img_6550

Merida’s mermaid tail

Hello all and how has your week been? It’s been eventful in the Yarn household so we are all exhausted (I feel like I always say how tired we are!). Firstly the big kids started a new school. We moved them to the local village school as we felt they would get on better there. So we returned to France from the UK only to go straight in to school preparation mode. I had to make sure we’d done all the forms and the kids had the right stationary etc etc. Then, only one day after starting a new school, it was Merida’s 10th birthday so the Christmas/celebration-phase couldn’t abate just yet. She asked to keep the fairy lights up so we happily obliged and actually had a really good day at school. She’s at the age where she isn’t shy telling people it’s her birthday and because of this the teacher wrote “Bon Anniversaire” on the board and they all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her in English and French in the canteen over lunch. What a lovely school we’ve found! Also, I completed her mermaid tail present. It wasn’t completed on her birthday but it was done enough to present to her and completed two days later.

img_6548And here it is! Merida’s birthday present actually presented in the week of her birthday this year, unlike last year when she didn’t get her Pixie hoodie birthday present until April! I’m really pleased with it and luckily so is Merida.

I had planned this project for a while. I was going to do it for her birthday last year, I got the pattern and everything, but my mum decided to knit all the grandchildren tail like blankets for Christmas that year so I put the project to one side. Merida grows at an incredible speed so I could make the blanket for her this year instead.

Merida is very tall for a 10 year old – she’s already 5 foot tall! because of this I chose to make her the adult size blanket. Any time I make something for a child or even buy child-size clothes now, they are either too small for her or are too small within a matter of a couple of months. I also went for green as the main colour. Merida loves green plus I used this project as a bit of a stash buster. I have so much DK yarn that I didn’t buy a single ball of yarn for this project. I had wanted something a little sparkly but not all the way through the blanket. I had some silver which I used to start with but it was stiff and unyielding and not comfortable to work or as a finished result. I had decided to make the tail in stripes of different yarns so it was easy to change/alter a little bit. I managed to get a sparkly green from my mum as I mentioned over Christmas that I wanted something a bit sparkly and my mum had a secret stash of sparkly yarn! I used it for the tail and a bit in the main body. As I went through I increased the stripe width going from one stripe for each colour to two to three etc (figuring the scales would increase in size).

img_6542I got the pattern from Anna Lucia Design and it was designed by Emma Du. (You can find her Etsy link on her website). So what did I think? Well, the pattern seemed quite thorough at first detailing various sizes and all the instructions for the actual tail bit plus the opening at the back. However, when I got to the opening section and the tail I got a bit frustrated with having to flip back and forth between the pages to make sure I was doing the right thing for the size I’d chosen. Also, I didn’t think the adult size was particularly big. I tried it on a couple of times to see how big it was and I struggled to get it around my bum even with the opening at the back of the blanket! I made it in DK and Emma does suggest you can make in worsted weight too (I guess in order to make it a bigger or chunkier). Now I don’t know if I have incredibly tight tension or a large bum (!) but I didn’t feel it would fit a bigger adult very well. But I’ve been big most of my life so maybe that’s just me? It was a bit stretchy and the opening starts at the bottom of the bum so perhaps that was Emma’s intention.

img_6543The tail is interesting. It was simple to make with a textured ribbed pattern and it took the final shape when sewn on. I have two pictures here to show you: one where the tail is beautiful and straight (above) and one where the tail takes its natural shape and curls a little (left). I really like both, but I’m slightly more drawn towards the natural curl.

I really like the use of the shell stitches and it was lovely a repetitive, which is needed sometimes, so I could just forget and let my hands do the work.

I decided to make it nice and big (as I mentioned Merida is tall) and when she put it on it comes right up to her chest! Yay – it should last a few years then. I told her that I can always add rows at the top as she grows if she wants them. Let’s just hope she doesn’t develop too many curves whilst she still wants it otherwise that’s a whole new blanket (certainly if she inherits my bum!!). I added the small detail of a finishing row of the smaller double crochet stitch as a little border.

Left is the back opening and right is the front of the blanket.

Left is the back opening and right is the front of the blanket.

So there we are. It was a lovely pattern to make and well written (although I got confused by the order of the opening and tail). My main criticisms are two-fold: I don’t think it goes wide enough, especially for a larger person and let’s be honest even big people want cosy blankets. And there weren’t enough pictures of the full blanket within the pattern. There were good pictures for details of where to place stitches etc and this was very helpful, but occasionally I like to look at the whole picture when making from a pattern. Whilst there were some lovely artistic shots there wasn’t a good overall, full-size picture….like this:

img_6550

img_6547I shall leave you with another picture or two I experimented with in order to give the full idea of what the whole blanket is actually like.

I’m off to curl up on the sofa with Finn who is home with stitches! He’s OK but had a nasty bump by running  into another child! Out comes his X-Wing blanket on this miserable day. Maybe I need to make an enclosed blanket for me?!

Take care,

Josie. Xxx

img_6545