A heartfelt blanket :-)

bleeding heart

Bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis)

Hi there! How are you? I hope you are safe and well, and able to do things that bring you joy. Today’s post isn’t about gardening, but about my second hobby: crocheting! I really enjoy having projects to focus on. As it turns out, at the start of our ‘stay at home’ orders due to Covid-19 here in Ireland, I was asked to make a blanket for a sweet little girl who liked pink and purple. This was a perfect distraction for me, and a project which I really enjoyed!

c2c first corner

The c2c blanket is made ‘corner to corner’

I like crocheting and creating with my hands. I have to say that I like a bit of a challenge, too, and to learn new stitches or patterns. So I went searching for something new to catch my eye for this blanket. I was very lucky to come across a lovely heart blanket from Motorave_slc on Instagram (she’s also on Etsy: Motorave_slc). I sent Jessica a message on Instagram and she kindly sent me the diagram of the blanket, which is the basis for the pattern. This was a lovely act of kindness on Jessica’s part, which I’m so thankful for!

back c2c half way through

the back of the c2c half way through

This blanket pattern is called ‘corner to corner’ (written c2c). Unlike traditional blankets which are made row by row from bottom to top, this blanket is made from bottom right corner to top left corner. The main stitch used throughout is a double crochet (American terminology) done in groups of 3, along with chain stitches – all very easy. Once you get the hang of the pattern, it is fun to make! The interesting part was having all of the colors attached to the blanket as you create it, which at some points in the blanket was tricky to work around!

c2c single upsidedown blackberry heart

The pattern had two upside down hearts

I started off watching a video tutorial by The Crochet Crowd. Over the course of nearly an hour, they covered every aspect of making a c2c blanket as well as creating and reading a c2c pattern. After all of that I was finally ready to begin!

c2c close up side

A view of the side hearts and the border

As usual, I used my favorite yarn which is Caron Simply Soft, in soft pink, orchid, lavender, blackberry and fuchsia. I just love the colors and I thought they all went so well with the soft pink background. The size ended up being 44 inches x 35 inches – not too big and not too small. It just goes to show that it is always worth having lots of stock of different colors in the house, because you never know when you’ll be in lock-down and unable to buy more yarn! 😉

c2c close up side

A view of the side hearts and the border

c2c border start

The border changes with every additional color added

Once I finished the main blanket, I then had to pick a border. I decided on a stitch that is very similar to the border I used on my last blanket (my poppy blanket). I just like that style: a simple single crochet stitch with a spike stitch. 

c2c side hearts

I thought the hearts were just perfect!

I will admit to being one of the slowest crocheters ever! I just don’t go fast. And if I’m crocheting, I’m crocheting, and I’m not multi-tasking. That’s just how I do it. So this blanket took me a month to complete. I really enjoyed watching how it came together with each heart. The center part with the name was tricky. That’s all I’ll say about that!

c2c corner border

a closeup of the corner border

c2c full flat view

A full view of the blanket

I was very happy with the finished blanket! I will definitely use the corner to corner pattern again. I’m not sure what my next project is…but I have a few ideas!

Take care and stay safe!

In Peace,
Dana

c2c full blanket

My daughter holding up the blanket for me to photograph

 

Being creative is good for the soul

Blue Blanket in the beginning Jan 2019

Starting with a simple ‘Robin’s egg blue’ base for the blanket

Creating with my hands is one of my favorite things to do. Whether it be crocheting, making wreaths, or whatever, I enjoy crafts that finish with a lovely ‘something’.

Blue blanket no flowers up close

A close up of the waistcoat stitch (doesn’t look like crochet to me)

Crocheting is so much more than just granny squares (although there’s nothing wrong with a good granny square!). I made a number of items over the past few years as gifts and I felt the time was right to make something for myself.

