Wednesday, 17 April 2013

My First Crochet Project

I wanted to introduce you to my first ever crochet project. It is a ripple blanket, using the Neat Ripple Pattern from over at Attic 24. I did start on a small sample, but couldn’t get the hang of it so I decided instead to just start the thing and REALLY concentrate.

I decided to learn to crochet almost a year ago. I was constantly playing some pointless game on my phone in any spare time I had - apparently, intensively studying a new language fires up your brain, but only works certain parts and leaves other parts sort of 'frustrated' and in need of their own stimulation. Or something like that, so we were told. After a few weeks it dawned on me that I was spending a lot of time doing nothing worthwhile at all, and that I could better spend this time learning something new and having some results to show for my efforts!

I basically started it and learned as I went, and took only about 5 weeks to complete it as I was crocheting so obsessively! My first ever project, or even attempt at crocheting anything, I was very proud of it by the time it was finished. It is hooked up in James C Brett extra fine merino wool, which is so so so soft and lovely. It doesn’t come in colours I would have chosen, but I can’t complain at all as my mother in law very kindly gave me a bag of yarn to get me started, and it does feel just beautiful. So soft and silky. Mmm mmm mmmmm…

Although I obviously hadn’t started blogging back then, I did take some progress photos with my phone to send to my mother in law, so she knew that her gift of yarn wasn’t going to waste – but as they are phone pics please forgive the bad quality!

Phone pic - sorry about the quality!

Another phone pic

So here it began, unfortunately, being a first ever project, I made the foundation chain a bit loose. This meant that although I made the chain long enough to have a blanket wide enough for a double bed, once I started the ripples it came in a bit, and it is not wide enough for a double bed. But no worries – it’s perfect as a sofa blanket, which has the added advantage that I can snuggle in when I’m watching TV, and I can show it off to visitors!

Once it was the right length, which was a time both sad and happy all at once (no more rippling… …but a nearly finished blanket!) I decided I wanted a border. Lucy at Attic 24 hadn’t bordered hers, but I decided that I would prefer the look of it if it was more ‘finished’. Plus it helped to even up any bits where my lack of experience/skill had left the edges not quite as neat as they could have been. 

 (Phone pic)

I worked out the initial bit of the border by myself, just UK double crocheting up the sides, and using different height stitches to straighten out the ripply ends. Then I went for some lovely grannying around that – I hadn’t done any grannying before, but I really liked the look and I thought it would make a lovely border for the solid blanket. Once I felt I had done enough on the border, I made up a bit of a scallopy edging for the final round. I would have made it a bit better, 5 trebles per scallop rather than 4, but I didn’t have enough yarn left for that!

Then what to do with all the small leftover bits of yarn? Well, I figured that you can’t just have a sofa blanket all by itself – it would get lonely. What a lovely snuggly sofa blanket needs to keep it company is a lovely snuggly cushion…   I made little 2-round granny squares. I had seen lots of pictures of cushion covers made this way, and I really liked the look. I decided to join as I went – I had figured out how to do this, but there are tutorials around if you need them. 

  (Phone pic)

  (Phone pic)

 (Phone pic)

I like the finishing effect that a border gives, so I decided to give a border to my cushion cover as well. I got to almost the right size for it to cover the cushion pad I had bought when – disaster – I ran out of yarn! I didn’t have enough yarn in any one colour to do the final round. I had had to learn how to start a new yarn when you run out in the middle of a row (I can’t remember where I learned this from, but it could have been a book I borrowed at the start of my project, which I have forgotten the name of I’m afraid) during the rippling, so I decided to see if I could use the same principle to alternate colours in the final round. I had just enough of the blue and green yarn left for this, and it worked out really well. I was so pleased that I had figured this out for myself, and that it had worked out so well!

 (Phone pic)

So here’s my lovely blankie

And here’s my lovely cushion

And here they are together. What a fine pair they are!

I really love my first crochet project, my lovely blanket. I couldn’t quite believe that I had made it all by myself! Every single one of those stitches had run through my fingers, been hooked up by my hands. Such joy to create something so wonderful.

And of course because it isn’t quite big enough for a double bed, I’ll have to make another… and it’s no good just having one cushion, you surely need at least two… *sigh* it’s such a hard life… ;) 

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