Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Blog posts are like buses...

These blog posts are like buses... 

I thought I'd add a bit of a progress report on my stitch sampler blanket. 

I left you with this image last week. I had just started work on this blanket, and really enjoying myself. I love being able to try out new things!

Lots of friends have asked me to share the pattern, and well, there isn't one really. It's a bit of a pot luck project, but I have been keeping note of what I've done, so here goes...

I'm using Stylecraft Special DK yarn throughout - it is a nice soft acrylic yarn that washes well and doesn't split when you are working with it. Although I love working with natural fibres, let's be realistic hey? A blanket this sort of size in merino or similar would cost about £250! And with my laundry skills it would be a dolls blanket very soon.

I'm trying to limit my palette - I love rainbow colours, but there's a time and a place for them. This one will still be bright and cheerful, but I am going to keep it simple. There's no rules saying I can't add in some more colours later on - it's a no-rules-blanket after all :)

These lovely flowers in my (current) favourite jug are my palette. I haven't found a nice green as yet. I've got one called 'Spring' that I've used a bit of - it's a minty green, but the bright green is flourescent, the green green is, well, a bit GREEN, and meadow just deadens it all, so let's pretend there's not really so many green bits hey? But the blue, cream and pink are definitely in.

So, that's the colours. Now, the stitches. I've got a bunch of source books that I'm using to find lovely new stitches.If you feel like treating yourself, I recommend two of them especially.

Both of these books have brilliant photography, clear written instructions, and line drawing patterns that are easy to follow. The Jan Eaton book uses UK terminology, the Erika Knight  one is American, so I need to keep my thinking hat on!

So, the pattern... I will use UK terms throughout. I will tell you what Stylecraft Special DK shade I used too - you can use whatever colour or yarn you like though. I use a 4mm hook throughout.

My blanket is 175cm wide.

Foundation chain 300. 

Use stitch markers to help you keep count of your foundation chain, and leave them in place - they are like milestones along you rows that keep you going when you're on your 5th row of a plain stitch! They also help when you are doing a pattern that is multiples of, say, five stitches - you now your pattern should reach a stitch marker placed at stitch 50.

The blanket starts off with 5 rows of half treble in Aster (blue), Pomegranate (dark pink), Spring (mint green), Sherbet (pale turquoise) and Aspen (light turquoise).

2 rows of angled clusters (Jan Eaton. p39) in pomegranate.

1 row to straighten up in fondant (baby pink). (I made this up: *HTR in CH space, TR, HTR, DC, DC in CH space*, repeat from * to *)

1 row htr, fondant.

1 row tr, lipstick (red).

1 row htr, aspen.

3 rows puff stitch, cloud (light blue). 
(Jan Eaton, p47) 

This stitch has a preparatory row of DC, CH1. Then a row of puffs, then another row of DC, CH1 to straighten up and get the right number of stitches. 

I found that to get the puffs looking nice, it was best to do the puff stitches really loosely. 

1 row tr aspen.

1 row dc cream.

1 row htr lipstick.

1 row bobbles - lipstick ground and cream bobbles. (Jan Eaton, p43)
This row is worked on the reverse of the blanket - I didn't get this the first time! the bobbles are worked and then pop out on the right side of your work. You carry forward the contrast colour (I used cream) by crocheting htrs over the top of the yarn being carried forward. I did a bobble every 5 stitches. This row took forever, but it looks really special.

1 row htr lipstick.

1 row dc cream.

1 row tr spring.

1 row htr clematis.

2 rows star stitch (I forgot to write down the colour! I will try and find it out and get back to you. It's the pale lilac colour that comes in a Stylecraft selection pack). 

This stitch is from an old book called The Complete Encylopeadia of Stitchery, by Mildred Graves Ryan (what a fabulous name!). I got this second hand on Amazon. 

I am not very happy with the way this stitch came out. I worked the stars loosely because they were shrinking the fabric, but I think I should just have gone with the shrinkage and allowed it to get sorted with blocking. 

