Hello my lovelies, and welcome to a rather delightful, picture-filled, leaf-inspired blog post. I'm so happy that you've popped into the Attic today to join me as we set out on our Woodland Walk - I've been waiting for you! I've been kicking through the leaves, indulging in all this glorious seasonal colour and looking forward to sharing it with you so much - this sort of thing is just too inspirational to keep to myself.
Here in the UK we are slap bang in the middle of our autumn season, and this year it has been truly beautiful. The weather has been (for the most part) a delight, and during the past month or so I've taken every opportunity to get out and about and enjoy nature's autumn show. Sometimes I've been alone and sometimes with J, but many of these photos were taken during the weekends when we've ventured into our local woodland with the Little People. It's felt so good to be out amongst all this colour and fresh air, soaking up the leafy ambiance and enjoying some happy family time.
If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you will be very familiar with my photographs. You will know that when I'm out and about I'm constantly inspired by the colours of nature and the passage of the seasons. I love taking in long distance views, looking all around, up and down, and drinking in every single detail.
There is just so much to see and appreciate, so many variations of colour and texture to please the eye.
During the past month, as well as observing and photographing I've also been collecting. I've become a Gatherer, seeking out all manner of autumn treasures to bring home with me so that I could spend time playing with them. It's been Seasonal Faffing at it's very best.
I've had so much fun in my own private little autumnal bubble - the simple act of arranging my treasures and taking photographs of them has made me very, very happy indeed. Positively giddy with excitement in fact. The above collection came about after a walk in the woods at Bolton Abbey back at the very start of October. The trees were still quite green back then, but there were plenty of early fallen leaves on the ground in the most stunning colours. I found other treasures too - acorns and pine cones, sycamore seeds and sweet chestnuts, delicate lichens and dinky little colourful toadstools. You'll be pleased to know that I left the toadstools well alone, none of them in my pocket, no thank you.
I love the different shapes of the leaves that I found - sycamore, oak, ash, chestnut, beech and hawthorn are our most common woodland trees, well that's to say that the woods here in my patch have lots of those trees.
At the time when I gathered these leaves there wasn't any real dark reds or browns to be found - I saw mainly russets and coppery browns, orangey reds and golden yellows.
And then there were the delightful shades of green, oh so many in the autumn woodland! A lot of gorgeous zesty limes but also these beautiful, subtle pale grey-greens which caught my eye amongst all the brightness.
This autumnal woodland colour palette truly delights me, it's just so beautiful and makes me feel like releasing a sigh of pure pleasure every time. There is harmony there, but also an energy that is rich, warm and joyful.
I had the idea to make a blanket inspired by the autumn woodland way back last year - in fact, it was while I was working on the Moorland blanket that the woodland idea landed in my Creative Mind. So I've been mulling over the notion of an autumn colour palette for a long while, tossing it back and forth inside my mind, pondering on what exactly it might include. The biggest debate I had with myself was whether to add in any cool colours to balance the heat of the rest. I thought about the dry stone walls and the winding gravel pathways through the trees and knew that greys would be a great addition. But blues? I just wasn't sure. Then one day, this happened.......................
...............oh just look at that sky! It was so dramatic, and so typical of autumn that I suddenly knew that silvery grey and stormy blue were a necessary part of an autumn palette, just as much as the greens, reds, oranges and golds were.
Mind you, we've had some really, really gorgeous sunny days so far this autumn when the sky has been anything but stormy. We've been treated to the purest clear blues up above, and I've absolutely loved it to bits.
We have a lot of beech trees around here and I've been enchanted by their ever changing colours. For me, these warm, bright zesty colours are the very essence of autumn.
As you know, I used these colours to crochet leaves for an autumn garland a few weeks ago which was a beautiful project in so many ways. It enabled me to play (even more) with all things leafy, but also it gave me a good chance to experiment and see how the colours began to play together. Deciding on a colour palette for a blanket project is huge fun, but that is really only the beginning - finding out how the colours work together is a whole steep learning curve every time.
After much deliberation I chose these fifteen shades of my favourite Stylecraft Special DK for my Woodland palette ::
Top row, left to right...
❧ copper ❧ tomato ❧ spice ❧ gold ❧ mustard ❧ lime ❧ meadow ❧
Bottom row, left to right...
❧ pistachio ❧ lincoln ❧ cypress ❧ mocha ❧ grey ❧ silver ❧ duck egg ❧ storm ❧
You can find the Woodland yarn pack in my shop at Wool Warehouse...
❧ ❧ WOODLAND YARN PACK ❧ ❧
It's always a special moment when I take delivery of my own yarn pack, and the very first thing I do is to arrange the yarn balls into my big baggy yarn bag. This creates a really good overall visual of the colour palette as a whole and I can recommend making one of these bags to pop your blanket-making yarn in (bag pattern here - you'll need approx. 400g aran weight yarn worked on a 4mm hook). You can fold down the handles so it sits more like a basket which is really useful when you're using the yarn to work on a project. I use this bag all the time and can't believe it's now a whopping n-i-n-e years old!!
So....we've had a really good look at the colours and the inspiration behind this blanket and now it's time to take a look at the design. After the blissfulness of the Moorland blanket earlier this year when I used the colours to create a "visual journey" across the heather-clad hills, I was keen to see if I could take a similar approach with these autumn colours. I felt sure that this would be a fabulous way to go about putting the colours together, and so I began to experiment with taking a visual walk in the woods.
