A heartfelt blanket :-)

bleeding heart

Bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis)

Hi there! How are you? I hope you are safe and well, and able to do things that bring you joy. Today’s post isn’t about gardening, but about my second hobby: crocheting! I really enjoy having projects to focus on. As it turns out, at the start of our ‘stay at home’ orders due to Covid-19 here in Ireland, I was asked to make a blanket for a sweet little girl who liked pink and purple. This was a perfect distraction for me, and a project which I really enjoyed!

c2c first corner

The c2c blanket is made ‘corner to corner’

I like crocheting and creating with my hands. I have to say that I like a bit of a challenge, too, and to learn new stitches or patterns. So I went searching for something new to catch my eye for this blanket. I was very lucky to come across a lovely heart blanket from Motorave_slc on Instagram (she’s also on Etsy: Motorave_slc). I sent Jessica a message on Instagram and she kindly sent me the diagram of the blanket, which is the basis for the pattern. This was a lovely act of kindness on Jessica’s part, which I’m so thankful for!

back c2c half way through

the back of the c2c half way through

This blanket pattern is called ‘corner to corner’ (written c2c). Unlike traditional blankets which are made row by row from bottom to top, this blanket is made from bottom right corner to top left corner. The main stitch used throughout is a double crochet (American terminology) done in groups of 3, along with chain stitches – all very easy. Once you get the hang of the pattern, it is fun to make! The interesting part was having all of the colors attached to the blanket as you create it, which at some points in the blanket was tricky to work around!

c2c single upsidedown blackberry heart

The pattern had two upside down hearts

I started off watching a video tutorial by The Crochet Crowd. Over the course of nearly an hour, they covered every aspect of making a c2c blanket as well as creating and reading a c2c pattern. After all of that I was finally ready to begin!

c2c close up side

A view of the side hearts and the border

As usual, I used my favorite yarn which is Caron Simply Soft, in soft pink, orchid, lavender, blackberry and fuchsia. I just love the colors and I thought they all went so well with the soft pink background. The size ended up being 44 inches x 35 inches – not too big and not too small. It just goes to show that it is always worth having lots of stock of different colors in the house, because you never know when you’ll be in lock-down and unable to buy more yarn! 😉

c2c close up side

A view of the side hearts and the border

c2c border start

The border changes with every additional color added

Once I finished the main blanket, I then had to pick a border. I decided on a stitch that is very similar to the border I used on my last blanket (my poppy blanket). I just like that style: a simple single crochet stitch with a spike stitch. 

c2c side hearts

I thought the hearts were just perfect!

I will admit to being one of the slowest crocheters ever! I just don’t go fast. And if I’m crocheting, I’m crocheting, and I’m not multi-tasking. That’s just how I do it. So this blanket took me a month to complete. I really enjoyed watching how it came together with each heart. The center part with the name was tricky. That’s all I’ll say about that!

c2c corner border

a closeup of the corner border

c2c full flat view

A full view of the blanket

I was very happy with the finished blanket! I will definitely use the corner to corner pattern again. I’m not sure what my next project is…but I have a few ideas!

Take care and stay safe!

In Peace,
Dana

c2c full blanket

My daughter holding up the blanket for me to photograph

 

Being creative is good for the soul

Blue Blanket in the beginning Jan 2019

Starting with a simple ‘Robin’s egg blue’ base for the blanket

Creating with my hands is one of my favorite things to do. Whether it be crocheting, making wreaths, or whatever, I enjoy crafts that finish with a lovely ‘something’.

Blue blanket no flowers up close

A close up of the waistcoat stitch (doesn’t look like crochet to me)

Crocheting is so much more than just granny squares (although there’s nothing wrong with a good granny square!). I made a number of items over the past few years as gifts and I felt the time was right to make something for myself.

Blue blanket no flowers border up close

close up of the border (variation of the spike stitch)

We’d completely ‘done up’ our family room last year: pulled up the rug, installed an electric fireplace, bought a new couch, curtains, and light fixture, and painted the room. It was a long time in the making and last year everything finally came together. We all love it, especially the couch. It is like getting into a big family bed. 🙂

Blue blanket with Emer

The main blanket finished but not yet embellished with poppies, held by my lovely daughter. There are orange California poppies in the background of the picture, along with red poppies which are not as easily seen here.

