Postcards from Summer

Summer Holidays are my favourite. Instead of spending the long weeks at home, we go and stay with family, and have adventures with them. We get to visit places that we wouldn’t usually be able to, and seeing my children enjoy their aunts, uncles, and grandparents is just the best.

In the absence of sunny weather, we went to Calshot Beach in coats and wellies. I don’t really mind that, because there was nobody else about and I didn’t have to get the suncream out. There’s always lots of exploring to do at the beach and we found a good variety of shells and interesting looking stones.

TTB spent a long time arranging his collection of stones and shells to his satisfaction.

The next day was sunny so we went out for a walk in the New Forest. I can’t remember which part this is; all the areas have different names but I didn’t grow up round here and never have any idea where I am. We saw a tiny baby donkey huddled in the gorse bushes, and crept very quietly over to see it. So fluffy. TTB had lots of questions about it, wanting to know whether it was lost and why it didn’t have its mummy and daddy with it. The donkeys that I presume were the parents weren’t far away, just on the road behind the gorse, and it was a good opportunity to show him how different animals keep their babies safe. In this case, it’s safest for the baby donkey to be hidden away with the parents close by.

This boy just adores his Granddad. It doesn’t seem like ten minutes ago that we were here last year. I have some beautiful photos of TTB from our New Forest visit last year and he seemed so grown up in them at the time, but now he is just SO much taller and more grown up. Taking photos of my children brings me so much pleasure, and capturing their relationships with their family is one of my favourite things. Granddad, camera in hand, TTB alongside with his torch (you can’t be too careful), and, of course, sticks. Just being together, TTB providing a constant peppering of questions for Granddad to answer.

“Mummy come and look! I’ve found a stone that looks like a sheep!”

Thank you to whoever it is that builds brilliant dens and leaves them in the forest. We spent a long time playing in this one.

Well the children did, I took photos of pine cones.

Then we flew a kite. TTG was highly unimpressed by the kite and got very cross about it.

Driving through the New Forest is always fun because of the animals that roam around. Pigs! Plus bonus John Deere.


Ten Balls of Yarn

Feast your eyes on those colourful beauties!

I made the corner to corner blanket (on the right) last year and it took less than half of each ball to make it, and I was curious to see if I could get another – but different – blanket out of the rest of the yarn.

Some time passed … and eventually I made the granny stripe blanket with the rest of that yarn. Speedy progress, I’m sure you’ll agree.

I don’t know about you, but I am finding it a challenge to balance everything that I want to do right now and the first things to be cut when I don’t have much time are crochet and writing. Every so often the lure of crochet is too great and I have to cut something else, usually housework, from my list of things to do so that I can listen to the call of the yarn. Then, with toys and clutter and un-put-away piles of washing all around me, I sneak moments of crochet into my day. Just a row or two here and there, when I’m waiting for the children to finish their tea, and then a few more rows while they sit in the bath. A little bit when I’m waiting for meetings at nursery, and two whole stripes during TTG’s ballet lesson. (I have never felt more “Mum” than whipping out my crochet from my handbag while I wait for my child to participate in an extracurricular sport lesson. I both love this part of my life because TTG adores ballet, and I like the 30 minutes of free time while I wait, but it’s also the antithesis of the young, cool, interesting person that I wish I was.)

Little baby blankets like this are the perfect size for “sneaking time” crochet, because they work up really quickly and it’s easy to do one or two rows here and there. I love seeing the stripes growing, and the magic of how one new stripe changes the feel of the whole blanket. I didn’t plan the order of the colours beforehand, and just chose each one as I went, but I did keep an eye on the placement of the lipstick and citron stripes as they felt the most salient and I wanted them to look right. I was conscious that I wasn’t working from full balls of yarn and so I did make sure that I didn’t use up one colour too quickly and that I had enough left so that the colours were sort of even throughout the blanket.

Here’s the list of colours for the whole granny stripe blanket (1 being the first row, at the bottom):

1 turquoise 23 white
2 grass green 24 lipstick
3 white 25 turquoise
4 lipstick 26 spice
5 turquoise 27 sherbet
6 citron 28 aster
7 kelly green 29 citron
8 aster 30 grass green
9 white 31 kelly green
10 sherbet 32 turquoise
11 lipstick 33 sherbet
12 spice 34 white
13 grass green 35 citron
14 citron 36 spice
15 turquoise 37 lipstick
16 sherbet 38 grass green
17 grass green 39 turquoise
18 aster 40 white
19 lipstick 41 aster
20 kelly green 42 kelly green
21 sherbet 43 citron
22 citron 44 lipstick

The border is made from two rounds of UK Treble stitches in Sherbet, and then one round of slip stitches in Lipstick.

The colour order for the Corner to Corner blanket, on the other hand, was predetermined and I think it looks great. I’m really happy with how they both look, and how they look so different despite using the same colours.

The colour order for the Corner to Corner blanket is:

White, Sherbet, Turquoise, Aster, Kelly Green, Grass Green, Citron, Spice, Lipstick.

If you want to get two blankets out of ten balls of yarn like I have done here, you’ll need to buy one ball of each Lipstick, Spice, Citron, Grass Green, Kelly Green, Turquoise, Aster, and White, and then two balls of Sherbet. It’s Stylecraft Special dk and you can buy it at Wool Warehouse. (This is my affiliate link.) I highly recommend following the colour order for both blankets, as I can’t guarantee you’ll get two blankets out of this amount of yarn if you don’t. If you have very loose tension you might want to size down a hook here.

I learned how to make Corner to Corner blankets from the Bella Coco youtube tutorial. However, I have found that I have more success with chaining 5 in the places where she says to chain 6. This may just be my tension, but give it a try and see what works for you.

When you start to decrease the blanket, you’ll need to increase for just one row of the colour that you decrease with. So in this blanket, the colour I decreased on was ‘Aster’. There are 4 rows in each stripe. For the first row of that decreasing stripe, increase as usual. Then for the remaining three rows in that stripe, and for all subsequent stripes, decrease. Here’s an older video on my instagram that shows you. It means that the last stripe will also be 4 rows wide, instead of 3.

I absolutely LOVE these blankets and I’m delighted with the way the colours have worked. I think they’re bright and fresh and happy. They’re also unisex so they’d work well if you’re making for a baby that you don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl.