Sam and Shawn’s Wedding Blanket Squares

A little late, but considerably less late than Nova’s camera and Zara’s blanket from last year…!

This August, I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of two lovely friends of mine. Sam and I have been members of the same friends group since we were fifteen or so. The Kilvites a fantastically creative bunch, we met on writing courses run by the incredible Beth Webb and we’ve been together ever since.

Sam and his delightful bride, Shawn, tied the knot in a beautiful and bonkers country house in Somerset. But for several months prior to that, a bunch of us were working away making them a wedding present like no other.

Sam was once described as “the sexy purple man” – he had a penchant for wearing many shades thereof when we were younger, so it was no surprise that that’s the colour scheme for the blanket was, too. Marshalled by Sam’s mum, the lovely Kate, many of us – in fact, many of us who’d never met! – beavered away making squares of varying shades of lavender, violet, plum, amethyst, lilac and heliotrope. The instructions were to make squares, which I duly did. But rather than just stick with blocks of colour – which, in crochet squares, could have looked a little dull – I decided that a change was as good as a rest, and returned to the delightful sunburst granny square pattern used for Zara’s blanket.

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This is where it all began!

I was careful not to share any pictures of the finished squares publicly, but so that Sam’s mum wouldn’t be too shocked when she received my package, I took a record of what I made and sent this over to her while they were in the post.

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The first batch of squares.

I particularly enjoyed making the sunburst squares with a range of colours. I made four of them with the shades of purple yarn that Kate had sent me, and four with yarn from my own yarn stash. I think the ones with the alternating stripes of dark and light were the least successful of all the squares, but I’m still glad I experimented with them nonetheless.

I think I was the only contributor to make squares out of crochet. The rest, many of which were made by a spectacularly talented woman named Jeanette with whom I also had many great chats about feminism and literature, were knit.

After the first batch, I made three more – by that stage, Kate had laid out most of the blanket and wanted to use the flower-like squares for structuring the colours. Like so!

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It has a lovely, stained-glass window quality to it.

I think the soft shade of green that Kate used to stitch it all together was absolutely perfect. Softly striking without being too overwhelming, it’s a remarkably harmonious choice. Apparently it came about completely by chance! She was working on the structure of the blanket with the mother of one of the groomsmen, when one of them pulled off a green cardigan and chucked it down next to the squares – and realised it was an excellent match. Serendipity!

I loved working on this project, not least because it was exciting to make all the squares, send them away, and then come together much later, celebrating the happiness of two wonderful people, and see how many people had come together to make something that they can keep with them always. What a nice notion.

So congratulations to Dr. Major and Mr. Wood, may you have long, happy, warm, purple, fuzzy lives together!

Archie’s Rainbow Ripple Blanket

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Early this year, my lovely friend Lydia told me that she was expecting a baby! And my response (after the congratulations, of course!), was to send her a selection of colours and patterns so that she could choose what blanket I made for her.

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Those yarn balls are considerably depleted now!

The patterns I showed her were largely drawn from Little Tin Bird and Attic24 – their finished works are so beautiful, and the patterns are a pleasure to follow. Lydia chose Lucy’s neat ripple pattern and most of the colours from the lovely Attic24 17-colour yarn pack, which I always buy from Wool Warehouse. She knew she was having a little boy, so I didn’t include the brighter pink and I picked the lovely deep-blue Aster as the colour for the borders, which meant it was the starting colour. As you can see, I didn’t make the ripple straight at the end – I liked the ripple effect so much that I left it as the border of the blanket, after adding two lines of treble crochet in the same colour down both edges.

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Archie’s finished blanket.

I absolutely adored working on this blanket. It rippled off my hook like a dream! My starting chain was 140+3, so it was comfortably wider than a person – something that baby Archie can grow into, rather than out of! I was really surprised at how quickly it came together – rippling consistently, I started the blanket in January and I think I’d given it to her by the second week of March. It was certainly finished a while before young Archie finally made his appearance at the end of May!

Here’s a photo of my boyfriend, Ben, giving Archie a cuddle, with the blanket in shot over his shoulder.

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Awwww.

I absolutely loved working on this blanket. It’s bold and bright and beautiful, and it’s so nice to know that it’s gone to a good home!

