She makes the most amazing crochet blankets (and other things) that are so full of colour and life, it's hard not to be influenced by them. She also freely shares the most amazing photo tutorials of just how she makes everything and exactly which colours she used - she even has her own "shop" with Wool Warehouse so you can buy a pack with all the right colours with a printed copy of the pattern in it. Brilliant!
One of her makes is her Cosy Stripe Blanket - a very simple but effective pattern of 2 rows of trebles and 2 rows of grannies, with regular colour changes. Clearly it had been rolling around in the back of my head for a long time, so when I wanted to make a lap blanket for my Dad for Christmas I knew straight away which pattern to use.
When choosing the colours for him, I may also have been influenced to some extent by her Moorland Blanket as I went for a small selection of earthy tones that I decided to call "Woodland Walk".
(NB Can I just make it absolutely clear at this point that "my" Cosy Stripe Blanket is based entirely on Lucy's design; it isn't my own and I don't claim it as such - I just gave it a little tweak. If you'd like to make your own version, just click on the link above to go to her blog and her excellent instructions.)
I wanted it to work up quite quickly (I'm impatient and a man wouldn't necessarily want a "delicate" double knit blanket) so I opted for an aran yarn that's 100% acrylic so it can be easily washed and tumble dried.
I worked my sample again in a cotton yarn so you can see what I mean more clearly -
Here is the pattern worked as it should be - on the left it is viewed from the "right side" and the "wrong side" is on the right. Can you see how the hole on the second pink row looks squished down when compared with the first row?? Now here's my little tweak -
This is how I did it - when I worked into the third treble of each granny I did this -
Yarn over hook, pull a loop through that 3rd st, then put the hook through the "granny hole" and pull through another loop. There are now 4 loops on the hook. Yarn over hook and pull through 3 of the loops on the hook, then finally, yarn over hook and pull through the last 2 loops on the hook.
This will be the same height as the other treble stitches so will blend in nicely, whilst at the same time keeping the grannies separated. I toyed with the idea of repeating this on the first stitch of the granny as well but decided just once was enough.
Having made my small sample in my adapted stitch pattern, I measured carefully and calculated how many stitches I would need to make a lap blanket 33 inches wide, plus a small border.
And one day I will learn that I need to make a bigger sample to get a decent idea of gauge!! I made a blanket 126 stitches across fully expecting a measurement of 33 inches but it actually came out at 31 inches... But it's a lap blanket so luckily 31 inches was fine. Had I been planning a bed blanket and needed a particular width to fit the bed, I would not have been happy when I had to unpick and start again! So remember - a tension square that is only 16 stitches wide (yes, I just did 16 stitches...) will simply cause tension later!! Much better to go for 40 or 50 stitches. It will take longer to do but will save you time in the long run!!
My Woodland Walk Lap Blanket is made using King Cole Big Value Aran in the following colours -
By using an odd number of colours with a pattern that had an even number of rows, I found that each colour repeat alternated between grannies and trebles. ie the first block of five colours started with grey trebles and the second block started with grey grannies (if you'll pardon the pun!) and this added to the overall texture nicely. I used the colours in the order listed above and each block of 5 colours was repeated 9 times before I just about ran out of wool. I unpicked my (tiny) test piece and re-used the wool so I could finish with the same colour I started with, then managed a single row of half trebles along each side edge, one in brown and one green.
It worked up really fast in aran with just 46 stripes altogether (92 rows). I stitched in all the ends (should have done that as I went along...) and popped it in the wash, then did a tiny bit of steam blocking just to make sure the corners would lie flat. Would you like to see it again??
As you can see, the size is just right for a lap blanket. Even if my Dad didn't look thrilled, he did like it and uses it regularly.
I enjoyed making it so much that I went back and bought another ball of each colour and made a second lap blanket for a friend. I reduced the width by 6 stitches so that there would be just a bit more wool left for the border. There was still very little left but I managed a row of trebles (2 trebles into each row of pattern), topped with a row of double crochet. Still not much but it didn't really need much to be honest.
I'm already onto my 3rd blanket using the following colours and have added another tweak -
I call this blanket my "Winter Berry Blanket" due to the colours and the little berry-like bumps.
Worked in aran again on a 5mm hook, I started with a treble foundation row of 171 sts. I only really had 4 colours to work with as I could only get one ball of the 5th colour. I had wanted to work a row of bumps on both sides of the blanket but one ball wouldn't allow that, so they only appear on one side.
The bumps are taken from the "Circle of Friends Square" by Patricia Hewitt. They are always worked from the same side and are made by working a *double crochet, then a double treble, then another double crochet*, repeat from * to *. (The bump stitch should be made into the middle stitch of the granny cluster and you "push it" away from you as you work.)
Like I say, the bumps are only visible on one side and the other side has a narrow smooth stripe.
I worked two rows of each of the other 4 colours, using the tweaked Cosy Stripe Pattern as with my previous blanket, then a single row of bumps. I repeated this 11 times, then weighed all the remaining yarn and tried to work out if there was enough for another set of stripes as well as a border or not. I decided there wasn't, so just repeated the starting colour (grey) so the blanket would have the same colour at each end.
For the sides, I decided to switch to a smaller hook as I hate a wavy edge, so used a 4mm and worked 2 trebles into each row end (that's 4 per stripe) and only one treble into each bobble row. I then turned the blanket and worked back along the row but decreased one stitch when I got to the bobble row.
I now have two rows of grey trebles that goes all the way round.
I wanted a row of bobbles to go all the way round too, so did that next - making sure the bobbles were on the same side as all the others, with the same spacing and worked a bobble right into the corner stitch.
Then came 2 rows of trebles all the way round in mauve (keeping the colour sequence correct), with 5 trebles in the corner stitch. (Be sure to turn the work on every row now, to stop the border curling.)
At this point I was worried the border was starting to get wavy even though I was using a smaller hook, so I finished with 1 row of oatmeal half trebles and 1 row of burgundy half trebles, each with 3 stitches in the corner.
The border is very simple but finishes the blanket nicely. I gave it a quick machine wash, then pinned it out to size to dry naturally, although the yarn can be tumble dried if needed.
And it looks FAB!! And is for sale in my Folksy shop...
I hope you like my little tweaks but remember, the original pattern is by Lucy (links at the top of the page) and her tutorial is fabulous!!