I finished my bluebell blanket today and hope you won’t mind if I share the joy. It’s based on a simple granny square pattern but as ever it’s the colours which excite my imagination.
Bluebell was the colour I initially picked out from the glorious collection of Stylecraft Special which I’m lucky enough to have in my Teeny Tiny shop here at Escape to the Crochet. Quite why we get attracted to a particular colour I’m not too sure but I really wanted to use Bluebell! Well there is none of this colour used in the main squares but I knew that choosing it for the join and border would make my blanket a Bluebell blanket.
The rest of the colours, fourteen in all, came next: lemon, mustard, lime, meadow, aspen, mint (baby Special), spring green, parma violet, violet, lavender, fuchsia, blush, plum and bright pink.
Spring has had a very slow start this year. I sometimes think I am a bit obsessed with the passing seasons. Each in their turn, at the right time of year and I’m happy. But this year winter would not let go and my favourite season was on hold. It’s quite rural here so we eagerly watch the changes in the countryside as blossom and spring flowers start to burst. The skies are filled with the sounds of skylark, curlew and lapwing and a day or two ago, wonderful swallows are returning to our barns after their winter in the Southern hemisphere.
Bluebells, real beautiful bluebells are this week carpeting woodlands with their misty blue haze. The pictures are of a beautiful wood we visited whilst away with the family a few days ago. The bluebells were definitely starting their magic. My blanket is finished just on time!
So down to the nitty gritty and this blanket began on the ‘production line’ method where you make a set of middles for each colour and then add round two, three and onward in sets. It’s a great way of getting good colour distribution through the work and I learned it from the fabulous, creative Heather at The Patchwork Heart. http://www.thepatchworkheart.co.uk/
I planned eight rounds for each square and for the finished blanket to be seven squares by eight, so in total fifty-six. Using fourteen colours that gives four middles of each colour to start off. I darn in all ends for each set when it’s complete, what discipline! I think if you didn’t do this it would be a bit of a nightmare later.
Next match the centres to a colour for the second round and off you go again. This is fourth round matching here.
Keeping the squares a good shape is important so remember to turn over after every round and it will stay nice and even. My choice is to make one chain in each corner and none down the sides for a nice close finish using a size four hook but I do work fairly loose.
The fun part is matching each piece to the next round’s colour. I just love all these minute decisions you have to make when creating something like this don’t you? It might be ‘just a granny square blanket’ but it’s going to be a good one if you plan it well.
Incidentally this is a good read if you are interested in or care about the countryside. John Lewis-Sempel has written several others too and I’m working my way through them. Shame you can’t read and crochet at the same time.
To give texture to the finish and frame each square I decided to use a raised join, simply putting wrong sides to wrong sides and double crotcheting the squares together in vertical lines. At last I could use that delicious bluebell yarn! Then I worked the horizontal join using one chain at each crossroads to keep it even and the blanket was made. A row of double crochet around the edge, worked into the front loop only, completed the frame. Here are the squares arranged in joining order.
And here they are joined.
Lastly the border gave me another decision to make and not always an easy one. I started with two rows of plain grannies using bluebell and working into the back loop only. Then I made loops of four chains anchored into the granny spaces with double crochet.
The next round was a kind of open shell worked into the chain loops using two trebles, two chain, two trebles. The last round was a double crochet round a bit harder to describe, but basically crotcheting two together in the dips, one dc in the next stitch then two dc, two chain, two dc in the chain space to make the pointy effect. It was really easy and gave a slightly ruffled effect which I really like.
I always think that crochet design doesn’t have to be complicated to be successful. This little beauty will be gracing one of our B and B rooms next time we have guests for a crochet retreat so I hope they enjoy it.
Happy crocheting everyone and enjoy your springtime.