Spice of Life CAL part 4

   
    
 
This was my favourite week so far, in terms of the pattern, but I might have said that last week? If I did then it’s no bad thing; as it obviously means my enjoyment is increasing, not waning!

My colours:

Fill the gap: parchment, storm blue (love it!) denim, grape

Trebles: grey, silver 

Tulips: sage x2, clematis, stone

Trebles: raspberry x2

Waves: Parma violet, lavender, grey

Puffs: Storm blue, grape, denim, sage

Trebles: silver, grape x2, parchment  

There have been so many ‘I’m really glad the puffs are done’ and ‘I hated the puffs’ comments on the Facebook group page that even I was feeling a bit apprehensive about them. And I don’t usually get in a state about crochet. I haven’t done any puff stitches for ages, but actually they’re fine! As with lots of the stitches I thought might need to be looser, I used my 4.5mm hook. I ended up quite enjoying them, but have to say that they are definitely yarn eaters. 

I’m tempted to crop the second photo so you can’t see the ends that crept into the frame, but I’ll fess up here and now that I haven’t darned a single one yet. My excuse reason is that I’ll probably need to steam block again, when the blanket’s finished, and  don’t want my neatly darned threads popping out when it’s pinned out.

Phew now that’s off my chest I shall sleep easier. Ha! 

Nearly there

  My William Morris inspired motif blanket has been keeping me occupied during the evenings this week. I’ve crocheted a jaygo row each sitting and when I realised I’d done the last row I felt jubilant. This has not been a swift make with all those ends to darn, plus the fact that I designed my own motifs after making a quarter of the original blanket.   Next I need to darn in two ends of yarn for every block then steam block it in sections to get it to relax and motifs to line up. Lastly it needs a border.  I’ve planned the overall size to be roughly 6′ by 4′ so it can be a good sized blanket to snuggle in, but also for the intended use of going at the end of a double bed. It coordinates with a pair of William Morris design curtains; which explains the colour scheme and its name. 

I look forward to wrapping it up in Christmas paper (“Think of it as delayed gratification” I shall say) and presenting it to the person who asked me to make a replacement blanket for the now slightly moth eaten one her Grandmother (my Great-Grandmother) crocheted for her when she was a teen, who chose the colours and who has (mostly) waited patiently for its completion. 

 I might get an Easter egg after all. 

CROCHET

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Lately I’ve been whipping up dishcloths. I’ve tried a few different, slightly fancier, versions in the past but apparently the plain and simple trebles give good scrub-ability! I’ve been knitting or crocheting dishcloths for several years now as they’re very popular with a few relatives. One boils hers every week and so it’s been a stringent test of my darning! (Passed. Gold star.)

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I’m trying to get on with the motif blanket now. I’ve crocheted one motif in about four weeks so have to really get cracking ….tra la la la la, la la la la and all that….

I’ve darned as I’ve gone lately, but as you see some of the motifs I began with are not yet; so the middles are a bit pulled out, they’ll be nice and tightly uniform at the end.

Are you crocheting at the mo?

Al fresco crochet

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It is such beautiful weather here at the moment that it just feels wrong to stay inside.

I started a ripple on Monday night but had to order some yarn before I could continue. Luckily I already had two of the greys I wanted to use as they’re the same I’m using for my other blanket, so at least I could make a start. I actually haven’t touched a hook for weeks; a combination of a sore elbow (acupuncture is really helping) and just wanting a break. It was a refreshing break, but I was absolutely raring to go once my plan was approved at the weekend. I’ve offered a crocheted blanket birthday pressie to a special someone as I’ve had her kind of colours in mind for ages, and fancied crocheting another ripple. I’m a little surprised I’m so keen as I became quite bored by the end of The Rhubarb Ripple. My offer was immediately taken up and so I’ve been happily zipping along the rows today. The motif blanket will wait for a while. This is easier crochet; it’s fast to add new colours and decide which next. I tend to need my leg up to join as you go (do you?! Is this just me?!) so it makes it sofa crochet, not al fresco crochet so much.

Hurrah! My new yarn came this morning! I could hear the rustle of the sack arriving from my spot (reading in the bath, hard work these summer hols.) Deramores have been undercut by Wool Warehouse on Stylecraft Special DK by 30p a ball at the moment. I have to say that as both offer speedy service and free p&p when you spend £25 it wasn’t a tricky decision to use WW for this order. 30p less for a ball is 30p saved. Or, spent on more yarn…

The bright pink was always going to be a gamble without actually seeing a ball. It’s not quite right is it? It jars with the scrummy raspberry, the sharp lime green (new colour) and the delicious graphic, silver and grey. The darker shades are midnight blue and emperor penguin purple. Someone suggested I use the bright pink to embroider “Get off, this is Mummy’s!” Ha! I must tell her this when I give the blanket.

My charity shop find basket is perfect for al fresco crochet. It’s very good at standing to attention with the yarn ball in use rolling around on top. I need a yarn bowl really, but it does the job of keeping it off the grass. Can you see I replaced the bag’s sequins? I preferred the scuffed brown originals really I realise, now it’s done. Too late!

What are you crocheting or making? Or are you having a crafty break?

Progress report

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Oh yes, I’m pleased with this joining malarkey. Choose the outer colour, zip around round 3 and join one side of round 4. It feels like a fast way of making a blanket.

I’ve just unravelled the matador red motifs, apart from those with it in the middle. It’s not going to work. It was always a bold colour choice – to match William Morris’s red flower centres – but any more than a little splash is going to set the teeth on edge, especially with so much peach going into the mix too.

Random fact: the curtains were originally chosen, in fact the whole room was coordinated, around a cream and peach tapestry cushion I made years back. I know this probably isn’t that interesting without pics but I’m still under house arrest. I’m going to try driving tomorrow with a heavy duty support on the peg. See, you get all the highlights during these days of being patient.

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I just had the nicest compliment, via the tweet machine this morning, about my last post. It was from Jennifer Reid who is a crochet designer for Inside Crochet and Simply Crochet magazines. You’ll recognise her patterns straight away if you buy those mags and check Ravelry. It’s always a lovely surprise to hear from different people. She’s also a member of the Darning Sisterhood – the leave them to the end club. Anyone else want to join?

Throw another one in the basket

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Friday night’s been G&T time for a long, long time but nowadays Friday night is cocktail night. This week it was mojitos. Mmmmm. I might do a cocktail post of my faves, with recipes sometime. I keep sorely trying someone’s patience while I photograph them before drinking commences!

Fresh juicy cherries and crochet go well.

My Japanese steel snips are incredibly sharp; I have to take care around these. So much faster than grappling for scissors can be, they slide into a plastic cover when not in use. It’s a good job as even the ends are razor-sharp. They were a gift from a posh shop which sells household goods.

