2015

It’s that time again; the last day of another year. Are they flying past, or is it just me?

I can’t believe that today is my blog’s fourth birthday! I didn’t have a long-term plan when I started this; it was simply to record my makes as I learnt to crochet. I haven’t had to make myself carry on, or set up a blogging timetable, it’s just happened organically. Admittedly joining in more regularly with the weekly Yarn Along and Taking Stock posts, every month, has helped to keep to keep the ball rolling lately; as I’ve had little new to show, with bigger projects taking time to complete.

2015 really did turn into the Year of the Blankets, despite the fact I’m sure I’d resolved not to make many. I wanted to learn some new skills, make some small things and get my sewing machine out again. I can see a 16 for 2016 list happening…

Here are some of my favourite makes and highlights of the year:

I’ve just had a little look at my previous end of year galleries in 2012 2013 and 2014. 2012 was a busy year for the country with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. Looking back has reminded me of my 200 Blocks CAL. I was still very much a novice crocheter and learnt much more through organising and taking part in the CAL. If you’re fairly new to crochet then I’d really recommend working through a book of crochet blocks. It gave lots of us a really good grounding in reading patterns, trying new stitches and experimenting with colour combinations.

Thank you for reading and for your comments over the last year. Have a very Happy New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, wherever you are in the world.

Spice of Life CAL blanket finished!

   

    Two finished items in a week feels good! One more to go…

I sat and crocheted the rest of the border yesterday, darned the two ends (hurrah for a single colour border!) and did a happy dance. It’s a simple little border which I think is perfect for such a busy blanket. 

It’s not completely ruler straight, but actually the sides are not half as wiggly as I feared; the border really seems to sort it out. I expected a serious blocking session, but there’s really no need.

I’ve just realised I didn’t post my Stylecraft Special Dk colour choices for part 5, so I’ll do that now and for my repeats as I choose to make a larger blanket. Here are the pattern posts by Sandra of Cherry Heart blog in case you now fancy crocheting a Spice of Life blanket too.

Part 5 – repeating some rows

Stacked Grannies: stone, clematis, raspberry, silver

Trebles: Storm blue

Big Zipper: parchment, denim 

Trebles: Parma violet

Stacked Shells: grape, grey x2, sage x2, lavender x2, stone, silver

Fill the Gap: clematis, grey,raspberry,silver,denim,sage x2

Tulips: (I accidentally missed row 1- trebles) grape, stone, parma violet

Trebles: parchment

Waves: storm blue, raspberry

Trebles: grey

Puffs: silver, lavender, clematis, stone

Trebles: (remember no row 8 for repeats in pattern) grape, denim x2

Grannies: sage, silver and repeat

Trebles: lavender, stone, raspberry, grey, storm blue

My choice of repeats

Stacked Grannies: silver, grape and repeat 

Trebles: Parma violet x2

Big Zipper: clematis x2, parchment x2

Trebles: grape x2

Border: (design as written in the pattern) silver 

~~~~

Yarn: One of each of Stylecraft Special DK: parchment, clematis, grey, denim, silver (2 as it’s also for the border), lime, storm blue, stone, grape, sage, parma violet, lavender, raspberry 

Hook sizes: I swapped to 4.5 mm for stacked shells and the DC rows. You’ll have to experiment and see how your tension is coming out for the tighter stitches. I always used a 4mm for treble rows. For the border set up row I used a 3mm as I just found it easier to use when crocheting into the middle of the stitches. I aimed to pick up 2 strands on my hook, leaving 1 behind. It looks fair less gappy than crocheting over the end stitch, though it is a fiddle.

Starting chain: 217 (a multiple of 12 + 1) I aimed for a square 4’x4′ blanket for snuggling in on cold evenings.

Size: 4′ X 4′ before border. Border is approx an inch.

Weight: 850g approx

~~~~

 And now onwards with another blanket which is half finished. It was requested by my cousin for Christmas. That’s one never-seen-here-before colour combination, just you wait…

Yarn Along 

IMG_1907

IMG_1904I was pretty pleased with myself for finally finishing darning all those ends yesterday!

The colours look pretty muted here, but it was a moment of celebration so I broke my ‘always take photos in natural light’ rule. The sides don’t look as wiggly as I expected. It’s not going to be perfect as I swapped about from a 4mm to 4.5mm hook, but as it’s just for me to snuggle in over the winter it’s all good.

I’ve just started listening to Chrissie Hynde’s memoir, read by Rosanna Arquette. I love her descriptions of growing up in Akron, Ohio. It’s going to be a cracking listen, I can tell.

I’m joining in with Ginny’s Yarn Along again. Here are my previous Yarn Along posts. I actually thought my last was fairly recent, but look how long ago it was! I’m pretty staggered. One thought I wrote about blogging makes me smirk. That feeling obviously didn’t stick around for long.

 

Now – an Autumn snapshot 

        
    
    
   
 One of my nearest and dearest gave me a little verbal prod the other day saying: “I’ve had a look at your blog, but there’s been nothing for a while has there?” Noted and now rectified!

I’ve been carrying on crocheting my Spice of Life blanket (not far off the darning and border now) or knitting a few rows of my Hitchhiker scarf most days. I don’t think continually showing the same projects, just a few centimetres further on, would be interesting. Which is why I haven’t been around here much recently. There IS another project I’ve been working on too, but that’s hush hush as it’s a present. You’ll see it one day….

I really love Autumn: the crisp cool days, walking along kicking up piles of crunchy leaves, the beautiful colours of leaves and berries, the sunsets bringing brightness to often grey skies, soups and stews, casseroles and countless pots of tea. Do you love it too?

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! 

Spice of Life CAL part 2

 So, the first part of the Spice of Life CAL was issued this week, on Tuesday. All the details can be found here (free of charge.) I think the popularity of the CAL has taken everyone at Black Sheep Wools by surprise; there are now over 3,000 members in the Facebook group alone and they’re from all over the world. Lots and lots of photos are popping up on Instagram all the time. Look for #spiceoflifecal. 

Many people have chosen to use yarn from their stash, so there are some wacky colour schemes as well as those that make you sigh ‘I wish I’d chosen those!’ I was lucky enough to be asked to take part, I’ve written about that here. 

 
I chose my own yarn colours. To recap: 

from the top, left to right

parchment, clematis, grey, denim, silver, (2 for the border) lime
storm blue, stone, grape, sage, parma violet, lavender, raspberry 

 I’m really enjoying being part of a CAL again, and not as the organiser. The pattern by Sandra of  Cherry Heart blog is lovely. 

The fact the first pattern release is called part 2 has thrown some people; as they’re worried they’ve missed part 1. In fact part 1 was just yarn details, hook size, and some information about helpful resources. Really the CAL, in terms of crochet, is actually only 7 weeks long. The first week’s pattern is dead easy, so even if you’re reading this in a week or two it’s not too late to catch up.
    
   
As usual I’m promising to myself to darn ends as I go and not doing it.

A few people have asked me to list my yarn colours as I go because they find it really hard to choose the order. I honestly don’t know about any of the colour wheel, hot and cold stuff. I put all in a basket, lean over and grab the next as I go. I might put the strip of crochet on top but I always go by my first instinct and I’ve never winced at my choices afterwards. Not so far, though you might have…

The lime is going to have to be used another time. The funny thing is I never ever used to like green, especially lime, but for the last four years have been strangely drawn to many shades. I was keen to include it here, but it’s just not right alongside the other colours.

 Trebles 

R1&2 Sage  3&4 Denim 5&6 Parma violet 7&8 Clematis 9&10 Grey

Grannies

1 Lavender 2 Grape 3 Lavender 4 Grape 5 Lavender 

Trebles 

6 Stone 7 Raspberry 8 Silver 

I know the numbers are a little anachronistic, but I’ve kept to the way of the pattern. The first 10 are listed as ‘set up rows’ so part 3 (2!) should continue consecutively.

Are you doing the Spice of Life CAL too?

Spice of Life CAL 

At the beginning of August Black Sheep Wools asked me if I’d like to take part in a crochet along (CAL) beginning in the middle of September, all yarn provided. How exciting! A CAL and a free bundle of yarn. I don’t find it easy to be all secret squirrel, but I’ve managed it. Phew.

The blanket is designed by Sandra Paul of Cherry Heart blog. I’ve been thinking about doing a multi-stitch blanket for ages and this looks a goodie.

All the information about the Spice of Life CAL is here on the Black Sheep Wools website. There’s also a Facebook group so everyone taking part can chat, ask questions and share their finished blankets. You can check out people’s pictures on Instagram too by using the tag #spiceoflifecal 

Everyone seems to love a CAL and this is Black Sheep Wool’s first. It’s looking very promising; today I’ve seen the Facebook group members go from 5 of us to over 300, and counting, and this is only the first day it’s been publicised. It feels fun to be part of something from the beginning.

I chose my own colour combination for the blanket 

 
In order from the top, left to right:

parchment, clematis, grey, denim, silver, (2 for the border) lime

storm blue, stone, grape, sage, parma violet, lavender, raspberry 

This seemed a good opportunity to try some of the new Stylecraft Special DK colours, pretty aren’t they? I think I’m going to use the lime and raspberry sparingly, just to add a little zing. 

Do you fancy joining the CAL too? You can order a choice of yarn packs from Black Sheep Wools, choose your own brand and colours, or use up yarn in your stash. This might be an ideal project to use up leftovers. The first part of the pattern will be available on 22nd September, so there’s plenty of time to organise what you want to do. 

Baby hexagon a day blanket

I’m ahead of my hexie a day plan but they’re so cute and easy to make!