Blue blanket no flowers border up close

close up of the border (variation of the spike stitch)

We’d completely ‘done up’ our family room last year: pulled up the rug, installed an electric fireplace, bought a new couch, curtains, and light fixture, and painted the room. It was a long time in the making and last year everything finally came together. We all love it, especially the couch. It is like getting into a big family bed. 🙂

Blue blanket with Emer

The main blanket finished but not yet embellished with poppies, held by my lovely daughter. There are orange California poppies in the background of the picture, along with red poppies which are not as easily seen here.

We went a bit bold with the paint in the family room – it is Adonis blue. Happy to say that we really like it. And we went bold again in pairing it with red curtains. So I wanted a blanket that would bring those colors together. Not only that, I wanted to embellish it with poppies, to tie in with the curtains. That was January 2019.

poppy petal in progress

It was a painstaking process figuring out the poppy pattern!

Poppy center up close

The pistil (in black) and stamen (in bone) give extra texture to the flower.

Some things just take time, and deciding which pattern to use for the main blanket was no exception. I finally decided on a pattern that doesn’t really look like crochet. It is called the waistcoat stitch. I used a tutorial from Crafternoon Treats.

Poppy flower up close

The completed poppy flower looks different depending on whether the petals are laid flat or scrunched up (my preference).

The border is where I worked in the colors of the curtains, using a variation of the spike stitch. I used Caron Simply Soft yarn, in harvest red, bone, black, off white for the border and the main blanket is in Robin’s egg blue. It is a ‘throw’ size, and if you sit nice and close to each other, it will cover two people for watching tv. (4′ x 5.5′)

Blue blanket on couch with some flowers

Playing around with the flowers to figure out where to place them.

I ran out of the blue about half way through, but I had a trip to the States coming up, so I restocked (phew!). I finally finished the main blanket in June.

Blue Blanket with poppies shaded + sun

Completed blanket with poppies (winter sunlight distorts the coloring).

Finding a pattern that I liked for the poppies was a whole other challenge! Finally, I found one that had the stamen and pistil, with the bonus of texture for the pistil, and four individual petals. I really like it. I found it on crochet-ideas.com. The video is in Italian, but with subtitles, so although tricky, it was manageable.

Family room full view Nov 17 (1)

Our family room transformed!

It took some time figuring out how I wanted the poppies to look on the blanket. They couldn’t be symmetrical – anyone who’s grown poppies will know that they grow all over the place, and never where you plan them! I also didn’t want to cover the blanket in them, as I quite like the blue and wanted to be able to see it. So they are in a bit of a cascade from one corner to the opposite corner.  Voilà!

Blue Blanket with poppies + Dana in Family room

Me with my blanket 🙂

I am absolutely delighted with it, and thankfully the family like it too. I’m glad I took my time with it to find the right patterns. And I think it fits in perfectly in our family room.

Good things come to those who wait…

In Peace,
Dana

“Me time” to crochet a Rainbow Poncho

fingers with red nailpolish, rainbow colored yarn

Having some “free time” = “me time”!

Hi there! We were away at my daughter’s Irish dancing competition last weekend, which meant I had lots of “free time” before and after her competitions. Now that my daughter is 14 and does all of her prep work herself, the free time was really all mine (and better for my daughter’s stress levels when I keep myself busy!). I took full advantage of that time and started a new crochet project.

the first three colors of a poncho

In the beginning… starting at the neck.

This project was actually a long time in the making. The yarn, called “Caron Cakes” in the color palette Rainbow Sprinkles, was bought for me by my husband about two years ago when he was in the U.S.A. on a business trip (isn’t that nice?!). He thought I’d like the colors, which was 100% correct as I LOVE the colors!

Caron Cakes yarn in Rainbow sprinkles color with start of poncho

watching the colors unfold

My problem was that I didn’t know what to make with these colors, and I only had two skeins (balls) of yarn. A poncho seemed the best choice, and I began my Pinterest search of patterns. Lots and Lots and Lots of patterns!

cat on lap with crochet poncho in progress

Kitty was convinced I needed her support while crocheting.

Eventually, I found the poncho which I thought would be perfect.  The pattern I finally picked is called Mountain Breeze Poncho and was designed by Lorene Eppolite.  It is a free pattern (I love those)! I would still consider myself a novice when it comes to reading patterns, so it took me a few go’s to get it right in the beginning.  But once I figured it out, it was rather easy.

rainbow poncho half finished

Mid-way progress picture!

