I was intrigued when Deramores announced their competition as I have mixed feelings about trends. I’m too contrary to do what everyone else is doing. Some people see a beautiful project and want to reproduce it exactly, but I’ve always liked to put my own mark on things. As I read more, I realised that this is what the Deramores competition is aiming for. The trends are the starting point; they are not supposed to be replicated and reproduced, but rather to fire the imagination, to inspire.
I loved Heather’s post on Making Rainbows. As I read it I was thinking that I’d never made a rainbow project, then I realised that most of the colours in her ‘Vintage Rainbow’ set are also in Lucy’s Cosy Stripe Blanket, so maybe I have. When I read that Dedri’s trend was large squares, I had to laugh as my twist on Lucy’s Cosy Stripe Blanket was to transform it into giant granny squares (maybe, for once, I’m actually a trend-setter!). I loved Heather’s granny blanket where she put a round of parchment between every round of colour, how it made the colours really pop and, at the same time, stopped the colour from being overpowering; I thought the neutral rounds really calmed it all down. This is when inspiration struck and I decided to turn the whole idea on its head.
Instead of a colourful rainbow with a smattering of neutral, why not concentrate on the neutral and have a smattering of rainbow? When I was doing Lucy’s Cosy CAL, a blanket that really caught my eye was Selma’s Scandinavian Cosy Blanket. There’s something very undemanding about it; it’s very calm and serene. I’ve been tempted to make something along the same lines since I saw it, but didn’t have a particular project in mind. I decided to make a blanket using Selma’s colour scheme, adding just a splash of rainbow colour.
There’s a reason that large squares are trending, I think. They are incredibly versatile and the possibilities are endless. Like small granny squares (and variants), playing with the colour order can result in very different results. You can use dozens of colours and have scrappy and bright, or use just a few colours and have something that looks tasteful and elegant; there are a million blankets between those two extremes. I decided to use giant granny squares because they would give me a large expanse of neutral colours and it would be easy to add just a strip of colour near the edge. It also meant that I could vary the order of the neutrals in each square so that no two squares were quite the same. While large crochet squares are part of Dedri’s trend challenge, my blanket was inspired by Heather’s trend challenge. I haven’t done anything innovative with the squares – my imagination only goes so far!
I made my blanket with Stylecraft Special DK. For the neutrals I used white, cream, silver, parchment and stone. For my rainbow colours I chose claret, copper, gold, meadow, petrol and plum. On the whole, I think the rainbow colours work well. The only shade I’m not 100% happy with is the copper. I dithered between copper and spice, but decided that the spice was too bright. I wanted deep, rich tones so the copper works better; I just wish it was a touch more orange. Initially, I wasn’t sure about the green either. I considered both khaki and lime. The khaki looked very dull and muddy with the neutrals and I felt that the lime looked more yellow than green; it also looked quite different against the neutrals. I think that both the khaki and lime work better when among brighter colours. I worried that the meadow would look washed out against the neutrals, but it doesn’t.
Overall, I’m delighted with the end result. I think the rainbow colours really pop against the neutral shades. It’s a calm blanket, but there’s just enough colour in it to add interest. The hardest part was choosing a border. I tried several things that didn’t work and reverted to the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid!) and just did a round of granny clusters in each neutral shade, finished with a round of crab stitch in claret to add a little pop of colour.
This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit http://www.deramores.com for more details.