The PEACHY PETALS BLANKET

The PEACHY PETALS a new blanket…

After some silence I got a new blanket for you!

The time in lock down has given me the opportunity to reflect on what ‘s really important to me and it has been a time to re-evaluate priorities and to think about resetting goals for the future.

This doesn’t apply just to crochet but also to my life in general.

Crochet has played, without exaggeration, a vital role in these past few months, it has entertained me, distracted and brought some well needed focus.

I crocheted a lot, I made several samples, but mainly I focused on two new blankets.

One is a collaboration project with my friend Tinna Porudottir Porvaldar ( but I will write about all of that in my next entry…)  and the other is PEACHY PETALS !!

Over these past months I have been looking into my work and what I like about designing.

And I think I am a bit of an ‘odd ball’ ( no surprise in that…)

I don’t know how other designers work but for me every blanket is a long journey, it takes a lot of energy and time to come up with a concept or something that I think is new or interesting… so you will wonder why do I do it?

Because I love it! I love the excitement of starting something new, I like making samples,  choosing and tweaking the motif ,and at the same time my favourite part… picking the colours and fibres.

So the Peachy Petals is the result of all the above and several months of work.

Let’s start from the name.. why Peachy Petals….

‘Petal’ in Scotland is an old fashioned term of endearment, I heard Glen, my daughter Olympia’s boyfriend, calling her petal once, on a car journey, and the combination of the Scottish brogue plus the actual word made me smile ( don’t ask me why, it just did! ) , she is a bit of a petal after all!

And peach is her favourite colour… so there we go, a blanket came in my mind to emulate who Olympia is .. a lovely soft sweet girl that always smiles.

I wanted warm, light suffuse hues to emulate her character hence why the Peachy Petal is very different from my much bolder style!

So could I create something that is not so familiar to me? The answer is yes, as I do love a challenge.

Then came the practicality..how can I create something with tonal and subtle hues that is pleasing and interesting  without using a ridiculous amount of different yarns and costing a fortune?

The secret is mixing…

I started with a colour “Blooming Dahlia” or Pantone 15-1520

then I made a mood board of basic tonal palette inspired by interiors .It came apparent that the most important thing  to create a well balanced project while using several variations of the same colour.

The aim of this blanket was to use natural fibres and to create an array of tonal suffuse pale hues without using a lot of different colours and making the blanket prohibitively expensive!

I am very aware of the cost impact on my projects and I strive to offer projects that are beautiful but cost effective .

I think the combination of a mercerised cotton like Muskat and the Mohair silk yarn is a fabulous way to achieve the above.

The Mohair works beautifully in combination with the silkiness of the mercerised cotton and create not only subdued variations in colour but also gives a beautiful soft halo to the blanket. and… they work perfectly together, no knots, no tangles.

I have also added to the pattern  a bonus version of the blanket ,made by one of my testers , Susan Cox.

 

Susan sent me this lovely picture of her blanket that she called  ‘SPRING PETALS’ .

She  made her blanket in 100% cotton too but without Mohair. and she also crocheted a lovely cushion made with a combination of cotton and mohair.Am I not a lucky girl to have such lovely ladies helping me?

My testers Janet and Julie tested the motif and Maggie  draw a chart of the motif that I added to the pattern.

The pattern has also all the details on how to use the different yarns and the placements for each of the 96 motifs in the blanket, plus all the stats for Susan’s version.  I think it is a lovely variation to the pattern and I hope it will give you the confidence to use this versatile pattern with the colours of your choice.

You can download the  pattern  either from here  or from Raverly

Peachy Petals Blanket- Digital Download

 

So THANK YOU Susan for sharing your project, and Maggie Bullock for the motif’s chart.

LasT but not least you can get all the yarn for the blanket from the Woolwarehouse just press the icon , they have just started to send yarn internationally again after teh lockdown and  the MUSKAT is on sale at 40% less until the end of JULY !!!!

Woolwearhouse MUSKAT LINK

Wool Warehouse

So I hope you will give my new blanket a go !

Happy crocheting,

Lucia

 

Last chapter on the January ‘s blues blanket.

I can not believe we are already in February!

Normally January drags a bit on for me but this year has definitely not been the case.

I guess I have been very busy with work and with “non-crochet “related stuff but I still managed to add a border and finish the blanket.

Today I can give you the last pieces of information so, if you like, you can finish your blanket in the same way.

About the border, I am going to digress a little bit and give you some thoughts.

I personally love borders very much especially if they are big and bold!

That works even better if you have a simple pattern throughout the main body of the blanket as we have in this case. Maybe my propensity for statements borders is due to the fact that my first attempts on crochet, many years ago, were cotton’s tread fancy borders for linen towels!

