Monday, 5 February 2018

Eastern Jewels CAL :: Pt 1 - Squares S1-S5


And so it begins...

{If you have no idea what the 'it' is of which I type then check out my previous post here!}



My last post explained some of the background for my taking on an unusual project for me, the Eastern Jewels Blanket, including that I would be doing it as part of a Crochet-A-Long  (CAL) with some friends; this post will share my January progress and thoughts on the colour combinations we've worked with so far...


Our CAL Schedule... a guide for us to aim for with no pressure if we're not well enough to keep up or have a good week and want to jump ahead while we can... all prettily arranged by our group's lovely leader 😊



Each (very different) motif is numbered in the EJ colour chart booklet and every Monday the week's square is posted in our group so we can chat about it, cheer each other on and share our progress (and analyse the colour combos and our feelings towards them before, during and after- you might remeber me saying in my last post that understanding mine and others' reactions to colour was a big motivator in making this blanket... well, these people are my friends- old, new and hopefully-soon-to-be - for good reason, it seems, as we all appear to be similarly fascinated!! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚). 


I didn't get my yarn until the 18th (when I promptly tipped it all out into my lap to squish and admire- ovbiously... what else do you do with a yarn delivery?!), which was Thursday in Week 3, so I had Squares 1, 2 and 3 to do to be caught up for the next Monday... challenge accepted... πŸ˜‰

{{ The following thoughts were mainly written at the time of making each square and posted on my Instagram, with a few tweaks later to help them make sense when read together in one blog post so plase forgive and gramatical inconsistencies I may have missed due to the ever-present M.E. brainfog!! }}


Week 2 (W/C Jan 8th) :: Square S2 - Thursday January 18th -




Duckegg, Buttermilk, Storm Blue & Pistachio


I made my first Square the Thursday evening my colour pack arrived... I began with S2, though, as I decided to substitute the part-wool Fuchsia Stylecraft Life DK, used in S1, with a Stylecraft Special DK (SSDK) colour, which I needed to dig out from my stash. I did this because I'm sensitive to wool so avoid making anything that will be in contact with my skin with it (which the blanket will be as I anticipate using it in summer when- hopefully!- it will be warm enough for bare arms and legs!!) and also because I didn't want the areas of the blanket that had significant amounts of this colour to feel different... the ball certainly felt a different texture to my beloved 100% Acrylic SSDK- the range each of the other balls in the blanket is from and my go-to blanket yarn πŸ’œ). I really like the peaceful but cheerful blend of my fave Duck Egg and Storm Blue shades with the Pistachio and Buttermilk (I see a baby blanket in these shades in my future!) in this one and really enjoyed getting to know the pattern! 😍


Week 1 (W/C Jan 1st) :: Square S1 - Saturday January 20th -





Boysenberry, Buttermilk, Tomato & Fondant


Two nights later I settled down with my hooks and yarn to make my second square, S1 ☺ After looking at my shade cards I decided to substitute the ball of Stylecraft Life Fuchsia in my colour pack with Boysenberry from the SSDK range... it is ever so slightly darker but barely noticeable and will mean the finished blanket doesn't make me itch wherever the wool touches me- rather important, I feel!! Lol So, Boysenberry ball found, I set to work- I like this square less than the first I did as the combination of pinks and orangey-reds is not a favourite with me (the renowned hot-clashy-colour-hater in me really did not enjoy adding Fondant to the Tomato, which is my least favourite SSDK colour anyway, but the pattern already feels nicely familiar! 😊😊


Week 3 (W/C Jan 15th) :: Square S3 - Sunday January 21st -




Spice, Bittermilk, Duckegg & Mustard


The next evening I did S3, which would catch me up with the group schedule... I love this square- despite my life-long aversion to many hot colours (one of the reasons I decided to do this blanket was to challenge myself with the colour combos as my tastes seem to have changed and broadened this last year or two but Iam very unfamiliar with trying to create combinations including these newly appreciated shades!), I actually really liked SSDK Spice when I used it in a blanket last year as it just seems to glow with cheerful light, and in combination with the Duck Egg and Buttermilk it is just lovely- it felt very Moroccan-inspired... perfect for this cold and gloomy Mancunian winter!! 😍😍


And now I was all caught up... so I started another project to keep me occupied til the new Square was posted in the CAL group... yes, only the next day but I had an hour or so before bed and like to crochet in the morning, too, as I find it helps hugely with my anxiety to start  and end the day with this bit of calm, so I needed something to keep me out of mischief!! πŸ˜‰ I then got so into this new project (whic I hope to share on the blog soon-ish!), however, that I actually didn't do my next CAL Square til the following Sunday!! Typically me there- one extreme to the other!! πŸ˜‚ Anyway... the normal schedule began here...


Week 4  (W/C Jan 22nd) :: Square S4 - Sunday January 28th - 




Mustard, Buttermilk, Vintage Peach & Tomato


So... Sunday night of my first to-the-schedule week before I did my next square, S4... this one is entirely hot colours, including both Tomato (my least favourite SSDK colour!), Mustard and Vintage Peach (neither of which I'm keen on!) so I wasn't expecting to like it much. I really didn't like the Tomato and Vintage Peach together as they seemed very drab... but... with the Mustard around the outside they are lifted and I actually quite like the finished square... go me, challenging my own pre-conceptions- which is the whole point of the project!! We shall see if that lasts, though, as the next square has Vintage Peach and Tomato again... *a lot* of Tomato in fact!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜Š Several of the others in the group were not at all keen on this one but a couple of others said it was their favourite so far... so a very mixed reponse then with changes of opinion from before to after!! ☺


Week 5 (W/C Jan 29th) :: Square S5 - Wednesday January 31st - 




Tomato, Buttermilk, Sage & Vintage Peach


I managed to find some middle ground timing-wise with this week's square, S5- this one sees us at the halfway point in the squares and  quickly took up the mantle of 'least happily anticipated colour combo' when the pic was posted in the group! I definitely didn't expect to like it- lots of Tomato and more Vintage Peach topped off with a rather jarring dose of Sage green... but actually, I quite enjoyed working on it! *Colour me astonished* πŸ˜‚ I decided to reserve judgment until the next day when I could look at it in daylight and, yep, I still liked it! ☺ Never judge a book by its cover... or a granny square by its photo, it seems!! πŸ˜‰ This was also the first time I'd not needed to double check any of the pattern in my booklet... which was great... but it did mean I missed the prompt to switch to a bigger hook halfway through so had to pull out and redo Round 5... after I'd already sewn the working end in nice and securely, of course!  πŸΈπŸ˜€



So, to sum up now January is over- I have thoroughly enjoyed the process so far... the pattern is lovely to work on with the crossed stitches adding enough challenge to keep it interesting but still relaxing to do. I've also been pleasantly surprised by my reactions to the colours and even like the hot/clashing combos of S4 and S5 now they're finished... they may never be my favourites (that's S3 so far- also a bit of a surprise with all that orange!- followed closely by S2 😍) but they're streets ahead of S1 which I really don't like much at all and seems to be the least favourite amongst most of the group, too!! Lol And it has been lovely to share with the group and also on Instagram and my little blog!! 😊 See you again in a while with the next batch or over on IG if you can't wait to see the next installment!!



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