Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Fluffy Meringue Blanket

Everyday my crochet bucket list grows bigger. I see so many wonderful and inspiring pictures while browsing the internet. There are just so many patterns to choose from, and they're everywhere I look on Facebook, Pintrest, Instagram, and Blogs. I actually keep a list of things I need to make, of patterns I want to try and this one rocketed straight to the top of the list.

I came across it on a Facebook page called Pink Lime Crafts. Sharon is a very talented crochet artist and she had made this blanket in a stunning rainbow colour scheme, You can see it on her blog here. I was blown away by how gorgeous this blanket looks and knew I had to try it. I'm still learning pattern reading and this one should have put me off from the start -

Luckily there is a YouTube video! This made life much easier, but it also taught me how to read the chart.

As much as I loved Sharon's colour scheme for this blanket I wanted to be original and decided a girly mix of peach, pink and lilac would look beautiful. I dug into my colour pegs and came up with Soft Peach, Apricot, Candyfloss, Pale Rose and Wisteria. The 'dusky' pastels really appealed to me and I couldn't wait to get started.

It worked up quite quickly in the beginning, each colour has four rounds of pattern which are repeated until the desired size is achieved.

The tutorial is really quite easy to follow provided you have a good grasp of the basic stitches. The difficulty as always is knowing where to put those stitches and a couple of the rounds are a little bit more tricky because of this. The 'back post treble crochet two together' became a dreaded but necessary stitch!

As it got bigger, each round inevitably took longer and longer to complete. The most labour intensive being the picot's or 'ruffles' that stand up from the rest of the blanket. When I got to that round I would have to make sure I was settled with a cuppa and something good on the tv. It was not a round to try and do while the children were demanding attention or in-between checking the dinner!

Finally after 12 'rounds' I decided it was a nice size for a baby blanket. I have to admit I did put this down a few times to work on other things, it was quite a labour of love, but I really wanted to see it finished and this kept me going.

To finish it off I added one of my labels, put it through the wash and tumble dried it on low. The picot ruffles refused to lay flat for me to photograph so I gave it a bit of steam treatment with the iron. This is called 'blocking' and the number one rule is to never let the iron touch the yarn. Instead you must hover above and let the steam do the work. This gave it a lovely final touch and allowed the pattern of stitches to shine.

This is the first blanket I have made that doesn't actually have an owner. I decided a few months back that it was time to open a shop on Etsy. So this is my first item of stock. At the time of writing this it is for sale and available to purchase, but hopefully this wont be for long.

As well as making blankets to sell in my shop I am also taking orders, so if theres something you would like, please send me a message.

Thanks for reading, see you again soon.

Berni x

Monday, 2 May 2016

Cushion Covers

Back in January we decided it was time to replace our sofas. We browsed the various shops, which was hugely exciting for the three year old and eventually settled for a pair of three seater recliners in Grey and Silver. Whilst I was excited to be getting new sofa's, I was even more excited at the prospect of new cushions- cushions I could make myself!

My first thoughts and one of the most exciting aspects of designing something new was choosing the colour scheme. Our living room is mostly cream with a sage green feature wall. The sofa is shades of grey. I am a member of a crochet club on Facebook and one of the very talented ladies on there was working on a beautiful blanket for her bedroom. She had chosen shades of cream, silver, lilac, duck egg and pink and they worked so well together. So I took the same colours and added a sage green to compliment and include the feature wall. As always I use Stylecraft special DK.

The next task was to chose the patterns. I decided I wanted four different designs rather than repeating the same design four times. This meant I could be far more creative and gave me more opportunity to play with design and colour!

For cushion number one I used the sunburst granny design on one side and a solid granny square the other

I used cream in the centre of each sunburst and planned the colours so there were no repeats. Once I had made sixteen squares I stitched them together.

For the back I alternated rows of cream with rows of colour until the square was big enough

To make the cushion cover, I crocheted three of the sides together from the reverse and attached buttons to the open end for a closure that will allow me to remove and wash the covers when needed. I got the buttons from amazon- they say 'handmade' on them which I thought was very cute!

For cushion number two I went for solid granny squares whip stitched together to create a patchwork effect on both sides. These little squares work up very quickly and are very simple to join together.

As before, once the two sides were complete, I crocheted them together on three sides from the reverse and added a button enclosure.

and then there were two!

For number three I had to try a design I saw on pintrest. I made a large granny square which then wraps around the cushion on all four sides and is joined at the rear. It creates a lovely diamond effect on the front and a cross on the back

Here they are together looking pretty

For the final cushion I had decided on a nice diagonal stripe corner to corner design. I used all of the colours in a random order and completed two rows per stripe. This is a lovely pattern to work on, but it produces a lot of ends to sew in!

I was intending to do the same on the rear of this cushion, but realised I had a perfect opportunity to be a little more creative and try a technique I hadn't worked on before. The corner to corner method is often used to create graphgans like the giraffe blanket in my previous post. I counted up my surface area on the first side and it measures 30 'squares' by 30. I then drew a 30 x 30 square onto graph paper. I used pintrest again to find a nice pixel heart and sketched this onto the centre of my square. I added some coloured stripes to the bottom corner to tie it into my colour scheme.

I used this graph as my pattern and worked up my final cushion side

It was actually much easier to do than I had expected, so I will be making more of these in the near future (I've got loads of ideas pinned for this!)

Once the last side was done, I edged the squares and attached them together as before, added my buttons and it was done.

I'm so so pleased with how these have turned out. I have to admit that I watched a series of Call the Midwife on BBC iplayer while creating these and saw enough crochet cushions on there to make me worry that they would look very old fashioned. But I think the modern sofa (which is very comfortable and stylish I have to add) and the modern colour scheme do not look out of place in our home. I have received lots of compliments which makes me very proud.

Please visit me again soon

Berni xxx