I can’t believe how many half completed motifs I’ve done, already. I edge a diddy little middle with a second round and throw it into the basket I rescued from a friend’s jumble sale bag. One (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure.

It’s nearly time to edge some with the third row and join while crocheting the fourth. I’m looking forward to placing the colours and seeing how the overall effect works. It’s definitely a different sort of palate for me.

….Oh and oh yes…the ends. Well I just read Heather’s thoughts about darning, rather than crocheting over them, and realised she’s a kindred spirit in this respect. I groan about them a bit and resolve to tackle the ends as I go but rarely do; getting absorbed in the act of creating. Select the colour, crochet the round, snip the tail, throw the motif into the basket and onto the next. Usually I darn them listening to an audio book, or semi watching a film and find it a soothing activity in itself. This weekend’s film was one I seem to have missed at the time. I really enjoyed the undemanding, sweet, sometimes funny, little story.

What are you up to at the moment?

Zippidy do-dah

Well I never! Zippidy do-dah as in The Jungle Book Disney’s Song of the South (Never heard of it! Is it one to watch?) is actually spelt Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah! The things you find out when checking spelling. I’m sticking with my version.

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I wasn’t planning to write this down, but I actually though I was a bit off crochet. Maybe the huge enthusiasm I’d had for it over the last few years had died down, and that was ok.  But it turns out it was because I last bought a big batch of new yarn in Autumn 2012. Waste not want not, I’ve been using up left-overs, plus I’ve gradually been buying sewing materials. But the pleasure in taking off the bands of brand new yarn – 11 brand new balls of yarn! Using virgin yarn which hasn’t been unraveled, or wound into a smaller balls and put in an oddments bag and in new colours too is so enjoyable.

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I didn’t choose the colours for this project (apart from substituting the gorgeous new Spice for Jaffa, as I found out Jaffa is Nemo neon orange.) I just left my Stylecraft catalogue and picked it up with all the ticks under the shades, but the combination is pleasing. I particularly like the rich Walnut brown, the teddy bear Mocha, orange Spice and Matador red paired together. These have a rather retro, back to the 70s feel. Sometimes it feels as if brown is an outcast, with the current craze for Cath Kidson reds, pinks, pale greens and blues – I love them too. Brown isn’t a colour I gravate to usually, in yarn or clothes, but this palate is somewhat rich and earthy. It’s to coordinate with curtains of a William Morris design, and I’m really enjoying the new colours. I can’t find the WM design on Google images and didn’t think to photograph the curtains. I will next time I visit.

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Why Zippidy-do-dah? Because this is my progress from just two sittings. The first evening I started to crochet I ended up making 44 middles – 4 of each of the 11 colours. I do like the magic loop method. Then before I knew it I’d completed the second round of 22 of them. Last night I completed the second round of all but a few of the other 22. I’m making sure I use all the colours, but also ordered extra balls of camel, cream, silver and parchment so I can make extra motifs with just these to balance out the stronger colours. Matador type red only features a little in the curtain fabric, as the centre of some flowers, so although I’ve discovered I love it and Spice together I must be careful not to overwhelm the blanket.

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Did I mention the mmmm smell of a sackful of new yarn? There’s something new car-ish about it. Oh Wool Only purists please don’t shake your heads like that!

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Here are the colours listed from left to right, top row first, in case you’re feeling 70’s retro inspired (or have William Morris fabric!)
silver :: grey :: walnut :: copper :: spice :: mocha :: matador
parchment :: cream :: camel :: apricot::

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I’m hobbling now, with only a small lurch and can go upstairs slowly one foot at a time, not crawling or one foot, then the other per step. Hurrah! The Goldfinch Audio book has been great company – wow – I listened to 7 hours 43 minutes of it yesterday. Kudos to David Pittu for being about to narrate young and old, male and female voices so convincingly, accents too. It’s 32 hours long so 7:43 is a drop in the ocean. I’m glad because I’m enjoying it so much. AND How to Make an American Quilt is on the way via LoveFilm by post, my last DVD before my membership ends. It’s all looking up.

The thing is –

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The thing is that there is a fact which cannot be disputed; even with all the blocking in the world if one crochet square is bigger than the other five, it will still be bigger at the end of the steaming, pinning and drying.

The blanket’s now edged with rows of plum, pomegranate and that pinky pink (‘sugar mouse’ ‘baby doll’ ?!) and has neat corner holes, but that larger diagonally worked block is still straining up, asserting that it’s the biggest and best, wanting to be out on it’s own. Lots of us on the CAL used to moan about these blocks being larger, misshapen and pretty ugly looking.

You’re not going to see a photo of the finished mini blankey. It’s been thrown into a basket ready for giving away. I couldn’t spare the energy even to photograph it I’m afraid. I couldn’t bear to unravel every row and all the DC joins and make a replacement block either. Still, soon it will be covering dolls, hopefully without any design critique.

It’s a lesson for when I eventually join my other CAL blocks: too big and you’re out, or in a special project of your own, as the thing is there’s no way to make you fit.

Huge granny square blanket – finished!

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Otherwise known as the Tilting Granny Squares blanket! Sounds ridiculous, I know, but I didn’t actually notice the tilty nature of the squares until I’d crocheted about six. This was probably due to the cider and chat as I crocheted lots of them in pubs with other crochet and knitty folk. I was momentarily tempted to undo, or worse – throw them away – but then decided just to go with it. The end result is strangely pleasing. We really like the tilting!

I Googled tilting granny squares and it seems it’s very common when you crochet many rounds, or make one of those blankets where they’re basically one huge granny square. Have a look online at granny square blanket pics and you’ll begin to notice it a lot. I did wonder about making a Pinterest ‘Tilting squares’ board as I went, but thought some people might not be very pleased to see their work! Now I wonder if you see a photo of a blanket heaped on a chair, never spread out, then it might be hiding it’s tilty nature! I’ve spotted tilting target square cushions too.

Tilting is thought to perhaps be down to tension. I reckon it’s more likely to just be the gentle drag of the hook as you repeatedly go in the same direction.  One way to avoid tilting is apparently to change direction on every round. I asked a crochet and knitting designer and she said hers tilt too and it’s ‘just one of those things.’ On a forum I read someone had suggested you embrace it and make a feature out of tilting squares, and that’s what I decided to do. At first I considered laying them out so they tilted in the same direction per row, order in disorder, but ignored the thought and concentrated on colour placement of the squares. I joined the squares listening to the final chapters of this bookaudio book cover. I was addicted to the story, completely engrossed.

I wanted to use up all my odd balls of Stylecraft Special DK and I really didn’t ever intend to keep the blanket. I ordered the multi-coloured SS DK packs when I was new to crochet, now I want to choose my own combinations. I’d planned to give this stash busting blanket away, or maybe try to sell it. But with the tilting factor it’s so quirky and fun that it’s here to stay. Last night I felt chilly curled up on the sofa, so it’s been christened already.

