Tuesday, 26 January 2016

More Wool

I have bought more wool. I know I shouldn't have, especially as I have been trying to clear out all of those pesky odds and ends before buying more, but I have been inspired! I have been avidly following the progress of Attic 24's log cabin crochet blanket crochet-along, and although it is now finished and the ta-daah has been and gone, I have decided to make my own.

It isn't quite the same as I chose my own colours, you can pop along to the Attic 24 section of Wool Warehouse and buy the exact colours that Lucy used, but I prefer to pick my own and spent a glorious half hour umming and aaahing over the different colour combinations on the Wool Warehouse website.

I have gone with the same brand of wool though as it is my preferred choice too- such a lovely soft yarn, especially for a 100% acrylic. My colours are as follows:

Top Row: * Wisteria * Grape * Plum * Boysenberry * Raspberry * Pale Rose * Pomegranate * Claret *

Middle Row: * Citrus * Saffron * Spice *

Bottom Row: * Meadow * Lime * Turquoise * Cloud Blue * Storm Blue * Aster * Bluebell *

The above photo roughly works out my hot/cold ratio, although I have now switched so that Wisteria is one of my cool colours and I am moving Saffron to be one of my warm colours as well as one of the centre square colours.

At the weekend I made 8 of the centre squares, although I think I will be the same as Lucy and end up with 16. I was too excited to move on to the rounds of 'logs' to continue with these little sunny squares though.

It is funny how well all of these colours mush together. They don't always look like some will go but when it is all in one square the clashing doesn't seem as bold and the squares are just super happy. My squares are ending up slightly bigger than in the original pattern as I am using a 4.5mm hook rather than the 4mm as suggested on the wool label, so my squares are around 22cm wide rather than 20cm and slightly looser (it's all in the tensioning!).

First square done!!! 15 more to go!!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Criss Cross Blanket Ta-Daah

Two ta-daahs in a month! How exciting!! This morning I stitched in the very last end of my Criss Cross blanket!! Huzzah! I have really enjoyed this blanket, it is only little- a lap size rather than my customary single bed side, but is also quite heavy considering how little it is, and very warm.

The border is made up of 16 rows, and is a combination of double crochet, treble crochet and a double layer spot edging (like the Spot On Edging used by Attic24). The double layer can be given different looks depending on the colour you use on the round after- so for instance I have used it once with dark purple over the pink followed by grey which covers the purple and creates a little dash line, but then on the final rounds the spot is clearer as the outer two rows are in the same colour, if you get what I mean.

The corners will need blocking though to stretch them out, at the moment they curl slightly at the corners which makes them look like little pointy petals.

So, are you ready for the whole blanket?





A little square blanket with criss cross granny squares and a stripey border, all made in the Merry Berry Rooster yarn pack from The Homemakery. Perfect for snuggling under whilst watching something good on the telly.

Egg Cup Penguins

We celebrated Penguin Awareness Day at Guides this week. There isn't any great reason behind this 'day', it is one of those funny ones that people make up for fun, along with Hugs Day, Wear Your Knickers Backwards Day and Rocky Road Appreciation Day. We thought the girls might like it though, and invited them to come to the meeting dressed in black and white, bring a penguin friend, wear a penguin onesie (if they had them) and just enjoy themselves. We played lots of games like Pass The Balloon (a paired game where they have to waddle whilst keeping a balloon balanced on their feet, then pass it to their partner without the balloon falling on the ground), Flip The Iceberg (a group game where all penguins stand on a blanket and have to flip the blanket without falling into the icy sea), A Real & Fake Quiz (the girls had to decide whether the names of penguins we called out were actually the names of penguins or ones we had made up), and a Name The Penguin Game (where we printed out images of penguins from films, adverts or logos and they had to write down the name of the penguin and which film or advert they were in).

My favourite part of the evening was the egg cup penguins though. I had seen this idea on Pinterest and it was so easy to do!! All you need is an egg box or two, some orange card, paint and googly eyes. We did discover very quickly that the shape of egg boxes has changed from how I remember them as a kid. I'm sure that the boxes used to be made up of complete cup shapes which could be cut up and used individually, but now they have changed the shape so that you only get a proper cup shape on the corner cups!! So we ended up using far more egg boxes than we thought we would need as the middle cups were completely unusable- just something to bear in mind if you were wanting to have a go at this- check the shape of your egg box cups.

Once all our egg cups were cut out we painted on little white tummies and a coat of black. When that had dried we made little feet and glued them on from the inside of the cup with sellotape- if you make a little tag on the end of your foot this can be bent up inside the cup to make it easier to glue. The beak was also cut out of card and glued on, followed by some googly eyes.

I had taken some pom poms along with me which the girls latched onto very quickly and the most amazing hats and hairdos were created. Two of the penguins in the below image were made by me, the one on the left and the cool dude in the middle with the mohican.

Such a cute little project for the girls to take home and keep.

Yesterday The Mother and I went to the Spring Quilt Festival at Ardingly Showground. We had never been before but would definitely go again!! So much fabric! Such beautiful designs and intricate work, especially in the exhibition part of the show. Hours and hours of stitch work and piecing and quilting. Photos weren't allowed otherwise I would have taken hundreds of them to show you.

