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As We Go….. into Obsession

I decided when I started the blog I would try and do a post a week. A good decent post with lots of content. I am aware I am straying from my path this last few weeks. I think the posts have been a bit skimpy and all about the same thing really…

The As We Go blanket.

Confession: it is because I am completely obsessed with it.

Normally I flit between about 5 main projects, all of varying complexity and purpose. Right now everything has gone into stasis in favour of the As We Go blanket. I suffer from a short attention span with crafty things sometimes. I can’t plod along doing something repetitive for days or weeks on end. I love making ripple blankets even though they are essentially doing the same thing over and over row after row, but I tend to stick to smaller cot sized ones so I can change colours often and enjoy the thrill of seeing them come together. The ripple also has the increase and decrease areas to keep your mind a little focussed. My ripples have all been made with a glorious bamboo and cotton blend and it feels like absolute heaven slipping over your hook and between your fingers. Basically the ripple makes up for what it lacks in variety of stitches by being a really enjoyable sensory experience.

This ripple blanket all wrapped around my bump the one I made for The Little Dark Star, she calls it her “made it” because I have always told her that Mummy made it when she was still in my tummy growing and she was wrapped in it when she was born. I deliberately chose random colour repeats so I’d have the enjoyment of deciding when to change colour and what to use.
Crochet ripple blanket
I love this picture because I can instantly still remember the feel of my round belly under the silky soft yarn and recall that ever growing excitement that I was making something for my soon to be born baby.

This is a little crib sized one I made that used regular repeats instead.

crochet ripple blanket

I think a project like the ripple blanket is an essential long term ‘go to’ project for when you’ve only got a small window of time for crochet and you wouldn’t be able to get stuck into something more complex and meaty you could get called away from. I think it is also good to have a more simple project you can turn to when you need to relax and use it as a kind of mindful meditation (which the ripple often is for me). Ripple blankets always have their own special project bag so they can be got out and put away quickly and a ball of each colour yarn needed is stored with the blanket at all times which is great for when you’re zooming out the door and want something to do in the car when you are not the designated driver.

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I always have lots things on the go that I dip in and out of frequently. I’ve recently written up the boot cuff pattern and made it ready for sale and I am about a quarter of the way into writing up and photographing the Star Poncho pattern. I’ve got a box with some half finished hand warmers, one bootee, two half made hats, then there is my hexagon blanket….. I am going to stop there, the list is shameful and there is a booby hat order still outstanding at the moment and that is making me a bit twitchy.

However….

Everything has stopped for the As We Go. It’s a bit like falling in love this feeling I have for it. When I am not actually making it, I am thinking about it. I wake up in the morning hoping to sneak a row in and I hesitate about whether I should go to bed at night and get enough sleep before the Little Dark Star gives me a 5am wake up or should I do just a row or two THEN go to sleep. I almost feel like I can’t ‘cheat’ on the blanket with another project. My house is becoming ever more a midden as I spend more and more of The Little Dark Star’s nap times crocheting. Even if I am not at home and able to see the blanket, I catch myself inexplicably with my phone in my hand sighing lovingly over photos I have taken of it.

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This really is a first for me this one project start to finish with no diversions. The pattern is wonderful though because it does about three rows of one kind of stitch then its time to change to something else. Almost every single row is a new colour so theres lots of excitement about starting a new shade and seeing how it will look once its married up with all the others. Some of the stitches are basic, a whole row (193 stitches) of double crochet followed by a row of half double crochet but then you’ll be doing the Catherine wheel stitch for a bit or a chevron or star stitch. Row on row as it grows it just looks more and more luscious.

I am going to shut up now. I am aware I sound like a crazy lady.

I do love it so so much though. So very much.

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Chilling in my lovely comfy hammock working on the As We Go blanket. Yes I still have fluffy socks on in this weather because I really hurt my foot this morning and I’m trying to add a layer of buffering from the bumps and knocks of having a toddler around keep stepping on it!!!

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As We Go, in the garden :)

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Rainbows

I’ve noticed a lot of rainbows in my life this last few months. Not only have I felt compelled to create them with crochet, like the toddler leg warmers (free pattern here)

dark star keeping snuggly in her leg warmers

dark star keeping snuggly in her leg warmers

but they just seem to be around me a lot. It stands to reason with all this weird weather which has included rain, rain and more rain as the constant backdrop to howling winds that when the sun did get a walk on part in the production, rainbows would follow. I think I have seen more rainbows in the sky in the last month than I have in the last two years.
 

