Weekly Wednesday WIP Roll Call; ep. 24

Where we hold ourselves to account for the obscene number of ongoing projects we may or may not have

Katy

I’ve not done a lot this week, just a couple more squares for the Patchwork. I managed to squeeze in some crochet time en route to a weekend away with the family!

Also, popcorn!

Also, in non-crocheting-or-knitting news, I broke out the old Fimo this week and made some more crochet hooks! They’ve been selling steadily in the Etsy shop, and I received a custom order request! This green beauty with pink petals winged its way off to its new owner today:


I do apologise for the less-than-stellar photos this week, by the way; my PC is staging some kind of protest so I can’t upload from my camera. Phone photography it is!


You’ll notice that the hook size has been highlighted with a little paint in the top photo – what do you think? It makes it so much easier to see, but I’d like to play around with more a subtle variation, I think. I used a dark green; I think I’d prefer a gentler silver or something… Opinions welcomed and encouraged in the comments!

 

Nicole

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Well, if you were to look at the above picture, you might be fooled into thinking that I actually finished my Flying Ford Anglia Stripey socks. Of course you would be wrong.

I managed to finish the toe of the second sock and got very excited about my next pair of socks that I immediately cast them on, using the needles I needed to knit the afterthought heel. What a chump move! I’m sure that I have another pair of needles, the correct size, but who knows where they are. I don’t mind though because the socks I’m working on are quite fantastic.

 

If you guessed I’d started the Every Flavour Mercury socks, you’d be right! I knew going in that the variegated nature of the yarn doesn’t really lend itself to a lace pattern of this scale. However, I honestly do not care. Seeing all the colours of the yarn play together is so much fun, every single stitch is different and the lace texture is softly subtle against the cacophony of colour! I’ve heard such lovely things about this pattern, it has been doing the rounds on the Ravelry forums I’m in and it has not dissapointed. The simple six stitch repeat is so rhythmic  I’m certain that after only three pattern repeats I have it memorised. I’ve made a couple of mistakes, having missed some yarn overs here and there but they are easily found and fixed. So far, so good! I’m not very far in so hopefully the rest of the knit is equally smooth

 

 

I’ve also been experimenting with African Violet motifs.These two are made using different size hooks to see how they work out with scale. There are some amazing patterns using these motifs to build amazing animals as well as beautiful blankets. The blue petaled flower was my first attempt and used a 4mm hook. It is the perfect size for blanket blocks as it works up quickly and has a decent area. I feel that the spacing in the middle and in the petals wouldn’t be the best for animal sculpture. The pink petaled flower used a slightly smaller hook, a 3.5mm, but again I’m uncertain whether it would be good enough for animals so will attempt to use an even smaller hook if I can find one! A reoccuring theme for me!

 

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I have been working on the blanket as well, I quite like the look of the African Violet’s against the blocks I’ve already got. This will give another aspect to the blanket which I think works perfectly with the theme that I’m working with. Time will tell though!

 

 

 

 

Weekly Wednesday, erm, Thursday, just about, Wip Roll Call; Ep 23

Where we hold ourselves to account for the obscene number of ongoing projects we may or may not have

 

Nicole

 

 

So I didn’t finish the socks. Quelle suprise right? But look how close I am, I’m fairly certain I’m going to finish the toe today. I have been stung by my own hubris before though.Will I ever learn? I can’t even say that I was particularly busy this week, we did have a dye day on Tuesday, but other than that my week has been fairly quiet. Fingers crossed this week is equally quiet because I’ve already caked up my Every Flavour yarn ready to go for my Mercury socks. I’m itching to start something new but must resist.

 

 

I’ve also started joining the blocks on my blanket. I thought I had joined more and can’t decide if my memory is failing me, or that this project has fallen victim to tiny toddler hands. The blocks are working together nicely in a join as you go manner so that is positive!

 

In other news, we had a very successful dye day. I’ve taken a few pictures of the yarn we dyed but I think we’re sharing that in a bigger standalone post. For now though, here is a picture of the yarn being swiped by the aforementioned tiny toddler hands, please ignore the errant hair… where is the eyecovering monkey emoji when you need it!

