Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Flowery circles, forever and ever


They're pretty in perpetuity, these flowery circles. But there are so many of them to make for a blanket. I am very pleased to report that I have made half of the circles I need for the GB's Flowers in the Snow blanket. I started in February. As of early June, I have made 96 circles. Only 96 more to go! It sounds so much better when I say it that way, with the exclamation point and everything. This project feels a little daunting sometimes, I have to admit. I'm using Solveig's lovely pattern for the flowery circles now, and I'll use her join-as-you-go method later on, when all the circles have been made. There will be 192 circles-in-squares all together, arranged 12 squares by 16 squares, to make a blanket which is approximately 45 inches by 60 inches (I think; my cm-to-inch conversions could be a little off).


Here they are, all laid out on a tea towel on the floor. I can't believe I've made this many already, and that there are still so many more to make! I love working on them, but I have to keep reminding myself that crochet is not a race to the finish. No, it's a gentle, relaxing hobby, darn it! Now, relax! I end up feeling like George Costanza attempting to achieve serenity. I don't do "serene" all that well. I come from a long line of panickers and over-reactors. We're not a peaceful lot. With crochet, I've learned a great deal about chilling out. I like to pick up my hook and work on these circles, but I feel that it comes in fits. I don't have the urge every single day and I can't spend hours on it either. I can do that with ripples and granny stripes, and I have been working on a ripple throw at the same time. Those are my chill-out projects. This one does not usually induce such feelings of relaxation or peace.


But even so, I do find enjoyment in making the circles. I have to be in the right mood and everyone around me does too; no raucous playing or loud music or suspenseful TV can be happening. I need to focus on the circles - choosing the colors, counting stitches, weaving in the ends as neatly as possible. It's not mindless crochet, not by any means. I usually sit down with the circles in the afternoons while I listen to audiobooks with the small Bears. We're already most of the way through our third one since school ended just under two weeks ago. The best one so far was the non-fiction Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America, by the way. It's a middle-grades book, I think, and it's fascinating. If you like weather, and stories about survival, you'll love it. There's some suffering and tragedy too, as a head's-up, but it's handled well in the story.


Anyway, back to the circles...I know many crocheters make detailed plans for the color schemes, using each color equally, making the centers first and then making each subsequent round one at a time. I am usually this kind of crocheter. I don't like to break from my traditions of hyper-organization, but I decided to give it a try for this project. I wanted to feel more spontaneous about the whole thing. Perhaps this is the source of some of my stress. But I think it's good for me to break out and try something different. It's a lot like when I first started trying to crochet striped items in random colors. It was hard! My impulse was to find a set pattern and stick with it all the to the end of the project. But it got easier the more I did it. The same thing is happening with my circles; it's getting easier to come up with interesting, pleasing color combinations the more circles I make. A few of my color combinations are a bit questionable, but I like most of them. My only "rule" is that I have to stick with colors that are sort of soft and dusty because I want the blanket to have an old, vintage feel. I plan to use it on the GB's bed, so I'm hoping for a girly-but-sophisticated look. We'll see. I'm using a hodge-podge of DK-weight acrylic yarns: Stylecraft, Lion Brand Baby Soft, Yarn Bee Baby Bee and King Cole Pricewise. I really love that a project like this lets you use up random bits of yarn that are too small to use anywhere else; I've finished off several odd partial balls this way already.


As I complete a circle, I add it to the collection I've made in this shoebox. I really appreciate the lightness of DK yarn for a project with many small parts. One of my first big crochet projects was a granny square afghan made in worsted-weight acrylic. The squares were thick and bulky and I couldn't figure out a good storage solution for them. I ended up putting them in plastic shopping bags, which I piled on the floor near my desk as I filled them up with squares. It was messy and disorganized. I like the shoebox approach because I can see the circles at a glance and know whether I've got a good balance of colors for the outermost rounds. If a color is underrepresented, I can make a few more with that color to supplement. I don't need the colors to be used equally, but it's nice to have lots of variety. The shoebox fits well on the bookcase near my desk, which means no more shopping bags lying around. I like this method much better.

I'm trying to keep it all in perspective. It's going to be a very pretty blanket and it's the most complicated crochet project I've tried so far. It's not important to rush or race through it and I don't think I would feel as good about it afterward if I took that approach. I would like to be done by Christmas. I would love to gift the GB with it this year, but I'm not going to put any pressure on myself. If I finish, wonderful. If I don't, there's always next year. I want her to know I took pleasure in making it. To that end, I do my best to be cheerful when she sees me working on during the day - even on those days when the numbers are getting to me. But it's only 96 more...on a productive day, I can make four circles in an hour. I'm going to do my best to concentrate on that, and the pretty colors and flowery design, and see where it takes me.

How about you? Are you an organized yarn-crafter or a scattered one? Are you capable of achieving serenity no matter the project?

