Friday, October 4, 2013

Clara's Ripple




Baby Clara (isn't that a beautiful name?) was born last week. She's a lovely, placid baby. When I met her, she slept in my arms for over an hour. Her mom is a good friend of mine; when I learned she'd be having another baby, I wanted to make something special. I began planning this gift about six months ago, right around the time I was getting ready to order some more Stylecraft Special DK from Deramores. I knew I wanted to make a baby-sized ripple for my friend, but I didn't know the baby's gender yet and I wanted plenty of colors to choose from. I waited until late spring to start, after learning that the baby would be a girl.

I worked on the blanket throughout the summer months, just a little at a time between other projects, finishing in August. I wanted to wait until the baby was here before sharing it on my blog. I really enjoyed making this blanket. I was almost sorry to finish working on it because the process was such a pleasure. I love Stylecraft Special DK because it's soft and light, and of course, it's always wonderful to make something for a brand new baby.

This is my second ripple blanket. The first one, made in early 2012, was my first major crochet project. It was a big, bed-sized afghan made in worsted-weight acrylic with a large hook. This one is made with DK yarn and a smaller hook; I think I liked it better this time around. But that could just be a result of my improved crochet-confidence. The ripple pattern (I used the ever-popular Neat Ripple Pattern from Attic 24) is one which requires some concentration and counting, and I'm proud to say that there are no mistakes in this latest ripple. I didn't lose any stitches along the way. When I made an error, I realized it quickly and corrected it right away. I felt like I was harnessing serious ripply mojo while making this blanket.



When I made my first ripple, I knew very little about edgings or borders, and I certainly didn't know you could "flatten" the ripply edges either. I tried my hand at the latter this time around, playing around until it looked right. To "flatten" the rippled ends, I used the following pattern of stitches (from peak to peak, with the valley between them, in US terms): 4slst, 4sc, 2dc, 4sc, 4slst. In other words, I made four slip stitches along the top of the peak, then four single crochets on the downward slope, then two double crochets in the valley, then four single crochets on the upward slope and four slip stitches on top of the next peak. There are numerous ways to do this, of course, but this approach worked fine for me. I did two rounds of stitches for the border, including the "flattening" pale pink one, which forms the inner border and continues as plain dc stitches along both straight sides of the blanket. I generally did two to three stitches in the sides of each row. The outer gray round is just dc all the way around. The corners are 2dc, ch2, 2dc. I like this simple border; it's plain but it allows the ripples to shine.


For this blanket, I wanted to use colors which were feminine but not too sweetly girly, if that makes sense. I love the look of baby clothes and nursery decor that incorporate more sophisticated "adult" colors with the baby ones, such as browns and grays. I love gray for baby girls because it gives everything a vintage flavor; I think of old-fashioned carriages and intricately-detailed sweater sets. I built the palette for this blanket around grays, purples and pinks. Then I wanted to balance out the girly shades with more unexpected ones, so I pulled in the aqua, to balance the pinks, and an acidic green to wake everything up. I think it worked well, especially since I used the blue and green more sparingly. Above, you can see the yarns I used. All are Stylecraft Special DK. On the bottom, from left to right: Plum, Grape, Clematis, Candy Floss and Raspberry. On the top row, from left to right: Silver, Grey, Sherbet and Meadow.



I'm really happy with this little blanket. I gave it to my friend just like this, folded with a piece of silver satin ribbon tied in a bow. She really loves it and that makes me glad. I'm blessed to have her family in my life; they are my kind of people. Most of all, I am happy knowing my ripply blanket will keep baby Clara warm and cozy this winter.

Some stats on this blanket:
  • 129 foundation chains to start (126+3 for turning)
  • Approximately 30 inches by 28 inches
  • 29 stripes, each made of two ripply rows in the same color
  • Nine colors of Stylecraft Special DK acrylic yarn, about half a ball used of each color
  • Size G (4.00mm) Susan Bates Silvalume hook
  • Began late May 2013, worked on intermittently through mid-August.

