I really wanted to put some secret hearts into the blanket, as well as the more obvious ones, but I just couldn't find exactly what I wanted - two row granny equivalent, cute heart that sits on top of the surrounding row, and in the same colour for both the heart and the background!
This one from Petals to Picots was going to be too big...
This one from How to Crochet a Heart was perfect for the heart centre, but didn't have any information on how to make it a square...
This one from Mollie Makes was close to what I wanted, but the heart sat flat in the square rather than sitting on top, and required either two colours, or detaching and rejoining the same colour to start the second row, and who has time for all these ends!
So, inspired and encouraged by the above, here is my Mini Heart Square, all in one colour :)
PATTERN: MINI HEART SQUARE
3-4 metres of yarn (depending on what weight you choose - you can use any size yarn you like! I used my favourite Stylecraft Special DK for this tutorial)
Hook to match yarn (I used a 3.5mm hook for this tutorial)
Yarn needle for weaving in ends.
This pattern uses all US terminology
slst - slip stitch
ch - chain stitch
dc - double crochet
tr - treble crochet
Stacked Standing Double Crochet - sc into target stitch. Insert hook under two leftmost strands of sc, yarn over hook to do a second sc.
Working into the Third Loop- You will need to familiarise yourself with the construction of the dc and tr stitches to be able to find the "third loop". This is the horizontal bar that goes across the back of each stitch, just under the back loop. In this image from the Craft Yarn Council's page on how to do a double crochet, I've labelled the back loops and third loops for you :) The theory is much the same for the treble crochet - it has the same third loop behind the back loop at the top of the stitch.
STEP 1 - HEART CENTRE
Into a magic ring, (3ch, 3tr, 3dc, 1ch, 1tr, 1ch, 3dc, 3tr, 3ch) and then slipstitch back into the magic ring. Pull on the end to tighten the magic ring. This forms the central heart.
Have a look at the back of your heart, and find the 3rd dc you made.
We're going to use the back loops of this stitch to move our working yarn up to the edge of the heart. Ch1, then slst into the first loop of that 3rd dc, then into one of the next loops, then ch1 again. The arrows in the picture below show the slip stitches. There isn't really a wrong way to do this, you just want to get your yarn up towards the top of the stitch without using either of the top loops of the stitch or the third loop.
Once you've found the third loop of the third DC, do a stacked standing dc into that loop. Ch1.
Now we need to find the next loop, which is the 3rd loop of the 4th dc, so skip
(1ch, 1tr, 1ch) and locate that third loop.
Into this loop do (3dc, 2ch, 3dc, 1ch). One corner made!
Now comes the tricky part! Locate the second last tr of the heart:
and then find the 3rd loop of that tr:
Do another (3dc, 2ch, 3dc, 1ch) into that loop.
Find the FIRST TREBLE stitch that you made. It might seem like we're making the heart square asymmetrical, but I promise it's this that makes the heart look straight on the square! Locate the 3rd loop of this stitch, and do (3dc, 2ch, 3dc, 1ch) into that loop.
Now we're back to where we started, woohoo! You need to be careful that you use the same loop that you did to start...
... and that you insert your hook to make the stitches in such a way that your first stacked dc and the trail of slip stitches and chains behind it are all to the left of your hook.
Make (3dc, 2ch, 2dc) in that loop, and then slst to the top of your first stacked standing dc. Finish off, and weave in your ends.
Tadah! A Mini Heart Square, the same size as 2 rows of granny square, all in one colour :)
Of course, if you want to make your heart a different colour to the background, you can either use Mollie Makes's pattern linked at the top, or this pattern and simply finish off the heart, and start your new colour afresh at Step 3 of this tutorial :)