Starting to sew together the Throw

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I have been subscribing to Art of Crochet in order to teach myself to crochet.  However, I think it is a little expensive and there are just so many wonderful books, magazines and blogs out there that I think I am ready to cut the ‘apron strings’ and go solo.  So I have cancelled by subscription to the magazine.

This is all very well and good but part of the subscription includes instructions and wool to crochet a throw.  By cancelling the subscription although I have the instructions to complete the throw I won’t have enough wool and it is branded for the magazine so not easy to match.  Therefore I have had to hatch a cunning plan.

Using the photographs in the magazine as a guide I have decided to work from the middle outwards so whilst I won’t end up with the same size throw as the photographs I will hopefully have a nice lap blanket or small picnic blanket.  The piles of squares have been building up so as a distraction I have started to sew them together.  This will also give me some encouragement to keep going and finish this project.

I do like the four white squares which make up the centre square (see above).  There are then traditional granny squares running out along the diagonals and a variety of other stitches filling in.  I have to say that whilst I have really struggled with these various patterns at times but by persevering I  have realised that I have learnt quite a variety of stitches so now I feel more confident to try something more advantageous.

Starting a Wool Stash

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I have noticed more and more that crochet and knitting bloggers have secret and not so secret wool stashes.  I have also noticed that the sewers are the same with fabric stashes.

This is an alien concept to me.  I have always bought wool for a specific pattern as opposed to buying wool because I like the look of it.  I don’t, yet, go to craft fayres so these temptations haven’t really come my way.  However, as anyone who reads my gardening blog will know I have a real plant weakness and buy plants at the drop of a hat with no self-control so I am sure its only a matter of time before this approach filters through to my new interest in crafts.

Today, I went to the local flea market with my eldest son.  I had a mental list of things I was looking for particularly with a view to upcycling.  This is a concept that is new to me and requires me to rethink lots of things.  I keep seeing wonderful things on Pinterest and think I could do that.  Instead of things that needed lots of work on them, as intended, I ended up buying a beautiful Victorian mirror which just needs a clean for the downstairs toilet and lo and behold 10 balls of wool – a mix of Jaeger DK and Sirdar 4 ply.  My son spotted the wool and encouraged me to have a look and choose the wool I liked the look of and which I might find a pattern for in the future.  I’m still  not convinced but the wool stash has started!

Stripey Bowl

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While I am faffing around with wool crocheting multi-coloured squares my eldest son is up the garden in his workshop playing with wood.  I really shouldn’t say ‘playing’ as the wood-turning he does is very skilled.  He is self-taught and learning slowly having been given a lathe nearly two years ago.  He works as a cabinet-maker so has access to various off-cuts of interest wood and above is this weeks creation which I am incredibly impressed with.

The get the stripey effect he makes a blank by glueing together layers of wood offcuts and then he turns the bowl.  He is pointed out all the faults to me – essentially it isn’t as smooth as it should be and if you are being very fussy you can feel the joins of the wood layers but I think it is very pleasing.

 

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The First Throw – Quarter Way

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I have reached a point of demotivation with the Throw.  I think I really need to do some small projects to give myself a break but while I ponder on what these might be I decided to use my evening yesterday to darn in all those ends of threads.  It has taken me hours and that was only for 44 squares.  I must try to remember to do them as I go.

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Yes that’s right 44 squares out of 120 so still a long way to.

I am following instructions in Art of Crochet and I have now decided to cancel my subscription as I have subsequently found lots of inspiration on Pinterest, Facebook and a number of magazines.  The projects in Art of Crochet are getting very repetitive.  It seems that all a beginner can hope to crochet is a scarf and I have already done two of those or a simple bag – again done.  I don’t feel confident enough to do shaping so have been avoiding jumpers etc but wandering around Pinterest has made me very interested in crochet flowers and I think I could have a go at those.  I also really like the Afghan rugs and also the rugs made up of granny squares with the raised flowers in the middle but I need to finish the first Throw before I start another one.

Having darned all the ends in, the next stage with these squares is to block them and the internet advice implies that I need to do this with steam on the ironing board, leaving them to ‘set’ overnight.  In the meantime, I am feeling a little more motivated and as the instructions for the throw sets out a clear pattern for sowing the squares together I have decided to start in the middle and work my way out so if I run out of wool (provided with the magazine) I won’t have a misshapen rung, just a small one.

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The thing that I am pondering at the moment is though – is there anything I could do useful with all those ends of thread I have cut off?  It seems such a waste when you see them all piled up together.

 

Granny Squares 38 and 39 – 81 to go

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A couple more squares completed.  I do need to block these and I am finding that some squares seem to be coming up larger than others although I am sure my tension is the same.  It makes me wonder the advisability of making a rug out of such a diverse range of styles of granny squares and stitches.  After all, all the rugs I have seen on Pinterest etc seem to be made up of only one or two styles of squares.  Anyway we will have to see.  I do know though that I will need to redo some of the earlier squares which are too tight and small.

These two squares are made up of very basic stitches which were satisfying to crochet although not simple enough for me to watch Inspector Montalbano and read the subtitles at the same time.

The top one is simply made up of rows of treble stitches.  The bottom square is double treble stitch and then different coloured rows in double crochet.

Off to do some more and dream of crocheting something more interesting.

 

Introducing Nellie Makes

I have been playing around over the last couple of weeks with a new blog and unsurprisingly the hardest bit has been coming up with a name for it. It started off as ‘Patiently Crocheting’ but that really didn’t trip off the tongue and I quickly realised that I wanted something that I could use for all sorts of crafts. I dabble in sewing, knitting, embroidery as well as crochet.

I have also been reading lots of crafting blogs over the last six months or so and some of them are wonderful – beautifully illustrated, inspiring and well written. I find myself feeling l like I did when I started my gardening blog – The Patient Gardener – some 5 years go; intimidated and self conscious.

I got my first comment yesterday and a few likes which was fantastic and made me appreciate that I take the 200 odd hits a day I get on the gardening blog for granted.

Anyway, I have decided to call the blog ‘Nellie Makes’. Why I hear you ask. Well Makes six is the best I could come up with to summarise the various crafts I do. I don’t like the term ‘crafts’ as for some reason it makes me think of doing things at school with paper and glue. As for ‘Nellie’, well when I was a child I was often called Nellie. If you use your imagination and think about it Helen backwards is Nellie.

So there we have it – welcome to Nellie Makes.

Granny Squares 35, 36 and 37 – 83 to go

 

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The last three granny squares have been quite interesting. First up is a traditional granny square crocheted in half treble stitches. This is the best one I have done of these as I seem to be getting the tension right now.

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This was followed by a chequer board pattern square which was also incredibly easy. It’s simply a mix of treble blocks and chain spaces. I think I am beginning to understand the instructions more now and feel more confident. I can see when I have gone wrong and most of the time spot what I have done wrong.

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However the third square showed me that I am still struggling with the very basic such as joining in a new colour using a slip stitch. I ended up going back to the book and looking this up. I suspect there is part of me that thinks this is so basic I should know how to do it, or I know how to do it so I don’t need to check and really this isn’t the case as once I had worked out how to do this properly there was a distinct improvement in the finished appearance. I suppose it just shows that often we focus so much on the detail of the complicated things that we overlook the basics and in fact they are just as important to the overall effect.

Lesson learnt and on to square 38 – an old favourite the two-tone square.

I should say the third square, my favourite to date, is done with treble stitches and 4 chains at the corner.