Thursday 26 January 2012

Japanese flower scarf and other things inspired by Lucy of Attic24

I know this is only one version of quite a number of these Japanese flower scarves out there but I am absurdly proud of this.

I was taught the basics of crochet when I was about 6 or 7 by my aunt. It all lay  dormant for almost 40 years and then I found Lucy's wonderful attic24 site almost exactly a year ago and everything changed! The singing colours and vivid objects of brightness she conjures up just compelled me to have a go myself.

My first attempts were pretty woeful. It took me a while initially to work out how to turn at the end of a row for a start, ( I know, I know - basicsville!) so the very first sample I made, which, as my son keeps reminding me, I should have kept to remind myself how I began, was an ever-shrinking cone-shaped, sorry-for-itself panel that did not augur well for producing anything either useful or pretty.

Practice makes perfect however, well, not perfect actually, but not bad, and one thing led to another. Having mastered the row-turning, Lucy's jar jackets were a perfect beginner's project and suddenly I was on a roll.

A vintage stripe blanket of vast proportions and for which I completely underestimated the amount of yarn required followed. (The whole business of yarn acquisition has been a saga punctuated by various dramas over the last year and resulted in a secret shopping habit across the pond here though I have now discovered a more budget-friendly option that does not require hedge fund management prior to purchase, in my local yarn store in Abingdon) ....

A ripple baby blanket....

A tea cosy covered in roses from Nicky Trench's book "Cute and Easy Crochet" and some fingerless gloves for Christmas presents.....

Some birds - attic24 again - sorry, Lucy, I'm an addict! to hang from covered hangers also for Christmas presents....

And in the last month this Japanese flower scarf....

I had some difficulty locating instructions to make this. My crocheting skills are not quite experienced enough to work it out just from pictures. But a bit of hunting around on the internet resulted in a creative and gifted Dutch lady's blog here which, miracle of miracles, had step by step instructions! I don't know whether Revlie's Japanese flowers are exactly the same as Lucy's but they look close.

I started off in a fit of gung-ho enthusiasm without knowing how to join the flowers together. That vital step had to wait until an exotic parcel arrived from Japan with the original pattern book. No, I don't read Japanese but Lucy's blog assured me that the graphic diagrams could be followed regardless. She was right. The only snag was that my flowers all had 16 petals instead of the required 12. I had been wondering why they seemed so crinkly and reluctant to lie flat! Note to self: next time read Revlie's pattern instructions more clearly and don't be so gung-ho.

Having undone the outer 2 rows of all 20 of my already completed flowers : (
and recrocheted them correctly with 12 not 16 petals we were in business again and here is the finished objet.

Lucy, I hope if you see this you will feel chuffed at the creative inspiration you sparked! You should do!

The only question remains, what next? Possibly Lucy's tin covers. Tuna anyone? The tins we seem to get through most of are 14oz tins of tomatoes which are no good for this project.

I have been known to build what we eat around creative requirements before. My son had a mosaic making project one school holiday which used coloured cardboard from food packaging to make the tiles. Great idea and green too but unfortunately certain colours were missing from the palette provided by our normal shopping trolley. Some peculiar meals were eaten to provide vital shades of turquoise, purple and orange! I also confess to buying those neat little tubs of Gentleman's Relish which no one in the household can stand in order to release the containers for beads, sequins etc and to mix paint in!

Anyway a big thank you to Lucy and her colourful inspiration and to anyone toying with the idea of taking up a hook for the first time or after a long gap, don't hesitate! - it's brilliant fun and easy to pick up and put down - handy if one needs to squeeze it into odd corners of the day - and best of all, if you go wrong, like I do frequently, it's easy to undo and pick up where you need to which I always found absolutely impossible with knitting.