The Bonfire Blanket

Here we are again – another day, another new pattern. That’s what it feels like anyway!

Hard on the heels of the Touch of Frost blanket comes the Bonfire blanket. Whew, it’s been intense this past few weeks, writing the patterns, then checking and proofreading. My eyes are feeling it from the time spent at a computer screen, and I’m DESPERATE to get back to actual crochet and embroidery, but I can only do one job at a time, as I think I’ve mentioned before, so it was all systems go until the pattern was complete. But hey, that’s another one in the bag!

The links to the pattern are at the end of this post.

Crochet hook here I come!

If you are familiar with my Instagram account, you will already know that this blanket was inspired by a needlepoint piece I made a few months ago.

(Needlepoint is a form of hand embroidery which is worked on a firm canvas, usually in a geometric design of some kind. I tend to work on quite a fine canvas with stranded cotton threads).

This little emdroidery had in turn been inspired by the patterns created by crocheted granny squares, perfect geometric forms. I worked out a stitched version of a granny square which could be done on tapestry canvas with embroidery cottons, and put together a small framed piece worked on a background of spray painted canvas.

The original needlepoint version

There is a whole story behind the crochet-to-canvaswork and canvaswork-to-crochet themes I’ve been exploring lately, which I’ll go into in more detail in another post soon.

But meanwhile, back to this pattern….

The strong colours on the black canvas background really appealed to me, and it was inevitable really that I’d come back to it at some point with the idea of creating a blanket with the needlepoint design as the inspiration.

Bonfires and pumpkins – perfect Autumn themes

It was a delight to pick the colours and see them popping against the black, and there was continuing joy when each square was created. I don’t think there are any two squares the same in the whole blanket.

Hallowe’en

It was while I was working on it that the idea of bonfires and Hallowe’en came to mind and the more I thought of it, the more it seemed appropriate for October nights and pumpkin lanterns.

The section of plain black, dotted with random spots of colour came to be showers of sparks rising up into the night sky, and the colours deepen as they get further away from the fiery centre. I love it.

A helping hand

And this blanket marks a family crochet milestone, because these squares in the photo above were beautifully crocheted by my rookie crochet HUSBAND no less! He painstakingly learned how to make a granny square, starting with a lesson by me, followed by hours of concentration, unpicking and starting again until he got it right. The result was a collection of squares which were identical to mine and which meant I could push through the blanket quickly.

A friend has dubbed him the Hooker Husband (he was a little alarmed at first before the meaning of hooker was explained to him in this context!)

And before you ask, sorry no he doesn’t come with the pattern!

This is a fine pattern for a beginner to tackle as it’s basically just granny squares and some granny stripes, but has enough colour changes to keep everyone interested.

Here is the page in the pattern which includes the Yarn List for your information, with the amount of each I used on the right and where it can be bought from.

Stylecraft Special DK

I’ve used Stylecraft Special DK throughout, which means it’s a yarn that’s easy to obtain and may even be in your stash already. Some of the colours need only a small amount so it would be great if you could use up bits and pieces you already have.

As you can see, Beth and Veronica at http://www.simplyyarn.co.uk are putting together a pack with all the colours to help with ordering if you are in the UK. They will send overseas on request, but sadly the shipping charges are rather high. It’s best to enquire from them.

I think you will love this blanket, judging by the response on social media and there is plenty of time to crochet it before the nights start to draw in and Autumn is upon us.

You can find the pattern on Ravelry HERE or in my Etsy shop HERE

Now it’s over to you. There is plenty of time to make this in time for Autumn and Hallowe’en, although I’d quite like Summer to stay awhile yet! 🎃

The Touch of Frost Blanket

Hello, and welcome to my new blog post, all about the Touch of Frost Blanket – my Christmas Crochet pattern for 2022, written in July – during the hottest temperatures on record in the UK!

It just so happens that as I type this, it’s a sweltering 30 degrees here on the east coast of Scotland. I know that further south it’s much hotter, but it’s unheard of here, and liable to melt my frosty blanket!

