I first learned to crochet in my teens – quite a long time ago now… But like many people, even thought I really enjoyed it, my hook got put down as I finished my education, started work, started a family and then spent many years building up my medical writing business. It wasn’t until just over three years ago that I picked it up again.
This was quite a while before I started my blog and before I started to take pictures of anything and everything that sits still long enough. So, very sadly (ha ha), my first revision granny squares and trial crochet flowers are now long lost.
After doing quite a bit of practicing to get back into the stitches that I had known so well and discovering that crochet had become very trendy while I had been away from it, I discovered that there was quite a lot of crochet on the internet.
As part of my day job I do a lot of research on the internet and I manage websites for medical clients. I’d also watched jewellery tutorials and enjoyed browsing crafty bits and pieces. But, because I didn’t use any yarn, it had never occurred to me that you could buy it online so my early efforts were made with odd bits picked up from shops like Wilkinsons and Boyes. The free yarn that came with a magazine was also well used.
One day, about this time two years ago, I decided that I was going to crochet a blanket. I felt this was a bit adventurous and that I would need some yarn so I did a bit of a search and found not only several online yarn retailers, but also the Attic24 blog with a pattern for a blanket suitable for beginners – the granny stripe blanket.
That was the first pattern I used and Stylecraft Special DK was my first yarn order. Always one to jump in to things like this with both feet, I also chose my own colours – mainly to match the cushions I had in the lounge.
I made quite a few mistakes, rows had to be pulled out and done again, the edge was all over the place at times but, after about two months of doing a bit now and again, I had my own granny stripe blanket. This was early in 2014 and I was only starting to think about blogging then, so it was June, almost six months later, when I first took pictures of this milestone achievement.
The pictures below were taken last week – I did a repost of the photo to Facebook because I’ve started working on another granny stripe as part of the Attic24 Sunny CAL. I was amazed that it got loads of comments and people were asking for the colours I used. So, as promised, I’m listing them here (see further down).
Just before that though, one thing I want to mention is that this yarn stands up to some rough treatment. This blanket has been in the garden, on holiday, draped over my feet in winter as I crochet and has been washed several times. The colours still look as good as the day it was finished and its not suffered any apparent wear or tear. This is more likely down to the robust qualities of the yarn than my crochet skill, which was a bit rusty at the time.
Granny stripe blanket colours
Aster, fiesta (the very bright pink), cream, parchment, fondant, meadow, lipstick, matador, candyfloss, turquoise, cloud blue, pale rose, raspberry, saffron and soft peach.
I can’t remember now how many chains I started with but the blanket measures 6ft by 4ft and fits on a single bed with the stripes running top to bottom. When I’ve had it on my bed I’ve used it as a bright bed runner and it first perfectly on the back of a 3-seater IKEA sofa.
When I look at it now, I realise how much I’ve worked on my crochet and how its improved but I still love this blanket. I’m more into making bags and have developed a strong interest in garment making but a crochet blanket is an amazing achievement. Last year I made the Attic24 cosy blanket and this year I’m making the granny stripe and the log cabin blanket, but both with variations.
My granny stripe this time will just be a lap blanket so I’ve started with 143 chains and it measures 90cm wide. I will stop striping when its 90cm deep then add a border to make it about 110cm square. Its a nice relaxing and colourful project.
I was intending to make the log cabin square into a bag. I know I haven’t got the time to make the entire log cabin blanket at the moment, but I think its going to look fantastic. The bag idea has bit the buffers a bit.
When I looked at how it was going to look as a fat bottomed bag, there were a few problems. The main one was the the lovely sunny square would be on the bag bottom, so hidden, leaving just stripes on the front and back. Maybe make the square bigger, I thought, but the problems remained. After posting a progress pic on Instagram and commenting that it was getting so big, it could become a lap blanket, several people commented that I should carry on and that it would be fab as a lap blanket.
I had to agree, so I’m adding strips of colour around the log cabin square and just making it bigger and bigger. I’ll stop when its about 110cm again, and add a simple border.
That’s what I really love about crochet – your projects can start out as one thing and then evolve and develop and you can change your plans. I can’t imagine doing that with knitting or sewing, but then I am really not very good at either!
An appointment with Stylecraft
This week will be an exciting week for me as I’m driving over to Keighley on Tuesday to the Stylecraft mill for a tour and to meet the people there. They were very enthusiastic about doing some more projects with me after I took part in the Stylecraft blog tour at the end of September. I made the rainbow tote bag with their Limited Edition pack.
As well as the 70+ colours in Special DK acrylic and 30 colours in Special Chunky, they do loads of other yarns too, including many pure merino wools, available from Yarn Stories. It should be an interesting visit and I hope to find out more about their other products.
Watch this space because I’ll be reporting back hopefully!