Posts Tagged black sheep wools

First Major Finish of 2020 – Nature’s Walk CAL

I don’t often do CALs (crochet alongs) – or any ‘alongs’ but was very tempted by this blanket – different designs on the squares, lovely yarn, soft muted colours and a bit of a challenge.

Some of the squares were more difficult than others but I kept up with the eight squares a week right up until the sixth week.

Then came the joining – I fell behind.

Then came the border – and Christmas – I fell further behind.

However, I didn’t mind because the CAL had kept me on track with the squares and, once I’d done those, it was never going to become a UFO (unfinished object) and I’d also seen all the finished blankets in the Facebook group which inspired me to press on.

Everybody who has made this blanket seems to be thrilled with it – I am too – lots of them are going to make it again – I am not.  That beautiful border almost did for me as it seemed to go on forever.  Still, I’ve done it and it’s finished and I love it.  Here are some photos.

Here it is on the blocking mat.  I blocked the squares as I went along but blocked again at the end to help open out the border although I don’t actually think it made much difference.

The seemingly never ending border – worth it though.

Flung, stylishly over the bath in a desperate attempt to get good lighting.

The washing line photo – colours a bit bleached by the sun.

Nature's Walk on the SofaSofa Pose

I love this one with the sun behind – it shows up all the different designs. It was a happy accident because I didn’t realise, until I took it, how much the sun was shining through.  I’m not on Facebook much but did join a group for support and information during this crochet along.  I put this particular photo up on the group page as one of the others would just have looked like everybody else’s who had used the same colours.  Within minutes the likes and loves and comments came pouring in.  For a brief moment I got an idea of how it must feel for somebody to ‘go viral’ on social media.

This lovely pattern was designed by Cherry Heart and is available free – see here.

Three different yarn packs are available to buy from Black Sheep Wools  – I used the Wild Hedgerow colourway in Scheepjes Stonewashed.  If you buy the pack from BSW, the bonus squares were free during the CAL (and still are) but these have now also been released for sale should you want to vary the amount of designs used in your blanket.

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It’s Blanket Time

Around this time last month, I attempted to show you some autumn colour but it hadn’t really started turning yet here.  We’ve now had a bit of rain and it seems we have gone straight from Summer to Winter at least up on those peaks.


Time for lots of blankets so just as well I’ve finished all 48 squares for the ‘Natures Walk’ crochet along – albeit a week late

I’ve laid them all out and now it’s time to join them together  😱

The colours look a bit ‘muddy’ here because I made the mistake of laying them out in a room without much natural light  – see above photo for more accurate colours.

The rogue off-white square is there because I found the last square design given to us a complete nightmare to do and couldn’t face another one so I’ve put in my test swatch as a substitute.  I call it my ‘signature’ as it will differentiate it from all the other blankets made in this colourway and it’s also a good excuse.

Although I’ve fallen behind by a week (will soon be two) at least I’ve managed to actually get all the squares done which was the important thing as far as I was concerned.  I’m not going to rush to join them together just to keep up so it might be some time before you see the finish.

Plus there’s quite a fancy border to go round the edge which looks as if it might occupy more than a few evenings when I suppose I will be forced back into my addiction – watching Greys Anatomy on Netflix – I’m up to series 3, only 14 to go.  It’s not got any better – the lead actress is still as lachrymose as ever and her erstwhile beau is a match for her in tear production.  In fact, last night, I wondered whether watching this series is possibly bringing out the worst in me.  When our leaky heroine was dragged from the water half drowned by her wet- in both senses of the word – boyfriend and taken to hospital where they tried their utmost to revive her for over an hour and a half – I’ve never hoped so much to see a flatline.

But, what can I tell you? I’m ho😉ked

 

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Hot Crochet

Hot yoga is a style of yoga performed in hot and humid conditions.  I prefer doing the cobra and down dog in an ambient temperature so I thought I’d indulge in a bit of Hot Crochet instead – I might patent the name ; ).

I did use my yoga mat to block a blanket though – does that count?

