Three choices

I have finished all the squares for the other side of my cushion cover and been arranging them and rearranging them to decide how to join them together.

My first idea had been to do a few in solid colours then a few in two colours and blend them together but after using up a lot of the yarn left over from my blanket making about thirty squares, I couldn’t work out how to fit them together with some bicolour ones so I chose two other colours and made just one-colour ones.

There are just three possible ways to arrange them if I want them in a sort of rainbow order round the centre.

All three choices

Now I must admit I have decided which I am going to use but I thought it would be interesting to ask you which arrangement you would find most pleasing for a cushion cover as I feel each has a distinct character.

Here are the three choices in a logical order. Choice oneand Choice twoand Choice threeand all together again. All three choicesSo which would be your choice?

A Crafty Week – Saturday

I can see that Louisa certainly has the making of a crafter in her.

  1. She was working on at least two projects simultaneously during the week: her cord bookmark and her crochet headband. (More if you count the practice crochet and colouring).
  2. She already has plans for what she wants to make in the future.

She loves my hexagon blanketHexagon blanket and had plans for making a hexagon project of her own one day. Something small, so it doesn’t take too long.

We looked at patterns for hexagons that only used dcs (US- scs) and she like one she saw where the stitches were worked into the back of the stitch.

So I made a small sample which she said was the right size.HexagonI printed out some pages with hexagons on them and let her choose some colours using my craft sticks.Craft sticks with yarnShe chose these.Colour choiceThen she sat down and made a chart of how the colours should go.ChartsI made thisColours added to chartto give you the idea.

You can see she’s my granddaughter!

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 recap

First month {= five week(end)s} of blanket making.

(We’ve had some decent sunshine recently so it was very foolish of me to wait till today to take a photograph, when it is dark and wet, but here it is!)

0235-febblanket

Just to recap:

the pattern I am using is this

0112-ripplepattern

from Jan Eaton’s “200 Ripple Stitch Patterns”. I am not doing double colour ripples as well as single as in the picture. Each ripple is actually two rows so all the ends are down the one side. Fun!

I am using a 4.5mm hook and the yarn is Stylecraft Special DK in the following fourteen colours:-

White, silver, parchment, camel, mocha, turquoise, sherbet, aspen, teal, royal, bluebell, denim, aster, cloud blue.

or as in the picture –

parchment, aster, white, turquoise, silver,

denim, sherbet, mocha, royal,

camel, teal, cloud blue, aspen, bluebell.

0228-newyarnforblanket

So far I am target for having it finished by next winter – if not six months time. I am spending about three days on the blanket so that gives me time to do other things.

I am beginning to get a handle on the htr3togs (US – hdc3togs) and not having to undo them so often. I find it is fairly easy to check that I am doing the pattern correctly,  so hopefully no undoing the previous row because I made a mistake at the begining. As a precaution though, I am leaving the previous colour attached until I have completed the first row in the new colour.

My first crochet cushion

0189-cushion

Sometime ago, when I told people about my son’s new flat, someone suggested that I should make him a housewarming present.

I wasn’t sure if such a thing would interest him but he had asked me to make a crochet phone cover a little while before

0146-phonecover

so I decided to offer to crochet a cushion cover as the only cushions he had were rather bedragled ones I had cast off in his direction years before.

He was amenable to the idea so I Googled ‘crochet cushions’ and asked him to look and choose the style of crochet he preferred.

Almost immediately he pointed at this picture and said “That one!”

0189-thornberry-cushions

This picture and the next one come from this post on the WordPress blog – thornberry.wordpress.com . She makes lovely things so why not go and look!

I then established that the particular cushion he liked was this one:-

0189-thornberrylarkspurcushion

I asked him what sort of colours he wanted and he said that he wanted it exactly like the one in the picture.

It is always a little difficult to match colours on screen and different yarns have differing shades so I did my best out of my stash of Stylecraft yarns and made a small sampler.

0189-sample

The stitch in question is called ‘larksfoot’ stitch.