The story behind the designing and making of the blanket starts back in December of last year though, when it WAS cold and frosty. It seemed a good time to look for inspiration, when all around was immersed in Christmas themes, and I began by thinking of a colour palette for this new project.

Wintry walks

The first piece of inspiration came when a well known garden and plant catalogue popped through the letterbox one morning. Just the kind of glossy magazine to lose yourself in for a little while, with coffee in hand.

One of the pages took the theme of silver and gold together, with pale grey, white and cream. I think it was for summer flowers if I remember rightly, but the colours sparked off an idea…….

I collected together as many Winter and Christmas themed images in soft neutrals, white and gold that I could find on Pinterest, to make an inspiration board, and the colour palette began to take shape.

Pinterest board

But I wanted a little touch of green and red in amongst the white as well, to represent winter berries on a snow white landscape, and above all the sparkle and glitter of frost and ice.

It was lovely to work with pure white for a change, and the choice of sparkle yarn in James C Brett Twinkle, was a good one. I can just see the blanket glittering and twinkling away, by the light of flickering candles or fairylights. Not too close with the candles though!

The first thing I came up with was the Holly Square (it’s a different pattern from the Holly Square of the Noel Nine Patch blanket from last year, by the way), which set the tone for the rest of the blanket, and then I teamed it with a Snowflake Square, to build up the centre section.

I was really happy with the slightly different border round the squares, which tied the whole centre together rather well.

The blanket grew from the centre, as most of my blankets tend to do, without any formal planning past the first stage. I just figured out each section as I came to them. The little Holly Border in Section 3 was a real favourite.

Thankfully the blanket itself was finished long before this hot weather arrived, and I’ve been spending the last few weeks writing up the pattern, and editing the video tutorials which accompany it. I’ve had a good laugh at some of the ‘outtakes’ – everything from sneezing husband with hayfever, to camera stand toppling over and landing at my feet with phone still attached, to being buzzed by first a bluebottle and then a wasp.

Anyway it’s a wrap, as they say in movie circles, and I can finally say that the pattern is published and can be found in my Etsy shop here, or my Ravelry store here. The five accompanying videos are on my YouTube channel, and can be accessed via a link in the pattern.

http://www.simplyyarn.co.uk

Lastly, the lovely Veronica and Beth of

http://www.simplyyarn.co.uk

have put together a Yarn Pack for this blanket, available from their website. It includes all the yarns needed, plus a very useful wooden Shade Card. You can opt to buy just the yarn pack, or I believe you will also be able to get one which includes a printed copy of the pattern as well. Overseas customers are invited to enquire about shipping charges to their country.

It’s a little unusual for me to be so ahead of myself, with a Christmas project ready for publication in July. It’s usually September when that happens, but this year with my planning getting under way right in the middle of the Christmas holidays, I was months in advance.

I had intended leaving the publication date until September, but that wasn’t what you wanted! The consensus was ‘let’s have it now’ and why not? It will give you loads of time to have it ready for the Festive Season without having to rush.

So maybe it is 40° in the shade, but Christmas is only a few months away after all!

Meantime, enjoy the rest of your summer!

xx

The Spots n Stripes Blanket – revisited

Spots n Stripes New Version

Hello again,

My latest project has been born out of necessity, to keep one step ahead of the game when it comes to the thorny problem of discontinued yarns.

When I publish a new pattern, the Yarn List which accompanies it is exactly the yarn and colours I’ve used to make the blanket. This is fine to begin with, but unfortunately the pattern can outlive the yarn, and after a year or two some of the original yarns start to disappear, as manufacturers decide to discontinue them.

This has been the case with the Spots n Stripes Blanket. It was originally done in Stylecraft Batik, which is a favourite of mine. However, three of the colours have now been discontinued and I’m often asked if I could suggest some alternatives.

So to begin with, here are my suggestions for alternatives if you want to use this lovely yarn.

Instead of the discontinued Plum, use RASPBERRY.

Instead of the discontinued Violet, use HEATHER.

Instead of the discontinued Lupin, use MINT.

I don’t think these substitutions will significantly alter the look of the blanket at all, and hopefully Stylecraft will not be dumping any more of them any time soon!

