Woodland Crochet-A-Long (CAL)

Being a newbie to the ‘Crochet-A-Long’ (CAL), I found the Woodland Blanket CAL on the Attic24 blog and thought it would be a good project to try.  The wool was a Christmas present from my mum and when it arrived it sat under the Christmas tree…waiting…then on Christmas day I could finally open it. Yippee!! What yummy colours!!

The pattern was due to be released on a weekly basis, starting in January, via the Attic24 blog. So, with a week or two to go I had some free time on my hands. Firstly I decided rewind the balls of yarn into cakes. Its just a personal preference but it gives you the opportunity to check the wool for any problems before you start; and it makes it easier to pull the yarn from the centre, so the ball doesn’t bounce around.

Secondly, I made my colour tags, so that I could easily identify my colours as I’d removed the ball bands.

Then in January the first week of the pattern was released. I made my tension piece and began my foundation chain. Both steps took a few attempts to get right.

The pattern was a variation on a ripple stitch and I was surprised how easy it was to do the pattern wrong and it wouldn’t be apparent until 2-3 rows along! I learned a new word during this project, ‘frogging’. Basically its a word for undoing your work, i.e. ‘rip it, rip it’. I lost count how many rows I had to undo.

Still, I persevered and placed markers along the row and counted, counted, counted! By the time I was half-way through the blanket I finally got into the rhythm of the pattern and began to enjoy it more.

The number of pattern rows released each week was more than I could comfortably keep up with but thanks to a ‘spare’ week at the end I managed to get myself back on track.

This is my finished blanket! Its so soft and warm – I absolutely love it!

I live in the UK and it couldn’t have been finished at a better time…literally just in time for the ‘Beast from the East’. Freezing temperatures has meant this blanket has been put to good use already.

I’ve now started knitting some more socks. I just love winter accessories!

Knitted Socks

pink-socks2

I’ve never made socks before, probably as I’m not a big fan of knitting on four needles, but within the knitting circle I see many people who are avid fans of the home made sock. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when, towards the end of last year, I had a sudden fascination with learning how to knit them. I do have very early memories of seeing a wooden sock darning tool at my gran’s house and I was told by my mum that she and my grand-parents had all made them in the past. I just hoped I had picked up the sock-knitting gene – and I think I have!

As it was winter I had decided to make thick boot socks that would keep my (normally cold) feet toasty warm. Deciding on what wool to use was easy as I’d already bought two 50g balls of Patons Soft Tweed, from the bargain basket in my local wool shop, that were crying out for a project. The yarn was 50% wool and knitted up to an aran pattern, so not only would these be warm but also quick to make.

I began to look for sock patterns, which was more of a challenge than I had expected; so many different styles and techniques to choose from. In the end I took the basic elements from different patterns and combined them, with a bit of free-styling, to create my first pair in raspberry. The main body of the sock was knitted in stocking stitch and I used the short-row heel method for the heel and Kitchener stitch for the toes. There are some excellent tutorials on YouTube that clearly show what the techniques look like and how to do them.

So, within a couple of weeks I had made my first pair. So onto the second pair…

short-row-heel2

This time I wanted to add a slight pattern down the front. Using a cable needle (in addition to the four knitting needles) I did get into a bit of a pickle at first until I got the hang of it. This was my attempt at a cable pattern but as you can see it turned into more of a squiggle than a cable – but I still like it. Having used the same wool and needle size as the raspberry socks I was surprised to find that these turned out much smaller. Apparently the cable pattern reduces the overall width of the sock – a little nugget of information that I only discovered once I had finished them! Fortunately, as my mum has smaller feet than I do, she has gained herself a pair of socks.

beige-cable-socks2

I then went on to make a third pair, for my husband, using the same wool but this time in black…

black-green-socks-inprogress2

The lesson I learned from this project is that 50g of wool is not enough to make a size 10 sock. I thought of a few solutions but I opted to add a stripe of contrasting green, aran wool, leaving enough black to finish off the toe.

black-green-socks2

I was really pleased with how my first three pairs of socks turned out and I can honestly say that I have also become an avid fan of the home made sock. Although I still consider myself a beginner, in the sock-making world, I will definitely be making more!

Crochet bobble blanket

crochet-bobble-blanket2As we live in an older property, it can get a bit chilly in the winter months (in fact anytime from Autumn to Spring really). So the big project for 2014 was to make a large winter woolly blanket for our bed to keep the cold at bay.

I’d seen this bobble stitch, which I really liked, and decided to use this to create a pattern. We have a king size bed and I wanted the blanket to hang over the edges, so having measured the bed I decided to make 36 squares measuring approx 35cm x 34cm each (ok, almost square…) in a 6×6 layout.

I wanted to use the same pattern stitch for each square and use several different colours. Making individual squares definitely made the project more manageable as opposed to creating one large piece (especially with a kitten trying to ‘help’!).

This is the yarn I used, which are all aran yarns with 75% acrylic and 25% wool:

  • Hayfield Bonus Aran – 0822 Blue Slate (dark grey) 2 x 400g balls
  • Hayfield Bonus Aran – 821 Spruce (green) 1 x 400g ball
  • Hayfield Bonus Aran Tweed – 781 Flock (pale blue)  1 x 400g ball
  • Hayfield Bonus Aran Tweed – 744 Bamburgh Blue (turquoise) 1 x 400g ball
  • Wendy Aran – 705 Albatross (light grey) 1 x 400g ball
  • Wendy Aran – 463 Grape (purple) 1 x 400g ball
  • Woolcraft Aran – 825 Kingfisher tweed (teal) 1 x 400g ball
  • Woolcraft Aran – 837 Pesto (lime) 1 x 400g ball
  • Woolcraft Aran – 491 Starling (cream) 1 x 400g ball

Each 400g ball made up four squares.

This is the stitch pattern I used for each piece:

bobble-blanket-pattern

The chain row is a multiple of 4 plus 3 (I used 44 ch plus 3 ch).
On the first row the ch 3 and the first tr are in the same stitch, so this will give you an extra stitch (for me this was 48st)

Beginning row – Ch 47 (or any multiple of 4 + 3)
Row 1 – tr in 4th ch from hook, tr to end, ch1, turn (48st)
Row 2 – 2 dc, [1 bobble, 3 dc] repeat until last 3 stitches, 1 bobble, 2 dc.
Row 3 –  ch 3 (counts as first tr), tr in next st to end, ch 1, turn.
Row 4 – 4 dc, [1 bobble, 3 dc] repeat to end, 1 dc in last stitch.
Row 5 – ch 3 (counts as first tr), tr in next st to end, ch 1, turn.

Repeat rows 2-5 x 8 times (this will give you 9 rows with four bobbles and 8 rows with three bobbles), fasten off.crochet-bobble-blanket1

Once I had completed 36 squares I joined them together using a dc stitch in a contrasting cream colour.crochet-bobble-blanket-corner

To finish off I created a simple border. I made this up as I went along but if I recall correctly I did one row of dc and one row of tr in cream, one row of dc in light grey and finally a row of htr in dark grey.crochet-bobble-blanket3

And this is the finished item. It is sooo warm, just need some cold weather now! #readyforwinter