Details:

Blanket weighs: 1.362 kg

Measurements: 70″ long, 52″ wide (single bed size, or to wrap self in on the sofa!)

Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK

Hook size: 4mm

Granny square:

There are many similar patterns but here’s the version I like to use:

FR: Ch 5, join with a ss

R1: Ch 3 (= 1 tr) 2 tr, 3 ch, 3tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr, 3 ch around, join with a ss into 3rd st of ch 3.

R2: Ch 4 (=1 tr, 1 ch) then in next chain space work  3 tr, 1 ch, work (3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr) in corner, repeat around and then 3 tr, 3ch, 2 tr and join with a ss into 3rd st of initial ch 3.

R3: Ch 3 (=1 tr) then into same space work 2 tr, 1 ch, repeat along edge chain spaces, (3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr) into corner spaces. Join with a ss into 3rd st of initial ch 3.

Repeat R3 until you have 20 rounds in total.

Make a dozen 20 round squares, then join as you go using one colour to frame the squares. I think it looks ‘bare’ without a border.

My border: 6 rows of cream trebles (3 tr, 1 ch around with 3 tr, 3 ch, 3 tr at the corners.)

R7: 1 row of DC in cream (3 dc into the corner chain spaces)

R8: 1 row of DC in pomegranate (3 dc into the corner chain spaces)

R9: Dinky pointy edge: * 1 ss into each of next 3 dc, then in next dc (1 dc, 2 ch, 1 dc) * Repeat from * to * around.

Snuggle.

Not quite 10 Random Things

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Oooh I thought when I saw this shepherd’s hut a while back. I parked and walked back to have a peer at it. Actually it’s only got that tiny little window so wouldn’t be a great craft hideaway, which is probably a good thing as in a nanosecond I was already planning where to park it in the back garden and musing about taking it to the seaside. Mad. And no, that’s not expensive at all. Is it? Ha!
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I went to a food and craft fair a few weeks ago with a friend. We were a bit disappointed to find the craft part was really just a few tables with jewellery, homemade cards, decoupage kits although one had these rather lovely vintage fabric owl cushions and things. The food part was redundant as we’d already eaten mystery sausage baps at mine before leaving. Mystery for her as I made her guess the flavours as I chose them from my super local butchers (homemade meaty sausages. Yum) This time they were pork, celery and Stilton. She liked them too.

Tiny confession: The food wasn’t 100% redundant as I bought homemade fudge and I think my friend chose pick ‘n mix. I can’t be sure as my eyes were firmly fixed on my slices of fudge.

We each bought raffle tickets to support the local cause and later she had a call to say there was an arty raffle prize on the way! Lucky duck…not really as it turned out to be an Usborne book on Modern Art, for children. I’m going to give it to my nieces.

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Six rainbow trout freshly caught in a Wiltshire lake. One bartered for cider at the local shop, one to a neighbour, two smoked to be eaten as potted trout or just as they are with salad. Yum. I bought a Fladen home smoker so the fisherman’s experimenting with whisky, hickory and applewood smoking chips. I like the whisky (cask) chips best so far. The other fishes are in the freezer getting in my way as they are solid slightly curled forms so hinder neatly stacking tubs. (Before you leave ‘Urgh’ comments on my behalf about finding trout in the sink, I don’t mind at all. I vacate the kitchen, after opening the window and door then let the cleaning begin. The only issue last Autumn was the windows being left open during the first home smoker test. The house stank of hickory smoke!)
A few days ago the shopkeeper gave us a leg of pork as another thank you for the (unbartered) trout he’s had over the last few years, and the neighbour bought some German Friendship Cake batter around. I love this type of thing!

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My Bondaweb finally arrived so I could have a second go at applique. The blue bird was my first go, then I adjusted the stitch and felt happier with the other, though went a bit off track on his head.
This bag is all ready to applique. I fixed the petals on with Bondaweb, at the same time as I prepared the birdie tea towels, but it doesn’t entirely like the canvas. They’re pinned as well now; just in case I find petals on the floor. I might applique them by hand, it depends how I find the thickness of the canvas. The fabric is from a pack of fat quarters I bought from Amazon. It turns out not to be a good idea to buy fabric online, unless it’s a brand you know. It’s very thin.

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Here’s my unplanned and unexpected find from yesterday. We were mooching around a smallish and not particularly lovely little town we once lived for a year. It was a stick a pin in a map at a halfway point kind of decision then, and it worked. There are so many charity shops now. The vintage style flowers caught my eye, then the 100% cotton label. I bought it purely for the fabric. How about a flowery tote bag for the Summer? It’s thin enough to sew with my little machine, thick enough for shopping or carrying books. It cost £2.95!
I’ve spent several years reading blogs where someone’s visited their local op, thift or charity shop and picked up a real find. Well I think this is mine!

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This morning’s crochet for a few minutes. It’s the final edging row, I’m halfway around and then another blanket bites the dust!
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The tomato plants getting some sun toughening up outside, jogging on the spot and doing crunches (whatever they are?!) before they go into grow bags. Hopefully we’ll have bowlfuls of red Gardener’s Delight cherry tomatoes and some yellow Golden Sunrise. I need a really good crop as I’m competing with a friend this year. Greenhouses are for sissy tomatoes!!!!

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I hope you’ve had a restful Sunday too. If you plan to post your own 10ish Random Things please leave a comment or link below, I’d like to read yours.

Joining

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I’m on the last section of joining (as you go method) of my huge granny square blanket. It’s a good feeling to be near the end, especially after all the darning I saved till the end. Never again I say each time, but then get carried away enjoying the crochet.
I’m not sure what to do borderwise. I think it’s best to keep it simple, I’m not convinced a fancy edging goes with the straightforwardness of granny squares.

What do you reckon?

Soothing Granny Squares

After a really really frustrating week, craft wise, with faulty knitting needles, the wrong size cables for my new KnitPro Symfonie interchangeable needle set (bought with my crochet commission ) and a pattern I can’t seem to get to grips with (does it work for lefties???? Is it me???? I’ve turned to the designer for help and will hopefully see what’s the issue next week) I’ve turned to my soothing easy-to-do-with-your-eyes-closed (I’ve tried) huge granny squares.

I’ve just arrived at a hotel and am in the room waiting for my weekend with the girls to begin. Roll on wine, chocolate etc as well as some longish bracing seaside walks, we hope! Meanwhile I thought I’d show you how my huge Granny Squares are going along. Last night I crocheted the rest of the squares’ centres as it feels downhill from there if you know you have all the pieces in progress. It works for me anyway.

