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03 March 2015

Giant Granny Patches Colour Help


I feel like I'm always saying thank you lately...

But you see, you're always giving me lots of reasons to thank you.  This time it's because of the absolutely fantastic response to the Cherry Heart Blanket Along (#CHBAL) that I started in the last post. I mean, wow!

You've blown me away yet again with the number of you wanting to join in and with all your wonderful blanket plans and makes in progress.  It's turning into a real motivator for some of you to 'work on that wip' and make progress on those long forgotten projects and I'm so happy we're working towards finishing all these half started beauties.

So, as my mind is full of blankets, blankets, blankets at the moment I thought it would be a good time to answer some questions I sometimes get asked about my blanket makes.

The first blanket to talk about is that one in the picture above, the Giant Granny Patches Blanket, do you remember it?

I was asked, after my Stylecraft comparisons from the Painted Roses blanket and the Weekender Blanket, was if I could do the same for the Giant Granny Patches Blanket.  I thought that a few of you might find that information useful, so here it is...


: : HANDY DANDY COLOUR COMPARISON : : 


Original colour details:
You can find them all listed at the bottom of my Giant Granny Patches Blanket post here

I used a total of 17 colours in that blanket and 13 of them were from the trusty Stylecraft Special DK range.  But as usual I struggled to get all the shades I wanted from just one range of yarn.  For me it seems that the colour is key, more important than matching the exact fiber content and even exact weight of yarn (DK can vary I find!), so I switch brands to get the shades I want.

But, as that's not a choice that everyone wants to make, so let's see if we can fill the missing Stylecraft Special gaps for you...



Here's the four other colours I used.  The crocheted square is the original colour that I used in the blanket and the ball of yarn above is the closest Stylecraft equivalent.

1.
Original colour: Hayfield/Sirdar Bonus DK, Teal (890)
Stylecraft Special DK:  Denim (1302)

The original colour is now discontinued and I can't think of any shades at the moment that really match it.  The Stylcraft denim is a lot more blue than the colour I used which had a nice dark duck egg-ish quality to it, but denim isn't bad as a second choice.

2.
Original colour: Rowan Wool Cotton, Goldilocks (971)
Stylecraft Special DK: Saffron (1081)

I was expecting the new gold shade to be the closest to this beautiful golden yellow but actually the saffron, although slightly paler, matches really pretty closely.

3.
Original colour: King Cole Big Value DK, Lawn Green (011)
Stylecraft Special DK: Meadow (1065)

This shade isn't easy to match.  The closest you can get is the meadow, which is much more dull and dowdy in comparison.  If I was making this blanket again now and was confined to Stylecraft I might consider the lime instead.  The shade isn't such a close match but it does have the boldness of the  original colour.

4.
Original colour: Stylecraft Life DK, Mint (2342)
Stylecraft Special DK:  Aspen (1422)

Again, this is a shade that the Special can't really match at all.  I'd really recommend going for the Mint  personally.  (It's available from both Wool Warehouse and Deramores, so you could combine it with a Special DK order and not lose out on postage.)  But if you really do want to stick to just one range of yarn the closest in the Special DK is the Aspen, but the colour is a lot bolder and a lot brighter than the original shade so you'd have to decide if that would work for you.

---- STOP PRESS! ---

It's looking like one of the new shades, 'Sage' available from April might be a good match for this colour.  We'll have to wait and see I guess...

Here's a little close up of the blanket, just so you can see the overall effect of the originals.



: :

Next up, a question I often get asked, especially in regard to this blanket and that's 'how do I decide how to arrange my colours'.  It's a good question, as it's not always easy to get the organised/random look that's for sure.  I think it gets a bit easier with practise but mostly I think it gets a bit easier if you can learn to let go and worry about it less.  Easier said than done of course.

A lot depends on the pattern or motifs you are working.  A simple stripe will mean a colour only touches 2 others, but working squares mean you are touching 4 others (8 if you include diagonals) and hexagons each touch 6 others.  That means there can be more to think about.  Here's what I did...


