Monday, June 18, 2012

Baby Blanket Marathon

So as I stated in an earlier post check it out here, I am a baby blanket making machine.  My family and co-workers are clearly fertile and I had four baby blankets to make in a very short time.  I posted the first one I made and you can see it by clicking the link above.  The blanket I am going to post now is one of my favorite blankets I have ever made.  That being said, it was kind of a pain in the ass.

I had this great idea to make a hybrid crochet/fabric quilt...  great idea, lots of work.   HOWEVER, it was awesome and dare I say, worth the effort.  I will give you the basics of how I did it.  I recommend trying it for someone you REALLY love!

Crochet Granny Quilt

What you need:
completed granny squares
matching yarn
fabric (I used 1.5 yards which was not quite enough, but that was all that they had so I made it work)
crochet thread in a coordinating color

What you do:
The first thing I did was make up a square in my desired granny pattern.  Using the dimensions from that square, I decided how big I wanted my blanket and determined how many crochet squares I would need as well as how may fabric squares I would need for the blanket.

Once I knew what I needed, I made all my granny squares.  This was the easy part.

Then, I made fabric squares the same dimension as the granny squares, adding 1" to the width and height to allow for a 1/2"seam allowance all the way around.  Be sure to cut two for each square that you need.  Layer two squares, right sides facing, and sew three sides together.  Clip the corers, turn and press.  Turn in the seam allowance on the fourth side to the inside of the square.  There is no need to stitch this edge, it will be closed in the assembly of the blanket.  Repeat with the remaining squares.

Now for the fun part.  Sewing together the squares.  In case you didn't catch it, that was sarcasm.  This is what sucked.  I did not feel that I could accurately sew them together with a machine, sooooooo, I stitched them together by hand using a thin crochet thread.  I did a basic running stitch, and used a coordinating color.  THIS WILL SHOW ON THE FINISHED PROJECT!  Take your time, it will be worth it.  I also made sure to stitch the corners of the fabric squares together where they meet for added stability.  I also did this with the crochet squares to prevent stretching.

Once the squares are all stitched together, it is time for the edging.  Since the fabric squares do not have holes to get the crochet hook into, you need to blanket stitch across their edges.  I made sure to count how many edge stitches I would get in each granny square and did an equal number of blanket stitches in each fabric square so it would be a smooth transition all the way around.  Use the same color yarn you will be using for the first row of edging when doing the blanket stitches.  I did three rows of border, each a different color, around the blanket.  At the corners, I duplicated the corners of my granny square pattern.

Weave in any loose yarn ends and holy cow you are done.  It is a labor intensive process, but for the right person, a labor of love.  Mine definitely went to a deserving and appreciative recipient.  That is all a girl can ask for.
***Like this blanket?  Check out my Crochet Backed Quilt or my Quilted Granny Square Blanket .

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Easiest Ever Baby Blanket

It appears I have extremely prolific friends and family and I have to crank out four baby blankets by the end of the month.  When I have this many to do at once, I turn to the classics.  This is one of my favorite patterns to use.  It is simple and fast as it is worked with two strands of yarn at once.  I have made a number of blankets like this and they all turn out fluffy and soft and beautiful.  I have made them with all types of yarn, in all color combinations.  This particular blanket is made with 4 skeins of Vanna's Choice and 2 skeins of Red Heart (the regular worsted kind).  My mother and I are both big blanket makers and when Vanna's Choice came out we LOVED it.  It was soft and smooth and easy to work with and the colors are great.  HOWEVER, we have found it is just not durable.  Isn't that the way it always goes?  So, for this blanket, I combined it with the sturdy, yet a little rougher Red Heart, in the hopes of creating a blanket that is soft, but can stand up to frequent washings (baby puke anyone?). 

This is a very common pattern.  I did not invent it.  I am not sure who did.  Every knitter knows it...  well that is a blanket statement and probably not true.  MANY knitters know it and use it on everything from dishcloths (awesome) to... duh, baby blankets.  I highly recommend it for a first project, it is that easy!  Happy Knitting!

Easiest Ever Baby Blanket

I used 2 skeins Red Heart worsted weight and 4 skeins Vanna's Choice
Size 13 circular needles
tapestry needle

** This blanket is knit holding two strands of yarn together as one**
Cast on 5 stitches
Row 1: knit
Row 2: knit 3, yo, knit to end of row
Repeat row 2 until desired size (The blanket is knit from corner to corner.  To check size, measure from starting corner, up one side to meet needles.  I like about 36", but you can go bigger or smaller, to suit your taste)
Decrease row:  knit 2, knit 2 tog, yo, knit 2 tog, knit to end of row
Repeat decrease row until 5 stitches remain.  Cast off and weave in ends.