Tuesday, 31 March 2015

#CHBAL


Hello Lovelies!
I thought I would pop by and share with you my progress on the blanket I'm making as part of Sandra's blanket-along.
I wanted to take part in her CAL as I'd never joined in one before. (There was a time when I was totally baffled at what CAL stood for - I'm not a fan of abbreviations, which, working for the council means I'm at a serious disadvantage)
Anyway I thought I would pick up an oldish WIP (there I go again with the abbrev.) as a means of getting it finished. However, whilst at my crochet workshop at the beginning of March I was teaching a couple of beginners how to make 3 round granny squares. If there is time I will also demonstrate how to do the join-as-u-go method, and had a sample piece of about 5 or 6 joined squares to show the newbies. This demonstration piece was made up of random colours of dk yarn, it had a charming quality to it and I could really imagine it on a larger (blanket size) scale looking pretty good.
So there a new blanket project was born, and in my wisdom I decided to make this blanket in 3 round grannies, with every single colour acrylic dk yarn I had in my stash!


Except the black - I did leave that colour out.

I counted up the colours - 54 in total and thought it was hilarious to name the blanket "54 shades of acrylic blanket" - I know I have a dreadful sense of humour. The majority of the yarn is Stylecraft Special DK with some Woman's Institute thrown in. I did ditch the matador red stylecraft after the middles were made as I couldn't cope with the luridness. But I soon replaced it with Zing which is a Stylecraft Life yarn (and it says it's dk on the ball band but it feels more like a 4ply to me, but great colour so it had to be included)


I had the small sample piece that I started with (which had grown slightly by this stage) and then I worked out how many middles in each colour I needed (5) and made all of them. Then I picked up a colour and used it to do 5 'round 2's' on different colour middles. I was using a 2 bag system, I'd pick up the first colour from number 1 bag and once I had done the required number in that colour the ball would be put in number 2 bag.
I was getting a bit sick of having loads of big 100g balls of yarn down the side of my chair in 2 large shopping bags, so when it came to round 3 (the joining round) I measured off the approximate length of yarn for each square (5 times) and stored them in a basket, so I was able to put all the big balls of yarn away.


And so this is the stage I'm at. I'm having so much fun with the colour play and have quite fallen for this blanket. I have decided to go bigger and have revised the initial 17 x 17 squares to 20 x 20. I will make the extra 111 when I have finished this first batch.



I've still a way to go but am enjoying making my blanket immensely!


Oh and by the way, it's now called my Gypsy Blanket.
Because really that's what it is.

'till next time...

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Tough Love...








Sometimes you have to work really hard for something you love don't you?

These gorgeous Pride and Prejudice Mitts were a bit of a challenge for me to say the least. There was no TV on, no one was allowed to speak to me whilst I was working on the them and I wouldn't go near my knitting if I was feeling tired or not at my best.

I made mistakes, I cursed and I pulled back. But I picked up my stitches and persevered and it was really worth all the effort. Now if you are an experienced knitter you probably wouldn't have any trouble with these, it's a great pattern with good instructions. It's simply because I'm still quite a basic knitter that I struggled a bit, however, thanks to You Tube helping me I managed in the end and am unbelievable chuffed at my achievement!!!!

Meeting up with my knitting mentor friend, Sandra, for a visit to Loop shortly after she posted about her super neat mitts meant that she was able to show me the exact delicious yarn she had used for hers. And I just had to get some, in a different colour way, so I could make some too. Oh this yarn is superb, it's not cheap (although probably one of the cheapest in the shop) but it is so beautiful it is worth every penny. Apparently it's hand painted, I have no idea how that is done, and the blobs of colour are divine and make it such a pleasure to knit with. It's almost like every stitch is a different shade, which is quite handy when you need to pick up a dropped one :o)

I love the little twisted rib pattern, the way the stitches cross over each other and that the ribbing continues up the hand, tapering off to a single one in the middle. Beautiful design, gorgeous yarn, and despite my difficulties I enjoyed the making process immensely.

The designer is Christelle Nihoul and the yarn I used is Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino in colour P513X352. A truly wonderful combination.

While I was still knitting these I said that when they were finished I would display them in a glass cabinet as a testament to my knitting achievement.

I haven't though. I love wearing them too much!

'till next time...

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Let's Catch Up & Crochet...



I seem to have lost my thread when it comes to blogging. I guess it's just because there is lots going on and, as I only have a small and simple mind I can only cope with thinking about a certain number of things at any one time :o) So here's a catch up post, it's quite long with lots of photos, do you fancy hanging out for a bit?

I had a lovely Mother's day with my children. It was just us 5 as husband was working, he was singing to other mothers at the Centre Parks that has opened up not far from us. So me and the kids spent the day together. We visited the cemetery - yes I know that sounds depressing but it was actually really nice to remember my Mum (and Dad, he's there too) with the children, although they don't have any memories of their Grandmother at all as she died quite a while ago.
We have a little baby up there too, sorry, sorry I don't want to be morbid. It's fine honestly! We remembered him in a loving way and loved each other and it was fine.
I didn't intend to go down the sad route then - I hope you all don't mind. I lost him just past half way through the pregnancy. It was awful, but it is actually quite a common thing.
And I do have four lovely, healthy babies.
I am blessed. I really am.


