Granny stripe/ mojo blanket

What a long journey this blanket has had from when I embarked on the first chain way back in January to finally reaching completion 2 weeks ago. It has been a very spluttering, stop and start kind of journey, it has been worked on solidly for evenings at a time and it has also been abandoned in favour of other projects for weeks at a time. The yarn for this blanket was actually a 4oth present to myself a year and a half ago but I refused to let myself start it until I had finished 2 blankets I had on the go for Christmas presents last Christmas: ‘Hazy Days’ blanket and  Eclectic Mix large granny blanket

I eagerly started it in January but progress on it really slowed down as I began to find it too hard to concentrate on the long rows  due to  struggling with the winter blues which I wrote about here: A blip and a few days away 

I mentioned in a previous post The halfway mark that I was debating what to call the blanket  but have finally decided on ‘the mojo blanket’. It just had to be for 2 reasons. The first being that  its progress was so dependent on how I was feeling at the time and lots of memories of this years struggles are tied up this blanket, the other reason being that just the sight of this blanket now completed, really does lift my spirits. It is such a happy looking blanket, with its vibrant colours and I just love seeing it perched on the back of my settee.

Here it is in its entirety:

I have to warn you that there are quite a few photos  of this blanket. I always like to get an overall shot and maybe a shot of a couple of sections but I just felt that it needed lots of photos to do it justice. There are so may colours in it, it can give you a completely different feel dependning on which section you look at and how close or far away you are. Some sections are super vibrant whereas others are more pastel and sedate. Here take a look for yourself and see what you think:

and here it is with my granny squares blanket (Drum roll please…) :

This sight makes me very happy. Two very different blankets but both bright and happy and that is how they make me feel 🙂

The nitty gritty:

The yarn I used was stylecraft special dk. Now it was my first time using this yarn and I had heard it recommended on so many blogs that I just had to try it out for myself. I wasn’t disappointed, it is a lovely yarn to work with and it really does make for a rather snuggly blanket. It also has the advantage is that there are so many colours to choose from on the colour palette seems to get added to on a regular basis.

Here are the colours I used, although I didn’t keep a track of the order I used them in. I could work it out though if anyone really wanted to know.

Aster, Matador, Lemon, Apricot, Sherbert, Teal, Mocha, Turquoise, Saffron, Pomegranate, Shrimp, Clematis, Wisteria, Bright pink, gold, sage, pistachio: a total of 17 colours, I did order extra for the border though.

As is usually my way with making blankets, I had no plan, other than to use a granny stripe pattern. I selected the colours first over the internet from wool warehouse, using a gut feeling approach, I basically just picked 17 colours I liked and hoped for the best that they would look good together.

 

As I started the blanket I literally used the colour that I felt like using at the time, holding it next to the last row to double check it looked ok.

A lot of things about my work life are planned to the nth degree so I think to plan a blanket fully before making would take the fun out of it for me. Letting a blanket evolve as I make it is much more fun.

The border was ummed and aaahed over for quite some time before I finally got around to doing it. I actually put the blanket away for a good 2 months after finishing the main body of it before starting the border. I just wasn’t quite sure what border to do or what colours to use. In the end I just ordered another ball of a few of the colours I had used and just started, again by just seeing which colour looked right as I went along. when I started the border, I had it in mind that it was only going to be a couple of rows (partly because I thought that would look just fine and partly because I find going around and around the blanket to make the border a tad tedious if I’m honest) but after stepping back and looking at it and seeking the opinion of my husband, we decided it needed to be a bit thicker and so another 3 rows were added.

I didn’t bother to block the blanket as it wasn’t tremendously wiggly and I don’t think handmade blankets should be poker straight anyway. Plus the fact that it was being put into immediate use.

I really am very with how it turned out. Right, time to go and start my next one …

Karen x

 

 

 

Drum roll please…

After making my sister the Eclectic Mix large granny blanket for Christmas last year, I vowed to make myself one to keep. After starting it towards the beginning of the year, working on it alongside my granny stripe blanket and half heartedly picking it up and putting it down many times this year I am ecstatic to say that I have finally finished it. In the end it actually pipped the granny stripes blanket to the post for being finished first. The granny stripes blanket was actually finished except for a border as far back as August but after umming and ahhing over what to do for the border I turned my attention to my squares blanket in the meantime.

