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baby blanket business

Which-way filet, in (mostly) 8-ply cotton yarn.

I helped friends celebrate their wedding, back when it was possible to do those things with a degree of carefree abandon that we might not see again for a long while. They now have a baby daughter, and I have made her a pram rug using the which-way filet pattern. What with one thing and another – loss of enthusiasm, making mistakes and having to unpick, and all the usual business of life – it has taken me a little while to finish it and I am still not sure when I’ll be able to deliver it.

I used a 4.00 mm crochet hook and a mix of yarns: mostly BWM 8-ply cotton yarn in shade 807 Peach, and some white Lincraft cotton yarn left over from the rainbow blanket. That was also 8-ply. Because I didn’t have enough of anything to keep one colour scheme I worked the last rounds of the border with white BWM 10-ply cotton yarn. I can’t tell the difference, even when I look closely, so I’m sure the baby in question won’t be upset about the mix-and-match nature of the article in question.

Simple border, to provide a tidy finish

The border was a very simple one, whose detail now escapes my memory! Inspection suggests it was a row of UK DC into every stitch of the final pattern round, so that I would have a tidy edge from which to do a narrow finishing round. That finishing round was a two-stitch half-treble cluster all the way around. I kept the corners plain, so that I didn’t get too tangled up. Finished size is about 72 cm / 28 ins square.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2021 in Crochet

 

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the one that didn’t work

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This one just didn’t do it for me, though it’s a lovely pattern.

It’s a funny thing that, although I loved the flow of this pattern, which has the added advantages of being quick and easy, I genuinely disliked that colour scheme (even more than any of the rainbow squares). I’m not entirely sure why. It is probably a pattern that works best with a single colour, but might also provide a spectacular result with a light-coloured, variegated yarn. Oh, well. Win some, lose some.

The yarn is once again 8-ply Lincraft cotton so I can no doubt put that square to good use for some sort of table covering, or as gift-wrapping for an ecologically-minded recipient.

I’m now trying to conquer C2C crochet, so I have a little TV-crochet project. There are many tutorials online. I’m using the second-nastiest acrylic yarn I have ever worked with – the nastiest was so plastic it squeaked – but it holds surprisingly good stitch definition, meaning that I can see what I’m doing. The bright colours also help with that. And, like the cotton square above, I’m sure it could be put to good use around the house. It might make a very good out-the-back blanket for cool evenings, but certainly couldn’t be used a gift-wrap for anyone who’s at all ecologically minded.

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Awful yarn, but bright and cheerful

I bought the yarn for a yarn bombing exercise in which I was then unable to participate. It has languished in my stash for a number of years, being not quite the right texture or colour to form part of any other stashbusting project using acrylic yarn – such as, for example, Youngest Aunt’s giant not-quite-granny-square blanket or my little knee rug.

May all  your yarny projects work out as you intend 🙂

 
 

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blanket business

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A messy, inside shot of the rainbow blanket, so not the brightest outcome

And now, are you ready for the details? Here we go.

For the rainbow blanket:

The sunburst granny pattern worked on a 5mm hook, to make the puff stitches puffier and so I could wiggle my hook through them, using the following colours of Lincraft 8-ply cotton. In rainbow order – you  might recall, I cycled through a four-round ROYGBIV for each square and a white joining round in a five by seven layout:

Colour in rainbow Yarn colour and amount used
Red Red, 50g, dye lot 37706
Orange Orange, 50g, dye lot 37004
Yellow Yellow, 50g, dye lot 37705
Green Bottle green, 50g, dye lot 48612
Blue Aqua, 50g, dye lot 43807
Indigo Denim, 50g, dye lot 48610
Violet Lavender, 50g, dye lot 37708
White light (all colours combined) White, 150g, dye lots 46603 and 48403

 

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My actual matrix. Unscientific, but effective 😀

It’s true that I broached a second ball of yarn for most of the colours, but that was generally around considerations of potentially running out mid-round. Only one or two colours really required that second ball. Most of them were factually a little under the full 50g. As you know, I did run out of white but Dr B saved the day.

For the neutral palette blanket:

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Eight petal colours cycled six down then two at the top of the next row, and so on, so that no rows or columns were identical.

African Flower or paperweight pattern, and I used the first one I found on YouTube. I later checked several other tutorials, but preferred Parineko’s “octagon to square” method.

