Tuesday, 26 April 2011

family fun and...finished daisy blanket!!!

This weekend has been a mixed one. 

I was at work Good Friday & Easter Saturday. Now, I don't mind doing my share of the bank holidays - after all, healthcare is not a Monday to Friday thing - and I don't really mind too much that I invariably am late away (what should have been a 7 1/2 hr day Friday turned into 12hrs) - such is the unpredictability of working in the NHS. But I did have to bite my tongue when R kept saying how lovely it has been to have a 4 day weekend (I haven't!) and to have a 3 day week this week (I haven't! I'm in next Friday too! Wedding or not!). In fact, for me, I always just very slightly, very selfishly, resent the fact that bank holiday Mondays erode my week as Monday is my day off (to myself usually!!!) so to me last week was a long one and this week is the same as normal - 4 long days, Mon to Fri.

But...I do realise that's a bit churlish! And we did do lovely things on Sunday and Monday.

Glorious sunshine and unseasonally warm temperatures meant we were able to have the first barbecue of the year on Easter Sunday. What a treat to be able to eat outside in April - and it really not be 'just a bit chilly but we'll stick it out anyway 'cos we've said we're having a barbecue'!

We had long cool glasses of Pimms in the garden, with salads, barbecued stuffed peppers and Jamie's barbecued belly pork. I'm not much of a meat eater, but this was easy and delicious and every bit as good as a big roast dinner.

We moved the conservatory furniture out onto the grass, spread out our festival Pimms blanket and a few cushions and just chilled. 

My Mum gave me gardening tips (she is much more knowledgeable than I am) and we spotted this single tulip that has appeared from somewhere...

I love its pointy petals and almost black centre.

We were quite a houseful with Mum, my younger sister and brother-in-law and 3 small nephews, plus R and I, our 3 boys and one girlfriend. It was so nice to have all our boys together with their cousins as the older they get, the harder it seems to be to achieve that now.

Oldest and youngest cousins having 'a moment' - my youngest nephew, 8 months, and my eldest son, 22 years - lovely boys both!

The excitement of the Easter egg hunt was a bit beyond this little one - how snuggly is he?!!! He just dozed while his 4 and 6 year old brothers raced round the garden hunting for treasure (not all chocolate - we also had bubbles, bouncy balls and chicks!) hidden by their almost as excited big cousins. Even having put the chocolate eggs in the freezer for a couple of hours, there was something of a time pressure to hide and find them before they melted! About 5 are still out there somewhere...we think...no-one thought to count them before they were hidden!!

Then today we headed up to the coast, where we got a bit of a shock as it was about 10C cooler! The breeze was blowing straight off the North Sea...

All the flags on the seafront were flying straight out and we had to do an emergency shop for something warmer to wear before heading for fabulous fish and chips on the seafront.

And then my final excitement of the weekend is this...

Ta Dah!!!! I finally finished my daisy blanket! I started this blanket on 15th January with no real plan about what would go where other than that I would keep to a few colours and that all the squares would have a daisy as a centerpiece. 

For the record, it is about (I haven't measured it!) 3 feet by 6 feet, made almost entirely of Stylecraft Special DK, 100% acrylic; one ball each of white, raspberry, meadow, sunshine and cloud blue and two of aster (the deeper blue). The lilac was a ball I had left over from another project which I can't remember the name of - also an acrylic yarn and similar to the Stylecraft lavender I think. At about £1.65 a ball I don't think you could call this an extravagant blanket.

I edged each square with a row of dc in aster and sewed them all together with just a simple slip stitch. The border has a row of half treble in aster, a row of dc in sunshine, bobble stitch in white, 2 half treble clusters in meadow green, trebles in lilac, half trebles in raspberry, trebles in cloud blue, dc in aster then (finally!) a simple shell edging in aster. I had several goes at different edgings but they all seemed a bit fussy and too much somehow, so went for something simple in the end.

It has turned out warm and snuggly and I'm really pleased with it but, as I said a couple of posts ago, it has been a bit of a learning process!
  • Probably best to do a bit of planning!!! It doesn't show too much on the line but this is a bit of a wonky blanket! You can see how wonky in the folded pictures - it is impossible to get it to fold neatly as the edges are all slightly different lengths! I think the problem was that the yarn makes such stretchy squares (especially the bigger ones) that it was easy to 'persuade them' together when I was sewing them up and although I thought it was reasonably square, when I came to d the edge I realised it wasn't! Were I to do something similar again I think I would be a bit more careful to count the edge stitches to even them up as these were the basis for the border.
  • I should have written what I did down as I went along! There is a bit of variety in the exact stitches I used as I kept forgetting exactly what I'd done! Probably didn't help the sizing issue! 
  • The final edging is just slightly curled up - perhaps I should have worked it just into the back loop of the row before? 
  • If I'm entirely honest (and at risk of sounding a yarn snob...) I'm not sure I am truly fond of acrylic yarn. I love the colours and it is thick and warm but I did not enjoy working with it as much as the cottons and merinos I've used before. I find it a bit 'squeaky' and hard going on my hands. But...it is infinitely more affordable and, as I don't wish to be restricted to one project every 10 years (!) acrylic is likely to remain the yarn of choice for now!
But overall...I'm really happy with it! 

So now I just have to decide what next? Do I go back to the Big Ripple (abandoned in favour of daisies)? I should finish the socks - making very slow progress with these! But probably I need to first finish and get posted my pile of squares for Sarah London's Crochet a Rainbow project - I hope I'm not going to be too late with them!

Happy making, whatever it is...til next time



  1. Hello Sandra
    Thanks for popping in and commenting on my blog, nice to meet you. I love love your daisy blanket it has turned out so beautiful. Such spring like colours too and I knowwhat you are saying about acrylic, it can be a bit harsh to hook with but oh so much more affordable. I think the Stylecraft DK is one of the better ones around.
    We had a bbq yesterday, our first for the season and it was delish! I could quite happily eat like that for the next few months. Hope you enjoy your well deserved time off this week xox

  2. Love it Sandra, enjoy using it wherever whenever. It is just so pretty and bright it will be great to hide under on a dark winter evening but also so lovely to sit on in the summer sipping Pimms!!! Well done

  3. I love that blanket and I think part of the character is that you just did it as you went along.....only you can see that it is not square as you say, looks good from here :-) Hope the weather stays nice like that for the wedding! Pity you have to work but I am sure you can see the highlights like us on TV. Love the Pimms blanket too ;-)

  4. Ahhhhhh- ha! I found it! What a beautiful creation! I love that it has different sized panels throughout...and that edging is adorable! More coveting of your belongings from this reader! =) Annette


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