Recent makes and WIPs

I have been working on quite a few odds and ends before and after my holiday, apart from the coasters I showed you recently.

I thought that it seemed a shame to waste the place mat I had made just to show it could be done,Placemat and coasterand I remembered that I had a cushion that could do with a new cover. Old cushion coverSo I worked out a way to make a surround and thought I could turn the placemat into a cushion cover. Half a cushion coverThe only question was what should I do for the other side? I found a pattern for a Celtic style weave using front post and back post crochet stitches but didn’t really enjoy working it and thought it was a bit too holey, so I am not sure what to do for the reverse.

Until I do this will remain a WIP.

I have a local crafting friend who has been making some of my cross and angel bookmarks to give to children who are about to be baptised. She said that she had worked the angel one in #20 thread. Now I have always made the angels in #10 thread so I thought here was an interesting challenge. Could I see well enough to make the angel in #20 thread? The only thread I had enough of was my Anchor Artiste multicolour one. After the first row or two I found it easier than I expected! Crochet angelOf course this is larger than life size. (Unless it is on a small screen!)

I have also been making a couple of cross bookmarks, to maybe give away some time. Cross bookmarkThis one is finished, though neither the cross or angel has been stiffened and ironed yet.

I have also gone back to working on my sea-and-sand blanket that has been a bit neglected of late. I feel I am on the home straight now as I am working the last repeat of the colours.

 

Granny Ripple Blanket great reveal!

I have finally finished my ‘random’ granny ripple blanket.

Here it is. Blanket completedThe light here when I had finished it and wanted to take a photograph was absolutely awful but I found that with the bright celing light I now have in the sitting room I managed to get these photographs! and more evenly lit than if I had only used the light from the patio door!

The only slight issue I have with it is the edging.

Now my instincts (or should I say simple maths) made me wonder how a border that inserted four or five stitches every three was going to lay flat but I wanted a border that repeated every three stitches and the picture in the book looked flat Edging pictureand it was a professionally produced pattern so I was confident it would all work out in the end.

But no, it is not completely flat. Of course this is in part down to the way I fudged it round the ripples and the fact that I used four trebles per double row down the sides (though that is the correct number).

Perhaps you can see this here Blanket straight borderand here. Blanket scallop borderIt is almost flat and can be locally flat.

So do I rip it all out and see if changing the way I worked round the ripples and working three wide-topped trebles down the side will give it that perfect flat look or do I leave it?

It never has to lie flat and it isn’t really a problem but I just can’t decide.

Here it is lying on the settee, Blanket on the setteedraped over a chair Blanket drapped over a chairand here is a ‘selfie’ (I can’t say I like the term) that I took with my tablet. Blanket selfie

And just a few statistics

I started the blanket when I came home from the Danube cruise in September so it has only taken a little over four months to complete. Much quicker than earlier blankets but it has been my main project in that time.

I was aiming for 3ft x 6ft but it has turned out more like 3ft 6ins x 7ft. This is more to do with the length than the width since that was the aim before the border.

More than enough yarn for the body

I used sixteen 100g balls of Stylecraft Special DK in the following colours

Plum, Lipstick, Pomegranate, Shrimp, Spice, Saffron, Citron, Spring Green, Meadow, Sage, Aspen, Turquoise, Cloud Blue, Aster, Violet, Wisteria for the body of the blanket.Yarn for blanket and edging

I repeated each colour set six times which gave 96 double rows. I had enough left over to realise that fourteen balls would have been enough (repeated seven times) but I am using the leftover yarn for a cushion cover.

Not enough for the border

I bought two balls of the same yarn in Silver and Lavender for the border but that was based on a very rough estimate of going round twice with each colour.

After the first round of Silver I decided a row of dcs (US – scs) would make a firmer basis for the edging and so I was not entirely surprised when I ran out a couple of feet before the end of the last Silver row. Luckily I had a small leftover ball from an earlier blanket and could finish with that.

With the Lavender I ran out a couple of inches before the end of the second round and had to buy another ball to finish that and do the final dc round. Though after what happened with the Silver I was not surprised.

I know I blew a bit hot and cold about it during the making but now I love it and there is enough winter left to get in some good snuggling before summer comes.

Granny Ripple blanket – body complete

Here is the main body of my latest granny ripple blanket completed. Body of blanket done (So hard to get a good photograph this weather.)

Keeping to my playing with the colours and trying to have as few sequence repeats as possible while remaining harmonious, I did work towards a certain mirroring for the later part to offset what had seemed to be unbalanced in the first part. if that makes sense!

In the event. I slightly underestimated the size and over estimated the amount of yarn I would need.

So the 3ft x 6ft that I expected at this stage is now more 3ft 3ins x 6ft 3ins and I thought that each ball of yarn would only give me six completed double rows but in fact I think it would have stretched to seven of each colour without any risk of running out.

However that is quite good as I will use the remaining yarn to make a cushion cover.

