Crochet Ripple Blanket – August-December 2015

20150806_115051Before I started rabbit number 2, I started work on my fourth blanket. Crochet ripple this time. There were many moments of deliberation before the final colours were selected and work began in August, a few weeks before the arrival of the intended recipient. I chose 8 shades of King Cole Bamboo Cotton, a bit of a compromise between using Sirdar Baby Bamboo which is gorgeously soft but very expensive and using a cheaper acrylic which may have been harder wearing but not quite special enough for what I hoped would become an heirloom new baby gift. I was very pleased with the colours available and the Bamboo Cotton is also washable – definitely a bonus! We knew the gender before the baby was born but I didn’t want to make it all out “boyish” just in case and anyways everyone needs some Damson and Saffron in their life!

I wasn’t sure when I started. A friend began a similar ripple blanket around the same time and I’d heard reports of the foundation chain being hurled across the room in frustration! Luckily for me, the experience gained from the ripple baskets meant that the whole process was relatively painless, it just took blooming ages!

The blanket in progress travelled on our family roadtrip across the Channel to Normandy and back again via Cadbury World Chocolate Factory, yurt camping in the rain in Somerset and a visit to Stonehenge. I took it to work to put in extra time and the whole thing became a complete labour of love – I definitely owe a debt of gratitude to my work colleagues who became my personal cheerleaders and got me through the final push. It was finally finished in December and given to my nephew as a first Christmas present. It wasn’t perfect but it was beautiful.

I did a treble ripple pattern and changed colour after every two rows. The photos don’t quite do the colours justice particularly the deep purple of the Damson. I edged the whole thing in a bright teal colour (Peacock) which I love! See previous post for matching rabbit and shoes.

I’m not going to say no to doing another blanket but I think what I need to do is start using chunky yarn rather than DK so it grows more quickly and doesn’t drive me quite as mad – give me another six months though…

Yarn Used: King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK in shades 1643 Pale Mint, 518 Ice Blue, 635 Lawn Green, 533 Green, 525 Cobalt, 609 Glacier, 524 Damson and 637 Saffron with 531 Peacock for the edging.


July Cliff 2016

DSC_0669 (2)Origami – the ultimate papercraft! I suppose it was only a matter of time before I had to tackle origami. I like the idea of origami; I make a mean paper aeroplane – in fact, as part of a job interview, I once had to do a presentation on paper aeroplanes. I discussed an alternative history of the paper aeroplane, explaining how they were the precursors to modern email and fax communication but I digress…

The type of origami that I’m using is called sonobe. It’s a particular form of origami where lots of tiny modules are fitted together to create any number of polyhedrons – google it (other search engines are available), the possibilities are amazing! The pattern I used was from Issue 68 of Mollie Makes for an origami vase. The idea is that you fit these sonobe modules together to create a kind of sleeve for a glass jar thus forming the vase.

I started with 5cm x 5cm squares of paper which I folded into the little sonobe shapes. It took some trial and error but I finally got it right. It’s a bit like when you fold a box lid to close it without taping it, so each bit folds under the next. Then it was on to the actual construction. This was challenging! I tried for a whole evening, just to get started and a full 24 hours plus a handy guide to sonobe downloaded from the internet later I cracked it! More cardboard box lid folding! Each pyramid is made of three sonobe modules slotted into each other and you keep adding and adding to it. Once the sheet of pyramids was the right size, I wrapped it round a recycled baby food jar and used the final sonobe modules to make a joining row of pyramids. Cliff’s fuchsia shirt against the dark green foliage made for some striking colour combinations although I also had to use lots of leftover bits of calendar from previous months and even had to steal a small slice of August Cliff to get enough paper for all the squares I needed.

It’s not perfect. I lack the total precision to be great at origami. There shouldn’t be any spaces between the pyramids and I don’t feel it’s quite as neat as it could be but I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved. Another craft attempted, another worthy addition to the Cliff Craft Challenge and yes I’m using the beautiful hydrangea flower from my garden to distract from the imperfections!

Crochet Rabbits and Shoes – August-September 2015

After a failed experiment using some retro Emu Coolspun yarn that I was gifted from my friend’s great aunt I went on to make another pair of crocheted hi-tops for a friend’s new baby. I also crocheted a baby rabbit which I’m really pleased with as I designed it myself (read completely winged it!). I put the lessons learned from the little alien to good use and plumped for crochet rather than knitting. This was mainly done as I felt I could finish the whole thing much more quickly but also I could make it in the round without the faff of double pointed needles (which I am still vaguely scared of). I’ve always found sewing up seams incredibly difficult to master and it’s even more tricky when using sock yarn – it was one of the things I didn’t like about the alien. I think I also fixed the issues I had with the proportions and the head to body ratio.

Shortly after the first rabbit I moved swiftly on to the second one which I made for my nephew. In a bid to be more organised, I’m writing down the pattern as I go along so I can recreate it properly!

So here goes…
ch4 and ss into 1st chain to join.
Round 1: 12tr into round (12 sts)
Round 2: 2tr into each st  (24 sts)
Round 3: 1tr in first stitch, 2 tr in second stitch – repeat all the way round (36sts)
Round 4: 1dc into back loop only (36sts)
Rounds 5 – 9: 1tr in each stitch (36sts)
Round 10: tr2tog, 1tr – repeat all the way round (24sts)
Round 11: dc2tog all the way round (12sts)
Stuff body at this point
Round 12: 2dc into each st (24sts)
Rounds 13 – 15: 1tr in each st (24sts)
Round 16: dc2tog, 1dc – repeat all the way round (12sts)
Round 17: dc2tog all the way round (6sts)
Stuff head
Round 18: dc2tog all the way round (3sts)
Fasten off and use tail of yarn to pull final stitches tight. Sew in ends.

I attached little ears and a felt face and tail and I also put a little bell into each of my rabbits when I stuffed the body. It doesn’t make much noise as the toy stuffing muffles it but it jingles a little bit. Rabbit number two is pictured here with it’s own matching hi-tops and also “the blanket” – a pure labour of love to be discussed at a later date!

Yarn used: Rabbit One and matching Hi-Tops – Sirdar Snuggly Baby Crofter DK in Archie (shade 166). Rabbit Two and matching Hi-Tops – stripes of King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK in
shades 1643 Pale Mint, 518 Ice Blue, 635 Lawn Green, 533 Green, 525 Cobalt, 609 Glacier, 524 Damson and 637 Saffran

Hi-Top pattern from Mollie Makes, see earlier post for full details.