It has been a fair while since my Let the joining commence… post back in September but hey ho, its here now. Without any further ado, drum roll please, here it comes…

I love love love it! I love that it is so bright and colourful and yet fresh at the same time with all the white. Much as I loved the original eclectic mix large granny square blanket, I wanted to do this one slightly different, one reason being that I don’t like making 2 things the same, the second being I wanted chunkier white spaces between the colours and 3rd, I just couldn’t face the thought of making lots of 10 round granny squares again! Lazy I know!

The process:

I made 42 6 round granny squares from stash yarn, most were random bits left over from previous blankets and some stylecraft special dk left from the granny stripes blanket but I honestly couldn’t tell you now which colours were which now.

After making the squares, I bordered them each with 2 rows of white (using a treble stitch on each of the stitches rather than grouped in 3’s as for the granny squares themselves).

Then ‘borrowed’ the join as you go method from Lucy of Attic 24  to join them and add another row of white.

I really do love it and despite being only finished a couple of days ago, it has already been put to good use for snuggles in front of the tv.

Whilst I do love making blankets for other people it is so lovely to be able to keep this one for ourselves. The only other one I made and kept was a large single granny made in browns and reds to match our living room. I used to think that everything needed to match but have since embraced colour much more and am more than happy to have a bright, eclectic blanket to snuggle up under on cold winter days.

Since finishing this blanket I got a taste for finishing things and that combined with having a little more crafty time in the half term holidays, means that I have now actually finished my granny stripe blanket too. Yippee.

Right, I’m off for more blanket snuggles, watch this space for my granny stripe blanket unveiling in a few days.

Karen x

Let the joining commence…

It seems to have taken me an awfully long time to get to this point but I now have 42 squares all bordered in white ready to be joined! Woohoo!

I already love the eclectic feel of this blanket and just cannot wait to see it finished, which I’m hoping will spur me on to get it finished soon! I’m not going to set myself a time limit on when it will be finished but I’m really hoping it wont be too long now, its getting cold here and I need it for snuggling on the settee. I’m on a mission!

Karen x

summer holidays

How did the summer holidays fly past so quickly yet again? It only seems like yesterday that we broke up for the summer, 6 lovely long weeks stretched out ahead of us. Although it has flown, it has been a great summer. After my family left we had a week to prepare and pack the caravan and then it was off to Norfolk for 2 weeks. We were so so lucky with the weather and I actually came back from England with a tan…yes, I know, a tan in England! One of my sisters and her family stayed at the same site for the first week and my brother and sister in law stayed in their caravan on the pitch next to ours for the full 2 weeks.

Just look at that beautiful blue sky!

We also had a couple of friends stay for the middle weekend so it was a great mixture of relaxation and family time. The site didn’t have masses of facilities but there was a swimming pool and that kept little Miss happy. When we are away in the caravan we don’t tend to have lots of days out but spend a lot of time just enjoying being outdoors and making the most of being together. We did get a a few days out though, one being a day on the beach at Great Yarmouth. The day that we chose to go was lovely and warm and we even braved dipping our toes in the sea. There were a fair few people fully immersed and swimming in the sea but it was a bit too cold for me. It was so delightful watching little miss letting the waves splash over her toes (very cautiously at first, I might add). It was the first time she had been to a proper beach rather than a man made beach around a lake. We live quite a long way from the beach in Germany and although whenever we visit family in the England we are actually right at the seaside, it’s always been too cold to go. Plus, at Southport beach it takes about a half hours walk along the sand to even reach the sea! We’ll definitely have to make more of an effort to visit the beach next time we’re back though as she loved it so much. We did however, do the obligatory visit to the amusements whilst we were at the seaside. Far from being amused though, little Miss was not impressed when she put all of her ‘pennies’ into the machine and didn’t get anything out in return!

 

During our caravan holiday we also paid a visit to a farm at Wroxham barns. What a fabulous little place, Little miss loved being able to hold a chick and a Guinea pig. She was a bit nervous when they wriggled but did a great job, keeping still and calm, the chick was on the verge of falling asleep on her lap. She also helped to bottle feed the calves.

