puzzling with crocheted blanket blocks

These are all the blocks I have at the moment:

That’s slightly over half I need, I think. Now it’s time to plan a bit about how many blocks I need of which size.

I’m already planning colourwise. These are the darkish large squares:

I didn’t like them much in the total so I started making them with only the lightest flowers and lightest colour combination (top rows).

These are the light large squares, the main part of the blanket:

These all have lightest back ground colours. I see I need a couple more with the lightest flower petals. Sixteen I’d say.

I quickly found out that if I want this blanket to be cheerful on dark winter days that it’s best to stick to the lightest background and use the other colours as accent. There are already two balls of the lightest colour crocheted in these squares and I bought another two. I will buy a third ball (fifth really) for sewing together the blanket.

The lightest colour for the flower petals gives jolts of light. Exaggerated if I flank it with a darker colour such as dark grey or purple. But I can’t use that in the largest squares because it will be too large a square of darker colour. So it comes to the smaller sized squares to have the jolts and contrast:

In the smaller squares I’m putting my most purple yarn next to the greenest petals. Darkest petals to lightest background.

All these squares are on the floor now and I love looking at the colours and combinations. Thinking about contrast and planning ahead. They are enormous in the way, making the place look cluttered, so I can only play a few hours at a time.

Today I also started to think about size. Eventually the blocks will be combined in a random fashion and it is good to know upfront which combinations are possible. This is what I found out:

The side of one large one is equal to the sides of two smallest ones.

Two large ones and on smallest one equal three of the third size.

One large one and one smallest one is as wide as one of the third size and a smallest…. hey, this can’t be right:

Never mind. It’s a puzzle in progress.

There’s also this: not all blocks of the same size are the same size. Some are crocheted more tight than others. So every formula is approximately and will be adjusted in real life.

I think I’ll be starting soon with sewing it together, while still crocheting more blocks. Just to get a start on that so it won’t be a daunting new task. Putting it all together is a big job …. 30% of the time it takes to make the blocks is something I once heard.

Right, first I’ll crochet some more: lots of light petaled flowers, putting sixteen of those in largest squares in lightest colours and then a whole lot of smallest squares in all colour combinations.


A lovely block!

knitted on 2 mm needles, with sock yarn weight held double.
The spotted yarn I dyed myself, long ago:

On dry yarn so the colours wouldn’t soak into the wool. I used vinegar water to make the dye, so the dye would set. Then I put it onto the yarn, first with an old tooth brush later with a spraying device.

It took a lot of effort because only the outer side of the skein would get sprayed. I had to open up the skein all the time and add more dye. This was very tiresome because back than my blood pressure was too low to be doing things like this.

It was then steamed for 45 minutes.

Earlier this year I knitted a pair of Skew socks from it. Flax Skews that I love very much. This colourway makes me smile!

The heart is made in 100% pure silk, handdyed by a local indie dyer Dutch Knitting Design, who’s also a personal friend.
I love silk yarn!

The design itself is Block Week 5, by Corien, from the Karma Knus Blanket. In 2013 I made the whole blanket for myself.
This sweet little block is for someone else. I put a lot of love into it and I’m confident she will know this every time she touches this block. 🙂

Designing the Backpanel for Wintertrui 2014

Right. Wintertrui 2014 take off. Pattern Drops Shrug in minty handspun. Starting with making the backpanel more interesting. I’m looking at options. As I see it there are two routes:

  1. start in the middle and knit outwards until you’ve got a square of the desired dimensions. Or:
  2. make a square bottom up and later on add to the sides of it to get to the desired dimensions. A sort of embellished swatch, if you will.

To start with the latter:

2. a square knitted from the bottom up does give lots of options for embellishing it with something snow like. All existing patterns for afghan blocks and dish cloths are available!

Of course I have doubts about a lot of them. Nupps and intarsia and stranded colourwork are right out the door.
But there are other options.

If I concede that simple k2tog and ssk will not result in bumpyness this is a possibility. But these holes are big!

They could be made smaller. Don’t do a Yarn Over but Lift a Strand instead. Twist the stitch in the next round. Work with subtle increases instead of holes.

I really like this one:

Pattern: Margaret Tulip 9″ Dishcloth Afghan Block Square by Margaret MacInnis

She says it’s a tulip. But Ctrl-R suggests it also might be a snowdrop! Add a little stem at the top, perhaps a little leaf and Bob’s your uncle:

Oh how I have to restrain my inner Jugendstil minded Fairy loving girlygirl! There could be a whole back full of lacy blooms and stems intertwining!

