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baby blanket

  • Knitting on the Bias: An Exploration of New Techniques

    This summer I wanted to deal with two issues—finding something quick to knit, and reducing my yarn stash. I’ve accumulated lots of yarn over the years, and frankly, it’s crowding my storage space. Also, I’m the kind of knitter who likes to make a fresh start every so often, especially at the beginning of a new knitting season. In July, it seemed a good time to clear the decks for the fall.

    If I’m looking for a new project, I usually assess my stash or go to a yarn store to see what calls out. When I surveyed my stash a few weeks ago, I was drawn to a basket holding lots of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in different colors. There were full and partial skeins, remainders from earlier projects. I immediately sensed the potential project—a beautiful blanket. A friend has just bought a home—her first—and I knew that an afghan she could drape over her sofa or bed would be a fine housewarming gift.

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  • How to Crochet the Sweet Baby Afghan!

    by Tamara Kelly, www.mooglyblog.com

    Even the simplest stitch patterns pop with the use of self-striping yarns! And Lion Brand's Ice Cream® and the granny stripe stitch make the perfect pair. This stitch is the basis for the Sweet Baby Afghan, and this is how you make it!

    sweet-baby-SM

    The Sweet Baby Afghan in Lion Brand Ice Cream® is a free crochet pattern found right here in the Lion Brand pattern finder. Print out the pattern, and gather your supplies - we'll need a US-H, 5.00 mm crochet hook and 3 balls of Lion Brand Ice Cream® in your favorite colorway. The original pattern calls for Strawberry, but I used Blueberry for this tutorial.

    This pattern starts with a chain of 115 - you can use stitch markers to help you keep count as you go. The pattern uses a stitch multiple of 3 +1, so for this tutorial I'm making a tiny swatch starting with just 16 chains. For a full-size baby blanket, you'll just be repeating the stitches between the ends of each row more times. To begin Row 1, make a double crochet in the 4th chain from the hook. The 3 chains you skipped will count as the first double crochet of this row. So here, we have 2 "double crochets."

    sweet-baby-1

    Then, begin the repeat that will take you across most of the rest of the row - skip the next 2 chains, then work 3 double crochets in the chain after that. Then skip 2, then 3 double crochets in the next. Repeat on across until there are just 3 chains left.

    sweet-baby-2

    To finish the first row, skip the next 2 chains, and then work 2 double crochets in the last chain. For the baby blanket, you should see a set of 2 double crochets on each end of the row, with 36 groups of 3 double crochets in between. (On my swatch, it's just 3 groups of 3 between the ends.) Turn to go back for the next row...

    sweet-baby-3

    Time for Row 2! To begin this row, you chain 3, which again counts as the first double crochet of the row. From here on out, we're going to be working groups of 3 double crochets in between the other double crochet groups. So we skip over all the double crochet stitches, and work 3 double crochets in between each group of the row below. Then, finish up with one double crochet in the top of the chain 3 at the end of the row - this mirrors the chain 3 we started Row 2 with. And we turn to go back for the next row...

    Row 3 begins with a chain 3 (counts as a double crochet), followed be a double crochet in the top of the first stitch - so it's like 2 double crochets in the first stitch. Then, we go back to the plan from before - work a 3 double crochet group between each double crochet group of the row before.

    Finish up Row 3 with 2 double crochets in the last stitch - the top of the chain 3. So again, we have a mirror of the beginning of the row - a set of 2 double crochets on each end.

    And that's the basis for the rest of the blanket! Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until the blanket is about 33 inches long, or however long you want it to be!

    Once you've got the length where you want it, then it's time to make the Border rounds. To make the first round of the border, just chain 1 and single crochet all the way around your blanket. When working across the top of the blanket, just single crochet in each stitch, and work 2 single crochets in the side of each row. When it comes to turning corners: work 3 single crochets in the "corner" stitches (aka, the first and last stitch of the last row, and the first and last stitch of the foundation row).

    Once you've gotten all the way around the blanket, just join, then chain 1 and go all the way around again twice more - working one single crochet in each stitch, with 3 single crochets in each corner. Simple as can be!

    Need to see it in action? Here are tutorial videos where I demo this pattern, step by step!

    I hope this inspires you to make your own Sweet Baby Afghan! The Lion Brand Ice Cream® really makes this stitch pattern shine, and the finished blanket is wonderfully soft and easy care - and fun to crochet too! Thanks for watching and reading!

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  • Five Granny Patterns to Make with Tweed Stripes

    Granny squares are a classic crochet motif. You can make anything out of them. They grace sweaters, scarves, blankets, pet clothes -- and they don't even have to be square! They can be circles, hexagons, or any shape you want.

    The exact origins of the granny square are unknown (like much of the history of yarncraft), though one was published in 1897 as a "Patchwork Square" in Weldon's Practical Needlework (source), though it isn't entirely clear where the name came from. Regardless of the fuzzy (no yarn pun intended) beginning, the granny square is now an absolute staple.

    One great thing about these squares is that that they're actually not hard to make! While there are a lot of variations, and some are undoubtedly more complicated than others, if you can make a chain, double crochet, slip stitch, and work in the round, you can make one. If you're taking part in my Learn to Crochet series, you're almost there. We'll be tackling crochet in the round in a couple of weeks, then you'll have all the skills you need!

    Granny-Tweed-Stripes

    Tweed Stripes® -- which is on sale through Thursday -- is a great yarn for grannies. The multicolor style adds interest to your squares, and for some projects that means you don; have to keep changing yarn every row. Who doesn't love having fewer ends to weave in?

    I know what you're thinking -- what if I knit? Can I make the same thing without having to learn a whole new craft?

    Well, the answer to that is -- you can, but also you can't. If you only knit, you can make squares that emulate the style of the classic granny, but you won't achieve the exact same look. Make a mitered square! They recreate the concept without being identical. You can make very cool motifs with this technique, and it's as useful and versatile as its crocheted counterpart.

    Granny Patterns

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