I had plenty of all the colours except the pink which was a small quantity left over from the CAL blanket. So noticing that in many ways the colours made an ‘almost’ rainbow, I toyed with an alternative but similar colour choice and laid the balls out on the arm of the settee.

0189-colours

The colours are: Aster, Aspen, Saffron, Shrimp & Lipstick.

When my son came round I showed him the sampler and explained about having to order more pink, but he had caught sight of the balls on the settee and said that he liked them just as much if not better.

We then went off to John Lewis and he chose a feather filled cushion pad of the right size and so I started to work on it early in September.

I decided to crochet the whole of the cover though the second half was somehow less exciting than the the first half even though it was the same! 😉

Larksfoot stitch is straightforward enough, except for trying to get the longer treble (US dc) stitches all the same length. So being a perfectionist who is not very perfect 🙂 I did undo those stitches quite often when they were not close enough in length.

Here is a close up.

0189-larkspurstitch

Having sewn in all the many, many ends, I then joined the edges together using some invisible thread I had and sewed on six buttons to close the cover.

I bought clear buttons so that they did not show too much.

0189-button

Here you can see the whole overlap.

0189-buttons

And another picture of the cushion at a jaunty angle!

0189-cushionangled

When I gave it to my son, he smiled, said he loved it and gave me a great big hug. 😀

My Blogging Anniversary

Today is a whole year since my first post on 22nd March 2012.

I felt that it ought to be marked in some way.

Now some people have a special giveaway but since I have just had one of those, I thought maybe I should do something slightly different.

I thought of a giveaway where I made a small item for everyone who entered, as in a way it always seems a shame to have to chose just one person to win, but as I have over one hundred followers and quite a large number entered my last giveaway, I thought that that might have proved too big a liability.

So I thought that maybe I could offer to make a bookmark for the ten people who have commented most frequently on my blog.

Well I discovered that WordPress only tell me the ‘top seven recent commentators’ and that includes me, so I am going to choose those six people.

If you are one of the top six people who have commented (names below) over this last year, if you would like, I am prepared to make you one of my crochet cotton bookmarks in a colour of your choice.

Since I want to make more small items in crochet cotton, you can choose any colour, even ones I don’t have at present, as that will give me an excuse to buy more colours. 🙂

You can also choose either #20 (fine) or #10 (slightly thicker) cotton.

0105-packedbookmarks

The red bookmark is made in #20 and the variegated cream one in #10.

0105-lacebookmarks

the one at the bottom on the left is the one made in #10 here.

It is worth noting that the ‘pineapple’ bookmark is naturally bigger than the ‘fan’ one.

I am also prepared to include any of the ‘cross’ bookmarks as seen here hanging from the branches of my Easter Tree.

01217-easter-tree

More details of the cross bookmarks on Monday.

The six most frequent recent commenters on my blog have been:-

(They all have great blogs of their own!)

If you are one of the six people listed and you would like a bookmark just leave a comment below telling me which bookmark you would like and what colour you would like and whether you want it in the #20 or #10 cotton. When I have made it I will be in touch for a postal address.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

I am really enjoying using crochet cotton to make things as it doesn’t catch like the acrylic yarn or the DK cotton yarn I have been using. However I can only see me making small items as I cannot imagine that I would have the dedication to say spend eighteen months making a lace bedcover like my mother did for me.

Bedcover
Here it is pictured drapped over my current single bed.

And I think the eighteen months was for the single bed size one, not including the time it took to enlarge it to fit a five foot bed. 🙂

Cafetière Cosy

0112-caf-square

Here it is as promised.

Cafetiere cosiesMy earlier cafetière cosies were made very quickly just to try out basic  ripple, granny stripe and adding beads. This time I took more time and more care with the making. I decided to use buttons to join at the back as I thought that would be neater.

Here are some more photos.

Front
Front
0113-caf-buttons
Right side
Left side
Left side

No tutorial but just a recap from the previous post:-

I used this pattern

0112-ripplepattern

From Jan Eaton’s “200 Ripple Stitch Patterns”

Using colours I had available that might fit with a sea and sand colour scheme.

Making this.

