Lisa’s Blanket a year on…

While working on a project, I’m not sure if its just in my case, but I find it funny how one thinks back to previous projects made, trying to compare the times it took to make the previous and compare it with your current WIP. I’m constantly trying to compare and often hear myself asking “How long did that take again?”… It’s never easy being in that position (especially if you receive a reply from other voices in your head 🤣)  but joking aside – the “so excited to see the finished product” feeling that spurs you on combined with the thoughts of “what a monstrous task! What was I thinking? It’ll never finish” conflicts in your mind and is a strange phenomenon…

Then you eventually get to the end – the last stitch and suddenly you think – “was that it? It cant be finished?”. Never a truer time than with Lisa’s blanket. I LOVED making this blanket and was sad when I’d finished. Mind you, making this blanket was very emotional for me and a lot of love was poured into this work so the emotions were running pretty high by the time the last stitch was made.💕

As people close to me will know, my sister was not well. She lives a long way away from me and I miss her dearly. It’s even harder being away from those you love when they are facing very challenging situations and are hurting. I wished so to wrap her up in my arms and just give her a big ‘ol hug. Sadly, again this year, she is facing more tough times and I’m instantly drawn back to the blanket and thoughts (again) of “what can I do to help?”…

I designed the blanket myself using pens & pencils in a paper notebook that I keep all my “Made by Nina” patterns in. (My scribbles and my working out’s). I went in search of and found a pattern for a heart shape Granny square on Ravelry which would be the basis of my design and it just so happened that I loved the colors used on the heart square pattern and so decided I would make Lisa’s blanket using similar colors, mix it up with other shapes and mixture of the same basic colors.  I knew how to do a basic Granny Square and now had the heart pattern, but the other shapes I had to make up myself. I quite enjoyed designing new square shapes for myself and made a floral and diamond shape too. I also found a “swirly shape” Granny, but once I made one, I decided would not suit the style I was trying to achieve.

In the notebook, I played around a bit with the Granny Square shapes and how they would fit together. My notebook soon became pages worth of blanket designs. In the end I worked out a way to scatter the shapes equally across the blanket. To explain how it was “structured” if you can’t see it in the photo’s:-  looking at the blanket as a whole split it through the center into quarters. The top left quarter, is the exact opposite of the bottom right quarter and the same for the top right quarter -> lower left.

I loved how this design turned out – on paper it looks like the squares are randomly placed, but in fact they are strategically placed – because I’m a control freak like that ha-ha 😂 – to spread the love equally across the whole blanket.

I divided the amount of squares I needed by the amount of shapes I had and then also had to work out the color variations to try make each round of each of the squares in a different color. Obviously some had to overlap on color variations, so I landed up with 3 or 4 of the same color squares here and there. I calculated how many of each square I needed and I even managed to calculate (pretty accurately in hindsight) how much yarn to purchase.

I didn’t tell my sister about the blanket. Kept it a secret and every time I spoke with her I would give the square I was working on a hug whilst also trying to pass a hug to her over the phone. Each square eventually became such a part of me and received so many, many positive thoughts and love for her all of which was poured into each stitch.

After making all the squares, I put them on the dining room floor (as you do when you’re stuck for large areas to work on a blanket design). I put them in the order I had on my plan, adjusting the squares by the colors so that for example, all 4 of the same color/shape Granny Square would not be in the same quarter / too close to each other and also that the overall “flow” of color was more pleasing.

I researched borders in my crochet pattern books and looked on websites with free border patterns. As with everything else on this blanket design, I took the ideas that I found and just let it run into something of my own and made up a completely unique ‘Nina’ border.

Once the final stitch was stitched and the last remaining yarn ends darned, I was quite emotional to say the least.