In fact, this was so popular that several of my friends commissioned blankets the minute I posted the finished thing on Instagram! But more on those stories later…

Update

Lydia’s sent me a lovely picture of Archie enjoyed all the rainbow goodness! She says that he likes the blanket so much, he frequently tries to eat it. That’s love when you’re three months old!

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Archie loves his fist as well as his blanket.

This leads me on to an excellent point about the yarn the blanket is made of. I used Stylecraft Special DK, which is some of the best yarn available. Yes, it is 100% acrylic, but it’s not what you’re thinking. It’s smooth, and soft, and comes from an excellent range of colours – and it’s also machine-washable and can be put in the tumble dryer, so it’s absolutely perfect for use around the home (and being chewed on by enthusiastic little humans, or having wine spilled on it by enthusiastic large humans).

It’s also extremely good value for money – I bought this Attic24 pack of 17 balls for £27 from Wool Warehouse in January, and from it I’ve made Archie’s blanket, and half of another blanket that’s the same pattern but big enough to cover a double bed. I’m only just now getting to the point where I’ve depleted enough of the colours that I’m going to have to buy another lot!

Blogging about my crochet is extremely satisfying – I’m definitely going to get into the habit of doing this more. But I have so much else to talk about, too – writing, culture, music. Doing 100 Haiku Days has given me a lot more than a lot of poetry. It’s let me enjoy sharing things I do and think, and given me more of a drive to finish stuff. I used to really struggle with doing a little but every day, but that’s all you can do with crochet. And life, too, but it’s very hard to think like that!

 

Zara’s Christmas Blanket

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Posting about eight months late, but still – here’s another very late crochet catch-up post!

As some of you may remember, over a year ago now I started posting pictures about a certain red-and-white blanket I was making. One of my dearest friends, Zara, asked me for ‘squares with circles, in Scandinavian red and white’. I offered her a few different examples, and she picked out the type of square she wanted, which is Eda’s sunburst granny square pattern – and so I set to work. Again, I was working with my lovely 4mm hook, bought for me many moons ago by my beautiful friend Abby. I added an extra round of treble crochet to the original pattern, because otherwise it just felt too eye-blurring.

It took me from May to November last year to make all the squares and put it all together. It’s exactly 100 squares – it felt extremely appropriate for Zara that it should be such a nice, clean number! – and, through some artful photography, I managed not to show her any of the reversed, red-background squares until she opened it up at Christmas.

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The finished blanket.

With such striking colours as scarlet and white, I knew it would be an eye-catching blanket when it was done, so decided whether to do the negative-colour squares was a bit nail-biting at the time. I didn’t want to produce all those squares before I decided it didn’t really work! But I had quite a clear idea for what I wanted from the border, and I knew I wanted the edge to be red, so I’m glad I trusted my instincts. I think the red squares lend some excellent visual structure to the blanket and helps to pull it all together.

I joined the squares using Lucy’s joining seam, like I did with the sides of Nova’s camera, and the ridges added some lovely physical detail to the blanket. Joining the squares was one of the most satisfying experiences of the whole thing – I’d been making identical squares for months, and was suffering a bit of square fatigue, when I just went “screw it – I don’t care that I only have 36! I’m going to make the middle square!”, I had a fabulous time actually producing a lovely chunk of blanket.

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The final two squares!

Once I’d made the central square, I started joining as I went – here are Lucy of Attic24’s directions for that – I made long strips of the remaining red and white squares, and then I joined the strips on around the edges of the central square. And then I went back and reinforced the seams, because I realised that some were stronger than others, because I hadn’t quite got the hang of it on some of the early joins.

I’d always had a very clear idea of what I wanted for the border, and the half-treble stitches all around the edge in red closed the whole pattern off beautifully. The sense of delight I felt when I finally got to create this thing that I’d been carrying around in my head for months was incomparable!

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I love the half-treble stitch as an accent on the blanket’s edge.

In case you can’t tell from the photo, the rest of the border is two rounds of treble stitches. If I recall correctly, I had intended to do one more round, but I started doing it and I just knew it would be too much white. So I reeled it back, started on the red, and I could just feel in my fingertips that I was doing exactly the right thing. What a lovely sensation.

I haven’t tackled another blanket made of squares yet – I’ve been rippling a lot this year. But I’m starting to plan out another one that I think will be squares, so it’s good that I’ve finally managed to get this blog written and reflect on what I learned!