Remember Anna, you want to have a fairly neutral cardigan. A cardigan in sturdy yarns that you can wear for years to come without people thinking: “that same thing again.”
You don’t want something too eccentric or too ephemeral. (that’s right, I found a word I never knew. “Ephemeral” is a fancy word for “short-lived”. Short-lived because time and fashion have progressed, just like nowadays boxy sweaters with intarsia bears are very ’80s and Arne & Carlos knitted snowballs are sooo 2011.
“Ephemeral” doesn’t suggest that the short-livedness of the sweater is caused by material decay. Because those could be moths. Aargh! Moths!)

let’s look at that other option:
1. A panel that starts from the center and works outwards. Plenty of examples are in the Ravelry database!

I foraged through the database and skipped the traditional four leafed flower and also crocheted patterns (bulky) and patterns that did not look very Snow Magic to me. I found:

  • POP blanket! One of my favourite blocks to knit:

    I could make a white circle in a blue square!

But that wouldn’t be much of a snowflake now would it? More like a snowball. Hmm. Wearing a white dot on my back doesn’t sound much Snowy Princess Gletsjer Magic to me. I’d be tempted to add a little black dot.

But there are other squares.

That says Snowy Magic to me! But alas, it’s knitted from the outside inward.

  • knit lace outwards:

pattern: Snowflake Peacock by MMario, picture by Darlene Reed
Oo, I like this one! I’d have to add the techniques from POP blanket block to get a round design into a square shape though.

Besides knitting from the inside out or knitting bottom up there are options 3 and on to embellish the back panel of DROPS Shrug:

I guess I could embroider something in white upon a blue square. The square being knitted outwards. It could even be an all blue POP blanket block. Or I could design some sort of added details to the circle of POP…

I could even do colourwork. Duplicate stitch that traditional snow flake from North Europe.

pattern: Snowflake Chart by Andrea Juhasz
But it’s too stylish to my liking. Not girly magic enough.

In conclusion I’m leaning towards that Tulip Gone Snowdrop square… add a little stem to the top… perhaps a leaf…
that border of seed stitch really gives it a nice finishing.
Although I try to avoid seed stitch because it doesn’t knit fast or mindless it would be a nice border for all the edges of the cardigan. It doesn’t flip. It doesn’t require additional stitches or decreases to play well with stockinette stitch. And it wears very well. And the round 3 ply Donegal yarn will make nice ploppy seeds.

Yes. Start Tulip/Snowdrop square as the main feature of the back panel. Casting on, first thing tomorrow!

Finished: POP blanket blocks

It worked really nice, the way I spun it. One solid and one variegated single, plied together. Each colour is clearly different from the others but still they are all related. And each colour block has a liveliness to it.
More so in real life than these photo’s suggest.

ravelrypage here

These blocks took about 45 grams total, on needle 4,5 mm. This is pretty much my default spinning weight.
Off to spin some more, I want a POP blanket!

“We briefly interrupt…”

“…this blog until the cable for the iPad is sent here, from the City to the Cabin.”

In a cloud of brainfog all useful cables were put into the luggage of my Husband and The Other Cat, before they travelled back to the city this weekend. Now the iPad has run out of battery and since it’s the only device here that takes a picture of knitting that is acceptable… I have no pictures of the wool that’s going on here.

In the past I have taken pictures with the lap top but honestly, they are too… “idiosyncratic”. I was never proud of myself when I had to resort to Photo Booth.

Anyway. Let’s sit back and wait for the mailman.
Here, have some POP:

This is POP blanket!
By TinCanKnits a.k.a. Emily Wessel. She and Alexa Ludeman have a fun and inspirational site for knitters.

In these blocks you start with a circle and then make it into a square as you go along. (Very much like my life)
It’s great with yarn that changes in colour:

The shape shifting from round to square is done with short rows. I used German Shadow Rows.

I’ve made 5 blocks with the handspun Spinprojecte Lente, and they look fantastic! The idea of having one single in a solid colour and one with accents comes out great!

You should see the blocks that are currently blocking on my table.
(you will, as soon as the mailman comes, tomorrow)
(heehee, “blocks are blocking”)

I’d very much like to knit a whole blanket like this.

But do I need another blanket?? I’m still not very good with stockinette stitch…
But I ám using the Karma Blanket quite a lot…
Pity it’s also in the city.
Here, in the cabin, I use a heavy duty woolen horse blanket. Lillepoes and I are taking our daily nap under it, now that Spring has temporarily hid itself.

I think I just answered my own question! I need POP!

