If you are as obsessive about crochet and yarn as I am, then you will have noticed that rainbows are a popular current trend in crochet. My blog today is about my take on the rainbow trend…
This is a tale of 2 blankets – The Prayer Blanket and the Baby Rainbow Blanket, both with a rainbow theme, but in many ways very different – one reflecting a lovely daughter and the other an unexpected son. I promised in my very first blog, that I would tell you more about these blankets and the story begins last year (2014) when I was pregnant and I picked up and dusted off my crochet hook once more. I am always drawn to yarn crafts when pregnant and nesting, I think it is because of the calming and peaceful effect of knitting and crochet for my soul and how I delight in being able to craft something beautiful for the baby I am eagerly waiting for.
I really love the theme of rainbows in crochet and for me it also has a special significance. ‘Rainbow baby’ is a special description to babies born to women after they have suffered from a loss of a baby from stillbirth or miscarriage. Mr T and I have suffered from 3 miscarriages in the past years and it makes the three babies we have had since then, all the more precious and it seems perfect to think of them as rainbow babies..
Because of this, I knew that I wanted to use rainbow colours for the Prayer Blanket and I had already been inspired by Lucy from Attic24 – and had chosen her Summer Garden granny square, with the idea of small and large squares in a similar style to Kathy Merrick’s Babette layout.
Having chosen the design I headed down to our local charity shop with my eldest daughter Miss Em to review the selection of lovely yarns. I was thinking of something bright and bold, but Miss Em persuaded me to go for a more subtle, gentle palette, which I think works really well, giving the blanket a lovely, soft, vintage feel, but still with some pops of colour. As I crocheted, I chose the colours I used ‘randomly’ taking care to balance the lighter and darker tones, as well as spreading out those brighter red and green colours.
Of course you may have noticed that Orange is missing! The only orange in the shop was neon bright and simply didn’t fit. I think if I were to make it again, Stylecraft’s spice would fit nicely, but I still think it works without an orange and we chose cream as our 7th colour, as a neutral to tone down the brighter colours.
These colours and blanket are very special to me, as before the blanket was finished, Miss Em left home and we have not been able to see her much since then. They remind me of her – gentle, beautiful and lovely. I am a person who prays and I had always intended for this to be a prayer blanket, filled with all my hopes and dreams for the little person growing inside me. The process of crocheting and praying over this beautiful blanket was so healing for me and helped me to focus on the positives in our situation and leave the rest to God, at a time where we were adjusting to a different season in our lives.
The healing powers of crochet and prayer blankets are topics I’m really interested in, and plan to write more about in the future. I was fascinated to learn that even those who don’t ‘pray’ make prayer blankets and was also amazed at the research which suggests the same conclusions on the healing powers of yarn and colours, from a scientific basis, that I found from my humble crochet blanket. Kathryn Vercillo has written extensively about these topics on her blog and in her fab book that I am currently reading – Crochet Saved My Life – all her blog writings on the healing powers of crochet and they are really worth a read – very interesting.
Not only did my blanket teach me of the healing powers of crochet, but I got some other great learning from doing the edge of this beautiful blanket. I had to frog (so named from the ‘rip it’, ‘rip it’ noise undoing the yarn makes) my first several attempts as they turned out terribly ruffled. Then I discovered this amazing tutorial for stopping that by Jacquie at Bunny Mummy and I used one of her simple Double V edging patterns, to keep the blanket suitable for boy or girl. Although I remained optimistic in this area, I have to say, most people’s money was on a girl, as Mr T and I had only given birth to girls up to this point – 4 to be exact!
The only real angst my beautiful blanket gave me was sewing in the ends. I did try to follow wise advice of growing to love sewing in ends and doing them as I went along, but I failed. After I finished the blanket, it remained a couple of months, very shaggy looking until I determined one evening to just do it. So, do, do follow the wise advice of doing it as you go along, or, in my case, train someone to help (my daughter, Miss G) and it becomes a lot more fun.
Although the pattern was a lot more intricate, choosing the colours for the prayer blanket was quite straightforward. However, for the Rainbow Baby Blanket, although I had chosen a simple design – Lucy from Attic 24’s Granny Stripe, I really wanted some bright rainbow colours – including an orange. However, I did not like the idea of choosing yarn colours on-line, without being able to see them together, in natural light. (On-line retailers recognise this issue and therefore sell mixed yarn packs. Anita at My Craft Life does some great packs, but this was before I discovered her!) So researching on the web, I came across Little Tin Birds Big Rainbow Ripple blanket and found the answer. I could see the colours worked well together and chose the same colours – aster, cloud, meadow, saffron, shrimp, pomegranate and magenta omitting the plum.
The blanket striped up really quickly – I think I finished it in under a week. It was such fun and I was often chanting Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (Red Orange Green Blue Indigo Violet), to keep my stripes in order. Mr T’s left brain tendencies meant I was not allowed to make a randomly striped rainbow blanket for our baby. I actually think it looks fab with the stripes in rainbow order. It also made it a lot quicker as I could just keep repeating the same pattern and didn’t need to take time to plan out colour order.
Because it was a unisex blanket I decided to go for a really simple edge of treble clusters (double clusters in US terms), with a chain 3 over the top of each cluster. I also didn’t sew in the ends, choosing to crochet over them instead. Honestly, it looks ok, but next time I will sew them in, as it is much neater. I found not only the crochet to be therapeutic, but I really did enjoy the colour therapy of those bright, joyful colours, as I crocheted and the lovely, soft tactile feel of the Stylecraft Special DK yarn.
And it was good that my blanket was ready so quickly, as quite soon afterwards, and after a mad dash to the hospital, (we arrived with 15 minutes to spare) mini Mr T arrived! The bright and vibrant colours in his Rainbow Stripe Blanket really reflect his cheerful, giggly, personality. Mini Mr T’s arrival did feel like the delicious feeling after the storm, with the scent of the wet ground in the air, when the rainbow holds the promise of a brighter future.
Which is how, the story of these rainbow blankets is not just the story of two blankets, which reflect my lovely daughter Miss Em, and my bouncy, baby boy, but it is also the story of how I came to become totally hooked on crochet and to be writing this blog. Unlike before, where baby’s arrival signalled the packing away of yarns and hooks and needles, this time, I have carried on crocheting, loving every minute of it and seeing it as my therapy and the ultimate way for me to chillax. It has made me passionate to share my love of crochet in the hope that it will inspire and encourage you to explore your own creative side. 🙂
Edit Sept 2015: P.S. I originally wrote this as an entry to Deramore’s blog competition. I have subsequently edited this as there were some links I was not allowed to include due to competition restrictions and wanted to add in and at the same time take some the competition references out that are no longer relevant :-)))