I Joined all the Toxic Knitting & Crochet Groups on Facebook so that You Don’t Have To.

Ah, Facebook. The home of people who want to spy on their old school friends (or enemies) and see who got ugly and had 14 kids, people who can’t help but get themselves involved in petty political arguments (you’re never going to change anyone’s mind – just stop doing it) and confused older people who think the status bar is the same as the Google search bar. What a place!

One little thing that never really occurred to me was how Facebook could be used together with other social media accounts as a potential source of engagement, followers and – hopefully – purchases of my patterns. When I started out using social media to plug my work and share my content I did set up a Facebook page but – to be brutally honest – I never updated it and just gave up on it. It was just there gathering dust and doing nothing, like one of my many half-finished WIPs that’ll never turn into anything. Let’s face it, Facebook never was cool, never will be cool and Instagram is where it’s at for creators, even if it is a hipster TikTok at this point. A bearded Tiktok in a flannel shirt who lectures you about coffee and craft ale.

That was until a friend of mine started mentioning the wonderful (not actually wonderful) world of Facebook craft groups. I’d seen a few of these around before but didn’t really think they were worth joining. I must mention that I joined these groups not only to share my patterns and drive revenue/traffic to my other accounts but also to help beginners get better. Let’s be honest, even though I am mostly a cantankerous old fart I do enjoy helping people out with their knitting and crochet, and as a battle-hardened designer I do have some useful advice to share. I remember the struggles and annoyances of being a new knitter and crocheter so I can empathise. I mean, just look at this blog! It’s packed to the rafters with hints and tips! Why not spread those same helpful hints over on Facebook and plug myself whilst doing it, right?
Wrong. So very wrong.

When a person talks about hateful stuff on the internet they usually mean vile tweets from Twitter trolls, Far-Right websites and groups and the comments feed of The Daily Fail, but craft groups? Really? Yes.

So, what follows is my honest account of my adventures in the world of Facebook craft groups. I can safely say that every group I joined was a chaotic and extremely odd. Spending a month in this horrible world was also extremely damaging mental-health wise and reminded me of just how crap humans can be to each other, especially when you throw social media into the mix.

NOTE: It goes without saying that, apart from one, I won’t be sharing the actual names of any of these groups (if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know my stance on this) or referring to any of the charming, twitchy people involved. Please also bear in mind that this post is based on my lived experiences and I don’t give a monkey’s if you’ve had good experiences in knit/crochet groups and think that I’m somehow wrong. I couldn’t care less. There will also be some swearing and brutal honesty, so pearl clutchers and people who say sugar instead of the proper swearword might want to sit this one out. Any messages to inbox complaining about how I’m being unfair and should be more understanding and shouldn’t swear so much and how I’m disgusting because I don’t support the monarchy will be deleted and the person blocked. I’ll also use your messages for a future blog post so you’ll be indirectly helping me out… 😘

Group members who encourage pattern theft

I thought I’d start this work of art by sharing probably one of the most heinous things about these groups, the fact that pattern sharing is rife. There are two sides to this, the worst one which is people sharing paid patterns and therefore doing the designer out of money and also the sharing of screenshots instead of links to free patterns which means the designer – who kindly made the design free and as such worked for free – misses out on traffic to their website, loses track of the number of downloads and the like.

I’m not going to bang on about this because anyone with half a brain knows that sharing patterns in this way is theft (no matter how many twitchy, inexplicably angry ladies tell you otherwise) and it’s not only illegal but also morally pants. However, the sad thing is that many of these groups do not remove posts that contain copyrighted materials no matter how many times they are reported, and very often admin don’t publish posts written by designers (such as myself) asking people to refrain from doing so. Evidence of this is below.

Take this little nugget that I commented in response to someone who asked if it was ‘in poor taste’ to share a paid pattern in the group.

This was followed by a heap of comments from very angry women saying that I was ‘talking nonsense’ and that what I was saying was ‘ridiculous’ because ‘what about when you buy a pattern book or get one from the library – is that theft too?’ and to be honest I lost the will to live and stopped replying. My comment was deleted by admin an hour or so later. Which brings me to…

Group Admin who enable pattern theft

It’s one thing when group members do the above, but when group Admin are in on it and don’t see the problem with it it really makes you lose faith in humanity. What I’m sharing below is one of THREE posts (you read that right) I tried to get through Admin of a particularly weird little haven of illiteracy and vileness called “Crochet for Beginners UK” which, to be blunt, would probably do better if it was renamed “How to be a Rude Twat and Learn How to Crochet at the Same Time and Blame everyone Else if you can’t master the Chain Stitch”.

Please note the “Pending: 3” part.

The self-obsessed admin of this group would pop on every few weeks to apologise about how she doesn’t have enough time to accept all new posts (funny how she had time to publish certain, rather useless and repetitive ones (HI THANKS FOR ACCEPTING ME INTO THE GROUP! Ugh.) but not ones that address serious topics like, pattern theft) and also to talk about herself and bang on about how amazing her life is and other stuff that nobody cares about. Quite honestly, thinking about this group still brings me out in hives. Only join that group if you’re a masochist.

Plain bloody stupidity

“Where can I find patterns?”.
“What is a crochet hook?”.