: : MY GIANT GRANNY PATCHES COLOUR PLACEMENT GUIDE : :

Square Arrangement

This is the way I actually sat and added the squares to the blanket.
I used Join as You Go to attach the squares, you can find a tutorial here.


First of all I started with a small block, 4 by 4 squares big.  To make that I just laid out balls of yarn on the floor in an order that I thought looked ok.  (That's section 1 in the photo)  Then I added a strip of 4 more squares to the side (section 2) and another and another (section 3 and 4), and I just kept adding strips of 4 squares until a had the width of blanket that I wanted.  Each time, just arranging balls of wool next to the squares I had made to decide which 4 colours to work next.

Next, I went back to the original 4 by 4 section and added another strip of 4 squares below it.  (I forgot to number it, but you can see the blocks of 4 going downwards in the pic).  I added 3 more strips of 4 squares until I had another 4 by 4 block of squares to work off, and then I started adding strips to the side again until I had worked across the whole width of the blanket.

I just kept going in the same way until I had a great big huge blanket in the size I wanted!


The Colour Rules Guidelines

So that's how I added the squares, but how did I decide on colour?  Well that's where my little 'rules' come in.

Bear in mind that these 'rules' are really guidelines, if they are even that.  They are little ideas that I come up with as I'm working through a blanket that occur to me as ways to stop colours coming together in a way that catches my eye.  They are self-imposed rules and are entirely breakable.  In fact, not only do I pretty much always end up having to break them at some point, I can't help thinking you probably should break them sometimes, just to keep things interesting!


Guideline 1 - Spacing

The first block of 16 squares was fairly easy as I had 17 colours to choose from and after that the first idea I formed was that, when adding the next 4 squares (section 1) I shouldn't be using any of the colours from the 2 strips before (section 2).  A way to make sure I spaced the colours out a bit.


As you can see, I definitely broke this rule in my blanket.  I've added a strip of 4 squares below the original block, as you can see in the photo above and low and behold, that purple was already used in the 2 strips above it!  Ahh well, the rules were made to be broken weren't they?


Guideline 2 - Diagonal Lines

The other rule that I formed quite quickly was that I needed to have more than 1 square of colour between the same colours diagonally.  So, for the squares highlighted in yellow, I wouldn't have wanted them in the same colour if I could help it.  It's just something that would always catch my eye.  So I would try to keep  at least 2 squares between the same colours on the diagonal.

Did I break this rule?  Yep!  I don't think you can see it in this picture but I did and I often didn't notice until later but there was no way I was going back to change it.

Guideline 3 - Straight Lines

The other thing I liked to think about is how often the same colour could appear again in the same row or column.  I tried to make sure that there were a good few squares before I used the colour in the same line again.  So for the pink square (highlighted in yellow) that's the squares that I've faded out slightly.  I'd generally try and keep a good 5 or 6 squares between same colours that would be in a line with each other.

: :

And finally....

: : DON'T PANIC! : :

Don't worry if this all sounds way too much to think about.  It's much easier than you think.

It seems massively complicated when I write it all down like this, I know.  It even overwhelms me to be honest.  Did I really keep all that in mind and manage to arrange the colours according to these rules??

Well, no, we know I didn't because I already told you I broke the rules!
And the truth is, you already do most of this stuff without really thinking about it. 

If you start with a small amount of squares like I did, and then you put the mext group colours next to it, you'll generally find that the colour order that looks best is the one to go for.  If you put a blue only a couple of squares away from the same blue, you'll probably just naturally shuffle your colours around because it didn't look right.  That's all I did too.

Just sometimes when things weren't looking quite right, I'd think about my little guidelines and see if they helped me.  Sometimes I'd swap a colour for a different one that hadn't been used so recently.  Or sometimes I'd just shuffle the colours I'd picked into a different order to get them to look ok.

