Well aren't you all an excitable little bunch, I can practically hear you salivating at the prospect of some juicy gossip. I can confirm that I am most certainly not pregnant (note to self: read through things properly before you post them my dear) and I do not have a new cat. And I hate to say that I have unfortunately not cloned myself either. (But I am working on that one and early results are looking positive.) But I do have a friend of the male persuasion, a boyfriend you may call it. But I was being serious I'm really not going to be doing a lot of posting about it because I really don't want to go down that route again. Plus he reads this and will get a massive head if I say anything nice about him.
But I did think I would just share the knowledge round. Especially as someone is my Facebook friend and saw photos which kind of gave the game away!
Hot on the heels of my last blanket I decided I would see if I could manage to fit just one more in before Christmas and the lucky recipient of this one is going to be my Mum.
Her living room has lots of blues in it so the colour choice was all taken care of. When I went to France I chanced upon a yarn shop (god only knows what the lovely French lady thought of the over-excitable 20-something jumping up and down in her shop) and snapped up some lovely blues, with a dash of grey in there to break things up.
I soon realised that I would have nowhere near enough wool to make a blanket so I raided a market stall in Preston and came away with ridiculously large balls of wool in vaguely similar colours so I would have enough yarn to give me a decent sized blanket.
You know what though? I’m kinda bored of the granny squares. I feel like I’ve done them, I’ve conquered them and although I could quite happily carry on going round and round and round and coming up with new combinations (I am particularly proud of that patchwork blanket you know) but I felt that I should try something a little bit different. I contemplated trying the ripple again but I fear I am fast developing a phobia of it, just thinking about it brings me out in a rash. I will try again in the new year when I start crocheting something for myself for a change!
I turned to Jan Eaton’s 200 crochet blocks book and discovered something which looked familiar to me. At about the same time the blogosphere was filled with granny stripe blankets, inspired by Attic24, but here in front of me were the instructions to do my own little granny stripe square.
And so I set off. More than a little nervous. Although crocheting in the round hasn’t been too much of a problem for me, going from side to side has resulted in much more trauma than seems necessary and has seen the production of many a misshapen block. But to my complete surprise it worked. I followed the instructions and actually produced the right thing!
Before I carry on I would like to point out that my tension/wool/crochet hook could have been all wrong because these squares came out decidedly, well, you know, not square. Definitely more rectangular.
Once all the French wool was used up I stopped and assessed the situation. Lots of lovely stripy squares. Excellent. Except I didn’t want the whole blanket to be granny stripe squares, I thought I’d throw in a couple of your normal granny squares (see, I can’t leave them alone) using the market wool.
Which is when it hit me. I could have serious problems with squares not being the same size here. As I’ve mentioned some of them were lovely granny stripe rectangles, rather than squares, and that left me with no other option...
Learning how to block.
‘Blocking’ is a phrase which has filled me with horror ever since I started on this crochet malarkey. It has always sounded;
a) incredibly complicated, and
b) prone to disaster.
But I decided to bite the bullet. I did my research, thought about buying a blocking board, realised they were ridiculously expensive, and then read that you can block them on a bed. Couldn’t have been better timing because I was off to Sheffield for the weekend, so on Saturday I rose, ripped the quilt off, covered the mattress in towels, grabbed as many pins as I could find, my trusty spray, my ruler and I set off on my intrepid adventure.
The conclusion? Blocking is a pain in the arse and almost literally back breaking (although to be fair it’s not the bed’s fault that it’s shoved up against one side of the wall). It’s tedious and irritating and I really can see why people spend the money on a blocking board. I would measure and measure and be satisfied, only to discover that the block had mysteriously come up with measurements of its own.
And none of this was helped by the arrival of my able assistant, Maggie, who did little to assist and actually made me block my squares around her. Worst assistant ever. She didn’t even go and get me more pins when I asked her.
I’m actually not entirely sure that it worked to be honest. I don’t think that the pinning was done particularly expertly, I think it probably suffered because I don’t think the yarn was 100% natural. The blocks do all appear to be the same size as each other but I’m definitely still whiffing a scent of rectangularness going on.
So in short I haven’t got the foggiest idea what’s going to happen now. I shall begin grannying, regardless of any worries, and just keep checking to see if my blocks are all coming out the same shape.
And don’t even talk to me about how I’m joining them together. Although Jan Eaton’s book does offer a small section on joining blocks together, these are just a demonstration of different stitches and not an actual elaborate explanation of how I’m supposed to join something that’s just a plain straight edge, to something that’s a granny. I don’t want to talk about it...
Stay tuned. I think this one’s going to roll and roll.
GRATUITOUS CAT PHOTO!