A little bit more about the January’s blues blanket

Firstly sorry this blog entry is a bit late, finally, after a very frustrating weekend, I got my blog back!

I am quite impressed with myself for sticking to my new year’s resolutions ( or trying to) …I am back writing again!…( mind you it is early days…) nevertheless it feels good!

One of my children bought me a planner this year, I don’t know if it is meant to be a gentle hint to get better organised as I failed completely last year trying to ‘get organised’ using an App on my phone!

So on 2019, we go back to basic! Hoping that pen and paper might do the trick for me …

Do you have a planner too?

I still have to get used to these little snippets of encouragement that are keeping appearing randomly on this planner ..they make me giggle. I just discovered that there are stickers too! Probably those are a step too far for me🤣🤣🤣

I will keep you posted!

Let’s get back to the blanket.

I finished the main body a couple of days ago and I have been gathering the details so you can make one yourself.

As you know the blanket is not completed but I think it could be interesting for you to follow me “in real time” and see the blanket coming along, a bit like being behind the scenes.

The pattern is really simple, that was the point of this blanket in the first place,  to do something really easy and relaxing.

I used a V-STITCH RIPPLE for my blanket. As said on Facebook there are several versions and options for the stitch available out there.

The version I used I found it on Pinterest. Just a diagram nothing more here is the picture I have used.

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I like to give credit to the designers even if  I think this is just a diagram of something that has been out in the open as a free pattern.  All I got is a watermark which said Tejiendo Peru’  I have also tried to get in touch with them but with no joy. so I assume it is ok for me to share with you as it is in the public domain already..

I  used the diagram above as a guide but  I did an alteration to it.

If you read the diagram you noticed that the rows are worked on the front (RIGHT side ) , then you turn your blanket and you work on the back (WRONG side). If you follow the diagram as it is in the picture below  you can see  the result:

I didn’t like the results on turning your work after each round, as I think it muddles the effect of the stitch so I opted for working just on the RIGHT SIDE ONLY! you can see the difference in the picture here:

The blanket is even, each round is exactly the same, no difference either in size or texture. Also because I change yarn every row it makes no difference of whatsoever if I  work always in the front.

Maybe you are all thinking I can’t see where the fuss is all about, but believe me when you work the all blanket you definitely will be able to see the difference between the two options. working just on the front makes a much better-looking blanket.

The blanket still doesn’t have a border but the main part measures 90 cm wide by 140 Cm long

the yarn used is STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK . the hook size is a 3.5 mm (E).

Here the list of the colours I used:

The number between brackets refers to the quantities of yarn used in grams. obviously, do bear in mind that the yarn usage is just an indication based on my tension and a 3.5 hook used.

So dig out your leftovers from your stash as you might be able to use them and plan the blanket.

  • LIPSTICK (13)
  • SPICE (53)
  • CLARET (29)
  • MAGENTA (17)
  • PLUM (29)
  • FONDANT (27)
  • CLEMATIS (29)
  • MUSTARD (71)
  • PISTACHIO (90)
  • SHERBET (51)
  • ASPEN (33)
  • TURQUOISE (23)
  • STORM BLUE (10)
  • PETROL (34)
  • CYPRESS (25)
  • TOMATO (25)
  • MEADOW (71)
  • FUCHSIA PURPLE (52)

The pattern is based on a 14 stitches repeat plus 3. I started with 269 chain stitches that gave me 19 REPEATS ( 90 cm wide) it is very easy to adjust the size by adding or subtracting repeats to get to the size that you want.

I also took note of the colours sequence I used. there are 96 rows.

a  couple of HINTS :

  • if you look at the blanket I have repeated the first 3 rows in reverse order at the end. that will finish your blanket much better, it is like a visual frame which works beautifully not only for this blanket but in any you might want to do at home.
  • I also started each row with a self-standing treble and NOT 3 chains as in the diagram ( simply because I feel is a more sturdy way to start and it will work better when we will add the border.

that is all for today

thank you for reading,

Lucia xx

JANUARY’S BLUES…AND MORE THOUGHTS

2019…

a new year!

I don’t know about you but I found January a bit of a difficult month…especially after the whirlpool of activities, family, parties, food, visitors, birthdays and so on.

January means  the fizzling out of the holidays and that life is about to crank back into action and so I welcome the new year  with a mix of relief and sadness, relief because I quite like to go back to my normal routine with the added bonus of a fresh new start, and sadness because  I  miss having a “full house” as I wave goodbye to Valentina  on her way back to London and Giuseppe to university.

my babies…

January, for me, has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes I  want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. January is about lists, hopes and resolutions.

I found the resolution’s part quite funny in a way because there are 364 other days to make resolutions, but we choose to make them on a single day!

If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram you probably have noticed that my crochet slows down during the holiday’s period, I finished my beautiful Havana just before the holidays and that was really it..

I made a few hats and a Valentina shawl, but nothing very exciting.

My creativity seems to take a break as I need to empty my head and start to re-focus.

