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crochet

Crochet

The blanket of redemption

2nd August 2017

I stopped crocheting for a bit.

For me that’s a sign that something, in this case my all, is extremely awry. This craft has become for me as natural as breathing. I notice the days I don’t pick up the hook at least once in the day. Throughout my dad’s illness, I still picked up the hook and managed to add mindless lines to an every growing granny square. This time in my life is different though. This time I wasn’t able to contemplate carving out a half hour pocket in the day, every day was a vacuum. Days slipped into weeks and all the things I enjoyed: reading, coding, crocheting, blogging and writing took a backseat to what we can fairly refer to as ‘the trauma’. I just concentrated on the essentials, eating, walking the dog, bathing and not much else.

But a few weeks ago, I started a square. I took a basket of colours and I felt for each new round, for a colour that would sit right. It got bigger and bigger and it felt better and better to focus on each next colour, each next join. Before I knew it, as one square slotted into the next I had a blanket to border.

It’s sitting on the side in my bedroom at the moment, waiting to be sent. Another task on the seemingly endless to do, but I started and I finished something, stitch by stitch. I felt me when I was doing it, I make a good blanket and I love this one. This one makes my heart sing. I’m relieved that I’ve come back to it. It’s a part of me, I love the process of creation and I wouldn’t want to lose something else I love right now.

I’ve a busy week planned, two rooms to get ready for air bnb, rainy days in which to entertain the children, job applications to tailor, miles to run. I’ve signed up for another ultra, almost double the distance of the first. Today’s training run was just bleak, I endured torrential rain and wind on the cliffs of Rottingdean as I closed in on 18 miles.

Anyway, enough on that, I’m exhausted, here are some more captures of Verity’s blanket. I WILL send it this week!


 

Crochet

Making a crochet blanket

21st March 2017

Crochet blanket making

This was my kitchen table this afternoon. I went on a brisk bright walk with the dog and then got my hair cut this morning. I planned on having the rest of the day as a bit of reset time and by that I meant catching up on chores with the hope of being more on top of things. I ended up subbing that for doing something creative. I feel better for it as well. The weekend was just busy and too full and yesterday I was in town for a big chunk of time running chores. I’m done basically. I feel behind on EVERYTHING in my life. I have blog pieces queued up, other writing, a big list of ideas for patterns to write up, challenges to work through with coding, the home stuff to do from the laundry and cleaning, to the admin and then the life stuff, sorting the imminent birthday of the first born, planning things with friends and family. Everything has that unfinished and overwhelming edge to it. I’m basically underperforming against my own standards ACROSS THE BOARD. I feel like that is life all the time but sometimes it feels much more manageable and I feel much more in control. I currently feel like I’m spinning plates. Badly.

I get more energised when I’ve made progress in something though and I can feel it coming together in my hands, I am so far from the end on this project though. 36 squares is far too many for a four colour square.

I didn’t get a run in which was on the list today after what feels like a long hiatus, but is in fact only a few weeks. I woke up with a crick in my neck and it’s been painful all day but I’m pretty set to pick it up tomorrow. I’m a bit nervous that my knee might start niggling again, but I guess I just have to take that first step again. Anyway, that time again, time for pick up….

 

Crochet

Another crochet blanket

11th March 2017

As usual – pretty shocking at updating the blog that’s supposed to chart my creative pursuits.

However – here’s some pictures of the new crochet blanket I hooked up after the Brighton Half. It’s made with the Henry pattern in style craft special dk. I cast on… (do you cast on in crochet? Doesn’t sound quite right…) just after I ran, hoping to be at least slightly productive in my race convalescence. Here’s the thing, post run I felt deflated, run down, flat, unhappy, sore, done in <insert any other potential negativity here> I sat on the sofa for two days swapping an ice pack with a hot water bottle interchangeably on my knee. I was bloody grumpy, tired and really fed off I felt so sub but I stitched this super dense make EVERY day. I’d never even stitched herringbone before in crochet although I’m completely converted now…look at that dark grey up there! but I will say it takes ALOT of time. I caught up and watched Tom Hardy in Taboo, which disappointingly I thought was completely terrible (please remember I was very grumpy, maybe it really did in fact earn its IMDB credentials… I doubt it, but should I in future cross paths with TH [God willing] I want it also on record I wasn’t in the best frame of mind throughout viewing). I also finally paid out and got physio on the knee. I will confirm it hurt.

Anyway, the blanket is done. And I’m also potentially out of a bad mood I’ve felt for two weeks. Probably helped by the fact the knee isn’t hurting so much anymore, I’ve been weighing up my total lack of good attitude with some real life awful new stories. It’s actually made me feel worse that I feel so flat when I’m aware enough to understand and appreciate there is so much MORE going on at this particular moment in history. I’ve ripped out the stories that highlighted my inability to find proper perspective and folded them in a pile to keep and bear witness to, but be that as it may, I still wasn’t feeling it yesterday, not enough to stick these photos up. I think it’s all tied up with not having been out for a run since the half, my energy has sunk big time. On the up, I walked the dog today and didn’t come back with a weird gait, so game on, it feels like the tide’s changing.

 

I’m hitting the gym this week to get started on making my knee and my apparently very weak glutes strong enough to hold my body up running. I’m absolutely determined to run the ‘ultra’ in May – while I can make stuff sitting on the sofa whilst feeling this flat, I feel like parts of my life, namely my interior self, fall apart without the running. Of course I could have yoga’d and I’ve walked through the discomfort but they don’t compare with running. Running is the thing for me. Even if it’s relatively unimpressive ‘mum’ running. I’m missing it. It’s underpinned so many of the good systems I’ve put in place this year and got me out, when I would otherwise stay in. And a disclaimer so we’re all in the loop :: the return to drinking. It’s been a necessary evil. That 20.17 intention has been sent flying.

Crochet

Babette blanket update

1st March 2017

Photograph of the babette crochet blanket I made

When I began this blanket at the end of November I was hoping to add one square per evening. This was my background daily project that would grow slowly and on days where it was difficult to fit in crochet be the thing I would at least be getting further with.

As it turned out, with December being as busy as it usually is, this didn’t quite happen. The larger squares can take around half an hour to finish and that sometimes just doesn’t fit at the end of the day. At least two out of seven evenings in the week I generally don’t get anywhere near any kind of evening routine. However I have been plugging away at this. I can usually find at least ten minutes to work on a piece of the puzzle, even if it doesn’t get completed and attached. I love the way that it has come together and the way it lies and gets slowly more substantial.

Image of unfinished afghan babette crochet blanket

There are still around 50 individual squares to work up to get it complete, currently I lay it out on my bed in my room every morning when I make the bed and then pick a colour to add and work up a square in the evening but it won’t be long before I’m picking up the whole piece and taking it down to the sofa to work on a mismatched finishing border to bring it all together.

It’s made me want to work on another for all my scraps where every round is at least one colour. That would take a phenomenal amount of time and the idea of all the ends to weave in is slightly daunting but I’ve added it to the potential project list. For now, this looks like it will be the first big project of 2017 to get finished, a really fantastic way to work through ALOT of yarn.

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

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

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!