Baby blues (and greens and reds and yellows . . . )

I’m so happy and excited, I’m jumping up and down like a  . . . well,  like a jumping up and down happy and excited thing. Just look at what the postman has brought.

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Has my wool basket ever looked so beautiful? Those colours are so delicious, I just want to dive in and swim around in them. Yes, I’m excited and not least because this is going to be a very special project for a very special little person – our precious new grandchild due in September. Oooooo! 🙂 🙂 🙂

When Ben was born, I decided in my infinite wisdom to make him a cross-stitch sampler as a welcome gift.  I bought this one from Bothy Threads New arrival sampler and it was lovely, such a bright and fun design to stitch, but it took me a year – yes, a whole year – to finish (by which time Ben was hardly a new baby any more). Cross-stitch is fine but I find it takes me 100% concentration and I’m far too easily distracted, so progress is beyond slow. (Let’s not even mention the tapestry garden sampler I started after being inspired by a visit to a French castle some 15 years ago and have yet to finish . . . ). When Annie and William were born, I made patchwork quilts to throw on the floor or lawn and play on: far more useful than a sampler, really, and what’s more they were finished before the babies were born. So what to make for Baby?

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I like the idea of patchwork again but this time I’m reverting to my favourite medium – wool – and I’m planning a blanket of Granny squares which seems quite appropriate, don’t you think? I have been totally inspired by the designs on the Attic 24 blogsite Attic 24 – how has it taken me so long to find this amazing site? I just love the photos, the colours are so beautiful and I think Lucy’s designs and tutorials are fantastic.  Actually, I just want to make everything on there. (As an aside, I also think the project packs from Wool Warehouse are a brilliant idea and how amazing that they shipped the wool here in a week for less delivery cost than I’ve paid for other companies to deliver in the UK. Credit where credit is due.) I’m taking my inspiration for Baby’s blanket from Lucy’s Summer Garden Throw Summer Garden Throw: I’m going to work lots of little squares of three colours each, then piece them like a quilt to make a colourful patchwork. I’ve got 18 different colours to play with which (if my maths is right) gives the possibility of 816 different squares. Mmm, don’t think I’ll need quite that many!  The beauty of this idea (in theory, anyway) is that rather than be tied to a sewing machine or fretting over a cross-stitch count chart, I can work little squares in odd moments and sit outside in the sunshine making them. I’m just going to have a lot of fun, I know . . . and yes, fingers crossed, it will be finished by September!

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Even though I was waiting very patiently for my crochet yarn to arrive in the post, I suppose it was inevitable that in the meantime my fingers would start to twitch. I’ve been having a little play with the Paintbox cotton leftovers from the crochet vest project, making Annie a headband, based loosely on this pattern. Crocheted headband As it’s really for summer,  I decided to make it narrower than in the pattern as it’s more of a hairband and less of an earwarmer (obviously I’m hoping Annie has some sunshine to enjoy this year!). I love this stitch, it so simple but effective – single crochet worked just into the back of each loop. This gives a raised horizontal ridge and a certain elasticity to the fabric, a bit like knitted rib. I can see how it would be ideal for bag straps and handles or maybe a multi-coloured stripy scarf.

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The pattern suggests a button as embellishment but wanting to play some more, I opted for investigating crocheted flowers. First I made a rose. The pattern is really lovely, Crocheted rose  but it’s just not quite what I wanted and seemed a bit ‘3-d’ for the band.

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I decided a flat flower would work better so had a go using this pattern. Crocheted flower It was very simple to do – the instructions are brilliant – and exactly what I wanted.

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For the finishing touch, I made a little button to match the one on the vest and attached it to the centre of the flower.

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So there we are. It’s a bit of frippery and nonsense really, but if it doesn’t fit Annie or she doesn’t like it then I’m sure it will make a perfect summer bridle for Missy!

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My last few spinning activities have been skeins of undyed fibre so I seriously felt the need for some colour on the bobbins this time. I love dyeing and have lots of plans for new activities this year but there’s no harm in the occasional treat of using some ready-dyed fleece, is there? Mmm, just look at these colours. How can I resist?

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This is Merino top in four shades plus I’ve blended in some unbleached tussah silk to add strength, a touch of luxury and a few hints of cream running through the blues and greens.

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I do have a knitting project in mind for the spun yarn but I know from experience that things don’t always go to plan on the wheel so let’s see what happens. In the meantime, I’m simply enjoying spinning outside to the sound of birdsong and watching those colours twist into something new and gorgeous.

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That’s when I’m not busy crocheting Granny squares, of course 🙂

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