It is meant to sit slightly off of the shoulders, which seems a bit unusual, but I think it works well.  The front “pointy” part and the back “pointy” part are actually different. The front has a pattern of raised lines, whereas the back does not.  A bit quirky. 🙂

the back of the poncho half completed

Here is a look at the back while still in progress.

The yarn is soft and I enjoyed working with it, and the poncho itself has a lovely feel. I used a 7 mm crochet hook which is HUGE compared to what I usually use. That took some getting used to! I’m not able to whip through projects, as my hands tend to cramp up (I hold the yarn too tightly!). But this poncho came together quite quickly.

completed rainbow poncho

The finished Mountain Breeze poncho in Caron Cakes ‘rainbow sprinkles’

I fiddled a bit with the neck. The pattern had a more open neck, and I preferred a more closed neck. I won. 🙂

back view of completed rainbow poncho

A back view of the completed poncho.

I also added on a bit to the outside edging, as I wanted a more defined look. I think I can still wear it with the raised line pattern a bit more on my shoulder, I’ll have to play around with that look!

completed rainbow poncho

Completed Mountain Breeze Poncho in Caron Cakes ‘Rainbow Sprinkles’

I loved that this was a quick and relatively easy project, and that I was able to use these fabulous colors! Back to last weekend’s dancing: My daughter danced beautifully at her competition. It was a big competition, and she didn’t place as well as she’d hoped, which is tough. But she’s resilient, and is determined to work harder.

mom in the garden with her daughter in Irish dancing dress

My daughter and I at her Irish dancing competition

There is a funny story that happened over that weekend when we were away for the dancing. A woman who was sitting next to me, looked at me and my crocheting and said “You don’t like free time, do you?”! I laughed and replied that this was my free time and I loved it! I guess it all depends on your perspective.

What do you do in your “me time”?

In peace,
Dana

 

mom in the garden kneeling at flowerbombed pipe in the garden wearing rainbow poncho

And this is me, kneeling at my yarnbombed (sewer) pipe in the garden. I just like adding a bit of color to life!

 

So many butterflies … of the crochet variety!

crochet butterfly blanket (with our apple tree and cherry tree in the background)

This sounds a bit of a cliché, but creating a special, unique and personal gift is something that I love to do. There is a young special person in our lives, and I wanted to make her a gift which she would know was made just for her. Although the “perfect” idea did not come to me easily, and I did a lot of searching on-line, I think in the end that I found exactly what I was looking for.  🙂

This is my crochet “butterfly blanket”!  The butterflies are crocheted and are part of the blanket (not appliqué).  But I discovered that although the butterflies were so cute when I made them, the wings were curling up and then they just looked like bunches of yarn.  Perhaps if I blocked them they would stay in place, but instead of doing that, I decided they would look nice embellished with sequins and beads.

the details

Yes, sequins and beads … on every. single. butterfly.  … and there are fifty-five butterflies! I have to admit though, that I really enjoyed this part. I mixed and matched colors and somehow it all came together in a fun way.

more details

As for the colors, lavender, light pink and light blue are the favorite colors of our special little person.  Those colors were the main focus of the blanket, with yellow and raspberry thrown in to add that splash of color. I used my favorite yarn, which is Caron simply soft. They have an amazing range of colors!

my daughter was kind enough to model the full view of the blanket for me

I have to admit that although I used a pattern to create the butterflies, there is no “overall” pattern. (You can see the free on-line MyPicot butterfly pattern here.)  If I were to make this one again, I would definitely do more “before we start” planning. The complete randomness of the butterflies is O.K. by me, but for my daughter who is mathematically minded, it is very unsettling!

a relaxed look

Borders of blankets can be tricky.  I played around with this aspect of the blanket, too. I used the “bangles” pattern from Nicky Epstein’s “Crocheting on the edge” book.  The blanket took on completely different looks with each round of color that I added! But when I completed the blue round, I felt it looked complete.  Phew!  I finished it the day before our special someone’s First Holy Communion!

our little special someone is all smiles with her special blanket!