I went a little bit mad and came home with 17 new fat quarters and two bundles of scrap fabrics which had been rolled together. I think I was quite conservative with what I brought home, in my head the whole lot was coming with me but I don't think that would have been practical- we don't have enough space in the house for everything that was there. The Mother brought home lots of batik fabrics and a wreath book and kit from Dandelion Designs, one of her favourite designers. A couple of our local shops were there too, The Patchwork Dog & Basket (in Lewes), and World of Sewing (in Tunbridge Wells). The stands were all really lovely and I would write up links to all of them if I could, but one that stuck out (although we didn't end up buying anything from it) was Quilting Antics which were exhibiting their use of wools and tweeds rather than the more traditional cottons, although they do sell Moda and other popular brands on their website. We really loved their wool kits but they were a little out of our price range on the day.
So my stash has been thoroughly topped up, now I just have to think of a project in which to use all of my lovely new fabrics!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

In And Out

Life at the moment is becoming a case of being either in or out. In = warmth, crochet, snuggly blankets, cat cuddles and hot drinks. Out = morning and evening commutes, blisteringly cold wind, nose biting temperatures and darkness (although it will soon be the time of beautiful sunrises!!)

I much prefer the 'in' time personally, I'm not really a Winter person. At the weekend it was beautiful sunshine on the Saturday and sitting in the living room I could almost convince myself it was Summer, except for the bare branches and lack of colour in the garden. I made up for it by moving my current vase of flowers into the sunshine and my eye line which made things much more cheerful. The Mother really loves Freesias which look very sweet in this bunch of leftover Christmas flowers- and smell just as glorious.

I had some lovely post too, more wool from The Homemakery as well as a new book, Around the Corner, Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman. I had seen it recommended by one of my favourite blogs, Annie's Place and bought it on a whim to see if any of the patterns would suit my Criss Cross blanket. I did try out a few but nothing seemed quite right with this blanket so have gone with a combination of stitches that flow naturally from the hook- I'll show you in a different post when I have some more done.

Sunday was a completely different weather story. It had snowed overnight!!! Not very much mind you and as the sun came out after breakfast, it had soon dripped away. Hopefully we will get some more, I love watching the big fluffy flakes falling from the sky.

I really enjoyed making my Rainbow Case the other day and found myself starting another one. This one is slightly different though, it's bigger at 21cm across, and I have edged all of the edges in dark purple.

I have also experimented with the ties, attaching them to the edge of the flap rather than the back panel. I think this has worked a bit better- and maybe I could use my new edging book to create some funky borders should I be inspired to make a couple more cases- It is a good way to use up my odds and ends of acrylic yarn!

The colours for this case involve a few shades of purple along with a bolder orange colour, a bit like the sunrises I am so looking forwards to seeing.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Sirdar Supersoft Blanket Ta-Daah

Now this is my favourite kind of Winter. Pale, gently warming sunshine peeping over houses and making the garden glow. Still, chilly air- the kind of chilly that makes you want to put a hat and gloves on just to answer the door. Cheeping birds scurrying around in the frozen flowerbeds and delicate frost dusting leaves and icing petal edges.

Blue skies too, beautiful blue, creating the perfect back drop for the sun tinged Pampass Grasses whilst they glitter in the morning sunlight.

But I am not here to wax lyrical about the sun or the frost or the weather or the growing Primulas- I am here to show you my final, finished, hand-me-down crochet project. I know I said I would wait for my next Winter Project Link Up Party, which this blanket has featured in (one post every month since October last year, linking up with the party hosted by Jen at Thistle Bear) but I really really couldn't make myself wait when I saw what the weather outside was like, and once the photos were taken I couldn't hold on to them for another two weeks without showing anybody. So without further ado.... I am proud to present.... my finished Sirdar Supersoft Blanket!!!!!


Let me give a quick re-cap for you of this blanket's story. 18 squares up to the blue double crochet border were made by my Aunt, who got bored and uninspired by it so gave them to me along with some oddments of the yarn. I had to match the yarn and the colours, which worked in some cases but not in others so there are variants in the green and darker blue colour which is quite nice actually as it clearly indicates who made which square. The rest of the squares were made completely by me, trying to keep my tension the same as my Aunt's (I crochet a lot tighter) so the squares were the same size, and working out the pattern by examining the original squares.

I added three rows of treble granny stitches to each of the squares to lighten them and give them a wide border, using the join as you go method to attached the squares on the third round.

The border for the blanket is made with two rows of double crochet, and three rows of treble granny stitches repeated, to try and replicate what was happening in the centre squares. It has also added more stitches to the border so the final finish is frilled and fluffy where there is so much of an increase.

This is the first blanket (I think) that I have made in an aran wool and the difference in thickness is really noticeable when the yarn is twisted and put together. This is such a warm blanket and has been a pleasure to work on through the winter. I can see myself snuggling up under it whilst I work on the second Winter project (my Rooster Criss Cross blanket) and being super cosy under all that woolly goodness.

The only worrying part is that now my Aunt has seen what I have done to her 18 squares, she wants the whole blanket back for herself!!

 If you would like to walk back through the Winter Project Link Up posts, they are all below for you to browse through.

October  *  November  *  December  *  January