Friday, 29 January 2016

What is a mile-a-minute, granny square or motif crochet afghan?

There are so many different ways that you can crochet an afghan or blanket but the terms can sometimes be confusing so here I shall explain the differences, as well as share with you a few patterns of my own you might like to try.

The traditional Granny Square blanket or afghan

Vintage Granny Squares by Laura Eccleston
This blanket, or afghan, is made up from individual squares, which are then sewn together.

You can make lots of different crochet projects from granny squares, not just blankets, including bags, hats, bracelets, even clothes. The wonderful thing about using squares to make up your projects is that you can use lots of different colours and mix and match your squares. You can even use different style of squares throughout your project to really make it interesting.

Spiral Granny Square by Laura E
Simple Granny Square Bag by Laura E

The useful thing about using squares for your blanket is that you can also work on the project as little or as much as you like and only take away on holiday with you some squares at a time to add to your ever growing blanket.

Although a traditional style of blanket design, that may remind you of cold nights at your grandma's house, granny square blankets are becoming increasingly more popular and contemporary in style. Retro is truly in!

The Motif blanket or afghan

Celtic Triangle by Laura E
These types of afghans or blankets are very similar to granny square blankets in that they are made up of individual shapes, but instead of using squares you can use lots of different types of shapes such as triangles or hexagons, even individual flowers to make up your blanket.

Hypercube Tesseract by Laura E
Again, making up a blanket this way means you can use many different colours in your projects, and work on it a bit at a time.

Often many people decide to join as they go when making these types of blankets to save time, adding individual shapes as and when they find time to make them.

Mile-a-Minute afghan or blanket

This type of blanket is designed in long strips that are then sewn together. An ideal style of blanket making that allows for creativity like the motif or granny blanket but not as repetitive as repeating the same stitch on the one piece blanket explained below.

The great thing about the mile-a-minute style of afghan making is that you can work on strips at a time, even designing different styles and add to your project in stages, taking on holiday with you a few strips to work on, and projects work up very quickly.

The One Piece afghan or blanket

Mesh Blanket by Laura E
The one piece or 'plain' afghan is the simplest of them all and is made up by simply repeating the same stitch pattern over and over.

Often a repetitive style of blanket making, and probably the one given up on most, but it can have beautiful results if patience allows, and different stitches can be added throughout if stitch count allows.

The only draw back is that you will always have to work on the whole blanket at any one time so is not easily transportable.

I hope you have found this post informative and maybe even inspired you to try something new! In the meantime I will see you soon for some more crochet fun!


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© HappyBerry 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Where I buy my yarn and my favourite brands

I receive a lot of questions asking where do I buy my yarn from and what yarns do I like to use the most so I thought I would put together a short blog post about my yarn experiences, which I hope you find useful.

I don't normally talk about the actual brands I use when I put together a crochet video tutorial because of advertising rules with YouTube, plus I don't like to give preferential treatment to certain brands, especially when I haven't tried all the amazing brands out there, but I will mention today a few of my secret favourite brands I always seem to go back to.

If you have a yarn brand of your own that you would like me to try then I would be more than happy to do a written review. Just drop me a message.

Fiber wise I do enjoy crocheting with natural products such as cotton and even bamboo because not only are they natural but they have a beautifully smooth finish which makes crocheting a pleasure, and are really good for beginners to use as well. I always go back to Rico Essentials Cotton DK, which is a lovely yarn to use and comes in some amazing bright colours. Some of the toys I have made with this yarn are still looking as good as they day I crocheted them although I haven't washed them yet so time will tell.

I also love the bamboo yarns by Sirdar such as their Snuggly Baby
Bamboo yarn, again very smooth and comes in some stunning colours. Just a pleasure to crochet with, but it is a little more expensive than the cotton.

I am not perfect though and do still enjoy a good acrylic yarn as they do work so well with bigger projects like chunky cardigans or cowls. Budget wise they also do well especially the Stylecraft chunky acrylics such as their Special Chunky. It's cheap and still comes in some lovely shades. It is my weakness and I confess I do go to it every time when winter hits!

I don't use a lot of wool based yarns in my projects as I consider it a luxury. That said it's hard to avoid merino or alpaca which can be super soft and not too scratchy or fluffy, but they can be expensive! I have however come a little addicted to the Sublime yarns by Sirdar, especially their Extra Fine Merino Wool. It is super super soft and squidgy so definitely worth the investment if you are making something that little bit extra special. I especially love the hot red shade around Christmas time.

So they are my go to yarns to date, but where do I like to buy my yarns from. Well, it is a lot more common to purchase yarn online these days, but I have only ever used a couple of online companies myself as I still prefer to buy locally. Not only does this support local shops, but it also gives you a chance to check the colour and quality in person, just something you can't get when buying yarn online. I am also incredibly impatient and usually want my yarn today! but as you know it's not always easy to find a local yarn store and shopping online is definitely easier in theory.

I don't like to specifically mention any online yarn companies to try as each experience is different, but I do find the team at very friendly, and have happily ordered yarn from the in the past, but that was a while ago. If you do plan to buy yarn online it is important that you check out what people are saying about them before buying. You can do this either via their Facebook page to see what other people are saying about purchasing from them or you can visit and type in the company name and see what reviews are being left about their yarns and customer service. This could save you a lot of heartache in the long run, especially if you have a deadline to keep to, or just want that yarn yesterday he he.

Let me know your thoughts on what yarns you like to use and your favourite stores, and like I said if you have a yarn brand of your own you would like me to try or even want to mention one you'd like me to try just because you love it then just pop me a message or comment below!

Happy crocheting,

© HappyBerry This pattern can not be reproduced in any way without credit given to HappyBerry. This includes copying and pasting into another blog or website, and filming the pattern for use on YouTube. You can however print it off for personal use or for use in an offline crochet group. Items made from any of my patterns can be sold in your own stores however. Patterns are not for re-sale. Thank you.