Ohmygollygosh I am soooooooo excited to finally be here sharing with you after working on this blanket design since way back in the Summer. Its a wonderful thing for me to be able to share my inspirations here on my blog and have such a fulfilling outlet for my creative thinking. So before we go any further, can I just say a very heart felt THANK YOU to you for visiting me here in the Attic and journeying along with me, I truly appreciate it and I'm delighted you're here.
I've been putting this post together and debating just how many photos of heather and moorland I can get away with showing you. Three? Four? Ten? I have a huge virtual stack of them on my computer, loads and loads and loads of them.
Many years of heather/moorland visual appreciation.
Long distance views, medium distance views, close up views.
This beautiful moorland is only a few miles from the Attic and a much loved place for us to visit when we need a blast of fresh air and scenic vistas. We drive up here at all times of the year, but my absolute most favourite time of all (by far) is in the late Summer when the purple haze of heather is in full bloom. I am constantly inspired by the colours in nature, and the feelings and memories those colours can evoke and preserve.
So I guess it was only a matter of time before I began to dream of taking these beautiful earthy browns, grassy greens, floral purples and sky blues and hooking them into something rather lovely.
Heather moorlands can be found all over the UK, and we are lucky to have very large expanses here in North Yorkshire. Did you know that Britain has 75% of the world's heather moorland? They are valuable habitats for wildlife, and if you want to know more you can read all about them here (yes there really is a Moorland Association). When you walk around on the moors there is a tremendous feeling of calm and and freedom. I have come to love the peace and tranquility that the long distance views bring, oh I love being up there so much!
So let me introduce you to my Moorland colour palette inspired by the summer hills of Yorkshire. The idea to make a blanket using these colours has been floating around gently inside my Creative Mind for a good while now. They please me so much - I look at them and immediately think of breezy fresh air, sunshine and cloud shadows, soft peaty earth, mellow stone, vibrant grasses and lush moss, glorious swathes of heather and mile upon mile of beautiful rolling countryside. They are soft and mellow and just the right kind of earthy. They are fresh and natural and sing of summer and sunshine and flowers.
I'm using my go-to blanket-making yarn - Stylecraft Special DK which is a premium acrylic yarn in generous 100g balls. I love the blankets that this yarn makes, they are soft and easy to look after, but most importantly the yarn itself is a dream to work with. This is my Moorland blanket yarn pack, the colours are as follows ::
Top row, left to right ♥ Pistachio ♥ Sage ♥ Grape ♥ Wisteria ♥ Duck Egg ♥
Middle row, left to right ♥ Lime ♥ Meadow ♥ Mocha ♥ Violet ♥ Cloud Blue ♥
Bottom row, left to right ♥ Cyprus ♥ Khaki ♥ Walnut ♥ Plum ♥ Storm Blue ♥
So lets talk about the blanket design shall we? I couldn't wait to get stuck in with these colours to see how well they would play together. This is quite a different sort of a colour palette for me, I mean, there are two shades of brown, bet you never thought you would see that happen in a month of Sundays?! But surprisingly I'm dealing very well with the browns, they look really good against both the greens and the purples, just as they would in nature.
I can't remember when exactly I had the idea for abandoning my usual preference for crocheting "random" stripes of colour - I know it came sometime after I made my Colourwash Granny blanket. The idea of graduating and merging colours in a very considered order throughout a blanket is an appealing one, and particularly apt for colours inspired by a landscape. The idea is to think of the landscape (in this case the heather moorlands) and arrange the colours so that they echo the view. So I began to think about the colours in layers. Imagine undulating layers of peat and earth and stone, grass and moss and heather flowers, and finally the slight fading of the colours towards the horizon and up into the soft blues of a late summer sky. Beautiful!
I loved the idea in theory, but it took me a very long time to discover how to actually work it all out. I knew this wasn't something I could do with my usual yarn peg method (although I seriously thought about winding a hundred pegs and arranging them on the floor). In the end I realised that the only way to do it would be to actually crochet the stripes. So I set about making a "colour stripe sampler" - narrow crocheted stripes which I would use to try and achieve the layered effect I was after. I really just needed to know if my idea would work, and if it would look as good in reality as I imagined in my mind.
As you can see from the above photo, this took some doing! I had to keep a note of how many times I was using each colour so that every ball of yarn is used an even number of times throughout the blanket. I also really wanted the whole colour composition to look balanced and harmonious. It took five attempts before I was happy with the result..............
.....and I'm so proud of it!! Hahaha!! This is pretty much exactly as I imagined it in my mind, and I am so chuffed!
The stripes still look quite random and spontaneous in some ways, but they tell a visual story of the landscape that inspired them.
