Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Wrap With Love - Caring for "Cold Humanity"

Welcome back! We've had a lovely restful Christmas break, refreshed and rejuvenated, and ready for another great year of blogging. I have so much to tell you about! But, I'll have to break it up over a few weeks :P To start with, here's one of the projects we worked on over the holidays!

For years my Mum has supported an Australian charity called Wrap with Love, which makes blankets for cold people around the world. She has a team of knitters who make squares and drop them off, and then Mum sews them up into blankets and sends them on :)



I... can't knit. Well, I can knit simple garter stitch very badly, but I don't enjoy it - attempts at knitting usually end with sweaty, red, cranky me in a great tangle of yarn. Maybe one day I'll get the hang of knitting!

Image (c) http://www.wrapwithlove.org/knitting-patterns/
But I can crochet! I tried quite a lot of different patterns to make 25cm/10" squares out of my fave Stylecraft Special DK, and finally settled on the Blanket Stitch (also called Sedge Stitch - thanks to Jodie from Lupey Loops!!). By doing them all the same, and adding a simple sc edging row to each square, they were super quick to make and even easier to put together. My mum has now decided she's not knitting anymore because the crochet version works up faster!! Together we made a whole blanket (crocheting in front of the tennis, when we felt like it) over the last two weeks, which I joined with slip stitch in the back loops to frame each of the squares.


The texture of the blanket stitch is beautiful - it is solid (no holes!) and the gentle bobbliness makes for a very cosy feeling blanket. It is also a very rhythmic pattern - after making 76 squares, I can also read the subtitles while watching Turkish soap operas on Netflix while crocheting!

I used a 4mm hook for mine, but Mum found that she needed a 3.5mm hook to get the same tension; so I suggest make one with a 4mm and measure it - it should be about 25cm/10". If it needs to be more than 1.5cm/0.5" smaller go down a hook size, or go up a hook size if it's too small. Don't worry about variations between the square sizes smaller than that; peer pressure is a powerful force in a blanket ;) 

Making these blankets are a great stashbuster, or way of clearing out your yarn box at the end of a project. Just join your next yarn on with a Russian join or magic knot, and keep on going! I made 21 squares out of the leftovers from my Carousel kit! You can see in the blanket photos in this post the colour changes. 



If you would like to make squares or blankets for Wrap With Love, or a charity closer to your home, here is my pattern. You can also find, favourite or queue it on Ravelry here:


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WRAP WITH LOVE - CROCHET BLANKET STITCH SQUARES
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Materials:
4mm hook (or hook size to achieve desired square size)
~50g DK Yarn
Scissors
Yarn Needle

All stitches are in US terminology
sl st = slip stitchch = chain stitchsc = single crochetdc = double crochet


Square:

Row 1: 
Ch 48. In 3rd ch from hook, 2dc. *skip 2 ch, (1sc, 2dc) in next ch*. Repeat * to * to the last chain; in the last ch, 1sc. Ch2, turn.




Row 2:
2dc in first sc (that is, the last sc you made in the previous row). *skip 2 stitches, (1sc, 2dc) in next st (which will be the sc from the previous row)*. Repeat * to * to the end of the row; 1sc into space between 2ch and 2dc on the previous row (not into a stitch or into the chains). Ch2, turn. 



Rows 3-30:
Repeat Row 2. Do not fasten off. 

Tip: The easy way to count rows is to count the "bobbles" that poke out the wrong side of each row - you'll have 15 across, and 15 up on each side once you have 30 rows! You also finish in the opposite corner to the starting tail.



Edging:

Note: I've worked the edging in a different colour so you can see the stitches more easily. It's easier (and fewer ends) to just keep working with the same colour!

Ch1 and turn your work 90 degrees clockwise (not over! you're still working in the same direction as you were when you finished row 30). 




sc into the side of the last sc you made in Row 3. *2sc into 2ch sp, 1sc into side of next sc*. Repeat to end of row. In the last ch2 space, 3sc.



Turn 90 degrees again so you're now working along the other side of your Row 1 chains, and sc into the first ch (the same one you did the first two dc into). *2sc into 2ch sp, 1sc into next ch*. Repeat to end of row. In the last ch2 space, 3sc.

Turn 90 degrees again, and sc into the side of the first sc. *2sc into 2ch sp, 1sc into side of next sc*. Repeat to end of row. In the last ch2 space, 3sc.

Turn 90 degrees again - we're back to the top! sc in each stitch, and 2sc in the last stitch. slst to the first sc, cut your yarn and weave in the ends.


Joining

You need 28 squares to make a blanket - 4 wide and 7 long. Join however you like! Whip stitch, mattress stitch, sc, sc or slst in the back look - the choice is yours. 

Once joined and your ends are all woven in, work a simple sc border around the edge of the blanket to support the seams and stop the squares stretching too much. You can do a more elaborate border if you wish, but that's yarn that could be making another whole square! 


6 comments :

  1. Hi Michelle, I recently discovered your nice blog. It's a pleasure to read about those interesting topics you wrote about.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful blanket tutorial and this knowledge about charity initiatives. I hope to find something similar to "Wrap with love" here in Munich, where I have been living since three years.
    My best regards, Dalila.

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    1. Thank you Dalila! I am sure there are charities in Germany who appreciate crocheted items - perhaps start with your local children's hospital?

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  2. Love that blanket. I have a 'fugly' blanket that I am making out of all the left overs that I have when I am finished a blanket - provided there isn't too much of it - it's your basic V-stitch - 30 stitches wide - to make up a panel (I haven't decided how long yet) but then I joined on another panel of 30 stitches which I join as I go. It suits my OCD nature very well because all the little bits that I had lying around were driving me nuts.
    The main reason I swopped to crocheting was because it was so much quicker than knitting blankets - increased productivity means increased blankets/shawls/scarves to donate.
    Have the best day !!! xox
    @kal20m

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    1. Thanks Linda! I love using up scrappy leftovers like this - if you're working with nice, brightly coloured yarn anyway, it always looks good :D

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  3. Your pattern writing is always clear. I found myself charting your first 2 rows to 'see' the pattern and discover 'which' blanket stitch you were making. There are a few 'common names' used to describe a number of different patterns so I felt compelled to double check with a chart! Your pattern has also been called 'Sedge Stitch' in a couple of my resources. I thought this might be helpful info. for you.
    My grandmother used to knit squares for charity well into her 90s. It was the perfectly sized project for her - easy to handle and quick to finish. Your blanket looks great.

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    1. Thanks Jodie! Every project I do is a lesson in pattern writing - some good, and some warnings of what not to do :P Good to know that this stitch has different names! I'll add that in above :)

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