Voilà ! the macaroons blanket.

31stof March! just in time….

You probably have already seen some previews on my  Instagram. I finished the macaroon blanket last week, but I have been so busy trying to finalise the last details of the ” secret project” plus I had a few deadlines at work . However, I am now finally sitting down, writing the recipe for the macaroons blanket, so you can all make one for yourselves!

Firstly let me tell you,  it will take a degree of patience! The squares are very easy to make but there are 280 of them!  Saying that… I actually really enjoyed the journey and seeing all of these little bundles of colours growing in my basket… a bit of frustation  at times with the ends to be sewn in BUT it will be worth it in the end as the blanket came out really beautiful !! Like baking, it is with no doubt, a labour of love.

If I can make a suggestion, as often happens to me with any granny square blanket, I find it much easier to make it if the project is running along side  with something else, and most important, sew in your ends as you go! or it will be a nightmare!

THE SQUARE: it is my design. I made a small photo gallery so it is even easier for you to make your own:

FOUNDATION : magic circle

 

ROUND1:

3 ch( makes the first treble),2 trebles,  *3 ch, 3 trebles* repeat ** 2 more times., ss on the 3chs ( which act as  your first treble)  and fasten off.

(12 trebles and 4 ch3 spaces)

ROUND2:

start with a new colour in one of the 3 chs spaces and work  a cluster of 3 trebles together,3chs and another cluster; 3ch and in the next 3 chspace of round 1 repeat * cluster,3chs cluster 3 chs*  ss and fasten off. [ 8 clusters, 8  3chs spaces]

please note as from the photos your squares will curl! do not worry as the final round will straighten down the square.

 

ROUND3:

Start a new colour in any  3 chs space  between 2 clusters and work the angle as follow:* 3 chs ( act as 1st treble) 2 trebles, 3chs,  3trebles.

In the next 3 chs space work 2 trebles, 1 puff stitch in the centre of the 3 trebles of  ROUND 1 , 2 more  trebles*; and repeat **

 

so that is the little mini granny square. it looks lovely both sides

 

Next the yarn used and colours:

STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK

  • CLARET
  • LIPSTICK
  • POMEGRANATE
  • GOLD
  • SPICE
  • FONDANT
  • APRICOT
  • SAFFRON
  • LEMON
  • CLEMATIS
  • LAVANDER
  • DUCK EGG
  • SPRING GREEN
  • PISTACHIO
  • MEADOW
  • one ball for each of the shades  EXCEPT for the PISTACHIO where you will need three balls in total.

the squares are 280, they measure 7,5 cm and are  organised in 14 columns of 20 squares each.the border is 15 cm deep.

The joining method is a simple row of dcs . I changed colours every time , that has made a lovely “multicolours grid” effect, which makes the blanket interesting both sides!.  the all blanket is 120×180 in total and the border is 15 cm deep.

 

 

THE BORDER:

the border is an adaptation of border number 72 from the new Edie Eckman’s book : ‘every which way crochet border.’ I said an adaptation because I repeated round 1 and 2 several times to make the border more substantial, and as consequence, I had to change the corners too, as I like my borders to be perfectly flat.

 

 

I know it is a nuisance but I can’t post even a partial picture of Edie’s border as that would infringe the copyrights . all I am saying just look at the closeups,  or use another border that is a multiple of 10 stitches.

I hope you will enjoy making the macaroon blanket and thank you for all the lovely likes and messages I received!

Bring on APRIL!!!!!!!

love as always,

Lucia x

Never mind the macaroons…mini grannies are like Marmite!

An unusual title, I know…but if you are acquainted with Marmite you will know exactly where I’m coming from! For those of you that haven’t the faintest idea what Marmite is, I will explain..

Marmite is a thick, sticky paste made from concentrated yeast extract, a byproduct from brewing beer. German scientist Justus Liebig invented accidentally the concoction in 1902.

Marmite has a very distinctive flavour. The taste is so unique as to defy description, but think of a yeasty, salty, soy sauce-esque flavour with the consistency of old engine oil. Some people really like eating it, and some people don’t like eating it at all.

I personally quite like it, but it is definitely an acquired taste!

So what does marmite have to do with crochet or mini granny squares????

