Sunday, 25 May 2014

Stripey Crochet Granny Monkey Blanket + Pattern and Border Tutorial

As soon as I found out my brother-in-law and his wife were having a baby, I knew I wanted to make a blanket for the new addition. I was already working on the Crochet Baby Granny Blanket and also the Granny Square Scrap Blanket but I had a few ideas floating around in my head. I really liked the way that the Baby Granny Blanket turned out in the random stripes, so I was thinking about something along those lines but different colours. 

Once I knew that they were having a boy, it made the choice obvious- blue! After some quite extensive Google searches (crochet baby boy blanket blue) I came across this pattern for a "Sock Monkey Blanket". Then I couldn't get the Monkey motif out of my head either. I found a brilliant tutorial on making monkey appliqués on the Tillie Tulip blog here. So BOOM idea created! Spotlight was having a sale on yarn so I headed down, and got my blue, grey and white yarn. 

I was finishing off a couple of other bits and pieces when I bought the yarn so I had more time to think about the overall look of the blanket. What I was really wanting to create was something fresh and modern, and the more I thought about the sock monkey blanket, the more I thought that it wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. Because I loved the previous baby blanket so much, I thought I may as well just create the same type of thing, but in the blue yarns I picked out. 

To start the blanket, I did a bit of a mishmash of patterns, using the Little Tin Bird Basic Granny Square + the Sock Monkey Blanket row joining technique + my own made up border + the Tillie Tulip Monkey appliqué. 

If you already know how to do a Granny Square, then you can very easily make a blanket like this. There are lots and lots of tutorials around about how to do this, but my favourite method (so far) is to start with a Magic Circle/Loop (this is a great video on how to do that). Below is a quick photo tutorial on how I do it, based on other tutorials and trial and error!

Stripey Granny Monkey Blanket

Hook H/5.00mm
4 Seasons Pure Wool 8ply 50g x 7 skeins colour 25 (Mid Blue)
Moda Vera Marvel Soft 8ply 100g x 1 skein white 
Moda Vera Marvel Soft 8ply 100g x 1 skein light grey
4 Seasons Pure Wool 8ply 50g x 4 skeins colour 47 (light Navy)

Finished size approx 90 x 90cm or 35 inches (you may need more or less yarn depending on how big your finished blanket is and the tension of your work)

Start with a Magic Circle, chain 3 (Image 1)

Image 1

Then do 2 double crochet (dc) next to the chain 3 (Image 2)

Image 2

Then chain (ch) 1, do another group of 3dc then ch 1, (Image 3)

Image 3

and do another 2 groups of 3dc with ch1 in-between (Image 4) until you get to the beginning ch 3 (Image 5)

Image 4
Image 5

Pull on the tail of the Magic Circle to make the circle nice and tight
Slip stitch (ss) into the top of the first ch 3, then ch 3. This will be the beginning of the 2nd round (Image 6)

Image 6
After the ch 3, do another 2 dc into the same space as the ch 3 and ch 1 (Image 7: 1)

In the next space, do a group of 3 dc, then ch 3, then another group of 3 dc in the same space, then ch 1. You have now created your first corner! (Image 7: 2 and 3)

Image 7
 Do the next 2 corners the same way-- 2 groups of 3 dc, with ch 3 in-between each corner group and ch1 between each side until you get to the first corner with the ch 3 (Image 7: 4 and Image 8 below)

Image 8
For the last corner, 3 dc then chain 3, then slip stitch into the top of the starting ch 3 (Image 9)

Image 9
Well done! You've now completed Round 2 of your Granny Square! You can continue the rounds the same each time. Start with a ch 3, then 2dc in the same space, ch 1, then a group of 3 dc. The sides of the square will each have ch 1 between, and each corner will continue to have 2 groups of 3 dc, with ch 3 between. The sides will be increasing the number of groups as you go, but each corner only has 2 groups of 2 dc.

