Friday, 26 April 2013

Crochet Circus Blanket

Yet Another Baby Blanket!

Alas, this one isn't for me. A girl in my office at work is soon leaving to start her maternity leave as she is expecting her first baby and she knows she is having a daughter.  I thought that I would make her something a bit more personal and of course give me an opportunity to make another blanket (I'm sure I have an addiction!!)

I had seen a blanket similar to this a while ago but it was a knitted item, so didn't really take much notice of it but the image always stuck in my head, as I loved the design so much. I had no pattern to work with and because it is only a small blanket, I decided that I would just make it up as I went along and hope for the best.

The original design was similar but had the Big Top sat underneath where the bunting meets the top of the blanket, and an elephant in the bottom right hand corner. Try as I might, I couldn't find a pattern I liked for the elephant and as for the Big Top, I couldn't even find one at all. 

I decided that I would work about with it a bit and see if I could cobble together my own Big Top, which I did and I was pleased with the results.  I simply made 4 individual pieces (2 x red & 2 x white) made up of 12 rows of Double Crochet, 4 stitches wide and then sewed the 4 pieces together to give me the base of the tent. I then did a simple crocheted triangle starting with a chain stitch of 12 and decreased 2 stitches every other row (if anyone wants a more in-depth guide, I will happily complete how I did it in step by step instructions, not done this before so it will be my first!!)

I then sewed the triangle to the base and sewed into the blanket. A flag to adorn the top and hey presto, my first applique made up by myself. Now I know there is probably an easier way to do this, but as I'm still a newbie to this art called crochet (I've only been doing it since November 2011 and I still have a lot to learn) I was pleased with my results.

For the bunting, I did a chain stitch long enough to achieve the effect seen on the blanket and then I attached along the chain stitch the teeny tiny bunting flags at equal distance apart. The bunting flags are 6 stitches across to start, I felt this was wide enough for the overall size of the blanket. I pinned it all in place and then sewed it on.

The blanket itself was made up on 41 rows of straightforward Trebles and for the scalloped edge I firstly did a row of Double Crochet all around the blanket to give me a base to work from and then into the first stitch I crocheted a Double Crochet, a Half Treble then another Double Crochet (all UK terms) I then missed the next stitch and slip stitched into the next stitch and repeated all the way round. I wanted the scallop to be quite a gentle rise and fall. 

The blanket itself is approximately 54cm x 50cm's, so quite small, but it is intended as a pram blanket or to be used in a Moses Basket.  I have left space in the bottom right corner and I will happily embroider the baby's name when she is finally here, if mum so requires. 

The colours I used were all by Stylecraft DK and were Clematis (Pink), Cream, Lipstick (Red) Citron (Yellow) and Aster (Blue) It took me 3 days in total to finish this blanket from start to end, and was mainly done in an evening. It was just the part of sewing the appliques to the blanket that I did this morning while the sun shone beautifully in through the windows. 

I will reiterate again, if anyone is interested in me completing a step by step guide on how I did this blanket, then I would be more than happy to do so.  I'm not sure on copyright issues and will admit that the design was inspired by a blanket I once saw some time ago which was knitted and I'm not sure if the appliques were in fact made of material. But this design is entirely my own and how I did it was completely from my own imagination. 

I would love to hear from anyone what you think to my blanket. I'm also happy to hear of any ways it might be improved or some constructive criticism too as I hope it will all aid me in getting better and better. 

Thanks for stopping by and I'll be back soon.  

Monday, 15 April 2013

Great Escape!

Never have I looked more forward to a holiday then I did this time, as my family and I boarded a plane heading to a much needed week of sunshine in Belek, Turkey. I don't think we anticipated the appallingly cold and wet weather conditions we have experienced this winter and spring and what complete lack of sun or warmth we were likely to see when we booked this holiday all those months ago! This holiday was so greatly needed and boy, did Turkey not disappoint.

We stayed at the Susesi Luxury Resort, where our every need was catered for. Our daughter, being the friendly, confident little girl that she is, met and made friends with another little girl on our first morning and they were like two pea's in a pod from that moment on and completely inseparable. They spent their week enjoying each others company and all that they required was a daily trip to the beach to collect more shells for their collection.

It was lovely to watch them in their play and know that they were completely and utterly contented in what they were doing, it also meant us parents could indulge in some much needed relaxation on a sun lounger by the pool.

The gardens at the resort were incredible, so green, so full of colour and flowers, so amazingly maintained and lush. 

I loved the many beds of Bird Of Paradise flowers, they looked stunning don't you agree?

They were absolutely beautiful and everyday after breakfast we would take a walk around the gardens and enjoy the early morning warmth and look forward to the day ahead.

I love the sea and the Mediterranean is especially lovely as it is not tidal and always so beautifully turquoise in colour. In May, sea turtles come to this part of the coast and lay their eggs, now that is something I would love to experience.

Now, previously when I have traveled to a new part of the world, I do like to try and experience parts of their culture and visit landmarks and sites of interest, but honestly, on this occasion, I moved little further then from the side of the pool to the beach and back. I confess that I just laid and read my book. The only time I made any effort to move was when I was hungry and the food was out of this world, and the cakes!!! WOW!!

They were works of art and looked too lovely to eat, not that that stopped us. Each afternoon at 4 o'clock, they served an eye wateringly huge assortment of patisseries, pastries and cakes.

And each evening at dinner, there was a different featured dessert, this one was a vanilla cheesecake with an apricot glaze. The macaroons were so divine and the presentation was breath taking!!

Even the main courses were beautifully crafted, this dish for example was Salmon Gravlax. 

This is one of the many carvings, this one was Neptune and was part of the seafood themed evening

This was also part of the seafood display!!

Oh, and back to the cakes!!!

It's mouth watering just to look at them!!!

And if we didn't have enough cake while we were there, it was also our daughters 6th birthday, so to celebrate, they made her a special Torte, complete with candles and sparklers. A truly tremendous way to mark the end of our holiday.

So back home and back to reality I suppose. Thank you for stopping by and I hope to return soon with more talk of all things I love to indulge in. The weather these last 2 days have shown signs of improvement so I hope to take a gander down to our much neglected allotment plot and start a few tentative steps towards regaining order - wish me luck!!