Colourful harlequins and some Very Big Crochet!

I’ve been crocheting like crazy over the last two weeks, making samples and trying out new hooks – big and small!

Inspiration for my current blanket project came from a blog called Little Woolie – her Harlequin Blanket looked so lovely and bright I just had to give it a go. She shares a technique called tapestry crochet for this blanket and you can find her tutorial for this pattern here. It’s the first time I’ve tried it out and I love it! It took a couple of starts to get it right and I’ll share a couple of tips that I found out by myself along the way but for now, here’s my first sample……

First sample of tapestry crochet

First sample of tapestry crochet

This blanket is going to be a gift for a friend whose baby is due in January. I wanted to use vibrant colours and had to stick to a palette that would be ok for a girl or a boy, as the sex of the baby is a surprise. I’m lately quite drawn to vibrant colurs which is quite different from my usual choice of rather more muted colours, and I have to say I’m embracing it! I found several brands of yarn that had some really lovely colour choices but in the end I went with this…..

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As you can see the yarn is Spud & Chloe by Blue Sky Alpacas and I purchased it online from Mrs Moon, a brilliant yarn shop I first discovered at The Knitting & Stitching show a few years ago.

It’s a superwash yarn that is half cotton, half wool and I’m hoping that it can be washed in the machine on a cool wool or hand wash – I will test this out on a sample before washing the finished blanket though! It’s incredibly soft and easy to work with – no stranding or tangling if unpicked (which happens very frequently with me as I’m easily distracted and rather prone to a few too many mistakes!) The blanket that is emerging has a nice weight and drape to it and the harlequin pattern is a joy to crochet! I love it when a new colour emerges and starts to form the next row of diamonds, I doubt I could ever get bored of this pattern for this reason!
I also have a confession to make……..the names given to the colours of this yarn played a large part in my choice of brand! Is this a bit mad? I have actually found myself veering away from choices of yarn because of the names given to certain colours! I’ll do my best to get over this for my next yarn hunt, as I can see that is is probably just a little bit irrational and potentially very restricing of course! That said, I’m over the moon with my little package of yarn am very pleased I chose it for this project.

The colours I am using are, left to right:

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Barn, Firefly, Pollen, Grass, Moonlight, Rainstorm and Root beer. See? lovely names don’t you think?

……..and here is the blanket in progress…..

Harlequins galore!

Harlequins galore!

I actually intended to take a couple of pictures at an earlier stage in the blanket’s progress but got quite absorbed and ended up doing this much before remembering the camera!

Here’s a close-up – you can see the colour that’s being carried just peeping through the stitches…..

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and here’s what it looks like on the back……

Tapestry crochet on the reverse side

Tapestry crochet on the reverse side

So the effect you get is a little like Faire Isle knitting, but without the floats looping across the back of the work, which is perfect for a blanket as you don’t want it catching on anything.
One tip I would recommend to anyone having a go at this for the first time is to crochet your foundation chain with a bigger hook than you are going to use for the project itslef. I found this out the long way! After several rows of merrily crocheting away I realised that the bottom edge was way too taught and had to start again to avoid a very wonky shaped blanket! If you don’t have a larger crochet hook, just do your foundation row very loosely.
The other tip I just wanted to share is what to do when you get to the end of the first row! It’s probably obvious to everyone else but it took me a few goes, lots of frowning, a bit of confusion and then finally good old google before I worked out that you have to crochet through the back of the loops on your reverse side! This means that the yarn colour being carried (and not worked with) shows through on the back more predominantly than on the front, as opposed to showing through on every other row of the right side. It sounds a bit complicated when I try to explain, but it will become clear to anyone having a go!

I intend to edge the blanket in the Root beer, probably with a couple of rows of single or half double crochet, we’ll see……..

…and thanks to Little Woolie for sharing this lovely technique on her blog:)

Remember I showed you these in a previous post?…..

Quince & co Osprey

Quince & co Osprey

Here’s a sample of tapestry crochet with three of the colours…..

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I’ve used (bottom, middle then top) Apricot, Sorbet and Storm. The other colours I have are Twig, Split Pea and Chantrelle. Once again, I’m in love with the names of the colours, as well as the colours themselves! I got this yarn from Loop, another of my favourite places to buy from as they have such an amazing selection of beautiful heirloom yarns and I was bowled over by thier shop in Islington when I went there years ago – like no other wool shop I’d ever been in! In fact I think it might have even set the trend for a lot of the lovely yarn shops we have now you know!

Anyway, I’m intedning to make another house blanket with these colours, although I think I’ll mark this down as a little longer term project, as I’d like to make this blaket quite large, large enough for a beadspread, which means lots of skeins of this lovely wool……and lots of crochet time to make it! I’ll keep you up to date with the progress!

Now to tell you about my Very Big Crochet project that I’ve actually finished (well almost) in just three days!

I came back from the Knitting & Stitching show in Harrogate last weekend with…..

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These balls of yarn are strips of woven fabric (the waste selvedge of woollen cloth woven in mills in the Uk, Italy and France) which can be knitted, croched, woven into lovely chunky things of your choosing! I chose to make a round rug and picked these three bright colours and this giant crochet hook…..look at how big it is in my hand…

Now that's a Very Big crochet hook!

Now that’s a Very Big crochet hook!

I couldn’t wait to get started and oh my gosh, I loved it! The rug grew so quickly and the hook and yarn were actually very easy to use. I’d expected this to be quite cumbersome and fidly in a big bulky way but oh no! This was smooth and happy crocheting all the way!

Here’s how it started…..

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and here’s how it grew….

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….and so it continued to grow until I had no wool left (well, not quite enough to complete a full round!) It grew to 85cm in diameter and I will very shortly add a picture of the finished thing here…..(the light levels were too low today to get a decent picture)

So I now have marvellous rug (in my opinion!) which I can’t help but but smile at every time I look at it! It’s extremely squashy and very warm to sit on – perfect! I keep moving from room to room as I can’t decide where it should live – I suspect I may be ordering some more of this big wool very soon, as each room in my house should surely have a rug like this in it :)

Here’s where I got the wool, and so can you if you fancy having a go….

Ingrid Wagner – Rug and Art Creation

The link takes you straight to Ingrid’s shop where you can buy the wool I’ve used here, but do have a look at the rest of her website, as there is a lot of inspiration on there for big wooly creations!

Off to crochet a few more harlequins now…….