Seaside Blanket

Typically, just after I posted about the light being dreadful it started to beam in through TTB’s bedroom window and made it all glowy and lovely. I grabbed my camera and the little blanket that I needed to photograph and took a handful of hasty snaps – I’m glad I did, the weather has been miserable since. Let’s have a bit of a “ta-daah” moment today shall we?

This blanket won’t come as a huge surprise to any of you as I did post almost-complete photos of it a few weeks ago. Of course, it then sat around for ages waiting for me to sew the ends in. The time it takes for me to get round to doing that last bit is usually longer than making the actual blanket but hey ho, that’s just me.

I used Rico Baby Classic dk in Vanilla, Blue, and Ice Blue, and a 3.5mm hook. (You can buy the yarn here.) I am pretty sure that I only used two balls of each – there you go, I actually made a note for you for a change!

This is the first time I have attempted to make the ripple straight at the beginning rather than straightening it afterwards and I’m really pleased with the effect. I don’t have any plans to write a tutorial for doing this but if you want to try it, here’s a photo of my workings out. It’s not TOO hard to do, but I want to stress how important it is to do a few practice pieces and get the hang of it first, and then when you come to do it on your actual blanket you should make sure you have some quiet time to concentrate.

I made the foundation chain like usual, and then I worked 1TR stitch (as usual that’s English terms, it’s DC or double crochet in US terms) into each chain, but only out of one loop, not two.

For the next row I worked the different height stitches: triple crochet, TR, TR, HTR, HTR, DC, DC, DC, DC etc all the way along and then on the next row started the Neat Ripple pattern. I’m sorry if that sounds confusing, if you’re familiar with ripples just give it a try and see what you think.

The top edge is always easier to straighen. I did write some basic instructions on how to do this, I think it was when TTB was a newborn which was fairly impressive now I think about it. Lucy also has a very thorough ripple how-to on her blog which you may prefer to follow as her’s wasn’t written in a baby fog!

As usual, for the border I put two TR stitches into the end of each row, I just love that effect and I’ve done it on all my ripples. It works for me, tension wise, and doesn’t make the edge of the blanket too bulgey. Then the next round of the border is simply TR into each stitch, and finally to finish it off I slip stitched VERY loosely (you must do this so loosely, like you are only laying the stitches on top, otherwise it will pucker horribly and be very tight and pulled out of shape.) in another colour to make it look finished.

There we go – finished! Perfect for a crib or a carseat. I meant to say as well, about the colour order. I did Blue for every 4th row and then alternated the other colours: ice blue/vanilla/ice blue and then Blue, and then vanilla/ice blue/vanilla. You see what I mean.

I haven’t measured it but I think the starting chain was 126. It’s slightly smaller than how a Stylecraft ripple would turn out as the Rico yarn is quite a light dk.

And I just wanted to show you this! TTB got a proper single sized bed a couple of weeks ago (he is SO pleased and proud) and the Big Elmer looks so good on it. He had it on the cotbed sized mattress before and it covered the whole thing and I was a bit sad that it wouldn’t cover this one but actually it works really well as his legs barely reach down to where the blanket is! It just makes me smile every time I see it, and it’s just really satisfying to be able to use it every day. I have made lots of blankets that we don’t really use! I sent my mum home with two last time she visited. I really love this blanket.

ETA: The seaside blanket is for my cousin and his wife who are expecting their first baby in March. I know some of you thought that this one was for me … well, it’s not, but she is due the week before me so I did have a bit of a chuckle to myself when I posted about it before. I couldn’t believe the timing when they announced their pregnancy!

In Progress: “Cottage” Squares blanket.

A few weeks ago, after dropping TTB off at playgroup my feet led me to the yarn shop and I came home with nearly all of the colours from the Attic24 “Cottage” colour selection. I already had some of them, and two (Khaki and Magenta) the shop didn’t have. I’m ordering some Magenta today but I’ve decided to omit the Khaki for the time being as I’m not keen on that colour. It might turn out that I need it to make the colours work properly and if so I’ll give in and get some but at the moment I like it how it is.

I do like ripples. I really do. But I’ve already made a big ripple blanket this year (that I completely ballsed up the border on which is why I haven’t posted the finished thing yet. It’s in the corner of shame!) And you know me, I really do like squares. I wanted to see how the colour pack would translate to a square blanket. (Big Elmer Squares, of course. My favourite.) This has the bonus of not needing to worry about colour order until right at the end and I can just work away making squares in whichever colour takes my fancy at the time, without much actual thought.

The other bonus is this: I will know exactly how many balls of yarn it took to make the blanket. I get asked a lot about how much yarn a certain blanket has taken and my answer is “I don’t know!” because I never keep track, I work on several projects at one time from the same stash of yarn and if I run out I just buy more of whatever colour as I need it. But this time I am using one ball of each colour (bar khaki as stated above) and then, THEN I will be able to tell you how much yarn I used. Incidentally if you are wondering how much yarn you’ll use … just buy one of each ball to start. Then see how you go. And then buy more if you need it.

