‘Emily’ my February blanket: a humble homage to the Brontë sisters.

As you probably knew already,  last weekend, I went to my first STYLECRAFT’S BLOGSTARS  meeting.

It will take all week for the experience to sink in and  I am still in the process to write a blog entry about what I saw , who I met and millions of ideas and exciting new projects, but today I am going to give you an update on my plans for the February blanket.

Stylecraft’s HQ is in Yorkshire in the north east of England, a wonderful rugged landscape well worth a visit if you got the chance.

While I was there for the weekend, I  decided to stay an extra day and fulfil a wish  that I had  wanted for ages.

I went to Haworth to see the Brontë Parsonage.

As with all the things that you put up off for a long time, I had developed some sort of concern that there was a possibility of disappointment. And that  my experience wasn’t going to be what I expected. But I m very pleased to say that it was not  the case for this visit.

I wanted to see the house in winter, and also I wanted to see it when it wasn’t too crowded because in a very selfish way it was quite an important pilgrimage for me.

I was very fortunate, I arrived there at  twilight ,just before closing, beautifully quiet, as the museum had just reopened last week and many are not aware of it.

It was wonderful to be standing in solitude  in their very  front garden.

You are wondering why a 50 something year old  woman is so fascinated by the Brontë sisters?

Well I, have been fascinated by them for most of my life, since I read their novels and poems when I was a teenager, I  never  saw them as a  gloomy trio of unmarried women in a  isolated village in the Yorkshire’s moors  telling tales of love , despair and sometimes  happy endings.

I thought of them as witty , intelligent and also quite troubled women, well ahead of their time, raising topics that are still pertinent today , 200 years later. Drawing attention with their novels on subjects such as; choosing  your own path,  independence and being true to yourself .

The Brontë sisters have all an extraordinary ability to express their emotions so intensely about, not just love , loss, and  passion; but also about rage, madness, and domestic abuse, and  the reality of working just with the sole purpose to survive.

What also appeals to me a great deal is the fact that you can  be an extraordinary individual  without living a life full of  epic experiences.

So back to my visit…

I was standing at twilight in the front garden of the parsonage and looking at the colours, the light, the moss on the tombstones, the interiors  of the house with their soft dusty blues , greens and purples,  the books, paintings, clothes, kitchen utensils and objects of an ordinary life and I felt so content in being there.

To capture in a tangible way how I felt , I m going to dedicate my February blanket to my favourite Brontë sister, Emily, a blanket to remember my visit to Haworth on a beautiful winter afternoon.

I selected the yarn , a mix of tweeds and solid colours , some soft alpaca mix  for comfort against the gloomy weather, and a  general mood for the blanket.

the tomato looks more like an hot pink in this picture…which is not right but it give you an idea, hopefully in the next few days if it is not raining I will be able to take a better  picture.

The pattern is nearly there too; I am still tweaking with it.  It is going to be different from what I normally make but hopefully will work . more updates as the week progresses.

Love you all Lucia x

 

THE JANUARY BLANKET IS DONE!!

First THANK YOU SOO MUCH for the lovely comments and likes , I m really glad that the first blanket of 2017 has been received so well, I am so glad you loved the colours even if the pictures  I posted on Instagram where not the best.

The best way to appreciate the colours is  with an outdoor picture and I  have been stalking the sky for days now hoping for a break in the weather. this morning I managed  to take a few but the sky is like pewter colour and the light is poor too , those are the joys of living in Scotland! today we even have a rainbow…

anyway I am not entirely happy with the results but I have to do for now, as I have received so many messages asking for details ,colours and ..the border!

so lets start with the  yarns and colours first:

2 types of yarn : STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK and STYLECRAFT BATIK

As said in my previous post the SPECIAL  DK  is 100% premium acrylic fibre and comes in a 100 gr. ball. the STYLECRAFT BATIK DK is a 80%premium acrylic and 20%wool and come in a 50 gr. ball.

both yarn are machine washable at 30 degrees and also cool tumble dry.

I tested both of them several times and they wash beautifully .that is the reason why I use this yarn, because there is no point making a beautiful blanket and then been afraid to use it because it is a nightmare to wash ( never mind drying) but I wont go into a big discussion about quality and versatility . we leave that for another time.

colours 22 of them…I know sounds a lot but the variety in hues makes the blanket really.

 

STYLECRAFT SPECIAL IN: lime,pistachio,cypress,khaki,spring green,tomato,mocka,walnut,pale rose, raspberry ,sage,storm blue.

STYLECRAFT BATIK IN: graphite,coral,old gold,cream,pistachio,sage,raspberry,storm,indigo

the border joining and border are made with STYLECRAFT BATIK in biscuit.

QUANTITIES:

SPECIAL : 1 ball for each of the colours

BATIK: 1 ball for each of the colour listed, plus 5or 6 balls for the joining and border.

a note: when I made the blanket I found I got a bit short on the batik but just for probably 7/8 grams.

now ideally you want  to have 2 balls of the batik for each colour  but again you will have left a lot of yarn, and I don’t know how you feel about it. I don’t mind as I make blankets all the time so I will re-use what is left, but  if your blanket is one-off, you might want to think about it and maybe use more of the special colours as you will have plenty there to finish with.

I would still use the biscuit for the border and joining though, it is so lovely and it suits the blanket beautifully.

The quantities above are for a blanket which measures:  120cmx200cm  .I made 9 strips of 15 squares each , so we have in total 135 starburst squares.

As said the pattern for the starburst is from Jane Brocket’s book : ‘the gentle art of knitting’. I know the name is misleading but it is a book with patterns for both  knitting and crochet. I bought mine 2nd hand on amazon this is the link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Gentle-Art-Knitting-Jane-Brocket/1843405326/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486052621&sr=8-1&keywords=the+gentle+art+of+knitting

please check the 2nd hand availability as it can be a fraction of the price and unless the books are ex library they are always in great condition , besides you recycle and save the planet and give a really nice book another chance! so win-win all the way !

note that I have added an extra round of half trebles, that is because it frames better the square and make the all thing much neater , but I am afraid, it adds more ends to sew! and talking about the much dreaded ends, just after each round is complete please,please sew your ends!!! if you do that it is not such an horrendous task at the end !

there are 2 ways to make the blanket: one you do the lucky dip and pick random colours off a bag without looking, or if you are like me and you want to control the hues makes all the 135 squares one round at time , then you clear up some space or use the outside and place 135 little squares so to decide the next colour up.

both methods are excellent it is just up to you what you prefer.

THE BORDER!!!!!

I m so surprised and delighted that the border has been such a success! as said on facebook I tart up something I saw on the internet. this is the original diagram. as you can see it is just the horizontal part and there is no corner.. so I made the corner up and eliminate some of the  rounds.

lets start from the beginning:

you join all the squares together with a simple SC stitch then I did a full round  ( foundation round )of half trebles in biscuit : the corners are 2 sc- ch1- 2sc then  2 more rounds . I think it is called moss stitch:

ROUND 1 : sc, 1 ch,skip a stitch below and 1 sc

ROUND 2: skip the sc of the round 1 and in the ch1 space make a sc not in the space but in the row below, the foundation row

this will make a nice sturdy frame for the border. the border works on a multiple of 13 stitches . I started just after the corner with a ch3 skip 2 of the base. and kept going with round 1 . this  round it is really important and yougot to arrive at the corner with a ch3 so be careful, if you find that for some reason you are either shorter or you got too many just unravel a few of the chain and try to fiddle a bit you wont notice that much at this stage if instead to skip 4  you skip 3 as long as you do it for a max extra of 4/5 stitches! it is called fidgeting…don’t do more then that or you have a dog-dinner of a border!!

On a serious note if you keep the intervals precise of round 2 in the diagram your  border will sit perfectly flat .

ROUND 3 :I followed the diagram but I didn’t do the 3 ch space between the 2 shells.

ROUND4: I followed the diagram but instead to do the shell on the 3ch space that I omitted in the previous round I did my shell in the space between the 2 shells of round two.

ROUND 5: as the diagram.

ROUND6: skipped

ROUND 7 : final round I followed he diagram but instead then more chains I made sc in the round 6 ch spaces. that give a solid well defined last round instead then some flimsy chains , they might work for cotton but in heavier dk yarn  it is much better more definition , it keeps your border neat and straight without either frilling or curling

corner: please look at the picture, it is self explanatory .

I will get the program to write diagrams and  once I figured out how it works I will make it easier for everyone to follow my pattern..it is just I need to find the time to do that. If out there is one of you that is a computer wizard and know how to do that get in touch!!!

well that is all for today,

to the next blanket for February…gosh I have to think of something then!!!! …I deffo bitten more then I can chew with this one blanket each month!

all the best Lucia xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM AND CROCHET. WHY NOT?

Abstract expressionism and crochet…. I bet a lot  of people will find my statement total blasphemy.

I don’t mind, if that is the case, and I apologise in the very unlikely eventuality that an art critic has stumbled upon my blog. The purpose of the entry is to tell the story how this blanket came about, and   how I have used  saturated colours.

It all started with a pile of yarn , and the notion  to try something out of my comfort zone for a change. I wanted to use a pattern with a strong visual impact so I opted for  bull’s eye  which is a circle inside a square. If you google bull’s eye crochet square, the search engine will come up with several versions same basic design but slight differences due mainly to the thickness of the yarn ,which will determine  the size of the square, the number of stitches and the numbers of rounds .

I made a few samples ,with one strand  of DK but it turned out too flimsy and far too many rounds , so I opted for 2 strands together and fewer rounds. That created a more distinctive texture and visual impact. that made  the blanket  not only bold in colours but also bold in texture and weight!. ( in the photo above the one strand sample)

lets go back to the colours…

I wanted to use bold strong saturated colours and most of all  what are often considered ‘difficult ‘colours such as midnight blue , emperor, burgundy for example. 

Colours that very seldom I choose to add to my selection. I toiled with different combinations without much success I have to say, Then ,while in London last  September , I went to see an exhibition with my oldest daughter Francesca at  the Royal Academy of Arts called ‘Abstract Expressionism’  a selection of works by Hofmann, Pollok, Gottlieb,Willem de Kooning, Rothko,Kline,Still and many others.

I am not an expert or an art critic but just looking at those paintings as an ordinary person  what  I found astonishing  was how colour do exist as an independent element, and how colours project a mood and  also , how simplified forms and geometric shapes plus the use of saturated hues  create such a strong and bold statement.

I know that  it might be a bit ridiculous to compare crochet to works of art , but it is all about what catches your eye and what do you see and inspire you, it doesn’t have to be a painting at all ,  it can be someone else amazing blanket, can be nature, can be a pininterest board or a scrap of fabric or your favourite jumper.

That afternoon three paintings made quite an impression on me: one is called ‘in sober ecstasy’ painted by Hans Hofmann ,then ‘penumbra’ by Adolph Gottlieb, and  Williem de Kooning ‘untitled’.

I  couldn’t take pictures  obviously so I bought one of the catalogues of the exhibition and went home .

Now I  wish the pictures could give justice to the original but it can still give you an idea where I am coming from. what I saw in Hofmann was the amazing combination of colours and how those  brown/reddish rectangles  just made the painting sing, so it occurred to me that  a ‘dull’ imposing block of colour with a very strong geometric form can make  the other colours sing beautifully. hence dull colours  handled correctly can make a fantastic impact.

I loved Kooning’s  painting for the colours choice and  the  impact  of circles and squares  together and last in Gottlieb’s painting the red ring around the the black dot. can you see where I am coming from?

Bottom line of all of this is:

Just look around you and just pick what you like, and I mean it, pick ANYTHING that inspire you, because that will make any of your work personal and your item will tell  a  lovely story which is not my story but  it is YOURS.

Now few details because I have been asked to write down a pattern for it and the colours selection.

The blanket measures: 200cmx150,  there are 35 squares of 25cm each one.

I used Stylecraft special dk 2 strands together and a 5,00 hook.

the colours are: camel,midnight,tomato,gold,claret,emperor,fuchsia purple,storm blue,lime and pale rose. each square is made by a round centre squared up , I think a shape you are probably quite familiar it is also called bull’s eye.

my version is made of 9 rows:

row1 to row6 for the central circle and the last 3  rows squares it up.

PATTERN:

ROUND 1:

make a magic circle, inside 12 trebles,

ROUND2

2 trebles  together in each of the trebles of the previous round close with an ss on the ch3 of the beginning (24 trebles in total)

 

ROUND3:

ch3repeat this sequence: *1 treble, 2 trebles together* all around ( 36 trebles in total)

ROUND4:

repeat this sequence: *2 trebles,2trebles together* all around (48 trebles in total)

ROUND5:

repeat this sequence: *3 trebles, 2 trebles together*  (60trebles in total)

ROUND 6:

repeat this sequence: * 4 trebles,2 trebles together* all around ( 72 trebles in total)

those 6 rows make the internal circle. be aware that the sequence remain the same for all the blocks but  in each individual block some of the rows are in simple crochet and NOT in trebles! so please refer to the details of the the individual block to know which of the rows are in simple crochet.

ROUND 7/8/9 they will square the circle as follow:

ROUND7

start this row with *1dtr, 3tr,2htr,5 sc,2htr,3tr ,1dtr* then we do the corner as follow: in the same treble we crochet: **2dtr,ch1,2dtr** repeat 3 more times the all sequence that will make 4 corners (2dtr,ch1,2dtr) and 4 side of the square (1dtr,3tr,2htr,5sc,2htr,3tr,1dtr)

ROUND8

start this row at the corner . in the ch1 space make *2dtr,ch1,2dtr* this make the corners, then  the side is 20 trebles to reach the other corner and repeat the sequence all around.