I’ve added two of the most facepalmy things I encountered below for your delectation. Seriously the fact that some people think that posting a question in a group rather than using a search engine to find out simple questions quickly really baffles me, especially the ones about where you can find patterns.

I had to screenshot this one because I feared that nobody would believe this level of sheer idiocy existed.

Weirdly Wonderful Finished Objects

This is not toxic at all but deserves a mention. One of the only positive things about the groups I encountered on my travels around the Facebook hellhole was the amount of hilarious finished objects that some people come up with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not slating anyone’s creativity here or making fun because, after all, one man’s horrible-looking gingerbread man (see below) is another man’s fantastically ugly/cute/amazing gingerbread man and, as they say in Spain, “Para gustos, los colores“.

That said, I did come across some absolutely fantastic and frankly terrifying makes that remind me of my beginnings as a crocheter when I also made some funny little onions that looked awful but I would pay proper money to still have now. I would proudly display them in my craft room! However, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a well-meaning chuckle at some of the stuff people in these groups share. Here are a couple of my favourites…

Cute gingerbread man aside, ever heard of a lint roller, Sally?
I couldn’t help it, sorry.

More Royal-themed tat than you can shake a stick at

Wotcha doin’ bro?

I don’t support the monarchy, let’s just throw that out there to start with. I am aware that many people do – especially older people – and that’s fine, but I remain puzzled as to why a person would spend time and money knitting or crocheting something that represents such heinous things. I’ll leave it there as I don’t want this article to turn into some kind of Republican rant. I mean, the guy’s overall wealth of over a billion quid could be spread around the UK a bit and help out the NHS, people struggling because of the cost of living crisis etc but I digress.

The point remains, though, Who in the world needs a Chocolate Orange cosy? Why? Are you afraid of it getting cold? If anything it helps the melting progress. The only foodstuffs that need a protective cosy are fruits. That’s nothing to do with the crown design, it’s just silly. Do people actually spending hours and hours and loads of money making tea cosies with Charlie on top? Or hats for post boxes with the late Queen on them? Or huge blankets in frightful primary colours with royal emblems and crowns and stuff on them? Yes, yes they do, friend. Maybe it’s me, but the mind boggles.

Why then, Mavis, would you spend hours knitting people that aren’t ‘favourites of yours’? Also, whoever would drive to pick these up needs a lie down and/or a strong drink.
There some MAD knitting and crochet skills on show here and absolute talent, but it’s still tat.

Defensive women on the verge of a nervous breakdown

The majority of these groups are filled to the brim with extremely defensive, angry women (not sexist. There were no men in these groups) who act like they’re being forced to learn how to crochet by some kind of Kalashnikov-wielding terrorist. From posts such as “HELP ME I AM ABOUT TO DIE BECAUSE MY GRANNY SQUARE IS WONKY I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS IT’S NOT WORKING OMG THAT’S IT I HATE YOU ALL” to the frankly baffling “what is crochet pls teach me thanks in advance” ones, it’s an absolute mess of fury, illiteracy, irrational rage and people who should really put down their hooks and needles and try another hobby.

I’m not saying that the process of learning a new craft can be absolutely infuriating on occasion, mind. I’ve been there, we’ve ALL been there, and sometimes you really do want to give up altogether and forget it. We all have the right to and SHOULD complain about things when they get tough – not just in the world of crafts – and having a support group online to vent to when you’re hating the process is a splendid thing. However, there’s a difference between acting like a total baby on social media when you get frustrated over a stitch and asking politely for help. Craft support groups are a thing of beauty, but they don’t seem to be any useful and nice ones on Facebook.

One of the most ridiculous displays of thickness and total rudeness I experienced in the aforementioned UK-based crochet for beginners group was a woman complaining about a crochet pattern. This lady was a complete beginner who bought a pattern aimed at advanced crocheters. Anyone with half a nut knows that total beginners – to minimise stress – shouldn’t be touching anything close to a pattern at that stage. The only sensible thing to do is practice all the basic stitches until you’ve got the hang of them, make 400ft chains, make stacks of simple scarves, watch a heap of Bella Coco or VeryPink YouTube tutorials and repeat ad nauseum until you’ve mastered them and gained the skills needed to finally attempt a pattern. That also includes learning the weird terminology as 99% of patterns use crochet language. If that stuff sounds boring and you want to start making elaborate pieces IMMEDIATELY then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Issa fact, babes.

Imagine you’re a guitarist. You pick up your first guitar and start looking at tabs online. Would you look at scales and simple chords or get stuck into the tabs for Stairway To Heaven or Comfortably Numb expecting to suddenly morph into Jimmy Page or Dave Gilmore?

The woman in question, surprisingly not in her mid-60s and without a photo of her pet dog as her profile picture, let’s call her Chantelle, posted something along the lines of this;

“I just got this (DIFFICULT) pattern and I’m totally lost and losing all hope. I don’t understand any of these abbreviations and I’m about to give up. Why is crochet so COMPLICATED? I am a complete beginner and this pattern is sTrEsSiNg me out!”

