Waiting around

In recent weeks I’ve spent a lot of time sitting in waiting rooms and it’s an activity that looks likely to be part of my life for a while yet…. next up is another trip to see a dentist (my fourth in the past month and not my last). I started off taking my Leftie shawl, but there are various colours to contend with and I took the wrong balls the week before last and so was unable to knit whilst waiting for the car to have its MOT, plus it’s getting a bit big. I, therefore, decided to start work on some simple granny squares to make into a blanket for charity… these have the added benefit that, even when you have toothache, you have the mental capacity to make them.

I had a big cone of dark green yarn that was given to me a few years ago specifically to make items for charity and this seemed ideal for my purpose. In fact, I’m enjoying making simple squares so much, that I’ve done very little work on anything else for the past couple of weeks. Indeed, I have so many now, I’ve started to join them together, using some other donated yarn:

I’m planning to make this into a good big blanket to keep someone really warm – the wool is a bit rough at the moment, but its softening as I work it and I’ll give it a wash once its finished.

So, what projects do you take with you when you have a lot of waiting to do?

A million ends later

The play mat is out…IMGP6712

… which can only mean one thing: I have a finished item to block:

IMGP6703

a bit wrinkly 

You may have been wondering why you haven’t seen the optical illusion blanket until now…

IMGP6731

a mitred square

Well, first it took ages to join the squares together invisibly, including running out of blue wool and having to search my stash for some that was close enough not to show. Joining the squares involved putting together one edge that was a single colour against another edge comprising different lengths of the two other colours. The pattern suggested crocheting the join using the colour that formed to one long edge. I tried this, but it meant that the join was visible, because this colour was on the square that had a nice even edge, whilst the  adjacent edge in two colours was made up of the side of the stitches, which are much more difficult to join neatly and invisibly. This problem of joining two edges that don’t have stitches oriented the same way is because each square is mitred, working outwards from one corner, making ever-bigger squares. Anyway, the neatest way turned out to be to use two colours to join every pair of edges – resulting in many, many, many ends to weave in.

Once all the squares were in one piece I added a border of a few rounds using yarn that I already had in my stash, thus limiting my colour choice. Finally, I was able to embark on weaving in all those ends. I went at it evening after evening, only finally finishing yesterday… just in time for the wet weather to arrive and scupper my plans to block this blanket outdoors. So, the mat is laid out in the limery; I pinned the blanket out under the watchful gaze of Daisy – who thoroughly approves of this creation (she doesn’t realise it’s destined to go to Reading with Mr Snail).

 

All an illusion

Somehow there has been much more doing than writing going on at Chez Snail in recent weeks Having completely failed to manage a scrappy project in time for the March ScrapHappy, I am determined now to do better in the coming month. I’ve been busy with some scrap-based things, but I’m saving posting about those so I don’t miss another SH on the 15th. I have completed the crochet for the sofa seat covers, but I’m dithering slightly about the finishing as I have a choice to make about the backing… I think I know what I’m going to do, but I don’t want to post about that until it’s complete.

Much of my time, however, has been taken up with a blanket that I’ve had the pattern for since last summer, but hadn’t quite got round to doing anything with. Originally I was going to make this for Mr Snail to take to Reading whilst he’s working away, but then I decided to make him a snuggly hexie blanket from scraps first. However, having discovered that he’s got two sofas in his rented flat, it seemed appropriate to make him a second blanket. The squares are now all finished, and probably don’t look very promising at first glance:

Dull squares

However, when laid out, look a bit more interesting:

some depth

I rather like how different this design is from most crochet patterns – the simplicity and the optical illusion were very appealing to me, and it will look even better once the squares are joined and edged. The Pattern is Cubine by Magdalene Lee and you can find it on Ravelry. The wool is aran weight and all British: the brown is natural Zwartbles produced by my friend Val; the blue is from Woolyknit; and the cream is from New Lanark.

ScrapHappy November 2018

Finally the blanket from the scraps left over from Sophie is finished (originally featured in ScrapHappy September). Actually, it also includes some other scraps and a few new balls just to get it up to size, along with some of the abundant Cambrian Mountains wool that I had squirreled away and which was perfect to frame the blanket.

As you can see, it’s got cute bobbles on the end edges and is currently being road bed tested by Sam and Daisy (it turns out that Daisy LOVES wool). Here they are modeling it along with the original Sophie:

The pattern suggested just joining the hexagons at the corners, and this is what I originally did, But I wasn’t happy with how loose this made the blanket, so I have crocheted each row of hexagons together, leaving only the adjacent hexagons in each row unattached. This gives it more strength and means it’s less likely to get accidentally damaged because of something getting caught through one of the many gaps.

