Saturday, 25 May 2019

BAWJ2019 - Weeks 18, 19 and 20!

Hey everyone,

Aargh! Time is running away from me at an alarming rate - I feel like I'm barely keeping up. We had all the family in town for Allie's first  birthday (!!) last weekend and it's going to take me a bit longer to recover from all the excitement and cooking. 

Allie got her own little chocolate cake to munch and mash - as you can see, she had a LOT of fun (and needed a bath directly afterwards!).

I still haven't convinced the little flea to stand still long enough to model cardigans for me, plus we are having a weird resurgence of summer at the moment and everyone is back in tshirts! Climate change is so weird and annoying, I want winter and snuggly blankets and hot tea! 

I have managed to squeeze a bit of crochet in here and there, mostly getting up to date with the BAWJ. Without further ado, here's my take on Weeks 18, 19 and 20!

If you want to join in on BAWJ2019, check out Julie's Facebookgroupblog and Ravelry Board for more information.



Yarn colours: All of them (mini balls and scraps from the bottom of the box...)

Ugh I love Polly Plum designs. She makes art with yarn, and writes so clearly that making her afghan squares is almost effortless. Plus, she is an all round excellent person and one of our fellow Stylecraft Blogstars!

This one is another masterpiece, with a square that ends up both solid and lacy, somehow. It is almost identical front and back (which is great in an afghan) and all in all was a pleasure to crochet!  



Yarn colours: Coral, Silver, Krypton

Again, this square was a lot of fun to crochet. Working longer stitches into the row below, playing with back post stitches, and having the variety of a square design (most of these squares start as circles)... 

However, as you can see it came out quite wonky - it must need some hefty blocking. I'll ignore that for the moment and see if peer pressure will do the job for me in the finished blanket, but I remain slightly dubious for now. Plus, it is quite on the large size. Maybe I'll have one blanket for enormous squares and one for less enormous ones?



Yarn colours: Raspberry, Teal, Phosphorus 

Two new stitches to learn in this square - the bead stitch and the folding sc/hdc/dc. Bead stitch seems to be a neater and less tedious version of the bullion stitch. The folding sc/hdc/dc makes a really cool loopy texture! See the little tunnel of teal stitches? 

I have heard a lot about Ineke's patterns but hadn't had the chance to make one yet - this one is making me very curious to find out more :D 

Phew, that's another three weeks done! I have three new patterns off with testers at the moment, maybe one day I'll get around to writing them up properly and publishing... how soon does Allie start daycare? 

What are you working on at the moment? Link me to your blog or facebook or insta! 

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

BAWJ2019 - Weeks 15, 16 and 17!

Hi everyone!

It's been a rollercoaster couple of weeks here at Casa del Westlund - we had a week's holiday at Lake Macquarie over Easter, I've been crocheting up a storm of cardigans for Allie since it seems like we might actually have winter this year (yay!) and she has decided all of a sudden that three naps in a day is for chumps, and breastfeeding is super slow and irritating and could we please just already have bottles!? Argh! 

Before we get to the BAWJ squares from the last few weeks, here's a photo of Allie's favourite holiday activity: DUCKS.

Ducks go KAK KAK KAK, and you feed them and pat them and even crunch on a bit of their seed. Now all birds are greeted with KAK KAK KAK, duck or not 😂

I'll tell you all about the cardigan collection next week hopefully - it depends when Allie feels like stretching her modelling and cooperation muscles. Cross your fingers for me! She is a very determined and independent little miss. 

On to the BAWJ2019! All three of these squares were very well written patterns!

If you want to join in on BAWJ2019, check out Julie's Facebookgroupblog and Ravelry Board for more information.



Yarn colours: Pistachio, Coral, Silver, Graphite

It was interesting starting with a five pointed star in the middle - I'm not a huge fan of how wonky the circle is to get it back to a square, but the central flower is just so cute.

I also got to learn how to do a different kind of surface crochet! The wibbliness appeals to me :P 



Yarn colours: Pistachio, Heather, Raspberry, Sage and Bismuth 

So much texture! I learned a new stitch, and was very grateful that there were photos of each round as after a bit I found the pattern very wordy and somewhat challenging to keep track of where I was up to. 

So bumpy and petally and deliciously squishy. A cushion cover in this stitch would be so lovely. 

Even the back looks really cool, with the spiked trebles down behind the petals!