Thankfully, she smiled when she opened her gift.  (double phew!!)

That’s three blankets in over eight months (I’m a slow crocheter), so now it is time for me to take a tiny break – at least from making blankets!

You will now find me in the garden on a more regular basis 🙂

In peace,
Dana

An “Elmer” blanket – because to be yourself is the best way to be!

One of our favorite children’s books!

Isn’t it wonderful how children’s story books are able to teach life lessons in such a fun way? A favorite book of my family is Elmer by David McKee.  The copyright is 1968, and the story still holds its worth today. It is the tale of a patchwork colored elephant who doesn’t like being different than all of the other elephants. He tries to change by acting and looking like everyone else, but he learns along the way that everyone loves him for who he is, and that it is always best to be yourself.  Such a simple, touching story.

19 of the 21 colors used in the blanket (navy and cream are missing)

I wanted to make a special blanket for my daughter’s 18th birthday, for her to take to college next year.  We had been looking at lots of different styles together, but once we had the idea for an Elmer blanket, that was it, the decision was made. I took out our copy of the book and kept it nearby, for nostalgic reasons.  It surprises me how even still, every stage of parenthood is such a gift. I could write so many things to describe how wonderful my daughter is, and how much we love her.  I won’t do that, though! 🙂  I will simply share that she is someone who has always been comfortable being herself.

having fun with granny squares

So this is the story of my creating our own Elmer blanket.  I was lucky to have LOADS of colors to use (21 different colors, actually).  I have no idea where I had all of that yarn stashed (read: hidden)! I’ve learned from previous projects that it is best to use the same type of yarn throughout a project.  My yarn of choice here was Caron Simply Soft.

the pattern is that there isn’t a pattern

The crochet squares are five rounds, which is somewhat large, but a very simple pattern. The center of the square is comprised of a pattern of 4 double crochet to 3 chain stitches, with each round after that increasing by 4, the final row having 20 double crochet to 3 chain stitches.  There are 150 squares, which comfortably covers a single bed.  I crocheted them together using a technique that doesn’t show the stitches on the front. I’d never done this before, so the Little Tin Bird’s tutorial was quite helpful.

 

The ears and tail are “free moving”!

I used gray as the first border color to connect it to our elephant story. Although Elmer would have been patchwork, I crocheted two gray elephants for two corners, again to connect it to our story. The elephant pattern was fantastically easy, as written by Repeat Crafter Me.   The purple border is because my daughter’s favorite color is purple.

a look at the blanket pre-fringe border

The final piece of the blanket is the ball fringe.  I wanted this blanket to be extra special so I went through many, many crochet books, and online sites, looking for the perfect finish.

creating and stuffing the balls

a bit of an operation going on…

I wasn’t sure about the “balls”, and the first one I made was too big.  But with a little tweaking, I figured out a size my daughter would be happy with.  We also decided not to have them at the top/bottom as they might get in the way with sleeping! There are 80 balls, 40 on each length of the blanket.  The ball fringe pattern can be found in Nicky Epstein’s “Crocheting on the Edge” book.

my favorite view of the fringe

What an amazing experience it was making this blanket.  I loved working with all of those gorgeous colors!  The balls were new to me, and fun and easy to make.  Best of all, my daughter loved it start to finish (I consulted with her all along the way).  It was truly a labor of love!

Emer with her Elmer blanket (and her sister kindly helping to hold it up!)

my daughter is happy with her new blanket

 

Sweet dreams

We could all use a reminder of Elmer’s lesson now and again – it is always best to be yourself!

that is me, being my (crazy) self!

In peace,

Dana

 

 

Creative Challenge Baby Blanket

When it comes to knitting, sewing, and crocheting, my husband’s family are super talented.  We benefitted from that when our babies were born all those years ago, as we didn’t just receive beautiful blankets, but lovely sweaters, too.

