Blanket for Reuben

Some very good friends of ours recently had their first child, a son named Reuben, and this is the blanket I made for him:

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It's a very traditional granny square crochet blanket, I love these because I can take a ball of wool and a hook with me to anywhere and just make another square or two when nothing else is happening, but I never have to carry around the full project until I'm assembling it right at the end. The border is one round of trebles and another of double crochet - as simple as anything!

Two-Strand Crochet Ripple

If you're reading my main blog feed, this post may take you by surprise - however at one time I enjoyed crafting and blogged about it often. Recently I've been finding more time for this, helped by the inspiring news of pregnant friends, so hopefully this is the first in a resurgence of craft-related articles. There are category-specific feeds if you'd rather only read the tech and/or php content.

So, I crocheted a blanket for my friend's baby (welcome, Benjamin!)

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Cobweb Wrap

After around 15 months of ongoing work, I've finally finished my cobweb wrap which I initially started (original blog post here, complete with links to yarn sources) to make a good travel project. Well it was certainly that - small and lightweight, I took it on three transatlantic trips all told and am now so attached to it that I'm not sure when I'll wear it!

For once I (loosely) followed a pattern to make something, which is pretty unusual for me. Another unusual feature of this project is that it is actually for me, I mostly make things for other people, not sure why! The pattern is the "Beaded Cobweb Wrap" from Erika Knight's Essential Crochet, I have a few of her books and love them. This was a brilliant project, it was tiny to pack and with a 6mm hook it grew despite having rows as long as I am tall! Here's a couple of pictures of the finished product (thanks Kevin for photographing me):

And to show off the beads:

Stash-Busting Striped Ripple Crochet Baby Blanket

For a few month I've been working on a handmade blanket for a baby expected by a couple of my friends - and I've finally been to visit and deliver it so here's some details of the project. (OK so baby Ethan is about a month old and I only just made it round but, meh, life's been busy! On the plus side, he's big enough to be alert and kick about on his mat and look at us so that was really cute!!)

Its a basic ripple pattern, I have the 7 Day Afghans book and I reduced one of the patterns in there to baby-size with fewer repeats. It was a 6ml hook and the wool was taken entirely from my existing stash, basically it was a stripe or two of each of the DK weight wool I had lying around. So it's colourful, and it helped make space in my life for more wool, and it was very inexpensive (i.e. free!), so on the whole the perfect project. Here's the finished article:

Ethan's Blanket

And a close-up of those ripples:

Ethan's Blanket closeup

I've made a round ripple before but never a straight one, although I kept looking at patterns for them. When I heard about Deb's pregnancy, I knew this was exactly the blanket I wanted to make! So, welcome Ethan, and good health to all the family.

Replacement Love-Knot Wrap

A few years ago, when my little sister turned 21, I made her a crochet love-knot wrap. She's used it (as a warm scarf) since then but recently lost it moving between multiple different places in the French Alps while working as a nanny for a hotel chain. So I made her a new one:
Caitlin Modelling her Scarf
Its the same design as before, using a "love knot" or "Solomon's knot" stitch to create an airy web of a wrap that can be worn either over the shoulders or bundled into a scarf as shown. I used a cotton tape yarn since she's just about to leave again to go and work in Portugal so woolly wouldn't be a good choice, this yarn used to be a cardigan I bought but it had daft sleeves so I unravelled them but never did anything better.

The scarf laid out and a closeup of the beads:
Scarf Scarf Closeup
Here's hoping she hangs onto this one at least as long as she managed for the last - safe travels, little one!

Home Made Yarn Swift

Some time ago I started a project, using laceweight mohair, which I blogged about. Its take 6 months to finish the first skein, which was wound into a ball by friends, and now I'm ready for the next one. I've been chasing around trying to find a wool winder I can borrow and also considering using a nostepinne but at 400 yards of yarn in a skein, I'd be there for some time doing that.

