**** Can I start out by saying that I’ve listed all the resources for learning to Catherine Wheel Stitch at the end of this blog. Feel free to skip straight to that if you need to crack on – I know what it’s like! For everyone else….
All Wool Welome Here
I’m the kind of perfectly imperfect project crafter, preferring to figure it out on the hoof (learning best by being shown either through someone sitting next to me or via t’internet). Pinterest and YouTube are my greatest allies when it comes to finding a new project. Sometimes I’ll search through three or four until I find one that is on my wave length and then I’ll make a small mini version to do my trailing. Tension and gauges are all very well, if you’re in the world of yarn that is all the same thickness. It is not somewhere I frequent often although sometimes I really, truly wish it was. Creating pieces from an eclectic yarn stash for me, has oodles more joy so I have learnt to embrace a little edgy wobbliness for the sake of inclusion. Operating a strictly ‘all wool welcome here’ policy…
Searching for a stash busting, creative, colourful, textural journey that I could easily pick up and put down, I wanted a pattern that would incorporate all the little balls of yarn left over from making your Pothies. They’d been waiting patiently for just such a project. No longer content with being there for pom-pom making or some sort of child-orientated, cardboard shape wrapping; they wanted to get involved with something Big. With aspirations to make a blanket big enough for a single bed I cast on until I had the right size and off I went!
Part of my Pothies History has been inheriting a huge amount of wool from the lovely Monica who taught me to make Pothies a good few years ago now. Most of her wool has long gone but every so often I have the heart swelling pleasure to lay my hands on some of ‘her’ stash. It is so wonderful to discover and reconnects me instantly to sitting on her sofa. Surrounded by cupboards FULL of wool, all laid out in graduating colours and then sectioned further into Synthetic and Wool categories. It smells of moth balls and she has that amazing rattlesnake grass in a pot on her kitchen table, along with a newspaper to protect her table and weighing scales.
See there? Further down it says wool and the end is charred where she’s burnt it to identify the wool content. Monica has weighed the remnant, added a label and then put it away and here I am years later, finding it and adding it to my new love affair. So precious. At the time Monica suggested that the odds and ends would be good for blanket making, of course I couldn’t see further than re-learning to crochet to make Pothies but she was right, of course.
Memories, Numbers, and the smell of Woodsmoke.
So, this blanket is full of little pieces of wool that hold their own stories, their own adventures to get here. I am embracing the challenge to incorporate them all, no matter how tiny, how fluffy, how thick or thin! Further more it has been carted a good few places along with me: of days waiting at band practice, music and swimming lessons; of Sunday-morning-coffee-drinking-podcast-listening-lie-ins. Of Saturday night family film nights-popcorn-sofa fights. Including many evenings where I’m shattered for anything else but the thought of crocheting by the fire. Always happy in my crochet silence, counting quietly in my head whatever the numerology is of the thing I’m making. Being with the colour, the yarn – making decisions about what to choose next and the quiet rhythm of my self. All the while snuggled up under the ever growing project on my knees; usually with a dog or child or both. This blanket is full of those memories and those moments.
A Year On
Blanket making in my opinion is not something that can be rushed. Sitting with this project for a year now, there have been times when I could not put it down and equally times when I could not pick it up. Just in the last few weeks I have re-discovered my blanket mo-jo and have done loads. All of a sudden after months and months of no progress the end is in sight. It turns out that borders are a thing – I never knew. So excited to be crocheting a blanket I hadn’t thought far enough ahead to visualize finishing it or even considering a border and actually, that feels right. When I needed it, the right border just popped up and gave me the boost I needed to pick the blanket up again. I love the way creative projects have their own special relationship with you, a life and time frame of their own. Watch this space – I will be back very, very soon to update this post as the border progresses but for now here’s how to get going on your own!
Resources for Crocheting a Catherine Wheel Stitch or Pinwheel Stitch Blanket
1. I used this pattern and tutorial by Mrs Moon. Initially drawn to the colours she used – it worked for me. There are lots though!
2. Yarn: this is a BIG question! My stash has come from years and years of Pothies left overs that have been squirreled away for such a thing. Lucy over at Attic24 has put together some wonderfully coloured wool packs that you can buy through WoolWarehouse. If you’re just starting out with crochet you might want to make it easy on yourself and use the same thickness yarn. It will make for a much easier and neater blanket.
If however you have a large stash, I am guessing that you’ve some experience in gauging yarn thickness. Doubling up thin yarns and going gently on the chunky, seemed to equal things out. I have been told that blocking will help, but this is a whole extra learning curve for me. I will be able to tell you more soon!
3. Colours: use colours which speak to you! It’s the only way. Be confident in your choices, only you know which ones talk to your soul.
4. I used a 3.5 mm crochet hook mostly, except when I could find it, then I used the closest size possible!
5. There’s also a really helpful Chart and pattern over here
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