I feel creativity is about imagination and yet it is also about reality too, seeing the world as truly is and observing carefully, so I welcome the peace of these few days to gather my thoughts

about observing…

 

I read this last night:  an extract of a letter Vincent Van Gogh wrote during his stay in Saintes-Maries :

“One night I went for a walk by the sea along the empty shore. It was not gay, but neither was it sad – it was – beautiful. The deep blue sky was flecked with clouds of a blue deeper than the fundamental blue of intense cobalt, and others of a clearer blue, like the blue whiteness of the Milky Way. In the blue depth the stars were sparkling, greenish, yellow, white, pink, more brilliant, more emeralds, lapis lazuli, rubies, sapphires. The sea was very deep ultramarine – the shore a sort of violet and faint russet as I saw it, and on the dunes (they are about seventeen feet high) some bushes Prussian blue.”

Saintes-Maries, 5th june 1888

is it not just amazing?  to be able to see reality in such a way? I thought you might like it too.

So after not lifting a hook or thinking about crochet for almost a month, I started ephemerizing again…which means collecting ephemera like pictures, colours chips, dried flowers, quotes, books, photographs anything that catches my eye and I  feel my “crojo” akka “crochet mojo” is coming back to me slowly . I needed something easy, rhythmic, relaxing, no headaches of pattern writing… just concentrating on the simple pleasure to see the colours mixing and morphing into each other.

Here it is my new project, it is just 2 days old..so I m not sure where I am going with it but I will share it with you next week..pattern, colours etc.. just give me a few more days to see how it develops.

Love to you all,

Lucia xx

 

Is it TOO EARLY ????

Hello everyone!

You might be wondering what the title of my blog is all about…

it is about, surprise, surprise…COLOURS.

So let’s take a step back and give you a bit of a background… Many of you are probably aware that, as every year, October  is the time for the

STYLECRAFT BLOG TOUR!

 

Back in July, at our summer meeting, we got given two packs of BELLISSIMA yarn to choose from. I loved them both but I decided to opt for the Autumn Leaves ..because somehow the hues reminded me of Christmas!

 

 

 

Then I start to think  Gosh is it  October too early to talk about Christmas?? probably it is, at least in my book, but I might be forgiven this time as you can decide to make the cushion ANYTIME!

 

I am not going  give you a time  or a deadline to download the pattern I decided to leave it  free and available  so you can enjoy it whenever you feel  “Christmassy”

I also made sure that looks pretty both sides! hahhah because, let’s face it, cushions are there to be used and not just to be displayed..so we want the bottom part to be as nice as the front!

         

 

 

I really hope you will  like my cushion, it is a quick, cheery, little project, something that you can make it   in no time ( the yarn is used two strands together), It is  something for your home or to give to a loved one , or something  special you can add to a hamper full of Christmas goodies!

 

I am going to add a Christmas picture of my studio to put you in the mood..:

 

 

Please, if you make one, let me see it! Join us on our facebook page:  “Crochet with Poppy’s and Lucia’s Figtree”

it is a closed group where we share projects, tips and also you can get discounts for yarn and giveaways    https://www.facebook.com/groups/crochet/?hc_ref=ARQTzC0B_0QGNHRJfadJfD7Z-BfC7Nno93j6pXunCuGmaMYRrj4XH3xx8zJhoTiuXHI   and spam me with your cushions!!!

The yarn is perfect for the project, it is soft, but has a beautiful stitch definition. which is a perfect base for Cross Stitch.

If you have never attempted cross stitch on a crochet cloth, please give it a go! it is easy, very effective and it will open lots of options for your future projects.

bottom line?

DO TRY my little cushion!

 

 

As always there is an opportunity to win a pack of yarn entering this giveaway,

LINK FOR FREE PACK GIVEAWAY!!

share my page and give an opportunity to your friends to try.. and I cannot wait to see all your lovely reindeers !!

as always,

lots of love and thank you for reading my blog.

Lucia xx

HERE IS THE PATTERN!!! PRESS THE LINK!

Reindeers Cushion Download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little catch-up!

A little catch-up… I know it has been AGES!

I don’t know about you but time has passed me by in a whirl of yarn, patterns, ideas, pictures, stories and the odd family commitment or two..lol

So where to start…

I have pulled together very basic information about the Wreath because I know quite a few of you are interested in it.

I made it, as said, a couple of years ago, I guess I must have been a bit bored and when I am bored of my current WIPs or I am tired, I always look for something reasonably small and quick to make. I call it “instant gratification”

It turns out that in these 2 years I found my wreath really useful, I never, as said on Facebook, stitched the pieces permanently on the ring but I left them pinned down with these little white headspins.  I have used that wreath many times, for trying different colour combinations or using some of the flowers as decoration in pictures of other projects.

So if you need to test some colours instead than doing a lot of boring squares, make some flowers!! Then you can play with them!

There are many wreaths available in both Ravelry and Pinterest that can help you to decide how to make yours, for me, my initial inspiration was seeing the most amazing, beautiful and complicated wreaths that Lucy @attic24 had made and that what spun me making one.

Mine is much more simple in comparison with Lucy but .. did I mention, instant gratification??? LOL

I love small projects that can be made in a day or a weekend!

I have been looking throughout the past couple of days if I had saved any pattern or link or reference, but all I found were a couple of pictures. So for the purpose of this blog I pulled my wreath down and I made a 3D daisy and the 5 petal flower again so I can jot down the details.

so let’s start :

what do you need?

  • 1 half rounded polystyrene ring – 35cm in diameter. It has to be flat in the back and rounded in the front. (you can get them from crafts shops or Amazon)
  • leftover yarns.

