Crochet Granny Square Prints

As a full on crochet addict I am always on the look out for fun items that are related to my favourite craft. I’ve got a nice collection of project bags, buttons and pins, even mugs that are clear indicators of my stitchy status but sometimes there’s not a lot of choice out there. Instead, images and ideas often come flitting in and out of my head for ways to come up with my own creations. Most things end up as a bit of a dream, or the project gets pushed back to the bottom of the list. Crochet cross stitch patterns have been on there for a while (I WILL get round to doing these, they’re half made already!). Exploring different crafts, yet staying true to my first love pleases me greatly.

The latest bright spark of an idea are these printed greeting cards. I’ve shocked myself by actually pulling my finger out and sorting them out, ready for release! I did it! There are real life granny square print cards for sale of Etsy!! I LOVE them!! The link will take you to a set of four but they are also available individually.

If you’re a Patron you get a nice discount on the set. Go HERE to Patreon to find out more. x

I’ve had a printing kit for a while and have, over the years, half halfheartedly messed about with the carving tools without getting very good. That isn’t enough to stop me from having a go though. In my kit I have multiple blades for cutting, shaving and gouging pieces of negative space from small lino sheets you can buy online. There’s also printing ink and a roller. The intricate motifs you can achieve from hand cut prints is amazing. I’m pretty bad at it yet I still get results that make me super happy. I like the imperfections and (in my case) rudimentary qualities. It’s not supposed to be perfect, that’s not the point. Have you tried lino cuts/printing before? It’s very satisfying.

Because I couldn’t find anything to buy that fit the bill, over the Christmas holidays I started playing with ways of drawing, painting and printing crochet granny squares. This is when I dug down deep into the craft cupboard to retrieve the printing kit. It’s not easy, I sliced though parts of the lino I didn’t want to slice through, or hacked off chunks that shouldn’t have been hacked off. Also, being a lazy creature, I went for abstract crochet stitches rather than go for precise realism. The idea of hand drawing every single twist of a stitch, getting perfect symmetry throughout? No, thanks, haven’t got the patience.

There have been a few incarnations. The one below is one of my first attempts at a granny print. It’s OK. I like it but it’s a bit rough. I was going to sell those ones as originals but there was a needling feeling that they weren’t quite good enough. I tried again. Second time around and everything is sooooo much better, I’m tremendously pleased with the balance of inky silhouette granny and rainbow colours. I had learned from the first goes to get the paint smoother and pay a bit more attention to carving the print (whilst still being lazy of course). And this time I felt they were good. I’m really proud of them. So much so I took photos of my four favourites and ordered prints! Prints to sell! I added them to my Etsy shop yesterday and I’ve already sold a few. Loads of people have added them to their shopping baskets (come on people, please hit “buy!”). One person has noticed the silliness in the product description too, I was having a funny five minutes at the time…

This probably won’t be a permanent thing, there is actual crochet that needs doing, but it is important to learn new skills and have a go at different things, don’t you think? Is there anything you fancy having a go at? And have you spotted any good crochet merch? If so, please let me know!

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The first print – a bit dodgy.

Not a Natural Yarn Dyer!

A Beginner’s Yarn Dyeing Overview

I was recently sent a naked, undyed skein of King Cole merino yarn. (Disclosure: I am a King Cole ambassador; I got the yarn for free but this is not a sponsored post). Receiving the yarn was all the persuasion I needed to have a brief dalliance with yarn dyeing. And I do mean brief. My first time was dyeing with avocado skins a few weeks ago, which I found interesting but getting the right colour was tricky. The second time was with little pots of powdery acid dyes (thanks Sherrie of Ollie & Bella for recommending the dyes). Acid dyeing yarn is a messy affair and I don’t suggest you try it unless you’re willing to destroy your kitchen, clothes, and anything else within a fifteen foot radius. My kitchen is old and tatty, therefore I don’t care about the fact that it now has a rainbow of colours forever tainting my work tops. Bit dodgy for food prep though.

