Yarn review 

‘Holly would you like to review some yarn for us?’……they had me at yarn! 

When Hobbycraft’s Knitcraft team got in touch and asked if I wanted to try out some new yarn how could I resist? (I’m pretty sure no one says no to this!)

So when a lovely squishy parcel arrived I couldn’t wait to dive in – these three yarns vary greatly, and it was nice to try something different to my usual go-to yarns. I’ve written a quick review below if you want to hear more…

(This isn’t an ad, I’ve not been paid for this but they did send me squishy yarn to play with 😉)


Phildar Myriade:

This is a fabulously glittery yarn! The loose chain of this yarn is easy to work with, isn’t splitty and not scratchy like some metallic yarns. It would be perfect for adding a bit of sparkle to an outfit with a glitzy trim, and it’s ideal for Christmas decorations!

Phil Flocon:

This is a gorgeous chunky yarn to work with – its fluffy texture is perfect for garments and the glacon shade is a beautiful icy green. It’s really soft due to the alpaca content…im envisioning a winter cowl with this lovely snuggly yarn!

Phil Nuage Legrete
This chunky yarn is a gorgeous blend of merino (72%) and polyamide, making it lovely and soft. It’s really snuggly but light at the same time – it’s like crocheting a cloud! The sable shade is a great neutral, I’d really recommend giving this yarn a try.

Green Granny Circles Blanket

Well hello 2016! I’ve finally managed to find a bit of time to write a new blog post – Christmas and New Year are always busy but on the 2nd of January little Milo arrived! One day late (he obviously didn’t want a New Years birthday) and he’s now 7 weeks old! 

  
So understandably there’s not been as much time for crochet but I have managed to squeeze in a bit here and there.

My best friend’s little boy turns 1 this month and as a birthday present I wanted to make him a blanket – big enough for his cot or for snuggling on the sofa.  My friend’s only request was that it be green to match his new room when they move house, so I started having a think about how I could combine lots of different shades to make a pretty, but boyish blanket.

One pattern I love is granny circles.  Now I know I’m not the first person to do these and I’m pretty sure they must be called something else but this is what I’ve always known them as, and after having a look around I couldn’t find the pattern written down anywhere so I thought I’d write it down here for anyone who is interested. These aren’t sunburst squares as they don’t use puff/cluster stitches.

  

   

(Please excuse my slightly wonky square!)
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Granny circle pattern: (US terms)

Chain 5, slip stitch to join into a foundation ring.

Chain 3 (counts as dc), 11 DC into the ring. Slip stitch join to top of ch3 (12 stitches)

Change colour, join new colour between any two dc’s. Chain 3, dc in the same space. 2 dc in the next space along, and continue around with 2dc’s in every space. Slip stitch join to top of ch3 at start of round (24 stitches)

Change colour, join in any gap between the pairs from the previous round (ie not in between two stitches themselves). Chain 3 (counts as dc) 2dc into same place making a cluster of three. 3dc into next gap and continue around, slip stitch to join as before.

This is really easy to remember as its 1-2-3. Individual stitches on the first round, then groups of 2, then groups of 3. I guess there’s nothing to stop you continuing this pattern if you wanted to make them larger e.g. groups of 4 then 5 etc, although I’ve not tried this myself. 

Nb. I dont ch1 between clusters as you do with granny squares, just move along to the next space and continue.

To square off the circle, join the colour that you want to be your joining colour – I used one colour to join all my squares (in this case Stylecraft Special DK in Stone) – in between clusters.  Ch3, then 2dc in same space. 3dc in next space along. Then 3tr in the next space (this will be a corner), ch3, then 3tr again into the same space. 3dc into the next two spaces then repeat the corner. Continue around ending with a corner, then slip stitch to join back to the start.

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For this blanket I used the following shades of Stylecraft Special DK

– Duck egg, Sage, Storm Blue, Pistachio, Lime, Grass Green, Kelly Green, Mocha, Walnut, and Stone. (One ball of each apart from 2x Kelly Green and 3x Stone)

With a 4mm hook.

The new shades from Stylecraft are lovely,particularly the Kelly Green (the dark green you can see in the pics). I added the browns to break it up a bit, and because I thought a totally green blanket might be a bit much…I may be wrong of course 😉 

This blanket is made up of 120 squares (10×12) so I put together 12 different colour combos for the rounds and made 10 of each. With little crochet time at the moment (2 children under 3) I found it easiest to make them up in batches of the same colours and try and get a group of 10 done each evening. Of course sewing in the ends takes the most time!

