The Narrow Boat Blanket

UPDATE May 9th – I’m delighted to announce that the Narrow Boat pattern is now in my Etsy shop!

Here is the link –

The Narrow Boat Blanket Pattern

Hello again – My blog post today is all about my new blanket, which has just come off the hook in the past few hours.

Exactly one month in the making and a thoroughly enjoyable month too, I’m delighted to introduce the Narrow Boat Blanket!

It’s a colourful extrovert of a blanket, definitely not one to hide away in the corner, with its bold, rule breaking colour combinations and contrasting dark navy background. I just love experimenting with colour – putting the most unlikely pairings together to see what they do to each other – and each new section of the blanket was an exciting process and journey of discovery.

The story behind it is this. A few years ago, I started but didn’t finish the first version of this design. It was not coming together well at all, with parts which were clearly not working, so I laid it aside “for another day”.

But not before I had shared pics of it on Instagram and received a lot of positive comments. It was suggested, although it hadn’t been in my plan, that the design was reminiscent of the brightly painted and decorated narrow boats, a folk art which began in Victorian times and continues to this day, and examples of which can be seen on the English canals. I could definitely see the reasoning behind that.

So, it became the Narrow Boat Blanket, even though it was languishing in a cupboard at the time, but I was pretty sure it would make an appearance again some day.

Narrow boat inspiration

You can see what I mean, can’t you?

Anyway, this seemed a good time to have another go, with improvements to the design, better thought out pattern and a change of yarn. The first blanket had been done in Stylecraft Batik, which I loved as a yarn choice for its soft easily blended colours. However, quite a number of the colours have recently been discontinued and I have an idea that the whole range might sadly be for the chop, so I chose the more reliable Stylecraft Special DK instead this time.

I’m so pleased with the result using this yarn – it really does resemble the paintwork on the boats and barge ware, with its strong block colours.

Traditionally the design symbols, mostly roses and castles, were painted on a black background, but I chose a dark midnight blue instead, which I think is less harsh. By the way, I know that a lot of people dislike working with very dark yarn if lighting conditions are not good or they have eyesight problems, so in the pattern I give an option for substituting the dark blue with a cream background.

I managed fine though, by working in daylight as much as I could and using a good work light in the evenings, even with my ageing eyesight.

I also want to say that I’m indebted to Magda Lange (@rawrustic on Instagram) for her kind permission to include her own pattern for the centre squares, in the blanket pattern. It is a lovely square called Milla Magic and was the reason I started the original blanket in the first place.

Milla Magic square

As I usually do when I’m about to write up a pattern, I publish the Yarn List in advance and so the following is a list of the colours and amounts needed. It lets you get organised and order the yarn ready to start as soon as the pattern is available.

This time I’ve included the weights as well, as I know that many of you already have a good stash of SSDK and may not even need to order any extra!

There you have it. I’ll crack on with the pattern writing and update this blog post as soon as it’s ready.

Happy crocheting xx

The Green Shoots Blanket

Hello again.

It’s been a week of pattern writing, proof reading, deciding to add more photos, writing more, proof reading again…and again, but at last this afternoon I think the pattern is ready to be launched into the world.

So, with a big sigh of satisfaction (and relief) I’ve just added the Green Shoots Blanket pattern to my Etsy shop!

It’s the third in the series of seasonal themed blankets which started with the Autumn Gold, followed by the May Blossom and now here is the winter version. Or Late Winter version to be exact. It covers the months of February/March where the earth is still cold and grey, the skies are leaden and winter seems to be dragging on. In February, in this part of the world we experienced a prolonged frosty cold spell, with ice on the puddles and sparkly frost on the grasses. Then we had a week of quite heavy snowfall which gave us a winter wonderland for a short time.

However, what led me to design this blanket was that in the midst of these grey and white monochrome landscapes, there were the unmistakable signs of Nature beginning to wake up, in the form of little green shoots appearing all over the place. When the snow cleared, it uncovered clumps of snowdrops already flowering. The field outside my studio window turned green as little blades of new grass pushed through the hard ground.

All this was very encouraging after the year we had endured and it seemed appropriate to call my new design the Green Shoots Blanket, not just for the awakening season but also for the optimism for the future that was beginning to spread with the vaccine rollout.

So I’m delighted to have published the pattern today. I love the way the colours have worked out and I know already from feedback on social media, that it’s a colour palette which is going to suit so many people’s contemporary homes.

The blanket is the same as, but different to the May Blossom design, if you know what I mean. Although the pattern is basically the same, I’ve altered and hopefully improved some of the processes and updated the step by step tutorials. The colours don’t correspond to the other blankets either, so you really have to follow this new pattern.

It’s rectangular in shape, measuring 143 x 110 cms approx, making it a perfect size to lie over the back of a three seat sofa or generously drape over a comfy chair. It can also be easily made bigger or smaller by adding or removing squares or stripes.

I’ve used simple granny squares and granny stripes throughout, in my now signature crazy amount of colours and the making process, while following the step by step instructions, is a bit like paint by numbers.

The Yarn List is below, if you want to get ahead of the game, and it’s also included in the pattern.

You may or may not be aware that Deramores have now made their popular Studio range available in 50g balls as well as 100g, so I’ve listed the colours which were used more as accents rather than large areas, in the 50g size.

There can be problems with yarn supplies, particularly this past year due to the pandemic, where yarn manufacturers have been short staffed and at the same time trying to cope with a surge in demand as more people take up knitting and crochet during lockdown. Deramores usually do their best to restock as fast as they can, (update – the Deramores website is now showing good stocks in a lot of the colours and the remainder will be in stock in the next week or so). But I have listed an alternative option using Stylecraft Special colours which may be easier to obtain, especially if you are overseas. However my preference is for the Deramores colours, which I think are more subtle. You can mix and match both of these yarns successfully.

http://www.deramores.com for Deramores Studio and all the other yarns

http://www.wool warehouse.co.uk for Stylecraft and Scheepjes.