I’ve changed the pattern I’m using because I think the shape is better and it looks much more like a hexagon! I found this pattern posted by @cuteashook on IG. It’s in graphic form so if you prefer charts go there, or to my page. I’m not sure who to attribute it to, if you know please let me know.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1e4/30995756/files/2015/01/img_8526.jpg

Do you want to join in with crocheting a baby hexagon a day too?

Baby hexagon pattern

UK terms

All trebles in R1 are worked into the FR, then on R2 into the chain space of R1.

FR: ch 4, join with a SS to make a ring

R1: ch 3 (counts as a treble) tr 1, ch 1, *tr 2, ch 1* repeat 4 more times, SS to 3rd ch of beg ch3 (6 groups of 2 trebles) ss to 3rd st of beg ch.

R2: ss a couple of times to next ch sp from last round, ch 3 (counts as a treble) tr1, ch1, tr2 *tr2, ch1, tr2* repeat 4 more times. (6 tr ch groups.)

You’ll know you’re at the end because you’ll have a baby hexagon. If not a) start again b) let me know that there’s a mistake here!

Darn in the ends.

I’m joining as I go on the second round, replacing the chain in the middle of the trebles with a joining slip stitch. I have two joins per side. You might want to join three times along each side, its up to you. I tried it both ways.

I’m going to use whatever DK yarn I’m using for other projects through the year and so it will turn into a kind of memory blanket. You can use finer or chunkier yarn as long as you stick to the same weight all year. I guess if you were feeling very keen you could make 3 hexagons a day in 3 different weight yarns, a blanket to keep and a few to give away for Christmas?

My eggs need to go into the pan now – I hear the water boiling. I have a yen for an egg and watercress sandwich for lunch.

Are you joining the baby hexie a day gang?

April showers in May (with a tiny bit of crochet !)

20140524-112051-40851280.jpg

20140524-112050-40850755.jpg

20140524-112052-40852380.jpg

20140524-112051-40851813.jpg

20140524-112052-40852845.jpg
An impromptu picnic lunch at Blenheim Palace, sitting on a rain coat munching on salad and watching the swans paddle serenely along the lake. The weather is so April showerish still, even though it’s now May, the sky changed so fast from blue to grey. Even the pheasant ruffled his feathers and wandered off for cover, giving up all hope of sharing my lunch.
Time for a train ride?

20140524-113233-41553278.jpg

20140524-113233-41553793.jpg
Ah, it’s oh so quiet. There’s a new train (‘Winston’ – Blenheim is the birthplace and family home of Winston Churchill so there’s lots about him and now a train too!) and tunnel which I was quite excited about, it will be good for children to go through a dark bit, but for adults it’s actually a long wooden structure (shed) which can be locked to house the new carriages. Oh well, the anticipation has been nice. Serves me right for being such a child!
The overhauled butterfly house is different. The bridge over the water has gone, lots of the green bushy plants have been removed and new brightly flowering shrubs are in place. You can see the butterflies clearer against the new white screens, it will be worth making a special trip when more have hatched later in the season. I virtually chased one up and down the length of the house to try to photograph it; a HUGE bright beautiful blue one, but he was obviously camera-shy.

20140524-114131-42091001.jpg

20140524-114129-42089267.jpg

20140524-114130-42090448.jpg

20140524-114132-42092138.jpg

20140524-114128-42088728.jpg

20140524-114131-42091515.jpg

20140524-114129-42089823.jpg

20140524-114132-42092686.jpg
This bank holiday weekend we’re meant to be at the coast enjoying some walks and time by the water, the weather had other ideas however…

20140524-120120-43280329.jpg
We’ve cancelled the hotel tonight and will see if it’s worth going for the next two days. At least I won’t have to water any plants!

20140524-120431-43471740.jpg

20140524-120432-43472252.jpg

20140524-120433-43473230.jpg

20140524-120431-43471214.jpg

20140524-120430-43470657.jpg

20140524-120432-43472734.jpg
My elbow is getting much better, though I am going to organise some acupuncture as I’ve found a way to get some free again, after a break of 10 years of needing it. Hurrah! Here’s to another ten years without the need?! I’ve had a few days without painkillers and am using my left hand much more to lift heavier things without aggravating it, I’ve noticed, so as it’s such a rainy day I’ve decided to try a bit of crochet. I haven’t done any craft since before Easter when I made the chicken bags. It’s been odd having still hands in the evenings.

20140524-120855-43735794.jpg

This is not exactly a thing of beauty, it’s just six blocks I rooted out when I was looking through my stash sometime ago, but haven’t been able to join them. When I began crocheting the CAL blocks I made some test ones with Stylecraft Special DK before the posh yarn. I don’t like wasting things so I’ve decided to crochet them into a ‘thing’. Maybe a dolly blanket to give away to children I know or donate to a Foundation Stage class. I don’t know where it will end up, but I know it’s been so lovely to sit on a rainy day and crochet a little bit just for the sheer pleasure of it.

As I’ve been typing Someone’s decided to go fishing because trout don’t really mind the rain apparently, and when you’ve got good waterproofs it’s not an issue for humans either. As for me I’ve declared I am doing “Bugger all” I’m so good at it too, it seems a shame not to try.

What’s the weather like where you are? Are you also curled up and making something today?

 

Week 43: CAL Blocks #205 #209 – THE END!

IMG_2540#205 Hourglass

5 1/2″ W 5 1/2″ H But —- will fix that I hope! (Fill in the blank; y’know what I’m saying by now!)

IMG_2533#209 Marigold

5 1/2″ sq.

What a lovely one to end on!

IMG_2531

So, 43 consecutive weeks of crocheting blocks and we’ve reached the end. :-D Well done everyone, it’s been fun. I’ve enjoyed being introduced to new blogs and seeing all the photos on the Ravelry CAL group project pages.

Thanks for joining me. I’m glad I didn’t plough through the book alone. It’s been fun comparing colour combos and seeing if others have the same issues with patterns, or like the same designs. My pattern reading skills have really developed because of the CAL. I’ve also learnt some new stitches and discovered how much I love (bobbles) or hate them (popcorns, kind of!)

Now we’re on Summer hols (ya hoo!) until September when we can post about blocking, joining, what we’re planning to do with our 128 blocks (!!!!) and share any issues or concerns etc etc.

*Grin*

Week 42: CAL BLocks #193 #197 #201

Here are my unruly blocks in the penulitimate post of the CAL for the September starters. It feels good! It’s been great fun, and good for my crochet skills in lots of ways, but I’m really enjoying the freedom from the schedule of making 3 blocks every week.

IMG_2546

#193 Textured Stripes

5 1/2″ sq-ish. with a bit of tugging out at the sides. You already know that I’m going to say how much improved all three will be after blocking, right?

I like the texture of this stitch. It might be a a good one for a dishcloth.

IMG_2545

#197 Fretwork

5 1/2″ sq.

I like this, there’s a good contrast between solid and openwork crochet.

IMG_2541

#201 Zig-Zag Bobbles

5 1/4″ W

5 1/2″ H

R4&6 have a missing *. I just made a dc into 7 st then MB again.

I didn’t read the pattern in reverse so my bobbles are more Zag-Zig, but I don’t think it matters for the sake of avoiding the aggravation of reversing everything. I increasingly feel that designers should include pattern details for lefties too. Why not?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m amused, and a bit pleased, to see that new joiners are still coming to the Ravelry CAL group, despite the threads being silent for a long time. Check out the projects page to see lots and lots of blocks, people have posted some beauties.

I must dash now and eat lunch, then go shopping this afternoon. It’s my MA Graduation Ceremony (feels like it needs to be in capitals!) tomorrow and I need to get a few things to look smart when I wear the cap and gown. Did I ever confess that starting the CAL was a complete distraction from the study, and writing, I should have been doing for my research dissertation? Probably not. But both have been completed. ;-)

Week 41: CAL Blocks #181 #185 #189

IMG_2527

#181 Begonia

5 1/2″ sq.

I’d cut down on the chains on R1 next time. Maybe 3 rather than 4 with my tension.

IMG_2526

#185 In the Pink

OR: In the pink & blue!

5 1/4″ – 5 1/2″ – will be when blocked. I’m glad this is the last corner squiffy sized block now.

IMG_2529

#189 Willow

5 1/2″ sq.

Such a nice design. I’d like to experiment with this block using chunky, super chunky and very fine sparkly yarns.

IMG_2523

These are nice sort-of relaxing colours this week in contrast to the sometimes chaotic colours of other trios.

I predict that come September when we all begin to join and border our CAL blocks I’ll wailing into the ether “Why WHY didn’t I block these each week as I went along?!!” It’s been dawning on me gradually that this would have been the sensible thing. Ouch.

I’m pretty sure I can’t do the facial steam method which I used for the Yarndale Bunting, can I? It’s got to be pin and spray then leave to dry for woollen yarns?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I really thought someone had thrown a gherkin over the fence when I saw this yesterday!

20130614-125726.jpg

CAL homework

Having perfectionist tendencies it’s bugged me that I know blocks #109 and #157 were spoilt by wibbly mid-block joins. I didn’t redo them because they’re my favourites (far from it) but simply because I know they’re my let-downs of the CAL.

As you know I’ve been on a bit of a crochet mission lately and this week have finished all 128 unique blocks from Jan Eaton’s 200 Crochet Blocks.

Before I tacked the darning part I decided to undo and attempt these two again. You can see by the tension that I was feeling more relaxed about this by the second block! They are not perfect but considerably better now, don’t you agree?