She visited me in June 2016 and I gave her the finished blanket and explained that it was filled with lots of love and the biggest hugs from me to her and that whenever she felt down or hurt that all she need do is to wrap herself in the blanket and know that she is loved, especially by me. ❤️

Here’s quite a few photo’s for you to peruse.. start to fin:

 

 

Lisa's *Blanket - the border

 

Lisa's *Blanket -finished

Mystical Lantern Blanket – WIP

Change of hook

I quite like making blankets and fell in love with the shapes and colors of this pattern the moment I saw it. I came across it by chance and bought the pattern and yarn in a kit (find it here) from Blacksheep Wools without hesitation.  I love making the purses but I must admit that I am actually enjoying the change of hook and the  feel of the yarn.

Mystical lanterns - WIP

The pattern is easy to follow and I really enjoy the idea suggested regarding color placement:- Basically, you’re told (if you so wish) to remove the yarn bands, place all the balls in a bag. Have another bag at hand, preferably the  bags will have draw strings or are able to close in a manner that you cannot see the colors. You’re asked then to select a ball of yarn (without peeking) to begin round one. Once the round is completed, placing the used color in the spare bag. Then to repeat the process of randomly selecting a color from the one bag for each round crocheted to make the lantern.

I love this idea and applaud the sentiment of the total random placement of the colors and have actually associated it in my own personal circumstances I find myself in. The lesson learnt from this idea is so refreshing and totally apt to my life right now:- I’ve learnt that you don’t always have to have a plan, because as long as you have a positive attitude (matching colors), all the various issues you are facing (colors) can and will fit together once the bigger picture is revealed. I’m not usually this philosophical, but I have been totally reassured by this pattern that my own situation I find myself in at the moment, has a great many positives to it which will and can equally turn out just fine by concentrating on the “finished product” and not getting too hung up on the finer details. (Thereby also helping me with my control /OCD issues 😀)

Whilst I’m providing you a review on the pattern (so far), I wanted to also show you this beautiful work basket I got from The Knitting Gift shop. Ian’s baskets are beautifully made and I have nothing but high praise for the excellent service I received. The basket is just perfect to hold my yarns and bits ‘n bobs whilst I work – Thank you!

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And finally, I have received my business cards which I have proudly been giving out to friends, work colleagues and family. With my cards, I also received a branded “Made By Nina” T-shirt and a mug for my tea. I’m in love 😍

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Custom orders 

It’s November! That means not a lot of time left until Christmas! 🎄 Hooray! It’s gift giving time 🎁! 

Need something special for someone special and liked something I’ve made and it’s not on my shop? You’re in luck … 🍀

In case you didn’t know – I am happy to take orders for any crocheted item and will reserve it for you on my Etsy shop with a special ‘custom order’ sign.

If you were thinking of placing an order with me and wanted it posted off to you before Christmas, please contact me before 1st December to discuss. 🎅🏻

May’s Daisy Blanket

I’m so pleased with the outcome of May’s Daisy blanket. I’m so excited and cannot wait for Christmas! (as most of you will know this is not unusual for me… but I’m even more so now!). I love giving gifts especially handmade gifts… it’s the most exciting part of Christmas for me. Seeing the recipients’ faces when they open a parcel and find that the gift was made especially for them. I’ve never had a bad reaction to my gifts (well not that I know of – feel free to correct me) and I just love the fuzzy ‘proud of me’ feeling it generates… go on… you should have a go and make something for someone special this Christmas too.

At 90 years old, May spends a lot of her day watching sport and other favourite shows on the TV and I’m fairly certain this blanket will be a warm and welcome companion on her lap.

I used Caron Simply Soft yarn in colours Sunshine, White, Soft Green, Robins Egg and Soft Blue. I had wanted to use an off white (as Tillie Tulip used) which looked a bit like a soft grey or a silver, but the off white yarn I received looked more yellow than silver and so I used a soft blue instead.

I’ve got plenty of Caron Simply Soft yarn left over (especially the Off White which I didn’t use) so I may make another blanket or two ☺️. The great thing about making blankets is you can make a blanket as big or as small as you like – just by adding more squares! May’s blanket is 6×5 squares (30 in total). 🌼