It is a bit of a bug-bear of mine that so many crochet posts on social media are simply pictures, with no accompanying information about yarns, stitches, colours or techniques. Presumably the intention is for the reader to be impressed with the author’s skill or colour choice, but then what? What is to be learned by knowing that other people are making things that you admire, and no more than that?
Long-term readers of this blog will know that I always end a post by giving details of how the project was made. My initial reasons for this were quite selfish – I wanted to use the blog as a personal log, so that if I needed to repeat a project I would have a place to come back to with enough detail written down for that to be possible. I do still use it for that purpose quite often.
The second reason was more public-spirited – I am a teacher by training, and a learner by inclination, and I wanted to share my learning so that other people could benefit from it too. So here, for anyone who is interested, are the colour recipes for my granny rectangle baby blankets. If you find them useful I am glad, and if you do use any of them I would be delighted to know.
I am not usually a fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I am working on one this year that seems to be hitting the spot..
My new rule for 2021 is that before I do any ‘new’ crochet in any given day I should do four rows of a long-standing unfinished object (UFO). Interestingly all of my unfinished items at the moment are in 4-ply yarn, so the rule of four is doubly well named. I have made some good progress on one UFO already. Watch this space ….
This is a new pattern for me by Cottonpod, a UK designer I had not come across before. The pattern uses a V-stitch formed by crocheting in-between two adjacent treble crochet stitches to force them apart, with interspersing rows of tiny diamonds (hence the name).
The original pattern requires a colour change every row, and therefore lots of sewing in of loose ends. I got round this by changing the direction of the coloured rows so that the white V-stitch rows could be crocheted continuously. This made hardly any difference to the pattern visually, but cut down on loose ends by 50%!
Mine is made in the original Cottonpod colours of Drops cotton merino off white (01) jeans blue (16), lavender (23) and ice blue (09) on a 4.5mm hook. It is 80 stitches wide and 32 V-stitch rows long. It measures 65cm x 50cm. I used 40g each of the three colours and 150g of off white.
It was a quick blanket to work up, and I like the colour play possible with the repeating sequence of 3 colours plus cream. If I have a criticism at all it is that the overall fabric has a lot of drape, and I felt it really needed the border to keep it in shape.
Always on the lookout for stash-busting patterns I decided to revisit the Granny Stripe baby blanket. My previous attempts were intended for teddies and so were on a very small scale, but I enjoyed the colour-play that these allowed, and felt I would like to try something bigger:
Mine is made in various greens and yellows from stash, supplemented by Drops cotton merino, off white (01) and pistachio (10) along with Drops merino extra fine light yellow (24) on a 4.5mm hook. It is 58 granny clusters wide, and 37 stripes long. It measures 66cm x 53cm and weighs 330g.
Given the overall size I decided not to do a border, so if I were to make another I would try 52 granny clusters wide which would give more scope for a border. You will notice that I played rather safe with colours this time too!
We have a lovely new shop in our next-door village, and I am excited to say that they are stocking some of my crochet. The shop is Freedom Works in Kishorn, right on the North Coast 500 route in the Scottish Highlands, and a regular haunt for locals too.
They are stocking some well known local artists including Cindie Reiter and Aileen Grant, along with some folk who are new to me. I have already sold a few things (and bought a few too!)
It is lovely to see a local shop selling locally made goods – and I wish Ali and the shop every success.
Today has the potential to be a sad day as it is the funeral of my dear and lovely friend Maureen. So although I think it is it is right to be sad about sad things I also want to spend part of today remembering the many positive roles she had in my life. And in particular to say thank you to her for her warmth, enthusiasm and kindness. There are many words I could use to describe what she gave to me but instead I have decided to put together a collage of some of the projects she helped me with – through yarn donations, colour consultancy, encouragement and advice.
For these, and so much more – Thank you Maureen xx
Two more bits of yarny goodness that I opened on Christmas day.
First are some very sweet crochet hats, which are the exact size of a Ferrero Rocher chocolate. They were given to me by my daughter who knew I would appreciate their quirkiness.
Secondly I have six 25g balls of Jamiesons Shetland spindrift, which seems to be the equivalent of 4 ply and is 100% wool. They are in lovely brown and mustard colours and are calling out to be made into…..I am not quite sure. A ripple scarf? A beret? All ideas gratefully received (including from the present giver!)
It is hard to say what my favourite part is. I LOVE the Octopom, I am looking forward to using the Lion Brand Landscapes yarn, which I have never used before, and there is a sweet little yarn-shaped necklace which missed the photo as I was wearing it all of Christmas day.