There were about a million ends to weave in, but I have plans for all the little left-over bits… watch this space.

IMGP6121

just a few ends

And now it’s off to Reading to make Mr Snail’s flat feel a bit more like home and provide a virtual hug from me when he’s there all on his own.

-oOo-

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) ScrapHappy posts by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month… do check them out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ScrapHappy September 2018

You may remember Sophie… which took up quite a bit of my time last year:

I bought new wool to make her, but there was rather a lot left over: perfect for a ScrapHappy project. So, with Mr Snail living away from home during the week (more on that in a future post) and him commenting that the flat he’s renting doesn’t entirely feel like home, I decided that a snuggly sofa blanket was needed. It’s not finished yet, but this is progress so far.

As well as the left-overs from Sophie there are a few balls from my stash. It’s all wool (with the exception of a tiny bit of silk in on blend) and almost all British; any that isn’t is old balls that I have no idea anymore of the origin. I’m planning to work on it until I have used up as much of the wool as possible and then edge it in the cream wool (Cambrian Mountains), of which I have quite a lot left on the cone I bought to make Sophie.

I think it will make Mr Snail’s flat feel a bit more like home and keep him warm on those cold winter nights… if I can just get it finished!

-oOo-

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) ScrapHappy posts by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month… do check them out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No goals for 2018

IMGP4916

Mr Snail’s Wellie socks #2

This time last year I was just getting going with 17 for 2017 – a list of goals for the year. This year I’m having a goal-free year, but if I was ticking off last years list I’d be doing well – I’ve knitted a pair of socks, baked a couple of batches of biscuits, darned three pairs of socks and repaired the pocket of a pair of jeans. I’ve even managed to play a game of Scrabble – something that proved impossible to do when it was a ‘goal’ but easy when it’s just what we fancied doing!

A friend of mine mentioned today that her word for the year 2018 is ‘creativity’ and I think I’d like my year to be especially creative too. Since completing Sophie I haven’t done much crochet, but my knitting needles have been busy… not only the socks but good progress on the jumper with lacy side panels:

I’ve also started reviewing my WIPs. There are five main ones: the sofa cover, two lap blankets, a cardigan and the Beekeeper’s quilt. So far, I’ve looked at two of these. The sofa cover piece is currently 74 cm x the width of the sofa (the white measure in the photograph is 100cm long). This piece is destined to be draped over the back of the sofa… I just need to bite the bullet and finish it and then I can start on the two seat cushion covers, which will be much more interesting (NB the main cushion covers were finished two or three years ago).

IMGP4937

oh, those long rows!

And then there’s this lovely lap blanket, which I ran out of steam with.IMGP4938 Once I pick it up again I know I’ll enjoy making it and I have someone in mind to give it to. The centre is made from yarn that was given to me, but the edging is all scraps.

So, no goals for 2018, but plenty to get on with!

Planning a cover-up

As you may know, I am currently working on a very large crochet project, namely a sofa cover. I won’t say that it’s progressing slowly, but it is such a big piece of work that it will inevitably take a long time. Originally I was simply intending to make covers for the five cushions that go along the back, but then I decided that it would be nice if I could actually cover the whole thing. I have, therefore, been considering what I need to do to create something that covers (at least most of) this large piece of furniture.

IMGP4266

Dull, no?

I realised that I don’t want to crochet the bit that will not be seen, i.e. the part that goes under the seat cushions. This part, however, is essential as it will anchor the main cover and, if all goes to plan, ensure that crochet hooks, yarn, needles and scissors can no longer fall into the ‘body’ of the sofa, requiring me to furtle around with a torch trying to retrieve them. So, what to use? Well, in keeping with the rest of the cover, I wanted wool, leading me to the conclusion that what I need is a blanket. A blue blanket.

I really want something second hand, and so, not wanting to embark on a tour of all the local charity shops, I decided to try ebay. I’m currently waiting to see if I win an auction for a pale blue, pure wool vintage blanket. A new version made by the same company as the one I’m bidding on would cost me over £80, but I’m hoping to get this one for less than £20 including postage. Once I have it, I’m afraid it’s going to be chopped up, but it will have a new and useful life, so that’s ok.

