With my latest blanket almost complete I thought I would write a blog post about what goes into making these blankets. This is my 'process' when I decide to make a blanket. Each blanket I make is one of a kind (OOAK) so the end result will vary but the process is nearly always the same.
Firstly, I will look for colour combinations. With the 'retro circles' blanket I knew I wanted to work with block colours on a neutral background and I wanted to include mustard somehow. I worked through some colour charts for yarn that had at least 4 featured colours and the neutral. With this blanket I decided to use Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK.
This wool has such a luxurious feel, soft and squishy with great stitch definition. Even my 'know's nothing of yarn' partner commented on how lovely it felt, which coming from him is a HUGE compliment!
The colour palette I chose was navy, light blue, biscuit (taupe type colour) and mustard, with cream as my neutral. 13 balls in total were needed.
Next was the decision of block coloured squares or circles in a cream square. I went with circles in the square. The colours reminded me of the 70's, particularly kitchenware and crockery, so I went with the circles. It seemed to fit with the theme.
Sublime Yarn - Circles or Squares?
Now it was time to get cracking making those circles. 81 in total for this blanket. Each circle would take me approximately 15minutes (unless a child needed something, then it could take hours!). It was about another 5minutes to add the cream 'square' to the circle. So just the squares took approximately 27 hours.
Stack of circles
I *should* be sewing in any ends once I finish each square so I'm not left with hundreds to sew in at the end... I started that, with my first lot of navy circles, but then, once again, I became too impatient and wanted to get my colours done ASAP so I could do one of my favourite things when making squares.
Laying them out to see how the colour arrangement in my mind gets put in practise. I do this numerous times when making a blanket, usually way too late at night. I'll lay out whatever I've finished with that day and look at it from all angles, walk away, come back and look at it with fresh eyes to make sure it is as nice as I first thought. It's a tad bit OCD...
the early plan
starting to resemble the final product, still a long way to go...
Next step is to join the squares. There are different ways of doing this, sewing them, crocheting them, join as you go etc. I prefer to crochet them together with a single crochet stitch. It creates a raised join, which I quite like. To save too many ends that need sewing in, I tend to join them horizontally and then vertically. I forgot to time how long this took me in hours, but I know it took at least three nights work. I usually get in about 4 hours a night, so I'll stick on the conservative side and say 12 hours.
the last loose square about to get joined horizontally,
notice I still need to crochet all the vertical joins
Once all the squares are joined a border needs to be added. In this case it was 1 round SC cream, 1 round HDC cream, 1 round SC biscuit and last round HDC cream. This took a little more than a night's work, so probably about 5 hours.
Border's added - notice the raised joins in this photo
eeep! really should have sewed in those ends as I went...
Border on, prior to blocking
The last step is to 'block' it. This is important as it gives the blanket a finished look, straightens edges and helps it to lay flat. Wool has a natural twist, and when you knit or crochet you are twisting it even more. Blocking helps to relax it and let it resettle in its new shape.
Although I still have lots of ends to sew in I've already given it a light steam blocking as I really wanted to see how it would look finished. I still have to take a nice shot of the whole thing and one in the cot to get a greater understanding of the size. It is officially a cot blanket, although its easily big enough for a toddler and even just covered my 6yr old in length, with plenty of width coverage. Plus it looks great as a 'back of the couch' throw when the kids have grown out of it. The measurements are approximately 80x100cm or 31x40 inches.
Oh my poor tired couch
After around 50 hours work (when I finally finish all those ends) it will be ready for its new home. I will be listing it on my Madeit.com.au store within the next day or so. I do adore this blanket and hope its new owner loves it as much as I do.