Baby Blanket I
This blanket is in double crochet (US single crochet) using a 4mm hook and a variety of yarns from crochet cottons to baby alpaca - basically a little bit of everything of DK and 4 ply weight that I had in my yarn stash. It is an excellent project for perfecting some basic crochet techniques. It will help you to practice:
• Making an even chain, loose enough to work, but firm enough to provide a strong edge
• Double crochet (US single crochet) stitch to a regular tension over a large area
• Turning your work, including using turning chains and maintaining a straight edge
• Changing your yarn to create the stripes
• Working in the loose ends of your yarn
• Creating a decorative edge
By using a variety of yarns, you will have the opportunity to learn a lot about tension and the relationship between yarn weight and hook size. I used the same size hook throughout and loosened or tightened the tension using my fingers. As a result, some stripes are very solid and firm, and some are a bit looser, which creates slightly different textures for baby to explore. By working this way, I was able to maintain the same number of stitches throughout the project.
To make the blanket:
• Choose a starting yarn such as a double knit cotton and make a slip knot in the end of the yarn
• Make a chain that is about 1m long. Focus on making the individual loops as even as possible. Baggy stitches are a sign that your tension is too loose; really small stitches are a sign that your tension is too tight. In my experience, it will be about right when you can comfortably slip your hook between the top V of the stitch and the back loop of the chain.
• When you've finished your chain, turn your work so that you can go back the way you just came. Using the same yarn, start by working your first double crochet (US single crochet) stitch into the second loop from your hook. That gives you your first turning chain of a single chain. If we were working in treble crochet, we would need a turning chain that was 3 chains long. The turning chain effectively becomes the first stitch in your new row.
• This first row, or foundation row as it is known, can be a bit tricky when you're starting out. Focus on keeping your tension as even as you can, by keeping an eye on your stitch sizes - too small and your tension is too tight, too big and your tension is too loose. Make sure you are putting the hook into the same place for each stitch so that you get a good strong even edge.