40 comments:

  1. I love chatting yarn with you Jennifer! I know exactly what you mean and trying to be random does my head in and I can't relax until I have the colours pinned down. I realise this probably makes my life harder not easier but it's just the way I am. I too am working on a circles-within-a-white-square blanket and really have to be in the mood for it. I leave it for weeks then have a fit of crocheting. I am at once thrilled by how many I have done and intimidated by how many I have left to go.

    I love the colours you are working with, so soft and vintagey, and they look beautiful all nestled up in that shoe box. x

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  2. What pretty flowery circles, your blanket is going to be beautiful... no matter when it's finished! I'm definitely a scattered disorganized crafter! When I made my crochet blanket I started making squares then got bored and started joining them, made some more, made some rectangles, started joining those then hotch potched it all togther by joining the two pieces, it took me maybe 3 years and I was not serene at all... until I'd finished! But I did enjoy myself! I hope you enjoy the journey that you blanket takes you on! x

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    1. Funnily enough, I started another blanket like yours last night and ordered more wool today.I'm addicted to making blankets,ripples,granny ones but I also like to do circles and then make them into squares with the same colour.I like doing them because it is such a portable project.We are off to France in a couple of weeks and I will do some in the car on the way there.It is something you can do for just a short amount of time.i am sure you will be finished by Xmas and what a special gift.I have made snuggle blankets for all my five grandchildren.Crocheted with love!

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  3. My no two the same blanket is supposed to be random, but it isn't really at all, it is just doing an impression of random!! I worked out the squares very carefully to make sure that there are no two the same. Not very random at all really. I know what you mean about making the circles not being so relaxing as a granny stripe or something, I found that I had to really concentrate on them and then there was all the end sewing which I did not enjoy. The joining them all together is a lot easier and more relaxing, so I hope that you find it more relaxing when it comes the joining together bit. I love the colours that you are using and I think that it does indeed have the vintage feel that you are after! Keep going!! xx

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  4. It's going to look great, and as you say enjoy the journey. I'm not good at random. I've been making a granny square blanket and made a spread sheet with a random generator to get a random effect! I only enjoy it in small sessions - nothing for weeks on end, and then a little flurry, but I know it will be worthwhile in the end. Good luck x

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  5. I love all your circles! I know it's going to be a beautiful and cheery blanket!

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  6. It's going to be a lovely blanket when you've finished and GB is going to adore it. I agree with your attitude to getting it done when it gets done. There's no point in having to look at a blanket after it's finished and resent the time it took to make it.

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  7. The circles look amazing. The finished blankie will be even more amazing. As for random - I don't do it well at all. I try ... and then I have to reorganise so that it doesn't look, well, random! LOL

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  8. I love your circles Jennifer, I found it easier making all the centres first in different colours, then the second rounds then the third, then you don't have to think too much. Don't worry about how long it's going to take you will get there one day and when you do it will be beautiful. :) xx

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  9. Oh my, you have dared go where I do not! I've always wanted to make one of those blankets too, but I get scared off by the number of circles and squares and time and color changes...GAH. It stresses me just to type that. So obviously I'm exactly like you are, if not worse. I constantly have to remind myself it's not a race, no matter what I'm making. Enjoy it, slow down, think about what you're doing and not the end result, Pammy Sue! I can totally relate. You're doing a wonderful job getting so many done already. Good for you! I'll be totally jealous when you have your beautiful blanket showing it off for all of us. What a treasure for whoever is the lucky recipient in your family! Think about how your grandchildren will likely lay eyes on it, and probably their children too! I'm getting all carried away and misty-eyed now. ha-ha. Talk about overreacting. ♥

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  10. Wow, that's a lot of circles! They're all so pretty, too. I love all the colors. The blanket is going to be gorgeous.

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  11. I'm very impressed with how many circles you've done and how mellow you are about when it will get done. It's going to be a family heirloom, I know that much. Bravo! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  12. This is going to be some blanket Jennifer and the colours are beautiful.
    Patricia x

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  13. Your blanket will be beautiful ... the colours are so soft and pretty ... I can only aspire to having the stamina for a blanket like this ... you're doing great though, halfway there ... it's a downward slope now ... Bee xx

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  14. it's true,all that decision making for random colours isn't quite as meditive as some others! It will be gorgeous though, just wait till you are on the edge, you won't be able to stop then, Heather x

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  15. I enjoy randomness and free form creations of any kind, and I really like your pretty circles very much. My favourite form of quilting has always been crazy quilts, and I have made quite a few of them. I also enjoy free-form embroidery. Looking forward to seeing your finished blanket.

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  16. It's going to be gorgeous, so may different colours you're using, beautiful. I find it hard to be random, even if I'm trying to be random I end up having to reorganise things if I don't like how the colours are working out together.

