Finally, between teething fussiness and the inability to do things that require two hands, I’ve been able to catch up with my February and March crochet squares for the 2017 Block-a-Month Crochet-Along on Ravelry. I’ve actually finished these, like the previous ones, over a period of a few weeks, but actually weaving in the ends and getting the photographs were a whole different story. Regardless, I feel like I’m catching up on so many things that I’ve been meaning to create. Having a baby around again is an amazing feeling, and things are so different than they were when I first became a mother ten years ago! And I’ve been so fortunate and lucky that Clara is a great sleeper and a generally all-around happy baby. My elder boys were much more high-needs, so I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this wonderful time with my little love.
Clara just loved playing with all the yarn while I made these crochet squares. I leave the skein next to her while I’m using it, and she delights in the colors and texture. She’s always supervised because – well, it’s yarn – but I hope she may one day love to work with fiber the way that I do.
Moving on to the actual crochet squares though. These are the February and March squares (minus one that still hasn’t made it to the photograph phase). I’m pretty sure I mentioned the colors before, but I still love them as much now as I did when I first assembled them, and that’s a good sign (not like last year, which saw me changing the whole scheme halfway through the year, and leaving me with a huge amount of work that still needs to be done). The Marigold Mandala Crochet Square by Dorianna Rivelli was the filler (as voted on by Ravellers), and I can understand why – it’s simply a gorgeous square. I love everything about this square, and there is a detailed tutorial of the free pattern that can be found on The Lavender Chair by following this link here.
The Window Box Granny Crochet Square pattern by Lisa Mauser was the 6″ option for February. I made four of them in each of the colors I’m using and used the off-white as the focal point. I usually get a little lazy with the 6″ squares, because repeating four of the same squares over and over can be kind of tedious, but I ended up really enjoying this square and ended up whipping it up in no time flat. This is available as a free Ravelry download here.
That One Sister Crochet Square by Melinda Miller has a touching story about its creation which you can read about on the download link page. I’m a big fan of Melinda Miller’s patterns, because they are very lovely squares that look complicated but are simple to make, especially with her very clear instructions. This one was so much fun, even if I ended up sewing my flowers on instead of leaving holes (you have to actually read the directions to follow them, oops!) I had briefly looked over the pattern before taking my kids to a play place, and by the time I got home, so much of the square was already finished that I decided to just use it as it was. My crochet time is sparse these days. I do what I can. The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download here.
Last but not least, the Popcorn Puff Square by Ruth C. Roy was the 6″ crochet square selected for March. Like the Window Box Granny above, I usually make four versions of the 6″ square, but by the time I had finished the center motifs of the squares, I decided that these would look really nice stitched together without any further rounds added on. I like the way the block turned out with the four motifs, and since I used a G hook, it turned out to be a 9″ square (like my other squares have been this year). Using a sport weight yarn (Caron Simply Soft) and the smaller hook lets me top these patterns out at a smaller size, which, as a multiple of 12 for the final blanket, works out perfectly. The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download here, and can also be accessed on 365 Grannies here.
I’m so excited to have actually accomplished something from start to finish that I have three projects sitting right in front of me that I want to just dive right into. Happy crocheting to you and happy Monday!
Get ready for the 2017 crochet along! (and yes, I realize I’m a bit behind on this!)
Is it really almost Febraury? I keep forgetting how much time taking care of a newborn actually takes up. But we’re finally out of that fourth trimester and yes, she is actually sleeping through the night, and that has given me (a little bit of) time to catch up on some of the many projects that have been waiting for me. And if you’re one of those who left me a comment or sent me an email, please hang in there. I’m slowly making my way back through my inbox that still has unread mail from September!
The first thing I wanted to start up on was the 2017 Block-a-Month Crochet Along. And if you’re looking to join in a CAL, January and February, the beginning of the year, are great times to do it The new group for the year is here: 2017 Block-A-Month Crochet-Along, and even though I’m only sharing my squares now, I actually did make them toward the beginning of the month.
The main square for the first of the crochet-along is Moody Blues by Helen Shrimpton, and can be found free on her website. Link to the Ravelry project page is here. This square is full of interesting textures and stitches, so it was a lot of fun to make. This was made exclusively for the bamcal, and that’s exciting. There’s so much inspiration to be found when a bunch of creative types come together for all sorts of variations on one pattern, and it’s so much fun to see what each person comes up with.
The filler square is the one that is voted on by the crocheters, and the winner for the first month of 2017 is the Kaleidoscope Crochet Square by Julie King of Gleeful Things. The pattern is free and comes with very detailed instructions and photos for new crocheters, and it can be found by clicking on this link here. If you want to add the project to your Ravelry queue, the link for the pattern page is here. I had fun making this one. I love the green yarn that I’m working with for this year’s 2017 crochet along. It’s chartreuse from Caron’s Simply Soft line. It’s one of my favorite colors. They don’t seem to sell it in stores around here, so when I put in my last order for Joann’s online, I threw in a couple of CSS colors that I don’t see often locally. And then I fell in love with it! The same goes for the yellow color, which is actually gold. And the addition of the orange in the color scheme really made it pop. I’m enjoying working with this set of colors.
