Thursday, June 15, 2017

Crochet as crochet can


These summer days have proven to be busier than I expected. It's good - nobody has complained much about boredom yet, and the sibling squabbling has been minimal. We've kept up daily math, writing and art homeschool time, as we'll do all summer. I'm also trying to leave plenty of time for them to entertain themselves, which is also important. It's really hot now. Today has the added bonus of being smoky outdoors. I think there's a wildfire in a national forest somewhere in the state; smoke is blowing into the valley and making everything hazy. You can smell it in the air too; I'm just hoping we can keep the swamp cooler running without getting smoke inside the house. Anyway, we're busy and it's good, but of course there isn't a lot of time for me. I'm complaining just a little, but that's me in the summer: slightly disgruntled with the whole situation. Meh. I'm not good at taking time for myself, or getting over the guilt when I do, but I'm working on it.

I've been crocheting as much as I can, in the in-between times when I'm not teaching, driving, cooking, cleaning or sitting through a lesson somewhere. I've debated bringing yarn with me, as I have sometimes done in the past, but I haven't felt like it yet this summer. I've been reading a lot instead, aiming for a book or two per week. The crochet has been wonderful, though. I'm almost halfway through my Maybelle squares. I've finished four colors now and have started my fifth. I'm enjoying this project so much, even still. I had such a hard time finally settling on a blanket motif - it took me about a year of trial-and-error crochet! But now I feel settled and it's fulfilling the way I want it to be. I don't feel stressed out. Instead, I feel like I'm doing something I love. Plain and simple.


The square pattern comes from here, a blog called My Rose Valley. I've made 78 squares so far. My blanket plan calls for 169 squares. I want a big square blanket - 13 by 13 squares. It will be about 100 inches on each side before adding the border. I haven't even begun to think about the border yet, though. First things first - finish all the squares and join them. I will probably join as I go, but that's not set in stone yet either. For yarn, I'm using my trusty standby, Stylecraft Special DK.


This is the main flower color I'm working with at the moment, Pale Rose. The outer rounds are done in Grey. I'll join the squares in Grey too. It's for our bed, and we prefer a cool, soft color palette in our room. I've been thinking a lot about rooms and light lately. Maybe it's the searing sunrise as we approach solstice. I considered making a blanket with bolder colors (burgundy, mustard, leafy green, navy) and cream as the main color, but I might save that scheme for the next blanket I make for the LB, who has a bright, sunny bedroom on the western side of the house. Our room, at the back of the house with northern exposure, seems to want soft, watery colors instead.


After I finish with Pale Rose, these are the remaining flower colors. From left: Petrol, Grape, Denim and Duck Egg. Petrol and Denim look very similar to each other in my photos, which is unfortunate because they're quite different in real life. Petrol is dark blue-green; Denim is, well, like a softly worn pair of jeans.


My full range of colors for this blanket, as seen in my yarn basket. I wanted a small palette for this one. I realized a few months ago that my biggest problem in blanket planning is trying to work with too many colors. In some incarnations of this blanket, I had as many as 25 colors I was attempting to wedge into granny squares, hexagons and other motifs. It's just too much. I'm in awe of people who can wrangle a huge color palette into a pleasing blanket design. I am not one of them. I can't tell you how liberating it feels to finally admit this to myself. Crochet feels creative and fun again.


(Glamorous grocery bag where I keep my squares, lest anyone think it's all pretty straw baskets around here).

16 comments:

  1. Your blankie is going to be fabulous, Jennifer! :o)

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  2. Such soft, pretty colors, I'm looking forward to see how you put it together.

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  3. I always feel a little bit the same about Summer holidays. I really look forward to them in a fantasy kind of way but in reality I am keeping the sibling peace, snatching moments for myself and generally keeping everyone happy but myself. I have a few miserable days in the middle and then at the end I wish it wasn't over. I am like one of those girlfriends who doesn't want their boyfriend anymore but doesn't want anyone else to either!! Anyway..you blanket is going to be so soft and moody and I am looking forward to see you progress over the Summer. Jo x

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  4. I love a limited palette as well and the colours you've chosen are gorgeous, very calming. I have a north-facing bedroom as well with greys and mauves and purples. It's deliciously cool on a hot day. I'm glad you're having a good summer so far, if busy. Don't feel guilty about a little time for yourself though, it is very well deserved. We have a few hot days forecast here as well - probably not hot by your standards though! Around 80F I think. We'll all be very dramatic about it of course. I might even let the children have ice-cream after tea. CJ xx

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  5. Isn't it interesting how rooms have a personality that is reflected with an optimal colour palette? Our bedroom is South facing, which is lovely (it never really gets hot here, you'd love it). Your holidays sound busy but it is nice to read that you manage to squeeze a little time out of it for yourself. We are in the final 10 days of school now, almost ready to pack for our holiday. Cannae wait (love that Scots expression). I hope it cools down a little for you. x

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  6. I think the colors that you chose for your blanket are wonderful. I'm also glad that you're carving out a little bit of time for yourself. I know how difficult that is when you have children at home. I have pretty much all the time I want to myself now and I miss those days of busyness. Thank you for sharing all of your crochet with us today. And I keep things in grocery bags too. It works well! :-)
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  7. The colors you have picked are so pretty. I think it's a very peaceful color scheme. Our end of school year was extremely hectic. My daughter graduated from high school. I know the summer will go quickly as we get her ready to go to college. This is a bittersweet summer, the big shift from teenager to young adult. Stay cool! Lisa

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  8. I love the colors - it is going to be beautiful!

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  9. They look lovely. What size crochet hook did you use please?

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    1. Hi Shirley, thank you. I'm using a G/6 (4.00mm) hook.

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  10. What a beautiful colour palette, beautifully displayed in the basket but then reality hit and you shared the carrier, that really did make me smile. Don't feel guilty snatching a few moments for yourself you deserve a break now and again. Sadly we don't have anywhere near the temperatures you do but I love this little Island none the less. Have a great weekend.

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  11. I love these squares, they are so lovely. You've chosen really nice colours that work well together. It's good to take time for yourself and sit and read or crochet etc. I've never been good at doing this but having recently hurt my tendon again in my ankle I just 'have' to sit down more now. Enjoy what you do xx

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  12. Your blanket is so wonderful! Well done! Go, go, go, Jennifer!
    Yes, summer is a lot for a mama. I hope the swamp cooler does its thing! I like to sleep in a very cold room so even with the AC, I'm too warm. Maybe we should go camping. Nah.

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  13. My Wed. morning stitching group ladies have been noticing that grays are being used more often in the baby yarn we have been purchasing to knit and crochet preemie blankets for the babies in a local NICU. I find that I have become more appreciative of gray in general and am interested to see how it brings your blanket together. Cheers for your progress! As I think I have typed before, I liked to set up a summer routine schedule when my kids were home in the summer, so I applaud your efforts. I think you will realize more satisfying creative time for yourself with this approach, too, and will be interested to see if you find this to be true when you look back over your summer experience. I am making some progress on various crochet projects, as well, and enjoying them. In four more days...Happy Summer! ☀️❤️☀️❤️☀️❤️☀️

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  14. Lovely colours it's going to be beautiful, have a great weekend. :) x

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  15. Lovely to see your progress. I'm moving towards a limited palate more and more these days, even thinking of single colour crochet blankets! Your colours are very soothing though. X

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Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

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