Heartwarmer is my latest crocheted afghan and probably my most eagerly-awaited one. The Bear, who took the photos in this post, started using Heartwarmer almost as soon as I wove in the last ends. He'd been lying in wait, it felt like. But I was happy to see him so excited about using one of my blankets, especially since I'd made it with him in mind. He's tall and my other blankets are a bit too short for him to cover up comfortably in a recliner, which is his preferred position for watching TV at night. Heartwarmer is a big blanket, plenty long enough for his needs at nearly 70 inches. He can cover up all the way to his chin. I named this blanket Heartwarmer when I first started working on it, back in September. It was my winter project, meant to keep my lap warm as it grew and pooled around my feet. I love having a fall-into-winter afghan project; it's becoming a happy yearly tradition for me.
Heartwarmer is made with my own improvised crochet pattern. I wanted a blanket that was warm but not overly heavy. I wanted it to be a little like the cotton waffle-weave blanket we've always used on our bed: warm enough to use alone in the summer, or as an extra layer of warmth under the quilt, but not a heavy, thick blanket. Heartwarmer feels like this to me, and the stitch pattern reminds me of the waffle-weave used in our bed blanket.
I chose to make my blanket in a striped pattern, chunky stripes of eight rows for each color. I've always admired a woolen blanket sold by LL Bean, the Hudson's Bay Point Blanket, with its bold stripes of color against a neutral background. Have a look at that link, though, and you'll see why I don't own one of these blankets. But I love the look and decided to try to replicate it in crochet. I used gray instead of off-white, because I love gray, and slightly softer colors than the LL Bean blanket uses, because they match my decor better. I think I got a similar feel, though. It's simple but graphic. I like the colors a lot; they're soothing to the eye and clean-looking. I used gray throughout the blanket, to give it a bit of a pattern, but the other colors were used "randomly" for interest.
The Bear had fun playing with the stripes when he took these photos. He finds the geometry of them pleasing, he says. Always with the math, this one.
I do think the texture of this blanket is very interesting. It feels, and looks, woven just like I'd hoped. But it's lightweight and uses surprisingly little yarn, since the stitch pattern contains as many chain spaces as it does hdc stitches. It creates a rippled effect as well as an open, airy honeycomb look.
The foundation chain should be in multiples of 3 (+2 for turning). I did 204 (+2) chains for mine (with worsted-weight yarn and a size I hook, moving down to a size H hook for the first row). For row 1, make (US) half-double (hdc) stitch in each chain, starting in the third chain from the hook, with two chains for turning at the end of the row, turn. For row 2, hdc in the chain space, *chain 1, skip 1, hdc in next stitch* (repeat between **) all the way to end of the row, ch2 and turn. For row 3, hdc in first chain space, *ch1, hdc in next chain space*, ch2 and turn. Repeat row 3 as desired.
It drapes nicely, due to the lightweight fabric. It doesn't get a lot of time to hang around draping the furniture, though; it's always in use, it seems, whether being worn or being used in tent-making. I absolutely love to see my blankets in use. It's...heartwarming (bear with me).
Size: about 45 inches wide by 70 inches long
Hook: H (5mm) Clover
Hook: H (5mm) Clover
Started September 2014, finished February 2015
Made with love by Thistle for her Bear