To cut a long story short, my boyfriend ordered me a surprise wool winder so I was off to a flying start - but I don't have a swift (and I don't plan on winding wool often enough to justify buying one as they aren't cheap). So I googled and found this home-made swift on instructables - and decided I could make my own. Our lazy susan (5 quid from Ikea) is wooden so I didn't really want to tape onto it, so instead I found a spare piece of MDF and clamped it to the lazy susan. With two coat hangers cable-clipped to the MDF, I was all set.

Ball Winder Yarn Swift Assembled

Making a yarn ball

It actually worked really really well, I had the two remaining skeins wound into balls in no time at all and I can carry on with my project, which is growing, if slowly! Look, I think I'm half way there:

Cobweb Wrap

Granny's Christmas Blanket

It was a long time coming but I finally finished the blanket I was making for my granny - and in time for Christmas as well (well, almost. The border didn't get finished until Christmas Day but I didn't see my folks til Boxing Day anyway!). She was suitably surprised and impressed, here she is with the blanket:

Granny and Blanket

Actually Grandpa looks more impressed in this photo ... or maybe he was trying to hide until the blanket?

The pattern was rotationally symmetrical in terms of which pattern block went where, and the colours ran from purple in one corner to green diagonally opposite with pink and cream as accompaniments. I could have been braver with the colour placing, but, you live and learn. Here's a photo of the blanket (without its border, I couldn't photograph it with the border as there simply wasn't enough floor space once Christmas hit), and a little closeup:

Blanket - Almost Done

Blanket - Closeup

The squares are all from the "200 Crochet Blocks" book - granny square, corner granny, shell lace and willow.

Crochet Tutorial: Next Steps

If you've been following the previous entries in this series, you'll have seen how to start to crochet, and if you've followed the instructions you should be able to add another couple of rounds onto your project and end up with something that looks like this:

granny square

There are a number of things you can do with these little squares. They're a very traditional form of crochet (and a really good way of using up odds and ends), you can see the kind of thing I mean if you search for "granny square" on flickr. When I was first learning to crochet I made myself a coding blanket that I still love!

granny squares blanket

Crochet doesn't have to be square and it doesn't have to be traditional - I've seen everything from the subversive (crochet covers on parking meters) to the cute (amigurumi). I'm currently working on (currently in the sense that I've begun and I haven't finished yet, rather than it being truly ongoing) a set of hexagonal string coasters. The idea is that they will tesselate and form either a big placemat to put hot pots on or several smaller cup-sized coasters. They're not radical, but they're not really your traditional granny square either!

granny hexagon string coasters

I'm sure there are many more uses of crochet in general and granny squares in particular - answers in the comments please :)

Crochet Tutorial: Granny Square Round 2

Here's the last in the crochet tutorial series, showing how to fit a second round of granny square onto the existing "granny's daughter" that we made previously. I'll have to take some photos of stuff I've done with this pattern to give you some ideas of what can actually be made from this very simple pattern piece. Anyway, enough waffle, here's the video:

If you get this far - definitely let me know :)

Laceweight Purple Mohair

I am a habitual chunky-yarn knitter. I will go all the way down to double knit weight, but beyond that I find life is too short to bother :) The upshot of this is that my projects get very big very quickly. I have a few trips coming up where I have long flights, and basically with an 18 hour travel time, I can knit about one hand-lugged-sized quantity of wool!! So I've been looking for something more portable to take as my project.

I've got this laceweight mohair from http://www.thenaturaldyestudio.com/ and its absolutely gorgeous. The pattern calls for Rohan Kidsilk Haze, which I know is lovely but it really is quite pricey.

laceweight mohair laceweight mohair - in a ball

One of the skeins (I have three!) was wound into a ball by friends when I took it to the knitting group, its 400 yards per skein so I can't imagine I'm going to manage to crochet all that while I'm away.

The pattern is "Beaded Cobweb Wrap" from Erica Knight's Essential Crochet, uses a 6mm hook so the pattern is more space than yarn anyway, and it looks quite easy once you've done the cast on - its crocheted longways, so there's a mad long chain that you have to hook into to start with, something I always struggle with. I've been assured it'll look like chewed string until I block it and that I should just carry on regardless - I'll let you know how I get on :)