The Noel Nine Patch Blanket, Christmas 2021

Hello again. Here I am with another blanket, another pattern and another blog post!

As I write this we are now into September, leaving summer behind. The days are getting shorter and the brambles are turning black in the hedgerows. I love Autumn, probably more than summer if I’m honest and every year I look forward to spotting the tell tale signs of the changing season. The house martins, which have been nesting under the eaves of the studio, are practising their flight skills ahead of their long journey south and the barley field has been combined ready for baling. This year the rowan berries have been remarkable. The trees are laden with heavy bunches of the red berries and someone told me that this is a sure sign of a harsh winter to come.

Rowan trees in the old churchyard at Blair Atholl

Time to start a new blanket then. A festive throw to add a cosy touch to the Christmas home. It’s becoming a habit for me that August is the month to work on a Christmas crochet project and I spent four weeks making, ripping out, making again until I’m was happy as I could be with the finished result. This year there was a LOT of reworking – much of it was frogged once, twice even three times before I was satisfied that what had been in my head for months, was what I had actually achieved. I’m pleased though. The ideas did work out.

Like last year, I designed and made the blanket in August, started to write up the pattern at the beginning of September and then, just like last year, went off on a week’s holiday! We regularly go to a little cottage in Blair Atholl in Highland Perthshire, just about an hour and a half’s drive away. It’s our home from home – a sleepy village surrounded by stunning scenery, and the peace is wonderful. There are plenty of walks to do during the day, but time in the evenings to continue with the pattern writing. I managed to make really good progress while I was there this year and came home with the pattern very nearly finished. It was a joy to work up there for another reason. This little village tucked away in the hills, boasts an incredibly fast broadband connection, at least compared to the pathetic speed here at home. So, uploading photos and videos were easy peasy and took no time at all. Oh how I wish BT would give us speeds like that here.

The old water mill in the village is still working and producing flour

Now, there is a little story behind the design inspiration for this blanket which I’d like to share with you. I think it will help to explain the colour choices I’ve made, and also the pattern itself.

Starting with the colour…….it’s not perhaps the most obvious choice for Christmas, but I wanted a more muted theme this year. I had researched other Christmas blankets on Pinterest and there seemed to be a predominance of red, dark green and white – undoubtedly Christmas colours, but a little harsh and garish for my taste.

These are examples of a typical Christmas colour palette

For a long time I’ve loved the combination of soft green, duck egg blue and red. It reminds me of old mid century kitchens, which often used pale green as a colour for cupboards and accessories. So to me these colours said ‘vintage’.

This was an inspiration board collected from Pinterest – look at these pops of red in the old kitchens!
And carried through into 1940’s textiles and wallpaper

Then suddenly – and this was after my blanket was finished, I found by chance this stunning retro kitchen below, on Instagram. It was the perfect partner for the blanket, and I discovered that the lady who has so carefully put the kitchen together is also a crocheter, so I’m hoping she may make the blanket herself and that one day I’ll see a photo of it draped over a chair in her glorious kitchen. Now that would be amazing.

The wonderful kitchen by @spruceridgevintage on Instagram
And how well the blanket would fit in!

That explains my colour choice. The design? Well, it may be self explanatory when you see the blanket – and I’m aware I haven’t shown you a proper photo of it yet! Here it is…..

The Noel Nine Patch Blanket

Have you guessed the design inspiration? I think the name gives it away – nine patch is a commonly used theme in patchwork and quilting. I love traditional patchwork quilts with their strong geometric shapes and traditional motifs, so once more I headed to Pinterest and Instagram to find similar images.

Crochet and patchwork work so well together, both based on strong geometric shapes and as I love designing within a grid, it seemed a natural partnership.

This one, from @happy.little.stitches on Instagram is such a beautiful example.

There are subtle Christmas themes in my blanket as well, although nothing too obvious. Some of the squares are intended to loosely resemble holly and this is echoed in the border, and there are some little parcels tied up with a bow for a bit of fun.

I think you’ve got the gist of it now, so it’s time for some facts.

It’s a square shape, approx 48” x 48”, although since it is made up of blocks, it should be easy to add more if you wanted to make it bigger or rectangular.

It is mainly made up of simple granny squares, with some other techniques added to the mix – some front post stitches, surface embroidery and my own method of joining. Therefore it’s not a very difficult project if you are an inexperienced crocheter, but at the same time it’s interesting enough to keep the attention of those with more crochet expertise.

I’ve used STYLECRAFT SPECIAL DK yarn throughout and in the following colours –

3 balls of CREAM, 2 balls each of DUCK EGG, LINCOLN, CYPRESS and LIPSTICK and one ball of POMEGRANATE.

The response for this blanket on my social media pages so far has been amazing and I’m delighted so many of you have totally agreed with the softer colour palette for Christmas.

Lastly, as usual I’ve picked four parts of the pattern which I feel would benefit from a little extra explanation in the form of a video tutorial. They can be found on my You Tube channel, Woolthreadpaint and I hope you will find them useful. Please ignore my tendency for flapping hands though! I must learn to keep them still.

That’s all for this blog post. If you would like the pattern to make your own Christmas blanket for 2021, you can find it in my Etsy shop

Happy crocheting and Happy Christmas (is that too soon?!)

Marion x

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Wool Thread Paint

I’ve been involved in textile design and embroidery for many years, and recently become passionate about crochet too. I was originally an art teacher and embroidery tutor, then created a small business publishing greeting cards. It became a successful family partnership and we are finally handing the reins over to our daughter and stepping back a little. Now is the time for me to enjoy exploring and learning -and sharing - all that this wonderful world of textiles can offer me.

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