 

Please look at Lucy’s wreaths, she has a very comprehensive tutorial on how to cover up your polystyrene ring and also there are some lovely patterns for the leaves too, which I used in my wreath. this is the link to Lucy’s blog wreath :

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/2015/03/winter-wreath-ta-dah-1.html

 

for the base of my wreath, I used some Lopi’s ALAFOSSLOPI  yarn left over from a jumper it is a chunky yarn, the colours are:

  • 0085 OATMEAL HEATHER
  • 0867 CHOCOLATE HEATHER.

                      

 

I love this Icelandic 100% yarn because has a rustic, organic feeling, and it makes the most amazing super -toasty jumper ever!

I can’t remember exactely what hook I used but I guess must have been either a 4.00 or a 4.5 mm, you want your fabric to be dense so it covers the ring beautifully. So make a small section and see if it covers up the ring neatly. Mine worked, like Lucy’s, in rows of double crochet stitches (Uk terms)  22 stitches wide and 112 rows alternating 2 rows in oatmeal and 2 in chocolate.

To help to keep the strip in place as well as the sewing in the back I sprayed my ring with some SprayMount Yp208060506 adhesive spray, I use it in the office for my mood boards, it is great, but make sure you spray lightly!

now to the FLOWERS:

the yarn is leftovers of STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK in:

  • storm blue
  • duck egg
  • mustard
  • camel
  • grape
  • lime
  • pale rose
  • parchment
  • gold

you also need some polyester toy filling for the centre of the daisy. If you have none, ordinary cotton wool balls will do.

 

I made 2 types of flowers :

-10  Hellebore flowers from Lucy’s wreath, pattern link here:

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/crochet-hellebore-flower.html

-12  three dimensional  daisies:

the pattern as follow:

The centre of the daisy is done with the same principle of amigurumi, crocheting in a spiral, without joining in the round and without turning the crochet work,

Start with any yarn and a 4.00mm hook and make a magic ring

Rnd1 :

Work 6 dc in a magic ring. ( 6 dc)

Rnd2:

work 2 dc in each stitch. ( 12dc)

Rnd3:

work [dc in next st, 2 dc in next st] repeat [ ] 6 times ( 18st)

 

Rnd4:

work 1dc in each st. ( 18dc)

Rnd5:

as Rnd 4 (18 st).

Rnd6:

as Rnd4 (18st) put a marker in any of those stitches as a reference for the petals we are going to do after.

Rnd7:

as Rnd4. (18 st).

Rnd8:

we start the decreasing now and your work will start to looks like a little cup.

work [1dc, 2dc together] 6times . stuff your little cup with the filling.

Rnd9:

work 2dc together all around, add some more stuffing and close the bud. ( if you want you can leave a long tail to sew the flower to the wreath later).

        

 

 

PETALS:

with a different yarn work on the side ( rnd6) , using the picture as a reference,

1st ROUND OF PETALS

work :

[1dc, ch3,skip 1 st, 1dc ] all around that should give you 9ch3 loops that we are going to fill up to make the first ring of petals.

 

in each of the ch3 spaces work: 1dc-1htr-2tr-1htr-1dc.

              

 

 

            

 

 

2nd ROUND OF PETALS

work:

1dc in the skipped st above, 5 ch, skip 1 dc and repeat that makes another round of  9petals  staggered from the petals before the previous round. In  each of the ch5 space we work: [1dc-1htr-4tr-1htr-1dc ]

        

 

 

that makes our 3D DAISY!

LEAVES:

makes 18 ( again make as much as you like!)

the pattern is again from lucy’s @Attic24, this is the link:

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/may-roses.html

For my version I used some  leftovers of STYLECRAFT CHUNKY SPECIAL  and  some of the ALAFOSS LOPI I used for covering the ring in:

STYLECRAFT SPECIAL CHUNKY:

  • gold
  • camel
  • dark brown
  • lime ( stylecraft DK)

ALAFOSS LOPI

  • oatmeal heather
  • chocolate heather.

then you can take a few pins and place your little flowers and leaves all around the ring…

hope it has helped

love to you all and happy “crocheting”..( someone told me I shouldn’t use the term “happy hooking”!)

I got a few more things  coming along so stay tuned!!!

lucia xxx

 

 

 

 

 

summer’s stories…

Goodmorning everyone 😀

I eventually managed to get some internet and a laptop to download some of my summer’s photos! And also write a small update.

So where to start… I left Scotland at the end of May so to spend some time with my family in Italy; it has been a lovely break for many reasons, mainly because I had some proper quality time with my mum and dad, my cousins in Tuscany and my brother and his family.

My family comes from all over Italy and, during these past few weeks I have been travelling quite a bit, not only to spend time with loved ones ,but also to enjoy exhibitions, museums, the beach, the hills .. the only regret I  have is  the lack of time to visit my beloved Dolomites!

So I got here some lovely pictures of Ferrara, on the Po Valley, where my maternal Grandmother was from,

then I went to Carrara, a small town famous for the white marble on the sea at the border between Tuscany and Liguria, Carrara is where my paternal grandmother came from and my cousins are living and where I used to spend most of my summers before I moved to Scotland 27 years ago.

