The Story Behind It
I’m so pleased to be sharing the story of this little blanket with you.
It all started two years ago when I decided to make a blanket/ throw for my sister for Christmas.
I was in the throes of a love affair ( and still am) with Stylecraft Batik yarn, and was creating one blanket after another, using it. I like it for its softness and warmth, probably because of the 20% wool in it, the wonderful “watercolour effect” colours which all blend so well together, and its washability – throw it in the washing machine and dryer without a second thought.
Anyway, I memorised the colours of my sister’s living room – creams, deep reds, maroons and plum, and set about it. The first collection of colours I put together was a disappointment. A mixture of Stylecraft Special DK and batik, individually they looked bright and strong, but put together in a basket and they just died. Dull and boring.
What they needed was a pop of something contrasting to bring them to life again. Too many shades of one colour, in this case reds and maroons, are flat and lifeless. So I added a little turquoise blue and suddenly we were cooking. Adding some Stylecraft Batik Elements which is a multi coloured variation, into the mix also and it was beginning to look promising.
So, making up the pattern as I went along, that was the first blanket, made and gifted to my sister and known on Instagram and Facebook as #sisterblanket. It took three weeks and was ready just in time for Christmas.
(Above is a photo of the original Sister blanket in situ.)
Two years on, and after many requests, I made a second one in pretty much the same colours so that I could write up a pattern as I was making it. There are a few tweaks and improvements and finally here it is!
With a new name….the Little Gem Blanket.
So you can see that it isn’t all red and maroon, but is in fact a whole blend of rich jewel-like shades, hence the name Little Gem and a perfect autumn/winter colour scheme for cosy nights by the fire.
So many lovely people on Instagram and Facebook have asked for the pattern, and I’m happy to share it here on my blog.
So here goes……
The blanket measures approx 107cms square and is a perfect size for throwing over a sofa.
The yarns I used are:
Stylecraft Special DK 100g balls in the following shades:
1 ball each of
BURGUNDY, CLARET, GRAPE, POMEGRANATE, GRAPHITE, STORM BLUE, DENIM
and 1 ball of Deramores Studio DK in STORM CLOUD ( I chose this because I wanted a blue/grey shade, but Stylecraft Special DK in shade GREY could be used instead)
Stylecraft Batik DK 50g balls in the following shades:
6 balls in CREAM
1 ball each in HEATHER, PLUM, RASPBERRY, CHERRY, SAGE, STORM, GRAPHITE
And finally, Stylecraft Batik Elements 50g balls in the following shades:
2 balls each of PHOSPHORUS and MAGNESIUM
1 ball of IRON
Please note: The photos of the blanket show one of the Batik colours to look like Olive Green, which indeed it is, but since I completed the blanket, Stylecraft have discontinued that shade. I have therefore substituted it for a blue in the Batik yarn – Storm – and I actually think it blends in better than the green.
This may seem like rather a lot of yarn to buy for a blanket, and you will have some leftover, especially in the larger balls, but you do need a lot of different colours to get the effect.
And anyway, it’s just some more to add to your stash for future projects. A cushion to match the blanket maybe?
I used a 4mm crochet hook, sharp scissors and a blunt tapestry needle.
And now…..The Pattern
– If you are an inexperienced crocheter, don’t be put off! The pattern is very simple using basic crochet stitches. All the detail comes in the use of the colours rather than complicated stitches.
– I like to turn the blanket over to the other side after each row. This helps it to lie flat and doesn’t affect the look of the blanket at all.
– Beware – there will be a LOT of ends to sew in! If you are organised you can sew them in as you go, but I actually like the sewing in process at the end and set aside an evening of TV or Netflix, or an afternoon chatting with friends to do them all at once. It’s therapeutic, honestly!
– The pattern is written in U.K. terms for the stitches. I’ve put the U.S. equivalents in brackets below).
THE STITCHES used are:
TREBLE CROCHET (US Double)
HALF TREBLE CROCHET ( US Half Double)
DOUBLE CROCHET ( US Single)
CRAB STITCH which is just a DOUBLE CROCHET (US Single) worked backwards.
