Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Little squares of Happy :-)

Hello there!
Are you enjoying these warm sunny days we've been blessed with here in the UK? Or do you live in a part of the world where the weather is behaving very differently at the moment? Through our shared passions the internet makes it so easy to connect with folks from all around our beautiful planet! It also brings us more inspiration & future projects than we can possibly complete in one lifetime - but I'm not complaining really! :-)
I have long admired the Elmer style crochet blankets by talented ladies such as Heather at Little Tin BirdJacquie at Bunny Mummy, and Lucy at Attic24 so when my son & daughter-in-law told us they are expecting baby number two at the end of the year I knew exactly what kind of blanket I wanted to make for this new arrival! In the end I decided I really loved Lucy's one best of all & (unusually for me) really didn't want to change anything about it. After finishing the Minecraft amis I ordered all the colors that Lucy used that I didn't already have upstairs (!) and waited eagerly for them to arrive. I wasn't disappointed! Once I gathered all twenty three colors together what a lovely rainbow appeared on my couch!
I couldn't wait to get started! I picked up my trusty 4mm hook & worked up some granny squares...
I made a bunch but something just didn't feel right... I couldn't put my finger on it...Now Lucy's blanket is not a baby blanket, it measures 130cm by 130cm ( just over 51" each way) so I was going to have to miss out a lot of squares to make it baby blanket sized. Once I had worked up these nine squares I realised that instead of 144 squares my blanket would need just 81, which with a palette of 23 colors that was not going to give me anything like the same effect as Lucy's blanket. Which I loved. Hmmm.... Then one night about 1am it hit me. What about smaller squares???? I couldn't wait to try it out, so I got up, went downstairs, & worked up these...
 
Two little three round granny squares - how cute are they?!!!! See how much smaller they are than the five round grannies?
I did some quick calculations & worked out that if I used these little cuties I could make all 144 of them & by the time I added a border the blanket would be perfect baby sized!!! So that decided it. I went back to bed with a clear plan in my head to get up the next morning & rip those five round grannies back to three. Because I had used the Join as you Go method on my squares it didn't take me long to sort them out, and before I knew it I had two complete rows...
...then three... 
.... then more! 
These little squares were multiplying very happily and I was having oh-so-much fun! 
Truth to tell I got a bit addicted ;-) 
It was a bit like reading a really good book, you want to make it last but you just can't put it down! I worked the last two squares up in the car on the way to the beach last Thursday, here's a pic of it lying on the sand in the sunshine...
144 little squares of Happy :-) While my grandson built sandcastles with Grampa I made a start on the border. There is something very satisfying about hooking away to the sound of the waves, watching a two year old engrossed in building & demolishing sandcastles! A bit later we all went down to the water for a paddle, then after our picnic it was back to the sandcastles & the crochet. It was a truly lovely day :-)
I wanted to keep the border in proportion to the smaller size of the squares so where Lucy worked ten rounds of grannies I worked six. I really liked the spotty border Lucy had on hers but couldn't find instructions for it on her blog so I had a little play & came up with this...
What do you think? I took pics as I went along so I will try & get a little tutorial written up for anyone who's interested. 
So would you like to see the finished blanket? Well it's on the blocking mats right now but here it is before blocking... 
I absolutely loved making this! I adore these little granny squares so much that I have decided to make a bigger blanket like this for our bed. I haven't worked out how many squares that will need as I have a few other things that need my attention first, but watch this space! 
Thank you for visiting here today, I hope you have the chance to enjoy doing something fun this week! 









Saturday, 12 July 2014

If you go down to the woods today...

Hello there!
Today I have some new creatures to share with you! A little while ago a friend asked me if I could make two characters for her children from the computer game Minecraft. These characters are blocky pixelated baddies which might make them brilliant to recreate in Lego but as an ami? Not so much! Regular fluffy toy stuffing wants to go round, curvy, squishy, not flat & boxy! I had a little hunt online and found a pattern here by Hats All Folks. This pattern uses rectangular kitchen sponges cut to size to stuff the amis with, other patterns I have seen use plastic canvas which might make the sides even flatter but probably wouldn't be as cuddly? I decided to try the Creeper first & the sponges seemed to work pretty well! Would you like to see?

My kids (who have played Minecraft and know these creatures) said this was a pretty accurate Creeper so mission accomplished! He was fairly straightforward to work up, I used a worsted weight/ aran yarn and my trusty F/ 3.75mm hook and he turned out 7" tall.
So now for the second character, the Enderman. From the pictures I knew he was meant to be a lot taller than the Creeper, but I hadn't reckoned on him taking more than one 100g ball of yarn! I had picked Stylecraft Special Aran (which is 100% acrylic) and was really happy with the way it worked up, I will definitely use this for more amis in the future. I had hoped to finish him within a few days but when the yarn ran out I had to place an order online & then wait for it to arrive. Once I was restocked I was able to finish his limbs off & sew him all together....
BOO!
I told you they were scary ;-) 
But it didn't take long for them to become friends...
While I was waiting for the black yarn to arrive I made a start on another ami. I adapted Stacey's brilliant unicorn pattern (available here) to make a Miles! Who is Miles I hear you ask? He is the mascot of the NFL team Denver Broncos so I made him with team colors & worked his body & limbs to look like he's wearing a football strip...
...complete with embroidered numbers on the front...
Later in the year he will be going on a trip with Hubbie & me to meet his forever owner ;-)
Thank you for visiting with me today, next time I will have a new blanket addiction to share with you!
Until then I hope you have a lovely week full of things which make you smile :-)





Saturday, 5 July 2014

Two big yarny finishes!