What I’ve done is put together a couple of videos for YouTube. The first was published a couple of weeks ago. You can watch it HERE. It’s the dyeing yarn with avocado video, not “dying”, which is what I’ve accidentally titled the episode. It’s actually a relatively safe process. I pretended it was homeschooling science and got the kids involved. Well, the youngest one helped, the eldest just came into the kitchen in search of the Flap Jacks that were being baked in the oven whilst we did the dyeing. Apart from using high temperatures in the dyeing process, it’s a pretty good project for getting the kids involved.

Recently uploaded is the acid dyeing vid, HERE. It’s a bit longer as the first section of the video is a “show and tell” of the yarn colours that were created. Then the shoddy demo of my attempts follows after. This one is not be so great for the kids (although one of mine watched from a reasonable distance).

The colours that you can achieve with the acid dyes are far more intense. I have a distinct lack of knowledge about the chemistry of colour work and it shows. I didn’t try to experiment with mixing or diluting, just jumped straight into bright primary-ish shades. The results aren’t too bad. They’re not exactly “my” colours but that’s OK. The dye is Landscapes Dyes from Wingham Wool Work, a great recommendation from Sherrie. I wasn’t scared of using it but hard core professionals use loads of safety gear during dye sessions. Gloves and breathing apparatus are strongly recommended. Please do be careful! The particles of the powders can get inside your lungs and the powders also contain other elements that you don’t want to end up in your dinner.

After a quick shout out for advice on my crochet podcast, Becca from Totnes Yarns got in touch and offered some invaluable advice, thank you so much Becca! She Recommended using an old pot for dyeing the yarn, don’t use your best pans. Some of the acid dyes contain chemicals you don’t want to consume. But also, Becca pointed me in the direction of ChemKnits on YouTube. This is a rabbit hole I do not want to go down. This is just a quick fling, not a new hobby!! But if you did want to commit, check it out.

Research was a quick glance at Google, finding blog posts about avocado experiments. For more information about dyeing with avocado I found Woods and Wool to be really thorough. And also Thoresby Cottage. Deffo worth a look. I didn’t google much about acid dyes, I had the advice from Becca, and the Landscapes dyes came with a leaflet full of excellent instructions for both simmering on the hob or blasting in a microwave. You can download guidance on safety from Wingham Wool Work too.

Michelle from Dora Explored also has a blog post about dyeing with every day household stuff. Lots of helpful explanations about processes in that blog post, including info on why you might need to give your wool a bath in vinegar before you dye, and what a mordant is. But I confess to only skim reading certain bits so missed where it said to heat the yarn again after I added speckles onto the already dyed yarn. Might be why I didn’t end up with as many speckles as I hoped. I do realize that the heat is how the yarn fixes the colour, it was just a brief moment of stupidity. The fact that I have no patience is also a reason why the speckles washed out, which you’ll see from the finished results.

Avocado blush

Wool yarn will take on dyes really well. Different fibres react in different ways, which is worth bearing in mind. As well as having the King Cole merino dk to play with, I decided to purchase a few skeins of Regia 4ply merino, another yarn specifically for hand dyeing. It worked a treat with the microwave acid dyeing. I also went digging through my own stash and came up with a mystery mini skein of a sheepy wool, and two silky looking skeins of Teeswater/Wensleydale yarn that were purchased on a holiday in Lancashire a few years ago. Please do read the blog post about that, it’s HERE. It was really quite a treat for a fan of yarn. On a personal level, reading about that holiday demonstrates that I know much more about yarn now than I did then. But judging by my tinkerings with the dyes, I’ve got a long way to go! Still very much an amateur…

Anyway, that’s it really. It’s a vast subject and this experience is barely a toe dipped in avocado blush waters. So much to explore. Have you tried yarn dyeing? What do you think? I bet you’re better at it than me!

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The blue is my favourite. Followed by the red and then the brown. Don’t like the others though!

ZZ Block C2C Blanket Pattern

I wasn’t expecting to talk about this corner to corner blanket quite so soon; only one day after releasing my new crochet shawl pattern, Harvest Moon, I’ve just added ZZ Block to Ravelry! Phew, it’s getting a bit crochet crazy here at the minute.

Until the 17th of November it has 20% off. That’s the date the C2C CAL 2018 ends!! It’s only a couple of quid anyway, so you’re getting two fab charts for not very much at all. Yes, two! I have included a secret bonus chart too!! It’s called Ziggy, so you might be able to guess what that looks like…

RAVELRY IS THIS WAY… →

Yesterday, I posted a pic of this graphgan blanket on Instagram and instantly loads of phone friends said I should release it as a pattern.  There was also mass agreement that it’d be OK to just release the charts. So, let me be clear, this is a chart only pattern. No written instructions for the C2C stitch are included (but you can find those in loads of places, can’t you?). This means confident crocheters can get their mitts on it straight away without having to wait for me to make up a new sample. There is, however, a full page of notes and advice on measurements and yarn.

I made it super fast. There was lots of car crochet going on last weekend and it was mostly made en route to see my family. Because I made it so quickly and because I was in a car with loads of tangled balls upon my person, I made the error of “rectangling” it about 4 rows too soon. I also rushed the initial design and it doesn’t  please me 100%. The bungling, therefore, means that I can’t produce a whole pattern without a perfect sample. But I don’t want to stop others from starting now. Give me some time and a full-on pattern will be released but for now, I think this is a good alternative.

The inspiration is this bolt of rainbow lightning in my boys bedroom. We*  painted it around Easter and ever since then I’ve known it would some day become a blanket. I’ve just about manage to squeeze it in for the current CAL.

*by “we” I mean, I told the husband to paint it.

I do hope you like it.

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Hotchpotch C2C Crochet bag

Do you like my new crochet bag!?! I love love love it!! It is made using the corner to corner stitch (or C2C as it’s often called) and is based on the Granny Hotchpotch bag I made a couple of months ago. I don’t think I wrote a blog post about that bag, which is a shame because it is lovely. Here it is…

The idea for both bags is for them to be the ultimate stash busters. You know the sort of thing, all those scraps you saved and don’t know what to do with but don’t want to throw away. I tied loads of them together using the magic knot and just got hooking.

Both the bags are made using my leftovers of Paintbox Simply Aran acrylic but you can use pretty much any yarn you want. It’s a hotchpotch of stuff, see?!

Below I will add a photo of the notes I scribbled to give you a better idea of what’s what. I’m not writing a specific pattern for this one. But before you disappear I will tell you where to find what else you might need/want…

  • For a video tutorial on how to make a small version of the granny bag go HERE. I give a bit of advice about lining (and zips!) too.
  • To hear me gush about the C2C version, go here to YouTube
  • To hear me go into a bit more detail about the granny version go HERE
  • I bought the bag straps from Amazon. Blue ones HERE. Brown ones HERE
  • Adding the handles is just a question of a few stitches through the holes. You will probably need to reinforce these by stitching through a layer of lining too.
  • Lengths of yarn: I saved the shorter ones for each end of the ball as that’s where the shorter rows will fall. Some in the middle might’ve been 4 or 5 gram balls (at a guess) but keep ’em all different for the best look.
  • I have started a board on Pinterest especially for Corner to Corner crochet – I love it that much!
  • For a more thorough C2C bag pattern I have one for sale in Ravelry. It has photo tutorials on the C2C stitch, how to line the bag and add the magnetic clasp.

These are the ones I have on Ravelry. There are 3 bag designs in one pattern.

I haven’t got a muffin top usually. It’s just bulky material as this top is actually a dress!

Right, the notes are extremely basic but I reckon you’ll be able to glean most of the info you need from them. Give us a shout if they befuddle, baffle or bemuse.

If you make a bag of your own, don’t forget to get in touch to tell me all about it! #zeensandroger @zeensandroger over of IG. Sharing a free pattern, no matter how casual it may seem, takes a lot of work. Seeing credit given will always put a smile of the desginer’s face. 😀

You may be interested to know that I’m going to host a C2C Crochetalong in the autumn. I will come back with more info about that nearer the time. All I know is that it’ll be a blast! Cheers. x

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Rainbow Edged Granny Square

I wanted to call this Easy Granny and her Rainbow Edge but I thought it sounded a bit saucy. It’s now just a Rainbow Edged Granny Square. A very traditional sort of crochet blanket but one that seems to be quite popular at the moment. Rainbows are in! I posted the above picture on Instagram yesterday and the response was really positive. There were loads of lovely comments and that surprised me. I love that the simple granny square gets so much attention.

