I am absolutely thrilled with the way this project came out, especially since it is my first ever crochet project and first ever blanket. The 8 bit design looks really effective with the granny squares and it’s really a very simple make.
You just need a lot of patience when it comes to the sewing up. My blanket is 16×16 squares. Making the 256 granny squares was incredibly easy and pretty enjoyable. By the end, each square took under ten minutes to make, so this was an ideal project to take on public transport.
The other great thing is the price. Normally I’m a real advocate for natural fibres, the more expensive the better (to the delight of the moths in my local area). However, this is a gift for my sister who is starting University this autumn. It really needs to be hard-wearing and machine washable. I paid less than £15 for all ten balls of yarn including delivery. Add in the cost of my fancy crochet hook and we’re still talking under £20 for something pretty amazing.
This won’t be a true how- to as there is already a wonderful Instructable that goes through the process step-by-step with loads of clear pictures. It’s more a document of how I made my own blankie.
1. Plan your project
Decide which character you want to make and how large your granny squares will be. Boo is a square design and the sprite I chose was 16×16 pixels. I crocheted a couple of granny squares to get an idea of the size they would be with three or four rounds. Crocheting a square and then undoing it also allows you to calculate how much yarn you need to buy. The Instructable has a really helpful spreadsheet template that helps you do all the calculations. Here’s mine.
My practice square, with a 1m tail to aid with sewing up, used 10m of yarn, which allowed me to work out how many balls of each colour to get. I probably could have got away with one blue, but I thought two colours would look effective so I got two blue balls. Hee hee, blue balls.
As a note, for future projects I will most likely pick designs that are no more than 10×10 pixels and make each square larger. 256 squares = 512 ends to sew in = misery.
2. Buy yarn
Thanks to eBay, I didn’t need to leave my house. Sweet.
I recommend getting all the colours from the same brand, so it’s more likely that the gauge of each colour will be the same.
3. Crochet granny squares
This stage went really quickly for me. I used the spreadsheet to keep track of how many squares I’d done and I stored them in bundles of specific numbers (e.g. I needed 88 white squares, so I stored 8 bundles of 11 squares each) to double check.
One thing to note is that if you’re not used to crochet, your gauge will probably change as you improve. I made my grey squares first and you can see here how tight my tension was when I started.
I considered re-crocheting them but couldn’t face it. Fortunately crochet’s quite forgiving so I don’t think you would really notice this in the finished object.
4. Sew each row together, then sew the rows together
I think the Instructable recommends sewing all the rows together first, before sewing them to one another. I went one row at a time, which felt more manageable to me. To sew two squares together, you lay the right sides together, then whip stitch along the edge.
I left long tails on each square and used these for all the sewing, which worked well.
Here’s how Boo grew. Check out my Tumblr for an animated version.
5. Sew in ends
7. Sew in more ends
There were SO MANY.
8. Look on in disbelief when you realise you’ve sewn in all those crazy ends
That’s the ends-less WS. This also illustrates that this blanket is basically reversible, I think it looks good on either side.
9. Crochet border
The Instructable recommends a single crochet in each stitch, then a half-double crochet in each single crochet. No, I don’t really understand that sentence but I did it. Be careful of the corners. I messed mine up the first time by not reading the pattern fully.
10. Add vanity tag
I embroidered this freehand at Crafternoon Cabaret Club, which is why it’s a bit wonky.
11. Revel in the joy of completed craft. You deserve it.