Please read the notes further down before using the chart, tempting though it is to jump straight in!!
And why "Tooty" ??...
Firstly though, let me explain why is it called The Tooty Stripey Blanket?? Well, that's because the James Brett colours I'm using remind me of good old Tooty Fruity sweets from my childhood!
They were one of my favourites - apart from the purple ones! Did anyone like the purple ones back then?? They'd probably taste completely different to me now - I wonder if you can still buy them?...
I wanted to recreate the stripey blanket I made back in early 2013 but incorporating some of the more interesting stitches I have learned in the intervening years. I was only just starting out with crochet blankets back then and didn't know many stitches at all, certainly nothing fancy or textured.
But I've come a long way since then!
Whilst I see lots of amazing and inspiring crochet out there in blogland, I still love to make up my own patterns where I can. Or if I'm following a pattern, very often I can't help adapting it and tweaking it as I go!
I tried to use Allsorts of different stitches to give my blanket plenty of interest and texture and lots of colour!! Just right for a baby. But more importantly - it is completely reversible and has no wrong side. Each side has as much interest and texure as the other. One of my little bugbears is seeing blankets being used by people who can't crochet and using them wrong side up!!
So, without further ado, here's how I did it.
James Brett Supreme DK, which is 70% acrylic and 30% polyamide. (Apparently the polyamide helps makes it super soft and more durable, so it's perfect for baby blankets that might need regular washing.)
My original pastel rainbow palette consists of the following (shade number in brackets) -
Pale Blue (5)
Pale Pink (6)
Mid Pink (11)
The variegated yarn is from their Stonewashed range. I chose colour no. SW2, as it looked like it would pick up several of the other colours. (I've now seen some more colours in the range that would have fitted in well, and would replace the variegated colour with one of these.)
How much did I use?? Well, some pattern rows used short stitches so used less yarn than those which were taller, or textured. So if you're using stash yarn, make sure you have 35g of each colour. That will be enough to include the granny stitch border rows. I used a total of 300g.
I used them in a reasonably random order but did try to make sure that each eleven rows had all the colours in it. If you prefer though, you could use your colours in a set order as I did with my second blanket - it will look equally good and requires less thinking, so you can just get on with the hooking!!
I have recently heard about a couple of websites that produce "random" colour sequences for you. You enter the colours you are using, number of rows per stripe etc, and it produces a nice and even but random sequence. The second site even lets you choose exactly which shades of Stylecraft or Deramores yarn you want to use!
Initially, I made a test granny square with sizes 3.5mm, 4mm, 4.5mm & 5mm but decided I liked the look of the "fabric" best with a 4.5mm hook.
Strictly speaking, tension is not important, as long as you work to an even tension. As this is a small blanket, the finished size is easily adjusted by working more or less border rows.
I wanted a blanket size of about 25" x 30" including the border and with my own personal tension that was roughly 90 stitches for the main body, then a 2 1/2 inch border. I decided to go for a number that was divisible by 3 (a granny stitch), plus 1 stitch at each end - 92 stitches.
Edit- Although, thinking about it now, one of my pattern rows has an 8 stitch repeat, so you might be better off choosing a starting chain which is a multiple of 24, plus 2. (24 being divisible by both 3 and 8.)
As my own tension can be tight, especially with chain stitch, I prefer to do a "treble foundation" row, rather than a chain foundation, which means I don't need to add on any turning chains to my total.
If I had been working a foundation chain, I would have started with a chain of 90 plus 2 end stitches, plus 3 turning chain - a total of 95. But it really is worth learning how to do a treble foundation for a blanket made in rows. Once you've got the hang of it you won't look back!
Another good thing about a treble foundation row is that you have nice stitches to work into when you come to work the border, rather than trying to work into the "back bumps" of a chain foundation.
Also, I should mention here that I made sure the colours for my first two rows, were repeated as the last rows, so they became part of the border. This is not essential, although I do tell you further down how to work your border assuming you have done this.
Check your stitch count
I'd advise you to check your stitch count regularly, especially after "straightening" a shell row etc, although don't worry if your stitch count goes up or down one or two stitches now and then - sometimes it does depending on the stitch pattern you're working but make sure it goes back to your normal count in a row or two.