20130613-121121.jpg

There are three more weeks of the CAL left, if you began in September, with three blocks  a week for the first two and two blocks in the last week, so don’t panic if you’re feeling behind. I’ve just got carried away lately! I’ve started listening to the audio version of Chaplin and Company by Mave Fellowes. It’s perfect to crochet along to especially if, like me, you’ve got a fascination with canals and enjoy stories about quirky characters.

What are you reading/listening to at the moment?

Week 40: CAL Blocks #169 #173 #177

#169 Interlocking Stripes

I crocheted this one in September! It was week 2 of the CAL (crochet along) and I wanted to check my colours and see how they looked. I decided there and then, at the end of the block, that I was missing an element and bought the yellow. Since then I’ve had serious doubts about my colour combination, but have yet to dig all my blocks out and place them together. My plan is to do this at the end of the crochet part of the CAL. They’ll probably go together far better than I expect, but there’s still always the option to separate them and make a couple of smaller items if my teeth start tingling.

IMG_2451#173 Big Round

5 1/2″ square

I like the middle lots!

IMG_2450

#177 Trio

After using the box colour I let the wool hang down behind the block as I worked with it facing me, I found this was a neater finish than my usual method of bringing it to the front ready for the return row with jacquard crochet, like I used for the Union Jack cushion front (still waiting to be crocheted together with buttons sewn on…oops.) I worked over the main colour as I double crocheted the boxes and you can see the strands a bit on the yellow boxes because of the colour difference. I know if I stranded them across the back of the block I’d fiddle with them all the time and eventually break them off if it was in a blanket I was snuggled beneath.

I have to be honest and say that I’m a bit fed up about this one. It’s not just not neatly straight at the side of the trio like the book’s and like Rainbow Junkie’s perfecto block. I’m not altogether sure where I’ve gone askew. Is it the yarn do you think? Being baby cashmerino it’s thinner than the DK that most others are using for the CAL. Shall we blame the yarn?!!?!!
I finished the last stitch before the first of the box with the new colour, and my Union Jack is pretty neat using Styelcraft special DK in this way. So really, it IS the YARN!?*?!!!IMG_2449Week 40! Wooo!

I’ve been on a bit of a crochet bent lately and SO…….drum roll please: I only have 3 more blocks to crochet. Yes!

THREE!

I shall not deviate from my path as your leader and will keep on with my posting three blocks a week blog schedule, but I am on the penultimate-penultimate block now which is exciting. Someone says that term doesn’t work and doesn’t make sense. We all know it does. :-D

Thanks for your feedback, it seems that my suggestion to pause at the end of the crochet part of the CAL for a long summer break is a good one. I’m glad you agree. We can begin sharing blocking and joining methods, maybe asking for placement advice and generally talking borders and blankets etc from September. I’m looking forward to thinking about other things in the meantime and know that I’ll be feeling refreshed and ready to take on the mammoth blocking and joining part. Also as Manty from A Little Patch of Heaven says it will give her, and the others who came to the CAL later. a chance to catch up.

Have a very happy weekend all.

Week 39 CAL Blocks #157 #161 #165

IMG_2442

#157 Boxed Square

Here it is in all its wibbly mid-joins ‘glory’! I did seriously consider redoing this but decided it’s going to be the ‘eccentric looking’ block in whatever it becomes. It can stand as a testament to an afternoon of good conversation, and no crochet stitch counting (!), with a friend.IMG_2445

#161 Daisy Chain

R5: There seems to be a ch3 instruction missing

R8: I trebled into the chain spaces as I prefer the way it looks, and let’s face it – it’s far less fiddly! It looks fine to me.

IMG_2443

#165 Coffee and Cream

R4: Ignore the instruction to treble into 2 stitches, I’m sure this is another typo and should be dcs as for the rest of the round.

IMG_2441

All three are 5 1/2″ square.

Are you a bit fed up with these CAL posts? I’m over it really, or feel so this week, BUT I’ve only got ten more blocks to crochet and that’s it….HuRraY!

JOINING MATTERS…….I was wondering if it’s better to continue on after the last CAL post and set about joining blocks, or shall we have a bit of a CAL holiday and save the joining for the autumn evenings? We could aim for a September start (ie a year after the CAL began…..!!!!!)  Let me know what you reckon here or on the Ravelry CAL group thread.

IMG_2447

Here’s Lynne’s Knits giveaway prize which arrived when I was here in the Little Room waffling at the end of last week’s CAL post.

I was delighted to win this book because it’s by THE Debbie Bliss, but also because I won it from Lynne. It was her patterns I found I kept gravitating to in Let’s Get Crafting Knitting & Crochet magazines as a newbie crocheter in 2011.

Come and say hi on my Facebook page!

Have a great weekend all :-D

Week 38: CAL Blocks #145 #149 #153

IMG_2417

#145 Chocolate Box

5 1/2″ sq.

As I find for some of my middles this is a bit skew-whiff (as I type this it occurs to me that it’s probably one of our very eccentric English expressions?!), but the blocking should adjust this issue.
IMG_2418

#149 Solid Square

5 1/2″ sq.

Fast to make though I’m not keen on the mid-round joins as usual – they show in the book’s block too.

IMG_2416

#153 Candy Stripe Bobbles

More bobbles! I think for many of us bobbles have turned out to be the star stitch of the CAL. They’re so cute and give a nice texture to the crocheted fabric.

IMG_2414

As you might have guessed this is the last of the batch of blocks I made ahead and photographed when England still knew what the word sun meant, when we weren’t velcroed into our raincoats, clutching mugs of hot chocolate.

I’d also already made #157 Boxed Square, part of next week’s batch of three, but might redo it as the mid-round joins are so wobbly. We’ll blame my very chatty friend for the wobbliness, honestly she gives me a run for money, which is saying something. Then I’m back to crocheting the blocks as I go, week by week.

It’s been about a week and a half since I last crocheted anything. After I’d made the two striped backs for the Union Jack cushion (which needs buttons, I’ll buy some at a craft sale I’m going to tomorrow) I moved onto a bit of a sewing jag with the Puffy Dog bag as I can’t help calling it. Now I’m doing a bit of X stitch, but after seeing that Lucy off Attic 24 and the planned autumn craft event Yarndale are requesting Granny Square bunting and feeling that I should get on and make some mice for the Mile of Mice KAL/CAL I’m getting itchy fingers to take out my hook again over the bank holiday weekend.

20130522-200618.jpg

I’ve won this Jane Mean’s ribbon from a giveaway hosted by the shop All the Fun of the Fair. Isn’t it preeetty?

I’ve gone from never winning anything, ever, to a few things in the last year. This week I won another giveaway! According to Jill of Nice Piece of Work I am a “lucky flipping fish.” Well, ok then. I hope it carries on! And, I think my latest win just landed on the doormat, along with the new Simply Crochet magazine. Ooooooooh! I’ll show you next time I pop into The Little Room.

Are you planning on crocheting, sewing or …. this weekend? Whatever you do have a relaxing one.

Week 37: CAL Blocks #133 #137 #141

This turned out to be the week of some very dodgy colour combinations….

IMG_2411

#133 Sunshine Stripes

5 – 5 1/2″ but easy enough to stretch out I think (hope.)

It’s beginning to dawn on me that I’ve referred to future block-blocking so many times that now I  have 37+ weeks of it ahead of me. How about we have a BAL next? 3 blocks a week and we post about how successful we are finding it, plus share any tips and techniques? No? Ok.

IMG_2409

#137 Criss Cross

5 1/2″ sq.IMG_2410

#141 Quartet

5 1/2″ W, 5 1/4″ H. Can be stretched out pretty easily as there’s lot of give.

I took these photos a few weeks ago, but actually the sun is shining today and all feels well with the world. It is funny how so many bloggers refer to the weather; I suppose it’s inevitable because of how it affects our activities and moods. I’ve been longingly looking at Aussie and Kiwi bloggers’ pics all winter: sunshine, beach picnics and cooling drinks. But now it’s all hot chocolate and hot water bottle covers!  Speaking of which, have you seen Kate’s HWBC of Greedy for Colour? And this one.

IMG_2413

I’ve been checking out the other block maker’s blogs this week, after getting a bit behind on my reading (BlogLovin said I had 95 unread posts the other day!) There are a band of us still plodding onwards. I can’t believe we’ve been going since September. Well done everyone!

Yesterday a bloggy good friend sent me a link to crochet workshops at Loop, London. Looking at the skills they teach I realised how much I’ve learnt and practiced things like changing colours, following patterns, trying new stitches and just gaining confidence with crochet through doing the CAL with you guys. If little and often is a good way to learn and hone something new then a CAL is definitely a good, sociable, way to do so. If you’re newish to crochet then I’d consider starting a CAL (or joining an existing one on the Ravelry website.) You could always buy  the Jan Eaton 200 Crochet Blocks book and start another round of this CAL.

Talking of sociable I crocheted #157 Boxed Square with a friend last Friday afternoon. She knitted a sock while I hooked away. It was a really nice time but when I’d darned in the ends, still chatting merrily away, I looked at my mid-block joins and honestly, they are like a wave. Lack of counting, lots of chatting!!!!! I should probably redo it, but it’s one of those dc dc dc dc dc dc blocks. Argh!

What have you learnt doing the CAL? If you’re not CALing with us, has it inspired you in any way?

Week 36: CAL Blocks #121 #125 #129

IMG_2398

#121 Coral Seas

5 1/4″ -5 1/2″ but should even to 5 1/2″ with a good blocking.

I crocheted the first 3 rows then started again with 4 ch as couldn’t see the point of the 2 extra ch hanging down. Is this a pattern error or did I miss a point?

My notebook bluntly says ‘Dislike. Floppy. Should try with a 3,5mm hook.’ !IMG_2396

#125 Triple Stripes

5 1/4″ sq but am sure can be eased to 5 1/2″ under steam or water torture!

