This little blanket has been crocheted twice. The first time was last year when I had just discovered this lovely yarn, Stylecraft Batik and had plunged into blanket making with the naive enthusiasm of a rookie crocheter.
There were three different blankets which I made with this yarn, one crocheted after another, and this one was the middle one. The first I kept for myself, the third I gave to my sister and the middle, this one went to my son and daughter in law. So I’ve got another two I can share with you at a future date!)
Son and Daughter in law have recently moved into a lovely new home in the pretty Shandon Conservation Area of Edinburgh, and hence the name – the Shandon Blanket!
What I wasn’t expecting was the amount of interest shown in this little blanket when I posted it on Instagram. I was very flattered and thrilled with the lovely comments and took on board the requests from several people asking for information about how it was done.
So, feeling the burden of “impostor syndrome” ( who the hell do I think I am – a crochet expert? Well no, absolutely not!) I’ve tried to put together a guide to what I did.
What I do feel confident in though, is using colour. My background is in textile design and embroidery, and colour has been a main feature of my working life. All 45 years of it!!
So I think the use of colour has been the main attraction in this blanket – the pattern itself is easy peasy. I wanted to create a blanket with an apparent random colour selection, where the juxtaposition of colours is often surprising, sometimes challenging but where everything blends together as a whole.
Of course it is not at all random. Each colour has had to be chosen with surrounding colours in mind to make sure the balance is right.
I mean, truly random selection ( pulling the first yarn out of the bag that comes to hand) might have meant a square in the middle that was all in say, cool colours – blues and greens. That would upset the balance. Does that make sense?.
In order to refresh my memory I decided to make a second blanket, in exactly the same colours and try to photograph the steps along the way.
That proved to be just as much fun as the first one, and is already firing up my brain to think about new Shandon blankets in different colour ways……
Let me say here that I personally compare making a crochet blanket with painting a picture. I like to see it growing organically, so colours are chosen as I go along. I start with a collection of colours I intend to use, but don’t have plans beforehand as to where they will go.
I joined the middle squares as I went along for example, rather than making a pile of circles first then joining them. That way it seemed easier to blend the colours.
The same went for the solid granny square border. I worked the first square, attached it with the “join as you go” method and then continued along the edge, one square at a time. I know some of you with mathematical brains might want to create a pile of squares first in a methodical way, and that’s absolutely fine. Go for it.
My pictures are not brilliant – they were not taken in a professional way – some were on a table, some on the floor and some on my lap – but hopefully they will be enough to point you in the right direction.
It has taken me about three weeks of crocheting in the evenings to complete the blanket but there have been a few interruptions with weekends away etc so it could have been finished sooner.
The blanket measures 100cm x 100cm (39ins x 39ins). This makes it ideal as a sofa throw, as you can see. The sofa in the picture is a three seater.
It has been crocheted in Stylecraft Batik DK yarn. This is a 20% wool/ 80% acrylic mix with a soft handle, and is machine washable at 30 degrees. It comes in 20 shades and I have used 18 of them.I purchased mine from Wool Warehouse who will ship worldwide, but there are many online yarn stores who stock it.
The colours I used are:
BISCUIT – 2 balls
GRAPHITE – 2 balls
OLIVE – 2 balls
SILVER – 2 balls
and 1 ball each of OLD GOLD, CORAL, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, HEATHER, PLUM, SAGE, TEAL, PISTACHIO, VIOLET, STORM, ROSE, MINT and LUPIN.
You will have some of each colour left over, but hey that means more projects, right?
I used a 4mm crochet hook.
Once finished, I put it through a 30 degree machine wash and it came out flat as a pancake and looking lovely.
A note about the final shell border – I wanted something quite colourful around the edge, but didn’t think I’d have enough of any one shade left to go all the way round.
Inspiration happened to be right beside me in the shape of this cushion ( Christmas gift from hubby a few years ago)As you can see, there is an edging of three scallops each of a variety of colours. Hey, that would work, and it meant that even small scraps of colours could be used! So that is how the border came to be.
And finally yes you’ve guessed, there were a LOT of ends to sew in. Now that’s not a problem for me as I happen to like sewing them in. It might seem a daunting task, but a coffee or something stronger and a Netflix series ( I’m steadily working my way through Friends at the moment because believe it or not I didn’t see it first time round!) and hey presto the ends are taken care of before you know it!
Now (at last) the Pattern
I’ve saved it in pdf form in case you want to download and print it off.
And it can be found HERE:
Happy crocheting, and please please use the hashtag #shandonblanket to share your progress on Instagram. I’d love to see little Shandon blankets appearing all over the world!