Finishing the Two-Year Baby Blanket

Two years ago I started knitting a blanket for my niece. I fell in love with the Vivid blanket by Tin Can Knits, knit 9 of 20 squares, then got bored and wandered off to sew something instead. The thing about baby blankets is that if you wait too long they’re not baby blankets anymore. They’re just really small.

Earlier this year I decided I was going to finally learn to crochet properly. I watched a few classes on CreativeBug and learned a lot. One of the classes was on the classic granny square, and my passionate and unreasonable love for this simple square was rekindled. I say passionate and unreasonable because at an earlier time in my life when I disliked all crochet, I somehow still thought the classic granny was beautiful and interesting. Granny squares are my bridge into the world of crochet.

After completing a test square I didn’t want to stop, but I also didn’t want to start a whole new project, so I hatched a plan to knit half the squares for the blanket and crochet the other half. The knitted squares resemble flowers to my eyes, and I wanted the crochet squares to echo the floral design. Where the knitted design uses texture (lace) to create a flower, I needed to use colour the make flowers on the crochet squares. Each granny square consists of 8 rounds: the center in one colour, the following 5 rounds in another to make the petals of the flower, and 2 rounds of border in a third colour.

It only took me a few weeks to crochet my 10 squares. Then I knit the last square, and the quilt was ready for assembly!

Before sewing everything together I had to decide on a layout. This may have been the toughest part of the blanket, but I finally settled on a design I was happy with.

Once I had decided on a layout I sewed the squares together in strips, then sewed the strips together to form the blanket, using whip stitches throughout. The knit and crochet squares had very nearly the same number of stitches per side even though the granny squares appeared smaller. I clipped each pair of squares together in the middle and at the end, and sewed one stitch to one stitch as much as possible, skipping a stitch here and there as needed.

With the blanket in one piece I had to decide on a border. I swatched a few knit and crochet borders as you can see above. I was specifically looking for a chevron shape to echo the knitted lace. I decided on the crochet lace on the left. I liked it best, and I’m in a crochet mood right now, so it’s more likely to get done than knittted lace is at the moment.

I worked a round of single crochet around the blanket in preparation for the fancy border.

Then I worked the border in white. The border is worked in two steps: crochet shells, then single crochet over top of the shells to make them pointy rather than rounded. I used the border instructions from this blog post by Crochet 365, Knit too.

I love how the border and the blanket as a whole turned out! It took me much longer than I wanted, but the recipient is two, so she won’t know the difference.

2020 – a Year of Making

2020 is finally out the door and 2021 has arrived. What an odd year it has been! Last December I came home from a vacation with a sewing machine. Thus, 2020 has been a year of sewing, and I haven’t done as much knitting or spinning as I have in the past. Here are my makes:

January:

February:

  • We continued to settle into the house, and I started a mini raised-bed garden.
  • I wrote an article for Ply Magazine that came out in their Basics issue in the fall!
  • I knit a washcloth for a friend.

March:

  • I mended my slippers.
  • I made a chemisette for a Regency outfit I’ve been quietly working on in the background. 

April:

May:

  • I mocked up the bodice of my Regency dress pattern. 
  • I made a colourful pinafore
  • I bought a rose bush and planted more seeds in the garden. 
  • I finished weaving a handspun/mohair lace scarf

June:

  • I started brewing Kombucha and Kefir.
  • I finished spinning the wool samples from the spinning class I took in the Fall of 2018.
  • My husband made me a yarn display for my wall. 
  • We went on a massive hike.
  • I made a T-shirt

July:

August:

  • I made a second pair of shorts
  • I finished a sparkly tunic I had started several years ago, but stalled out on due to fitting issues. 
  • I made an 18th century-inspired petticoat skirt.
  • My article was published in Ply Magazine!!

September:

October:

  • I made a corset-style bodice and paired it with my petticoat skirt for a Hobbity Halloween look. 
  • We got a puppy!!

November:

  • We spent a lot of time playing with and training our puppy. He is adorable and is growing like a weed!
  • I baked Pumpkin Sourdough Bread in the shape of a pumpkin. 
  • I moved my garden indoors.
  • I knit a tasseled shawl!

December:

Throughout the year I have enjoyed making things, especially clothes. I always seem to think that a garment will come together in just a few hours, and I am rarely right. I need to work on factoring in a realistic amount of time when planning a project and not beat myself up when it takes longer than I initially thought it would. There is nothing like getting dressed in clothes you have made yourself. It’s like a sort of armor against the world. I am looking forward to continuing my garment-sewing journey in 2021 and (spoiler) I’m considering quilting. Because I don’t have enough hobbies yet.

Trying New Things

My mom and my Nana are both expert Crocheters. One summer when I was maybe 10 my mom made this incredible afghan with textured roses on a tan and white background. She taught me the basics of crochet, but for some reason I wasn’t very interested. I preferred sewing/embroidery, reading, and playing outside with my brothers.