Finally, the Efflorescent Window crochet square by Delphis is another square that I made a long while back. But it was fun to make it again years later with different colors and (dare I say it), more and better knowledge of what I’m doing crochet-wise. The pattern can be found as a free Ravelry download by clicking here. This was a block in the 2013 Block-a-Month crochet along (which was my second year doing this – wow, can’t believe I’m going on 5 years of bamcals!). I never finished that bamcal, but I recently pulled out all those old blocks and printed up the patterns, so it definitely is a goal in the next year or so to get that one together. I so love the color scheme on that one. And funny enough, there are a couple of colors in there that I’m using for this year too, such as the off-white, and the brown. The yellow is a bit lighter, but still the same tone. I suppose I know what colors I like using! That was the year that I went a little crazy with borders. No regrets, it was a great learning experience, but wow did it ever take a lot of time. My version below has the petal looking border repeating with some extending rows beyond that. Pretty! But lately I’ve been enjoying more simplicity in patterns, and I think that shows in the 2017 crochet along.
In the meantime, stop by the bamcal 2017 crochet along group on Wednesday to see what the crochet square selections are going to be for February (they’re usually heart and Valentine related!). I certainly will be!
Once again I’m working on some catch up crochet. 2016, this year of pregnancy and new baby have gone by in the blink of an eye, especially with a newborn. These have been such a happy months, and it’s hard for me to believe my little one is 2 months old already! They grow so fast, don’t they? And after having two babies who never liked to sleep, Clara has been a dream! She sleeps well through the night and cuddles up to me in the sling, napping throughout the day. I love snuggling her and breathing in her baby scent, and her big brothers love her to death, too. They have even acted as watchful eyes over her, letting me actually get showers in, and even an uninterrupted meal or two! To say I feel blessed would be a huge understatement. I’m over the moon!
I’ve even been able to get (a little bit of) crocheting in. That’s been less easy, considering that crochet takes two hands and what Miss Clara makes up for with her napping is the desire to be held most of the time. This leaves me with only one free hand. But during those naps, when I’m not trying to catch up on the housework, I have managed to get a little bit of time in. (Anyone want to invent a one-handed crochet method?)
I’m pretty certain I won’t be making crochet gifts for everyone (or anyone) for holiday gifts this year, and it’ll likely be midway through 2017 before I finish up the 2016 bamcal squares. But I am getting a few squares done here and there. It’s almost essential to my well being to not go too long without crocheting at least something.
Like this square, for example. This is the November main square for the crochet-along. Pane in My Dahlia is a hilarious play on words (read about it and get the free pattern here). I’m not usually a big fan of huge, 3d floral motifs, but in some cases, the results can be stunning, and this is one of those scenarios. I love the way this flower looks. I used the crochet tapestry method, carrying yarn along the back in order to achieve the white petal outlines, and I added a slip stitch around the edge of the flower into the back loops and a fpsc into the posts. The red center petals photographed a little bright, but I really like how the overall square turned out.
The other one that I finished up is the September filler square, which is Lotus Pavilions by Helen Shrimpton. I knew I’d like this pattern because I love Helen’s crochet designs to begin with. This one was no exception – well written, pretty overall and well detailed. It’s available as a free download either through Ravelry or on her website, Crystals and Crochet. As complicated as it looks, it was so much fun to make that time flew!
The other bamcal squares will slowly come along. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself to get things done with a newborn; I know this song and dance all too well. With all the stacks of unfinished projects alongside me, it’s hard not to want to work on them all. But I have to remind myself to take deep breaths and pace myself. The yarn will be there waiting for me, but my baby keeps on growing.
I finally completed my 2015 block-a-month crochet along blanket! And I love it! Just as I was reflecting upon the other day, I get so much more work done and so much more efficiently when the colors I’m working with motivate me. These colors are fantastic as well. They’re bright, cheerful, and they make me really happy.
It’s always a treat to finally put together a crochet blanket. They take long enough as it is, and they take me double the time they would normally take someone (or longer!) because I tend to work on so many different projects at once, depending on whatever mood I’m in.
And it was also fun selecting a border for the blanket too. When I originally finished putting the squares together, the blanket was a little more square and less rectangular than I wanted it. So I decided to offset that by adding an extended border only on the two ends of the blanket. The border adds another 8″ to the blanket and the lacy pattern accents the squares quite well, I think!
(The link to the pattern can be found with the list of patterns below, at the end of the post.)
For all those who have been asking, I’ve made a graph of the blanket layout. Below, you can find the link to each and every square (there are a couple that have become unavailable since then and a couple that have upgraded from a free pattern to a paid pattern), but overall, the general gist of the blanket can be found below. I’ve attempted to make sure that all information has been updated, link-wise, at the time of this post.
So without further ado, I present to you my lovely 2015 bamcal blanket!
Patterns are free at time of this post unless otherwise noted (though this may change at any time).
Numbers of pattern names coordinate with the layout graph at the top of the page.
The squares are either 12″ (the large squares), 9″ (medium sized), 6″ (smaller ones) and the 3″ granny squares. I adjusted the patterns as necessary, adding or deleting ending rounds in order to get to these sizes. Finished blanket is 6′ x 5′ excluding border.
1: 3” basic granny squares
Pattern: chain 4, connect to make a circle
Round 1: chain 3, 2 more dc in circle, chain 2. [3 dc, ch 2] around 3 more times.
Round 2: in corner, chain 3, 2 more dc, ch 2, 3 dc all in corner. Ch 1, 3 dc in next sp, ch 1. Corner as [3dc, ch2, 3dc] around.
Round 3: corner as previous round, [ch 1, 3dc] across to corner. Ch 1, corner, around.