Summer Harlequin Blanket

I’ve had a harlequin blanket on my crochet to-do list for ages and last month I finally got started (ok, I started it despite having a dozen other projects on the go!) I love the diamond pattern, it’s so different from other blankets and after playing around with my yarn pegs (see previous post) I decided on my perfect colour palette.

  
They are all Stylecraft Special DK, and the shades are (from the top): Sherbert, Pomegranate, Aspen, Magenta, Sunshine, Lime, Fondant and Turquoise.  There’s a lot of my favourites in this mix but also a lot of people commented on my last post (and on IG) about their favourite combinations so I added in the pomegranate and lime.

I’ve used this pattern from the Solstrikke blog which was great as she has drawn charts for the diamond shape and also the half-diamonds and triangles you will need to fill in the gaps around the edge of your blanket.  I’m a big fan of having the pattern illustrated in chart form and once you get the hang of it you’ll soon be doing it from memory.

So with my eight colours I decided I needed 10 diamonds of each colour to give me a decent lap blanket size (about the right size for a toddler bed too). I used a 4mm hook for these.

   
  Once I’d memorised the pattern they were very quick and easy to make, taking less than 5 minutes each – perfect for squeezing into toddler nap time!

When I had my 80 diamonds, I found a layout pattern I liked (I wanted it to look random but without having the same colour touching that’s easier said than done! I could then work out how many smaller shapes I needed to fill in the edges.  In this case it was: 10 half diamonds for down the sides, 16 triangles for the top and bottom, and also 2 quarter diamonds (or half triangles) for the opposite corners.

If you’re using lots of colours I’d recommend laying out your blanket and then you can work out which colour shapes to make and what will fit where.

 

  
When it came to joining, I opted for Cream as i thought white might be a bit bright and I didnt want to add another bright colour into the mix.

The Solstrikke blog has a joining technique which if you scroll down you can see (I didn’t see this until I’d come up with my modified version!) I went down a hook size to a 3.5mm and did join-as-you-go, adding one diamond to a row at a time (my blanket  is 10 rows of 8 diamonds).  If you join your yarn on a side of the diamond, you’ll be working into the sides of the rows.  I did 3sc into each row space, then at the top and bottom point, I worked 2sc, 3ch, 2sc. Then carried on down the side. At the side points I added 1ch in between the rows on either side.

  
I’d suggest joining all the whole diamonds together first, then work your way around the edge of the blanket adding the smaller shapes.

Once they were all joined I added a simple cream border to the blanket, by first doing a row of SC all the way around.  Where some shapes joined at the side there was a bit of an indent so in this stitch I made a DC instead to straighten the edge.  I then went round again with a round of HDC and finished off.

The finished blanket measures 110cm wide by 120cm tall (approx 43″x47″) and is the perfect size for cosying up on the sofa,and I think we’ll be taking it to the park a lot this summer as it will be great for picnics!

   
   

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Crochet Sunflower Pincushion

Well it feels like summer is on it’s way….well a British summer anyway….and I personally can’t wait.  I love seeing the garden burst into colour and one of my favourite flowers are sunflowers.  We grow them ever year next to our little blue shed and my husband always complains they grow too tall but I love them, and so does Pip.

I’d been mulling this idea over in my head for a while and I recently got the time to sit down and figure out how the pattern would work and how I could construct it.  I haven’t written many patterns so be patient with me!

Ok here’s what you’ll need:

  
– Rico Essentials Cotton (DK) in Grass Green, Nougat and Banana (one ball of each would make 3-4 of these pincushions)

-3mm crochet hook

– Wool needle for sewing in ends

– a stitch marker

– Toy stuffing

– Bumblebee button for  decoration (optional)

[NB I’m using US stitch terms]

Now getting started…I’ve done this slightly different to the normal circle increases as that gives a bit of a hexagonal look.  So I’ve staggered the increases so they’re not always in the same place which gives a nicer circle shape.

1. Make a magc loop with the brown cotton and do 6sc into the loop (6st)

2. Do 2sc into each of the stitches making sure to put a stitch marker in your first stitch of the round (12st)

3. 2sc (increase) in the first stitch, sc in the next, *2sc, sc* repeat all the way round (18st)

4.  sc, *2sc, sc, sc*, repeat all the way round, sc in last stitch (24st)

5. *2sc, sc in the next 3 stitches* repeat all the way round (30st)

6. sc in first 3 stitches, *2sc, sc in the next 4* repeat, ending with sc in last stitch (36st)

7. *2sc, sc in next 5* repeat all the way round (42st)

8. sc in first 4 stitches, *2sc, sc in next 6 stitches* repeat, sc into last 2 stitches (48st)

9. *2sc, sc in next 7 stitches* repeat all the way round (54st)

10. sc in first 5 stitches, *2sc, sc in next 8 stitches* repeat, sc in the last 3 stitches (60st)

  
Then do 3 rounds of sc in every stitch (so rows 11,12 and 13 – no increases, just sc all the way round).  This will make it start to curl upwards into a kind of half ball shape.

  
Fasten off the brown yarn and weave in the ends.

I then turned this inside out as I felt what was the inside of my work looked better for the middle of a sunflower than the other side (other side pictured below)

 So here it is turned inside out (below).  Now attach the yellow yarn and I’ll show you how to make the petals…

To make a petal chain 9 stitches.

Slip stitch into the 2nd chain from the hook, then slip stitch into the next chain down as well.  Sc in the next chain, hdc in the next chain, dc in the next two chains, and then treble into the last two chains.

To summarise: skip 1st ch, sl st, sl st, sc, hdc, dc, dc, tr, tr.

(or if you want the UK terms: skip 1st ch, sl st, sl st, dc, htr, tr, tr, dtr, dtr)

It should look like this:

  Then skip 3 stitches completely around the edge of the brown circle and slip stitch into the 4th stitch along to join….like so:

  Then we start on the next petal, so ch9 again and repeat the petal pattern.

  Repeat all the way around the circle and you’ll end up with 15 petals.  Don’t worry if they curl up, we’ll fix that at the end.  Fasten off the yellow yarn and weave in your ends.
  
Now you need to repeat the pattern for the brown circle (flower inner) using the green yarn.  This will be the base of the pincushion.  Work exactly the same but don’t turn it inside out this time.

  
Then add petals in the same way as we did to the brown part of the flower.  As we haven’t turned this part inside out, when we put the two sides together all the petals will curl upwards – like a real sunflower.

  
Again weave in your ends. You should have 2 pieces now that look like this….

  
Now I’ll show you how to sew them together.

Position the green base under the brown so that the petals are offset in the gaps, like this….

  
Then using a length of the brown cotton and your needle we will sew around the edge of the circles using a simple running stitch.  If you tie a knot in the end of your cotton make sure you start from inside the flower (this is going to be stuffed anyway but it’ll hide your end).  Make sure the petals are offset as you work around.

  
When you are about 3 inches from getting all the way around, stop and stuff the flower.  Use small pieces of stuffing to ensure it is stuffed evenly, and you want to pack it in quite firmly so you have a nice solid pincushion for your pins.  Once you’re happy with the stuffing, sew up the remaining edge, fasten off and weave in.

I added a little bee button for decoration but this is optional.  If the  petals are a bit curled, gently manipulate them into shape – this worked fine for mine.  You could always steam them if you wish.

And voila! It’s finished! Photos below 🙂

I hope that all made sense, any questions just let me know!x
Please note:

Crochet Sunflower Pincushion Pattern and Tutorial – Copyright, Holly George 2015.

This is a free pattern for personal use only – you can not sell the finished items without my permission (you can make them as gifts).  Do not publish this pattern (or any part of it) without my permisson but feel free to link to my blog if you wish.