Sunday, 20 October 2013

Custom-Made Bed Blanket

A few months back I was sitting in a doctor's waiting room with my crochet to pass the time.  I quite often take a project with me when I know I am going to be waiting around for a while. On this particular day a couple of ladies came in & started talking to me about what I was making (a still unfinished blanket) & just generally chatting.  One of the ladies asked me how much I would charge to make her a blanket to cover her double bed as she'd always wanted one. I didn't really know what to say as I'd never made anything that hasn't been a gift.  I was really keen to make a blanket for her though & really wanted to give myself the challenge of being able to "design" a blanket without a specific pattern, so we agreed a price & the work began a couple of weeks later.

I had been asked to do a blanket with lilac, cream & pink & to include butterflies in it, so I immediately consulted with Ravelry.  I already knew that I wanted to make a blanket from lots of squares & I found quite a few free patterns that I used:

Butterfly crochet dishcloth
Purple Azure Butterfly - this one was my favourite & I did 4 of them in 2 different colourways but they did take HOURS to do.

The other squares were a combination of plain trebles, granny squares, cable stitch squares etc. I also wanted to add a couple of flower squares so I used one pattern from The Art of Crochet magazine & another one from Ravelry:

Simple 10 Petal Afghan

When it came to the centre, I had been asked to do a large butterfly in the middle.  My original plan was to embroider one on the front but my sewing skills aren't all that so I once again consulted the www. I wasn't really sure exactly what I was looking for but came across this wonderful butterfly that was crocheted around wire to make a wall plaque. I used the pattern & amended it to fit my needs.

The whole blanket took me a few months - longer than I had originally intended but I (& more importantly the recipient) was very pleased with the way it turned out.  I don't think I'll take on such a huge project again for a while - if I do I would have to charge at least double what I charged for this one due to the time it took - about 150 hours, I counted! I did enjoy taking on this challenge though & now have an order for a baby blanket as well, which is much more manageable!


Monday, 14 October 2013


Two weeks ago the market town of Skipton, Yorkshire hosted its first woolly convention in the form of Yarndale. I've been really excited about going ever since Lucy at Attic24 announced it was happening a year ago.  Being fairly new to the yarn community, I've never attended anything like it before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I'd managed to convince Hubby months in advance that it was going to be a fantastic day out & that we should definitely go.

Luckily for Hubby, he managed to get a "get out of jail free" card when I found out about a local bus trip that was being organised by Rebecca Mary Jane, who runs crochet classes from her studio in Doncaster. The thought of spending the day with some other crafty ladies was very appealling so I popped along to Rebecca's studio (swoon!) & booked my ticket. 

So, bright & early (8.10am) on Saturday 28th September Hubby dropped me off & we embarked on our Yarndale journey.  There were 14 of us on the minibus, I knew one lady from my Wednesday afternoon Knit & Natter group but the rest were complete strangers & they really couldn't have been more lovely. Rebecca brought out some bunting that she had crocheted to decorate the bus & we were on our way! The journey was only going to take us about an hour & a half but Rebecca came prepared - she offered us a choice of tea, hot chocolate or coffee (which she made to order using a thermos of hot water there & then on the bus) & also handed around a fabric-lined basket containing home-made pastries. They were delicious! I've never been on such a civilised bus ride!

We arrived at Yarndale just after the doors opened at 10am. The journey past the building to the car park had already got us excited as we saw the yarn decorations that had been put up in the trees & along the fences.

We made our way through to the "Hub", which was where we could get our programmes & were greeted by the wonderful sight of this amazing bunting.

There was also the most fantastic knitted picnic set out for everyone to look at.

In addition to that was a display of tea cosies, which had been entered into the tea cosy competition. 

So, it was time to start looking around!!! It was soooo busy. There were back-to-back people everywhere & it was difficult to get into some of the stalls but it was lovely to look around, getting inspiration from the yarns & displays that were there.  Everyone was in such good spirits & it felt great to feel like a part of some massive community with a common interest.  There were some really cute alpacas to look at/stroke, as well as some fluffy angora rabbits. I wonder how they felt being on display all day in such a busy, noisy place?!

Check out the tufty ears on this one!

I then HAD to make my way to the Knit & Natter lounge in the centre of the room. Now, I can't lie, I am a little bit in love with Attic24's Lucy & this was where she had taken up residence for the weekend. I had to meet her, say Hello & that I love her blog. I know I'm not the only one who loves her & there was a queue of people waiting to talk to her.  She was so lovely though & she took the time to speak to everyone - I bet her voice was failing her by the end of the weekend! She'd also brought along her blankets, cushions, wreaths etc that seemed so familiar as she's blogged about them all. Wow!

Soon it was time for lunch & I met up with Rebecca & a couple of the other ladies. As part of the "package", Rebecca had provided our lunch & she had given everybody their own brown paper bag containing homemade rolls with coronation chicken/ham & mustard, a homemade lemon cupcake, carton of juice, plum tomatoes,  crisps & grapes - it was delicious!  

After lunch I decided that I wanted to take a walk along the yarn-bombed park that I had read about so I took myself off in the glorious sunshine to see what the Skipton ladies had been up to.  There was bunting, decorated lampposts, some blanket-covered trees & some gorgeous ducks at the end by the canal, that Lucy had blogged about.

I had also been hoping to make it to Lucy's Open Studio (does this all give you the impression that I'm a bit of a stalker? I'm not, honest!) but I didn't get there in time. I did have a little wander around Skipton town though - definitely somewhere to take the family for a look methinks.  On the way back I decided to have a cappuccino in Coopers cafe & sat outside enjoying the weather & a bit of people-watching.

