Tuesday, 26 January 2016

crocheting

Is it as miserable with you as it is with me? Storm Jonas has arrived in Britain and we've got sideways rain and plenty of it. I'm tempted to just close the curtains on the day, and I really want to eat! Why do I want to eat so much when the weather is yucky?

Anyway, to avoid eating, and for the sheer hooky joy of it, I've been doing lots of crochet lately. My problem is that I have a great big never ending list of things to do, so I can't just sit down and chill out after a long day tapping away at the keyboard, because the list is bugging me. But if I'm crocheting, I'm doing something useful, so all is well.

I'm not a skilled, or fast crocheter, so I thought I'd do a big project to get me into the swing of things. I chose the Attic 24 Ripple Blanket. Lucy, who blogs at Attic 24 is an amazing crocheter, with a house full of wonderful colourful things, and a lovely, warm approachable style, plus she's from Skipton, which is a place I love and miss going to, so I love following her blog, and her various social media accounts. And I really like the ripple blanket which is beautiful, and fairly simple, and gets you into a nice rhythm. Lots of other people like it too, and you can find lots of examples of it on Instagram at #attic24ripple. Eleanor of Stitches and Seeds has just done a post on her baby ripple blanket, in beautiful warm colours, which you'll find here. And Jenny of The Geeky Knitter has just completed a bigger one, in one of Lucy's colour packs, which you'll find here.

For my ripple blanket I took the kids to the pound shop and we chose a load of colours of cheap as chips acrylic DK yarn. I got to have lots of red and green, plus some neutrals, and then they picked some colours which I tried to talk them out of. Like pink. Yuck. And neon yellow. Anyhoo, they reminded me that it was a family blanket, and so it should have something for everyone. Quite right. 

Lucy gives you a pattern of sorts with semi-random colour combinations, but I thought I'd like to get more random than that, deciding that each ball of yarn would do about six stripes, and I'd assign each a number and roll a D20 dice to pick the next colour. When it came to it though I did cheat a little. There were times when I kept rolling the same number but decided not to repeat the same colour. I like the end result: the way that some patterns and groupings seem to emerge; and I like the way that all the colours go together. It doesn't have the same grace and flow of some other ripple blankets, but it does the job for us. So, here's a wee photo diary of the making of our ripple blanket.

I started the blanket in the summer, and it quickly started to look cheerful and bright.

I did a bit at any opportunity, and so often left it halfway through a row. As the days got cooler, the blanket started covering my knees, which was an added bonus.
The cat was always happy to help.
The kids pressed the blanket into use even before it was finished.
But now it IS finished!
TA DAH!
I love the ripple blanket, but even better is the confidence it's given me to take on other crochet projects. At Christmas time I made some hats for family and friends using this simple beanie pattern from Niki of cRAfter Chick. I still mess up sometimes when going between UK and US patterns, but these are pretty straightforward. Here are a couple of the ones I made:

Miss 5 rocking her rainbow beanie.

Me, modelling the one I made for John.
I got so into the gentle hooky pleasure of crocheting that I got a load more hooks for Christmas, and some gorgeous graduated dye wool from Kasia Sabour of Rainbow Cloud, who sells her products on Etsy here. It's red, white, and green, and I've just started the process of making it into some arm warmers (because I would wear arm warmers constantly if I could), which are based on the ones Lucy (Attic 24) made and talked about in this blog post.

Here is how it's looking so far:

You can just about see that the red is getting paler, and I've built some pattern into it. Once I've made the rectangle big enough, I'll bind it up the edge (not sure how yet, haven't decided), leaving a hole for the thumb. The wool starts red and gets gradually white, and then goes gradually green, so the arm warmers won't match in colour, but I kind of love that.
I'm tempted to attempt knitting next, as I fancy knitting some socks, but I'm a little daunted. I'm hoping the wool shop nearby will run some workshops, because I've got a lot to learn about knitting!

I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Lucy of Attic 24, for sharing so much of her skill and eye for colour, it's so much appreciated, and to Kasia of Rainbow Cloud. I love what you do. Also many thanks to Niki of cRAfter Chick who has lots of little projects, great for beginners.

This is a catch up post from last year's gratitude challenge.