Sadly, some people take their anger about not being able to work a single crochet out on others who try and give them sensible advice. Very politely, I expressed sympathy and mentioned that maybe she should try and get a grip on the basics before trying patterns and stick to something ‘more suited to beginners’? Extremely offensive, I know. I mean, you’re in a beginner group and can’t accept the fact you’re a beginner.

What followed (I’m wishing I hadn’t accidentally deleted the screenshots at this point) was a huge tirade of abuse and how ‘appalled’ she was at being told that she should try something appropriate to her level and she’d enjoy the learning process more. How VERY DARE I mention that quite possibly, maybe she wasn’t skilled enough to attempt a higher-level pattern after only a week of crocheting!
Either Chantelle has deep-seated issues with defensiveness or she’s just… I dunno.

What is it that brings so many furious people to decide to learn how to crochet? Hopefully they’ll manage it at some point (after learning how to relax) and the crocheting itself will give them a hand with their blood pressure levels.

Spam, clickbait, crap

Finally, the most common type of group you’ll find are ones that are just full of patterns – normally stolen from other makers – that, when you click on the link, force you to pay a surprise fee, subscribe to a mailing list or simply don’t contain the pattern that was advertised. These stick out like a sore thumb because they are usually written in the same way, usually a made-up sob story about how the person’s family hate the fact that they crochet, in order to get comments from other people saying ”Aw, your work is lovely! Don’t do yourself down” (weird, I know). These groups are easily identified after you join also because anything you post NEVER gets approved and the only people who post anything are the Admin who ONLY post their own shoddy, clickbaity content. Sadly, 99.9% of the members of these groups never pick up on the fact that the posts are just total spammage and that the group is basically bollocks and continue to comment, try and download the pattern in vain and stay in the group like numpties. Take all sorts, I guess.

What’s the verdict, then?

Here’s the crux of the matter. As someone who cares deeply about mental health, in the name of all that is sensible and holy, I’d recommend that you stay away from these places if you value your free time and sanity. The toxic thing about Facebook and – arguably – social media in general is that inevitably you get addicted. You keep refreshing the page to see the most recent post and just how strange people can be, get irritated to death, post a comment which you later regret and dirty delete, and basically end up wasting huge amounts of time doing nothing but rolling your eyes, getting maddened and saying “what the hell am I doing in these groups” under your breath but still coming back to the groups like they’re crack. Normally at 2am when everyone’s asleep and you’ve had a glass too many of Rioja after a crap day and you’re feeling particularly hateful.

So, what to do if you need help, I hear you ask? Facebook groups are not going to help you learn a craft in any meaningful way. Sure, there may be some decent groups that are absolutely lovely that I didn’t come across that could be a nice complement to your learning process, but I didn’t find any, Sheila. I did notice that the knitting groups were actually a bit politer and more interesting than the crochet ones. I wonder why?

The best thing to do if you want to learn is to get hold of some ‘how to’ books, watch YouTube tutorials, join a supportive platform that has less toxicity – like Instagram – and share your progress and work that way. You’ll make friends and have a visual account of your progress, too. You can also communicate and make friends with designers and experts who can give you advice and give you inspiration – I always love hearing from newbies, for example. Send me a message! Let’s be pals!

I’d love to hear your experiences of Facebook craft groups. Have you had a similar situation to me or have I been particularly unlucky? Do you have any ‘nice’ groups that you’d like to share with us? Drop me a comment and don’t forget to to share this article if you enjoyed it. And stay off Facebook, you hear? 😜


Creating the Perfect Craft Space · Seven Top Tips for a Gorgeously Creative Area

Although I could point out a ton of flaws in my craft room (the ceiling is super low, it suffers from damp, beetles and spiders seem to love hanging out there, the fact that it’s an attic space and gets as hot as heck in the Summer), I admit that I am mightily privileged. Not a day goes past where I’m not eternally grateful for it. If anything, just to have a place to shove all the crafty mess I create without it bothering my family too much, well, that’s enough for me! Erm, and them. They aren’t fans of having yarn in the kitchen and squished into random places.

However, I am also aware that not everyone has an entire space to keep their craft things in. Most of us creative folk have to make do with pretty makeshift areas. Let’s talk laundry baskets shoved full of yarn (been there, twice), cramming Cricut machines and macrame supplies into offices shared with other halves… The list goes on!

If you follow me on Instagram and Tiktok (I caved, ugh) you’ll have most definitely seen my craft space at some point. I do have a great deal of trouble keeping it all tidy and organised, but when it is neat and looking lahvley I take a ton of photos and pretend like it always looks that way. Sad and unrealistic I know, but I can’t resist! One of my favourite things to do is arrange things nicely – from my Kawaii sticker collection to organising my crochet hooks by composition – and just sit and look at it. I’ve also learnt some pretty cool things over the years about how to keep spaces tidier for longer, making craft areas work for you and generally making rooms look nice, and that’s what today’s article is about – yay!

The point of this article is this: you do not need to have a huge room, warehouse studio or dedicated space in order to have a functional, beautiful place to craft. Using a few of these hints and tips you can improve any area and make it work for you rather than against you. You also don’t need to spend a lot of money either, if at all! Let’s see..

