As you can see, he likes to relax on the sofa, with a whisky after a hard days work. Snoozing seems to be a common occurrence too.
We don’t often give each other serious presents, just joke ones mostly. But, for some strange reason, just for once last summer, I thought he might like a real present. So, a couple of weeks before his birthday I asked him if there was anything he would like.
And his response….
“I’d like my own blanket please. And I want you to make it for me”.
I was immediately delighted that my big brother wanted a blanket of my making, but then realised that there was no way I could make one in two weeks! I’m good, but not that good.
So, I warned him that I would make it, but it might be a Christmas present rather than a birthday present. I even let him choose his own colours from my stash. (I was pretty surprised at the colours he choose, but they worked well together actually).
I insisted on choosing the design though and decided upon a striped V-stitch style. (Quick and easy)
Then started it off, as usual, in the passenger seat of the car whilst my better half was driving us away on holiday. (It passes the journey time really quickly and gets loads done)
The work continued for months. Often whilst eating cake and drinking coffee at the Wool Monkey knit and chat groups.
(Also a common occurrence)
Until it became too big to take around with me and I was finally restricted to making it at home.
The advantage of this was that it kept us both warm whilst I was making it. (Me and my better half that is).
Eventually it was done. And just in time to be wrapped up for Christmas.
I think he liked it…
… I think he was even smiling.
He wore it all afternoon on Chirstmas day anyway.
The only awkward thing about the blanket was that I foolishly thought that my brother would share it with his other half, as she particularly liked the colours he chose. But no, he won’t let her near it. So now I have to make another one!
Here’s the finished thing.
And the V-Stitch?
It’s really, really easy. So easy that I think this is a beginner’s pattern. (Or a really relaxing pattern for those of you with more experience).
It’s also a definite winner as a man blanket and a Christmas present!
If you are interested in the pattern, it’s available from:
Sometimes the old fashioned stuff just works the best.
Just a simple granny crochet poncho, with a little bit of detail.
I created this little poncho number whilst I was running my Wool Monkey shop as I had a high demand for poncho patterns one winter. I thought there was a need out there for a really simple, kids, crochet poncho. I never expected it to be such a hit, but it has turned out to be one of my most popular patterns ever since.
I think on this occasion I owe a fair amount of credit to my youngest daughter. She chose the colours that I used to make the poncho and she did a very good job of modelling the poncho for me once it was finished. She looked super sweet and posed like a super star. Sometimes she is good like that. Sometimes she is far from it!
She has become quite accustomed to modelling things that her Mummy has made now, although often she thinks she will get to keep them afterwards. (This is not usually the case). Sadly she’s getting bigger though and even though she is still, in my eyes at least, very cute, she is far from being a photogenic toddler anymore! I could do with a replacement. That most definitely does NOT mean I will be having anymore children however!
I think I have made this poncho several times over now in many different yarns and colours, for many different children. It turns out that even boys quite like ponchos too.
It’s also quite an easy one to adjust the size too, just keep crocheting until it fits. It really is very simple. I guess it is still true that simple things often work the best. It’s been a while since I made one now, maybe that’s what I shall do this weekend. If you would like the pattern to make your own, it is still available on Etsy and hopefully will be for a long time to come.
Sometimes I have to invent a new blanket, just to try something out that I haven’t done before. Sometimes I have to invent a new blanket just to try out a certain set of colours.
I have crocheted plenty of hexagons before, but can’t remember making them into a blanket before. To be honest, I think I just got the urge to make a big hexagon blanket in repeating colours for a change.
So, I started making hexagons. Then I continued making hexagons. Then I made a few more hexagons. Then I had a pile of hexagons.
I had reached that point where you start to think to yourself, ” shall I sew some of these together now, so that I don’t have to do them all at once at the end?”. This was closely followed by wondering if I should block the hexagons first. It would make it easier to sew them together. But then, wouldn’t it be better if I could block them all to be exactly the same size. Imagine how much more straightforward that would be!