There are 4 pages in total, one is the guide to all my symbols and any special (ie made up) stitches I used and then 3 pages of row by row charted instructions. NB The rows are worked back and forth, that is, you need to turn your work on every row. If you want the blanket to be reversible you need to remember to turn the work, otherwise you might find you have all your textured stitches on one side....
It might be an idea to put a label on each side so you can see at a glance if you need to work an odd numbered row, or an even row.
An important thing to mention as well, is that my chart does not show any turning chains. Use them if you wish but I much prefer to use "standing stitches" and as I change colour on every row they are a much neater solution than turning chains.
And I tried hard to draw it in such a way that it's obvious that you work into the stitches of the previous row, or between clusters etc. I did take a gazillion photos along the way too - not quite a photo of every row but nearly. I'll come back and add those later. (Maybe!)
CLICK HERE to pop across to Ravelry to download my chart in UK terms - or perhaps I should say, my hieroglyphics!! (Why not have a look at some of my projects while you're there??)
The chart doesn't include what colour to work on each row, as ideally you will actually choose and arrange your own colours. But should you want to do the same as me, then use this Colour Sequence List. (It differs very slightly from what you will see in my photos as I needed to add 3 rows when I tested the pattern. )
(You'll notice some stars next to line 13 - I had trouble working out the stitch count for the pattern and wonder whether I "fudged it" at the time. I'm working on this now and when I work out what it is I'll amend the chart and upload it to Ravelry as an update.)
**TEMPORARY ERRATA **
These are the errors I've found so far and I corrected and uploaded the chart to Ravelry in Mi-August 2017. (You may have had a message via Ravelry to tell you there was an update to download.) I have left them here in case you don't want to download and print again.
Row 6 should start & finish with 2tr
Row 12 begin row with 2tr in first st ,2ch : & end row with 2ch, 2tr in last st
Row 13 begin row with tr in first st, 2tr in ch space : end with 2tr in ch space, tr in last st
Rows 7 - 9 scribble out the last but one stitch on each row
Row 16 - 20 scribble out the first & last stitch on each row
Row 20A I realise now that there s/b an even number of wave rows, so after row 20 repeat row 19, then insert another row - number 51.
Row 33 make same change as row 13, described above
Row 58 This row only uses trebles. Any stitch shown as a half treble should actually be a treble.
Row 61 I realise now that I’ve done too many decreases as I straightened the ripple!!
You need to replace 3tr tog with (1tr, 2tr tog).
Now, in true "Blue Peter Fashion" (ie, here's one I made earlier!), I'm going to assume that you've happily worked the whole of my chart and you now have a blanket that just needs a border.Straightening the Edges
So lets assume you've worked all 82 rows of your blanket and you're reading to give it a border. If you read the note above and on the "Guide to symbols" page of the chart, you will have seen I opted to repeat 2 colours which then became part of the border. Row one was variegated trebles and row 2 lilac half trebles ; row 81 lilac half trebles and row 82 variegated trebles.
Along the side edges I added a row of lilac half trebles, topped with variegated trebles. To me, this really finished off the pattern and "separated" it from the main border.
But lets straighten any wonky edges first!
Because I used lots of different stitches I found my side edges went in and out, in and out - this was partly down to my (slightly) tight tension, especially when I worked the first V stitch row as I only did 1 chain in each V - the chart now tells you to do 2!
Doesn't that wonky edge look plain AWFUL?! But don't worry, a little steam blocking at this stage can help straighten that out before you add your border. (My second blanket in rainbow colours was not as bad.)
Measure the widest part of your blanket and pin your blanket out, gently stretching it out to get nice straight sides, adding pins as you go to hold it in place. Then get your steam iron - and being extremely careful not to touch the iron to the blanket - steam your whole blanket section by section, paying particular attention to the areas you know you had to stretch a bit. Then leave it alone until it is completely dry. This will mean at least overnight.
Doesn't that look better?? And don't worry about all my ends. I did weave them in carefully but read somewhere that you should leave the ends hanging afterwards until you've washed and dried the finished blanket, then snip them off. The theory behind this is that washing and drying can pull your blanket about and you might find little cut ends start popping up. So wait until that pulling about has happened, then cut your ends. And believe me, it can be quite satisfying sitting down with a glass of wine and going snip, snip, snip!!! Whether this method actually works better than cut as you go, I couldn't say though.
