I’ve had a particularly busy week and weekend this time around, but I’m guessing I won’t have been the only one. Mother’s day is always a lovely excuse to go that extra mile (or 140 miles in the case of visiting my mother-in-law) and so I enjoyed a pleasant tootle up the motorway on Saturday driven by hubby and accompanied by sister-in-law, followed by a Sunday spent back in Worcester with my own mum.
I decided early on last week that I would make some fingerless mitts and a shawl for both mums – inspired in the main part by another bulk buy of bargain yarns from my local department store. I get so excited when I see that the sale bins are full to bursting and usually come away with a few shopping bags stuffed to maximum capacity.
This time I was especially enamoured of a Patons yarn called Fashion Soft Mix. Fabulously fluffy and soft as a cloud, I snapped up a ten ball bag of each in turquoise, beige and pink. The pastel tones and gossamer lightness of this yarn made it perfect for turning into garments for spring gift giving.When word got round the studio that the yarn was made with 30% alpaca and 25% sheep wool I soon had an audience, nosy to see the quality of their relative’s fleeces!I didn’t waste much time getting the first ball on the hook, mainly because I didn’t have much time to waste, with less than a week to go and two sets of gifts to make from scratch.With such a short deadline looming towards me, I decided to keep the design for the shawl sweet and simple. I wanted my spring shawls to be light and open, but the main criteria was that they had to work up fast and be easy to make in the evenings without too much concentration. With all that in mind I plumped for my old friend from last summer – a chain stitch shawl designed by Mimi Alelis. You can find the pattern on her blog Crochet and Other Stuff. I adapted the original starting chain to make the shawls slightly smaller and quicker to hook up than the last few I made. With a 5 mm hook and a starting chain of 233 I was on my way and after a couple of cozy evenings wrapped in this lovely, hazy yarn the first shawl was ready for fringing.The easiest way to create the tassels for the edge was to wind the yarn around a little hardbacked notebook. It’s the one I’m currently jotting my yarn weights and stitch counts in so it’s always to hand and turned out to be the perfect size. A few snips later and I had a neat and uniform bundle of yarn lengths ready for knotting on.Once every last tassel was attached I got busy making a pair of fingerless mitts to go with the shawl.I’d managed to get to grips with Jana Whittle’s crocheted Astra gloves that I started a few weeks ago. The pattern’s one of many quick makes in Crochet One Skein Wonders. Initially I’d felt a bit daunted because I’ve never crocheted mitts before – though I’ve knitted a fair few. It turned out that with only a tiny bit of concentration they are actually a total breeze to make. And even better, they crochet up in about an hour and a half per mitt. At three hours a pair it seemed like a very do-able addition to my Mother’s Day presents. After all, that’s only one evening in front of the telly for each pair I wanted to make. Before the week was up I had one totally finished shawl and mitts set in beige and another two unfinished sets in pink and turquoise.Yes, I know, technically I only need to concentrate on two sets but I had a bit of a colour wobble part way through the turquoise set and thought my mum might prefer the pink so I ended up starting all over again. I’ve never been one to make my life too easy! I figured I was cutting it a bit fine but we had a long car ride up north to deliver the first present to my mother-in-law on the Saturday and I planned on crocheting during the journey there and back and somewhere in between too.I’ve decided I’m going to keep the turquoise set for me, after all I’m a mum too, so I’ll have a Mother’s Day present to give to myself. I thought it was a good contingency plan, as my boys aren’t likely to crochet me anything at all, not even in a month of Sundays, or a blue moon or when pigs fly!Having made up my mind to definitely keep the turquoise, and knowing I could work on that at my leisure I concentrated on finishing the pink. I even snuck bits out of my working day to get a row or two done here and there.The chains are so easy to make I could even get a few done while reading emails or making phone calls.I took a little time out from the studio to buy cards and gift wrap.Loving all the soft tones and pretty colours you see everywhere at this time of year.When I got home Pogo gift wrapped himself inside my new yarn storage tote and ripped up some paper bags in all the excitement. I only just stopped him from shredding up the tissue paper meant for the presents, He loves anything that rustles.With the gift wrap saved from a crazy cat it was time to parcel up my finished crochet along with a little wooden owl as an extra because I’m sure everyone loves little wooden owls just as much as I do.One gift down and one to go (not including mine). I was still crocheting frantically on Saturday morning, as I knew I would be. I squeezed in two and a half hours of quality hooky time on the way there.And snuck in a few more on Saturday afternoon, watching an old black and white Ingrid Bergman/Cary Grant film (I think it was called Notorious) with mum-in-law, accompanied by a cup of tea and an almond pastry. (Hubby was fixing up the shed roof and sister-in-law was digging up the garden. I think I got the best deal here!).Although the astonished look on Laddie’s face to see me sat comfortably in his human’s favorite armchair was something else!I made more progress on the pink shawl that night during the homeward bound journey (thanks to my extremely useful light up crochet hook) and finished it completely about half an hour before my mum came to visit on Sunday. Just in the nick of time!
As for my own Mother’s Day I had a tub of narcissi from the boys which are accompanying my pot of hyacinths and Carlos the Cactus in my newly put together indoor garden area. I’m keeping them next to my desk to remind me of spring as the view from the window is failing to present any blooms of its own just yet.I also had a bouquet of handmade origami Peace Cranes. See, the boys might not be interested in crochet but they have other creative skills!To top it all off they baked me a chocolate cake (with only a tiny bit of help), and made me a promise (dutifully fulfilled) of a day’s worth of cups of tea on demand. In the late afternoon I turned my attention to working on my own shawl. It was lovely to have some quiet time after a busy weekend. I was certainly feeling very peaceful – the origami cranes had obviously worked their magic.
As I already have a sage green and a ruby red fringed shawl from the same pattern I thought it would be just as well to shake things up a bit and make the tassels a little different on this one. I ended up crocheting up some bobbles and chains to finish it off and I think they look mighty fine!All in all, I’ve managed to make three pairs of mittens and three shawls in a week of evenings and a few hours on a Saturday and Sunday. I’ve enjoyed it but I think I’m definitely all shawled out for the moment. I feel the need to make something a bit more decorative next. I think I can feel a blanket coming on and maybe a fixation for pink and turquoise too.It’s been a while since I last made a blanket, but it might be just the thing I need after that glut of quick fix makes. However, before I get too carried away, I’ve still got my pink and purple poncho and the rainbow pompom cushion to finish off before I start another bumper sized project. I’m going to leave the new blanket colours out to inspire me to crack on with my WIPs. Two major work in progresses is enough for now, I need to show at least a smidgen of self control!