The Man Blanket

I realised after writing about the Serendipity Blanket, that although I have mentioned the Man Blanket, I have never actually blogged about it. The Man Blanket was a quick, fun project too, so I thought I’d take the time this week to tell you a little about it. [NB: the pictures are all ones I have taken recently, so the blanket is not at its pristine new condition, but that has the benefit of being taken with my camera, which means much better photos than my phone can take. Also, you can see how it has fared having been well-loved and washed a few times. You can also see my little helper, mini Mr T…]

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I actually made The Man Blanket last year, whilst I was expecting mini-Mr T (although of course at that point, it was all a big surprise as to what sex the baby was). It was beginning to get significantly cooler in the evenings and Mr T decided he would rather like a nice warm blanket to snuggle under ruggedly recline under. I have to say, I also loved the idea of making a blanket for Mr T, as he is rather special to me and I do think that to craft a gift is such a great way of showing and giving love.

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It was around this time I had made my first crochet project for myself – The Jolly Chunky Bag, designed by Lucy from Attic24. I did enjoy making the jolly chunky bag, but my tension was a bit loose, which I had realised early on, but rather than starting again, with a smaller hook, I just kept going. That was a mistake really, as I have a beautiful bag that only holds featherweight items, unless I want the bungee effect in my accessories – oops.

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Poor Mini Mr T has the flu, although he is such a happy soul, he is still smiling!

Anyway, I digress, but there is a point to all this. With the left over yarn from the project, I made the Jolly Chunky Blanket in about 2 evenings work, using Lucy’s neat ripple pattern. The whole bag shenanigan was worth it for this lovely scrappy blanket (if you look closely you will see that some colours literally ran out mid row and I had to improvise. There wasn’t even enough yarn for a border.) Its size -71cm by 76cm or 28″ by 30″, is ideal for mini Mr T, and it is so soft, yet warm and snuggly. It was great for popping in the pushchair whilst out, or over mini Mr T in the car seat. Also, you may laugh, but when breastfeeding at night, it was just the right size to keep my arm warm when it was poking out of the covers. I love those Stylecraft Special Chunky colours – lavender, raspberry, aspen, fondant, camel, lipstick, meadow and denim – 100% acrylic.

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The skinny on the Jolly Chunky Blanket – I used a starting chain of 87 (6 X 14 plus 3) and it was 45 rows high and I used a 6mm hook

Mr T was similarly enamoured with that simple little blanket and decided that the chunky yarn would be just the thing for his man blanket. However, here is where our ideas started to diverge. Firstly for colours: you may have noticed that most of my projects are pretty filled with colour. Even Miss Maggie’s blanket has 10 colours in it! Mr T had 3 colours in mind although I did manage to stretch this to 5 – Silver, Lipstick, Denim, Cloud and Teal– Stylecraft Special Chunky – 100% acrylic. Next of all, was randomness. I tend to go for a random arrangement of colours, with a bit of planning to try and spread out the different colours and lights and darks etc. Mr T is a left-brain fellow and therefore did not desire any randomness. This left me with a slight issue, as I thought I would get terribly bored repeating the same rows of colour over and over again, on a large size project, with only 5 different colours. However, I managed to overcome this with some of my own left brain thinking! I decided to vary the width of the stripes, in a non-random way, of course (so, it goes 2 rows, 3 rows, 4 rows, 2 rows, 3 rows, 4 rows, in each colour, with 2 rows of the border colour teal to finish up).

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I calculated the amount of yarn I needed using the quantities and weights I used on the Jolly Chunky Blanket. So I used 3 X 100g balls of each colour and 4 X 100g balls of the border colour (teal), with a 6mm hook and a 129 (9 x 14 plus 3) starting chain, which made a blanket 110cm by 150cm or 43″ by 60″. It did take a month, but only because I interspersed it with other projects (like the Rainbow Stripes Blanket). Once I got over half way, it seemed to grow really quickly!

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I am so pleased with how the blanket turned out. I only did the first round of the border, which I think works well, as a simple edge to complete the blanket. I had some left over yarn, so I decided to Monogram the Blanket using crochet letters with the pattern from Melody Griffith’s book 201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects and Ideas. More importantly, Mr T loves the blanket. When he had the flu (real flu, not man flu), he really did value having the Man Blanket and it gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside to know my gift was useful and appreciated. I also have to say, that I have often used The Man Blanket too. It has been ideal on some of these cold Summer nights to pull up over the duvet for some extra warmth. Which of course brings us back full circle to the Serendipty Blanket!

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P.S. I think Lucy’s pattern is brilliant. I don’t really have anything to add in the way of tips, other than it really helped me to understand that the pattern was a 14 stitch repeat, starting and ending with an increase (Lucy does a helpful diagram showing this). I also divided my starting chain into 14 stitch blocks with stitch markers. It helped me with the counting, but also the checking of the pattern in the first row, as it is so easy, yet annoying at this point to make a mistake and to have to frog it back (that happened to me first time, and I had to frog right back to the beginning, from the end of the row and yes, I did actually cry). So the second time I started, I would check back on each repeat – ‘increase, 4 trebles, decrease, decrease, 4 trebles, increase’. Hope that helps, but also feel free to ignore if it doesn’t!

And this is a jar of all the ends I have sewn in and snipped off my Serendipty Blanket! Ta dah coming very soon...

And this is a jar of all the ends I have sewn in and snipped off my Serendipty Blanket! Ta dah coming very soon…

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3 thoughts on “The Man Blanket

  1. Sueveena says:

    How do I calculate how long the starting chain should be? I have a 8mm needle with chunky yarn for a 150cm x 110 cm blanket. I’m an absolute beginner and have zero clue!

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    • Inspiring Crochet says:

      Hi sue! If you follow this link: http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/neat-ripple-pattern.html lucy recommends doing a sample (US terms swatch) with the yarn and hook you are going to use. I make mine mini blanket size for dolls, but you can always make the sample and then undo it, to use the yarn for the blanket. I think that starting chain is 31, which is 2 pattern repeats or 2 X 14, with plus 3 chains, (which is actually your first stitch.) Make at least a few rows following Lucy’s pattern, or in my case, mini doll blanket size. Then measure how wide your work is. You divide that number by 2 and that will give you how wide your pattern repeat is. So then you divide how wide you want your blanket to be by that number and round it up or down to the nearest whole number and that gives you how many pattern repeats you need and the number for your starter chain.

      Let me give an example, let’s say I made the sample and my width measured 24cm. 24/ 2 is 12. So now I take the width I want – 110 cm, and divide it by 12 cm. that gives me a number between 9 and 10. 9 is going to give me 108cm width, 10 will give me 120cm. Now it’s my personal decision! In this case, I want mine to be at least 110cm, so I’m going to go for 10 repeats. That makes my starting chain 10 X 14 plus 3 (which actually makes the first stitch). So that is a starting chain of 143.

      i know this seems long winded, but we are all different in our crochet and doing it this way means it’s most likely to come out the size you want it.

      Alternatively you could just use the chain length I used if you don’t mind too much if it ends up A slightly different width than you wanted it.

      Hope that helps and makes sense!

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