Some details then.

It measures around 89cm (35″), plenty big enough for a baby blanket that’ll see  you through to toddler years.

When I was making the granny square I turned it every round to prevent a twist. I toyed with doing that for the rainbow border but in the end I decided I wanted all the colours to have a “right” side. I joined each rainbow colour in opposite corners, again to avoid the dreaded twist. (I talk about this in more detail in episodes 10 and 11 of the podcast)

I used Stylecraft Special DK. There are two whole balls of Cream for the main body, which as you’ve probably guessed is literally just your standard granny. And for the border (rows of UK trebles) it was probably half a ball of each of the following: Lipstick, Spice, Citron, Pistachio, Kelly, Aster, Lobelia, Violet and Fuchsia. A bit more for the latter as I went round twice with it.

The border is taken from Attic 24, it’s the bobble shell edging but I add 3 slip stitches between each bobble. I’ve used it a few times for blankets and I really like the simplicity of it. I don’t always think it’s necessary to have a majorly fancy border, especially when there’s a shed tonne of colour going on.

Mistakes. There are a couple!  Nothing that would jump out at a non-crocheter but I know that they’re there. Probably my biggest bungle was the indecision about the corners. When it came to the border I did a few rounds of (3tr, ch2, 3tr). It was starting to look bunchy and rather than frog back the three or four rows I’d done I just started making it (2tr, ch2, 2tr). Just that small change made me feel a bit better about how it looked. There are a couple of other minor things but I’m just not going to tell anyone. Is that bad?!

If you’re new to crochet then I also have a video on YouTube to accompany this “pattern” Please do go and have a look for more help about how the granny square is put together.

Below are some more pictures, I took a whole load! I’d love to see if you make one too. You can always use #zeensandroger if you’re over on IG. Cheers. X

And remember, although it’s “just” a classic Granny, which I cannot claim as my design, the combination of elements I have put together are indeed my design. If you make a blanket, please credit me. Thank you.

Unless otherwise stated, all my designs are for personal use only.

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Connie’s Blanket. A Colourful Crochet Granny.

It feels like this pretty crochet granny blanket has been in the making for aaaaggess. Relatively speaking that’s probably not true. I started it because I had leftovers from the Crazy Chevron blanket I made back in February. Trying (unsuccessfully) to reduce the stash has been the aim for quite a while. For this chap, a few colours were swapped depending on what there was most of in my “collection”. I only bought two balls extra.

If you watch my crochet podcast you’ll have heard me go on about this in nearly every single episode! I thought you guys might be interested in a blog post too and it’s a good idea to have all the info in one place. So here we are!

This colourful creation is now called Connie’s Blanket. I didn’t know when I started, that it would end up as a birthday present but at some stage or other it decided (not me), that that was what it was!

Connie’s Blanket is made up of 130 squares (10×13), which were Joined As You Go. The pattern and construction are similar to a blanket I made a few years ago. That one is nattily entitled Crochet Circles in a Square blanket. That blog post has links for all you need if you’re going to make a blanket like this. I’ll break it down here too…

Crochet Circle pattern.  The difference in Connie’s blanket is that I used a magic ring to start each circle and I added no chains between the trebs (US dc’s) of the first round. Oh, and no double trebles on the joining round, just some trebs.

Attic 24’s Join As You Go tutorial

Zeens and Roger on YouTube, pick an and episode, any episode… I’ll probs be talking about it!

I used Stylecraft Special DK in the following colours: Duck Egg, Spring, Fondant, Fuschia, Shrimp, Lobelia, Apricot, Grey, Kelly, Cloud, Mustard, Wisteria,

I made all the inner circles first (well, most of them – I kept adding more when I saw I had enough yarn for more rows), then evenly distributed those between the shades. I haven’t checked but I reckon they’re all unique.

