One Hexagon at a Time

Because, obviously, I don’t have enough to do already, shortly into January, I found another project to do. Another crochet blanket, a patchwork of hexagons, for a friend.

Fortunately, however, I can whip up a hexagon in about half an hour, which means I have time to whizz through one in my lunch-break at work. Which is good, because I’m now nearly half way through the hexagons required (I think). It might even be finished before this winter’s over.

crochet-hexagons.jpg

I’m using 100% acrylic aran yarn, with a 6mm hook, and the hexagons are a variation on the normal three-treble granny square. Each one is six rounds and approximately 8″ across. I’m starting with the aim of a 7×7 blanket (so 49 hexagons in total), and then seeing if that’s big enough or if I need some more.

Start with a a chain of six, slip-stitched into a circle. Chain three for your first treble, then treble one, chain one, treble two, until you have six sets of two trebles with a chain space between.

Each set should be two trebles, with corners having two sets in them, with a chain space either side.

Hexagon

I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to join them all together, or if there will be any rhyme or reason to the colour order. I’m just glad I’ve finally managed to start a project that involved using up one large ball of purple aran I’ve had for several years, and the end of this multi-coloured one, which was left over from my first granny square blanket. Of course, I’ve had to buy more yarn, but at least it began with stuff from my stash. And I got a dozen hexagons out of the purple aran.

Looking Back, Going Forwards

It’s been a while. I didn’t create much from about May (pesky work), although I did manage to have a burst of crafting just before Christmas, mostly making little stockings for the tree.

I waited until everyone was abed before sneaking out to hang the stockings. The first to notice in the morning was my sister-in-law, after my sister took this photo and posted it to the family WhatsApp chat.

christmas stockings“There are socks on the tree!” she exclaimed, and hurried off to look. We were waiting for others to arrive before starting on stockings and presents, but I wasn’t sure we’d manage to wait that long…

I did also manage a few cross-stitches – a couple of gnomes for a new home, though I was too busy finishing them in time for Christmas (and visiting said new home) that photos were forgotten, and a bookmark for a friend back in the summer.

one more chapterCurrently, I’m working on another blanket project, a patchwork of granny squares in different colours, and Christmas brought me several crochet books for amigurumi patterns and some cross-stitch kits, one of which is for an old-school world-map with sea monsters. It’s quite big, though, so will take a while.

I have, however, managed to reclaim my time from the evening-work, so I should now have the time for my projects. Of course, I have also managed to come up with a list of things to do in me new-found spare time, so we’ll see. I’m having another go with a bullet journal to try and organise me and my projects.

So that’s my crafting-time spoken for (and a new crafty corner established in which to do it all; I might even get around to blogging more too!): what’re your crafting plans for 2019?

Spring-Cleaning the Stash

I always find the Easter weekend to be a good moment to at least begin the annual spring-clean.

The days are lengthening, Winter has hopefully finally been given the old heave-ho, and I’m beginning to feel optimistic and energised about the coming Summer. We did also have a flat-inspection by the landlord just before Easter too, which gave an additional incentive to tidy up.

It doesn’t look much like we’ve had a tidy, though. Not now. Not since I took it into my head to have a rummage through my yarn stash to come up with a new project/see if I have the right stuff for planned projects. Now I have yarns and crochet magazines strewn across the floor.

FreebieYarn

In doing so, though, I have found a new project – the sort which doesn’t take too much thinking, and which can be done in amongst more complicated projects.

One of the side-effects of buying crochet magazines, like with cross-stitch, is ending up with a collection of the freebies. With cross-stitch, these are mini kits. With crochet, it’s usually little balls of yarn.

And because I so rarely make whatever they recommend doing with the yarn, I now have a box of random colours.  Admittedly, some of these are the ends of balls from previous projects. But the new project with my box is a patchwork blanket of granny squares, with the intention of practising different granny square patterns, rather than just doing the same one over and over, though I have already done three of the normal one. Just as a start.

I’m also planning a couple of the Virus shawl, as a light Summer-evening cover-up. But I haven’t the right yarns for them. Not yet..Oh dear…Trip to Hobbycraft required…

Hugo the Llama

I forgot how short February was. I mean, it just sort of sneaked up on me and then flew by, and before I knew it, I was reaching the deadline for my sister’s giant llama.

Hugo the Llama

I’m not going to lie: I was a bit cross when she opted for the llama. I’d given her a choice, you see, for her birthday in January. A matching evening shawl and clutch bag, for which I had found coincidentally matching patterns, or a giant llama, the pattern for which my husband had found while I was looking at yarns for the shawl and bag.

He’d initially coming running up with a road-kill fox rug (not really, but it had the flattened look of road-kill, in the way of such rugs), but I’d thankfully noticed that it was for knitting, and I don’t knit. He went away, disappointed, but came back not five minutes later with a llama pattern. So my sister had a choice.

