Thursday, 14 February 2013

Ripple redux!

Ok - the ripple blanket has been a great way to use up oddments of my stash and it's great fun seeing what colour-matches emerge (I was picking yarn randomly from a bag).

But - I was never completely happy with the cast-on (is that the correct term for crochet?) edge. It originally took me a few attempts until I had something I thought was OK but it somehow still wasn't right. I plugged on relentless, convinced I could block the edging into submission later; it looks OK (above) doesn't it?

However, the way it didn't lie flat mocked me with each new stripe of colour:

I decided I could perhaps correct the proper zigzag edge by picking up the stitches and working downwards:

Hmmm - a valiant effort but  ....................................................... no!

So, I started with a new length of yarn, making my tension incredibly (for me) loose and guess what:

Ah - that's more like it!

Now I plan to unravel each row from the original and use it on the new piece. Happy days ahead, rippling away :-)

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Taddah!!! Blanket finished!

At last, here it is in all its glory!

This afternoon I completed the final mitred square on my blanket and heaved a great sigh of relief! It was a truly epic undertaking, but I think I may have created a family heirloom, to hopefully be handed down the generations!

 I started the project last September and I've interrupted its progress with other items, so I couldn't really say exactly how long it took to create. The hardest part was estimating the dimensions. Having worked out the size of an individual block I planned it out on paper.

Then it was a matter of knitting each block, starting at the bottom right and working left along each row, picking up the required stitches as I went. Mitred squares really are such an easy thing to knit - once you have all your stitches on the needle it's simply a matter of decreasing two stitches in the middle of every other row! (and a very nice project to have in your lap as you watch TV as it's all done in Garter/Knit stitch!)

The multicoloured yarn is Sirdar's Crofter DK in 'Houndstooth'. I'd used it to knit a cardigan but the style never looked right on me, so unravelled it and re-used the yarn.

The cream yarn was just basic (read: cheap!) acrylic DK - picked up in a local hardware store, as and when I needed it.

Of course, I had to buy more of the Crofter (twice!) as the project grew. About halfway through, I decided I really ought to do the maths and work out how many squares per ball of wool, so that I would know how much to purchase in my final order!

So, for completeness' sake - here are some facts:

Number of squares in total: 462
Number of balls of Sirdar Crofter: 22
Number of balls of Cream DK: 9
Approximate time to complete one square: 15 minutes (which equates to 115.5 hours in total - or thereabouts!)

Of course, I still have to go back and sew in some of the ends, but I mostly managed to weave them in as I went along, so it will just be a question of snipping off the loose ends. I was toying with adding a double-crochet edging all the way around - still not decided on that. It's so light and snuggly-soft, for all its size!

In the meantime I wanted to share the finished item with you, as I've been referring to it off and on here for quite some months! (and I have to say, I'm really rather proud of it!)

Saturday, 2 February 2013

It may be the 'awards' season.....

It may be 'awards' season, but never mind the Oscars or the BAFTA's - thanks to Hilary at Threaded Life  I've been given the....

In accordance with the award 'rules' I must:

Post 11 random things about myself 
Answer 11 questions set by my nominator (in this case, Hilary)
Create 11 further questions for 11 other recipents
Choose 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers and add links.

I've come across this Liebster Award on one of my other blogs and I'm not sure I can fulfill all the requirements, so this might just be a 'potted' version - just SIX of each category!

OK - random things about me:

1. I've twice had my job taken over by 'technology' - I was once a switchboard operator (the old plug-in style boards) but when the UK went over to self-dialled calls operators were surplus to requirements; the 2nd occasion was more recent - I was a library assistant until the local county library service decided to go 'self-service'. Once the machines were installed for customers to issue and return their own books, library assistants like myself were an 'endangered species' as the jobs dried up. I took early retirement!

2. I once had breakfast with the Bishop of Peru. ('s a long story......!)

3. I can play the piano by ear - but I'm the only member of the family NOT to have had music lessons.

4. I did a stunt-driving course and learned to do handbrake turns, J-turns, etc. - a couple of years ago, when I was 55! (So, you want proof?)

5. I've traced my Family History back to the early 1600's - with a link to Bonnie Prince Charlie and  also Queen Victoria!

6. As this blog is mainly about knitting and yarn crafts, here's a random fact on that theme - I hand-made yards of tatted lace for my wedding dress and veil, mostly on the train to and from work each day. The 'ratcheting' sound of me drawing more thread off the shuttle spool must have driven my fellow travellers mad! ;-p

Now - to Hilary's questions for me:

1.  What's your favorite book and why? Depends on genre/mood! However, I love crime mysteries and one of the best I’ve read in the last few years is Peter James'  'Dead Simple' . Having read that, I was hooked for the series!

2.  Give me your all-time favorite quote. ‘Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read!” -  Groucho Marks  

3.  What's your favorite animal and why? Dogs – any shape or size, but I have a penchant for cross-breeds; the ultimate ‘originals’!

4. What do you collect? Nothing, specifically. (although I do seem to have accumulated a lot of long-lost relatives when doing my Family Tree!)

5.  Who do you most admire and why? Mother Teresa – she just got on with the job and didn’t make a fuss!

6.  What's your worst vice? Cheese and biscuits!

7.  What's your best trait? I try to give encouragement whereever I can.

8.  What's your favorite sport? Ugh – sport????? (although, I will try to watch Wimbledon, as long as I can watch a whole match)

9.  What's your favorite color and why? Dusty jade-type colours - they remind me of open space and wild, misty countryside.

10.  Name one of your pet peeves. Car drivers who think their indicators are ‘optional extras’!

11.  What makes any particular day special for you? A bright sunny dawn – as if the world’s on tiptoe waiting to see what’s going to unfold today.

Next - questions for for my award recipients:

1. One thing you're most proud of in your life
2. Your favourite food/drink
3. Place you'd like to travel to - if you had the opportunity.
4. Your favourite project to date
5. Your favourite film or book
6. Who you'd most like to have met and had a conversation with (in any time period of history!)

Now for the people to whom I'd like to pass on this award - here's the lucky six

Rachel, at 'Go Placidly' (ok - unashamed nepotism!)
Karen at Ridiculous Knits

Some of these are 'new accquaintances' via the recent Grow Your Blog party hosted by Vicki - I hope they don't mind being pounced on for this award! 

In the meantime - thanks again, Hilary, I shall stick my 'award' badge on my blog with pride! :-)