If you are Italian or Spanish or just Mediterranean in general you might are very familiar with them.

another picture this time from the oldest and most famous creative magazine in italy called “Mani di fata” which translate very appropriately in “Faerie hands” !!

It used to be a great test for beginners to master crochet without embarking in something too challenging or time-consuming, even if, I have to admit, it still took a fair amount of time to make them as the cotton yarn was at least a 4ply but often much thinner than that.

I have a few stashed in a drawer somewhere in the house, I use them seldom as they are delicate and definitely not tumble-driers proof!!!

If bold and big is not your style, it doesn’t matter as a ripple pattern can look just beautiful as it is! the little scallop at the top and end can be left as it is and still look fabulous so do not panic if you cannot be bothered doing the border your blanket will still look lovely. Just surf the internet or Pinterest for inspirations, and remember it is YOUR blanket so don’t be afraid to go off-piste! actually, I love if you go off-piste and you put your input! it makes your blanket more personal.

Back to what I have done… some pictures to start with:

In my case, I filled the ripple because I prefer straight edges especially if you are opting for a more challenging border.

I draw the distribution of the “filling” stitches for the top and bottom of the blanket.

I started my foundation round with the Pistachio on the corner ( now you can see why it is good to start and finish the blanket with the same colour. it brings continuity on your foundation  round, which means when you start the next round of the border with a contrasting colour ( in my case is the claret) you have a solid even base to work with)

on the side I worked 2 dc in the space created by each tr at the beginning and end of each round .

I have in my case 195 stitched in each of the vertical sides of the blanket and 114 on each of the horizontal for the 4 corners we have :(1dc-ch1-1dc) repeated 4 times.

so the foundation round is made of (1dc-2ch-1dc)+ 114 +(1dc-2ch-1dc)+195+ (1dc-2ch-1dc)+114+(1dc-2ch-1dc)+195.

the border is done with Claret and a 3.5 hook

I have chosen for the border  again a diagram I found on Pinterest this is a picture of it. I made some minor adjustments to the last couple of rounds to simplify it mainly because the pattern is written for a cotton thread and not DK yarn.

Ther repeat of the pattern is on a multiple of 10 so on my first round of claret I added 4 stitches in the each of the short sides and 3 on each of the long sides.

If you use another pattern for the border please consider adjusting the number of the stitches according to the repeat!

I posted a couple of close-up so you can see better how the pattern develops. It has a fair amount of rounds but it is pretty fast.

my last round is a contrasting one done in Fuchsia purple.

YARN QUANTITIES USED for the border:

for the Filling round and foundation, I used 35 grams of  PISTACHIO

for the BORDER:

  • ROUND 1 TO 7 : I used  150 grams of CLARET
  • ROUND 8 : I used 30 grams of  FUCHSIA PURPLE

last but not least….

I have been asked if I can transcribe the diagrams into words…. I know for many of you it is easier to use written instructions but I wish you tried ( NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION !!!) to use a diagram!! It will open you amazing opportunities! this blanket, in particular, has such an easy diagram so please give it a try trust me you will never look back! there are loads of tutorial on you tube to learn how to read a diagram, do have a look and see which one suits you better.

love to you all…

I have something new I am working on so I will post again very soon,

lucia xx

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

July’s blanket: A white rabbit, Venice,brocade and Arlecchino…..

July is already here!!! and to quote a very special white rabbit from one of my favorite books, ‘Alice in Wonderland’:

“the hurrier a go the behinder I get”!!

 

 

Besides me  chasing my tail for the past few weeks trying to fit everything in , Alice in wonderland’s  little white rabbit is not just going to remind me that I seem to be always behind with things, his tabard with the playing cards, is also going to be one of the sources of inspiration for my July blanket.

The July blanket is also a place that is very dear to me and where I have lived for 7 years while studying Architecture…

VENICE !

I know, how lucky is that?? I loved every single minute of those 7 years!

   

There are so many things I love  about Venice, to fill several blog entries, but for today I m going to focus on colors…( just for a change!) I am going to show you what has inspired not only the palette for  July’s blanket but also the pattern too.

So where to start….some shots of fabrics, buildings, interiors…  a riot of warm colors that summarize Venice for me…

how about the ‘coral room’ at Palazzo Brandolini,

 

or the interiors with their brocade’s dressed columns of St Brigida Church…

 

 

Some amazing fabrics…  Rubelli’s ‘ silk brocade with strawberries’

When coming to fabrics Venice for me is Rubelli and Mariano Fortuny….

