Completed: Crafty Resolution 2012

On 4th January 2012 I said:

So here it is – my little crafty resolution for 2012 is to make a blanket!

And at around 11pm last night I darned the final tail of yarn to complete my blanket. Hooray!

blanket!So how did I do in relation to my initial goals and ideas, and what did I learn (other than crochet)?

I was thinking about knitting or crocheting a square a day (too much pressure) or making a square a week (not enough for a big blanket) so after some maths I have decided to make 10 squares a month (for a 10×12 blanket) or 2.5 squares a week. Hopefully this will be enough of a challenge, but also manageable.

My blanket is 10×12 squares and making 10 squares a month was a bit of a challenge. Some months were easy, but in others my time was filled with other crafts. If I had more self-discipline I suppose I could have pushed other projects to the side in order to keep on track with my crochet, but the lure of finishing the hems on a jacket or knitting another sleeve were too tempting for me. The lesson learned here is to have just one big travel/tv watching project on the go at a time!blanket! 083

I am planning to make some traditional crocheted granny squares, knit some different textures and patterns, learn some new stitches and techniques, and maybe sew or patchwork some pieces too.

This project ended up being pure crochet. I enjoyed having crochet to do when my fingers were tired of knitting my Miette, and it was good to use yarn instead of fabric again. I definitely learned lots of new stitches, (special mention to the loopy sheep and popcorn/bobbles) how to read crochet charts and I even designed a couple of blocks myself. blanket! 088

As much as possible all the yarn will come from my growing stash and be a reminder of other knitting I have done, starting with left overs from Christmas, and will probably feature a few buttons from my collection.

Haha! I don’t think I quite realised how much yarn it takes to make a full sized blanket. I used 240g just on the five rows for the border! Lots of stash yarn was used up but lots more was bought and most of the yarns are natural/wool (in the autumn I gave in and started buying wool blends to lower my spending, but they are still mostly wool not acrylic). The blanket weights 2.1kg so if on average each ball of yarn was £3.50 for 50g that means which is pretty heavy (I could feel the extra weight when I went to sleep last night and woke up feeling a bit too warm!).blanket! 089

 I hope that there is a bit of a story behind each square, and I shall document their stories and my progress (when I can work out how to make a special button on here!)

Some of the blocks have obvious stories (can you find the ones made during the Jubilee, the Olympics and Vixie’s Christmas birthday?), others are less obvious (the blocks I made when bed-ridden with tonsilitis or when sitting on “the beach”) and some are just pretty. No buttons were added as that would make it less snuggly, but the little scottie dog has a nice ribbon round his neck.My year in crochet

Now if you’ll excuse me, my toes are getting chilly so I am going to curl up on the sofa under my blanket and resume knitting my red cardigan.

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120 blocks completed!

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If my calculations are correct then I have finished crocheting all one hundred and twenty squares needed for my blanket!

Without work to distract me, I have been able to crochet 18 new blocks in a week and have caught up with my challenge with a whole day to go. Even when I had to keep undoing rows and rounds because the yarns I had left weren’t quite long enough

I bought some new yarn to do the scalp border and have even darned in the ends for the blocks I have just made. Hopefully when I get home tomorrow I will find I have enough blocks and can spend new years day snuggled under the blanket, sewing and crocheting it all together.

The 12 Blocks of Christmas

On Christmas Eve I finished knitting some socks for my Uncle (a Christmas present from last year) so I was able to get back into my crocheting and catch up with Rachell’s CAL. Luckily for me, Christmas provides some excellent entertainment to crochet in front of (A Very Muppet Christmas AND A Muppet Christmas Carol on the same day, hoorah!) so I’ve got on and am now just 6, yes SIX, blocks away from finishing the blocks for my blanket (assuming my records are accurate).

My brain is too tired to fit this post to the tune of “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” so here is a list of the blocks and my thoughts about them.

#38 Dahlia. I like the bobbly centre and the solid blocks of colour. It will need a bit of blocking when I join it to the rest of the blocks.
I skipped #39 as I didn’t want anymore stripes.
#40 Granny with a Twist. A nice centre, but I didn’t need as many rounds to get to my size so it doesn’t have as much impact as in the book.
#41 Bobble Triangle. I now like crocheting bobbles and I like purple. I don’t think you can tell but here I used double yarn (DK purple and lace weight metallic purple) so the real block has a very subtle sheen.
#42 Lacy Wheel. Hopefully with blocking the lace will appear more, as at the moment it is not one of my favourites.