Which is, largely, to make squares exactly the same way every time until it becomes a habit, not to be afraid to ‘mass produce’ the central part of the circles because it can be a lot more efficient – and that joining as you go can be far more satisfying than producing and piling up squares, and then joining them all later on.

 

 

 

 

Nova’s Crochet Camera

It’s well past time that I uploaded some of my finished crochet projects! Dear me, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I finished some of them.

My niece Nova turned two last winter. She’s an adorable kid – a tiny little powerhouse of Scottish blonde bossiness – and when I saw her last October, it became very clear that she was a big fan of her mum’s camera (my big sister is an amazing wedding photographer – check out her stuff at Mirrorbox Photography). So for those moments when she was a little too keen on playing with mum’s expensive equipment, I thought it would be nice to make her a camera of her very own. And here it is!

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Nova’s crochet camera

I absolutely loved this project. I’d never done any sculptural crochet before, and it was so wonderful to have a clear idea come together so cleanly.

I made the camera on my trusty 4mm hook out of 100% cotton yarn, using double crochet stitches (single crochet if you’re American!). The black yarn I used was quite a fine thread – I’m afraid I didn’t record what brand it was, but I can tell you that it was a present from my boyfriend’s mum.

The top of the camera is in a lovely, chunky Rico Creative Cotton – the aran weight in Mouse Grey. I absolutely loved working with the Rico aran cotton. It splits more easily than other yarns I’ve used, but with a slightly wider sweeping motion I got used to catching all of the threads. Once it worked up into fabric, it was just lovely to handle – very tense and firm, but soft to the touch, too. Perfect for little hands!

I particularly like the fact that it gives it that lovely ‘top-heavy’ look – the grey yarn was just so much chunkier than the black that there’s really nice 3D effect there.

The button and stuffing I bought in my trusty local Shaws – for those who live outside Wales, Shaws is a drapery chain who sell everything from yarn to thermal underwear, including bedsheets, curtains and towels. I love having a nose around the shops and seeing what I can find. I got an excellent amount of toy stuffing for less than I regularly pay for sandwiches, and now I find myself needing to make more things in order to use it up. Oh, what a hard life I lead…!

(Actually, I’m thinking I might make some window-seats for the low-down windowsills in my flat. There are some really high windows which, because of the conversion, have sills quite close to the floor, so I often find myself perching in them when I’m on the phone. It would be nice to have a slightly more comfy nook to curl up in.)

I’m a particular fan of the big red button on the top – everybody loves a big red button! Including my boyfriend, pictured here having a play.

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Ben likes taking photos.

The flash detail I did by crocheting a small piece of fabric from white yarn, and then stitching across the holes with a darning needle to get that ‘ridged’ effect. It also made it a bit more solid, so it stood out from the black.

The ‘lens’ effect was achieved with two rows of double crochet in a starting chain, joined into a circle and fixed in place on the inside by sewing it onto the fabric with a darning needle. I crocheted the seams together using Lucy at Attic24’s joining crochet seam, and in places also used this slight variant joining technique, shared by Heather at Little Tin Bird. (If you crochet, live in the UK, and don’t follow Heather’s blog, you’re doing something wrong. Same for Lucy at Attic24.) You can join seams with an ‘invisible’ stitch by sewing them together, but I wanted the solidity that the crochet joining method gave – it’s what reinforced the structure of the straight edges.

Posting it was a minor issue, because It only barely fit in the envelope I’d bought – but that was my bad. In any case, it arrived intact and my niece enjoyed ‘taking pictures’ of all her presents on her birthday!

Now that I’ve finally put up this post (nearly a year late… oops) I’d better start thinking what to get for Nova when she turns three.

I enjoyed my first adventure in making an object out of crochet. I need to delve into it again! I’m not sure I’ll ever produce anything quite as perfect as the camera, but you never know, inspiration might strike the next time I pick up my hook. Pinterest is certainly full of brightly-coloured brilliance that I’d just love to make!

Stars and String

This weekend, in the last of my down-time before the busiest month of my life and to use up some of my last little bundles of yarn, I made myself a decoration. I managed to retrieve my 4mm hook from my brother’s, where I’d foolishly left it in his car when we went home the other week, and compensated for its abandonment by throwing this little number together.

