All Rippled Out

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I have finished all the ripples on my rainbow blanket.  Woo hoo!  This project has been on and off my hook for a year, I think.  I started it for a friend’s baby but did my initial maths all wrong (never mind my maths degree!) so it ended up larger than intended and then Son1 decided that it was to be for him.

I have really enjoyed the project despite how long it’s taken (and it’s not done yet!).  It’s definitely an example of comforting crochet rather than counting.  It’s rhythmic and relaxing and a perfect evening activity after a frantic day with two small boys when your brain doesn’t want to do much thinking.  You can pick it up and immediately know where you are and what to do next.  It fits perfectly in to any amount of time – twenty minutes for a little sit down and a cup of tea or an hour or two on a rainy afternoon.  It grows quickly and looks great right from the start.  It keeps your lap warm while you’re working on it during winter evenings.  You can put it away for a time when you need a change, do other projects and then come back to it and love it all over again.

Most importantly, you can work on it while you’re nattering with your knitty friends and eating cake and biscuits without worrying about going massively wrong!  You can still go a bit wrong but it’s easily spotted and easily fixed.  I learnt that lesson the hard way when I had to pull back a couple of hours of crochet on a hat because I’d missed an increase right at the start of Knit Night!.  I always choose which project to take very carefully now!

Now I need to sew in all the ends.  I really should have done that in sections as I went but it’s a bit like how your mum always told you not to leave your homework until the last day of the holidays but you did it anyway.  Hmm.  I hate it when Mum’s right!  There will be a border too.  A first round in yellow, I think, and then something else – maybe red.  What do you think?

P.S. The yarn is Rico Design Lisa.

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Aye Aye Capt’n!

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My first make of 2013!  A simple beanie pattern, some stripes to break up the black and a crocheted skull and crossbones.  It was quick and fun to make and Son1 loves it, thankfully.  He had asked for a Storm Trooper hat (Star Wars) but that was a bit beyond me (and, if I’m truthful, I didn’t want to make one!).  I did find a cool R2D2 crocheted hat when I was browsing though!

The yarn is Rico Design:Essentials Soft Merino Aran which is a firm favourite of mine.  It’s good value and really nice to work with.  I’ve used it recently for several projects including:

Baby blanket

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Penguin hat (modelled by a melon!)

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My “things to make in 2013” list is underway.  I think there’ll be a blanket, a scarf, a hat and, well, plenty more.  I MUST finish a gift that I started in the summer first though!  Oh, and remember to go to the Post Office to send it!

On The Road Again…

There’s nothing to kick start you back into action than a photograph of your work in active service.

A close friend of mine was due to have her second baby the week that we were moving to Belgium.  Not wanting to miss out on a squidge, I had stern words with the bump and instructed it not to hang around and be late.  Thankfully, the bump was obedient and arrived a little early!  I was able to have a little cuddle and to pass on a cardigan that I had made for her.

Shortly after my last blog post, this photo popped up on Facebook:

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The lovely Grace modelling my work!  It certainly made me dig out all my tools and get going again.

I made a Mandarin Baby Jacket (Ravelry link) using Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo.  The yarn is lovely and has a gorgeous sheen.  The pattern was really easy to follow and was seamless (my favourite!).  And, most importantly, it fitted!

Seeing Grace’s picture made me remember how proud I was when I finished my first ever proper project.  I made a small Granny Stripe blanket for Son2 and would pop it over him when he fell asleep playing under his baby gym doodah.

So, the good news is that I’m back in the saddle.  Current projects are: name bunting, a scarf, a jumper for Son2 and the ongoing rainbow ripple blanket for Son1.  I shan’t list what’s in my queue!

Lost: One Mojo

Since I started crocheting in May last year, I’ve been going pretty much none stop.  But now, I’ve lost my way a bit.

The reason is not a mystery. We have just left our cosy life in the UK with family, friends and knit clubs for a new one in Belgium where, at the moment, there’s not a lot happening.  With the move, the paperwork, the language change, the boxes that need unpacking, the children that need entertaining (and feeding) and the floor that need endless mopping, I don’t have much headspace for crochet.  How sad! Something that should help me relax is making me feel a bit stressed. Perhaps it a reminder of “home”?

