Monday, 19 September 2016

Sunshine & Showers

For the last 6 months I have been designing and making a blanket project for the new Crochet Now magazine. The blanket is a mystery crochet along project, the patterns and tutorials for which feature monthly in the magazine. The blanket is made sampler style in that it is made in continuous rows and not as motifs which are put together. I have named the blanket project Sunshine and Showers as it is based from month to month on the weather here in the UK.

Sampler blankets are a great way to learn new techniques and of course can be really lovely to make and consequently own. You can find some great sampler blankets on Ravelry, such as 'As we go Stripey Blanket' by Hannah Owens pictured below - as you can see it is stunning in lots of colours and just a few - the red version is so Christmassy isnt it!

Image © Hannah Davis
© Crealyt

Another example of a sampler blanket is shown below - this one is by Kirsten from Haak Maar Raak. This is an absolutely stunning blanket and it is a free pattern that you can find by following the link here. The blanket uses 34 balls of Stylecraft Special DK so it is quite an undertaking, but I am sure you will agree that the blanket is totally gorgeous!

© Haak Maar Raak
© Haak Maar Raak
Another really lovely sampler blanket is called Spice of Life and it was designed by Sandra of Cherry Heart. This crochet along project was released by the lovely guys at Black Sheep Wools last year - unsurprisingly I think they had thousands of people do the project with them!

© Cherry Heart
© Cherry Heart
So - as you can see there are already some really lovely sampler blankets already out there in crochet land so I wanted to design something that was a little different and had a design theme, hence the fact that I made my version a seasonal CAL. When I design things these days I almost always have a mood board or design theme in mind before I start, partly so that I don't get distracted and end up doing something completely off piste! When designing the CAL I also wanted to design it in a way that would appeal to those relatively new to crochet so that they could build on their skills and learn new techniques.

The first part of the Sunshine and Showers crochet along project was published in the May edition of the magazine (The 1st edition in April featured a 'Getting Ready' article). As May is pretty much the turning point between spring and summer it was a good place to start and I designed the first piece of the blanket to reflect the rolling hills and lush grass of the British countryside.

I chose 15 shades of Stylecraft Special DK for the project and yarn packs are for sale on the Janie Crow web site, although I know that lots of people are using the project as a lovely stash busting exercise!

For June I wanted to capture the idea of small emerging flowers in the garden so came up with a design that uses puff stitches to create flower shapes.

For July it was (predictably) all about the sunshine and so I designed a section that I hoped would emulate the sun setting (or rising) on the horizon.

For August I wanted to create the edging for the blanket as I thought it would be lovely to have a pretty flowery border. It is a little bit time consuming to create this edging in different shades of yarn - but I really love the outcome.

To this point the blanket was made in 2 sections - so each pattern was worked through twice to create 2 pieces. I designed it in this way so that the blanket will match at both ends from the centre outwards, but also because I wanted the darker shades of autumn and winter to be at the middle of the blanket, so for September I started a new strip and based the design on idea of the last flowers of the summer sitting amongst the wooden trellis fencing in the garden.

That brings me up to date for the first 5 months of the crochet along project. As I said already the patterns are published monthly in Crochet Now magazine. Past issues are available, except for Issue 3 which is only available in download form. You can find more info by browsing the magazine web site here.

As this is a mystery crochet along I cannot show you anything more of the design except a sneaky peek of October which is above - I based the design on a field of pumpkins ready and waiting to be picked for Halloween! I am a massive fan of crochet bobbles so this was an absolute must for me!

I am looking forward to showing you what the next 6 months have in store and hope that you might join me on the mystery crochet along at some point - its not too late to join in - you cold always start with the September patterns and work through to next summer…..