And so the end… Woodland Blanket

And so we’ve reached the end. The final Woodland CAL post went live on Friday and I’ve put the finishing touches to my blanket.

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© Vicky Newton

I’m not massively pleased with the finished result. In hindsight I should have gone with my first instinct of find an alternative edging type but I had wanted to stay true to the CAL and it is a bugger to frog so I am pretty much stuck with it. The slipstream edge is pretty but it is not an ideal finish for someone who works with a tight tension and even after going up two full hook sizes I have still found my edges curing. I am not the only one to have this problem and I may be able to salvage things by blocking the blanket either in the wash or or using the steam blocking method.

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© Vicky Newton

This may have to wait until the Beast from the East has worked it’s way out of the system. Leeds has hardly felt it’s full roar but temperatures have been low and I am not about to stand around in the back garden blocking a blanket by hand in this weather. I’ve had enough of a cold in the last week thank you very much.

So What’s Next?

One thing has come out of the Woodland Blanket – I have little wool but lots of UFO’S. I found myself often twiddling my thumbs for at least four nights a week so I resolved to bust my stash. I have made a massive impact but in some cases I didn’t have enough wool for the projects I had in mind so there will be wool purchases, but fortunately it is mostly the cheep stuff.

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© Vicky Newton

From the bottom up –

Attic24 Neath Ripple – I actually started just before the CAL to trial my tension and ripple patterns and quickly ran out of wool but I am half way to a lapghan so I don’t need a great deal more and next time I am ordering a Lucy colour pack I will get some more.
Mermaid Blanket – this has been made using some olive green J C Brett aran wool that I picked up in Leeds Market. It is on hold until it either shows up again in the wool shop or until I want to part with some money online.
Modern Mitered Granny Blanket – not made according to instructions because I mistranslated the wool weights so instead of three panels in chunky it will be five in aran weight. This should be finished very soon, though I doubt it will be edged in the self striping yarn.. probably a plain white.
Melting Popsicle Afghan – I picked up a stash of Aldi’s So Crafty Self Striping yarn, which is one of the more reasonably priced alternative to Caron Cakes. I love Caron Cakes for their colours but they are about £8 a pop and the Aldi alternatives are about half the price and this is a colour combo I really like. Again – this should be finished with what I have in stash with some left over for maybe a waterbottle huggy to help fight off the Beasts arctic chill.

I’ve also hoofed out a whole collection of kit yarns and left overs which I need to formulate a plan for. There isn’t enough to contemplate blankets but there is a nice rainbow pallet and a collection of purple shades and I am sure Ravelry and Pinterest will provide inspiration.
For now I think I will spend my time and money on completing these UFO’s. When it gets closer to my summer holiday I can start another big blanket project, perhaps using one of the websites I discovered whilst participating the this recent CAL. I am thinking a Queen sized blanket in either the Original or Coastal pallet using the woodland pattern and the Stripe generator will allow me to create a unique addition to my blanket stash.

Woodland Blanket Part 4

If you think I spend all my free time sitting around crocheting you wouldn’t be far wrong. Crochet is central to my calm down / wind down routine of a silly basis and I will admit to carrying mini projects with me if I think I will be in a stressful situation. This means that most nights I have a hook in my hand but it isn’t the only thing I am doing at the same time.

Yes, I am one of those people how crochet and watch TV at the same time. It’s not always possible with a more complicated pattern but Woodland and most blanket patterns are usually straight forward enough to get away with it. I don’t really watch a great deal of TV, mainly the Discovery and History channels for documentary repeats and the like, but my favourite shows has to be TNT’s The Librarians .

More often than not I am plumbing the depths of YouTube for favourite vlogers and podcasts such as the The Modern Hermeticist and RuneSoup. Both of the RuneSoup members courses (link) were completed along side a blanket project and I actually find the process of busying my hands allows me to clear my mind and make it more receptive.

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I really like reading a good book, a new book smells nearly as good as a really old one, but I have yet to find a way to read a physical book and hook at the same time… or have I.

Well no, I haven’t, but I have found away to have my books read to me without signing up for an Audible account or paying the Kindle top up prices through my Android devices accessibility settings. It’s not perfect, you wouldn’t want to listen to anything with dialogue and I have yet to find a voice option that doesn’t grate on my nerves just a little, but it is a great option for the handy hooker.

