During the past few weeks this glorious bag of yarn as been delivering me a huge amount of daily pleasure. The deep familiarity of these seventeen colours that are so very "me" has felt both comforting and inspiring, and I can honestly say more than ever that a good dose of colour therapy really does absolute wonders for mind, heart and soul. This bag of yarn is making me so so happy!
I hatched this blanket plan back at the start of May - at this time of year I get a strong urge to make outdoor picnic blankets as opposed to indoor bed sized blankets. So far I've made two of these which we use a lot during the summer months, they come with us in the car whenever we go to idle about at riversides, hilltops or beaches. Do you know the ones I mean? There was the Granny Patchwork blanket which I made in 2013, then the Colourwash blanket which I made last year. These two blankets were both stash-busting projects and ended up being roughly 140cm / 4.5ft square.
This year, I felt the strong pull back to my original collection of 17 colours which you can see above.
Top row, from left to right ::
♥ Aster ♥ Turquoise ♥ Cloud Blue ♥ Sherbet ♥ Spring Green ♥ Aspen ♥ Meadow ♥ Saffron ♥
Bottom row, from left to right ::
♥ Plum ♥ Magenta ♥ Lavender ♥ Wisteria ♥ Clematis ♥ Fondant ♥ Shrimp ♥ Pomegranate ♥ Lipstick ♥
I also had in mind that I'd like to try making my Harmony Granny Squares in these bright colours - I've been thinking about doing a second version of the Harmony Blanket for quite a while, and this seemed like a good time to give it a go. I am all about comfort and familiarity at the moment :)
I absolutely love love LOVE setting out on a new blanket journey, the thrill of it hasn't in any way diminished over the ten years I've been hooking up blankets. It gives me such a buzz, a real infusion of pure happiness where everything feels right with my world.
Over the coming weeks, I'm going to try and document my progress with this blanket in as much detail as I can, so that any of you who might feel like joining me can jump in and give it a go. This would be a brilliant stash-busting blanket to use up odds and ends of yarn left over from other makes. As you probably know, there is already a full tutorial for the Harmony Granny Square on my blog. These squares are crocheted in six rounds, with the final/sixth round becoming the join-as-you-go bit of the making process. Now if I was making this blanket with odds and ends of stash yarn, I would simply dive in and make each square completely at random, picking out colours on the hoof and hoping for the best. However, in this case I have my seventeen balls of yarn and I've decided that the best thing to do is approach it in a little bit more of a methodical way. So instead of making each square in full, I'm making them all round by round. Let me explain......
There will by One Hundred squares in total (arranged in a 10 x 10 square format).
Each square will use a different colour for each round (so six colours per square), and no two squares will be the same.
So unlike the Harmony Blanket which used one single colour for the sixth/joining round, these squares will be ALL-the-colours in the joining round (sooooo excited about that!)
With seventeen colours, this means working in groups of 6 (17 x 6 = 102, so I'm just going to make up 102 squares and abandon two of them in the last joining round as I only need 100).
I hope all that makes sense, and you get what I'm trying to do!!! If you look at the picture above ↟↟ , that's how this blanket started out - 102 little granny squares (6 of each colour) which form the first round of each Harmony Square. It felt really great to get that first fiddlesome round out of the way!
After the first round is complete, the fun really begins - time to choose the right colours to make up the next round (picture me hopping about in my back yard doing this in the hot sun!) In theory it's a simple method, but it does take a little bit of skill to keep the colours balanced out (hot/cold, light/dark) and to be able to visualise how the colours will work together. The above picture shows you exactly how I did it - I laid out the seventeen balls of yarn, then one by one placed the little squares on top of the yarn ball which will form round two. No two squares of the same colour should be put on any one ball, keep them all different. It's quite a challenge, but a really excellent way to learn about colour combining, if you fancy giving it a go yourself.
Its quite an instinctive way to work, and I don't have any real rules that I apply to this process. Some colours just feel right together and some colours just feel wrong together. Some colours give something of a zing when they come together, some colours sing in harmony when they are together. It's just about what makes me feel happy I guess. For example, I really dislike yellow and purple together so try to avoid that combo, but I really LOVE putting blues with reds or pinks for a it of a colour pop!
I have actually written out all the info for this first part if you wish to follow my choices exactly. Click on the following link and you should land on a PDF file which contains a colour info table for rounds one and two (I really hope this works - let me know??!)
Once you've decided which 6 little squares go with each ball, the next thing to do is gather them up and make sure you keep a note of what decisions you've made! I decided on this method - take a length of yarn from the ball approx. 30 cm and fold it in half. Thread the looped end through the corner spaces of each square.....
....then pass the ends of the yarn through the loop and pull tight.
This way, your six little squares are all gathered together and you know exactly which colour to use for the second round of crochet.
The advantage of doing this (other than to avoid making colour mistakes), is that it makes this project extremely portable. If you are going out and about with your crochet, all you need to do is pick up a couple of "bundles" and make sure you have the right balls of yarn to go with them. No need to lug all 17 big balls out and about, just take a few at a time and get ready for some easy, therapeutic hooky.
Working on all 102 squares at a time means that you quickly become familiar with the pattern too, and those rounds really start to fly off the hook. I find it very addictive working in this way ("just one more set, then I must go and cook dinner......"), pleasurable too.
Before you know it, you will be stashing and stacking those two-round squares feeling mighty happy with your progress. It's hooky heaven!
One thing I do need to mention is about the ends........now don't start groaning and rolling your eyes, honestly, it's really not that bad! With a project like this (six hundred colour changes, people), it's vital that you dig deep and find some end-darning discipline. Keep your needle with your scissors and get used to darning in the ends as soon as you snip off the yarn.
Crochet, snip and darn.
Don't even question it, just try it and you will be surprised how quickly it becomes a habit - trust me, it's the only way to go.
In my next update, I'll show you how round 3 looks and I'll have a go at putting all the colour info together in a way that makes sense.....now there's a challenge!
Here are some links that you might need :
ps Forgot to say - as per the title of this post, I'm calling this blanket "Summer Harmony"