Yarn colours: Iron, Cream

You might recall - I've made this square before! It was Julie Yeager's Mystery CAL Afghan Square from 2015, which I made in rainbow colours of Special DK. It was fun to follow Julie's lead and make this version in only two colours - Iron Elements and Cream. 

Again, doesn't it have lovely texture? Those front post stitches... 

Phew, that brings me all up to date! Back soon with cardigan photos.. oh, here's a sneak peek ;) Don't forget to cross your fingers that we can get her to hold still for photos! 

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

BAWJ2019 - Weeks 13 & 14!

Hi everyone!

I got a bit behind in the BAWJ2019 this fortnight - Kiah has been working lots of night shifts, and Allie has had a chest infection which has made the nights very long and the days very busy... zzzz... Fortunately Allie is on the mend now, so I'm starting to get a bit more sleep again. 

I think these two squares are some of my favourites so far - clearly written patterns, nice designs and not overly fussy or complicated :)

If you want to join in on BAWJ2019, check out Julie's Facebookgroupblog and Ravelry Board for more information.



Yarn colours: Storm, Cream & Mercury

Lots of popcorns again in this one! It was very interesting the way the shape of this square transformed with each row - very well thought out. 

The whole square has a lot of texture going on, but mostly focussed in the central part. Back post stitches, working in the back loop and of course the popcorns do the magic. 

One slight downside of such heavily textured squares is that they aren't really reversible. The back just isn't very nice to look at, and in an afghan I kinda prefer it when the back is at least almost as pretty as the front.  



Yarn colours: Coral, Old Gold, Violet, Sage, Graphite

I think this is my favourite square so far :) Straightforward pattern but still interesting, and the look would change endlessly just by playing with the colours. 

I love the little row of tulips in the border! 

The square does have a little bit of texture in the front post stitches, but you can see on the next picture that it is still very nice to look at on the back.

Overall I'm really enjoying the BAWJ2019 - meeting lots of new designers, and having a crochet goal for each week which helps keep me sane when it would be so easy for crochet to just fall by the wayside!   

Monday, 25 March 2019

BAWJ2019 - Weeks 9-12!

Hi everyone! 

My BAWJ2019 is coming along nicely! I have 13 squares completed now, all in different colour combinations. What do you think of my e-afghan? 

This is going to be a bit of a long post because I have FOUR squares to show you! 

If you want to join in on BAWJ2019, check out Julie's Facebookgroupblog and Ravelry Board for more information.



Yarn colours: Teal, Cream, Indigo, Storm, Sage, Old Gold, Graphite

This square was well written and worked up very nicely. It was interesting to use so many colours - the other squares so far have a maximum of 4-5 colours.

The texture is lovely! And even the back is nice. 



Yarn colours: Graphite, Cherry, Raspberry, Cream, Rose, Iron 

I particularly liked how this square took into account the twist from hdc rows by changing direction each row - the backs of the hdc stitches provide a different texture, and the square stayed very straight!

I'm not sure how much I love the little extra rosebud, but it's nice to learn new techniques.

It's easier to see on the back how the alternating hdc rows keep the square nice and straight:



Yarn colours: Heather, Olive, Coral and Copper

Another well written square! It's so nice when a pattern just slides off the hook without much thought or consideration! 

I wish the centre circle was a bit more... circular, but maybe blocking will assist with that, if I can be bothered.



Yarn colours: Silver, Lupin, Violet, Graphite

Talk about a well-written pattern! I think this is my favourite square so far - interesting stitches, not overly complicated but extremely easy to follow. If only all patterns were like this!

Again, I wish the centre diamond was, well, centred, but maybe the little twist is a design feature not a bug :P 

Phew, I'm up to date (and up to date on here) - bring on the next 36 weeks! 

Friday, 22 March 2019

Woohoo! The finished Hydrangea Stripe Blanket

Hi everyone!

Phew, it has been a long time since I wrote my last blog post. I thought about it a lot, but in the end, my day didn't have enough hours.

Recently, we went to Denmark for a week and I finally (!!) finished my Hydrangea Stripe Blanket! Phew. The project took far too long for my liking and some point it wasn't a lot of fun anymore. I guess, I am not cut out for projects which take very long.

Now that the blanket is finished, I love it. It is soft and lush. I really hope, the recipient will like it too. It is a gift for a dear friend of mine who turned 60 last December. I wanted to finish the blanket in time for her birthday, but eh, that didn't work out. It will be more of a Easter surprise now. I will pack and ship it soon!

