‘Growing’ a Crochet Blanket

OK so it’s maybe a bit off at a tangent, but I often feel like a home-made crochet blanket is something that I ‘grow’ on the crochet hook – it starts off small then gets longer and longer until finally, it’s done! πŸ™‚

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Things People Grow

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JusJoJan: Paintbrush

What can I say… I haven’t picked up my paintbrush all winter….

Looking back the last water-colour painting I attempted was in early November. I don’t really know why I’m not feeling particularly creative just now, sometimes I think about getting all my painting stuff out again but for some reason I keep putting it off.

I suppose it’ll come to me again when I’m ready? I hope so, anyway…

JusJoJan: Paintbrush

Hand Made

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the topic of hands and paws. So here is my right hand holding the crochet hook I’m using to make my new blanket. Of course, without my left hand to help pass the yarn over the hook I’m not technically actively crocheting at the precise moment of taking the pic, so it’s a bit of a fudge on an action shot – but it is actually my hand posed (and poised) in the process of creating a hand made item! πŸ™‚

JusJoJan: Periwinkle

To me, the word ‘periwinkle’ conjours up the colour of a beautiful lilac-blue yarn I might use to crochet with.

Right now I don’t have any periwinkle blue yarn though, and the blue colour I’m planning to use in my rainbow-striped blanket is more of a turquoise, although I’ve not actually got that far yet – as you can see below I’m still on the lighter yellow stripe… πŸ™‚

JusJoJan: Periwinkle

Third Time Lucky

I decided last month to start to make a new crochet blanket for our bed, as the multi-coloured zig-zag one I made for us while we were living in London doesn’t really work up here in Inverness where the everyday winter world is so much colder. So to begin with I slowly took the old one apart bit by bit, ripping it out one colour bock at a time, and thought a lot about how to make it up again thicker, warmer, bigger. Which of course means necessarily adding even more yarn, and making new decisions on overall colour scheme and pattern and size. Which with me tends to mean a frustrating process of trial and error until I get it all exactly as I want it…

I know there are many ‘proper’ pre-defined blanket patterns that would give me clear instructions on suitable yarn and suggested hook size and correct tension and suchlike but to be honest I’m more of an intuitive, making it up as I go along crocheter, depending on my mood at my given time – I’m not really into complex or complicated stitches and designs. I like to have a basic idea in my head, and just work it out as best I can as things unfold – for me, its as much about the creative journey as the destination. I realise it’s not the most efficient way to go, but at least my finished creations are always unique.

So just before the new year I finally made a start on putting all my thoughts together, deciding to make something more textured this time, using a variation on a simple popcorn stitch. I completed my long starting chain and began tentatively crocheting the first few rows, just enough to get a feel for how it might look on the bed. But when I laid it out over the duvet to see how it would sit I realised I actually wanted something a bit wider than I had first thought, something that would almost reach the floor this time, so I unravelled what I’d done and started again with a longer chain.

But sadly it seems I overcompensated, and my second effort – after more than a few rows completed this time – also found itself being unceremoniously unravelled and wound back into individual balls of yarn. This time it was just a little too wide, already skimming the floor without there being any room for adding a border. But at least I had completed enough to see I was going to be happy with the overall design and the planned flow of colours. If I’d thought I’d have taken a photo of the too-big version before I took it apart but no, it only crossed my mind after it was once more reduced to its component parts – oh well!

And so here I am beginning my crochet blanket all over again with an intermediate number of starting stitches, hopefully third time lucky. Once I know I’ve got the starting width right, and the texture of the pattern right, it’s just a case of constant repetition row after row, only changing colours as necessary until I’ve made the blanket as long as I want it. At that point I think I’ll create a small plain border just to pull it all together, and then I should be done!

I’m making my blanket with variations on a theme of rainbow colours, starting with a pinky-red and using a hefty dose of artistic license while working my way through the colour spectrum. No doubt I’ll share a few images of it as a work in progress, and of course show it in pride of place on the bed once it’s actually finished, but right now there’s not enough of anything much to show… Watch this space! πŸ™‚

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Exactly

Word of the Day Challenge: Repetition

Muse

Muse…
I’d love to feel artistic every day
Portray my world in sweet poetic rhyme
Write wistful words to bat the blues away
Syllabic sounds set comfortably in time
Draw inspiration from the daily grind
Paint out a life that’s filled right to the brim
With images that sparkle in the mind
In colours bright instead of greys so grim
But harsh reality strips all veneer
Of happiness inspired by fun and play
However hard I try it seems quite clear
I’m simply not created in that way
My world feels dulled with misery and gloom
As dark clouds of depression fill the room…

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Sonnet

Digital Colour Corrections

Sometimes I find it frustrating that my watercolour paintings (including this abstract leaf print) always dry so much paler (and less vibrant) than I might like, but luckily with easy digital manipulation I’ve discovered I can visually ‘correct’ the colour when photographing and saving it as a digital image!

Here is the original painting before and after whacking up both the contrast and saturation by 30 (whatever that numerical value represents!) – I’d wanted it to feel like a bright explosion of colour, not a dull disappointment… πŸ™‚

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Before

Rejuvenation: Learning to Play Again

I’ve been thinking recently that my blog is in need of some rejuvenation.

But the more I thought about it I realised that as my blog tends to follow whatever is going on for me in my life at any given time, it’s more likely that it’s my life that needs some rejuvenation – or more to the point, me. Truth be told I’ve been feeling old and boring and tired and thoroughly fed up with life…

I guess the Covid pandemic slowed us all down to some extent, whether just through a succession of lock-downs and restrictions or like with me, also getting sick with it and finding its long-term symptoms frustratingly reluctant to go away. Oh, and about a year ago I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my right hip, so as well as ongoing Covid fatigue the arthritis has affected my mobility more than I like. As a result, indoor activities have taken precedence nowadays over gadding about here there and everywhere.

So lately I’ve been playing around with paints – with water-colour paints in particular – in an attempt to get a bit more creative again. So far I’ve mainly been painting landscapes and plants, with varying levels of success. To be clear I’m not ever aiming towards creating intricate, accurate botanical colour studies or detailed photographic replicas of my chosen subjects, but instead I’m trying to learn to paint loosely, recreating a more abstract visual ‘feel’ of the thing.

Basically I’m experimenting loads, messing about, mixing things up, finding what works for me and what doesn’t, and this week’s exploration of different ways of putting paint on paper comes courtesy of random garden leaves – I’ve been painting onto the backs of the leaves and printing them directly onto paper. It’s enjoyable to do, but is a messy business.

Playing around and experimenting with things like this feels such fun – it feels like it’s impossible to remain neat and tidy and fully in control of the outcome. Even getting as much paint on myself as on the paper is fun, quite liberating actually. And hopefully it will prove to be rejuvenating, too… πŸ™‚

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Rejuvenate