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Crochet

New blanket!

28th February 2017

Photo of a new grey and cream blanket

 

Here’s the progress on the new blanket I started yesterday. I’ve had a good nights sleep and I’m not feeling as flat out as yesterday, the stitching has made me feel better! I’ve never begun a blanket with a rib, now that I’ve done one I think I’ve got the building blocks for crocheting a jumper. They’ll be no jumper for a fair while mind, this is going to take far longer than I thought – I’d forgotten, while easier, stripes have more stitches than granny squares.

I’m following this pattern – I absolutely love the stitch definition that’s working up. I’ve never used herringbone stitch (the dark grey) before but it looks great and the texture of the row in light grey is really effective. I’m just 26 rows into a 126 row blanket though so I better keep at it if I want to get this done by the end of the week. I’ll hopefully make far more progress tomorrow and will be posting on here instead of instagram while I have my week off social. Honestly, I love sharing photos and looking at everyone else’s but it’s so much less ‘noisy’ the weeks that I don’t engage on there and I get so much more done.

 

Crochet Running

Monday

27th February 2017

Picture of Brighton marathon and crochet

 

I ran Brighton Half yesterday. My first event of 2017! I should be basking in glory or something or at least feeling slightly brilliant about it, but in truth I’m on the sofa with a hot water bottle next to the dog watching TV after almost 36 hours of nothing. And I’m pissed off I ran it in the same time to what I did 4 months ago. No real tangible improvement whatsoever –  that stings. Apart from making some soup earlier today I’ve done no cooking, no laundry, no housework, no dog walking…. it’s like I’ve had to check out entirely. It’s happened before, I finish something and feel beaten completely flat. If you’re looking for something inspirational here move right along. Today is not the day… this could potentially put you off trying for anything! Sometimes I finish something and feel that rising sense of achievement and happiness, but this time, I’ll be honest, I didn’t enjoy it and I’m pretty relieved I just did it and got it out the way. I’ve done something to my knee and I’m really worried it’s a bit of a problem for everything else I have planned and it pulled down the whole experience.

 

Picture of me after the Brighton half 2017

 

I wrote a longer detailed piece about it all, the race, those couple of hours, but I read it back and it sounded very much like very self indulgent whinging, which of course it is so I deleted it. Anyway it hurts quite a bit and has made for a very flat couple of days.

However, when you can’t read very much or concentrate on anything you can make something, so I’ve started a new baby blanket today. At least Monday has felt in some way productive.

Crochet

Block Stitch Baby Blanket

11th February 2017

Rainbow coloured block stitch baby blanket

 

This week had an unusual rhythm. I’ve not run since last Friday (over a week ago) when I finished up in the first third of my long run wincing in pain on the bus home. I’d had track on the Wednesday, feeling lighter and easier than I have since I ever started the punishing weekly session that is running round at capacity. Then I woke up on Thursday morning and definitely felt something was up. Taking the kids to school and walking down the 60 or so steps sealed it. My left knee was excruciating, overnight I’d seized up and felt like my knee had twisted. I limped about all day ‘resting’ – but Friday, mentally I was ready to go again, however the legs were not, hence the bus ride home.

I wrote on an instagram I felt crushed. I did. Genuinely. Last week I registered for another half marathon and my first ultra. I can’t describe the combination of that anticipation of those events with the twisted pain of my knee using another word. It was a ugh crushed…. or rather an ‘uuuuuuggggggghhhhhhh ****s sake’ kind of crushed, not crushed in a broken hearted way but in an irritated ‘why can’t this just be the thing that works PLEASE’ kind of way. As I set one foot after the other slowly across Hove Park in agony I realised I had to give up any possibility of going any further. I felt cheated, of the exhilaration of a long run which I’ve come to rely on and incredibly nervous I wouldn’t get the chance to train properly for everything I’ve got coming up. Not only that but I was going to inevitably fall really behind in my virtual Lands End to John O’Groats challenge. When the bus took a left and my knee sent out shocks of nervous pain while I was just sitting there completely stationary the flatness descended and it’s not really left me all week.

