Saturday, 23 November 2013

Crochet Blankets

I find people are pretty evenly divided about crocheted blankets - they either love them or hate them. I love them. I love the weight and the textures and I especially love the way they lend themselves to geometric patterns. They are a little like fabric quilts in that respect. I have made two crocheted blankets this year and have a couple more in progress. Here they are all together:
The first was the blue and cream squared blanket. This one is for the bedroom. It comes out when it's too hot for a duvet but not warm enough for just a sheet. I expect I'll also use it to supplement the duvet sometimes.
It's made from a value range of 100% acrylic from Hobbycraft.. not the most exciting yarn, but it's warm, nice to work with and very washable. The only complaint I have is it has become rather stretchy due to the weight of such a large blanket. The pattern for the squares came from 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans: Crochet Squares to Mix-and-Match by Jan Eaton which I have used many times - it has a wonderfully varied selection of blocks and some great ideas for how to put them together. Most of the squares have been crocheted on the train, so it feels like it has taken no time, since that time is otherwise lost. I have a pile of 20-30 more to add and then it will be done, all bar the edging. I think this blanket's simple design shows off some of the things I love about crochet - there are at least 2 patterns there: one from the arrangement of the coloured blocks, and another from the eyelets in the blocks themselves.

This next blanket is a happy accident. I took a couple of projects on holiday with me this year, but when it came to it I just didn't want to work on either of them. So I went yarn hunting. All I could find right then was a small hardware shop that stocked a small range of acrylics. Armed with a few balls of speckly blue and cream DK and a 4.00mm hook I went searching on Pinterest for inspiration. I found a baby afghan that appealed to me, so I took the basic granny chevron pattern and came up with this. It grew very quickly and was very satisfying. It's really a lapghan - big enough to cover either your lap or wrap around your shoulders. It's surprisingly light and comfortable. Again, the acrylic yarn is an advantage because it has had tea spilt on it at least twice and it has washed up very well. I love the pattern - I want to use it again.

The third blanket came about because I loved the blue and cream chevron so much I wanted to start on another right away. I found a whole load of aran-weight yarn, but then found that the extra weight and the granny chevron just didn't work together. I tried a few things and eventually the yarn told me what it wanted to be. It's crocheted using Lucy from Attic 24's wonderful Neat Ripple Pattern. This one grew so quickly I think it was done in 2 weeks of an-hour-an-evening while I was watching tv. It's a full single-bed size so it has been used for snoozing under on the sofa. It lives in the lounge and gets a lot of use.

Finally, I have been working on this granny-square blanket for my plaid-loving daughter. It's about half-done and was my commuting project until I decided to start on some Christmas knitting. Granny squares have been overused, I think (just remember those tanktops in the 70s) but they lend themselves very well to playing with colour. It's a real mixture of yarns for this one - mostly wool, but the colour was the biggest consideration. I spent a long time in the store laying them out and taking them outside into the daylight. Inspiration for this one came from Pinterest again. The original is called Lakeshore Plaid Blanket by Ana from Lanas Hilos. I can lose many, many hours on Pinterest - but that's a story for another day.

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