The other part of the sofa that I wanted to source ethically was the buttons for the cushions. I don’t want plastic ones for this project and I really didn’t feel that wood or leather would be appropriate – both because they wouldn’t look right and because they would be just too tempting for pups to chew. Oh and I didn’t want zips because Sam eats those too (hence the cushion inners you can see showing in the photo above). So, Joanna (who taught the course on paper porcelain) is going to make me 20 buttons… she has samples of the yarn and photos of some of the crochet and I have left the design up to her.

Bavarian cushion nearly finished

Bavarian cushion nearly finished

On the crochet front, I have nearly finished the second side of the Bavarian crochet cushion cover, and the ripple cushion cover just needs constructing (because of the way I’m going to do it, I need the buttons before I can progress) and I have more than half of the squares I need for the ‘granny square’ cushion. I’m not sure what design I will choose for the next cushion cover, but possibly something stripy and then one with circles, like Kerry’s squares.

All this has made me wonder what the finished sofa is going to look like. Since I now have some quite big pieces to play with, I put them together to give me an idea. This is only to provide an impression since the Bavarian crochet is for the back and front of a single cushion rather than two separate ones and the ripple piece is also for a square cushion rather than the seat, but at least it gives some idea of what the finished object might resemble… well, it’s going to be unique if nothing else!

Ta-dah!

HURRAH! In the past few days I’ve received the paperwork confirming that I have passed my Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and I’ve completed my masterpiece blanket, which illustrates my diploma journey.

I promise that I will now update the masterpiece pages here on the blog and on Pinterest. I also plan to create a more user-friendly way of looking at all the squares and reading their stories… watch this space!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the blanket – yarn, squares, support, ideas – without you all it wouldn’t have been possible.

It’s all for charity..

I felt compelled to make some bunting to decorate the cake table with

I felt compelled to make some bunting to decorate the cake table with

I did mention a little while ago that once the Masterpiece was finished, I would be moving on to another community craft project and you may have read my earlier post describing it. Basically, in order to raise funds for Denmark Farm, the educational charity that I am a trustee for, we have organised a series of ‘Cake and Craft’ events, at which we eat cake, knit and crochet. The plan is that our creations will be raffled off later in the year to raise funds. In the mean time, every few weeks, we have a wonderful, sociable get-together.

The first project is about making squares (like the ones for the masterpiece) with the intention of turning these into one or more blankets. As you can see, we are getting a good collection:

We have decided to make a traditional granny squares blanket with some of them and these are being edged in black to be stitched together soon. After that we’ll put together a more eclectic mix (more like the masterpiece) for a second blanket. We also plan to needle felt a large tree onto a cream-coloured wool blanket to make a tree of life, with appliquéd leaves, flowers, birds, bugs that have been sewn, knitted or crocheted.

Katy's hexagons

Katy’s hexagons

Then the other day I went to visit Katy the Night Owl and she donated a big pile of crochet hexagons to the project… I think these are going to be made into a baby blanket  or a lap blanket. Obviously, for a raffle, the more prizes we have the better, so I’m really hoping that there will be even more creations. in fact, I have noticed that we some squares that are bigger than 15cm/6 inches, and I’d love to use these (with additions) to produce a much more random blanket, with squares of all sorts of sizes.

If you are in the area, we’d be delighted to welcome you to any of the sessions (you can check details on our Facebook Page) and if not, we’d love donations of squares, additions to the tree of life or completed crafted items that we could include in the raffle. Is anyone up for it… I know you are all so generous!

If you come along, I can promise deliciousness!

If you come along, I can promise deliciousness!

Nearly there

The Masterpiece is nearly complete, although I could accept a couple more squares if anyone has one to send. There has been a little flurry of contributions recently and so it looks like the finished blanket is going to be 9×9. My original intention was to stitch it all together in the next couple of weeks, but I have some other work to do, so it is not going to be completed until after the middle of June (hence the leeway for extra squares). I’ve been very busy writing up my portfolio for my permaculture diploma, which explains the lack of additions to the page showing all the squares. If you have sent me one recently, I promise that it will get its own entry very soon.

In the mean time, here are the ones waiting to be incorporated:

All awaiting an edge before they go into the blanket

All awaiting an edge before they go into the blanket

There are squares here from two fellow diploma apprentices, my tutor, two old friends, one new friend and one from Mr Snail-of-Happiness, who had to learn to knit in order to contribute!

I love the variety and all the creativity that has gone into making each and every one of these.

%d bloggers like this: