So late last year I discovered, and fell in love with, a particular crochet design known as the Babette blanket. It's very simple, basically just a selection of differently sized crocheted squares, joined together to make a blanket. I had plenty of wool left over from the two baby blankets, two cushion covers and the huge 6ft square blanket I made in 2010 so I thought I'd have a go at this one.
I downloaded the pattern from here. Originally I thought I might just have a go at constructing it myself by looking at pictures of other Babette blankets but once I realised there was an actual pattern to follow, my lazy gene kicked in. Yes, you do have to pay for the pattern but it's only six bucks (which is £3.75 in proper money) but it's a copyrighted design and I don't mind paying such a small sum in order to make my life easier.
The pattern arrives as a four page pdf file which tells you absolutely everything - from what colour wools to use, to what style of square to crochet to, finally, how to put it all together. I decided I'd rather choose my own colours, thank you very much, and what style of square to make, but I did need to know how many of what size, and which sizes went where. For example, there are only two squares which have 12 rounds of stitches, but 49 squares of 2 rounds of stitches. The last page is a diagram that shows you which squares go where.
So I started it on 20 November 2010 and finished it on 16 February 2011, having worked on it pretty much every single day, just making hundreds of squares of different sizes and colour combinations:
I made several every night, in front of the telly. I've got pretty good with a crochet hook these days and can do it without looking, like a properly proficient hooker.
Once the squares had all been made, I decided the easiest thing to do next would be to block all the squares now, to try and get the sizes consistent (rather than blocking the blanket at the end). Blocking is, frankly, a pain in the hole. What I do is to get a thin-ish towel, spread it on the dining room table, then stretch each square out to the size it ought to be and pin it to the towel. I then get my iron, set it to its hottest setting and most powerful steam then hold the iron as close to the square as I can without actually touching it and basically then steam the fuck out of it. Make sure each square is steamed thoroughly, getting hot and damp, then leave to dry.
When the pins are removed, the squares stay the size you've stretched them to.
I then followed the pattern and joined the squares together, stitching them to each other with a big darning needle. I then went around the whole of the outside in treble crochet - 2 rows, one sky blue and the outside one in black.
And here's the final version, taken from the stairs:
Sylvester Bean had to join in this bottom one, and helps to provide a scale. It's not as big as the large blanket I made last year but is a good single-bed size.
Here it is on our normal, standard sized double bed:
As you can see, it doesn't hang over each side, or over the foot end. So, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure where I'm going to put it yet, but it was - and I think you'll agree - such a desirable thing that I had to have one in my life.
It was, in all honesty, a really, really easy thing to make. Crocheting is not difficult and granny squares are unbelievably simple things to do - you're basically only using one stitch, treble crochet - and you end up with something as gorgeous as this. Go on, have a go.
But, of course, now I have nothing to do. Actually, that's not strictly true, I've been working on a twirly scarf but keep running out of the specialist wool I'm using, so that's a very start-stop kinda project.
What I'm intending to do next, though, is teach myself to knit. I've tried a couple of times in the past and find it bizarrely cumbersome - I'm not used to handling two long sharp pointy sticks where you have to keep moving the stitches to the end of the needles in order to work with them. To me a crochet hook seems much more elegant and uses minimal movement to achieve something.
I feel learning to knit is going to be something of an uphill journey but I shall attempt to persevere as I've found a really cool sweater with a big skull on it that I'd love to make (for me, in case you were wondering!)
But I need to walk with these needles before I can run. I'll keep you posted.
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