Design a Crochet Granny Blanket :: Part One ::

Posted by vicki brown on

A series of blog posts, which walk you through designing your own crochet motif blanket step by step.

Since I've just started on a crochet granny blanket this week, I thought I'd share with you the steps I take in planning my blanket, so that you can design your own crochet motif blanket too, if you like. Thinking about the type of yarn to choose, the kind of motif you want to use, how much yarn you'll need, the process of blocking, weaving in ends and finishing your blanket to a beautiful standard.
I know you can simply grab a ball of yarn, a hook and just get going, without doing any of this preliminary fussing and by all means if that works for you then go right ahead, however, for me, I know if I plan everything out from the beginning I'm more likely to end up with the result I had hoped for. Let's be honest a blanket of any size is no quick project, so if you're going to invest all that time into it, you want to be pleased with the finished result.

A series of blog posts, which walk you through designing your own crochet motif blanket step by step.

Yarn Choice :

The first thing you want to think about is the yarn you're going to use. There are so so many options available to you; what fibre are you going to use, what colours and what kind of price point? I am fully aware of how quickly yarn costs can mount up when making a blanket, I've jumped straight in to blanket making without any forethought only to realise on my 4th trip to the yarn shop quite how expensive the finished product was going to end up being. Obviously if you can afford to, I fully endorse spending all the money on the most luxurious yarns to create an unbelievably decadent blanket, but I know that that is rarely an option.

The fibre you hope to use is of course going to have an impact on your budget. A blanket made from a silk, cashmere blend is obviously going to cost you a lot more than one made from 100% acrylic, but cheap does not have to be acrylic, there are many budget options available in natural fibres.

Another consideration is obviously who is going to be caring for the blanket? Are they likely to shove it on a boil wash after it's first use, turning into a super thick rug for a borrower, if you use a delicate pure wool? If so then you'll probably want to think about using a robust super wash or acrylic blend.

Now for yarn weight, by which I mean thickness of the yarn. Again so many choices from fine lace to super chunky. Definitely think about how long you hope to work on this project at this point. I would never, ever dream of crocheting up a blanket in lace, I just do not have the patience, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't, a lace weight blanket would be so lovely and drapey and delicate, but for me a double knit or aran weight yarn is much more achievable.

A series of blog posts, which walk you through designing your own crochet motif blanket step by step.

For this project I chose DROPS Alaska, for a few reasons, firstly it's a chunky Aran weight (I know watching this blanket grow quickly is going to spur me on to the finish line) however it's not so chunky that it'll be stiff and too heavy. It's 100% wool, but it's not itchy or rough, in fact it's really quite soft and lovely. I would much rather use a natural fibre over acrylic, though would definitely have considered a blend. It's got a lovely thick twist on the ply, meaning the stitch definition is really nice and it's really very cheap! Currently on offer at Wool Warehouse, it's only £1.20 a 50g ball.
To start out I just ordered one ball in each colour that I liked the look of, just in case I decided against the yarn or the colour, I wanted to have a play with the yarn before I took the plunge and invested lots of money.

I chose 6 colours, plus white, as I plan to edge each motif in white when I join them together. I don't think you can have too many or too few colours really, it's entirely up to your personal preference. I use pinterest as a great source of inspiration when I'm thinking about colour combinations.

Motif Choice ::

Another big choice to make, what motif are you going to use for your blanket? A regular straight up granny square, a hexagon, a triangle, will it have a puffed, 3D centre? I use all sorts of sources for finding motif ideas, including books, pinterest and ravelry.
Once you've got your hands of a couple of balls of the yarn you intend to use, you can start playing around with ideas and swatching up some motifs. Initially for this blanket I was going to use a regular granny square, but after a little bit of swatching I decided on a circle centre, with a squared off edge. I took a pattern I found online, but altered the last round a little in order to square it off a bit more, as I wasn't happy with the original result. Definitely play around with ideas until you really find something you love, after all you'll likely be making a whole lot of them!

A series of blog posts, which walk you through designing your own crochet motif blanket step by step.

Once you've made these big decisions, you can work out how big you want you blanket to be and calculate how much yarn you're going to need. I'll cover these elements in part 2.

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