25 November 2014

Dolly Mixture Blanket

I finished the marathon!

Just in case that isn't quite enough information to fill you in on the reason for my current chipper state of mind, let me elucidate a little further....

Many moons ago, I started a simple granny square blanket, one of those candy coloured, bright and cheerful ones that I've seen and admired on Pinterest so often.  And since I began, back in July, I have been plodding slowly onward, like a trusty donkey, making squares here and there between other projects.  It's been a bit of a drawn out process and you can read all about my clever 'marathon' analogy in this post here, should you wish to.  (Or just skip the words and check out the 'granny' eye candy pictures - I quite liked how they came out.)

Anyway, now you're up to speed, you can see why I'm happy to have reached the finish line can't you?  Nothing more satisfying to tick off the wip list than a big beast of a project that's taken it's time to complete.

This was, apart from it's slow development, a joy of a blanket to work on.  I started it by using up quite a few oddments of leftover yarn and that's always satisfying.  Although it did lead, inevitably, to further purchases as colours ran out.  I didn't agonise too much over the subtleties of shade difference though, mostly because there would have been no blanket if I had, as some old colours had long since bitten the dust.  But my new choices were close enough to not affect the overall tone and feel of the thing and that was all that mattered.

I think that's half the reason I enjoyed making this one so much, because these colours are so heart-liftingly, happy making.  Even at the end of the project, when every conceivable combination has been tried and rejected or enjoyed, I didn't tire of these colours together.  A rare tribute indeed.

I'd like to think that it's a sign of my increasing maturity, or possibly my increasing fickleness, that as I was on the home straight with the end in sight I suddenly decided to add a tricky little edging to the border.  Something that meant extra rounds, extra yarn and extra work.  I like those little pom-pom edges that people are adding to their blankets these days you see and I wanted to do something similar.

I don't know if it's just me and my inadequate skills in this area, but pom-poms don't seem to be the sturdiest of creations.  A cat's paw here, a child's fiddling fingers there and you are liable to end up with scattered yarn strands on the floor, a deflated pompom and guilty looks.

So, to get a similar effect but without the risk of ending up with bedraggled ex pom-poms littering the place, I decided to substitute little crochet circles instead.  Thus saving myself a lot of work and potential disappointment later.  It's not quite as gorgeous and wonderful as the full 'pom' experience perhaps but I know this 'safety first' approach is the right one for me.

Well, there you have it.  I hope looking at it will give you some of the pleasure that it has been giving me.  I'm loving having it around so much at the moment that I might poach the thing and squirrel it away into my 'new and improved' craft room.

Selfish of me maybe, but on reflection, I've decided I'm worth it!

  I N T E R E S T I N G   B L A N K E T   T H I N G S  

Blanket Weight: 1516g
Total Yardage: 5000 (approx)
Crochet Hook: 4mm (G)
Size: 195 x 130cm (78 x 51')

In reality I've used a mish mash of old left over bits of DK colours from stash but as you know, you never 'use up' stash without having to buy some more to finish, so here's the colours I ended up with:

Stylecraft Special DK: 
 Aster - 1003
Cream - 1005
Lemon - 1020
Sherbert - 1034
Fondant - 1241
Lipstick - 1246

King Cole Big Value: Pastel Pink - 325

Jarol Heritage: Lime - 13

Sirdar Country Style: Kensington Gardens (Jade green ) - 617

None as such, this is just a big blanket of good 'ol grannies, with a big granny border.  The only difficulty is the final part of the edging, which does move away from the standard 'granny' style.  I will be doing a pattern for this, maybe, at some point, probably not particularly soon (sorry!)

In the meantime though, here's a couple of helpful photo tutorials from my Crochet Corner site, to help get you started with the basics:

(I crocheted through both loops with right sides together - scroll down to see pictures showing variations at the bottom.)

S x



20 November 2014

Colour Collaborative: November


As I mentioned in the last Colour Collaborative post, I see November as very much an orange month and the theme of 'leaf' certainly fits in with that.  The picture above is very 'November' to me, rusty coloured leaves and low yellow sun in the sky.

Then look at the beautiful, rich colours in the picture below, wonderful, vibrant orange but with golden yellow, bright and ruby reds too.  I love all the different shades these leaves make.

