crochet · Uncategorized

Bright as a Button

Its taken me a whole week to actually load up my laptop, to take the photos off my camera and sit down to write.  I rarely use the laptops these days so when I do actually turn it on, it does about a thousand updates and I loose the will/inspiration/enthusiasm to do what it was that I turned the thing on for in the first place! Yesterday, I uploaded some photos from my camera and then fell into the trap of looking at all my photos since my daughter was born in 2015!  So…. today, now all the updates and distractions are out of the way; I’m going to write about the blanket that’s been my main focus since we found out that we were going to be Aunty and Uncle to a niece; the Bight as a Button blanket.

This gorgeous pattern is called “Bright as a Button” and is by Susan Carlson aka the Felted Button.  This pattern is a paid for pattern and can be purchased through Ravelry here.
I chose to use Stylecraft Special DK in Cream, Duck Egg Blue, Clematis, Silver, Parchment, Pale Rose and Parma Violet and 4.5mm hook.  These colours were based on the “Vintage Blossom” colour palette put together by Charlie at Crochet and Fairylights.  I added in the Pale Rose colour as I felt that the blanket needed an extra pink lift.

So, I started by making a test batch of the button. This meant making six of the circles and then turning them into squares using the cream.  I actually made each square completely before moving onto the next.  Once I’d completed the first six squares, I made a decision to make all the circles first for the remaining five colours and then turn them into squares afterwards.  This meant that I could then almost remember and then chant the pattern without having to stop and read it.  This process actually took a lot longer than I anticipated; but I had started while baby boy was still in SCBU which then coincided with his homecoming, the subsequent sleepless nights, a toddler and massive amounts of breastfeeding!  But at least I could get little bits done here and there.

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Once I’d turned all the circles into squares, it was time to add the button ‘x’ detail which I did over a lovely rainy afternoon whilst Hubby cuddled (napped with) the baby and the toddler slept.  It was quite calming to to do this bit of sewing and I also realised how particular I’ve become about hiding and sewing in those loose ends.

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Then the fun of arranging colour placement started.  For ages I looked at where I was placing the squares – I treated it like a colour version of a sudoku puzzle!  I’ve actually become quite fast at joining squares now so the joining part didn’t take too long at all.  The blanket itself, before the border, was looking really pretty.  I decided to add another round of cream to the base of the border as I felt that it needed that extra round to neaten off the wobbly edges where my squares were a little different in tension.

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I absolutely loved doing this border.  Each time I added a new round in a colour I loved the look even more.  Its a simple linen stitch but I think that this blanket doesn’t need anything else; the buttons are the main focus.  I had a bit of a dilemma as to how to finish it off as I didn’t want to use the edging that the pattern suggested, I was quite happy with the clean edge – it was just if I should finish on a colour or a cream.  In the end, it was Hubby who said that I should finish with Pale Rose as the cream made it look like it was slightly unfinished  So I agreed with him and left the blanket on a final round of the pink.  I actually sewed in the final ends exactly an hour before our niece was born!

I’ve loved every minute of this blanket but I think its safe to say this this a special one that I won’t repeat for a while!  I hope you enjoy looking through the pictures of the finished blanket; if you have enjoyed my blog post, please give it a ‘like’ and a ‘share’ which is always appreciated.

Speak to you soon,

Ellen x

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crochet

A little bit of crochet

I’ve had a very demanding ‘mummy’ fortnight which has meant that I haven’t had much time for crochet. I’ve had a bit of a crisis of confidence recently; worrying about if I’m being selfish for wanting a hobby and then equally being cross that I haven’t had the time for it!

My niece is due at the end of July and I’m desperate to get her button blanket finished but it’s taking me forever in between the constant feeding and the complete lack of naps! So needless to say, my hands have been full.


I’ve also been having a bit of a wobble about sharing my creative work… it’s one thing to share it with big communities of people who don’t know you. It’s a totally different thing sharing your hobby with people who you know in real life! I’ve almost found myself embarrassed about the fact I started a blog/Facebook/Instagram page – not everyone thinks crochet and knitting are as exciting as I do! But then again, I don’t really care if they like it or not… it’s not going to stop me doing it or sharing photos! So I’m going to be brave and invite some of my friends and family to my page that may not be aware I’ve started it.

I’ve managed to start something quick this week though. My very favourite pattern – the neat ripple by attic 24, using super chunky baby yarn. This pattern is engraved into my memory so it’s quick and easy for me to pick up even if I’ve only got 2 minutes to spare!

