Crochet Blankets

I’ve discovered a new crafty love! Crocheted stripey blankets (or throws, whichever term you prefer). I ended last year with the Granny Block Blanket for Michael as a Christmas gift and started this year with the V-Stitch blanket I had hoped to do as a Christmas gift for Mason.

The patterns from HanJan crochet are part of her yarn stash series, designed to use up stash. However, as I liked her colour schemes for both blankets, I bought the yarn packs from Deramores. I was a bit disappointed with both yarn packs actually as the colours didn’t match up to the pictures of the blankets and I ended up substituting some of the colours anyway. I think the designer, Hannah’s blankets were probably made from her own stash so the actual yarns she used may not be available but even so, some of the colours were way off course.

Both projects were enjoyable but I think I preferred making the granny block one, the cream linking row between each colour felt like an anchor of sorts and seemed to help me focus. Here it is in situ on Michael’s sofa. How perfectly does it match?

The V-Stitch, although nice to do, started to feel a bit endless about halfway through. I just chose 9 colours and picked a colour one row at a time, with no pattern or scheme in mind. I think that for my personality though, I need a bit more structure or plan to work to as I started to get fed up with trying to decide which colour should come next. However, it turned out well and Mason is happy with it.

For anyone interested, the exact colours and yarns I used are listed in my Ravelry projects here : V-Stitch Blanket and Granny Block Blanket.

One thing I do want to crochet this year is a striped blanket for us, inspired by the beautiful sunrises and sunsets we see at this time of year. I love the colour palette of the winter sky and this idea has been bouncing around for a while now but I’ll need to buy the right colours. I’d best get some stash used up first!

I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures of my inspiration, although these phone photos really don’t do these lovely colours justice. Watch this space for a future winter skies blanket.

Proud all round!

Well my biggest news for this post is that my brilliant eldest son, Michael, had confirmation yesterday that his PhD Thesis has been accepted meaning he has passed and is now officially a Doctor of Computer Science. He actually passed his Viva last year but with a few corrections to be made. Having recently re-submitted the thesis, he was awaiting the result which came by email last night. He rang me immediately and sounded absolutely thrilled.

To say I’m proud is an understatement! He has worked so hard for this and even though he didn’t qualify for funding, was determined that he wanted to do the PhD. His dad has been very supportive financially and there is no doubt that Michael couldn’t have done this without that support but Michael himself has worked too. Each summer he has managed to secure a well-paid internship which as well as contributing to his finances has given him more work experience to add to his CV. I’m certain that this helped in no small way to land him his current job with the Government Digital Agency in London.

In other more down to earth news, I was very proud last weekend when I finally finished the crocheted draught excluder I’ve been working on since the end of December. This was a large project for me as a beginner and a learning curve which is always good. I really feel that my future projects will be much better thanks to what I learned making this. If I do say so myself, I think it looks bloody fantastic!

I’ve spent a bit of time lately deciding what to knit next with the idea of trying to use up some stash. I’ve had some Stylecraft Ethical Twist in stash forever, camel and cream both in sweater quantities and oatmeal and baby cream in smaller quantities. A lovely wool/alpaca blend, it is absolutely gorgeous yarn and I’ve started numerous projects in it but it just hasn’t wanted to be those things and I’ve ended up frogging. I’ve finally decided on the stunning Masterpiece by Design Von Hinterm , knitted in the camel, I think it’s going to look really lovely. I cast on last weekend, almost as soon as I’d finished making up the draught excluder and it is looking good already.

So, having started using up some stash what do you think I’ve done? Of course, I bought more yarn! I got a book for Christmas, 200 crochet squares, so I thought I’d buy couple of balls of stylecraft special Dk, which is what a lot of crocheters seem to use and a couple of balls of Scheepjes Colour Crafter, to compare the two.

Now I have to add at this point that they are now under the bed and I haven’t tried them out yet!! I bought them from the Wool Warehouse website where I also spotted the clearance section….always a disaster to the bank balance. I just couldn’t resist the Mirasol Nuna, a simply divine sport weight. It just jumped into my shopping cart, honest.

This is also under the bed!