I’m just doing 4-round squares this time rather than five because variety is the spice of life, right? And it means I finish each square faster ;-)

This is by no means the final order of the squares as I just laid them out a bit randomly to show you them but you can sort of see how it might look. You know, it’s a beautiful sunny day today, the sky looks gorgeous and the leaves on the trees are illuminated perfectly. But none of that natural light is in my house and so the colours look dreadful but I think I’m past caring about that, you all know what Stylecraft looks like and if I waited for perfect light I’d never get any blog posts done. This is real life and quite often the light is dreadful!

I didn’t really mean to start another blanket, this is a completely accidental WIP. Whoops.

Well, thank you very much indeed!

(This picture has nothing to do with the blog post but not having a picture feels strange.)

Aww, you guys. Thank you for all your fabulous congratulatory comments, you’re just lovely and it’s made me smile a great deal to read them all. It feels good to finally tell you about the pregnancy! Which sounds daft as it was my own self-imposed time limit that I was waiting for, but honestly, there’s always so much that can go wrong that I just wanted to wait until the 20 week scan before I said anything. Not that that itself means that we are home and dry but you know what I mean.

Yes! Baby two. We’ll need another nickname for using on here then (I did not think things through last time did I?). There will be 2.5 years between TTB and baby two, give or take a couple of weeks. I swing between being really excited and then panicking about how I will ever cope with TWO. The latter is usually during TTB’s more challenging moments, of which there are a lot lately. Challenging is a nice way of putting it, isn’t it? While I love him and he’s great and all that, oh my GOODness he can be hard work: some days even when I’m trying my best with him everything I try, say or do results in a stroppy, grumpy, moody toddler. I’m sure it’s just his age but it’s mentally exhausting trying to cope with him sometimes, and trying to give the right response to his behaviour when really I am quite tempted to put him outside in the yard and shut the door for a bit! I have been wanting to blog all day today but by the time he’s in bed I just want to turn into a heap of jelly on the sofa. Did I tell you that we dropped his daytime nap a few weeks ago? He goes to bed like a dream now (compared to the 90 minute showdown previously) but I do really miss that two hour naptime when I could clear my head, have some quiet and do some blogging or crochet. I miss naptime but I DO like the easy bedtimes.

I don’t think I’ve had a general chatty post for a while, have I? I am unsure sometimes what you all want to read about and I don’t want to post boring waffle but then if I just post walking photos or crochet projects that’s a bit impersonal and one dimensional isn’t it? But also I feel cautious about putting eeeeeeeeverything on here nowadays! I don’t know why, maybe I just go shy. Or, possibly, it’s not always clear where “I” stop and TTB starts and I don’t like oversharing about him on here. It’s my blog, he can get his own when he’s older! haha.

(Warning: I’m about to talk about Strictly)

Have you been watching Strictly Come Dancing this year? I was so excited for it to start! But … it just isn’t as good this year and because we don’t have a TV (or a licence – don’t worry the licencing company know), I have to watch it the next day on iPlayer and there is so much filler and boring bits between all the dances I just don’t have time to sit and watch it, or scroll through it and try to find the dances. I don’t like the cringey judges dancing at the start, they seem to be judging with their bottoms this year and I just can’t stand Tess Daly! When she was presenting with Bruce it was like she was very long suffering and could do better without him. Well she can’t! She’s awful! Patronising comments, awful jokes and can’t ad lib to save her life. In contrast, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Claudia! She’s brilliant. And well, there’s Pasha. I always use my free votes to keep him in as long as I can ;-) I don’t really care who the celebs are, I just like the pro dances but it seems like they’ve cut some of them this year too, I’m sure the Saturday show used to open with a pro dance too. Perhaps I’m misremembering. Let’s not even talk about the horror that was Donny Osmond.

Strictly chat finished!

Can you believe it’s November already? Already?! As in, next month is December? Crazy stuff. Over the last two months, I went to visit my family, then the next week my mum and sister came up, then two days after they left my mother in law came up, then the week after that my mum came up, then two weeks later  (last week) I went down to stay with them again and this weekend my father in law came to stay. It’s been wonderful but mega busy! TTB is a bit bored with me now all his lovely family have gone. And so before I knew it, November has arrived. Beautiful sunny weather so far though, I would love that to continue although I’m sure it won’t. I’m considering putting the 10.5tog duvet back on the bed tonight, brrr. I’ve had to start wearing my giant stripy red and white pyjama trousers already, two or three weeks ago in fact, (I pretty much lived in them during my 3rd trimester last time) which should give you some idea of how bumpy I am already. Although the fact that I’m wearing last summer’s dresses as maternity dresses with room to spare should show you how much weight I lost between stopping breastfeeding and getting pregnant. (ARgh breastfeeding. I’m trying to come to terms with doing that again!) I bought some Christmas reindeer pyjama trousers from Tesco the other week, in a rather giant size. Well why not eh.

We are actually making good progress on the living room now. It’s been a long time since I posted about house stuff as Andy is quite private about it, but it looks like we might even actually have a working living room before the end of the year. Hurrah! It’s only been 4 years in the making ;-) Of course, true to form as soon as we get one bit working another needs replacing and everyone is so booked up already this time of year. I need a new roof dammit! (Oven is still broken too, 10 months and counting…)

I hope I get some time this week to take some crochet photos for you, I’ve got a little ripple that’s finished (been finished for ages actually but I only sewed the ends in last night, I’m so lazy), and a whole bunch of granny squares to show you as well. Bet you can’t wait for that, what a novelty seeing granny squares on my blog!