1. Be a Trolley Dolly

You’ve probably seen some of these multishelf trolleys around, right? I’m not sure if ‘multishelf’ is even a word, but you get my drift. These were everywhere five or six years ago and for good reason. If you’re short on space, having a portable trolley can really save you all the energy that putting shelves up requires! The original and best (just my opinion, man) trolley is the beloved RÅSKOG trolley from IKEA but many stores now sell their own versions of this iconic space saver for around the same price or cheaper. These trolleys are great for storing hanks of yarn (notoriously hard to keep tidy due to all the flopping about), pots with pens and crochet hooks in, notebooks, actual books, the bones and organs of your enemies, anything you like. Plus you can wheel them around with you! Yay!

Don’t have an IKEA near you? No biggy. Check out these trolleys from Wayfair & Hobbycraft, the latter of which comes in some incredible colours!

2. Make Your Own Storage

One of the most inspiring and fun ways of keeping all your bits and pieces neat is by – shock – making your own storage solutions! It might sound obvious, but by making your own baskets and ‘cozies’ for your craft goodies you are not only making a totally unique item but also saving a lot of cash in the process, especially if you use up scraps of yarn. Squishy baskets are good for storing all manner of things in and make a quick, fuss-free crochet project. You can even buy wooden basket/bag bases to give your baskets extra sturdy (plus they make them look SO PROFESH), not to mention the fact that by making your own accessories you can choose colours and textures that complement your craft space perfectly.

Basket: The Joyful Basket, crochet pattern available in my Etsy shop or at Hobbii.

3. Grab Your Go-to Books

If you have a lot of craft books it only makes sense to keep them neatly together in your creative space! This might seem obvious, but, speaking from personal experience, you’d be surprised how many times I’ve had to search around the house for my fave knitting stitch books and found them nestled among some random cookery books or something. Aside from craft-related literature, I also keep books and magazines that inspire me nearby, which range from Vogue graphic and interior design magazines to children’s picture books and books about specific artists. If a book gives you creative energy, keep it close to you!

3. Show Off Your Creations

Given the amount of time we spend making gorgeous things, why not display them in your space? No matter if it’s a squishy stack of blankets or washcloths, handmade storage, granny squares used as coasters (love this) or a chunky crocheted rug or cute bunting, keeping your finished objects around you will give you an extra burst of energy and inspiration! There’s nothing better for the soul than looking at some things that you’ve made and feeling that sparkle of satisfaction.

This is especially useful if – like me – the style of your designs doesn’t match the rest of your house. My home is decidedly beige, wooden, moody and rustic-modern, whereas my creations are BRIGHT AF! Obviously a neon pink blanket wouldn’t fit in my living room, so I use my space to let those OTT bright makes shine and take center stage.

4. Surround Yourself With Joy

I have a bit of a problem regarding hoarding cute knick-knacks in my craft room. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to reign myself in and avoid buying stuff to fill every space! However, I am trying to be good and have discovered that less really is more. I now only keep objects on my shelves if they truly make me happy. I still have a lot of ornaments but I keep them stored away rather than having them spread everywhere! In my space you can find crystals, gifts from friends and objects that mean something rather than just looking nice. Here I’ve got a mint-green Buddha representing ‘hear no evil’ (right?), a golden maneki-neko (招き猫) to bring luck (and maybe a winning Lotto ticket?) and a gorgeous gift from a friend in the craft community. Surrounding yourself with joy is exactly that – meaningful objects that make you happy and inspire you every day.

5. Keep it Organized

Okay. This is probably the trickiest of all these steps! Keeping things tidy and organised is easier said than done, especially if you are working on big commissions and have all your yarn spread all over the place! One thing that really helps me keep on top of tidiness my studio is doing a little tidy every day. Put your hooks away, put oddments and scraps into wherever you keep them, take any mugs downstairs… One thing I like to do is keep a small spray bottle of my favourite surface cleaner in a drawer with a cloth so I can wipe down the shelves and units every couple of days. Doing little things like this every day or so can help you avoid those daunting, marathon cleaning sessions! It also goes without saying that having a clean, airy and tidy craft area helps those of us with depression and anxiety. Working in a place that looks and smells fresh can help clear your mind. Take it from someone who knows, #PMDDcrew!

6. Grid Inspiration

I am a huge fan of inspiration grids and pegboards and they are now the staple of any creative person’s craft area! Not only are they relatively cheap to buy and easy to assemble, they take up minimal wall space and are ideal for keeping your inspiration in order and showing off your ideas. I use mine at the beginning of each season to pin up swatches, images and notes and between projects I decorate it with cute postcards (Flying Tiger sell amazing ones) to keep my area bright and cheerful. Switching up the things you display is also a nice way of changing the energy in your craft space seasonally and can be a lot of fun!

My grid is from an independent retailer, but check out the fabulous SKÅDIS pegboard in white, available from IKEA for only €20, cool accessories sold separately.

7. Materials on Display

A lot of us like to have our yarn stored away in bags or boxes – especially if moths and insects are a problem in your home – but I love having all my yarn out in the open. Not only do I love stacking it up nicely and organising it by brand or shade, but yarn can be a decor item in itself! I also keep my scraps out in a large, shallow storage box so I can grab what I need easily. My favourite storage solution for yarn is the famous KALLAX shelving unit as it is spacious, clean-looking and available in cool colours. Even the larger options are very reasonably priced. Can you tell that I am in love with KALLAX shelving?
No matter how you store your yarn, always make sure that the yarn you have is yarn you love! Try to avoid hoarding yarn just to say you have a huge stash. It’s better to have a stash that’s filled with yarn you’ll actually use rather than yarn you don’t like. If you don’t like it, sell it or donate it to someone who will.