I like these cheery squares but have to admit that I feel I’ve used this combination of colours enough now; which is why I wanted to use up my leftovers and move on to others in the future.

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20131129-151103.jpgThe number of times I’ve changed the title of this post is laughable – Granny love – sounds a bit dodgy to me today, Granny therapy – err no, Soothing Huge Grannies – hmmmm not! Think I might need the clarity a glass or two of wine will bring…

Have a fun weekend all. See you on the other side!

Slightly fuzzy photos of many treasures

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Snapped with my iphone which never takes great photos when the light levels are low; but I really like the colour combination of this crocheted blanket.

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I remember reading the same edition of Heidi when I was little, it was given to me by a relative who had kept her copy from when she was a young girl.

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There are crocheted, knitted and embroidered items dotted around, you never know what you’ll find.

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Treasure trove!
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So delicate and pretty

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And home to start crocheting string bag v.II. I’ve been pinning things for ages but just this week really, finally, understood how useful Pinterest can be after finding an assortment of string bags with links to FREE patterns.

This was my first trip out since getting ill. It was on Thursday and I was more than ready to leave the house, feeling fairly confident that all would be well. It was, apart from getting caught in a rain shower and slowly (quickly) turning into a drowned rat clothed in a jeans and a light Summer top. Then I passed someone I haven’t seen for fifteen years but the moment wasn’t right to call out a hello, with looking half drowned still and standing in pouring rain. Oops!

I was meant to be at Lucy’s Attic 24 open studio day today, but then for various reasons we had to cancel our weekend in Yorkshire. Ever have a few weeks where events you’ve really looked forward to don’t happen, as if on a roll of blah?

I shall cloak myself with optimism, put my happy (ier) face on and set out to find something cheering this morning. If it’s worth sharing I shall report back later. Wish me luck!

What are your plans today? I hope you have a good day.

Baby Jewel Blanket – FINISHED!

I started this (mostly) Jewel Baby Blanket straight after Christmas for a baby who was due to be born in the middle of this week. As the Mum-to-be was at a wedding yesterday, dancing and scoffing wedding cake, I’d say there’s probably no new-born baby yet!

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It took a while to complete this because I got a bit bored with darning the ends. I’m wondering if next time I could carry the yarn up the side and continue using them with no cutting, then crochet in the ‘floats’ when I do the border? I’ve learnt that with some projects it’s pointless resolving to darn-as-you-go; it’s not going to happen as you enjoy picking the next colour and zipping along the rows with a smoking hot hook.IMG_2324

Details:

Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK

1. Meadow

2. Plum

3. Sherbert

4. Pomegranate

5. Aster

6. Lipstick

7. Turquoise

Hook: 4mm

Stitches: trebles, half trebles, doubles (UK)

Pattern/Design: My own

Length: 37″ Width: 33″

Weight: 448g

IMG_2331I’m not entirely convinced about the side edges. As there was a mix of stitches adding the htr around the first stitches for the FR of the border left some gaps. I think this was where the first stitch was a turning chain on treble rows. After a bit of consultation I went into the space after the second stitch. It adds a rather rustic look to the sides whereas the top and bottom (see the edge on the right in the above photo) are very much neater. I like the 2 tr, 2ch, 2 tr holey corners, that’s the look of a proper crocheted blanket!IMG_2343

Overall I’m pleased with this blanket; the colours are bright as I aimed to avoid the pastel-yuck palate that is used for so many baby items. The turquoise border seems to bring it all together. I’m going to have a think about alternative ways to deal with the initial row of a border going down the side edges of a multi-stitch blanket. I know some published crochet and knitting designers follow this blog – so if you have any advice it is welcome. :-)

As you see we now have sunshine! Hurray! Have a good Sunday, wherever you are in the world. (CAL post to follow, umm errr when I’ve crocheted this week’s blocks.)

Rainbow Granny Stripe #2 finished!

It’s finished! I did the final round of the picot edging on Sunday. That’s the fourth and final blanket of the year. Phew! I think I’m going to have  a break from blanket making for a bit.
Apart from one row in the middle somewhere (where I’d run out of yarn and so had to substitute another colour) the colours are in the same order as for the first blanket. They were randomly chosen and seemed to work, so I just worked from the list I made in the summer.
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Have a look here if you want to see the first blanket. As before the colours for the edging were chosen by the future birthday girl.

The yarn is the Stylecraft Special DK pack that Deramores and Masons sell, there are 17 colours. It’s nice to work with and apparently washes well. I used a 4mm hook. It’s a single bed size , shown folded in half here in my pics.

If you fancy making a Granny Stripe blanket too you can find the pattern here on Lucy’s blog: Attic 24

Now I’m working on Blooming Flower cushion #2.  A certain little someone has asked me a few times “Are you making my blanket and flower now?” and I’ve grinned at her. Next week she’ll get to put it on her bed, then both little girls will have rainbow brightness.

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Rhubarb Ripple blanket

It’s finished! Two blankets finished in a week feels very good.
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To edge or not to edge? It just looked raw as it was, the edges appear very uneven in the photo but it’s just that I didn’t straighten it out on the carpet very well.

In the end after a fair bit of thought, and Googling others’ finished ripples, I decided that less is more. I really like the rippled top and bottom edges so just crocheted 3 rows of dc along the sides.

As everyone does, here are lots and lots of photos. I did try for a whole blanket shot but it’s so tricky and the light was bad in the bedrooms. If Summertime I could have laid it on the grass and stood on a step-ladder, but it would probably have flown away today! The thing to do is get your tape measure out, squint at the photos and visualise the finished blanket. :-)
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Pattern: Attic 24

Measurements: 125cm x 180cm

Weight of finished blanket: 1.236g

80 stripes: 2 rows = 1 stripe

Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK

Hook: 4mm

10 colours:

1188 Lavender

1084 Magenta

1065 Meadow

1241 Fondant

1083 Pomegranate

1390 Clematis

1061 Plum

1432 Wisteria

1019 Cloud Blue

1003 Aster

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I’ve now crocheted 4 complete blankets, with a 5th in progress at the moment. The Rhubarb Ripple is my favourite which is funny as I just grabbed a few colours out of my pack of Stylecraft to try the ripple stitch for the first time. I liked it so much I just carried on and it evolved into a blanket!

It’s Blog Law that you photograph blankets you’ve made folded up together, so here you are:
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Paintbox blanket

It’s finished!

99 squares single crocheted together (right sides together so little ridges on the back of the blanket) with a few alternating rows of trebles and doubles for edging. I could’ve gone on going around and around for a long time but it felt time to stop!

