Spice of Life

Last summer I sat by the river in Cambridge with my lovely friend and in that casual manner that non-crafters have she asked me if I would make her a bedspread.  Of course I said yes and I refused her money, saying instead that I would have it ready for a birthday present for her this year.

There have been many times in the last few months where I have looked at the sheer scale of the blanket in progress and wondered how I was going to get it finished in time but finished it is!  And with over a month to spare.

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen updates on the progress of this blanket, this post is just for the finished article in all her glory.

I chose 9 shades of Stylecraft Special DK to make this blanket

  • Silver
  • Graphite
  • Grey
  • Gold
  • Mustard
  • Camel
  • Parchment
  • Duck Egg
  • Stone

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I picked the colours as I went along rather than choosing an order beforehand and while I did not keep count of the amount of each ball used the finished blanket weighs in at 1.6kg which equates to around 16 balls of yarn.  At 322 yards per ball that’s just under 3 miles of yarn!

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I used the pattern from the Spice of Life Crochet Along by Sandra Paul at Cherry Heart. The Crochet Along was almost 2 years ago now but the pattern remains free to access on the website linked above.

Looking at the dimensions of Sandra’s blanket I worked out that by doubling the width and working with a stitch count of 313 stitches I would be at the right width for a double bed. I repeated the pattern 3 times to get the length I needed and my finished blanket measured at almost square, 75 inches across and 74 inches long, just right to sit on a bed.

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I wasn’t keen on the border in the original pattern so I went with very basic stripes of my own.  Just one round of UK double crochet, followed by 3 rounds of UK trebles.

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And one final photo just because everything always looks better photographed outdoors 🙂

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Outlandish

I have a huge Outlander fan in my family and so for my mother’s birthday this year my sister and I pulled together an Outlander themed goody bag for her to take with her to this year’s Outlandish Gathering UK.

These are my contributions.

A little thistle to hang from her bag.

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The pattern is from the book 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet by Lesley Stanfield and it is of course made with my preferred yarn for fiddly bits Stylecraft Special DK in Sage and

A pair of wrist warmers similar to a style that Claire wears in the television show

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These were a lovely free pattern called Easy Victorian Shell Mitts by Bron Green and is available here.  I made these with Stylecraft Special Aran in Khaki.

And last but by no means least a bingo sheet of things she might encounter on her trip to the Highlands amongst Outlander fans!

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Click here for a downloadable pdf  should you also be heading to The Gathering! outlandish Bingo

I am pretty pleased with my creations and hope that everyone heading to an Outlandish Gathering, whether here in the UK or further afield, has a wonderful time.

Weekly Photo – Bird

One of the things I would like to work on in 2017 is my photography. I am joining in with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil’s weekly photo challenge.

This week’s one word prompt is Bird.

I was excited to see bird coming up as a prompt.  As I have sat here waiting for the photo to upload over our painfully slow internet connection the bird feeder just in my line of sight has been covered in great tits, blue tits and long tailed tits while the ever faithful resident robin has pottered about on the ground below.  This week every time my husband sits at this desk a jay with a vibrant flash of blue on it’s wing appears at the window, it disappears whenever I get my camera! From the kitchen window I have seen pied wagtails, chaffinches and a goldcrest.  There are pheasants and french partridge in and out of the woods and running all over the drive when I go anywhere in the car, the swallows have returned from their winter holidays and when heading out at dusk last week I saw a beautiful barn owl gliding over the field.

There is no shortage of birds and I love to watch them.  But I forgot wildlife photography is not my forte!  I like to take my time framing my shot and picking my angle and of course wherever I am the 3 bundles of noise, joy and sudden movements that are my offspring are never far away and so I have many a photograph of blurred wings and rapid exits and not so many lovely bird images.

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I chose a less mobile subject!  You may remember this little owl from my Mini Autumn Wreath.  Just for today it left its yarny home for a new roosting spot in the garden, I think it looks quite happy in a tree.

Crafting On?

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As I mentioned last week I am trying to find a new rhythm to my posts since the Yarn Along ended last month.  I want to share what I am working on as I don’t want the inevitable reduction in the frequency of posts associated with only sharing finished objects.