I really hope that was helpful and made sense to get you started on your Granny Square. As a beginner myself, I find photo tutorials the best way to get started!

NB: The Sock Monkey Blanket Pattern has a brilliant method of staggered slip stitch joining for each row, so that you don't have an obvious join at the same corner for the whole blanket. I won't share it here as it wasn't my idea, but I highly recommend having a look! Link above ^^. This is definitely the way I will be working Granny Blankets from now on!

If you want to make your blanket look like mine, you need to have the following colour distribution: 
Start with Blue colour, do 9 rounds;
Join Grey, do 3 rounds;
Join White, do 1 round; 
Join Blue, do 4 rounds;
Join White, do 4 rounds 
Join Grey do 1 round;
Join Blue, do  9 rounds.

The next 7 rounds are actually part of the border pattern. I chose to use Navy as a complementary colour to the blue, white and grey. To start the border:
Join Navy, do 2 rounds;
Join Grey, do 2 rounds;
Join White, do 2 rounds
Join Blue, do 1 round;
Join Navy, do 1 round. 

Now you have finished the main body of the blanket. The next part is the finishing touch. It makes the blanket look completed and adds a bit of interest. 

I made up this border pattern as I wanted something that made the blanket look "finished", wasn't feminine (i.e. not scalloped!), wasn't too bulky and would fit the monkey appliqué. While I was working the main part of the blanket, I had decided that Navy would really tie in well for a border. I also liked the way the border started on my other Granny Baby Blanket where I added in the cream. And so, I added in the Navy in the same way. 
(For the purpose of this tutorial, I am making a granny square, however the method is exactly the same to finish the blanket, this square if obviously just smaller.) 

Slip the last stitch and then chain 1, (use a stitch marker if you prefer, to keep track of the rounds). Do a single crochet into each loop/stitch of the previous double crochet row, including each gap. Crochet into BOTH loops of the row, in the gap you should be able to fit 2 single crochet, one into each loop, and then 2 single crochet across every double crochet group of three. 

When you get to the corner, do six single crochets into the corner gap. This will make a nice rounded corner. You may need to add in extra single crochets as you do more rounds, to keep the corner flat and rounded. 

Once you've done 5 or so rounds, you are going to work one round of deep single crochets.   You can do as many or as few round of single crochet as you want, but I have done five. You should do one extra row as this will be taken up by the deep single crochet. 

For deep single crochet, you are going to put your hook into the little hole beneath the single crochet loop. That is, you're more or less going into the spaces/gaps/holes in the previous row. It's difficult to show in the photos but it's obvious once you've got it right. 

When you get to the corners, In the middle 3 single crochet gaps, do 2 deep single crochet in each gap. That is, you will have 2 groups of 2 deep single crochets at the point of each corner. Again, this helps to keep the rounded shape and allows the corners to lay flat. 

Once you have done a round in deep single crochet, slip stitch into the first loop, chain 2 and then do a round of half double crochet, slip stitch when you get to the beginning and you have finished the border!

I think this makes a beautifully finished blanket as it is, without have the monkeys!

Finished blanket with border, but no monkey appliqués.
I was deliberating quite a lot whether I would even put them on, hence why I took a load of photographs without the monkeys. In the end, I thought it would be a cute touch for a baby blanket to have, so I sewed them into the corners. 
If you would like to make your own monkey, be sure to head to Tillie Tulip blog where there is a free tutorial- with photographs!

For the final finishing, I steam blocked the blanket without the monkeys. I then steam blocked the monkeys separately and hand sewed them onto the corners after doing a little placement practice. I'm always amazed what a difference the blocking makes! It really flattened out the corners and made the whole blanket super soft, and draped beautifully. Even the monkeys were really soft and didn't feel to bulky, especially in the middle part of the face where there are 3 layers! 

Pleased to be linking in with Leonie for Show & Tell this week!

 Show & Tell Thursday's

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