The long haul

I first started making a cover for my sofa more than four years ago. My interest in the project has fluctuated over that time, but I have always been determined to get there  eventually. I don’t think I’ve updated you on progress for a while, so I here’s what I’ve achieved recently:

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seat cover

This was photographed draped over the sofa (and you can see bits of the back cushions) as it still needs the edging that will allow it to be fitted over the seat. Once it’s done, I will need to think about covering the arms and making a piece to go across the front of the base… perhaps it will be done in another three years!

What I am really delighted about is how hard-wearing the cushions that I made first have been – no pilling, no sagging and the colours have not faded. The wool comes from New Lanark and I can highly recommend it for this sort of project, as well as for warm sweaters.

No goals for 2018

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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).

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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!

A ticklish problem

Do you remember my sofa? You know, the one that I decided to make new covers for… by crocheting them:

crochet cushion covers

crochet cushion covers

Well, I’ve noticed a problem recently… crochet cushion covers aren’t feather-proof. Yes, yes, I know it sounds obvious, but it wasn’t something that I had thought would be an issue, because I assumed that the cushion inners would not leak feathers. How wrong I was. We have feathery dogs, feathery clothes, a feathery carpet… It was bad enough that the chickens were moulting, without the sofa joining in too!

Sam - devourer of zips

Sam – devourer of zips

So, this weekend I decided to do something about it. The only things wrong with the original (feather-proof) plain covers were some fading and the fact that Sam had eaten the zips. Yes, that’s right, we have a dog that eats zip fasteners… you get used to always hanging your waterproof coat up, but it’s reasonably difficult to ensure that cushions are always out of reach of a determined pup. Anyway, on reflection, I decided that the old covers could be used as an extra layer under the new crochet ones. The fading wouldn’t matter and they wouldn’t need zips because they wouldn’t need to be removable.

My new weapon

My new weapon

The only thing I needed to make the job easier was a stitch-ripper so that I could take the zips out fairly quickly. An investment of £2 yielded one of these and I spent a couple of hours yesterday extracting the chewed zips. I only managed to stab myself once, and I didn’t draw much blood. The covers were washed overnight and are drying now… so I should soon have cushions that don’t moult!

Whilst I was in a mood for taking things apart yesterday, I also frogged the Portland wool neck-warmer. Now I need to decide on a nice simple, loose crochet stitch to use with this yarn. Any suggestions most welcome.

And now, as the rain and hail alternate outside, I’m going to settle down with a big mug of tea, some biscuits and my knitting and watch a dvd… what a glorious way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Sofa so good

National Recycle Week – Day 6

If we are to believe the advertising, we would all be buying a new sofa in time for Christmas, or the summer holidays or Easter… Easter, for goodness sake? Well, no, really the companies who make and sell sofas would like us to buy a new sofa for all these occasions, but real people don’t. Real people can’t afford to. And real people often like their familiar, comfy furniture and don’t want to replace it. However, we might like a change of colour or to sort out damage, maybe even to replace squished cushions… or covers that a certain dog has decided to eat the zips off… yes, Sam, I’m talking about you:

DO NOT believe that look of innocence

DO NOT believe that look of innocence

When we last left my sofa, the five back cushions had nice new covers and I had bought a secondhand pure wool blanket to put over the seat cushions and anchor them in place. This latter solution was going to be a temporary fix, but actually it works so well, that it might remain a permanent feature:

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Five cushions and a blanket

And so things had remained. But in this week of recycling, upcycling, mending and generally making things last longer, I have been inspired to pick up my crochet hook again for the next stage of this project – namely a cover for the back of the sofa.

I wanted to make something simple, but with the same yarn colours, so I’ve decided on a striped blanket alternating two rows of even treble stitches with two rows of trebles in clusters of three (like a traditional granny square). This design is Lucy’s ‘Cosy Stripe Blanket‘ over at Attic 24, although I’ve had to make it 1/3 wider than in her original pattern. The increased width means I’m working across 264 stitches, which is a long way to crochet back and forth and means that I’ve only managed three stripes so far:

A long way to go yet!

A long way to go yet!

However it’s easy and doesn’t require much thought, so is perfect to do whilst watching a film. If I’m honest, I’m pretty sure that I could have bought a whole new sofa for the same cost as all the yarn I’m going to need, but where would be the fun in that? In addition, I am trying to make the parts of the cover such that they can be used for other purposes when the main body of the sofa finally gives up the ghost.

Maybe in another year we will have a completely revamped sofa, but at least now there are no exposed zips for Sam to consume. There is never going to be another sofa like it.

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