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?

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 Along update

It is about time I updated you all on my CAL progress. I took photos earlier in the week but have been too tired to post them (I’m soon going to need two hands to count the number of times this week that I have fallen asleep with my glasses on and a book/ipad in my hand). I had a bit of a panic when I realised how far behind I was, but have had a sudden surge of productivity (at the expense of my knitting) thanks to a little crochet case I made last weekend.
I made a simple little roll (think knitting needle rolls) with pockets large enough to hold medium-sized balls of yarn and a small pocket for spare hooks. I realised I wasn’t getting much crochet done because lots of the blocks require a few colours of yarn, and when I carry them in my bag they all get tangled. So with this crochet roll I can carry 5 or 6 shades of yarn without them getting tangled, and it is quick to pack away at the end of my travels.

From left-right, top-bottom you can see block 7 (corner granny), 8 (popcorn flower), 6 (textured bluebells), 3 (square target), 5 (twin stripes), 10 (openwork square) and 9 (arcadia). I am currently halfway through block 12 (fine lines) and will try to finish it tonight, so I can start week 4 tomorrow.

You may have noticed there are a few missing – block 4 went seriously wrong and needed too much concentrating so I have abandoned it temporarily until my brain is up to concentrating. I started block 11 (baby blocks) a couple of days ago and just couldn’t work out how to carry the yarn across to each part of the checker board. With knitting you can have strands of yarn crossing the back because there are different stitches for each side. I just couldn’t figure out how to train the yarn and keep it on the back of the block. I also realised I didn’t really want lots of loose yarn hanging on the back of my blanket (and there is NO WAY I am going to break of the yarn and sew it in a million times). So I decided life is too short to stress over one crochet block (that to be honest isn’t too inspiring really) so I’m skipping it completely! Please don’t kick me out of the crochet-along!

Well back to block 12, and choosing the colours for the remaining stripes. I’ve got a lot to choose from after collecting this parcel from the sorting office this morning…
Lots of shades of purple and pink Sirdar dk wool and wool blends from Deramores (with a 20% off offer).

p.s. there is still time to enter my giveaway!

CAL block # 2 and sewing plans

After a few tube journeys to work, here is block number 2 from 200 Crochet Blocks CAL…It has taken a bit longer than I expected since it is quite a dense pattern and I am used to holey designs, but I soon got into the rhythm and it was quite therapeutic not having to count past 2!

This week I have been working on a skirt that I hope will be a go-to staple when it gets chilly – a black stretch needle-cord Ginger – that I am imagining wearing with thick tights, boots and cardigans 🙂 As soon as I started making it, it suddenly got hot so I was lacking motivation, especially after 4 attempts to sew the zip in (one side inside out somehow!). I left work early for a dentist appointment so got home early and made some progress last night. Hopefully it wont take long to finish at the weekend, unless I make any other weird mistakes.

Other exciting news is that my copy of Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing is on its way to me! Bad news is I was at work when it got delivered so I’ll have to wait to arrange redelivery. Luckily I wont be sat around waiting for it to arrive as, after another long day visiting my new kiddies before they start school, I am going to meet Karen and lots of other lovely sewing bloggers at the V&A ballgown exhibition! I am super excited


200 Blocks Crochet Along with Rachell – block #1

I am sort-of joining in with Rachell’s Crochet Along (CAL) which started at the weekend. I say sort of because she has a theme (Cottage Garden) for everyone to take inspiration from, but I am ignoring it because I am half-way through a mega blanket and there are only so many you can have.

Well here is block number 1 from 200 Crochet Blocks…

Hannah started her CAL before me and I saw on her blog she had got into a muddle with US vs UK crochet terms. So before I started, I sat down and looked at the how-to instructions at the back of the book to check what this book meant by double crochet. I did four or five rows and things weren’t quite right. Hmm… it looked a bit like Hannah’s first attempt. I went back to the instructions and realised I’d made the same mistake, despite my checking!

I found this great little conversion chart on By Number 19’s blog (I’m adding it to my reader as it looks like Birgit has lots of good tutorials and patterns).
I’m going to print it out and use it as a bookmark., and stick some sort of sticker on the front of my crochet books so I remember which is which (I still don’t know what I call the stitches I do!).

Back to work tomorrow after the long summer, which means back to commuting! Hooray, because commuting time = crochet time so I should get block 2 done pretty soon.