Choosing where to put each colour was quite a fun process and involved me crawling around the floor moving squares while S called out “move that yellow one left…. NO…to the right of the purple one I mean…now put the purple at the top….and the orange needs to go down a row…” We then looked at it for a day or so until it really was getting difficult to move around it without the risk of spilling coffee (the horror!) I decided it was ok, took a photo on my iPhone and then used that as a reference when I crocheted the squares together.

9 x 11 squares
Blanket measures: 110cm x 140cm ish
Weighs: 900g
Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK
Hook: 4mm

This is a surprisingly heavy weight and cosy blanket when you’re snuggled underneath it.

The light’s not so good at the moment as we have very grey skies and rainy weather so sorry about the darkish photos!

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The back….

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It’s happened again???

I’ve been merrily crocheting the edges of each coloured alternative granny target square in cream, in groups of 5 at a time. I’ve completed the last today and now have 100. Hurray! Gold medal in crochet for Team GB please :-D

But how can it have happened that I now have 100 squares worth of ends to darn? Oh how can this have happened again??? I thought I’d learnt back in May that to darn as you go is the very best thing….

Sorry Brits, I think I might have put us out of the medal category. Boo!

Colourful

A work in progress which I laid out last night to decide the number of squares left to crochet, so please don’t judge me by the number of yellows clumped together! They were edged while I watched tv. The answer to the how many more question is probably LOTS since there’s no one who needs a baby blanket at the moment.
I don’t really need another blanket myself with the Yorkshire blanket, which I already snuggle under, and the Rhubarb Ripple which I’m taking away to finish in August (19 stripes left! Woo hoo!) So don’t really know what to do with the alternative granny square/target square one when it’s completed…..

And I’ve photographed fly fishing flies; some home-made, some new which have just arrived by post because I like looking at the intricate workmanship of them, plus it’s a celebration since I’m enjoying having trout for dinner. I always think you could make some pretty earrings out of the more feathery colourful flies!

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Sorry that the above photo is a bit fuzzy, the iphone only takes good indoor pictures when the light is very bright I think.20120717-132816.jpg

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It’s the weekend

Today for lunch I made Spiced bulghar, chickpea and squash salad It’s scrummy. Absolutely delicious.

• 1 butternut squash, about 1kg/2lb 4oz peeled, seeded and cut into small chunks
• 2 red peppers, seeded and roughly sliced
• 2 tbsp harissa paste
• 1 tbsp oil
• 140g bulghar wheat
• 600ml hot vegetable stock
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• juice of ½ lemon
• 150g natural bio-yogurt
• 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 180g bag baby leaf spinach

::Heat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6.

::Toss the squash and red pepper in the harissa paste and oil. Spread the chunks out on a large baking tray and roast for 20 mins until softened and the edges of the vegetables are starting to char.

::Meanwhile put the Bulghar wheat in a large bowl and pour over the hot stock, then cover tightly with cling film and leave to absorb the liquid for 15 mins until the grains are tender, but still have a little bite.

::In a separate bowl, mix the garlic and lemon juice into the yogurt and season to taste.

::Let the Bulghar wheat cool slightly then toss in the roasted vegetables, chickpeas and spinach – the leaves may wilt a little.

::Season, if you want, drizzle with the garlicky yogurt and serve warm.

Recipe from the BBC Good Food website

***The changes I’d make to the recipe are to roast the garlic with the butternut and peppers, but still have a yoghurt-lemon dressing as this works really well drizzled on top. I’d also recommend seasoning the vegetables before they go in the oven.***

And with the dressing….

This is a really tasty, healthy and filling lunch. Win win!

I’m going to crochet a few more of these over the weekend…

….while I wait for the feather cushion pad I ordered for the blooming flower cushion. The circle for the back is now complete too. It’s just a case of waiting patiently for it to arrive. I’ll post a picture when the cushion’s complete. The part I’m really looking forward to is dc-ing around the edges. Joining using dc stitches is my favourite joining method, so far.

Enjoy your weekend.

Blooming ripples

This weekend in free minutes I’ve been…

…working some more rows of the Rhubarb Ripple now my order from Deramores has arrived (a mere two days after ordering online)

…And trying my hand at Lucy’s blooming flower cushion. It’s very fast to make in all its gaudy loveliness. I thought it could be an accompaniment to the rainbow Granny Stripe blanket when it’s given as a fourth birthday present later in the summer.

The ripple is in an Orla Kiely designed bag sold to raise funds for a children’s cancer charity. It was sold in Tesco’s a year or so ago. There is another one of her designs for sale at the moment if you have a Tesco’s nearby. They’re only £4 and really sturdy strong bags for carrying shopping, storing large crochet blankets in progress (and wool), books or whatever. I admit I bought the newest bag a few days ago. It’s lovely.

I’ve been nominated recently for various blogger awards and would like to say that I take this as a real compliment, thank you very much. :-D

Crochet by the sea

A little cheeky crochet before going out to see some Jubilee celebrations, sightseeing and shopping near the sea!
I haven’t done any alternative granny squares for a long time and it’s very nice to crochet something different after lots of rippling and circles in squares!
I’ve come to a pause with the Rhubarb Ripple at the moment….I’ve run out of plum! I sense another Deramores order is about to happen.

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Have a happy (Jubilee bank holiday) weekend!

Of course you can’t walk on the carpet!

I’m afraid it’s been undone again…I just can’t seem to decide the colour combination. Nothing seems to fit quite right. I’ve taken out all the squares with red in them and just kept the dark pink pomegranate colour.

On a positive note all the ends are now darned in!

I think the secret might be to carry on crocheting squares (and darning!) but without making any decisions about the final joining together of the squares.
This blanket is not going to be as random and easy as I thought it would
be; but maybe the finished product will be more satisfying because of all the thought that went into it?!

We can only hope!

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Bank holiday

Well, Plan B has happened this bank holiday weekend. Instead of being whisked away for a long weekend to the south coast, walking along beaches looking for messages in bottles washed up upon the sand, sea glass and interesting looking pebbles, I’ve had my leg up with ice packs on my knee and am going downstairs backwards. It seems that it is possible for your knee to go on holiday without you. You discover this when you try to get out of bed, but roll on the floor instead.

Ah well, the disappointment hasn’t lasted long since Plan A has been rebooked for another time. I’ve listened to hours of a fantastic new audio book and enjoyed the sunshine streaming into the house.

Here’s what I’ve been up to….

Now The Rainbow Granny Stripe is done and dusted its full steam ahead with The Rhubarb Ripple blanket.

Look what I’ve just bought, it stops the yarn rolling all over the place as I crochet. I might say that it also means less fluffy, bitty, velcro like yarn, but that would imply I haven’t hoovered for a while. So I won’t.

It’s a herb bucket, sooo pretty,  and less than £5 from Aldi.

Then on to The Spring Flower blanket. Now this turned into a bit of a saga, enjoyable but a saga all the same today.