More soon,

Ellen x

crochet · Uncategorized

A ‘not-so’ quiet week at Dove Cottage

This week I felt like I hadn’t managed to get much done as baby boy has been feeding non stop so I really don’t feel like I’ve had much time to do anything for me.  Hubby pointed out that actually I had.

Mummy’s Animal hospital!
Our daughter is always hilarious when she wakes up from her naps; whether its a great big ‘hello’, being made to kiss all her teddies, or on this occasion, the giant “OH NO!” as soon as her bedroom door was opened.  She had managed to pull the tail off one of her bunnies.  So, Mummy’s Animal Hospital was opened… stat!  I’ve never felt like such a hero to my little girl before, she was so chuffed… as was I as I think I’m rubbish at sewing, even if its something easy like a rabbit’s tail!

Instagram
I was so excited to log onto my Instagram account to find out that I had reached over 300 followers!  Seeing as how I only started my little blogging account on the 9th of May, I’m so happy.  I’m now aiming to get a few more followers on my Facebook page and I’m running a little giveaway for when this reaches 50 likes.  I’m giving away a knitted blanket which will be edged in the colour of choice of the winner.  Wish me luck in getting some new followers!

Winner
I hardly ever win anything.  I entered one of the many giveaways on Instagram and for the first time in AGES I actually won!  I can’t wait to receive my prize.

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Flower Garden CAL
This week has seen the end of the lovely Flower Garden CAL (you can read more about this here) I’ve enjoyed every stitch.  The making of the squares has been easy enough and actually quite therapeutic.  The biggest challenge for me has been to join them all together, which is something I’ve not done before.  Now the CAL has finished, I’m not racing to get the border completed, but I’m not far off the whole thing being done.  I’ll do a big reveal blog when the last rounds are done!  But for now, here’s a couple of pictures of my progress over the last couple of weeks.

I hope you’re all having a lovely week, more soon,

Ellen x

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One WIP too many?

Happy Monday!  Another weekend has zoomed by.  It was my intention to write another blog last week, but baby boy had his vaccinations and wasn’t very happy, followed by my toddler being a bit of a monkey too!  So anyway, after a busy weekend, I’m now sitting down to write all about all my WIPs – or to those new to this term; a Work in Progress.

I went up to my poor neglected craft room to take stock the other day (see my post about Creativity on a budget) and I photographed all my WIPs.  The last time I spent any real time in my craft room was actually the day before baby boy decided to make his very early appearance into the world, so I definitely need to try and get up there and tidy at some point!  Here is a photo of its current state: definitely some motivation to sort it out.

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Now… for the WIPS…. They are all crochet (for now…!)IMG_2366

Mandala Madness.
I’ve mentioned this one before, this was started nearly a year ago and is MASSIVE at over 1m across.  Its crocheted using Schjeepeswol in their ‘budget’ wool called crofter.  I actually love the feel of this wool and the colours are so rich.  I can’t wait to finish my mandala, but this really is a Winter project and the weather in Jersey is too warm for me to sit under it to crochet.  So I’ve got a few smaller WIPs on the go!

 

 

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Carousel CAL
I have to admit, I’d forgotten about this one!  I can’t even remember why I stopped it. But anyway, this is the Stylecraft Carousel CAL by the talented Sue Pinner.  I’m using Stylecraft Batik for this one.  Again, its one where the yarn is lovely to use.  Maybe I’ll clear another WIP and then carry back on with this one.

 

 

Cosy Stripe Blanket.
(Pattern by Attic24)

This one has been on the go since January 2016 as I just can’t face sewing in the ends!  I’ve started being really good, sewing ends in as I go, but this WIP is a constant reminder of that I haven’tIMG_2368 done it! I do love the colours of this blanket – I chose my own combination to stash bust.  Its a combo of Stylecraft and some other balls of wool that I lost the bands of so I’m not entirely sure what they are.  This is another Winter project for me.  I hate getting hot and bothered so big blankets like this aren’t probably the best projects for me over the Summer.  Unless there’s a cold, rainy day… I can’t ask for one of those in the Summer can I?

Star BlanketIMG_2383
I originally started this while I was pregnant with my daughter back in 2015.  But I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and it was a mess!  Now I’m more confident, I’ve frogged the original (loosing most of the yarn from the first attempt… so I had to shop!) and started again.  I love this yarn so much.  Its by Bernat and called Baby Coordinates.  The pattern can be found here.  I have visions of my two babies all snuggled up under it and can’t wait to get it finished either!

