It's a very traditional granny square crochet blanket, I love these because I can take a ball of wool and a hook with me to anywhere and just make another square or two when nothing else is happening, but I never have to carry around the full project until I'm assembling it right at the end. The border is one round of trebles and another of double crochet - as simple as anything!
So, I crocheted a blanket for my friend's baby (welcome, Benjamin!)
For once I (loosely) followed a pattern to make something, which is pretty unusual for me. Another unusual feature of this project is that it is actually for me, I mostly make things for other people, not sure why! The pattern is the "Beaded Cobweb Wrap" from Erika Knight's Essential Crochet, I have a few of her books and love them. This was a brilliant project, it was tiny to pack and with a 6mm hook it grew despite having rows as long as I am tall! Here's a couple of pictures of the finished product (thanks Kevin for photographing me):
And to show off the beads:
Its a basic ripple pattern, I have the 7 Day Afghans book and I reduced one of the patterns in there to baby-size with fewer repeats. It was a 6ml hook and the wool was taken entirely from my existing stash, basically it was a stripe or two of each of the DK weight wool I had lying around. So it's colourful, and it helped make space in my life for more wool, and it was very inexpensive (i.e. free!), so on the whole the perfect project. Here's the finished article:
And a close-up of those ripples:
I've made a round ripple before but never a straight one, although I kept looking at patterns for them. When I heard about Deb's pregnancy, I knew this was exactly the blanket I wanted to make! So, welcome Ethan, and good health to all the family.
Its the same design as before, using a "love knot" or "Solomon's knot" stitch to create an airy web of a wrap that can be worn either over the shoulders or bundled into a scarf as shown. I used a cotton tape yarn since she's just about to leave again to go and work in Portugal so woolly wouldn't be a good choice, this yarn used to be a cardigan I bought but it had daft sleeves so I unravelled them but never did anything better.
To cut a long story short, my boyfriend ordered me a surprise wool winder so I was off to a flying start - but I don't have a swift (and I don't plan on winding wool often enough to justify buying one as they aren't cheap). So I googled and found this home-made swift on instructables - and decided I could make my own. Our lazy susan (5 quid from Ikea) is wooden so I didn't really want to tape onto it, so instead I found a spare piece of MDF and clamped it to the lazy susan. With two coat hangers cable-clipped to the MDF, I was all set.
It actually worked really really well, I had the two remaining skeins wound into balls in no time at all and I can carry on with my project, which is growing, if slowly! Look, I think I'm half way there:
Actually Grandpa looks more impressed in this photo ... or maybe he was trying to hide until the blanket?
The pattern was rotationally symmetrical in terms of which pattern block went where, and the colours ran from purple in one corner to green diagonally opposite with pink and cream as accompaniments. I could have been braver with the colour placing, but, you live and learn. Here's a photo of the blanket (without its border, I couldn't photograph it with the border as there simply wasn't enough floor space once Christmas hit), and a little closeup:
The squares are all from the "200 Crochet Blocks" book - granny square, corner granny, shell lace and willow.
There are a number of things you can do with these little squares. They're a very traditional form of crochet (and a really good way of using up odds and ends), you can see the kind of thing I mean if you search for "granny square" on flickr. When I was first learning to crochet I made myself a coding blanket that I still love!
Crochet doesn't have to be square and it doesn't have to be traditional - I've seen everything from the subversive (crochet covers on parking meters) to the cute (amigurumi). I'm currently working on (currently in the sense that I've begun and I haven't finished yet, rather than it being truly ongoing) a set of hexagonal string coasters. The idea is that they will tesselate and form either a big placemat to put hot pots on or several smaller cup-sized coasters. They're not radical, but they're not really your traditional granny square either!
I'm sure there are many more uses of crochet in general and granny squares in particular - answers in the comments please :)
If you get this far - definitely let me know :)
I've got this laceweight mohair from http://www.thenaturaldyestudio.com/ and its absolutely gorgeous. The pattern calls for Rohan Kidsilk Haze, which I know is lovely but it really is quite pricey.
One of the skeins (I have three!) was wound into a ball by friends when I took it to the knitting group, its 400 yards per skein so I can't imagine I'm going to manage to crochet all that while I'm away.
The pattern is "Beaded Cobweb Wrap" from Erica Knight's Essential Crochet, uses a 6mm hook so the pattern is more space than yarn anyway, and it looks quite easy once you've done the cast on - its crocheted longways, so there's a mad long chain that you have to hook into to start with, something I always struggle with. I've been assured it'll look like chewed string until I block it and that I should just carry on regardless - I'll let you know how I get on :)