Finished: Princess Daisy Blanket

7 skeins of Scheepjes Colour Crafter, 700 grams, 2100 m, hook 4 mm.

I loved making it!
I think I want to make another. With wool. Again with blocks in different colours and different sizes.

Here it is once again, after a wash:

Colours in the first picture are most true.
size is 1 m x 1.40 m

Lillepoes has been on my lap on this blanket every evening this week, whether this blanket was finished or not. Now that it is she loves to snuggle in it.

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Foolishly trying to command fibre crafts.

This morning I played some more with a design for the crocheted squares:

I gave up on the random piecing together. It was just too hard. Instead I tried some rectangular designs:

Ohoo, the next one works, strips! Alternating strips of various blocks, reading from left to right, solves the problem I keep having with the second axis:

Happy with my solution I put away the squares and drove to the cabin.

I drove my own car and I thought about the blanket all the way. When I arrived in the little patch of forest I had come to the conclusion that although strips are nice and neat, I rrrrrrrrreaaaaaallly like the “randomness” of the Crazy Patchwork Blanket and the Babette blanket:
 pic and blanket by Olivia Rainsford, designer of the Crazy Patchwork Blanket

Right. My blanket needs to be “random”. Not strips. I’m ready for solutions.
Out comes the graph paper!

I’ve got 75 Large squares, 18 Medium, 25 Small and 38 of the adorable Extra Small.
This is how they fit together:
1 L = 2 XS
2 L = 3 S
4 L = 5 M

The difference between my squares and those of the two “random” blanket designs is that all their squares relate to each other and can be used to make squares, consisting of 5 or maximum 8 squares of various sizes. My M’s don’t play well in that regard…

Now thinking of upscaling them into SuperXXMs, like the one my pencil is pointing to. Both official designs use several really large squares.

They can be upscaled to an L easily, all I need to do is crochet one other round to them. But a XL might work better, seeing it plays well with both Ls and XSs. Besides, my Ls have a certain colourscheme.

Anyway. I’m at the cabin now and my weekend starts with pencil and graph paper. I brought the balls of acrylic and a bunch of little flowers with me. But I left all the squares in the city so I can’t play with composition nor enlarge M-squares!

I left them because I didn’t want “to make a mess in the cabin”.
How foolish of me:
Inside the cabin
Nope. Better not make a mess here. It’s so tidy, it looks like an IKEA catalog. Clearly neatly organized people live here! People who declutter daily. Is that a cat on the sewing chair? Again?!

Talk about foolish: the trousers I was sewing stumbled into unwearable right at the finish line.
bad at sewing trousers... bad at sewing trousers...
Something went wrong, I think it was the linen stretching during sewing or something? The front is too wide and the pockets are ruffling. I laid them aside to show my teacher at a later stage.

So naturally I delved right into sewing a dress shirt.

I’m picked up trying to perfect my basic pattern again. Once it’s done I’ll be cranking out shirts that fit me perfect and in the right colours and that go so well under handknitted vests!

I had tried the ultimate self drafted pattern right before Summer, the result of a pattern drafting class I took about a year ago. Many months of frustration while I had to wait wait wait before we would address a dress shirt.

Finally we did and I bought some cheap 100% cotton in the right colour and made a real dress shirt, right before Summer. But it went very wrong because apparently I had bought the wrong fabric: a very slippery cotton which made the measuring, cutting and sewing not very precise. I took my shirt to the last class of pattern drafting and got a lot of critique. Lots of helpful critique but the shirt itself was a failure.

Based on the critique I made some adjustments to the pattern and am now resewing it in a quality cotton.

But you know. Sewing. You need a brain and some luck for sewing.

I got salad brain and pinguins instead:
Sewing collar stand shirtmakingSewing collar stand shirtmaking
Sewing collar stand shirtmaking
Gargl.

Besides repeatedly getting fabric caught while sewing, the neckline is too high and too tight. That’s a pattern issue! My Slippery Cotton Shirt was too low so I made it a bit higher. Even put in a zip (instead of buttons) which goes right to the top.

Now it’s too high. Because the slippery cotton shirt lied to me and my teacher.
Can’t lower it though because of the zipper. Well, I’ll manage to lower it a bit, right down to the top teeth of the zipper. This only gives me a mere centimeter extra. But perhaps it’s enough. It does mean I can finish this shirt and perhaps end up with something a little bit wearable. Or at least tell me things about the pattern. And then the next shirt will be perfect. If I manage to sew with concentration.