The pattern is really easy to follow and after a couple of rows, i developed a nice rhythm. I had to crochet more rows (lots more) to reach the desired length. I assume that's because I used a 4mm hook and a slightly different yarn.

Belissma is a lovely yarn to work with. It was a great stitch definition and just flows from the hook.

As much as I love the blanket, I am glad I am able to crochet smaller projects again now. I am currently testing a pattern for Michelle. Stay turned - it looks great!

Take care,

Project details

Pattern: Hydrangea Stripe Blanket by Attic24

Yarn: Belissima DK by Stylecraft Yarns

Color order stripes: Toasted Almonds, Ash Rose, Raspberry Riot, Mellow Yellow, Sugar Snap, Overly Olive, Silver Lining, Smoked Pearl, Bashful Blue, Double Denim, Purple Passion, Rio Red, Crushed Plum

Border: Double Cream

Hook: 4mm

Time: 12/18 - 3/19

P.S. Stylecraft Yarns send the yarn I am using for the blanket mentioned above last summer, but I am not in any way obliged to say anything nice about the yarn. Thus, all sentiments expressed above a 100% mine! :)

Friday, 1 March 2019

BAWJ2019 - Weeks 7 and 8!

Hi everyone! 

It's March! How can it possibly be March already - 2019 is zipping by at a terrifying rate. We've survived two weeks of multiple night shifts here and Miss Allie has her first tooth! 

I have been working on my miniaturisation project over the last few weeks in between feeding the baby 7 times a day (hurgh I liked it better when she just had milk), persuading her to have naps and keeping up with work. So far I have 5 tiny monsters, and #6 is in progress but having a rest while I make a hippo for a lovely friend's upcoming tiny human! 

This week's post is a bit later than usual because Square 8 of the BAWJ2019 took me somewhat longer than previous weeks for reasons which I will describe below... 

If you want to join in on BAWJ2019, check out Julie's Facebookgroupblog and Ravelry Board for more information.



Yarn colours: Krypton, Silver, Teal, Mint

This square was ok! I did alter the instructions slightly so I didn't have quite so many silver ends from the overlay rounds, just by starting in a different spot. 

It worked up fairly well, although it irritates my symmetrical mind that the mandala isn't straight on the square. 

I almost like the back better - the combination of colours and stitches (and the beautiful Batik yarn) gives it an impressionist look!



Yarn colours: Phosphorus, Cream, Raspberry, Gold, Violet

Hoo boy, this was an interesting square. Pretty? Yes, I'll give it that. I liked the way the circular centre was squared up - very clever and much less awkward than other methods I have seen. 

I do not want to seem ungrateful because these lovely designers are offering squares for the BAWJ2019 for free, but... it makes me really disappointed when designers don't take pride in presenting a great, well-designed, well laid out pattern. And this one was a real challenge, not in a fun way. 

Julie noted as a "fun fact" in her introductory blog post that the designer has never made an afghan before! This became very obvious when there were two rows that had 16ch strings along the back. It's true, they aren't visible from the front. But as anyone who has ever made or used an afghan can tell you, having such long loose strings along the back can be very unpleasant for the toes as well as affecting the tension of the square! I ended up catching the chain strings into the following row to try and mitigate this a bit. But, you can see how the overlay crochet is sitting right up off the surface of the underlying stitches due to the tension of the chain strings behind. 

There were some issues with the pattern as well. In some places the colour change was not marked clearly, and the layout was not super easy to follow. 

The stitch counts and instructions for Rounds 18 and 19 didn't match. It was very confusing, caused a few bouts of ripping back and retrying before I could make it work. In case you're making this and are as perplexed as I was, I worked Rounds 18 and 19 as follows:

Round 18 - *working in BLO, hdc in first two st of one side including the first hidden st, 15 star stitches across, hdc in last two st, (hdc, ch2, hdc) in corner ch2sp*. repeat 4 times. (6hdc and 15 star st on each side) 

Round 19 - *hdc in first three st of one side including first hidden st (where Round 18 joined), hdc in top of Round 18 hdc to start first star st, 2hdc in eye of each star stitch, hdc in last 3 st, (hdc, ch2, hdc) in corner ch2sp* repeat 4 times (39 hdc on each side) 

More than one hdc round also twists a square quite badly because the top of the stitch is so far to the right of the post, as you can see in the back shot of this square:

Hopefully the power of peer pressure will pull it back into line once we join them all together.

Onwards and upwards!