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Katy

Dye day totally took precedence this week! It was SO MUCH FUN. More to come on that topic in another blog post, soon. 

Having said that, it was also my birthday this week! Yay. I was fortunate to be given some scrumptious yarn by Dye Candy and Fleabubs & Lala. 

Also this spectacular mug


 

 I will speak more about those yarns once I’ve used them, I expect. But don’t they look great?!

Now then. In terms of actual crocheting, I can confirm that I’ve been working on the Scrappy Patchwork blanket some more. I have made around twenty squares this week.


As you can see, I’m in the midst of yet another crisis about colour selections, as the squares are mostly divided into “proper bright” and “a bit less bright” currently. I don’t know. I liked the more gentle palette I arranged a couple of weeks ago, but I’d also like this to be a blanket for the boys’ room. While they’re not averse to a bit of pink and purple, I don’t know how much longer I have left before they do the “urgh but that’s a girl colour” thing. (Weep!) 

One last thing before I go – I worked up a square of some yarn I dyed on Tuesday – and I love it! Here’s a sneak peek:

Weekly Wednesday WIP Roll Call; ep. 22

Where we hold ourselves to account for the obscene number of ongoing projects we may or may not have.

Katy

I haven’t started anything new this week; just been plugging away at the Pixel Scrappy Blanket squares. I’m aiming to make it single bed sized, to go in the kids’ room probably. It has occurred to me that if one of them gets a blanket for their bed, I should probably make one for the other child too. I’ll have to have a think on that one. Maybe expand the old scrappy ripple blanket (“bridges blanket” – I’ll explain below!) with a wide border so it covers the bed fully.


This one. Obsessed as he was with trains at the time, my oldest son used to run engines up and down the stripes; calling it “my bridges blanket”. And so it has since been known!

Now, hopefully that stream-of-consciousness blanket chatter has distracted you from the fact that I’ve done practically nothing this week… and without further ado, here’s Nicole!

Nicole

This week has been pretty slow! I don’t know why, I guess considering the last few weeks raced by at break neck speed with busyness, being back to work and the normal routine has seemed a bit dull.

Despite that I’ve attempted to make some progress on my blanket. I had started joining these blocks before taking the picture but did not enjoy the method I had used at all. So obviously it had to be ripped back. Having seen how they look joined, I’m not sure my original plans will work. I might need to make them bigger and go from there. Decisions decisions eh? That said these are only block version 1.0, I still have a few more ideas to give a go before settling on the final version(s).

I have still been plugging away on these stripy socks. Using my own self striping yarn I am absolutely in love with this colourway! I realise you can’t quite see the toe in the first picture but the dark grey is a perfect contrast. I am desperate to finish these so that I can crack on with the afterthought heel. It won’t be too long I should think, I am half way through the striping section on the second sock, so dependant on how tomorrow goes I should be ready for the heel on Saturday night. That is how rock and roll I live guys, knitting and Netflix with the occasional cup of tea thrown in for good measure! These socks have been living in my (shameless plug alert) Kaleidoscope City project bag, we have similar ones in stock in our Etsy shop so do have a look there if you like what you see!

  Achievement Unlocked: We Opened An Etsy Shop! Plus: Exciting News…

Can you believe it?! We’re both completely giddy with joy, for a fortnight ago, we finally opened up our Etsy shop for business!

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This is an exciting time for Kaleidoscope City, as – announcement time – we up our game with a view to start dyeing luxury yarns for sale within a matter of weeks. We’ve been slowly kitting ourselves out over the space of a year; picking up some large dyeing pans here, squeezy bottles for hand-painting there. A packet of citric acid; a box of latex gloves; pipettes and beakers and tiny measuring spoons. Both of us ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the colour chart of dyes, taking turns to pick shades. We’ve begun to stockpile samples of different “bare” yarns including superwash merino sock yarn with added nylon for durability, and GOLD SPARKLY yarn (I’m particularly excited about that one). Now, we’re fundraising to make a big purchase: a bulk order of undyed yarn. We CANNOT WAIT to get cracking with this, having had several practice runs in the meantime. Take a look at some mobile phone photos of Nicole’s gorgeous test dyes from last week:

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I actually helped with the one on the left – I’d only popped over for a cup of tea, but you know how things escalate. Before I knew it we had masks on, a huge pot on the stove, and jars of dye in our hands.