I was considering a polystyrene block and some cocktail sticks. I thought I could pin them out on the block, one after the other, leaving the sticks in place so that each one ended up the same size. The only problems being that I didn’t have an appropriate piece of polystyrene and it would probably take longer to block the hexagons one by one than it was going to take me to crochet the whole blanket. In the end I had to ask my ‘other half’ if he had any polystyrene, which then meant that I had to explain to him what I was up to. That’s not usually a good thing. He gave me that look that seems to imply that he thinks I am embarking on yet another mad, destined for disaster scheme. Then he told me to wait a couple of hours and he would find something.
A couple of hours later, plus a bit and look what I had!
My very own, custom made, hexagon blocking device. With bamboo skewers instead of cocktail sticks and hard MDF board with ready drilled holes instead of polystyrene. The best bit too, is the fact that I could block a dozen hexagons all at once. Woohoo!
My blocked hexagons were perfect.
All I need to do now is drill a few more holes in my new toy and then I can block other shapes and sizes too. I had never seen anything like this for sale anywhere before and thought that there could be a market for them out there somewhere… Well, maybe one day, but for now you have the idea, so at least you can make your own if you want to try it out.
Well, time to get sewing hexagons. 31 hexagons to be precise. It was surprisingly quick and enjoyable once they were all so neatly blocked. Happy blanket making!
If you are interested in the pattern for the blanket, it will be available on Etsy fairly soon. Alternatively, the blanket itself is now for sale.
A little while ago one of my close friends decided to use up all her oddments and leftovers to make a blanket. She didn’t make the usual granny blanket though, she just made a really simple blanket in rows, it turned out to be a really lovely blanket. She decided not to keep it though and sent it to the refugees in Syria. I thought it was a lovely gesture and very generous.
It got me thinking, (as most things seem to).
It was a really quick blanket, really easy and a great way to either use up loads of leftover yarn, or to create a blanket with a multitude of different textures. So I created a pattern, similar to what I thought my friend had created. The beauty of it being that it is a great pattern for a beginner, fast to finish (for a blanket) and also really, really relaxing to make. Plus, you don’t get bored as you change yarn and colour every row!
So, if you fancy giving it a try, then go and find yourself a whole heap of random yarns. You can colour co-ordinate them or just use a complete mixture of colours, it’s up to you. You will need at least 1500g OF YARN. The more wool and natural fibres you include, the more warm and heavy your blanket will be, but also the more yarn you will need. Try and stick to a mixture of DK, aran and chunky weight if you can, but with a mixture of different textures, fluffy, shiny, cotton, smooth, wool etc. etc. The DK is worked using 2 strands together to create the thickness required to work with the other yarns. You can always use 2 different strands together to create different effects if you wish.
You’re also gonna NEED a 5.5mm crochet hook.
Your TENSION should be approximately 9 or 10 treble stitches per 10cm using a 5.5mm hook. The tension is not crucial for this blanket, it will still work fine if you are a bit loose or a bit tight, but it will end up a slightly different size to what is stated.
The FINISHED SIZE of the blanket should be approximately 120cm wide and 150cm long, but it’s not an exact science. It will vary according to your tension and the type of yarns your use. The width can very easily be changed by increasing or decreasing the number of starting chains. To create the length you want simply keep working the rows until you reach the size you want.
Let’s have a look at the pattern.
FOUNDATION ROW Using a 5.5mm hook, make 142 chains.
It is absolutely essential that you do not make your chains too tight or the edge of the blanket will be tighter than the rest and look pulled. Your chains should look nice and loose. Don’t worry if you don’t have the exact number it will not affect the pattern, just the size of the blanket.
SET UP ROW
Working back along your foundation row, miss the first 2 chains, then do a treble crochet into the third chain. Follow this with 1 treble stitch into each chain to the end of the row.
Change to a different yarn. I picked my yarns blindly from my bag to make sure my blanket had a certain amount of randomness to it, but you can choose your yarns however you like. Bear in mind that because your yarns are all different some will go further than others and you may run out of some well before others too.
Using your new yarn, work 2 chain stitches, then turn your work. These will count as a treble stitch at the beginning of the row.
Work 1 treble stitch between the posts of the first and second stitches on the row below.
If you are worried that you are going to have lots and lots of yarn ends to sew in after you have finished your blanket then you can work the ends in as you go. Hold the end of the yarns you need to work in above the row of stitches that you are about to work. As you crochet a stitch make sure that you work around these strands and that they are incorporated inside the stitch.