The centre of the blanket is made up of nine granny squares. Starting from the middle of each square, the colours used are:
Top left square : Magnesium, Cream, Claret, (Batik) Storm
Top middle square: Batik Plum, Cream, Pomegranate, Phosphorus
Top right Square: (Batik) Graphite, Cream, Burgundy, Heather
Middle left square: Heather, Cream, Grape, Magnesium
Centre Square: Sage, Cream, Storm Blue, (Batik) Graphite
Middle right square: Heather, Cream, Grape, Magnesium
Bottom left square: (Batik) Graphite, Cream, Burgundy, Heather
Bottom middle square: (Batik) Plum, Cream, Pomegranate, Phosphorus
Bottom right square: Magnesium, Cream, Claret, (Batik) Storm
They are joined with Stylecraft Special in Graphite, except for the centre square which is joined in Cream.
Granny Square Pattern – This pattern appears in Sue Pinner’s lovely book “Granny Squares” on page 123, and also on a page torn out of a magazine circa 1970, which I found in my mother’s work box. That was around the time she attempted to teach me to crochet, and I made the most horrendous brown and cream waistcoat in granny squares. Brown was so 60’s!
With first colour, chain 4 and slip stitch to first chain to make a circle.
Round One : Ch4 ( this counts as one Treble plus 2 chains), *1 Treble into the centre, ch2; repeat from * 7 more times, sl st into the second ch of the first ch4 and finish off. There should be 8 spokes and 8 chain spaces.
Round Two: Attach next colour to any chain space, ch2 ( this counts as 1 Treble), 2 Trebles in the same space, ch1, * 3 Trebles in the next space, ch1, repeat from * seven more times, then sl st to first stitch and finish off. You will have eight cream granny trebles which look like petals.
Round Three: Attach the third colour to any chain space, ch2 ( counts as the first Treble), (2 Trebles, ch2, 3 Trebles), in the same space, 3 Trebles in the next space, *(3 Trebles, ch2, 3 Trebles) in next space, 3 Trebles in next space, repeat from * twice more, sl st to first stitch and finish off. You now have squared off your shape and will have 4 corners and 4 sides.
Round 4: Attach fourth colour to any corner space, ch2 ( counts as 1 Treble), (2 Trebles, ch2, 3 Trebles), in the same corner space, 3 Trebles each in the next two side spaces, *(3 Trebles, ch2, 3 Trebles), 3 Trebles each in the next two spaces, repeat from * twice more, sl st to first stitch and finish off.
Join As You Go
Round five is actually the joining round for the squares. Join as you Go (JAYG) is very easy to do but not so easy to explain in words! I recommend you have a look on Google for some of the many excellent video tutorials for JAYG.
Basically you work a fifth round in the same way as round 4, but there will be three side spaces in which to work the 3 trebles.
For the first square which will be the top right, work the granny trebles all round, remembering to make the (3 Trebles, ch2, 3 Trebles) in each of the corners and fasten off. The yarn to use is Stylecraft Special in Graphite, by the way.
Then take the middle square of the the top row, attach your yarn in the corner space, ch2 and make (2 Trebles, ch2, 3 Trebles) in the same space, work 3 Trebles in the three side spaces, and when you reach the corner make 3 Trebles into the corner space then stop. Instead of the ch2, line up the two squares side by side and look for the the corresponding corner in the first square. You insert your hook downwards into that corner space, yarn over and pull up the loop. Make a stitch and then go back to the middle square and finish off the corner with 3 Trebles. Then find the next chain space in the first square, insert your hook, yarn over, pull up the loop and make a stitch before moving on to the next 3 Treble space on the side of the middle square. Continue that way along the side working from one square to the other, and at the corner, work 3 Trebles, insert your hook in the corner space of the first square, yarn over, pull up the loop and make a stitch, then 3 Trebles in the same corner.
The two squares will now be firmly attached to each other, and you can continue around the two remaining sides of the middle square and finish off by sl stitching into the top of the first ch2.
It is now a case of working around the top left square in exactly the same way and attaching it to the middle square.
For the middle row, please note that I chose to replace the dark grey yarn with the Cream Batik for the middle square just to make it stand out.
Continue for the bottom row and your nine squares will be joined.
