Isn't a whole heap of colourful yarn a heart warming sight? I love it soooo much. It still sometimes amazes me that I have become this Yarn Person, when for so long my passion was fabric and thread. Even when I discovered crochet and had a need for yarn, I wasn't all that bothered about the actual yarn itself. I didn't care if it was soft or smooth or warm, natural or man-made, I only cared about the colour. Colour all the way. Actually, now I come to think about it, it was the same when I worked in fabric. When all my textile friends were doing remarkable layered textural things, I only wanted to use plain cotton cos of the huuuuuuge number of colours it came in.
The above dreamy pile of yarn is the remains of my Stylecraft Special DK stash (previously used for the Granny Stripe and the Sweet Flower Granny) with some of my friends oddments added in. Hence the few very dark colours which are not part of my usual colour palette.
I began to make and join some simple one-colour granny squares. It was all done on a bit of a whim as I was searching for a suitable hooky project to take on holiday with me. I was inspired by the patchwork blankets that Heather and Jacquie made earlier in the year, and these squares promised to be a relaxing, easy going kind of a way to produce a top-notch blanket.
Since starting my patchwork blanket, I found out that there are already many lovely hooky people all working on the same sort of thing, inspired by Sandra's really beautiful creation. My Ravelry group has a thread dedicated to a "Patchwork Granny CAL" where you can catch up with everyones progress, I think it's utterly wonderful that there are so many of us all working on similar blankets all over the World.
I'm working my squares in five rounds, and joining-as-I-go.
This joining method works incredibly well for this sort of project, especially if you tackle it in a methodical sort of a way. I'm working my blanket up in rows which are 12 squares wide, joining as I go from left to right.
It was an absolute dream to work on whilst I was on holiday, the perfect relaxation project. I would come downstairs in the early morning and sit on the sofa as the sun streamed in through the window, hooking myself into a state of pure bliss.
The rows grew (Driftwood Cottage garden bench, 30th August)....
....and grew (Driftwood Cottage carpeted floor, 1st September).
I want to share my method with you, in case it might be of help. As you can see with the above pictures, I plan my rows. I lay my blanket out and arrange my yarn balls for the next row. It helps me space out the colours/tones, especially the highly contrasting ones (eg the yellow and the couple of very dark ones). It helps the blanket to gain a certain colour balance.
This colour map enables me to select just 12 balls to put into my flowery zippered project bag (posted about here) so I am always already for hooky-on-the-go. It means I don't have to take a whole big bulky bag of yarn out with me, I can just grab my zippered pouch and run. It also means I don't have to faff about trying to select colours when I'm in a slightly tricky hooky spot (ie in the car)
With this dash and grab method, I also figured something else out. I figured out that I don't actually need to cart the growing blanket out and about with me if I don't want to. I can just take yarn and hook, and crochet up the first four rounds+one side of each square so that I stop exactly at the point where I need to slip-stitch-to-join. Do you get what I mean? The idea is that when I've got time at home, I can pick up where I left off and complete the 5th/joining round when I can easily sit with the blanket draped over me (ie not in sweltering heat beside the pool as the Little People swim).
By employing these methods, my blanket has grown surprisingly quickly as I've been hooking in all sorts of places and at all sorts of in-between times. At the swimming pool, on the heather clad hills, in the pub, in the car, at my friends kitchen table. It's become the perfect fitty-in thing to make, and that's one of the things I most adore about crochet. It just so neatly and perfectly Fits In with family life.
This is where I'm currently at, seven rows of twelve. I have to say I am completely smitten with the deep dark colours sitting amongst my usual mid-tones. They worried me for a bit, but now I've got used to their dark presence, I love the way they jolt the whole thing up and give it depth and movement. Oooo, I sound a little bit arty there, don't I? Depth and Movement indeed, get me!!! Maybe I should just say it's jolly and happy and patchworky and a tad quirky, which are more my kind of words. Yeah, well, you know what I mean.