The border is dead simple. Three rounds of Grannies, 1 row of trebles and a scallop edge. To jazz up the edge a bit more I ended up doing this: Starting in a dip: *(ch2, 1dc after next treble) x4, ch2, 1ss in the dip between scallops; rep from *. I think that’s right but give me a shout if it’s weird!

And that’s pretty much it. Blankets like these are one of my favourite things to crochet. I don’t know why, they just are! What about you? How do you get on with granny blankets?! I know some people think they’re naff and old fashioned but I can’t help but love em!

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Crochet Your Fade. The Blurre Shawl

Do you know the Find your Fade? A knitted shawl with glorious colour play, a spectrum of tones and speckled variegated yarns. I absolutely love the Fade but I’m just not a knitter. I was so excited when I discovered that a very clever crochet designer had come up with a crochet version. The best thing of all is that the Blurre is a completely original design. It isn’t a rip off of the Fade, it is its very own thing and it’s totally fab!

I stumbled upon the Blurre whilst watching a fellow crochet podcaster. Claudia of Crochet Luna was talking about it and I told her how beautiful I thought it was. A few days later I found a copy of the pattern in my Ravelry inbox! Claudia had bought it for me, for my birthday!! How lovely is that?!

I got stuck in straight away! I knew that I wanted to use the yarns I’d found at Stephen & Penelope’s in Amsterdam. That was my starting point. At the time, I was making a different shawl with some neon yellow I’d bought in Edinburgh. That was also going in too. I needed two more colours so looked for stuff that would blend the neon with the dusky blues from Amsterdam. The Wool Kitchen’s Nebula sprang to mind pretty quickly. Then a spot of time, trawling Etsy gave me Made By Jude’s When Dye Pots Attack. See here for the links to yarn. That’s also the link to the vlog/podcast episode where I talk about the shawl too!

The pattern is awesome. It’s super easy but creates something really sophisticated and modern. I didn’t know Deanne of Addydae Designs before. Well, I’d seen her work before but not properly registered in my head that one person was linked to all the pretties. Check out the Three Springs shawl. I lurrrvve it!! Deanne also has a podcast, check that out too.

I’m in love with my Blurre!! It’s awesome! However, it has been a bugger to photograph. The neon blows out no matter what I try. It makes the other colours look lacklustre. In real life it is all superb, I promise. If I were to be picky, I’d say that I’d like a few more rows of the first colour (the turquoisy one) and more rows of the Nebula (the dark one with rainbow flecks). I think that would have helped to balance out that crazy neon. For the most part, I’m well chuffed. If I didn’t have so many other things to make, I’d definitely make another one straight away. I know others have said the same too.

I got the camera out the other day and took some snaps that didn’t work too well. I asked my four year old to take some pictures of me too. Initially I just handed him the camera and asked him to click away. It didn’t go down well. I ended up with about twenty blurry Blurres. I got the tripod out but still couldn’t see exactly what was going on (not until I remembered to flip the viewing screen). Anyway, here are a few reasonably acceptable photos so you get more of an idea about how the Blurre looks.

It was fun to play around and the boy enjoyed some “responsibility” as my photographer. His favourites were when the cat got in on the action. She didn’t like being a model much.

What do you reckon? Fancy having a go at your own Blurre? I’d love to see other versions!

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Geo Rainbow C2C Crochet Blanket

Helloo!! How’s it going? It’s all crazy here at the minute, I have many “things to do” lists strewn about the place! One thing I can tick off the list is: stop worrying about the Geo Rainbow blanket pattern. It’s out now! This month’s Inside Crochet (issue 90) is in the shops. There are loads of great patterns in there but when I opened it’s pages, I went straight for my colourful crochet blanket.

EDIT: This pattern is now available to buy on Ravelry HERE

I made the front cover! Excuse me for getting excited; it’s very novel. I’m mega proud of what I’ve achieved over the last few months and I’m taking time to shirk off the modesty and say “yay me!”. I absolutely believe everyone should do this from time to time. Just stop and tell yourself how great you are, because it’s true! Stop worrying about others and concentrate on yourself for a while.