51 comments:

  1. It is a beautiful blanket Jennifer, as are you for making such a lovely gift for your friend and baby Clara. I think it is a lovely name, and very peaceful somehow! Glad that you enjoyed making this, and I am sure that your friend and Clara will enjoy using it. Have a great weekend.

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  2. Jennifer that blanket is stunning. You must be really chuffed and what a lovely present which I am sure will become an heirloom x thnks for your continued support over at Chalky,s. Love your comments x

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  3. How beautiful ! and how much I envy your ability to knit. I tried, took lessons and I just failed at knitting.
    This is just beautiful .. that little Clara will keep it hopefully and someday her baby will use it too.

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  4. beautiful name, beautiful blanket!

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  5. What a beautiful blanket, what a great present- I love how the silver grey contrast with all the colours.

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  6. Beautiful, you did a super jobs !
    I love crocheting , and I do well but I always get in a bind tying off two colors together .
    I may need to hit you up for tips !

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  7. That blanket is beautiful, both in the way it looks and the also in all the love and thought that went into it. I am guessing this becomes baby Clara's favourite blankie. :-)

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  8. The blanket turned out beautiful and I'm sure it will be a treasure for baby Clara and her family!

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  9. Not only is your craftsmanship perfect but I love the colors you chose. Only a generation ago it would have been a "crime" to present a baby with anything other than a pastel gift! Fortunately it's now understood that babies benefit from the visual stimulation of bright colors and vivid patterns - just like these! Clara is going to be one smart baby!

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  10. Oh it's so Beautiful and the colour are devine, you can't beat a bit of Stylecrafts, I do love these Ripple blankets, your friend must thrilled.
    Clare xx

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  11. That is so well made. I would have loved a gift like this when I had my daughter.

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  12. Your blanket is just perfect x

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  13. oh my gosh it is a perfect gift. Beautifully constructed and executed!

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  14. Your blanket is very happy looking with all those pretty colors. I love making baby things. They are so special!

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  15. what an amazing blanket and a beautiful gift to give your friend
    Gill xx

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  16. Its a beautiful and I'm sure, much-appreciated gift! I actually have one that I bought at an antique store that's very similar to what you made only with bolder colors. Love it Jennifer!

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  17. It's a beautiful blanket, the colours work so well together. I'm sure your friend will be thrilled to bits with the gift. Eleanor has a friend named Clara, such a lovely name.

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  18. What a beautiful blanket for baby Clara, I am sure it will be loved and treasured and if the parents are anything like us, they will keep it for her for when she grows up. I love the colours your chose, especially all that lovely grey. Hope you have enjoyed your date night and have a lovely weekend. xoxo

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  19. Really gorgeous blanket Jennifer. The colours are lovely without being too girly and I am sure baby Clara will be lovely and cosy underneath it. I agree, Clara is such a lovely name.
    Marianne x

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  20. What a beautiful new baby gift for little Clara, I'm sure she'll enjoy lots of snuggle time with her pretty blanket.

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  21. Gorgeous blanket, the colours are lovely and you are so neat with your crocheting! Wish I was!

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  22. Beautiful blanket! I bet your friend loved the gift :) My mother crocheted, but I sadly never learned. I can sew and cross stitch, but crocheting alludes me. I keep nagging my mother in law to teach me, I need to bug her again. I think it would be great to relax in the evening. Your crocheted items are always beautiful, I love the colors you use!

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  23. Oh, it's so lovely and thoughtful! I know little Clara will love it for many years to come.

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  24. So beautiful Jennifer - the colors, the ripples and the love that went into making it!

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  25. An absolutely beautiful keepsake, Jennifer! Baby Clara will keep it forever, and she will look on it fondly when she's all grown up (especially since the colours aren't too 'baby', it won't have to hide away with all the baby things in the attic in a few years' time! You should be mighty proud, your crochet is so perfect! Chrissie x

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  26. It's lovely, really lovely. You have inspired me, I had a little go at some ripples a while back, but I put it all away because I couldn't get the hang of the ends of the rows. But I think I shall have another go now. You have done such a good job with yours. Your friend is very lucky to have you!

