Beginning a granny hexagon blanket

Just a glimpse of my blanket

I found the pattern for this on the Attic24 blog and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to make one.

I absolutely love hexagons. They are by far the most interesting and beautiful of the space filling regular polygons. (The others being triangle and squares). And bees make their honeycombs with them – I love honey.

I decided that I would keep the golden centres Lucy had, as that made them look almost like flowers and I love flowers too.

I decided that the blanket, made a suitable size, could wrap me when watching TV in the winter and be a supplement to a sheet on my bed in the hotter part of summer.

So I started to plan in two ways.   click here if you are interested in the planning – includes a shopping bag project

I decided to use Paton’s Fab and chose the following colours:-

  • Canary 2305 for the centres

And for the main colours

  • Candy 2316
  • Strawberry 2340
  • Cherry 2322
  • Mint 2300
  • Lime 2317
  • Forest 2319
  • Glacier 2301
  • Turquoise 2315
  • Blue 2321
  • Lilac 2314p
  • Purple 2313
Main blanket colours

And I was planning to use Fern 2341 and Airforce 2312 for the edging though now I have seen the colour of Airforce, in the flesh, as it were, I am not so sure. It is more grey than blue and I had been looking for a different blue to those I had already used. I will have to decide.

As you will realise, if you looked at the planning section, I am happy to work systematically.

So I started by making ten little gold centres

And then, taking a ball of one of the main colours, made ten little circles.
Working with each ball in turn gave me a boxful.

Then choosing one ball and the ten circles without that colour gave:-

After using each ball, I got this – 110 circles

And this allowed me to chose the circles to use for each row of the blanket (according to the plan. – It was all based on diagonals.)

I then settled down to make the first ten rows of the blanket according to my printed plan.

(This is one of the few pictures that will actually show bigger if you click it.)

Then Repeat………………………..

I am on the repeating at the moment.

I expect the full blanket will be finished in a couple of months and then I will do another post.

Just a note if you are tempted to try to make a blanket following this plan. I had calculated that I ought to have just enough yarn on the basis that I can crochet ten trebles out of 1m of yarn. Well I had just a tiny piece left of the gold when I had crocheted the last gold centre so it looks to be an even more close run thing than I anticipated.  Robin or Stylecraft would give  you more metres per ball than Paton’s.

Let’s Talk Yarns

My local hardware store stocks Robin DK acrylic yarn (100gm) All the colours are not always on the shelves but I think they must stock all of the available solid colours.

This is my current stash of Robin Yarns

(I do have a few bits of creams and browns, black and white but these don’t really count!)

I started by using it to make a knitted Crib but later I wanted to make a spiral scarf and decide to chose one of the lovely variegated yarns they stocked. These I discovered were Paton’s Fab (also 100g).

I decided that I liked the feel of the Paton’s Fab as it was softer and smoother than the Robin and maybe a little thicker. So when it came to my biggest project to date – that of making a crochet blanket – I decided to use Paton’s Fab. I couldn’t find any locally but at last I found an online stockist who appeared to sell all the colours. I found all the colours I wanted for my blanket and was very happy with it (except that some balls seemed to have thinner or thicker yarn than others – a slight variation in thickness seems to be something you get with these budget yarns).

These are the main colours for the blanket

So you might think that I will be using Paton’s Fab from now on for all the projects I might make with acrylic yarn – Wrong! Much to my great regret Paton’s Fab does not come in Orange! How can a rainbow junkie like me be content with a yarn with no orange. For the blanket I decided to let the gold centres of the hexagons represent the yellow/orange part of the spectrum but this won’t work for lots of other projects.

So for the moment I must keep a stash of Robin DK available for all those little projects I might want to turn my hand to at a moment’s notice.

NOTE: The link above for Paton’s Fab show orange – ‘Jaffa’ – as available but in the shops that number gives you ‘mauve’!!

