My little felt fabric pincushion.

This week I have been learning a little bit of blog DIY and updating a few places to run on Genesis (with grateful thanks to Tim at Colneis for helping me unpick the mysteries of CSS and become a little more enabled in thew world of codey-wodey-timey-wimey stuff). The result is the PoP looks similar but is actually quite different. This is on the back of Max and I learning the basics of Magento for our brand new version of CraftMerrily, the loveliest Hama Bead, Fimo and sundry other craft brands shop in the universe*.

It’s been a busy few months. And now that it is done and the bulk of a blanket commission is done and Fran is finished her GCSEs and everyone seems more or less settled, I can start some of my garden and house plans.

And learning a few new skills.

I’ve got quite a love affair with felt fabric, and we bought an xCut machine a few weeks ago to use for the business. I’m not much of a stitcher but I’ve been collecting some ideas on pPinterest and started having a go at some little pin cushion and embellishment type things. Here is one.

#feltfabric pincushion side one #sewing #xcut

And the other side.
#feltfabric pincushion #sewing side two #xcut

It was a remarkably pleasant way to spend an afternoon in the garden while Bene played and now I have a very pretty pincushion. I’ve got a corner of my dining room which is supposed to be my craft desk to make full of little lovely semi useful things; I think this might go and live there.

I think it would be quite fun to have some little kits of this type of thing in CraftMerrily actually. I might have to create some.

My felt ideas board has lots of followers and I add to it a lot. But here is a stitches one – do you know any stitches I need to learn?

*This is completely true.

Follow Merrily Me’s board Stitching on Pinterest.

The Dartmoor Crochet Blanket.

I spent a significant portion of last year and the early part of this year putting together a blanket for my bedroom, a promise against the day when my bed will belong to me and Max again and my floor has less to do with a washing sorting area and more to do with the words clean and clear. Although ideally, beige carpet will no longer figure at that point. *grrrr… new house developers… grrr*

After finishing my first ever granny square blanket, spotted in a Rowan book while holidaying, I decided to make another, bigger one. My inspiration was some of the colours we see on our holiday to Dartmoor, the place where my heart so firmly is and my body just can’t quite get moved to.

The blanket is made from Rowan Renew, possibly my favourite yarn ever but sadly discontinued. No one seems to know why, not even them :(

I love that keeping on top of the decluttering this year means it doesn't take long to make the room nice enough for a blanket picture #40days40bags #crochet

Here are some Dartmoor snaps for to explain the colour inspiration.

dartmoorcollageIf you don’t know Dartmoor, I can only tell you it is a place filled with greens of more shades than any wool range could do justice to, expanses of water reflecting the bluest sky there ever is, clouds, wispy topped marsh grasses, gorse, heather, foxgloves, all woven in an ever changing tapestry.For us, it is also full of memories and perfect to sleep under for that reason. The tweedy altering shades of Rowan Renew were perfect for it.

The squares are very simple 4 round granny squares in (UK) triples. Nothing fancy. Here is a great tutorial to make one. I made 24 different squares in all different colour combinations, 8 each of the first 12 and 7 each of the second 12. 180 squares in total and a 15×12 rectangle when completed, all on a 5.5mm hook. I guess any similar chunky yarn would work.

blanket collage

Here are the square combinations, starting from the centre of each square and going outwards. Since Rowan Renew is gone, there is not much point in listing the colour names, but as a general shade guide, here goes.

A= White, B= Yellow, C= P Green, D= D Green, E= Blue, F= Lilac, G= Purple.

BGCF BDAE ECBD
CADB CFGB  AEBD
DBEC DCAG AGCE
EGCF BFDG GFBC
BEAF FADG ACEG
EBGC ADEB CEBD
DECF GCAE CGFD
FBEC GAFD EADB

Call it a hippy moment but I didn’t want to impose an actual ‘pattern’ on this because the feel of Dartmoor is so natural and I wanted it to ape that, so I decided to go ‘random’. The only problem with this is that I ‘don’t do random’ so I ended up with a complicated bit of faffery that involved no adjacent squares (not diagonally, that was impossible!) not having the same centre or outer colour. This involved a LOT of people staring at my rows as they were put together to see if I had made any mistakes. I’m convinced eventually we will find one! I’ll be 92 and taking it apart to fix an error. Or maybe one day I’ll take it apart and make a pattern out of it.

Wool stash that doesn't go under the bed beaten into submission. Ahem. #crochet #knitting #yarnstashThis was a return to my (UK) DC down one side of a square and then DC’s to join it to the next square method that I used for my original blanket. It leaves a ridge on the back that I sort of like but would like to learn not to have. I’ve got a new blanket on the hook at the moment (a commission for my sister in the remains of my Renew) and I’m going to try a different join I think

This was a pretty fluid blanket creation in may ways; I picked up odds and ends of the yarn as it went on sale and didn’t keep a check on what it actually used. I could weigh it I suppose. Judging by my previous one though, which was 2/3 the size, I think it is probably 90 balls worth, which had I not paid peanuts for a lot of it, would have been very spendy. Thankfully I got lots of it at almost cost price. At one point I worked out that full cost yarn plus this blanket at minimum wage for hours of work, would be around £900!

There goes our evening.