There are a few things that you should never attempt if you knit or crochet as they will end in tears. Combining both crafts in one blanket. Ok, I realise this is a ‘crafty problem’ not a ‘real world problem’ – but these are important thoughts when planning your next project.
Due to the fact that I am ‘bi-stitchual’ or ‘ambi-texturous (sorry – I can knit and crochet), there is a looming temptation to combine both crafts in various projects.
A few years ago I had a notion that it would be brilliant to develop a ‘Crochet-knit-along’ which used both crafts. My dear friends at Black Sheep Wools were keen to support the project. I worked on the colour palette and had this brilliant idea that you could build a wide range of skills into each section. Basic granny square, mitred squares, cables, fairisle. Oh how I got carried away.
The final blanket was and still is quite pretty. I used glorious Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and some of my favourite patterns and motifs.
But…here is the thing. When we did the test knitting and crochet the tension was really difficult to nail down. My own knitting is quite regular and has an average tension. My crochet stitches tend to be on the tight side. However much we altered the squares it was so hard to faithfully replicate the pattern or customers who might have wanted to make pattern themselves. Essentially whatever your knitting tension might be – your crochet might be a totally different story. In the end after much hard work, we had to abandon the pattern. This lovely blanket remains one off – a unique creation.
Since the New Year, my slow burn project has been a nursery blanket for a much anticipated baby. I saw the lovely knitted bunny pattern created by Jem Weston in her book – The Knitted Nursery Collection.
I started making a few of the squares and my original intention was to combine the knitted squares with some fabric squares, as per the pattern in the book. But as time sped on – I knew I would struggle to organise myself to create this patchwork. The best idea by far was to combine the knitted squares and with a basic crochet granny square – my fastest solution. All I needed to do was match the size of my granny square to the knitted motif.
This is all well and good when it is a personal project. I can put up with the fiddling about and getting the sizing right, but it would never do as a published pattern.
The other downside to knitting a blanket or blanket square is that there is definitely a ‘wrong-side’. This is something I totally forget when I am in full crochet mode. Only the trained eye will spot the ‘wrong side’ of a crochet blanket and sometimes crochet is utterly reversible.
Obviously it never really matters – but with my bunny blanket I decided to go one step further and attach a fleece lining to the back. With all the work involved – placing your knitted stitches in the claws of the sewing machine might appear insane. But whenever I have attempted it, I have found the the end result easier than anticipated. So now the blanket is finished, lined, ready and waiting for its owner to arrive.
It is possible to combine knitting and crochet in a blanket. Often people knit the body of blanket and then crochet the edge. If you want to mix and match squares just prepare to adjust your tension accordingly. My advice would be to complete your knitted squares first and then match your crochet to them. It is far simpler to add a quick round on to crochet square than to adjust your row stitch count for the knitted version.
My other advice would be to work your blanket in one yarn type. I dipped into my stash and combined Stylecraft Special DK with Bellissima. I know these yarns well – and could easily change the hook I used to match the tension. But it is all too easy to see the size of your squares alter by a fraction which makes the sewing up really frustrating.
At its best – most creative place – knitting and crochet are an adventure. When making as a hobby, I am not bound by rules or things you should do or not do, I can experiment. So by warned – don’t make a blanket combining knitted and crocheted squares – or if you do – enjoy it and have fun and the result will be unique. As my Dad would say – ‘Don’t do as I do – do as I a say…’