Monday, 29 February 2016

Random Project 2016

This last few months for me have been tough.  There's no other way to say it.  Tragedies and heartbreak all around, but somehow, we must pull through and walk into the future, yes?

As we face a new year ahead, I've been struggling with coming up with new designs.  My head is just not "in it" as my children would say.  So sometimes you have to retreat back to the old tried and trusted... the good old granny square!

Now I know for some of you this might be totally boring, but, for me, for now, it's keeping me going, so it may help you too and give you some inspiration.

How many of you have dozens of tiny balls of left over yarn in your stash?  I would imagine quite a few!  I have odd whole skeins, and lots of little balls which are not enough to make anything on their own, but will make the beginnings of a granny square.

And so begins ...  "Random Project 2016"

Here is a sample of what I have begun with:


This is not all the odd yarn I have in my stash; only some of it.  All different colors, large and tiny amounts.  The only rules are:  They must all be the same weight of yarn.  All these are Aran weight, or Worsted weight, #4.  They must all be made with the same size hook:  I am using a 5mm (H/8) hook.  They must all finish the first 3 rounds with a slightly darker or brighter color in preparation for the 4th round (I will complete this later).

How am I picking the colors?  Well, I know that generally, in design, I would think about it very carefully, match up the colors according to a palette, and make sure it was all matching and symmetrical and so on.  This time... completely random!  This is the fun part.  You just dip in, pick any color you want out of the pile and make a granny square.  You can make it solid, or with various colors.  I have done a little of both.  

Here's a sample of what I have completed so far:


There are solid squares in there, and different colored squares.  No planning or reasoning, just grab and go!  What I do intend to do however is to finish off all the squares with another row of one solid colour, maybe white or cream.. depending on what I fancy using at the time.  Just to bring them all together a little.  Other than that - it's totally random, totally mindless, totally relaxing!

I have NO IDEA what this finished project will look like in the end, but what I do know is this:  When I have finished my blanket, and put it all together, whether it looks great from a designer's point of view or not, I will have something to pull over me to remind myself that I fought through, I didn't give up, and out of awful tragedy came something good.

I hope this inspires you to do something similar if you are ever struggling with what life throws at you.

I will try to keep you posted as the project progresses!

AG  :)


The Pattern:  



Materials required:  Any oddments/ odd skeins of aran weight yarn (#4, 10 ply); a 5mm hook (H-8); scissors, yarn needle.

Yarn can be all kinds of colors, either coordinated or not.  This can be completely random and it will still work.

Row 1:  With 5mm (h-8) hook, make a Magic Ring (alternatively, chain 4, sl st to beg chain to make a ring), Ch3 (counts as 1 dc), into the ring you made, work 2dc; ch2; continuing in the ring you made, work (3dc, ch2) 3 times, sl st to top of beg ch3.  Fasten off, weave in ends, and change colour.  (12 dc; 4 x ch2 spaces).

Row 2:  Attach yarn to any ch2 space; ch3 (counts as 1 dc); (2dc, ch2, 3dc) into same ch2 space, ch1; *(3dc, ch2, 3dc) into next ch2 space; ch1*; repeat from * to * 2 more times; sl st to top of beg ch3, fasten off, weave in ends, and change colour.  (24 dc; 4 x ch2 spaces; 4 ch1 spaces).

Row 3:  Attach yarn to any ch1 space; ch3 (counts as 1 dc); 2dc into same ch2 space, ch1; (3dc, ch2, 3dc) into next ch2 space; ch1; *3dc into next ch1 space; ch1; (3dc, ch2, 3dc) into next ch2 space; ch1*;  repeat from * to * 2 more times; sl st to top of beg ch3; fasten off, weave in ends, and change colour.  (36 dc; 4 x ch2 spaces; 8 ch1 spaces).

Row 4:  Attach yarn to first ch1 space on any side; ch3 (counts as 1 dc); 2dc into same ch2 space, ch1; 3dc into next ch1 space; ch1; (3dc, ch2, 3dc) into next ch2 space; ch1; *(3dc into next ch1 space; ch1) twice; (3dc, ch2, 3dc) into next ch2 space; ch1*;  repeat from * to * 2 more times; sl st to top of beg ch3; fasten off, weave in ends.  48 dc; 4 x ch2 spaces; 12 ch1 spaces).

Now repeat from Rows 1 to 4 for all subsequent squares.

When you have enough for the size of blanket you require, start sewing them together!  



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Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Sturdiest Ever Market Bag by Celina Lane of Simply Collectible

As you all know, because of personal circumstances, I've been in a bit of a "slump" lately.  I haven't had much imagination for designing, though I hope that will return very soon.

Meanwhile, frustrated with having to keep remembering to buy plastic bags at the store to carry my goods home, I decided I needed to make myself a new market bag.

Enter the wonderfully easy and functional "Sturdiest Ever Market Bag" by Celina Lane of Simply Collectible.



Now mine doesn't look as good as Celina's; mine was made in rather a hurry, and the picture isn't brilliant, but you can see what a great bag this is.

Lots of stretch, and because it's worked with two strands of cotton, it is very tough!

To make mine, I had some spare skeins of Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn that needed used up, in different colors - green and white, red white and green multi, and orange and white.  I started with the green and white, and just changed colors as the remnants of the skeins ran out, ending up with the lovely bright orange and off-white at the handles.

I LOVE this bag, and I love this pattern.

The pattern itself is sooo easy to follow!

I watched N.C.I.S. while making it, and I like to really get into the plot of that program, so you can see that the bag took very little concentration and counting.

Celina has done a great job with this pattern and I know I will be making another bag very shortly.

In fact, I already have the yarn set out to begin!

Thank you Celina for a great idea, and a great product!

Oh! The pattern also includes a free flower embellishment, though I didn't make that.

http://simplycollectiblecrochet.com/2014/03/free-pattern-easy-crochet-flower-headband/

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sturdiest-ever-market-bag---beach-tote

https://www.facebook.com/SimplyCollectibleCrochetDesignsandPatterns/?pnref=lhc

Give it a try - I know you will love it!

AG :)