I also discovered an app called Prestegio ereader which not only displays pdf’s, ebups and other ebook formats but will read them out as well. I tracked it down after purchasing a couple of books from Scarlet Imprint and discovering these benevolent gods of great knowledge also provide their customers with electronic version alongside physical books. Prestegio reads them perfectly, if you forgive it struggling with barbarous words and words uncommon to the English language presumably because they have been created to interface with assistive technology well. Unfortunately not all pdf’s are created equal, so anything which contains footnotes or has headers and the books details at the top of the page can result in a broken read back. Sometime it is bearable. other times it is not, and of course it cannot read scans of books. Still that means a substantial amount of my academia.edu back catalogue will interface with Prestegio, which has a far more palatable voice set than TalkBack.

I’ve also been exploring the crafty side of my own fair city after being put on the trail of a fun and unique jewellery course. Run by a local medieval reenactor and hosted by Leeds Hackspace, I have recently been learning how to cast pewter.

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It really is easier than it might first appear, and the effect is amazing. The design is etched into stone using very simple tools, remembering of course that you will be working in reverse and creating impressions. Whilst I didn’t cast this myself, for insurance purposes the person leading the course needed to do this, but I etched the design in using a variety of purposely made tools from nails of various sizes. I’m so pleased with this finished design, which will eventually be hung as an adornment on my statue of Hekate, that I am making arrangements to attend Leeds Hackspace again and work on creating my own set of tools so I can make more designs… if various arts will give me permission to copy designs for my own personal use that is…

Progress

In the meantime my Woodland Blanket is progressing nicely. I might be on a part four blog piece but Lucy has issued the 6th and final section of the blanket proper. There is a catch up week to come but after this I will be bordering.

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I can’t quite post a full length photo as I am a) still working on it and b) the kids are vegging out watching Tad the Lost Explorer on the TV. Okay, so this movie doesn’t hold up in terms of animation if you want to compare it to things from Disney/Pixar but for an independent kids animated movie it is a pretty good one. Given the kids already love the Librarians and I want to introduce them to Indianan Jones (the first three, not the fourth *shudder*) its going to get them into the right head space in time for the school holidays. More crochet time for me.

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Tad the Lost Explorer

Woodland Blanket Part 3

I like to express my sense of wyrd by making things that are more than a little off beat.  There are all sorts of possibilities out there if you know where to look and I would be lost without The AntiCraft to keeping me up to date with the wyrd side of yarn craft. Ravelry  is also a really good source for odd ball patterns such as a Cthulhu plushy for those little girls that need the Old God in their lives.

Just some of patterns I’ve made include a Pan, crochet goddess dolls, dragon scarfs and a Krampus Hat. I do occasionally make ‘normal’ hats and scarves but if you want to go big there’s nothing better than dragon scale gauntlet gloves.

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From Left to Right
Pan – adapted from patterns for Pan and Faun 
Hello Cthulhu
Krampus Hat

The wyrd isn’t only limited to the patterns I make, some of my equipment is wyrd and wonderful too.

My living room is a homage to my various craft interests and as regular readers know I don’t shy away from decorating my spaces with animal remains such as antlers and skulls so when I spotted a hoof pin cushion at the vintage fair at Leeds Market I snapped it up. I am also really fond of my hand carved crochet hook, which proves the point that not all magic wands are pointy sticks.

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There is nothing better than mixing up your creative craft with your magical craft, a subject that I have touched on the subject before on this blog. For the most part though I just like weird knick nacks and if they can be used to make things for people so much the better.

Woodland Progress

Week two is completed and I’m ready and raring for Week three. Woody has behaved much better this week, nesting down in my yarn bag and blanket whilst he was waiting to get started on the next phase. 

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I was planning to darn in all the ends for the proceedings rows over the course of last week but it didn’t come to pass. I better do it soon or it will turn into a massive chore. Some people who are participating in the CAL are filling mason jars and other containers to make keepsake memories. I’m not sure if I will do anything like this myself but I do have some glass baubles which would look lovely stuffed full of little yarny bits.

 

 

Woodland Blanket Part 2

As the good General said – let’s get down to business. As you can see the first 18 colour changes of my woodland blanket are laid in and looking yummy. I’m really glad I had a practice of Lucy’s neat ripple pattern ahead of Woodland to get me in the mindset for half repeats at either end of the row and that I would need to count carefully to avoid mistakes. In some ways woodland is easier than neat ripple because it swaps between 2dc clusters and skip 1 for the fans, creating opportunity to pause and count before moving on.

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Week One Complete

Week two is here and the colours are lovely again. I managed to complete week one by Sunday night but this weekend has already been busier than anticipated, and I saved time last week by not swatching. I suspect it will take me a lot longer this week.

