Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Baby Blanket - Neat Circles in Squares

So my second baby blanket…

This one is a pattern new to me that I found here at Sarita Creative. I loved the fresh, modern look that it had, and I was also in the mood to work a new pattern.

I had been playing around with some colours from my Stylecraft stash, which I had ordered online from Deramores after reading so many good reviews about it. I had also just added to this with some extra colours as my Aunt had made a request for a blanket in purple and pink shades, so I decided to stock up while I was at it!!

I had loved the way that the Aspen (aqua colour), Saffron (yellow colour) and Fondant (pink colour) looked together, and I thought that they might look pretty good as circles in a white background. Then when my new Stylecraft order arrived in the post I found that while the Shrimp (melon/coral colour) didn't work with the purples and pinks I had ordered it with, I liked it with the Aspen and Saffron even better than the Fondant!

Aspen, Shrimp, Cream & Saffron Stylecraft Special DK

I wanted to work the colours so that they looked scattered across a white background, and to add to this effect I decided to make some of the squares totally white. This gave me four colour patches to work with, so I planned the colours in square blocks of four. I used numbers to work out a pattern that didn’t look too regular, but that also didn’t have any clumps of the same colour near to each other – so the colours were evenly distributed. This approach actually made me think that using Sudoku puzzles could be a great way to plan colour distribution in any future blankets that use 9 colour combos! After doing the number grid, I then drew myself another grid to use as a ‘map’ for my squares, colouring in little circles so I could see how it looked and follow it easily.

My colour map - ticking off the rows

Then I began hooking up these delightful little circles – they really are very straightforward to do, but give a lovely result, and at only 3 rounds each they are really quick too!! The pattern was so simple that I only needed to read it through once and then I was off. It was so enjoyable to make these little stacks of bright circles :)

As I was finishing off the final, square round, it became apparent to me to that trying to join these squares as I went along was not going to show them off to their best. This got me frantically searching for advice on crocheting or sewing together squares. In the end, I went for crocheting as then you’re not dragging a whole length of yarn through over and over again. When I started I followed Attic24’s advice to crochet on the back, but I didn’t like the way this left the front looking so after a few rows I unpicked everything and started again, crocheting the front!! Lots of extra work, but well worth it I felt – I was very happy with the result.

So far, I’m finishing up all the patches for one row at a time, then crocheting the whole row onto the previous one. To do this I put together the first row to begin with, without sewing in the ends from the joinings (I normally sew in ends as I go along – I’m terrified that I’ll never get around to finishing off if I leave them all until the end!), so I had one complete strip. Then the squares for the next complete row would be finished, and stitched along the sewn-up strip as the next row, and so on and so on. At the end I will unpick the short threads that held the first strip together, and then I can crochet up the lengths all in one go. This way I won’t have joins to keep tidy, and there will be fewer ends to sew in once it’s done.  

The squares are a little smaller than I had visualised before starting the pattern, and while I could of course just make more squares, I’m thinking that I might do a really wide border to add size instead. In my head it looks good, I hope it translates to reality… 

Here is my latest little blanket as a work in progress: I’m so happy with it so far, I wonder if any more of my friends will get pregnant and require baby blankets…

Progress so far - 2 more rows to go, then I can crochet the lengths together and add a border

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