It gets easier as you get going and then you'll become more confident.  Then you learn to worry less and then it gets easier still.

: :


I hope that will help any of you who are wondering what the secret is.  Unfortunately it turns out there isn't really a secret at all.  I just guess like you do.  But I hope it helps all the same!

If you have any more blanket related questions, feel free to ask in the comments below, it might be something I can answer for you in a future post.


S x

PS

A few useful links for the Giant Granny Patches Blanket...

Classic Granny Square Tutorial
Join as You Go Tutorial
Giant Granny Patches Original Post (For colour and blanket details)
Giant Granny Patches Border Tutorial




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27 February 2015

The Cherry Heart Blanket Along


Bring out your Blankets!

Get that old wip out of the cupboard, unearth those buried squares, or get stash diving and start something new.  Whatever you want to work on, old or new, let's make some progress on our blanket projects in March.

In case you haven't heard, I've been talking over the idea of doing an 'along' of some kind to help us all get ourselves going on our blankets.  Cheering each other on, sharing our pretty makes and generally indulging in some blanket goodness together.  I'm so excited that lots of you have said you'd want to join in so I think it's time we officially got started...

: : CHERRY HEART BLANKET ALONG : :

#CHBAL

⬡⬢⬡ 

The rules

1.  Get yourself a blanket project.

 If you already have a blanket started, that's great, bring it along.
If you want to start a new blanket, that's great too, come share your plans.
It can be a crochet or a knitted blanket, any blanket is welcome.
If you want to join me in making a Weekender Blanket you can.  (Weekender Blanket Details here.)
It does not have to be a 'Cherry Heart' blanket.  Really, any blanket is welcome!

2.  Make some progress on it.

The aim of this is to make progress of some kind, no matter how small, on our projects.
You don't need to finish.
You can work on a long-term project that you don't plan to finish this month.
You can work on a small project and complete it if you want to.
The aim is just to have something slightly bigger than you started with!

⬡⬢⬡ 

Join in the fun

None of these are requirements, just ways you can join in and hopefully keep inspired and motivated as you get that blanket moving..

1.  Join the #CHBAL (Cherry Heart Blanket Along) thread on Ravelry
We can discuss our plans, talk colours, share progress etc, etc..

2.  Post pics of your progress on Instagram with the tag #CHBAL
Let's inspire each other with our pretty blankets.

⬡⬢⬡ 

Win Prizes!

Near the end of the month I'll open a new thread on Ravelry and you'll be able to post pictures.  It doesn't have to be a completed blanket, just a picture of your progress this month.

We'll vote on each other's blankets by smooshing the 'love' button on all the blankets we love and the pic with the most votes will win a prize!

First prize
A free Cherry Heart Pattern
2 balls of some lovely squishy soft yarn
A few other pretty little bits and bobs

More Prizes
There will also be a free Cherry Heart pattern for the 2 runners up

⬡⬢⬡


So that's it!

I'm really looking forward to seeing all your lovely makes and sharing our progress together.

Here's the links again for you:

Cherry Heart Blanket Along Thread on Ravelry

And don't forget the #CHBAL tag on Instagram




S x




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25 February 2015

Weekender Blanket Hexie Pattern


Thank you everyone for your lovely response to my last post about the idea of blanket alonging together.  We've been chatting away over on the Ravelry thread about it and I think it's really starting to take shape now.

It's all going to be quite informal and open, so anyone making any blanket can join in really.  But there will be a prize thread on Ravelry!  I think I'll probably be back to get the ball rolling on the actual 'Alonging' bit on Friday, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share the patterns for my Weekender Blanket Hexagons with you.

You don't need to be making this particular blanket to join in the 'along' with us, but this is just information ahead of time for those that do want to start their own.

⬡⬢⬡

: : HEXIE CHARTS : :

First up are some lovely little hexie charts that I've drawn up with my nice new pens...


