Thursday, 13 February 2014

Crochet Blankets

It is very cold here in Canada this winter so I thought it might be appropriate to discuss crochet blankets.

I love crochet blankets. There are so many choices for patterns, styles and colours that I never get tired of them. I think my very first blanket back when I was 10 years old and learning to crochet was a purple Phentex granny square which grew and grew over the winter until it was large enough to be called a throw . I added a long fringe and gave it to my Mom. I'm pretty sure she still has it on display in their basement spare bedroom.

When I rediscovered crochet 3 years ago, I also rediscovered my love of crochet blankets. The first free pattern I chose was called a "Dorm Throw" and can be found here. I used Red Heart Light and Lofty yarn in Pheasant and Cafe au Lait. I altered the pattern to make a slightly bigger blanket by changing the number and spacing of zig-zag stripes. Actually, I made a mistake and, as it was difficult to rip out mistakes (fluffy yarn tends to snag and tangle), I just altered the pattern to make it look intentional. I must confess it was challenging working with fluffy yarn because the individual stitches are more difficult to see and it's hard to know where to place your hook. All-in-all though, I think it turned out rather well and is used regularly at our house especially with this cold weather.
Fluffy "Zig Zag" Blanket
I made this pattern again last fall but used a different yarn which gave a totally different look and feel. I wanted to make a throw for my daughter and, since she prefers light teal colours, I selected Bernat Roving yarn (soft chunky acrylic/wool blend) in Low Tide and Rice Paper. Bernat Roving (#5) is less bulky than Red Heart Light and Lofty (#6) so the blanket was quite a bit smaller. I picked up the yarn at The Yarn Factory Outlet in Listowel on route to our friend's cottage near Tobermory. This blanket was a perfect project to start at the cottage on the long weekend.  I was even able to finish it the following week at home. I like the way it turned out and my daughter was very happy with it. Now that she is in Boulder, she makes use of cuddly blankets too.
Crochet at the Cottage complete with dog, wine & snack. Good times.

Finished Zig Zag Afghan for our Daughter

Zig Zag Afghan in Bernat Roving Yarn
Another fun blanket I made for my daughter was a queen-sized patchwork crochet quilt. I started working on the motifs in the summer and finished by November in 2011. My biggest project up to that point with 146 motifs and a border around the whole quilt which mirrored the border on the individual motifs. The motifs consisted of a Grecian Tile square. This pattern is available for free on Ravelry and includes both the motif and the blanket border. I still love purple and manage to fit it into a lot of my projects. This quilt was made using Bernat Handicrafter cotton in three different colours; Country Mauve, Natural and English Lavender. I joined all the squares using a single crochet join which gives an interesting effect on the backside of the quilt. In California, this blanket adorned the spare bed. In Boulder, it forms part of the 'nest' our grandson prefers to sleep in these days on the floor beside his regular bed. 
Patchwork Crochet Quilt
I apologize for the lack of pattern details and photos. When I first started crocheting, I took photos to show my daughter but did not intend to start a blog and share publicly. Once I catch up with past projects (still quite a few to go), I will be sharing more current projects with better documentation. At least that is my intent.

I started another crochet afghan a couple years ago called "Crochet Bumble Berry Pie Afghan". It uses Bernat Mosaic Yarn which produces squares of various colours with just one yarn selection. This project was moving along quite nicely until I laid it out on the dining room table for joining. It took some time to lay out the squares in a pleasing diagonal pattern making sure all were right side up. Since I had multiple projects on the go (common practice), it sat on the dining room table for over a week which was long enough for our cat to "up chuck" on it and the table cloth underneath. Luckily only a few squares required washing but I had to pick up the whole thing to remove the table cloth. Since then it has sat in a box waiting for me to have take the time to lay it out and finish properly. I promise I will get to it one day soon and share plenty of photos when I do.
WIP - Bumble Berry Pie Afghan
I also love crochet baby blankets but I think they deserve a separate post. I was trying to take a break from "baby talk" as my daughter's due date was yesterday and we're still waiting but I can`t resist sharing this photo she posted of her 40 week belly. All I can say is WOW and I think she is beautiful - baby belly and all. 
40 weeks and counting
I`m hoping my next post will reference my daughter`s birth announcement. Surely it can`t be long now.

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