Thursday, 21 February 2013

Life in Colour

Well, I promised a finished granny stripe blanket by the next time I appeared on here... and I'm pleased to say that the item in question is indeed complete and already being put to good use. It's been a week of coughs and colds here in the house, so much snuggling under blankets has been required. Especially ones that are bright and cheery like the newly completed rainbow stripe. After months of doubt, I'm actually very pleased how it turned out. And I think my Mum likes it too (as it is officially hers!). There have been many tweaks along the way since I first laid out the new balls of yarn in a rainbow colour order. After completing several rows of colour, I decided the first two colours didn't work and had to come off. I managed to work out a way to do this without unpicking the whole thing - by creating a new foundation chain where I wanted it to be before snipping away the unwanted colours. I then spent hours and hours granny striping away whilst watching murder mysteries and drama on TV to get to that final row. When it went on, it became apparent to me that the first colour still did not work, so that had to come off too. So, knowing it worked before, I managed to re-chain the beginning again and snip away the first colour.
And there it was. the complete spectrum of colours. Finally, it looked how I had hoped - adding those final rows of colours really made it come together. Now it was time for the edge. Originally I had planned to just keep it simple and go round a few times with cream. I toyed with the idea of adding colour, but how could I single out just one or two colours from all those that I had used? As the cream went on, it really contrasted with all the bright colours well, so I decided to go with my initial gut feeling and keep it simple. Four rows of grannying, followed by Attic24's Bobble Shell Edging - which I love - a simple, unobtrusive border which makes for a bit more interest than a straight edge!
So without further ado, I present to you the Rainbow Stripe Blanket (note I was scrambling up on the outside furniture to get this all in shot!)

A close-up of the colours:

The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK and I used 30 colours
L-R: Lipstick, Matador, Shrimp, Apricot, Jaffa, Saffron, Sunshine, Citron, Lemon, Spring Green, Bright Green, Meadow, Green, Bottle, Teal, Aspen, Turquoise, Sherbet, Aster, Royal, Lavender, Wisteria, Plum, Magenta, Raspberry, Candyfloss, Fondant, Pomegranate, Bright Pink and edged in Cream.

I have to say I do love this yarn. I would not make something to wear from it (I still prefer my cotton for that), but for blankets and cushions it's great. The sheer range of colours is great, and it is lovely to work with. For a 100% acrylic yarn, it is soft and not at all itchy. And it is super-great value (the only reason I could afford so many colours!)
When the massive blanket was finally finished, I needed a project to fill it's boots as the 'easy to crochet whilst watching TV' type. Amigurumi and fancy squares and patterns are great, but they require counting and concentration - not good for tired evening crochet watching telly. I have a list of 'to-do' projects on my phone, but instead a new project has arisen to take this available slot. Little P does a lot of imaginative play now - tents, tea-parties etc. And she always uses my big blankets. That's fine, I want them to be in use... but when she has her tea-parties and has real food... well, let's just say it can get a bit messy! She is a clean eater by many standards, but the thought of biscuit and rice cakes getting squished into my newly made labour of love, the rainbow stripe, just doesn't bare thinking about! My ever-so-helpful Mum suggested I make the Little Lady a smaller, play picnic blanket. Great idea! That also gives me an outlet for a new design I want to try, and another chance to raid the Stylecraft stash!
I am a huge fan of Lucy from Attic24's work. And she has done it again with her Patchwork Grannysquare Blanket. I had actually toyed with a similar idea before settling upon the idea of the mahoosive rainbow stripe, so to see it done the Attic24 way has inspired me to do it now! As usual, Lucy has used an array of bright colours, which work lovely together, and to top it off, has edged it somewhat beautifully. She also used her Stylecraft stash, and seeing how it turned out meant I pushed this little project right to the top of my list. It is of upmost priority that Little P has a picnic blanket, is it not?! I was happy with my stash - I actually had 33 colours in total - but after a little 'pop-in' to a local yarn store, I acquired another 3 colours to bring the total to 36! It contains all the mentioned above, plus White, Rosehip, Camel and Copper (which did not make the blanket) and the 3 new ones - Bluebell, Emperor and Cloud Blue. And here they all are...

So I began the task of making granny squares. I like this project, as there is no fiddly colour changing mid-square, and as I'm joining as I go along, I won't have to sew it all together at the end. I'm picking colours somewhat randomly, just being careful that each colour fits in witht hose around it. I'm not sure how big to make it yet - it is just a play blanket, so it will be either 5x5 or 6x6 with a border. So far I've done 13 squares and I like the way it is coming along!

Last week I also tied up another couple of loose ends. That of the Itty Bitty Bunny from Simply Crochet magazine. He turned out OK I think - not my favourite thing ever but as usual, Little P loves it which makes it worthwhile! It was an experiment using variegated yarn for the first time in amigurumi, and I think I like it, although I don't think that particular yarn worked overly great for that pattern, as some of the shapes seemed to come out longer and thinner! But here is the bunny, propped up as unable to sit alone (but I did want a floppy bunny so that's OK right?)

The other big effort of the week was writing up my Monty Moo pattern. And it is here, up and running, ready for download! I posted it to Ravelry when I finished it, and he's had quite a bit of love. Numbers taking a peep over here soared over the last few days (by my standards anyway!) which is always good. It's nice thinking people like my creation, after all the effort I put in designing him, writing up the pattern and testing it! Plus he is free, and there don't seem to be many (what I call) nice cow patterns about. So good luck to him, and I hope someone, somewhere will make him a cousin or two!

Well, that's a roundup of this weeks crafting - the weekend is looming and it's a Birthday one for me. Whilst that is mildly exciting, I am also highly excited about the prospect of getting to play on my friend's sewing machine on Sunday! Maybe I can create a little something with the scotty dog fabric I bought a while back.... or maybe I'll chicken out! We also need to discuss our future plans for exciting things! And there will be a new craft squeezing it's way into my life, as we embark on a needle felting course in a couple of weeks! Wow! I had my present early from said friend as we went out to dinner to mark the beginning of my Birthday celebrations, and along with a lovely notebook, I received a beginners needle felting set and a place on a course to learn how to use it! Exciting! More on that when it comes around in a couple of weeks! Must go for now, I think I can fit another square or two in before the Little P returns!

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