Because Marmite actually based a marketing slogan off this divisiveness: “Love it or hate it.” It has infiltrated British culture and language to the point where an object or a person can be described as ‘marmite’

 

So MINI GRANNIES ARE LIKE MARMITE : You either LOVE THEM OR HATE THEM!

Lately I think I am more inclined to the latter…but I am glad I persevered! I still have 35 mini grannies to sew the ends in and I am done!

All 240 of them. What a marathon. 

I did some other things in between because I discovered that I found the little pesky things really boring to make. I am sure after they are all joined together and I started the border It will become much more exciting.

I will let you know what I have been up to! It is under wrap I believe until the middle of April!!

I leave you with all my little granny squares…

Now I need to join them! ..and find a border too.

Happy Sunday

Lucia xx

 

Yarn,friends,more yarn,macaroons and a family’s ceilidh…part one

Let’s start with a question:

Do I need more yarn? ABSOLUTELY NOT !!!

Do I WANT  more yarn? ALWAYS!!!

Saying that let me start telling you about my weekend.

Every year I go to two yarn exhibitions: Yarndale and the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

The reason why is because I like the spirit behind them. They both are a gathering of mainly independent producers, dyers and designers. And they are so worth going to because of the amazing talent and creativity behind those stalls.

On Friday morning my daughter Valentina and I took an early train from Glasgow to Edinburgh, Valentina had a dissertation meeting at University, and I went  to the Corn Exchange where EYF is held.

I met my friend Julia from http://handknittedthings.blogspot.co.uk/  in the queue outside the building amongst many very enthusiastic and chatting ladies! It didn’t rain which was a major plus, and it wasn’t too cold either so the hour and a bit waiting outside flew by in a flurry of yarn chats!

Julia and I  we went inside and we met Janehttp://janiecrow.co.uk/presta/ who was one of the exhibitors. and Sandra http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/   then I just I wondered off admiring all the goodness in the show. Highlights? Far too many to mention but I especially loved Marie Wallin’s   tiny stand with her jumpers with the most exquisite colour combinations,

 

 

Amanda Perkins crochet blankets  http://www.amandascrochetblankets.com/home-page

The knitting Goddess http://www.theknittinggoddess.co.uk/,  Eden Cottage Yarns and my friend Zoe, which was exhibiting too and  has a lovely shop in Glasgow where I buy all my natural yarns. Zoe has a great selection of small independent producers, plus she dyes her on yarn also.  http://www.thequeenofpurls.com/

But let me tell u what made my day…

It wasn’t the yarn; it was those ladies that somehow recognised me and stopped to say hi and to tell me that they read and love my blog, my stories and my 12 blankets in 12-months challenge.

It was so overwhelming and humbling to get tangible recognition that my rumblings online are enjoyed by you out there .!

So a MASSIVE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!

I am not taking the time you are spending reading my blog for granted it is totally appreciated.

So what did I brought back with me? I already posted a couple of photos on Instagram; I bought some lovely hand dyed yarn from the Knitting Goddess, three skeins from Eden Cottage and a VERY expensive cake from this new Hungarian supplier of gradients yarn called Bilum

B .

 

Amanda’s new blankets book, small pamphlets on crochet shawls that look very promising and a book on knitted toys because I couldn’t resist all those mini dresses and cute animals!

Out of the show, I shared a taxi with a lovely lady from Hampshire which very kindly gave me a lift to Edinburgh centre. I went to Mademoiselle Macaroon! https://mademoisellemacaron.co.uk/

Because I haven’t forgotten about my blanket and because they have THE BEST MACAROONS IN SCOTLAND!!!!  Gosh, I wish you could try them! They are delicious, and the small bakery/cafe is so quaint, you can see Edinburgh castle while sitting sipping your coffee and ejoying your macaroons and the staff couldn’t be more helpful.

yeah, as we say in Scotland: ‘PURE MAGIC!!’

and look what we got here…..can you spot the macaroon and the new squares??

 

More Edinburgh news tomorrow as my weekend is not over yet and I have a family Ceilidh tonight.

love to you all,

Luciaxx

More about the macaroons blanket…

I meant to write more about this month’s blanket at the weekend but I got sidetracked by non-crochet related things…

So back to Paris, macaroons and obviously crochet!

I thought selecting the colors for my new blanket was going to be an easy task this time, as I have so many lovely pictures of macaroons to use as inspiration, but the reality is that having too much inspiration complicates things!