ROUND9

start this row at the corner in the space ch1 of the previous round and make the corner as follow: *1tr,1dtr,2ch,1dtr,1tr* 23 trebles for the side and the corner again.

note: I say at the beginning 1 treble but the first treble is substituted ,as always happen at the beginning of each round, by 3 ch and if it is a rounds of sc will be 2 ch. also I close every round with an ss on the first group of chains.

normally I would say choose the colours as you please but in this case it makes a different if you use them in a specific order so I am going to list the different blocks as follow:

there are 10 different blocks in the blanket : this is the list:

then combine your 35 blocks as follow in the picture, and join them together with 1 strand of yarn only and  a simple sc in the back , now I m a bit of a perfectionist so I didn’t want the seam of the joining to be detected so when you join the block together please make sure that the colour of the yarn you are using matches one of the colours of the last round of the block. which means if you have 2 blocks to join together  which the last row is one lime and the other emperor use emperor to join. I know you will have more ends to sew but it does make a difference trust me.

the border is 9 rounds using 2 strands of yarn together.

first 8 rounds are sc and the last round is crab stitch .

colour sequence border:

ROUND1 : camel

ROUND2: gold

ROUND3: midnight

ROUND4/5/6/7/8 : claret

ROUND9: midnight.

QUANTITIES of yarn…I am afraid that is going to be a bit empiric but I tried to make a block to see the quantities, you will have to add it all up ….

round 1 and 2 together : 4 grams

round 3: 3 grams

round4:4 grams

round5: 5 grams

round6: 6 grams

round 7/8/9 together: 26 grams

the border I have no idea but I recon is at least 100 grams of claret.

sorry for the quantities, it wasn’t my plan  to make a pattern out of it, it was just an experiment blanket, so if you want to make one please make a sample of the block , that will help you to decide how much you need.

all the best

Luciaxx

 

 

 

 

ONE BLANKET FOR EACH MONTH….

I have been thinking in the past few weeks what I should make this year, and I have come up with a rather ambitious plan:

one blanket for each month of the year.

I know it might be far too much, and I won’t be able to keep it up, but I still thought I could try!

ALSO, there is another reason:

If you remember I have been thinking about making some posts about colors principles, but it can be quite a dry subject if handled on a theorist base so I figured it might be better showing the ‘rules’ of color’s harmony applied to an actual piece of work,  hence, the blankets.

It is an experiment, so please bear with me, and if it becomes too verbose or boring we scrap it, and we think of something else!

We  start with JANUARY’S BLANKET:

For the  January’s blanket,  I picked a very simple well-known pattern, a starburst square, and mine is Jane Brocket’s version, if you don’t have her book, please do not fret as there are lots of free very similar patterns available on the internet.

I am using  2 different type of  DK yarn :

Stylecraft’s SPECIAL and Stylecraft’s BATIK

I selected 22 colours…I know a lot, but  I took vantage of the fact that Batik comes on 50 grams balls so I can add more colours and still have the same average weight for the blanket.

 

I mixed the 2 yarns because this blanket is about HARMONY . Harmony , in my opinion, is  a balance between contrasting colours.

The easiest way to achieve harmony , is with desaturation of the colours.

what that means?

we need to make a step back and see what defines a colour. three parameters defines a colour:

  • hue
  • saturation
  • value

hue  is what we call any colour from the visible  light spectrum . basically the rainbow.

Saturation is how intense the color is. High saturation is rainbow bright, while low saturation is close to greytones.

value is how bright the color is. Full saturation, full brightness is a rainbow colour. No saturation, full value is white. No value is black.

If you use paint you can obtain that in 2 ways : mixing a prime colour (red,yellow,blue)  with white or with a black. That is easily done with paint, but with yarns  it is a bit more complex as you can imagine especially if we use solid colours. That is why the BATIK yarn come really handy because  it  resembles very much to paint by not been a solid colour as each hue  is mottled with white.

does make sense? maybe not ,at this stage , but you will see it applied as the blanket comes along.

So let see these colours in more details…

you will notice that I haven’t use any prime colours but variations of them.

so we have blue’s hues plus or less saturated, Blue is well known for its ability to relax the mind,

then we have  a touch of ‘reddish/raspberry  hues.

I say reddish because I  am not using  a prime color,  the hues are more towards the orange which is  for physical comfort, food, warmth, and  the pink, which is a tint of red,  also affects us physically, but in a  soothing way, rather than stimulating, again plus or less saturated,

then some greens Green being in the center of the spectrum, it is the color of balance

and finally, some ‘neutrals’ those colors  ,plus their variations based on saturation, will help to create more interest in the blanket because they allow the other colors to ‘pop’ up.

I have made so far four rounds; now I have a FEW ends to sew in and then I am ready for the last round of half trebles! That will frame the square ready to be joined in…

more to come soon

Lucia xxx

 

 

Beating the January’s blues: a plate of leftovers for a “presto-pronto” quick cushion.

