Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A New Blanket...For Sale!

This week, I'll be working at "editing" my yarn stash.  It's gotten much too out of hand and it's taking up way too much room in our teeny storage area.  Of course, I've been putting off getting started, because having to choose which yarn to part with is like having to choose which friends must leave the lifeboat.

Knowing that I won't be able to keep it all, I've decided only to keep the yarn that I have specific plans for.  My first attempt at editing ended up lasting only a few minutes.  I came across two bags of red and white Babycakes and I decided to get to crocheting so that I didn't have to give that yarn up.

Let me just give you an idea of how awesome this particular yarn is.  It's a 50/50 blend of cotton and acrylic which means:
1.  It's durable and functional (machine washable and dryer safe--that's the acrylic bit).
2.  It feels awesome (simultaneously crisp and soft...and breathable--that's the cotton bit).

I purchased this yarn with the intention of making a baby blanket, so that's exactly what I did.  I kept it simple, basing it off the instructions for the Granny Stripe pattern from attic 24.  It turned out even better than I was hoping for!

The border is subtly textured with back-loop single crochet and a final round of red yarn just to finish it off.

I'm so pleased with how it turned out.  The stitches are well-defined and uniform and the yarn gave just enough structure so that the corners are squared off and the edges are crisp.  No lumps or bumps on this one.

Paired with a sock monkey, this would be great inspiration for funky nursery decor or amazing newborn photo props.

Paired with a handsome reindeer sweater or a Santa suit, it would be a great accessory for a little one's Christmas photo shoot.

Tossed over a chair, it could be a great addition to all kinds of nautical- or Americana-themed living rooms, bedrooms, cottages, etc.

And it's for sale!  I've added it to my etsy shop.  Hopefully a few more items will join it later this week.

Pattern Drafting Part 1: NotMartha Buys Fabric

I purchased the "Design And Sew An A-Line Skirt" Craftsy class just before March Break this year, with intentions of making it my March Break project.  Unfortunately I spent most of March Break sick in bed and the class got pushed to the backburner.

The great thing about Craftsy is that you can put off taking the class until you're ready.  (It's all videos and discussion boards than can be accessed asynchronously.)

The not so great thing about Craftsy is that you can put off taking the class until you're ready.  (This is a site for motivated crafters.  I don't always fall into that category!)

However, sewing that skirt is on my to-do list for this week.  I do have some fabric at home, but nothing from the fabric shelf was calling my name, so I headed to Len's Mill today to check out my choices.

Here's what I came home with:
Dancers and robots!  Two fun fabrics for two fun skirts.

This fabric is actually called "Biker Bugz," which makes me think these are motorcycle parts.  I'll still call it my robot fabric.

Close-up of the dancer fabric.  I love the silhouettes of the jazz musicians in the background.

Yes!  If all goes well, I'm going to be heading back to school with a robot skirt and a dancing skirt.  The fabric is in the washing machine right now, getting pre-shrunk so that I can make the perfect fit.

I won't be starting the skirts today, though: I didn't look at the instructions very carefully and after watching the first two video segments, I've realized that I need to get a fashion design ruler and some tracing paper.  (This is serious stuff!)

Guess I'll have to tackle something else from The List!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Revisiting An Old Make

Today I dug out a tote of yarn from the basement.  It contains an afghan that I started two summers ago and have yet to finish.  I managed to add about 8" to it today, and set the goal of finishing it by Christmas.  I've decided that I like having several projects on the go so that I can break up the monotony of row-on-row-on-row stitches.

I digress.

In the box I found a print-out of the pattern I used to make this sweet baby blanket for my niece back in the Spring of 2011.  
I just love the rainbow of colours!  Red, yellow, blue, green, orange and purple makes a gender-neutral afghan.
Yes...a print-out from my pre-iPad days when I carried around my patterns on on pieces of paper.  This is exciting because the pattern is no longer available online and I have had some fellow crafters ask me for it.  Here's one more close-up of the blanket, and then I'll post the gist of the pattern below.

Brick Crochet Afghan/Blanket Pattern:

Foundation Row: Chain 131 with your main colour.  Make one double crochet in the 4th chain from the hook and in each chain thereafter (128 dcs).  Join colour A and turn.

Row 1: With colour A, chain 1.  Make 1 sc in each of the first 4 dc.  *Ch 1, miss 1 dc, 1 sc in each of the next 9 dc*  Repeat from * until you get to the last 5 dc.  ch 1 and miss 1 dc, then finish the row with 1 sc in each of the last 4 dc. Turn.

Rows 2-4: Ch 1.  1 sc in each st to the end of the row (In row 2, this includes the gap made by your ch 1 from row 1).  At the end of row 4, join your main colour again.

An ingenious stitch into the row of black a few centimetres below creates the funky brick pattern in this blanket.
Row 5: (This is the exciting one!)  With your main colour, ch 1, 1 sc in first 4 stitches, then *1 tc in the skipped sc 4 rows below.  No sc in the stitch behind the tc.  1 sc in each of the next 9 stitches.  Repeat from * to the last 4 stitches.   Then 1 tc in the skipped stitch 4 rows below and 4 sc to finish out the row. Turn.

Row 6: Ch 3 (counts as dc).  1 dc in each stitch across the entire row.

Row 7: This is like Row 1 again, except in order to get the brick look, you're going to make 1 sc in each of the first 9 stitches, then ch 1, skip 1 dc and keep going with the same pattern (1 sc in each of next 9 dc, ch 1, skip 1 dc and repeat, repeat, repeat).

Rows 8-10 are like Rows 2-4, etc., etc., etc.,

Another shot of the brick-like afghan.
For edging, the pattern recommends one round of sc all the way around (with 3 sc in each corner), then two rows of the tweed stitch.  It looks like I was having so much fun with the brick/window pane look that I used that for the border as well. :)

For a brick/window pane blanket border:

Round 1: Using main colour, sc evenly around the entire blanket, with 3 scs in each corner.
Round 2: Using an alternate colour, 2 sc, ch 1, skip one sc all the way around the blanket, working 3 scs into each corner
Round 3: Using main colour, crochet 1 dc into the sc stitch below the skipped stitch and 2 sc into the next 2 scs.  (Repeat, still workng 3 scs into each corner.)
Round 4: Finish with a round of slip stitches in your main colour.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Baby Blanket With Texture

The baby boom continues.  Malachi James Giles was born in May 2013.  His proud parents are good friends of mine from university.  When we visited Ottawa in early June, we made a quick stop to meet this little fellow

and drop off this gift:

The blanket is inspired by the Polka Dots & Frills pattern I have used previously.  I don't know if I just crochet loosely, but I find that I like to reduce the stitches in this pattern, turning triple crochets into doubles, etc. for a tighter weave that still has enough drape.  Using the old version of Bernat Chunky, it works up a nice, plush blanket that doubles as a play mat.  Since the Bernat Chunky is acrylic, it's safe to put it in the washer and dryer as well.
I love the plush texture!  It's so fun to run your fingers over.

This blankie is a one-skein wonder.  Yep, the entire thing is made with one big ball of yarn.  To make the blanket a little more masculine (and to reduce the amount of yarn it used, since I only had one big ball), I ditched the ruffles and added a wide border of tweed stitches with a final round of slip stitches to give a nice finished edge.
Simple blanket border using 1 round sc, 5 rounds of the tweed stitch, and 1 final round of slip stitches.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...