I think overall the nicest thing was that it made me feel really special, which is surely the best Christmas present ever. Thank you Hannah xx
P.S. If you want to see what I gave pop over to Mollie and Claire, and huge thanks to Sewchet for organising Stitching Santa.
Today saw the end of my August yarn-drought, and it is time to report on what has been achieved:
I think you can tell from the picture that quite a bit of yarn has been used (and I promise that I didn’t just move it all out of the frame!)
So what has made the difference? I have made two ripple blankets, three hot water bottle covers, two twiddlemuffs, numerous dishcloths, jellyfish, crabs and spiders; and I have experimented with some new things using old yarn – octopuses and the beginnings of a corner to corner scarf.
And what have I learned? Possibly to try harder to buy only one project ahead at a time (I know, it’s easier said than done) and definitely that I don’t need to buy new yarn to try new things. Oh and I have found out which bits of my stash are still there after all this endeavour!
Now does anyone have any suggestions for a worthwhile project using 28 balls of recycled cotton??
Despite my having made 26 charity blankets so far this year I have found that my wool store is not diminishing.
Indeed it seems that any space in the cubby holes is quickly filled by new and exciting stash that has simply leapt into it, almost without my help!
So I am going to try and have a month of yarn-drought. I certainly have enough yarn to crochet with for a month and more, and a few projects that I have bought yarn for and never quite started (does that count as a WIP?) so if all goes to plan August will be an opportunity to do just that.
Watch this space!
I really like playing with yarn colours, but don’t often get to the kind of yarn shop where this is possible. However recently I came across a rather lovely website called ‘Homemakery’ which sells a range of yarn packs in Rooster, Rico and Rowan wools (as well as Stylecraft).
The two that particularly appealed to me were pebble beach:
I have ordered them both, and am looking forward to a bit of colour-play.
Although this comment might make me unpopular in blog-land I cannot bring myself to like acrylic yarns. I understand the practicality of easy-care yarns, and the luxury of having so many colours to choose from, but I hate the idea of spending hours of my precious time making something which ultimately I am not going to be pleased with, because I didn’t like the starting material. Plus, given the choice, I would rather use a yarn that contains natural fibres and is recyclable and renewable.
Cushions made in acrylic yarn
So this leaves me with a dilemma. When I am making something for myself I can justify the expense of buying good quality yarn by how long the item will give me pleasure for (both in the making and the using). However if I am making something to sell, the cost of ‘good’ yarn becomes an issue.
Cushions made in wool
So who can help me out? I would like a yarn range with lots of not too harsh colours, which contains at least a percentage of natural fibre. Ideally this yarn would be available in 50g balls, from a British retailer. Oh and as a final bit of prejudice I don’t like shiny yarns – so no mercerised cotton I am afraid. Suggestions please!
We don’t watch television, but I think there used to be a show where two cooks started off with various miscellaneous ingredients and had to make a dish out of them. Well this is my yarn equivalent:
I have 85g of Aran weight yarn from my mum’s yarn stash. It feels and smells (!) as if there is some wool content in it, but obviously there is no ball band so I can’t be sure. I am thinking maybe fingerless gloves (but will 85g be enough?) or part of a larger blanket (but I would need to buy 3/4 of the wool which seems to defeat the purpose somewhat). I wondered about felted bowls, but I would need to test a bit to see if it does felt first. So now I am throwing it open to the crowd – what would you make with it?
I thought it might be useful to check up and see what I have sold so far this year, before deciding on my next project, and I got a lovely surprise!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Several blankets, some felted bowls, a retro neck warmer, a hot water bottle cover, a stripy bag, some fingerless gloves, a couple of spiders, and oh yes – some jellyfish.
So now I still can’t decide what to make next! Any suggestions?
I have just heard from the lovely shop that stocks my blankets that one has been stolen.
It is my most recent effort, the Candy Crush blanket that I finished only a few weeks ago, and the experience has left me feeling quite sickened. It is partly the horrible thought of someone taking something which is not theirs from a small business, striving to make a living in a remote area, and partly that all my creative efforts have been valued at zero.
As far as I know the blanket is a one-off, I chose the colours and pattern myself, and it would be quite a co-incidence if someone else happened across the same combination by chance. So if you see it for sale somewhere on the net, or have any idea where someone might sell such an item, please let me know.
I don’t have much hope of it being found, but it would be good to know that people are looking.
My lovely husband has just finished transforming the book case above my crochet space into a yarn store.
So my yarns can finally come out of the closet (or in my case three rather large plastic storage boxes) and be on display. Not only is this a much more attractive way of storing my yarn, it also means I can see at a glance what I have ‘in stock’ and remind myself to get going on the project I bought it for!