Another one of those ‘bit of a swizz to increase the block count’ stripey dc one IMHO.

IMG_2401

#129 Anemone

5 1/2″ square

Pretty isn’t it? But a bit scrunched up at the moment, so to complete the triple – will be improved with blocking!

IMG_2394They all look a bit unruly this week, don’t they?!

If you’re in the UK you’ll realise that this photo was not taken in the last few days. After all the sunshine of the past weekend (Britons were in full force wearing their sandals and freshly ironed t-shirts) we now have news of ferries not running due to windy conditions and trampolines blowing away! I admit that I am actually quite a few weeks ahead with the CAL and this is one of a batch of photos of blocks. I decided to forge ahead and then concentrate on other things for a while.

This week I’ve started a project from the Hip Crochet book I won. I’ve also been doing some embroidery. I’m now very dubious about the design, or placement of what I’ve chosen, but I’m assured that it’s fine. Ho hum. I’ll complete and then show you.

Hello to all my new followers by the way! I’ve noticed a steady increase lately. It’s a nice way to check out new-to-me blogs and look around. There are so many of us sending photos into the void and chatting away, it’s amazing what jewels you can find.

Anyway, it’s your turn to talk. How are you? Are you busy with craft or have other aspects of life taken over at the moment?

Week 35: CAL Blocks #109 #113 #117

IMG_2389

#109 Four Square

It’s big one – 6″ sq.

There is something about the different way that this pattern is written which makes me wonder if it’s by Jan Eaton. All in all it’s tedious to crochet and I don’t like the feel of the fabric; it’s too dense. My mid block joins are a bit messy. I prefer them on the corners generally.

On a more positive note I like my colour combination!IMG_2385

#113 Wisteria

5 1/2″ sq.

Pretty, I like the cross effect that the chain spaces create.IMG_2383

#117 Granny in the Middle

5 1/2″ sq.IMG_2392

This week I’ve used a sewing machine for the first time in at least ten years, maybe fifteen. I went slowly. So slowly I think my cousin might have wondered if the repair shop had put a speed limiter on the machine! I sewed into thin air and rucked up the fabric, unpicked and tried again more successfully, forgot to go around a corner and plodded in a straight line, unpicked and resewed. In the end I did it; I sewed a simple lining for my knitted first-time-I’ve-cabled bag. I’ve got to hand-sew the handles around two lengths of piping cord, and finish slip stitching the lining to the cabled panels of my bag then I’ll show you. Proudly, with a bit (lots) of the 5 year old “Look! Look at what I’ve made!”

Have a great bank holiday weekend all in the UK, and enjoy your measily two days the rest of you! :-D

Week 34: CAL Blocks #100 #101 #105

IMG_2379

#100 Pastel Delight / Block 100 delight!

5 1/2″ sq

I like this, it adds extra interest to the Granny Square middle

IMG_2381

#101 Into the Blue

5 1/2″ sq

Bit boring to crochet if you made a whole blanket from these blocks – according to my CAL notebook.IMG_2380

#105 Double Stripes

5 1/2″ sq (3/3 this week!)

These dc stripey blocks are a bit of a swizz – a filler for the book’s block count. I’ve photographed this upside down! If I rotate the pic the angle makes me feel vertigo-ish so I’ve left it.

IMG_2378

Confession: I’ve also crocheted next week’s blocks this week because I haven’t got anything else in progress at the moment. I fancy doing some hand sewing so will do a bit next week as I’m ahead with the blocklets. I won’t post them early though, I don’t want people to feel they’re behind when they’re not.

I’ve got a pack of felt, some threads and ribbons so will see what I can come up with. Oooh speaking of ribbons – guess what? I WON five rolls of three metre ribbons this week. :-D I’ll post a pic when they arrive.

I’m in declutter and scrape the dust off the surfaces mode at the moment. It must be bad because at one stage I stopped singing along to Louis Armstrong and found myself doing an “Oh myyyyyy god” at the billowing clouds of dust that were between some of my folders. Shameful.

Have a creative weekend, if you can, everyone!

Week 33: CAL Blocks #97 #98 #99

IMG_2375

#97 Eyelet Lace

5 1/2″

I ran out of apricot (I’m using every last scrap of my baby cashmerino) so there are 3 rows of sienna to finish at the top.

R4: ‘Break off yarn A’ ?!

R5: Repeat row 1 but note that you’re going to ch3 then 1 tr into the next 2 ch, not 2 tr.

R8: At the end of this row I was confused dot com, why did I only have 1 tr?  I looked at the book’s photo – it’s all back to front compared to mine! I guess if a leftie wanted to create something identical then you’d need to reverse the pattern, starting from R4 > 1. Are you wondering what I’m waffling about? Well, basically left handers crochet rows from left to right, rather than righties who go right to left. This is why my holes go up to the left and yours will go to up to the right as in the book.

I quite like being different to most, it suites my sometimes contrary character. At school once out of a huge group of sixty, during lacrosse training, there were only two of us left-handers who needed to learn a different technique. This resulted in one very grumpy teacher.

IMG_2373

#98 Old Vienna

5 3/4″  I turned R6 into a ‘tr into every tr of the previous round and  ch sp as my block was a measly 5″.

R3 & 4: Crochet 1 tr not 1 dc mid round! You’ll always use the book’s photos to check if you’re switched on and thinking about what you’re doing. I wasn’t, so ended up with a funny scrunched up triangle. Bah!

This reminds me of #10 Openwork Square, which is not a good thing.IMG_2371

#99 Baby Bow

5 1/2″

I  see I squashed some of the bobbles down a little  trying to stop the curling for this photo, but gave up for the group photo below and used pens to anchor the corners, though some bobbles still look rather subdued. They’ve perked up and are all nippley looking again now.

It was very apt crocheting this block today, as the baby for whom the Baby Jewel blanket was crocheted was born this morning! I can’t wait to see her in hospital and pass on the blanket tomorrow. IMG_2366

So, the next block is the big 100, wooooo! And, the beginning of the cheaty ones:  ‘Look you can make them in all kinds of colour combinations and this book can be legally called 200 Blocks, when it’s really far fewer.’

Happy weekend everyone! Have fun and stay safe wherever you are. ♥

Weeks 31 & 32: CAL Blocks #91 #92 #93 #94 #95 #96

IMG_2365

#91 Terraces

6 1/2″ W x 5 1/2″ H

I added 4 more rows at the top to bring the dimensions a little more into line, but stopped at completely squaring it; I might make this into something else. It’s not going to fit with the squarer blocks. Maybe it would be good doubled in width for a scarf?  I reckon small fingers might pick at the loops of the dtr if it was a blanket.IMG_2363

#92 Victorian Lace

5 1/2″ sq.

Definitely needs blocking to see the detail and straighten it out! At the moment the middle is slightly bunched up.

I’m really glad to have more of this mauve wool, it’s such an earthy colour for the garden theme. It should tone down some of the brighter blocks if I make a huge blanket at the end.

IMG_2358

#93 Sequenced Stripes

5 1/2″ sq.

“Row 6: 1 ch into each of the next 2dc, turn.” ?!?!

IMG_2360

IMG_2348 - Copy

#94 Gothic Square

5 1/2″ sq.

Not so much a gothic square in these colours as a full-on summer cottage garden. I’m picturing a flower growing against a blue trellis.

This has a really pretty middle. It also needs blocking to straighten out, but it’s sweet. IMG_2352

#95 Kingcup

5 1/2″ sq.

Kingcup has a 3 hook – challenging – level of crochet rating, but I found it easy. This was very pleasing!

My overall favourite of the Easter fortnight’s blocks.IMG_2355

#96 Light and Shade

5 1/2″ sq.

This was a block where I wished there was also a symbol pattern to go with the written version. I used the book’s photograph to check mine was on track.

IMG_2350 - Copy

I notice there are many blocks with a 1 hook – easy – level of crochet coming up, which is good since I feel I want to zip through the next few weeks worth of blocks. I’ve got my Mile of Mice bodies to sew up, tails to attach and features to stitch (rude comments about the linked post will not be approved Jill & Trish.) Also, I’ve knitted another cable piece for my first-time-I’ve-ever-cabled bag. I need to sew them up and attach the handles. My cousin’s going to help me sew a lining for it over the next few weeks.

Thanks for all your likes and comments about my Wool Money post. I’ve had a few more items arrive in the post after I spent some more of the winnings (JD as he should now be known, short for Jammy Dodger, has ordered an expensive fishing jacket and there’s still lots of loot left. Woo hoo!)

20130415-104837.jpg

I had reluctantly taken the Knitting & Crochet Bible back to the library, so it seemed sensible to buy my own copy. I found a brand new one for a little over £11 on Amazon, which compared to the RRP of £26.99  is an absolute bargain. I can imagine using it as a reference guide, particularly for knitting stitches, for years.

What are you making at the moment? Do you also have a list of items to complete before you start any more projects?

Week 30: CAL Blocks #88 #89 #90

IMG_2279

#88 Edwardian Fancy

5 1/2″ square

Another pattern blip: R2 ‘ join yarn B to any dc…1tr into next dc.” What dc? There are none. If this was an American book first and was translated into UK terms I’d understand this error…

R9: I did 2 tr, 2ch, 2 tr corners into 2 stitches as I had too many stitches left otherwise. Did you find this too, or was this my mistake?

A very pretty block, it would look lovely in pinks and blues.