Do you have any tips that you’d like to share? How do you store your craft supplies? Don’t forget to let me know in the comments and share this post if you enjoyed it… ♥


My Favourite Washcloths · Free Crochet Pattern

It seems like such a long time since I last shared a free pattern with you all, but sometimes you create a design that’s so good that you can’t help but share it! If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that washcloths are one of my go-to destash projects. I love using up scraps of yarn for smaller projects and because I use so much cotton in my designs, you can only imagine how much I have left over. One day I’ll show you just how huge my yarn scraps box is. Or maybe not. It’s actually embarrassing at this point!

So, why is this pattern called My Favourite Washcloths? Well, because they’re just that! There’s something so special about their texture, durability and endless design possibilities. I have to say this is the only pattern I use for washcloths that need a bit of extra strength. They’re strong and beautiful… What could be better?

These cloths are not only cute and compact but they withstand endless washing without getting stretched out.

Let’s talk about that heathered effect. Crocheting with two strands of yarn held together allows you to create a really tactile, fun texture and lets you play around with colour in a really special way. What’s more, crocheting washcloths up using a hook size that’s a size smaller than recommended (as you’ll do in this pattern) gives your cloths extra durability and stops your cloths stretching out wash after wash. We all know that cotton can be an unforgiving fabric and can lose its shape over time, so these cloths are the perfect antidote to that. Also, the structure of this pattern gives the washcloths a really tactile look and they look amazing stacked up together. Don’t you just love that? Best of all, this pattern can very easily be customised and embellished using your own ideas. I’ll give you the basics and you can have fun playing around… Fancy stripes? Go for it! Want to add some bobbles? Yas! Go ahead and leave out the border if you like, but I prefer a simple border to give a ‘finished’ look, especially when combined with an adorable hanging cord – both cute and practical.

For these washcloths I will be using my trademark stitch – hdcbpo – half double crochet between the posts.
Sounds scary, right? Don’t worry though, because there’s a handy stitch diagram and full instructions below.

Are you ready? Let’s go! Don’t forget to credit me and tag me on social media (@emmaknitty) and use the hashtags below if you make this pattern. I would love to see your creations.

Hashtags: #emmaknitty #myfavouritewashcloths

Tools & Materials
(US terms)
To make TWO cloths (approx) you’ll need two 50g balls of 100% cotton yarn Sport weight yarn in the colours of your choice. I used scraps of Hobbii Baby Cotton Organic and Rainbow Cotton 8/6 as well as other scraps from my collection. Using two strands of Sport weight yarn held double equates to Worsted weight.
For the border (optional): One strand of Aran or heavier DK/Worsted weight cotton yarn.

4.00mm crochet hook, scissors and a yarn needle.

Ch, sc, hdc, hdcbpo, slst (chain stitch, single crochet, half double crochet between the posts, slip stitch).

Hdcbpo is created by inserting the hook between the hdc stitches of the previous round (see chart below).

Designer Tips:
Do you hate weaving in your ends? A useful technique to create a secure, invisible finish to your cotton projects is by working an invisible knot. To do this, as we are working with two strands, thread one strand of yarn onto your yarn needle and insert it into a place very close to where you’re working. Then take the other strand and double knot these two strands together. Cut the yarn as close as possible to the knot – taking care not to pull to tightly and pucker your work – and you’re done. This leaves a really clean and professional look.

Do you want to make these cloths bigger or smaller? Simply chain more (or less) at the beginning of your project. Bear in mind that this will affect the amount of yarn that you use.

These cloths may seem a little stiff at the beginning of your project. Don’t worry! They’re supposed to be sturdy in order to keep their shape and will soften up as you work, as well as wash after wash. However, if you feel like making these washcloths with a ‘looser’ feel, feel free to go up a hook size one or half a size.

Using two strands held together, ch 32.
Work one hdc into the second ch from the hook and in every ch across. Ch two and turn.
Work hdcbpo into every st, chaining two and turning at the end of each row, until you have 27 rows.
Break yarn and pull the yarn through the stitch to fasten off.

To make the border and hanging cord:
With the right side facing you and using your chosen yarn for the border, insert your hook into any corner of your work. Ch two (the first ch counts as a sc, the second ch as a corner chain space) and then work a sc into that same space. This forms your first corner. Work one sc into every stitch around your cloth. When you reach the end of the round, sl st into the first ch st you made to finish the border. Do not break your yarn.

To create the hanging cord, ch 16 and sl st into the same place you started to finish off. If you’d prefer a longer or shorter cord you can adjust the amount of chains you make, although 16 is a great number for a versatile cord size. Break the yarn, pull through the stitch and weave in your ends neatly and carefully.

…You’re all done. Doesn’t your cloth look lovely? If you want some design ideas, check out the photos below. I hope you enjoyed this fun pattern!