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Stars! Granny stars! Aren’t they cute? I made them based on the ‘Grandma Twinkle’ pattern over at the Royal Sisters blog, generally out of my odds and ends of yarn, and then I chained a bunch of white cotton yarn and attached each star with 1dc (1sc if you are American, and my lovely visiting Abby, who taught me how to crochet, is American, I thought I’d try to service both sides of the Atlantic at once).

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It’s very simple and very satisfying, and I am very tempted to make these forever and string them around every room I find.

I’m so busy at work at present that I have no idea when I’ll be able to crochet anything ever again… but I’ll just have to find the time. I have reached the milestone of one-quarter of the squares for Zara’s blanket, which is great, but I don’t think I’ll be able to work on it until July at this rate! Eep!

Ah well – it’ll be worth it when it’s done.

State of the Hook: Solitaire Granny Square and Zara’s Blanket

The last couple of weeks have been busy in Magpie-land, as I did the 101 things I needed to do before starting my new job tomorrow. Last but not least on the list is, naturally, blogging about all the rochet-related things I’ve been doing!

I did try picking up my food blogging, because I made some cracking meals over the last couple of weeks, but I’m afraid making sure I have a suitable wardrobe, sorting out an astonishing amount of paperwork and going home to visit my mother for a few days took precedence.

Incidentally – I’ve spent a good while trawling the internet to try finding Wendy Jubilee yarn in violet, because the purple granny squares project can’t be completed without it. I can’t find anywhere that stocks it, despite hours of looking. If anybody knows somewhere that has some, I would be eternally grateful if you could give me a heads-up! Otherwise I’ll have to think of something completely different to do with my poor purple squares. They’re looking lovely as they languish, though…

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So, without further ado and before I get into bed and attempt to re-train my body into getting up at 7am every day, here are my updates!

Solitaire Granny Square

This is a mixture of excellent and awful – I’ve had a structural nightmare in which two of the lines in the middle of the blanket started unravelling because I made a rookie mistake and didn’t weave in the ends of my crochet properly while simultaneously clipping them a bit too short. Three times now – and it’s always on lines made of the same kind of yarn, the Patons Smoothie – I’ve  had to perform emergency surgery that’s left kind of unsightly knots and amendments in fabric. I mean, among the colours and shapes of the blanket they’re hardly noticeable, but this does mean that it’s not as robust as I would like.

It’s looking pretty fabulous, though! Here it is adorning the top of my bed (with my trusty shark Julio keeping an eye so that it doesn’t start unravelling again):

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And here’s an indicator of its size when unfolded in all its glory!

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I’m probably going to leave it pretty much in this state until I’ve mostly completed Zara’s blanket, because then I’ll have more space to buy yarn and also probably more odds and ends to use up, and it seems that this would be a nice and brightly-coloured place for them. I still intend for it to become a massive, bed-sized square, but at the moment it’s  large enough to wrap around me without trailing and I’m very happy with that. And so is Julio.

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Zara’s Blanket

Remember the handful of little red squares I posted the other week? Well, they were the basis for the squares of Zara’s blanket. We developed the design together when I was staying with her last month, based on the sunburst granny square pattern at Eda’s Crochet Room. Zara requested that the colours be that lovely Scandinavian red and white – I used this image of a double-knit blanket as my initial visual prompt. It also inspired some ideas that I’m currently still cooking up, and will probably implement at a later stage of blanket construction. The circles-in-squares pattern is really fun to do, and the individual squares look gorgeous! Here are the squares following Eda’s pattern:

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Yesterday, though, I laid out nine or so of the ones that I have  on a flat surface to see how it was looking, and… to be honest, it looked far too busy. There was way too much going on, and it felt like the red circles were dominating the pattern too much. I think Eda’s squares would work really well in a pattern that wasn’t quite so stark, but the very high-contrast red and white was almost eye-blurringly intense, so I  developed an innovation to the original pattern that I am extremely happy with.

It’s very simple, actually. What I wanted to do was make it look more like a white blanket with a pattern of red circles, so I simply added a row of treble crochet around the edge of each square (I actually haven’t quite finished doing them – I’m on 15 of the 17 extant squares). The difference is subtle, but the overall effect is exactly what I wanted!