I  must have pulled out most of the yarn I have, to try an choose a reasonable but not too big selection of colors that give some justice to those amazing images that I have collected.  I ended up making several piles of different hues and tried different combinations and reluctantly restrict myself to just 15 colors, as I am well aware that if you want to crochet this blanket for yourself, I have to put some boundaries for the number of colors I am using.

I have a few pictures of macaroons that I am going to share with you. Those are the ones  I have used to guide me. The problem was, do I select macaroons that have pretty pastel colors or do I select the colors of the macaroons I  like to eat?

Macaroons come in pastels and more saturated hues it all depends on which baker makes them. The best-known purveyor of Macaroons, and the one you most likely are acquainted with is probably Laduree and their beautiful , iconic shops with pale greens, pinks, and lilacs which are in several cities around the world. In the photo my daughter Valentina is at their main door of their flagship store in Paris. 

But I m going to be a bit controversial here, and my choice for the best macaroon in Paris has to be the Cafe’ Pouchkine, named after the famous Russian poet and novelist Alexander Pushkin. The Cafe’is a concoction of Russian and French,  with dark boxes, incredibly colorful patisserie and delicious macaroons . Nothing is subtle in here. All their confectionery are as flamboyant as the decor.

Gosh, I am again going on a tangent…No more mouthwatering pictures but some yarn instead!

These are the 15 hues I selected this time its just Stylecraft special DK, but, as per usual, wait to get them if you are interested, as I might have some adjustments once I start to crochet the squares.

To the next time,

happy crocheting,

Lucia xxx

THE MARCH’s BLANKET IS ABOUT CELEBRATIONS AND MACAROONS…

So where to start with my March’s blanket…

I thought my March’s blanket is going to be about celebrations..and macaroons…

On the beginning of the week, I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary! I have been married and also I have been living in Scotland for 25 years!

Now I bet you are wondering what macaroons got to do with it? Well, there is a little story behind it all.

I met my husband Michael in Paris in 1988; we got married four years later in 1992 on the 29th of February! A funny date I know, but it is not too bad as, in nonleap years, we celebrate our anniversary either on the 1st of March or the 28th of February.

Paris has a special place in my heart; it is a city I always felt very comfortable in,  it has been my home and my work place, and now is a regular destination for long weekends, holidays and shopping expeditions.

I met Michael in a French speaking course at the Sorbonne University, (that is my daughter Valentina in front of the main door ..)   where I attended while living in Paris in the summer of 1988.

More ‘memory lane’..

.the next picture is us then.I can’t believe that it was nearly 30 years ago!  Below our lovely class. We were a group of  18 different nationalities, a wide age range and many reasons why we were all in Paris improving our French.  Our teacher was called Elisabeth, and she was so lovely and friendly. She is the one sitting, I am just behind her with the black jacket and the cream trousers, and Michael is far left with the blue and white shell suit..( magical 80s! loads of shell suits!!!).

All those years later and that is ‘our group’ now!

I havent forgotten the macaroons.. It is just I  was wondering what reminds me best of Paris, there are loads of things that remind me of Paris, but one especially does… those little pastries called macaroons. I love them! So they are going to be my inspiration…

in the next entry, I tell you how and why for now have a lovely day xxx

lucia xxx

The Emily’s epilogue

I finished the blanket about a week ago, but I wasn’t so pleased with the quality of the pictures I took indoor. The weather has been quite poor  (surprise, surprise) and  I couldn’t  photograph outside, but I managed a couple of hours’ window on Monday and I got a few pictures. You must be wondering why I am so obsessed with outdoor’s photography; it is because my blankets are very much just about colors, and it matters a great deal to me for the images to be as ‘real life’ as possible.

I  wish I had the time, last week, to go back to Haworth and photograph the blanket there, but I have been busy, and it is a long round trip from Glasgow. Said that the next time I am down in Yorkshire, I would!!. As an alternative location, I thought of  Pollok Country Park , Glasgow’s largest park ,which features the impressive Pollok House as well as the renowned Burrell Collection.  Both Pollok house and the Burrell collection are closed, at the moment, and under renovation, but the gardens are still open to the public. 

It is a beautiful place, well worth a trip if you are visiting Glasgow.