Another benefit of multiplication being commutative, and 24 being a multiple of three, four, six and eight, is that there are more layout options. Happily, I was able to keep tonally similar squares near each other. I checked that with Dr B, mind you, before I committed to the final layout, because his colour vision is a great deal more reliable than mine.

Worked on a 3.5mm hook to ensure a firm fabric. I used a variety of yarns, all 100% cotton. The colours I wanted weren’t available when I first looked and I hadn’t decided on a pattern. I wanted to make a start on the blanket because I was less able to join rainbow squares once the cooler weather hit. So, like anyone with an aged, well-curated stash, I tried to make do with what I had.

Lockdown then further dictated either what I was able to buy when I needed another outlining colour for the petals and/or where I was able to buy it. I’d originally thought about grey for the joining colour but was unable to purchase a sufficient quantity for that task. OK, then, not grey. I discarded the idea of cream/parchment because I thought it might make for a tonally flat result. But, as you know, I found a different joining colour: a mustard shade whose actual descriptor is coriander, which makes more sense if you think dried seeds.

  • Round 1 all squares (centre): butter (Lincraft)
  • Rounds 2 and 3 all squares: cream (Lincraft) or parchment (Bendigo Woollen Mills (BWM)) when the cream ran out and I was unable to source more
  • Round 4: three squares of each of these eight different colours
    • French rose (BWM yarn)
    • natural (Lincraft) – which I considered for joining
    • bright mustard/gold (Abbey Road kung fu cotton yarn, made in Italy for Spotlight; Lot 10)
    • dark olive green (Abbey Road kung fu cotton yarn, made in Italy for Spotlight; Lot 09)
    • hedge green (Lincraft)
    • Nile blue (Lincraft) – which I thought was dark jade, but was probably blue
    • periwinkle (Lincraft) – which I thought was a soft lilac, but was probably blue
    • clearwater (Lincraft) – which I thought was light jade, but was probably blue
  • Round 5 all squares: silver – which I read as grey and had originally intended to use for joining but didn’t have enough and couldn’t source more
  • Round 6 all squares: cream (Lincraft) or parchment (BWM), and another alternative for joining but I wanted greater contrast
  • Round 7 all squares, joining round: coriander (ficio Organic cotton yarn, made in India, purchased at Lincraft; Lot SC36-1 – which I read as a dark mustard and hadn’t considered for joining until it was all I could find in sufficient quantity and, as a matter of fact, fell in love with)
  • Border
    • Round 1: parchment (BWM)
    • Rounds 2 and 3: dark olive green (Abbey Road kung fu cotton yarn, made in Italy, purchased at Spotlight; Lot 09)
    • Round 4: bright mustard/gold (Abbey Road kung fu cotton yarn, made in Italy, purchased at Spotlight; Lot 10)

For the joining round on both blankets, I used Hooked by Robin‘s Solid TIGHT Continuous Join As You Go (CJAYG) PLT Method. I probably made more than a few errors but it worked and I liked the way it turned out. It may now be my preferred JAYG method.

Finally, I note that both blankets were made with much love for two new little cousins, and able to be discussed and displayed openly now that they’ve been presented to their intended recipients and their mums.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2020 in Crochet

 

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scrub-a-dub

So now what? More than one day’s effort, really, but a good little wind-down exercise.

Because I’d had a weekend day in front of the computer doing something far too much like work – not complaining, because I was helping a friend, but admitting that it was a little too much screen time – and because I had the yarn Right There where I was sitting, I made some giant face scrubbies. YoungB thought they were coasters, but they’re not quite large enough (in my opinion). They’re pure cotton, so eco-friendly. Because they’re cotton they’re washable, meaning reusable many times. Eco-friendly again. Could they get any better?!

The question now is, do I make an accompanying laundry bag? Or should I simply enclose them in some heavy paper with the laundering instructions? Given how cold it is in my sewing room – much too cold to work there – the paper sounds like an appealing option. The purists would argue that paper isn’t quite as eco-friendly as a reusable fabric bag, but if I’m providing laundering instructions, they have to be written on something.

Made with 10-ply Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton held with 8-ply Lincraft cotton using a size G / 5.0 mm crochet hook and a mixed and matched pattern from several www sources. They’re nothing very extraordinary, but the crab-stitched final round is nice.

Please forgive the very poor photos and believe me when I say that they’re the pick of the bunch!

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2020 in Crochet

 

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alone and unarmed

What I ended up buying. Whichever way you look at it, it’s not cream. Image from Lincraft’s webpage.