0112-ripple

I thought that I had measured the height correctly but in fact when I held it against the cafetière, I realised it was too tall and undid the top double ripple and used the yarn to work a double crochet (UK) border to join it, fit over the handle and contain buttonholes for the three buttons.

I am very pleased with it. I like the colours, it is thicker than the previous one thus better for insulation (and better, in my opinion, for a blanket).

I am pleased with the photos too. With low winter light I generally have problems but the pictures of the finished cosy were taken at 1/13 and they still came out nicely in focus without shake and good colour. I was quite amazed. 🙂

CAL: Joining squares

This is my hundredth post. So exciting. Hard to imagine in the beginning doing so many!

Now to the topic in hand.

It is not in my nature to start a project like this CAL without casting my mind forward and trying to imagine what the finished article will look like.

The big question seemed to be how did one join so many disparate squares together in a harmonious fashion? and preferably without sewing!

I then remembered seeing a picture of a crochet blanket, and it will have to remain a memory because I have not been able to find the picture again. The blanket, as I remember it, was made up of a number of squares which were not granny squares and were in a variety of colours and patterns, each square however was edged in the same colour and the area between each square was filled with a twisted almost rope like piece of crochet in white or cream.

I discovered that this ‘rope’ was what is produced by the ‘Flat Braid’ method of joining crochet squares and decided that it would probably do very well for this project as it would allow each square to stand on it’s own and would avoid the problem of too close a juxtaposition of colours that might not go well together.

The colours I decided to use for this purpose were the Stylecraft colours: camel and parchment as seen in this picture. Last two, second row on the left.New yarn
I decided to use them to suggest paths as inspired by this photograph and others that I took on my visit in June that show the paths in the walled gardens at Mottisfont.
Fountain

As you can see the path is edged with a brownish coloured brick and is itself light and sandy.

*     *     *     *     *

This last week I took the time to try and join some of the squares using the flat braid method. I chose four squares that were naturally flat and about the same size, edged them with the camel yarn and then joined them with the parchment.

0100-joining4

Being a very impatient person I did this as quickly as possible and I can see I have made a mistake in one place but that doesn’t matter too much as this joining together will not be permanent and I will take the squares apart when I have finished experimenting.

I noticed that when adding the scallops the edges of the squares tended to become crinkly but this crinkling disappeared when they were joined.

Being happy with my first attempt, I decided to be more bold and chose the square that was the least flat of all: square no. 22,

Square no. 22

and decided that if I could join that in with others satisfactorily I had found my method.

This time, as you can see, with an eye to what I might do at the edges, I didn’t add the scallops on the outside.

0100-joining9

I declared this a success.

I think it may even be flexible enough to accommodate a slight variation in the size of the squares.

*     *     *     *     *

I also learnt lessons about checking and counting so as to use the right stitches and that it is best to omit the corner loops at the edge.

Here I have made corner loops at the edge

0100-withcornerloops

and here I have left them out..

0100-withoutcornerloops

I can see that this method may show up the fact that I struggle to crochet evenly but sewing them together would show up my weaknesses even more. So I know I will use this method to join the squares at the end, when I know how many I want to use and can decide how to arrange them.

In the meantime I can start edging all the squares in the camel yarn, in between making the new ones each week.

Genesis of a Granny ripple

In July I showed you the yarn I had bought for my next blanket.

Well it has taken me longer than I expected to get started but here is the story if how I decided on the pattern I would use.

While I was still making my hexagon blanket my mind was already looking forward to the next blanket I would make.

I decided that the choice was between a granny stripe and a ripple blanket but wasn’t sure which, so I made a couple of samplers as cafetiere cosies. I decided that I preferred the feel of the granny stripe but liked the look of the ripple though I might have preferred bigger ripples. So the idea of seeing if I could make a ‘granny ripple’ was born.

I like a challenge so I decided I wouldn’t look for patterns but try to work up my own.

My first attempt at a sampler turned out like this:-

I felt it was more of a granny zig-zag than granny ripple and that the zig-zags were too frenetic so I tried again:–

I thought this was better but it was still a zig-zag rather than a ripple.

