Friday, 28 March 2014

Introducing... The Mumbles Ripple!!

I keep referring to the Mumbles Ripple in various posts, and it’s currently the project that occupies the majority of my time as I race against the clock to get it finished in time for my brother’s wedding. I therefore thought it was about time it got its own post – so here it is!

When my brother got engaged to his lovely girlfriend of about 10 years, I knew I wanted to do something special for their wedding present. I could buy them something special, but I also loved the idea of making them something special – if they wanted me to. I suggested it to them as an option, and left them to think about it.

I was very happy when they said they would love a crocheted bed blanket, and discussions and joint Pinterest boards ensued! We decided on natural fibres (as far as possible – sadly I’m not rich enough to do that 100%...) and they asked for a ripple. They had seen my first ripple blanket and loved it, and wanted one of their own. This is a lovely blanket to make, quite simple and very effective, and the pattern is available for free from Attic 24, it is her neat ripple pattern.

My brother and his girlfriend live by the sea (my brother and I also grew up by the sea) and the sea and the coast plays a huge part in their lives. Therefore it was a no-brainer that they would want a blanket in ocean colours.

With a pattern and colour scheme decided on, I started to scour the internet for suitable yarn. This was really difficult for me – I was nervous about choosing colours online, and while I kept seeing yarns I thought looked fantastic, they tended to be too expensive for me to get in the quantities I would need. After some time struggling with this, my mother-in-law came to the rescue when I was making a visit there one time. She spent a day driving me around all of the yarn shops she knew of near where she lives, and after a massive failure to find any suitable yarn, she took me Boyes department shop as a last resort. She knew that they stocked yarn, but hadn’t been too hopeful that they would have what I was after. However, in dramatic style, the final last ditch attempt came up trumps!

So much Stylecraft loveliness at Boyes!

Boyes is quite a big stockist of Stylecraft yarn, and also had a smaller selection of various others that were absolutely what I was after!

Looking through the yarn, I discovered Stylecraft’s Life range (which I’m currently totally in love with). This yarn doesn’t come in the same range of colours as the Special DK acrylic range, but it does have a nice range of over 40 both bright and soft colours, and contains 25% wool.

I went a bit nuts gathering up all of the blues I could find, along with a couple of colours to represent sand and pebbles, and a couple of greeny colours to mix it up a bit – I thought that just blue would look a bit flat.

The colours I picked from the Life range are:

From left to right they are: Navy, Mint, Mixtures Denim, Stone Nepp, Cascade, Regent, Oatmeal, Cobalt, Aqua, Denim Nepp
(I also got Mixtures Blue Haze, which is not pictured as I took it out of my basket to use on my Granny Shrug and forgot to get it back for this photo.)

As well as the Life range, I saw Stylecraft had a range called Luxury Wool Rich DK, with 51% wool. This doesn’t come in so many different shades, but I got the 2 that were suitable for my project: Petrol and French Navy.  I later on got the Stylecraft Alpaca DK (20% alpaca) in Mistral too, which is also in this pic:

See that red sticker? I love it when the stuff I want is reduced!

As well as the Stylecraft goodies, I picked up some other brands too. Pictured are: Wendy Mode Double Knitting 50% Merino in shades 227 & 237; James C Brett Pure Merino (so soft and lovely!!) in PM5 and PM12; and King Cole Merino Blend DK 100% wool in shade 926:

In addition to these yarns, I went on to buy individual balls for special reasons. (I started work on this blanket without thinking about blogging it, and as these yarns are used up now I just have pictures of them as stripes): 

I got a beautiful 100% merino yarn from the lovely Jane’s yarn shop and café in Fishguard, Pembrokeshire. Unfortunately this yarn had no label, so I can’t name it (or buy any more! Boo!!) This was special as Pembrokeshire is my – and my brother’s – home county, and I was with my mum when I got the yarn:

The stripe in the middle: It's not quite so blue as it looks here, it really is a gorgeous colour.

