This end of year review is going to be a very long post, with lots of photos, so you may want to grab a mug or glass of your favourite drink and get yourself comfortable.
At this time of the year I always have a little look back at all the things I have done during the year, and I start planning for all the exciting things I want to achieve next year.
January was a very busy month for me, putting the final touches to my CAL [crochet a long] for the spring, and finishing up all the testing and editing for my first pattern release for the year.
I often wonder if most folk have any idea how many hours a designer puts into all the extra stuff that is needed to publish a pattern.
It is not just the actual design and making of the item, it is also hours and hours of taking photos, editing the photos, making them into collages to use in the pattern pdf.
Let me break this down a bit so that you can understand what is involved.
First the idea starts to form, then I choose the colours and yarn I am going to work with.
Next, I start to crochet, writing the pattern as I go, but often something will not work out as you think it may, so there is always lots of ripping back or frogging and re-writing of that round or a few rounds as is often the case.
Once the prototype is finished I then choose colours for the second time, this one is always for the photo tutorials, and to make any adjustments and corrections to the pattern. This stage generally takes twice as long as the prototype because of having to stop and take the photos of each stage of each round.
If I am making video tutorials, then this must be repeated for a third time.
So, a blanket which may take me 3 to 4 weeks to design, can take up to 12 weeks before it is ready for testing, and I work at this full time, it is the job I do and how I earn my living.
But I am not a professional photographer, nor am I a film maker, so it is a constant learning curve for me with all the tutorials I make, and I am aware that my camera skills are not perfect, but they are getting better.
So, before you moan about my videos or the ones any other designer makes, please be aware that often you are getting these patterns and tutorials for free, and yet they took hundreds of hours to make.
If a designer gives you a pattern free there will always be another way that they try to earn some money for all the hard work, they have put in.
We use what are called affiliate links on our websites, these generally take you to a website to purchase a yarn pack, or your own choice of yarn, we get a very small percentage of the value of your purchase, and by small, I mean 1 or 2 percent.
Many designers also have adverts on their websites, which also generate a very small income.
This is a very interesting video, made by my friend Stephanie at Its Crochet O’clock which explains about how you can help and support your favourite designers, and not encourage other unscrupulous people to make money when they do nothing but pass you on to their website [to earn money] before they may finally send you to the designers website.
Stephanie has a group on Facebook and a fabulous Youtube channel where she has lots of videos with very interesting information on copyright theft, and loads of handy hints and tips.
Ok I am going to get off my soap box now and get on with my review of 2018.
In February My Nameless was published, there is a beautiful ring of puff daisies in the centre of the mandala, which I know a few folk found a little tricky, but there is not only the photo tutorial but also a video tutorial for the daisies and Round 9 which shows you how to secure them.
My Nameless is available to purchase and there are 2 different yarn packs available.
I also became a Stylecraft Blogstar in February and thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to Spa Mills, the home of Stylecraft, meeting the other blogstars was wonderful and just being able to spend time with like minded folk was amazing.
April saw the launch of the Cosmic Cal, sponsored by Stylecraft Yarns, and was a very busy 9 weeks with all the weekly releases and the support I was giving both in my own Facebook group Helen’s Hookaholics, and the Official Cosmic Cal group on Facebook run by Stylecraft.
You can still get lots of help and support in either group if you are only just discovering Cosmic Cal.
During the cal I was also busy designing Johnny and Jane, 2 baby blankets, or 6 easy to make 6 inch squares, which you can mix and match as you like, and there are 2 different boarder patterns as well. Johnny and Jane is available to purchase in my Ravelry store.
June also saw the release of Naomi, a beautifully simple shell design shawl/wrap which can also be made into a Ruana which is like an open poncho or giant wrap.
July, and Solaris arrived on the scene, a collection of squares and a border for you to create your own perfect sized blanket. Featuring designs of stars, beams and rays.
1 large 20/24 inch square, 3 normal size 10/12 inch squares and 4 smaller 5/6 inch squares plus the border.
In September I published two patterns, the Rose Trellis Shawl, which is ideal for chunky weight yarn and works up really quickly. And Summer’s End Waistcoat which was designed for this year’s Stylecraft Blog tour.
Continuum was an idea I had been playing with for a long time, it is designed to be able to use with any of my large afghan squares to grow them into a blanket, you can stop at any point you prefer or even repeat some of the rounds to get your own giant sized blanket.
Amelia started life while I was travelling in New Zealand at the beginning of 2017 and was one of those projects that got put to one side and never finished. But with moving to a new house at the end of the year I wanted to clear the decks and get everything completed.
November saw some of the Blogstars travel over to The Netherlands for a wonderful yarny weekend at the Dutch Knitting Festival in Zwolle. I finally got to meet my beautiful friend and tester Ineke, that was so emotional not only were Ineke and I crying with sheer joy but so were some of the others just watching us. The internet is an amazing thing, and Facebook has enabled me to make friends all over the world, but actually being able to give a real hug to someone you speak to nearly every day is priceless. We spent nearly every moment laughing and it is a memory I will treasure forever.
Ineke came with a huge suitcase full of some of the amazing blankets she has made while testing for me and ended up being an honorary star for the day with all the help and advice she gave.
Sweetie Pie Mandala was designed for the festival and I had great fun doing two workshops and meeting some of the ladies who follow my group on Facebook.
Back in May I did a couple of workshops, and again met some amazing ladies at Blacksheepwools and also at Spa Mills, the home of Stylecraft. I designed Arabesque, a large afghan square or cushion facing especially for the workshops and it is now available in my Ravelry store.
My final publication for the year was an afghan square for the BAMCAL or block a month cal on Ravelry. Ripples on the Shore is a simple but very effective square and the pattern is available free on Ravelry.
The beginning of November I finally moved to Cornwall, and I am just about unpacked and settled, but you can read all about that here.
A sneaky peek at 2019.
As I said at the beginning everything takes time, and I have another new design being tested at the moment, hopefully it will be published in January. This is The Lost Garden.
There will be a cal next year, but it will be published in Crochet Now magazine with just hints and tips on my website, I will post all about that nearer the time.
I am also re-writing Radiance which was the first blanket pattern I ever designed back in 2015. Originally I designed Radiance for Willow Yarns in the USA, the pattern was only available as a written pattern from them, but very soon it will be available in my Ravelry store as a photo tutorial and in both US and UK terms.
This is as far as I have got with the re-do.
You may have noticed that I am now publishing all my patterns in US and UK terms and both as photo tutorials or written patterns. One of my goals for 2019 is to add the UK terms pdf’s to Ravelry for all my paid patterns.
I have also designed another afghan square for a cal which starts in January, more about that later too.
I hope you enjoyed your coffee, hot chocolate or glass of wine and my look back at 2018.
Having written this and read it all back, I had no idea I had been so busy!!
I hope you have all been able to look back at your own year with some positive and happy memories of the gorgeous works of art you have created this year.
I wish you all a very peaceful festive season, filled with love and lots and lots of yarn.
♥ Please go to my Ravelry store to see all my patterns, both free and paid.
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