Nothing works for me in the same way when I’m not running. It’s hard to explain. I lack a degree of focus I can only get if I’ve been working this body and these legs in that way. I had to accept I was going to stop for a bit though and there it was, time to get over it.

This was helped in part by the fact my friend from playgroup was coming to stay. By that I mean a friend I’ve had since I was three. Three! She came to stay with her baby on the Sunday and from there I was able to slip firmly into baby time. We slowed when her daughter needed feeding, we slowed when she was asleep. It threw me back to another time, not long since past. and I remembered those languid, slow and exhausting days I had with Ruby and George all over again.

After they left, I got started on this. Another friend, Laura, emailed me on Monday about getting a blanket made up for a friend’s baby shower. This saw me hooking like a maniac from Wednesday morning through to Friday.

It’s in block stitch, there are plenty of tutorials on pinterest, once I get my own tutorials photographed and written up I’ll link on here. It’s all done in various colours of style craft special dk. I think it’s turned out brilliantly, I love it.

Block stitch blanket

 

Here’s the corner and the border in more detail: Corner of the block stitch blanket

 

I worked back to front on the first round of the border which I did in a hdc stitch and then I turned the yarn on the second round so I was working from the front which I did in a dc stitch. I really like the ridged effect this gave.

Detail of the border for the block stitch blanket

Just a couple more pictures before I sign off.

Border of the block stitch blanket

 

Block stitch close up

Crochet Life Running This week

:: This week ::

29th January 2017

Photograph of a graphic style piece of street art

 

:: Making ::

Still just adding to the babette this week. No further progress to report on that. I’m hooking up a hat, continuing on with my scrap project —

Crochet circle

 

It’s growing slowly, am hoping to find a circular cushion to fit this too… on the list.

Ruby and I also spent Saturday morning knotting up friendship bracelets. I made a couple with 8 strands but they aren’t finished yet and I’ve not got any pictures at the moment. Ruby mastered the chevron and has made a few now, she found the printed patterns for bracelets using any more than 4 strands difficult to understand (as did I, it took me a few hours and some youtube videos to decipher them!) That’s it for makes.

:: Reading ::

I finished Shonda Rime’s “Year of Yes” (3/5) and I’m stuck into “The Essex Serpent” by Sarah Perry now. I’ve also started reading a design book on design systems and user interfaces, largely out of my depth on that, but immersing myself in all things web design and development at the moment. It’s good to read something different.

:: Listening to ::

ABRA

I’ve watched nothing on TV except Homeland, we’re a season behind. Drinking? None. I know you can’t believe it either. I’ve run 17.6 miles this week, including one very muddy trail run with Rocco. I had 4 days off after catching a nasty cold last weekend, I just had to get behind early nights and lots of rest at the start of the week. Really not a huge amount going on, am still enjoying hibernating this winter. The daily coding is happening, I should have hit 100 hours in a couple of weeks, I say this tentatively as there is so much to learn and I am only at the beginning, but I’m finally starting to feel that it’s not so alien to me any more. I’m looking forward to being able to do it with my ‘morning head’ on this week. At the weekends I’m attempting an hour after the kids go to bed and my evening head is dull and sluggish and finds everything hard to grasp. On that, it’s grinding as I type, time to hit the hay.

Crochet

Birthday doily

3rd December 2016

Unclose stitch detail photo of the birthday doily

In a week where I seem to have a lot of makes on the go, I started, and finished this doily. I use the word doily for want of a better word, mat is better perhaps. The idea is it will sit on my friend’s kitchen table, but I’m not sure if doily’s/mat’s are really her thing.

