Monday, 20 January 2014

Stash Blankets for preemies - Blanket Number 1 - Ansell

Hi and thanks for stopping by at The Wool Nest. I hope you've all had a lovely weekend. Mine was nice a relaxing. I barely looked at the computer and I enjoyed my lovely family.

But it's time for confessions. Last week I had what I thought was a great idea - to empty up my yarn stash onto the spare bed and see what I had, decide what to make with it etc. I started with great gusto, cooing over the gorgeous colours and textures, but I soon began to feel somewhat deflated and a little overwhelmed as the yarn seemed never-ending. I'm sure I have magic boxes as I really can't see how all this yarn could possibly fit into my boxes and bags. Where did all this come from??? (and this isn't all of it!!!)

So the question is - what can I do with it? Give it to friends? Organise a yarn swap? or do something useful with it. So I sat and had a long think and my little head started spinning with ideas. I've really enjoyed being part of the crochet camp granny square one-a-day project and so I hatched a plan.

I decided that I would try out all of the fabulous free patterns for granny squares that we've been pinning to Pinterest (here) and make mini granny blankets that are suitable for premature babies. That way I can enjoy my yarn, enjoy the process of trying new squares, try different techniques for joining squares and share my experience with you. Then at the end of the project I'll have lots of small baby blankets that I can donate to charities or hospitals for premature babies and hopefully I will have inspired others to do something similar.

So I mooched into my stash and found some oddments of acrylic yarns that I've had for years and years. Indivudally they're not very exciting really, but put them together and you get something really pretty (and practical too).  Say hello to Ansell - my first baby blanket. Ansell means "God's Protection" which I thought was fitting for a preemie blanket. 

Here are the steps you can follow to make your own Ansell blanket and I've also documented the problems I came across:

Step 1. Choose your colours:
I chose 5 colours of double knitting from my stash - cream for the main colour and 4 contrast colours. You'll need around 35g-40g of each contrast colour and around 60-70g of the main colour.

Step 2. Choose your granny:
I kept it simple for the first one and chose a plain 4-round granny square following the tutorial here, I was inspired by this pretty image over at a conversation with moo

Granny Square Baby Blanket_8asml 

For each granny I worked the first round in a contrast colour and the remaining 3 rounds in my main colour cream. I made 4 with a yellow centre, 2 with a blue centre, 2 with a variegated blue centre and 1 with a navy centre.

issue 1: my yellow yarn, although it's double knitting, was very thin compared to the other yarns, therefore the stitches were noticably smaller than the other colours. 
Solution: I frogged my yellow centre and re-worked it with a large hook (I tried 5mm and it worked a treat).

Step 3. Join the grannies:
I stitched my 9 small squares together to make 1 larger square for the centre, using a double crochet on the wrong side, following Lucy's tutorial here. However, I mistakenly worked through both loops of each stitch and mistakenly used double crochet instead of slip stitch, so my joins look a little different on the front, although still nice and neat. The seams shown below are the wrong side of the blanket and I think the seams are a little too thick for my liking so I'll do it correctly next time!!:

Step 4. Working around the grannies:
Next, I started to work around the large centre square, working 3 treble into each space with 1ch between each set of trebles and 3tr, 2ch, 3tr into each corner. I worked 2 rounds cream/3 rounds yellow/1 round cream/3 rounds variegated blue/1 round cream/3 rounds blue.

issue 2: After joining the 9 squares, along the outer edge, there is one corner space on either side of the join line (from the individual squares). Initally, I worked 3tr into each of these spaces, but when I'd completed the round I could see it looked a little ruffled and I realised there were too many groups of treble along each side.  
Solution: I frogged the round and instead of working 3tr into each corner space on either side of the join line, I worked 3tr into the join line and missed the spaces on either side. This reduced my groups of treble by 3 on each side of the blanket and it worked perfectly.

Step 5: Edge your blanket:
I always like to finish my blanket with a defined edge, so I worked a treble border all around the edge in Navy. I worked 1tr into every treble and also 1tr into every 1ch. Into corners I worked 5tr.

And there we have it - approximately 10 hours of crochet and the result is rather lovely (I hope you agree).

I just hope I can find the time each weekend to make a blanket. My plan is for one a week which hopefully means 52 blankets in a year. Now that should make a nice hole in my stash and also bring comfort to those born early.

What do you think? If you'd like to join me then please feel free and we can work out where to send our blankets when we're ready. I'd love to hear if you're interested. Happy Crafting xx

1 comment:

  1. It's beautiful :-) What a nice idea for all your yarn. I donate preemie items to a hospital in Maryland. Debi from organizes it. But I'm sure wherever you send your projects, they'll be appreciated.