Anyway, back to business. I did a workshop at the beginning of the month teaching wash cloths and it was great. Such an enjoyable evening with all my lovely ladies. We had a few beginners too so it was brilliant to meet new people and spread the crochet love!
These cloths are crocheted in a rib pattern, making them nice and thick and absorbent. I've put the pattern on Love Crochet if you fancy making some. Fine it here.





I've also started my photographic course at Bedford College. I had booked in to start in April, but it was brought forward and I am now half way through the six week course. Our tutor, Hedj Dollman is really good at explaining stuff and it all is starting to make sense. I'm beginning to understand my camera much better and take photos with thought and consideration, rather than relying on good luck and the skills of the Auto setting. The images above are all my homework efforts, the top one was to 'freeze movement' and I'm really chuffed to get my daughter's leap in mid-air. I'm so happy to get all her limbs showing (I took loads with varying success) and for there to be no blurring - which of course is the point. I like the way her hair is flying up too, but the only thing I don't like is the background. It's PANTS! How wonderful if we had done the shot on a sunny beach?

Maybe we can re-create the picture on our holiday this year, if I can get organised enough to book something!


I'm happy to see the garden starting to come to life, with small smiles of colour here and there. I'm also thinking about my Easter display this year and found these gorgeous egg decorations on Ebay.


Since the beginning of the year I have been attending Slimming World and am super pleased to have reached my target weight. Yay!! It's a great group, everyone is really friendly and I have made friends with another crochet addict - hello Emma, if you're reading!!


 I have also been facing the challenge of the DPN. More on that in my next post.


And finally I have joined in with Sandra and her blanket-a-long. I had not intended to make this gypsy throw, and really should've picked up my Jewels in the Snow cotton blanket that has been neglected for quite a while, but I couldn't resist the fun of taking part and am really enjoying the process. I will fill you in on more details of this project soon, but for now here is the Ravelry link if you want to see more from the Blanketeers!





Gosh, lots going on. It's been really fab to catch up with you though. I hope you have a fantastic day and I will be back soon,

'till next time...

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Deer Baby Blanket

Hello there all my lovely friends, I hope you are all well and happy?

I could very easily start every single blog post with 'oh it's been such a busy week, with so much going on. And I'm behind in everything!' But it is how it is and actually I wouldn't want it any other way. Family life keeps me very busy of course but it is all good and I'm thinking of it in a more positive way, as in: life is full. Full of lots of joyful stuff to do!

This does mean I feel a little behind in my blog and I do have loads to tell you, but today I will concentrate on my Deer Baby Blanket ta-dah post, so I hope you will enjoy it!


I used this pattern to make my cute blanket. It was a joy to make, and I learnt things as I went along because I haven't really done that much colour work in crochet before. There is a lot of counting involved, a bit like cross-stitch, but once you get into it a bit it's fine, with only a bit of tangled yarn to deal with :o)


Talking of yarn I used Drops Nepal which is a wool and Alpaca blend. Very nice to work with, I love the thick wooly feel it has. I used colours 6220 medium blue, 1477 pistachio, 3720 medium pink, 0100 off white and 0612 medium brown.


The truth is I had some tension issues with this. I had started crocheting around the yarn that drapes across from colour to colour, but then changed to just leaving it hanging free on the reverse side as the pattern stated. Not sure if this was the reason the top half was looser than from his little tummy downwards, but the sky measured a few cms wider than the grass did! I blocked it before doing the border and it did felt slightly, but in actual fact I quite liked this effect and thought it made it look quite vintage.


For the backing I lined the blanket with a deer print by the Copenhagen Print Factory called bambi forest organic. I had bought some soft buttery yellow fleece initially but it didn't really go that well colour wise and then when I discovered this print from the Brighton Sewing Centre I knew it was perfect for the job!


So I'm very happy with this cute deer blanket, very happy indeed! My little girl, who I made it for loves it too but does get cross as she can't quite wrap it around herself when she wants to be warm. It's a bit too small for that.

Not to worry though, she's busy making her Easter Bonnet!


'till next time...

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Round and Round Mini Quilt

It's been a lovely sunny morning here, but with a chilly wind that has now blown the grey clouds over the sky, and chased Mr Sun away. Silly me for wanting him to go in earlier so I could attempt take some decent pictures of my finished mini quilt.
You can see in this photo the glorious sunlight coming in from the glass ceiling in my Craft Corridor, but as I type there are hail stones plummeting to the ground outside. No kidding. What strange weather. Still, I do live in England so what do I expect?


But I am super happy with my little quilty thing. This cute pattern is available to buy here and it's a pleasure to sew.



Being so small it is a fiddle to make, well I found it fiddly, but it's charm is in it's cute size and I adore this little thing. I have displayed it above my sewing machine, kind of to one side as I would like to display more mini quilts and maybe crochet pot holders here over time.

I spotted the first colourful sign of spring in our garden at the weekend


and my husband did the first lawn cut of the year yesterday. Cutting the grass is one of his jobs and it has come to be known as the 'Manic Monday Mow'. He's in charge at home on Mondays while I'm at work and he speeds through his to do list as quick as he can, so he can sit down and have a cuddle



The garden does look quite tidy though, he made a good job!




Tonight is my Crochet Wash Cloth workshop at Fancy. I've been sorting out the colours in the Drops Paris yarn I ordered for the lovely ladies I have coming, and I'm really looking forward to catching up with everyone. I am notoriously bad at remembering to take photos at my workshop, but I will try and remember to take some tonight.

Believe it or not, Mr Sun has made an appearance again!
Yay for Mr Sun!

'till next time...