Knitting and crochet projects in progress

I have been making some good progress with my current knitting and crochet projects since I last wrote about them (here and here), so I thought I would share a few pictures.

I really enjoyed making this mandala. I should have put something in the photo to give it a sense of scale, but it is about 40cm in diameter. It also still needs to be blocked, but I think you can get a good-enough idea of the finished result. It helped me to learn a number of new crochet skills and techniques and used up some of my yarn stash – a win-win! The pattern was very easy to follow and I have lots of plans to make more in due course.

I’ll be using it as the centrepiece of a set of place mats and have started on the first of the individual mats. As you can see, this is not proceeding quite as well…..

The wavy edge is, I think, caused by too many stitches in the outer rings, compared with the number in the central parts (even though I have definitely followed the pattern). As some point, I will give it another go with a larger crochet hook, although if any of you fellow crocheters have different advice please do let me know.

Meanwhile, I have also been able to progress my Hourglass throw. This is another really engaging pattern to follow, with just the right mixture of challenge and repetition. I very much like the stitch definition which is now starting to come through after a couple of repeats.

 

And finally, I could not resist starting my mystical lanterns blanket

The best aspect of this pattern is the colour selecting process. I had originally thought that I would adopt an approach similar to that used for my Japanese flower shawl. In that case, I worked out a relatively easy way of making sure all ten colours of yarn were used evenly, while also avoiding any duplications of colour combinations across the flowers.

The lanterns present a slightly more difficult challenge, however. This pattern uses 12 colours, with four in each motif, thus increasing exponentially the brainwork to keep track of everything. Perhaps more importantly, though, was the fact that I could feel even with the first couple of test motifs a massive bias on my part towards the shades I preferred. I like the palette as a whole but there are inevitably some colours I like more than others.

All these issues were swept away by the designer’s very clever recommended colour-selecting process. Like all good ideas, it is the very simplest in method, but it works brilliantly. You put all the balls of yarn in one bag and pick out single balls completely randomly for each part of the motif, before placing that yarn in a second bag. You continue to work like this through all the yarn in the first bag and then start again. In this way it makes sure that all colours are used equally. In addition, it generates colour combinations that might well not have been obvious when trying to pick one’s own.

I have, on occasion, discarded my first pick of yarn in favour of a second selection in a misguided attempt to avoid elements of duplication. However, I can see in the photo above, for example, that I have two motifs towards the left-hand side with yellow for the third round. If I had noticed this before completing the second motif, I might well have been tempted to make a change of colour. But I can see from this photo that it really doesn’t matter, not least because the colours take on a different look depending on the varied combinations of shades. It is the overall effect which is the most important, and this will be enhanced by the random colour selections.

It is such a delight to be working on something where you don’t know for sure how it will turn out. Obviously you need to keep faith that it will all be ok in the end but this is a refreshing change from my usual approach with colour-work, where everything has to be meticulously planned from the outset.

So onwards and upwards as they say! πŸ™‚

 

 

40 thoughts on “Knitting and crochet projects in progress

  1. KerryCan says:

    Such a lot of beautiful work! Is the mandala finished at the size it is? Or will it keep growing? I love the random color selection in the blanket–that’s a really neat technique to ensure randomness and it means you won’t obsess about decision-making. And who needs one more thing to obsess about, right??

    Like

    • Liz says:

      Thank you so much! And it is funny you should ask about the mandala – I do have a pattern for doubling its size, but I am not sure how practical it would be for the table. It is quite stiff because of all the overlay crochet work, so will be fine as, say, a mat for hot serving dishes. But if it were more the size of a tablecloth I don’t think it would be sufficiently drapey. I’ll need to ponder further… Meanwhile, yes there are plenty of other ways in which we crafters can be obsessive – definitely to be avoided if possible! πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. utesmile says:

    What super projects, the Mandala my favorite. Yes the wavy line I would have said the same. Colours galore – wise way to choose colours, I like it! You are amazing and I second the idea from your mum to start a book about it, including hints and tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandra says:

    You have been busy! And all so beautiful! I love the random colour generator approach. But my eye is firmly fixed on that hourglass shawl… It’s going to be stunning πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liz says:

      Lol – yes it’s quite pretty isn’t it – but not much good for a table mat!! Thank you so much for the retweet, by the way – always very much appreciated πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Clare Pooley says:

    I do like the colour-selection method that was recommended! It could be used for all sorts of art-work and would save such a lot of faffing about. The mandala is gorgeous and I hope you manage to complete the set of mats to your satisfaction. The shawl pattern is a beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. valeriedavies says:

    The mandala leapt into my heart, love it – but even more, I love the mysticaL lanterns ( and the name)… what a gorgeous project…the colours and shapes are really beautiful..Keep us up to date with your progress won’t you…
    I’m a crochet fan myself, but arthritic fingers have slightly damped my enthusiasm recently… working on this !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liz says:

      Thank you Valerie! I am very much enjoying the lanterns project – everything about it, the colours, the name, the pattern, makes my heart sing. So sorry about the arthritis. I very much hope you can ease your poor fingers. xxx

      Like

  6. Lucy says:

    I love that you have several things going at once. I like to vary it a bit or I get bored, but I always feel slightly guilty that I should finish what I start, and scared my ultra methodical grandmother will haunt my knitting basket.

    Love the hourglass throw. And am utterly intimidated but it. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liz says:

      It’s always nice to be able to pick and choose according to one’s mood. I know what you mean about finishing, though – it can be so tempting just to leap on to the next shiny thing, leaving projects languishing sadly in the work basket. Perhaps it is a good thing to have an element of accountability to those with different approaches to our own. And as for the hourglass throw – it definitely looks more complicated than the reality. Once you get stuck in, you can romp along quite happily! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. thegrangerange.wordpress.com says:

    Love all your projects, I have recently discovered overlay crochet and have really enjoyed the process and the textured effect that it brings. Thoughts on the lovely place mats would be to use a smaller hook to tighten the outside edges or conversely use a larger hook for the centre rounds. Would there be a natural break to reduce the size of the mandala to make some of your place mats, the thickness of the overlay work would provide natural padding to the mat. Gorgeous colour palette for the lantern blanket and a great way to select colours, I always think that once you have selected you colours anything goes nd as you mentioned you often put colours together that would not have been you first choice. looking forward to following your progress and thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

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