The yarn I had in mind was Rowan's Siena 4 ply, a cotton yarn. I like cotton for crochet because of its crispness, and it is easy to unravel. The yarn comes in several guises, Jaeger, Rowan Classic and plain Rowan. I bought the main lot ten years ago when the Jaeger version was discontinued, and then I had in mind to knit cotton fair isle. I tried, and it didn't work out. Since then I have bought more in charity shops. The ones without a label may well be a different brand. Some are thicker, and I wonder it they are Cotton Glace. Some are not mercerised, and they are probably something else. In the end I had a large number of shades. I excluded the darker and the white ones. I had 13 balls of the Clover shade, and I set it aside for surrounds.
My book of crochet blocks is Jan Eaton's 200 crochet blocks. There are other books, but I think this one is comprehensive enough. I briefly thought about doing a number of different blocks, to try out patterns. But there were so many shades that I thought it would be too confusing for the eye, and I looked for one block. My criteria were that it would have no more than three shades, that it would be crocheted in the round, and that it would appeal to me. There were just a few candidates in the end, and I decided on the Willow pattern.
I worked out an elaborate system to choose shades for the blocks, to achieve as many combinations as possible. I really do not like having to select things at random by myself. I didn't set out to eliminate duplicates, but I may have, because so far I haven't come across any.
I had decided to do the last two rounds in the Clover shade, and to use the final round to crochet the blocks together. So I did all the blocks first and arranged them trying to avoid putting similar blocks together. This is a stage that I should have spent more time on. It would be restful for the eye if it could discern some kind of order, but here it can't. It might have worked better with fewer shades.
When I calculated the number of blocks needed I was under the impression that the last two rounds would be trebles. They were in fact double crochet, so the blocks, and the whole blanket, ended up smaller than I wanted. I would have had enough yarn for more blocks, but possibly not for the Clover surrounds, so I left it small. I had had enough of the crochet, and I wanted it finished. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't knitting.
I devised the last round with spaces for attaching to the next block, and it worked well. I liked the ridge between the blocks that appeared naturally. I did an edging of several rounds of double crochet, with one cyclamen round, and ended with a round of crab stitch
I like looking at the finished blanket. It is heavy for a blanket. I doubt I will ever do anything similar again. I will do crochet, but in rows so that it is quicker. Each block seemed to take such a long time, and then joining them. It all took ages, and I had to set myself a target, to finish it in a reasonable time. So that I can go back to knitting.
Willow crochet blanket
Pattern: Jan Eaton 200 crochet blocks – 189 Willow
Yarn: Jaeger/Rowan Classic/Rowan Siena 4 ply cotton
Size: 130cm wide 165 cm long
30 November 2016 to 31 March 2017