Friday, 26 February 2016

The Rainbow Ripple

I'm a naughty mummy. From the moment I finished Aria's blanket (see previous post) I have been promising my son Blake a blanket for his bed. That was five months ago and that's why I'm naughty mummy. I will use the excuse that I had a few other things in the pipeline and then we had Christmas which kept me busy making gifts, so as soon as the January pay packet landed I put a yarn order in and set to work.

I did however use those five months to ponder over what to make him. There are so many beautiful designs out there and so many wonderful colours to choose from. Sometimes starting with a blank canvas can be daunting, so I went to my client and asked him what he would like. This wasn't actually the mistake it could have been as he's only three and some three year olds can have very vivid imaginations!

I started with a simple question and the conversation went like this-
"What's your favourite colour Blake?"
Great, something with red, maybe some thing complimentary like grey... "and Blue" ok ok, I can do blue too, that's not a problem "and Green" Green too huh? Maybe a patchwork of three main colours could work "and Yellow and Orange and Purple and Pink and" STOP.

I thought for a moment as an idea began to form in my mind.

"Blake- Is your favourite colour Rainbow?"
"YES!!!" Cue renditions of the rainybow song from episodes of Bing Bunny (Non mummies of toddlers I tried to find it on youtube but you've been spared)

So rainbow colours it was, but I still had the pattern to think about and I didn't think asking a three year old if he preferred a half treble stripe over chevrons was going to end well. I pondered over granny squares, stripes and even a corner to corner - it very nearly was a corner to corner, but I eventually settled on another ripple.

Picking the colours was a little more difficult this time and I changed my mind several times before placing my order. I wanted to use more than just seven colours and felt it would have a nicer effect if I could have at least two shades of each colour required to make it flow. I spent a lot of time looking up rainbow designs on Pintrest before I picked out the final 13:

Lipstick, Spice, Sunshine, Citron, Spring Green, Bright Green, Aspen, Turquoise, Aster, Lavender, Violet, Magenta and Boysenberry.

I was determined to use bright green in there as I bought a ball of that ages ago and wanted to use it. If I'm totally honest I think I should have used that as the lighter green and used something more 'Grassy' instead of the Spring Green. We're all our own worst critics right?

Once my yarn arrived I set to work. I love how easy the rows of a ripple are made but have to admit that I made several mistakes while tired or after too much wine and had frog it back to put it right (Note- to Frog is to Rippit Rippit, its a legitimate crochet term I swear) the problem with a ripple is there is nowhere for mistakes to hide.

It was also stolen off me on a regular basis for sofa snuggles which slowed my progress somewhat!
I have to admit that it was an absolute pleasure to make, its colour therapy in its most concentrated form. I found it quite easy to spend each evening gleefully completing each row just so I could start on the next colour and it kept me lovely and warm as it got bigger. I even worked on it in bed one night and left it on the bed until morning so I could enjoy it's warmth.
After just 3.5 weeks it was done, and I couldn't wait to lay it out to see it in it's full colourful glory. 

Yes- that is a racing car bed, what toddler wouldn't want to sleep in that?
I should also mention that in our house, blankets are akin to empty cardboard boxes- as soon as you place one down it's cat magnet is activated.

My girls especially like to have a good rub on a laid out piece of crochet, so if I making something for somebody else I'm careful not to leave it unattended!

I love how the colours just seem to run into one another here, just like in a real rainbow!

So its all done, I have fulfilled my promise of a blanket for the boys bed. I hope he grows to appreciate the love that is stitched into every row and I hope it will keep him warm for many years to come. If he should ever decide that he's too big or too cool for a bright rainbow creation, Aria already has her eye on it!
Here's the sniffly little monkey getting some use out of it "I not very well, I need rainbow blanket and bunny"
Thank you for reading, hope to see you again soon!
Berni x


Friday, 19 February 2016

The growing up blanket

Shortly after my daughter Aria was born I had the urge to make her another blanket. We chose not to find out the sex while I was pregnant, and I wouldn't change that amazing feeling when she was born for the world, but it did of course mean that the blankets I had made for her arrival were gender neutral. I wanted to make a girly blanket.
She already had plenty of car seat, pram and cot sized blankets so I started to think towards something bigger, and the idea for the Growing Up Blanket was formed. I wanted to make something suitable for covering her bed as she grew up. Something she could lay on the sofa with to watch films or when she is poorly. Something she would take to university and her friends will ask where she got her beautiful vintage afghan from (warm and fuzzy feeling building again!)

I knew immediately that I wanted to make sunburst granny squares as they just scream girly, pretty floral thoughts to me, so the next big decision was colours. This was actually really easy as I just picked my favourite pinks and purples out. I went with Candyfloss, Fondant, Clematis, Raspberry, Magenta, Plum, Wisteria and Violet. I decided to edge with cream to allow the colours to shine.

I had no idea at the beginning just how long this was going to take me and just how much yarn it would use. I started shortly after Aria's birth and it was complete when she was 4 months old.

I ordered 3 balls of the cream for the joining and used 7 in total! I was quite inexperienced at this point and have gone up a very steep learning curve since. Each square is made of 4 rounds and I tried to make every single one different. When I was joining them together I discovered I had one duplicate and this irritated me somewhat, but not enough to redo it.

For the border I decided upon the block stitch as I felt it gave a nice finish with distracting from the main pattern. If you stare at it for too long it starts to play tricks with your eyes.