The minibus was due to leave about 5.15pm so I made my way back, taking the opportunity to take a photo of the beautiful landscape.

The bus journey home was as civilised as it was on the way - Rebecca brought out Pimms & lemonade as well as crispy snacks & olives which,  combined with a bit of crochet on the way home made for a fantastic way to round off a perfect day.


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Neglected Space

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted on this blog.  It's true that life really does get in the way sometimes.

The Summer break seems like a lifetime away, despite only being a few weeks. Honestly,  I can't remember what we even did! Unfortunately I can remember being rushed into hospital by ambulance & then into theatre due to a miscarriage & the couple of weeks that followed when I was so poorly that I had to rely on Hubby to do literally EVERYTHING. We are all absolutely fine now though & we're settling into life with a child at school full-time. How did that happen?!!!

I've been really trying to get into a more organised state-of-mind when it comes to domestic matters & so far I'm pleased with my progress.  I have also been very mindful about taking time for myself & doing things that make me happy,  which has included a lot of crochet & nattering with the lovely ladies at Knit & Natter.  I've got a couple of posts coming up of the woolly variety but in the meantime I wanted to check in with my very neglected internet space.

I hope that life is treating you well?


Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Living Room Snuggle Blanket

After decorating the Living Room I wanted to crochet something that co-ordinated with the room but didn't really know what.  I had seen Lucy's granny stripe blanket pattern  a while back & wanted to give it a go & then I came across this on Pinterest that sealed the deal for me!


I thought that this would be a perfect way to use all of the colours that were in the room without it being too overbearing.  So off I went!  I ordered some Stylecraft Special DK & excitedly embarked on a new crochet project.  I won't lie, I went into this one with my rose-tinted glasses on somewhat.  I looked at Lucy's pattern, read that her starting chain was 240 and thought 240? pah! I'm going to start with 300 chains!  So off I went, row after row after row.  300 chains led to a rather long blanket but that's ok, I kept telling myself, I want this to be big enough to have a proper snuggle under in the winter.  

I will hold my hands up & say that I was being seriously over-ambitious with this one.  I could have let this project go on & on, increasing the size gradually over time, but I got bored.  I got to a stage where I thought that's it! I've had enough!  It can wrap around someone's shoulders nicely so it will do!  Despite this one being stopped much sooner than I originally planned, I'm still really chuffed with it.  The colours work really well together & it has been used quite a bit by Hubby - if he says it's big enough then I can live with that!!!

Here's my "finished" blanket:

Annoyingly there was a gust of wind as this photo was taken so the blanket was being blown backwards!

A closer picture so you can see the colours:

and an even closer one!

It's not as chunky as the original blanket in the photo above but it still works well. I used black as the main colour, equal amounts of green & cyan & then a few stripes of charcoal grey, pink & white.  It goes nicely with the decor in our Living Room anyway!!!


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Art of Crochet - the Finished Blanket!

In January 2010 I subscribed to the Art of Crochet magazine and at the end of last year (I can't remember exactly when but I think it was about October/November time) I finished the blanket that I had been making, square by square, as part of the series.

I know that over the years it has cost me a lot of money but I have really enjoyed every minute & have got a pretty impressive library of patterns to start working my way through!!!  It was the blanket that actually made  me want to get this series - I don't really know whether it was the colours or the pattern but I just HAD to have it!!!

Here is the finished product:

I am so proud of it!  I love the fact that it gets used everyday by the girls, whether it's to snuggle up in on the sofa or as the roof of an indoor tent - it's holding up pretty well!

Here is a close up of the middle of the blanket:

I have a few favourites when it comes to the individual squares.  I really like the multi-coloured stripy ones that surround the middle squares (above).  I also really like the purple spotted ones:

I wasn't as fussed on the ones with the funny men on them - embroidery was certainly not the strong point for me on this project!  I also liked the various granny squares that are dotted around

and finally I think that the cream ones with the colourful holes in are also quite cool!

Colourful loveliness!


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Dining Room Reveal

This one has been a long time coming but I am happy to say that our Dining Room is finally finished!!!  We have got to get some curtains & cover the chair seats but these things are not urgent so will get done as & when.  It is so nice to use a table at mealtimes again & Hubby has done a really good job.

As a reminder, here's what the room looked like before:

Here's what it looks like now:

I am forever amazed at the difference just having the woodwork painted white makes!!  I love the fireplace that we got via Freecycle, especially now it's painted.  In addition to the free fire surround that we got, we also managed to get a couple of other bargains for this room.  Our wallpaper was found in the Next outlet shop for only £3 per roll - we bought the last 3 that were there - so our feature wall only cost £9.  We also found a lovely canvas in the B&Q clearance back in February that was reduced from £24.98 to £10.  I love this picture

We have it above the sideboard on the left hand wall as you walk into the room.  The purple glass vase that is sat on the sideboard was also from the Next outlet for £8 (originally £35).

My favourite colour (purple) is on the bottom half of the walls.  The wallpaper has pink & purple in it & we didn't want to leave the rest of the room plain.  Having this darker colour also helps to hide any dirty marks that my lovely girls my make as they play!!!

I think this room is a success.  Hubby has been busy elsewhere in the house - he's stripped our little side room off the kitchen of its wood paneling & is currently using this room as a home gym (I have got photos to share) & he's also stripped the wallpaper in the play room as this is our next decorating project.  We have yet to decide what colour to put in the play room though (if any).  Watch this space!