Tomorrow I am off to southern Spain to catch up with my children and Michael for few days all together…

In the midst of all, I m still crocheting OBVIOUSLY!

Last year, when I came to Italy, I took a lot of acrylics and it was a major mistake because the heat was so fierce that literally melted the acrylic in my hands, this time, I took just cotton and I have been working on several WIPS at the same time.

I have a new shawl that is getting tested at the moment, I am working on a new blanket which is going to be really interesting.

It is a new concept of pattern focused on versatility.

I have taken on board all your messages and requests, I know that some of you are not so keen on acrylic yarns and prefer natural fibres, I also know that cotton is often your choice not only for an ethical reason but also for climate issues.It will be the main subject of my new classes that I got planned for July and the autumn: https://www.poppys-holmfirth.co.uk/wool-shop/knitting-and-crochet-workshops .

So, as it is already quite hot in Italy, the blanket I am making is a cotton one, but I will have an acrylic version available and by the autumn a pure wool one ( very exciting to let you know about this new collaboration I am working on) also different sizes, borders and joining methods too!

so LOADS of interesting new things.

 

As cotton has been my focus for the past few weeks, I also tested some new yarns.

Just before leaving a Bulgarian company called PERFORMANCE YARNS, https://performanceyarn.com/ contacted me and asked me if I was interested in testing some of their products,  I said that ,as long as I could give and write an honest opinion, I was delighted to try  new yarns, so just before I left I received a pack with 5 different yarns to try, so far I tried 2 of them, as I got quite a few deadlines to work on at the same time.

I tested a blend of 80% cotton and 20% linen called LINEN TOUCH https://performanceyarn.com/product/linen-touch/ and a 100% combed, gassed and mercerized cotton called  COTTON QUEEN MULTI.https://performanceyarn.com/product/cotton-queen-multi/

The linen/cotton  was lovely , it didnt split but ,as it is untreated, I felt it slowed the work quite a bit, I dont know if it is due to the heat or the fact it is an aran weight,  but I felt I was much slower that I normally am, I will try again in Scotland to see if it is a temperature issue only, on the other side the COTTON QUEEN is AMAZING!!!! it glides on the hook, it has a beautiful shine and is incredibly soft too!

Probably the best cotton I worked with so far!

I made a small project, and I used some Scheepjees Catona too to compare the two kinds of cotton, the Performance’s cotton is better, it has the same shine, it doesn’t split but it is far softer which means it will not hurt your hands even if  crochet long hours or you are a very fast crocheter. Such fabulous yarn.

I used mercerized cotton many times but I never heard of ‘GASSED’ cotton, so I found out that it is a different treatment that improves not only the shine but more so the softness of the fibres which makes a huge difference.

I still have three more yarns to test so I will let you know how I m getting on with them.

I never ordered from PERFORMANCE, but the yarn they sent me arrived well packed and very quickly by a carrier. They are Bulgaria’s biggest yarn manufacturer with 80 years of experience. They have an easy website and shop to navigate, their prices are competitive and they do worldwide delivery at 4 euros flat rate or free for orders over 40 euros.

I really like this COTTON QUEEN so I will find out more about the colours available etc once I am back.

As soon I got to Spain , assuming that I got proper internet, I will write some more updates, for now, I wish you all a lovely summer and thank you for reading!

love,

Lucia xx

Cosmic, amigurumi and other stories…

Hello everyone,

Here I am with a new blog entry to keep you all updated on my …never-end stack of Works in progress!!..

So where to start…my obsession with amigurumi is still in full swing…

I got a couple of new books one of which is SUPER CUTE! it is all about bugs and butterflies.What fascinated me is that  Lydia Tresselt, the designer behind LalyLala, is so skilled that made even a fly looking cute!

I attempted a butterfly, is not finished yet, the pattern is beautifully written as  Lydia has been writing amigurumi patterns for a long time.I am sure many of you are well acquainted with her kangaroos and other super cute animals, if not please have a look at her work, it is well worth it a visit.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/lalylala

” Lalylala’s Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies” is her last book, I got it from Amazon a few days ago. It is lovely and a  bit different from the average crochet book, the first part tells a story about the life cycle of the insects and the second part is all about patterns for the different stages of the bugs lives. from caterpillar to adult insect, they look very cute and easy to make.   I think they would be perfect for a child because they are not only lovely to play with but, to a degree, they could be quite educational, as they are not too “human-like “as often happens to amigurumis. on that subject, I have discovered another amazing designer, Sonja van der Wijk , her website is called Son’s popkes  https://sonspopkes.com/

I bought 3 of her patterns on Ravelry, and I got one free I thought to would be a good idea to use some of the Lett-lopi yarn I got in my stash…

if you follow me you might remember the Odinella blanket I made last year using   Lett-lopi.

https://luciasfigtree.com/patterns/odinella-icelandic-blanket/

 

a fabulous yarn especially for knitting and if you are interested in making outdoors garments or beautiful Lopapeysa ,with their recognizable design that has since become a national icon for Icelandic cultural identity ( I love Iceland!)

I made so many  Lopapeysa over the years, they have been my favourite knitting project. So if you love knitting and you also love the outdoors I would definitely recommend knitting one. They can be a bit scratchy at the beginning but they become amazingly soft with age and also they last a long time!