Spots n Stripes Batik version

HOWEVER, the main reason for this blog post, is to jump ahead and make a NEW version of the Spots n Stripes blanket, in a yarn which is much less likely to be discontinued, to future proof the pattern as it were, in case the Batik yarn disappears altogether.

I’ve chosen Stylecraft Special DK and matched the colours as far as possible to the original blanket. They are stronger in tone, but that isn’t a problem in my eyes. It makes a very punchy, bold colour scheme which is perfect for the contemporary design.

Spots n Stripes New Version

I used SS in Midnight for the broad borders because I wanted as a big a contrast as possible to the bright centre, but if you don’t like working with just so dark a colour, you can instead use SS French Navy.

So here comes the YARN LIST. Note: for anyone who already has a stash of Stylecraft Special, I’ve listed the actual amount by weight, of each colour I used. That should help you decide if you have enough of that colour in your stash already.

This is for anyone who already has the pattern, but wants to update the colours. You can copy this Yarn List without having to buy the pattern again.

If you’re thinking about purchasing the pattern from my Etsy shop, I’ve already added this update to the pattern.

You can find the pattern in my Etsy shop, Woolthreadpaint.

I have to say, I actually love both versions!

Bye for now,

Marion x

The Gem Blanket Collection

Hello again. Here we are in cold and snowy April, after a warm and sunny March. But at least the cold weather has kept me indoors and I’ve been able to write up and publish this latest pattern collection in record time!

I’m sure many of you have seen the Little Gem blanket over the past few years. It has featured a lot on, not just my Instagram feed, but on others too. It became a real favourite and is actually still available as a free pattern on my blog from a year or two ago.

the original Little Gem

However, the inevitable happened and one by one some of the yarn colours used in the original pattern were discontinued by the manufacturer. Then a whole range, the Batik Elements disappeared.

It became obvious that the free pattern, which still listed the discontinued colours, had to be updated.

So I decided to write another pattern, working in some new replacement shades, and at the same time adding some improvements to the pattern itself.

But why stop at one?

the Rosy Gem Blanket

The Rosy Gem Blanket was next. A softer palette of colours, inspired by roses rambling over an old stone wall, bringing together reds and pinks, interspersed with soft greens and warm greys.

I must say I fell in love with the colours of that pretty blanket!

The Spiced Gem blanket

The Spiced Gem blanket then jumped on to my hook, as soon as the Rosy Gem was finished. I have to admit that initially I didn’t spend a lot of time selecting the yarns for this one, and once the first centre section was completed, I had some doubts about the colour palette.

It was a toss up whether it would be consigned to the ‘samples’ drawer, but I decided to stick with it and see how it would turn out.

I’m SO glad I did! The colours did it themselves, without my planning. The retro orange just pops against the bitter chocolate brown. It definitely has a seventies vibe about it, but I think the time is right to revisit these retro shades and the reception it got on Instagram and Facebook just proved it!

Once they were finished, both new colourways found their natural homes in places in my house – the Rosy Gem on the duck egg blue kitchen sofa and the Spiced Gem on that roary orange chair in the studio, of course!

Now, all three colourways are published together in one collection. I’ve found some pretty, variegated yarn from James C Brett which replaces the Batik Elements somewhat, (although the rich elements colours were such a joy).

The actual Stylecraft Batik yarns are still available, although with some shades discontinued. But who knows what’s next for the chop?

Anyway, over the weekend I’ve written up the pattern collection, and I may be being rash here, but when I finished it this afternoon, I was….done.

I read it over a couple of times, but I’ll be honest and say that I just wanted it off my hands. So, while the evening meal was cooking, I uploaded it to Etsy, with all the faffing that entails, took a deep breath and pressed ‘Publish’.

I hope it reads well, that there aren’t any major typos, that the colour charts are easy to understand. I BELIEVE it’s all OK, and any typos that do surface will be easy to fix. Perhaps I should have taken more time to go over it, but hey ho, it’s done now.

It will be a pattern which hopefully you can revisit and make more than one blanket from, and that the yarns will be available for the foreseeable future.

