Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Blue and Green

This granny stripe blanket was one of the earliest things that I made a few years ago when I hadn't quite worked out how to crochet properly.

Knowing that each treble has an extra chain has bugged me since then so recently I decided to head down the recycling yarn route again and unpick the whole thing.

When I looked at the colours all wound up in mini bundles I noticed that I'd chosen two colour groups for the blanket, one blue/green and the other pink/purple.

Initially I didn't have any plans for the yarn but I soon settled upon having a go at solid granny squares again, but this time using a different colour for each round.

I chose to use the blue and green colours only and I've made a batch of squares of six rounds each, with a view to adding a lighter colour around the edge of all of them, perhaps white, lemon or cream.

Coincidentally whilst working on these squares I came across a pattern for multi-coloured solid grannies which completely transforms the overall look of them. I'm currently incorporating this pattern as well as working in all the pesky ends.

There's a saying that goes something like 'blue and green should never be seen' but I think that the colour combination is both lovely and very restful.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Butterflies in the Mist

I started my Butterflies in the Mist shawl in the Autumn of last year when the first mists and foggy mornings of the season began.

The pattern, Butterfly Stitch Prayer Shawl, is freely available on Ravelry where there are lots of lovely projects to have a look at. I've spent many an hour or two just going through and looking at what other people have made, seeing how it looks in different colours and the alternative borders that people have picked.

I decided to use a 3.5 mm hook and Stylecraft Senses Lace which is mostly acrylic with a small amount of mohair.

For the border I wanted something really pretty so I picked #147 from Edie Eckman's Around the Corner Crochet Borders book. I substituted puff stitches with treble clusters simply because I found them easier to create with the fuzzy yarn.

When I plucked up the courage to steam block the whole thing I was so worried that I'd 'kill' it that my first attempt with an iron didn't take because I hovered about four inches above it in fear of doing just that. I was also worried about dropping the iron on it too so for my next attempt I got the steam cleaner out.

Then nothing held me back, I blocked away until it was done and had to resist the temptation to remove the pins too early.

When I allowed myself to unpin the shawl I was amazed by the result. I don't know if I've over or under blocked it (I doubt the latter) but the shawl has transformed from its former fuzzy self into a light, airy, drapey, floaty loveliness which I can't resist wrapping around me.

I enjoyed creating the butterflies and making this shawl so much that I plan on making another. I've already got some yarn in mind but will wait for this year's Autumn mists and fog to descend before I make it again.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Pooh's Group Hug - Finished at Last

I'm doing really well at the moment finishing things off rather than tucking them away in places where they'll quickly become out of sight, out of mind.

This counted cross stitch kit was hanging around for over a decade until I dug it out last Summer and decided to work on it in the hope that I would complete it, rather than stuff it away again.

This previous post shows the progress that I made last year.

Here I am less than a year later (that's quick for me) with a finished stitched piece.

All it needs now is a bit of cleaning and then I must find a frame for it.

Then I can sit back, admire Pooh's Group Hug and choose another cross stitch to start on :-)

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Cheap Blocking Solution

I decided last week that I really must invest in quite a sizeable blocking mat, it's something that's been on my to do list for a while but I've always been put off by the prices that I've seen.

When I looked again I found that play mats for children popped up on Amazon and some of the reviews were posted by knitters who had used them with success for blocking. Being considerably cheaper than craft blocking mats I was poised to buy a set. They were cut in jigsaw pieces just like the craft ones but weren't as deep so I didn't go ahead.

Earlier this week when blocking was still at the back of my mind I was shopping and noticed some children's play mats at two prices, 12 jigsaw pieces for £6 or 24 pieces for £10, and they were 10mm deep just like the craft ones so I took the plunge and bought a pack. If they melt with the heat of blocking because they are a different material to craft blocking mats well I've only lost a fiver I thought.