Francesca, my daughter, has a favourite one  I made for her when she was 16 and she wear it all the time..it has a couple of holes on the sleeves but I think it adds to the charm!

you can see it here.

I also have to finish my last bear and i have to  make a  “VERY PINK” ‘s one for my niece, Aurora, she is going to be 7 at the end of May and she loves pink…

This week I also finished joining together the Camo-blanket for Francesca.. I loved joining together the squares she made ,and adding a border.

More WIP’s…the COSMIC CAL!!  how exciting!!!

I normally don’t do Cals because I am really impatient and I  haven’t done a Cal since the Sophie’s Universe, but I think the Cosmic is a lovely one so I decided to give it a go.https://www.crystalsandcrochet.com/

I have been an admirer of Helen’s work since she started designing, she has recently joined the Stylecraft’s blogstars group and has been a real privilege chatting to her, she is not only a great designer but also a lovely all around person!.  the Cosmic is going to be my first blanket using Helen’s patterns.

 

Part one went live this week on the Stylecraft’s web site, it is available in English, American and Dutch, but on Helen’s page is translated in many other languages so have a look at Helen’s page! there is also a video tutorial too on youtube which I found very helpful.

I enjoyed the pattern so much that I made 2 versions as I couldn’t make up my mind about the yarn!! I made a Stylecraft SPECIAL DK ‘s one and an Aran weight one with some Drop’s NEPAL that I had at home.

 

Some of you ladies as asked me about the colours I used on the Stylecraft’s version so here they are: plum/matador/mustard/petrol/empire/gold/bright pink/aspen/magenta/spice/storm blue/fuchsia purple/lipstick/fondant /tomato.

I am not sure yet how I am going to use them and if I will drop a colour or two…as all of you I am following the CAL so is a bit if an adventure!

I also decided to make my life more complicated and in certain rounds, I used 2 colours instead then 1 so again I don’t know if that will work for all the different parts..I will keep you posted, and here is part one of the Stylecraft’s version finished and I am nearly there with the Aran too.

that is all for today, wishing you all a lovely weekend,

the sun shined in Scotland for a couple of hours!…it is back cloudy now..lol

see you next time! thank you for reading

Lucia xx

 

I AM BACK !!!!!!

I am BACK!!!

I know it has been ages…

I have been so busy trying to finish several projects which I  had committed to it and I  was so frustrated because I couldn’t share any of the work I was doing… but now my last project is live  I am BACK  !!!!!!

It has been an amazing few months!

I have been working flat out on several things.. I should also say  I did take on board a bit too much and at times I was slightly overwhelmed by the all things but now that all the blankets are available it makes it all worthwhile.

The final chapter was to deliver my last blanket to CROCHET NOW’s HQ last month!  very exciting and a bit scary too… The RISE &SHINE cal has been a real labour of love! to create something to keep an audience interested and more so, happy to continue on a project that is going to run over 12 months it is NOT an easy task!!

I really hope you will like it, and with trepidation, I am waiting for the reactions online as it went live TODAY !!!!!!!!!

So I am back writing again… I missed writing my blog, but I know you all have very busy lives and I didn’t want to fill my blog with idle chit-chat and not been able to tell you what I was doing.  so where to start…

Let’s go in reverse order and start with the latest project…

here are some pictures, also you will find pieces of information on the CAL on Crochet Now website… I have a few more pictures but I will post them as the CAL progresses.

 

The blanket is a CAL and will run over 12 months.

Part 1 can be found in Issue 27 of Crochet Now which will be in shops on Thursday 12th April or available to buy online at www.moremags.com/crocheting 

I have used STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK, (mainly using 2 strands  held together)  the colours are:

 

Stylecraft Special DK – 295m per 100g ball; 100% acrylic

3 balls in Mustard 1823

2 balls each in Fuchsia Purple 1827, magenta 1084, Shrimp 1132, Grass Green 1821, Sage 1725, Bright Pink 1435, Emperor 1425

1 ball each in Plum 1061, Fondant 1241, Pistachio 1822, Empire 1829, Petrol 1708, Lipstick 1246

(Important Note: Based on the designer’s tension, 98g of Fondant 1241 and 96g of Empire 1829 were used in this blanket. If you are unsure of how loose your tension is, we recommend purchasing additional balls of these shades.)

Stylecraft Special Aran – 196m per 100g ball; 100% acrylic

1 ball in Lipstick 1246

 

What I can say, is that it is really great fun, it is a project for everyone and I hope you will love it.

It is all about texture, interesting techniques,  and more so COLOUR!!!

I don’t know where you are based around the world, but for us in the UK has been one VERY LONG WINTER!! we had snow in Scotland up to last weekend.. really  I’m still thinking spring will never come this year!! so the brightness of the colours of the Rise & Shine kept me entertained during the winter months. To be able to create something it can be really tiring and sometimes quite frustrating too…especially when things do not go to plan, but I loved every moment of it.

But thats not all…

two more blankets I designed for Stylecraft went live a few weeks ago… both bursting with colours, one is called HYPNO and the other BOHO…

you can find them as a Pattern  here:

https://www.poppys-holmfirth.co.uk/lucia-s-shop/lucia-s-shop/lucia-dunn-hypno-blanket-cushion-printed-pattern-9527

https://www.poppys-holmfirth.co.uk/lucia-s-shop/lucia-s-shop/lucia-dunn-boho-blanket-and-cushion-printed-pattern-9528

at the same time, I made the Valentina Shawl…for Poppy’s ,

and I wrote the pattern with the help of the ladies at Poppy’s for the Walrus blanket too..they are both available on my shop at Poppy’ s https://www.poppys-holmfirth.co.uk/lucia-s-shop/lucia-s-shop  and soon should also be on my Ravelry’s store.