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  17. Your blanket is going to be so beautiful, I love the colours you've chosen and your neat storage plan! My projects are currently in bags in the bottom of my wardrobe! I love how you're trying to embrace randomness - I find that really hard too, it's against my nature. I like to have a plan and know what I'm doing with it. Looking forward to seeing the finished blanket :-)

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  18. You are creating an heirloom, Jennifer with your "circles of love." The finished blanket is going to be beautiful. To answer your question, no, I'm not able to achieve serenity no matter what the project. Most of the time I can, and always while knitting a pair of plain vanilla socks. But there are some projects I just have to grit my teeth while doing and keep reminding myself I really do like knitting.

    We read Blizzard when I was homeschooling my kids. It's an incredible story.

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    1. I'm glad you're familiar with the book, Kristie. I really enjoyed it. We should talk about kids' books sometime, I'm sure you could offer a lot of suggestions.

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  19. I made a very similar blanket, as you may have seen on my Ravelry page. I found the process quite relaxing, a small circle at the time. I made over 320 non-identical circles, but not in a random fashion, I picked three colours and then made the six possible combinations. That way I was sure there would be no duplicates, which was the only goal I had set myself. Your blanket will be just so beautiful, whenever it is ready. What colour are you planning to use to join the circles together? I love the softness of your colour choices, and the circles look fab in the box and out, too. Cx

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    1. I'm planning to do the joins in white. I have several balls of white Stylecraft and also Lion Brand Baby Soft. There might be more of the Baby Soft so I'll have to see. I've never made a blanket this large so I'm not exactly sure how much yarn I'll need for that step!

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  20. Oh WOW, those colours are stunning! It's going to be stunning when it's done. x

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  21. Jennifer,
    I enjoy your writing so very much, such a lovely and talented young woman you are and I adore these precious and colorful circles-this will be an amazing treasure!

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  22. I don't know how my post got into replies at the top.OOPS!Sorry.Forgot to say I don't have a colour plan ,I just judge it by eye and it usually works out.

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  23. AH, I am a bit manic and panic when it comes to choosing colors and crocheting a blanket. I can never shill, I just feel this unrelenting force that makes me want to get it done. Blankets exhaust me, so I give you a lot of credit for making this beauty and for making it while staying calm and focused. You don't want any negative energy is a blanket that is going to cover your sweet girl
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  24. Gosh how beautiful Jen! I am a little of both...I'm quite scattered and then, at times, I am organized...I need to be organized ALL of the time....crazy life! xoxo Jen

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  25. This is going to be one beautiful blanket! :)

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  26. Lovely circles, they look good in the shoebox, like a box of nice biscuits. No serenity here either, although oddly people always seem to think I'm a calm person. It's very odd, I can't imagine why, sometimes my stress levels are through the roof, but people think I'm chilled out. The blanket is going to be so beautiful. I'm sure it will be done in time for winter. Have a good weekend Jennifer. CJ xx

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  27. Your circles are turning out beautifully. The colors are great, with the randomness of it all. I had a difficult time when I made my first random color granny blanket a couple of years ago. I wanted so badly to have a set pattern of color to follow. How silly of me. Now that it's done, it's one of my favorites and I've made two more since then. One for the trailer and another for the living room. The shoebox is a great storage idea too. Being able to see all of the edges is a real help isn't it?
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  28. Your circles are beautiful! I don't think I would have the patience to finish all of those, you are doing a great job. I can't wait to see the photos of the completed project, I love all the colors :)

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  29. Jennifer this is just stunning! The colors are heaven as are all of those circles placed together in your above shot! WOW! I can not wait to see this blanket....so very lovely!!! Nicole xoxo

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  30. Beautiful, the colours are a stunning combination however you choose to put them together. Looking forward to seeing the end result. Have a great weekend.

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  31. wow, what beautiful crochet, the circles really are very colourful. I love the way they look side by side, They remind me somehow of macaroons. Great colours. I think it will look lovely when it's finished.

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  32. The flower circles are beautiful! I adore the colours you are using, the finished blanket will be stunning I'm sure. I'm not an organised crafter at all, I flit around from project to project as the mood takes me, often misplacing things along the way then finding them weeks later!
    Marianne x

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  33. Your little crochet flower circles are beautiful! I love the effect of them all together, both spread out and in the shoebox :) Wishing you a wonderful weekend.
    Helen xox

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  34. Such gorgeous colourful circles, I love how they look all lined up in rows. I'm sure the finished blanket will be amazing! xx

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  35. Oh those are gorgeous and neat :)
    I get a bit scattered with my yard ~
    I love it neat but I am always a bit scattered ! lol

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  36. Your blanket is coming together so nicely... I love the colors you chose. I can't wait to see it all finished! I know the GB is going to love it. And it's so special because you made it.

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  37. Ahhhhhh, so pretty! I would say I am a hectic and scattered crafter, I long to be organised though but it just does not work out that way! I know what you mean, it's easy to want to rush through and get finished...the longer projects are the hardest. But you are doing great and if you can do four in an hour, you'll have it finished in no time! But savour it too, I always feel so sad when I finish a project, like something is missing. :)

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