Monday, 7 October 2013

Guest Post - Crochet Tips with Leah!

Today my post is being taken over in the loveliest way possible, my dear friend from home will be sharing a DIY crochet project and some handy tips!

Tehani, Leah and I at our MSc graduation!

Hi Blog readers!

You don’t know me yet, but I am a uni friend of the wonderful Sarah. I live in Aotearoa New Zealand with my lovely fiancĂ© and our gorgeous son. Since our son was born 7 months ago, I seem to have decided I am somewhat of a crafty person (curse you Pinterest!) and Sarah asked me to guest blog about one of my recently finished crochet projects so here I am :-)

I recently learned to crochet – only very simple, mind you. My sister-in-law-to-be was crocheting one evening at my house, so being the nosy sod I am I asked her to show me how to do it. What started as me learning to crochet turned into this cot blanket for my girlfriend’s baby due in November – she is British, he is Argentinean so I chose Paua shell colors to represent New Zealand and the new life they are building together down here.


Now my niece, bless her, she is a character and I love her to bits. Very crafty herself at almost-5 years old, she saw me working on the cot blanket and asked me to make her one for her 5th birthday in red, white and pink. (When I told her I had decided to do purple, white and pink she simply said, deadpan, “huh. That could work”. So funny!) I won’t go through trying to teach you to crochet, there are loads of tutorials and blogs online already but just thought I would share with you some of the things I learned in this project!

Now, the first thing you should know about me is that I get bored kind of easily. I started out making the two-toned granny squares, changing every round to a new color. Then, because I get bored easily, I changed it so that on one square it would end on a colored round and the next would end on a white round. Then instead of changing every round, I changed every second round. 

Tip 1: don’t cut the yarn when you change colors. Otherwise you are going to have to thread in a whole lot more loose threads than you really need to. It means that you will see the yarn on the wrong side of the blanket but trust me, it will make the final job a lot easier and you won’t even notice it!
When I had 8 squares done, I tried to get an idea of what sort of pattern might look good for the finished piece so tried laying it out. But really, it was too hard. My FB community was pretty evenly split on which way to call it! I took a picture and decided to wait and see before I started joining the squares together.

Tip 2: don’t be afraid to start a project without the end product firmly in mind. It just makes it more exciting when it comes time to try and cobble it all together and you aren’t locked into something  if you happen to change your mind when you are further through.

Originally I thought I would only have four granny squares per row, but realized quickly this would end up being too narrow to have enough coverage on a single bed. I had a bit of trouble trying to figure out how the middle row would go – I needed something that would fit with the rest of the squares on that row, but when I tried it out it didn’t look quite as I wanted it to. By shifting the center squares up one space it suddenly worked a whole lot better. 

Tip 3: Experiment! Crochet is great because it is quick – if something doesn’t look right, it doesn’t take long to take it apart and try other color combinations.

Tip 4: do what you have to to stay interested. I said already, I get bored easily. So when I was about halfway through how big I wanted the blanket to be, I decided to stitch it together to spread the workload and so I wouldn’t have loads of threading and sewing to do at the end.

I have to say it was very rewarding finishing the last of the granny squares. After doing a double-crochet border on the cot blanket (so time consuming!!) I decided to just do trebles around the joined squares, one in each color to make a border. It was quick (yay!) and it looked better than expected, though it did blend in some places more than I thought it might. 

If I am being brutal, it is probably still a tiny bit narrow for a single bed, but one more granny square would easily spread it out that little bit more.

So yep, those are probably the best tips I have if you are going to start a simple crochet project. It was quite fun doing something similar but a bit different, and I hope my niece will love it as much as I enjoyed doing it for her. I also hope she keeps it for years and years, and maybe even passes it on to her daughter one day.

Happy crafting!

Isn't the pink and purple adorable! You can check Leah out at her Pinterest page here.

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