November challenge – Scheepjes skies light XY scarf

This was a crochet-along gift from a lovely friend, who chose both the yarn and pattern. It was quite challenging for me as it is made in double crochet throughout but into the back loop only – a stitch which seemed remarkably unforgiving of any variation in tension.

The pattern is Mijo crochet’s XY scarf and the yarn is Scheepjes Skies light in 17 Circumcumulus and 116 Cumulonimbus. I used a 4mm hook and started with cumulonimbus.

I love the texture of this stitch, the subtle colour variation in the yarn, and how well it photographed in today’s winter light.

October challenge – the waste-not-want-not blanket

I bought some Sirdar snuggly 100% cotton a while ago, made some swatches to try a ripple blanket with it, then decided it just wouldn’t do and left it in my stash unused. I really hate waste, so I made myself go back and re-work it into a new swatch – with this result:

Made in Sirdar snuggly 100% cotton in cream, rhino, light grey, mauve and powder on a 4mm hook. The stitch is ‘crossed trebles’ and you can see a chart for it here.

Mine weighs 360g and took 3 balls of cream, 1 of rhino and 2 each of mauve, light grey and powder. It measures 73 x 58cm and is 51 ‘crosses’ wide, which I think means I started with a chain of 105. I’m quite keen to have a go at one in ‘boy’ colours now…

When pink or blue won’t do

I had a commission recently to make a baby blanket that was ‘not in baby colours’ and what fun I had completing it;

Made in Drops cotton merino off white (01) and medium grey (18) and some precious discontinued Rowan wool cotton clear (941). I think they work really well together, and hopefully the new mum will agree too.

I started with a chain of 101 which gave me 7 repeats of 14 stitches plus 3 and used Attic 24’s neat ripple pattern. My blanket measures 69 x 59cm and weighs 300g. It took 2 balls each of off white and clear, and 3 balls of medium grey, as I used that for the border too.

September challenge – Ikea plant pot covers!

One of my daughter’s friends has just bought her first flat. It is an exciting time and I am told that prickly plants make great housewarming presents! So here is my second take on crocheting a plant pot cover (see take one here):

Made in James C Brett Noodles, colours N5 (turquoise) and N7 (grey) on a 4mm hook. The yarn is 100% polyester so pretty much waterproof, and it would go through a washing machine if needed. It has now been discontinued (story of my life!) but there is still the odd ball available on line.

August challenge – rainbow bobble blanket

I got the idea to make this when I made the reflections shawl – a baby blanket in bright rainbow colours with a unifying blue background, and I have been waiting for the right yarn and pattern to come together to make it possible:

The yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley Aran prints in Rum Paradise (822) and Cascade 220 in Blue Velvet (7818). The pattern is ‘Chasing Rainbows’ by Marley Bird, available on the Red Heart website here. The pattern requires a colour change every row, but as it is made in Aran weight wool, I didn’t feel this was too much. I started with a chain of 115 (I think) which gave me a blanket that was 18 bobbles wide.

The finished item is 80 x 60 cm and weighs 460g (which is quite a lot for a baby blanket!) I used 3 balls of Rum paradise and 2 of Blue Velvet (just!) on a 5mm hook.

One word of caution is that at the precise tension and bobble number that I used I gave an exact colour repeat every 3 coloured rows – so there are two turquoise / yellow / pink vertical ‘stripes’ and two purple / green / orange stripes in the blanket. I don’t think I mind… but it’s not what I expected when I started!

July challenge – Linen drape shawl

This month’s challenge was ready a wee while ago, but the sunshine to photograph it in has only just arrived!

I used Tamara Kelly’s Chevron lace fingerless mitts pattern as my starting point and added a row of double crochet in Natural between each pair of coloured rows:

To keep the Natural rows the same width visually they all had to start on the same side of the scarf, so there were times when I didn’t turn at the end of a row, but worked over the previous row in the same direction in order to achieve this.

Made in Stylecraft Linen drape Coral (3906), Peacock (3905), Lime (3902) and Natural (3901) on a 4.5mm hook. I started with a chain of 64 to give me three pattern repeats and the finished shawl is 28 x 156cm. It used 1 ball of each of the 4 colours – with a bit to spare.

June challenge – Moebius strip cowl

Have you heard of ‘pennies per hour of pleasure’? It’s an initiative set up to raise funds for Medecins sans Frontieres for their charitable work. Designers donate a knitting or crochet pattern, and people who use the pattern donate a sum in proportion to the pleasure they got from making it. The pattern I chose is the Moebius cowl by Laura Cracknel, and this is how it turned out:

The cowl on the on the left in Drops Big Delight colour 16 ‘Blackberry’ and the one on the right is made in West Yorkshire Spinners Fusions Aran colour 862 ‘Autumn mix’, both on a 6mm hook. I started with a chain of 90 stitches and each cowl weighs 75g.