I always feel the first few weeks after the festive season can be quite a bit of a challenge, cold and dark days ahead, if you are like me in the northern hemisphere, back to work, maybe a depleted bank balance after the festivities or are you overwhelmed by far too ambitious list of ‘new year resolutions’?
If that is the case all you need is ..CROCHET of course!!!
What you want it is a small project: something special to look forward and to concentrate on, something reasonably easy and quick for instant gratification, and if that also put a dent in your stash of leftover yarns it is even better!
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you might have seen a picture of some shriveled colorful little strip ..well that is my first new project of the year!
I thought my kitchen looked quite bare and needed some cheering up after I took down all the Christmas decorations, I needed some bright colors, so I made a new cushion for the sofa.
The cushion took just a few hours in between following Lucy’s Moorland Cal.
I used some leftovers Stylecraft chunky special I had. But any chunky in bright colors will do the job. The colors I used are: petrol/spice/gold/meadow/copper/pomegranate and plum.
The cushion measures 45 cm square.
For every block of color, I used about 28grams of chunky yarn.
The pattern is Margaret Willson’s “Bargello pillow” you can find it on Ravelry, this is the link:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bargello-pillow
I bought just the pillow’s pattern, but all the magazine’s issue looks quite nice too.
Now a few tips:
ONE:
Use a smaller hook from what the yarn recommend; I used instead of a 6,0 a 4,5 hook. My hand is quite loose so just have a try. What you want is a dense, stiff fabric. Doing so will make your pillow less prone to lose its shape with use.
Do not worry if it looks all wrinkled and misshapen, all you need is some steam-blocking! And voila’ you have a lovely, smooth, perfectly shaped square!!
TWO:
The two sides of the cushion are different. That not only optimize the use of your stash but also create an alternative look;
THREE:
Make sure that your cushion pad is BIGGER than your crochet cover!!
My cover is 45 cm square, but I used a 50cm feather’s filled pad from Ikea.

http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/textiles-rugs/cushions-inner-cushions/fj%C3%A4drar-cushion-pad-off-white-art-80300518/

I like Ikea’s pads because they are cheap, mine was 4 pounds, fluffy but still quite firm and more so they DON’T lose any feathers!!!

Well that is all for today, I hope you like my cushion and I wish you all a lovely weekend
Lucia xxx

NEW YEAR NEW ADVENTURES

Hello everyone and the first blog’s entry for 2017!

Firstly I would like to wish to all of you, out there, may you have hope, peace, joy, good health and more during this coming year.

Second, now that it is official, I can let you all know I am an STYLECRAFT BLOGSTAR!!!

How exciting is that???

I have to thank not only Stylecraft to invite me to be part of their group, but more so I have to thank you all for liking my page,  sharing what I do and supporting me and my crochet adventures !!

It still amazes me  that I got the opportunity to write and share my experience with you all, simply because crochet doesn’t have borders, crochet it is what we all got in common, and it links all of us together regardless nationality, culture, language and social background and I think, you will agree with me ,

it is a beautiful thing.

So you might wonder how did I become a Blogstar… well actually I m a bit surprised myself!

It all started with Lucy’s blog Attic24. I just stumbled on it a couple of years ago, while looking at crochet projects, and chatting to a friend of mine, Yvonne, who loves crochet as much as I do.

Lucy ‘s blog was, and still is, amazing! Full of colours, beautiful images, advice, lovely projects and tutorials, to the point that I decided to buy a kit for her cottage ripple blanket and give it a go. The price was very reasonable, the colours looked amazing BUT….

big, BUT, it was…ACRYLIC!

My memory of acrylic yarn was  of an unpleasant,scratching ,shining  fibre, which, if you rub it on, will make your hair standing like a porcupine!!! But it wasn’t the case…  when I opened the pack, I got a soft, squidgy lovely yarn with beautiful hues, exactly how Lucy had described it on her blog!!!

I loved the yarn so much that that year I made LOADS of blankets and I bought every single shade that was available!!

So when STYLECRAFT launched a competition for a new shade, I had to be part of it!

My entry was Lobelia, and I was lucky enough that Lobelia got selected, with other beautiful hues, and became a permanent colour in their special DK range.

From there it is all history… emails, a visit to their HQ in Yorkshire,  I met Sue Pinner at Edinburgh yarn festival last year, more blankets, more designs and here I am a blogstar…😊So  this year is going to be a BIG one, and I will try my best to bring you lots of colours and projects, to share my journey and last but not least to HAVE FUN!!!

 

FOR THE NEW YEAR ALL WE NEED IS SOME GREEN!!

FOR 2017 ALL WE NEED IS SOME GREEN !!!

As I bet you are all busy getting organised for the festive season I thought I share with you some ‘colour’s love’. This weekend Pantone, the  market leader in colour communication and colour technology,has released their new colour of the year 2017 and it is FABULOUS !!

It is called GREENERY .