None of your Bizniz… Small Business Owner’s Pet Peeves, pt. 1.

Despite what people say, and what some cringey, misguided craft influencers might post Reels about (she got blocked, ☕️) , running a small business is no walk in the park. As much as I play it down because of my serious case of imposter syndrome, I run a small business, as do members of my close family, and we cope with the things that this way of life gives you. Working for yourself has its benefits and drawbacks much the same as working for an employer does, but it’s always difficult to explain to other people how and why working for yourself is more often than not fraught with worry. Like, how can it be? You are your own boss! You can do what you like! Right? Do you want a day off? Go for it! You jammy git. Working for yourself sounds so relaxing! Do you remember that bit in The Office UK Christmas Special when David Brent is newly self-employed and is laying in bed asking himself for a day off? Go and watch it now, it’s mega.

That isn’t to say that people who are ’employed’ don’t have any worries, OBVIOUSLY NOT. I was employed for all my adult life until two years ago. I also don’t want people who aren’t self-employed to think that this is a huge ‘woe is us’ exercise. Not at all. What I am saying, though, is that people often see self-employment as an easy way of working, and on top of that, small business owners almost always have to do practically everything themselves, from packing orders and making the actual stuff, to working on weekends to just get the bare minimum done so the weekdays don’t send you into a spiral of hatred and overwhelm, invoices and admin and working with your accountant who you also have to pay (a fact that people struggle with), answering emails straight away so you don’t potentially lose custom (the idea that if you don’t answer an email from a client/collaborator in less than 3 minutes can often trigger anxiety – what if they don’t buy the thing? They’ll leave a bad review! They might not want to work with me!), having to jump through the constantly-changing hoops that social media forces on us (algorithms can eff off), having to constantly sell yourself and push your products on peeps even when you feel like you’re being OTT, the pressure of sites like Etsy introducing their catty and frankly unfair “Star Seller” incentive that adds extra, uncalled for stress on small businesses (seriously, don’t get me started), and, bonus, we have actual lives with kids, other-halves, responsibilities and almost always full or part-time jobs, too.

I may be on the verge of another rant here – and I will be mentioning this again later – but for me, Etsy’s Star Seller incentive is yet another way of putting pressure on small businesses. Don’t even get me started on the people who brag about being Star Sellers, too. It’s the small biz equivelent of those people who dob you in to the dinner lady and show off their new Nike Air Max like a twat in the PE changing room saying how amazing they are when everyone else is struggling to afford trainers from the market. It’s a way of punishing small business owners who don’t have as much free time or responsibilities as others. I digress…

The next time a random tells you that you have it easy running a small business venture, wipe a bogie on them from me, will you?

So, it’s with great joy and love that I have the pleasure of sharing some of favourite small businesses’ pet peeves and things they can’t stand about running their small enterprises, because although being able to do what we enjoy as a hobby for actual work and money is beyond fabulous, you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. There isn’t light without dark, there isn’t… Yeah, you get the picture. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, etc. On with the show! All business owner’s first names/business names have been abbreviated for their privacy, obvs, and this article contains some strong language.

“Family and friends expecting everything for free…” – F

My loves, if I had a penny for every time I’ve heard this I would have a lot of pennies. One of the most disheartening things about being a small business that makes stuff is when people who are supposed to support you ask for freebies, somehow conveniently forgetting that actually doing so takes time away from creating items that will actually be SOLD for CASH. The best way of dealing with relatives and friends who do this (or your mum’s colleague’s neice’s neighbour who saw your work on Insta and would “LOVE” one of your blankets, for free) is to politely explain why it’s unreasonable that they’re asking for a free item. Ask them why they are expecting it for free. Or you could ask for a deposit. See them run.

“People who aren’t tech savvy blaming me when they can’t purchase/download one of my patterns” – B, and “The people who tell me to print their digital downloads for them” – T

Being able to sell digital items and generate a passive income is one of the many reasons I’m thankful to be living in a digital age, but sadly some people who aren’t used to our internetty world exist and blame YOU, YES YOU, who dares to sell these things in this way for their lack of knowledge and shortcomings in the world of digital downloads. It isn’t your fault, of course, and no matter how many times you might write “How to Download Digital Items” instructions on your website, Policies or FAQ they will still message you and threaten to give you a bad review or a legal letter (I wish I was making this shit up) if you don’t absolutely immediately send them the digital item via carrier pigeon or horse. Sadly, the best way of dealing with this stuff is by giving them the instructions again, and again, and probably once again for luck and then waiting for the “thank you” that will never arrive. Joyce, learn some manners and learn how to use the internet before you use the internet, k babes?

“When people treat your small business like it’s just a little hobby on the side. Like, bitch, I work f***ing hard!” – L

From the condescending remarks to the ‘when are you going to get a real job?’ to the frankly infuriating, ‘is that all you do all day? Sitting there knitting? You make money from that, then? Weird… Lol’ it’s often bloody hard to convince people that doing something that isn’t a standard desk job or working down a mine shaft IS WORK. Some people see you crafting and making stuff and automatically assume that it cannot be possible for you to make money from it, pay tax, put food on the table and generally live off it. Who knows if this will change with time? I hope so.

