23 April 2014

Weekly Granny Squares

Hello, I am afraid I haven't been up to much crochet-wise this week and nor will I be for a while. I have repetitive strain injury in my right wrist...from none other than crochet (!), and must stay off the craft for some time to let it heal. :'(((

So, the squares I present you this week are none other than the "squared-off" circles you saw last week. Here goes:

There you have it ,10 more for a nice round total of 100. And it must stay at that for now, unfortunately. I really hope my wrist heals soon so that I can carry on with the Blanket and other crochet projects. In the meantime, go have a look at what the others hooksters have done at Jijihook's.

Thanks for reading! xoxo

20 April 2014

Operation Naked Dog

Hello, hello, hello! Well, I have a confession to make. I have been up to no good. And when I say no good, I mean downright illegal. Oh, yes. In fact, I am surprised I am not being hunted down all over London by Scotland Yard by now. Let me explain.

Right around the corner from where I live, there is a vet surgery. It is, in fact, the one we use for the Cat. Here it is, in all its unassuming glory:

So far, so good. But if you look closer at the above picture, you'll notice something slightly unusual. Can you see it? I mean, of course, the lifesize dog statue that's guarding the entrance of the surgery. This being my neighbourhood, I walk past the statue nearly every day on my way to the station or the town centre, and in the six months that I've lived here, I have to say I have grown extremely fond of it.

Here, have a closer look:

How sweet is this, right? Nothing like a cheerful dog to give you a proper welcome, even if it's made of stone. Anyway, I don't know why, but one day as I walked past my friend the Dog Statue, it suddenly occurred to me that it looked pitifully naked. Seriously, who would have the heart to leave such a faithful guard dog freezing - and starving - as it fulfilled its duty without fail? Mmh? I ask you.

Well, from that day on, I decided that dog would be provided for. It would receive a bone for its faithful duty - this open mouth was obviously begging for one - and some kind of cover to keep it from the elements, probably a hat. And why not a stylish bow-tie to mark his all-important status as guard dog?

Hence was born "Operation Naked Dog".

I knew immediately which yarn I would use - for yarn it would have to be. A few months before, I'd purchased a variegated yarn from an online website. I had never seen it in the flesh, I mean fibre, and predictibly, it turned out to be vile. See for yourselves:

Ugh. There was seriously no other use for it. In fact, long before Dog Statue emerged in my consciousness as a possible yarn-bombing victim, the idea was to turn this lump of foulness and its twin into a hat for a real dog.

So, without further ado, I set out to make a crochet top hat made out of Foul Acrylic Yarn. I used this very good online tutorial by Mamma That Makes. And pretty soon, this is what I got, embellished with a blue ribbon:

Gorgeous in its foulness, isn't it?

Next came the bow. I used this online tutorial by Delia Randall on the Mollie Makes website. It worked up extremely quickly, and very soon, I had a Foul Bow Tie to match my Foul Top Hat.

On to the bone next. Again, online tutorials proved to be very good friends indeed, as I used this very detailed one by Nalan Ünal on her website. For this particular one, I did not use Foul Acrylic Yarn, but scraps of Sirdar Snuggly Baby Crofter DK in Archie and Tabitha shades, previously used for a set of cute amigurumis. The only reason I combined them was that I feared I might not have enough of either yarn, but I think the end result makes for an interesting colour effect.

Once all accessories were completed, logistic preparations were in order. First came absolutely necessary model fittings. The Cat very kindly obliged for those.

Once we - for I had accomplices - had established that the Hat, on top of being foul, also looked suitably ridiculous, we started making plans for the actual bombing. And careful planning was indeed needed, for we wanted to yarn bomb Dog Statue at night, in order to surprise passers-by and the owners of the surgery first thing in the morning. But we also wanted to take picures of the adorned statue, and that required an additional, highly risky expedition in plain daylight on a Sunday, to avoid our cover being blown. On top of it all, we needed some long-lasting favourable weather, to avoid the accessories being ruined within a few minutes of being up, and this is no mean feat, as this is the British weather we're talking about.

And so, last Sunday afternoon, we decided it was time. Looking as inconspicuous as we could, we headed down to the vet surgery and adorned Dog Statue. I have to say that if we hoped not to be seen, we failed miserably. The vet surgery stands directly opposite a bus stop, where three people were waiting, and immediately started staring at us. One of them even missed the bus, so captivated was he by our strange activities. On top of all this, an old lady with a dog - a real one - walked past us and grinned broadly when she saw what we were up to. Damn. I doubt we'd make brilliant spies...

Anyway, here's what Dog Statue looked like after our ministrations:

Now, doesn't the little fella look much happier for all of this? I have to say I was really pleased with how it all looked on the actual model. I wish I could have left it all there, but we wanted to put everything up for good at night time, so that was it for now. We took everything down and went home.

