Two pixies and seven squares

In between making Perpetua’s dress and reading giant historical fiction novels, I’ve been doing some slow-but-steady work on a few new things for the prayer shawl ministry at church: two baby blankets and a handful of prayer squares. The baby blankets were made (more or less) following this pattern from The Spruce for an easy crochet blanket in moss stitch.

Moss stitch (also known as granite stitch, linen stitch, and woven stitch) is absolutely my new favourite stitch: it’s insanely simple, I love the interlocked look, and because you’re working each stitch into a space rather than into another stitch, the result is very airy and has a lot of drape. It’s perfect for blankets! Most moss stitch tutorials tell you to chain an even number of stitches; the version from The Spruce is different in that you chain an odd number, and your turning stitch is worked into the turning chain of the row below. It took me a little while to get the hang of it — you’ll see that the edges on the first (lower) blanket I made are a bit wobbly — but eventually I figured out where exactly to stick my yarn on every turn and we were off to the races.

See those wonky edges? Oh well. The nice thing about crafting for babies is that babies don’t care!

Both of these were worked up in Lion Brand Mandala, a lightweight (3) yarn, using an H hook. This is a gorgeous yarn to work with; it’s much softer than many acrylics I’ve used in the past, and the colour transitions are a lot subtler than you find in other yarn cakes. I used the same colourway for both blankets — Pixie — and I love how different from each other they turned out, since each yarn cake started and ended at a different point in the sequence.

As to the squares, I was recently gifted the remains of a skein of Caron Simply Soft — I forget the colourway and threw out the wrapper, but I think it was Orchid — from a non-stitcher who had somehow ended up with it. There wasn’t enough to make anything substantial, so I decided to toss off some prayer squares and see how far I got. The final count was seven: six of regular size, and one teeny-tiny little square that was just short of having enough for another row. We’ll call that one “wallet-sized”. Or just right for someone in the under-five set.

Here they are being blocked. (Those stains on the pillow aren’t mold — I know they look like mold — but were left behind by a previous project where the yarn dye ran a bit.) I have to say, I wasn’t impressed with the Simply Soft yarn. It was soft, granted, but it split like crazy. It was fine for working up some small pieces like this, but I wouldn’t want to use it for anything larger.

The squares were a nice change of pace from the longer projects, though – just the right sort of breather before I move on to the next thing. Right now I have a shawl on the hook, and then at some point I have seven more Mandala cakes waiting for me to make them into an afghan for Anselm. And when I finish that, I really will have to stick to squares for a month or so, just for balance!

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