Both my husband and son’s aran jumpers were hand made by my husband’s Aunt (October 2004 Manlius, New York)

I did very little crocheting during those years. Funny, I don’t really remember having any free time when the kids were young??? 🙂 But over the past few years I’ve managed to pick up my crochet needle again. The thing is, like everything in life, you can’t just do the same thing over and over again.  You have to either do things differently, or add a challenge lest boredom sets in!

Check the measurements on the packaging to save yourself the time and stress of measuring out (what should be) perfect squares 😉

This baby blanket project was for a very special baby.  Words can’t even describe how welcomed and loved this baby was, even before meeting any of the family!  So I wanted to try something new to make this gift extra-special.  I decided on making a quilt on one side of the blanket while keeping my traditional crochet on the other side.  The main item I wanted for this blanket, though, was the smooth binding that my kids loved to rub along their faces! “How hard could it be to incorporate those three things?” thought she to herself, quite innocently…

a view of the quilted side of the blanket sitting on what was actually my own rocking chair as a child

Well, I have to say that I learned a lot of new things with this project. I won’t give you all of the details, but the first thing was that you need to check the sizing of material when you buy it in cute little packages!  The quilting material was huge and I had to cut it into small squares.  🙂

the material is lovely and soft (albeit rather funny prints!)

I also learned to make sure that I have enough material on *both sides* of the blanket when joining.  On my first attempt to sew the crochet side to the quilt side I wasn’t able to keep them aligned.  I can tell you that only for my husband’s patience and his help taking the binding off, the project just might have been completely changed! {Thank you husband!}

the back of the crochet squares looked kinda neat

This is the part that strains my fingers the most: joining all of the squares together!

After the mess of needing to take the binding off, I needed a new plan.  So I added more squares to the quilt and adjusted the size of the crochet blanket.  Attaching just the binding to the quilt with the sewing machine was so much easier now! Then I hand sewed the crochet portion onto the blanket.  I have to say that I really enjoyed the hand sewing, which I would not have guessed beforehand.

sewing the binding on to the quilted side of the blanket

hand sewing the crochet side onto the quilted side

One day I’d like to improve my sewing skills.  For now though, it’ll just be baby steps with projects like this one.

I can’t miss an opportunity to take a picture of a baby blanket on our family antique potty-chair

As for the teeny tiny little granny squares, I thought they were so cute to make!  The colors are really fun and cheerful.   I used Mango, Sunshine, Robins Egg, Limelight, Soft Pink, and Off-White. The Caron Simply Soft yarn is one of my favorites to work with as it really is so soft and is a really nice weight.

I usually stock up on Caron Simply Soft yarn when I go home to the States 🙂

I love having things from my childhood, like this rocking chair

I really enjoyed making this blanket and trying something new.  There were a few things about it along the way that I just wasn’t sure about, but thankfully as time went on it all worked out and I love it!  And I think our sweet little one likes it too.

A happy little girl!

Here’s to a new year and new challenges!

In peace,
Dana

Because we are all worth it!

I am usually a frugal gal. Well, I will admit that being frugal most of the time allows me to splash out when the occasion arrises.  I have no problem splashing out on certain things.  It all just depends on the situation.  Last year, I came across this vintage purse and it stopped me in my tracks. I thought, “this is beautiful!”.  As my older daughter’s favorite color is purple, I thought it would be something nice for her to have for really special occasions (her Debs this year, maybe? or a wedding?…). This would be one of those cases where I thought  “it is worth it”!  So under the Christmas tree it went.

a bag created by Cathy White using a vintage handle

It is a vintage bag created by Cathy White. I had the pleasure of meeting Cathy and speaking with her about how she makes the bags. The detail and care that goes into her work is simply amazing.  You can go and see more of Cathy White’s bags here.  While waiting for that special occasion, my daughter has the purse hanging on her bedroom wall with all of her “special memory” items.  It is gorgeous even hanging on a wall!

amazingly detailed

Fast forward to this year, and my other daughter’s Irish dancing school is planning to host a “World’s Ball” to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of their school at the World Championships of Irish dancing (most notably a new World Champion in the boys U16 category!). It is going to be a Black-tie affair.  Time to pull out all of the stops!

