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Hi guys :)

It's been a wee while and the world is a very different place now to when I last sent out a newsletter.

First of all, I would like to say that my thoughts and good wishes go with all of you.  May you and yours remain healthy and safe.  I wish there was something more practical I could do to help you through this time, but crochet distraction will have to suffice.

I am still working, and have to admit that the commute is equal parts breathtakingly tranquil and pretty daunting.  I spend a lot of time sitting around on platforms waiting for shuttle services.  And, if I am totally honest, if the platform is largely deserted, I dance in one spot, listening to Switchfoot.  If not now, then when?

1. Simple Joy

To celebrate 2020, I am doing something that brings me active/conscious joy on the 20th of each month.  My plans have been hijacked on the last two 20's of 2020, so I had to adapt and adjust.  Nevertheless, I still managed to find joy, and I hope you did too.  You can read what I got up to in my 12 Moments of Conscious Joy post.

Here is my favourite Joy Photo from this time: Nap Time in the Garden.  If you squint, you can see an ammonite...


2. Kinship Mandala (Free Pattern)

Rhondda and I have been friends for years, and this collaborative Kinship Mandala (and the resulting square) celebrates our friendship (and all the other friendships we – and you – have formed through this gorgeous craft of ours).

A while ago, we had a little chat about the fact that she wanted to design a mandala and I wanted to do squaring up instructions for mandalas, and a lightbulb went ‘ping!’ in our heads.  We decided that Rhondda would design a mandala to whatever stitch count I needed for my tutorial, and then I would square it up, further celebrating our ‘kinship’.

The Kinship Mandala was born!  Isn’t it pretty??

As something fun and lighthearted to do as we all go through this surreal time of social distancing, Rhondda and I shared her Kinship mandala on my Instagram feed as a NotACAL (like I did with Mandala 21 and my Sue Square).  We were pleasantly surprised by how many people joined in and delighted by all the gorgeous colourways.

You can see some examples by visiting one of the following hashtags:

The gorgeous pastel one middle left was made by @lu_kra_ on Instagram.  She has also made a gorgeous Mary's Memory!! 

The central image belongs to my mom (@m.strydom on Instagram).  It shows the Kinship Mandala made in regular yarn and in Tarn (as a rug).  You might also notice that one of her feet is incased in a cast/boot/thingy.  She squared up her Kinship Mandala and continued growing it with the Around the Bases CAL, using @vinniscolours yarn.  You can see more photos on her feed.

I love that my mom and I can share our love of crochet across the seas.  It is the next best thing to being able to fall into her arms for a hug.  And I LOVE that my dad was part of this specific journey (even though he did put the mandala down with the wrong side showing when my mom was taking photos of it).

3. Kinship Square (Free Pattern)

Leading on from point 2 above, I present the Kinship square.  

Ever since I designed the first four parts of Sophie’s Universe (which make up the initial Sophie’s Garden square), I have wanted to adapt the instructions for different sizes.  It has taken many MANY hours of brain-pain maths, but I’ve finally written out the instructions for using Part 4 to square mandalas with 80, 112, 128, 144, and 160 stitches in the final round.  While I have all these sizes tested, I will continue to work on the maths for multiples of 16 stitches above the ones listed (except for 240 stitches, which is the original Part 4).

For now, you can apply the instructions for squaring a mandala with a final-round stitch count of 160 stitches to the Kinship Mandala, giving you a Kinship Square.

You can find the pattern HERE.


4.  Cosy Crochet Blankets to Snuggle Under Book Review

Ana Morais Soares has just released her book ‘Cosy Crochet Blankets to Snuggle Under’ and is currently holding a virtual book tour, which I am very proud to be part of. Join me as I take a glimpse inside this lovely book (and share some of my favourite projects).


5.  Fancy Nancy (Free Pattern)

This crochet mandala is called Fancy Nancy and it celebrates the colour and joy my friend Nancy (@avocadofairy) brings to the lives of everyone around her.  It is a reminder of the fact that life is full of serendipitous encounters, wonderful people, precious moments of grace, and rainbows!

I think she will be pleased that I have decided to dedicate this pattern to each and every one of my colleagues who are working tirelessly and selflessly to ensure that our national health service continues to operate. I also dedicate this pattern to the umbrella of essential workers – especially Jackie and Rhianna at our local Sainsbury’s, who have become a weekly joy-injection for me.

You can find the pattern HERE.


6. Ammonite Wrist Warmers (Free Pattern)

My Ammonite Wrist Warmer pattern continues to be very popular.  I LOVE seeing all the different colourways pop up.  They make me feel as if I am right back in Lyme Regis, drinking coffee, chatting way too much, and picking up treasures on the beach with fellow crocheters.

This gorgeous set was made by @meridalane on Instagram.


And that is all I have to share.

Have a fantastic (safe and healthy) week, full of unexpected kindnesses!

All my love!


Other Recent Patterns

Oldies but Goodies

Charlotte's Sunshine Baby
Maricopa Sun
Sophie's Winter Dream





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