Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Hooky Happiness

A rosy view of life...
Today Hooky Happiness is the order of the day… And half-finished hooky happiness at that. I love crochet. I’m not very good at it, but you get such quick, colourful results, and you can work the same designs in different yarns to produce a chunky flower or a delicate snowflake. And, as long as I’m not following a complicated pattern, I can sit and hook while I listen to a good play on Radio 4, and watch an old film, preferably in black and white. Something like Brief Encounter, or Casablanca. When it comes to books I like a happy ending, but when it comes to films I love sad love stories and, odd though it may sound, I really enjoy sitting weeping into my wool.
Squaring the Circle: I'm sill trying to decide how to
get straighter edges and corners on this!
But I think I must have a low boredom threshold, because I like to have several projects on the go at once, preferably in different colours and designs, so I can pick and choose depending on my mood. So, at the moment I’m working on a blanket for my elder daughter, all in shades of black, white and grey. It features a large circle, edged into a square, surrounded by five smaller ‘square circles’ to make lots of blocks. I’m going to join them so they’re offset, rather than is straight rows, and fill the gaps with more of the smaller ‘square circles.

 The design is from Dorien, at Just-Do, who gives lovely clear instructions (although you need to be aware that she uses American terminology, but it’s simple enough to write an English version, which is what I do, because otherwise I get confused). Her completed blanket is fabulous, in a rainbow of colours, and her technique is much better than mine. I must admit, I’m having problems with edging and corners on this one – I’d like it to be much sharper and more geometric looking. . I’ve put in an extra chain on my corners, as she only uses one, and I think it’s better with two – the crocheters (is there such a word?) among you will understand what I mean. Hopefully, I can steam or block into a better shape by damping it down and pinning it out, which is something I don’t usually bother with, but on this occasion I think it will help. However, I’m not sure whether to do each individual square, or create the larger six-piece shapes first. It calls for a bit of experimentation I think.
Work in Progress: I'm going to unpick the red edge,
and add another two squares, so I've got six in each
panel. And I might try some with navy instead of red.
Then I’m doing a very different blanket for my younger daughter (it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t do them one each!). This one is lovely and bright and cheerful, with lots of yellows and reds and turquoises, and I’m still fiddling around with the design, but basically I’m using traditional granny squares, and making them up into panels, edged with red. Grannies are very forgiving if you’re not always as accurate as you should be! 
Sitting Pretty!
And I’ve made a round rainbow cushion cover (thanks to Lucy at Attic 24 for the idea). This is so so easy to do: you just keep whizzing round and round, increasing as you go, and using colours that please you. My work buckled up now and again, but it was easy peasy to remedy – I just skipped an increase round, and did the same number of stitches as the previous time! Occasionally I had to unravel before I could put things right, but it was like magic! And I was surprisingly sensible, and kept track of what I’d done, so I had a pattern to follow when I hooked the back (using the same sea-greeny turquoise as the outer edging), so back and front are exactly the same size and shape. Clever, huh?!
Bead Feast!
Then I made a lovely, wavy, lacey edging, with glassy beads (threaded on to the wool at the start) which will probably make it most uncomfortable to sit on, but looks sooooo pretty – all shiny and glittery, which doesn’t really show in the photo. I’ve still got to stitch this together, but it was an absolute joy to work, and I’m going to try making another one, using lots of different stitches, like bobbles and clusters, to create texture and interest. 
Keeping Cosy!
Then there’s my cosy which has transformed a manky old plastic container into a handy hook holder, and is very environmentally friendly, and ideologically sound, because it uses oddments from the scrap stash, as well as something that was going to be thrown away. It’s so useful, and I’m so delighted with it, that I’m going to cover a collection of old jars in rainbow hues to store pens, pencils, scissors and all sorts of other things. 
Finally, more creations from the scrap stash…. little two layered flowers! Please don’t ask me what they are for, because I don’t know. I’ve made them before, for my Easter wreath, and a garland, so I am sure I can turn them into something – but basically I do these because they are so much fun, and I love them!

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