 

I will write all about my Poppy’s adventures as it deserves a proper special blog entry!  everyone made me so welcome! and it has been amazing to be able to collaborate with others! but I will do it in a  separate entry,  this one is just for touching base, dust off the cobwebs out of my blog and just let you know I am back again.

So you have: a CAL, 2 BLANKETS, A SHAWL  and the WALRUS BLANKET too…

what am I doing now? …

I am helping to finish my daughter  Francesca’s granny square blanket… she made 180 squares and she panicked a little when it came to joining them so I said I was going to help… ( don’t ask me why…)

I also had a dip into amigurumi…

It all started because I needed a rest from Blankets and I wanted a little project.. if you follow me on facebook you might have guessed I got a bit obsessed with it! no idea why the amigurumis are so addictive!

it might be the fact that you work on a tridimensional plane and that is a bit of a novelty to me… so I started with a Crafter Granny… then I made a bear, then  I made another bear..( which I  still have to complete)..then I tried a bunny but looked like out of a horror movie …then my son Giuseppe asked me to make  a  chameleon for his girlfriend that loves  Tangled’s Pascal.. so I just finished that a day ago ready for her 18th birthday..

I am planning other things too… but I needed a few weeks of not designing, recharging my batteries by just enjoying other people amazing patterns!! and I feel the energy coming back which is a good news indeed!!

So, as I LOVE lists of TO DO’s my new resolutions are…

  • do not take too much work on!!!
  • write at least 2 blogs a month with updates on what I am doing,
  • walk and not be a couch crocheting potato!
  • be more social and not a grumpy bear hiding behind a mountain of yarn…
  • organise some new exciting material for classes ( because I love teaching!!!) and put some dates in the diary.
  • make more videos!
  • last but not least go to London to see my daughter Valentina!!
  • loads of more things that I am sure I have forgotten…

that is all for today! thank you for all your support, I love your messages and all your lovely comments on Facebook and Instagram!

and on that subject just a little note…

I understand how frustrating  it must be not to be able to get either the patterns or the kits for the Eastern Jewels and the Frida’s Primavera because often they are sold out or are not available as digital downloads , but as I replied to many of  you, I just designed both the patterns and I am not involved in how they are distributed.

So please get in touch with ether Stylecraft or Janie Crow if you need some updated pieces of information.

https://www.stylecraft-yarns.co.uk/

https://janiecrow.co.uk/presta/

My only direct contact with the retail status is Poppy’s and I know they have  sold several packs of the Eastern Jewels, ( the Frida’s Primavera is just available  from Jane ) but again they too, as retailers, depend from Jane and Stylecaft for the  printed patterns so please, if you are interested, leave your email with Helen’s at Poppy’s and I am sure that if the packs will be back in stock she will message you .

https://www.poppys-holmfirth.co.uk/lucia-s-shop/lucia-s-shop

HAPPY CROCHET!  thank you for reading,

love to you all

LUCIA XXX

The “art” of blanket planning…a beginner’s journey

I am still thinking if I am going to have a theme or what I am planning for 2018… I have few deadlines I need to honour but after that, I am a free -bird and I can do whatever I fancy.

So in the midst of creating something new and exciting I am also putting together a program for classes for beginners and more advanced crocheters, because one of the highlights of last year was teaching, I discovered that  I LOVE TEACHING! I like the excitement to meet new people, I like the energy and buzz that they bring to the table and I like that they go home, hopefully with some new skills to work with.

teaching to beginners is probably the most challenging of all lessons as it is often their first encounter with this amazing exciting artform and you want to pass on the rudiments of crochet as well as possible,

but at the same time not be boring or frustrating or altogether scary!  so I engaged the help of my daughter Francesca to test some samples of possible projects to make sure that I teach them  to walk before to run as Hussein Bolt! Francesca is great because she can crochet already, she is what I would call a very keen beginner and I think that is a good platform to start with.

While testing and chatting about several possibilities she said she wanted to make a blanket “all by herself” for someone very special… so I started to say ..ok what do you have in mind, what size, what colours, what yarn …etc.

 

 

It became apparent to me that you can make an original, interesting and exciting blanket from scratch even if you are a beginner, just following some basic rules.

So that is what this  Blog entry is all about a beginner’s journey…and I will keep you updated on her progress and you might find something interesting to use on your projects at home.

So where to start…

WOOOW SO EXCITING I AM GOING TO MAKE A NEW BLANKET!….

then comes the frantic search on Pinterest , Ravelry, magazines, books, social media, and patterns of all sorts.. which is all good.

So I encouraged her to collect things, scrap of fabrics, leafs, stones , anything that can create a visual map .  Even the process to combine them all together it is very important because you can focus on the colours and that will reflect on the choice of yarns you are going to make . so make a bord, take a picture with your phone and THEN CHOOSE THE YARN!!

Bring the picture with you at your yarn-store or use it as reference if you shop on line  or even to select some hues from your stash..( because we all have one of those…).