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They’re now much nicer in combination with each other, which is, of course, the point of them. I have one or two other tricks and thoughts up my sleeve as to where to go with this blanket, but that’s between me and Julio for now. I have to make a hundred or so more squares before it’s ready to be sewn together, though, so I have plenty of time to develop the final vision!

Now I must get on with getting into bed and trying to sleep and going off to be employed again tomorrow…

Crochet Catch-up: Solitaire Granny Square

This one is for Katie, because I miss her, and she’s a wonderful crochet enabler. ^^

I just thought I should post an update of my progress on the solitaire granny square! It’s the project that I decided to prioritise for finishing (because it’s going to be easier to finish than any of the others, and I need to make some more space!).

I’m very, very pleased with my progress! It is getting a bit unwieldy, but that also means that it’s acting like a blanket and keeping my lap warm while I’m turning it into a bigger blanket, which is cool. And I think it’s a pretty respectable size now!

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There it is, covering most of the bottom of my bed! By my calculations, I have 23 lines of red still to go before it will be entirely bed-sized… I’m not sure how much I’ll stick to that, but there we go.

I changed my mind about how I was going to do the edge from when I blogged about it last time, because I realised that I had enough yarn to make it the awesome thing it is now. I think I’m done with changing colours now, though, and I’ll give it a nice block of red for a border. The red yarn’s quite hefty, too, so from that perspective it’ll make a good one to edge the thing with.

It feels like I’m quite close to the end even though I have a long way to go yet! It’s just so satisfying to see it getting bigger so quickly.

Once this is done, I’ll probably try to finish off the Earth square of the Avatar blanket, and then I’ll be able to alternate finishing the purple squares blanket and making Zara’s blanket. I’ve made a couple of Zara’s squares and I really love the design! I think I’m also going to challenge myself to try joining them as I go along, which isn’t something I’ve done before so that’ll be interesting to work out how to do.

Anyway, I’d better get to bed because I have plenty to do tomorrow before I head home to see my mother. Katie, I hope you’re proud of the genuine crochet-lady you helped make me into! 😀

A Genuine Crochet Conundrum, This Time

Solitaire Granny Square

My solitaire granny square began as a wildly speculative ‘How big can I make one of these?’, and I am now determined that I will make a granny square blanket out of one square the size of my bed. The logistics of this have inspired long discussions with my Other Half (he has an excellent creative eye, and in any case I was borrowing his tape measure to work out some size issues). Benjamin did, very sensibly, suggest that I maybe make four very large granny squares and stitch them together.

He had some very mathematical reasoning for this, to do with differentials. I think. I wasn’t listening, because I was pouting. I refuse to be swayed from my quest for a single-square blanket. So when he was done laughing at my sulky face, we discussed my thoughts about how to progress from where I am, which is here:

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Yes, you can see a hint of my fantastically-colourful fluffy slippers at the bottom of the photo there.

My main issue for this blanket (and for the purple granny squares, too), is that I basically began them to use up odds and ends of yarn that I had lying around. This worked immeasurably well – too well, in some instances, of which this is one, for I find myself needing to make a decision as to how to proceed with this pattern. I’ve run out of that very pale pink that would be the next colour, and the only ball I can find in shops in Cardiff (I’ve only looked in two, but that’s not the point! I’m very busy!) is a pretty comparable colour, but it’s a 150g ball. It’s only £2 or so, so it won’t break the bank, but… the real issue here is that I’m not a massive fan of that shade of pink. So I can’t think what else I would use it for, and I don’t want it hanging around in my yarn basket when part of the point of this project was to use it up anyway!

I also needed to decide how to bring it up to the size of a double bed, which involved a lot of rolling around and tape measures last night. So to solve both of these issues, what I think I’m going to do is buy the pale pink anyway, repeat the current pattern up to the next dark green, and then stop repeating this particular pattern but start preparing a border. The border won’t be single lines of colour – probably several lines of each colour I choose (at the moment I’m thinking yellow, the pale pink to use it up, red, and a very dark blue I picked up last week). I think this will give it some nice, solid edges without me having to buy a bunch more yarn to make up for the shortfall.

Whatever I decide, I’ll take pictures and let you know.

In other news

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Even the smallest crochet can change the course of the future.

