A Zero Waste Blanket

grannytastic stashbusterI will admit to being a little over obsessed with granny squares and crochet motifs in general over the past few weeks. In times of stress (and there has been much of that lately) I turn to simple motifs to relax, to empty my mind and to feel the joy of hook in hand with no deadline pressures and  no anxiety about writing up patterns.

I came to granny squares late in my crochet life – I had always believed them to be too simple, too obvious – and I’d grown up in a house adorned with motif blankets and cushions so I felt like I’d had my fill of them!

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Then I realised how many crocheters (and customers in the yarn shop where I worked) loved the simplicity of the granny square. They sought out other motifs and looked for projects that would allow them to indulge their love of colour. Crochet blankets were always popular, and they still are. I am constantly overwhelmed by the popularity of blanket CALs (crochet alongs) and while I’ve never felt the need to join in or to buy huge quantities of colourful acrylic and crochet the latest “must have” blanket. I will admit to a growing collection of indulgent throws and covers (let’s not mention my crochet cushion cover habit – fed by dozens of magazine commissions and a desire for instant colour updates in my living room).

craftseller cushion paleI am often tempted to sell them as they take up so much space and Mr T is reluctant to turn the house into a crochet show room! Instead they lurk under beds or in cupboards, occasionally allowed to adorn a sofa or spare bed. The truth is, there are so many, in so many colours and styles that I really don’t have anywhere to do show them off properly.

craftseller cushion

 

 

The latest addition to my collection is the “grannytastic” stashbuster, a true “zero waste” blanket, made up scraps too small for other projects, but which I cannot bring myself to throw away. My annual project to use up all the yarn left over from magazine and book commissions usually becomes a baby blanket. I hate waste of any kind and yarn “leftovers” are an occupational hazard.  Unused balls are donated to charity of seized on by ladies at knit group (we have a thriving sideline in yarn swaps).  These blankets have their origins in times past, when patchwork throws or rag rugs would be made from worn out fabrics. Starting with the smallest quantities, each round is worked in a different colour.

grannytastic stashbuster2

The sequence moves from pinks and mauves, through to cream, yellow and mustard. I set out with no plan in mind, just a desire to use up the odds and ends. It now measures 120 x 120cm and shows no sign of ending. It is made in 100% natural fibres. Pure wool, superwash merino and a little bit of alpaca; yarns that cannot be composted. I could not bear to think of these scraps going to landfill, so they sit in a box until I can no longer find room to store them. I wrote on Instagram today that I’m tempted to keep on going until it covers my king size bed, but that would involve the purchase of more yarn as I have now used up every scrap large enough to complete a round and so it would no longer be a true “stashbuster”… For now, I have “parked” it, a new set of commissions and deadlines approaches and “real” crochet must take over for a while. On sunny days, I shall take my grannytastic blanket outside, enjoy the colour and the comforting warmth it provides when there is a chill breeze and contemplate adding just one more round…

 

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One Cool Granny

Let me introduce you to Melanie, she’s one very cool Granny. In fact, she’s only been a Granny for a couple of weeks – congratulations Mel!Melanie Blanket blog version.jpgMelanie came to one of my crochet workshops a year or two ago. She’s a very accomplished needle woman and picked up crochet very quickly. Last week, she emailed me a photo of this new blanket. She’s been working on it as a gift for the new addition and based it on the colours her daughter had chosen for the baby’s changing bag (here’s a tip. Consult new Mums on your colour scheme ideas  – they can be very fussy – I know because I was one very fussy daughter in law back in the day! )

I can’t tell you how proud it makes me to see pupils making such amazing stuff. This is a blanket that will be treasured, so much love, optimism and time went into choosing colours and making it. I’m sure you’ll agree, Mel is one very cool Granny.

Take a bow lovely lady xxx

A Rather Lovely Blanket

unnamedWell, hello there! It’s been a while – sorry – but now I’m back. There’s lots to catch up on, new patterns, new magazine launches and a very exciting new podcast to tell you about . My goodness I disappear to recover from dreadful pneumonia and while I’m gone the world of crochet goes mad!!