I love getting deliveries from Wool Warehouse because they pack everything in pretty gauze bags. Yeah I know…

Crafty Update

Last year I learned how to crochet with the help of YouTube and in particular Bella Coco’s channel. Being a left-hander I have struggled to learn over the years, so finding video tutorials for left-handed crochet was a revelation and I took to it like the proverbial duck to water. I’ve found that I enjoy the process of crochet more than knitting so can see myself making baby items, toys and blankets etc. However, for grown-up clothing, I still much prefer the look of a knitted piece. It’s very nice to be able to do both and have the choice though.

My first crocheted items were some cute baby shoes from this tutorial on YouTube. I loved making these so much that I made them in lots of different colours. They’ll make a quick baby gift if I’m short of time.

The purple ones in this picture were gifted to a work colleague for his first grandchild.

Here are the others that I’ve made in different colours. I crocheted the green hat with the pink flower to match the shoes with the cute little flower button. The yellow hat was one I had knitted previously. I also made some pretty white ones with a pink bow and a matching hat for a work colleague expecting her first baby but I don’t seem to have taken a photo of them.

I’ve also started making squares for a blanket. The yarn is a light 4-ply with a bit of a halo and it’s going to be a really delicate, lightweight blanket.

The square I’m making is the Victorian lattice and I followed a tutorial from Bella Coco, although the pattern isn’t hers, it is from Destany Wymore.

Next up were scarves, Christmas gifts for my sons Michael and Mason. Some lovely yarn I’d had in stash for yonks. King Cole baby Alpaca. Deliciously soft and snuggly, just perfect for round your neck. For Mason’s scarf I used cream, brown and camel, crocheted lengthways using half-treble stitch into the back loop to create a ribbed effect.

For Michael’s I used black and brown, again lengthways using half-treble stich but just flat creating a kind of woven look.

I’m really pleased with how they turned out considering I made it up as I went along really. More importantly, the boys also liked them. Both immediately trying them on.

I do still have some knitting projects waiting to be finished but couldn’t resist ordering the yarn to start on this lovely crocheted draught excluder. It’s been a learning curve but I’m more than two-thirds into it now and really enjoying making it.

In knitting news, I’ve been sorting out stash and choosing what to knit with it. I really wanted to knit the previously attempted (and frogged) Peplum Jacket in some Stylecraft Ethical Twist, a gorgeous wool/Alpaca blend I’ve had for years but no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t match stitch or row gauge. As both are important for this garment and there is a bloody lot of work involved in knitting it, it’s just not worth risking it being the wrong size like last time, so I’ve scrapped that idea. I’ve sorted a few things into my Ravelry queue but am not allowing myself to start anything new until I’ve finished the draught excluder!

Soon though. Very soon.

From Now On

I’ve realised what it is that keeps me from keeping this blog updated. Perfectionism.  Yes, you heard that right.  Me, the most imperfect ‘oh that’ll do’ kind of person in the universe suffering from a bout of perfectionism.  What brings me to this conclusion is the memory of something about time management I read years ago basically saying that we put off jobs because we can’t see how to deal with things in small chunks, we just see the big mess and think we can’t tackle it in the time we have. A kind of perfectionism, wanting to have it all sorted out in one go. Instead we need to think of the time that we do have and choose a part of the job that we can do in that time. Eventually it all gets done and then it is easier to keep on top of.

That’s kind of where I am with this blog.  I want to have everything in it, in the right order, with all the photos and all the words but because I am way behind, I keep putting off this mammoth task of catching up and therefore I’m not blogging my current experiences because of that.  So, Perfectionism step aside, Mrs Phuckit is coming through!  Some posts might appear out of chronological order but they are long posts so they’ll get done when they get done and I’ll post them then.  I might even post them in more than one part! Get me being all unconventional.  From now on, I want to try to post as things happen or thereabouts anyway. 

So, I taught myself to crochet a few weeks ago and have made a few pairs of pretty little Mary-Jane baby shoes in different colours.   These purple ones are my favourite, gifted to a work colleague for his brand-new grand-daughter.

One of the things I really want to be able to do though is crochet amigurumi and Tipsy Bunny is my first ever attempt.  So called because I think his facial expression makes him look slightly drunk. His ears, arms and legs are all different sizes but I am still rather pleased with him.

Until next time…