I think the highlight for us all (the adults at least) was taking a boat out on the Norfolk broads for the day. What an experience, pootling along the waterways, taking it in turns to drive the boat and enjoying the scenery. I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly good at driving it and much preferred leaving it to the boys. I actually took my crochet with me and managed to hook a few squares whilst Little Miss was being entertained by her Auntie Di. Rich was in his element and spent most of the time that he wasn’t driving, up on the outside of the boat. It’s definitely something we’d all love to do again.

Isn’t that view just beautiful!

It seems almost unbelievable that we’ve been back from the holiday for  2 weeks now…yes I know I’m a bit late posting about it. Since coming back from Norfolk we’ve continued to have beautiful weather and have been making the most of it, spending as much time outside as we can. We’ve been sitting outside a lot in the evenings (whereas normally we’d be inside with the tv on) and I’m determined to make the most of the good weather while it lasts.

It may be back to school for me tomorrow but it’s been a good break and I’m feeling refreshed. Long may that feeling last, I’m intend to do my best to hold on to it for as long as possible!

Karen X

The halfway mark

It has been a long time coming but I have recently, finally, reached the half way mark in my granny stripe blanket! Woohoo!

Normally I struggle to think of a name for my blankets but this time I’ve actually got 3 names that I need to choose from:
The big one:
As I treated myself to the wool for the blanket on my 40th birthday last year and had aimed to have it finished by this years birthday (that time frame has however, since gone out of the window as my birthday is next week!) Also, it is going to be a pretty big blanket when finished.
Mood blanket:
As this blanket is going to be quite big and the rows long, I’ve found that I’ve really had to be in ‘the mood’ to work on it. Also, for quite a bit of time in February and March I just didn’t feel like working on a big project and needed quick crafting fixes, so this blanket was often put to the side. At the moment, I really am in ‘the mood’ to work on it and the rows seem to be flying off the hook.
Another reason for calling it the mood blanket is that I had absolutely no plan for how the blanket was going to look and the order of the colours. I literally just picked each colour a row at a time depending on what colour I felt like using at the time. I even ended up putting colours together that I normally wouldn’t and I absolutely love the overall effect.
Mojo blanket:
Now I’m getting my ‘mojo’ back I’m really enjoying working on it and the better I feel the more the blanket seems to grow. I also think that seeing those lovely colourful stripes could brighten up anyone’s day.
To celebrate reaching the halfway point, here are a few sneaky peaks.
  
I have my favourite sections and parts I don’t like quite so much but I just love the way it looks when laid out and looked at from a little distance. Each bit you look at is so different, some parts are pastel, one section reminds me of Easter eggs or sherbert and then a few rows further on the bright colours almost smack you in the face.
To begin with I regretted using the red and the dark green and had considered frogging it back but I’m actually glad that I didn’t. Whilst there are bits of the blanket that I like better than others, all the colours have their place and contribute to the overall effect.

Hopefully it won’t be too long until I can show you the finished product and decide on the name! Eek exciting!

Karen x

These past 2 weeks

Sometimes I wonder if there’s a little time thief in my house that sneaks in when I’m not looking, changes my clocks and stores up the time somehow to use as his own. If so then the sneaky little fiend has been at it again! I had high hopes of getting lots of things done these past 2 weeks, I was going to have lots of lovely crochet to show off but sadly it wasn’t to be. The week before last Little Miss was off kindergarten with Scarlet fever and whilst I had 2 days off with her, as anyone with a child off sick knows, you don’t get a lot done! She wasn’t allowed into kindergarten due to being infectious but she wasn’t poorly enough to want to go to bed or even snuggle up on the settee. No, she wanted me to play! So there was no chance of even getting any work done from home let alone any crafty stuff. I’m sure she passed some of the horrid little bugs on to me too as I was so tired and in bed around 8 every night that week so I suppose it’s no wonder I felt a distinct lack of time.