I am planning a fairly subdued border as I don’t want it to up-stage the body. I am using one of the borders from this book. Crochet edgings book Most of the borders in it are very ornate but this Edgingseemed to echo the main body to a certain extent and in fact I could almost have worked it out for myself. Will have to modify the corners though as I have decided to leave the ripple ends.

I will be using silver and lavender.

Another blanket update!

Up to now my knitting and crochet posts have mostly been on Mondays with extra posts on Thursday or maybe Saturday as well. Now I am taking part in the Photo Challenge. I will be doing that on Mondays and my craft posts will be on Thursdays. I may do the occasional poetry post which could be anytime!

So this is just a quick craft post between Christmas and New Year.

I am getting on well with the blanket.

Maybe I should have finished by now but since I can snuggle under it while I work on it maybe that doesn’t matter!

Almost seven eighths completedI am actually beginning to be pleased with it now it has developed more variety. Just about another nineteen colours to go. That’s about thirty-eight rows.

Quick blanket update

The light hasn’t been good lately so my attempt at a photograph halfway through the making of the main part of the blanket left all the colours looking awful.

I had a brief spell of better light a few days ago so I jumped in and took a photograph.

And here it is. Blanket just over halfway Just a bit over half way. I should have been further ahead but I am having to rest my wrists quite a lot.

Not sure if I should have had more of the darker colours in that mid section but will have to wait to see till it is finished.

I finished my waistcoat! (+ blanket update)

Actually I finished it a while a go but since it is for the winter it seemed appropriate to delay the reveal till the weather was colder.

So here it is finished. Finished waistcoat

And here I am wearing it. Waistcoat being wornIt is far from perfect. I found a few mistakes when I came to pick up stitches for the border, but luckily the mistakes are not obvious. I also think that I should maybe have picked up a few more for the front bands as they are a bit taut but it will do.

Another  thing I am not sure of is the buttons. I like the ones I chose but I might have preferred smaller ones. I followed the pattern but for smaller buttons I should have cast off one stitch not two.

I now have lots of hand-made tops to wear with my jumpers. As I have these too!

Mohair shrugCrochet shrug
It’s definitely cold enough to need them!

I even used what I have finished of my blanket to help keep my legs warm the other day while I worked on another angel.

I have now completed one third of the body of my latest blanket.First third of granny ripple blanketI alternate between loving it and thinking that I chose too many colours and it is much too flaboyant and I should have left out yellow and orange shades. I am reserving final judgement though until it is finished.

Another Ripple Blanket

[This is what I might have shared last Monday but it means I have completed much more of the blanket.]

Now I’m back from holiday I’ve finally started my winter snuggle blanket, using my granny ripple pattern and sixteen different colours of yarn, as I showed you.

Here are the balls for the body of the blanket in my crochet bag.All the yarn for the body of the blanketAnd here are the sticks with the yarn on them laid out as chosen for the first sixteen rows – starting from the bottom up. Colours of first rowsI am going to use the colours sixteen rows at a time in a planned order (as opposed to totaly random!) but I am not going to follow as many lesser rules as I tried to do with my sea and sand ripple blanket.

Of course it wouldn’t be me would it? if I didn’t involve my computer in there somewhere and I wanted to see what the final blanket could be like!

[Well I didn’t use my computer for the sea and sand blanket but there the colour palette was more limited so I just tried to concentrate on emulating beaches I have known and not repeating myself!]

I was worried about not getting a balance between different colour toned areas over the whole blanket and also was so enjoying trying out different colour selections with the sticks.

So here you see a first try at choosing more than one colour set at once. Colour ideas for first three setsand a possible final blanket. [I didn’t try to add the ripples! and no it is not the same as above.]Whole blanket trial planI do reserve the right to change my plan as I go on! 🙂

And here is the blanket so far. Just the first colour mix of sixteen shades.Blanket so far

 

I’ve been spending money again!

Yarn for blanket and edgeI have finally got around to buying the yarn for my blanket: all the colours I told you about plus silver and lavender to make a subdued border.

I won’t be starting making the blanket just yet though as I have a few other projects I would like to finish first.

However I had only just ordered this when I realised that with the arthritis in my hands gripping my 1.25mm hook to crochet with #10 crochet cotton, while playing around with fish bookmarks, was hurting my thumb because I had to press hard to grip the hook.

I had heard of ergonomic crochet hooks so I started to explore them on-line and in the meantime I tried an experiment by fitting my hook inside an old mascara tube.Improvised ergonomic hookI found that this was easier to hold as the major part of holding the hook could then be done with my ring and little finger and I need only use a slight pressure on my thumb to guide the hook. Of course this wasn’t a long term solution as the part of the hook sticking out was too long and the thumb grip was in a bad position.

My reading of different people’s opinions on-line and squinting at the photographs led to believe that the best bet for an ergonomic hook would be the Clover Soft Touch hook. I found that one of the suppliers I use from time to time had them but of course the postage was almost as much as the cost of the hook.

