Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Freeformation

I really admire anyone that dabbles in freeform crochet, let alone people that solely freeform! I tried it a few years ago and did enjoy it, but got frustrated when what I made wouldn't sit flat...it's funny what little things bug you. Saying that, I am much more experienced now, so maybe I should give it another go?


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Monday, 29 December 2014

Square By Square

I have added a few more squares to my pile, this afternoon, and decided to take some step-by-step pictures for you all! Starting out, I am using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Apricot (063) and a 3.50mm hook - that's an E/4 in the US...

Ch4

Ch4 joined with a ss gives you your starter ring. One great thing about having made so many amigurumi pieces in the past, means that working in circles is really easy for me!

Trebles

You then work your treble crochet stitches into the starter ring, before another ss back into the starting ch.

More of the same

Continue on with your trebles in each gap, to expand your square.

And even more trebles!

Here is where the block colour ends, and you move on to the cream band on the outside of the square. You should now have 3 clusters of trebles on each side of your square, like above.

Next up, join in your edging colour!

I am edging each block in more Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, this time in Ecru (101), as a contrast to the centre colour.

Bring on the htr!

The rows of edging consist of htr in each stitch around, allowing corner space on each end as you turn.

Tada!

The second row of Ecru (101) completes the square! I can get roughly 12-13 squares from each ball of the centre colour...it does end up pricey, with each ball costing £4.99 (but only £4.49 on woolwarehouse.co.uk at the moment!).

The full pattern for the blanket I am working on, was published in Simply Crochet magazine, issue eight, and information can be found here on Ravelry. Mine will be the size of a double duvet, when it is finished, and will total at 361 squares in total...I am now sitting at 296 squares, with just 65 left to go! The end is in sight!


I have almost finished my current balls of Apricot (063) and Ecru (101) and am waiting on my next order arriving. Once I finish this current batch of orange centres, I can begin attaching the squares to the blanket again, which is something I haven't done since about February - exciting! Watch this space!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Reading Challenge Completed!

2014 has been my second year using Goodreads - a fantastic website and app that allows you to track reading progress, find new book recommendations, and interact with a book loving community. I took part in the reading challenge last year, and surpassed my target of 15 books, by reading 17. This year I set myself the target of 15 again, due to the fact that I am no longer working night shifts, and therefore technically have less time to commit to reading. I have just completed my 15th book of the year!

My year in books

I've read some really good ones this year, and a couple of duds, but overall it's been really satisfying! In the last 12 months, I have read 6781 pages! The longest book I have read was The Passage, at a whopping 963 pages - it was also one of my favourites from this year's challenge.

My 2014 reading timeline goes as follows: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Naomi's Room, Psycho, Reconstructing Amelia, The Passage, The Ghost Hunters, The Twelve, Sister, The Killing Club, The Hypnotist, Animal Farm, The Secret Keeper, My Sister's Keeper, Little Star, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

My absolutely favourites from the year have to be The Passage and The Twelve, by Justin Cronin. The style of writing in the books is fantastic, and although the plot and characters do flit around quite a lot, they are so riveting and really hard to put down. I can't wait for the last book in the trilogy to be released in 2015! Other highlights were Psycho (I have always loved the Hitchcock film, so was thrilled that the book was just as good, if not better), and The Killing Club (I have read each of Paul Finch's "Heck" books, and loved them all...this was a great addition to my collection). So all in all, it's been a great year for reading, on my planet!

As always, my reading habits lean towards horror and the less cheery of subjects...I doubt that will change in the next 12 months!

So what is on the cards for next year - I am going to take part in the reading challenge again and maybe set myself a slightly target, and already have 13 books on my shelf, ready and waiting to be devoured. Plus, my lovely boyfriend bought me a Kindle for Christmas, which will make reading (and taking books away with me for work) even more accessible. I have already said that I want to read all of my physical copies before I start on that though...but saying that, I will probably alternate between the two! One of my "to-read" books is It by Stephen King, which at a monstrous 1376 pages, may be a little too big to chuck in my bag or suitcase for my trips away!

What have you been reading this year? And do you use Goodreads already? Please feel free to drop by my profile and say hello!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

72 Remaining

I have just done a square count for the blanket...


Yep, that's 289 squares out of 361, and just 72 to go. I did just check back though, and it's taken me since September to do 10 squares...but with the time off that I have for Christmas and New Year, I should be able to get on top of it again. Infact, I am putting in another yarn order right now!

Gingerbread House

This afternoon, I have decorated our gingerbread house! A few days late, but it looks delicious all the same!


It didn't cost much and gave me about an hours entertainment - I'm so pleased with how it turned out! We will tuck into it tomorrow, when Dave's parents and Grandmother come to visit...yummy!

We had a wonderful Christmas; our first one spent alone. We ate lots, watched films, and just chilled out...it was very relaxing. Then yesterday we went and visited each of our families, and did Christmas all over again! Today has been another quiet one, with some housework, packing away the wonderful gifts we have received, and more food haha. Dinner tonight will consist of some of the remaining roast from Thursday, so at least that is easy.

I am off work until the 6th January now, so am intending to get lots of crochet in during my time off. I have made a few more dark blue squares for the blanket, and it felt great getting some more of it done. Alas, I need to make another yarn order before I'll be able to get too much further. I'm still within clutching distance of finishing Dave's blanket though - pictures and a square count update to come!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

The tree is up!

Woohoo! So, I am back from Exmouth for the weekend, before I go back down to Exeter for work next week, and have started putting up the Christmas decorations! After a lovely evening last night with friends, I was feeling particularly festive, so this morning Dave and I went out and bought our new Christmas tree!

Dining room light off and on

Everything is turquoise and white, and looks really pretty (except my wrapping, which is a chaotic rainbow this year!). We did buy a star for the top, but the branch wasn't strong enough to hold it up, so I need to find another. Underneath is Dave's one choice of festive decoration; Humbug the Snail...

Humbug - guardian of the Christmas presents!

We did actually find Humbug in a Christmas display, and the lack of festivity displayed in it, appealed to Dave...so we now have a felt snail sat under our Christmas tree haha!

As for gift wrapping this year, I have opted for Bright Stripes paper, by John Lewis, with matching gift tags. I've then added felt stars in colours to match the paper, as an embellishment. It's not as fancy as some of my previous wrapping, but I still think it's pretty cute. I really love the colours!

The pile of presents is slowly going down, and I'm getting it wrapped bit by bit - it's hard working away a lot in the lead up to Christmas...I feel so behind!

Tomorrow, I am going to be doing some more wrapping. I also need to go out and run a few errands, including buying a few more decorations for the tree to fill up the last gaps. So it's going to be a fabulously festive day overall! Then back to Devon on Tuesday, for another week...

Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas Garlands

It's that time of year again! With Christmas only a matter of weeks away, I am kicking off Advent with a selection of festive garlands.


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