Monday, 10 August 2015

Ta Da.... Baby Blankets

The trouble with having many different craft projects on the go is that they take longer to complete. You do not get the continuous flow of finished projects. I seem to have batches that all come to completion at a similar time. 

I have shared the start of these projects with you before. They have finally been completed and are now either with their new born owners or awaiting delivery of their owners.

Granny Circles

If anyone wants more details on projects, pattern links etc then you can always check out my Ravelry projects page.  

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I have shared small peeks of this blanket before but I haven't wanted to share too much as I had not handed the blanket over to its new owner yet. The new owner is not  quite here yet (my new baby niece) but I have now passed the blanket to her mummy at a baby shower over the weekend, so I can share more pictures with you.

This blanket did not start out life destined to be a baby blanket. One of my favourite go to yarns is Stylecraft Special DK. It is only an acrylic but it is great value for money and very soft and not at all splitty (knitters and crochet folk will know what I mean). It is usually around £1.50 - £2.00 a ball depending on any sales etc and comes in over 50 amazing colours. Many sites offer Stylecraft “colour packs” where you can buy a selection of colours that work well together so if you are not sure on choosing colours these colour packs work very well.

 I have used this yarn for many projects now and it really does stand up to anything. I have blankets that have been dragged around the garden, used as picnic blankets, dens and taken camping and the yarn copes great with all of this.

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Anyway, back to the blanket. I had lots of odds and ends of Stylecraft from various other projects. It seemed a shame to have them sitting in a bag instead of being used. There was not enough of each colour to make an entire blanket with. However, with the addition of a white there was plenty of leftover bright colours to make a blanket of circles with.

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The circles were the first 3 rows of this Attic 24 pattern. 

The circles are made into squares and joined at the same time in a continuous join method which can be found here.  

This is a really great joining method, it is worth an evening of sitting and working with your project and the pattern because once mastered it will same you far ore time than you invested. Had I have joined my circles individually I would have been left with over 200 ends to sew in. The continue join method left me with only 4 to sew in.
The border was from a very lovely little book called Border Around the corner crochet borders.

 I really love this book. A good border really makes a blanket pop. It is like a beautiful picture frame for your art. It is also surprising how much difference a border can make. You can make two similar blankets but change up the borders for two very different looks.

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I really did fall in love with this blanket and to think that it only cost me 2 balls of white wool so around £5.00 is quite amazing. I hope my little niece enjoys it in a few weeks when she arrives.

Next up is a second version of the Peak A Boo Blanket. I got many lovely comments on my earlier version and requests for the pattern. The pattern was designed by Sandra from Cherry Heart Blog and published in a magazine in around August 2014. I know at the time that that she was prevented from selling the pattern for a period of 6 months. I guess that time has now passed, I wonder if the pattern will soon be available.

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This was made with Peter Pan double knit. The smaller size of the blanket means you can afford to indulge in a little more expensive yarn.

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It is hard to get a picture which slows off the lacy diamonds within the blanket pattern. Getting those to line up throughout the blanket is both frustrating and hugely rewarding.

One final blanket is this rainbow ripple. It is the same pattern as Munchies Spiderman blanket.  A simple swap of colours really transforms the blanket into a whole different look.  

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 This is one of those deceptive patterns that is much easier than it looks. There are half a dozen set up rows for the blanket centre but once you are on your way the blanket is plain sailing with continuous rounds of the same pattern.

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The bump that this blanket was made for has been called “Star” by his mummy and daddy whilst they were carrying him. I thought it would be nice to continue the theme on with the blanket.

Another 3 blankets all done and dusted and another 2 almost at an end.  Hopefully the little baby boom around me is coming to an end. I think I need a break from baby blankets.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

London Bus In Cross Stitch

The May Whitsun half term holiday arrived and I had the whole week off. The weather was hit and miss, some days were fine for days out with the boys and others we battened down the hatches and stayed in. There was lots of opportunities for some sewing. 

