Sunday, 10 September 2017

Harmony blanket progress

Where did those 2 weeks go? Seriously - where? I'd swear I was only here yesterday!

There's been a lot of blankety progress in those 2 weeks though. I'm losing track of how many projects I have on the go to be honest but you can never have too many WIP's really can you. Can you??

I've worked my way right through the whole pattern for the Tooty Harmony Blanket (and corrected any errors I found on the original and uploaded it)  and I've gone back to row one to repeat the pattern. Its going to be HUGE - it's already 54" wide x 37" long! I must order some more yarn soon...
It's lovely and warm and if I do say so myself has the most delicious texture. It's wide enough that if I lay it lengthways it covers me from toes to tits while I work on it!!  Want to see?? (The blanket not my tits...)

Tina's Allsorts, Tooty Harmony Blanket

Tina's Allsorts, Tooty Harmony Blanket

Tina's Allsorts, Tooty Harmony Blanket
At the same time, I've been bobbing back and forth with both Harmony Baby Blankets. One has been joined with cream already and the border begun. The second baby blanket is currently being joined - but with colour!
Here are some "in production" shots. I think I've said before that I'm following Lucy's colour recipe exactly up to round 3 of my 102 circles. I was very well behaved whilst working rows 1 and 2 and stitched every single end in as soon as I cut the yarn. Then I got excited as I began round 3 and started to see the magic appear. It takes as long to stitch in the 2 ends as it does to whip round the outside with round 3. So I whipped round all of them without stitching in a single end.... When you look at the pic below, remember, every single circle has 5 friends, and they all have 2 ends. That's 204 altogether. ..

Tina's Allsorts, Harmony Baby Blanket

But they didn't really take that long to stitch in afterwards and then I got down to dividing them into two sets of circles and arranging them ready for joining. Here's my first try.

Tina's Allsorts, Harmony Baby Blanket

I decided I quite liked the arrangement of the set on the right and threaded them all onto a length of yarn ready to join, using the join as you go method. Just after taking the pic below I stopped for dinner. When I came back I merrily carried on, eager to finish that evening. It wasn't until I was joining the last but one circle that I realised I'd gone wrong somewhere and it wasn't quite what I'd planned....

Tina's Allsorts, Harmony Baby Blanket

I decided as I was so close to the end I'd carry on and finish and then think about it, ask opinions etc. Only I didn't quite make it to the end before this happened -

Tina's Allsorts, Harmony Baby Blanket

In the woolly world this is called playing yarn chicken - and I lost!!! Luckily, tucked out of sight is a starting end which was long enough to save the day! Want to see it all joined without the border, albeit not in the arrangement I was aiming for?

Tina's Allsorts, Harmony Baby Blanket

After much thought and opions from friends at work, everyone (except one lady) was happy with the arrangement and all thought I should leave it as it is. So I have and am now working on the border.

At the same time, I've also been planning and making blanket number 2. This one is being joined with colours for round 4, not cream and will also have a colour border. In effect, it is a miniature version of Lucy's Summer Harmony Blanket.
Lucy has an amazing eye for colour and was able to visualise how her blanket would look as she planned her fourth row by laying a scrap of yarn next to each square. I wasn't so sure of my skills but had a sudden brainwave! I went on Wool Warehouse website (other sellers are availble!) and copied the image of each yarn sample. I pasted them all into a document, printed it out and cut them up into little squares. I arranged these with yellow/green in the centre, then the aquas and light blue/mauves, with the darker pinks, mauves, reds, plum and  turquoise right round the outside. Then I spent ages playing wooly Sod-u-n-Co (Sudoku) until I was happy. I had some "help"...

Tina's Allsorts, Harmony Baby Blanket

Tina's Allsorts, Harmony Baby Blanket

I threaded everything, paper squares included, onto a length of yarn so I could just grab a circle and know exactly where to place it and what colour to join with.

Tina's Allsorts, Harmony Baby Blanket

Iogether SO FAST!! I love this method of joining and can't recommend it highly enough - it really is worth learning how to do it. The following shots show one row joined, then two and then 3!!!

Tina's Allsorts, Harmony Baby Blanket

Tina's Allsorts, Harmony Baby Blanket

Tina's Allsorts, Harmony Baby Blanket

If you'd like to give it a try yourself, then this is where I found the best instructions  by Rachele (in my opinion). (Incidentally, it wasn't til I just went to copy this link and checked her name, that I realised I follow her on Instagram under the name Cypress Textiles - she's Very talented!) The diagram below is the order in which to thread your circles onto a length of yarn ready to start. Don't be daft like me and try and do it from memory - print a copy, or draw your own and GET IT OUT when you get to the threading stage. It will save a whole lot of tears!!