The idea popped in my head around October/November and the first stitch was made at the end of December. It was born from a crochet cushion I made last August, this one….

It’s funny where ideas take you.  I liked the geometric pattern but there was no way I wanted to make a whole blanket out of such small stitches (even though I have since done exactly that, with a chevron blanket!). The best way of getting the look I wanted was to go C2C.

Not only do I have a published pattern in this issue but there is also have an article about how to do the corner to corner stitch. I submitted the finished blanket in February; in May I was asked if I fancied having a go at writing a “mini masterclass”. I said yes because you can’t say no, can you?!

For the article I made a swatch, with each stage photographed so I could show how to do all the important bits of c2c.  Breaking it down was fascinating. It makes you realise just how much work goes into all the crochet that we do. Think of all those twiddly twists made with hook, yarn and fingers!

Lots of yarn is used at the same time. It’s so much fun to see it all jumbled together. I was (surprisingly) pretty fastidious about keeping it well organised. There’s no way you want this lot to get in proper tangle.

The people behind the magazine would like to take my blanket to Yarndale this year! How fab is that?! I do hope I can make it up to Skipton for September. I don’t relish driving for 5+ hours on my own but I’d love to go…dilemma.

Corner to corner is really popular at the moment. What do you think? Is it something you’d like to try? Have you made a a graphgan before? I’d love to hear. Do let me know.  Cheers. X

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Crazy Crochet Chevron Blanket

bright-crochet-chevron-blanketHellooo! After a two week absence I have returned!! That might be the longest I’ve been away, which is pretty good going. Phew! And I’ve finished my latest crochet blanket! For a relatively small blanket, this one seemed to take forever. I’ve made chevron blankets before but not for a long time. I now know why. Every stitch is so small that the build up is mega slow (yet very much worth it).

neon-pink-crochet-bobblesIt took a good week to get into the flow. Once I could see that the colours were making me happy, I sped up and started to enjoy the rhythm of it. It’s a classic chevron pattern, back loops only. I used this one from Meet me at Mike’s which has step by step photos. I think I did 11 multiples, maybe 12. I thought that would be plenty but it’s actually a lot smaller than I was aiming for. The nature of the stitch meant that there was a concertina effect and it shrunk dramatically. If I stretch it out, it does look bigger and I think that if I give it a wash, it should settle down more.

old-borderThe border was a bit of a pain. I knew I wanted the blanket to have a border and I also knew that many zigzag blankets don’t have them. Probably for a good reason. When I blogged about my progress Mrs Craft got in touch with me to suggest a tutorial of hers. I dutifully went to investigate, eager for the answer. It was the spark I needed. So, thanks very much Mrs “(crocheted) Caped Crusader” Craft!!

straightening-the-crochet-chevronI haven’t followed the tutorial exactly because my chevrons were much smaller but I did use part of the idea. I only needed two rows to straighten the edge. The first row was modelled on the tutorial (all the yellow bits in the above pic are done separately!) but the second row (cloud blue) was filling in with the method I use for ripples (a bit like this one from Little Tin Bird but with longer stitches crocheted together to prevent too much buckling). How I wish I hadn’t doubled back with another row of cloud blue dc’s (US sc’s) over the top of them. It looks so messy and it really doesn’t need to be there. By that time I’d got to this section though, I’d already unpicked a first and really ugly border attempt. I was fed up. I just could not be bothered to do it all again (I’d already gone round with the grey at this point, as I had done the first time too). So if anyone out there fancies having a go, don’t do a second row of blue!

completeI thought the grey was going to be the final colour but the blanket’s recipient (Youngest boy) came over and told me that he wanted the neon pink. He knew what he was talking about, it looks fabulous. I seriously love it. You know, I think grey would have been nice on its own but now it really pops!  (and I don’t use that word lightly-  I never ever say “pops”). There isn’t really a pattern for the border, it’s just 2 UK tr (each in their own st, not together like a granny) and ch1. Miss a stitch, 2tr, ch1 etc, twice round. The bobbles/pompoms are from when I did a Touch of Spice blanket nearly a year ago. This time I chained 6 not 7, made my 4trtgr in the 4th ch from hk and chained 2 not 3. Pop over and take a closer look.