I knew that it was the double increases and decreases that had created the pleasant ripples in the pattern I used for the cafetiere and so far I had been unable to see how to incorporate more than one in a granny blanket. But then I had a breakthrough and realised that the problem was that the granny rows alternated between an odd and even number of treble groups whereas for the ripple blanket all the rows were the same. So I decided to only work the increases and decreases every other row.

Success!


I had decided to interleave the colours as in some of the ripple blankets I had seen.

Later I wasn’t sure if the way I had worked the increases and decreases was less symmetrical than that on the ripple blanket and so I tried a few variations:-

The middle is the first one – the one I shall use

But decided it was a case of ‘first time lucky’ and that I liked the first one best.

Then I tried another version of the above ripple but interleaving the colours in a 1 2 4 2 1 pattern instead of a 2 4 2 pattern but I have decided that I find the single rows a bit bitty.

Finally I decided to reverse the rows as worked originally so as to start with the easy row with no increases or decreases as seen below.

(In case anyone else likes this idea for a blanket I will put the pattern in the menu at the top and I also include it below.)

I have decided the colours and showed you them in THIS POST

namely

As you can see it is going to incorporate a spectrum array of colours and will use Stylecraft  DK yarn and it will be a little larger than the last blanket so as to be more of a winter bedcover.

I will hopefully have finished enough of the blanket by next week to show you how it is getting along.

Here is a chart showing two ripples. I know it is far from perfect but I hope it gives the general idea so as to clarify what is below in the pattern (UK & US versions given).

Granny ripple chart

An edging would be appropriate for this pattern

I have not yet decided exactly what I am going to do for an edging but it seems to me that you could either use trebles singly or in groups or double crochets for a firmer edge.

I am planning quite a deep edging.

PATTERN

I am using a 5mm hook (but some people may get the same result with a 4.5mm hook) and DK yarn.  I like using a 5mm hook for granny square type blankets because it produces a soft fluid result.

I also find that introducing a chain between each group of three trebles as happens in granny squares makes granny stripe type blankets too loose so I have omitted them.

My ripples come out about 7” (18 cm) between adjacent troughs (or peaks).

You need to decide how many ripples wide you want to make it.

To start you make a chain [(36 x number of ripples) + 4] long.

[However my tip is to actually make the chain about 5 chains longer than you need and then when you have finished the first row you can actually undo any excess at the start of the chain, link by link, and it all remains quite secure. This way if you make a small miscalculation you don’t have to undo the whole row.]

I think that this pattern is not as bad as some as you only have to work into every third chain on the foundation row!

Row 1: work 3tr into the 7th chain from the hook (I don’t count the loop on the hook itself).
Then repeat (miss 2ch 3tr into next chain) until you have [(12 x number of ripples) –1] three treble groups. Then miss 2ch and 1tr into last chain.

Row 2: 3ch = 1tr then 2tr, 1ch, 3tr, into first space. 3tr into each of next 3 spaces. Miss a space. 3tr into each of the next two spaces. Miss a space. 3tr into each of next 3 spaces. 3tr, 1ch 3tr into next space.

Then repeat for each ripple:-

3tr, 1ch, 3tr, into first space. 3tr into each of next 3 spaces. Miss a space. 3tr into each of next two spaces. Miss a space. 3tr into each of next 3 spaces. 3tr, 1ch 3tr into next space.

Until the last ripple where the very last treble should be worked into the chain 5 chains from the first worked treble group instead of into the space. This will give a firm edge.

Row 3: 3ch = 1tr then work 3tr into each space between ‘three treble’ groups and finish with 1tr into the last treble on the row below.

Row 4: 3ch = 1tr then 2tr, 1ch, 3tr, into first space. 3tr into each of next 3 spaces. Miss a space. 3tr into each of the next two spaces. Miss a space. 3tr into each of next 3 spaces. 3tr, 1ch 3tr into next space.

Then repeat for each ripple:-

3tr, 1ch, 3tr, into first space. 3tr into each of next 3 spaces. Miss a space. 3tr into each of next two spaces. Miss a space. 3tr into each of next 3 spaces. 3tr, 1ch 3tr into next space.

