Lifestyle, Patterns, Stories

The end of May: The indigo blanket

Last day of May and here is my May blanket…

I’ve called it the Indigo blanket because of the colors.

 

 

The Indigo blanket has been a bit of an unusual one and definitely an experiment. As I have said on my previous post on Facebook I did not have a plan of what I was going to do, I started with the fabric and from that, I built up the different squares. As you know my inspiration has been Japan textiles, indigo, Japanese pottery and also the spring season too.

 

 

Scottish spring starts quite late and one of the things I like most about the month of May is the cherry blossom trees. They start around the 3rd week in April, depending on the weather, and they are in full bloom at the beginning of May. Near my house, there is an old graveyard that has the most amazing display of Cherry blossom trees, and every year I wait to see them bloom, and I found walking or sitting under them very relaxing.  I hope you will not find the photo I took of the Graveyard at all offensive, or disrespectful, it is a beautiful and peaceful place.

That is why I thought cherry blossom in my blanket were relevant because they have a Japanese connection too.

In Japan, the custom of enjoying the ephemeral beauty of flowers is called “hanami” and it is an important date in the calendar of many Japanese, as, for those brief few weeks, many flocks to see the flowers and enjoy the festivals sitting, eating and drinking under the blossoms.

I know my local cherry blossoms aren’t remotely as majestic as the 1000’s of plants at Tokyo’s  Shinjuku Gyoen or Ueno Park , or more so the world famous Kyoto’s Maruyama Park  but nevertheless, every year, I wait to see them coming up hoping the weather is good enough to have them in full bloom even if it is just for a short time.

So let’s have a general look at the blanket then…can you see the cherry blossoms? there are 10 of them …, also there are different plain squares, some textured ones and a bit of overlay crochet.

 

 

For the overlay crochet, I bought one of CARO Created Design’s  beautiful mandala patterns. I wanted something that resembles the sun  and also reminded me of  the decoration of a Japanese ramen bowl so I used the central part  of her Mandala 6

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/overlay-mandala-no-6

But if you do not want to buy a pattern you can always use any mandala design you like. Interesting enough look at the back of the blanket…the back of the mandala is lovely too.

I thought even a circular simple alternate colours mandala  works too.

 

The denim part I just cut the jeans and tried to make some pieces with neat corners. The pieces came out of different sizes and also I cut a few hexagons too. I thought that if I crocheted around the edges I could join the fabric squares to the crochet squares. I found out that it is not that easy and I ended up doing quite a bit of overlay with the different pieces, mainly because I wanted to make sure the blanket came out a neat as possible rectangular shape. also one of the characteristics of  Boro textiles is different pieces overlay-ed on each other.

There is a bit of embroidery too…,

 

Some of the patterns are inspired by Sashiko’s geometric shapes and the little sort of stars are my answer to this amazing picture of

Japanese gold fireflies photographed by Anthony Luke.

http://anthonylukephotography.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/truly-remarkable-long-exposure.html

the blanket measures 170cm x 100 cm.

THE YARN:

 

I used a combination of Stylecraft JEANIE in Dixie,Menphis and Delta. fantastic yarn,Aran weight, that beautifully compliments the denim fabric.

I also used some BATIK in Indigo and Storm; some Stylecraft Special Aran and 4ply in cream;

some Sundae dk in Blueberry sorbet;

and finally some Classique Cotton both dk and 4 ply in Ivory for the embroidery.

The Batik and Sundae are used  one strand of each together or , for certain squares I added a strand of  4ply special in cream, to get the same gauge of  the Jeanie.

I can get in more details of the patterns if you are interested, please just let me know.

Happy crocheting!

Lucia xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Comments

  1. Beth Upton

    May 31, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Lucia
    I really love this fusion of fabric & crochet & embroidery I would love some extra information on what you have done
    Thanking you
    Beth

  2. Sophie Cromwell

    May 31, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Beautiful as always!

  3. Ellen

    May 31, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Hi Lucia.
    Beautiful work, as always. I love that the mandala looks like a compass rose. Adds to the nautical, wanderlust spirit of it all.
    The block that puzzles me is on the third “row” from the bottom, adjoining and below the pale and dark stripes block. It’s 3 colors and looks like outlined keystones in offset rows.
    I agree the cherry blossoms are beautiful. Our tree blooms about the date of our wedding anniversary. I like the cemetery photo.
    Thank you for what you do.

    1. admin

      May 31, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      I will have a look Elen, also I will put up few more details of the blocks I used. they are very simple just a mix of different yarns. besides the mandala, the emphasis is really more on colour and texture then not on complex patterns x

  4. Ingeborg

    May 31, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    This blanket is so special, so unique, so utterly beautiful again. What a wonderful piece of art. I tend to repeat what I said about your previous blankets but I think this one is my favourite. Thank you again, Lucia, for the joy you give me.
    Ingeborg

  5. Mary

    June 1, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Oh, Lucia Such loveliness, inspiring. I’ll just sit here and stare @ my screen. Maybe Hubby will cast to the T.V…….
    So calming Thank-you, ^..^ ^..^

  6. Rosa

    June 1, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Hi Lucia,
    Your blankets are beautiful. You are so incredibly talented with your designs and colour schemes. Anxiously waiting to see what you have in store for June.

  7. Michelle Watson

    June 2, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Any hints on joining crochet to denim? I have an idea for a project but not sure how I would do that bit. PS I love the peace of graveyards too,

    1. admin

      June 2, 2017 at 6:05 am

      hi, Michelle, I am actually writing the next blog entry with some more details about the pattern. but briefly, I tell you what I did . please consider that is NOT perfect!. I cut my pieces with a rotary cutter, it came with 3 types of blades: a straight one, a wave one, and a perforating blade. this is the amazon link : https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005DQ90UM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 .
      I cut the pieces to the shape I wanted with the straight blade, then I ran the perforated one about 5 millimeters from the edge of the piece. that creates the holes that allow you to go trough with a crochet hook and make the border ( I just did a sort of elongated DC (UK terms) ). 2 points of advice. if the fabric ( like was mine), it is a bit frail and old you might end up ripping the space between the holes…as there isn’t much really, my blade created probably a 2/3 millimeters bridge between holes, so when you try to join 2 pieces of fabric that have a crochet edge, it is not that strong to hold. hence why I overlapped the pieces often to not create a point of tension and rip the border. But if you use a stronger fabric I think it will hold much better. it all depends. Another way to do it it is making single holes with the crochet head..now I did that on the hexagons, again it is a bit of a pain, to be honest…I know that the correct way should be using a needle and thread and create a border where you can attach the crochet, but I felt it was a bit of a palaver and I always try to find out the quickest route. ( after all the blanket was an experiment). so to summarize: perforating blades great choice but you must have a reasonable strong fabric, and a steady hand to run the holes; individual holes, again great if the fabric is thinner but a bit labour intense; 3 the thread and needle one: most likely the best if you want something really neat but it will take a great deal of time. You will have to make a sample with the fabric of your choice and see how you feel about it. hope it helps. P.S. if you find an amazing tool that makes the holes with a better gap between them ( that doesn’t cost a fortune …) please let me know ! Lucia x

  8. Ingeborg

    June 3, 2017 at 5:39 am

    I just had another long, close look at the beautiful blanket again, it’s like going through a picturebook, looking at each individual pattern of all the patches. I feel each of them tells a different story, but combined together they become a unique picture with again another meaning. Does that make sense? Are you going to write more about the crochet patterns of the granny patches? I would love to learn more about them.
    Love, Ingeborg

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