TIP At this point I recommend you weave in all your ends, except for any which are on the outer edge. I like to leave them until the next part of the blanket has been completed, as I find ends sewn in along the edge can distort the stitches and make them tricky to see.
(The photo above is zoomed in to show you the decreasing trebles ( see instructions below) That’s them in the middle of the picture, looking like two groups of two Trebles close together. You will treat them as one group of granny trebles.)
So now you are ready to make a nice neat treble granny stitch all around the square to neaten it off. Try to keep your tension nice and light.
First of all turn your work to the reverse, select the Cream Batik yarn and ch2 into the corner, (2 Trebles, ch2, 3 Trebles) into the same corner space, 3 Trebles into each of the next 4 spaces, and then you come to where two of the squares join and we will do something slightly different.
If you were to do 3 Trebles into each of the adjoining corner spaces of these squares, you would end up with too many stitches and the blanket will start to ripple. So, this is what you do –
In the first corner space you come to do 1 Treble, then start a second Treble but only work half of it. In other words, yarn over, insert hook, pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through two loops, you will have two loops left on the hook, then yarn over insert the hook in the adjoining corner space, pull through loop, you will now have four loops on the hook, yarn over, pull through two loops, yarn over and pull through all three loops, then 1 Treble in the same space. What you have done is a decreasing stitch which keeps your blanket nice and flat. Continue all the way round, remembering to work the decreasing stitch in all the points where the two squares join and the (3 Trebles,ch2, 3 Trebles) in all the corners. When you get back to the start, sl st to the first ch2 and fasten off.
At this point it’s a good idea to count the granny trebles around the sides to make sure everything is as it should be. There should be 16 around each side ( count the decreasing trebles as one).
Next Row Turn the work over
Worked in Stylecraft Special in Graphite, work a round of Treble Stitches, with (2 Trebles, ch2, 2 Trebles) in each corner. ( 52 stitches along each side).
Next Row Turn the work over
Working with Cream Batik, work a round of Double crochet stitches all the way round.
Next Row Turn the work
Change to Batik Cherry and work another round of Treble Stitches. (58 stitches along each side).
Next Rows Turn the work after each row
And we are back on to groups of three granny trebles. You will work 8 rounds of granny Trebles with (3 Trebles, ch2, 3 Trebles) in each corner in the following colours
1. Cream Batik
2. Stylecraft Special Storm Blue
3. Cream Batik
4. Batik Elements Magnesium
5. Cream Batik
6. Batik Elements Iron
7. Cream Batik
8. Batik Elements Iron
By the time you have finished the 8th round, you should have 28 granny trebles on each side. This is important otherwise the next round of granny squares won’t fit neatly.
Right, now we move on to a border of simple granny squares, so you can put down your blanket for the time being and make up all the squares before attaching them.
You are going to make a total of 32 squares. I am assuming everyone knows how to make a simple granny square, right? If not, google has loads of tutorials.
These are three rounds in each square, with the first round worked in a solid colour and the other two in batik yarn in a toning shade.
You will make 4 squares in the colours as follows:
1. Stylecraft Special Burgundy, Batik Plum
2. Stylecraft Special Grape, Batik Heather
3. Stylecraft Special Claret, Batik Raspberry
and 5 squares in
4. Stylecraft Special Pomegranate, Batik Cherry
5. Stylecraft Special Graphite, Batik Graphite
6. Stylecraft Special Denim, Batik Storm
7. Stylecraft Special Special Storm Blue, Sage
You can lay them out around the blanket in any order you like, but this is mine if you want to use it.
Sincere apologies for the awful graphic, but at least it is legible!
Once all the squares are made, it’s time to join them, once more with the Join As You Go method.
This time the joining colour is Cream Batik and it is the same method as the centre squares, except that this time I decided to do it in Half Trebles instead of Trebles. It just makes the joins a little less bulky, especially as the granny squares are smaller.
A Half Treble is made as follows: Yarn over, insert hook, pull through loop, ( 3 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through all three loops.
Time for another border of granny trebles, nine rounds this time, as usual turning the work after each round.
Just remember that when you work the first round you make the decreasing trebles when you work over the two side by side corners of the granny squares like before.