12 blocks of christmasNow I am nearing the end of my blanket, there were a few blocks I didn’t want to do. Its not in the spirit of the CAL, but I didn’t want too many repeats on my final blanket so I skipped #43 as I am 98% sure I made one like this earlier in the spring. I skipped #44 and #45 as they are plain dc stitches and I wanted to learn as many new stitch techniques before I finish.

#46 Meadow. I like the centre of this one – it looks pretty simple but is slightly different from a normal square.
#47 Queen Anne’s Lace. I liked making this one, needs a bit of blocking but works as it is.
#48 Danish Square. I really like this one! Great centre design and I like the mix of stripe widths.

So that brings me up-to-date with Rachell, but with a NYE/back to school deadline looming I had to carry on so apologies for the CAL spoilers! I skipped #49 (another corner? no thanks) and #50 (again, another dc block).

#51 Bright Flower. I almost looked past this block as just another flower in a square but I LOVED the way this flower was created. It is so clever and I will definitely try to find a use for this technique in the future.flower

I started making #52 but the texture didn’t look right with any of the yarns I had enough of so I unravelled it and moved on to the next block.

#53 Mesh Fantasy. I like the mix of open and closed stitches in this one, but it needs some serious blocking (maybe because I used a heavy yarn for a couple of rows).

Only 9 blocks to go! Here is where I officially left the CAL, sorry guys. With just a few blocks left, I wanted to make sure I had a chance to make the exciting ones. I flipped through the book and wrote down the numbers of my favourite blocks I haven’t yet done, noting if they were in a solid colour. So I can use up my yarns efficiently I started crocheting blocks in a single colour if I thought I had enough remaining.

#64 Sunshine Lace. Another square that will look better when it is blocked/sewn into shape.
#74 Seville. I loved the technique for this one – the first row was very clever and it took a few odd rows before making just one little dc made it work beautifully.
#80 Blocks and Shells. I was quite tempted to make another block #30 Shell Lace, but thought this one would be similar. It was just one row repeated over and over but it looks very effective. I did reduce the width of the columns as my foundation row looked too long for my squares. It is nice, but I still prefer #30.

I think I have now run out of yarn for any more single-colour blocks so I will be back to the multi-coloured designs, starting with #58 Peach Rose. Just 6 more to do, before I have my favourite job of darning in the ends and sewing them all together. I’d like to crochet a border around the finished piece (I will allow myself new yarn for that!) but am not sure what – rows of plain tc or some fancy scallops? Any suggestions or patterns?

Last CAL before Christmas?

Is this my last CAL post before Christmas? hmm… maybe. Have I finished my Crafty Resolution to make a blanket in a year? Nope, still a few to go. So why is this the last post before Christmas? Well, as obsessed as I am with crochet at the moment, I need to take a break to let other crafty projects take centre-stage.

I am not going to crochet any more square until I have finished knitting a special something for someone. Knitting on the way to and from work today added another 5mm to the project, so at the rate I’m going I will be pleased if I am finished in time to give it to the intended recipient.

The sacrifice needed to be a perfect relative means that, unfortunately for my blanket, I don’t think I will make the New Year’s Eve deadline. But the brainwave for my Crafty Resolution came while I was back at school, so therefore it isn’t cheating to extend the deadline to “I will finish my blanket before I go back to work in January.” So I can knit and craft my Christmas presents and then spend the holiday crocheting to finish my blanket. Perfect!

In the meantime you can enjoy the latest squares I have been making (a few repetitive blocks skipped out!)

#34#35#38

CAL and Crafty Resolution: BREAKING NEWS

Attention loyal readers. I must interrupt your blog reading for an important announcement. It is so important I have switched my computer on to write a blog post after a day at work, so I hope you are ready on the edge of your seat…

A historical square has been crocheted today. It may not look like much, but this square…

…is my 100th blanket square!It is a Primrose Square (block #31 from the CAL) and works well in my pink and purple colour scheme. I have really enjoyed the last few blocks so here are some of my favourites. Clockwise from top left: Bobble Stripes (#29), Poppy (my own design on Remembrance Sunday), Shell Lace (#30) and Christmas Rose (#28).

If you have memorised my previous posts and can count, you will realise that I still have 20 blocks to go* before I get to the 120 needed for my snuggly double blanket. Yup, I am still a bit behind and have a lot of work to do before December 31st, but I have just got my first Love Film DVD** in the post today for watching while I crochet. And if that fails there is always commuting – it took over an hour today for my 30 minute journey due to people under trains and ill on trains, but that extra 30 minutes allowed me to do a whole square!