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Impulsive yarn fancification

Nicole has written about her exploits (and my enthusiastic joining-in) here, in this week’s Weekly Wednesday WIP Roll Call. Take a look!

So, currently in the Etsy shop we have for sale a number of hand-sewn project bags…

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… and some polymer-clay-handled crochet hooks.

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We’re thinking about making some stitch markers, progress keepers, and maybe some other accessories – if you have any suggestions, hit us up in the comments!

As you can imagine, this is a hugely gratifying and exciting experience for both of us. We’re forging a business doing something we love – who could ask for more? We’re both incredibly appreciative of our readers, followers, and now customers too!

See you soon with further updates on our adventures!

Weekly Wednesday WIP Roll Call; ep 21 – the one day late edition.

Where we hold ourselves to account for the obscene number of ongoing projects we may or may not have.

Nicole

 

Hey guys! Long time no see! I’ve been absent on here and instagram for TWO WEEKS and it has felt like an age. The first week I had extreme technical issues with both my camera and laptop which are thankfully sorted out now! Then last week I was visiting family with my daughter followed quickly by her 2nd birthday. It truly was a whirlwind of busyness with little time to check in. Don’t worry though, I do have plenty to share.

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I have a lot of plans for knitting this year which involve a lot of sock yarn. Have you heard of the #boxosoxkal2017? It’s a year long knitalong where you knit at least 12 pairs of socks for yourself so thats where my yarn requirements come from. Knowing my plans, my husband treated me to a KnitPicks order as a lovely Valentines Day present. Don’t be fooled though; we share a bank account and it was really an excuse get me to buy him things for his hobby which I happily did!

Anyway, KnitPicks sell a self striping yarn called Felici and there is a particular colourway named “Beyond The Wall”. Any self respecting Game of Thrones fans will immediately understand the reference by the colours let alone the name. A sequence of blues and greys it perfectly captures the feel of the Night King and the White Walkers. I decided that this would be the perfect yarn to knit a themed pair of socks when the final season airs at some point this year complete with dark grey contrast heel, cuff and toe.

 

I’m also participating in another year long KAL, the Inside Number 23 Harry Potter 2017 KAL (#23hpkal2017). This one is make at least six Harry Potter inspired pieces within the year. I’ve already completed my first project for both of the KALs as thankfully double dipping is allowed, the Hermiones Everyday Socks. I am yet to write a tada post about these, will update the post when I do. The basis of Harry Potter inspiration is pretty broad, you can knit patterns that are named for an aspect of Harry Potter, use yarns that are inspired by Harry Potter and if you can describe why it relates to Harry Potter in some way its good to be included!

Now I don’t want to spend the year making Hermiones Everyday Socks, I do love the pattern but I also love variety so I decided to dye some yarn for my projects based on Harry Potter inspiration. I managed to include some undyed sock yarn from KnitPicks in my order and quickly got to work! My first dyeing attempt was a self striping colourway, ambitious I know! If I try it again anytime soon I’ll be sure to share my method with pictures, it was a bit time consuming sorting the yarn whilst monitoring a toddler. Shocking right?

 

My inspiration was the cover of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and I have named this colourway The Flying Ford Anglia. The green is the countryside, the blue representing the Ford Anglia, the slim stripe of grey is the trim of the car and Hedwig is in the thin white strip. I pretty much winged it in terms of measuring for the stripes which resulted in slightly thinner stripes of grey and white than I would have liked. Despite that though this yarn is pure joy and excitement. It is  pretty close to the colours I wanted to achieve and it stripes! That was the main goal so I feel happily smug.

I’m knitting it up as a basic cuff down vanilla sock using an afterthought heel. This will be my first afterthought heel attempt and I’ve finished the first tube of sock. Theoretically inserting the afterthought heel will mean that I have greater control over the stripe distribution. In my last pair of self striping socks, the heel was constructed as I go and the front has a tiny odd stripe on on each foot. I should be able to avoid this by inserting a contrast heel! I feel like this would be a fantastic way to level up my sock knitting game! These socks will also count towards the Pinfeather and Purls #stripeysockskal2017 as well as the #boxosoxkal2017 another double dipping win!

