Friday, 16 March 2018

Back on my Needles

Back in October 2015 my daughter gave me a very exciting birthday present - a yarn advent calendar.

There were 24 doors to open and behind each was a mini ball of Opal sock yarn. Each one weighed about 15 g and they all had suitably festive tiny ball bands.

I really enjoyed finding the new yarn each day and knitted one square with each colour during advent.

Then, in the New Year, I knitted two more squares from each little ball. The three above all came from one colourway. As you can see, I added some plain cream yarn to break up all that colour (as well as making the yarn go further). And this is what I turned all those little squares into ...

This is my Patchwork Pelerine, a cross between a shawl and a poncho. It buttons up down the front and has a straight hem on one side and a pointed one on the other. This is one of my favourite things to wear, I really love it.

This of course left me with about 4 or 5 g each of 24 different variegated yarns which I was determined to use up. So, later in 2016, I turned them into 24 little Advent Stars, each with their own number.

I was so pleased to have used up every scrap of yarn that I decided to repeat the whole project and treated myself to the next Opal Advent Calendar in Winter 2016.

And this is where I got stuck. 
It didn't take me long to decide what to knit - folded flowers that I would turn into a quilt. So, off I went ...

So far, so good. Easy to knit and pretty on both sides. Now I knew I was going to need to add some other yarn to be able to make something big enough to justify being called a blanket. Having used cream as my contrast colour for the Pelerine, I decided to use a dark colour this time and found a nice dark grey Opal yarn.

Yes, I know they're different sizes - my tension may not always be spot on.

The plan was to alternate the coloured flowers with the grey ones ... the only problem was, when I laid the first few out, I didn't like how it looked.

Too heavy looking and the coloured flowers look a bit odd in amongst the grey. Now, having hit this problem, you might think that I'd have tried a different contrast colour or played around with the arrangement. But no, what I actually did was put the flowers away in a basket and forget about them for a year. I didn't seem to be able to get past my original plan.

Anyway, last week I got them all out again (feeling rather guilty at having neglected them for so long) and, straight away, it dawned on me that I could just space the grey flowers out a bit.

Already it looks better and there are other arrnagements I could try. Perhaps a grey flower in the centre surrounded by coloured flowers and then the occasional ring of grey? Why didn't I think of that a year ago?

So I'm now steaming ahead, knitting lots more flowers so that I can play with other ways of arranging them.

The eagle-eyed among you will spot that I've knitted just a few more of the coloured ones than the grey. In fact there are 31 coloured flowers and 9 grey ones (I had to count them three times, I was sure I'd done more than that). This is because the grey ones are boring to knit! I'm now making myself knit two grey flowers for every coloured one in an effort to even them up a bit.

Maybe I'll actually get this quilt finished and turned into a pattern this year. I wonder if Opal are planning an Advent Calendar for 2018?

This isn't the only old project I've resurrected recently. When sorting out boxes of beads the other day I came across a box full of crochet squares. Don't ask me why they were in a box with the beads, I have no idea. I remember making them with odd balls of Noro Silk Garden Lite more than ten years ago.

There were 25 squares all together and it seemed a shame to leave them in that box (also, I needed it for beading supplies) so I decided to turn them into a quick blanket. I'm crocheting round them with some Stylecraft Special DK in Parchment that I bought by mistake (please tell me that happens to you too) and then I'll crochet them together.

I'm having to resist the temptation to abandon my proper woolly work and just do these at the moment. I'm trying only to do one after I've done some proper work. This morning I spent several hours cutting and sticking bits of card to make a prototype for this year's big Christmas pattern so that definitely earned me a bit of crochet. I wonder if writing a blog post counts too?


  1. I really like the version with the alternate grey flowers, but then I do like dark things. Those Noro squares are gorgeous.

  2. Thank-you. Yes, I think I need to do a lot more playing around before I decide on the final arrangement - not to mention knitting a lot more flowers.

  3. How do you knit a folded flower?

  4. You'll have to wait until I publish the pattern to find that out, I'm afraid! I hope to finish it this year.