I hope you can make head or tail of them ok.  I thought it might be easier to draw them out rather than work on them on the computer, as I don't have any special software for the job, but to be honest, I'm not sure it is much easier for me.

Anyway, you can click on the picture to get a bigger version so that you can see everything a little more clearly.  I've included a little half hexie too, so that you can fit it into the sides, like I have in the photo above, if you want your sides to be straight.

⬡⬢⬡

: : HEXIE WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS : :

I've also written up the pattern for them as well, for those that prefer working that way.  It's not a full blanket pattern as yet, just the hexagons themselves for now.  But, I've included the whole and the half hexie and I've included instructions written out with the US terms too.  A first for me!

I've made a simple PDF version of the instructions for now, so that you can download the file and refer to it offline or print it out if you'd like to.  Click the link below to download:

PATTERN LINK:  Weekender Hexagon Motifs (UK and US terms)



⬡⬢⬡

: : THE COLOURS : :

Of course you are welcome to make the hexagons in any weight and colour yarn that takes your fancy but in case it's of any interest, I thought I'd share the colours and yarns that I'm using for my blanket.  Just in case you spotted a 'must have' shade that you'd like to include in yours...



Top Row - Stylecraft Special DK
1.  Raspberry - 1023
2.  Claret - 1123
3. Spice - 1711
4.  Petrol - 1708
5.  Midnight - 1011

Middle Row - Stylecraft Special DK
6.  Cream - 1005
7.  Grape - 1067
8.  Silver - 1203
9.  Grey - 1099

Bottom Row
10.  Jarol Heritage DK: Gold - 140
11.  Jarol Heritage DK: Duck Egg - 152
12.  Stylecraft Life DK: Zing - 2356
13.  Sirdar Bonus DK: Grass - 825
14.  James C Brett DK with Merino:  Pink - DM6

As is my annoying way, I've added other colours into my stylecraft mix.  Partly because I had those yarns in stash and wanted to use them up and partly because, big as the stylecraft colour range is, there are always some colours that aren't quite what you want.  Especially greens, I think they need better greens!

So those are the colours that I've gone for this time.

The trouble is, I know it's really hard to get hold of some of those yarns, particularly when you aren't in the UK.  And, even it you are in the UK, you don't want to be ordering one ball of yarn from here and another one from there... it'll cost a fortune in postage.  So, to help you out a little bit if you want to stick to just the Stylecraft Special range, here's a handy dandy colour comparison for you...

⬡⬢⬡

: : HANDY DANDY COLOUR COMPARISON : :



So, at the bottom are the hexies in the colours I'm using.  At the top are balls of the nearest Stylecraft Special DK equivalents....

1.  Gold - 1709
Pretty much identical

2.  Sherbert - 1034
As I mentioned when I talked about the Painted Roses blanket, the sherbert is a lot brighter than the Jarol Heritage colour.  Stylecraft don't really have a duck egg colour, but this is their closest.

3.  Lime - 1712
The stylecraft colour is quite muddy in comparison to 'Zing' that I'm using.  Slightly more so than in this photo, as the zing really pops beautifully in real life.  But I do like that the Lime balances out the Sherbert, so that works quite well.

4.  Meadow - 1065
This is the one I struggle with most.  For me, the Meadow doesn't show enough contrast against the Lime in the stylecraft colours.  Whereas the two greens I've chosen are clearly very different.  It is the closest Stylecraft match but you may want to check out their other greens to find a shade you are happy with.

5.  Fondant - 1241   or   6. Clematis - 1390
This is a tricky one too.  Again, there's nothing quite like the pink I'm using available in the Stylecraft colours.  I think Clematis is the closest shade match, although it's a bit darker.  But I think, if it was me and I was going with the Sherbert and Lime, I'd probably plump for the Fondant pink instead.  I thought it'd be useful to show both though, so you can make you own minds up!

⬡⬢⬡

I really hope that helps you get started on your own Weekend Blanket, if you fancy making one.