 

 

In my delivery I had two more skeins of bare yarn which I couldn’t resist dyeing. The one on the right is named Every Flavour and the left pair doesn’t have a name. Scratch that, its now named Anon, I’m punny like that… Anyway, they were both dyed with the same dyes but a couple of weeks apart. Every Flavour has ultra blue flecks whilst Anon has Turquoise. Anon was actually a bit of a collaboration between Katy and me when she popped over for a cup of tea at the beginning of the week. The yarn was placed in a pale yellow dye bath, I placed the turquoise whilst Katy added in the magenta with us both adding extra turquoise speckles. Every Flavour was a total free pour experiment with the three base colours resulting in so many beautiful hues. Its destiny is a pair of Mercury Socks once I’ve finished the afterthought heel pair whilst Anon will end up a pair of Harry Potter themed Erica Lueder socks, specifically The Weasley Homestead socks. So that is six pairs of socks in total that are either knit, being knitted or at least planned for!

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Other projects have been left on the wayside a bit due to the time away. My blanket project is currently hanging out on this diy blocking board. This is just a gardeners kneeling pad picked up for a paltry £1 in Wilkinsons with some bamboo canes I had on hand. Pinterest has more details if you search diy blocking board,  this is quite a simple option for granny blocks. I’ve got a few more things to practice for this blanket before I knuckle down into complete making mode on it. My Granny Stripe Ripple had a couple of rows added whilst watching the Super Bowl at the beginning of the month but is too cumbersome to travel with these days. Finn also hasn’t been touched. I did make another Wickerwork Hat using some KnitPicks Brava worsted that is pictured in the delivery box at the top, but I have given that to my Nan without taking a picture of it. Well I took one which I’m going to share on Insta in my #yarnlovechallenge catch up!

What an epic catch up! It feels great to be back, now back to my socks!

 

Katy

Katy is away this week with her family! This time of year tends to be busy for both of us thanks to family birthdays and half terms. Hoping that Storm Doris doesn’t interfere with things too much for her, I’m sure she’ll tell us all about it and what she’s been doing soon.

Tada! Katy’s Caravan Granny Square Blanket

So last summer, we spent a week “up North”, staying with my lovely dad and his lovely wife, in a tiny village on the border between Cumbria and Northumberland. The drive (without stops) was estimated to take 6-7 hours each way, and OH had volunteered to do the driving. Naturally this meant CROCHET TIME for me. Glorious hours of enforced sitting still – for not only myself, but also my children! Some people don’t enjoy long car journeys with kids. I was very fortunate, on reflection, that my two divided their time between sleeping, and inexplicably quietly entertaining themselves. (Both things they usually avoid at all costs.) No doubt, balance will be restored on our next long journey – which happens to be in a weeks’ time. I’ll let you know how that goes!

I had no idea at the time what I wanted to make, so I packed a selection of shades of Stylecraft Special DK, and a 4mm hook. I figured if push came to shove, I could just make more squares for my Pixel Scrappy Blanket.

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This was my attempt to make a decision, the night before we set off

Thanks to Modern Life, The Future and such, I had my data-laden smartphone with me, so I hopped onto Pinterest for inspiration. I quickly stumbled across this tutorial from Purple Chair Crochet for the sunburst granny square motif, and set to work.

 

Thanks, Purple Chair Crochet!

I tried out a few vivid colour combinations before settling on the pink/ mustard/ magenta/ navy scheme. Those experiments then evolved into the Offensively Bright Cushion (below).

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It was enough for me to know that I liked the pattern, and in the interest of keeping things portable (we were going on lots of day trips where I might eke out a bit of in-car crochet, or even a few stitches in a cafe here and there) I made the decision that all of the squares would have the same colour combination. A pile of yellow centres took me no time at all, and I naively began to believe that I might even finish these squares before I went home!