I placed a towel on top of the mats before I unleashed my steam cleaner and I'm pleased to say that they didn't melt. So I'm one happy bunny as I can now block away to my hearts content and I don't feel ripped off at the same time too.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Frida's Flowers - Finished at Last

I won't write much here today about my Frida's Rose Garden blanket as I've already posted about it many times before. The colour combinations can be found here, here and here. The only extra thing I can add to these posts is that I've used a flat join for the first time to put the blanket together and I'm quite happy with the results :-)

Monday, 1 May 2017

Stripes 'n' Squares Cushion

Looking for inspiration I went through some old knitting magazines a few months ago and came across a mitred squares blanket pattern that took my interest. Despite much trying I couldn't manage to knit shapes which turned out completely square. I did lots of googling and tried various suggestions but I still wasn't very impressed with my results so I gave up on the idea. But the bug for solid squares wouldn't go away so I decided to crochet some instead.

As I made strips of squares and played around with placing them next to each other I had what I thought was a bright idea, why not add stripes in between the squares?

After lots of faffing about I realised that the only way I could get my squares to align up properly was to make the stripes using a combination of left and right handed crocheting.

I found it really challenging to try to coordinate my brain and hands to reverse themselves in order to work in a left handed way but I think that the effort was worth the finished effect.

For the border I didn't want anything that would distract attention away from the stripes and squares so I simply added a round of double crochet followed by a scalloped edge.

For the back I decided to use some gingham material and hand sewed it to three sides of the front of the cushion cover before crocheting a flap on the fourth side and sewing on some buttons to close it.

The yarn that I used to make this cushion with is Stylecraft Special double knitting in the following shades - pale rose, silver, duck egg, soft peach, wisteria, clematis and candyfloss.

Yay, one more item to cross off the long list of unfinished things :-)

Friday, 21 April 2017

Quick WIP Around

I thought I'd go on a quick whip around today to show off my WIPs.

My Frida's Rose Garden blanket is looking very colourful and on the whole I'm very pleased with how it's turning out. There is very little work left to do so I'll have to see if I can cross this one off the list soon. I've really enjoyed working on these flowers and I'm keeping an eye out for a new Janie Crow design to replace this with.

Here's a first for me, I'm having a go at knitting an Alan Dart pattern. I still have a few more pieces of it left to make as well as putting it all together. I must admit that the sewing is already putting me off making any further progress with this one.

I absolutely love this shawl, it hangs beautifully and just needs blocking to open it all up. The problem is I don't have a blocking mat big enough to take it and it will have to be steamed which I'm very nervous about doing in case I ruin it. So there's some ingenuity and courage required to get this one complete. Given that it's Spring and we will be moving towards Summer soon there's not really much incentive to get this done at the moment but you never know.

Phew, now I've caught up to things that I started to make this year. Firstly I found a pattern which uses beads that caught my eye and I'm absolutely loving working with them. I thought bead work would be difficult because I didn't realise that you simply add them all first and then pick them up as you are going along. I'll certainly be choosing to work with beads again.

Then there's the cushion that I referred to in my last post. It's still not finished but I've managed to hand sew two sides of the backing on to it. Then I stopped because I think that it really does need some sort of fastening. I have poppers but I didn't realise that you need a special tool to add them so I've bought buttons instead.

My Moon Blossom blanket is really coming along and I have somebody in mind to gift it to so I'd better get a move on.

I started making these little flowers in March, inspired by the first daisies of the year. I know that they don't really look anything like daisies, do they, they look more like sweeties.

On the cross stitch front, I haven't started anything new this year and I have made lots of progress since I last posted about Pooh's Group Hug. This picture shows some of it.

Finally, having said earlier this month that I wouldn't start on anything new until some of my older WIPs are complete, I've started to make a couple more things. I haven't got a picture of one of them but here's the latest which I started to make yesterday.

I'm not sure what it's going to be yet but I quite like the limited colour palette and the texture created by the bulky, variegated yarn. It's quite a different approach for me.

So although the plan was to finish the cushion, I suspect that I'll be picking up my hook and working more on this blue/chocolately thing in the near future.

I will finish something eventually...