The Inner Border
I worked a row of lilac half trebles into the edges of the rows and just did as many as was needed so there were no little gaps anywhere. Don't work into the side of the variegated trebles at each end though, stop at the lilac rows.
This may actually be too many for your border and it might start to "wave" and I like a perfectly flat border. So I needed to do a bit of maths before working a row of trebles in variegated.
I measured exactly in centimeters across several rows of trebles in the blanket and took an average - 53 cm. I divided my original 92 stitches this figure by to get the exact number of stitches per cm ( what you might call my tension). Then I measured the length of the blanket - again taking an average. I multiplied that figure by my stitches per cm, to give me the actual number of stitches I needed on each side.
My blanket width was 53 cm and 92 stitches = 1.74 stitches per cm.
The side edge measures 71.5 cm, therefore 71.5 x 1.74 = 124 stitches needed for the side edge.
Now count how many half trebles you've actually worked (I had done 146) and take that away from how many trebles you need to do next.
146 - 124 = 22 stitches too many. Divide 124 by 22 to gauge roughly how often you need to work a decrease on your trebles row to reduce your stitch count to 146 (or whatever number you need for your blanket).
124 / 22 = 5.6
When I worked my next row in trebles, I did 4 tr, tr2tog. Two or three times I had to work 5 tr not 4tr but by the end of the row I had reduced my overall stitch count to 124.
You also need to work 2 trebles into the side of each variegated treble on the two end rows, as shown in the photo below, to get the corners nice and square and make it look as if you have two rows of colour that go right round your blanket. These extra trebles increased my stitch count to 128 on the side edge. Yours obviously, may be a little different.
Repeat this on the other side and make sure you get exactly the same number of stitches.
The Outer Border
Now you're ready to start your proper border. You can do whatever suits you and your blanket but I went for simple granny stitches on mine. (I'll show you an alternative further down later, as I was running very low on yarn for my second blanket and had to go for something much simpler!)
For a granny stitch, your stitch count needs to be divisible by 3, plus 2 - and as it happens both my short or long edges are just right at 92 and 128 stitches each!!
I worked 5 rows of trebles, so decide which colours and their order from the yarn you have left. Remember, you want your border to enhance and finish your blanket, not detract from the main body.
Starting in a corner stitch, make (3 tr, ch2, 3 tr), *skip 2 sts, work 3tr into next st*, repeat from * to * to last 2 stitches. Work (3 tr, ch2, 3 tr) into the corner stitch, then repeat from * until you have gone all the way around the blanket. Cut the yarn and work an invisible join.
Turn the work and join your next colour into the corner stitch and repeat the above process. Keep doing this until your border is the desired depth - I did 5 rows.
I then chose to work a row a loops along the very edge. Double crochet into any space, ch4, dc into next space. Repeat until you reach a corner, then (dc, picot, dc) into the corner space. (Picot = ch3, slst into the first ch) and continue like this until you have edged the whole blanket.
And that's it - you're finished!! Give yourself a pat on the back!!
You might want to give your blanket a proper wash and block, then trim off all the ends if you haven't already, before using it.
I'd really love to see the blankets made with my pattern and hope you either drop me a line or link them to my design in Ravelry. Or post them on Instagram with the hashtag #tootystripeyblanket.
And please, whilst I am quite happy for you to share a link to my pattern, please don't share the pattern file itself.
The Tooty Stripey Blanket is entirely my own design (with the exception of one new stitch by Juliet, I didn't even check any books or blogs for how to work the individual stitch patterns) but I have learned my craft at the knee of others - and probably been inspired by their colour choices too.
If you'd like to take a little wander around blogland at all the lovely people who have inspired me with their work and taught me with their fabulous tutorials, then please take the time to have a good look round all of these -
Lucy of Attic24
Jacquie of Bunny Mummy
Hannah of Not Your Average Crochet
Vanessa of Coco Rose Diaries
Sandra of Cherry Heart
Julie of Little Woollie
Heather of Little Tin Bird
Sue of Suz Place& 8th Gem
Dedri of Lookatwhatimade
Claire of Mrs Brown Makes
Esther of It's All in a Nutshell
Tatsiana of LillaBjorn's Crochet World
Angie of Le Monde de Sucrette
Juliet of Yarn is the Answer
They're all women. Fancy that...
Have a look over at Craftsy (you don't need to be a member, just scroll down) for How to read a Crochet Chart