This is the second version I’ve made of Emma Varnam’s Little River Blanket which I originally made with a lovely collection of 10g balls of Scheepjes River and Stone Washed yarn, bought as a kit from Black Sheep Wools.

It was fast and enjoyable to make so when I saw these little packs of  8 x 10g cotton yarn for 1.75 euros each in our local discount store, I thought I’d make it again.  I had some Rowan cotton yarn in my stash which I’ve had for years so used that for the ‘every 5th row’ colour and the border.

Being 100% cotton it wasn’t too uncomfortable a Summer make and I laid out all the colours I sourced in order to make the same sort of graded effect achieved in the original.

If I’m honest, the feel and texture of the Scheepjes blanket is softer and more luxurious because it has some acrylic mixed in with the cotton but the cost of the 100% cotton blanket was significantly less so…….

Here they are both together – the original Scheepjes one on the right.  I think they are both rather nice.

When I read other people’s blogs and see something I like, I tend to go off on a tangent and get enthused about a project even when I’m already knee deep in others.  So, when I read Pauline’s (aka The Contented Crafter) about large crocheted mandalas as wall art, some white metal hoops were only a few clicks away.

We have a long, blank corridor and I thought a selection of 45cm and 35cm colourful mandalas would look good against the plain wall.

Before the ends were weaved in and a light steam press.

I used Lucy at Attic 24’s pattern called ‘Positivity Mandala’ but added a couple of extra rounds to get it up to the required size for the hoops I bought. (free Mandala pattern here

As you can imagine, I have lots of cotton yarn scraps left from the stripey blankets above – you might remember I recently asked for ideas about how to use them.  The mandalas provide an excellent way of using up those 10g balls of cotton – at least in the centres.  The rest of the yarn is from the range by Paintbox DK of which I have a vast quantity having bought a huge pack of the entire colour range some time ago when it was on sale at a bargain price.

The jury – aka Mr. Tialys – is still out on whether he wants these as wall art in the corridor and, anyway, I wouldn’t have used these colours for there but I did a practise run in the bedroom where the colours go very nicely and I’ve since hung it in the entrance to my workroom.

I’ll keep you posted if I’m allowed to make any more.

Remember my crochet dogs, taken from Kerry Lord’s book?

I can’t recall whether I showed you this little chap.  He’s supposed to be an English Bull Terrier which, if I were to ever actually go to a breeder and buy a dog (which I won’t) this would be the breed I would probably choose – that or a German Shepherd (although, sadly the latter are generally two a penny in the refuges).

I found the patch a little difficult and I’m not sure whether it’s possible to blend black and white a little more efficiently than I have but I think he’s cute anyway.

My sister has a West Highland Terrier called Harvey and this is my rendition which will be posted in the next few days as a gift for her birthday.

I had never done loop stitch before so the head has been waiting to be finished until I had time to sit, hook in hand, in front of a YouTube tutorial.  I was worried I might not have made the loops long enough but she keeps him fairly well clipped anyway as she lives in Spain so I think it will be O.K.

Seems a shame to separate them really.

Right, now the yoga mat is freed up, I suppose I could do a few planks, shoulder stands and warrior poses.  On the other hand, it’s a bit too hot.

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face

Remember the super sized amigurumi dog I made from the ‘Edward’s Menagerie Dogs’ book?

Well, I’ve made her a baby.

Actually, this is the ‘standard sized’ dog – there is a smaller one which I might attempt one day although I suspect it might be a bit fiddly and, anyway, I quite like this size.

This time I didn’t take any chances with the placement and used things to mark where I wanted to put the eyes and nose.  I used a piece of felt to mark where the nose should go and then  sewed it on anyway because it looked just right to me.

I gave him some eyebrows because I love dog’s eyebrows – they make me laugh.

I also gave him a rakish grin and a pretend collar and bell so the rabbits will hear him coming.

I know I asked for advice about his Mum’s features because they are nowhere near perfect and  I was going to change them but, as Professor Higgins said, ‘I’ve grown accustomed to her face’.  She will henceforth be known as Eliza – if anybody should ask.

Anyway, I have two dogs under my belt now – things can only get better – I’m going for the English Bull Terrier next.