Overview photo of the doily

The pattern was from a chart on pinterest (there’s heaps of inspiration on there, but of course, having printed this out I’ve lost the link) and I used a 3mm hook with DMC Petra cotton. The colour itself is actually a bright orange but the camera failed to pick it up and editing it still doesn’t quite capture its vibrancy. It measures about 13″ in diameter. I have a bit of a love of the way the petals (?) flow and think it’s turned out nicely. I might make a few more as Christmas gifts,  It’s also motivated me to finish another mat I started months ago which will hopefully come together this weekend.

Crochet

Afghan Babette

1st December 2016

Photo of the blanket in progress and the pattern grid placed beside

One thing we don’t lack in this house is blankets, or yarn. In an effort to run down my style craft supplies (I have drawers full) I have started a ‘daily babette’. The idea is I add one square to this ever growing blanket everyday following  an afghan babette grid that I found on pinterest.

Photo of the side of the afghan babette blanket

 

I was told about afghan babettes years ago by a fellow crocheter online, but it has taken until now for me to get around to making one. It is a really really great way to work down a stash. I think it would work with different weights and I love the random patchiness of mixing up a lot of different colours, although you could always stick to a scheme. Adding a lots of variegated yarns to blocks of colour is also quite fun, I like it when the colours change to an almost camo effect.

 

Close up photo of a corner of the afghan babette blanket

 

There are a good selection of these grids to find online which you can print out and follow, I’ve also opted to use the join as you go method so I will only have bordering to do when all the squares are completed. I should imagine it will take some time, a few months perhaps. I’ve not counted all the squares, but I am generally getting an extra one sewn on everyday. I’ll get an update post written at the start of the New Year, in the meantime, I think this blanket will be making the occasional appearance on my feed. It’s my week off social now (I talked about this here) but I’ll still be posting in this space if all goes according to plan and have plenty of stuff on the hooks at the moment to write about.

Crochet

Ella Rae Seasons Hat

28th November 2016

A photo of a hat

 

This hat had a bit of a moment last week on instagram. I created it from Ella Rae Seasons Autumn mix by Black sheep wools. I think the gradation of autumnal colours got everyone in a bit of a flutter and it’s been the piece of work that’s received the most amount of engagement for some time.

It’s made with the same Hook Nook Pattern that I used to make another hat a few months ago. The pattern is easy to follow and since then I have made a few more and been experimenting with different yarns.

 

A photo of a collection of hats

This is the first time I’ve successfully made hats I would actually wear! They are definitely not an exact science as you will start to find if you ever get to crocheting them. Everyone likes a different fit and look so at the moment I am trying to get to grips with making these hats and others in different sizes and other patterns as I have quite the list of people asking me to make them one.

Last week I found myself sitting down to dinner completely defeated. I have so much I want to make, so much on the list and so very many other things I do and am interested in that I needed to unpick exactly how I would get to everything (on top of EVERYTHING else to do with EVERYONE else in the family) I’m still to definitively write down the very long list of everything that MUST get done over the next few weeks in the run up to Christmas (present buying, party organising, all the additional social stuff, the household stuff, the paperwork stuff, ALL THE STUFF) but I’ve worked out my crochet one. It seems as always like there is a huge amount to squeeze into very limited time and so I’ve been thinking a lot about time and how to organise it lately, what I squander my attention on and what I need to focus on. That’s another blog post entirely.

Photo of a hat being crocheted

In the meantime, I’ll be single tasking, trying to get as much made as possible, stitch by stitch and step by step. I plan to be here alot more too, it’s as much my accountability as my instagram for making but here there will probably be a bit more of a backstory that explains why I don’t make as much as I’d like to!

Crochet

Retro baby blanket

9th November 2016

Picture of my retro baby blanket

I got asked to make this blanket quite a few weeks ago now. Ellie picked out the colours and gave me free rein to pick a block to make with them.

 

Corner of the retro baby blanket

As I knew it was for a girl, flower shapes felt good so I picked out the Pretty in Pink pattern from “100 Bright and Colourful Granny Squares to mix and match” by Leonie Morgan. I absolutely love this book, it has charts for all the squares which I find SO much easier to follow. I soon learnt the stitches for the block and I was soon away, although there are a lot of ends which took f.o.r.e.v.e.r to sew in.