So Francesca collected things she likes and patterns she finds interesting, but also I reminded her that if you make something for someone else your search should be focused not on the pattern you like or you want to make yourself, but on what he/she would  like to have!

She made the boards and took the pictures herself  …so this is a collaboration project!

Some nature’s inspiration….and , by the way, you do not need amazing skills or amazing landscapes, travelling or what so ever…just go outside !!!

Very often you see on social media fellow crocheters complaining that they spent a lot of time, efforts and money making  what they thought was a lovely blanket ar scarf or whatever but they encounter  a very  tepid reception. Now I do believe there is always a rogue one that no matter what you make he/she still could not  careless but you will find that 99% of the  time people love receiving a handmade gift made with  love. .. BUT  you must follow a few rules to succeed…

I have to confess, I have seen some shockers on my computer that made me think ..oh well no wonder it didn’t work out!

FIRST RULE:

ARE YOU SURE HE/SHE WANTS A BLANKET?????

that is a GREAT START  to figure that out first!  maybe he /she prefer a new t-shirt, a pair of shoes, a concert ticket, been taken out on a special day, a Transformer, some Kyle Jenner’s makeup or a gosh.. a Gucci bag! I don’t know..million of different possibilities and remember

if he/she doesn’t really want a blanket it is not all lost! don’t get upset or deflated..just MAKE A BLANKET FOR YOURSELF ! or find someone else 😀

SECOND RULE:

DO NOT BITE OFF MORE THEN YOU CAN CHEW!

aghhhh really delicate point… I know we all have seen the most amazing and intricate blanket and we want to make one exactly the same but you must  be realistic and not only look at your budget but also at your abilities especially if it is meant as a gift. it has to be right..none of that malarky “ohh I miss 2 stitches on my round 23..now I am at round 37  should I unravel and fix it?…if you noticed the answer is always YES!! totally utterly YES!!! I can’t stress that enough..the idea that you could call it unique means you are kidding yourself on ,it is like baking a cake and forgetting the sugar, apologies if I am being a little bit harsh.

I am going to tell you a little story… after the Frida’s  Primavera was released I had a lot of emails from ladies showing me their progress and I really loved to help and  compliment them on their efforts.. but I also had a lady who sent me a picture of the blanket and one of the  hexagons had only 5 sides… she  had joined the blanket and said to me..I know it has 5 sides and not 6 but will it be still ok? can you tell me how can I fix it ?.. what could  I say? there isn’t a nice way to say…sorry but you have to unravel the all blanket because it doesn’t look right.. I did say that and I don’t think she was very impressed at all.  I wish I had a “Magic Wand” or an a “Aladdin’s Lamp” to correct mistakes , but trust me..mistakes have to be fixed. I made tonnes myself and I have had to unravel countless times until I am entirely happy with it.  So the bottom line is;

if you see it, others, even if they do not crochet,  will see it too.

 

So CHECK YOUR WORK! and more importantly practice your square until you are completely happy with it,  before embarking on a full blanket!. It takes just maybe an evening  to practice a  motif or a  square,  please make a swatch of the stripe, or wave or  whatever pattern you plan to use..and I know it might be a bit boring and you are excited to start, but it will save you time and frustrations in the long run.

I have been going on a bit of a tangent..let’s get back on track…

 

so my advice is simple;

 

Do not bite off more you can chew.

Swatch whatever you think is good

Believe and be comfortable that you can do it.

And  tackle the project head on!

 

Please always remember, that  it is MUCH BETTER to make a beautifully executed properly planned, humble, granny square’s blanket, than  a wonky striped blanket or a complex hexagon blanket with  one of the sides missing .

Back to Francesca’s blanket…

As the blanket is for a guy she didn’t want a fussy pattern and she opted for ..the granny square. and I am very happy she did that because it allows me to show you what amazing potentials a granny square has!

So she did a few samples..until she was happy with it..then came the part I like most COLOURS !!! I leave you with a picture…and  I will tell you the story next time 😀

love to you all,

Lucia xx

Annabelle’s blanket colours and few more stories….

my plan to write a blog entry last weekend didn’t really work…due to a flu epidemic that left most of us floored for a few days.

I am on the mend now so I thought I could catch up with this.

Firstly I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU for all the lovely comments on the colours choice! I  thought Caro’s pattern was really lovely and unusual and it worked really well with the bright colours  I used.

 

Here is the link to the original pattern just in case you missed it on Facebook, as said, I bought it on Ravelry.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-blanket-in-overlay-crochet

and this is the list of the colours and yarn I used for my version:

STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK :

1 ball each in:

spice,fondant,fuchsia purple,magenta,mustard,aspen and buttermilk.

STYLECRAFT BATIK DK :

2 balls each in :

pistachio and coral.

a note on the quantities…

I listed what I started with, but as you know, I made the 48 squares suggested in the pattern, but I ended up using just 20 squares for Annabelle  because I wanted the blanket to be stroller’s size as I found it is  a very practical option to give as a present, they are not too big, they can be carried everywhere,  they can be fold and stuffed  in a bag if  not needed and, in my experience, you can get the most use out of it

 

So if you are thinking to make a blanket for a baby I would suggest anything between these 2 sizes:

a minimum of   60cm x 75cm  to  75cm x 100cm .

