Friday, 19 July 2013

Goodness! We seem to be having a proper summer.

The words "too" and "hot" don't often feature in a sentence describing Welsh weather -- not even in the summer. According to the radio news, it's been seven years since we had temperatures like this for more than the odd, isolated day. Anyway, I refuse to complain about it because a decent summer has been a long time coming and it might be another seven years before we get another one!

It should really boost our tourist trade and help the local hotels, restaurants and cafes.

Meanwhile the crocheting problem I've been having is that it's too hot to do much work on the main WIP, namely the rainbow ripple I'm making as one of the Christmas presents for family. (Yes, I know Christmas is a long way off, but I'm not a fast crocheter and I have quite a few things I want to make this year.)

It's coming along well, especially as I only started it just over a week ago.

Rainbow ripple blanket

The occasional round is just about manageable by resting the bulk of the blanket on the keyboard shelf of the computer desk, where I sit in front of the open window with a slightly cross-draft created by opening the window on the landing. But handling so much crocheted blanket eventually gets too much, so I have also been doing some work on another WIP.

Simple filet crochet starburst squares

This project can take as long as it likes because it's just a blanket for me to keep in the car. I intend to use on picnics or if I have to sit waiting for my husband on cold days. I've been popping all the remnants of yarn used for other projects into these storage jars and whenever I get a moment, I'm making these simple filet crochet starburst squares.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Crocheting alfresco

As my husband had to go to Llandudno on college business yesterday, I volunteered to drive him there and while he attended the students' graduation ceremony, I took the opportunity to sit on the sea front in glorious sunshine and did quite a bit of crocheting.

Llandudno promenade

I've never crocheted in public before, but most people took no notice. One woman passerby did comment. She admired the blanket I was making and said that she used to crochet when she was young, but had tried again recently and found she'd forgotten how. We chatted for a minute or two and then she went on her way. I was left pondering what she had said. For me that kind of skill doesn't disappear, at least not totally. It might get rusty and I might find that it takes a while me to get the fluency and ease back, but the basics never go. Perhaps it depends on how much you did when you first learned?

Anyway, I made good progress on the rainbow ripple blanket, which now looks like this...

Rainbow ripple in progress

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Rainbow ripple blanket

I was supposed to be starting the baby blanket with the Cotton On yarn I bought recently, but I was looking at people's projects on the Creative Crochet Facebook group and my eye fell on the lovely pointy rainbow ripple blankets. I investigated my stash of yarn and realised that I had some suitable double knitting that had been bought to make... well, I must have bought it with something in mind, but I haven't a clue as to what it was. Anyway, I think there will be enough to make a couple of these ripple blankets and they will do nicely as part of the Christmas presents I plan to give to the offspring.

The original pattern says they're baby blankets, but the beauty of them is that you can just keep on crocheting until it's the size you want, so I'll do them a bit larger so they can be used as picnic blankets.

Here is the start of the first one. It goes so quickly that I'm already well past this stage now and onto the second colour, but I'll post further progress next week.

Beginning the rainbow ripple blanket

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Finally finished the baby blanket!

I have finally finished the blanket I was crocheting for our youngest grandchild. It was supposed to be a gift for when the baby was born, but I didn't manage to finish it until last weekend. I handed it over on Tuesday and our granddaughter seemed to like it. As she is now 11 months old (oops!), you can see that it took a lot longer than I intended.

The problem was, not only did crocheting the squares create a lot of ends to weave in, but every stage after that created what felt like another 9 million ends. :( There was joining the squares together. There were the ears to put on, and the mouths to crochet and the eyes to embroider.

The other reason it took a long time was that it's the project that got me back into crocheting. My skills were rusty and I've probably speeded up now, more than twelve months on from when I started this.

In the photo below the completed blanket is on the left. Top right picture shows a close up of the funny faces after blocking. Bottom right shows the squares just after completing. You can see how much better the ears and faces look after being pulled into shape and gently steamed. However, I suspect that after the blanket has been thoroughly cuddled and sucked on, the ears are not going to stay flat for very long!

In case anyone is interested, here is the original pattern I used, which is a free download on Ravelry. As the blanket was going to be for a baby, I didn't add the bows shown on the Ravelry page. I also crocheted the ears directly onto the blanket, rather than making them separate and sewing them on. I don't trust my sewing not to come adrift. Also, I'm not as good at embroidering the features as the designer of the pattern, but I think they'll do. :)

Funny face crochet blanket

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

One project finished, yarn acquired for the next project

I have finally finished the blanket for my youngest grandchild. It took somewhat longer than intended. I had planned to give it as a gift to mark the birth, but I finally handed it over yesterday -- and our little granddaughter is now 11 months old! Oops! :)

Anyway, she seemed to like it and because I did it large cot sized, not newborn crib sized, she still has time to get lots of use out of it.

As it was the first serious project I tackled in my return to crochet after many years of not doing any kind of handicrafts, I wasn't sure how much yarn it would take. I therefore bought some, used it up and then bought more. This meant that when it was finished, I had used up just about all the coloured yarn, but still had a lot of white left. Enough for another project, in fact, but I didn't want to do something that was entirely white.

It just so happens that I'm down in South Wales for a few days while my husband attends a maths education conference. Today I went exploring Newport and found the wonderful Victorian indoor market. It still seems to be thriving today, with proper butchers' stalls and greengrocers' stalls -- and a wool stall! So I now have some more balls of coloured cotton/acrylic to add to the white.

Now I just have to decide what to make next...

More crochet yarn