“The constant need to create content that generates sales is actual BS” – R

Content creation (despite how many posers will try and dress it up) is basically taking photos or making graphics and putting them on your social media platforms, and it’s hard work, and most of the time you can’t win. Post too much? You’ll be seen as spammy by customers and/or the algorithm (ugh) will think you’re a bot and hide your posts from followers. Aside from working around the unpredictability of the algorithm’s PMS, coming up with ideas is exhausting and unforgiving. So yeah, it’s actual BS, for real. I Iliterally have nothing else to add here apart from we’re all in the same blinkin’ boat, even the biggest names in the biz have trouble, too.

“Blunt requests like PRICE? Or if the item is €25 they message you saying ‘I’ll pay €20, no more’. Umm, no you won’t!” – S

Would you walk into ASDA or Mercadona, pick up a box of Milk Tray and tell the cashier, “I’ll pay 2 quid for these, no more’? I’d wager that you wouldn’t. Would you stroll into Zara, pick up a handbag and say, “this is nice but €60 is a bit steep. I can only go up to €30 on this. Sorry, hun xxx”. No. So, why do people think this is okay with small businesses? Some people treat purchasing handmade items much like one would act in the Souk Semmarine, haggling and bartering with the sellers until they get a good price. If you ever find yourself in this sticky situation, remind the buyer of the price again and if they don’t like that, they can bugger off to Primark. In terms of the blunt requests, I have started deleting all blunt requests from my comment feed and inbox, even if they are surrounded by emojis, like that suddently makes their rude YARN? PRICE? WHAT IS THIS? comment more palatable. These people will not be your customers, supporters or friends, so sod them. Also, I’ve heard people remark about this saying things like ‘Oh, it isn’t meant rudely’ or ‘they’re just asking’, to which I will say, I don’t care if you’re just asking, insert some please and thank you’s. It means a lot. You’re talking to a fellow human being. Manners, Mavis.

“People asking what patterns I use. They want to make it themselves instead of buying the item from me…” L

There are WIDELY differing views on this. Some small business owners I know have no issue with sharing the yarns they use, patterns they work from and even sharing elements of their business model and how many times they go to the loo every day. That’s cool and I respect these people because you can run your venture however the dickens you like. However, a lot of us don’t think that this information should be a free for all, and I’m one of them. You may have gathered this already if you follow me on social media…. HEY GIRL, HEY. My personal belief is that my work, process and materials are sacred and are to be protected. Hours of research, trial and error goes into that stuff and I will not be spreading that precious knowledge freely. Sorry about it. I tend to ignore messages and comments that ask what yarn and stitches I use (especially if the pattern will be charged for later on. Blame having patterns stolen in the past for that), where I bought it, etc. I’m not being a bitch or a gatekeeper, but it’s the way I do things and I love the element of exclusivity.

One tip for people who would like to know about the process or materials a crafter uses: be polite and don’t get in a piss if the maker declines to tell you. If you want to know the yarn and stitches used, support the maker and buy the pattern or item.

“The fact that people think you should respond to their messages straight away. They never think that it’s just one person doing everything and that they may have families or even a full-time job!” – S

Gosh darn it, this is atrocious and brings us once again to ENTITLEMENT. That needed to be in uppercase.
One thing that gets my goat hugely is when people ask a question, usually at 7am when you’re getting your kids ready for school or 2am or on Christmas Day or on a Sunday – and get in a piss when you don’t reply instantly. Normally this is followed up by a few “ANSWER ME” type messages and by the time you read them they’ve threatened to take you to court and drag your business’s name through the mud. I mean, how very dare you take weekends off and take a break from social media and not respond to messages! Because you want to be a Star Seller? Really? You like that useless pressure? How cool of you… Another phenomenon is when people suddenly people think that, as well as running your tiny business you are also in charge of DHL and Correos and Royal Mail and can control exactly where a parcel is. Funny.

Of course we should all answer messages promptly, politely and as quickly as possible. I have beef with sellers who ignore messages regarding purchases, tell fibs about tracking numbers and shipping dates (sipping tea, don’t mind me) and other bad things like that, but if you’re messaging small businesses on a weekend or during inhospitable hours, don’t be a dick if they don’t respond immedately. Just like that person who works in the supermarket, in an office, hospital or wherever, we all have delays, days off and responsibilities.

“When people leave a glowing review and then give you three stars…” – A

I think that a lot of the time this is because the person leaving the review isn’t very internet-savvy and just doesn’t realise that they can actually click the star icons, but either way it’s annoying as heck. There’s nothing worse than Chantelle in Luton buying your pattern or candle and saying everything was AMAZING and LOVELY and your packaging was SO PRETTY and that she’s going to offer you her gorgeous, Jamie Dornan-lookalike brother for a night of passion only to then notice that she’s given you one star. That stuff matters, sadly and it’s often the first thing that people see when they load up your shop… Oof! Maybe we should start writing FAQs and Policies about that? No that anyone would read them, obviously…

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed their woes and irks to this article – it couldn’t have been written without you! Some answers were duplicates and have been integrated into one, but I read and laughed/cried/punched a wall when looking at them. You’re all amazeballs, mean it.

Do you have any experiences with any of these, or did we miss any out? Let me know in the comments!