Both websites will ship worldwide.

All that’s left is for me to add a direct link to the pattern on Etsy which is here –

Green Shoots Blanket Pattern

I hope you like it and let me know what you think!

Have a great weekend coming up and I hope you see the sun (and some more green shoots!)

Marion xx

The Frosted Pearl Blanket Pattern is here

Hello friends. It seems like a lifetime in the writing, but I’m so pleased to say the pattern is now published in my Etsy shop.

Here is the link- The Frosted Pearl Blanket Pattern

Never again will I take a break half way through the process – (you’ll remember I took December off to make some Christmas gifts) – because you lose the momentum and it’s so difficult to get the brain back into gear.

I have to say I loved making the blanket. The colours are so different to what I’d been using before and the pattern worked up so fast, it was a pleasure to see it appearing before my eyes. And I absolutely adore it as a focal point in the bedroom – now that the pattern is off my hands.

It has been finished for months. In fact it only took six weeks to make and I started in September, but I haven’t been able to actually enjoy it as a finished piece until now, as I got stuck into pattern writing as soon as the last stitch came off the hook. I knew that I would need to keep referring to the blanket while doing the writing, so it lay in an untidy heap at my feet all the time, occasionally being spread out on the floor if I was taking a photo.

However yesterday it had its pamper wash at last and as always, thanks to the Stylecraft and Deramores yarns I used, it came out of the washing machine sparkling clean, perfectly flat and looking absolutely beautiful. (See my previous Frosted Pearl blogpost for the complete Yarn List).

This is it on a double bed to show the size. It’s a big ‘un, 68” square approx.

Did I say how much I love the look of it? I keep popping into the bedroom to gaze at it (sad person) and marvel at how the colours change so much with the light. (That was what made it such a nightmare to photograph, by the way.) And I’m tempted to make a second one, in a totally different colour scheme, but I’ll have a break and do something else first.

I hope you like it enough to give the pattern a try. You will find that it’s not a difficult one to follow and it works up quickly, as I said. That’s because it uses a third less stitches than a normal granny square and that of course means it takes a third less time and a third less yarn! It’s also a pattern suitable for someone who hasn’t done a lot of crochet before – simple stitches and lots of photos, plus some video tutorials you can access which take you through different parts of the pattern. All good.

Footnote – The cushion you see in the photo was a way of using up the bits and pieces of leftover yarn. I started with one of the squares from the blanket pattern in the centre, then just worked around it with small squares and areas of plain granny stitch until I reached the size I wanted. Then I attached some of the little flowers from the blanket too.

I’m not a huge fan of having to crochet a back for it – too lazy to be honest – so I chose a method I’ve used before and decided to attach the crochet front to an actual cushion.

It needed to be a plain cushion, the right size of course and most importantly have a piped edging. I was lucky enough to find the perfect answer on Ebay, after a quick search on Google. This particular company sells the covers either on their own or as a complete cushion with pad and there is a wide choice of colours.

Here is the link to the Ebay shop – Luxury Plain Velvet Piped Cushions

I chose the mink shade and a 22” size, and was delighted when it arrived. It has a luxurious velvety feel and is remarkably well made for the price. In fact it was only £2 more to buy the whole cushion than a similar size pad only, from Amazon.

Here are one or two tips for sewing the crochet front to the cushion. The crochet has to be the exact size, too big is no good. I added one or two rounds of granny stitch until it got to the right size.

In order to make sure it was straight, I pinned the four corners in position first. (By the way, I attached the crochet with the pad still in the cushion.) Then I put a pin in the middle of each side, checked it was straight and then pinned all the way round.

I used the 4 ply cream yarn from the blanket, a needle with a large eye and sharp point (darning needle) and starting from one corner, slip stitched all the way round and right up against the piped edging. Using the yarn to sew with, rather than ordinary thread meant that it held firmly without slipping and it disappeared satisfactorily into the crochet. I think It took me an hour to stitch all the way round.

I don’t tend to wash cushion covers all that often, (if at all to be honest!) as there no children or pets in the house, but I reckon that if I had to, I could wash the cushion without having to remove the crochet. The cover is washable, as is the yarn, so a hand wash and drip dry should be fine. Just remember to make sure the zip is on the back when you sew it on – I nearly made that mistake, which would have been a problem trying to get the pad out to wash!

So there we have it – my finished double bed sized blanket and a matching cushion.

I’m now going to tidy away the little leftover scraps of pastel coloured yarns and have a lot of fun selecting something totally different, and probably a lot brighter for my next project!

John’s Story

The handsome dude in this photo (see arrow) is my nephew John. This strapping lad is 24 but at the age of 12 was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This of course came as a real shock to the family, and John who was only just reaching his teenage years.

However, he put it to good use and became an ambassador for young MS sufferers.

He has also just been chosen by the MS Society to compete in the London Marathon on their behalf.

He tells it better in his own words.

To help him in his challenge, I have decided to donate all the proceeds from the sale of my most popular pattern the Beach Walk blanket during the month of January, to the MS Society on behalf of John.

If you have been thinking about purchasing it, now is the time to do it.

Here is the link to the pattern in my Etsy Shop.

BEACH WALK BLANKET

Thank you so much xxx

UPDATE January 31st – Thanks to everyone who purchased the pattern between 7th and 31st, I have been able to donate a whopping £921 to John’s GoFundMe account for the MS Society. It’s over to him now, to get in training for the Marathon in October.

Both John and his Mum (my little sister) are blown away by your kindness and pass on their heartfelt thanks. xx