Thursday, 30 May 2013

New life to old patterns

I’ve had something on my crochet hook for a little while that I’ve wanted to share with you, but it is a present and I need to keep it a secret. But the gift recipient is on holiday at the moment, so I can give you a sneaky peek...

If you are pregnant and you know me, stop reading right now! Otherwise, carry on...
Given that I’ve just stated that the gift is for a pregnant friend, you can guess what this will be...

...a pretty, soft, snuggly baby blanket. My friend is an avid quilter and all-around creative, crafty person, so something homemade, preferably crocheted, was a given. She crochets granny squares while waiting for her appointments with the midwives, so anything granny was out. I started perusing some old crochet pattern books handed down to me from various family members and friends, and I happened upon this page

Now, one skill that I’m realising is key to craft is *vision*. You have to be able to see a pattern in your imagination, made with colours and textures perhaps wildly different than what is in front of your eyes. The photo from this book is dated – I’m sure at the time that it was printed it was utterly charming and adorable (it really actually isn’t that bad now, but this image doesn't do justice to the cheesiness of the actual page! It is just a tad OTT with the very acrylic baby blues and baby pinks and twee photo layout) – but look beyond the colours and setup and you can see the design is very pretty.
I’ve had fun, developed skills and learned a lot from altering a pattern, changing yarn for garden twine or adjusting sizes to fit my vision. With a little creative thinking, you can update all those old craft books at the library or charity shops. And there are some doozies out there!

For the baby blanket, my vision wasn’t terribly different, I just updated the pattern with a new colour and softer, more natural, less squeakily acrylic yarn. I know the baby’s room colour is soft green, so I chose Sirdar Snuggly baby yarn in a muted apple green. I am really enjoying the clustered shell pattern, especially how it is raised a bit in waves.

This is accomplished simply by crocheting in back loops only with every returning row, so the shells lift a bit. Pretty!

See the book? Ah, the glorious red and black combo, the model’s pensive effortlessly stylish, eh? I love thumbing through books like this. Check this out, towards the back of the book

This is borderline Tacky Craft for me. There is a fine line between Kitsch Chic and Tacky Craft. But look more closely...I like the pattern of the mat, perhaps a less frilly border? Just one colour, to showcase the texture? What if it was made with a neutral string or fine twine, or with a yarn in a green shade like the blanket (which happens to match my kitchen)? I might make the coaster to test some ideas.
I’m at that point with the blanket where I realise the baby is due in late July and I have more than 90 rows to go, then the picot edging. EEEK! But perhaps that’s why I’m telling you about it now, so I am held accountable and will get it done in time. Hmmm.

Speaking of gifts, have you seen what Jooles has made for Bunny’s teacher?

I always make homemade cookies for teacher gifts, presented in a pretty cake tin, or with some lovely tea towels – something other than mugs, candles or hand creams. But Jooles and I got talking about teacher gifts, and she has created the sweetest teacher supply pockets, perfect for glasses, pens...and treats! You can read about how they came to be here, and they are available at her new shop at Not On The HighStreet – girl has made the big time, woo hoo! I am so proud of her, and I am so glad her exquisite attention to detail is appreciated and desired by the likes of NOTHS. Check it out!
Time to refill my teacup and get a few more blanket rows completed...happy crafting!

Chrissie x


  1. I adore your blanket and the colour is just beautiful, you have great vision my friend, I'm not good at seeing past those images, I'm impressed!
    Oh my goodness I am blushing .... Big time, thank you ;o)
    happy hooking (Oh that sounds bad, but you know what i mean!)
    love jooles xxx

  2. I love the colour of your blanket - oh and the design too! I know what you mean about those books - I've got several and I can only think that it's what has put people off these wonderful crafts until fairly recently! I think both you and Jooles can pat yourselves on the back for some lovely inspiration! Jane x

    1. Thank you Jane! You are so right - crocheted tissue box covers aren't necessarily the most beguiling of projects! I'm glad there's a revival and modern spin to craft, and inspiration from fellow bloggers... Cx

  3. Your blanket looks lovely already. Such a pretty colour. I also really like Sirdar Snuggly yarn for baby knits, it's so soft.
    M x

  4. lovely blanket pattern! have to try that one day...

  5. Gorgeous colour, just love it! Also love the cluster shell pattern, it is so lovely and I am hoping to make a blanket with it one day soon. I also quite like this Sirdar Snuggly and working with it. xo

  6. I've been looking for a shell pattern just like this. Could you share the name of your book, I'd love to see if I could find it. Thank you

    1. Certainly! It's called the 'Big Book of Crochet', and I just checked amazon - you can find a copy there for £13.04. Good luck! Cx

  7. What a lovely blue shell blanket! Do you mind sharing what size you made the starting chain (or what multiple it asked for)? Thanks.