These things are never straightforward and I've discovered that there isn't a quick route to making it happen. It takes many, many hours of concentrated hooky time - I work up a series of "colour stripe samplers", making notes as I go, adjusting and tweaking and re-arranging many times before I end up with something that sings to me.
It took me six attempts to arrive at the final colour story, and as soon as that last stripe was done I knew in my heart that it was finally singing beautifully......
Oh, deep joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just fell totally in love with the way these colours blend and dance together, these stripes really do make me feel as if I'm right there walking amongst the trees as the leaves gently flutter down around me.
The actual pattern design came to me much more easily than the colour design - the vision of an "old shale" style ripple landed in my Creative Mind with a wallop and refused to be ignored. I briefly looked at some other possibilities, but the idea of creating a curvy, undulating ripple was calling to me very loudly.
One of the things I most love about this stitch is the little peep-holes that splay out in the valley of the ripple. They provide just enough detail without being too fussy, but best of all they totally remind me of the way the sunlight shafts down through the treetops in the woodland.
Ahhhh......sweet sunshine :)
One of the things I love to do when I'm walking in the woods is to stop still for a while and turn my face upwards to take in the peeks of sky showing through the leaves. It always makes me feel content to do this simple thing.
I just love the above photo - this is my crochet sample taped to the window so that you can see the way the light shines through the peep holes. This is a completely flat piece of crochet, but there is a very strong optical illusion which makes it look like the ripples are actually rippling - isn't that something??!
In terms of crocheting this pattern, it's pretty easy and beautifully soothing and rhythmic. It's been a few years since I made a ripple blanket, and honestly, when I started to work on this pattern it felt like coming home. There is nothing complicated about it at all. There is the usual sort of repetitive counting that makes up all ripple patterns, but the stitches are easy and the whole thing is very straightforward I promise you. I'll be making my usual picture-heavy tutorial to teach you this pattern when we begin the CAL (crochet-a-long) in January.
As with my previous crochet-a-long, the Woodland CAL will follow a similar timing pattern.
I'll be sharing my Woodland Blanket here on my blog throughout January and February 2018. The CAL will run for 8 weeks in total, beginning on Friday 5th 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 2018 so that we can make the most of weekend hooky time.
I tend to run my CAL's in a very relaxed manner, so there is no need to sign on the dotted line or commit to anything. If you fancy joining me on my Woodland Walk, then I will be thrilled to have your company. You may decide you'd prefer to work this pattern in your own colours, and that's absolutely fine - maybe you would rather take a walk on the beach or in the mountains?! Similarly, you may decide that the ripple isn't for you and you'd prefer straight stripes instead - that's fine too. The important thing is that we join together to create a blanket that makes us happy in every way.
As you can see, I've made a little start on my own Woodland blanket as I needed to test out the size/tension and also I wanted something to show you! I only started on Monday, so it's all still pretty new to me, but I can tell you that I already love love love love love it. The pattern is incredibly satisfying to crochet, and oh those peep-holes make me melt, they're just so pleasing to look at!
One yarn pack (15 x 100g of Stylecraft Special DK) will make a single/twin size blanket measuring approximately 120 cm x 175 cm, which is my usual thing. However, when I write up the pattern I'll give starting chain options for you to make double/king width blankets if you wish and there will be additional stripes that you can add in throughout the CAL to make your blanket longer than 175 cm. You will need to buy two yarn packs to make the bigger size blanket.
I really do think this colour palette is a little bit special - it's quite finely balanced and very easy on the eye. Although it was inspired by autumn leaves, I realised a few days ago that there is a bit of a retro vibe about it which reminds me of Orla Kiely designs.
There is also something quite boyish about these colours when they are all mixed up together - I can imagine a simple striped design would look fantastic and would make a lovely little-boy-blanket.
Now I really must take a break from yarning on about yarn and tell you about something sticky instead............
......PLANNER STICKERS!!! Yay!!!!! My lovely friend Rachel of EllieBethDesigns has designed the most beautiful sheet of stickers to celebrate my Woodland Blanket - they are so, so cute! For those of you who use a planner (and I'm still very into mine), these stickers are a fab way to count down to the CAL and mark out the weekly installments, as well as adding a little autumnal goodness to your pages (there are weeny acorns!). Of course, if you don't have a planner there is nothing to stop you sticking these on a calendar to mark the dates (did you see the acorns?!)
Rachel is very kindly offering Attic24 readers a discount code too - all you have to do is enter WOODLAND24 at the checkout to save 15% on a single order over £5 at www.elliebethdesignsuk.com, or simply click through this link and the discount code will be automatically applied at the checkout.
There are also a few other crochet-related sticker sheets which are all gorgeous - you can see them all on the EllieBethDesigns YouTube channel, or have a looky at all the crochet stickers on the website.
Don't forget the discount code if you feel tempted!
Well, I think we are almost coming to the end of what has turned out to be a very long winded introduction to this CAL blanket. I think I've been bottling it all up for so many weeks that there was bound to be a bit of a visual and verbal overflow here in the Attic ....well done for sticking with me :)
I am so excited for this new blanket, and I really hope that you will feel like joining me on my walk through the trees in the New Year.
Here is a quick round up of CAL info for you ::
♥ The Attic24 WOODLAND CAL will begin on Friday 5th January and will run for 8 weeks. There will be a full picture tutorial here on my blog for the new ripple pattern. Each week I'll share the colour stripe order for the Woodland blanket I'm making.
♥ The WOODLAND 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 2018.
♥ The Woodland blanket will measure approx. 120cm x 175cm. 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 so much. xxx