I now have a To Do list of other blankets which need to have some colours updated. I also have ideas brewing for two or three brand new patterns, including a Christmas one for 2022. It’s good to be busy.

Happy Easter when it comes, and here is the link to the GEM BLANKET COLLECTION PATTERN

Marion xx

Granny’s Secret Garden Blanket

Hello again, from the depths of winter in bonnie Scotland. January usually seems an interminably long month with short dark gloomy days and long cold nights, but this year we’ve had a fair amount of sunshine and the weeks are going by pretty fast. I can’t complain.

Morning sunlight

It’s been helped along as well, by my latest crochet project. This perfectly formed little beauty took precisely eleven days, start to finish and was an absolute joy to make.

Firstly, because the pattern is a simple one. There were no head scratching moments trying to work out the maths of getting parts to fit and I could spend my evenings in rhythmic delight, letting my hands take over from my brain.

Secondly, I’m pretty sure you know by now that Stylecraft Batik is a favourite yarn of mine.

I love it for the feel – there’s 20% wool in the mix, although it’s still easily machine washable – and for the watercolour effect of the dyeing. It makes the colours blend as if from a paintbrush and gives a really soft overall look.

I’ve used it exclusively in blankets before and also mixed it with other yarns as it blends so well, but I have been wary to make another design which depended solely on batik, because Stylecraft have been sadly discontinuing certain colours now and again without warning.

That being said, I was tempted again this time and I’m so glad I was. One of the shades I’ve used, Lupin has been discontinued but I’ve kept it in because lots of online yarn stores still have stocks. You just need to Google search “Stylecraft Batik Lupin”

I’ll go into more detail in a minute, but I can say that my intention is to future proof the blanket with an alternative version in a different yarn, which will be included in the pattern, and which I’m about to start right now! Come back in another eleven days!

Anyway, this little blanket started life in its first form a number of years ago, and was actually the very first granny square design I’d ever attempted. A lot of learning went on in that blanket!

It had always been a favourite of mine, I think because it fitted right in with my crazy kitchen colours and looked right at home beside my painted chairs.

Thanks to the encouragement of my social media friends, I decided to make a second one as my post Christmas project, and this was in order to write up a pattern and gauge yarn quantities. There have been a couple of colour changes from the original because, as I said some shades are no longer available, but I actually think it looks better now than before.

Now, the thing about this one of course, is that being simple it’s PERFECT as a project for a new crocheter. I intend the pattern to be as easily explained as possible, with lots of photos and tips. But that shouldn’t put off the experienced guys either. It’s such a happy little blanket I’m sure anyone would love it.

Back to the Batik yarn – as I said, the shade Lupin which is a beautiful blue (see that square at the top left in the photo above) has been discontinued. Why oh why?! But there are still stocks out there, so I’ve put together the Batik Yarn List and quantities for you now in case you want to get ordering.

Once Lupin has gone though, I can step in with the suggested alternative of the Wisteria shade. It’s a lilac colour but I’ve made a sample square and it fits in nicely with the blanket as well. So all will not be lost.

Anyway, here is the Yarn List. By the way, I’ve also listed the actual amount used of each colour in case you already have some in your stash.

Batik is available from many different yarn stores online and the price can vary from one to another. If you are overseas, then I’m informed that the best website is http://www.woolwarehouse.co.uk for speed of delivery and reasonable shipping charges. However, they have no stocks left of Lupin.

If you are in the UK, http://www.simplyyarn.co.uk have offered to put together a yarn pack for this blanket, although that still has to be finalised. I believe that http://www.craftopiaingleton.co.uk has some of the Lupin shade left at the moment too.

There we are then. Version one of Granny’s Secret Garden Blanket is finished and the Yarn List published. Now my next task is to make version 2, and this will be the one where I’ll be photographing, videoing and writing up as I go along, so the pattern for both won’t be available until that is done . There will also be a yarn list coming for it soon.

I better get started! Bye for now xx

PS Watch this space – as soon as the pattern is published, I’ll put a link to it.

UPDATE February

Hot off the press……..The Second Version of the blanket is finished, the pattern has been written up and today it went live in my Etsy shop.

