Good morning to you all, and welcome to what I hope will be a very happy, creative and inspirational Woodland Walk that we're about to set off on together. I absolutely love the beginning of a new blanket journey, it fills me with so much optimism and happiness! Thank you as always, for choosing to keep me company - I really hope you enjoy this colour story as it unfolds during the next couple of months.
Of course, my own personal Woodland journey started a good while ago now as I began obsessing about these colours way back at the start of Autumn. Once I got the idea of making a blanket inspired by my walks in Autumn woodland, I couldn't think of anything else. I took every opportunity to walk amongst the trees during October and November, taking endless photos and coming home with my pockets full of woodland treasure. I filled my Creative Mind to the brim with Autumnal colours, I just couldn't help myself.
My final choice of colours for the Woodland blanket came together pretty easily - I was able to look to the colours of nature and gather inspiration to create a harmonious colour palette which described not only what I saw on my walks, but also something of the way I felt as I looked up through the treetops. I wanted the colours to feel light and airy, but also cosy and warm too. I wanted to describe the meandering gravel pathways, the dry stone walls, and the peeps of blue sky. But most of all I wanted the colours to capture the essence of all those glorious Autumn leaves - the rich coppery browns, the bright oranges, mustards and golds and the zesty, leafy greens greens. I wanted the colours to whirl together and create something really joyful and uplifting.
These are the fifteen shades of Stylecraft Special DK which make up the Woodland palette ::
Top row, left to right...
❧ copper ❧ tomato ❧ spice ❧ gold ❧ mustard ❧ lime ❧ meadow ❧
Bottom row, left to right...
❧ pistachio ❧ lincoln ❧ cypress ❧ mocha ❧ grey ❧ silver ❧ duck egg ❧ storm ❧
The pattern I'm using for my woodland blanket is a soft, undulating ripple with little peep holes which remind me of sunlight shining down through the tree tops. This is a crochet version of a traditional Shetland knitting pattern know as "Old Shale" (sometimes called Feather and Fan). It's a lovely pattern to work with simple stitches and a soothing, repetitive rhythm to the rows. I've created a full, picture-heavy tutorial for the Woodland Ripple, with lots of guidance to help beginner hookers.
You can find the pattern in the usual place over in the left hand sidebar, in my list of patterns and tutorials.
The tutorial will guide you through making a small tension sample so that you can get a feel of how the pattern works, but more importantly so that you can assess your tension and decide on the right hook size to achieve the size needed. Please, please do take the time to do this (you can use yarn from your Woodland yarn pack as it's only a small bit of additional crochet), as the correct sizing is important if you don't want to run out of yarn.
Those of you who came along with me on my jaunt over the heather Moorlands last year will be familiar with the way I like to use colour to tell a "visual story". It excites me to play with colour in this way, and I really hope you enjoy the design I've created to capture the feeling of taking a wander in the woods. The shift of colours in the Woodland blanket is beautifully subtle - there are 105 stripes all together (7 of each colour) which takes you from the meandering woodland pathways, up through the leafy branches of the trees to the Autumn sky above. I hope you love this colour story as much as I do.
In addition to the colour story, I'm also going to give you the option to create a blanket which works the ripple stripes in a random order. Similar to the visual story, the random colours will be worked up in 105 stripes (7 of each colour), but you can crochet less stripes if you wish eg if you are making a smaller blanket, or if you are following a different stripe pattern.
If you are using the Woodland yarn pack, you will need to make sure you make a note of the colour names before you whip the paper bands off the balls. I have always used my home made yarn pegs as a way of noting and playing with the Stylecraft Special colours......
.....but you could simply make a list of the colours on a piece of paper and stick/tie little snips of yarn to it for reference like Ange has done with hers.
Lorraine wound her yarn onto cute little cardboard tags ......
....and Ange used jumbo lolly sticks to wind her yarn around.
Mary shared this picture with me on Facebook, isn't her book beautiful? She made herself a small scrap book using images from my Woodland blog posts, with a page to record the yarn colours. Mary said "it will bring colour to the dark and gloom of winter here in Lancashire", and I totally agree - it's a lovely keepsake to remember this creative journey too.
So......back to the business of preparing for your Woodland blanket.
As mentioned earlier, I would urge you to take a little bit of time making a small tension sample (shown above) so that you can measure it and make sure you are using the right hook size to suit your tension. All is explained in the Woodland Ripple tutorial. You can use this sample to work out your starting chain - I've given a whole list of starting chains options in my Woodland Ripple tutorial to help you create the width you want.
My Woodland blanket will measure 4ft x 6ft (120 cm x 180 cm), and there is enough yarn in one yarn pack to create this single bed sized blanket.
If you wish to make a double/king size blanket, you will need 2 yarn packs.