I’m going to start darning ends in as I go. I promise. I do like darning but it is a major faff when all you want to do is the end bit of a project as I found out last week!

Patch is right; I do have a new obsession about joining methods. If I’ve asked you 1000s of questions about your method, and you’ve answered patiently, then a big thank you to you. I’ve also watched lots of YouTube videos and scoured my magazines and crochet books. I just wanted to find the method that I enjoyed. Not necessarily the best, but the most fun. So, the above is Patch’s sewn whip-stitch method. Ho hum, the tension is bad and it was a real fiddle. I used to do lots of cross stitch, tapestry and pathwork but am out of practice and it shows.

Next I tried double crochet which I used before on the dolls blankets

S has never been involved in my crochet endeavors so far, apart from nodding his head in a complimentary fashion (and using a piccy of The Rainbow GS on his desktop background. Now that must be high praise eh?!)  but he didn’t like the green. It was just too green, he said. I tried white as I wasn’t too sure about the greenness either.

DC versus sewing is definitely the most satisfying and the tension is a perfect match too. I really like the ridge, it’s a bit different and adds a nice texture to the work. But I’m not sure about the white. It doesn’t quite make sense to me. Why would you suddenly have that white? Has it snowed in Spring?! S isn’t sure about all the random colour combinations either. I’m happy with them though. I think…

Not sure. Really not sure…

More comparison….

Bye, bye white. Zip! It’s gone!

How long should it be? I’ll see how it measures up against the RR. I’ll do some edging on it too. I’ve undone my original green joins and rearranged the colours into less random pairs. I think S was right and it is easier on the eye.

It’s been really satisfying deciding on a method of joining, rearranging the squares and realizing that my Dublin hotel crocheted squares are going to come together nicely to make a blanket.

PLeAse DONt TelL mE YoU PReferReD ThE WhItE.

:-D

Rainbow Granny Stripe – FINISHED!

After the first row of edging…

And this morning…

Folded in half…

The blanket is laid across a king-sized bed here, just to give you a sense of its size.

Just before Easter I asked a certain 3 year old what her favourite colours are, and without hesitation she told me ‘Yellow….pink…..and purple.’ That’s why I’ve used these particular colours for the edging.

Now I’ll put the surprise blanket away until August when she turns 4. I imagine I will be starting another Rainbow Granny Stripe in the Autumn for her sister’s 6th birthday!

Ok…now I get it

I’m on the last leg of my Rainbow Granny Stripe blanket and my fingers are itching to complete the border. BUT I have to darn those pesky ends in! I still like darning in, it feels soothing and productive, but actually I just want them gone at this point so I can carry on crocheting! I understand why people advise to darn as you go…
As you see the hook is chasing the darning needle around the last edge!

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Alice May & the Rhubarb Ripple

Such changeable weather here at the moment. It’s truly April showers season. (It is doubly ironic when this, and other regions, were given hose pipe bans because we have been experiencing a lack of rainfall after drier than usual seasons. The day they were imposed the rain began!)

Sometimes the best thing to do is hurry home and get busy. After a little crochet-angst around this project I’ve been really enjoying gently focusing on the Rhubarb Ripple blanket.

It was really bothering me that the stitches weren’t lying on top of each other, namely the increases and the decreases. Plus although I said here in a very cavelier fashion that I would not undo a section after a change of hook size, I have. Lots and lots of rows, but I’m feeling much happier with it overall and am really, really enjoying gently rippling along. The stitches are now aligning as I worked out what the issue had been. I’m back to using a 4mm hook as I started with, this is because the thought of beginning from scratch when the first rows were fine was far too much to contemplate!

*This is still mainly an online diary of a beginner-intermediate crocheter so I’d like to note for self: do not drink wine and crochet a ripple. This is why mistakes happen and future crochet-angst will occur.*

As I uploaded pictures for this blog post I received a picture text of a very sweet little face, and a message giving me the details of Alice May’s birth this afternoon. Congratulations to her Mum! x

This morning….

I only called Deramores yesterday lunchtime and here’s the new order!

I hadn’t mentioned that I bought another stash of the multi-pack last week, the second of the year already! I’m now the yarn Queen of the South.

Here’s the original lot. I really do recommend Deramores; superb service and fast delivery. Plus Stylecraft Special DK is £1.79 at the moment. It’s soft and nice to work with, no it’s not wool but it’s not bad at all for 100% acrylic.

I tried out a new pattern I’d seen online. This will be my Spring Flower blanket eventually. I used up oddments from the wave patttern I tried (below) but disliked after I compared it to Lucy’s ripple pattern. I hate waste and so every scrap turns into something else.

I’ve enjoyed trying out my new cream to edge the Alternative Granny Squares. It seems soothing after all the brightness!

Did you know I’m a leftie by the way? If you’re new and want a leftie recommendation of a great ‘learn to crochet book’ then click on the books! link to the right >>>>> it’s called Crochet Unravelled and has diagrams for lefties and those odd rights ;-p I still look at it sometimes when a bit befuddled.

Hmmm, well this my plan ahead for Easter project which hasn’t happened since there’s a lack of fun in the making. Fiddly. Squeaky horrid cheapo yarn. But it might still get completed since:

a) I hate not finishing something, even if I dislike it. (Mum’s the same I once bought us both a lovely tin of what turned out to be horrid sweets. Owning the lovely tin was the object though we both ate the horrid sweets; because it’s not good to throw things away or waste them. S thinks us both to be nutters. Obviously he’s wrong.)

b) It’s VERY cute when completed

c) I don’t like failing.

Away for trip #1 and trip #2 from tomorrow,  I’ll share some pics on my return. :-D

Have a lovely Easter.

Blogalicious!

I discovered this blog According to Matt and I LOVE it!

  •  the colours of the blog: the simple white background and the glorious photos
  • the straightforward writing style
  • also I admit it’s the fact that I’ve found male crocheters whose stuff I actually like (nice colours, designs, enthusiasm and inspiration plus plus plus, and aren’t they easy on the eye too? ;-p)

Have a look at this, this is the winner for me, a gorgeous blanket…though I also love this thick grey ripple blanket. There’s even a tutorial for learning how to crochet a jammy dodger! I grew up eating those yummy biscuits.

Do share some of the blogs you love with me below, I click on people’s side-bars but I think more current links are neglected to be added sometimes.

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This week I’ve had some tea breaks, using my pint mug which says ‘the bigger the better’ around it (!) and worked on:

PS: I cleaned the tannin stains off my mug yesterday, in case you keen eyed clean-freaks noticed them :-D

Rhubarbing & Rainbowing

So, this is how the newly christened Rhubarb Ripple blanket’s going. (Imagine you’ve gone to the end of the garden to cut some rhubarb for a Sunday crumble, and have taken your blue colander to place the sticks into. See? Everything needs a name.)

