Secret Santa…in January…

img_3746I appreciate it’s the wrong time of year for this but hey, what’s life without a little variety. As part of our annual Christmas traditions we have a celebration involving food, lots of food and lots of friends. I don’t know how long we’ve been doing this but it’s lovely. As part of the festivities there’s always Secret Santa. I really struggled to know what to buy/make for my Secret Santa. In the end because I had wool that needed using up so I had to make something. I started making a scarf type thing, but wasn’t happy with it, so decided to go for something more fun and in the spirit of Christmas. As usual, Ravelry provided the answer!

img_3748This is the basic pattern I used. I mostly stuck to it except at the end. I found it was just too big around. My mom, an experienced knitter and crocheter, suggested knitting a ribbed edge to make the hat more fitted.

It turned out better than expected. Originally, I was going to stick to the colours in the patterns but I didn’t have enough of any of the colours so had to mix it up.

Thankfully, this Secret Santa went down well and fit! It’s always a bonus when it fits.

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Made with as much Love as possible

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This post is about two very dear friends. They have had a very tough journey to parenthood. It’s unnecessary to go into details but needless to say we were so excited to hear several months ago that a baby was well on its way. Something special had to be img_3735made. I started this blanket ages ago and didn’t pick the colours carefully so undid everything. I eventually restarted with a colour selection I was much happier with and the announcement of a baby was the motivation I needed to get started.

I found the pattern on this lovely website, which has lots of other lovely things with bright colours! I didn’t use the wool or colours suggested (as per usual!). I made a point of using Stylecraft Special DK as it is inexpensive and it doesn’t matter if poo, sick, or wee ends up on it. The arcylic wool washes like a dream! I’ve used it to make bibs and they still haven’t stained, even with bolognese sauce.

I enjoyed the pattern as there is lots of variety and being relatively new to crochet doing this blanket taught me many new stitches.

img_3738It is rather big for a baby blanket, but having had a baby recently, many of my son’s baby blankets are now not much use. They grow so very quickly. Hopefully, this gorgeous baby will be able to use it for making dens and tents when he is older.
Unfortunately, I had a little trouble with edges again. Some of this was because of the stitches I was using: I didn’t keep my tension consistent.  Some of this was inability to keep the correct number of stitches!

A bit of blocking did the trick and at least made the blanket look more square. I was very pleased with it and the new mum and dad were very pleased with the blanket. All done.

Cushion 2

Despite my lack of posts, I have been very busy crochet bee in the run up to Christmas as I’m sure all you crafters have been. I have lots of things to post about and will do my best to get them out as soon as Iimg_3730 can.

I originally had two rectangular cushions with gold covers. The gold covers, however, were very impractical as you only had to spill a little water on them for a stain to appear and they were not washable. As a clumsy person with a 12 month old this is just not an option in my house. One cushion has already been covered in granny squares and is sitting on my heather-coloured sofa.

The second cushion needed to be different for several reasons. 1) It lived in the green and blue conservatory. 2) I HATED making granny squares. I had never tried chevrons so thought I’d give them a go. I had lots of Stylecraft Special DK leftover from a blanket (details in another post) so thought I’d try it.

I used the basic pattern from this lovely website. I had to adjust it because I have a different shaped cushion to the one in the original pattern. It took awhile to work it out how to centre it but I eventually got something that was good enough to satisfy me. As I’m still new to crochet I just don’t know how to adjust things properly.

img_3719I am really pleased with the finished product. Lots of colour but it’s not overwhelming. As always with me, the buttons are all different colours and sizes. Best of all it matches the room!

 

 

When it just doesn’t work…

So I started a new blanket and decided to just use my leftovers from the previous blanket which mostly match the new pattern. Well THIS was a mistake. I always pick different colours for a project to the ones suggested for two reasons: one is because I like to be different and the second is because I am VERY fussy about colours. Whenever I did wall displays in my classroom, not only did everything on the display have to match but it had to match the display next to it. It made things more complicated but was a feast for the eyes once done. That is what I want for my knitting and crochet projects.

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Having got a little way through it I wasn’t totally happy but kept going. Last night, however, I took another look at it and decided that no, it was never going to work. So today I am slowly taking it apart. Such a tedious job but I can’t bare to waste the wool. The next step is to properly plan out which colours to use and where they will be placed.

Putting a little extra work in to plan colours properly before you begin is well worth the time and energy you’ll need to put into it. in the end you’ll be much happier with the end product. So go on and get planning.

Candy Leftovers

A second leftovers item! A few years ago I made a cafetiere cosy for my husband. He used it every time he made coffee but alas it wasn’t to last. Another pattern taken from Nicki Trench’s ‘Cute & Easy Crochet’ book, the cafetiere cosy pattern was perfect for my DK leftovers. I picked a few colours that I thought went well together. I could have gone for something that matches the kitchen, but why do that when you can use colours that look like candy??

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I followed the basic pattern but made a couple of adjustments. I added the snap at the bottom of the handle as the pattern didn’t have a fastening at the bottom. It’s not totally necessary but I wanted it to be secure when it was being used. I just added a few extra double crochets at the end of the first couple of rows.

The other adjustment was to do a simple single stitch in yellow all the way around the cosy. The main reason for doing this was because the sides of the cosy seemed to be wider then the centre. I used the single stitches to decrease the width of the sides. Any crochet experts out there know why this happened.  You can see this more clearly in the picture to the right.IMG_2548

Although not perfect by any means, I love the colours and am pleased with the product. It does the job and looks cheerful for the early morning coffees we have now we have a baby.

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Leftovers

Having decided to make my Cosy Stripe Blanket shorter then the plan suggested I had leftovers! A cushion cover for our sofa has recently died a death so it’s time for a new one. As a lot of the colours matched the colours in the living room I thought I would make one.

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As I have never made anything with granny squares I thought now would be a good time. I used a very simple square pattern in Nicki Trench’s ‘Cute and Easy Crochet’. The core silver colour I had to buy. As you can see from the picture I have finished one side and have started on the second side. It’s going well and will add a great bit of colour to our living room.

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The squares are very easy to make although I am the sort of person who doesn’t like to be constantly changing colours. It’s fiddly and in my opinion wastes a lot of wool with all the ends. Each square has 6 ends which takes a lot of time to sew in and wastes wool. I’ve already decided that whatever my next project is, it won’t involve fiddly colour changes! Probably another blanket!

Finished!

Well I finally finished my first big crochet project! I love it! The colours really pop and I am so pleased with the border. As mentioned in a previous post the pattern is from Attic24 blog. I didn’t make the blanket as long as is suggested because, I’m going to be honest here, I got bored. Because you repeat the same four rows over and over again it got boring very quickly. So I made the blanket long enough to warm your legs or cover you for a quick nap, but that is all. IMG_2334

The edging is a little different however. I decided as the blanket is a fairly simple, solid stripe that I wanted the edging to be more textured and curvy. I started with the same edging that is mentioned on Attic24, making what looks likes V’s in yellow. Then I did a treble block edging in pink. I didn’t quite have the right number of stitches so I just had to improvise and it turned out surprisingly well. I was going to leave it there, but I felt something was missing so I used a blue colour to double crochet all the way around. I completely LOVE  the result.

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