On my birthday – which also happens to be my brother’s birthday! – last year, I went to London for a day out with my husband, and we popped into Liberty’s while we were there. I picked up a Rowan Tweed yarn, 100% wool, in shade 590 Wensley. There were several absolutely gorgeous colours of this yarn to choose from, but in the end I picked the Wensley as (in context of an ocean blanket) it reminded me of seaweed colours, which I didn’t already have. So this yarn was special because it was bought on his birthday:

The middle stripe again

I also brought back a ball of 100% pure alpaca from Peru. I massively regret not buying more yarn when I was there – our bags were so full and I was so sick of shopping when we got to the end of our trip, but now I know it would have been worth the effort of just one more shopping trip!! This yarn was obviously special just because it had come from Peru, and it inspired my further purchase of the Stylecraft Alpaca later on :)

Middle stripe - you can see it's next to the Rowan. I should have separated out the 'special' yarns, but I was too excited and used them straightaway...!

I left for home after the first shopping trip to Boyes with a basket full of ocean coloured yarns, and got started right away on the foundation chain for this blanket.

(poor quality phone picture - sorry!)

The chain is made in multiples of 14, and I kept chaining away until the chain was too big for my bed. I did this for two reasons: firstly, I couldn’t remember if they had a king size bed or not, and wanted it to be big enough. Secondly, when I made my first ripple I had made the chain big enough for my bed, but when I stitched into it the width shrank and so now I have to use my ripple as a sofa blanket… but it turns out the first ripple only shrank up as it was my first project so my chain wasn’t the right tension. A bit of experience later, and my foundation chain was actually really good, so the Mumbles blanket has stayed huge… I foolishly didn’t unravel and shorten the foundation chain though, so now each row take aaaages to complete!

I started back in late summer / autumn 2013, but in between I did a few other projects – the Parker Granny Square Baby Blanket, Safi Baby Blanket, Granny Shrug, and I have also been working a bit on the Glastonbury Blanket. Then there was the small matter of a 3 month trip to South America getting in the way too!

I was sure that I had more progress photos of this blanket slowly growing, but I can’t find them anywhere! So this one is a bit of a leap forward from the previous one:

I’m putting the sand colours in every now and then, not too regularly or irregularly, and doing the same with the greeny colours of Aqua and Mint. The blues are mostly random – although I now quality check the randomness after ending up with a patch of stripes that I’m not happy with: I feel like there should be a darker stripe in between the Oatmeal and the Aqua in this section.

As I write this, the Mumbles is 60 stripes long, and I reckon it needs another 20-something stripes to get to the right length to finish. They had asked for it to not have a border as they prefer things plain and simple – I warned them that this might not be possible as my previous ripple had needed a border to even out the edges. I’ve obviously improved a LOT though as this one is looking like it will live up to their request and be good enough without a border – yay!! I therefore plan to just add a final stripe at the top that will straighten up the top edge. I think I’ll leave the rippley bottom row alone though as that looks great as it is, while the top edge tends to curl over at the corners because they finish halfway through an up-ripple (if that makes sense!).

So here it is now, sideways on my sofa bed (which is king size) so you can see the whole thing so far:

You can see I got slack at sewing in the ends as I went!

And here it is the right way around, so you can see that it fits the king size bed pretty well, with a bit of a drape down each side. If they only have a double bed then I hope it's still ok!


I really like this last picture, there have been stages with this blanket when I have thought that it was a mistake to have offered this as a wedding present - because it wasn't good enough, wasn't the right colours, wasn't progressing fast enough... But when I spread it out on this bed (the first time I've done so) I could see how near to the end I was, and I thought it looked really good. I'm glad I wrote this post now, I'm feeling very happy about this blanket right now!

So there we have it: the Mumbles Ripple! Slight colour blip aside, I’m very happy with my progress. I’m extremely happy with how well I’m crocheting it – from my perfectly even foundation chain to my neat straight sides, and all the gorgeous rippley bit inbetween! I’m also extremely happy that I counted the stripes for writing this post, and I’m actually ahead of schedule for finishing it. Another yay!!


  1. Oh wow what a wonderful blanket. I love the colour palette you've chosen. I've got my eye on making a ripple blanket at some point, I've made a ripple cushion lol

    1. I'm very excited - I've finished this blanket!! Take a look if you like :)

  2. Thank you so much! I've been so worried about the colours for this because it's for something so special, so it's really great to get positive feedback :)
    I definitely recommend making a ripple blanket, but maybe not one this wide - I keep thinking I'll do a strip or two and then do something else, but after a couple of strips it seems the whole day has disappeared without my realising! lol