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.
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.
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