Friday, 15 April 2016

My One Week "Spring Cupcakes" Attic24 inspired Cosy Striped Crochet Blanket in Scheepjes Stone washed XL

My One Week "Spring Cupcakes" Attic24 inspired Striped Crochet Blanket in Scheepjes Stone washed XL

For anyone who follows my crafting journey (mainly crochet) on my second Instagram account - @craftsadore you may have seen I've been working on a "Spring Cupcakes" Attic24-inspired cosy stripes crochet blanket for one of my daughters for the past week.

My one week Cosy Cupcakes Stripe Blanket from Lucy Attic24 blog free crochet pattern

Well, today it's I'm super excited to have finished it, and I can't even express how happy I am with it (I honestly couldn't stop smiling all the way through making it :D), for two main reasons:

Firstly, normally the multi coloured blankets are outside my comfort zone, but these Scheepjes Stone wash XL colours are soft and "my kind" of colours - most of my yarn for this blanket came from the Mandala Madness Crochet-Along official pack, but for some reason the colour choice for that project did not agree with me... so I decided to do Mandala Madness in my own colours....and since I had all this beautiful yarn left in my stash, I wasn't sure what to do with it...until I lined all the balls up in a semi-coordinated colour sequence (pink, brown and yellow go very well together)... and my daughter wholeheartedly approved...I was super excited too - they just go so beautifully together...

Secondly, if you EVER tried to crochet a full size single bed blanket (rather than a baby size one) you'll know it takes A LONG time, a lot of hours and sometimes it may take weeks, months or even a year to finish one. Since I've got 5 kids (and myself and my hubby) to make blankets for this year (UK weather is mainly grey and damp so blankets are essential to snuggle under whilst watching Netflix etc. :))...I don't really want to spend a year to finish one - I need a FAST blanket, because the minute I finish one, the next kid  in line is asking - "Mum, are you going to do mine next...." no time to waste :) 

Therefore imagine my excitement when this blanket have been finished in under a week!!. Disclaimer - I am a full time mum, and when I start a project, I usually stay up well past midnight to work on a more sane / normal crocheter may take a bit more time than a week ...but still, it's much faster than months or even years.

The reason why it's so fast is because I've used Scheepjes Stone washed XL yarn, which is "Aran" weight and works up much faster than a DK yarn that is normally recommended for this "Attic 24" striped blanket (free pattern on Lucy's blog). Having previously done a "granny stripes" blanket for my other daughter, also from Lucy's Attic24 blog, in Stylecraft Special DK, which took over a month of long hours to complete, I will now stick with Aran weight in the future... although if you're looking for a cost-effective blanket, Acylic is cheaper than cotton (Stonewash is mixture of cotton and acrylic) and you could also hold 2 strands of DK double...

Cosy crochet blanket in cosy colours and cosy yarn

For anyone who's interested in making one of those Lucy Attic24 cosy crochet blankets, I'd like to share the following top 3 tips / improvements to her otherwise super relaxing free crochet pattern:

1. Chainless Foundation Row

Start with a chainless foundation row instead of chaining individual chains. It is much faster and much better at producing a nice foundation row - there's lots of great YouTube videos if you don't know how to do it. For projects where more than 20 chains are required - I ALWAYS substitute it with chainless foundation row instead. It's a life and time saver skill. Also, since that way you're doing 2 rows in 1, you can tell straightaway how wide your project is going to be, instead of waiting to do the second row...

Chainless foundation row - much faster than chaining 200ch!

2. The Right Yarn & The Right Hook

DK yarn will work up slower than Aran, and Chunky is obviously even faster. For Scheepjes Stonewash DK the recommended hook is 5-5.5mm. I have recently learned that I am a tight crocheter, so in order to loosen my tension I have used 6mm hook for this project - the result is a super soft blanket I am super happy with. Check your tension - each colour stripe aka a 2-row DC (treble in UK) crochet stripe is about 1" in my blanket

My first Attic24 granny stripe blanket turned out too short (photo below) and I had to do extra week's work to add extra stripes to make it longer :( Now I know I should have used larger hook and "lifted" my golden loop a bit more...

My Granny Stripe blanked in Lucy Attic24 sunny pack DK Stylecraft yarn took ages

3. Chainless Row Start aka Starting Stitches and Standing Stitches

Since working on some crochet-along projects I've learned to use Standing and Starting Stitches - great technique if you don't want to have "thin" stitches that chaining 3 at the beginning of the row creates - best YouTube Tutorial imho is by moogly blog (she also does left-handed versions of her tutorials, which I appreciate very much) It took me a while to master it, but it's so much faster and neater so I do recommend you give it a go.

And every time you start a new row, start with a Standing Stitch instead of chaining. Great tutorial on here and again, on moogly blog YT channel.

My Cosy Stripe Blanket Ta-dah moment

So finally, for anyone who's interested on big my "Spring Cupcake" Attic-24 inspired blanket is, the colour sequence and the number of balls of Scheepjes Stonewash XL used (roughly, as I wasn't keeping a detailed yardage count), here is my "ta-dah" moment :)


Using chainless foundation row method, I did enough dc stitches to end up with 46 "granny clusters" of "doubles" (UK trebles) AND + 1 so a total of 139 dc stitches (you NEED that extra 1 stitch so the next row works out properly when you start your granny clusters as per Lucy's pattern notes). Using 6mm hook I ended up with a 112cm/44" wide blanket. You need to do as many stitches as you need to reach the required width (total number of stitches must be divisible by 3) but remember to add that extra 1 stitch.