Lowering the neckline meant that this nicely executed collar is now too long for its collar stand:
Sewing collar shirtmaking
Hmpf.
So when I get back to the city after this weekend I need to do some collar surgery. Either try and take in the short sides of this one or sew a whole new collar. I do have some fabric left…

But I need it to cut a third sleeve. Because I sewed one sleeve placket on the wrong side. Sigh.
Let’s just say I’ve now got two left sleeves, from the elbows down. Not sure if I can get away with calling the draft vent on my right upper wrist “a design feature”.

We’ll see. I wasn’t kidding about the brain salad.
But at least I have penguins! And birds with hats and seals with mittens and handknit sweaters:
setting a lap zip in a dress shirt button band
What do you think about that zipper? I’m working on a foot treadle sewing machine, a Singer, that only has the straight stitch, no button hole stitch. I thought this was a nice solution, a separating zipper behind a lap as wide as the button band. It also has a zip guard at the back, so the zipper won’t touch my skin.

Other solutions for people without button hole facilities are snaps and loops and buttons. Those last ones can be stylish too:

from the Collette blog

(I’m soooo procrastinating writing this to you. I should use my graph paper, think up smart wooly things for my blanket!)

Autumn at the cabin.

Hedgehog in the Netherlands, october 2016. Indigo dye plants on the right.

This little fellow just came strolling by. Huffing and puffing. 🙂
On the right you see my indigo plants in flower.

Inside I’m crocheting away on my blanket squares. It’s a nice autumn project. The squares are stored in a nice autumn-y box:

There are 75 large squares now and I’m looking at how many of the smaller ones I need.

These are the four sizes of the squares (bad colour picture):

5 large ones just about equal 6 medium ones equal 7 small ones equal 9 XS ones.

I filled a page with equations and math to see which combinations will go together. This wasn’t straight forward because 5 : 6 : 7 : 9 is not a very logical combination. 2 : 4 : 8 : 12 would have been so much easier! But I did find some combinations that will work.

However, when I laid things out on the floor and played around I found that not all squares within the same category are the same size. Not all L have the same dimensions. Therefor the combinations I found will not work all the time. Nor most of the time.

Individual fittings and tailormade solutions are needed. I’m going to have to lay out portions of the blanket, crochet them together and then hope the next portion will kind of fit.

I have no idea if this is going to work… but I keep crocheting squares. Even if this means I’ll have to buy yet more balls of acrylic to get enough squares.

By now I’m too invested to stop this project. A smart person would say: “Stop. Work with what you have. Finish some kind of throw and enjoy the colours. Use the experience to plan a better throw: in thick wool, with workable sized squares, which you will use a lot.”

A fellow yarnie however might understand?
“You just keep huffing and puffing, dear. It’s October. Different shapes and textures are to be enjoyed!”
Hedgehog autumn folliage

Two days of full time Acrylic.

I have started a blanket. In 100% acrylic. In wonderful colours:

It wasn’t a plan. I have plenty of WIPs. Besides this is acrylic, I don’t do acrylic much, do I? I’m a wool fan first and foremost.

This is what happened: I went to Utrecht on Friday and had a lovely day in the city. I visited a brand new yarn shop started by fellow Raveler Lilirious. It’s called Sticks & Cups and it’s on the Telingstraat 12, Utrecht. (Behind Neude, next to Filmtheater ‘t Hoogt)

 pic by Carla Meijsen

I’ll tell you about the shop another time. For now just know that Lili is a lovely person with a lot of knowledge and enthousiasm. She educated me on acrylic and its uses and she has such gorgeous colours in the shop and I’m still drunk on my colour palette and acrylic is such good value for money so this happened:

 Cost as much as one skein of hand dyed sock yarn!

The yarn is Scheepjes Colour Crafter yarn, a 100% acrylic DK weight with 300 m on a 100 grams ball. I learned that this quality of Acrylic is soft, durable, doesn’t pill and you can throw it in the washer. Other brands can be squeaky or sweaty but this Premium Acrylic is not.

It’s perfect for a blanket that can be used vigorously by me and the cats.
That’s actually how I prefer most of the items in my life, being it house hold items or clothes. I want to USE them, stretch my toes in them, spill chocolate and jam on them, sit in/on them on the sidewalk. Basically I want to live in them.

It’s why most of my skirts are of canvas and/or IKEA curtain fabric. This is why I love Dutch traditional costume. It’s also why the world got so enamored with jeans, I think. Functional items that look good.

The pattern for the flower blocks is free and is called Princess Daisy’s Flower Blanket by Sherry L. Farley:

The petals are a bit bobble-like, they’re really nice. Also the first row after the petals makes a perfect square. It’s a good pattern.