Oh well, this blanket should have a by line of "we live and learn").

1 row htr clematis. (work 4 htr per chain space)

1 row tr spring.

2 rows htr aspen.

1 row spike stitch sherbet . This is *htr, htr, spike* - one htr stitch that is worked into the stitch one row below instead of the next stitch. Repeat from * to *

1 row htr sherbet.

1 row dc pomegranate.

1 row *dc, ch* (repeat from * to *) fondant.

1 row of popcorns lipstick. 

Popcorns worked in the ch space created by previous row, with 4 yo repeats to make a popcorn. 

Again, work these loosely to get the most pop for your corn.

1 row spike stitch between the popcorns, 1 dc into popcorn, fondant.

1 row dc pomegranate.

1 row dc aster.

1 row htr aster.

3 rows granny stripe, cloud, lilac, cloud.

Clusters of 3 trs, every third stitch. 

No chains between clusters.

2 rows htr aster.

5 rows htr: aster, pomegranate, spring, sherbet, aspen.

Goodness, this post is LONG!

1 row tr pomegranate.

4 rows wave and chevron (Erika Knight, p107). 1st row aspen, second and third, fondant, fourth aspen.

1 row tr pomegranate.

6 rows wheatsheaf, sherbet. (Erika Knight, p114)

I saw this stitch used in a cushion, all this stitch in cream. It looks fantastic. And it's an easy stitch too. I love it.  

It's my favourite (said in a Bruce Forsyth voice - Brits will get that I hope!)

Straighten up with 3 dc in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stitch of each wheatsheaf fan, 2ch over the space. I used turquoise.

4 rows htr: turquoise, fondant, lavender (new colour! this is a blue toned light purple - previously I used a red toned one. I'm happier with this one), cloud.

OK, now I'm having fun. I want to do all the stitches, it's hard to choose just one. I've chosen Catherine Wheels.

The colours aren't showing too well on the picture, but I've chosen a two tone set of wheels in pomegranate and lipstick.

7 rows catherine wheel stitch (Erika Knight, p177)

1 row lipstick
2 rows pomegranate
2 rows lipstick
1 row pomegranate

3 rows htr: aspen, spring, sherbet

4 rows fan and v stitch, lavender.

(Erika Knight, p134)

This stitch was inspired by another cushion I saw on the internet. It's a really lovely stitch that creates a dense fabric that is also open. It would be lovely as a pale cushion cover over a dark fabric lining. (add that one to the eternal list of "crochet patterns to do")

3 rows htr: sherbet, spring, aspen.

It's just been easter, so when I saw there was a stitch called hot cross bun stitch, it would have been rude not to try. This stitch got me befuddled with the instructions. I found a demo on you tube that helped through.

4 rows hot cross bun stitch. 

(Erika Knight, p149)

I worked the upper part of the cross in the gap, rather than through the crossover stitch. If you work into the stitch you cross ends up having a cross bar. 

3 rows htr: lipstick, pomegranate, fondant

Last stitch so far is a spike cluster stitch. It starts with 4 rows dc (aster). Then the next row has little spike clusters that look like flowers creeping down into those (boring) rows of aster blue. I'm doing these rows in cloud. So far I've only done three spike clusters - they need a lot of concentration, but will be followed with three rows of dc, so you get a rest afterwards.

So, that's it so far. It's growing slowly. But this is so enjoyable - I'm surprised. I find that the blanket changes character as I work in different colours, different stitches - some open, some densely packed, some that make your head explode with concentration. If you want to make one too, have a look at the little woolie blog for hers. It's a thing of beauty, and brilliantly inspiring. And this project allows me to indulge in my favourite pass times - buying books and buying yarn and crochet. Enjoy xx


  1. Your work is lovely Rachel :)

  2. Think it's beautifull, really nice colors and layout.
    Bravo !!

  3. Rachel me gustó mucho tu blog y tus trabajos!

  4. Thank you Shelzahav and Teresita xx