But I can't stop myself trying something new as well. It's only a little something. Not an actual WIP. Not yet but I have a plan.....
One of the ladies at Knit'n'Knatter/Crochet'n'Chatter has been teaching herself to crochet and came along for a little help. She was starting a C2C blanket (corner to corner - worked on the diagonal, starting in one corner) using a lovely dark grey yarn. It will be made from smaller squares, each with a fox head motif in a contrast colour. She'd found a you tube video that showed how to do it but hadn't found and printed any instructions. I'd never made one myself, although I've seen lots of pics of finished blankets, so wasn't able to help her at all unfortunately. She should be back tomorrow, so I thought I'd better do a little research and find a pattern and have a little go. 
Once you get the hang of it, it's really quick and easy. I even managed to work out for myself how to stop getting wider on every row, then how to decrease. I made just a little square to start with but I'm thinking it might look very nice in the chunky yarn we had in at the shop recently. It's a variegated yarn that's supposed to knit up like faux fairisle but has quite wide plain stripes too. The colourway I like has light mossy greens, mauve, light brown. In fact, it would go very nicely in the front room and I'm thinking of making a little throw with it - I could make it while I'm at work and it's quiet. 
Would that count as another WIP if I only work on it at work??... No, I didn't think it would either!!

Prior to last week's group, I'd done a bit more research on "how to teach someone to crochet", as that is what most of the members seem to come for. Not to knit and natter. Not to crochet because they can already. But to learn to crochet. Quite a scary prospect when you've never taught anyone before...
So anyway, this time with my research I came across someone who suggested having a small sample piece for the student to start with, so they can get the hang of holding the hook and yarn, pulling through a loop and making a stitch, then another and so on, without having to worry about how to make a chain and work a foundation row, making turning chains and so on. We can do that next week.
And you know what - it worked a treat!! I started a tiny sample in rows, another in a circle, plus a granny square and the newest lady was able to try them all and got on really well.
I do now feel guilty about the first member who also wanted to learn to crochet, as I showed her - no, made her - do everything correctly from scratch... Sorry Elizabeth...
She's come on a treat though and has developed a lovely even tension - that's the hardest part of crochet. Tension.

Another lady said she had paid for an intensive one to one 2 hour lesson with someone and didn't get far at all as there was just so much to take in - it was just one lesson, not a course. She very kindly said she had learned far more with me and felt like she was actually getting somewhere now. And she is too!!

I do also have a little knitting project on the go. I was asked if I could make a Gromit tea cosie to fit a two cup pot. I hunted out the pattern  I had for a 4 cup pot and wondered how I could make it smaller without fiddling about with it. I decided to use aran yarn on a small needle and follow the pattern without any alteration and thank goodness it worked! Here are the "body parts" ready for stitching up. It will need a little stuffing in places too.
I've made a separate lining as well, as that will not only help the cosie to fit really well, it will keep the tea red hot!!

Tina's Allsorts, Gromit Tea Cosie

And finally for today, look at this caterpillar that my Dad found on the patio. I think it's an Elephant Hawk Moth catepillar and as you can see, it was pretty big!! I hope he manages to transform into a beautiful moth... The caterpillar not my Dad!

See you again soon, T xx

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Summer at last!!

I'm sure there are lots of crafty things I could be showing you but actually, I'm just going to share a load of my photos from a beautifully warm walk at Hillier Gardens yesterday.
Turns out I took a lot of pics of hydrangeas which surprises me as they used to be one of my least favourite flowers. I remember we had a sizeable bush that grew by the front door when I was a child and it was a disgusting mix of muddy pinks and yucky blues. But I think I may finally be getting over my dislike as there are now some really lovely colours out there. Especially white splashed with sugar pink! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

How to make a yarn swift

I've been itching to cast on with another skein of the gorgeous hand dyed yarns I've bought. But they're skeins - or hanks, or whatever you choose to call them, not balls. Now I have a yarn winder to actually wind it into a ball. But I have nothing designed to hold the skein. I know there are gadgets out there and have looked at prices and gulped a bit. Quite a bit actually!
Some of them look like 2 umbrella skeletons doing something they shouldn't while they hold your yarn! And a much simpler affair of 2 wooden rods that cross in the middle and spin round a central spindle. An instagram friend posted a video of hers and I kept watching it,  wondering how I could cobble one together.
Now don't get me wrong,  hers was beautiful and I wanted it but it wouldn't come cheap. And it wouldn't be used often either! So I decided to save my money  (and spend it on yarn!) and make it myself.

I've spent quite a while pondering what to use for the central spindle as that would be the key to the whole thing working. And then finally I saw it! I was in Poundland and saw what looked like  a miniature traffic cone. Perfect! And it was only £1! (Actually, it was part of a child's football training kit - 4 mini cones and a tiny soft football.)

I hunted out some scraps of thick card I knew I had tucked away and cut 2 strips. Then I had to cut a circle in the middle of each that would fit neatly over the cone. Luckily my sister had a gadget for cutting circles for hand made greetings cards and although it didn't cut right through, I was able to finish off with a craft knife.

To stop the whole thing tilting as it spun, I took a plastic plant pot and cut a hole in the bottom big enough that it could sit upside down over the cone. That would give a level surface.

The 2 pieces of card were then placed on top, at right angles to each other - I made a couple of tiny holes and threaded a bit of wool through and tied, so they wouldn't move.  I could have glued them together but I wanted to take it apart afterwards.