From the historic Venice location of Palazzo Corner Spinelli , Rubelli , a 200 year old textile company, produces in their own weaving mills, an extraordinary quality of damask, silk, two-pile velvet, soprarizzo, lampas, and brocade.  they also have very modern and contemporary designs but what I am focusing on, is their traditional cloths.

    

and with Rubelli I also have to mention Mariano Fortuny.

Fortuny was a talented artist with a  passion for textiles.

He was an extraordinary man,  an inventor, painter,  sculptor, photographer, he was interested in architecture, and theater staging and lighting. But most of all  Fortuny was a fashion designer and  Palazzo Fortuny is the place where this extraordinary eclectic artist lived and worked and it is now a Museum well worth a visit.

Fortuny ‘s dresses were so legendary that if you like Proust you will remember Albertine been bribed to stay  by buying her Fortuny gowns that “swarmed with Arabic ornaments, like the Venetian palaces hidden like sultanas behind a screen of pierced stone.”

 

When it came to fabrics and fashion, he not only created extraordinary garments but he also manufactured his own dyes and pigments for his fabrics, with these dyes he began printing on velvets and silks and dyed them using a press that he invented with wooden blocks that he engraved the pattern onto. His dresses are seen as fine works of art today and many survive, in museums and many people’s personal collections.

 

Well, what can I say?, every corner of Venice is truly remarkable

to go back to the blanket now can you see where the colors come from….and the shape of the pattern?

the shape of the pattern is  not only from the playing cards’ tabard of the white rabbit , it is also from  the outfit of a very famous character of ‘la Commedia dell’Arte’ : Arlecchino ( Harlequin)

 

here a bit more of ‘Venice’…

 

Guess is enough for today, I m going and see how I assemble this little blanket of mine….

happy crocheting  !

Lucia xxx

 

 

 

 

 

June’s blanket, bucket-list and Iceland…

Hi Everyone… it is June and time for another blanket….

this one is about my bucket-list.

I have a few thing on that list, one of them is traveling and visiting/living in new places. the top of the list for the places is ICELAND, and that is what this blanket is dedicated to Iceland.

I always knew since I was a small girl that I wanted to live ‘up North’ well before  Hygge or  “Scandi style”  became so popular.

I made it just 2000 miles up north!  from Italy to Scotland… but I always wanted to hop another little bit..Shetland, Faroe Islands, and then Iceland!

If I wasn’t 53 and had a family, I probably would pack my bags and head for Iceland. In the back of my mind there is still a small flicker  of light which says I could  still do it …my kids are starting flying the nest; Francesca my oldest, she got her master in fine art, Valentina has just graduated this May in Law, Giuseppe is off to Edinburgh University next September, and I just got left Olympia that has still 4/5 years of High school…mmm never say never! ( mind you does Iceland needs a middle age woman that is obsessed with  wool/yarn /colours and books??? )

I could start with visiting Iceland first! I have never been… BUT it is on the top of my list hopefully in the next few months.

So why do I love Iceland?

the most obvious reason is that Iceland is beautiful, There are breathtaking mountains, volcanoes, highlands, glaciers, waterfalls, fjords, geysers, lava fields, and a variety of coastlines.

but what attracts me most  are the Icelanders and their way of life and their values.

Icelanders are highly educated and the society is progressive.They have a literacy rate of 99% and most of the population has experienced higher education, they publish more books per capita than any other country. The have topped up the gender gap index Economist recently named Iceland the world’s best place for working women – in comparison, the UK came in at No. 24.Iceland was the first nation to elect a female president; Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was elected in 1980 and stayed in office for 16 years. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was Iceland’s first female prime minister and the world’s first openly gay female head of state.

Climate change is on the news every day and I believe it is a real issue for our planet. Fossil fuels are NOT the way forward. Iceland is the only country in the world which obtains 100% of its electricity and heat from renewable sources. 87% of its electricity comes from hydropower, and the remaining 13% from geothermal power. Oil-powered fossil fuel power stations are only used as backups to the renewable sources.

I could go on and add 20 pages of facts. and you are wondering if  I am a serious case of “The grass is always greener…. …..in your neighbor’s field” !!!

So what is really my tangible experience about Iceland and why I like it so much?? and here is where the creative side kicks in and the relevance to the blog…

LOPI YARN!!!!!

and in particular.

Icelandic Lopapeysa!

I made LOADS of them over the years…lopi yarn  is made from the wool of the Icelandic sheep.

 

It is unique in its composition and together, the distinctive fibers create wool that is warm, lightweight, water-repellent and breathable.