The Rainbow Granny Stripe is progressing in a very random fashion. It’s not at all challenging to make and so the ‘what next?’ element of choosing the colours keeps it interesting. Meanwhile I’ve planned the colours for the RR, but there’s no taping tufts of yarn to a card for me…that would be far too professional!

I’ve almost certainly broken the cardinal rule of crochet by changing from a 4mm hook to a 3.5mm as I go, but there was no way I was undoing it all. The tension was definitely going to be too loose with the larger hook. I can see where it changes, but if I hadn’t told you would you have guessed? Be honest if you spotted it – I’m interested, but not changing it now! :-)

The blankets are for small girls who like pretty, that’s why they’re so bright. The next one will probably be more sutble.

The little cotton strip on the top of the pile is for a jar cover.

Sadly I’ve got another streamer of a cold and so am not feeling very dynamic today. It’s particularly a shame when you’ve had a busy week and have plans to do fun stuff at the weekend.

I’ve instructed friends & family to hit me on the head with a large box of balm tissues if I crow about how many colds I used to have when I was younger and how much healthier I am these days….I’ve had two corkers of a cold since I said that last. What a wally.

I feel so blah that I’ve just text downstairs to ask for another cup of Lady Grey and a pint of water…well I’m ill….

A few drinks, and some chatty comments below would definitely cheer me up in fact. I seem to have a lot of visitors to The Little Room but few cheery hellos….go on…introduce yourself, I like meeting new people. :-)

Alternative Granny

I saw this blog post and absolutely loved it…. I especially like seeing the edges. I love the little Vs on the edge of crochet! I really do!

When I tried using Jan Eaton’s target square pattern in her book I came a cropper with the 7 ch bit, the square was a wibbly mess. (Practise makes perfect and all that, but the * and ** and repeats instructions for this square are really confusing to a bear with little brain like me.)

I saw this pattern on CrochetQueen’s blog.

Then I tried to crochet my own AG square using the pattern, but got really confused; mostly about what to do with the 5 ch. There were holes where there weren’t meant to be holes!

I wailed to CrochetQueen that I needed help. She added some tutorial pics to her pattern in about a day. What a star!

How helpful is that?

The generosity of other bloggers in giving patterns, advice and free tutorials is very much appreciated. Maybe one day when I’m more proficient I can do the same? It would be nice to pass it on….

So anyway, using CrochetQueen’s pattern and photo tutorial here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

I know I’ve basically posted the same photograph again and again and again, but I do LOVE those edges!

I used a 3.5 mm hook because I’ve realised my tension on granny squares is always a bit loose and they looked too wibbly using a 4mm.

The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK from my pack bought from here.

While I waited for these photos to load I’ve had a think about trying a slight variation on the number of trebles in each round. I’m going to have a little play again later.

Yesterday afternoon I looked out of the window to this, they really make me smile….

Can you see it? :-)

Rippling & Striping on a rainy weekend

I’d forgotten that there were tulips in this pot last year, what a lovely surprise!

There are signs of Spring everywhere…

Friday night I started a ripple blanket. It’s not such a good idea when you find that you’ve increased trebles four times instead of two, the following morning! Crochet after wine is probably not recommended. (Unless you love undoing crochet!)

I’m enjoying choosing the next colour for my rainbow granny stripe. I haven’t got a plan and that’s the way I like it.

Oops! The ripple is shorter than the granny stripe…but edging should sort that little issue.

I prefer Lucy’s ripple pattern (see her Attic 24 blog for pattern, link to the right), rather than the wave stitch I tried for the cushion cover featured in Nicki Trench’s Cute and Easy Crochet book (see link). My tension’s loose usually and Lucy’s ripple seems to suit it better. I do wonder if the rainbow granny stripe blanket will be more popular as it’s thicker, and probably warmer, than the ripple.

Finally look who surprised me…..

Ha! As I added these last two pics I heard this playing on my ipod:

“Tell her I’ll be waiting in the usual place….”

Hahaha!!

(Bryan Ferry’s Slave to Love)

Powered by Cadbury’s

I’ve had a lovely hour or two this afternoon….

A little bit of sweetness with a few rows of wave

“Ta-dah! Here I am!”

Mr Scrappy is finally finished.

Want to make your own Mr Scrappy? Click here for the free pattern

Next it was nice to do a few more rows of granny stripes for the rainbow blanket…

Soooo relaxing. It’s getting cosy as it grows and keeps my legs warm as I work.

I hope you’re having a good weekend too? After a busy week I think there’s nothing better than sunshine streaming through the windows, a little bit of chocolate (or whatever makes you feel like you’re having a treat) and something relaxing to make or do.

Lovely!

Brightness!

It’s growing very fast, I find that I can’t do fewer than 2 stripes at a sitting, even if time is pressing and I need to do just half a row….addictive or what?!

I think the next bit is going to go into bluey greens and I’ll try the yacky green out too; but if it fails the audition it’s OUT!

I’m enjoying the trebling but wanted to try something new. I find that I can’t just concentrate on one project, I have to try a few alongside each other. It’s like me and books. I usually have a poem anthology, a non-fiction, a fiction and maybe something else I’m dipping in and out of. Variety is the spice of life, and all that. :-)

I’m using Nicki Trench’s pattern for the wave cushion (see link at the side for the book.) I suspect this is what everyone else is calling ripple pattern. It’s great. I enjoyed it last night, but if you’re wondering why I stopped in the middle…there was a bombshell in the middle of Roger and Val have just got in that required me to stop! and talk! Then it was time for bed Zebedee…

If, unlike me, you’re a crochet expert and notice a flaw in my waves tell me please. Gently!

PS: Sorry that the pics are a bit fuzzy but I wanted to show you how I’m getting on. The flash had to do the job as the sun is in bed now, and it’s never as good as natural sunlight.

Rainy Saturday

Today’s the perfect day for a bit of lounging on the sofa with my granny stripe blanket to keep me occupied.

Not that it resembles a blanket at all yet, I am a tiny bit tempted to make some edging and turn it into a scarf, it’s looking just like one I saw in M&S after Christmas. :-)

This is SO relaxing; it’s just simple repetitive trebles with a few chains thrown in, very very satisfying to make. Choosing the colours and watch it turn into a stripey colourful textile makes it really fun to make.

Recently I’ve made lots of small thingys which have meant following patterns and counting all the time. This Granny Stripe is refreshing crochet. No counting, no following a complex pattern (complex for me a novice, or intermediate, crocheter anyway.)

I’m a bit wary of when the time comes to add in the red (one of my favourite colours) with the PiNk! You can’t put pink and red together, it’s the LAW. I’ve grown up with this rule. I’m going to break the law. FOR THE FIRST TIME….

