At last the Blanket is finished

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In a bid to finish some projects in order to justify starting something new I have made myself finish the Sample Blanket.  I started this in a bid to learn to crochet and it has been successful in achieving that goal.  I am fairly confident on most of the basic stitches now so the next step will be to master shaping.

The blanket is more of a lap blanket as I ran out of enough wool to do any more rounds of squares. I didn’t have any instructions for finishing off the blanket as I unsubscribed from the magazine too early but I decided that I should use the wool I did have to do some rounds of double crochet and I am so pleased I made this decision as it has really bought the blanket together not only strengthening the edges but also making it look more finished.

2013_12180010The next project is some finger less gloves with wool I have in my stash.

I am also planning to finish some other non-crochet projects over the next week such as my eldest’s pyjama bottoms and making some tapestries into cushion covers – I have a new embroidery kit which I am desperate to start so this should motivate me.

Progress on Sample Blanket

Sample Blanket
Sample Blanket

After a couple of weeks when I have been nothing more than a vegetable in the evenings after work and have spent my time staring at the television not really conscious of what I was watching I am now back to my old self and my itchy fingers means that I have picked my crochet hook up again.

I need to finish some projects as I hate having things half done and so I’m trying very hard not to be distracted by more ideas on Pinterest.  First up was sewing as much of the Sample Blanket together as I can.  I have said before how I started this to teach myself to crochet with the aid of The Art of Crochet but I have now cancelled my subscription so it is a case of seeing how far the wool I have will stretch.

I think I can get one more round out of the wool which will be a reasonable size lap blanket – however I also want to crochet some more snowflakes for Christmas decorations and to send to my Japanese penpal so no doubt the blanket will be on the back burner shortly again.

Starting to sew together the Throw

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I have been subscribing to Art of Crochet in order to teach myself to crochet.  However, I think it is a little expensive and there are just so many wonderful books, magazines and blogs out there that I think I am ready to cut the ‘apron strings’ and go solo.  So I have cancelled by subscription to the magazine.

This is all very well and good but part of the subscription includes instructions and wool to crochet a throw.  By cancelling the subscription although I have the instructions to complete the throw I won’t have enough wool and it is branded for the magazine so not easy to match.  Therefore I have had to hatch a cunning plan.

Using the photographs in the magazine as a guide I have decided to work from the middle outwards so whilst I won’t end up with the same size throw as the photographs I will hopefully have a nice lap blanket or small picnic blanket.  The piles of squares have been building up so as a distraction I have started to sew them together.  This will also give me some encouragement to keep going and finish this project.

I do like the four white squares which make up the centre square (see above).  There are then traditional granny squares running out along the diagonals and a variety of other stitches filling in.  I have to say that whilst I have really struggled with these various patterns at times but by persevering I  have realised that I have learnt quite a variety of stitches so now I feel more confident to try something more advantageous.

The First Throw – Quarter Way

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I have reached a point of demotivation with the Throw.  I think I really need to do some small projects to give myself a break but while I ponder on what these might be I decided to use my evening yesterday to darn in all those ends of threads.  It has taken me hours and that was only for 44 squares.  I must try to remember to do them as I go.

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Yes that’s right 44 squares out of 120 so still a long way to.

I am following instructions in Art of Crochet and I have now decided to cancel my subscription as I have subsequently found lots of inspiration on Pinterest, Facebook and a number of magazines.  The projects in Art of Crochet are getting very repetitive.  It seems that all a beginner can hope to crochet is a scarf and I have already done two of those or a simple bag – again done.  I don’t feel confident enough to do shaping so have been avoiding jumpers etc but wandering around Pinterest has made me very interested in crochet flowers and I think I could have a go at those.  I also really like the Afghan rugs and also the rugs made up of granny squares with the raised flowers in the middle but I need to finish the first Throw before I start another one.

Having darned all the ends in, the next stage with these squares is to block them and the internet advice implies that I need to do this with steam on the ironing board, leaving them to ‘set’ overnight.  In the meantime, I am feeling a little more motivated and as the instructions for the throw sets out a clear pattern for sowing the squares together I have decided to start in the middle and work my way out so if I run out of wool (provided with the magazine) I won’t have a misshapen rung, just a small one.

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The thing that I am pondering at the moment is though – is there anything I could do useful with all those ends of thread I have cut off?  It seems such a waste when you see them all piled up together.

 

Granny Squares 38 and 39 – 81 to go

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A couple more squares completed.  I do need to block these and I am finding that some squares seem to be coming up larger than others although I am sure my tension is the same.  It makes me wonder the advisability of making a rug out of such a diverse range of styles of granny squares and stitches.  After all, all the rugs I have seen on Pinterest etc seem to be made up of only one or two styles of squares.  Anyway we will have to see.  I do know though that I will need to redo some of the earlier squares which are too tight and small.