Nesting

It’s been really cold this past week and my nesting urge has been strong. The upside of making blankets is that you can cover yourself as you work. The downside is that it takes time for them to grow big enough to be useful. At the moment I am snuggling with a hottie under a stash buster blanket whilst I work, hot drink close to hand.

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I like my magic the same was as I like my coffee, black as midnight.

One ‘person’ I have been snuggling down with is Woody – the asthmatics answer to a crochet buddy. I get so jealous of people posting photos of their babies, cats, dogs and other exotic pets, that I decided I was having a Woodland CAL mascot. I was aided and abetted in this by Lidl stocking their woodland piglet in my local store in the run up to Christmas. I’d seen him in previous years and always talked myself out of buying him but this year I was not going to be denied.

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This is a scrapghan I made a couple of years ago from lots of little left over scraps of yarn using the Granny Hexagon modular method

Woody has been on some adventures too in the time he’s been living with us. He’s already had two seams repairs after excessive cuddles from my youngest resulted in spits and he seems to thinks he’s a mountain goat and likes to climb high places… either that or my husband finds it funny to put him in places I can’t reach.

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Woodland Blanket Part 1

I will be participating in a crochet a-long (CAL) for the first few weeks of 2018 so I will use the time to shine a light on my hooking habits, chart my progress and and generally achieve that long awaited goal of including more crochet in the blog.

A Little Background

Crochet wasn’t a craft that was taught in my home growing up. Whilst I am told my mother could crochet she preferred knitting and that is what she tried to teach me. I have never really got on with knitting. There were too many stitches to drop and I found that holding the needles in the manner in which I was taught pulled on a childhood injury. After a couple of Holy Scarfs and the knitting being throw across the room more than once the idea that I would become a knitter was abandoned and I took up cross stitch instead.

It wasn’t until I was on maternity leave with ED that I started to learn how to crochet. A combination of reaction to stress and a chronically bad back meant I was signed off three months before my due date. It was around the same time that the poor sister of knitting was becoming more visible in the crafting community and having a lot of time on my hands I decided to take the plunge. Between my mother in law, the Internet and a couple of magazines I started to pick the stitches and techniques and it wasn’t too land before I was hooked.

Now I am rarely without a project to hand. If I am not filling my free time with blogging I am putting hook to yarn and making something. More often than not my projects are blankets as they allow my mind to flow through a repetitive stitch whilst I listen to a book or a broadcast. Most are gifted or sent on to charity but occasionally I embark on major projects for myself like my king sized bed spread.

About the CAL

My favourite designer over the years has been Lucy of Attic24. As well as being a brilliant designer and a master of the Stylecraft colour palette she is based in my favourite little (landlocked) Yorkshire town, Skipton. As well as her blog and designing Lucy also organises the very popular Yarndale event, coming up with community projects and yarn bombing campaigns for people to make and contribute to the overall ambience of the day.

Lucy’s designs are almost universally accessible. It doesn’t matter if you are an expert or a beginner; if you know which end of a hook to use, the basic stitches and the difference between a UK and US crochet terms you can read her patterns, especially as she helpfully includes photo illustrations alongside her written instructions.

Look at all this squishy goodness…

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Woodland Yarn Pack in Lucy’s Jolly Chunky Bag

I’ve never participated in a CAL before, though I have made the projects in my own time. This year I fancy being part of a wider community.

Lucy often takes her colour pallet inspirations from places she has visited, using photos to record the experience amd build a colour story from, as she did with the Moorland Blanket. Whilst I like the idea of taking pallet inspiration from life I am not entirely taken with the order, preferring something either more random or more graduated.

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I am using a 5mm hook for the base chain and a 4.5mm hook for the blanket.

After the Moorland Blanket Lucy seems to have taken on board the communities feedback about the colour order. In preparing for the Woodland CAL Lucy has created two different colour orders to choose from, the colour story and a more random colour order which is the pattern order I will be following.  

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Woody the Woodland Piglet

The pattern and first part of the CAL went up on Friday and as you can see I managed to do about 6 colour changes before having to go to bed. Given how fine the rows are I suspect that this blanket will take a long time to build but that’s half the fun. Unfortunately the Friday posting date of each part of the CAL don’t quite line up with my own posting habits and I suspect that I will be sneaking pagan themed posts in now and again as filler when I fall behind in the CAL. We’ll see how things developed over the next few weeks.

 

 

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