Version 2 uses Stylecraft Special DK in similar, but brighter shades to the Batik version. I think I really like both versions just as much.

Version 2 in Stylecraft Special
The colours are more solid and bright

I know that Stylecraft Special is a staple for a lot of you crocheters, so I’m pretty sure there will be some stash raiding going on for this blanket. I know of one lucky person who already has all the yarn needed in her stash for the Batik version!

For those of you buying the yarn from scratch, Veronica of http://www.simplyyarn.co.uk has put together yarn packs for both versions, and you can find them in the Woolthreadpaint shop on her website. This is just for customers in the U.K. though I believe, as she doesn’t ship overseas as standard – although you could always ask.

And here is the all important link to the pattern in my Etsy shop –

Granny’s Secret Garden Blanket

I hope you have fun with this pattern if you decide to give it a go. It’s perfect for beginners, but it’s is also a relaxing project for those more experienced.

Happy crocheting,

Marion xx

The Cherry Blossom Blanket Pattern

Hello again,

I’m so happy to say that the pattern for the Cherry Blossom blanket is now in my Etsy shop.

It’s been pretty intense over the past few days as I put the finishing touches to the pattern, but at last I could check and proof read no more and with a deep breath, I pressed ‘publish’ and away it went into the ether, ready to plop into lots of peoples’ virtual shopping baskets (hopefully).

I’m so glad I did make this second version of the blanket, as the first one – conceived and crocheted back in the days when I was just starting out on my crochet journey – really deserved to be improved, to have its rookie faults corrected and to be finally finished.

I stuck closely to the colours of the original, and the design too, but added an extra border picking up the dark shades from the centre and this new border really finishes it off beautifully, I think.

It’s funny, I’m always been drawn to shades of pink as a colour palette, but rarely use it in my work. However, I think I’ve found the perfect companion for the pinks, in the subtle tones of grey and brown. They stop it all becoming too sugary and sweet.

And I’ve fallen in love with the perfect combination of the Scheepjes Colour Crafter shade, Verviers and the new Stylecraft Special colour, Warm Grey. They are quite simply made for each other. You can see them together in the edging below.

You will find the full Yarn List in my previous post and the all important pattern link is HERE

I think this is going to become a real favourite of mine because of the colour shading, and I do hope you love it too. xx

Yarn List for the Cherry Blossom Blanket

Cherry Blossom Blanket

Hello again,

This is hot off the press, or hot off the hook whichever way you like, but yesterday I put the last stitch into this new blanket and did a little celebratory dance, or as much as my bad back would allow. (To be fair, it’s nearly all better so I shouldn’t moan).

I’ll tell the full story behind this creation when I have the pattern ready, but meantime I’m following my usual tradition and posting the Yarn List, so anyone who wants to can get the yarn ordering done ahead of time – or even check your stash in case you already have what you need.

Let’s be honest, most people have a “little” tucked away! lol

Now the thing about this blanket, the main thing really, is the number of colours I’ve used to create the shading effect. There are quite a lot, and some of them are only used in small amounts so be prepared for leftovers, which you can just add to that stash of yours!

So here they are, starting with the neutrals/browns –

You will need ONE 100G BALL each of Style craft Special DK in the following colours. (I’ve put the amount I actually used of each colour next to it so you can check if you already got enough in your stash)

CREAM (60g), SILVER (70g), GREY (20g), WARM GREY (100g), PARMA VIOLET (30g), GRAPHITE (100g), KHAKI (30g), MOCHA (70g), WALNUT (20g)

You will also need ONE 100G ball of Scheepjes Colour Crafter DK in Verviers (90g)

and ONE 50g ball each of Stylecraft Batik DK in CREAM (30g) and Graphite (50g)

Now the pinks –

You will need ONE 100g BALL each of Stylecraft Special DK in

SOFT PEACH (90g), CANDYFLOSS (30g), FONDANT (30g), FUCHSIA PURPLE (50g), GRAPE (80g), PALE ROSE (60g), BURGUNDY (60g), MUSHROOM (60g)

and finally ONE 50G BALL of Stylecraft Batik in ROSE (30g)

All these yarns can be ordered from http://www.woolwarehouse.co.uk who operate a good shipping service to all countries.