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These little squares didn’t take long, in all honesty. But there weren’t enough, initally, for a decent sized blanket. I had to decide whether to make more squares, or add some extra rounds to the existing squares. I decided on the latter, and set to work. I did try adding some different colours to the mix (namely red and lime), but in the end I frogged them and stuck with Stylecraft Special DK’s Mustard and Midnight.

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Looking lovely!

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I adore this as a blanket, but it wasn’t big enough yet…

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… so another round of Midnight was needed.

Somewhere down the line, I impulsively decided to add the spearminty Aspen shade (also Stylecraft Special DK) into the mix. Did I ever mention that I have a problem with sticking to colour schemes? I couldn’t resist a blast of brightness, but now, looking back, I’m not sure if it was the right decision. The colours were supposed to be a little bit retro, like 60s/70s caravan curtains. I think I took it a bit too far with the spearmint, to be honest. But, it is what it is, and I do love what this blanket became. Even though I completely ignored my own planned design for it.

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I used the Aspen yarn to join my squares, using the Continuous Join-As-You-Go Method as demonstrated on the Patchwork Heart blog. I’d never used this type of technique before, but thanks to the tutorial linked above, it was really straightforward.

My favourite bit about this joining method is that it only left me with 4 additional ends to weave in! It would have been two, but I needed to start a second ball of the Aspen yarn and join it in. A welcome thing indeed, after the many, many ends in each square thanks to all of the colour changes. I find myself compelled to work out just how many ends there were…

35 squares, each with ((2 ends per colour change) x 8 colour changes) = 560; plus:

(joining and border rounds)
4 Aspen ends
2 Midnight ends
2 Red ends
2 Fondant ends
2 Lime ends
2 Midnight ends
2 Turquoise ends
2 Midnight ends
2 Mustard ends = an additional 20

560 + 20 = a thoroughly exhausting 580 ends!

I’ve shocked myself with that – is my maths correct?! That sounds horrendous. I suppose it was a bit like childbirth – seemingly never ending; you cannot see beyond the carnage that is the present moment – but now I’ve basically forgotten all of the trauma, and I have a nice *thing* as a result.

This one is less demanding than a baby, though. And it can be tumble dried.

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When I get a moment, I’ll come back and add a photo of it all laid flat. Until then, thanks for reading!

Weekly Wednesday WIP Roll Call; ep. 20

Where we hold ourselves to account for the obscene number of ongoing projects we may or may not have.

KATY

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Evening! It’s just me this evening, as Nicole is away visiting family.

I completed the Caravan Granny Square Blanket this week. I’m so pleased! Now all I need is the caravan to go with it. My parents had a caravan when I was growing up so I have a lot of fond memories and nostalgic feelings; I would buy one in a heartbeat if I had the money or the space to keep it! 

A Tada post is in the works, which will take you through the process I followed to make this cheery blanket, but in the meantime, the above link will take you to my Ravelry project page for more details.

 

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I also put the finishing touches on Baby Groot – isn’t he sweet? He’s from a free pattern by Twinkie Chan – find it here, on her blog. I left out a little of the detail, notably the embroidered mouth. I felt he had enough expression in his little face without a mouth; what do you think?

In other news, I had a play with the squares I’ve amassed for the Pixel Scrappy Blanket, and made the decision to remove the yellow/red/orange /brown squares. This leaves me with a much more soothing melange of pinks, purples, blues and greens. I’m really liking the new pared-down colour scheme, but it does create a bit of a setback – I now have only about 2/3 the number of squares I had before! Better keep crocheting, I guess. It’s nice to have more of a focus though.

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An old photo showing all of the colours… (I’ve since made more)

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…and now, a little more thought-out.


The rejected squares will go to some future project; don’t worry, they won’t go to waste!

Weekly Wednesday WIP Roll Call; ep. 19

Where we hold ourselves to account for the obscene number of ongoing projects we may or may not have.

Katy

Well, I’ve almost completed the Caravan Granny Square Blanket, and the end is in sight! I am on the final round of the border now – a happy procession of bright yellow scallops – and a Tada! post should materialise within the next week, I should think.