In my possession, for the past number of years, is a dress my mother gave to me which she wore when she was much younger.  I have been waiting patiently for the right occasion to wear this beautiful, green velvet, full length dress.  My mother is a bit taller than me, so I had to wear high heels, but otherwise it was a perfect fit!  It looked amazing!

My daughter and I at the ball

O.K., so I had the dress, shoes, and bag, but I still needed a shawl.  It was time to get cracking, as of course, I had too many projects going on at the same time.  I haven’t made anything like this before, and I couldn’t find any patterns on-line that were what I wanted. So it was a matter of trial and error.  Lots of error.  🙂

piece by piece it comes together

Crocheting the squares was the easy part.  Crocheting the squares *together* was the tough part.  I call this shawl bespoke because it is a one of a kind (mainly because I’m sure I can’t duplicate it)!

crocheting the squares together was rather tricky

The next process was “blocking” the squares, or in my case, the entire shawl.  This involves wetting it down and pinning it in place to dry.  It helps to keep the shape.  This really does work, especially with this project as it was quite floppy otherwise!

sequins for a bit of sparkle (this pic was taken during “blocking”)

I also added sequins to all of the blue flowers, because sleep wasn’t really necessary at this point.  My family thought I was mad.  But when I was finished, they “got it” and agreed that the sequins added a very fun, sparkly touch!

A vintage purse to match a vintage dress,  on a vintage gal!

Ta-da! Finished! Everything was so worth the effort.  The dress was beautiful (and can I say that it was really comfortable, too?!). The hairdressers completely transformed me. It is still a mystery to me how they do that.  My daughter, the shawl, the bag, everything was just lovely.  We had such a wonderful time at her ball. It was a very special night for us.

worth the effort

The simple message here is that we are all worth it. Splurge on that something special, don’t wait to use those special soaps, creams, candles; use them now! Buy the pretty purse, or dress, or the fancy yarn!

Live life. Be present. Be kind.

Because we are all worth it.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

In peace,
Dana

I am not perfect.

August garden of Sunflowers, Pumpkins, blueberries, apples and 3 pears

This post has been floating around in my head for quite a while now.  Here’s where I’m coming from:  I really like Instagram.  For me it is an easy way to flick through loads of pretty pictures.  Pick a category, any category, and you’ll find someone who eats, breathes, and lives all day long just that category.

I also love taking pictures!

Here’s where my feelings of imperfection come in.  That eating, breathing, living just one category of a thing, is just not me.  I have lots of interests and I’m always jumping all over the place trying to get as many different things in as possible. My Instagram feed covers just about every topic you can imagine 🙂

So my garden, while I love it, is anything but a masterpiece.  I manage my time in the garden to allow me to do other things.

early summer garden

My crochet projects?  If I set my goal to 3 projects a year, I can usually nail that!

This year’s crochet project challenge was a sweater!

Biking?  I really like biking but I don’t want to spend every free minute on my bike.  I’m happy if I get out twice a week; one short bike ride and one long bike ride.

My husband usually keeps me company on my bike rides, which I think is awesome. I love this route along the water in Annagassan.

My house is clean and tidy … if I am given plenty of notice before company comes over.  Otherwise, we sport a “lived in” look.

this is as tidy as it gets … Did you spot the Irish time on the left and NY time on the right? 🙂

This is me, and all of my imperfections.  I have fun with what I do, and I am O.K. with that.

August is for making lavender wreaths! They are whimsical and “artsy” rather than “perfect”.

You won’t find me specializing any time soon.  That jumping around from interest to interest is what keeps me going.

spring time garden

Last year I tried my hand at painting an old cabinet and I had so much fun I’m going to try painting a dresser this year.  One project at a time.

Refinished bathroom cabinet added some zing to this room!

