I have a busy week ahead, so unlike any other good crafts blogger, I’ll refrain from an all-out Tadah! post and let you sneak a few peeks before I’m quite finished, for I am – even now – literally bursting with pride, awe and some more pride, with a few pangs of having to let go soon thrown in. This blanket is why:
One day when browsing crochet pics, I found this gorgeous piece by an Australian crafts artist and fellow blogger. Isn’t it absolutely fantastic? I discovered it quite a while back, and went back to it again and again, like other people go to a museum maybe. The analogy is spot-on, really, as it also implies that I never really dared want one of those for myself. I mean, most of us don’t go sit in front of an Edward Hopper, and wish we had one at home, right? Although, if I ever won the lottery that is one artist whose work I’d buy, and would want to live with for ever. Sigh. Unattainable, but a girl can dream.
Anyway, I knew of this blanket out there in a general way. And then my friend A. turned 50, as I’ve mentioned in another blog post, and I was too caught up in my own asshattery to think ahead. Not a good chess player. Strategy’s definitely for greater minds than mine. I was thinking about her, and about what to give her. I wanted a unique gift, one that would convey my love for her and my admiration for her crazy creative mind and her uncanny ability to make art out of junk, her unconventional genius mind and the greatest example of a living, breathing Catholic I’ve ever seen. She has been my friend for over 25 years, and I don’t know what I’d do without her. And then I thought back to that blanket from Australia, and there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that nothing else would meet the occasion: A unique and colorful blanket in which not once would I be repeating a pattern.
As I got started, I set out to decrease my yarn stash, and I have, but as these things go, I ended up buying some more anyway. I simply could not resist the glittery yellow cotton (which I have used up completely), nor the soft lime green sock yarn (which I bought another ball of just because it’s so pretty), nor the deep red I got just this Saturday, to make that uber cute, amazing pompom edging (will also use that one up completely, that pattern sure does eat yarn). Once, at the yarn store, the owner gave me a pale blue ball of merino yarn that was too tangled up to sell (used that one up completely, too). Then I found a very sweet shade of powdery pink acrylic yarn that I’ve used about half of, and I’ve polished off most of the leftovers from sweet M.’s last summer blanket. I ordered 2 balls of corn-yellow sock yarn because A. loves that shade of yellow (and I most certainly do not!), oh and a ball of teal I still had from making my cardigan 2 years back went into it also.
This was the humble beginning:
In daring neon pink, I made an endless chain, a first row of DC, a row of granny clusters every 3 stitches and another row of DC. A row of *1 SC and 3 chains** in purple, sandwiched between 2 rows of simple off-white SC. Then I had a good look through my good old crochet book (thank you so much, Margaret Hubert!) and moved on to make a blue pattern of little sort of pockets. The first time I ever dared make something that said ‚experienced‘, and I survived, and it looked awesome.
After that, I made a yellow wavy pattern, revisiting Lucy’s Attic 24 blanket pattern. I sort of evened out the edge and made a row of DC in off white.
The next pattern is also from the book, and it alternates V stitches and scallop stitches. You can’t see it very well on the pic, because it needs some blocking, as does the whole blanket, really.
I moved on to make a few bright rows of stripy HDC – which sadly made the whole piece shrink, and gave me some grief later when I first blocked it… but they looked pretty, and so I moved on to make some off-white triple crochet and lime green scallops. I sort of tried to turn those into Catherine Wheels, which I didn’t quite pull off, alternating between lime green and deep forest green yarn.
The glittery yellow was next, and I ended up making something simple to show off that glamorous yarn a little – a few rows of HDC, as you can see.
Next, I wanted to make something with 2 colors, and tried my hand at some bobble stitches. Didn’t quite turn out the way I had thought they would – flatter than on the picture in my book, but given the effect of the off white and blue contrast, I didn’t mind so much.