I recently visited our LYS myself, seeking cream-coloured yarn. When I eventually found the store – that part was probably harder for me than it had been for Dr B – I was overcome by remorse: I’d sent Dr B into that store all alone and (relatively) unarmed, and with neither executive power nor sufficient information to make on-the-fly decisions about substituting other yarns should the one I’d asked for be unavailable. Poor man 😀

He said there were no signs, which I’d doubted, and can now confirm is not true. However, I agree that they might not have been meaningful to him. Even I had to think a bit about where the particular yarn I wanted might be lurking, given that that’s not the bricks-and-mortar location I usually frequent. But the yarn stands were right near the door and not easily missed. Finding particular yarns was trickier.

As it turned out that the particular yarn I wanted had all sold, or not been restocked, I then had to decide what I could substitute. But, of course, I had a lot more information at my fingertips to assist with that decision: I could feel the yarn to test thickness. I could look at the colour. I could assess whether coriander – that sort of mustard-yellow in the photo – would work with what I had already done AND what I planned to do. Dr B could have felt and looked at the yarn, but minus the critical info as to my plans – and, you know, plans are plans but if you have to change them, they’re more like “I might do this” ideas – his hands were tied.

That he did come home with the white yarn was miraculous enough, I think!

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2020 in Crochet

 

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the idea of blue

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It’s amazing how little you can have to show at the end of a day without even one long meeting 😀

Restrictions on our movements are relaxing, and we are slowly returning to our offices. I am not relaxing at all with regard to my crochet. Having completed the rainbow blanket, I am now re-energised in terms of the neutrals. It really is mostly neutrals, and they are lovely. I thought that a round of colour in each square would help to define each petal without overwhelming the generally soft palette. Initially, I aimed for things not associated with current gender norms, but my dodgy colour vision has probably let me down.

You can imagine how it goes: what I think is lilac will probably turn out to be someone else’s idea of blue. What I think is pale jade will probably turn out to be someone else’s idea of blue. What I think is dark jade is probably going to be someone else’s idea of blue. So, in case all of that is true, I’m adding in a couple of colours that are unquestionably whatever they are. One is a yarn whose name is French rose, so when I say it’s pink, I’m not relying solely on my judgment of its appearance. It works beautifully with the cream and grey that are the dominant colours in each square. I’m trying to source some mustard yellow – which Dr B was unable to find – and wondering if I could possibly wind off another 50g of sage green and some berry, to make sure that at least some of the outline colours won’t be anyone’s idea of blue.

Does that sound ideal?

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2020 in Crochet

 

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man on a mission

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Auditing joining-round colour options for the next blanket 😉

When I ran out of yarn, I sent Dr B on a mercy mission to purchase more! He was looking for an excuse to take his motorbike for a run, so I asked if he could drop in to the LYS and pick up some more white for me. He was delighted to oblige. When he returned triumphant, he said he’d felt quite overwhelmed by the experience. I’d given him ball bands and clear instructions, but the present staffing levels arising from COVID-19 restrictions don’t allow personal assistance and he’d had No Idea what he was looking for (or where to look for it) in what is one of the larger stores. It’s a bit how I feel when they send me off on lunchtime errands to auto shops or bike shops (not something that happens often nowadays, but certainly did in the past), so I was generous with my thanks and praise.

I’ve crocheted through another couple of – shorter – work meetings to great effect, using the new yarn. The end is almost in sight, because what’s left now is the border. If push came to shove, I would call it finished as is: the squares are all joined together and, as they’re edged with white, there’s necessarily a white edge around the whole thing. I think it needs at least one more bordering round to tidy the corners that don’t meet as well as they could; but more likely three, to set it off nicely and reintroduce some colour, perhaps in a simple but decorative manner. So, when I’ve an hour or two to spare – and without doing all the joins, straight crochet around the edges of a baby blanket is a lovely, simple thing! – I can probably sort that out.

Meanwhile, when I can summon the concentration for trickier work, I’m doing quite nicely with the African flower squares. They’re very different and equally as lovely but work to a slightly larger finished size. This is somewhat headache-inducing in terms of calculating how large a blanket they will make in comparative terms, so that there’s a reasonably equitable outcome. I will soon need to make a decision about not only the number of them I require but also which joining method I intend to use. A variant of the one I used for the rainbow blanket is likely to come out the winner. I reckon I understand that method now, and it’s a good way to tidy up any dodgy edges. I found more of those than I’d expected in the rainbow squares. I knew about one in the first square I’d made but  – as you might expect in something made over such a long period of time – I discovered a couple of others that had escaped my attention. Ahem.