Here is one outside my bedroom window a few weeks ago. 

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I have a beautiful crystal in my living room window to catch the morning light. We live on the side of a valley so we get less sunshine than ‘up the top’ the sun comes in a little later and leaves us much earlier. You don’t see a proper sunset here unless you take a walk through the woods up into the farmers fields, you can see the thin strip of woods that borders our valley in the photo above. It isn’t really a ‘woodland’ as such, I believe on the map it is labelled “Long Coppice”. It been many many years since it was used as a coppice though, it does its own thing now mostly it is a nice place for a walk and local children like to play there. I’m rambling (as usual) I could probably write a whole blog post about the place, I am really very fond of it.

Back to the rainbows…

The crystal in the living room was a gift at my blessingway held just two days before the Little Dark Star arrived Earthside. She loves “nonna’s rainbows” as we call them. Excuse the crayon on the wall!!

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I even have a crystal in the window of Sallyvan so that space too will be filled with rainbows at least once a day. Here is a picture of the Little Dark Star napping among the rainbows (and some butterflies!)on our recent trip away. image 

I adore rainbows I really really do. Rainbows as we all know from our school science lessons, are white light split into seven (visible) colours. It is stunning how each colour is different but yet belong together so harmoniously. Sunlight is a kind of colourless thing yet contained within it are these amazing colours. Rainbows remind me that there is beauty hidden around us all the time, we just need the tools to see it, just because something isn’t visible, it doesn’t mean it is not there, just like love I suppose.  

True rainbows created by rain and sun have always been a symbol of hope for me. Even though rain is falling there is something beautiful that can be made from it and I think this probably resonates with many of us because even as adults we still feel wowed by the sight of a rainbow, like children we will excitedly rush to see it and encourage others to join us. Rainbows are wonderous things indeed.

It was yet another rainbow sneaking in that compelled me to write this blog post. As you know if you have visited my blog before I am making the As We Go blanket and having a little crochet-a-long on FB. (you can read about that HERE) I decided to keep colour combos fairly random, I’ve just been mindful of not putting too many strong colours together or ones that are just not nice with each other. I’ve been joyfully hooking up the last few rows when I suddenly realised this had happened…

As We Go Blanket

Can you see it? Yes I have inadvertently made a ‘rainbow’ combination and I LOVE it! 🙂 Less deep and strong than the toddler leggings but oh so delicious! Feeling really inspired about combining these colours like this for the next project I have planned.

This week I also found my Nan’s crochet hook and I am truly delighted to hold it once again. You can read about my Nan and this hook in this previous blog post, I found it buried in a big ball of yarn of a project started quite some times ago (an adult star poncho) but never got back to.
vintage crochet hook As you can see it is a bit shorter than my regular hooks. It probably suited my Nan’s crochet hook hold perfectly, she tended to hold it like a pencil whereas I hold it like a knife. The pencil hold looks much daintier but I find I have better tension and control the other way.

I have had a lovely February what with my birthday, the As We Go crochet-A-long getting underway and having our first trip of the year in our lovely Sallyvan.

We had a weekend in Seaford, the van was a stones throw from the beachfront and we had some lovely weather. We also had some insane wind and some rain too at night but I love the sound on the rain on the ‘van roof and I could hear the waves crashing and receeding all night, it was almost womb like. The older girls got on well considering we decided forgo the awning due to the winds, so we were rubbing along in a fairly small space all the time. The upper middle child (we shall call her The Funny One from now on, because she is! funny ha ha that is, rather than funny odd) even helped Golden Hair with her maths homework whilst I sneaked in some rows on the blanket.

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not a manicured and swanky site but still lovely and very friendly

not a manicured sand swanky site but still lovely and very friendly

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The As We Go blanket.

The As We Go blanket.

Finally here is a peek at the as we go blanket again. Yummy Scrummy!

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As We Go blanket crochet-a-long

I asked if anyone would like to crochet along with me using the As We Go pattern from this blog

Not Your Average Crochet

There is eight of us crocheting it together. I am really REALLY enjoying not only seeing everyones blankets grow but helping those a bit newer to crochet to work through the pattern and iron out glitches.