There is no other way around it - striped blanket always start with a whole load of counting and a wiggly thin line of crochet. Working stitches into a foundation chain does take some practice for newbie hookers, so my best advice would be to take your time and be patient. You may find it easier to go up a whole mm in hook size just to create your foundation chain - that way you won't be fighting to wiggle your hook into the chain quite as much.
The first row of the pattern is a whole length of double crochet. This will need to be accurately counted, so make sure you have a bit of peace to do this - using stitch markers at regular intervals can be a life saver if you get unexpectedly interrupted in your furious counting!
Once you've got the first few stripes under your belt, the hooky bliss will descend very quickly. This is a beautifully rhythmic pattern to work - yes there is counting (all ripple patterns involve counting) but it's not hard to get those numbers gently humming inside your head as you go. In my tutorial, I've given some tips on counting the stitches for this pattern and how to keep yourself on track with the repeats - I promise you it very soon becomes something you don't need to think about all that much, but do give yourself time for it to become familiar.
I know many of you from all around the world will be joining me on this blanket journey, even those in the southern hemisphere where it's probably not really blanket-snuggling weather. Here in the UK it's the perfect time of year to be sat under a pile of colourful, yarny stripes, and as the weeks pass and your blanket grows, I know you're going to love having those cosy woodland inspired ripples sitting in your lap.
Often times I'm crocheting at the cafe with my friends or sat by the fireside in the evenings, but I do so love love love a bit of snuggly sofa hooky. As you can see, I'm not the only one who appreciates the blanket explosion on the sofa!
I'm going to list the first set of colours for you in just a moment, but first I'd just like to reassure you that all CAL posts will remain on my blog so you can dip into them whenever you need. Please don't worry if you miss a week or fall behind with your hooky, you can go at your own pace and you certainly won't be alone. Here is a rundown of the CAL schedule :
Friday 5th January - part 1 - working a tension sample, choosing the right hook size, stripes 1-18.
Friday 12th January - Part 2 - stripes 19 -36
Friday 19th January - Part 3 - stripes 37 - 54
Friday 26th January - Part 4 - stripes 55 - 72
Friday 2nd February - Part 5 - stripes 73 - 90
Friday 9th February - Part 6 - stripes 911 - 105
Friday 16th February - Catch up week (darn in those ends!!)
Friday 23rd February - Part 7 - the edging and a grand Ta-dah!
Here is the colour info for "Part 1 of the "colour story" Woodland Blanket.
Foundation chain/row 1. Lime (note : this first dc row will eventually form part of the edging, so if you really dislike this colour then feel free to choose another)
1. Cypress (rows 2 & 3)
2. Meadow (rows 4 & 5)
3. Mustard (rows 6 & 7)
4. Tomato (rows 8 & 9)
5. Spice (rows 10 & 11)
6. Copper (rows 12 & 13)
7. Grey (rows 14 & 15)
8. Gold (rows 16 & 17)
INSERT OPTIONAL STRIPE HERE - Tomato (for double bed size blankets)
9. Cypress (rows 18 & 19)
10. Meadow (rows 20 & 21)
11. Tomato (rows 22 & 33)
12. Spice (rows 24 & 25)
13. Lime (rows 26 & 27)
INSERT OPTIONAL STRIPE HERE - Cypress (for double bed size blankets)
14. Mocha (rows 28 & 29)
15. Copper (rows 30 & 32)
16. Grey (rows 32 & 33)
17. Cypress (rows 34& 35)
INSERT OPTIONAL STRIPE HERE - Lime (for double bed size blankets)
18. Meadow (rows 36 & 37)
If you would prefer to work your colours in a random stripe order (rather than follow the colour story), then I'm happy to help with that too. I'll give you 18 stripes each week with the colours spread evenly throughout, so feel free to stop whenever you reach the length you're happy with.
Here is the colour info for Part 1 of the "Random Colours" Woodland Blanket.
1. Lime (foundation chain and row 1)
2. Cypress (rows 2 & 3)
3. Meadow (rows 4 & 5)
4. Mustard (rows 6 & 7)
5. Tomato (rows 8 & 9)
6. Spice (rows 10 & 11)
7.Mocha (rows 12 & 13)
8. Duck Egg (rows 14 & 15)
9. Storm 16 & 17)
10. Copper (rows 18 & 19)
12. Gold (rows 20 & 21)
12. Pistcahio (rows 22 & 33)
13. Grey (rows 24 & 25)
14. Lincoln (rows 26 & 27)
15. Silver (rows 28 & 29)
16. Storm (rows 30 & 32)
17. Tomato (rows 32 & 33)
18. Gold (rows 34& 35)
I am wishing you a wonderful, happy start on your Woodland Walk, I hope your heart sings with joy as you immerse yourself in these curvy rows!!
Part 2 of the Woodland CAL will be here on my blog on Friday 12th. In the meantime, remember you can share photos with me over on my Attic24 Facebook page, and you can also join the "Attic24 Moorland and More" Facebook group where you can post if you need guidance or if you'd just like to chat/share with other Woodlanders.