The Scheepjes Colour Crafter, which is the top right in the picture of the greys, is an important one for the design and there is no alternative shade in Stylecraft.

So, that should let you get your yarn ready for when the pattern is published. Hopefully that will be in a couple of weeks and as usual there will be a video tutorial or two to accompany the pattern.

I will splash the news all over Instagram and Facebook as soon as it’s ready.

Meantime, keep crocheting!

Marion xx

The Baby Blanket Collection, and it’s FREE

Hi again everyone – this must be a record. Two blog posts just days apart – that’s what having a social media holiday does for you – gives you more time to do other things, like write blog posts! ( Is this classed as social media too?)

PASTEL – The first of the baby blankets

So anyway, this post is all about a project I was working on at the start of the summer, which seems like ages ago now.

It all began because of the cushion you can see in the photo above. It had been an offshoot of the Frosted Pearl blanket I made earlier in the year – I have a blog post all about that too. The cushion came about because 1. I was completely in love with the colours of the blanket and 2. I had a fair amount of the yarn left over.

Now, the cushion sits in my bedroom so I see it every day, and every day it stops me as I walk past and makes me draw breath at its gloriously soft colours. It was inevitable I would revisit that colour palette at some point.

And I did, of course. I decided to make a baby blanket, as I could just imagine those pastels looking fabulous in a silver grey nursery decor, which is very on trend at the moment.

It was a nice quick make and I was very happy with the outcome, so much so, that I went on and made two more blankets using the same pattern, but in different colourways.

The first of these is the Paprika Blanket, which I used as the sample one for the pattern, taking photos of the process at every step.

PAPRIKA – the second Baby Blanket

I guess I had more of a baby boy in mind when I chose these colours, but I’m not allowed to say that now, am I? And really all of the colourways are unisex.

You can see that it is the same pattern, but the colour placement is a little different.

And although they were designed as Baby Blankets, they would make really pretty throws for a chair, or a little lap blanket.

I think PAPRIKA has a bit of a vintage look about it, again very on trend.

Now, coming to the third colourway, I reckoned I had to go for a rainbow effect as it’s so popular for babies. I don’t work in traditional rainbow colours all that often, but this was really fun to do and I tempered the brights a little by incorporating the new Stylecraft Special grey – A Hint Of Silver.

RAINBOW – the third baby blanket
I really like how the rainbow colours flow through this

But I hadn’t stopped there. Oh no, I still couldn’t leave that pastel colourway behind, so I made a bonus baby blanket in simple bands of stripes, using the most gorgeous squishy little stitch called Elizabeth stitch.

It’s such an effective but incredibly easy stitch to do and it works up quickly too.

STRIPE – The bonus baby blanket
And a closeup of that gorgeous Elizabeth stitch

I’ve put all four blankets together in a pattern booklet and my intention all along has been to make this available FREE to all. So, you just need to click the link at the end of this post to get your copy.

It contains a full Yarn List for all the blankets, as well as the usual step by step instructions and lots of photos to help along the way.

In case you’re wondering, I haven’t included the cushion as part of the pattern. That is simply because I made it a while ago, and would need to make another from scratch to remind me of what I did, and also for the photo tutorials. So, apologies for that.

One last thing, a number of people have contacted me recently asking where they can store the patterns they’ve bought, on their device – ipad or whatever. I tell them to download the free app, Adobe Acrobat Reader from the app store. Any pdf file you then download will open in the app and if you have an ipad as I do, it’s as easy to read the pattern – or even easier – than a printed version. Not to mention saving paper and ink!

I’ve also been asked to make my patterns available on Ravelry, which I think will be my next job, once I figure out how to do it!

The Baby Blanket Collection

So there you have it – the Baby Blanket Collection pattern can be downloaded by clicking HERE

There are some other free patterns on my blog as well, which you will find if you scroll through the posts.

I hope you enjoy making the baby blanket, if you choose to do it and don’t forget to share your makes on Instagram or Facebook, tagging me @woolthreadpaint so I can see your photos.

Bye for now and Happy Crocheting,

Marion x

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

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