Morning, I had grand plans when I started this page that I'd do a post a week. Well...as we all know best laid plans and all that get side lined especially this time of year with festive preparations and general family live. Anyway, here I am on a Friday morning having just done to school run, sat in our office space with a nearly all blue sky above and a hot chocolate in front of me with a bit of Radio 2 for company.
I've always crafted, even as a young child. My mum and gran were avid knitters so it was only natural that I would pick up yarn and needles at some point. I remember knitting a red jumper at primary school for the children in Africa, I must have been 7 or 8, the rows felt like a mammoth challenge to complete but I did it. I now know that this was one of the famous fish and chip jumpers which you knit as a cross and sew up. Sewing up has always been my nemesis and even up until just this last month I have done top down cardigans or jumpers to avoid having to sew. I'm now knitting a jumper, or it may be a cardigan, that has to be sewn together. I've already warned mum that a master class is expected. My mum is amazing. She had been registered partially sighted all my life but this never stopped her, over the past 20 years or so this has ended up with her being registered blind. Her sewing up and abilities are brilliant. I think its that not giving up attitude that has taken my on my creative and life journey.
So I knitted, a bit, then when I was 12 or 13 I was introduced to fabric and quilts having gone to an exhibition in the local church. I was hooked on quilting from then until just six years ago. I have lost count of the quilts I made. I had a couple published in an Australian magazine which I still have to pinch myself to believe and have to check the copies to make sure it actually was mine. I raffled off a suitcase full of quilts last year to raise funds for a charity I supported, this one went to a friend at work for his daughter.
Now, the crochet bit. Gran attempted to teach me granny squares when I used to spend weekends with them. At the time I had no idea what I did wrong but I ended up with bonnets for dolls and teddies, nothing would lie flat. I now know that I had not been chaining at the ends to rise to the next row. Anyway my frustrations over this ended that attempt quite quickly.
In late 2014 early 2015 our local yarn shop was taken over but Cara and her sister Tori with a new name of Fudges Wool and Haberdashery. I went in looking for quilt related things and introduced myself. I ended up buying some cotton yarn and a crochet hook. By March 2015 I made this blanket. I taught myself from the fabulous Attic24 website and blog. The instructions and photographs suited my learning. I was hooked, quite literally.
The blanket has been acquired by my 9 year old daughter and its her go to comforter when she's feeling poorly. I made it with James Brett Cotton on and the simple wave pattern (link below) from Attic24. I've made lots of these wave blankets since. They are great for baby blankets as there are no pesky holes for little fingers and done in bright colours they last a long time as floor covering and cuddle blankets.
After this a pattern took my eye, Sophie's Universe. This pattern has the reputation of being tricky and containing lots of different stitches. I thought it would be a great learning project, all or nothing and all that. Well, I continued with using both James Brett and Stylecraft cotton yarns and got so far before I started running out of steam and other projects were taking my eye. I had not realised until this point that if you knit or crochet you have to have more than one project on the go and at least 10 lined up to do and if you don't you are somewhat failing the craft. I also discovered Ravelry and whilst I was already a Pinterest devotee I was finding even more inspiration. So Sophie ended early and I made up a square so that I could cover a big 24 inch floor cushion. Yet again my daughter claimed ownership of this and it has been thrown around, sat on and generally squished in her room since. The dog also likes it.
This pattern was without doubt what made me realise that I understood this crochet business and that designing would be my next step. I've done a few crochet alongs since which can be found over on my Ravelry page, these are all free and I'm always happy to help with any queries. Its very easy to write how you make something but it isn't always understood by everyone else. Designing and moreso drafting and editing patterns has been a steep learning curve, something that I have been fortunate enough to have had the administrators and testers of the CAL Crochet A Long sites. I love designing. I like the idea of making something that no one else has. Using a different yarn to a pattern or sometime from scratch is something that crafts can give us. Knitting and crochet are perfect for this. No two items made from the same pattern will be the same. We all have different tensions and techniques in knitting and crochet which make the finished item to be different. It is that which I love.
My tastes have changed since crocheting, you can see that in the colours and stitches used. I love simple design and granny stitch blankets. I keep pushing myself to use different colour pallets or else everything would be green and blue/purple, I do love a bit of Stylecraft Special in graphite grey. I have made lots of blankets since 2015 but have only around seven at home. I've gifted numerous ones to family and friends and also donated them to local charities for children and people in hospital or hospices. I very much believe that any blanket should be used, not kept to look at or stored away for a special day.
With all this talk of crochet I only have one project on the go at the moment, a temperature blanket for 2020 which is currently stuck in July. It is going to be my Christmas to New Year project to get it finished and write up the pattern. I have lots of knitting waiting to be done, my jumper or potential cardigan, Christmas hats for homemade sloe gin and blackberry liquor bottles, socks (obviously) and a cowl. Its good to have a few different things on the go, something easy you can do in front of the TV, something for radio listen, something for the car and something for quiet times.
So the hot chocolate is drunk and the weekly food shop is beckoning before an afternoon of one or more of the above projects, or perhaps something new.
Fudge's Wool and Haberdashery - https://www.fudgeswool.co.uk/
Attic24 - https://www.attic24.typepad.com/
Attic24 Ripple Blanket pattern - https://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/neat-ripple-pattern.html
Sophie's Universe - https://lookatwhatimade.net/crafts/yarn/crochet/sophies-universe-cal-2015/sophies-universe-cal-2015-information/