I haven’t yet used Stylecraft Special DK yarn

But it has lots of colours (including orange!) and I have just bought a ball to see how it compares with Robin and Paton’s Fab. It feels more like Paton’s Fab – though maybe a little thinner as you get abou 7% more more for 100gm, though both tension charts show 22 sts per 10cm.

I have found this very helpful online stockist who not only sells the Stylecraft Special DK yarn in most, if not all, of the available colours but also sells a colour chart for £1 + postage that has long pieces of the actual yarn on it that you can feel, so it is very useful and I am glad I bought it as it is so hard to be sure of yarn colours when you only see them online.

You may have realised that I prefer these budget yarns. I don’t feel for most things that I can justify the expense of premium yarns however lovely they might be.

One problem after another…………….

Something on crochet next time.

But for now a little culinary aside –

When I was a child my mother had a recipe for Cherry Oat Biscuits and when I had children of my own I took a copy of the recipe.

The first thing I decided was that the cherries (glace cherries) were not the best part of the recipe as when cooked they became hard and tooth threatening so I replace them with soft juicy sultanas which stayed soft and juicy when cooked in this way.

Everything was fine for years and they were one of my children’s favourite cookies: thin and crispy.  The mixture spread so much on the baking trays that however far apart you put the slightly flattened walnut sized balls they always ran into each other.

But years go by, life gets busier, children grow up, and one day I had not made the cookies for years but decided I fancied making some.

But how disappointing – they wouldn’t spread like they used to, several months/years and tries later I decided it must be the soft, improved and excellent for cakes, margarine and decided I would have to make them from butter. Yes, that was the problem!

Then I got a cooker with a fan oven – Great! No need to pre heat – but again they stopped spreading properly. So I added a note to my recipe –

“Only put in oven when it is hot enough”

– This solved the problem.

Then just the other day, when I asked my daughter whether there were any baking goodies I could make to bring her when I next came, she said that she would like some oat cookies.

I keep two sorts of oats: ordinary Quaker oats for cooking and Old Fashioned Scotts Oats for my homemade breakfast muesli.

As I weighed out the Quaker Oats I looked at them and thought – “aren’t they more smashed up looking than oats used to be?” but I went ahead and made the cookies. They spread quite a bit but I had a feeling that they were still a bit thicker than I remembered. Yes and the mixture had not been as ‘fatty’ when I had been rolling them.  They tasted good and crispy but I wasn’t satisfied.

So I set to and made a second batch with the Scotts Old Fashioned Oats – And lo and behold they came out right this time. So I added another note on the recipe card –“Scotts Old Fashioned make thinner biscuits”.

Here are the two cookies: Quaker Oats on the left Scotts on the right – all other ingredients the same.

Should you want to make some – here is the recipe.

It makes about 16 cookies.

In a large bowl mix:

  • 3oz (85g)  plain flour
  • ½ level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2oz (55g) sultanas
  • 3oz (85g) caster sugar
  • 3oz (85g) whole rolled oats

In a small saucepan melt:

  • 4oz (110g) butter
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1 tablespoon milk.

Add the melted ingredients to the bowl, mix well and leave to cool.

When cool, roll into walnut sized balls and place well apart on a baking tray.

[There is no need to grease the baking tray and when I say well apart, I really mean it. – I tend to put eight on my baking trays but they do end up touching when they are cooked. Four would probably not touch at all!]

Flatten the balls with a fork.

Preheat the oven to 300 deg F=150 deg C or 140 deg for a Fan Oven.

They take about 15-20 mins in a conventional oven, less in a fan oven but check sooner.

They are ready when the middles are brown rather than cream.

Leave on the baking tray for a couple of minutes before removing with a fish slice or similar; they are fairly fragile.  Leave to cool on a rack.

Butterfly Book Cover

A recent project that was not involved with knitting and crochet (that I see as my main focus)  involved trying to copy a notebook from Paperchase that my younger daughter had given me for Christmas.