Today I’m sharing another guest designer project from my new book. This one is a rather lovely blanket by Leonie Morgan. I must admit to having a bit of a “girl crush” on Leonie, she’s one of those designers you don’t see much on social media, but you’ll probably have at least one of her books on your shelf. I knew from the start that I wanted Leonie to design the motif project for my book. She has such a good eye for colour and can be relied upon to produce a well written design – essential when you’re working on a publication deadline.

I was thrilled with Leonie’s blanket. On photo shoot day we all wanted to keep it, if it had fitted in my overnight bag I may have been tempted to “steal” it! The yarn is DMC Woolly, a 100% merino yarn which comes in fabulous colours. Leonie had great fun putting this one together I think! The motif is simple to make, and the join as you go technique means it works up quickly, it would make a great stash buster for all those “odds and ends” we crafters can’t bring ourselves to throw away.

Thanks so much Leonie for agreeing to be a guest designer in my book – it was great to work with you!

You can find Leonie online here  or check out her designer profile on Ravelry here. Do look out for her books too, if you’re looking for motif inspiration you can’t beat them, and her ripple stitches book sits permanently by my desk for reference.

You can buy The Woman’s Weekly Guide to Crochet in most bookstores or online.

my book coverLearn It, Love ItIn the USA it’s available as Crochet. Learn It, Love It and Stephanie Lau (who designed the gorgeous Finnley Fox I shared with you, has written a blog post all about her involvement here).

 

 

Yarndale teaser

img_5764I am so excited today,Vicki from Eden Cottage Yarns has posted a small teaser on her blog featuring her new collection.  “Drift” will be launched at Yarndale later this month  and features designs from some exceptionally talented knitwear designers. I’m proud to say a few of my crochet designs are also included. You can read Vicki’s blog post, introducing the new collection here. If you’re heading off to Yarndale at the end of this month, stop by the Eden Cottage yarns stands and say hello. You might also be able to squish some samples of my new and existing designs for Eden Cottage Yarns.

As soon as I’m “allowed” I shall post photos here along with details of how you can buy the book. Until then, I’ll leave you with a couple of images from last year’s collection to whet your appetite!

Ursula scarf. pattern available on ravelry
Ursula scarf. pattern available on ravelry
Maisy Roper bag. Pattern available on Ravelry
Silsden, Log cabin blanket, pattern available on ravelry.

Summer break

Well hello there! While the British summer may have been a bit of a washout so far, I have had a lovely break (cue photo of French sunflowers!) and now it’s back to work.

sunflowersWork in “the book” continues, with some exciting stuff this week, which involved a trip to Tunbridge Wells – I can’t wait to tell you more and reveal a new departure for me – you’ll have to wait until all is revealed, but I can tell you it was very exciting (for me at least) and involved some fabulous people and a rather amazing publication which I’ve been reading since childhood!!

In between designing some rather cute Christmas commissions (yes, magazine commissions work on a different “time zone” to ordinary mortals!) I have been swatching motifs, I have a blanket in mind, but I’m not sure what form it will take yet, much playing with yarn will follow until I feel I’ve got it “just right”. This swatch two beautiful shades of Eden Cottage Yarns Whitfell DK, a yarn I’ve been using a lot recently.

WHMEalpaca swatch

Meantime, I’ve been teaching myself how to design amigurumi figures. Apparently it’s “all in the proportions”, so many part finished dolls and critters swamp my desk as I write!

LITTLE CUTIE PIE

Also this week, the lovely team at Rooster Yarns sent me some of their gorgeous Almerino – now here’s a yarn I’ll use again. It’s so soft and the colours are stunning. A practical blend of baby alpaca and merino, it comes in dk and aran weight. I used 2 balls of dk to make this pretty cowl. It started life as a Friday night swatch, but soon turned into this little beauty – which I will admit to wearing already – like I said – summer has been a bit of a washout.

rooster cowlFinally, I am slowly editing all my patterns ready to re -release my single downloads in the autumn and post some brand new free patterns in preparation for your seasonal gift knitting and crochet (you see, I can’t even mention the “C” word in August – even though I’m been humming Christmas carols and knitting baubles since July!)

Whatever you’re up to this summer, I hope you find some time to put down your hooks and needles and spend some time outdoors in the sunshine.

Thanks for dropping by

Tracey x