These two squares are made up of very basic stitches which were satisfying to crochet although not simple enough for me to watch Inspector Montalbano and read the subtitles at the same time.

The top one is simply made up of rows of treble stitches.  The bottom square is double treble stitch and then different coloured rows in double crochet.

Off to do some more and dream of crocheting something more interesting.

 

Granny Squares 35, 36 and 37 – 83 to go

 

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The last three granny squares have been quite interesting. First up is a traditional granny square crocheted in half treble stitches. This is the best one I have done of these as I seem to be getting the tension right now.

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This was followed by a chequer board pattern square which was also incredibly easy. It’s simply a mix of treble blocks and chain spaces. I think I am beginning to understand the instructions more now and feel more confident. I can see when I have gone wrong and most of the time spot what I have done wrong.

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However the third square showed me that I am still struggling with the very basic such as joining in a new colour using a slip stitch. I ended up going back to the book and looking this up. I suspect there is part of me that thinks this is so basic I should know how to do it, or I know how to do it so I don’t need to check and really this isn’t the case as once I had worked out how to do this properly there was a distinct improvement in the finished appearance. I suppose it just shows that often we focus so much on the detail of the complicated things that we overlook the basics and in fact they are just as important to the overall effect.

Lesson learnt and on to square 38 – an old favourite the two-tone square.

I should say the third square, my favourite to date, is done with treble stitches and 4 chains at the corner.

Granny Squares 33 and 34 – 86 to go

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Todays two granny squares (numbers 33 and 34 respectively) are all about texture and I rather like them.

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Square 33 is a V-stitch pattern square.  It is incredibly easy to crochet up and very satisfying especially as I gave up with the instructions for the previous square in the book which required elongated stitches and just left me cold.  For this square you work the foundation row crocheting 2tr into the 4th chain from the hook, miss 1 chain, 2tr into the next chain and then repeat to the end.  The next row is the same and so on.

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Square 34 is a textured half treble square.  Instead of working the half treble through the whole of the stitch below you htr into the back loop of one stitch and then the front loop of the next and so on.  Again it has a lovely texture although I think I may have photographed it sideways!

Next up is the traditional granny square.

New Granny Squares

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I haven’t been well today so to keep me occupied I have been ploughing on with the granny squares for the vintage throw.

There are two plain squares.  The deep purple one, or aubergine, is in a basketweave and I found this quite challenging to do.  The stitch was fairly simple once I got the hang of it and could see how the pattern developed, however I found it rather awkward to crochet.  To get the basketweave effect you do two stitiches rtrf and two stitches rtrb.  Rtrf stands for relief treble front and basically it means you do a treble stitch around the front of the stitch post and rtrb stands for relief treble back which means you do a treble stitch around the back of the stitch post.

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The other plain square is a very simple half treble square and crochets up quickly.  It is meant to have a motif embroidered on it but I have tried a few with the embellishment and I’m not so keen.

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However, I really enjoyed crocheting the last square which is a wavy striped square.  The wave was much easier than I anticipated you simply create it with 3 dbl and then 3 tr and then reverse this after two rows.

I only have 90 more squares to do now!!

 

A new obsession

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I have decided to start a new blog to chronicle my efforts to learn to crochet.  I have another blog, The Patient Gardener, which I have written for some 5 years and occasionally I post on there about various non-gardening activities.  However, as I am making a concerted effort to get to grips with crocheting I thought I would encourage myself by making myself record my attempts on a regular basis.

As I posted on my other blog crocheting is new to me and its something I started to learn earlier this year.   I have been learning via a monthly magazine – The Art of Crochet.  Its one of those magazine that they advertiseon television where you get wool with each issue and instructions so you can create a rug.  I umm’d and arh’d as these can be quite expensive in the long run but the detail on the instructions were good.

In May I completed a skinny scarf with a supplied with the magazine and it isn’t too bad, although the edges are a little wonky.  I then had a go at crocheting a bag which I was very pleased with.  It was easy to crochet as there was no shaping and the stitch was quite straight forward.  I then had to felt it in the washing machine which was a little nerve-wrecking.

I have been busy doing various other things and the pile of weekly issues, and the wool, has piled up.  I have also discovered that a work colleague is an expert crocheter which has given me some confidence as there is now someone I can ask when it all goes wrong.   Then I discovered Pinterest and endless inspiring crochet patterns and images.  So I have set to and I am crocheting up the squares for the throw.

It appears that there are 120 squares and I have probably done around 30.  However, the beauty of these squares is that there are lots of different designs, stitches and techniques and I am really beginning to feel more confident in my ability.  I have also noticed that a lot of the squares are repeated so I have decided to cancel my subscription to the magazine, finish the squares and rug and then I can start to explore other crochet patterns and projects.

I am intending to use this blog to show my progress firstly with the rug, posting the different squares as they are completed and then maybe further projects.

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