crochet-chevron-blanket colourful-crochet-blanket-chevron-patternEssentially, this was stashbuster. I had so much Stylecraft Special that it needed to be made into something lovely and not stuck alone in the dark cupboard under the stairs anymore. I’m going to say that it was mostly random but there is a pattern repeat: Six rows of one colour, then 3x two rows, four rows of another colour, then 2x two rows, finishing with six rows again. I’ll also tell you the colours because I’m super proud that I remember them all off the top of my head: Fiesta, Grey, Citron, Wisteria, Aspen, Shrimp, Sherbet, Cloud, Kelly, Apricot, Lobelia, Fuschia, Plum, Pistachio.

on-the-banister-my-favourite-crochet-chevronAnd I’ve still got enough to make another sort of blanket…because there’s a chance I might have gone out and bought some more… you know, to make up the colours….Soooo…. what next? Granny squares or treble chevrons, maybe a sunburst? I’m torn.

 

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Choosing your Crochet Colour Palette (With Cheating Shortcuts).

crochet makesI’ve been thinking a lot about colour over the last few months. I’m not the only one either. When I researched colour in crochet I found a tonne of articles and blog posts about it. Many of the articles have looked specifically into colour theory and taken choosing colours quite seriously (colour theory is the scientific approach in understanding how colours go together, it’s sciencey, you can even get twiddly colour wheels to help and everything). I’m not going to go into that, I’m just going to explain how I cheat at choosing my colours for crochet!

When I first started to crochet I didn’t think much beyond what colours I liked and which colours were available. That was fine but sometimes my favourite colours didn’t translate into yarn very well or I didn’t know which shade would be best with another. Thankfully, there are far more colours and shades available than there used to be (this crochet thing has really taken off).

These days I ask myself what style I’m after or how many colours will acheive a good balance for the picture I have in my head? I also approach a project from a different angle, I take inspiration from different sources rather than turning up at the shop and chucking balls of yarn in my basket. I consider more than just my favourite colours.

Crochet examplesFor me a good starting point is deciding on the theme I want, this can often be just a one word affair: neutral, bright, pastel, earth, vintage, contemporary, seasonal blah blah. Once I’ve decided this, it’s so much easier. There are lots of colours I can then eliminate.

The secret to choosing a good colour palette is probably a mixture of confidence and experience. Over-thinking can really take the fun out of it. Stop worrying and just begin. You won’t know if something works until you try it out. If it doesn’t work then that’s a lesson learned. If it does work, then awesome! Another secret is this: crochet. A lot. All the time!

Before I go into the “cheats” I use,  I’m going to mention a little bit about whether to go Random or Organised; I think it could be helpful. I’m Random. What are you?

Collection of crochet blankets.Go Random

I love a bit of random. To go truly random is a risk that can really pay off. It’s also great for stashbusting. Is random really random though? It’s fun blindly grabbing yarn and putting it all together in a crochet blanket, it can lead to some very interesting results, it can also backfire tremendously! Arbitrary colour placement can sometimes get you in dodgy situations, but you might also discover that those weird colours actually look fantastic sat side by side. My only rule about placing colours randomly is not to have the same shades too close to one another. And I think I’ve broken that rule a couple of times too.

When I’m making a blanket that’s going to be random I like to choose a minimum of seven colours. Fewer than that and it’s going to be tricky mixing up the colours effectively. More than fifteen colours and you might lose any colour balance you’re trying to acheive. Blankets where I’ve used over thirty colours have looked like a dog’s dinner. They’ve also looked pretty good too if you’re after something you’d find at Granny’s house.

proper-crochet-granny-blanket

Get Organised

Don’t want to risk random? Then everything needs to be worked out before you even pick up your hook. I’ve already confessed that I’m Random so to be properly organised you probably shouldn’t listen to me. I’m talking colour wheels, yarn pegs, pre-made crochet squares a la Attic 24 and The Patchwork Heart. It’s really not my area! I’m pretty envious of these super organised people, I don’t know why it doesn’t work for me. Oh yes, it’s because I’m lazy!! Instead of taking the time to organise my yarn stash, you’ll most likely find me sat in a tangle of mismatched balls, whilst umming and ahhing about what I’ve got enough of, to eek out into a small blanket.

