Are you ever at a loose end?

We have the pleasure today to welcome our first Guest Blogger: the lovely, witty, always enthusiastic, Lorna Reid, also known as "NeverataLooseEnd" Lorna! We leave you in her lovely company, as she tells you (and us) the story of the creation of a gorgeous blanket.

--- Thank you, Lorna!




"It was the early 1980's, as a geography student in Aberdeen with a deep love for hand-knit intarsia sweaters, and a questionable demi-wave, that I first heard of plans for an Aberdeen by-pass.



Roll on nearly 40 years and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route is a reality. Whilst there are undoubtedly countless benefits to the local economy, it means that the journey to Baa! in Stonehaven from my rural home north west of the city now takes about half the time. The AWPR put the 'L' into local yarn shop for me!

When Covid travel restrictions were lifted in Scotland at the beginning of July, the trip to Stonehaven was the only one I decided to make, especially since I'd a new project in mind. I planned to crochet a blanket for my sister-in-law's birthday in early August. One I'd made before that she'd admired - the 'Spice of Life' blanket. The pattern is written in sections which meant I could crochet achievable amounts each day to make my deadline. It's a crochet stitch sampler blanket in 13 colours and I remembered the rainbow cubbies of Scheepjes Stonewashed yarn in Baa!


Choosing colours, whilst fun, can be daunting so it's understandable that many makers choose to knit or crochet a pattern from the yarn stated by the designer. In this case, the 'Spice of Life' blanket creator, Sandra Paul (aka Cherry Heart - link to pattern at the end of the post), gave options for two different yarns suiting a variety of palettes and budgets. I find colour inspiration all around me, like the favourite fabrics and crockery shown here, but I chose my scheme this time based on the cover of a recently read book.



It's easy to feel overwhelmed by choice. Once I'd selected the brand of yarn, there were 31 colours of Scheepjes Stone Washed available so I perused the Baa! website prior to my visit and saved the colours I thought I might like into a document I could print. Nothing compares to seeing the balls of wool together in the shop though. Once home, I cut a length of each colour and attached it to a reference sheet I'd made to help me match my colours to those stated in the pattern. A great visual guide.



Choosing a yarn other than that stated in the pattern brings its own challenges as I had to be mindful of yardage. The yarn the pattern calls for has 165 metres in each ball whereas the Scheepjes Stone Washed has 130. I knew I'd have to be canny as I reached the final sections. Sometimes you have to suffer for your art and I crocheted a whole treble row in that peachy colour, ripped it out and measured how much I'd used. That way I knew whether to embark on a treble row, as the balls grew ever smaller, tackle a row of double crochet instead, or just not bother. Apart from the turquoise I used for the border, these nubbins I had leftover wouldn't have been enough to crochet a whole row in any stitch!



Perhaps it's my background in document control, or my present job in a library, but I do like to be organised! Each ball band has a wee bit of that colour taped to it and I'll store those, together with the leftovers and my original receipt, for future reference. You might wonder, why bother? If I choose to make a charity item out of these wee remainders in the future, at least I'd know they're machine washable. I also know that peachy colour is actually shade 834 Morganite!



Though I had a second ball of the colour for the border, it wasn't quite enough for the final round. As the birthday deadline approached, I knew I hadn't time to order another turquoise from Janice and receive it in the post. It was while I was crocheting that I had a Eureka moment and completed the edge with some Scheepjes Stonewashed XL, the big brother Aran weight to the yarn I was using. Yes, it's thicker but it actually gives extra stability and it meant I was finished in time.



Just how I came to have a basket of Scheepjes Stone Washed XL from Baa! at my disposal, I couldn't possibly comment. What happens in the yarn shop, stays in the yarn shop!



As for the finished blanket...



I'm delighted to report that the birthday girl loved it."



--- Lorna Reid

When she is not visiting Baa! or knitting, crocheting, and generally crafting all the things, you can find Lorna Reid and her lovely banter on her blog, "Never at a Loose End".


The ‘Spice of Life’ Blanket is a free download available here on the Cherry Heart website.


New from Baa!


We hope that you enjoyed reading Lorna's post as much as we did. We love and admire her sense of organization, and the tip on how to look for colour combination in things around us, from cookery to books to fabric, etc.


Speaking of inspiration...


We had a delivery from Kate Davies Designs yesterday. Oh my! So many projects we could make to keep our friends' shoulders hugged, hands cosy, and their heads toasty warm. It looks like Christmas is sorted!


Speak soon!

Aurelie and Janice


PS: All pictures in Lorna's post above are copyright of Lorna Reid.

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