Count the granny trebles after the first round – there should be 37. This is just in case you forget about the decreasing trebles.
The colours for the 9 rounds are:
1. Stylecraft Burgundy
2. Batik Raspberry
3. Stylecraft Storm
4. Batik Elements Phosphorus
5. Stylecraft Claret
6. Batik Elements Phosphorus
7. Stylecraft Pomegranate
8. Batik Elements Magnesium
9. Stylecraft Graphite
By the time you have finished the 9th round, there should be 45 granny trebles on each side.
This round is another border of squares, the same pattern of granny as the centre squares. This time the Cream Batik yarn which featured in the 2nd round in the centre squares, is now in the 3rd round, just to make them look a little different.
You will make 40 squares in the following quantities and colours:
4 squares each, in colours working from the centre of the square out :
1. Batik Sage, Stylecraft Claret, Batik Cream, Elements Iron
2. Stylecraft Claret, Batik Sage, Batik Cream, Elements Iron
3. Batik Heather, Stylecraft Storm, Batik Cream, Elements Phosphorus
4. Stylecraft Storm, Batik Heather, Batik Cream, Elements Phosphorus
5. Batik Cherry, Stylecraft Grape, Batik Cream, Elements Magnesium
6. Stylecraft Grape, Batik Cherry, Batik Cream, Elements Magnesium
7. Stylecraft Burgundy, Elements Phosphorus, Batik Cream, Batik Plum
8. Elements Phosphorus, Stylecraft Burgundy, Batik Cream, Batik Plum
9. Elements Magnesium, Stylecraft Pomegranate, Batik Cream, Batik Sage
10. Stylecraft Pomegranate, Elements Magnesium, Batik Cream, Batik Sage
Here we go with another of these terrible graphics. But I think you can make out the order!
These will be joined with JAYG in Half Trebles, this time using the Deramores Studio yarn in Storm Cloud. I chose this yarn for its blue grey tone, but if you want to keep it all in Stylecraft Special, then the shade Grey in that yarn could be substituted.
And we are on to the final stretch!
Five more rounds of granny trebles ( don’t forget that decreasing Treble between the squares in the first of these rounds) and turn the blanket for each round.
1. Stylecraft Graphite
2. 3. and 4. Batik Cream
5. Elements Phosphorus
To complete the blanket with a lovely tailored looking edge, one round of Crab Stitch in Batik Cream.
Look for the excellent video tutorial on Google by Bella Coco Crochet for that stitch. It explains it so much better than the written word.
But here is the pattern anyway. It is basically a Double Crochet stitch but worked left to right rather than the usual left to right, and is worked on the right side of the blanket.
First of all make a round of Double Crochet stitches all the way round the blanket.. Start in any stitch away from the corner. When you get to the corners, work three Doubles in each corner. This is the foundation row, and in both this and the next round try to keep your tension light and quite loose but even.
Keeping the same yarn, in next row ch1. Then insert your hook in the stitch to the RIGHT, yarn over and pull through, two loops on the hook, twist your hook slightly, yarn over and pull through both loops. Work all the way round and sl st to the 1st ch1 and finish off.
Now an pleasant evening with coffee, cake and Netflix and you can tackle any of the ends which haven’t yet been sewn in, which in my case is very many! Thread the end on to a blunt tapestry needle and weave it through a few of the stitches on the back in one direction and then back in the other direction. Cut short. By the way, because you have been turning the blanket between rows, a lot of the ends will appear on the front and will have to be pulled through to the back before sewing in.
And you are finished! Ta Da!
If your tension has been even throughout and not too tight, all you need to do now is put it through a short 30 or 40 degree wash and spin in the washing machine and it should emerge slightly damp but wonderfully flat and straight edged. I didn’t need to pin or block mine. I just laid it out on a bed, with a sheet under it, and let it dry naturally overnight. If any bits look a bit wobbly just tweak them into shape while it is still damp.
I have made a pdf of the blanket pattern for you to print if you like. The link is below
I hope you have enjoyed making your Little Gem blanket and I would love to see your results on Instagram if you’d like to share them, using the hashtag #littlegemblanket.
If anything about my instructions is unclear or if you need any more help or advice, just leave a comment below and I will answer it as best I can.