Without a doubt, I get the most comments and questions on my Ruffles and Dots Crochet Baby Blanket, which I originally made and posted HERE back in April.
I've made this blankie quite a few times now, so I feel pretty well-prepared to tackle a frequently asked questions post about making this blanket.
(This yellow one is my most recent version--a customer at my etsy shop requested it in yellow, and I love it in this bright, cheery lemon shade! Up until her order, I had only made it in green over and over, so it was pretty exciting to try a new color.)
Q: What yarn do you use?
A: I've used quite a few different brands of yarn to make this blanket, and would recommend any of them. The original blanket, posted about here and pictured above with my little chubster atop it, was made using almost exactly 2 skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky in, I think, Grass. That yarn claims to be bulky weight, which I heartily object to. It's no more chunky than the Olsen twins. I have also used Sensations Rainbow Classic yarn from Joann, and I liked it, with one minor annoyance--both times I've used this yarn, it has inexplicably broken. Like, I'm crocheting along, minding my own business, and bam, the strand of yarn just breaks in two, completely unprovoked. It's not a huge deal, since I just rejoin the yarn and weave in the ends where it broke, but I do feel slightly concerned that it might just be cheap quality yarn, although it does have the benefit of being super soft and comfortable, which I'm sure any baby would appreciate. I have also used Red Heart yarn, which I know some people get a little snooty about because it's, for lack of a better term, Walmart yarn, but I really loved the blanket I made using this brand. And although it's not quite as soft, it didn't go around crumbling to pieces on me like the stupid Sensations yarn did. Seriously, Sensations, go find a new friend to fall apart on. We're through.
Q: Did you follow the tutorial exactly, or did you make changes to it?
A: Yes to both questions. Since I've made this blanket a handful of times, I've sometimes followed these instructions from Tales From Cuckoo Land precisely as written, and sometimes made a few changes by increasing the number of stitches between bobbles to 8 or 9, or increasing the number of single crochet rows between bobble rows. I've loved the outcome both ways--play around with it and see what you like best!
Q: How do you make the ruffly border?
A: This is also covered in Tales From Cuckoo Land's instructions--you can find the "frill" instructions in the second full paragraph beneath the last instructional photo. It's so easy to do, but is a bit time consuming--I swear, the border always feels like it takes just as long as the blanket itself.
Q: What size hook do you use?
A: I've used anywhere from a G to a K hook, and have liked the results every time. The smaller the hook, the tighter weave your blanket will have (and the longer it will take for you to finish your blanket); a bigger hook will mean you finish your blanket faster but will have a slightly looser weave. Personally, I prefer using a larger hook (a J or K) because it works up more quickly and is a little more breathable.
(Babies sure love playing with the little bobbles!)
Q: How long is your starting chain?
A: Want to hear something part funny, part humiliating? I don't think I've ever yet, in all the times I've made this blanket, had a starting chain with the correct number of stitches--I always (I'm not joking! Every dang time!) have to drop at least one stitch, or add at least one in as I go. Theoretically, getting the correct number of stitches to start with should not be all that difficult--just figure out how many stitches you want between each bobble and how big you want your blanket, and do the math--but I have never once gotten it right on my first try. Embarrassing, right? My excuse is that I was an English major . . . I haven't taken a math class since I was 16 (so, like, a million years ago. Have I mentioned that I'm old as dust?). But math deficiencies aside, to end up with a baby blanket about 35" square, I use a starting chain of about 90-100, depending on what my embarrassingly terrible math skills came up with as the number I'd need, and fix any errors in length when I get to the first row of bobbles. No biggie.
Q: Would this blanket be too hard for me? I just learned to crochet.
A: Nope! This is a great beginner pattern! If you want something that you'll be able to finish really quickly, it might not be your best bet--it's easy, but it is time-consuming--but if you don't mind a bit of a time commitment, you'll love working on this blanket, even if you just learned to crochet. My sister-in-law visited us a few weeks ago while I was working on the yellow blanket pictured at the top of this post, and she wanted to start one, too . . . so she made one herself, and it was her first crochet project ever! The only thing to remember as a beginner is that the instructions are written using UK crochet terms, so you can reference this chart for a translation to US terms if you'd like, although the pattern would still work and look great even if you didn't mentally switch every one of her dc's to an sc, and worked it up just as written.
I can't say enough good things about this blanket--I think it's such an adorable, modern look; babies love to play with the stitches, and it's a simple pattern to follow. There's also a tutorial right here for changing the color of your bobble, which would make for a really cool blanket, too. So, three cheers for Tales From Cuckoo Land for writing up the tutorial and instructions!