The blanket is made from style craft special dk in shades:

1256 Jaffa

1263 Citron

1422 Aspen

1001 White

I made 25 squares using a 5mm hook, blocked them all and then attached them using a slip stitch before bordering the whole piece in a citron and aspen moss stitch. I’ve never used this very easy but effective stitch as a border before but I really recommend it and will definitely try it out for my next granny square blanket. As always it was just so satisfying to actually complete a project. Sometimes I feel I am making so slowly and with too many things on the go I seem to take forever before I get that feeling I can send something out!

 

 

Crochet Running

November

1st November 2016

The West Pier

November. It feels like it’s come around too quick, September and October were just a big blur of running and school and back to the rhythms that come with the children. Now it’s almost the end of autumn, some days there doesn’t feel as if there is any natural light, the rain keeps pouring and everything feels completely drab and other days, like today, it’s cool and clear and calm.

As it’s almost the end of the year I’m starting to think about how well I’ve managed to get anywhere close to the two things I set out to achieve for myself at the start of 2016. The first was the running: I wanted to run 1000km in 2016 and I’ve just checked in to see that I’m on 959km. So close! I have made big efforts to make the whole running thing a non negotiable, one of the ‘big rocks’ of my life and I’m really pleased I kept going. Apart from the fact I’m able to run longer distances whenever I feel like it and I feel stronger and fitter, everything else falls into place a bit more on the days I do it. I think better, sleep better and focus better. I thought at the beginning of the year that committing to 14 miles a week was do-able, but I knew I couldn’t let myself slip too much to be able to do it. Some weeks I’ve had to write off, last week during half term was one of those. I’ve had one of those total wipeout scenarios where it feels like all the energy has been drained from you when there are no discernible symptoms except a sore throat. There have been a few weeks like that this year, I don’t know what it is, do I just burn out every few months? Or is it all the bugs you inevitably get when you have a family?

The other thing I had hoped to achieve but which is looking unlikely is reading 50 books in the year. I’ve read 25, but with just 8 weeks left of the Goodreads reading challenge I think I’ll be happy to get to 30, which is more than last year. I think 50 books in my spare time along with all the making I do was a bit of a stretch. Next year I will try again!

A picture of sunrise this morning

Today was the first day I felt totally myself in about a week. Despite all the craziness of halloween last night I was up before sunrise and as soon as it was daylight I was able to go out with Rocco on his walk before taking the children to school and going on my run. It was a good friendly walk, with nice people up early as well, it really set me up for the day.

Crochet granny squares

The intention for November then is to reach the 1000km mark and finish a bunch of makes, including a new granny square blanket I started a few weeks ago. I think I’m also going to be hooking up with the mins game again. This is the third time I’ve done this process over the years, in between I have been constantly decluttering but I still feel that there are a lot of books and bits and pieces lying around the house with no purpose that I want to let go of. I might even crochet a few baubles to relive this time last year when I was furiously stitching for a Christmas Fair.

 

Crochet

The puff stitch beanie

19th October 2016

Puff stitch beanie

As the nights close in earlier and the mornings seem to take forever to shake off the night sky, I can definitely feel that the temperature is dropping. A few months ago I finished hooking up a new hat for this season from a pattern I’d had hanging around for ages: the hook nooks puff stitch beanie.

This one is made from two half balls of Katia Azteca, the ribbing at the bottom from shade 7826 and then I’ve alternated the puff lines with 7826 and 7841. They were remnants from cowls I’d made over the years so it was great to find them something useful to do. I really like the way the mismatched colours come together. It’s made a really warm and chunky hat – which I’ve finished off with a huge pom pom. In honestly I’ve never made a hat I’m entirely happy with and would actually wear until now. I more than recommend the pattern which comes together quickly and is relatively easy to understand.  Now I understand the construction I also know that I’ll be able to make many more hats in more textures over the coming months.