Friday, 19 February 2016

Friday Smiles: New Books & A Cool Knitted Blanket Worksheet

Disclaimer: I haven't been paid to endorse anything, these are my smiles this week and I just wanted to share and hopefully make you smile too x

Hi Honeys
I'm sorry I've been quiet recently, I've been battling what a lovely Doctor at our local Rhuematology clinic at the hospital called a "flare."   This isn't a fun flare though, like those cool 1970s trousers you can find on Pinterest and on late night TV shows.  This is an arthritis flare, not fun and certainly doesn't make anyone smile :/

What we need though dear ones are smiles! It's Friday and we need to go into the weekend with a wee smile :)
Friday Smiles New Books & Blanket Worksheet
First then, even though we are desperately trying to downsize our homes clutter, on Wednesday I went to have my hair cut. After weeks of living with constant pain, I had started to finally feel almost human again and in the hopes of addressing the problem of having to pin my (very thick and so also very heavy) hair up at work I thought I'd have it shortened.

What does a hair cut have to do with clutter I hear you ask honeys, well the hairdresser I go to is in our local shopping centre (mall) and in that same shopping centre is a branch of my favourite (online) bookstore...

As I went past.... well my feet took me in! Yes, that's what happened honeys. It wasn't my fault! It was beyond my control! My feet dragged me in! The books spoke to me!  Or it could just be that I love books way too much and my wee feet refuse to walk past a bookstore. Yes, I suffer from a lifelong love affair with the written word from which I'll never recover and that's just fine by me :)
Book Love
In my defence honeys, I only bought two books.  For me this is a real achievement so I'm choosing not to be too hard on myself :)  You might remember a series of books I've been collecting which started with Caroline Taggart's "I Used To Know That"  Written for adults, these incredible books remind us of all of the facts and figures we learned at school but have probably long since forgotten.

Divorced, Beheaded, Died..

The first book I choose belongs to this series and has the rather catchy title of "Divorced, Beheaded, Died..."  A rather morbid reminder of how we were taught, at least in my secondary school (High School) History classes, to remember the fates of the wives of (and the order in which they were joined in matrimony to) King Henry VIII.

Of course this fabulous little book does far more than recount the fates of Henry's poor unfortunate wives.  It begins with the fascinating tale of Brutus who, according to legend anyway, reigned from 1160-1167BC.  This same legend has it that Brutus (a latin version of his name, his contemporaries would have called him Brut or Brit) gave Britain it's name.  Interestingly, Brutus is said to have been descended from Aeneas who had survived the sack of Troy and one of his descendants was Romulous, who founded Rome.        

Through a series of interesting, informative, and in parts funny, glimpses of lesser known facts about Britain's Monarchy we travel all the way through to the present House of Windsor.  There are also separate (too) short sections at the back on the Kings of Scotland and Wales.

Like the other books in this wonderful series this book will be read and re-read many times I'm sure. They are designed to be "dipped into" which makes them great coffee break or bed time reading. I really can't recommend these marvelous books enough honeys.

Original Ideas: Step By Step Knitted Home Crafts

The other book that found it's way into my shopping basket is a book from the publisher Dorling Kindersley called "Original Ideas: Step By Step Knitted Home Crafts." Apologies for the lack of a link for this book honeys. I've tried the online store of the company I bought it from and even ran an Amazon search nothing. Very odd :/  If you've seen this book listed anywhere online I'd love for you to share a link in the comments section below please honeys? Thank you x

Well, anyway,  I'm having such a great time knitting my little squares to make a blanket that I was curious to see what else I could (hopefully) make :)

This book has very straightforward patterns for all kinds of gorgeous homemaking items such as assorted cushions (my favourite has to be the one with the cutest elephant pattern with a tassel for a tail - adorable!) throws & blankets, accessories (I have to work out how to knit the pretty basket in this book) and even some toys like adorable bunnies.

