This is the other major project that I'm working on at the moment - a blanket for my little boy, Oliver. Yes, two blankets at once - I know how silly that is - now. (And that's not even counting the other couple of blankets I've experimented with, and "sort-of" started!)
So, how did this all begin?
Well, one day, not long after I'd started on Rosie's Rainbow Ripple, I was quite surprised to hear my son say "Mum, what are you going to make me?". I hadn't thought he'd be the slightest bit interested in my crochet or in blankets. But he actually, genuinely wanted his Mummy to make him a blankie. Which I thought was really sweet.
(You see, this is yet another thing I Never Knew, Never Expected: not only do my children tolerate me crocheting, they find it curious and interesting, they actually even like it!)
I had borrowed a book from our local library: "Best Baby Afghans" by Leisure Arts. I had been looking through it just out of curiosity, just to learn a little more and get new ideas. I showed it to Oliver and said "pick one from here if you like". He had a quick browse and chose one within a minute. "That one" he said. He liked the name.
I was of course a little cautious about starting a big project on a 6-year-old's whim, so I checked and double-checked for a couple of days. There was no changing his mind - this was the one. Okay, I said, and I started investigating yarn options online. I found something on ebay that I have been very happy with. It's been discontinued but you can still get it online here and there (more about it below).
I started this blanket while we were on holidays in Tasmania in January, 2010. Actually, you can see me working on it in my profile pic on the side bar; here's a bigger picture of me working on it:
This was taken when we were taking a break while bush-walking in Cradle Mountain National Park. Yes, I took crochet with me on a bush-walk. Hey, I have little kids, I knew we'd be having lots of rests! :-)
It's a beautiful part of the world. Have a look at some pics if you're curious: here and here.
(That's why I am wearing such warm clothes in this photo. Normally I only wear clothes like this for about 2 or 3 months of the year - in June and July, and sometimes August. Summer in Tasmania is MUCH colder than our winters in the Whitsundays!)
Anyway, I digress - sorry - back to the blanket ...
The pattern is actually quite simple: double crochets (that's a UK treble) and chain spaces, and the longer stitch is created by looping into the chain-spaces and creating a "long double crochet".
It's really quite easy once you try it. The basic repeating pattern can be found online in various places. At this link a helpful lady called Teresa shows the stitch using those pattern diagrams and also explains it in words, and over here she shows a video tutorial. Teresa calls it the "larksfoot"; Leisure Arts call their pattern "Rock-a-bye Rainsong", because the repeated pattern kind-of looks like falling rain...
This is much narrower than Rosie's Rainbow Ripple (I learned my lesson!) so I find it easier going. Also this heavier yarn makes a big difference. That said, I did put it aside for a while during summer as it was just unbearable to have it across me as I worked on it (gee, it's a hard life up here in North Queensland, all this sunny weather!) But now I am back into it. My goal is to find time to do one stripe (ie two rows) every day for the month of May. It's about 30 stripes already so that would double it and maybe almost finish it. Then I'll have to decide on an edge - the one in the pattern (which is a little bit lacy-looking) or something simpler?
Now, about the yarn. It's by Patons: Washed Haze Aran. It is 60% cotton, 40% acrylic. I think it's worsted weight, that is, it's heavier than 8ply (DK weight), and they suggest 4.5mm needles for it (I'm using a 5mm hook). It feels kinda weird while working with it, not wooly in the slightest - but also not acrylic-y - just sort-of strange. But when the yarn is made up into the blanket, it feels really lovely: smooth and soft and warm and not at all fluffy or itchy. It think it's a great yarn and I wish it was still easily available.
And what I really like about this blanket is that Oliver still loves it! He curls up under it in front of the telly or while we're reading a bedtime story. He loves the feel of it and seems to find it so ... comforting... which is just so nice for me to see.
It seems that my kids are building up an association here: crochet = mum. And since they still think I'm awesome (they are not teenagers yet!), this appears to be leading to: crochet = mum = wonderful. :-) So nice. :-)
Hmmmm... "A stripe day in the month of May"... can I stick to my goal? At the moment I think so!
I promise to keep you posted. And, may I say, thank you so very much for all the lovely comments people have been leaving on my blog. They cheer me up and really keep me motivated to keep going with both this blog and my crochet. I really love reading them and hearing from you all, so please keep 'em coming. :-)
Until next time,
P.S. I'll leave you with a pic of my two big projects hanging around together...
P.P.S. If you want to see other examples of this blanket, I have only found two in the general online world: here and here. Members of Ravelry can see 18 versions of it under the name "Rock-a-bye Rainsong".
Have a great day! :)