It might seems a bit silly getting excited about a  release of a new colour ,but colours trends are quite important for my job , so I keep always a close eye on them because they can have a substantial impact on  the industry.

The other reason it is because I LOVE anything about colours anyway!

So ,if you are not familiar with,what  is the PANTONE Colour of the Year?

It is a symbolic colour selection; a colour snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.

So even the colours industry seems to send a message of hope ,regeneration , environment issues ,etc  and all the above is very relevant  with the choice as Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.

So what do you think? You like it?

I do. I think greenery is much better then last year choice of a dusty blue n a pale fleshy pink, and has a much better vibe too.

Back to crochet….

I know that some people find green difficult to use in crochet but ,trust me,  green can be really effective and just lovely!

One of the projects I did last February was a multi-green wrap. I have been wearing it quite a lot because greens are one of those colours that goes with everything and it does compliment not only most wardrobes but also skin tones and complexions .

The idea came from an amazing blanket I saw  quite a while ago on a blog called ‘according to Matt’ the blog has now been revamped , renamed and it  looks fantastic is called : ‘Boys&bunting’

http://boysandbunting.blogspot.co.uk/

Please Have a look because there are a lot of really nice projects, tutorials,reviews and amazing photography too.

This is the link to the blanket: http://boysandbunting.blogspot.co.uk/p/according-to-matt-archives-japanese.html

From there I got redirected to Lucy ‘s at Attic24, as she used the pattern for the Japanese flower on a lovely wrap in 2011! ( good patterns never get old)

Http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/2011/03/japanese-flower-scarf-ta-dah.htmlo,

So , well, I had to make one too!!

Mine is all green, made with a lot of left overs , great for your stash and really easy to do too. The pattern I used is the same that Lucy used on the original entry and it is from   a Japanese book , that I believe it might be still available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/MOTIF-BOOK-VOL-Japanese-Crochet/dp/4529044424

But  don’t worry  if you can’t get your hands on the book  , it is not that crucial as there are so many very similar versions  of the pattern on pin-interest so just put Japanese crochet flower on your search engine and see which one you like best .

That is all for today,

2017 is going to be the GREEN YEAR  so TRY  SOME GREENS!

Lucia x

P.S. The sample is made with Stylecraft special dk in : bottle,meadow,cypress and pistachio.

ANATOMY OF A BLANKET…OR TWO

ANATOMY OF A BLANKET…OR TWO

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you might have seen snippets of the two new blankets I made.

Do you know that each blanket tells a unique story?  A story about you, about what you like, about materials, journey to the shops, endless rummaging in your stash or afternoons on the laptop looking for a magic shade, they also tell about your love and caring because often they are made as a gift.

So no pressure!

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I keep journals of my blankets,  some  sort of record where I can note down sources, patterns, observations, colour swatches primarily mood boards.

These are a few pages of my journal with the most recent blankets I made; they might look a bit chaotic as they are just meant for me but they can still give you an idea so you can create  your own.

You might already keep records of images and virtual mood boards for your projects, but I found the process to make a ‘real’ one very useful as I like to see the shades and patterns in real life.

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I start with a few questions:

-Who the blanket is for?

-Time schedule?

-Budget?

 

The answers to the above will determine, size, material, pattern,

Then comes the mood…

This is my favourite part  of making a blanket as it is the creative one! And that is where the journal come indispensable for me because allows me to create different scenarios without committing to a final one.

I start with  collecting pictures, images anything that attracts my attention then I select what I like best, and I print them, I also start to narrow down colours ‘s possibilities with pencils, crayons, little bits of paper, Leafs anything that can be glued on a page!

Colours for me are the most important part because you can be an amazing crocheter, or having an amazing pattern but if you mess up your colours, you mess up the all thing.

Colours  are also a huge topic  and I will get to it in more depth with a few entries I m planning for the new year, with details on COLOURS WHEEL, HUES, SATURATION and VALUE.

It sounds complicated but it is not at all once you get the basic you will be able to make your own combinations easy-peasy.

The fact that colours are so important you can see it in those 2 blankets, both similar size, same pattern, same material, VERY DIFFERENT LOOK and FEEL because of the colours choice.

 

The bright one is for a colleague of mine that had a baby recently. I know she likes bright strong hues and , I hope, the blanket will reflect her taste and her heritage with loads of red for good luck.

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2016-12-04-11-27-49The border is bold and strong n the joining is virtually invisible because what matters is the colours.

 

The second blanket is for another little girl, this mum loves pastels, muted colours and she has chosen neutral shades for the nursery . so I introduced more traditional baby hues, with a hint of colours to create some interest.

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The joining is a flat braid because I like the lacy delicate effect that compliments the border and the colour choice.

 

Did it helps? I hope so.