I've chosen to use a Wave pattern for my Moorland blanket, to describe the undulating view of the hills. This pattern provides a really neat way to play with colour, it's amazing how the colours seem to roll into each other with the ups and downs of the wave pattern. The Wave isn't a new concept by any means - the general idea of it it has existed for a long time in the public domain just as a granny square or ripple/chevron stripe has. I want to be clear and say that I'm not claiming it as mine. I've designed my own interpretation, using two rows for each stripe, and only three different stitches to create the rise and fall of the waves. I'll be sharing a full tutorial for my Neat Wave pattern here on my blog at the start of January when my Crochet-ALong begins.
This will be my third Crochet-ALong (CAL) and I am really, really looking forward to it. As with my previous CAL's, there is nothing complicated about the process - no need to sign up or commit to anything, just decide if you fancy working on your own blanket alongside me throughout January and February 2017 (go on, I'd love it if you would!)
The Moorland CAL officially begins on Friday 6th January - that'll be the day when the pattern will be published here on my blog and I'll give you all the information you need to get started. I'll then give weekly updates every Friday throughout January and February so that we can make the most of weekend hooky time.
I would be thrilled if you wished to follow along with me and create a Moorland blanket for yourself using my colour palette, but it's by no means the only way to go. You might have your very own palette of colours inspired by somewhere that makes your heart sing, or you might have a whole heap of yarn left over from other projects that would make a colourful wavy blanket. The main thing is that whichever colours you use, they should sing to you and make you happy, and that we can all look forward to the pleasure of starting a brand New Year with something creative and inspiring.
As you can see, I've given myself a bit of a head start, mainly so I can test out the sizing and tension (and have something to show you!). The Neat Wave pattern is quite dense with no holes, and the stripes come out looking narrower than the Ripple or Cosy stripes. This means that the finished blanket will probably end up a bit smaller than my usual designs - I'm thinking that one yarn pack (15 balls of yarn) will make a blanket/throw measuring 110cm x 150cm (approximately 4ft x 5ft). You will need two yarn packs if you want to make a larger/double bed size blanket.
Moorland yarn packs are now in my shop at Wool Warehouse, with world wide shipping (yippeee for global hooky!)
Now then....I've got something to show you...........
..............something pretty and sticky......................
For those of you who don't already know, I am a very proud owner and user of an Erin Condren Life Planner, you can read all about it on my blog here. One of my most favourite sticker providers is EllieBethDesigns, and as you can see we've joined forces to bring you a set of Attic24 CAL stickers!! Yes that's right - Rachel designed me a sticker sheet especially for my Moorland CAL so that I can mark the weeks and keep a track of where I'm at in my planner.
The sticker sheet is in two parts - the bottom half (shown above) gives stickers to count down to the CAL starting in January, then reminders for the weekly updates. Didn't she do a good job matching the colours (very impressed by that!)
The top part of the sheet has some pretty yarn and crochet stickers. Cute eh?
You can find the CAL stickers on the EllieBethDesigns website, as well as a couple of other general yarn and crochet sticker sheets that Rachel designed earlier in the year. These stickers are perfect for adding to a notebook, journal, planner or calendar.
Rachel is a very lovely lady, and she has very kindly given me a discount code to pass on to you ...
All you need to do is enter the discount code " Attic24 " to receive a very generous 24% discount* off all EllieBeth stickers [*not valid for Illustrated Faith/stationery products. One single use per customer] !!!! Yay for lovely friends and colourful sticky things!!!
Here are the links to the above stickers, I really hope you love them as much as I do >>
I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to working on my new Moorland blanket with you in the New Year and hoping that you might feel inspired to gather up some yarn and join me in making January and February into blanket-journey months.
Here is a quick round up of CAL info for you ::
♥ The Attic24 CAL will begin on Friday 6th January and will run for 8 weeks. There will be a full picture tutorial here on my blog for the Neat Wave pattern. Each week I'll share the colour stripe order for the Moorland blanket I'm making.
♥ The MOORLAND YARN PACK contains 15 x 100g balls of Stylecraft Special DK and is enough to make one blanket/throw. There is no printed pattern included in this pack, all pattern info will be here on my blog, with updates every Friday throughout January and February 2017.
♥ The Moorland blanket will measure approx. 110cm x 170cm. You will need two packs if you wish to make a larger/double bed size blanket.
I really hope these colours inspire you to create a beautiful blanket for your home or to give to someone special.
ps a note about my yarn packs - I am thrilled to be working with Wool Warehouse who do an absolutely amazing job of enabling crocheters all over the world to join me in my ongoing colourful blanket making. I earn a commission on all the Attic24 yarn packs sold through Wool Warehouse, and I am truly grateful to everyone who supports me in this way. Thank you. Thank you ever so much. xxx
pps roll on January! xxx