Photo used with kind permission of Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy

 Photo Credit: Leaf Leaves by Jon Sullivan

But I wanted to move away from my original orangey thoughts, as I talked about those last time in the Colour Collaborative post for October: Halloween.  This leaf picture above gives a totally different palette.  I love the warm honey yellow and sticky browns against that dark, musty old green.  What a fabulous contrast.  I like that it has those dark shades in there, very appropriate for November where the plants are starting to blacken and die back.

But then, as things get darker and colder outside, we search for ways to lighten and warm the inside.  This picture below seems like almost the next step on from the one above.  A more extreme man-made version.  This is a leaf on leaf effect, gold leaf onto nature's leaves.  What a bold contrast that makes.  Warm, glowing gold and deep velvet black.  Wow!

Photo Credit:  Gold der Mazedonier by tilo 2005

Photo Credit: Johannes Jansson

Then to end with one final contrast, I'm going from black to white.

There is something about November evenings, I've found these past couple of weeks, that make me want to turn the leaves of a book.  Snuggled in bed, cozy and absorbed in the story, it's a simple and comforting pleasure.  A tenuous link I suppose?  I hope you'll let me get away with it though because I really wanted to show you how many colours of off-white these white pages make.  I'm normally a bit of a colour obsessed sort, as you know, but I find this mixture of almost whites most appealing.

: :

Don't forget to check out the other great 'Colour Collaborative' blogs
for more of today's posts...

Annie at Annie Cholewa
Jennifer at Thistlebear
Claire at Above the River

What is The Colour Collaborative? 
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff.
Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together?
Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too.
We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination 
our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.

S x


19 November 2014

Granny Chic Set is Out

The cat is out of the bag, or more accurately, the magazine is in the shops.  Another of my secretive endeavours has been released into the world via the brand new #Crochet magazine, which means I get to share it here with you too.

This was a fun little project to do because it had a 'granny' theme and I don't need to tell you what a fan of the glorious granny I am.  This time the plan was to design a kitchen set of granny inspired goodies.  So, we have egg cozies, coasters, a cute little bobble edged trim, a tea cozy and of course, some wonderful granny bunting.

I love the richness of the red, which gives a nice cozy warmth to this little collection.  Just right for the hunkering down feel that you get at this time of year.  Well, not all of us of course, I know some of you will be enjoying lighter, brighter days about now but here in old Blighty the hunkering is definitely on the increase.

I love how they have styled the set, it looks very retro chic, I love it and it makes me want to make another of those tea cozies too.

You can find all the patterns in the magazine, which will be in the shops now.
(Issue 2 is the one you want)

Or you can buy #Crochet magazine online here, and as an added bonus, it appears to be available worldwide.

S x


18 November 2014

Pasting it Pretty

There are times when a bit of slap dash crafting is exactly what you want and making over these little Ikea drawers with paper and glue fits exactly into that category.

These particular drawers were firmly in the hands of my Little Miss though, as they were destined to house knick knacks in her room.  Although I was more than happy for her to be in charge of the project, there are times when a child's enthusiasm to get started can led them to rush into a mad session of hap-hazard gluing, painting, over sticking and re-painting.  Fun to be sure but it does give mixed results, aesthetically speaking.  As this was to be on display in her room, hopefully for a while to come, I felt compelled to 'stick my oar in' before she got started.

Luckily, now she is a little older, she is willing to chat over her ideas with me and a loose plan of action was formed.  All her own ideas I hasten to add, but by talking it over and telling me what she wanted to do and how it should look, she got it all straight in her own mind.  Which I thought would do much reduce the chance of the 'random paint colours added in at the last moment and everything turning in a big murky mess' factor!

I was happily in the role of 'Artist's Assistant', passing paint colours, cutting papers into squares and topping up the glue pot.  She enjoys these little creative things so much and it's so sweet to see her confidence in her own ideas growing and for her to be able to direct me, rather than the other way round.

We make quite the little team now and after a while she asked me to help stick some papers to the sides, due to sheer size of the thing and not only was it really fun to do but it was lovely to be sitting there, chatting and working away together side by side. 

 It's a very moreish craft, decoupage.  Sticking those paper squares on in a pleasingly random way was most relaxing.  I find myself looking around the place, looking for something else to attack with the glue pot!

S x


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