As you know, I recently finished the divine Eastern Jewels blanket.  I’ve worked out that I probably have enough yarn left in some of the colours to make another one with the purchase of just 5 or 6 more balls.  Hooray!

But not yet.

Firstly, I have another project up my sleeve.  I was tempted by my favourite wool shop who sent me the object of my  desire in their lovely tote bag.

The pattern is by Emma Varnam in Scheepjes River Washed and Stone Washed yarns and came as a kit.

A small photo of my instructions which came with the yarn but you can see the whole beautiful, ripply blanket on Emma’s blog here.

It’s very lovely but what really tipped me over the edge tempted me were the teeny balls of wool in their own box which, together with three 50g  balls of cream coloured Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn included in the kit, will make the blanket.

Be still my heart.

Fifty fabulous little 10g balls of wool.  Trouble is, they look so cute in their box, I don’t want to open it.  I might have to buy another one and hang it on the wall but that would be the work of a crazy woman.  Wouldn’t it?

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Knitting Needles, Crochet hooks and Dodgy Cakes

knittingneedleholderforannelaure-6

A friend of mine has just started to learn to knit and it was her birthday last week so I knew just what to make her.

knittingneedleholderforannelaure-3

I went back to the pattern in ‘Stitch and Bitch’ that I’d shrunk down to make a roll for my new crochet hooks and made a full size one for her.

knittingneedleholderforannelaure-1

I didn’t leave my gorgeous knitting needles in though – I bought her some plain ones.  I’m not that good a friend.

colour-mix-v-chain-blanket

Possibly becoming adventurous beyond my burgeoning crochet ability I bought a kit from Black Sheep Wools who kindly deliver to France at a reasonable cost.  I was tempted by those lovely colours.  The yarn is James C. Brett DK Merino.  It’s actually mostly acrylic  – well, it is for a blanket that will need washing – but there is a 10% merino content so it feels lovely and soft and is great to work with.

I was daunted by the 162 chains as I’ve never yet managed to make even a small  one without twisting it and then, getting my U.S. and U.K. terms mixed up, I did the foundation row in double treble crochet instead of treble but that is how it’s staying as I’m not re-doing that chain!   It’s a nice easy pattern and perfect for me to get used to the whole technique of crochet.

This is it so far…..

Crochet Blanket Start

….. and this is how I’m hoping it will end up.

Highland Heathers Blanket

Sara’s Highland Heather Blanket Kit – available from Black Sheep Wools here

Just in case you are thinking I’ve gone all ‘perfect’ over the weekend – think again.

It was Mlle. Tialys the Younger’s birthday on Friday and, flushed with success after making Nigella’s Madeira cake (feast your eyes here – no calories!), I had a go at her Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake (also from ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’).

Salvaged Cake

If you think this looks a little like a pig’s breakfast, then you should see how it looked half an hour after it came out of the oven.

And you shall –

Nigella says the cake is so dense and damp it will sink a little when it comes out of the oven.

Burnt Cake

 I don’t think she meant quite this much  😦

Some days I’m more of a domestic goddess than others.

I broke a few pieces off around the outside and it actually tasted good so I chopped it up into brownie sized damp, dense pieces and arranged them on a plate, sprinkled them with icing sugar and, because I couldn’t find the birthday candles, stuck a fancy straw in the top.  Luckily my daughter is easily pleased especially when chocolate is involved.  How fortunate was my friend who got a hand made knitting needle roll instead of a cake.

I Googled the recipe expecting to find loads of other, similar disasters but I didn’t.  So, it’s just me then.

I know I have a follower who happens to be a baker and, if he’s managed to get past the knitting and crochet, perhaps he will have an idea of what went wrong.  I think it was because I’m a lazy cow and, instead of creaming butter and sugar together by hand and adding the rest of the ingredients gradually, I did the whole thing in a stand mixer – although stage by stage and fairly gradually – so I might have beat too much air in.

Anyway, Sunday night we heated it up and had it with cream and it made a really nice dense, damp, chocolate pudding 🙂

 

 

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