The Mothers’ Day Blanket – at last!

This is the second of my Mothers’ Day posts.  I was very excited about this one, because I don’t often have an actual finished object to show anyone.  But at last, the blanket for my lovely Mum is all sewn up and ready for snuggling in! Here it is, draped over my bed.

Happy Mothers' Day, Mum

Happy Mothers’ Day, Mum. Spot the deliberate mistake(s)

This blanket has taken me a year to make. I gave my mum the very first square a year ago, on Mothers’ Day.  And I’ve worked on this project all year – in my sunny little porch, in springtime, and then in the summer, when I was in bed after surgery.  In the autumn, when I was going through rehabilitation, I had to buy in even more yarn  – a very yarn-hungry blanket, this one!   And in winter, when I’d started back at work and the nights drew in, I began to knit the edging squares.  Sewing up all the squares and darning in all the ends has taken me a month.  But it’s worth it!

Lacework edging

Lacework edging

This blanket is by no means perfect – in fact, I believe there’s a deliberate mistake in every square! But it has been such a pleasure to make it for my mum.  And woohoo, I’ve finally finished something!  I have a sneaky suspicion my mum will ask me to back it with something, so it might actually come back to me before long.  But I did it!  I made something!  A whole thing, just by myself.  Hopefully the next project won’t take me a whole year..

Yes, it is as heavy as it looks.

Yes, it is as heavy as it looks.  But hey, warmth is good, right?

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Crochet for Beginners

It’s time to take a short break from blanketeering. My mother’s day blanket is a work in progress, but coming along nicely (to be saved for another post). But I confess, I am getting a bit tired of all the endless blues and creams. Which is why my latest ‘short project’ is an altogether brighter affair.

Happy Colours!

Happy Colours!

This yarn is Rico cotton dk, and it comes in really juicy, happy colours. Over Christmas I discovered the fantastic Attic24, whose blog has seduced me into choosing brighter colours, and into believing that truly beautiful things can be made through crochet, as well as knitting. I’ve never attempted crochet before, but with the help of YouTube, I was managing to turn out rather scruffy looking granny squares in an afternoon or so. In particular, videos from AussieCrochetChick were helpful.

And here they are, my rainbow squares:

My first crochet.

My first crochet.

I can’t claim to be an expert, but I’m surprised at how quickly it is to knock out a couple of granny squares in front of the TV. What’s more, I have a feeling that they won’t turn into a blanket! I do have an idea in mind for these little suckers, but I’ll keep it to myself for now.

Granny Squares - definitely not just for grannies.

Granny Squares – definitely not just for grannies.

They may not be perfect – but I think they look so cute and colourful. The perfect antidote to all the snow and slush that’s blanketing our isolated village right now. The only accompaniments I need are a log-burner and a cup of tea. DVD box set optional…

Another blanket marathon.

When it comes to knitting, I appear to be a ‘big project’ girl.  My first ever knitting project was a gorgeous cardigan from Debbie Bliss’s Andes pattern book.   It would appear that a cardigan is not the easiest knitting project for a virgin knitter, and mine ended up looking a bit like the lab coat I used to wear in Physics lessons.

Since then I’ve migrated to blanket squares.  Now these I like, because

  1. They are portable.
  2. If it turns into a clusterf*ck you can rip the square up and start again with out ruining the entire project
  3. You get to practise lots of different kinds of stitches (see point 2).  I learned intarsia, cabling, bobbles and lace stitching methods this way.
  4. If you knit enough of them you can turn them into a really special ‘heirloom’ blanket

You can check out another of my efforts here, but this one (below) is for my mother.  I made the first square and slid it into a card for her on Mother’s Day.  I think I’m about half way there now. I probably  need about 20 more squares, plus more to add a ‘hem’ all around.

Mistakes? I’ve made a few..

As you can see it’s still a work in progress.  It looks scruffy – but so did my other one until I tidied the ends up and stitched them together.  I can’t wait to see the finished thing, but that might be a way off.    I am not a ‘natural knitter’!  At my village ‘knit and natter’ group, I do more nattering than knitting, and when I do knit, my elbows tend to get in the way of everyone else.  But hey, I don’t really go there for the knitting – I go there for the hilarious conversations (yes really).  And also for the swearing. It sounds  a bit American Pie (as in ‘this one time, at band camp..’), but the air in our village turns bluer than this blanket when us ‘yarn ho’s’ are having a coven meeting.

One or two ends to tidy up still..

The yarns I’m using are Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran.  They work interchangeably in this project as they knit up on the same needles and have a very similar feel.  I am hoping my mum will use this blanket in her garden summer house, which has gorgeous seaside views, so I chose sea blues, mixed in with neutrals.

Knitting – sometimes an outdoor sport.

All of the patterns from these squares were adapted from this book – truly a bible for knitters of squares. As a novice knitter I was stunned to find there are rather a lot of these books, but this is the best.  I know.  I knit a LOT of squares.

This is a Very Good Book.

And that’s it.  My latest work in progress, and proof that knitting blanket squares is NOT just for grannies.  Anyone with wanky hips can do it!

Work-in-Progress Wednesday!

Knitting is one of my big pleasures.  I love the idea that this is a timeless skill that has been passed on through generations, just as my grandmother taught me. I’m not very good at it yet! For a long time, all I managed to produce was…well, really long pieces of knitting.  Here (below) is a blanket that I’ve loved working on.  I would like it to be a kind of heirloom picnic blanket so when I’ve decided it’s big enough, I’ll probably back it with a kikoy towel or perhaps a brushed cotton sheet or some fleece to make it even cosier.

The ‘TOGETHER’ squares came about because ‘together’ was the theme of an exhibition of my local ‘knit and natter’ group.  Of course I didn’t manage to get the blanket done in time for the exhibition!  But through my friendship with the knit and natter ladies – also known as the Hatherleigh hookers – I’ve also got something even more special out of my favourite hobby.  A sense of belonging and community – togetherness indeed.

And woop – now it seems like knitting is actually cool – well, relatively speaking!   Perhaps it’s a way of rejecting the smash and grab consumption trends of the noughties, and tapping into the ‘grow your own’ ethos.  In that way it’s like seeing your garden come alive in springtime.  The pleasure is in the gradualness of it, the anticipation of seeing it come together (that word again).

I’m not the fastest or neatest knitter in the world, but since I love to look at other knitting blogs, I will try to share my progress once a week. Let me know what you think!

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