 

The Crochet Catch-up Conundrum

So, as promised, I am home, and in between working on my PhD application (due next week – eek!) and preparing for job interviews, I shall write up my crochet catch-up post. The title is a definite homage to the titles of the Middleman comics and TV show. My only real conundrum was whether to stop writing this post and go to sleep, but since Benjamin was still working on his project, I kept going!

She Spins a Fine Yarn

Just over a year ago, my dear friend Abby bought me a 4mm  hook, a big ball of yarn, and taught me how to crochet. I haven’t looked back since. Our friend Katie also deserves due credit for encouragement, enabling, and the crochet-chillouts we shared while writing our Masters’ dissertations.

Since then, I have accumulated a cupboardful of yarn that I do not store in a cupboard, but I may have to start doing so soon because my esteemed life partner pulls pained faces whenever he sees the mess on my side of the room, two more crochet hooks, and a desire to make all the fabric-based things in the world. I have made some things, failed to make some things, learned a lot, and taught two other people how to do it – one of whom, the lovely Ashleigh, has, like me, become completely addicted. So here’s my crochet catch-up post, summarising all of the things I’ve done and have to finish or have plans for!

As I mentioned during Saturday’s alliterative post, while we were at his parents’ celebrating his birthday, Ben wasn’t the only one to get presents: his mum also gave me a huge pile of yarn. I mean it. Huge:

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Upon realising just how much she’d given me, on top of what I already had, I wanted to unpack everything and pile all of my yarn up on the bedroom floor and lie on it cackling gleefully, but, well, I’d have to put it all back in its designated bags and Ben would probably look at me with mild despair in his  eyes, saying, ‘Oh dear’, as if to a puppy that has had a little accident on the carpet. Except, unlike the puppy, I’d have to tidy it up myself. So I kept things nice and logical and laid them out and photographed them according to what piece of crochet they’re going to be used in.

The Vintage Stripe Scarf

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I made the scarf from this pattern over at Bella Dia, though only did 36 stitches, to make it wide-scarf-width. It’s a lovely pattern, and I highly recommend it for beginners getting to grips with treble crochet – it’s really easy to keep track of where the hook is going, because you’re working into the holes, and the end result is really very attractive.

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This one was officially Finished, until a few weeks ago when I decided I wanted to make it longer… I wear it without it being Finished with a capital F, but I should probably actually finish it off. The three blue stripes show where the middle should be (a controversial creative decision on my part: some of my friends loved it, some of them felt it ruined the overall feel of the thing). I added the blue lines to the ends that I started extending, so that it wouldn’t end up uneven, which you can see at the moment that it is. I do like things that are lopsided, though, so I might be a rebel and leave it with its weird asymmetrical clashing lines… that appeals to my sense of humour.

The Avatar Blanket

This baby is the bane of my life, but I know it will be extremely beautiful when it’s done. I started it before I was ready to, really, because I’ve had a couple of false starts. It is in homage to Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra, two extremely excellent TV shows that everyone in the world should watch, and which (you’ll have guessed by now if you didn’t know already) is why I generally refer to crochet as ‘yarn-bending’. The pattern was developed by Kim Kiser and is posted on her blog here. It involves the truly awesome technique of crocheting two colours together, always doing the stitches around the other colour, so that you can change colours as and when you need to in order to make the pattern.

Here it is, along with the pile of yarn that will go into the four main squares:

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I had a false start, because I made the naive mistake of starting it on a hook that was way too small for it. It was a lesson in how the physics of crochet can be quite unforgiving! I got a third of the way into the first square before I realised it was buckling way too much, unravelled it with an extremely heavy heart, and went out to buy myself a better-sized hook (6mm).

Even with the right hook, I made a bunch of mistakes – that I didn’t even realise were mistakes until I got halfway through – you will have spotted that the edges of the square are not, in fact, straight, because I skipped stitches when transferring . However, this time I am determined to persevere, finish the square, the do the damage control later, because it would break me to have to do it all over again. In fact, when I realised that the edges at the bottom were ragged, I had to stop and wail and not look at it again for months because I just couldn’t face having to do it all again.

Sigh. I just had a major ‘I’m such a doofus’ moment because I looked again and realised that I’d put it upside-down in that last photo, so the image is actually backwards. This what it should look like!

