Friday, 18 November 2011

The Finished Article: Heidi Blanket

Drum roll please, for this is a bit of a milestone for me. A whole year into my crochet career and I have finally - FINALLY! - made something that I still really love, even after spending weeks toiling over it, AND I wasn't up til the wee small hours weaving in the ends. In fact I finished this with a whole week to spare! (I confess little Heidi was born two and a half weeks ago, but I won't be seeing her til next weekend). So, without further ado I give you: the Heidi Blanket!

I must say that the photos are a bit misleading, it must be the colour settings on my camera but it's actually a lot pinker in real life (perfect for a newborn girl), whereas the blues seem to take over in the pictures.
This is basically a direct copy of the Attic 24 Vintage Stripe blanket, both yarn* and pattern. The yarn is James C. Brett Kool Kotton and if you haven't already tried it then I'd highly recommend it. It's really easy to work with, not splitty like a lot of other yarn I've used, and it works up into a beautiful heavyish, drapey blanket and is so soft - I really want to make a grown up version of this blanket!!

I love the pattern too - it's a US dc, so a UK tc (I hope I'm getting this right, I've only recently started trying to learn what all the stitches are called), worked into the spaces in the previous row rather than into the stitches themselves, creating a sort of gappy, woven look which I absolutely love. And the best bit - this was the first non-granny thing I've made in a good long while and I was so happy not to have to do any joining!

The border was problematic in that neither the Attic24 nor the Bella Dia instructions told me what to do for it, so I was flying by the seat of my pants a bit. It was easy enough along the two 'horizontal' edges, it was simply a case of doing an off-white stripe in the same stitch. I struggled with the other edges though. The nature of the pattern means that the ends of the stripes sort of zigzag in and out instead of forming a straight edge.

I experimented with a few stitches before settling on doing two tcs into each stripe-end, with no chain stitch between them. It's still not quite right and and the stitches seem a bit overcrowded, making those edges ever-so-slightly ripply, but I don't think that's necessarily such a bad thing.

I suppose we're all hyper-critical of our own work though aren't we? I just hope my friend likes it!

Blanket stats:
Size: 37"x32" (94cm x 82cm)
Stripes: 96, 8 random repetitions of a set of 12 colours (if you see what I mean by that) 
Time: August 2011 - 6th November 2011 - about 10 weeks
Cost: 13 balls @ £1.70 + £2.50 P&P = £25.60

Phew. But no rest for the wicked, Baby Boy (mentioned here) has until 21st November before being evicted so I best crack on with HIS blanket now!

*This is the first time I've used the word 'yarn' in this context - it's always sounded very American to me and I feel a bit of a twit saying it in my North East accent (I even type in Smoggy) but I realise that if I'm to become a serious crocheteer, it's not technically correct to keep calling everything 'wool'.

*EDIT* ...and I just had a text to say Baby Boy is now in the outside world! Eek! Work must progress quicksmart on the Oliver Blanket!!!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Photo Scavenger Hunt: October

Although I've been busy, you can't stop me photographeering - not since I got my trusty new phone and always have the means to snap a pic!

1. A black cat:

Not the best pic of my friend's cat, the light was terrible and my new phone is not THAT trusty, as it turns out!

2. Candlelit:

Candles and books ... similar to Alex's!

3. Crunchy leaves:

I was thinking of kicking through piles of colourful dry leaves when I first saw this category, but it's been a pretty damp old month so I had to catch some leaves before they'd actually fallen.

4. Fog/mist:

Like Kathy, I think mine's more 'low cloud', but it's the closest I could get. You can always rely on the Lakes for a bit of low cloud!

5. Golden:

The pulpit in Carlisle Cathedral.

6. Graffiti:

This is on a bus stop near my friend's house in Co. Durham. No idea what it's supposed to mean but it makes me smile every time I drive past it.

7. Heritage:

The site upon which Carlisle Castle stands has been an important fortress site since Roman times and Mary, Queen of Scots was a 'guest' there for a while.

8. Pumpkin:

Some mini pumpkins-on-sticks in a florist-cum-cafe in Carlisle (very zoomed in on my phone).

9. River:

This is the Infinity Bridge on the River Tees. I panicked at the end of the month when I realised I didn't have a 'river' picture, and the clocks had gone back and I had no more daylight. Then I remembered the reflection effects for this bridge are better in the dark so I popped along on my way home from work and luckily it was a really still night.

10. Something eerie:

Some of the holograms at Keswick's Puzzling Place are pretty creepy, not sure about eerie!

11. Sunset:

I have to admit this is a bit of a cheat, taken on 30th September. Pretty sunsets seem to have been thin on the ground in October...

12. Witch's hat/broomstick:

A couple of the ladies dressed up for the Halloween ParkRun. Can you imagine how many members of the public said they should just get on their brooms and fly round? Lots, that's how many.

Thanks so much to Kathy for organising! See more interpretations in the Flickr group here. I'm definitely feeling my photo mojo at the minute and trying to think of some good subjects for November. Hope you can join in!