A New Crochet Blanket, A New Problem. Can You Help?

26 Oct 2011

newblanket3

…So I'm in the testing phase of a new crochet blanket. (This is the one I'm making from Sheep(ish), btw.) I've hit a snag, and thought your excellent brains might help me figure out how to fix it. Up for some crochet counseling, Doctors?

newblanket1

Please excuse the photos taken in different lighting. What I'm after is a pattern of large (8" x 8" or so) squares, each with a random stripe pattern. The squares contain four colors overall, and the squares are joined with the gunmetal grey you see in the first photo.

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I like how it's coming together - the half-double crochet is the perfect low-attention stitch for when I'm watching football games (which is, after all, when I work on this thing). And I like the challenge of coming up with a different stripe/color configuration for each square.

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Here's my problem: I did a test-join yesterday. I decided I wanted bigger bands of the grey between squares, so I added a border of double crochet around each square and then joined them with single crochet in the same color. I like the width now, but I hate how uneven and spidery those side edges of each square look. Since I'm stitching into the sides of the squares, there aren't nice, even, regular places to put my hook like there are on the top and bottom edges.

…So how can I get around that? Should I do a side border of single crochet in the same colors as the square along the sides, so I'll have a more regular edge to add my dc border? Or is there a cleaner way to stitch along the side edges I don't know about?

Any wisdom you may have will make me very, very happy.

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Comments

To help make things more even-y, make sure you're working just around the "posts" of the stitches in the selvage edges (not in the tops of the stitches). I would do a round of sc around each square first (in gray), then do your thing. Edie Eckman's "Around the Corner Crochet Borders" might be helpful. She has really good pictures of working into the selvage, how to keep things even, and how to keep everything flat and pretty in general.


Awesome resource- thanks, Heidi!


Ah, I see- thanks, Gail. Do you know of a method for joining those short rows of same-direction crochet to the main blocks? I suppose I could chain along the top and bottom edges, chaining a few between each and then building upward from there. The side edges could be hand-stitched, maybe.


Sorry it took so long to get back - unfortunately I don't have a clue how to attach those short rows. Other than "put a loop through anywhere it works". It looks like you've gotten quite a few other suggestions too.


Pretty color combinations. I haven't a clue how to fix this, but am enjoying reading the suggestions. I don't think it looks spidery, maybe millipede-ery (centipede-ery?) :-)

I wonder if what Ayana meant was - instead of crocheting the joins perpendicular to the rows in the blocks, crochet back and forth between the blocks so the stitches are lining up the same direction? Like they do at the top/botton of the blocks.
DANGER bad ASCII alert - the blocks of 4 "||" are your blocks

|| - || current stitch directions
|| - ||

|| | || stitch directions with Ayana's suggestion (?)
|| | ||

I'm not sure how to explain it very well.


does = dose ;) point made.


That's interesting - why back loops?


Because then you won't get the spidery edges you don't like. The spider leg will be hiding behind the front loop section, and sl st creates such a smooth flat line, it will be easy to add anything you want after that.


I'd probably slip stitch around so as not to add bulk. I also like the idea of whip stitching, but I'm not sure that you would end up with the thicker border that you're going for.


One more reason I love the internet- slip-stitching hadn't even occurred to me


Both interesting options, Charles- thank you so much!


That is the beauty of granny squares-- even edges! Your double crochet boarder should help. but instead of joining with a single crochet, you might prefer the look of a whip stitch or a blanket stich (with needle and grey yarn between the squares). Joining with the crochet hook/single crochet is quick, but it leaves a bulky seam which emphasizes the issue with the sides.


Ummm.....knit?

Sorry, my crochet skills flew south for the Winter with the birds.


2 ideas.. for pre-joining.

A] Not inducing to TV-watching. Single crochet around and change the colours as you would for tapestry crochet to match each stripe. Hide the ends inside the single crochet stitches by working over the ends held next to the edge.
B] Take the dominant stripe colour for the given block, or the colour of the last stripe, and slip stitch around the left edge, bottom edge**, and right edge, then fasten off.

**when working the first row, don't go into the bottom ridge/bump of the starting chain, instead go into the back loop + back bump. Then for the sl st round, go in the front loop of the starting ch.


Hmmm... I'm enough of a newbie that I don't understand. Does anyone have a link to where I can see what this looks like?


The reason it looks uneven is because you're not taking into account that each row turn creates a half-stitch loop in order to remain squared and even. SO...what I would do is something that may be considered "radical" but it works: Take a cut piece of yarn and thread it into a large eye yarn needle, just like a sewing needle. Run this string straight across each loop that alternately sticks out, per row ( which is the opposite row on the other edge BTW). Hand-manipulate the blocking to size at the same time. Secure the tails from falling out. Now work a row of double crochet off this yarn by integrating only the jutting loops. It will come out straight and the half-dropped loop spaces will give the appearance of the same level of lacy openess that the rest of the blocks have, which is very minor. Finally, for a really flat connection, try a Feather Fagotting Stitch, again with a yarn-threaded needle. This has a slanted, ladder-climbing look without the high ridge result of joined crochet loops.