As mentioned in previous posts my choice of yarn is Stylecraft Special DK. Every week the Stylecraft Facebook page hold a spotlight called Clevercrafters#, where they invite people to send in pictures and details of their makes and they choose 5 of those projects to feature on their page.
Shortly after completing this blanket I sent them some photos and a brief story about it and it was the first project they showcased that week! I was beaming with pride as so many talented people send things in each week, they sometimes have hundreds of entries. For them to pick my work was such a confidence booster.

At the time of writing this Aria is 9 months old and has been using her blanket every day. She takes her naps under it and it sits folded at the end of her cot when not in use. It has been subjected to the usual baby bodily fluids and has washed well!

I do of course have two children, and as any parent will know- you cant give to one and not the other right? My Son Blake has a blanket on my hook right now, and I'm hoping to have it completed in time for next weeks post.

Take care and thanks for reading

Berni x

Friday, 12 February 2016

The cat stitch blanket

There was a time when I wanted to make blankets but didn't have anyone to make one for (dont think that will ever happen again!) so I asked my lovely friend Dawn who runs the Ragdoll Rescue if they could use some blankets for the cats. She said that would be great and asked if I could have them ready and take them to their annual fundraising garden party.

I immediately set to work on a cheery large granny square blanket, quickly hooking my way around and around when I realised I didn't know how big to make it. When you look at the general blanket size guides they have dimensions for baby blankets, single bed coverlets etc, but there's never a 'cat blanket' guide! This is what lead me to Google 'cat blanket' and I came across this site-

I was stopped in my tracks- I had to try this stitch and it would be perfect for a cat blanket. I loved how the paws of one cat made the ears of the cat below, so simple and so eye-catching. Anyone that knows me will tell you that I'm a magpie for cat related items. I can spend hours searching internet clothing shops just searching for items with cats on to dress my daughter in. This blanket design had me at the first glance and I had to make it. Now I'm not very confident following written patterns, it's something I'm working on, but I won't deny I prefer a YouTube tutorial any day. Luckily there is one-

This just left me to pick the colour scheme, the pattern seemed to call for simplicity here, less colours will work better, so I picked a couple of my favorite purples- lavender and violet, and parchment seemed to work well to set them off.

It turned out that this is another one of those- looks complicated but actually isn't. Once I'd completed the first couple of rows, my fingers were doing it by themselves. In no time at all I had reached what I believed was a suitable length (I never did find a cat blanket size guide) and it was finished. A quick simple border around the outside and ta-dah! Another blanket done with another great sense of achievement.

This was one of three blankets I took down to the rescue, firmly believing that they were going to line the cats beds and keep them warm. So it took me by surprise to find Dawn was actually putting them in the charity auction. Unfortunately we had to leave before this 'lot' came up due to childcare commitments, but Dawn informed me afterwards that they made a nice little sum for the rescue. Warm and fuzzy feeling inside was back.

Although it's a good few months away I'm already putting together my ideas for this years donation, you can be sure it will be something cat related again!  

Friday, 5 February 2016

Marine Ripple


Soon after I started to crochet I came across a fantastic, inspiring blog by a lady called Lucy- Attic24. She designs some of the most beautiful hooky creations I have feasted my eyes upon, and better yet she has tutorials for most of them too!

Whilst enjoying a peaceful browse on her site I fell in love with her 'Coast' blanket- gorgeous ripples of soothing coastal colours. If you've not seen it please have a look here.
At first sight I immediately decided that such a blanket would be far beyond my capabilities. It looked much too professional for a beginner like me to contemplate trying- But as I mentioned before, Lucy has provided tutorials for several of her projects, including this one. After reading it though a few times I decided it had to be worth a go.

The next step was choosing my colour scheme, I loved the colours Lucy had picked, but wanted to make this my own design. My yarn of choice is Stylecraft Special DK. It's readily available here in the UK and is a lovely soft and affordable acrylic yarn. It also comes in 82 colours (at the moment) so there is something to please everyone. The ripple design had me dreaming of water, oceans and sea's, so I decided upon a blue/green theme. These colours are very calming and relaxing- perfect for a blanket designed to be snoozed under.

I picked Turquoise, Aster, Cloud Blue, Denim, Petrol, Aspen, Teal, Spring Green, Storm Blue and Sherbet and worked the stripes in a random order.

I have to say I was very proud of this blanket, it turned out far better than I could of hoped for and gave me a great sense of achievement.
I've got another ripple blanket on my hook right now- watch this space ;)
B x

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


Hello and welcome to my new blog 'Little Grey Hook'

I started this blog to display my crocheted creations, I've been hooking for just over a year now, designing and making things for myself or to give as gifts. The feedback I've received has been so positive that I am now considering making items to sell and opening an online shop.

Most of my work is Afghans or blankets, I love to create things to keep people (or animals) warm and cosy. Probably because I hate being cold! That doesn't mean I can't make other things- my daughter has a few cute hats to model- it's just blankets are my comfort zone.

I'm no professional crochet artist, but I love chosing colours and designs and making them come to life. It makes me happy and keeps me sane when the kids are acting up. There's nothing quite like having an idea come to life.

I completed several projects last year, and over the next few weeks I plan to share them on here. I'm currently working on a large blanket for my son's bed that's keeping me busy right now. In the meantime here are some of my smaller designs.

If you have any questions about my work, please feel free to comment below.
Thank you for visiting x