The honeycomb blanket (free pattern)

This blanket made it safely through the mail to its recipient, so I can finally blog about it!

Dear friends of ours are expecting their third child very soon, and since the sex is a surprise I thought a nice neutral like yellow would work well. This is Lion Brand Scarfie yarn in the colourway “cream/mustard” which reminded me very strongly of bees and honey — and so the honeycomb blanket was born! I’d never used Scarfie before, but it’s a delightful wool-acrylic blend, warm and very soft, that I would be happy to crochet with again.

The construction of this blanket is relatively simple. If you can crochet a granny square, you can crochet a granny hexagon, as the principle is exactly the same. Once you have the basic pattern down it’s easy to just keep repeating until you’ve achieved the desired size. In this case, I used almost four skeins of yarn for a toddler-sized blanket.

Start with a magic circle (or if you’re rather not punish yourself, ch 4 and sl st to join).

Chain 3 to serve as your first dc, 1 dc — this is your first granny cluster (six sides requires only 2 dcs per cluster as opposed to the regular 3). Ch 1, and repeat until you have 6 clusters joined with a chain stitch in between each. Slip stitch to close the round and move over to a chain space.

Ch 3 to serve as your first dc, 1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc — this is the first corner cluster of your second round. Repeat pattern in each chain space around; you will have 12 dc granny clusters, with a chain space in between every second cluster. The chain spaces will be the corners of your hexagon (although it can be a little hard to discern them in the early rows this will become very obvious soon). Slip stitch to close the round and move over to a chain space (corner).

Repeat the general cluster pattern, doing two clusters joined with a chain in each corner of the previous rounds, and a single cluster in between each non-corner cluster. Go until your hexagon is as big as you want it, then sc around for a nice finish.

Happy crocheting!

Third time’s the charm

Another baby, another 12-point star blanket. This is such an easy project to work up, simple to memorize, and I love the way it looks when finished. I’ve previously made this pattern (two ways) with Red Heart It’s a Wrap Rainbow in “foggy” (Levi’s blanket, Sami’s blanket); this blanket is for Mayah, an old friend’s baby girl, and since the package finally made it to her I can blog about it now!

This also uses Red Heart It’s a Wrap, but in their “Sprinkles” line rather than Rainbow. As you can see, Sprinkles is an apt name for it! All those lovely long colour changes are still present, but one of the four strands is variegated, which breaks it up visually and disguises the change-points somewhat. This colourway is called “sundae” and I got it from YarnCanada.ca (that’s not a referral link; they’re just my go-to).

As usual, this blocked up nicely. This is in my tiny little basement craft room, and it’s got almost the last bits of carpet left in our house — which I suppose I can’t get rid of or I’ll have nowhere to dry large projects!

And now that this is finished — both blanket and post — I’m going to take a drink and a book outside and enjoy the sunshine in our backyard. Happy Sunday!

The blanket so nice I made it twice

Remember the twelve-pointed star blanket I finished a couple of weeks ago? It seems like everything’s coming up babies around here, so I made it again. Same pattern, same yarn, but this time I reversed the colours by working from the outside of the skein instead of the centre.

Once again, this is Red Heart It’s a Wrap Rainbow in the colourway “foggy”, with a G/6 hook. I wish there were a way to let people touch yarn through the computer — it is very fine and soft, and with a larger hook like I used (larger relative to the yarn weight, I mean) it has an incredible drape. It would be a lovely choice for something like a miniature version of the Trio Blanket — which is definitely on my crochet bucket list.

Of the two star blankets, I prefer this version; I find the dark centre and lighter edge more pleasing to the eye than the reverse. But I’m pretty sure that part of my preference has to do with how much quicker and easier the second run through a pattern always is. I’ll be able to make these in my sleep soon.

This blanket is for Sami, who lives next door and is very small and precious.

Levi’s blanket

Another baby, another blanket — so what else is new around here? This is something I whipped up for my cousin’s little boy, who is due to make his arrival sometime in November.