This week just gone has been half term week here and we went away to Centre Parks in Holland. I eagerly packed a huge bag of wool with the intention of crocheting lots of rows on my granny stripe blanket. With a 2 1/2 hour journey each way I had high hopes of lots of hooky time but the threat of travel sickness decided it wasn’t meant to be. Grr and so after only a few stitches I had to put it away. I did manage to squeeze in about half an hour of crocheting one wet and windy afternoon but certainly not as much as I’d hoped. Never mind, we had a lovely holiday, despite the tail end of hurricane Doris bringing us lots of wind and rain for a couple of the days and most importantly little Miss had an excellent time, often declaring it was ‘the best day ever.’
One day on holiday we decided to brave the drizzle and go for a lovely bike ride. I’m so glad we did, it was one of my favourite things of the holiday. We stopped off part way in a cosy little cafe and there on the wall were these flowery beauties, giving a much needed injection of colour into a dreary day.
(sorry for poor quality photo but it was fairly high up on the wall over the stairs so was a little difficult to capture well.)
Little Miss was also very pleased with her grown up sized hot chocolate and accompanying biscuits, so all were happy. Just a few doors away from the cafe we passed a lovely looking craft shop with what looked a workshop happening in the back room. How I would have loved a little potter around it but I knew I’d see far too many lovely things that I couldn’t realistically carry back on a bike in the rain, plus browsing is always a bit less fun with a ‘shop hating’ child in tow! So, we carried on cycling and passed a quaint little wool shop on the way back and once again I managed to resist. How virtuous I was that day!!
Crafty wise in the last couple of weeks, I have managed to do a few squares for my granny square blanket and have just enough squares for two rows. I was about to start joining them so that I could then add each new square at a time (I get a bit bored of waiting until all the squares are ready). But, then a thought struck me, I may have enough yarn left at the end of my granny stripe blanket to add even more colour into the squares blanket so I’m going to put it on hold for a bit and see what’s left. I’m so looking forward to seeing how bright and eclectic this blanket is going to be with a few extra colours added, the wait will be worth it, I’m sure.
I’ve made a little bit of progress on the granny stripe blanket but not as much as I’d hoped. I am really enjoying the mix of colours on this though and love working on it. Blankets worked in rows can seem to take an awful lot of time to do but I really love watching them grow a row at a time. Each time you add a new colour it changes the whole look and feel of the blanket. As usual with my blankets I have no particular plan, each time I finish a row I hold a few balls up to see which one goes best. I usually ask my long suffering hubby for his opinion and bless him he always has a look and tells me which he thinks looks best but I’m sure he really couldn’t give a monkeys which colour I use! Whenever I make cards I always make him look at and admire each and every one too, poor man!
My poor little solitary flower is unfortunately still alone, I still have lots of flowery ideas but they’re are going to have to wait in the wings for a little while as the granny stripe blanket seems to be calling me at the moment and I’m just itching to see it progress.
Until next time,
Happy crafting!
Karen X

Slow progress

It seems to have been one of those weeks where everything important that absolutely needed to be done got done but not an awful lot else. At the start of the week I had high hopes of lots of crochety progress on my two blankets and a vision of a delicious pile of flowers ready to be made into something gorgeous. Sadly, the dream didn’t quite match the reality.

I’m not quite sure where all the time has gone this week but I suspect that a fair few hours (well, it only felt like minutes!) went on searching google and pinterest for flowery ideas and a  few more hours may have passed whilst day dreaming about lovely crochet flowers and the beautiful things I was going to have made by the end of the week. Humph! Well, the week had almost passed with very little to show, bar 2 rows on my granny strip blanket and one (whole entire) square for the granny square blanket, so, come Friday I though ‘Right, the hubby’s out, child in bed by 7, the night is mine. I’ll start on the flowers and crochet a few stripes!’ Well, as often is the case, best laid plans went to rest and little Miss decided she was not going to bed without a fight. Now, she is very rarely a problem getting to bed as she loves her sleep just like mummy but poor thing had a tummy ache. Finally, after consoling her for the 6th time (each time requiring at least a 10 minute cuddle and a tuck back in!) and trying to snatch a bit of crocheting time between, I gave up and went to bed myself, only to be called another 2 times through the night. ‘Oh well I thought, all is not lost, she still has a nap in an afternoon and hubby is going to the gym on Sunday, I can grab a bit of hooky time then.’

