I started learning myself to crochet. I knew I wanted to make something really special for my first piece, something to remember and something to keep and cherish. I also knew I wanted to send a really lovely friend I have (who I don’t get to see due to how far we live away from each other) a gift as she is almost due to have her baby and it’s such an exciting time for her. My initial reaction (being me) was to go pink, something pink n frilly but my friend Lisa is way cooler than me and didn’t want to do the whole stereotype pink thing (being a mom to 4 boys I can appreciate that) so I decide I’d have a look around and send her something funky (she’s a rock star kinda gal) but something suitably beautiful for a little girl who will be (I’m sure) adorable (and able to hold her own against her bigger brothers haha!).
So, I started searching for ideas on what I could buy for my friend and a blanket was the obvious choice, I have a soft spot for blankets, I love them, there are always lots of different blankets strewn around my home for snuggle times and general keeping warm (I’m definitely cold blooded since my surgery). Blankets rock!
I purchased 3 gifts for my friend but never got round to posting them, I didn’t actually like them, I wanted something better. During this time I was also searching for easy crochet patterns to start my crocheting life and you’ve guessed what comes next YES…. I found the most wonderful crochet blanket pattern by an equally wonderful (and helpful) blogger/crocheter called Dorien – take a look:
I knew instantly that I wanted to make this blanket – and for my friend too! Isn’t it gorgeous, my only fear was that a) I could and b) it would look half as nice as this one:
I printed his patterns and started googling helpful tips on how to make ‘circles’ in an easier way / how to cast on and off and came across loads of helpful sites. My favourite is Tamara @ mooglyblog.com her videos and on line tutorials and the generosity in how she shares openly her patterns and advice is first class! Thank you Tamara!
MY blanket grew quite quickly although I made loads of amateur / rookie errors initially. Like getting more carried away with colours than counting stitches and completely veering from the pattern at one point therefore lots of ‘frogging’ was required (and lots of leftover mis-sized’ squared are in a basket in my home for a future ‘bodge’ shelved project OOPS!
But my blanket grew and eventually it was time to start piecing together the squares.
Initially I intended to make enough squares to match to the size of a lovely fluffy fleecy little baby blanket we’d fallen in love with and purchased from a local baby market shop but then the project grew some more (LOTS more). one evening my husband had a ‘brain wave’ that I loved the idea of but it included adding in an extra 24 squares – crikey! The project continued to grow and grow and grow! But, it was sooooo worth it.
BTW I used a 4.5mm hook and stylecrafk DK wool that I am blessed is sold at my local wool market and I have also become nice Friends with the lady who works there – she even keeps an eye on what colours I have and don’t have as I’m a monkey for duplicating colours that I like and forgetting ones I need.
My husband helped me lay the blanket out and pin it, we were complete amateurs therefore you will probably spot loads of errors or ways we could make life easier for ourselves but we struggled through (and actually really enjoyed it). My boys would play XBOX all night and I would be crocheting, they thought it was great because I could stand to be in the same room as them whilst they gunned down bad guys / build new homes in minecraft (really I was totally zoned out and focused on my counting stitches and double crocheting in the round – tres therapeutic)!
I stitches the squared together in 2 days, it became tedious until I found LUCY: http://attic24.typepad.com/ and her incredible genuine and totally relevant blog. But mostly I’d discovered her Joining Granny Squares tutorial and it quite literally saved my sanity (thank you Lucy). The link for this nifty piece of advice is here: http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/joining-granny-sqaures.html but in future (and I have started a few of lucy’s patterns since this point), her Join-as-you-go-go method is even sweeter – For the WIN!
So the blanket was finished, I wanted to do a frilly and funky border but I had spent what I felt was long enough on it and I was rather impatient to get it sent off (and the patterns looked so difficult I was frightened of ruining it) so I did 2 rounds of DC, 1 SC and 1 Bobble Stitch and hey presto – FINISHED!!!
Then I washed it, trust me, that was a very difficult 40 minutes trusting my new BEKO with all this time and effort and love, but it did me proud. a hand wash at 30degrees on a 400spin and the blanket came out beautifully. I pinned it to a towel, to my bed and we left it to air dry for the day and then finished off with a little warming on the radiator that evening.
It smelt and felt sooooo soft, all my husband could say was how happy my friend would be with her gift, all my boys could say was how much they wanted one (or to keep that one) and all I could think was PLEASE don’t fall apart, get lost in the mail, make her like it. so it was a huge relief when I finally got it all bundled up and wrapped to post.
I wrapped it in the original blanket which I’d bought from the baby market shop – she might has well have both, if it kept it further protected in transit then even better.
My friend LOVED her gift, she loved everything about it (PHEW) and she’s been happy for me to share it with you (yay!). I am definitely going to make another one of these blankets, maybe black as apposed to white next time just for my boys? They are rather messy? Not sure yet, but either way it was such a fun, journey of learning the art of crochet, the importance of tying off your ends and weaving them in properly (no getting out of that one I’m afraid) and it was also super rewarding to have such a lovely end product and a happy much deserved recipient 🙂
I’ll share more (and better – and better detailed) crocheting projects with you in the future!