For this blanket I used Red Heart’s It’s a Wrap Rainbow in the colourway “foggy”, which I really liked. This is my third project using It’s a Wrap Rainbow, and the more I use it, the more I enjoy it. Although it took a little work to get used to using un-plied yarn (which is infinitely more prone to splitting than plied yarn), I’d say that I’m nearly as quick with it as I am with a more conventional yarn now. And those long gradients? Yum yum yum.

The pattern used is from Bella Coco’s “12-Point Star Tutorial” (youtube link), but really it’s just a circular ripple blanket; there are lots of patterns out there. Hook was a G/6, which gave this a nice drape. I finished it with just a row of single crochet all the way around to give it a bit of an edge (the plan was to do two rows, but I didn’t have quite enough left in the skein to make it work).

My special thanks to Tertia, who did a quality control inspection for me before I blocked it (six-month-old for scale):

And now that this is finished — well, I still have to mail it, but you know — I guess it’s about time to start my Christmas crocheting. Yikes. Winter is coming, crafters.

Virus baby blanket

I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy to finish a crochet project in my life.

 

This is a “virus” pattern baby blanket made for a baby girl at church, due to make her arrival next month. I like the pattern ok; it’s identical to a virus shawl except for the setup rounds, so it took very little concentration. I like the colours ok; they remind me of a soft summer sunrise. But I am never, never, never using this yarn again.

This was made with Lion Brand’s Big Scoop yarn in the colourway “Parfait” and it was infuriating. I should have remembered that, because this is actually the third project I started with the same skein (the first two got frogged). Nearly every time I pulled a length of yarn, I got a tangled mess of yarn barf from the middle. Some of the tangles were so bad I actually had to cut the yarn (three times!!) because I couldn’t get them undone. ALSDKFGDLFKJGFDLJGSDFG.

 

One thing I am pleased with is the little flower I self-drafted to embellish the centre. It was just pale blue mass, so I thought I needed a little something. Here is the pattern for anyone who is interested:

Quick Crochet Flower

Chain 4, join with slip stitch to make round. Single crochet 7x in the round. Join with slip stitch, chain 1, turn.

2 single crochets in each single crochet below (14 stitches total). Join with slip stitch.

Chain 5, turn. Skip stitch, join with slip stitch to following single crochet below. Chain 5, skip stitch, join to following stitch as above. Repeat until end of round, join with slip stitch to first stitch (7 petals).

Turn. Slip stitch into next empty single crochet below. Chain 7, skip stitch, join to following single crochet below. Since you’re working on the back of the existing petals, you’ll want to watch that your yarn doesn’t grab any of them. Repeat until end of round, slip stitch to join (14 petals) and fasten off.

 

 

To finish this off, I added a quick border to the last set of virus shells consisting of four rows of moss stitch. Overall I am pretty pleased with how it all came together, but my gosh, Big Scoop — you’re the worst.

 

This is why my library books pile is so high right now

Six colours, three stitches, 35 rows, plus 54 ends to weave in… equals one baby blanket. And now that it’s finished, I may finally have some time to attend to my reading!

This is a self-drafted pattern. I started out with two skeins of varigated DK acrylic yarn I’ve had sitting around for a couple of years — that’s where the white and the pinks come from. For the central granny square, I basically followed their original arrangement in my rows, alternating with the blue that acted as my neutral. The pattern is ABA, blue, BCB, blue, CDC, blue, etc., until it wraps around again to “A” (white) as the middle colour of the triad. I don’t know if I explained that well, but if you look you should be able to see exactly what I mean.

After the last row of blue granny stitch, I went all the way around in single crochet in order to establish a good base for my border. For that, I did two rows of moss stitch in each colour from the white-pink skeins, followed by blue loops to finish it all off (single crochets in every other moss stitch ‘hole’ below, joined by a five-stitch chain in between).

I am very pleased with how this turned out. It will be gifted to a much-anticipated little girl who is due in September, and I hope that she will use it for many years.