Continue along the row, working 1 treble stitch between the posts of each stitch on the row below, to the end of the row.
The ends of the yarn you are working in will disappear into the centre of your stitches as you go.
Repeat Row 1 for every row of your blanket, changing to a different yarn for each row and preferably working the ends in as you go.
When you have finished your blanket it is up to you whether you put an edge on your blanket or not. If you do want to edge your blanket I think the easiest way is to do a round of double crochet stitches all the way around.
Choose a yarn, join your yarn to one corner of your blanket, do 2 double crochet stitches into the corner then double crochet stitches evenly all along the edge. When you get to the next corner do 2 double crochet stitches again and then double crochets down the next side. Continue in this way until you have worked all the way around the blanket then slip stitch to join the end of the round and fasten off your yarn. You’ll have to sew the end in this time though.
So, then the only remaining question is what to do with your finished blanket?
Did you make it with a purpose, for a friend or relative? Or just to use up your oddments?
I wrote the pattern and have made it freely available in the hope that people might decide to use up their oddments for a good cause, but if you make it for yourself that is perfectly ok by me.
If you don’t really have a use for it and just made it for the sake of making it, then why not donate it to a worthy cause? Refugees, homeless, elderly, orphans – there are lots of people out there in need of warm blankets and it’s a little bit like giving a complete stranger a massive hug. It’ll make you feel all warm and cosy inside too knowing you’ve done something nice. Either way, get in touch and show us your finished blankets, it’s always nice to see what folks have created.
It turns out that the fingerless mitts from our recent workshop at Cafe Creme’s Crafty Cafe session were quite popular, so, I have left a basket of completed mitts in the Cafe for you all to purchase if you wish.
I figure that not everybody will want to make their own and that ready made is sometimes preferable. Christmas is coming after all and who doesn’t want some lovely warm, soft mitts as a pressie? They are all made with blends of alpaca, silk and merino wool and they come in a range of lovely shades.
So, get yourself down to the cafe, on the High Street in Penistone and try a pair on. Or, if North Sheffield is just a bit too far for you, get in touch and I will happily send you a pair.
If you would still prefer to make your own, the pattern is available on Etsy for the aran weight version and I will write up the pattern for the chunky version as soon as I get a minute.
When you’ve had a go and think you might like to make gloves and mittens for all your family for Christmas here are a couple of other books which have loads of patterns in them for you to try, so you don’t get bored.
Coffee, cake and crochet. It’s always been one of my favourites combos. I seem to spend a lot of time in my favourite cafe in Penistone doing just that. Right now I am sat in the cafe window, with my coffee and cake and working on my laptop. Luckily the staff are used to me doing this and are quite happy for me to sit here all day if I want.
The cafe is quite a crafty cafe with all sorts of crafty events and displays. Karen, the owner, is looking to do more crafts in the future, so we had a little chat a while ago and she came up with ‘Crafty Creme’. Evening workshops for different crafts, where folks can get together and craft! (and eat cake)
It’s a perfect combo for me, as I am asked on a regular basis about when I am going to do some more knitting and crochet workshops in the local area. So, we’re going to start the ball rolling with a crochet workshop.
(Did I mention that Karen does the BEST CAKES EVER! )
I needed a basic workshop, for beginners and advanced crocheters alike. A simple project, but great for Christmas presents, so I had a think and decided, (as the weather is turning cold), that a pair of fingerless mitts in a luxury yarn might just hit the spot.
And here they are:
They are Karen’s fingernails by the way. She just happened to be wearing exactly the right colour nail polish the day I needed to take a photo.
Mine never look that good!
The yarn I used was a lovely self-striping aran weight yarn in alpaca and merino. Lovely and warm, lovely and soft and great stripes. I love self-striping yarn personally – no ends to sew in! It comes in fabulous colours too.
Once I had created one pair of mitts, as per usual I had an overwhelming urge to create another pair, but in a different colour. I thought maybe some people would prefer them in a solid colour. Not everybody likes super stripes after all.
They’re actually really quick and easy to make. Definitely a one evening project for an experienced crocheter.
I might make some more. I can feel a round of homemade Christmas presents coming on this year…