Katia Yarns · S/S ‘2022 · Sneak Peek

Yarn lovers say “HOOOO”!

I can’t remember the last time I did a yarn review, but when I first started this blog it was my goal to write one a week… And that didn’t always happen, let’s be honest! It’s nice to get back into it, and I’m kicking off this review with some of the most beautiful yarn I’ve seen in years. I’m not even exaggerating…

Sometimes you get to play with yarns that are so special and precious that you can’t even believe that they’re real. Does that sound dramatic? Probably, but I can’t wait to show you these absolute jewels of yarn that are coming to Katia during the Spring and Summer of 2022. Are you ready to be blown away?

One of the very first brands I came across after moving to this vibrant country they call Spain was the Catalán brand Katia. From basic acrylics and baby yarns to super-luxury, super-on-trend products I was fully impressed by their awe-inspiring range for the first time I entered my local yarn shop. I remember that the first yarn I tried from Katia was their classic, chunky Alaska to make a hat with and it didn’t disappoint.

When it comes to Made in Spain (or more precisely, Catalunya), I’m obsessed! I was lucky enough to live in the Barcelona area for three years, so when an opportunity came up recently to try out some unreleased yarns for Katia I was absolutely on board… Let’s take a cheeky look at some fabulous yarns that will be joining their range next year.

Katia Yarns · S/S ‘2022 · Sneak Peek

Sweet Cocoon, 50g
Gauge: 22 sts, 33 rows – 10x10cm
Composition: 65% viscose, 35% polymide
Hook and needle size: 4.5mm

This lovely, soft, tubular yarn has a superior silky feel and is the perfect vegan yarn.

What can I make with it? Try whipping up a light but cosy spring sweater for the little ones – this yarn will look exceptional with textured stitches like moss stitch, cables and fisherman’s rib – and really let the fullness of this yarn sing.

Gauge: 30 sts, 35 rows – 10x10cm
Composition: 50% cotton, 50% upcycled marine plastic
Hook and needle size: 3-3.5mm

We LOVE an eco-friendly yarn, and with 50% upcycled marine plastic, this yarn is not only beautiful to look at and work with, but beautiful for our planet, too. By purchasing and working with this yarn, you are encouraging a better way of living, with every hank containing a helping of nasty plastics that are destroying our seas.

What can I make with it? Shawls and wraps, floaty tops and anything that needs a touch of lightness and gentle colourplay.

Easy Knit Cotton, 100g
Gauge: 15 sts, 19 rows – 10x10cm
Composition: 50% cotton, 50% upcycled marine plastic
Hook and needle size: 5-6mm

Good quality chunky cottons are hard to come by, so this yarn is a real treat! With a silky feel and gentle shimmer, and with a lightness that’s also durable, this yarn will be your go-to for any modern cotton project.

What can I make with it? Placemats, textured washcloths and baby clothes will look fab. Heirloom baby blankets would come out wonderfully given the drape of this yarn.

Concept Bereber, Louvre & Marmara

Bereber, 50g.
Gauge: 34 sts, 31 rows x 10x10cm
Composition: 75% cotton, 18% viscose, 7% polyester
Hook and needle size: 3-3.5mm

Marmara, 50g

Gauge: 20 sts, 27 rows x 10x10cm
Composition: 65% cotton, 23% silk, 12% viscose
Hook and needle size: 4-4.5mm

Louvre, 50g

Gauge: 29 sts, 36 rows x 10x10cm
Composition: 3% polyester, 96% viscose, 1% polymide
Hook and needle size: 2.5-3mm

Katia’s Concept range never fails to impress and this trio of new yarns is no different! Evoking images of vintage sari, spices and exotic adventures, the colour play, speckles and shimmer in Louvre, Marmara and Bereber will inspire to to create something truly incredible. If you need some yarn to elevate your stash, these are for you.

What can I make with them? Think SPECIAL THINGS. Shawls with more shimmer than you ever thought possible, glistening seasonal decorations, magical accessories for the kids, the sky’s the limit!

Re-Tape Craft, 50g
Gauge: 17 sts, 23 rows x 10x10cm
Composition: 48% cotton, 52% polyester
Hook and needle size: 5.5-6mm

This recycled yarn is the bee’s knees. Not only does it have awesome speckles (who doesn’t love a speckle?) but it’s durable, semi-stretchy and full of fun.

What can I make with it? Try it out on statement summer clothing and even home accessories like crocheted hanging candle covers, faux-macrame projects, coasters and small trinket baskets.

United Cotton, 25g
Gauge: 19 sts, 25 rows x 10x10cm
Composition: 100% cotton
Hook and needle size: 2.5-3mm

The ball band of this cute little yarn says ‘non-stop creativity’ and it’s no joke. There’s nothing like XS yarn balls to whet your appetite as a maker, and if you love making toys, decorations, granny squares and anything that calls for smaller amounts of yarn, United Cotton’s 25g balls have you covered.

What can I make with it? Amigurumi, small home decor pieces like coasters, tassels and fringes.

Did you like looking at these yarns? Don’t forget to checkout Katia’s website and social media pages for more info on when these yarns will be released…

These yarns were gifted by Katia as part of a PR package.