A new blanket for a new arrival

Did I mention that I’m pregnant? Probably not. Well, I’m pregnant enough that I get winded putting on my boots and can’t see anything south of my belly button without bending over. There’s a baby coming soon, and what does a new baby need? A baby blanket, of course!

This was a freehand project using Lion Brand’s “Ferris Wheel” yarn, in the colourway “Vintage Carousel”. It was dreamy to work with — no snags or knots — and I love the tweedy effect for the long slow colour changes. You can see in the close-up below that the light blue consistently carries through all the way, while the other colours change around it. I got some lovely stripes just going back and forth in moss stitch for the main panel.

As for the border, I wanted to do something a bit chunkier as the main panel ended up smaller than I had planned (I know, I know — my own fault because I never measure anything). After trying a few different options I ended up choosing a wide band of granny squares all the way around, capped off with a single row of single crochet just to neaten up the outside edges. I like being able to see the colours (and changes) in a different way, because of the chunkier stitches, and the border is pleasingly floppy.

This worked up relatively quickly, although I was a bit stop-start on it and at one point had to go back to Michaels for another skein of yarn. I used a J hook, and about 3.5 skeins of the Ferris Wheel. And with the blanket done, I now feel like we’re really ready. Looking forward to meeting you, baby girl.

Icy purple baby blanket

I did not expect to be posting another crochet project so soon after the last one, but this one whipped itself up incredibly quickly, taking maybe five hours all told.

These were two more yarns from the church stash: the purple is Baby Bee Hushabye Solid in the colourway “sugarplum” and the blue-white is Loops & Threads Snuggly Wuggly in the colourway “baby denim marl”. I wasn’t crazy about either of these yarns on their own, but I had a hunch that they would look good together. The result is a nice mixture that’s a little icy and not overly feminine, with some extra visual interest from the random yarn pooling throughout.

The blanket was worked in moss stitch (what else?) using both yarns at once on an N (9mm) hook. That’s what made it work up so quickly: both yarns are light-weight but using them together made it more like a bulky yarn, and combined with the large hook size that gave me a lot of bang for my buck in terms of row height. I used about 2/3 of a skein of the denim marl, and somewhere between 1-1/3 and 1-1/2 skeins of the sugarplum. They were fairly uneventful to work with, except for a few knots in the second sugarplum skein. Well, sometimes there’s no avoiding that!

This was a fun one to make, not least because it came together so quickly. I may experiment more with using multiple yarns on the same hook — as it turns out, it’s an effect I rather like.

Colour-panel baby blanket

Another month, another crochet item, this time back to a baby blanket. I had no plan when I started this, but I chose two yarns from the stash at church that I thought would look well together, and off I went. Not without a false start; I was going to do alternating stripes but ended up tearing it all out again. But I am pleased with the result on the second go-round:

The two yarns I used were Bernat Soft Bouclé in colour 26949 — at least, that’s all it says on the label. As it turns out, the yarn has been discontinued, but after some searching I found it on Ravelry; the colourway is called “Westport” and is a nice blend of blue and brown. The border yarn is Vanna’s Choice Baby in the colour Lamb.

I worked the whole project using a J (6 mm) hook, but used a few different stitches. The centre blue-brown panel is done in my beloved moss stitch. It looks like a pretty tight weave (especially combined with the nubbiness of the bouclé yarn) but because moss stitch is always working in gaps in the row below, it’s deceptively light and drapey. For the border, I started a row of single crochet to anchor it, and then two rows of triple stitch to give it some width. This was important because my centre panel ended up a bit smaller than I had envisioned, and I couldn’t get any more yarn because of its discontinuation. I then finished the border with a wave pattern, following this tutorial from Bella Coco:

My border didn’t end up as neat as hers and I definitely fudged the corners (you can see in the first picture that they curl up because I didn’t add enough extra stitches) but I won’t blame the tutorial for that. I was also finishing up during a long car ride, so I couldn’t have gone back to check, anyway.

All in all, though, I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out. It’ll go in the pile and await a suitable baby boy to be born! And in the mean time, I’ve picked out the yarn for my next project…

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!