Anyway back to the Emily:

The blanket measures: 140cm x180 cm, in total, the border is 14cm deep. There are nine squares by 12 rows for a total of  108 squares.

The yarn used is a combination of STYLECRAFT ALPACA TWEED DK, SPECIAL DK, and  LIFE DK.

14 Colors  used which are:

ALPACA TWEED DK:  ocean, dusky pink, sea breeze, sage.

SPECIAL DK: copper,plum,mocha,pistachio.

LIFE DK: heather, stone nepp, chocolate nepp, pebble nepp, gorse nepp, mixture charcoal.

QUANTITIES:

one  100gr ball for each color plus five balls of mixture charcoal.

PLEASE NOTE:  mixture charcoal is used for ALL the first 2 rows of the squares, the joining, and the border.

CROCHET HOOK  size 4 . the squares measure 11cm

The squares measure 11cm

SQUARE PATTERN:

the square is my design:

ROW 1: 6 chains join in with an ss

ROW 2:  in the 6 chain ring work as follow: 3 chains (that makes the first treble),1 treble,1 ch  *2 trebles,1ch*   repeat ** 7 times. ( 16 trebles and 8 ch1 spaces)

ROW 3 :  *puff stitch  in each of the ch1 space of row2 ,2ch*, repeat  ** 15 times   (16 puffs, 32ch)

ROW4:  *4 trebles cluster in the ch2 space of round3,3 ch*, repeat **15 times (16 clusters, 48ch)

ROW5: we  add the corners as follow: start in any of the 3ch space of round 4 and work* 1 dc,skip the cluster,3ch,1dc in the next 3ch space of round 4.; next we make the corner: in the next ch3space work: 5trebles,3ch,5trebles;1dc in the next ch3 space of round4,3 ch* repeat ** 3 more times   (4 corners, 12 dc, 8ch3 spaces)

ROW6 and final row: start on the corner and work: 2htreble,2ch,2htreble, 5 back post half treble on the 5 trebles of row5,1 half treble in the space between the 5 trebles of row 5 and the dc of row 5, 2dc on the ch3 space,1 dc on the dc of row5,2dc on the next ch3 space,1htreble on the space between the dc of round 5 and the next corner .repeat all around.

REMEMBER ROW1 AND ROW2 ARE ALL IN CHARCOAL.

The others row, please alternate the colors, as usual, choose any of the two methods I had listed before in the past blankets I posted.

You have plenty of yarn to make the blanket, and some left too.

JOINING:

with mixture charcoal, a simple dc join.

 

THE BORDER:

ONE foundation row around the blanket of dc in charcoal to set the border then follow the diagram below:

a note about the pattern for the border:

I found the pattern on Pinterest. It is what I believe a shawl. I tried to go back to the source of the original designer, but I haven’t been able to find out who is. The watermark is too feeble, and I got nowhere with that either.I went as far as finding what I assume is a Japanese pattern, but again has been posted and re-posted several times on Russian/Romanian sites, and I can’t read Cyrillic or Japanese so , I am afraid, I  have no idea.

PLEASE if you do know the designer behind the diagram, let me know, and I will credit her/him. THERE IS NOTHING OF MORE ANNOYING THAN PILFERING OTHER DESIGNERS HARD WORK WITHOUT, AT LEAST, THE COURTESY OF ACKNOWLEDGE THEM!

following what I wrote above I am adding this here, on the 3rd march, 1917:

I just got a message this morning from a nice lady called Lynette Williams, she found the original designer on Ravelry. I am very happy to say it is a free Ravelry download pattern so I havent infringed any designer’rights. This is the link to it : http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/erigeneia

the designer is called: SILKE TERHORST, and the shawl  is called : ERIGENEIA  which  means “Early-born” and is an epithet to the greek goddess Eos – the goddess of the Dawn. How nice is that? I love the name and the story!

THANKS AGAIN LYNETTE!!!

Has the Emily  been a success? Can I imagine the blanket sitting in a corner of the parsonage? maybe yes or maybe no.  All I know is that has been a lovely journey and the blanket will always remind me of my trip to Haworth and how much I love the  Brontës sisters.

That is all, thank you for reading my blanket’s adventures, for been patient with what I believe, are quite pedestrian, and often sketchy pattern details. I will get better, I hope, with practice!

Happy crocheting!!!!

Lucia xx

 

 

 

 

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