*Since there are only 20 blocks to go, I am going to skip a few of the blocks in the book/CAL. When I started the blanket I was mainly doing holey granny squares but since the CAL began I have been making more solid blocks. They are nice, but if I do too many more then the balance of the blanket might look weird. (and they take so much longer and aren’t as fun as the lacy designs!) I will do some but I want to make sure my last 20 blocks include some new skills and designs, and not just lots of double crochet. With that in mind, tomorrow I will be jumping past #32 and #33 straight to #34 – more bobbles!

** I have been considering doing a month free trial for ages, but I finally signed up so I could get Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 to catch up on before seeing the last film! My weekends are officially wasted now!

Crochet update

I have been really focusing on my crochet this week and am now just a week or so behind. So far my favourite block was the colourful bobbles – I am thinking what I can use the technique for (christmas gift perhaps).

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I counted up all my squares and am 10 squares behind my target for my crafty resolution! That is a whole month I have somehow missed, uh oh! To give me some inspiration I placed together all the squares on my blanket.
From this…

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To this…

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One more round makes it look so much more blanket-like – it is now too big to lay it out on the floor so I had to use my bed.

I’m going to try to do 2 squares each day of the weekend to catch up some more, so I’d better get back to it!

P.s. my internet is down so apologies if this looks weird/poor photos as it is from my phone.

Post 100!

This is somehow my 100th blog post! Wow, who would have thought I’d have so much to say that people would want to read.

Sadly I don’t have a finished creation to share (my black cord skirt is still in need of 20cm of hand sewing), I haven’t got much visible progress on my cardigan, and I am falling behind with my crochet-along. Yup, after only seven days of actual teaching I have caught an awful cold and headache. If it were a school day, I wouldn’t feel too guilty about taking a day off as my brain has felt too foggy to crochet – you know you are ill when you can’t curl up on the sofa with yarn!

Since I have nothing exciting to show you all, I suppose I’ll have to celebrate my 100th post with a giveaway! The prize will include a spare copy of Threads issue 162 (with articles about exposed zippers, topstitching and tailored trousers), some buttons and ribbons (of course!), and a little handmade mystery surprise!

If you want to enter just leave a comment below (with contact details if I can’t find them on your blog) and I will pick a winner at random on 1st October. If you want to share my blog with your readers, send me a link and I will put your name in the hat twice.

Good luck! I’m off to make some hot Ribena and see if I can concentrate on my crochet along blocks.

My crafting week in pictures

It has been a bit of an odd week this week – back to school exhaustion and September summer weather haven’t really allowed much serious crafting time. I have been doing little bits of various projects but not completing anything, so here is a little round up of my week.

  1. A peach and raspberry upside-down cake made for a family gathering this afternoon. This is my first attempt at an upside down cake and it doesn’t look too bad (apart from the sunken berries in the centre) and certainly smells good! The dark patches aren’t burnt, they are the caramel topping!
  2. Ballgowns at the V&A organised by Karen. It was so exciting meeting all these people I have read about for years, although it was hard trying not to sound like a stalker (“Hi, I’m Alison.” Hi. I’m Dibs.” “I know who you are.”) Karen has a round up of the night here, but for me highlights of the night included meeting all those famous faces face-to-face, when a reader said she knew my blog, spotting some not-so-perfect details in the couture (giving us hope we can get to that level!) and all the general sewing chit-chat. I wore my USA skirt and a few sewists asked about the print, yet nobody at work noticed I had the Statue of Liberty all over me – are sewists more observant, or do my colleagues now expect me to dress bizarrely?!
  3. Continuing crocheting my way through the 200 block CAL. Nearly finished block number 3.
  4. Delivery of Gertie’s new book. We flipped through a copy on Friday night (discussing with Melissa, in her newly finished peplum top, why there were no trouser patterns) and I got home to discover mine waiting for me. I have read a couple of chapters and flicked through the rest, and am now deciding which pattern to try – I’m leaning towards one of the blouses and their many variations.
  5. After the nightmares of last weekend, I am finally on the home leg of my corduroy skirt, and am hand-sewing the lining in place to the zip. The sunny weather isn’t really motivating me to finish it quickly, as it is definitely a boots-and-tights skirt.

How has your week been? For those in the UK, have you got any crafting done or have you been too busy enjoying the sunshine?

Crochet-along with Rachell

Guess what arrived in the post today?

A colleague at work has this book and it was the inspiration for my Crafty Resolution. I think I am up to speed with my blanket at the moment, but have been finding myself losing inspiration lately as my commutes have been filled with knitting instead of crochet.

The Little Room of Rachell is holding a crochet-along to work through all the blocks in this book, so of course I had to get a copy. Hopefully this should keep me inspired to keep on crocheting (if I can wait until the CAL starts!)