Now that I am an adult I have a renewed interest in learning ALL THE HANDCRAFTS, so I’m dabbling in crochet again. Through my public library I have access to CreativeBug, and I’m working my way through a Crochet Stitch Sampler class with Twinkie Chan. So far I’ve practiced single crochet, half-double, double, and treble stitches (US terminology). Increasing and decreasing seem straightforward (though I haven’t practiced them yet) and I am excited to learn the proper way to work in the round (I’m pretty sure I messed that up last time I tried it).

Learning new crochet stitches has reminded me how much I love the simple Granny stitch. I’ve been browsing crochet patterns on Ravelry (as one does) and found a simple chevron Granny stitch cowl pattern. After a bit of dithering on what yarn to use, I settled on an autumnal handspun skein I finished around this time last year. There is nothing like a beautiful handspun yarn to elevate a simple project.

I seem to be incapable of simply following a pattern: Instead of using the suggested yarn and hook, I used a much smaller yarn (DK vs. Bulky) and thus, a different hook than called for. I worked the pattern for a few rows before deciding the fabric was a little more stiff than I wanted it to be. So I ripped it out and started again with a bigger hook and slightly smaller stitch count.

I very much like the fabric I am getting with the larger hook, so I’m hoping it will be smooth sailing from here.

New Pattern Alert: The Cady Cowl

It always seems like the first half of the year drags by and the last half goes too quickly. I’m not sure why, but the sheer number of events/holidays at the end of the year may have something to do with it. I’ve been sitting on a secret for almost half a year now, and I am so excited to finally let the cat out of the bag!

cady cowl
Photo by I Like Crochet

This, my dears, is the Cady Cowl, which has just been published in the December issue of I Like Crochet Magazine. The Cady Cowl is written for just about any yarn/hook and is also written in multiple sizes. So no matter what yarn you have on hand or who you are hooking for, you’re covered.

Multiple Gauges
Pink – Bulky, Green – Worsted, Grey – Fingering

Crochet is outside my normal comfort zone, since I am primarily a knitter, and bubblegum pink is way outside my comfort zone, as my mom will tell you. But somehow I really, really love this cowl. I can’t wait to pair it with my royal blue coat to keep stylishly warm this winter.

I highly recommend taking a look through all the patterns in the December issue – if you’re especially interested, I Like Crochet is giving away yarn to make several of the patterns!

Me Made May: Year 2

I participated in Me Made May again this year. My making has slowed down considerably in the last 6 months, so my goal was the same as last year: wear 1 handmade garment or accessory every day. It’s interesting to see how many garments were the same as last year, but also how many were different.

Garments:

Of course I wore my grey Alabama Chanin dress. This dress has become one of my go-tos: I feel good in it and I always get compliments. I also get a lot of wear out of my orange tunic-dress. It’s super comfortable and easy to wear for a lazy day at home.

I have 4 handmade sleeveless tops now: 2 self-drafted, and 2 Wiksten Tanks.

I don’t wear vests a lot, but when I do, they need huge awesome collars. Some handmade lace for a back cutout doesn’t hurt, either.

It’s debatable whether socks are garments or accessories, but I figure since they enclose a part of your body and have to fit, they should be included as garments. I wore my Slytherin socks and my Watermelon socks throughout the month.

Having handmade undergarments has been a real boon for those days when everything else was dirty or didn’t seem to go well together.

sew1

Accessories:

My office is really cold. As in, ‘wear socks and shoes (not sandals) and a shawl and a sweater and fingerless gloves’ cold. So I wore shawls a fair amount this month. My Granny shawl drapes perfectly and stays on effortlessly, and I also wore my wedding shawl and my most recent pattern release, the Balai Shawl (free pattern here).

Some days I didn’t feel like going all out, so I accessorized with my Kumihimo necklace or a ribbon rose hair clip. Simple, but effective.

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New:

I’ve been working on several projects this month, but most of them aren’t finished yet (oh the life of a crafter). I did manage to finally finish my wool crepe vest, and I love how it turned out! It’s big and comfortable and the fabric is oh so lovely.

New Free Pattern: The Balai Shawl

I am excited to tell you that I’ve just published a new pattern! And this time, just to change it up a little, it’s a crochet pattern!

broomstick lace shawl

Meet the Balai shawl, published in Knotions Magazine. This shawl is worked in Broomstick lace, which I learned from my husband’s grandmother. Now I am not a super-experienced crocheter, but that just means that the pattern is simple enough that anyone can do it. All it takes is a little practice. The shawl is worked by increasing every other row, so you can make it as big as you like. And, the pattern is written to work with virtually any yarn and hook (bulky, super bulky, and jumbo weight yarns are not suggested as they may not drape well). So what are you waiting for? Grab a hook, some yarn, and a dowel (Broomstick Lace requires a dowel or stick to hold your stitches open across the row…kind of like a giant knitting needle), and get started!

broomstick lace

For more information on Broomstick Lace and a free bracelet pattern, read this post.