IMG_2284

#89 Spinner (I’d call this one ‘Bull’s eye’)

5 1/2″ square

A dense block, it would make a warm throw or blanket. I maybe wouldn’t give it to a very young child; you can imagine them wrecking it by poking fingers into the middle hole! IMG_2281

#90 Bright Triangles

6″ square – another huge diagonal increase/decrease block just like #1 Triangle Stripes

This block felt a bit like groundhog day as it’s so similar to the first block of the CAL. I used the same strategy of working out and writing down the stitch count for each row before the sets of 5 rows. Then I checked my stitches tallied at the end of the rows as it’s so easy to crochet into the starting chain otherwise without realising.IMG_2277

I took these photos in a rush before a last tidy up before family arrived for Easter Sunday lunch yesterday, that’s why they’re even more unruly than usual.

+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

I hope you’re having a lovely Easter weekend.

Are you enjoying some chocolate? Unlike two of my friends who were having 1) WeightWatcher’s soup and rice cakes 2) a diet friendly roast (huh?) for their Easter Sunday lunch. Oh no! NO NO NO no! Feast days and holidays are just that in my book; times to enjoy a scrummy meal with family and friends without reserve. And that’s why I’ve eaten 4 peanut butter cups (I made bags of these for family Easter presents, with a few spares for us) for my breakfast today. Now what for lunch? A Cadbury’s creme egg, a Lindt bunny or a salted caramel mini egg?! :-D

Week 29: CAL Blocks #85 #86 #87

IMG_2273

#85 Lemon stripe

5 1/2″ square

There was some talk amongst some of the CAL block makers that the pattern was wrong and should say to make 4ch in the corners of R5&6, not 3, but I stuck to the pattern and mine’s fine. But then my tension’s not tight at the best of times, you can try it both ways and see what works best for you.

This is not an attractive looking block, in any combination of colours in my opinion. In fact if the BBC Dr Who production team are looking for a fabric covering for aliens then I suggest they look no further.

Nope, still not a fan of the ole popcorns!

IMG_2271

#86 Sunray

5 1/2″ square

I crocheted this a few weeks ago, along with the other blocks of week 28, as it looked straightforward to make while watching something good on telly. I just can’t remember what it was now.

IMG_2275

#87 Peony

5 3/4″ square

After trying once with my usual 4mm hook I used a 5mm for the 2ch foundation chain, then carried on with the 4mm. It was much easier, far far less fiddly and as you’re going to darn in the end nice and neatly, which always tightens up the initial ring, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a bit loose to begin.

There are a few ‘ss into the first of the 3ch’ instructions at the end of some rounds – but you haven’t begun with 3chains. Oops yet again.IMG_2268

None of these blocks make my heart go pitter patter, but the top Sunray block is probably my favourite. Lots of these in nice colour combinations would be a fun throw; I’m thinking rusts, browns and autumnal colours.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mile of Mice News: There are now 40 mice knitters in my KAL group on Ravelry. Just look for the Mile of Mice KAL group and come knit a mouse or two along with us. It’s for a very good cause to raise money for The Alzheimer’s Society, and the project will also attempt to set a Guinness World Record in October here in the UK.

The organiser Libby is sorting out a crochet pattern at the moment. If you’re on Facebook and have a mouse crochet pattern, which will make an approximate 9″ mouse from nose to tail, please get in touch with her via the Mile of Mice group.

I’m so embarrassed about my mice bodies pictures (thanks for pointing out why I should be Patch) I’m not even going to link to the post, and you know how much I love linking things. I’ve knitted 7 bodies now. I must knit some ears soon as I already need 14 of the fiddly little things!

*******************************************
The other day I was watching The Gilmore Girls season 7 and there’s an episode about Stars Hollow holding a knitathon to raise money for local bridge repairs. Just try to see that episode and tell me how many of the actors can actually knit, or look as if they’ve ever held a pair of needles and yarn in their lives?!

I’m new to the lovely Gilmores, it crept up on me slowly from the 5th series or so. At first I thought they gabbled on all the time talking soo fast and were a bit too slick but I’m now watching to the end of the series. I record episodes shown on the Freeview 5* channel which shows one a day at 4pm on weekdays; if you’re also in the UK and want to see what I’m talking about. I then plan to rent the series from 1-4 and see Rory grow up. It’s a bit like Benjamin Button (terrible film!) going from OAP-baby.

Enough waffle! I’m off to heat up the River Cottage parsnip & ginger soup I made earlier and cook some lamb kebabs for dinner. :-D

Week 28: CAL Blocks #82 #83 #84

IMG_2264

#82 Webbed Lace

This is the runty one of the litter this week, I’ve crocheted it with a 4mm and 3.5mm hook. Both are rectangular, nowhere near square. Guess what I’m going to say about this pattern? (Prizes if you get it.)

This would make a nice Springtime scarf in the right kind of yarn! (Did you win?)

4mm=6″W x 5″ H

3.5mm=5 3/4″W x 4 1/4″H

IMG_2263

#83 Diamond in a Square

3.5mm=5 1/4″ but then I added two more R8 to enlarge the block so it’s 5 3/4″. I just fancied using my pink 3.5mm hook for a change from the blue 4mm, so I did.

Now tell me is there a mistake in the instructions for R6? There don’t seem to be enough instructions before the corner space stitches. I just trebled along until the last 3htr, surely it should specify 14tr then 3htr? There’s always the photo in the book to check; but I think of how confused I’d have been if this particular block was the first I tried as a newbie.IMG_2260

#84 Combination Stripes

5 3/4″ – 5 1/2″ depending on if you’re measuring the fat or thinner end!

I thought this was less wonky than my usual (unblocked) corner squares, but looking at this photo I’m not so sure. Generally the corners where you increase, rather than decrease, come out less wibbly for me. It’s probably all about the tension.

IMG_2259

Week 28! Wow I can’t believe we’ve been going since 1st September crocheting and posting pics! WELL DONE if you’ve been with me since the beginning and are still crocheting along. I could post a list of links to current block-makers’ blogs in my CAL week 29 post to make it easy for readers to click to yours so they can have a peep. Just send me a link to your last CAL post here if you fancy.

I’ve heard from Jen of The Eclectic Stitch to say she’s rejoining the CAL which is cool. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of her blocks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m thinking of taking part in A Mile of Mice which according to the Make & Craft website involves: ‘knitting a mile of knitted mice to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Society. 7600 mice need to be joined nose to tail and measured at Altrincham Football Ground in October 2013 to gain a Guinness World Record and gain publicity for The Alzheimer Society. Knitters can be sponsored and the mice will be sold off after the Big Measure to raise more money for them. Donations of money, wool or stuffing most welcome from people who don’t want to knit themselves.’

I thought I could make a pink alpaca mouse, or two, from my Knitting and Stitching Show workshop wool. Every mile of mice needs a pink alpaca family.

Shall we get involved and do a mini KAL? (Knit-along) but with no fixed schedule? I’m happy to post links to blogs/photos showing completed mice. It could be squeaking good fun. What do you reckon?

Week 27: CAL Blocks #79 #80 #81

IMG_2213#79 Baltic Square

5 1/4″ square

Urgh! I dislike popcorns in baby cashmerino. I just think they look better in a proper DK thickness of yarn. I used a 3.5mm hook to see if they’d look tighter and sexier etc, but not. Alternatively, it might just be me and my inability to do them properly?

IMG_2215

#80 Blocks and Shells

6 1/2″ W with my usual 4mm hook, so I changed to a 3.5mm hook (refreshing change actually) but it’s still a widey at 6″ w x 5 1/2″ h like the previous blocks #76 and #75.

This would be another good scarf pattern though there’s something a bit irritating about the multiple trebling into one treble, you might find it fiddly and not very fast to whip-up like scarves often can be (should this be re-christened MAL-CAL today? Moan along crochet along?! Sorry. I will pep it up with the next block.)IMG_2211#81 Sunshine and Showers

5 3/4″ (4mm hook)

My favourite in a long time, I like the flowery middle and it’s a sturdy block because you go around previous treble rounds in double crochet. This would be an excellent blanket block. A little darnarama and not speedy to crochet, but overall well worth the effort of making. Sometimes the things that take the longest time to create are the things most worth having.

S was working in Oslo for a week, came home for the equivalent of a long weekend and then shot off on a ten day trip to work in Hong Kong. He came home last night – hurray! (Though I really hate it when he texts me before take-off showing a photo of his two windows with a wooden windowsill with a pretake-off glass of Krug, from the First class cabin, and the ottoman that has room for someone else to sit at the table for dinner opposite and which later converts to a bed. Plus knowing there are only 5 other passengers in the cabin when I’m used to being packed into economy on long flights. It might be time for me to consider a career change? These messages are especially galling when I’m sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea and a ham sandwich feeling a bit lil Orphan Annie!!!!!)

Anyway, I had to show you this Japanese ‘delicacy’ that he takes great glee in buying as a gift for my poor brother. S instructs me that you have use the Banzai voice to say its name. If you’re not familiar then don’t worry, it’s really not that funny!

IMG_2190IMG_2187

Here are a couple of gifts S gave me after last year’s business trip to HK. At the time I was definitely a beginner crocheter but now I reckon I could dust them off and follow the symbol patterns.

What are you doing this weekend? Any fun plans for Mothers’ Day?

Week 26: CAL BLocks #76 #77 #78

IMG_2182

#76 Granny Stripes

6 1/4″ W 5 1/4″ H with a 3.5mm hook. AND I added an extra stripe at the top. So, that concludes the brief experiment using a different sized hook. I also redid #75 with a 3.5mm hook and it was still rectangular (6″ W 5 1/4″ H) So I’m going back to my original plan of using the same 4mm hook and just crocheting the patterns. If I change them by adding rows or extra stitches then it’s not Jan Eaton’s 200 Blocks, they’re mine. I know I’m probably going to be struggling with the fixing them together but that’s for later, not stressing at the moment.