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Sorry the picture isn’t as good quality (and that there’s a stray feather on the square… my duvet must have been shedding like Appa). I’m basically intending to go back and add more green stitches to the outside of the square in order to make it the right shape. It sounds crazy, but I have a couple of ideas that I think could work out alright – I’ll let you know. Once I’ve done the other three squares I may change my mind and decide to do the green one again – but I’m not pressuring myself to make that decision right now. I just want to finish it, see if I can add stitches down the sides to fill in the edges, and move on!

Purple Granny Squares

When the Avatar blanket just became too much, I took to making granny squares instead, because they were soothing and I didn’t have to count how many green, brown, then green again stitches I needed to do. I love the way they just fly off the hook, and the fact that I can do them without even needing to look at them now! (Little-known fact: not only do I have terrible eyesight, I can do a lot of things blindfolded. A combination of bad eyes and violin from an early age means I have awesome muscle memory and fine motor skills.) Here are my current squares, all in a messy pile:

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The purple-edged granny squares are just delightful fun, even if I have now run out of that purple and can’t find any more anywhere (it was Wendy Jubilee, I think… and it appears to have disappeared off the face of the earth). Fortunately I have an even number of squares now, 32, which (I’m sure you can do the maths) will make a small blanket of 8 x 4 squares with this particular border. What I have decided to do, since I can’t find the yarn I need, is to use my last reserves of that particular purple to stitch them all together, and then use a new very dark purple to create sixteen more, which will serve as a border around the edge of the finished blanket! Hurrah! The dark purple is lurking there next to the yarn basket:

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That basket used to be my granny’s, and I like the fact that part of her is playing such an important and brightly-coloured part in my life.

I make the squares in and around doing other things – the Avatar blanket, for one, and for another, the project that I’m going to start as soon as I’ve finished either the green Avatar square or the purple blanket.

Solitaire Granny Square

A logical development from the last project was that, last week, I went ‘So these granny square things are fun and all, but… how BIG can I make one?!’. And so I set off on my noble quest to make a granny square blanket out of one square that is the size of my bed. Currently, it is the size of my lap. Yesterday it looked like this:

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I crocheted this afternoon, to take away the pre-interview nervousness, and this afternoon while thinking hard about my PhD proposal, so currently it looks like this:

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It is growing! Mwahaha! GROWING! Though I expect this is the last I’ll see of it for a while, as I have far too much on the go at the moment and I want to actually finish something (both in terms of crochet and my PhD application!).

Zara’s Blanket

My final project is currently no more than a concept and this much yarn. But I’m going to start making it soon, so that she can have it in time for summer. If we ever get a summer.

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I like the fact that this is only two colours, too, because it makes it so much more portable! The granny squares, while wonderful, basically have to be made at home, because they take so many different colours. This project should be a lot of fun, though! I’ve developed the pattern with Zara, based on a particular request of hers, which makes it feel very bespoke and special, and you’ll all see a lot more about it in the coming weeks. 

Epilogue

Here endeth the great roll-call of my crochet projects. I’ve certainly proved to myself that I am a magpie, I like shiny and brightly-coloured things rather a lot. But I’ve also realised that I need to finish off some projects properly – the scarf I’m happy with for now, but I need to get some closure on the Avatar square and I need to make them purple granny squares into a blanket before I can progress any further. Well, whenever anything happens, I’ve resolved to blog about it – though I promise future posts will be shorter than this one!

The Confessions of a Crochet Convert

So I have realised lately that I’ve been extremely remiss in my duty as a blogger in missing out one major area of interest from my blog (and also by not updating enough).

However, upon the receipt of a LOT of yarn from my boyfriend’s mother, and the realisation that this fits in perfectly with some particular designs I’m intending to make, I realised that it was only logical that I should start blogging about crochet – or, as I like to call it, my adventures in yarn-bending. (Legolas, you will understand that; everyone else, just get on with watching Airbender already so I can quote and you won’t think I’m crazy, okay?)

I have numerous projects on the go at present, one of which will shortly be completed, one of which is beautiful but the bane of my life, and one of which has been enabled by Michele’s generosity. This is what she gave me:

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Amazing, no?

So what I’m going to do, when I get home, is compile evidence of my various yarn-bending endeavours, and blog about them. And also try to blog more – because I do like the idea of my blog being filled with critical discussions and crochet!