 

Some technical details if you are interested:

For my journals I use a moleskine  A4 watercolour folio, landscape, 200 gr paper. Shop around because the price can vary between suppliers. It is perfect  size to be transported, has an elastic band so it can keep everything inside,  the paper is heavy  so you can use watercolours crayon markers, whatever also it  holds swatches, bits of yarns and anything you want to stuck down.

I also use double sided tape for the ‘yarny bits’, Glue, pencils, pastels, stickers , buttons anything really.

BRIGHT BLANKET DETAILS:

YARN: STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK

COLOURS: emperor,petrol,turquoise,meadow,mustard,claret,lipstick,fuchsia purple,shrimp, magenta and clematis.

The border is done in lipstick. The pattern is adjusted from something I found in the internet sorry I have just the print on the journal and a swatch.

PATTERN :

it is the small square from @Catherine Blight’s Demelza CAL

 

PASTEL VERSION

YARN: STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK

COLOURS:

Stone, pistachio,saffron,spice,duck egg,apricot

BORDER: Echkman: ‘crochet borders’ n.27

Joining as you go flat braid.

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Lucia xx

 

 

 

It is that time of the year….

I am one of those people that love winter and all the trimmings that come with the season, dark nights, log fires, candles, hot chocolate, lots of carbs,cosy  scarfs, mittens, blankets, handmade socks, friends and family gathering for the festive season and most of all I like to have an excuse for making  small things to decorate the house with.

Other things I like are Scandinavian decorations and imagery. One of my favourite artists is Lennart Helje,in particular  I love his whimsical snow-cloaked world of Tomtes , woodlands and animals, also a few weeks ago I saw a short motion posted  on facebook  of a knitter tomte  from Mochimochiland and I thought was lovely

http://giphy.com/gifs/love-comfort-knitting-3oriO6qJiXajN0TyDu

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so I decided to make a small guardian as a central piece  for  my  festive mantelpiece’s display.

If you are not familiar with the concept Tomte, is the Swedish name for a brownie or a hob, they are mythological folklore creatures typically associated with the winter solstice and yuletide. they look after the house and the occupants , they are small, with long beards and wearing a conical cap. they also can have a bit of temperament if ignored  but a good porridge and a beer will make them very happy.

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My Tomte is made with some ODD ENDS OF CHUNKY YARN, I used some leftover Alafoss Lopi, some DK YARN in red, pale rose and grey ( Stylecraft special ) , SOME SAND or RICE,( can be  little pebbles anything  that  weight down and fit the body), some TOY STUFFING  and a bit of WOOL TOP  for the beard.

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You can change anything of the above to suit your stash or your decor but you need the wool top , the most distinctive feature of a Tomte is his beard so has to be wool top in my opinion.

I didn’t write a pattern because it is  straightforward, especially if you are familiar with amigurumi patterns. You have a cone for the body,  another cone for the hat, a small half sphere for his nose. I added to mine  two little arms with large mittens and a big  heart.

Just decide how big you want your Tomte to  be. Then start a dc circle ( same as the cushion I posted the other day).  When you are happy with the size of the base stop the increases and  keep crocheting; the sides will start to come up. Again when you are pleased with the height, place  a round of even spaced decreases, more rounds and some more decreases your cone will start to form.

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At this stage, it helps to start filling the body. I place a little bag of sand in the bottom to stabilise and stuffing all around.It is up to you how tall, slim you want your Tomte to be, mine has a 9inches tall body and 12 inches tall hat.

The hat is a cone too, start really small, and I added some increases for the rim to give it a’ Gandalf’s look’. Nose a semi-circle with some stuffing.

For the arms I used the A:15 pattern from  Kerry Lord’s ‘Edward’s crochet Imaginarium.’ grey dk for the arms and the chunky for the mittens.

Edward’s crochet Imaginarium is a fabulous book. Probably the best I bought this year. Very useful for all sort of little creature projects. The pages are split into three parts: HEAD-ARMS-FEET  plus some bodies patterns at the end of the book, so you can combine and make whatever you like.

You can use the body pattern for your tomte too.

 

The heart….

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I found an amazing free pattern online by Mia Zamora Johnson this is the link:

 http://owlishly.typepad.com/owlishly/corazoncitos-amigurumi-hearts-pattern-free.html

It comes in 3 sizes: small, medium and large. I used the medium pattern for my Tomte.

The mistletoe on his hat is pattern 53 from Lesley Stanfield ;’100 flowers to knit & crochet’ again anothe good book to have.

Make one it is really fun and a good omen too , all homes should have their  own little guardian!

In the next post I will show you some more crochet decorations and how I  used them .

Happy hooking! xxx

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so where to start?