The good thing about doing this CAL is that in the future I can look back to my weekly posts, when planning blankets etc, and choose my favourite similar sized blocks.

IMG_2180

#77 Raspberries and Cream

Hmmm, as usual for a corner square it’s very squiffy measuring between 5 1/4″ – 5 3/4″ at various points of the block.

I enjoy these decrease to 3 stitches blocks, they’re very relaxing to crochet because you’re not staring at the pattern every row.

IMG_2177

#78 Briar Rose

5 1/2″ squareIMG_2185

Very bright and Spring-like with the yellow and green. I like the colour combo this week.

I’ve been slack about my darning this week but I will keep up with my CAL resolution and do the ends before I crochet the next set.

This week we have another new block maker, check out her first CAL blog post here. It really made me grin to have someone so enthused about the project, especially when we’re now 6 months into the Crochet Along and I was definitely feeling a bit jaded last week (about the blog posting, not the crochet!) Admittedly that might have been down to lethargy from a cake overload?!

Check out the Ravelry group too, we are still gaining members, there are now 100+ which surprises me as the forum is practically silent. It’s great that newbies are still signing up to the CAL. If you fancy playing the TPBM game pop in to the forum.  I love silly games!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In other news: I dropped my iphone into a cup of coffee this week! It slid straight down out of my hand and plopped into my mug. It all works apart from the wifi, which is pretty vital.

Wahhh!

It’s going away by post to my mobile operator –Y’know, the company who I pay a lot of pounds to every month — and is guaranteed to be back within 4 working days. In the meantime what will I do without a mobile?!

Week 25: CAL BLocks #73 #74 #75

IMG_2169

#73 Catherine Wheel

5 3/4″ square

R4 has a missing instruction. It should say ch3 at the beginning (which counts as a tr) If you picked up the book as a beginner, or not so experienced, this is the detail you need to know.

I’m not sure about the colour combo, but then I’ve said this quite often. I’d probably choose different colour combinations,  and not all in a rush just before the shop closed next time! Or, maybe the yellow was a mistake and the colours were sound before I added more?

IMG_2172

#74 Seville

5 3/4″ square

Another editing issue: R7 should say [1 tr into next tr, 1 ch] lazy proofing, or like many companies perhaps they’ve sacked the proof editors thinking that computer programmes alone can pick up errors. When you read have you noticed how many mistakes have crept into contemporary novels? But, having said this please don’t judge me by all my mistakes; this is just another little crochet blog.

This needs blocking sooo badly, I know.

IMG_2174

#75 Half and Half

6 x 5 1/2 ” rectangular! If I want to use this (and I do, it’s posh wool £££) I’ll have to redo it, but for now it’s shoved in one of my block boxes. It needs either fewer trebles or a smaller hook. I haven’t gone down the using different sized hooks route for different blocks because frankly I don’t want to fanny about here essentially making samples checking for measurements. Yah-boo for number 75!

IMG_2175

The lateness of my posting (it’s usually around Friday/Saturday at the end of the CAL week) is due to having FUN! A girlies long weekend in Cardiff, Wales stalking the places where Gavin and Stacey was filmed (look it up and watch!!!) and generally mooching, talking and eating a lot of cakey type things.

I must admit that the CAL is beginning now to feel a bit like homework, or at least after a very fun weekend away when I know I’ve got to unpack, do washing and write this update. I’m also starting to wonder how the hell I can fix together blocks which differ in size as much as 3/4″. You might be sat smugly reading this thinking you’re not surprised and you expected a similar comment sooner or later, but it’s not really surprising to me either. I knew all along I’d feel like this at some point.