 

IMG_2387Harmony Blanket
This is a new WIP that I just needed to keep my hands busy but without taxing my brain too much.  Its yet another pattern by Lucy @ Attic 24 and can be found here.  I love doing granny squares in a “production line.” I adore the colours of the squares, I’m pretty sure its going to be the most perfect addition to my living room… when its done!  There are 126 squares in total to make, as well as the border to do so I better get cracking on this one.

 

 

Button Blanket

This one is a special make for my niece who is due in July.  I bought this pattern by the IMG_2386Felted Button as I fell in love with how simple and pretty it is.  You can purchase your own version of the pattern here. I was actually really lucky to receive the same blanket for my Son!  I’ve chosen to use the ‘Vintage Blossom’ colour Palette which has been put together by the lovely Charlie over at Crochet and Fairy Lights. You can by the wool packs through Sconch.  I’ve actually added the shade ‘Pale Rose’ to my blanket.
Since I’ve taken this photograph, I’ve also completed a set of buttons in the ‘Silver’ colour.

 

Flower Garden Crochet-a-Long

I did a little post about this the other week which can be found here.  But this is more of a progress update I think this week.  I’m finding crafting quite tricky this week as my children have both been needing me (usually at the same time) this week so obviously, my priorities lie with making sure they’re both happy.  I’m looking forward to the next instalment of this CAL.

I’m pretty sure that’s all of my WIPs… for now!  Knowing me, I’ve probably squirrelled one (or two) away that will re-appear.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post this week, if you have, feel free to leave me a comment, or even to share with someone you think may enjoy reading it too.

Ellen xx

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Creativity on a budget

When I gave up work to have a family; I also gave up something else… my wages.  Now this wasn’t something that I gave up lightly.  Thanks to my wages I could attend evening classes to learn a new skill, buy as many balls of wool as I could hide in the spare room and not give my spare change any thought.  Having my children was the best decision ever and I am very fortunate that I can be at home with them before they start full time education and before I venture back into a more full time position in the classroom myself!

So while I choose not to spend my wages to put them into full time child care (again, something I am lucky I don’t have to do) it does mean that I have to find other ways to fund my ‘habit’.  I have a small amount of ‘pocket money’ each month that I have to spend on me and the children.  So this means regularly de-stashing and selling my random balls of wool on the local Facebook selling pages so that I can buy other bits for things that I want to work on.  Its no secret that I’ve fallen out of love with knitting so this means swapping my potential knitting projects for crochet projects but this in turn, means I end up searching the internet for free patterns and then I have about eight more potential projects than I started with!

This month, the worst has happened.  I’ve over-spent.  Normally I’m really good and budget so carefully but the shopaholic inside who has been hibernating for the last two years has taken over!  So I have to spend the next couple of weeks finding free things to do with the children and trying to de-stash the things that I really don’t need.

Now, I’m not complaining, its entirely my own fault. I’m feeling a bit guilty that I’ve spent the money on things for me… BUT it does mean I have to get creative with things to do with the children, and I’ve always been one for thinking that its the free things that are usually the best.  We are so lucky to live in Jersey with all the beautiful beaches and lots of green spaces and as it happens, my daughter is very much into running at the moment!

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Running around on the beach, “Long Beach” Jersey.

So, with 13 days left until payday (and coincidentally, my wedding anniversary) I’m going to have to just stare at beautful balls of wool, new projects and crack on with the ones I’ve already got on the go (WIP blog to follow later this week!) and enjoy getting about with my two little munchkins doing all the free things we can find – and maybe use some of the memberships we already have.

Ellen xx

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Flower Garden Crochet-a-long

I’m super guilty of having too many projects on the go. Currently, I have a star blanket, a button blanket, a giant mandala, a cosy stripe blanket and various parts of toys started.  I decided to start yet another project today; The Flower Garden CAL which is hosted by the Knitting Network, designed by Lynne Rowe and with colours picked by Heather Leal at The Patchwork Heart. Heather is also blogging each week to show us how to get on with each part. Each part is a Friday weekly release over four weeks.

After week 1, I’m in love. The Stylecraft Aran is just so satisfying  to work with and crochets up beautifully. The colours are so pleasing together and that certainly helped me whizz through this first part. I’m really looking forward to next Friday already!


You can find part 1 of the CAL here.

Now, time I got on with one of my other projects… blog post ‘Hello ~ Part 2’ coming soon.

Ellen x