I’m currently making a baby blanket, I love making them as they are relatively small and quick (some people manage to whip one up in a matter of days-I am not one of those people!) When I make them, I tend to aim for a size of around 90cm x 1m-the exception being when I make them for our local knitting and crocheting group, when I make them to the dimensions requested by the maternity ward. My reason for making them so large is that I like to think, after all the effort that goes into making them, that they can then be used well into toddlerhood rather than for just a few months.
This one is a gift for my neighbours, and when I make them as a gift I like to plan the colours, patterns etc. with the recipients so it is likely to be used and fit in with their colour schemes for a nursery and so on. My neighbours sent me a photo of a chair they have in the nursery and I’ve picked out a few colours from it to use in a blanket. I’ve set myself a personal challenge here, as I normally steer well away from any patterns involving lots of squares and stick to blankets worked in rows. The reason? I always get about 5 squares made, get fed up and then never get any further.
I found a lovely blanket pattern with stars at the centre of each square, but when I tried it out I just couldn’t get them to look square, even after 3 goes. I decided the frustration wasn’t worth it and had another search for a pattern, this time it was the free ‘Sunburst Granny Square‘ pattern by Bella Coco. I tried one square out, and really liked it, then I measured it to see how many I’d need to make to achieve the size I wanted. It was an eye-watering total of 99! (The original blanket needed just 48.) I realised making 1 at a time was not a realistic option, so my production line planning began.
If I was going to do this (in time for the baby being born!), I needed a proper system. Also, I wanted to make it so I had different combinations of the colours (Stylecraft Special DK in blush, cloud blue and violet) on different squares. I thought it was best to do each round on every single square before moving on, so I made all of the middles (round 1), then my daughter helped me sort them into groups. There were 33 of each colour, which we rearranged so that, for example, the pink middles were split into a group of 16 and 17 to be given either a purple or blue round 2. We made sure that in each bag, there were 33 for each colour for round 2. Then when I had done all of the round 2’s, we did the same again so that each circle had all 3 colours in it somewhere. I managed this part relatively quickly, for me, in around 2 and a half weeks. I took a bag of crochet everywhere we went in the car, as with so many squares to make even just knocking a couple more off the total helped.
Last weekend, I managed to run out of pink. I knew it was going to happen, but somehow kidded myself that I had enough! I didn’t. Then I did that really daft thing where you only need 1 ball of wool but instead of paying the postage, I added to my order until I got to the free postage amount, Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this? (Some of the wool was for charity baby blankets and not just ordered because I thought it looked pretty!) I’d started the pink round 3s first, so I just made the purple and blue ones and by the time my yarn delivery was here I had done all of them so it worked out pretty well.
Once I’d done all of the middle parts, I sewed in the ends as I had already decided to use join as you go to work round 4-mainly because I don’t enjoy sewing things together, and I didn’t want any more ends to deal with. There were ‘only’ 594 ends to sew in, so I did them whilst binge-watching Line of Duty from series 1!
Then I had the fun part of arranging them and hoping that I didn’t just have to do it randomly-I was really relieved when it looked like my plan was working, until I got to the end and realised that I only had 98 circles! (I definitely had 99 at the end of rounds 1 and 2.) No idea where that one went to, so I just made up another very quickly.
I had a vague idea of how join as you go worked, having used a continuous flat braid join on my daughter’s blanket. However, I also needed to make sure that I was working round 4 of the pattern at the same time as joining and it took a little bit of twiddling and checking to make sure it worked properly. I did the sensible thing and wrote it all down-maybe one day I might write up a tutorial?
I’ve now joined 2 rows, and I think (fingers crossed) it will work out fine. I still can’t believe that in less than 3 weeks I’ve got this far with a blanket made of squares-my track record with them is so poor, both in terms of time taken to finish if they ever get that far, and in sticking with the project and not just putting it in a bag somewhere and pretending it doesn’t exist. I’m so confident I’ll get it done that I’m even planning the border!
Whilst I’ve been working on this, I’ve not done any other crochet at all, although now I’m at the joining stage and this is no longer a portable project, I might start on an amigurumi dog that I’m making as a shop sample for a friend as that’ll be a nice small project.
What are you working on? And do you find blankets made of squares as tricky to finish as me?