Looking at when I last posted it might seem like I have fallen off the Earth. In a way it is true: for the past four months my universe has had a new centre. And while I have slowly been finding ways to crochet and knit from the side of a newborn, blogging requires more focus and energy than I have had to spare.
Even though I have finished quite a few items over the past months, there have only been a few things for my own kid. Somehow gifts for others are easier to plan and complete. Here is a collection of Happypotamuses that have found new homes from UK to Estonia.
The fun thing about those hippos is that when made with a 3,5 hook and Scheepjes Colour Crafter, they end up slightly larger in size than newborns, making them a great photo accessory for mini-birthdays.
And finally, my munchkin has a Happypotamus of her own! Lord knows this kid does not suffer from a shortage of toys… I suspect there is dark magic involved: we have tried to be very conservative in buying toys, but they are sneaky and come in from doors and windows as well-meaning gifts from friends and family. To my defense, I wanted to add at least one more hand-made toy to her collection… while store-bought toys come and go, I hope this will last as something special through the years. Maybe it will even inspiere her to crochet something herself one day?
It has been an exceptional summer for us Northerners this year… it actually has looked like a summer most of the time since the end of May! And to be honest, some of us find all that summer difficult to cope with, including yours truly. It is rather embarrassing: after having lived in (and most of the time enjoyed) the climates of Mediterranean, North Africa, Inda and the Persian Gulf; Norther Europe poses a challenge for me this year… I blame it on the hormones and the extra load I am carrying. My due date is just two weeks away, and I really hope I’ll turn back to “normal” again after that.
So, due to my inability to spend a lot of time outdoors, I find myself more and more on my sofa, working on projects. The most recent one I finished is yet another Happypotamus, this time in the colours of really sunny skies… The hippo will travel to UK to keep company to a fresh little baby boy, I hope it brings lots of sunshine to him too, even when that exceptional summer is over.
Every now and then I get this massive urge to finish all my projects, but these last months that urge has been powered by a very different motive. In just two months our family is expected to grow by 50%, and it is not because we are getting a puppy (although my husband would love to have a puppy. Or two. Or more :D).
So, these days the craft-section of my brain is saying, “Got to knit and crochet all the cool stuff for the baby! But first, let me finish all the other projects! But first, let me start a few new projects, because when the baby is here, I’ll have no time for any of that! But got to knit and crochet all the cool stuff for the baby!”
At least I have managed to finish one thing, a Bunny Lovey, and I am loving it! The pattern for the head is from Bunny Lovey by Victoria Stewart, and the tutorial for the star blanket can be found here.
Here’s a sneak peak on what I am working on these days. Don’t you just love how the brightness of the colours!? It is a great way to use up some of the leftovers from the Hygge CAL (which I still haven’t blocked, by the way). I do love the range of colours that Scheepjes Catona comes in, but I really really can not approve of their new 10-gram format. It might work when it comes to embroidery, but you can hardly start crocheting anything when you already have to grab the next skein.
However, during my last order I picked a few skeins of a different cotton yarn: Scheepjes Cotton 8. I am not yet sure what I will make of them, but I have a few ideas. Until then, I just enjoy the colours.
My question about the appropriateness of a hippo without a head got answered by a 4-month old boxer pup we were babysitting over the weekend. The hippo was still headless, halfway stuffed and got a very loud growl from the puppy. So, in the interest of babies from all species, I had to complete the full toy.
The Happypotamus has already moved in with its new owner – a 5-week year old baby boy called August. He didn’t growl at it, so I guess he approves 🙂
Can I get away with giving a headless stuffed animal as a gift to a newborn, and say that it is a great way of stimulating his imagination? Or will the poor kid get traumatized for life?
A few months back I started another Happypotamus for a colleague who was due in the end of April. Her expecting a spring baby, and it being a baby boy, I had the perfect leftovers of Scheepjes Colour Crafter for the project: blues, greens, purples with a thin contrast line of dark yellow just for fun.
And, of course, I ran out of the contrast colour right before I could start crocheting the head. To avoid adding to my stash, I first turned to the local craft forums and Facebook groups to see if anyone had a bit left over. No luck. Then I started scanning all the local yarn stores, and came up with the same result. So, I had no other alternative but to look at online stores abroad. And I couldn’t just order one skein of yarn, because the postal costs would have been ridiculous, so I threw in a few extras in different colours and fibres 😉
I can not say a single bad word about the service of Black Sheep Wools, however online yarn shopping is just not my thing. I need to see and touch and compare and coordinate my yarns, or there will be consequences. This time, the consequence was that I ended up with 5 new skeins of Colour Crafter, none being the right colour. And I only have myself to blame for that, because I did not double check the colour codes properly.
So, what does a rational crafter do in that situation? She’ll start a new project with the newly arrived yarns. And I know I will be running out of the light blue soon, but that is ok. Gives me more reason to make another order. And this time, I will be checking the colour codes for at least three times before making the purchase.
When I stay hotels, I often do things that I don’t do at home… take a bath or watch TV, for example. And if it is a trip with a more relaxing schedule, I do things that I don’t always find time for at home. So, of course, when we drove off for a romantic weekend at the spa, of course I packed a book and crochet with me! 😉
After completing the latest large project, I decided to treat myself to something more fun and quick. And what’s more fun than Happypotamus!? I’ve claimed my admiration towards that pattern before, but just look at that hippo bottom, isn’t it cute!? And, it gives me a great chance to use up a good chunk of my blanket leftovers.
I have about half of the hippo ready now… I just wish the spa weekend would have been longer 😉
I can’t believe the blanket is finally done! I have decided to call it Dance Around the Globe, because here are just a few examples where those squares were made:
- A park bench at State College, Penn State;
- During a drive between Krk and Split, Croatia;
- On an overnight boat from Stockholm, Sweden to Tallinn, Estonia;
- At our friends’ summer kitchen in Toronto, Canada;
- On a 46th floor balcony in Dubai, UAE;
- In a funky-smelling hotel room in Bengaluru, India.
So, bits of this blanket got to travel a lot with me between August 2016 and February 2018. And finally, it has found its place in our bedroom!
8×11 squares, most of them from the original pattern. I left out the more airy squares. Where we live right now, we crave for everything warm. (My initial plan was to take photos of the blanket outside, but it is -17 degrees Celsius outside today!). When I ordered the colours, I picked them quite randomly, but I am very happy with the overall look.
But there’s no time for getting too proud of my work… there is a list of WIP’s that desperately need attention!
The 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 😀 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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.