|'Fallen Leaves' - Cotton DK 10 Colour Pack|
I was delighted to be one of the first to get my hands on the new range of yarns by Paintbox, which are exclusive to LoveKnitting.com and LoveCrochet.com who I am big fans of as you know, and I've been working with their DK (double knit) range for over a week now with this blanket and I have to say, I am loving it.
I'm a big fan of 100% acrylic and 100% cotton yarns anyway for ease of use as a mum, so what better than a whole host of colours to choose from, which can all be shoved in the wash at a moment's notice! The name Paintbox is most definitely apt for this range of yarns because they literally do come in every conceivable colour!
|60 shades to choose from!|
The range comes in 3 weights in the acrylic, DK (light worsted), Aran (worsted) and Chunky (bulky), and the cotton comes in a DK (light worsted) weight, which is perfect for those amigurumi projects!
I have yet to experiment designing and crocheting with the Aran and Chunky weights yet (stay tuned for that), but the DK weight has been an absolute pleasure to work with. The texture is smooth, soft and easy to crochet. I haven't found a single knot and the yarn doesn't smell chemically at all. These are some of the big things I look out for in a new yarn I haven't tried, as well as of course the most important squish factor he he, which in this case is extremely high!
|'Winter Frost' - Simply Chunky 10 Colour Pack|
There are also lots of free patterns that come with this new yarn range, which you can download now on their website, such as this adorable Caitlin the Caterpillar.
But for now, why not try my Mile-A-Minute Loop Stitch Braid Baby Blanket (phew what a mouthful), which I designed to show off a rather plummy pink palette choice. This blanket measures approximately 30 inches x 30 inches, so works perfectly as a cot blanket or stroller blanket.
This took me about a week to finish so it also works up really quickly, strip by strip, or millipede by millipede as I called it. It has also become a huge hit with my daughter who now takes it everywhere with her! If that isn't a good enough sign of just how gorgeous this yarn is, I don't know what is he he
Part 1 Video Tutorial
Finishing the Blanket Video Tutorial
You can of course use any brand, or weight of yarn for this blanket. A thicker yarn used with an appropriate sized hook for that yarn will make a bigger blanket, and a thinner yarn a smaller one.
If using Paintbox yarn, I chose 5 colours in total; 1 ball in each of Dark Aubergine, Pansy Purple, Dusty Lilac, Blush Pink and Peach Orange in DK weight, and with this yarn I used a 4mm crochet hook.
Step 1. Chain 132 half double crochet (half treble in UK terms) foundation stitches - (132)
If you prefer you can chain 133 normal chains, and work 1hdc in your 2nd st from hook and in ea st along - (132)
Step 2. Ch1 (don't count as st), turn, 1hdc loop stitch in ea st across - (132 loops)
Step 3. Sl st twice down edge to opposite side, and crochet 1hdc loop stitch in ea foundation ch across - (132) Fasten off, keeping a short tail for securing braids.
Finishing & Braiding
- Repeat steps 1-3, 19 more times until you have 20 strips with 132 loops either side. Take two strips and braid them together by dividing the loops into sets of 4. Pass 4 loops onto your hook from one strip, then take 4 loops from the opposite strip and pull them through the first 4. Then take 4 loops from the opposite strip (the first one you started with) and pull them through the 4 loops now on your hook. Repeat this until the end. Secure the last 4 loops with your tail end.
- Now take your next strip and repeat the same process, but start from the opposite side. This is important to level off your blanket. If you start the same side each time your blanket will look wonky. See video if unsure of any of these steps.
- To finish braid edges, take 4 loops, and another 4 from the same strip (you have to as there is no joining of strips) and pull the second lot of 4 loops through the first 4, take another 4 loops and repeat until the end. Secure with tail end and repeat for other side of blanket. Make sure they face the same direction as all your other braids. Tie in all tails.
Optional Edging: Re-join yarn in one corner, *crochet [2tr, 2dc, 2tr] into centre of first two sets of loops (2dtr, 2tr, 2dtr in UK terms), sl st in centre of next strip* repeat from * until end. Repeat for opposite edge. Tie in all tails.
|This blanket used about half of each ball as shown here.|