Next, I made an upside down Granny cluster pattern I suppose I thought of on my own, for as you can see, we had moved to the beach and the book was way too heavy to carry all the way from the hotel. I was on a ‚Use up that stash!‘ mission by then, and ergo I went on until that orange was finished, moving on to another wave in purple so that yarn would be gone too, until it was.
I made DC stripies next, all the while watching my daughter do her thing in the shallow waters of the Baltic sea, which I love to pieces. Some people turn their noses at it and say that it’s more like a big lake than being a real ocean, but I love it anyway, and it does so make waves when it so chooses – have a look:
People don’t go kite surfing there for nothing.
The next stages I didn’t document, but they were:
The sweetest and my favorite of the lot, lime green DC with pretty yellow bobbles that are as 3D as they come ‚cause I made them of TC instead of the suggested DC, so they’d be nice and bobbly this time around. A powder and electric blue pattern I intended to be of triangles but which ended up looking like clouds instead ;-), and a lacy butterfly pink pattern from the book, a bright pattern of alternating HDC and 1 chain in differently colored rows, which interlaces the colors and the stitches both.
I then made a wide stripe of a ball of burgundy red in DC that is destined to be the basis for a batch of pretty bright flowers I made from thinner, mercerized cotton yarn. They’ll sort of look like this:
What I did next was another pattern from the book called the Larksfoot Pattern, and although it calls for experienced crocheters, I can only say it’s not hard to make at all, don’t be shy to try it. It’s also quite dashing, I think, as you can also see in the picture above, right on top of the burgundy.
The next one was a sort of a playing with upside down lacy clusters my son picked out from the book. But that off white lacy thing, the one that comes next was, excuse my French, a real bitch to make. It makes you go back and stitch into the stitches you just completed (sort of like knitting cable) and I was glad when it was over, truly…
The next is a stripe of red yarn I found in my stash and my daughter thought the blanket needed some more bobbles, monochrome this time. It adds a nice structure, and I was like ’nother one down‘ when that ball was used up.
The lacy cotton candy in 2 colors was mildly annoying because of the many chains you make in between the DC, but by that point I had the kids pick out their favorites so I needed to suck that up…
After that lacy structure I wanted something solid again and used a leftover ball of orange acrylic yarn to make a block of DC that has nice ridges to it because I crocheted in the back loop only.
I made bright waves of HDC next, using up more of my stash until I got bored with that and moved on to a pattern of scallops and lace that my son and his sweet friend L. picked out from the book. In teal. It wasn’t hard to make but you need to concentrate as the scallops sort of move on with every row, and I didn’t do it quite as the pattern called for, but a wee bit differently. That one needs blocking also…
Here’s our kitty getting all comfortable on the cozy blanket – alas, we’ll both have to let it go, soon enough!
My last pattern was, as it had been bugging me to finally learn it or die trying, the Catherine Wheel. I was determined to try it one more time – and found a video tutorial on YouTube that explained a variation, which the lady calls polka dots – here’s the picture from the top once again so you can see what I’m talking about:
It’s the mauve and lime green (can you tell it’s my favorite color?), and you can find the very easy to follow instructions right here: polka dot.
In the end, I didn’t quite do what the lady said, or ended up doing one row of polka dots only – but it looks good enough for me, so I left it at that :-)!
I browsed edgings, as I felt nothing sort of spectacular was going to be right. I found this awesome blog from the US, and it had stunning pom-poms!
As the blogger lady used them for a granny blanket, it inspired me to make my edging one of bright granny rows, to be finished off with said pom-poms.
I cannot thank Ms Robin Sanchez enough for posting such a wonderful, easy to follow, intuitive – not to mention absolutely gorgeous – tutorial. I owe you for giving me the perfect idea for my Funky Blanket’s edging.
And that’s where I’m at right now. Signing off today with a project almost finished – I will of course post a picture when it really is all done, but I’m glad I could share the lump of shop-talking already.
Have a wonderful week, everyone, and talk to me about your own projects – I’m always happy to hear from you.