Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Bright Willow Crochet

I had a bit of a crochet disaster this weekend: it was a very busy weekend, with lots of appointments and form-filling for our visa applications for Australia.

After a long day in London on Friday I got home very late, finished off a row on my Mumbles Ripple Blanket (not blogged about yet) and went to bed.

The Mumbles Ripple - WiP

The next day, after a late start and some stressful form-filling I thought I should make some more progress – the Mumbles Ripple is to be a wedding present for my brother and his lovely wife-to-be, so there is a deadline for completion that is rapidly approaching!

Picking up the ripple I picked up my hook – except my hook wasn’t there!! I looked EVERYWHERE. Under the sofa, down the back of the sofa, I emptied out my project basket, I hunted high and low. I thought it was ok as I could grab a spare 4mm hook from another set I have – but of course my luck dictates that while every other hook was neatly in its place, the 4mm was missing. I went through my jugful of vintage hooks, nothing the right size there either. I picked up a shrug of my own devising that I had abandoned a little while ago in order to dedicate myself to the Mumbles Ripple, and experimented with using extra-tight tension on a 4.5mm hook. My tension generally is pretty solid though – not normally a problem as I do end up with fairly neat, even crochet stitches, but it did mean that there was still a big enough difference in stitch size that I couldn’t just carry on with a 4.5mm hook.


It doesn’t sound like such a big deal when I write it out, but at the time I was frustrated from a so-far dull weekend, there wasn’t time enough left to go out and do anything worthwhile, so I really really wanted to achieve something by making some progress on the Mumbles.

I decided to sew in some ends that had been building up since I got bored of doing them after each stripe, but obviously that wasn’t fun for long (or at all…!)

Then I remembered that I have some yarn that I don’t like the colour of for any current projects. When I was getting a Stylecraft Special DK stash together previously I decided to order online from Deramores. They had a good selection at a good price, and I had been really happy with their customer service and how quickly everything arrived. However, when reording some stuff I had picked the wrong yellow (Sunshine) for my Stylecraft Special DK stash, and I already had an orange (Jaffa) in the same range that is BRIGHT. I had got it to have a go at making a fox scarf for a cousin, but did not realise how bright it would be – it’s practically neon! It’s so bright I can’t even photograph it properly! That yellow glow on the ball of Jaffa is not reflection from the yellow next to it - I know because I tried them separately as well - it's just flare from how bright it is!

Stylecraft Special DK in 'Sunshine'

Stylecraft Special DK in 'Jaffa'

This otherwise unused yarn seemed to offer me a way out – I could use it to practice something completely new. It wouldn’t be the progress I wanted, but it would still be creating something and learning something new.

A quick poke around on Pinterest and I had the square I wanted to learn – the Willow square from Jan Eaton’s book ‘200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans: Crochet Squares to Mix-and-Match’. There was a slight hitch in that I don’t actually have this book, but I was feeling determined and so I simply pulled up a picture of a beautifully executed willow square on Pinterest and did my best to work it out by myself…

The first 3 rounds were simple enough, but I did struggle and took several attempts at the 4th round of chain stitches. Round 5 was back to being straight forward, and then the border: I used ‘Aspen’ (leftover from the Safi Baby Blanket) for contrast and round 6 took only a little tweaking until I was satisfied. I decided to make the final border of trebles 2 rounds wide, and the square was finished!

I then made another one to double-check my tweaks were all good and that I remembered what to do.

And then I made a few more because I was ‘in the zone’…

I even pinched some ‘Bright Pink’ that I’m using in my Glastonbury Blanket (not yet blogged about either – how behind am I??) to see how that would look…

Glastonbury Blanket squares - WiP

Stylecraft Special DK in 'Bright Pink'

The squares have come out larger than I had imagined, meaning that they go a lot further than I’d thought. So now I’m up to 8 of them, and although I think that colour-wise they are perhaps a little ugly, it does seem a shame to waste them…

I’m therefore considering stocking up on a few more hideously bright colours and producing a picnic blanket, the ‘Willow Bright Picnicker’ perhaps…

But for now I can think about getting back to my Mumbles, as I am about to leave for a couple of days staying with my parents-in-law (I have an important meeting to go to near there) and I can get a new 4mm hook from my mother-in-law’s shop. And some more Stylecraft stash perhaps…


  1. I have the 200 block book ~ always happy to help out if you see anything else from it that you like...x

    I actually quite like the colours, yes a bit 'bright' but that is not always a bad thing. The soft green tones it all in very nicely. x

    1. Ooh thank you!

      I have to confess, I've actually bought some more yarn to go with this project, and am kind of looking forward to seeing how a neon-ish picnic blanket looks! I must finish off my current ripple first though, as it has a deadline coming up... I'll write more about it soon actually as I keep talking about it but haven't written it a proper post yet! x

  2. I wouldn't normally go for those bright colours either but love the aspen border you have added; I will look forward to seeing the completed blanket :-)

    1. Thank you! I must admit that this particular one is bottom of my priority pile right now, as I have two other blankets I'm working on as gifts (plus another one for me that I'm really enjoying at the moment!!)
      But I do like to mix things up, so I'm sure that there will be some progress on this one too! :)