The following evening, we established temporary headquarters at the nearby tapas restaurant, a convenient 30-second walk from the vet's and also a very good place to eat, and once we'd had some much needed and delicous sustentation, we headed towards the vet surgery and proceeded to adorn Dog Statue again. This time no one saw us, and we walked home feeling like two little mischievous schoolchildren, hee hee.

The next morning, when we walked past the surgery on our way to the station, Dog Statue still sported his new attire. And so did later he that day. And the following day. And the day after that, and the day after that... So far, nearly a week later, he is still wearing it.

But the best thing of all? Well, that very day, the surgery's Facebook page posted about it all, and included a link to a local news website reporting the story! Yes, reader, Dog Statue was now locally famous for having been viciously yarn-bombed overnight. By yours truly. I feel a new career opportunity looming, especially since I have discovered this statue in the town centre:

Mwahahaha !!!! ;))

16 April 2014

It's Wednes... oh, you know the drill now! ;)

Oh dear, it's Jijihook's Granny Love Challenge day I haven't done much in terms of Blanket/granny square this week... I was very busy with other things, including tending to parental visit, discovering my new - and first ever - sewing machine, and doing things, ahem... bordering on the illegal - though still crochet-related, more on this very soon.

So, I haven't been as productive Blanket-wise as I should have been, although all first 90 squares have now had all their ends woven in, so I suppose it's not too bad, eh? Shall we have a look at the latest additions?

One complete square and six sunburst circles. Let's say I'm almost at 97, shall we?

All right, close-up time!

And that's it! Not my best performance, in terms of numbers, but I am still loving the new possibilities offered by the three recently added shades :)

Thanks for reading and see you soon! xoxo

09 April 2014

It's Wednesday!

Oh yes, it is Wednesday, and time for another round of Granny Love Challenge at Jijihook's. And since,I have missed last week's opportunity, I have double the amount to share with you today!

So, first of all, here's what I made last week:

Ten more sunburst granny squares in decidedly spring shades. As always, I had a lot of fun choosing the colours, but I found myself having to be careful not to repeat any past combination. And with dozens of previously made little fellas, it is now proving tricky. I actually had to undo one that turned out to be identical to one of its predecessors, shock horror!

Quick close-up looks? But, of course! And sunny ones, to boot.

I really love how the sun plays with the colours in these photos. It gives the squares a gorgeous shimmer, and is an instant mood-booster.

By then, I had 80 squares. You may remember that in a previous post, I mentioned about getting more colours for my Blanket. Well, this time I did! I took the opportunity of a trip to Hertfordshire to visit "my" former haberdashery. When I say "my", I mean that I used to spend my days in it when I lived in said Hertfordshire, not that I actually owned the haberdashery (I wish!).

So, the aforementioned haberdashery sells mountains of Stylecraft Special DK, and I came back from the place with a) three more balls of Cream, since these are being eaten away by the borders like there's no tomorrow, and b) three new shades for my Blanket: Lipstick, Sherbet, and Pomegranate.

Look at these fluffy balls of eye-candiness! Oh yes, I do love them. Here's a look at all the lovely shades I am using for my Blanket now, snuggly nestled in my faithful Basket:

Very, very happy with those. I did end up ditching the Citron shade, though, as I did not particularly like how it combined with the other colours. I used it for maybe half a dozen squares or less, and I am not sure whether to keep those in the final "cut" or not. I suppose I'll decide when I have the full number of squares. Wait and see, wait and see.

So, armed with my three new shades, I proceeded to crochet another ten sunburst circles. I was not a little excited by the new possibilities offered by the latest woolly necomers to my stash! And soon, this is what I had:

Aaah, look at these lovelies! The more I work on this project, the more I adore those sunburst circles as they flow off my hook. They are just so cute, so cheerful. I am pretty sure that once the Blanket will be done, I might use whatever remains of my Stylecraft Special DK stash for a sunburst circle side project...

So, before turning them into squares, I quickly immortalise their sweet circular shape, like so:

No, I never get tired of them. They quite simply make me very happy indeed. :) But of course, this is just a temporary stage, before they get radically transformed by a two-row border of Cream shade, resulting in this:

Ta-dah! This is this week's lot, complete with three new shades. Can you spot them?

And on to the now traditional close-ups...

And that's it for this week. Which brings my total to 90 squares. Aaaaaaand............. do you know what this means? I AM HALF WAY THROUGH!!!!!!! WOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! I honestly cannot believe how I came to 90 this quick. It doesn't feel like I've had to crochet 90 squares (although my wrist does... I now have repetitive strain injury!). I can't wait to crochet 90 more (well, 92 more to be exact), and to play more with colours.

But for now, as a celebration (or not), I have decided to start weaving ends in (with a very helpful hand from my mum who's visiting from France), and this is what the process has produced so far...

More eye candy, if you ask me, and enhanced with with cat hair! I still have to come up with what to do with those :)

See you next week for the "official second half of the Blanket"! ;)