Of course this means one has to think about what else one might buy to make the postage less of a burden!

I decided to buy two hooks the 1.25mm and the other steel hook I use most often: the 1.00mm, but I also had a look at what else they had and discovered that they had sock wool in a Sale for about half price!

Sock wool is one of those things where the most interesting colour mixes are to be found on-line rather than in the shops near me but where the cost of postage is offputting, so of course I had to look and found two sorts where the colours particularly appealed and I just had to buy enough to make one pair in each!Sock yarnYes I know I have enough socks now but it’s not as if sock yarn goes off!

While I was at it I also bought some safety eyesSafety eyesbecause I should have used them for the little bear I showed you but couldn’t buy any locally. So now I will have some as I am sure to make more small animals in future.

These are the hooks I bought.Ergonomic hooksThe ends are a good shape for me and I find them easy to crochet with. My biggest fear in buying these was that the handles would be great but the hook part would just not suit. They have little protective caps for the hooks too, just like my mother’s steel hook used to have.

The thumb grip in in the right place and comfortable to hold. The only slight issue I had with them was that the part that you hold in your hand if you are a ‘knife hold’ person like me was a bit thin and flat and not as comfortable to grip as my mascara holder.

Short term I have solved this with an old inner tube from some shir elastic that fortuitously I had lying around since I elasticated the trousers for the doll.Hook with tubeFor long term I have bought these pencil grips.Pencil gripsThey look like they will solve the hold problem.Hooks with gripsThe remainder may help with writing too because I have found that these days after a sentence or two my wrists feel uncomfortable!

Choosing colours for a new blanket

I love making blankets though I need to have a purpose in making them.

I have been using the CAL blanket for snuggling on the sofa over the winter but it is really too big so I have decided that I need a blanket about 4ft x 6ft and if I start making it over the summer it may not be ready for next winter but making it may help keep me warm! Something random stripey I thought using my granny ripple as that will have nice thermal holes in it.

Well, as you know, for me planning is half the fun with a knitting or crochet project and I have found a new help to planning when I use the popular Stylecraft Special DK acrylic, that I like because it comes in so many colours.

Recently I found a post on the “Attic 24” blog – HERE – where she describes how she has wound pieces of Stylecraft Special DK yarn round wooden pegs to help with choosing colours for projects and deciding which order to use colours for blankets.

I thought this was a great idea but I didn’t have any wooden pegs so I bought a pack of ‘Craft sticks’ and wound yarn round these. Craft sticks[If you like to use Stylecraft Special DK yarn for your projects and like this idea but don’t want to go to the trouble of all that winding you can buy a set like Lucy made here for £5.99. – http://www.countrycrafts.org.uk/specialdk.htm bottom of page on the left.]

I settled down with my craft sticks and thought about what I wanted. I had sixty-three colours to choose from.63 coloursI decided that I would make something a little more subdued than my ‘spectrum’ set of coloursSpectrum coloursand decided to leave out these colours definitely.Not allowed coloursThe top three because they were too bright and the bottom two because they were too dark.

I also am not especially fond of pink though I like to wear pink T-shirts as I think they suit me.

So I came up with this as a start. (I think sixteen colours will be about right for the basic blanket though I may need more for the edge.)Original coloursBut I decided it lacked ‘zing’ so I removed these coloursRejectsand substituted these instead.Substitutesgiving this –New coloursI tried a comparison using the computer.Colour comparisonthe new colours are on the left.

What do you think? Will this make a pleasing blanket? Or would you make some more changes?

Ripple blanket statistics

The finished ripple blanket

I was in so much of a hurry to get my sea and sand ripple blanket post out that I forgot to add some statistics about it. And the weather is now dry too , so I managed to get a photograph of the whole completed blanket.

Of the fourteen balls of Stylecraft yarn that I started with – More about the colours here- https://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/ripple-blanket-recap/

Yarn bought for blanket

just these small balls remain.

Left over yarn

I am not sure why some of the balls are much smaller than the others though I do think that with some colours the yarn seems thicker and so there is probably less length and I may even use more for a row. The white though is smaller because I used some when experimenting on making crochet orchids.

The blanket measures just over 3ft wide and 6ft long at approximately 97 by 186cm.

Each of the fourteen colours were used on eight double rows. (The pattern uses two different rows to make a stripe.) The middle seventeen stripes were worked in the same group of colours from my stash yarns as I had calculated that there would only be enough yarn in a ball for eight stripes and I wanted the blanket a bit longer. This added 9.5 inches or 24cm to the total length.

That makes a total of 129 stripes.

Completed sea and sand blanket
This will enlarge for a closer look

I will put the balls in my oddment drawer, ready to be used for small projects.

I’ll end with a photograph you’ve seen before that is my favourite – because I can!

Favourite picture