Nicole at Frontier Dreams is running a weekly link up for people to share their ongoing craft work and this might work for me to fill the big gap left by Yarn Along.  Let’s try it this week!

The other nice thing about weekly check ins is how they work when you are on a big project.

Last summer I was sat picnicking with a good friend when she asked me if I would make her a blanket for her bed.  Of course I said yes and promised it for her birthday the following July, giving me over a year to work on it.  But I did not make the most of this long deadline!  Instead I started in late January, benched for all of February and March, and only picked it up again last week.

I will meet the deadline though.  And so that means ignoring the tempting call of all of the wonderful patterns in my Ravelry library, and the yarn on the shelves and focussing in.  I am using the Spice of Life Pattern by Sandra Paul of Cherry Heart at double width to  cover a king sized bed (just another 5ft or so to go!) and a selection of colours of Stylecraft Special DK in a random order.

I am quite looking forward to posting weekly updates and watching it grow so in one format or another I’ll be back next week!

Rhian Socks

There is something so satisfying about finishing a pair of socks.  And these socks are especially pleasing as they have turned out to be so gorgeous.  I bought The Sock Drawer book from the lovely Verity Castledine of Truly Hooked at Yarndale last year but have been too busy hooking to knit socks.  I knew that I wanted my first pair this year to be from the book though and spent a while agonising over which of the patterns to choose.

I went with Rhian because it looked to have the perfect balance of being a straightforward pattern with complex looking results and on that front it definitely delivered.  I went with a plain yarn to allow the pattern to shine and chose the Butterscotch colour way from the West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply range. I used this yarn in a different colour to make my Dragonfly Socks last year and so knew it was lovely to work with and deliciously soft.

I love these socks and am so pleased that they are finished and ready to gift.

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Yarn Along?

“Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading and I love sharing my projects and current reads here.”

These are the words the lovely Ginny at Small Things used to open her blog post each Wednesday for over 6 years before inviting people to also share their current makes and reads, an invitation I readily accepted when I first started blogging and was keen to find other people with similar interests to me.  I have loved joining in with the Yarn Along and was sad to hear that Ginny had decided to stop hosting.

So what now?  I’m not sure!  Where Ginny is hoping to find more spontaneity in her blogging I love having the structure of knowing that certain days are for certain subjects and worry that without them the frequency of posts may dwindle and content be limited only to finished objects.  So maybe I’ll move to Work in Progress Wednesdays, or perhaps a weekly roundup on a Friday?  I will be continuing with the Weekly Photo Challenge on a Tuesday so am drawn to something later in the week.  Or I might just continue Yarning Along but without the link up.  I definitely intend to continue Yarn Along on my Instagram so it perhaps doesn’t warrant duplication.  Decisions decisions!

But for now, while I consider next steps, here is this week’s Yarn Along.

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On my kindle The Power by Naomi Alderman.  On my needles almost a full pair of Rhian socks.

I am absolutely gripped by this book.  I only started it yesterday bedtime but am struggling to put it down, only stopping last night when the kindle hit my nose when I just couldn’t hold it up any longer and sneaking every minute I can squeeze out of today.

The sock pattern is Rhian from The Sock Drawer book by Verity Castledine (available to buy here) made with West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply yarn in butterscotch and I love them so much.  Not much more work to do here until I have the pair finished and ready to gift.  Before I started this book I thought I may get them finished today but that is now looking unlikely! I am hopeful they’ll be done by the end of the week though.

Yarn Along

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On my kindle Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.  On my needles my first sock of the year.

I am knitting my first sock of the year, the delightful Rhian from The Sock Drawer book by Verity Castledine (available to buy here).  I am crazy in love with this pattern, a nice simple repeat giving deceptively complex results.  I suspect this may not be my last pair.  I am using West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply yarn in butterscotch and am aiming to gift the finished socks to my lovely motherinlaw who mercifully only has small feet thereby speeding up the process!

My reading feels like a bit of a confession to admit that I have reached my mid thirties without having read any Agatha Christie.  To further pile on the unbelievable truths, much to my husband’s incredulity I also have managed to live my life thus far without knowing whodunnit!  So no spoilers please!  I am looking forward to the mystery finally unravelling as I read.

Linking up with Ginny and the other Yarn Alongers sharing what they are reading and working on.