The last two days I spend crocheting and being in love with the colours. Last night I looked at blankets on Ravelry, to learn what tips people have about making them. Soon I learned that weaving in ends and sewing blocks together will take a lot of time, about 30% as much as the crocheting of the blocks takes. Many people sigh at that stage and even abandon their blankets for months and months.

So I spend last evening sewing in the ends of the blocks I have. A tedious job indeed. I’m now weaving in the end as I go. Whenever I cut a yarn I pull the square through the last loop, securing the end. With the next colour I then fixate that loose tail by crocheting around it as I make my stitches. Here I’m fixating the light yellowish yarn with the new grey stitched. The yellowish yarn ended at where I’m pointing:

Ahhh, I’m so enjoying these colours! For the back ground I’m combining different shades of grey, an idea I got from this great coloured project picture from AmyLu:

 pic by AmyLu

She used paid for pattern Sunshine Day Baby Afghan by Alicia Paulson, which also has fat bobble-y like petals and a row to make a round thing into a square but both very different from Princess Daisy’s Blanket.

Here’s what I have after two days of full time crocheting and fawning over the colours:

Not quite a blanket yet….

What have I started? What are the chances this will ever be finished? How long until this goes the way most of my WIPs go??
Should I care?
No. I should enjoy today and how much I love playing with the colours.

Ravellenics: doubting colours

in daylight I’m not convinced by the colours if the handspun:

the yellow is too tame.
warmer yellow would be better:

but still it doesn’t sing to me….
The blue might be too overpowering for the orange. I don’t want yellow-red-blue or something that hints to that.
And crocheting is still not very smart for my shoulder.

All in all I’m having a doubtful Tuesday.
(working with the handspun is definitely a nice thing!)

Ravellenics: purring hippo

I am so smitten with the yellow, white and green I chose for the Happy Hippo that turns out too rough to the touch. They remind me of Dick Bruna, the children’s book illustrator and creator of Miffy:

I love her flowers!

I crocheted another few flowers, hoping it would be alright anyway. But the little voice inside was not humming happily.
I played around with hook sizes but still no humming… that’s a sign.
I looked for thicker yarns in these colours: white, warm yellow and green. Couldn’t find them. Not willing to buy (I have a room full of wool!)

So I abandoned the idea altogether. After the initial sniffle this gave room to new interpretations and options: here are three of my favourite handspun yarns! (to be honest: virtual all handspun is my favourite 😉

Let me show you in one of my trademark badly coloured photo’s:

The yellow is a citrony yellow I dyed myself with plants. They typical dye this colour yellow. Or beige. This yarn is the first and only yarn I dyed with plants. It’s a stinky business, dyeing with plants. Do it outside. Put the dyestuff into an old panty or you’ll be picking stuff out of your wool for ever. Just saying.
The orange I spun just the other day, from the rolls delivered by owls and Josanne.
The blue is handspun by Meilindis and nice and soft.

Knitting with handspun goes faster than with commercial wool (scientific fact! Has to do with sheep contently humming while they grow wool and the spinner incorporating the humming into the yarn, making it knit up faster. Something to do with twist and rotation speed, I don’t know, all very hush hush).

I wonder if the same goes for crocheting… let’s experiment!

This Hippo is now a scientific guinea pig! A humming one.
And you know the other word for humming right?
purring!

PS on second thought: just keep the image of a content purring hippo wearing handknits in your mind. Don’t google when or why hippo’s purr in real life.

Ravellenics: Daytime Hippo

Ahh, Februari!
Knits
and flowers
and a felted Valentine,
And your typically
flowered
Hippo’s
behind!

However, this is as far as this hippo will get this month…
Working with sockyarn and on hooks 2mm ánd joining the pieces as you go is quite fiddly. My shoulder doesn’t like it that much.
Besides, the resulting fabric is stiff and rough, because of the hooksize and yarnsize combination. It’s no fun working on a rough fabric when the desired endresult really is a soft, cuddly, flowery hippo.

I’ve decided to listen to that little voice inside and go hunt for some bigger yarn and a bigger hook. I’m in for bigger game!

I already found my hooks:

Cat Blanket: cat nr. 2

Now that I’ve got my eyesight sorted again I crocheted a second cat for the Free From Crochet Cat Blanket:

It took two days of Swedish murdermysteries to make this. While I got used to the idea of frogging that blue Yuuret cardigan. Because that’s how my knitting works.

This cat has its tongue sticking out. You know how they get when they get interrupted while washing.

Here’s the post showing the first cat and the pattern this blanket is based upon. It’s made with various sockyarns using hook 3mm