Annabelle’s measures: 65cm x 85cm and you can see it “in action” here…

How cute are Annabelle and her sister Rose? I was delighted that Siobhan and Andrew were ok with me sharing this lovely picture of their beautiful girls with you, so you have a chance to see the other blanket I made for Annabelle’s older sister, Rose when she was born two years ago. It still looks great and I am so pleased they use it all the time because that is what blanket -making is all about! making something that is useful, that can be washed, that can be dragged around and snuggle under and if the colours make you smile that is an added bonus!

Next, I have to organize my thoughts for 2018…

I have several things in mind and a few projects I have been working on, behind the scenes,  coming up too.

it is going to be a VERY exciting year! as I am NEVER tired to crochet, I have a head full of colours and ideas. but my aim this year is to take on board all the comments and advice I gathered in 2017 and to make my work more accessible to all of you out there, I want to do more classes so I can pass on my passion for this amazing craft , I want to be less erratic with my blog entries and improve my online presence too…

It is going to be a lot of work but it is going to be great fun too so stay tuned!

 

lots of love,

Lucia xx

 

 

DECEMBER’S blanket,Frau Holle and a little girl called Annabelle…

29th of December…in Italy, we say “meglio tardi che mai”  which translate… “better late than never”…..

Firstly,  I am so sorry for the lack of posts…and thank you for your patience and I hope you are all enjoying your festivities.

What have I been doing?

This month has been a bit of a blur … I had things to finish that, unfortunately, I can’t share until next year…I also had work, family and all the rest to manage as December seems to be the busiest time of the year!!! Yesterday was also my birthday.

If you are following me on facebook you might have seen some post about Frau Holle as she is the theme for my December blanket. So let’s start introducing this special lady which has been part of my Christmas since I can remember…

 

 

I should start by saying I have been brought up with books…  and yes, as you might have guessed,  I am old enough to remember apple just as fruit- yes, a time before iPads, mobile phones, internet and computers.

It was the time when entertainment meant books and I was so lucky to have a grandmother with the most extraordinary knowledge of folk tales and stories and the will to share them.

I was the little girl that always said ‘another one, please’…

I know now, after 50 years, that my grandmother loved mixing and matching.

she picked what she wanted from the stories, she also made some up on the spot.

One night was an episode from the Odyssey or Eneid, the other was some mythological beast. Another night was some exotic location, the other a tiger out of a Salgari’s book ( if you are Italian you might know him). One night would be some little girl lost in Nordic landscapes, a god with one eye, a grey horse with eight legs , a magical tree  with lots different worlds and my favourite …GHOST STORIES!

and I mean proper ones…none of this wishy-washy Twilights saga….

The common denominator of all these stories were that none of them were PC ( politically correct) , no annoying pig which jumps in puddles (she who must not be named).

My nonna’s stories were full of monsters, gore, dramas, swords, heroes, felons, dragons and skeletons on horseback, a LOT of pre- Disney’s  faeries, and amazing goblins lost little creatures which were always rather nasty … (I am still quite wary what is lurking under a bridge over a creek…)

so tales of all sort, I loved them so much and I still love them now.

One of my favourite stories is from the Dolomites, a range of mountains in northern Italy on the border with Austria.

I love those mountains so much, they are home to me and to Frau Holle.

You might be familiar with one of the versions of this folk tale’s  figure. The story is as old as the 1st century BC when Germany was populated by tribes.

The legend tells the story of an Earth Goddess that we know as Frau Holle or Hulda.

She was known in Northen Hesse and quite popular on my mountains too until she became famous in the 19th century thanks to the work of the Brothers Grimm. So if you don’t know it you should read Wilhelm’s version- it is a lovely story.

For us, on the Dolomites, Frau Holle is not just the depiction of a nice lady who shakes her pillow and the feathers which fall become snow on Earth… she is also the sky queen who, besides mastery of clouds and winds, she had the power of granting sunshine and prosperity to the fields. She is the motherly protector of women’s lives, she controlled feminine work, namely favouring spinning, and, as Frau Holda or Holle, she kept the souls of the unborn children.

In some countries, it was said that her home was on a mountain, a magnificent cave, and still in some others, it was in the waters of some fountains or ponds it all depends on where you are.

So I made a little one to hang over my table to remind me that, sometimes,  we all need a bit of magic too!

 

anyway back to the blanket…

A new baby girl has just joined the family, she is the daughter of my husband’s cousin Siobhan. Her name is Annabelle and she has a beautiful big sister called Rose who is truly adorable.

Annabelle was born about 6 weeks ago and she is well overdue a blanket!

I made a blanket for her older sister so I making one for her now. I used, as inspiration, one of several beautiful images of Frau Holle from the Grimm’s tales…

I loved the colours and the details of these illustrations as much as I love the story.

So here it is my last blanket on the go..hopefully it will be ready in a few days but here you can see the first square…on some very “on theme” fresh snow!

and the usual production line on the go…

and some very appropriate, fresh snow, shot of the garden this morning…

 

The colour choices are mine but the pattern is not- I bought it online, I will give you all the details once I have finished the blanket.

To you all, I wish you a peaceful New Year and the best for 2018!!

I will write a final post with a summary of this amazing year VERY SOON

lots of love

lucia xxx

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