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Interrupting cat

 

The cats took ownership of this blanket long before I even finished joining the squares, which is why you may have spotted a white hair (or ten) in some of my progress photos. A wash and tumble dry should remedy that – another reason I appreciate acrylic yarn!
Since I don’t have a lot to say on the subject of WIP progress, I thought I’d write a little about another creative thing in which I’ve been participating.

Those who follow our Instagram feed may notice that both Nicole and I are taking part in the ubiquitous Yarn Love Challenge, organised by Ravelry ladies Mary (@maryheatherb) and Christina (@oharethey) . For the month of February, these ladies have assigned a photo prompt per day. We’re on day 8 right now. As far as I can tell, there’s a staggering number of people taking part, and I’ve really enjoyed browsing the photos by searching the hashtags! Here’s a look at my Yarn Love Challenge participation so far:

 

 

Tada! Katy’s Chunky Merino Hat

Another day, another Tada post! I present to you, the Chunky Merino Hat.

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My OH asked me for a chunky knitted hat. He didn’t mind what colour, nor was he fussed about any specific pattern. Just a chunky, slouchy hat.

I did my usual – consulted Ravelry – and as usual, it came up with an answer: Jason’s Tweed Hat by Melissa Thomson. Excellent. Free as well- bonus! Next, to choose some yarn. I had a look online at a selection of yarns that might be both soft and chunky, and settled upon Wendy Merino Chunky in the Soot colourway. It’s a lovely mid-grey that looks blue in some lights. It suits him (and the rest of his wardrobe) down to the ground.

After starting the hat as per the pattern, I realised that it wasn’t big enough. We joke about poor OH having trouble finding hats to fit, and this pattern was no different. So I ripped back and started again with 90 stitches instead of the recommended 70. I think I just had to make sure it was a multiple of 10, in order for the decreases to work out. I also made the hat longer than the pattern specified, as OH wanted a hat with a bit of slouch.

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Once it was all knit up, I blocked the hat using a balloon. This was my first foray into hat blocking, and I’m pleased to report that it was successful! (The smaller hat was, too!)

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I blew the balloon up a little, stuck it in the hat and blew it up some more. I then misted the hat all over with water, and left it to dry for 24 hours. When i took the balloon out, I had a smoothed, neat-looking hat, stretched out a little in the crown but not at all stretched in the ribbed brim. Perfect!

I am really pleased with the end result, as is OH. Lovely simple pattern, lovely smooth yarn. Thumbs up!

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Weekly Wednesday WIP Roll Call; ep. 18

Where we hold ourselves to account for the obscene number of ongoing projects we may or may not have.

Katy

I’ve made some tangible progress with the Caravan Granny Square Blanket this week! I finished weaving in ALL of the ends, a task which took me about three weeks. Probably because it was so unappealing!

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I’ve also added a couple of rounds to the border, which is shaping up to be pretty LOUD with its delightfully clashy colours.

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That’s all the WIP progress that I have to write about this week! Lots of creative ideas firing themselves around my mind though. I’m reaching a point where my current projects are starting to feel a little too stale; I think once this blanket is done it might be time to start something fresh…

 

Nicole

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Last week, I said I would try to complete one stripe on my Granny Ripple blanket each day of the week. Obviously I did not. In fact I only just finished the row I was working in last week’s post last night. Apparently grand sweeping declarations aren’t really the way for me. Having said that, I did finish the socks I was working on! They’re just blocking currently then I will prepare a blog post tada to show them off.

As for Finn, no progress has been made. I finally got around to ordering the safety eyes though, as well as a bit of stash enhancement for future projects that I have playing on my mind. I’m enjoying the fact that KnitPicks deliver to the UK with no custom charges. Makes it feel less extravagant when I keep adding to my basket to get to the free shipping value.

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The other project I’m working on is providing some challenges. I’ve had the shapes in my mind but putting them together is not as straightforward as I had anticipated. I also have a tiny toddler of crochet doom who has taken quite a fancy to the blocks that I have finished, at least one is currently being re purposed as a blanket for one of my daughters small stuffed animals. That said, it’s all part of the fun of making up your own pattern right? Playing to make it right and overcoming issues to make something you are truly proud of! I will, in the immortal words of Tim Gunn, make it work.