At this stage in my life, I can tell you pretty certainly that this is who I am.  I love what I do, all of it.  I accept that I’m not in any “perfect” category, but I am in a category of “good enough to make me happy”!

How about you?  Would you say you are “good enough to make you happy”?

In peace,
Dana

Another one of my favorite past times: coaching swimming! I’m lucky enough to be a part of my daughter’s swimming.

 

A Crochet Flower Blanket for Someone Special

first we start with some flowers...

first we start with some flowers…

Happy New Year!  Well, almost Happy New Year.  My forte has never been to have perfectly timed posts, something that perhaps I should work on.  Thankfully, this isn’t earth shattering stuff, and a light hearted post about a crocheted blanket can really be a “perfect” read any time at all.

The caption under the first photo above (“first we start with some flowers…”) is in fact, incorrect.  The first photo and caption should be of Pinterest.com.  THAT is where it all begins.  Lots of time scrolling through endless photos, searching for that one look that not only captures my attention, but seems reasonable enough for me to attempt to make it.

Not surprising to myself, my finished product looks nothing like the blanket for which it is based on (pin above).  I have a knack for that…  I also had to make small adjustments due to the fact that my yarn was heavier than what she used.  But I must give credit to the very talented woman who made this pattern, and who’s blanket is simply beautiful. Here is the link to where I found it:

http://atime4allseasons.blogspot.ie/2015/04/rebekahs-flower-afghan.html?spref=pi

I like to learn something new with all of my projects.  With this one I learned a few things.  First I learned about not mixing different brands of yarn.  Yeah, I know, I’m sure everyone knows that already. But due to lack of ‘stash’,  and the colors I wanted to use, some of my flowers are made of Caron Simply Soft yarn, while the majority of the blanket is made of Redheart Supersaver yarn.  I think to the untrained eye, this isn’t a problem. But to anyone who works with yarn it is blaringly obvious.   I also learned that it is most ideal to have all of your yarn purchased before you begin a project AND that you actually know what the project is going to look like when finished (again, before you begin).

starting at my desk

starting out small at my desk

I’ve discovered that my creativity is unpredictable and rather unreliable.  I couldn’t visualize the blanket at the start, so I just had to go with it and see where it brought me (not a great strategy for planning ahead!).

still early days

still early days

This project evolved from a small throw to a rather large throw.  The colors also changed as I went along. It really was crazy, because I didn’t know what pattern of colors I was aiming for: rows of colors, random colors, diagonal colors.  I’m not sure how to describe the pattern I chose in the end: an arrow?  It fit the bill as something different…

two new colors were added two months into the project!

two new colors were added two months into the project!

I started the blanket in October.  I have a day-job, so I worked on the blanket every spare moment.  My family really helped out too, pinch-hitting for me by doing all of my typical house-jobs.  It took three months, and everyone was happy when I finished it!

taking over the family room on a white table cover

taking over the family room on a white table cover

working on the border while in the car

working on the border while in the car

I love flowers.  All of the different colors of flowers in the blanket reminded me of our visit to Monet’s garden.  The green within the squares are like leaves (in my head!), and I decided to join them with green to brighten it up, versus joining with cream which would have been a more conservative option.  {Thanks goes to my daughter for helping with that decision.}

still a work-in-progress here, but with the sunny day I wanted to capture how it was coming along

only joined together horizontally

It was absolutely a labor of love.  I so enjoyed making it and it was being made for a very special someone.  She is someone who is always doing for others, and yet is somehow in the background and never seeking attention.  It really is the little things that people do which make them so appreciated and loved.

almost there... border not quite finished

almost there … and a view of my laundry drying outside and on the other side of the blanket is my very messy compost heap 🙂

a close-up

a close-up before the border is completely finished (graciously being held up by my daughter)

the pinks

the pinks

I enjoyed making the border, too.  The entire blanket is lined in green.  I think if I were to be critical, I would say that I should have made a more substantial cream border before moving on to the pinks.  Time was not on my side at this stage (it was a Christmas gift), and my hands were in a permanent cramped state, so I really couldn’t undo it once I’d moved on.

the final border

the final border, which apart from the lack of cream color, turned out quite nice

I went back to a blanket I made a couple of years ago for the final round with the trefoil motif:

while I copied this lovely pin for the first three rows of the border:

See, you can get lots of great ideas from Pinterest!

our final ta-dah! with the frosty garden as a back-drop

our final ‘ta-dah!’ with the frosty garden as a back-drop

The blanket is an awkward size, making it difficult to photograph the entire thing. Natural lighting is always best to capture the colors, so on the first sunny day I ran outside and took as many pictures as possible.  I know the white beneath the blanket (a table cover) looks unattractive, but everything was wet & frosty not to mention not the cleanest so there wasn’t much I could do.

a frosty sunny day

a frosty sunny day

close-up

close-up

the blues!

the blues!

all scrunched up

all scrunched up

I’m happy to say that the recipient likes it (phew!).

folds up neat and tidy

folds up neat and tidy (isn’t big and bulky)

Kitty sitting on our hutch

Kitty sitting on our hutch

And that is a wrap.  2016 is nearly finished.  I hope that your 2017 will be everything that you want it to be and so much more.

Thanks for stopping by, for reading, and for your lovely comments.

In peace,
Dana

A Childhood Crochet Blanket “Remake”

In the beginning

In the beginning

Some things are just worth holding on to, don’t you think? The picture above is of the first blanket I ever made.  I was 10 years old, and staying with my aunt and her family for the summer.  They lived in Florida, so for this New Yorker it was a huge treat.  But what was my aunt going to do with me all summer when we weren’t at Disney World or at the beach?  Being an avid “crocheter” herself, she started me on my first blanket.

granny "squares" that were anything but squares

granny “squares” that were anything but squares

The blanket has done fairly well over the past 30 plus years! But recently it became clear it was in need of some serious repair. My aunt had me sew the squares together, instead of crochet them, and the sewing was coming apart.  I think I figured out why she had me sew them together instead of crochet: they weren’t squares at all!  I did a TERRIBLE job of counting my stitches, so none of the squares were the same shape.

every shape imaginable except "square"

every shape imaginable except “square”

Yeah, I was 10.   🙂  So I decided to “Square them up”!  I did the same border on all of the squares so I’d have the same number of stitches.

crocheting everything together

crocheting everything together

There are a million and one different styles for granny square blankets.  I looked at ALL of them on Pinterest!  I like nice clean white lines.  It is so easy.  And neat. I like that.

crochet together with a simple stitch

crochet together with a simple stitch

Next to decide: the border. I like to try something different with each project, so I played around with the border.

White & Pink edging

White & Pink edging

I wanted to make the blanket a little more substantial, so I went a few times around, each time with a different stitch.

White, Pink, White, Yellow & White border

White, Pink, White, Yellow & White border

I love the yellow border best.  They are like little puff balls all the way around.  The funny thing is, that is the BACK of them.  I crocheted them the entire way around before I discovered the “puff” that I liked so much was on the back of the blanket!  So I undid it, and turned the blanket around, and crocheted them on “backwards”.  I felt better after I did that.

almost finished ... one more border to go

almost finished … one more border to go

I was tempted to call it quits after the yellow border.  VERY tempted.  But I decided to see how it would look edged in a frilly white.

frilly white edging

frilly white edging

This gives it a bit of a different look, but I like it for this blanket.

full blanket all finished

full blanket all finished

I’m really happy with it, and glad that I took the time to remake it.  That summer was pretty special to me, especially since we didn’t go down to Florida very often.  That side of the family is my American-Italian side, and there is something quite special about that heritage. I have very fond memories, especially of my aunt.   Unfortunately, she has since passed away, and this blanket is my special connection to her.

blanket remake

blanket remake

really happy with the end result

really happy with the end result

I don’t spend a lot of time crocheting, and I tend to take long breaks between projects!  But I do love it, and I find it to be a relaxing past-time.

What about you?  Any projects keeping you busy at the moment?

In peace,
Dana

The garden with its fall color on

The garden with its fall color on