Hello there!
Two posts in two days? What is going on here?! Well today I am rather excited to share two finishes with you that, in one way or another, have seemed a long time coming. Neither of them needed to hit an immediate deadline so it was just fine for them to take a while, but now they are done it does make them seem like bigger finishes somehow? Does that make any kind of sense?! Well the first of these is a knitting project - a certain pig would like to say hello! Yes, I finished the new Porkie!
 Back story available here if you missed it... Here he is with my original Porkie...
There are a few differences, but overall the new one is truer to the pattern (and probably closer to how my Porkie looked when new & before little me squished, cuddled, and loved on him!). I think my cousin will be happy with her Porkie when I deliver him to her later in the year...
Secondly, I finished my mixed stitch stripey blanket!!!
HaPpY DaNcE!!!
This began back here and here and at the start I kept a note of what stitch I used row by row but that kinda fell by the wayside as I got further into it! All the yarn details and a very rough outline of what I did can be found here on my Ravelry page if you're curious. There are much better pattern notes available on this blog and also here (which are what I used as a starting point). 
So would you like to see it? At the point where I had finished the main body of it but before I added the casing edge I spread it all out to take pictures and look what happened!
Somebody came along, lay down on it, & rolled herself up in it! 
So as you can see it ended up being about the length of my daughter... when I managed to evict her and spread it all out again it looked like this...
See all those ends? That is why I decided to try the casing edge as detailed at the end of Julie's post at Little Woolie - anything to save sewing all of them in! Well it was fairly quick & simple to hook up &, with all those ends hidden in the middle, the chunkiness of the finished edge reminds me of stuffed crust pizza - yum! I will let you know if there are any problems when I come to wash it, but as long as it wears ok then I will definitely being using this method on stripey blankets in the future!!!  It ended up measuring approximately 65" by 45" and here's a pic of the finished blanket with it's stuffed raspberry edge...
Of course I have already picked out a new blanket to work on - more details to follow! ;-)
Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend!


Thursday, 3 July 2014

A little round up

Hello there!
Today I thought I share with you a bunch of projects that I have been working on recently. Although I have really cut down on the number of handmade cards I make & send this year I haven't stopped completely! Here is one that I made for my cousins' daughter who graduated high school in Hawaii this summer. This young lady has a very bright future ahead of her I think so this seemed rather apt...
I used my Pazzle to cut out the letters and a fine black marker to do the mock stitching around each one. The wooden butterfly buttons have been in my stash for a while now, I really love them!
The next card was requested by my daughter for one of her good friends. Some of you will recognise it as closely resembling the front of the book "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. My daughter & some of her friends are pretty much addicted to anything he writes & have eagerly been anticipating the release of the film version of this book so this went down a storm!
At the beginning of June I finally had my first GON block in treatment of my migraines (I'm not going to go into details here but you can Google "GON block" if more details would be of interest to you). It hasn't got rid of all my headaches but it has certainly cut down the frequency of them which has been wonderful! I actually felt well enough to pick up some cross stitch again for the first time in ages and, as Hubbie's birthday is in the middle of June, I decided to stitch him a Somebunny to Love card. This little design was a free cover kit on one of the stitchy mags earlier in the year & as soon as I saw it I knew what I wanted to do with it but I had pretty much given up hope of realising it this year. Well thanks to the GON block I got it finished with a few days to spare... 
The kit included the paper mount to fit the stitched part into & in my stash I found apricot card stock to mount this on & matching aqua card to stamp the greeting onto. The little ribbon across the bottom with love hearts on it is also from my stash. Isn't it great when you find have things that match perfectly already?! As this kit wasn't designed to be made into a card it was too wide to fit on any of the standard card sizes I had in my stash so I used a piece of thicker card in a buttery yellow to make it into an oversized card. One little note - if you have this cover kit in your stash there is a correction to the chart available here. Here's a close up of the stitched part (Somebunny's head)... 
Buoyed on by this finish I made a start on the baby sampler my cousin requested for a close friend. In view of my drastically reduced stitching time we had agreed on a simple design so I adapted this little bear is from a larger cushion design by Andree Langhorn and Angela Poole that appeared in Spring's issue of Cute Cross Stitch magazine. I stitched it on pale blue 14ct aida & added baby's details down one side... 
Now this is finished I am hoping to manage a few hours a week on Spring Fairy and Popcorn (which you can see here) before the effects of the block wear off completely...
I have also been very busy with projects of a yarny nature. Most of them will have to wait for another post but, as it's Independence Day tomorrow, it seemed more appropriate to share this one today... 


This is my latest seasonal wreath! The pattern can be found here. I wrapped the styrofoam ring in red, white, and blue cotton and the little flags and stars worked up really quickly. I couldn't find blue ribbon with gold stars anywhere closer than Hong Kong(!) so opted for some blue satin ribbon and stuck some little gold confetti stars on with glue dots. This was also the first project I used my new glue gun on (which Hubbie bought me for Christmas) and I am happy to report it wasn't nearly as scary or messy as I had feared! Watch this space, I will be using this again ;-)
Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope however you are spending the coming weekend it brings you much happiness!