This is the plan: I’m finishing the blocks and then will sort out blocking, sizing, coordinating and joining issues…….later!

~~~~~~~~

I’ve just heard a huge thump as my new knitting and Tunisian crochet books land on the door mat. YAY!

Have a good week blogettes.

Week 24: CAL Blocks #70 #71 #72

IMG_2163#70 Zigzag
5 3/4″ square
Yes well I’m really not sure what went wrong with this one, but you can’t say I didn’t warn you! I was initially 99.9% sure my colour changes were to blame for the wiggly look (I did them my usual way ending the last stitch before the change with the new colour) rather than wrongly following the pattern. If I cover the changes with my finger the zigzags show clearly which seems to back this theory, but there are not 3 pointy zigs and the zags are dodgy so…..

Ah well, this is abstract art.

IMG_2160#71 Starflower
6″ square
Pretty but a bit holey for a blanket?!

IMG_2162#72 Ribbed square
I crocheted this at the beginning of the year when keen to choose and make random blocks that were left.

IMG_2165
My plan was to crochet 2-3 blocks a week and actually I’m bang on target with three a week working out perfectly 24×3=72. :-)

PS: We’ve nearly done six months crocheting along together! 6 months!?! SIX MONTHS?*!Z*!? That’s amazing.

Week 23: CAL Blocks #67 #68 #69

20130208-101939.jpg
#67 American Beauty

I really like all of this week’s blocks, isn’t this lovely?

6″ square – A big one!

It lies beautifully flat and even when pinned, it just needs blocking.

20130208-102046.jpg
#68 Red, White and Blue (Pink, Blue and Green!)
5 1/4″-5 3/4″ ho hum. These corner blocks are really uneven though I do like the way you make them; either increasing from bottom to top, or decreasing from the top to bottom.

20130208-102040.jpg
#69 Fudge
5 1/2 “square
I didn’t like the brown colour combo in the book and think this is prettier. :-)

20130208-103818.jpg
I’m not looking forward to the zig zag block which is next. I just don’t think the colour changes will look very good in thinner baby cashmerino than as it would using ‘proper’ DK. We’ll see how it turns out next week.

Which is your favourite this week? Mine’s the first.

Week 22: CAL Blocks #64 #65 #66

20130202-125858.jpg
#64 Sunshine Lace
5 1/2 ” square

20130202-125831.jpg
#65 Patriotic Sunburst
Nearly 5 1/2″ square
I’m not sure about the rounded corners on this one, perhaps it just needs stretching out flat…

20130202-125838.jpg
#66 Abstract
5 1/2″ square
I laughed a bit when I read that one blogger has decided she mustn’t watch tv and crochet at the same time. It made me think that I must be way more accomplished and had really mastered this crochet thing. Ha ha ha Rachel…

I crocheted these blocks last weekend during writing breaks. This one was ‘completed’ during Saturday Morning Kitchen, then half undone and re-crocheted during the week when watching The Gilmore Girls. Then, finally half redone this morning during Saturday Morning Kitchen (very, very gritted teeth.) I just kept making the section above the splodge too wide. I don’t know why really; I blame the gorgeous James Martin (A Yorkshire chef & presenter on SMK. Phoar!!!)
The splodge looks like a splodge in the book too. This one’s darnarama also. Needless to say I WILL NOT be making this one again.

20130202-125904.jpg
Curly twirly corners ;-)

IMG_2127
Just after I posted here yesters a beautiful bouquet arrived! :-D
I’ve had such lovely messages from friends and family too. My favourite text was from my friend Sarah when she saw my two bound dissertations – ‘Holy Sh**!!! Well Done!!!!!!!’ She’s working hard on hers at the moment and I know exactly how she’s feeling. It’s so good to be at the end of a lot of hard work. I’ve got that school’s out for summer feeling now.

The icing on the cake is while I’ve been writing this the postie has just brought me:

20130202-133150.jpg
I took advantage of the first 3 issues for £5 offer. I did the same with The Simple Things mag, but really didn’t like it much. I have high hopes for this one…I’ll let you know my thoughts if you like?

What are your plans this lovely weekend? Tell me what you’re up to. :-)

Week 21: CAL Blocks #61 #62 #63

20130126-093150.jpg
#61 Nine Patch Granny
5 1/2″ square
To join I slip stitched into the 2 outer loops so the edges sat side by side, this was rather than ss through all four loops as the book instructs. I chained 2 over the first seam when going across the first set of seams. I always use a smaller hook when joining crochet (3mm hook instead of the usual 4mm.)
Oh and for the final round the book says to 1ch, 1 dc into each tr and ch round edge; I ignored this and just did 1 ch to begin then dcs around. There was a similar mistake for one of the previous blocks I think?

20130126-093158.jpg
#62 Edged Square
5 – 5 1/2″ ‘square’ urgh! This puts me off the corner blocks.

20130126-093209.jpg
#63 Random Patches
5 1/2″ square
Oh gawd! On the last colour change I realised I was working with 26 stitches not 28. Oh la! (But I was never starting again.)
Darnarama too!
20130126-093217.jpg
I love my curly edged group pictures, there’s something that appeals to me maybe because they’re non-conformist?! ;-)

I think my fave is the Random Patches block this week.

How are you getting on? Which block are you working on?

Weeks 19 & 20 CAL Blocks #55 #56 #57 #58 #59 #60 #72

20130113-095859.jpg
#55 Centred square
5 1/2 ” square

20130113-095911.jpg
#56 Plain Granny
5 3/4″ square

20130113-095940.jpg
#57 Arrowhead bobbles
5 1/2″ square. These blocks used to be all around 5 3/4″ on average, as I’m using baby cashmerino, but seem to be getting smaller….

And, because I was in a go get ’em mood at the very beginning of a new year (and if I’m honest avoiding work) and the first two blocks were so straightforward to crochet; I then crocheted four more blocks. I won’t post next week, it’s going to be a very busy one anyway.

20130113-100014.jpg
#58 Peach Rose
5 1/2″ square (but wibbily at the moment obviously!)

20130113-100000.jpg
#59 Coral quartet (or not!)
5 1/2 x 5 3/4″ oh dear. These kind of blocks always seem to come out narrower than the length. I’ve been speculating that this is why the book is called 200 Blocks not Squares again! Unless it’s me and yours come out perfectly….

Oops it’s upside down, I must have rotated the photo without thinking.
20130113-100025.jpg
#60 Popcorn corners
5 3/4″ square (but a bit rounded not pointy as in square. I’ll have to see if others’ come out similarly.)
One of the middle pc looks a bit flat, it’s got squashed in the pile of blocks I reckon. We thought this “alright” nothing special after I made it, but it’s quite pretty I suppose.

It took 2 hours from beginning to darning the ends in! I know because the morning news was on, then the whole of Saturday Morning Kitchen yesterday. S made the spiced lamb shanks with pomegranate tubbouleh for dinner after seeing it made on the programme. Yum yum yum. The recipe is online, it’s one of James Martin’s recipes.

20130113-100132.jpg
#72 Ribbed square
5 1/2″ square
I know this is way ahead…
This and #52 Lemon peel were the two blocks I tried a long time ago when I bought the book. The other day I just fancied randomly picking any block to make. I told you I felt keen!

20130113-104706.jpg
The colours have come out looking so different in the shifting light this morning, but you know what they really look like by now. I’m still thinking about making two items with my blocks since my initial Cottage Garden colour scheme really feels like it’s evolved into two sets, but I’m not making any firm decisions till I stop making blocks.

How many unique designs are there? I count 126 but my maths can be pretty unpredictable.

Week 18: CAL Blocks #53 #54

20130106-135823.jpg
#53 Mesh Fantasy
5 1/2″ square

20130106-135829.jpg
#54 Framed Flower

Getting the hook into the 7ch from the hook (ie: the last) and making a treble without the whole thing twisting around and around is the initial challenge of this block. From then on it’s pretty straightforward, even when you think it’s curly and pulled up in all directions, after R4, it does end up flat and quite square.

5 3/4″ square

20130106-135835.jpg

I’m looking forward to the next two blocks which both have a 1 hook ‘beginner’ rating, it will be nice to whizz around without too much thought.

How are you getting on with the CAL? Are you still with me? If you are please put up your hand now. (Trish aka Made by Patch & Jane aka Rainbow Junkie, I know you are so you can relax and wear your gold star stickers with pride.)

Week 17: CAL Blocks #49 #50 #51 #52

Otherwise known as the week of wonky photographed blocks! Honestly now I look at the uploaded photos I think they look like kids who’ve had to run for the school bus with shirts hanging out, hair unbrushed and clutching pieces of toast. Ah well, you get a rough idea of what they look like….

20121229-184205.jpg
#49 Rainbow stripes
These corner blocks are quite fun to do especially when you start with 58 ch and decrease down to 3st, but they are going to take some straightening out. I think I’m beginning to repeat myself as I have a feeling of deja vu!
5 1/4″ – 5 3/4″ ‘square’

20121229-184215.jpg
#50 Seminole
I got really engrossed in an audio book on Boxing Day, and as you see the maroon stripe carries on for another row. Due to being a leftie and not ;reversing the instructions the stripes are the other side, but it’s quite effective either way so I’m not worried.
5 3/4″ square

20121229-184221.jpg
#51 Bright flower
I probably need to do this one again practising crocheting the initial stitches tighter behind the petals, or maybe just easing them around the foundation ring as I go; they’re a little uneven in shape.
You can see who’s a leftie and who is a rightie if you look at the way the petals lie over each other, I just noticed when comparing mine to the book. When righties go round to the left, we go round to the right! Confused?
This would make a really nice blanket, mixed with plain blocks for the contrast.
5 3/4″ square

20121229-184228.jpg
#52 Lemon peel
I crocheted this when I first got the book ; (last year?) ; and found it quite challenging as I was a crochet newbie. Now? Easy peasy lemon squeezy! I think it’s pictured WS up but I like both sides of this block.
6″ square

I’m only going to crochet blocks #53 and #54 next week to give others who are crocheting along with me a chance to catch up.

**********************************************

It’s that funny limbo time of the season where home is still decked out for Christmas, you’re full of food and drink playing with new presents and the New Year is looming. This is usually when I feel I should go back to being productive and busy, but don’t. I have started a new crochet project though, under the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree with the films Pretty Woman then Bombay Beach playing on the tv. Lazy days!

I must have been a good girl at some point as Father Christmas gave me a dozen balls of Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino!

What have you been doing during the last few days?

Week 16: CAL Blocks #46 #47 #48

Today it’s very grey and damp again after a beautifully bright and lovely day yesterday. I don’t use a flash because it makes the colours look odd, so put the blocks in the brightest space I could find near the kitchen window.
20121222-114151.jpg
#46 Meadow

There was a bit of counting to check this one was on track.
Nearly 6″ square

20121222-114206.jpg
#47 Queen Anne’s Lace

I like the middle of this, it’s quite a pretty block. refreshing not to have to change colour and only two ends to darn.
The disadvantage is it’s one of the smallest blocks at 5 1/4 ” squarish. I think nearer the time to making up the blanket(s) this one might need an extra border or two to increase the overall size. I don’t think blocking will quite do it this time. I’m interested to see how this comes out size-wise for other Crochet Along (CAL)ers!

20121222-114213.jpg
#48 Danish square

R2: I didn’t ss into the first of 9ch as I thought it too wibbly looking, I went into a dc I think.
R5: the pattern’s not specific about where to join yarn c, I went into the first of the 2dc of R4
I had to alter the yarn combination as I’m low on some colours now. I hope Father Christmas thinks I’ve been good this year. ;-)
6″ squarish

20121222-114219.jpg

See the difference in size?
The Danish square is my favourite this week. I like the petal shape of the 4 middle holes.

I’m planning to carry on and do my usual 3 blocks next week, but will have to see how it pans out. My motivation is to get to the end of the CAL in good time and not stretch it out to next Christmas. Also I’m still enjoying the pattern reading and stitch practise, and when I look back to the crochet I was doing, very unconfidently as a beginner, this time last year it’s a great boost to my crochet confidence.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~

This afternoon I have more presents to wrap, fruit to soak in Armagnac, baubles to thread with gold ribbon and some reading/notes to do as I’m steadily plodding on with my studies.

I’m looking forward to King prawns in garlic and chilli with a crunchy winter salad and a baguette from the local French bakery for dinner tonight. Yum.

Where are you up to with your Christmas prep and what are you looking forward to eating this weekend?

Week 15: CAL Blocks #43 #44 #45 & #42 reworked

IMG_1967

#43 Four Patch Granny

Retro crochet! This one is fiddly; all those ends to darn! Imagine making a whole blanket and all the joining you’d need to do. This block took me far longer than any of the others (apart from the hideous block #11)

6″ square

IMG_1965#44 Subtle Stripes

‘The turning chain in a row of dc is not counted’ I chanted to myself at the beginning of this block. For some reason I needed to remind myself.

This looks like cottage garden in the Autumn. I like it.

6″ square

IMG_1963#45 Steps

This could make an interesting design if the blocks were turned different ways, so the steps were going in various directions on a blanket. Maybe?

5 3/4″ square

IMG_1972_2

~~~~~~~~~~~~

After reading good ole Rainbow Junkie’s CAL post I realised that I hadn’t been thinking, and of course there is a mistake in the pattern for rounds 6 & 7 namely that it should be trebles and not doubles around the edges of the block. No wonder my #42 block  looked all pulled in at the sides.

Gah!

I undid those rounds and re-crocheted them. Isn’t it typical that you realise your mistake (with RJ’s help) after the one week you diligently darned in those blighty little ends?! (And darned in very well, so in the end I snipped in the middle of the outer round and wasted a length of posh wool. Double gah!)

Here it is reworked:IMG_1968#42 Lacy Wheel

Now 5 1/2 ” square, will be larger with blocking.

NB: If you’re using the USA version of the 200 blocks book check here for a correction to the patterns for #47 & #48 on the interweave website

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I hope your Christmas prep is going well. I’ve bought 95% of my presents, wrapped 20% and have been crocheting little sparkly Christmas things. Fun, fun, fun.

Today I’m going to crochet the picot edge of the granny stripe #2 and that’s finished too. Yay!