Wow, Laura-that is deep! I had to read your comment a bunch of times, but I think I get it. I imagine your crochet work is pristine and beautiful!


I hate when that happens! Edging can be the worst sometimes. Sometimes its pretty unavoidable but once, I did a blanket similar to the one you're working on now & I ended up double strand, whip-stitching my squares in the trim color & then just worked my crochet trim into the whip-stitch border. Make sense?


Ah, I see. That makes sense - I hadn't thought of crocheting into a whip or blanket stitch. Thanks, Nadir!


I've never been happy with the results of crocheting my blocks together, so a long time ago, I switched to slip stitching them together. It's much easier to hide what you consider imperfections by either picking up a stitch with the needle, or ignoring it by weaving around it, or by adding it in. Take it a stitch at a time, turn it over to get a look at how it lays, and go on from there. It's all in how it looks and feels to you- the maker.


Thanks for the suggestion, Kat -I'll play with some more test squares.


Ha! I was just commenting to your madre about how I could use a does of your meticulousness. I'd slip stitch in the back loops only in your gray, then do as you like from there. :)


I should clarify - I'm not being a smarta** in my comment. I'm not really much of a crocheter. I have managed a couple of small items, but nothing like joining blanket squares. My supply of books and yarn are much greater than any actual output of either crochet or knitting.


Wowee, thank you all so much for all the great suggestions! I can't wait to start testing some of these out. Always, I am in awe of your excellent brains.


Do a slip stitch border round each square and then join the squares together.


That's an excellent point, Linda. I'll definitely do a test. Thank you!


I see now -that's a great idea. Thanks, Elizabeth!


Perhaps, like LizzieK8 says, do a slip stitch border around each square, or a single crochet border around each square and then join together. I usually make my afghans in one piece, because of problems like this that occur...I hate joining!
Doing a whipstitch border around each square will work as well, it all depends on what's your preference. If you don't want it looking 'bulky' around the squares, then I'd say go with a whipstitch or slip stitch around each square in the gray color. Good luck! I'm sure it'll come out FABULOUS either way! ;-)


Thank you, Victoria!


I would do the single crochet border,using the block color, then crochet them together with the grey. Do you want the ridge?


Still undecided on The Ridge Question, but leaning toward no. :-)


Use a large tapestry needle and sew the squares together using a mattress stitch. Line each square up with the right sides facing and sew them tightly together. If you crochet a boarder around each square, you're still going to have the "spidery" edges because you're using a colour that really stands out against your blues. Either crochet them together with the same blue or sew them together with the grey.


I would go with a single crochet around the square first, then do your row of hdc. To join the squares together I would use a reverse single crochet (this makes the join look less bulky & adds a nice finishing touch).


Well, I crochet lace, not afghans, except for an occasional baby gift blanket. But I get involved in the small details. Here is my website link and you can look at my samples. Best of luck to you and thank you for sharing.


Wow, I am sleepy. Sorry for my apostrophe, spelling and repetition errors! :)


I pretty much agree with Charle's suggestions (although I'd use a SC for suggestion #2).

That said, those are both fiddly. (I don't mind fiddly, but it can beb annoying). So, I just want to throw this out there. Part of the cause of the "spidery" edges has to do with the contrast of the joining color and the fact that there's ZERO of it within the blocks. I think that if you had at least one stripe of the joining color in each block, it would lessen the attention the attention your eye wants to place on the edge, b/c as of now, it's the most high contrast area in the piece. I could be wrong, but it may be worth a test square.


i would go for the slip stitch around each square and then join them together; i think the grey is an excellent color choice by the way.
to ridge or not to ridge-well it will become less noticeable the more it gets washed, to me its more of a texture thing, do you want windowpane effect or more of a singular blanket feel. either way will look fine its more of a personal prefrence i think.


Try going in the side of each stitch (the right way for the stitch that is already there - instead of perpendicular to row ) It will look more even - and so less spidery. Hope that helps!


I am crocheting a dress for my grand child and I am having some difficutly figuring out a particular part of the pattern.
If I describe the part of the pattern I'm working on, I wonder if some on "out there" would be able to help me.
I would appreciate it very much.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Erlene


Hi, Erlene - you know, a place like CrochetMe.com or Ravelry.com might be a better destination for this kind of question. I'm really a hobbyist crocheter, and I don't really maintain an active crochet discussion forum here. Good Luck!


Thanks so much for your response. I'm going to check out your suggestions.
Erlene


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