Finished size 63" by 44" including border (160x112cm) unblocked (I don't bother blocking striped blankets) which is big enough for single sized UK bed (as modelled by a spare matters in the kids playroom :)). If you want it longer, you could add extra stripes, but I've run out of yarn :)
Single size bed cosy striped crochet blanket

Colour Sequence

My colour sequence was largely governed by the fact that I needed to use some yarn from the Mandala Madness 2016 Cal pack, and I also had some single balls of other Stonewash XL colours -  the break up the monotony of brown-yellow-pink and which my daughter calls "sprinkles" in our "Spring Cupcakes" blanket colour design :)

Cosy stripes colour sequence

(note: after the first 33 colour stripes, the colours repeat themselves, ending with brown, making a total of 67 colour stripes (each stripe is made up of 2 rows)

1 Brown Agate aka Brown
2 Rose Quartz aka Pink
3 Corundum Ruby aka Ruby
4 Coral
5 Citrine aka Yellow
6 Brown
8 Pink
9 Green Agate
10 Citrine
11 Ruby
12 Pink
13 Brown
14 Citrine
15 Green Agate
16 Amazonite
17 Ruby
18 Pink
19 Brown
20 Citrine
21 Green Agate
22 Amazonite
23 Yellow Jasper
24 Lemon Quartz
25 Pink
26 Ruby
27 Boulder Opal
28 Citrine
29 Pink
30 Garnet
31 New Jade
32 Canada Jade
33 Citrine

Start the sequence again from 1 Brown as no. 34, and finish with Brown as last stripe no. 67.

Yarn Used

Each colour stripe (i.e. 2 rows) takes about half a ball. So you will need:

1 x New Jade
1 x Canada Jade
1 x Boulder Opal
1 x Coral
1 x Yellow Jasper
1 x Lemon Quartz
1 x Carnelian (or Red Jasper)
6 x Brown Agate
6 x Citrine
7 x Rose Quartz (Pink)
4 x Corundum Ruby
3 x Green Agate
3 x Amazonite

total 36 balls, you will have a small amount left

Weaving in the Ends

I leave weaving all the ends in before I start the border. There's not as many to do as there would be if you were making it in DK yarn, and I don't like to stop crocheting in the middle of the project. It takes the same time, weather you do it after each row or at the end of the project, but imho it takes faster to do it at the end as you get "into the rhythm" rather than switching between a hook or a needle. In the end, it took me half a day to wave in the ends...

Whilst I love Scheepjest Stone wash XL yarn, the only criticism I have so far, is the huge number of knots in the actual balls, which I had to cut off, which meant extra tails to weave in randomly in the middle of the stripes of my blanket.

Border aka Cherry on the Cake

For my blanket border, I opted for the "Spot on Edging" aka linen stitch from Lucy's blog, with the modification of starting with a standing sc stich (dc UK terms) instead of chaining - so much easier!

Base Round - in pink - just over 1 ball used
Round 1 - in brown - half a ball used
Round 2 - in carnelian - half a ball used
Round 3 - in brown - half a ball used

Hope that helps if you're considering making one of Lucy's Atttic24 crochet cosy stripes blankets, but much faster, in Aran weight yarn :)

Attic24 cosy stripe blanket in Aran Scheepjes Stonewash XL yarn

Many thanks !
AC @ CraftsAdore (my crafting Instagram @craftsadore2)

All our Custom American Girl Dolls

All our Custom American Girl Dolls

For the very first time - all our custom American Girl dolls in one video! As one of my daughter briefly explains how each custom AG doll was made (subtitles are available!), I just wanted to thank all our subscribers and fans for continuing  love & support - I can't believe we've reached 5 K subscribers....I still can't wrap my head around it...

All our dolls are shared between myself (aka AC aka mum, an Adult Collector and doll customizer :)) and my 5 kids - yes, we do have a lot of AG dolls between us, but most have been rescued second hand off eBay, often in a poor state, restored, given a little makeover and now have a second chance to be loved by my kids and I :)

If you're interested in restoring and possibly customizing an American Girl doll, there's lots of 'how-to' tutorials on our YouTube channel in a "How-To" playlist, but adult involvement is highly recommended!

Many thanks for watching!
AC @ CraftsAdore

P.S. some of our current American Girl customs will get new wigs, or become boys :) - I haven't fully decided yet - so we will do either an updated video or individual makeover videos as and when that happens....

P.S.2 You may or may not have noticed that we've been a little bit quiet on our YT channel recently. Rest assured we'll be back very soon - it took us awhile to get all the dolls changed into Spring outfit, and we couldn't figure out how to put all our dolls together to have them all in one "family" shot - normally they live in our "American Girl Doll House", but putting them all together "in one shot" was a bit of a challenge. I think we finally figured it out...but then some kids got "Spring bugs" and couldn't film....but they're slowly getting better... and we're nearly make sure you're subscribed to our channel to get a notification once the 'All our American Girl dolls - Spring 2016' is finally published !!! AC xx

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