After my all singing and dancing introduction, I thought better I start with something easy …
If you follow me on Facebook, you probably have seen my round cushions that I made a few months ago. A lovely lady called Pamela asked me the other day how I did my blue denim one and if I had the pattern for it.
It is very simple to make, and it is 2 flat round circles, joined with some lovely little flowers and leafs as decorations.
The pattern I followed for the circle can be found on several blogs, and books but I like Lucy,s one at @attic 24: http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/crocheting-a-flat-circle.html there is a photo tutorial too.

another blog you might want to have a look to it , if already you are not familiar with is Sandra @cherryheart http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/

http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/ she posted two new cushions just yesterday!
The yarn I used it is STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK in denim. My circle is 22 rounds wide, and it measures 45cm (18in) in diameter.
I used a 3.5 hook because I wanted a dense fabric, so please do a little swatch with your yarn of choice, so you are happy with the results.img_3151

FLOWERS….
There are hundreds of amazing flowers out there to be inspired with! You can source some on the internet on Pinterest, just type crochet flower, on the search engine, or you might have some books in your library.

I love books because I love something tangible to hold, but they can be pricey, so I buy mine mostly second hand from Amazon, charity shops, bargain bookshops, TK Maxx.., etc. so when you go shopping for other goods spare a moment to find a hidden-gem! Another source for free publications it is Danish electronic publishing platform for magazines, catalogues, and newspapers called
@ISSUU
https://issuu.com/
ISSUU has a tool, CLIP, that allows readers to take a snapshot of any part of a publication and share that on social media or through email.
Under’crochet’ you can find lots of magazines from around the world, books and articles. It is especially useful if you, like me, love Japanese crochet books.
One note about Issuu, I read some controversy about infringing copyrights, so if you are unsure about it, please accept my apologies, as, I assume, having over 100 million active readers all over the world, it is a legit site.
Back to Japanese books, I love them as they are made with lots of care, they have lovely pictures and great diagrams, the only downside is the price especially when you add the delivery costs to the UK. So  I always have a look on Issuu first, and check if they got a digital version of it, and if I like it I might buy it otherwise I just pick a couple of patterns that might be useful.
If you want to buy Japanese crochet books and are in the UK the best platform it is Etsy. I get mine from:
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/pomadour24
Pomadour24 is a very reliable company so far, I bought books from them few times, they come beautifully packed, via airmail, in about a week. I am waiting for delivery in the next few days …
a note:
I might mention in my blog websites and links where I buy materials or patterns I would like to say that any of those companies does NOT sponsor me, I just provide you with some information that you might find useful. In the eventuality that I get asked to try or test something, I will make that very clear to you all.
Besides If I want to sell something I have a shop here, at the moment it is empty, but I might use to sell blankets or whatsoever in the future.
The blog is a platform for me to share my experience and my unbias view only.

the pattern for the flowers on my cushion is:img_3153

FLOWER

1st round: make a magic loop,2ch (to make the first dc),11dc in the ring, pull the ring tightly close n ss on the top of the 2ch. (12dc)

2nd round: change colour,2ch , dc at the base of the first ch,*3ch, skip a dc from the previous round,1dc on the next dc,* repeat **6times, close the round with a ss.( 6dc, six ch3 spaces) do not cut the yarn

3rd round: in the three ch-space work: 1htr-3tr-1htr,1ss on the dc of the previous round, repeat all around; fast off the yarn.

4th round: new yarn, fold the petals of round 3 as we are working on the back of the flower, one dc around the dc of the 2nd round,5 ch; repeat all around do not fasten off the yarn,

5th round: ss on the dc of the previous round, in all the ch5 spaces, work as follow: 1htr,5tr,1htr. ss on the last dc and there you go you got a flower!

LEAF

a little basic leaf:

Ch 8, start on the second ch n work as follow: 1dc,1htr,3tr,1htr,1dc on the last dc work 3 dc together. This makes one side of the leaf.
Now turn, we are working on the foundation chain row as follow: 1dc,1htr,3tr,1htr, 3 dc in the last ch. That makes a little comma that looks quite lovely n very ‘leaf-like’.
As I said, please experiment and see how you like your leaf, there are so many of them to choose from all easy n VERY quick.

for some extra decoration, you can add a little embroidery of chains in the centre of the leaf.

leave a long tail so you can sew your leafs n flowers on your circle!

flower1  flower2flower3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FILLING YOUR CUSHION
I like to use feathers pads because I like how they ‘sit’.Normally I have no issue with the squares ones, but I tried to buy some round feathers pads on the internet, but they have been of poor quality, I ended up returning them n tried a different source, still not so good either. So be aware of that. Another point is if your cushion measures 18 inches consider to buy a bigger pad. Especially if you have used acrylic yarn (like I did), it stretches quite a bit, and you want your cushion to look nice and plumpy.

HAPPY HOOKING!!!

 

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