I’ve also got to write and post Christmas cards. I’d better do them next…

Stay warm and have some mulled wine! (Or ice-cream if you’re in a hot place!) :-)

Week 14: CAL Blocks #40 #41 #42

20121208-101127.jpg
#40 Granny with a Twist
5 3/4 ” square
20121208-101139.jpg
#41 Bobble Triangle
5 3/4″ square
20121208-101147.jpg
#42 Lacy Wheel
Can be blocked to 5 3/4″ square
As I’ve said before – these lacy blocks are not my faves but this has a very pretty centre.
20121208-101154.jpg

~~~~~~

This week, apart from the 3 blocks above, I’ve finished the main body of Granny Stripe #2 and have (much) darning of ends to do before starting on the edging. uh-oh.

I’ve crocheted another dishcloth too. My cousin’s been buying and sending me the dishcloth string for ages but when I checked that I’d made her one, she said “Ironically, no.” Ooops! (Actually, WoW,  look at this post it’s staggering that it’s nearly a year ago! It’s my 1 year blog birthday on 31st December.)

What have you completed this week?

I’m glad I made this chunky seashell scarf during warmer weather, it’s needed now!

Have a good weekend, stay warm! :-D

Week 13: CAL Blocks #37 #38 #39

20121201-095712.jpg
#37 Pin Stripes
What a nifty way to make a circle into a square in just two rounds!
5 3/4″ square
The mid-row joins are untidy but they look about the same in the book, I must be improving. Hurrah!
20121201-095727.jpg
#38 Dahlia
I’m not too keen on the look of this one though S said it’s ‘sweet’. Good popcorn practice, I think I’m getting better at them.
Also 5 3/4″ square
20121201-095742.jpg
#39 Gavin’s Stripes
Who the hell is Gavin? Maybe Mr Eaton?
I really like the texture of the stitches but wouldn’t want to make a big item as the repetition would get boring.
6″ square

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ll lay out the blocks I’ve made so far one day, and take a piccy,  it just needs to be a bright and sunny day.

I’ve asked for more baby cashmerino in the brighter colours for Christmas. I’ve run out of apricot, am low on sienna, hot pink, rusty red and purple. I’m glad I chose to use posh wool for the CAL; it would be extremely expensive to buy all the wool in one hit for a project, but a few balls as you go are not going to break the bank (especially if you ask others to buy it for you!)

I can’t show you what else I’m crocheting, it’s Christmas themed but I’m not saying any more because certain people pop here and read. Other than that I’m on the last 6 stripes of the Granny Stripe #2 blanket, and carrying on with these CAL blocks week by week. I tend to make them over a few days then leave them so it doesn’t feel like the CAL is taking over, it’s a doable pace and I’m not bored.

What are you making at the moment?

Have a relaxing weekend and stay warm if you’re in the UK. It’s a few degrees here today with a hard white frost everywhere. Brrrrr!!!!!

:-D

Week 12: CAL Blocks #34 #35 #36

 

20121125-130136.jpg
#34 Band of Bobbles
6″ square
“I’m not sure about this one”
“Yeah, why does it stop?”

20121125-130144.jpg
#35 Tricolour Square
5 1/2″ square but it needs flattening out
Another version of this using only trebles would be interesting (still not bothered about dtr to be honest)

20121125-130153.jpg
#36 ‘Pink’ Stripe
5 3/4″ square
Using htr made a refreshing change, plus it’s fast growing which made it one of the speediest blocks to crochet.

~~~~~~

Reading Patch’s blog post this week made me laugh because its not CAL posts that makes you a geek; it’s blogging about crochet in the first place! As a crochet blogger and the instigator of the CAL I totally accept my inner geek ;-)

What are you making at the moment? Full on with Christmas crafts or ?

Week 11: CAL Blocks #31 #32 #33


#31 Primrose Square
Another of my favourites so far. This would look really pretty in pinks (doesn’t have to be called a primrose square, could be a ‘dog rose’?)
6″ square

#32 Oblique Stripe
This took me back to block #1 with all the counting at the end of each row to make sure I’d gone into all the right stitches, there was no redoing this time so things must have improved!
I have to admit that even I’m half closing my eyes and sucking my breath in when I look at the colour combination I chose, so don’t worry if you are too!
This is a big un – 6 1/4″ square

#33 Pretty in Pink
Not so much pink, but I do think this is pretty.
5 3/4″ square – in my CAL notebook I’ve written ‘not very (square) ish’!

I’m sticking to my CAl Resolution and darning the ends of the blocks before starting the next set each time. I couldn’t bear to leave it until the end. What a job that would be!

The weather is so overcast that I’ve been taking photos of the blocks on one of our back doorsteps each Friday morning. Flash photos inside make the colours look odd.

~~~~~~~~~~

*~*~*Which are your favourite blocks so far? *~*~*
~~~~~~~~~~

PS:: If you have an American copy of the 200 blocks book then check the interweave site for a correction to the pattern for #35 Tricolour Square

Week 10: CAL Blocks #28 #29 #30


#28 Christmas Rose
6″ square – Hurray!
Easy enough to make, but when I got to round 7 the note at the end saying it should be 9 tr along each side of the sqaure threw me as it was hard to see this and mine looked like more petals. I undid the round and tried again to the same result; so I carried on with round 8 and it was fine. If you’re also finding this carry on, it all comes together although at the time you can’t see how it will end up being square.
#29 Bobble Stripe
I love, love, love this one! I’ve been rummaging in my stash cube this morning and have found a nice combination of colours of Stylecraft special DK so I can get busy making something with bobbles. It’s my favourite tip top block of CAL so far.

#30 Shell Lace
Super easy and satisfying to crochet as it grows so fast. Another 6″ square block! (I’m not sure about the bobbley one as I didn’t note a measurement down.)
~~~~~~~

There are now 100 members in my Ravelry CAL group! The ironic thing is that although there are now many more members the threads are quieter than they’ve ever been…. tee hee. It doesn’t matter, the threads are there if people want to share an SOS moment or have a chat.

~~~~~~~

I’ve had a trying couple of weeks as I’m not well and have been told to rest by the Doctor. I can crochet (hurrah!) read and watch TV but I have so much work to do that it’s really frustrating. I’ve also developed an (un?)healthy addiction to Loose Women and The Gilmore Girls. Uh-oh, but the plus side is I’m up on Rod Stewart’s new album, what all his children are up to, Sienna Miller’s controversial photo portrait, the goings on of Ken and Deidre, who is going into the jungle on Sunday and that Stars Hollow is now clear of rotten Easter eggs.

Anyone got the Gilmore Girls 7 series box-set I can borrow so I can watch from the beginning???? Please. PlEAsE… ;-)

I hope you’re well and getting on with whatever it is you have to do, as well as the other stuff that you enjoy. Have a good weekend!

Week 9: CAL Blocks #24 #25 #26 #27


#24 Italian Cross

Baby cashmerino (being slightly thinner than dk) is just a bit too thin to show off this stitch, like I thought for the popcorn stitch it needs a bulkier wool to show it off. I probably should have pulled the chain a bit tighter as the top of the stitches look a bit loose. But it’s my first ever go at the puff stitch. Darning the ends will make it a bit less saggy looking in places.

In my CAL notebook I’ve written that the Harmony Guide to Crochet says ” A puff stitch is a cluster of half treble stitches (usually 3-5) worked in the same place to make a soft lump.” Ha! I’ve created soft lumps.


#25 Tannenbaumn

I used the new colour to finish off the last stitch in the background colour when starting the tree stitches each time, and swapped to the background colour to finish off the last stitch of the tree design. It seems to work.

I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think of using two balls of background colour instead of carrying all that yarn, but I wanted to avoid darning and didn’t think of the third way. D’oh!

At 5 3/4 ” square this is turning out to be the average size of my blocks.


#26 Snowflake

This, of course, needs blocking to straighten it out but it’s ok. I’m not a fan of very holey blocks but it’s good to try new stitches.

One of the rare blocks that is 6″ square


#27 Snowy Stripes

I think there’s a mistake in the notes for spike stitch at the top of the pattern. I checked the notes at the back of the book, then went to my trusty Harmony Guide to check too. Basically don’t go into the top of the next stitch after going below the next stitch, yo and pulling through, just yo again and draw through the stitch as you would a normal dc. I tried it the way the note said and the spikes were almost diagonal.

6 1/4 ” wide 5 1/4″ high. Oh!

Lots of darning too, would it work to carry yarn up the sides? What did you do?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m definitely learning new skills and picking up tips from other people doing this CAL, it’s good learning new techniques. It’s made me want to move my knitting on and try something new (harder!) sometime.

Did you see what a commenter wrote on my last CAL post?

”…….I met Jan Eaton a couple of weeks ago and she said every block in the book is blocked and steamed to within an inch of its life!” I think this is regarding the different sized blocks (which is why I reckon the book is not called 200 Crochet Squares, there would be too much hassle from crocheters!)

Week 8: CAL Blocks #21 #22 #23

20121026-124849.jpg
#21 ‘Blue Shades’
Garish shades actually, knowingly made bright and a bit clashing, but it’s an antidote to the grey roof outside. I like it actually, though wasn’t sure at the time of making.
This is an ingenious pattern; I assumed we’d be increasing from the bottom up and out, like other corner squares, but it’s decreasing top down. I say ‘square’ but this is going to take some blocking to achieve that!

20121026-134423.jpg#22 St Petersburg
I’ve read on a Ravelry forum that front post crochet can often pull the work inwards, this was a relief to read. This is my first time doing front and back post crochet and it’s quite fun. I like the warmth of the block as this technique makes a thicker fabric than other stitches.
The colour combo in the book is not the best in my opinion as it makes it look like the maker used a variegated yarn and the stitches and texture don’t show up very well, completely different colours ie: red and green and a charcoal grey might have been more effective?
I’ve added an extra round of dcs to bring it up to a 6″ square – well it is when it’s pinned out. This is the first time I’ve added another round to a block and think it’s a nice band of border.

20121026-124903.jpg
#23 Bars and Diamonds
Not a nice one to make. Horrid! I hated crocheting trebles into the side of another; it was fiddly and annoying. I did enjoy listening to the last part of this audio book during the process, it’s superbly read by the author and made me laugh and cry. (Trying not to sob over the death of a horse when in the smart business class section on the flight home from Lisbon was not a good look.) I like the look of the pattern but will avoid repeating this technique numerous times in one design in the future!

Terrible photos I know, all taken at the same space of time but the light is so variable (poor mainly!) that the table looks different in every shot!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I think we’ve lost some block makers on the CAL now, or at least they’ve completely disappeared out of view since the first few blocks. It is a bit of a big project and easy to get behind on, that’s not a problem as anyone can join or rejoin whenever they’re ready. I’m enjoying it still but the thought that at 2-3 blocks a week it will be going on till June is a bit daunting!

How are you getting on?

If not crocheting along with us what are you up to at the moment?