So with the start of a new year it seemed appropriate to review last year, and think about next. I thought I had written some aims for 2019, but on checking the last were for 2018, there are a few others for earlier years back to my earlier blogging days in the 2000s. Life has changed since then with retirement and becoming a grandma.
I am continuing to try and record what I read, and while reading 50 books a year may be something to aspire to 25 is more realistic (I still have to record 2 I read last year).
I also try to keep fit – with walking and other exercise – I have had a Fitbit for several years and it does help me to ensure I walk a reasonable amount each week.
I enjoy making stuff – both crafting and cooking. I have tried to record my experiments in gluten free baking, and will continue to.
I am also do bits of academic work, however on retirement I did decide to say “No” to things that weren’t convenient or interesting.
Got some ideas for travel this year, got a guide book on the coffee table.
But a lot of what I will do will be family oriented, I enjoy spending time with all of them, and having the opportunity to spend time with the grandchildren each week is delightful – if exhausting!.
Back in August I finished my first Continuum blanket following Helen Shrimpton’s Continuum pattern. I decided I would like to make it again in multiple colours. After gazing at a lot of colour boards and with plenty of advice from my daughter and daughter-in-law we came up with this colour scheme:
Which is made with Stylecraft DK in these colours:
I used Helen’s colour placement sheet numbering for her Coral Reef Yarn pack (which has seven colours). I started a second ball of colour 1 (Citron) but less than 100g of all other colours. The Cream was Stylecraft Wondersoft (left over from my Call the Midwife blanket). All the others where Stylecraft Special DK.
I followed the pattern up to Round 53, and then did the last two rounds (89 and 90 patterns) in Sunshine.
The blanket weighs about 515g and measures ~94cm square.
I had heard people talking of the pattern the Midwife Blanket and wanted to try it. The pattern was inspired by the programme “Call the Midwife” and a blanket one of the babies is wrapped in.
I used Stylecraft Wonder Soft DK in Double cream, with a 4mm hook. I chose to make the blanket 7 pattern repeats wide by 12 long. With an edging this gave me a blanket 65 x 85 cms a good size for a crib, or a car seat. The blanket weighed 250g.
I was given some Stylecraft Candy Swirl Very Berry DK yarn. I had wanted to try a star blanket for a while and so decided to use this yarn for it. I looked at quite a few patterns and chose Lulu Loves Crochet’s Granny Star Blanket.
The pattern was easy to follow once I got going, and it was easy to do in odd moment when on holiday or at home. The Candy Swirl yarn changes colour suddenly, there is no gradual change as with some yarns. I thought this may distract from the star but it didn’t appear to. In the final rounds of each colour I did join the yarn to ensure that there was sufficient yarn of one colour to make at least a full round.
The finished blanket measured over a metre from start tip to tip, and weighted 384g.
Having completed the Cosmic CAL I wanted to try another of Helen Shrimpton’s patterns. I chose Continuum as it was designed to be flexible in the size that was made and I was aiming for a 1 metre square blanket. I decided to use only a single colour, and I chose Stylecraft Special Double Knit in Sherbet as it looks so lovely on the shade card.
Once again I followed the picture tutorial, some of the stitches were the same as ones in the Cosmic and others were new. I enjoyed the making process and it definitely gave me a feeling of achievement.
I followed the pattern to round 55, and then adapted the final two rounds of the pattern to finish off. The finished blanket measured 100cm square and weighed some 600g. I did start the 7th ball of yarn to ensure no joins in the final round.
I chose to make Helen Shrimpton’s COSMIC CAL for my eldest son and his wife for their 7th wedding anniversary. The CAL (crochet along) had run in 2018, but the pattern is still available and their are plenty of people on the FaceBook group Helen’s Hookaholics who are happy to give advice.
I chose to follow a suggested colour way called Love and Light using Stylecraft babe Aran in: Baby Mint, Baby Lemon, Baby Blue, Baby Denim and Baby Cream. I mostly followed the picture tutorials that were provided, and resorted to watching the videos when I couldn’t get a stitch to work. I spent some 5 or so hours a week on this, and the whole project took about 4 months. A lot of the stitches were too challenging to do while watching TV, and so I had some little projects to do in that time. the finished size was ample to cover a king size bed (about 2m long x 175cm wide). The whole thing weighed some 3kg.
I really enjoyed making this blanket, it was challenging, but with an excellent tutorial style it was achievable.
Sometime ago I made a Charity Blanket using some of my left over yarn. A friend of mine was having a clear out and gave me some of her stash. So I thought I would redo the pattern using the gifted yarn, which mostly seemed to be double knit, and make another charity blanket for the Chemo Gift Bag Charity.
As before I found after a few rows the blanket was about 20% smaller than the starting chain and so I frogged and changed the number stitches. This time I found 50 linen stitches gave me a blanket that was about metre wide (I was doubling the yarn and using a 9mm. As before I mixed up the colours – using two strands of yarn and a 9mm hook, the blanket is quite stretchy – but I kept going until it measured 1 metre long when lying down.
The finished blanket weighs 450g (last time it weighed 625g).
I really like the linen stitch, and once the work is the right width it is easy to work while watching TV – this blanket probably took 8 TV watching evenings. BUT it does seem that the exact width is quite variable so there is bound to be some frogging/redoing if a specific size is needed.
The full title of this book is “200 fun things to crochet : decorative flowers, leaves, bugs, butterflies and more!” it is a collection of patterns by different authors. I borrowed this copy from the library.
All the makes are short and can be finished quickly. I doubt anyone would make all 200 items, but I was looking for flower patterns and there were lots in the book and I made some of them multiple times in an evening. I think the book would be an ideal gift for someone who enjoys crochet.
As part of a crochet project I am making flowers – that can be worn as brooches. I had found some patterns on the Internet, but thought it may be easier with a book, so I had a search of the local library catalogue and found there was two suitably titled books in stock locally. “Knit and Crochet Garden” by Arne & Carlos was one of these.
The projects are all pictured around their beautiful cottage garden in Norway. The projects are not mostly knitting, with some crochet, there is also embroidery and cross stitch. The book was easy to skim read with beautiful pictures, quotes, a bit of background information and patterns. The patterns range from a toy mouse with a full wardrobe to blankets that can be turned into tepee covers.
I wasn’t really inspired by any of the projects, but I did enjoy looking at the pictures.