Since mid March I've been spending small pockets of time working on an Attic24 crochet banner and I'm really enjoying the process of watching it slowly take shape. Usually I am quite single minded when I work on something which excites me all the way to my toes, but I've allowed this project to become something of a slow burn. I pick it up as and when I need a quick and colourful hooky fix - it has fit around my mad crazy stitching obsession, and has helped me pass the time during two jaunts away. It's also been a fabulous project for me to take to the cafe during the past few months, probably because I can crochet these small solid granny squares with only a few sleepy brain cells engaged - this is in fact the perfect chatter-project.
After making so many blankets from Stylecraft Special DK over the years, it's no surprise that I've gathered a rather impressive stash of oddments. I have a large tub in my studio which is full to the brim with partly used balls of yarn, as well as a bag or two of much smaller balls which I dip into for stash busting projects such as this one.
I went away on a short holiday in the middle of March and as I was travelling with my lovely knitty friend we made sure to find plenty of time for hooky/knitty relaxation during our time away. These squares were perfect for a bit of happy holiday hooky and I came home with a whole satisfying stack of them. I had no idea how many I had made at the time, but when I tipped them all out of the bag there were 44 of them!
The lovely thing about making these solid granny squares is that you really can use up the smallest amounts of yarn hiding at the bottom of your stash. You need approximately 6g of DK weight yarn to make a 3 round square. You might remember that I made a whole load of them a few years ago for my Colourblock Cushion?
At the time that I made my cushion, I also created a full tutorial to share the pattern....
It's a full picture tutorial, and includes detailed instructions which show you my joining method too.
My joining method for these squares involves leaving a longish tail end when you fasten off each square - you then use this yarn to stitch a seam which creates an almost invisible join. It's neat and easy, and very soothing to sit and do.
So lets talk about this banner idea of mine, shall we? I decided I wanted to make an eye catching yarny sign to display in my corner at Yarndale. Those of you who've been to visit me at the festival in previous years will know that the space where I hang out at Yarndale is a little on the rustic side (its a farm animal auctioneers ring), and it really does need a lot of cheering up. It's generally insanely busy and crowded inside my ring during the weekend, and unless you know I'm there it's not especially obvious that there is anything Attic24-ish going on, other than lots of giddy and excited crocheters milling about! So I decided to make myself a banner, you know, because I absolutely love to dream up these non-essential, creative projects right at a time when I should be busy doing other things.
The banner that you always see at the very top of my blog ↑↑ was stitched by me way back in 2008 and I still love it as much now as I did when I first designed and made it. I used the classic Times New Roman font to create the Attic24 text in fabric and stitch, so I thought I may as well stick with that for my crochet version.
I used Microsoft Word to print out the individual letters onto sheets of A4 paper as large as I could get them - they measure round about 20 cm / 8 inches high. I used these print outs as a template, working each letter in a bit of a slapdash freestyle way using double crochet in short horizontal rows. I started with the A, working from the bottom upwards, and simply tried to recreate exactly the size and shape that was on my paper print out. It was a bit hit and miss, and I did have to pull back and re-make a few of the more tricky letters. The curves were especially hard to get right and I struggled with the c and the 2, but having the full sized print out to use as a kind of a "map" really helped.
I didn't write anything down, so I'd be hard pressed to tell you much about the way I created patterns for these letters and numbers. Some of them were made in one whole piece, and some of them had little bits made separately and stitched on afterwards (like the little sticky-out bits on the t's). I kept the width of my characters consistent - this worked out to be 7 stitches across the wide parts and 4 stitches across the narrow parts. I finished each character with a round of double crochet all along the outside edges and this really helped to give a neat finish and smooth out any lumps and bumps.
When each letter was finished, I pinned it out on my blocking board (which is just a 1 inch piece of foam with an old towel over it) ready for steaming. I actually pinned the crochet directly into the paper template, gently stretching and shaping the crochet to follow the printed shape. Then a thorough steam with a medium hot iron and the letters turned out beautifully relaxed and really, not half bad if I do say so myself............
Attic24......yeah, I totally forgot to make the dot for the i!!!
No worries though, 4 rounds of an amigurumi circle and that was soon done.
Yesterday, I took my bag of banner making stuff down to the studio and for the first time got to lay it all out and see how it was looking.
The above picture gives you an idea of the scale, and you can see that I still need to make and join another row of 8 squares on each of the short sides. But it's gradually coming together, and I'm so pleased with it!
Remember a few days ago I showed you a small collection of blue squares? Well I had this in my mind right from the very start of the project, that I wanted to put the white letters against a rich blue background. So I picked out 8 different shades of blue which include the darker colours Lobelia, Royal and Lapis....
....with the idea that the white letters will really stand out against the depth of the background colour.
Yesterday I spent the whole day working in my studio and managed to make and join the first bit of the blue section.....
....and this is where I'm up to right now. I've 16 more coloured border squares to make and 40 more blue squares. Then I'll stitch on my white letters and make something of a border around the whole thing to finish. It's going to be like a small blanket by the time I'm done, and that's exactly how I saw it a few months ago, like a vivid photograph inside my Creative Mind. It's a major thrill for me to be able to bring my ideas to life in this way, and I can't tell you how happy it makes me.