The summer can often be too warm to be covering your lap and crocheting blankets so this was a nice change. Nice and portable for coffee breaks and workday lunches too. 

Around a similar time I also discovered a new independent coffee shop just a few blocks away from the office. They serve lovely fruit teas in proper tea pot infusers and plenty of home made cakes. My tea and cross stitch lunches became a little bit of a habit. The coffee shop owner confessed that she had always dreamed of owning a shop to which people would bring their crafts. 

I made a little bargain with myself. I must must must finish all of the black/greys and whites before I was allowed to touch the reds. I knew that if I faced the red first then I would have no incentive to go back to the greys,

I was amazed I managed to hold out for the reds. The top half of the greys were fairly straight forward, large chunks of each colour. The bottom half was very tedious. Lots of colour changing and single squares to cross stitch. 

Sewing that final cross stitch was very rewarding. I had also dreaded the amount f back stitching to be done for the outlining but it was not as bad as I feared. I think it was done in a few evenings.

A gentle hand wash later and some careful rolling/patting dry and it was finished.

I had a frame already that I knew could be used for this so I popped it to my local framer and had him mount and frame it for me. 

I really really love it. Until you get close to it you cant particularly even tell it is a cross stitch. Munchie's bedroom is London themed with red buses on his alls so this will go perfectly in his room.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Crochet - Minecraft Creeper Blanket

Due to me being unable to focus on just one project at a time a Minecraft Creeper blanket appears to have appeared on my crochet hook. 

I can not seem to focus on just one project when it comes to crochet. I tend to have several on the go, all at different stages and all for different purposes. This year seems to be the year of the blanket.

I have made blankets for both Mr C and over the last year. I have asked Snaffles if he wants to choose a blanket but he is never too keen. However, most days I manage to catch him snuggled up under one of the crochet blankets. I am convinced that if he had his own he would love it. It was just a matter of working out what to make for him.

I learnt my lesson with Munchies blanket and have decided not to tell Snaffles about his. That way I don’t have him nagging at me non stop to me if it is finished.

I am planning a Minecraft blanket. I saw Kelly from A Place of My Own make a beautiful Minecraft patchwork cushion some time ago. I remember thinking how much Snaffles would love it. Several months later and I am now ready to begin working on something for him. I thought how similar patchwork squares and crochet grannie squares were and wondered if I could achieve the same result with crochet?

So, the Minecraft Patchwork Blanket has been born. I intend to work on the squares in the day and hopefully Snaffles won’t bat an eye lid, he is so used to seeing me crochet. If I save the joining of them until the evenings then maybe I can get the squares joined when he is tucked up in bed and he won’t twig what they are becoming. If things go to plan he should have a Minecraft blanket for Christmas.

The Topaz colour is more blue than it looked on-line. It is a beautiful colour, not quite what I wanted but its bought now so it can go in!

Grannie squares are a great starter project. Small, portable and can be made into something small like a cushion or a more on-going project such as a blanket. I have written before how portable grannie squares are

You can crochet  them anywhere and them take them home for an evening of joining.  There is a great photo tutorial of how to make grannie squares over at Little Tin Birds. You can make them all in one colour so you have less ends to sew in or use different colours for a brighter look. 

I shall be sticking to single colour squares to make my Minecraft blocks. I use the join as you go method which can be found over on attic 24 blog here.

This is the sort of thing I am aiming for but with more of a mix of greens (I only had two different coloured green pens).

My squares are made up of 5 rounds and the blanket will be 10 squares wide. I will decide on the length once I have the main part of the blanket made up. If it needs a few more rows to add to the height then I will add these on above and below the creepers face.

The wool I am using is; (from left to right as per the balls nt he photograph above)
Deramores Studio DK in; Mist (70025),  Peridot (70011), Fir (70012), Topaz (70039), Malachite (70014),  Stylecraft Special DK: Meadow (1065) and the black is Deramores Studio DK Ebony (70027)