I'll be back on Friday to give you all the information you need on the 'alonging' so we can get started on cheering each other along and start making some fantastic blanket progress, on blankets old and new!  Not that you need to wait till then to get started of course.

In the meantime, if you'd like to pop over to Cherry Heart's Cozy Corner on Ravelry and have a chat about your plans, we'd love to see you and hear all about it...


S x




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23 February 2015

Some Things


I remember when half-terms used to be quiet and peaceful affairs.  A time for late mornings, lounging in pyjamas and some days, not stepping a foot out the door.  What happened to those I wonder?

Actually, this one was a bit of a mix of busy and slouchy.  There was plenty enough of the busy.  Children do need amusing don't they?  That means booking them in for things, taking them places, and generally providing non-stop entertainment.  So we did that.  Still, I was determined to fit some of the slouchy in this time too and we managed a bit of it.  Pj time was enjoyed, some moment of peace were found.



Half-Term Things

Making cakes, especially for birthdays is definitely a half-term requirement.  Daddy's turn at this time of year and Little Miss was the head baker for the occasion.  It was quite nice to just be the assistant for once actually as she did everything, cake, filling, icing and candle placement.  She did a good job.  The only downside is that apparently assistants get to do all the clearing up themselves.  Joy.

It was nice to get an afternoon at the park too.  We did the swings and slide thing but we also went for a lovely walk over the hills and through the trees as well, all under a lovely blue sky.  Lounging days are fab but it felt good to be out in the fresh air and in the sun too.




Blanket Along?

As I mentioned in my last podcast, I'm thinking it would be nice to do some sort of blanket alonging together.  I'm making my Weekender Blanket at the moment and as the name suggests, I'm just working on it at the weekends, so it's not exactly the fastest moving project in the world but that's ok.

Quite a few of us have some of these big blanket projects on the go and I thought it'd be nice to cheer each other along a bit, to encourage us to keep going.  So this would be an along that is more about moving our projects along a bit, making progress on them and showing we've made a difference with them, rather than actually finishing them.  Although finishing would be fantastic too.

...the plan so far is...

☆ The 'along' will be throughout March ☆
(Maybe beyond too, but we'll see how it goes)

☆ To join in you'll need to have a blanket to work on ☆
You can make a Weekender Blanket like mine (hexie patterns will be coming later this week)
Or it can be any other blanket you like.
You can start a new one, or it can be a blanket already on the go.

☆ There will be prizes ☆
I don't know what yet, but you'll probably need to be in the Cherry Heart Cozy Corner Group and post in a thread to enter.  I'm not sure how to do it otherwise...  I was thinking maybe the blanket with the most 'love' votes wins?

☆ We'll all cheer each other on ☆
There will be a Instagram tag too, another way to share and see each other's projects and cheer everyone on!

: :

That's all I have so far, but let me know your thoughts, either in the comments below, or pop over to the 'Weekender Blanket Along Anyone?' thread in the Ravelry group.

Ooh yes, and we need a name....

... Just 'Blanket Along'? 'Blanket Progress Project'? 'Weekender Blanket Along'? 'Boost your Blanket'?  I'm not sure, ideas very welcome!

I hope you'd like to join me, I think it could be fun!




Happy Mitts

There were a couple of other things that I mentioned in the podcast.  A couple of finished things and I thought I'd just give you a closer look at the them both here.

First up are the Happy Mitts that I made over Christmas from my lovely Koigu yarn.  I'm still loving all those gorgeous flecks of colour that are mixed up in there.

You can find all the pattern and yarn details in my show notes here.





My Kindle Cover

Here's the ill-fated Kindle cover too!  Such a shame it didn't go quite as planned.

I thought I'd just show you the bits that look ok here though, rather than dwell on the mucked up parts!

Again, the details are in the show notes.





Next time, I'll hope to have the Weekender Blanket Hexie patterns all ready to share with you.



S x




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