2018 Crochet Along

So here we are at the end of February, and I’m only just recently starting to pull myself together for the 2018 Block-a-Month Crochet Along (or bamcal for short) group on Ravelry.  These past couple of years have found me so busy that I’ve barely done any crochet at all (well, from what I’m used to).  But I’m really hoping that will change.  I’ve been in nesting mode – it’s true, we’re expecting another sweet little one at the end of spring.  My heart is swelling with joy, and we’re all so happy.  And chances are that this will likely be my last little one, so I really want to take all the time in the world to enjoy every last minute of being a mother to an infant. 

felted pregnancy - mellieblossom.com

Clara has been a dream of a baby – easy going, a good sleeper, calm.  I’ve really been blessed with her, and she just bubbles over with happiness and love for life.  I’m hoping that she will embrace being a big sister just as much as she embraces everything else.  My older boys, too, have stepped up to the plate so much to help – watching Clara when I need to nap, helping with feeding when necessary, and entertaining her when I need a few minutes to myself.  That’s one of the reasons why I have had a bit of extra time to myself.  Although I’ve spent more time than necessary on cooking and cleaning, I’m making sure lately to see that I am also getting time to create, even if it’s just a round here and there of crochet, or doodle on the sofa while I’m nursing.  And so, I’ve fortunately been able to start catching up with the 2018 crochet along. 

2018 Crochet Along - Grumpy Grandad crochet - mellieblossom.com
Grumpy Grandad Square – January 2018 Crochet Along

So here I’m sharing the first three January squares for the 2018 crochet along.  The first one here is called Grumpy Grandad square by Sadie Cuming, found for free (as of this writing) here as a Ravelry download.  I added a little bit of decorative embroidery in the center, just because, and went a little crazy with the blocking, because the lines of this are so striking. 

I’m using my new colors for this year’s bamcal, which are from the Caron Simply Soft line.  The colors are white, soft green, blue mint (from the brite line, as the deepest blue), and robin’s egg blue for the midtone blue; the lighter pinkish color is the same light country peach that I’ve used in previous bamcals (and which I stocked up on when I thought they discontinued the color, but now it’s available everywhere again, so who knows!?);  and the deeper pink is plum wine.  I was a little hesitant when selecting these colors because there’s such a huge trend right now in crochet with the turquoise/pink thing, but I think the contrast works well with the addition of the green and peach. The color flow is so soft and pretty. 

2018 Crochet Along - Sunrise Beach - mellieblossom.com
2018 Crochet Along – Sunrise Beach

Sunrise Beach by Jen Tyler was the group’s choice for the filler square for February.  The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download here. I love this square.  Especially with the colors; it goes so well with the femininity of the ruffles, the floral theme, the embellishments and puffs.  I really had a lot of fun designing the color layout and then making the square. 

Both the squares are made for worsted weight yarn and come out to 12″ in the pattern.  But since I’m using a sport weight yarn, I also use a smaller hook than is usually recommended as well.  These were both made with a 4.00mm / G hook.  Because of this, they don’t come anywhere near to 12″.  In fact, I usually need to add a few rounds to get them up to 9″.  But 9″ is perfect, because, as with my 2015 bamcal blanket, the squares are all in multiples of 3″, so I can mix and match them at the end of the year into a pleasing pattern. 

2018 Crochet Along - Knotted Puffs
2018 Crochet Along – Knotted Puffs – mellieblossom.com

And finally, the 6″ square for January is Knotted Puffs by Amber Schaaf.  This is another Ravelry download (also free) that can be found following the link here. These came out smaller than 6″ for all the reasons I mentioned above.  Usually I just add a few extra rounds onto the squares to bring them up to 6″, but instead I did something a little different by putting them together into a 4-square and then adding the borders around that to bring it up to 9″.  I’m sure I’ll have plenty of 6″ squares by the end of the year that a few of them can be pieced together like this just fine. 

Anyway, friends, thank you for all the comments and emails.  Like I’ve been promising (and promising, I know), I will eventually get back to you and answer some of the questions that you’ve left.  Thanks for all your support and patience, I truly do appreciate it!

~mellie

Crochet Squares – March

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. 

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Marigold Mandala Crochet Square

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

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Window Box Granny Crochet Square

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. 

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Picture Frame Crochet Square

Picture Frame Crochet Square by Lisa Naskrent is a square that I made once before in the Sprouting Hues swap, but I enjoyed making it again. I had purchased the pattern back then, but now it’s available as one of the several published crochet squares in the Chain Reaction Afghan Project, and the entire ebook is available for free here, with the Ravelry link here.  This really is a gorgeous square, with all the leafy corners and the textured, center motif.  And I like this version even better than the other one I made. 

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
That One Sister Crochet Square

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

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Popcorn Puff Square

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!

~Mellie

2017 Crochet Along

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. 

2017 Crochet Along - Moody Blues Crochet Square - mellieblossom.com
Moody Blues Crochet Square

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. 

2017 Crochet Along - Kaleidoscope Square - mellieblossom.com
Kaleidoscope Crochet Square

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. 

2017 Crochet Along - Efflorescent Window - mellieblossom.com
Efflorescent Window Square

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. 

2017 Crochet Along - Efflorescent Window - mellieblossom.com
Efflorescent Window – 2013 version

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!

~ mellie

Catch Up Crochet

Catch Up Crochet - mellieblossom.com
Baby Love

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. 

Pane in my Dahlia Crochet Square - mellieblossom.com
Pane in my Dahlia Crochet Square

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!

Lotus Pavilions Crochet Square - mellieblossom.com
Lotus Pavilions

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. 

~mellie