All pictures in this blogpost are by Tin Can Knits who know how to work a cable:

Blanket progress and two new blocks

I put together two of the strips:

(sorry for the evening photo’s)

There’re also two last blocks I haven’t shown you in close up yet:

THis one used up the last of the red handspun and Noro, right at a spot where I needed a dash of red in the blanket. On it is a flower in handspun silk in a technique I got from an old book by Mary Thomas from 1899. Mary Thomas’s Book of Knitting Patterns.

It’s called Picot Point Knitting.
Basically it’s crocheting with your knitting needles.

This other block used up the last of my orange handspun and I’m really glad I got to use it on this blanket. Handspun, either by oneself or a friend, adds a special value to anything that you’re going to wrap yourself in:

I stitched on my name and the year. This truly is the blanket for 2013, each week one block.

The block, or the blanket, needs one last addition. A little squirrel in handspun from a batt called Happy Squirrel.

I used this pattern by Frankie Brown, she is a gem in the knitting designer world. Very sympathetic.

I didn’t have enough yarn, I still need something for the tail. But I keep losing this little friend. And refinding him in unexpected places.

Putting the Blanket together, some pics

Here are some photo’s of the work in progress. I’m now working on the one before last strip.

Some blocks I chose to pick up stitches from the right side, so a nice row of stitches would show, in both orange and the colour of the block.

It’s not always neat…. but it fits the overall feel of the blanket. And the brainfog with which this has been made at times.

These buttons I put finally on a block that I finished 6 months ago, aren’t they darling? They are ceramic.
I once got them in a swap that was all about bumblebees. I adore bumblebees. I try to provide them with a place to live. They love messy gardens so we are a good match!
We’ve got all kinds.

This block has neater ridges (in yellow):

This red one looks alright at the bottom but the top is… “characteristic” 😉

This is the one block that was missing in action:

Ran out of yarn. Typical.
This is handspun, from the Berry Cowl.

I used the two Noro yarns that lie there to finish it. Of course I ran out of the dark red yarn on the right. I used a bit of the purple that’s inside the green ball. I first did two rows of green. Although this looked fun it would distract from the figure I plan to stitch onto this block once it’s finished.

All in a row:

The view from my “working station”:

It’s important to keep them in order. To know which block goes where and which strip goes next to which one.

Somehow the choice for my Raveoly hippo snuck into the picture. It will be a green hippo with white flowers with yellow hearts.

I LOVE daisies and Ox-eye daisies. I do! I do!

Putting the blanket together, for real now.

After trying out a few more ways of crocheting the blocks together….

I settled on the first method I tried out. Pretty much how you come back to the first glasses or shoes you tried out when shopping.

It’s the first half of this one:

“Crochet one here, let them eat orange, crochet one there, let them eat orange”
It gives a soft ridge (beware of hard ridges in blankets) and it’s stretchy too.

I merrily started out stringing my blocks along with my crochet hook. Making sure I only picked up 25 stitches on a side when doing so.

After an evening of work I had stuck eight blocks together and it looked like this:


Picking up stitches in crochet from knitted edges and not inserting stitches in every row because I only need 25 did the blocks no favours.
The edges are distorted. The knitting looks so irregular and awful.

I ripped everything out. I figured: knitted blocks need knitting to get their stitchcount corrected. These blocks need a stitch picked up in each row and each stitch. Thén you can increase or decrease. But don’t do that whíle picking up stitches.

So this is what I do now:

Much better. Neater.

With knitting needles I pick up one stitch for every stitch/row. I use needles 2,5 mm. I then knit one row, adjusting the stitch count as necessary.
The block now has two rows of orange. Don’t cut yarn. Put aside.

Do the same with the next block, using a different ball of orange. Cut yarn when this block has its two rows of orange knitting.

I then stick the two blocks together with crochet hook 3,5mm, using the yarn from block nr.1.
I think I do slipstich: Hook is in first loop from block 1. I pull the yarn through the first loop from block 2 and through the loop already on my hook.
Now I pull the yarn though the second loop on block 1 and through the loop already on my hook.
Now I pull the yarn though the second loop on block 2 and through the loop already on my hook.

It gives the same soft and stretchy ridge as before. It looks way better. Not perfect but it fits the blanket.

I like where this is going:

Weird Wool Wednesday, two can play a game

Lillepoes is playing a mind game, she’s already claiming my blanket and it isn’t even finished!

But my blanket is coming along nicely, right?

I’m playing that grown woman’s game: pushing around knitted squares, looking how a colour looks here or perhaps better over there. It’s fun!
I finished some of the more elaborate squares. I blocked nearly all of them. Now I get to enlarge some of them by adding a coloured border untill they all have more or less the same size.
Then I get to play some more.