Thursday, 24 November 2016

Snuggly blankets for winter warmth

As autumn turns to winter, the days get shorter and the temperature drops, my numerous colourful and cosy crocheted blankets come into their own.  One of my favourite things to crochet is blankets - I love the cosiness of them on my knees as I complete them, I love the endless pattern and colour combinations, and I love that they have a practical use, especially when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

My collection of crocheted blankets all ready for use.  Subtle they ain't...

And boy we've had some strange old weather this week!  Winter is most definitely making itself known here…  A couple of days ago we had the most horrendous rain, sheets and sheets of it, blown around by gusts of squally winds.  As a dog owner this is my most hated kind of weather - rain I can handle, wind I can handle, but not together.  I've come in from walking the dog a couple of times this week absolutely soaked to the skin, which hasn't happened for quite some time.  The dog didn't seem to mind though… I think this awful weather was the last hurrah of Storm Angus, which battered the southern half of England and also caused all manner of flooding in parts not too distant from us; thankfully we missed out on the absolute worst stuff this time, but I spared more than one thought for those who took the brunt of it.

The last two days, however, have been stunning - very cold yes, but absolutely beautiful.  Clear wintery skies and the very last autumnal leafy colours.  This was the view from our front door this morning...

The church tower has actual ringing bells which ease us into Sunday
most weekends - one of my most favourite sounds

Isn't it pretty?  Just look at that expanse of blue sky… Now that the trees have pretty much shed all their leaves we get the most fantastic view of the hills again, and I never ever tire of it.  We're truly blessed to be surrounded by some stunning countryside and I never forget how lucky we are to see even a snippet of it from our house. 

Anyway, back to the blankets.  If you're just learning to crochet, you could do worse than to try making a simple blanket.  Why not start by making a granny square, and then just keep going?  That's what I did with one of my first attempts - granted it was a bit wonky in places and I missed the odd stitch, but it grew quickly and the repetitive nature of the pattern provided me with some good stitch practice.

Downstairs, we have a selection of three blankets that get used quite regularly.

A riot of colour.  Which isn't unusual in our house.

These colours and patterns just make my heart sing...

I added these simple but really effective flowers on a number of the squares

I use them a lot when I'm sat watching TV or working on my various and varied crochet projects, and the kids also use them when making dens.  I'm not precious about them - there's no point in them just being on display, in fact one of them in particular is covered in dog hair at the moment!  It warms the cockles of my heart to see the kids get so much pleasure out of them.  I also use them to cover my knees when I'm working on the computer - I have one on my knee right now!

I get incredibly cold hands, especially when I'm on the computer. So I crocheted
these hand warmers which go some way to warming my hands up

I don't tend to follow a specific pattern for my blankets.  The one on the left is comprised of lots of granny squares, outlined in white and crocheted together.  I embellished some of the squares with flowers to give the blanket a bit of extra 'oomph'.  The middle blanket is simply rows of half trebles stitches in complementing colours, and the one on the left is a bit brighter again, using rows of a number of different stitches.

I've also made blankets for the children's bedrooms.  The Boy has a blanket made out of granny squares and edged in blue - he absolutely loves it and it's on his bed most evenings.  It also makes an effective train when he's playing at being a King…

I think this might be my favourite blanket of all...

I made the rabbit from a Cotton Pod pattern,
and the dinosaur was from Asda a couple of years ago

The red cushion, pirate cushion and Winnie the Pooh were charity shop finds;
the white cushion is from Ikea and I made the small blue cushion from one of the Boy's old t-shirts

The Girl doesn't have a blanket for her bed but she does have a series of small blankets which she uses when playing in her room.  This is one of the first blankets I ever made…

The Girl chose the colours for her blanket and I think she chose well...
I made the rabbit and the bear for her and bless her, she loves them both dearly

…and this is as much as I can show you of the Girl's room because it's an absolute pigsty at the moment!

As the weather draws in, you won't be surprised to learn that I've started yet another blanket.  You can never have too many, right?!  I tried my hardest to resist starting one though as, to be frank, I've got far too many other things on the go at the moment.  But I've had an idea in my head for some time now and it just won't go away, so I've succumbed.  I really like the idea of pops of colour surrounded by white, and so I've been crocheting circles, simply created out of treble stitches increased on each round.  I've then come up with a way of making each circle into a square by adding rows of white around them (not as easy as it sounds, trust me!).  Once I have enough squares, I'm going to crochet them all together to make a blanket.  My gut feeling is it won't be a huge blanket; I'll probably make one large enough to cover us whilst we're cuddled up on the sofa with mugs of hot chocolate, but you never know - if I get carried away it may end up being larger than I anticipated!  Here's where I'm up to at the moment…

Absolutely thrilled with the colours so far - and feeling somewhat smug that I've managed
to create a stitch pattern to turn the circles into squares - it's like crocheting wizardry!

…it's great for using up oddments of wool from past projects and I can go as wild as I like with the choice of colours.  At the moment I'm concentrating mostly on blues, greys and greens, but I rarely stick to one colour palette so it will probably end up being a riot of colour, unified by the white border.  Once it's finished I'll post some more photos, and I'll also give you the pattern so you can have a go yourself.

Stay warm, wherever you are!

Bye for now xxx

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