I am using my book to record my knitting and crochet projects and this has led indirectly to my deciding to start a blog.

My daughter however told me that she had liked the book so much that she had gone back to the shop to buy one for herself but they had all gone.  I know how frustrating that can be because I had had the same happen to me with some snowflake cookies cutters I had bought as a present. I looked around on the internet but they did indeed seem to have been discontinued. So I decided that I would try to make one for her.

My first problem was to find a large enough piece of felt in the right shade.  I eventually found a piece that was a close enough match in colour and 18” square. I then had to buy embroidery thread in matching colours. The turquoise one was not quite the same but I decided it would do.

I managed to photocopy the book I had

and then, using Corel Photo-Paint to
extract just the butterflies, made transfers from some transfer printing paper I
had bought years before.

This is the one for the turquoise butterfly

I found a notebook in Paperchase that had a plain thin card cover and as a bonus a butterfly edging to the pages, which the original had not had.

The original butterflies had been worked in machine satin stitch. Embroidery is not my best skill and there was no way I could copy that but I remembered something called couching stitch which is where you lay a thickness of embroidery thread round the shape you want and hold it in place with tiny stitches every few millimetres.  So I decide to use that.

Three butterflies were flat and three had been added on later so I worked the loose ones first. I then started on the main part of the cover.


This is how they compared

Finally, I improvised a way of stitching on the loose butterflies and working their bodies to hold them in place.

The original book had thick felt for the main part of the cover but mine was only 1.5mm thick so, since I had enough, I decided that I would stick one plain layer of felt on the cover first and then the embroidered part.

I remembered that Copydex was the glue to use for craft projects and bought some.

This is where I feel I came a bit unstuck (ha! ha!) as they had changed the formulation and instead of being spirit based it now appeared to be water based and as soon as I coated the cover of the book with it, the card curled up massively.  Over the next couple of days I managed to stick on both layers of felt and trim it to size.  However the cover has never lain completely flat even with a lot of weight on top to encourage it. Glue is not something I am good with (and I often manage to stick my fingers together with super glue) so even with the utmost care I did manage to get the odd bit of glue on the outside.


But this is the finished result and I am not totally unhappy with it.

Why Did I Start this Blog?

Well……………………..

I was taught knitting, crochet and various sorts of embroidery when I was a child.

I was a very slow knitter but by knitting the occasional item, such as baby coats when I was expecting a child I gradually improved.  (I knitted a third coat – for my son – but I must have given it away.)

My mother did a lot of crochet but it was mostly lacy patterns using crochet cotton like this –
She said that the bedcover had taken her about 18 months and I think that was before she extended it to fit a double bed.

I started a piece of lace once but it grew much too slowly for impatient me.

I quite enjoyed embroidery but can’t say I was especially good at it.

Recently however I knitted a gilet (well that’s what the pattern called it) as part of my clothes for my second daughter’s wedding and as it turned out well I began to grow in confidence.

You can see bits of it in these two pictures.



(I bought a rather special coat for the wedding as well.)

So I set out to knit a Christmas Crib from a book by Jean Greenhowe.  http://www.jeangreenhowe.com/christmas.html

This was also a success.

I knitted a few dolls for my granddaughter and some scarves and berets and baby and toddler cardigans and then I found Lucy’s site: http://attic24.typepad.com/ and fell in love with the idea of a blanket made of hexagons.
Sneak Preview

I was now hooked not only on knitting but maybe even more so on crochet.

So much so that I decided I should start a blog.

Why Rainbow Junkie?

Well I have always been obsessed with rainbows ever since I first saw one and if anything I do can incorporate a rainbow arrangement of colours I am so happy. Even when I am using colours in a random fashion it is the bright clear jewel colours that I like to use.

You can see I created this mandala about twenty years ago. It represents both me and the world.

I also made this one a couple of years later in 1995.