mine (if you can figure it out from my waffle above!) it's always nice to get a little mention for the inspiration :)

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