 

OK, it is  a little itchy ,but once you have worn a few times and washed too, it becomes really lovely. I can tell you this from experience as some of the jumpers  I knitted are 10 years old, they have a few holes but they are as much loved as they were once new!! those are few of them I have here at home…

also some of the books ( that is my other vice…books) I love about Iceland:

 

So I never attempted using Lopi Yarn for crochet but I m going to give it a go and the next blanket is going to be made entirely with Lopi . another experiment then…

Next time I will  tell you all about how I have chosen the colors and about Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda. I read a simplified version of it when I was 12 . and it is still now my favorite book.

I am also going to tell you about Hávamál, probably one of the most important poem in the book , which tells the story of Odin and the tree Yggdrasil.

and  Bivröst (“Moving Way” in Old Norse),The Bridge of the Gods:

Gvðín gerþu bru af iorþu til himins, er heitir Bifravst: “The gods made a bridge from earth to the heavens which is called Bifravst”

and about some amazing music I  I was so lucky to see live last night: Eivør Pálsdóttir.

Eivor is not an Icelander, she is a Faroese singer-songwriter with the most amazing voice ever! totally mesmerizing here is a link to youtube.

 

Thorin, our cat, loves Iceland too….

To the next time, Happy crochet,

Lucia x

 

 

 

My yarn room makeover

Hi, Everyone!

If you follow me on Facebook, you might know I spent the past two days trying to re-organize my studio. 

It wasn’t meant to be a big job; just assembling two small bookcases and shifting some of the books to create more space for my yarn.. because I am, as probably many of you are,  a”yarn collector”!

Some will say a “yarn hoarder,” but I don’t like the negative connotation which comes with the term hoarder.

I simply just LOVE yarn! 

I love all the all aspects of yarn; I like the feeling of it, the texture if it is a hand dyed skein, I love the story behind it and the origin of the fiber. I dabbed into spinning and hand dyeing too but again there are so many talented artisans out there that make a much better job than I do, as both dyeing and spinning require a great degree of skills.

My yarns are like color pencils, and that is why I love them displayed and divided by hue,  fiber content, and yarn weight( 4ply,DK,chunky).

You probably have spotted I have a lot of STYLECRAFT’s yarn because it is what I use mainly for my blankets.

I try to stock at least one ball for each color in the main ranges I use which are: SPECIAL DK, ALPACA TWEED DK,BATIK, LIFE DK and CLASSIQUE COTTON DK. There is a gap in the library because all this ‘one blanket for each month’ makes the yarn flying out of the shelves so quickly!  If  I might make a suggestion,  you love making  blanket ,  you do not have a stockist near you , or, you are like me, and  you get overwhelmed when visiting a yarn shop, the best way about it  is to choose a brand and a weight. Then invest in one ball for each color of the range you selected  as it makes the process to choose the colors for projects much easier, it streamlines your stash too. And  if you  have some space where to display  it is a total bonus!

I a

When come to storing or displaying yarn I  am always on the lookout for the easy and inexpensive way to do it, and  I might have a couple of tips to pass on…

My studio furniture is a mix of IKEA and some old vintage pieces.

IKEA is cheap and does the job very well. My sofa is from Ikea, has a washable cover ( very useful for the cat, and the tea and cakes crumble…) the bookcases are all Billy

http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/search/?k=billy  the big one is several years old, and I have been adding modules as I need them.

The shelving is IKEA too and so are most of the storage boxes.

My overflow of yarn is on top of the bookcases in boxes those are  DRONA boxes, http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/small-storage-organisers/storage-boxes-baskets/dr%C3%B6na-box-beige-art-70298813/ the retail price is  £2.50 and they come in a variety of colors. I love them because they are really cheap but well done, made of fabric they are strong enough to hold the yarn and be positioned on their side. For extra strength and stability, I  used some velcro tape so to join all the boxes together.

For the cotton yarn, have used MOPPE http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/small-storage-organisers/paper-media-organisers/moppe-mini-chest-of-drawers-birch-plywood-art-40216357/ 

They are mini chest drawers (42x18x32cm) made of solid plywood, perfect for storing cotton yarn and as books dividers too.

The extra vantage is that the drawers do not have a handle, so I use the frame without the drawers as a mini bookcase, then the drawers too can be filled with more yarn and positioned on their side. Doing, so I double the amount of yarn I can store and display, and I can combine the different size drawers together. the  plus side is that plywood  is a natural product  (yarn doesn’t  like plastic…)

So you can keep an eye on what you have available,  no more rummaging in bags stashed all over the place and I might be  bias, but I think they look pretty too!

have a lovely day, thank you for reading,

Lucia xx

 

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

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