A Beginner’s Crochet Adventures: The Ripple Blanket Progresses

I never have thought that crochet could take over my life, but suddenly I’ve had to get a big storage box to keep everything in!

It was Bank holiday Monday, I set the whole day aside to start my ripple blanket, carefully re-read the pattern, check my hook size and get started.

Some kind friends on google plus have given me tons of support (thanks girls!) and plenty of advice.  One piece of advice in particular, turned out to be spookily spot on, the type of advice that only comes from having been in the same situation yourself.  “Don’t worry about ripping out the first row several times, to get it right”.

I am amazed about the length of the initial chain, but began to hook away at the foundation row.  Four trebles, two increases; four trebles, two decreases. Repeat. It’s a simple enough pattern, what can possibly go wrong?  Quite a lot as it turns out, but nothing completely disastrous.

Two hours after picking up my hook, I came to the end of the first row…finishing on a decrease?  That’s not right! I don’t feel too bad, to be honest, I never expected to get it right first try.  The only way to track down the error is to count carefully from the beginning, but I am pretty disappointed to find I’ve gone wrong about 8 inches only from the start.  “Ho Hum, I have the whole day to work on this, so just relax and enjoy it” 

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So I rip out virtually the whole of the foundation row and try again.  Another two hours later, the inevitable happen – one stitch out!!! Aargh!  And the peaks and troughs of the ripples don’t line up 😦 See stitch markers below)

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I’m physically and emotionally shattered.  Hours of work with nothing to show for it.  Sweat isn’t exactly dripping off me, but I feel like I’ve been physically working hard and I’m tiring fast.

I re-evaluate what I want to achieve.  Although if I’m really honest, I can’t face starting from scratch again and needed to justify that to myself.

  • Do I need a perfect blanket? No, it won’t go on sale on etsy, it’s just for me and my family to snuggle under while we watch TV
  • Do I need that sense of having progressed and achieved something? Yes, I would be heartbroken to spend an entire day crocheting and only have a long chain to show for it. As a beginner I need to keep my confidence high
  • Can I work out a fix around my errors – yes, and that is a genuinely valuable part of learning to crochet

I decide what’s important for my blanket

  • keep the peaks and troughs in line with the row below.  The up-hills and down-hills will be different lengths but its not a problem.
  • keep the side edges tidy
  • keep to the plan for the colours

Now I’m about 6 colours in (12 rows) or so, and I realise I’ve missed out a vital step. I won’t say my blood runs cold, but it is certainly one of those ‘uh-oh’ moments. I’m sure some eagle-eyed and experienced crocheters will have already spotted it from my last post.  I’ve failed to check the gauge/tension of either my test piece or my actual work. According to the pattern, the blanket is suitable for a single bed and should be 48 inches wide.  I measure my work…its 66 inches wide.  Oh my stars!  (time for a coffee and several biscuits to calm down).  Clearly my finished blanket will be nearer double bed sized.  This could take a lot of time to complete. It takes me another two days of hooking to realise that this isn’t so big a deal. By now I’m thoroughly addicted to crochet, I hook before work, at work and can’t wait to finish my evening meal so I can hook some more.  A double blanket sounds fabulous.  And I have another option – turn the width into the length and make a blanket with vertical stripes!

So there’s no stopping me now – crack on with row after row after row.  Change of colours every two rows as per the plan, and just deal with the errors as I find them.  I’m still bemused at finding three trebles in an increase instead of two, or three decreases after each other, but I’m blaming inexperience, and tiredness.  Did I really hook a three trebles in a row?  Did I really forget to decrease there? It must have been me, no-one else dared touch my work.

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I can now hook two rows in about an hour and a half, so my pace has increased dramatically.  Maybe it’ll be finished in time for Christmas?  Fingers crossed!

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