Then there’s the added factor of not knowing entirely where everything is.  I know that the yarn stash is in the spare room and the sewing box is in the cupboard in the lounge but where are my hooks? Where’s my rainbow blanket that’s a work in progress? And where’s the felt I need to complete the baby bunting I’ve been working on?

Think I’d better go and rummage in some boxes!

Claire x

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Pledges

I visited The Knit Club today to take advantage of the fabulous Jubilee discount.  There may now be an extra 18 (eighteen!) balls of Rico Cotton Essentials, 1 ball of Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton and three buttons in my yarn cupboard.  Just don’t tell my husband.

I have also acquired a few new books recently so my project list has had a growth spurt.  A blanket idea here, a baby cardigan there and, oh, that snake looks fun!  I’m desperate to start new things.

There comes a time, however, where you have to discipline yourself and make sure you that you finish things off before you start more.  The time is now.

And so, before I start more projects, I solemnly pledge to complete the following:

  • Finish the sleeves of the baby cardigan, sew on the buttons and sew in the ends
  • Sew in the ends of the unfinished shawl
  • Sew in the ends of the unfinished scarf
  • Complete the sleeves of the jumper, sew in the ends and make it up

Maybe I should make myself a sticker reward chart like one for wayward toddlers!  I’ll let you know how I get on.

A Tale of Two Shawls

I’ve been working on two shawls over the last couple of weeks.  I only intended to produce one shawl but the first one, although lovely, was not quite what I was looking for.

The first shawl was My Blue Jeans Shawl (free from Ravelry).  It started on the longest edge and decreased as it went on.  The huge advantage of this method is that when “project fatigue” begins to set in, the rows get shorter each time and so you make quick progress towards the end.  The stitch pattern for this shawl is surprising easy to memorise and looks really pretty.  My issue with it in the end was that it was too shallow for my recipient.  I realised this about two thirds of the way in and had to decide whether to finish or pull it out.  The 12 hours work I’d already put in plus the fact that it would be quick to finish meant that I carried on and it was well worth it (although it now needs a new owner).

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And so I had to find a pattern that was better suited to what I had intended to make in the first place.  I decided on True Friend Shawl (also free on Ravelry).  It started in the centre of the top and worked outwards so I could make it as big as I liked.  It wasn’t an easy pattern to keep even and, when I was definitely getting a bit fed up with it, the sides were HUGE (276 half treble crochet, anyone?).  The finished shawl is charmingly handmade (read: slightly wonky) but it’s been gifted already and seemed to be liked.

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I used Rico Essentials Cotton which is a mercerised cotton yarn for both shawls.  It had a lovely drape to it and I’ve already bought some more for a baby cardigan.  It splits a little but, as long as you’re on the lookout for it, it’s not really a problem.  Great value too!

P.S. Those are my first links so I hope they work!

Be Patient, My Dear…

I’m still quite new to crafting but I’ve come to realise that really good projects take a bit of planning.  I can browse Ravelry for hours, saving favourites and researching yarn choices.  I pop to the Knit Club, have a cup of tea, a chat and a stroke of the yarn.  I do the maths for how many balls I’d need and what the cost would be.  Finally, a choice is made and I’m ready to buy.

BUT!  Choose a popular colour and there might not be enough left in the shop.  Maybe someone got there before you and bought the last ball.  Maybe the perfect yarn isn’t stocked at your favourite yarn shop and needs to be ordered through other means.  You have to be patient until it comes.

Patience.  Not a great skill of mine.  I want it NOW!  I want to get started on the projects I have taken ages to settle on.  NOW!

I currently have two orders in – one with The Knit Club and one from an internet stockist.  One will bring a phone call and one will arrive with the postman.  I’m waiting patiently.  No, honestly, I am.  I’m not at all fidgety fingered in anticipation of my new projects. Not me.  Uh-huh.

The benefit of waiting is that it has pushed me into finishing a project that I’d stalled on.  Letters have been cut and sewn and pennants have been joined.  Silver linings and all that.

So, I’ll have more to share with you another time.  In the meantime, I’ll just be here by the letterbox (with the phone in my hand).  Waiting.

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by Claire