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  27. It's so, so pretty! The colours are really nice - especially the grey - and I like the way you straightened the ripply edges. What a beautiful gift, one I'm sure baby Clara and her mum will treasure for many years. And I love how you wrapped it with that single satin ribbon. xx

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  28. Jennifer this is beautiful! Sending you hugs from Scotland! Jxx

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  29. Oh my goodness your friend is just going to be speechless. The ripple is absolutely gorgeous, the color combination could not be more perfect. I love it and I know she will too.
    Well done,
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  30. I want to make my son a ripple afghan...in orange and brown...he is a 60's fanatic...and I think those colors would be perfect...
    Is it a difficult pattern???
    Yours is beautiful...lovely,lovely gift...
    Can you help me out??

    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. Thanks for the email Jennifer!!!
      I am just finishing up one for my daughter...have another on the go...the ripple is next in line!!
      Enjoy your evening.....Date Night!! hahaha!

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  31. I am really loving this blanket, your friend is going to love it. Hand made presents are the best.
    Sally xx

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  32. It's beautiful Jennifer, and it's always so special when so much love is put into a gift. What a lovely gift to your friend. :)

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  33. You've done a beautiful job with it Jennifer - and the name Clara is so gentle and lovely too. Seeing this makes me want to pick up my 'round the colour wheel' ripple again - just need time!
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Joy x

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  34. What a gorgeous blanket! There's nothing better than a gift made with love and given from the heart.

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  35. You always impress me with your goodness.. this turned out beautiful.. your choice of colors just sing. I wish I could have seen the look on the mom's face when she saw it. It will be loved by that child. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  36. What a lovely present and I agree about the colours! I made myself a large ripple afghan last winter and followed it up with a much smaller one for my friends granddaughter. I promised one for a friend's baby son a couple of weeks ago and have just not got around to it so you have really prompted me! I think that I wasn't looking forward to working out how many chains I would need so perhaps now you've given the number, I might get started...I have plenty of wool. I agree that Attic24's pattern is the best (I tried another and didn't get on...had to rip it out) and also that you have to been aware all the time as it is so easy to drop a stitch or not count the stitches properly and then get in a mess! Yours looks perfect! Well done! Joan

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  37. This baby is a lucky one...this is a gorgeous blanket...absolutely gorgeous :)

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  38. Your stiches are always so neat and well defined! I love the colours together, they make for one very stylish baby :)

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  39. What a gorgeous blanket. You have put the colours together really well and it is beautifully made. Baby Clara is a very lucky little girl. Julie x

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  40. Aw Baby Clara will treasure that blanket for sure!
    What a thoughtful gift. Lovely colours x

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  41. Thanks for sharing the process of making this absolutely lovely blanket with us, Jennifer. I like the name Clara, as well, and am so glad you got to cuddle her for a whole hour :) The colors of the blanket are just so right, and I really appreciate your discussion of how and why you chose the colors you did!
    Gracie xx

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  42. Your blanket is so beautiful, it makes we want to pick up a crochet hook again! Clara is a very lucky girl!
    Sarah x

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  43. Baby Clara is a very lucky little girl! I'm sure her mom will snuggle her in this beautiful blanket for a long time to come. What a lovely gift from the heart, Jennifer! :)

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  44. Ah lady that is just the most gorgeous blanket!!!! The colors and the movement of the lines is just outstanding! How lucky is little Clara to have something that was made with such love! I so want to learn to crochet...there was a time where I puttered with it but I would love to jump in with both feet! Fantastic! Happy week to you and great work!!!

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  45. Hello and thank you for stopping by my blog! I'm so pleased you did, or I may not have found your lovely blanket!! I love the colours you have used. I am in the earliest of early stages of learning to crochet and I aspire to be able to make something as pretty as this.
    Have a great week,
    BH x

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  47. You did a wonderful job. I started to follow her pattern and I messed up. Thanks for sharing your process makes it easier. I would love to have another go at this one. I Love ripples.

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  48. It's so pretty, and I love the colours. x

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