More than the patterns though, this book drew me because it has lots of step by step photos taking the reader through various knitting techniques. I think I'll get a whole lot better at knitting, as well as learn how to follow patterns, using this book. Thank you DK :)

Knitted Blanket Plans  

Back to my little knitted squares then honeys.  If you remember the post from last week I'd completed a few little squares and a large pink square which I'd hoped would make the centre of my blanket. Since then I've knitted a few more squares, including twelve navy blue squares to make a border around the larger pink central square, and have made a start on sewing the pieces together.  
Rosies blanket begins
Oh dear! It does look less than perfect I'm afraid, I'm hoping it will "settle" as it gets bigger but since it's almost a given that this blanket will be claimed by our furbaby Jade (she has first claim on all blankets for her naps, bless her :) there is love in each and every stitch, both knitted & sewn and I don't think she'll care that Mummy's sewing isn't spot on :)

The next "border" of squares are made from small balls of wool (yarn) I already had at home..
Rosies Knitted Squares
To knit these squares I cast on twenty three stitches and knitted for forty six rows, with one more row to cast off.  These balls of wool/yarn are twenty five grams (25g) in size and each ball, knitted with 4mm needles (US size 6) should knit three squares with a little left over.

Now for the fun part :) Would you like to knit along with me honeys? Just in case you'd like to, I tried to plan out my blanket on paper but to be honest it made my head hurt :) so I asked Hubby (who trained as a draughtsman many years ago) and look what he did for me using Excel...
Isn't he wonderful? (thank you sweetheart, love you xx)

If we look at the chart, the central pink (or whichever colour you choose honeys should you wish to join in) is marked in pink with a figure one.  This is the centre of the blanket and is knitted in one piece.  It is exactly the size of four of the individual squares and so has forty six stitches which are knitted for ninety two rows, with one more row to cast off.

From this point out, each square is the same size. They have twenty three stitches and are knitted for forty six rows, plus an additional row to cast off.

Back to Hubby's fabulous chart above and you'll see the centre piece is surrounded by boxes numbered one to twelve. These boxes, like all of the others on the chart represent a single knitted square.

You can see then that the first surrounding row, which borders the large central square, has as we saw twelve knitted squares.  I've knitted these in navy blue, but again choose your own colours :)

The next row is made up of twenty squares, the following row has twenty eight squares and the outside row has thirty six squares.  This is because the blanket is growing into a giant square itself, so each row increases to a factor of the previous row.  

When knitted, each of the smaller squares measures approximately (with possible small differences due to tension etc) four & half inches (or eleven & half cm) so that if the above chart is completed the width should be around forty five inches (or one hundred & fourteen cm.)  I'm considering, once I reach this point, to begin adding rows to the top and bottom (but not to the sides) to then change the blanket's shape into a rectangle from it's original square.  If I reach this point though I'll ask Hubby to draw up the extra rows and promise to share the revised chart again honeys.  

While in the shopping centre (mall) on Wednesday I also bought some new wool/yarn too. I saw it in Poundland, where they are selling 50g balls of the prettiest, softest wool in lots of different shades, including these pretty pastels...
New Yarn Supplies
I adore pastels, so I brought home three balls each of pale aqua, pale peach and baby blue. Each of these fifty gram balls will easily knit six blanket squares.  I also found two large (100g) balls of the navy blue I needed in asda, so all in all a good yarn finding mission :)  
It really has surprised me how wonderfully relaxing knitting has been. I've really been enjoying it, although I wish I could knit longer before the joints of my hands begin to yell at me.  Please feel free to save a copy of the chart if you'd like to knit along. It would be fun to compare blankets as we go along :)

I hope you've had a fabulous week dear ones and that you have a fun filled weekend ahead.  Thank you for keeping me company and do let me know if you knit too, sending heaps of huggles always xxx


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Heidi :) How are you honey? I'm such a book worm :) It really is a great series of books though covering everything from mathematics to history to philosophy and everything in between :) There is a link above that will let you see some of the titles, they're just perfect for dipping into while relaxing with a coffee :) I hope you're having a fab week and looking forward to the weekend, sending you heaps of huggles honey xxx

  2. I'm so sorry about your arthritis flare Rosie! How awful! I'm so glad you took care of yourself and got a hair cut and some new books! As you said, your feet just took you there. Heheheh. I so love buying a good book! I especially love ordering online and coming home to mail after a long day at work. But I do adore our used book stores. Recently I'm trying to finish one genre of book before buying a new book in that genre. It's tricky! Much love to you and hope you are feeling relief. Chronic pain is awful. I went back to the doctor myself this week for my headaches. It really sucks the life of you that creepy chronic pain. oxoxox

    1. Heather! I'm so sorry I missed your lovely comment! Just found this x Thank you angel, I'm feeling better now, and I so hope the Dr is able to help with your headaches, migraines are awful things. I don't have them too often but oh my are they painful :/ Feel better soon dear wee friend, sending heaps of love and hugs always xxx