If you’d rather be in control of colour choices then Attic 24 and the Patchwork Heart are definitely the crochet folk you need to visit. You’ll learn about matching warm and cool colours  so that the balance brings out the best in all shades. You’ll find out about whether you prefer contrasting or complimentary colours too. Maybe once the decision has been made, you could get fancy and choose an ombre style, go for block colours or get your rainbow on! Of course, you’ll then get lost in a sea of crochet and colour, but that’s not such a bad place to be.

Crochet ripples. block colour blanket.

Ways to Cheat the Crochet Colour

It’s time to get cheaty. If you’re still struggling with colours then here are a few pointers to help. If you can’t be bothered with a methodical approach and you don’t have the time for a potentially hazardous risk then these tricks might be the ticket.

  1. This is controversial. Find a blanket someone else has made and copy it! Loads of blogs (including mine) will share the brands of yarn and colour choices so that it’s easy to do. I would add that if you do this then please always credit the creator. If I’ve been inspired by someone I will always say so. Copying is a good starting point if you’re a beginner. Gradually you can move away from this once you’ve got more confidence. Copying will become less literal, the original design will be more of an inspiration. An homage or something! Look at blogs, Ravelry, Pinterest, Instagram etc.

crochet blanketThis blanket was inspired by Crochet With Raymond. I loved the colours and grabbed some similar Stylecraft colours . I wrote a blog post about it in more detail.

crochet chair drapageThese are the colours from Attic 24’s Harmony blanket but with a different granny square. Read about it here.

2. Find inspiration from pictures.  I love finding pictures in magazines and using them as a starting point. What’s particularly brilliant about this is that current magazines will have on-trend colours (if that’s what you’re after). Even a picture of a person in a room is great. You’ll see the colours of the decor or the clothes the person is wearing. Craft magazines are perfect, they’ll be completely switched on with regard to colour palettes and tonal balance. Also look at books and illustrations.

granny square blanket for the fireside. Here is my Fireplace blanket, inspired by fireplace tiles (a special request from my sister in law and a great idea).

green crochet circle blanketThis green curiosity was surprisingly inspired by Meg and Mog. I’m not sure I’m keen. It was an interesting experiment!

3. Go back to nature. Look at a garden you like, where’s your favourite place to be? What mood does that place evoke? Take a picture of a scene that’s good and use it. The seaside seems to be an inspiration for many, as does woodland. Maybe some city lights could conjure up a good bunch of colours. I can’t remember doing this if I’m being honest. I know it’s a thing, I’ve seen it!

New crochet blankets

4.  Let technology help you. Design Seeds is a big one. Lots and lots of ready to use colour palettes. Or you can create your own with Playcrafts. The palette builder on Playcrafts is fabulous (I got lost in there once. Hours of entertainment). Imagine if a big yarn brand had something like this, it would be amazing! They also have the Colour Play generator, which is interesting. You can sort by hue, saturation or value. There are apps aplenty that do palette builders too. I’ve got one called Real Colours. I’ve been testing lots of pictures from my phone gallery! Based on colour theory, which I mentioned earlier, is the Adobe colour wheel. It was fun to tinker with but I’m not sure I’d want to use it all the time. Don’t forget there’s Random.Org if you want to generate a list of colours or something similar. Phew, technology is good innit?!

crochet-granny-blanketAnyway, who am I to tell you what to do?! You can do what you like. That’s the beauty of crochet! There are endless possibilities and the freedom to play and have fun. If there are any cheating ways I’ve missed, do let me know. I’d love to hear about more ways in which I can cut corners!

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