I also need to consider what joining colour to use, because – experience being a great teacher – I’ve realised that I absolutely don’t have enough of anything to do the joining round 😀

 

 
 

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it only takes a couple extra efforts

Definitely going to need another ball of yarn. The big one at the back doesn’t match.

Yesterday’s “short, sharp and shiny” meetings – we’re usually very good at ensuring that they are – were long, blunt and quite dull. There was a lot of important information, but because of my not having any workplace equipment at home, I could zone out during that part. I did; to the extent that I managed to finish attaching another row of my blanket.

I did more of it last night, very dedicatedly shutting myself away from the boys and the TV to keep up with the joining.

Today it was computer outages that allowed me a bit of extra hooking time. And, you’re right, if I’d thought about it soon enough, I could have used my slightly-too-thick white yarn to do the lot, and nobody would have noticed. I didn’t think about that as a solution until much, much too late. So, you know, bother, and a trip to the LYS has become a necessity. But I am very pleased with how the blanket is looking and the speed with which it is now progressing.

Details at some later date, but in the meantime… I’m off to be a hooker 🙂

 

 
 

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a headachey week, and TDU

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These are not in final order, or any order at all. But aren’t they cheerful, even though the lighting is so dim?

When a colleague asks sympathetically if your day’s absence from work was because you had a “real headache” or a “husband headache”, you know the world isn’t entirely devoid of goodness and good humour.

The headache having been real, if occasionally exacerbated by the husband, I decided to reduce my small-screen time when away from work. This enabled me to make a few more starburst granny squares, and sit with Dr B occasionally to watch the day’s replay of Tour Down Under stages on our “we need it that large so we can read the subtitles” TV.

Dr B rode his motorbike to a couple of the stages, for the buzz and the solidarity. The days of family involvement in the community challenge are behind us for mostly practical reasons, but we remain strong supporters. However, as we’ve long agreed, the best way to see the race is to view it on a big screen. If that’s in the comfort of your own lounge room rather than the sporting bar of some local hostelry then, while you might miss the camaraderie, you certainly don’t have to queue for anything.

I should admit that the crochet hasn’t been without its moments of exacerbating the headache. I strayed from the matrix for one square – too tired or too inattentive or both – and ended up having to unpick a round; but just one round, on a granny square, so no big deal. A couple of other squares required mid-round unpicking – again, no big deal – and the one I’m trying to do now simply doesn’t want to cooperate. So I’ve stopped for a while and started to sew in some ends. A change of pace is always helpful.

The colours are, as you would expect, rainbow-cheerful, and different people like different squares. When I took my crochet to our fortnightly craft corner at work, one square that doesn’t do much for me was pronounced as the firm favourite by a couple of others. So there you are. Rainbows have something for everyone.

The Lincraft 8-ply cotton that I’m using is lovely to work with. It’s soft, but has good definition and doesn’t split. The range of colours is not bad. Because I work in the city and there’s a nearby store, I can bob in after work and grab more if I run out. I’m trying not to buy more than my calculations suggest I need, but it would be frustrating to lose the game of yarn chicken half a round, or less, from the end.

That would create a headache of its own, wouldn’t it?

 

 
 

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degrees of difference

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My phone camera is dying, so apologies for the poor quality. You get the idea, however. Another tidy little scrapbuster.

There I was, sitting with Dr B and watching a TV program. I needed something to do with my hands. And I need to keep whittling away at that stash. So the other night, while YoungB zizzed on the mattress with the aircon at full bore, I crocheted up a beautifully soft, warm cowl. Yeah! Just what you do when it’s above 40C.

This is a mix of yarns, all with a high acrylic content. The lighter stripe is Lincraft Big Wool Solids, in what I think was described as denim. It’s a blue colourway, rather than green. The yarn at the bottom of the photo is Moda Vera Manor in colour 52, dye lot 1010109, and it’s definitely a green colourway. The starting blue-green colourway (at the top of the photo) is a mystery, but possibly Moda Vera Bouvardia leftovers from an earlier beanie. I used a 9mm crochet hook.

Best wishes for all your stashbusting, and may you never be afflicted with unidentifiable yarn 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2019 in Crochet

 

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