2022 is going to be a year where I’m going to try to crochet more for myself and my family. As a crochet designer, I love the design process: solving problems, working out the best way to achieve something. But it’s also very satisfying sometimes to enjoy some mindless, rhythmical crochet, long stretches of repetitive stitches with no counting.
I had the best time last year making a Scrap Yarn crochet blanket that is now known in our family as The Frankenblanket, after the ball of yarn I made for it was called The Frankenball. Since we are all also freezing in our cold house and more blankets will be gratefully received, I made a plan to use up some more odd balls I have in another lap blanket.
Here are the victims. This time it’s Aran (Category 4, US Worsted) weight yarn. The blue and pink yarn is some Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool that I used to make cardigans for children No.2 and No.3. It’s robust rather than soft. The brown and hideous bottle green is King Cole Merino Blend Aran. Lovely soft wool, but I never used them for the intended purpose I bought them years ago, and the horrible colour of the green in particular has prevented me finding any other use for it.
It’s not a very promising collection is it. The best you can say is that they are all cool colours.
So my plan is to choose a design where each colour is used in small quantities at a time. I’m going to lean into the pink and blue colours by adding a neutral mid grey as the main colour, and more blues and purples. The aim is to beat the green and brown into submission or hide them as best as possible.
For the zig-zag blanket pattern itself, I was inspired by this Stash Buster Blanket by Crochet Instinct, mainly because I’ve never made anything using this family of stitches before, and I like the idea of making something bold and striking, because most of my crochet work is the opposite of that!
The pattern is a super-simple repeat of straight rows with regular dropped stitches. This can be worked in different length stitches. I went with what Stephanie uses which is the UK treble [US: double crochet] forming the main body of the blanket with UK triple trebles [US: double triple crochets] as the dropped stitches. I was a little concerned that since it is worked mainly in the back loop only throughout, the blanket might be a bit unstable. However, it’s not at all – in fact I think the dropped stitches help with the stability.
I know this family of stitches has a name – most crocheters will be familiar with it. I just don’t know the history of that name so am reluctant to use it in case I cause offence through ignorance.
Contemplating any type of striped blanket and the weaving in of ends this requires did give me pause after my almost never-ending Granny Stripe Blanket. However, I’ve decided to face my fears and go for it! I really didn’t want to be joining motifs, which was my other main option.
So, with this zig-zag crochet blanket pattern in mind, to my unpromising collection of yarn oddments, I have added a lovely mid grey that is the perfect neutral in the same Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool yarn, a variegated blue/pink yarn that is very similar to the grey in tone. Then I also chose three more bold colours: a purple and cerise in the mid-tone range and a dark navy. I think this pattern needs this number of colours at a minimum.
Of course it’s less than ideal buying yarn online, particularly when you need to match it with something else. I haven’t been to a physical yarn shop for a very long time – there’s none within at least 15 miles – and I like to think I’ve become quite good at judging the colour and nature of yarns online. The trick I think is to find pictures of the yarn you are interested in made up into projects rather than relying on the close-up pictures of the balled yarn usually shown as swatches.
Zig-Zag Crochet Blanket Yarn List
|Yarn Name||Colourway||Quantity||Purchase Price|
|Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool||Celtic Grey||400g||£8.54|
|Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool||Denim||68g||from stash|
|Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool||Tudor Rose||130g||from stash|
|King Cole Merino Blend Aran||Chestnut||35g||from stash|
|King Cole Merino Blend Aran||? (green)||35g||from stash|
|King Cole Acorn Aran||Cranberry (variegated blue/pink)||100g||£4.19|
|King Cole Fashion Aran||Iona (cerise)||100g||£3.14|
|King Cole Fashion Aran||Rum (purple)||100g||£3.14|
|King Cole Fashion Aran||Navy Blue||100g||£3.14|
The King Cole Acorn yarn in Cranberry (the last row in both the pictures below) is even better than I was hoping for, in that it contains exactly the same shades of blue and pink as my stash yarn, and with occasional patches of the cerise/cranberry colour, whilst being overall the same tone as the grey yarn. If you were planning a non-scrappy blanket, the four yarns shown in the last four rows in the right-hand picture below (blue, grey, cerise and cranberry) would work beautifully together.
The navy – which is a very beautiful navy – is perhaps a tad too dark for this project, but I’m reserving judgment till I have more of the blanket worked up. It might look better if I also include it in the border, which I originally planned to be just grey.
If I’d seen it in person, I probably wouldn’t have bought the purple yarn (King Cole Fashion Aran in Rum) as although I wanted flecks, it has very prominent flashes of bright yellow and orange. The Iona (cerise) colourway from the same yarn is flecked too, but much more subtly.
Planning the stripes
For my blanket, I’m using a 6mm hook, making rows 100 stitches wide and I’m aiming for around 75 rows.
I’m not one to be able to pick colours as I go along, so I have planned out my stripe colours in advance. I calculated how many rows I could make from each of my colours, having worked out approximately how much yarn each row would need. This tells me that to use up the brown and hideous green yarn, I needed to make three rows of each, while I have enough pink for six rows. Then, I planned out the stripes in three sections of 25 rows, with one green in each section, two pinks in each section, etc. I’m deliberately not creating a regular repeating pattern, but ensuring the colours are evenly distributed to the eye. I use my crochet colouring pages for this, which is an enjoyable process in itself.
My calculations tell me that I will have some of my new yarns left at the end of the blanket, but this is not (necessarily) a never-ending problem! This is intentional, as in making this blanket, I will hopefully be swapping the yarns I no longer want (horrible colours, or I’ve already used them for several projects) for new colours for which I have a plan or am more likely to use (particularly the navy and grey).
I don’t think I’ll have to make a progress tracking dashboard for this blanket, as it’s going along nicely. When the house is as cold as it currently is I have no issues with motivation to keep this on my lap! I have made a promise to myself, however, to never go more than a dozen rows without weaving in all previous yarn tails – as I just can’t face doing it all at the end. To be honest all the dangling threads get annoying, so it’s not a bother.
Progress so far
After the first 25 rows, I’m pretty pleased with how it looks so far. It’s a very easy pattern that’s good for working in poor light. That green still sticks out more than I’d like though…!
You can see details of the pattern and all the yarns via my Zig-Zag Crochet Blanket Ravely Project.
Update – Finished Blanket
Find my notes on the finished blanket on my blog here: Crochet Zig-Zag Blanket.