We went a bit bold with the paint in the family room – it is Adonis blue. Happy to say that we really like it. And we went bold again in pairing it with red curtains. So I wanted a blanket that would bring those colors together. Not only that, I wanted to embellish it with poppies, to tie in with the curtains. That was January 2019.

poppy petal in progress

It was a painstaking process figuring out the poppy pattern!

Poppy center up close

The pistil (in black) and stamen (in bone) give extra texture to the flower.

Some things just take time, and deciding which pattern to use for the main blanket was no exception. I finally decided on a pattern that doesn’t really look like crochet. It is called the waistcoat stitch. I used a tutorial from Crafternoon Treats.

Poppy flower up close

The completed poppy flower looks different depending on whether the petals are laid flat or scrunched up (my preference).

The border is where I worked in the colors of the curtains, using a variation of the spike stitch. I used Caron Simply Soft yarn, in harvest red, bone, black, off white for the border and the main blanket is in Robin’s egg blue. It is a ‘throw’ size, and if you sit nice and close to each other, it will cover two people for watching tv. (4′ x 5.5′)

Blue blanket on couch with some flowers

Playing around with the flowers to figure out where to place them.

I ran out of the blue about half way through, but I had a trip to the States coming up, so I restocked (phew!). I finally finished the main blanket in June.

Blue Blanket with poppies shaded + sun

Completed blanket with poppies (winter sunlight distorts the coloring).

Finding a pattern that I liked for the poppies was a whole other challenge! Finally, I found one that had the stamen and pistil, with the bonus of texture for the pistil, and four individual petals. I really like it. I found it on crochet-ideas.com. The video is in Italian, but with subtitles, so although tricky, it was manageable.

Family room full view Nov 17 (1)

Our family room transformed!

It took some time figuring out how I wanted the poppies to look on the blanket. They couldn’t be symmetrical – anyone who’s grown poppies will know that they grow all over the place, and never where you plan them! I also didn’t want to cover the blanket in them, as I quite like the blue and wanted to be able to see it. So they are in a bit of a cascade from one corner to the opposite corner.  Voilà!

Blue Blanket with poppies + Dana in Family room

Me with my blanket 🙂

I am absolutely delighted with it, and thankfully the family like it too. I’m glad I took my time with it to find the right patterns. And I think it fits in perfectly in our family room.

Good things come to those who wait…

In Peace,
Dana

So many butterflies … of the crochet variety!

crochet butterfly blanket (with our apple tree and cherry tree in the background)

This sounds a bit of a cliché, but creating a special, unique and personal gift is something that I love to do. There is a young special person in our lives, and I wanted to make her a gift which she would know was made just for her. Although the “perfect” idea did not come to me easily, and I did a lot of searching on-line, I think in the end that I found exactly what I was looking for.  🙂

This is my crochet “butterfly blanket”!  The butterflies are crocheted and are part of the blanket (not appliqué).  But I discovered that although the butterflies were so cute when I made them, the wings were curling up and then they just looked like bunches of yarn.  Perhaps if I blocked them they would stay in place, but instead of doing that, I decided they would look nice embellished with sequins and beads.

the details

Yes, sequins and beads … on every. single. butterfly.  … and there are fifty-five butterflies! I have to admit though, that I really enjoyed this part. I mixed and matched colors and somehow it all came together in a fun way.

more details

As for the colors, lavender, light pink and light blue are the favorite colors of our special little person.  Those colors were the main focus of the blanket, with yellow and raspberry thrown in to add that splash of color. I used my favorite yarn, which is Caron simply soft. They have an amazing range of colors!

my daughter was kind enough to model the full view of the blanket for me

I have to admit that although I used a pattern to create the butterflies, there is no “overall” pattern. (You can see the free on-line MyPicot butterfly pattern here.)  If I were to make this one again, I would definitely do more “before we start” planning. The complete randomness of the butterflies is O.K. by me, but for my daughter who is mathematically minded, it is very unsettling!

a relaxed look

Borders of blankets can be tricky.  I played around with this aspect of the blanket, too. I used the “bangles” pattern from Nicky Epstein’s “Crocheting on the edge” book.  The blanket took on completely different looks with each round of color that I added! But when I completed the blue round, I felt it looked complete.  Phew!  I finished it the day before our special someone’s First Holy Communion!

our little special someone is all smiles with her special blanket!

