This year appears to be the year of crochet. At least, for me it is. I have so many projects that I want to try and definitely not enough time! About a month ago I went through my yarn and kitted up seven or eight blankets for Project Linus. Very few people know my process, so I thought it might be fun to show you how I do it. Often I will spend a few hours kitting up several blankets so that I don’t have to do it very often.
My first step is to draw my blanket template on a piece of paper with the required info that I use for each blanket.
As you can see, I have my blank blanket shape on the left. At the top right it says, “88 rows, 1oz approx equals 3 rows, ch 154, I hook.”
I like to use 88 rows because it’s an easy number for me to remember (88 keys on a piano… it only has to make sense to me, not you). Not every blanket is 88 rows. It all depends on how the pattern is turning out and if I calculated the amount of yarn correctly. Typically they are and they turn out to be around 39″ x 54″. I like this size because it’s not too big for a little kid and yet a teenager could use it as a lap blanket, too.
I use #4 worsted weight 100% acrylic yarn and have approximated that I can get about 3 rows out of 1 oz when I make a blanket this size. I like the ripple pattern because it’s easy to remember and gives the blanket a bit of interest. Also, the lady that I first started following who crocheted a LOT of blankets for charity used the ripple pattern. The pattern that I use is essentially the Rustic Ripple by Terry Kimbrough, but with some alterations that the woman used for her blankets and then I threw in a few of my own. It all came about from trial and error.
Now onto the fun part. I stand in front of the yarn pile and let my gaze wander.
Since these blankets are for kids I try to make them fun and interesting. To me, that means starting with multi-colored yarn. So I pick a few out of the pile to see what jumps out at me.
As I look at these I consider the colors and first determine if any of them turn me off instantly. If no, then I think about the blankets I’ve crocheted recently and determine if I’m tired of using a certain color. Then I analyze the colors to see if there are any that I’ve been looking forward to trying. This usually helps me narrow it down to my starting point.
I have decided to go with the Sweet Roll green and brown color. Now, what goes with it? What would make for an interesting blanket? I tried out two different greens to see which one went better with it. I also had a yellow that I thought might make an interesting color pop.
When I think that I might have a set of colors I stand back and look at it. Hmmm.. nope. This doesn’t pass the test. Back to the yarn pile.
Should I keep the current brown or go with a lighter version?
No, I don’t really like that. Okay, what goes with everything but isn’t going to really stick out?
Off-white! That will look nice.
And I’m not feeling the yellow, so that gets tossed back on the yarn pile. That leaves me with this:
I kind of like that. The brown will only be used to anchor the blanket (I like to use dark colors on the ends as my anchors), and then I will feature the multi-color Sweet Roll. This yarn will essentially do stripes of color, it won’t be variegated and all mixed up. I’m not really sure how that’s going to look so I think that using the off-white to balance it out might help. And who knows, I could get into the first section of Sweet Roll and decide that I hate it and change it completely.
Now that I have the colors that I want to use it’s time to draw the map.
*WARNING!!! – MATH AHEAD*
On my paper I write down the colors that I’m going to use, the quantity that I have, and I calculate about how many rows that will give me.
Remember, I am striving for an 88 row blanket so knowing about how many rows I can get out of each color is important to me.
I’ll anchor the blanket with the Cappuccino, give it a little break with some off-white, and then I have three skeins of the Sweet Roll, so I will do three big blocks of it:
I don’t really want to break into a new skein of Cappuccino for this blanket, so I’m playing it safe and only doing 16 rows in total of it (per my calculations I can do up to 27). Next comes the off-white, and let’s do 4 rows each. I make the dividing lines for the three blocks of Sweet Roll and a stripe of off-white in between each. Now this is where I really start to play with the numbers.
I won’t take you through all of my maze of thoughts, but here’s where I ended up:
As you can see, I changed the number of rows for the Cappucino and the off-white. I stuck with the 12 rows each for the Sweet Roll due to my uncertainty about how it’s going to look. This gives me a little wiggle room if I want to increase those sections by a few rows and decrease the off-white blocks in between. We’ll see how I feel when I get to those sections.
Once I have this all figured out I put the yarn in a plastic bag, along with the map that I just drew, and put it in the pile.
When I finish a blanket and want to start another one all I have to do is grab a bag and go. Everything is already worked out and put together. It makes things so much easier!
You’re probably wondering if I stick to my maps and just how close do these blankets turn out as compared to what I drew? Well, as you can see, the size of the stripe on my drawing doesn’t always correspond to the number of rows that I end up crocheting. Here are a couple of examples:
That one was pretty close. As you can see, though, each section had the same number of rows. That makes it a little easier to visualize.
I wanted to show you this one because it shows that I often change things on the fly. These changes all happened after I started crocheting and saw how the variegated yarn was coming out. Also, you can see that I was only ch 153 at the beginning of this one, but I had trouble getting the rows to come out at the beginning and had to increase. So, I increased my ch and it worked. That’s why I always write how many to ch so that I don’t have to think about it otherwise I’m sure I would revert back to the 153.
Anyway, I hope that I didn’t bore you. I just thought some might find it interesting to see how I pick the colorways for these blankets.