  

  
Once completed I used join-as-you-go to join them all up row by row.  In hindsight I should have done a continuous j-a-y-g and saved myself time sewing in even more ends….

  
But anyway after a few evenings joining them together I was ready for my favourite part – the border! Firstly I did a round of sc in Stone to neaten up the edges (this meant it blended in neatly), followed by hdc rounds in graduating green shades – Pistachio, Sage, Lime, Grass Green and Kelly Green. This gives a nice solid edge and brought the emphasis back to green after using Stone as the main joining colour.  For the final round I wanted something a bit special. I narrowed it down to leaf edging, bobbles/pompoms or a simple picot.

  

Leaf edging – *sc, skip 2, 4tr, picot, 4tr, skip 2*

Pompom edging pattern from Once Upon a Pink Moon

The picot edge was a bit simple for this blanket in my view, and while I would happily add a Pompom edge to nearly anything (they’re just so cute!) as this is for a one-year old I think it would have just resulted in lots of fingers and toes getting stuck in the border! The leaf edging was definitely in-keeping with the green theme and a quick straw poll on Instagram told me lots of people agreed (thanks for the feedback guys!)

  
A quick block of the border later and tada! One finished Green Granny Circles blanket ready to be gifted to a very special little boy 💚

          
Finished dimensions are (inc border): 45.5″ x 37″

A handmade Dinosaur birthday party….*roar*

I’ve now had a couple of weeks to recover from Pip’s birthday party – it’s hard to believe my little girl is two already! Since February she’s been adamant she wanted a dinosaur birthday party (and I was secretly very relieved she didn’t choose Frozen) so I had plenty of time to get planning.

Dinosaur egg party bags

Early on I knew I wanted to make some cool party bags, and inspired by Pinterest I decided on making paper mache dinosaur eggs. This was by no means a quick process and after I’d make a couple I found myself quietly cursing Pinterest! Here’s a quick tutorial:

– using regular balloons, blow up to a size that will fit your party bag bits in (the tallest thing in Pip’s party bags was a pencil so the balloons had to be big enough to fit those in). Don’t make them too big as it will take longer to do the paper mache!

– using newspaper cut it into strips. Mix pva glue and water (2 parts glue to 1 part water) and glue the strips onto the balloon.  You can do a couple of layer before leaving to dry.  Once dry do a couple more layers and leave to dry – the newspaper should then feel pretty sturdy and you can then stick a pin in the side and pop the balloon.  I found it helpful to stand the balloon in a bowl while doing the paper mache to stop it rolling around all over the place.

  
-once you’ve popped the balloon, you can cut a slit at the top (where the balloon knot was).  I cut a couple of slits  of about 7cm coming out from the top at wider than a right angle.  I found I could then get all the goodies in the egg without creating a big hole (You can also try and remove the popped balloon from the middle at this stage if you can). You then need to do a couple more layers of paper mache to seal it up.

– then it’s on to painting! I got hold of some bright crayola paint – it took a couple of coats to cover up the newsprint but I think they turned out pretty well, and I added a few spots to make them look a bit more ‘dinosaury’ 

  
  

NB. I would not recommend these for a large party – I made 10 and it took a fortnight!! Also warn parents of small children that there may be bits of popped balloon inside! I’m sure the kids will need a hand opening them – though one child successfully managed to rip his open on the car ride him 😉

Dinosaur garlands

As Pip is pretty active these days I wanted to get her involved in making the decorations for the party. A really simple activity was making a dinosaur garland.

With the help of my lovely friends we drew some dino outlines on bright coloured card and cut them out. We then let Pip and my little god-daughter Izzy decorate them with googly eyes and sticker spots.  Really simple and fun, the girls loved it and I think they did a great job!

  

Whilst I had my little helpers to hand we also set about making some jungle leaves garlands to decorate the living room.  I stuck some green card to our easel and the girls did some hand painting with orange, yellow and green onto the sheets of card.

 
I then cut them into leaf shapes and punched holes in the top.  They would have been a bit tricky to tie onto a garland individually so I crocheted a chain of chain stitch (slip stitching into the leaf holes to join them).

  

Dinosaur cape

Well it wouldn’t be a proper dinosaur party without a costume would it! 

Having looked around for dino costumes I just couldn’t find any cute ones, but I did find a great tutorial here to sew a dinosaur cape.  I adapted it a bit as it suggests using fleece and as this was a summer party I thought cotton might be better, but not much of a difference, I just added a few hems.  I used some stick-on Velcro at the front as a fastening (I didn’t want it to be a choke hazard!) and tada!