And she went with the llama. I looked more closely at the llama pattern, and discovered it wanted 10 balls of super chunky yarn (at £5 a ball) and 8 bags of 250g toy stuffing (at £4 a bag). And the finished thing would be a metre tall. Gulp. The yarn wasn’t even on special offer!

I had a look around, and discovered a chunky yarn, on 3 for 2 at £4 a ball, which ought to do the trick just as well. Given that the llama had to get to London, I figured a slightly smaller one would probably be appreciated. Even if she had asked for it in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was impressed by the pattern. Once I got going, it was quite easy – the sort of therapeutic pattern to sit of an evening and double-crochet round and round. It’s designed in a large-scale amigurumi style, so you start with four individual legs and then join them up.

The only tricky bit occurred once I got started on the main body and back. It was too large and unwieldy at that point to keep on my lap as I spiralled. I ended first on the floor, kneeling, and then on the sofa, leaning over the neck, the complete the head. His finished height, ears included, was about 65 cm. And he didn’t need 8 bags of stuffing. I think about 2 sufficed. And only 3 and a half balls of the chunky yarn. My husband commented that the llama looked a bit like a dinosaur, perhaps a diplodicus, without the ears and tail, so now I’m making a much smaller one in a green/blue cotton yarn I had in my stash. Maybe with a pink/purple Mrs Diplodicus to go with it.

For the interested, the pattern is a Knitcraft pattern from Hobbycraft, and I used the WI Soft & Chunky Merino/Acrylic in Cream, which I’ve just realised isn’t machine washable. Oops. Never mind.

And So Life Goes On

Can I still say ‘Happy New Year’ this late in January? I mean, it’s nearly February…

Thinking about it, I think this is the perfect time to start a New Year.  January is such a grey and depressing month, but February is the end of Winter and so nearly Spring and sunshine.

It’s been a while.  I regret I’ve had nothing to say and done so little in the way of crafting – mostly because of life, but also because of writerly distractions. And of course Christmas.

Since then, though, I’ve been planning my year and my goals for 2018, not really being one for resolutions.

My scrapbook of cross stitches from last year is still going.  This year, my goal is to complete the large collection of mini-kits. I’m also beginning a new scrapbook of mythological beasties and beings, which will entail creating patterns too…

I have a few crochet projects planned too. Well, one. A giant llama. No doubt other projects will suggest themselves as the year goes on.

And my last goal is to plan, almost completely, the story currently distracting me from most things and write the first part.

These goals, however, mean that I will probably not be writing here as often as I have done previously, although hopefully not as infrequently as in the last few months. At least once a month, I hope.

Rabbits, Blankets and Camping

Well, that was a longer break than anticipated! In the meantime, I’ve also scrapped an awful lot of what I had planned…which isn’t all that helpful, when you think about it.

However. I have managed to return to both cross stitch and crochet, though to none of my current or other planned projects.

Instead, I have started small, ish, and simple. A rabbit kit from a magazine, and a granny square baby blanket. Both just right for helping my brain make sense of the mess it has made in planning a 5-book series…

Bunny and blanket.jpg

How Thick is a Piece of Wool?

Answer: How long is it? Although, you’re more likely to receive a definitive answer about its thickness than about its length.

I began my crochet journey with normal, standard, double-knit yarns and 4-5mm crochet hooks. Since then, I’ve played with Chunky yarns, and 6-7mm hooks, and 4-ply sock wool, with 2mm hooks.

ProjectBag

As you can see, I currently have two crochet projects on the go – one in the 4-ply, and one in the Chunky.

My preference, I have decided (and it wasn’t a difficult decision, I’ll be honest), is for the thicker yarns. I find them easier for counting and for hooking through the stitches and for generally crocheting.

Titchy-witchy 4-ply wool and attendant dinky hook – frankly, just too fiddly for words. There’s probably an art to it which I simply haven’t worked out yet. Or you need thinner, more elegant fingers than I have. Especially when it comes to making the limbs of these monsters. I’m a bit further along than this photo suggests, having completed the body of the 4-ply monster, but I’ve been having trouble with the first limb. It’s the 12 stitch tube for the arm. I keep adding extra stitches as I go around. (Fingers crossed I’ve finally worked it out – but it has taken me about half a dozen false starts!)

I don’t have these problems with the thicker yarns. Okay, I probably have the adding in extra stitches one, (but don’t we all?) but it’s much easier to find the extra stitch and head back to remove it.

 

P.S. – I’ve decided that my craft weeks will likely be just the one post, and that I really rather like writing about chocolate, so I’ll probably talk about that more than just for one week a month. Probably Life will become somewhat more chocolatey. This is a good thing, I feel.