Thankfully, she smiled when she opened her gift.  (double phew!!)

That’s three blankets in over eight months (I’m a slow crocheter), so now it is time for me to take a tiny break – at least from making blankets!

You will now find me in the garden on a more regular basis 🙂

In peace,
Dana

Creative Challenge Baby Blanket

When it comes to knitting, sewing, and crocheting, my husband’s family are super talented.  We benefitted from that when our babies were born all those years ago, as we didn’t just receive beautiful blankets, but lovely sweaters, too.

Both my husband and son’s aran jumpers were hand made by my husband’s Aunt (October 2004 Manlius, New York)

I did very little crocheting during those years. Funny, I don’t really remember having any free time when the kids were young??? 🙂 But over the past few years I’ve managed to pick up my crochet needle again. The thing is, like everything in life, you can’t just do the same thing over and over again.  You have to either do things differently, or add a challenge lest boredom sets in!

Check the measurements on the packaging to save yourself the time and stress of measuring out (what should be) perfect squares 😉

This baby blanket project was for a very special baby.  Words can’t even describe how welcomed and loved this baby was, even before meeting any of the family!  So I wanted to try something new to make this gift extra-special.  I decided on making a quilt on one side of the blanket while keeping my traditional crochet on the other side.  The main item I wanted for this blanket, though, was the smooth binding that my kids loved to rub along their faces! “How hard could it be to incorporate those three things?” thought she to herself, quite innocently…

a view of the quilted side of the blanket sitting on what was actually my own rocking chair as a child

Well, I have to say that I learned a lot of new things with this project. I won’t give you all of the details, but the first thing was that you need to check the sizing of material when you buy it in cute little packages!  The quilting material was huge and I had to cut it into small squares.  🙂

the material is lovely and soft (albeit rather funny prints!)

I also learned to make sure that I have enough material on *both sides* of the blanket when joining.  On my first attempt to sew the crochet side to the quilt side I wasn’t able to keep them aligned.  I can tell you that only for my husband’s patience and his help taking the binding off, the project just might have been completely changed! {Thank you husband!}

the back of the crochet squares looked kinda neat

This is the part that strains my fingers the most: joining all of the squares together!

After the mess of needing to take the binding off, I needed a new plan.  So I added more squares to the quilt and adjusted the size of the crochet blanket.  Attaching just the binding to the quilt with the sewing machine was so much easier now! Then I hand sewed the crochet portion onto the blanket.  I have to say that I really enjoyed the hand sewing, which I would not have guessed beforehand.

sewing the binding on to the quilted side of the blanket

hand sewing the crochet side onto the quilted side

One day I’d like to improve my sewing skills.  For now though, it’ll just be baby steps with projects like this one.

I can’t miss an opportunity to take a picture of a baby blanket on our family antique potty-chair

As for the teeny tiny little granny squares, I thought they were so cute to make!  The colors are really fun and cheerful.   I used Mango, Sunshine, Robins Egg, Limelight, Soft Pink, and Off-White. The Caron Simply Soft yarn is one of my favorites to work with as it really is so soft and is a really nice weight.

I usually stock up on Caron Simply Soft yarn when I go home to the States 🙂

I love having things from my childhood, like this rocking chair

I really enjoyed making this blanket and trying something new.  There were a few things about it along the way that I just wasn’t sure about, but thankfully as time went on it all worked out and I love it!  And I think our sweet little one likes it too.

A happy little girl!

Here’s to a new year and new challenges!

In peace,
Dana