To hold the skein of yarn in place at each end of the crossed pieces of card, I made a small hole near the edge and pushed a knitting needle through each one.

Finally,  to anchor it in place,  I taped it to the back of my mini ironing board.

I took hold of the end of the yarn and threaded it onto my yarn winder and started winding it slowly - and OMG,  it worked like an absolute DREAM!!!!!! I was so pleased I was almost jumping up and down!

I got my sister to make a little video of it in use - I'm winding quite slowly here but I did actually manage to get up quite a good speed with it!! And the yarn didn't tangle until it got to the last couple of metres.


You can just about see all the components in this pic, along with my lovely hand dyed yarn cake -

Tina's Allsorts Yarn Swift

Heath Robinson eat your heart out! 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Blanket progress

Have you ever been to Yarndale?? It's a "woolly craft fair" over 2 days in September - it takes place in Skipton in Yorkshire, which is a loooooooooong way from where I live so I've not been yet. Every year they have a creative project and put up a big display and this year it's Hearts. All the details have been posted by Lucy and can be found over on Attic24. Here's one I made, using some of the leftovers from my gorgeous leaf edged scarf (you know, the one made with the hand-dyed yarn). This one isn't actually going to Yarndale, as I made it for someone, so they're getting one in Lucy's Harmony colours.

Tina's Allsorts

It's a nice pattern and works up very quickly and easily. I posted this pic on Instagram and was chuffed when I saw the following - 

How lovely is that?? I did a happy little dance when I saw it and quickly took a screen shot before it disappeared! Not long after, the following happened -

Tina's Allsorts

You know I really can't tell you just how much I enjoy my little space on Instagram and if you do happen to keep popping in here in blogland and I haven't posted anything new, then please do pop across there and have a look. (There's a link in the sidebar.) I'm not sure if you need to be a member just to view or not but maybe you could set up your own account and then say hi?? Yes, Instagram even has a little messenging service plus you can leave and reply to comments.
I love Instagram in much the same way I hate facebook....
But anyway, I'd been watching the number of followers creeping up - sometimes fast, sometimes slow and finally it got to 500!!!! So I did the happy dance thing again, then posted a screenshot. Woo hoo!

Recently, the pics I post have centred around my large sized tooty stripey blanket, aka the tooty harmony blanket - it's coming along very nicely and on last week's cold summer days, I was able to snuggle under it while I hooked. Want to see??

Tina's Allsorts, Tooty Harmony Blanket

Tina's Allsorts, Tooty Stripey Blanket

But I've posted pics of something new recently. 
Yes, not content with having a big blanket on the go, I've started not one but two baby blankets!! There are 2 people I know who are "expecting" their first grandchild in November, so I thought it would be nice to make blankets for them. I'm using my Harmony Blanket colours as there will be ample yarn left over and I'm following the colour placement of Lucy's Summer Harmony Blanket (although not following her harmony square pattern).

At the moment I'm making the "flowers in the snow" circles that I used in my Tooty Fruity Blanket and I thought I would join one blanket with white and maybe the other with colours. Maybe!! 
Here are 6 little blue circles in a very Instagramesque photo -

Tina's Allsorts

They were followed by 6 circles in each of another 16 colours - 102 in total!!
Then they matched with their round 2 colour, as per Lucy's colour chart. Don't they look cute?? Almost like they're wearing little hats!

Tina's Allsorts

I haven't finished all the round 2 colours yet, although they don't take long at all - and I've even been really good and stitched in every single end as I go too! I can't wait to see what they look like when I start adding round 3 and then the tricky bit will happen. I will have a pile of 102 circles which were designed to make one blanket but I'm then going to split them into two piles so I can make 2. Only I need to split them carefully so I still get a good colour balance... Not sure how well that bit might turn out though. Watch this space, as they say! Or better yet, watch Instagram!!

Now if you are already on Instagram and depending who you follow, you might be aware that there is such a thing as International Granny Square Day on August 15th. It's a day when you post a pic of your favourite granny square with the hashtag #grannysquareday2017, so that when you search for the hashtag, you get a whole screen full of granny squares that form a virtual blanket. This seemed like an excellent idea, so here are my contributions - 

Tina's Allsorts, Grannysquareday2017

The one on the right is a bit of a cheat really!! I made it at work in the shop on Monday and wanted to do a large circle in a square but I just couldn't square it off properly. So I gave up and made a large plain white granny square edged with moss stitch and then laid my circle on top. I never even got as far as stitching the circle in place! When I have time, I might go back and revisit it, as I keep thinking a daisy blanket would be a nice thing to make...
I've made a few of the pink daisy squares while I've been in the shop recently but I never remember to take the instructions with me and they're all different sizes!! Ah well. They were just a little time filler.

ust before I go,  let me show you this -


This is Sally of Colourmecrochet on Instagram and she's the first person to tell me that she's making my tooty stripey blanket!!!!!!!!!!! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜€πŸ˜„πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜†πŸ˜‰πŸ’• Yay! That's so exciting!  I'm really looking forward to seeing her progress. 

Right, I'm off to hook a few more rows myself! Bye for now,  T xx