  
 

 
 Photo collage

We made Pip a large ‘1’ last year made out of photos from her first year, and we had so many nice comments that I wanted to do another this year – it’s nice to reflect on the last year.  It’s very simple to do – just get a large sheet of rigid cardboard and a stack of printed photos – I used pics from age 1-2 this time.  A bit of arranging, cutting and glueing and voila! It was also a nice activity for me and hubby to do one evening after Pip had gone to bed (no he didn’t manage to escape the crafting!)

  


Present

And of course the birthday girl needed a suitably dinosaur-themed present.  I’m a huge fan of Heidibears patterns and have made the Happypotamus and Owl designs previously.  But the stegosaurus pattern is adorable! You can see all her patterns here .

These are not quick but once you get the hang of the African Flower pattern the motifs aren’t difficult.  I started this in February to give me plenty of time (and with all those dinosaur eggs I’m glad I did!).  I used Stylecraft Special DK yarn and a lot of toy stuffing! The finished dino is 90cm long, nearly as big as Pip- but she loved it and that’s all I can ask for 🙂

 
  

Anyway if you’ve got to the end of my dinosaur ramble thank you for reading! At this rate I should start planning now for Pip’s 3rd birthday! 😉

Xx

   

 

 

Crochet Lace Baby Blanket

My latest blanket was one which I’d been itching to start for a while now. It’s a pattern by Baby Dear called Crocheted Lace Baby Blanket, and it’s available on Ravelry and Etsy. It’s not free but it cost less than a cup of coffee so I can’t complain – and I’m sure I’ll make lots of these in the future.
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For this one I thought I’d try out the Stylecraft Baby yarn in Blue Marl. It’s a twisted pale blue and white and is lovely for a baby boy (or girl – but that’s a rant I’m not going to have here! 😉 )

From just a few rounds in you can see how pretty it’s going to be – the bobbles forming a little diamond shape in the centre of the blanket. The pattern is really well written and easy to follow, with simple stitches being brought together to make a stunning design. The bobbles and shell stitches add lovely detail.

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As I was using DK yarn as opposed to the 4ply suggested, I stopped a few rounds short as it was already large enough, but ended on the stated shell round. My finished blanket is 27″ square – perfect for a new baby.

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Featured Instagrammer

I was so chuffed this weekend to be the Featured Instagrammer on Crochet Concupiscence!

Kathryn shares crochet photos weekly on her blog (if you want to join in use the hashtag #crochetconcupiscence) – it really seems to have taken off recently and I’ve found it a great way to discover other crochet feeds on IG. Kathryn also has an interesting background and has found crochet to be very healing in her experience with depression – i don’t want to tell her story for her so if you want to read more do go check out her blog. It’s also jam-packed with lots of crochet articles so you won’t be disappointed!

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V-stitch LoVe

After seeing all the amazing V-stitch blankets on Instagram, I finally caved and made one of my own. A big inspiration was the Patchwork Heart and she’s got a guide to the stitch on her site – my blanket used a foundation chain of 132 and turned out the perfect size for a pram blanket (or todder size if you have a rather petite child like me!).

I also thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the Caron Simply Soft yarn I’d been hearing about lately and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s acrylic but unbelievably soft and I’m a fan of the large ball size (170g). I love jewel colours so I picked: Grape, Blue Mint, Passion, Fuschia and Berry Blue.

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V-stitch is so easy once the first row is completed and works up incredibly quickly. I took it to Cornwall and it was the perfect holiday project.

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The whole thing was completed in a couple of weeks (probably because it was so addictive), and I finished it with a border of SC in Grape, followed by a HDC round in Blue Mint.

I haven’t decided yet whether to keep it (tempting but running out of space), gift it or sell it, so it’ll just have to sit looking pretty for a while.

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Back in the blogosphere

After a couple of years of neglecting my blog (being a new mum was unsurprisingly time consuming) I’ve decided to return with a new name, new blog and new focus!
I’ll be using this site as a bit of a journal – documenting my craft projects and ideas, as well as my motherhood adventures. Life seems to be moving so quickly – I look at Pip and wonder at how suddenly she became a rather independent (and feisty) little toddler. My handmade projects seem to be multiplying rapidly – I give most away as gifts, so writing about them will be a nice way of keeping track of them all.
Anyway that’s all for now – must dash as Pip is trying to feed a plastic crocodile to the dog!