Happy Hippo

Autumn hit us early and hard this year. I have spent hours on Ravelry looking at patterns of mittens and hats, regretting that I had not thought of it earlier. Like in June. Although, to be hones, even June required hats and mittens on certain nights.

But instead of knitting practical stuff, I have been working on something more fun. Meet my first attempt of Happypotamus,ย the hippo made out of African flower motifs.

Pelagia's Happypotamus no 1

I’ve been eyeing Heidi Bears’ patterns for a long time – they are so cute and colourful! And, they are well-worth the money you pay for them: the pattern has written instructions, and photos and pattern schemes to help you along. And it is so much fun to pick the colours for each motif.

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I used Scheepjes Colour Crafter, as I had lots of leftovers from the Ugly Blanket. The eyes are stitched with yarn only – Happy will be moving in with a 6-month-old baby, so I did not want to have any bits that could potentially come loose.

Happy and his cute bum will be getting on the plane tomorrow to fly overseas to his new home. And I am very tempted to postpone the hats and mittens even longer, so I could make the next one… a camel maybe?

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Last Dance on the Beach DONE

ugly-blanket-smallThe first finished project of 2017 is done! It is a bit wonky, but I am happy and proud! Even the colour scheme, that seemed loud and conflicting in the beginning, does not bother me that much any more. At first it was because me and that blanket went through so much together, that of course we bonded over that. Suffering does that to you ๐Ÿ˜€ But when I showed it to my other half, his first reaction was, “So beautiful!”, followed by, “Wait, is that the ugly blanket?! It is beautiful though!”

So, we’re calling it the Ugly Blanket. With a lot of love, of course. I also refer to it as the biggest swatch I have ever made. This CAL taught me a lot, and I will probably be making some more squares some time in the future. But until then, me and my Ugly Blanket will snuggle up on the sofa. And yes, you can see it right, I am knitting for a change.

hygge-at-home

Sometimes it all comes together

Last night I went out to dinner with a friend, and finished it up with a coffee. Of course it resulted in me staying up until 1am, watching the news and crocheting. My hands were also fuelled by the weather forecast that promised sunshine for the next day. This meant, that if I could get the Last Dance on the Beach blanket done, I could wash it in the morning, and it would have a full sunny day to dry up on the balcony.

last-dance-under-the-stars

And here it is today, sunbathing on the balcony. I still can’t believe it is finally done! The realisation hits me every time I pass the window and see it hanging out there! I won’t consider it completely done just yet – I want to press it a bit, and then I can present it to you in its full glory. Until then, however, I can share the key learning points from joining the squares:

  1. If there is an instruction, I should never improvise! I don’t know where my confidence comes from, but every now and then I look at the pattern or instruction and decide that I know a better or an easier way. About 95% of the times this does not prove to be true.
  2. The best protocol for joining, especially if I am doing the type of join for the first time goes like that: count, pin, re-count, re-pin, re-count, crochet. I can’t tell you how many times I frogged, because a) it is just embarrassing, and b) I don’t think there is enough characters in the blog post available.
  3. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again… never ever ever try a new technique with dark-coloured yarns. Because this is a guaranteed way of going blind. Or mad. Or possibly both.

Motivation

If I have an unpleasant or scary task ahead of me, there are usually two great forces that give the best results. One of them is procrastination, meaning you have to have a task even more unpleasant or scarier facing of you. You can’t imagine how spotless and tidy my home was back when I was writing my thesis ๐Ÿ˜€ And the second one is desperation.

I was working on my current pet project, the baby blanket, and ran out of yarn. So, the first night I just replaced it with reading a book (I am currently in the middle of Kafka by the Shore). The second day I did not have time to go downtown to stock up, so I kept on reading and trying not to think of my itchy hands… the last thing I need right now is to start on a new project.

And then, on the third day, I finally get to the store, and they are closed for inventory! I go back home empty-handed, pull out the pile of unfinished projects, and start working on the Last Dance on the Beach blanket. I have most of the squares ready, but the thought of joining seemed so daunting that I hid them all under my stash. And now it is out in daylight again… scary. Maybe I should go and clean the kitchen instead ๐Ÿ˜€

The Last Dance on the Beach: weeks 3 and 4

Last Dance on the Beach, week 3Week 3: Sunset

Yarn: Scheepjes Colour Crafter, Leeuwarden

Hook size: 4

Sometimes I am good at sabotaging myself. Following the discussions I got the impression that this square was problematic to many. So, I mentally prepared myself for a challenge. And a challenge it was – it took me 45 minutes to complete the first line! I crocheted, and counted, and frogged. I read through tens of Facebook posts to see if everyone had the same problem as I did. I watched the instructional video over and over again, paying extra attention to the complicated bits.

And then I discovered that my problem had nothing to do with the complicated bits. I had just added an extra stitch to the pattern every single time I tried to complete the row. And it took me so long to notice that, because all my effort was spent on the “complicated” part.ย But after that, it was all smooth sailing!

Last Dance on the Beach, week 4Week 4: The Waves

Yarn: Scheepjes Colour Crafter, Delft

Hook size: 4,5

This poor square got no love from me. I struggled with the dark yarn, I struggled with getting the hook size right, I struggled with what seemed like never-ending rows of 28 half-trebles. Even though it is not a very complicated pattern, I estimate I frogged at least 4 full squares before I got 4 wonky squares that were more or less ok. Blocking helped a bit, but I think I overdid it with stretching a bit.

But look, put it all together, and it almost looks like a blanket already!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Dance on the Beach, weeks 1-4