 

Haha! not likely! Usually, little Miss naps every afternoon (we’re very fortunate not to have lost the naps yet even at the grand old age of 3!) but of course decided that today she was absolutely not having a nap and wanted to go for a walk instead! So, I dutifully took her for a walk in the puschair during which she did actually fall asleep. As soon as those sleepy little eyes gave up the  fight I scurried home as fast as my little legs would carry me. Little Miss is currently asleep in the hallway in her pushchair as I write but you can bet your bottom dollar that as soon as I finish writing and pick up my hook those eyes will ping open and Mummy once again will have to wait till bedtime. Its ok though, this evening Daddy will be here and woe betide anything that tries to stop me from my crochet time!

Granny stripe blanket so far

 

The pile of granny squares are slowly but surely growing. Almost enough for a row!

My solitary little flower, hopefully soon to be joined by lots of friends.

I am absolutely determined that this week will be much more productive and I’ll have a lot more to show you next weekend. Until then, have a fab week and I hope you get to spend some time doing the things that you enjoy the most.

Karen x

 

Hats, hats and more hats!

 

These last few weeks I seem to have had a bit of a thing about making hats. A few posts ago I showed you the hats that I had made for my niece and our little Miss over the Christmas holidays. Well, since then, I carried on making hats, for me, for some of my colleagues at work and another one for little Miss (just in case she hasn’t already got enough hats). I haven’t put on photos of all of the hats I made as I, rather stupidly, forgot to take photos of a couple of them before I gave them away. D’oh! When will I learn?!

I think I may now be over the hat phase for a little while but I have maybe, possibly moved on to a flower phase. I have a growing urge to make lots of flowers and sew them randomly onto anything sewable in the house. I shall control myself, however and am currently growing a little seed of an idea that could incorporate lots of different flowers and give me the opportunity to practise making different types flowers and using different stitches and techniques. In the meantime whilst the flower idea grows in my brain I have begun 2 blankets. Why 2? Why not!! I’ll save the blankets for another post though. Watch this space…

 

Karen x

 

Edit: again, apologies for the upside down and sideways photos, something very strange seems to be happening with a box of allsorts pics at the moment. I shall endeavour to sort out the glitch!

Eclectic Mix large granny blanket

I love love love this blanket. Out of all the blankets that I have ever made, this has to be my favourite. I’m not quite sure what it is about it, whether its the random mix of colours, the white bordering the squares that really seems to make the colours pop, the chunkiness of the squares or maybe a combination of all of those things.

 

Whatever it is, I love it so much that I have set straight about making another one for myself even after promising myself no more time consuming blankets for a while. Oops! this blanket was gifted to my sister Sarah for Christmas and thankfully she loved it as much as I do. The colours in my blanket won’t be exactly the same or in the same order but it will have giant granny squares in random colours and it while be joined and bordered in white.

 

I’m so excited, I cannot wait to see it folded in my living room and snuggle under it on the settee. I swore that after finishing the two blankets I made for Christmas presents, I would not make any more for a while and concentrate on smaller projects but I just cant seem to help myself, so here we go again…

‘Hazy Days’ blanket

I started this blanket way back in June to give to my sister for Christmas. Its a good job I started it so early as it literally took me  until 2 days before Christmas to finish it. This blanket really was a labour of love. I enjoyed making the squares as each one only took me about 20 minutes and many of them were done during the Summer holidays, hence the blankets name. Joining the squares (all 144 of them) was however, a different story and one that I did not enjoy unfortunately. I decided I wanted to try a different way of joining that I hadn’t used before and I really didn’t want to sew them together. First I tried a single crochet method but you could see the joins, so after a few squares I frogged it back and carried on searching for a suitable method. In the end I stumbled across a method by Lucy of Attic24 see here which involved joining the squares with slip stitches. She does such good tutorials with loads of photos so it was easy to follow but my goodness, it took a loooooooong time to do. It was a very effective method though and produced a lovely finish where you can only see the joins if you look extremely closely. I was very pleased with the finished result and thankfully so too was my sis.

In the rush to get the blanket finished and wrapped in time for Christmas I totally forgot to take pictures of it. Thankfully though Jen has taken photos of the blanket for me in its new home and here it is…

Even though it was a bit of a beast to make I do love the way it has turned out and most importantly the recipient loves it too. I love giving blankets to people who appreciate the love and effort that goes into handmade things and I know this blanket will be treasured for many years to come and that makes me very very happy.

 

Karen x