Until the last ripple where the very last treble should be worked into the 3rd of the chains in the row below instead of into the space. This will give a firm edge.

Repeat rows 3 & 4 as many times as you like.

Another plus point about this pattern is that all the odd rows after the first one are just a matter of working 3tr into each gap except at the start and finish.

PATTERN (US version)

I am using a 8/H hook (but some people may get the same result with a 7 hook) and worsted weight yarn.  I like using an H hook for granny square type blankets because it produces a soft fluid result.

I also find that introducing a chain between each group of three double crochets as happens in granny squares makes granny stripe type blankets too loose so I have omitted them.

My ripples come out about 7” (18 cm) between adjacent troughs (or peaks).

To start you need to decide how many ripples wide you want to make it.

To start you make a chain [(36 x number of ripples) + 4] long.

[However my tip is to actually make the chain about 5 chains longer than you need and then when you have finished the first row you can actually undo any excess at the start of the chain, link by link, and it all remains quite secure. This way if you make a small miscalculation you don’t have to undo the whole row.]

I think that this pattern is not as bad as some as you only have to work into every third chain on the foundation row!

Row 1: work 3dc into the 7th chain from the hook (I don’t count the loop on the hook itself).
Then repeat (miss 2ch 3dc into next chain) until you have [(12 x number of ripples) –1] three double crochet groups. Then miss 2ch and 1dc into last chain.

Row 2: 3ch = 1dc then 2dc, 1ch, 3dc, into first space. 3dc into each of next 3 spaces. Miss a space. 3dc into each of the next two spaces. Miss a space. 3dc into each of next 3 spaces. 3dc, 1ch 3dc into next space.

Then repeat for each ripple:-

3dc, 1ch, 3dc, into first space. 3dc into each of next 3 spaces. Miss a space. 3dc into each of next two spaces. Miss a space. 3dc into each of next 3 spaces. 3dc, 1ch 3dc into next space.

Until the last ripple where the very last double crochet should be worked into the chain 5 chains from the first worked double crochet group instead of into the space. This will give a firm edge.

Row 3: 3ch = 1dc then work 3dc into each space between ‘three double crochet’ groups and finish with 1dc into the last double crochet on the row below.

Row 4: 3ch = 1dc then 2dc, 1ch, 3dc, into first space. 3dc into each of next 3 spaces. Miss a space. 3dc into each of the next two spaces. Miss a space. 3dc into each of next 3 spaces. 3dc, 1ch 3dc into next space.

Then repeat for each ripple:-

3dc, 1ch, 3dc, into first space. 3dc into each of next 3 spaces. Miss a space. 3dc into each of next two spaces. Miss a space. 3dc into each of next 3 spaces. 3dc, 1ch 3dc into next space.

Until the last ripple where the very last double crochet should be worked into the 3rd of the chains in the row below instead of into the space. This will give a firm edge.

Repeat rows 3 & 4 as many times as you like.

Another plus point about this pattern is that all the odd rows after the first one are just a matter of working 3dc into each gap except at the start and finish.

CAL 7-9 Oh! orange at last

Square No. 7

I decided it was about time I introduced some orange so I made the middle like a little orange flower.

I wasn’t sure that I liked having the granny part off centre but it was relatively easy to do.

Only issue was that I started the square very carefully almost nervously and then said to myself ‘Jane! What are you worrying about? You know how to make granny squares.’ I then relaxed but when I had finished row two, I realised that the first corner was smaller than the others, so I had to undo it and redo the row. Presumably this was because I was being too careful and making the stitches too firm. However everything was fine after this. I presume the square will get more ‘square’ when fitted between others.

Square No. 8

Again it was row two that I had an issue with. I didn’t seem able at first to get my head round what was required and had to redo it several times before it ‘clicked’.

If you want to think ‘flowers’ maybe it should be Hydrangeas.

Square No. 9

The edge insists on waving unless I pin it down.

Here the flowers that inspired the colours (as far as my palette allowed) were the Passion flowers in my garden.