I love handmade gifts. I love giving them, and I love receiving them. In fact, I did a series last Christmas all about special, meaningful handmade gifts people have received in the past or were giving to others as gifts that year. And I do have some handmade gifts planned for family members and friends this Christmas . . . I just haven’t started them yet. And while I was whining to Kim (of NewlyWoodwards) about not having completed a handmade gift yet in time for Dare to DIY, she gave me an important reminder: this whole shindig is supposed to be fun, and stressing out over it kind of defeats the purpose. Wise NewlyWoodwards. She knows what’s up.
So instead of cramming in a crappy, hastily-made handmade gift for this week’s challenge, I’m stretching the theme a tad and sharing a handmade item I made . . . for myself. And I guess it can count as a gift for me and Jeff since I made it around Christmastime, with the intention of keeping and using and treasuring it ourselves. So consider this my Dare to DIY: Give Handmade gift to myself. I made a big cozy queen-size crochet blanket for my bed.
I’ve tossed around the idea of crocheting a big blanket for a long, long time, but I’ve always wimped out. It’s such a large-scale project, and I wanted to be sure that when I did make one, it would be a style I loved and would be happy with for years. There’s nothing worse than spending tons of time on a DIY project that you end up not being crazy about, right? I’ve done that before, and it’s discouraging to have spent time and money on something you fall out of love with.
But this blanket pattern has been pinned to my Pinterest crochet board for over a year now, and I’ve revisited it many times and liked it more and more each time I saw it. I love that it has a classic, simple, timeless look, but also has tons of awesome texture and pattern to it. It’s not flashy or trendy, but it is simple and classic and lovely, and in the long run, that’s what I think I’ll prefer to look at and live with every day. I finally decided that if I’ve loved visiting the pattern and checking out pictures of it for a year, it’s probably a safe bet that I’ll keep loving it for a while longer.
The pattern is called Grandma’s Lacy Ripple (not really helping to change crochet’s old lady reputation with a name like that). It’s published in a book called Rippling Effects, which is available for a few dollars on Amazon.com, but I discovered after a quick google search that there is actually a PDF of the pattern available for free online. Score!
I expected to spend weeks and weeks and months and months on this blanket. And I honestly kind of wondered if this would be one of those never-ending projects that ended up living half-finished in a closet somewhere instead of on my bed. But the pattern works up surprisingly quickly—it's almost entirely double crochets, which makes it grow fast, and the pattern is very repetitive and easy to memorize, so it was easy to work on mindlessly while sitting in front of the TV. It only ended up taking a few weeks to finish. Gotta love a quick project. (Relatively quick, at least, for what a large project it was.)
I love the texture and old-fashioned style it adds to my bed. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out—it’s a great pattern, written very well, easy to work on, grows fast, and came out beautifully. One of my favorite elements of the pattern was that it builds in its own scalloped border as you work. When I get to the end of making a blanket, I want to just be done with it already, not go back and spend hours adding a border. I loved that the border of this blanket was built right in, so when you’re done, you really are done.
I’ve occasionally gotten complaints from a certain someone in the past about our bedroom being too girly, so I’m trying to keep a good dash of masculinity involved here. I think it’s working. Jeff tends to like design that’s very traditional, and kind of dark and heavy and manly. I usually prefer things really light and fresh and airy. I hope I’m reaching a decent middle ground in our bedroom—we painted the walls a soft, fresh green, but the furniture is all dark and the blanket and pillows and accessories and wall art (mostly on the side of the room not pictured here) are very traditional . . . nothing too girly or unusual or terribly modern. (And if the off-centered curtains and curtain rod are bothering you in that picture, you’re not alone; they bother me, too. It’s not just the curtains that are off-center. The whole window is off-center, so I tried to hang the curtain rod centered on the wall to hide it and give the illusion that the window is centered, but I was doing it all by myself and of course didn't do a great job. Fixing it is on my to-do list. My never-ending, constantly-growing to-do list.)
If you want to see more details on the blanket (like hook size, the yarn I used, etc.), feel free to visit my Ravelry account to read more about it. And if you want to read about how I made the pillows on the bed, check out my tutorial over here at The Bungalow Boutique.
I can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on to give handmade for Christmas this year! Come back Monday to link up your work.