Then to make it worse there will also be BriGhT yellow and orange and that yacky green I showed you here…….it’s really going to challenge my sense of colour comfort.

BUT inspired by Lucy’s GS blanket (see Attic24) I’m going to use all the colours in the Stylecraft pack, in my own way. I’m not copying Lucy’s colour combinations, this is MY blanket though of course the colours are the same because they are unofficially called ‘The Lucy pack’ I’m told.

If you want the same pack click here or Google ‘Stylecraft special DK’. It’s lovely to work with and feels unepxectedly soft for 100% man-made yarn (or 100% people-made if we want to be 21st century about it.)

Back to the sofa where a cheeky bottle of English cider and a few snacks are waiting for my company. The GS might go a bit wiggly!

Happy weekend,

Rachel

Crochet news

Yesterday I made myself not start any new projects until I’d a) darned in the ends on the dolls blanket b) sewed up Mr Scrappy c) ordered eyes for Mr S  and d) sorted out the Hilton crochet

a) Done. Tick!

It’s finished, all ends darned in and ready to go to two little girls. I thought one blanket between the two of them for their dollies was a bit mean.

This is the other one when it was a WIP. I saw it being used in dolly covering mode last weekend….

Mr Scrappy being assembled

b) Done. Tick!

c) Done. Tick! Eyes ordered from a seller on ebay

and ummmm d) didn’t get done but I did start a new hat based on Stacey Trock’s FREE pattern available on Ravelry.

Stacey’s patterns are very clear and easy to follow. I can’t recommend her enough. Mr Scrappy is another of her free patterns on her great website ‘Fresh Stitches’

Happy Valentine’s Day! xx

The latest mini project

Yesterday I thought I’d try making the little granny squares baby blanket from the new Let’s Get Crafting magazine which I got yesterday.

I get a bit bored with granny squares but the finished thing looks so nice.

The yarn kit has the nicest colours yet…

I crocheted the squares quickly and enjoyed using the yarn, as opposed to the cotton I’ve been using for the Hilton crochet. Yarn, even acrylic stuff, is so much softer and ‘moves’ nicely!

Lovely colours aren’t they?

I crocheted 3 more squares and that was it – the 9/9 complete.

Then I tried to crochet them together using slip stitches into the outer loops, rather than the matresses stitch recommended in the pattern.

And that is another story….

Crochet 2011

Here as promised are some of my very first crochet projects, all from last year.

I’m not pretending to be a crochet expert and this blog is really going to be a journal of my progress and keeness! I also might occasionally be having a temper tantrum when something goes wrong, or be asking for help of course…

A friend wanted an iphone case and LOVES bright green and orange. This was my first attempt…

And here’s the next…

She said it could be even  BRIGHTER than the prototype…

It has visible flaws but I was fairly pleased with it at the beginning of the year; as one of my first projects.

Crocheted bowls which I filled with shredded tissue paper and added chickens with chocolate eggs for an easter gift.

George the egg cosy. He’s larger than your average egg cosy, but I love him. I’ve also crocheted Henry, his brother. They are now living in London and Oxfordshire.

Those are VERY bright squares eh? Not exactly the colours I’d usually choose but it was leftover Let’s Get Crafting mag yarn. I obviously needed to block these before doing the edging. Oops. I didn’t want to undo it and start again because by then I was on to the next project. I gave it to some little girls I know to cover their mini baby dolls with!

I still haven’t blocked anything yet, but will have to sort out how soon…

Even brighter crocheted bunting I made a week ago!

I used Nicki Trench’s pattern from her fab ‘Cute and Easy Crochet’ book (one of my favourite Christmas pressies this year), and the yarn is again from a LGC mag. I’m pleased with it and think it would be great to use personalised colours to make more as a gift, for a nursery or playroom.

Apart from that little lot I’ve crocheted cotton dishcloths, a bracelet (no, I don’t wear it!) ‘the evil robins’ as I call them, the stocking from my first blog post and many more bits and pieces that I’ve forgotten for now.

I’ve practised making granny squares and tried out quite a few stitches using this book:  200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets Throws and Afghans

Next time you can see more of what I enjoy seeing and doing,

Rachel

Crochet dreams

When I was quite small I really, really wanted to learn how to crochet. My German Aunty and cousins had come over to visit us, bringing me a Sindy doll. They then sat and made crocheted clothes with scraps of wool, with no pattern! Very quickly Sindy had a huge wardrobe!

I was given a Ladybird Book of Crochet (I’d love to see another copy of this, but haven’t found one so far) and tried to master crochet, but it wasn’t to be. The drawings were all for right-handers. I have a Mum who is expert at sewing and knitting but not so much a crocheter. I did get the hang of chains but that was it. I went back to patchwork, embroidery and knitting.

The dream to learn to crochet must have been dormant for years because in 2008 I suddenly had a strong desire to conquer it once and for all. My helpful Mum went to her monthly Saturday craft group and asked a friend to show her how to make a Granny square. She then patiently showed me how to hold the hook, yarn and make them do what I wanted and I was off! I couldn’t get the hang of the fiddly central ring;  so just carried on trebling and chaining from Mum’s original foundation circle. I took my growing crochet to Yorkshire for a farm cottage holiday Christmas where as I worked it grew and grew while keeping my legs warm.

I finished the rug happy; although the middle is a bit wiggly since it was just a scrap of maroon DK, and the rest was oddments of DK yarn with 2 strands put together since it seemed to suit the large (6mm?) hook I was using. But, it does keep me warm when I’m snuggled on the sofa and as it was my first attempt I was thrilled with it.

Would you like to see it?

I took this photo when I was trying to really get to grips with crochet again last January, 2011, using this fab little book (pictured in the middle of The Yorkshire Blanket) which I bought from Amazon. Buy this book if you are new to crochet, or want to practise after a long break. I can’t recommend it enough particularly if you are a leftie like me. The illustrations are for both left and right-handers with very concise instructions.

I’m really enjoying trying new stitches, honing my skills and can’t get enough of doing crochet, studying crochet books, websites, the super Let’s Get Crafting magazine (when it’s crochet) or crochet blogs like the inspirational Lucy of Attic 24.

I found that I didn’t want to crochet in the summertime; because of sweaty hands I reckon and it can be hard to crochet while drinking G&Ts too! Then when I was in Boston in September I came across a novel ‘The Knitting Circle’ by Ann Hood. It really, really inspired me to take up knitting and crochet again. It’s not the genre of book I normally read but I was hooked for a while on the Knitting novel genre.

What made you start to crochet? When did you begin?

Next time I’ll post some pictures of the first items I made after using the Crochet Unravelled book and Let’s Get Crafting magazines.

Very best wishes on the first day of 2012 to you!

Rachel