If you would like to join us we are here

https://www.facebook.com/groups/595826590494144/

I’d love to add you to the group 🙂

Here is a couple of pics where I am explaining some areas to other group members to help them with problem areas

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Taking Orders

Like many other crocheters I am full to bursting at all times with ideas of things I want to make as well as the desire to have a go at patterns I have seen. I want to make things for the little dark star, for family, for friends and also For Sale.

Even if there were another 6 hours in the day and an extra day a week I still couldn’t get to create all the things I am constantly itching to be making. This is probably one of the reasons I always have several different projects on the go at once, so I can at least indulge my need to be making many things by doing them simultaneously. Of course there is portabilty and place to be considered too.

It’s good to have a project underway that you can work in many situations:-

like a little hat

like a little hat

*Whilst on a train/bus: needs to be small, one or two balls required to be able to work on it

*A project for in the car or the caravan (our’s is named Sallyvan as a tribute to a very special person in my life story, maybe I will blog about it someday), actually I tend to take a few projects for holidays in Sally because I never know what mood I will be in. can be more balls and larger or lots of small squares

Baby Starburst Blanket

*A project you can pick up and put down at home whilst cooking tea/watching TV/enjoying 15 mins peace whilst the Little Dark Star is bathed by Daddy.

a wee bit blurry!

a wee bit blurry!


You get the gist? This is standard addicted crocheter behaviour.

Within all these projects there will be The Orders. Often I will make one of something and it will create an avalanche of people all wanting the same thing, though maybe different colours and sizes (I can’t even bring myself to post a picture of the item I think I ended up making about 25 of in the end) Sometimes it will be just one person wanting me to make another of something I have made as a special order for someone else.

I find myself constantly at a kind of juxtaposition of enjoying the fact my creations are attractive enough to people for them to ask me to make more but feeling I’d really like to be making something new and different instead. I can’t ignore the fact of course that The Orders help fund my habit and cover the cost of more supplies.

I feel there is a difference to between taking ‘a commission’ and ‘taking orders’. A commission is someone asking me to either create a pattern from scratch or find one for something specific. The aviator hat was such an item. imageThen someone else asked me to make another and I said OK because I like this person a lot but my heart wasn’t in it and in the end I got so distracted for so long by other things I never did make it. That’s bad of me and I still feel awful about it. When it came to it though, every single time I tried to make a start I just couldn’t, it felt like when your parents say you have to finish your homework before you can go out and play with your mates and they are all already waiting outside for you, you can hear them giggling and having a good time out in the sunshine. I just knew if I really forced myself I could do it but it wouldn’t be made with the same level of love and enjoyment as the first one. I kept telling myself “after you’ve made these bootees then you’ll make the hat” “after you’ve just experimented with that blanket you’ve had an idea for, then you will start it” I just kept making excuses. I felt bad the whole time and it started sucking the joy out of he stuff I wanted to make.

I probably sound like a right whinger? I don’t mean to. Like I said its lovely people want to order things, a real compliment to my work but at time I feel like it really stifles creativity. There are some items I just adore making and am happy to hook up endless quantities, like baby bootees and soft cotton scarves.image Really I’d be much much happier making things as the moment takes me and then selling them if they aren’t a gift for someone but that doesn’t really work. What I love to make, things I think are amazing or beautiful don’t always appeal to others, I think I have off beat tastes in colour choices. It can be hard getting your things seen unless its already on someones head, neck, legs and then we go back to the full circle of making many of the same thing for lots of people when really I was only intending to make one or two.

I guess what is important to me is that I make things with love and joy. I adore the idea of someone wearing or using a handmade thing rather than a factory far away made thing but when you get past making a certain amount of something you’ve really become a one woman manufacturing operation and the sentiment and craft of it is somewhat diminished. I wonder if fellow crocheters/crafters feel the same?

I was avoiding The Orders today, naughty me, so as it is my birthday I treated myself to making a good start on the As We Go blanket. If you read my previous blog entry you’ll know I bought a lovely glut of cheap and cheerful Stylecraft Special DK to make the blanket with.

Here is where I am so far.

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I am totally ADORING it! Although the rows are quite long (193 stitches) the choosing/planning the next colours and knowing you’ll me doing a new stitch soon makes it feel really exciting.

It was orignally a CAL at Not Your Average Crochet and I’d be absolutely thrilled if just one person wanted to start one too so I we can enjoy comparing and contrasting and help each other along. It would be the best birthday present ever really 🙂

Edited to add: Theres six now in the CAL if you’d like to join there is a FB group.

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