At the moment I'm occasionally making some little Granny Square crochet blankets in between making crochet shawls. Making a blanket out of squares takes time and patience, and I used to make these one square at a time, tying off and weaving in the ends as I went and then slowly sewing them together.
This was a very laborious way of doing things, and I quickly realised from other crocheters I saw online that there was a much more productive way of making a crochet blanket. Obviously, a detailed squared blanket is never going to be a fast paced affair, and nor should it be as care needs to be taken to make sure it is securely made and that the colour placement works well. Also, it's a joy to take the time to notice how the colours work together and to see it take shape. However there are ways to make your work flow more quickly.
How can I make a Crochet Granny Square Blanket More Quickly?
A good place to start is to plan ahead - work out how large you want to make your blanket and determine how many squares you will need overall. Simply make up a square, measure it and work out how many you will need for your blanket size.
You may wish to draw out a simple plan on graph paper to decide on your colour placement and how many of each square you'll need.
Now begin by making all the centres at once. Your fingers will quickly work the pattern from muscle memory, repeating the simple pattern with ease and in no time you'll have all the centres done, inspiring you to get on to the next stage.
At the end of this stage, tie off and weave in the ends neatly ready for all the second rows. If you don't those long ends can slow you down as you work on the small centres.
Now make all the second rows. You can see mine in the bottom of this photo.
Sort your circles into piles, so you know which ones need which colours for your third rows. This makes things much faster as you don't have to think as you make them. At this stage don't tie off or weave in any ends, this keeps the pattern in your mind and keeps things flowing. Now lay the Granny Squares out to make sure you have the correct amount.
The next job is to tie off and weave in the ends all at once. This makes the process much faster and less fiddly. Pop your squares on a blocking board as the ends are sewn in to neaten them before joining. I use a Millward blocking board for this purpose. A neat square is much easier to join than a wobbly one!
Now you are ready for joining...I now mainly use the join-as-you-go method where you crochet your final round on each square, joining them to previous squares as you work. (There are a lot of crocheters who can show you how on YouTube, Bella Coco and the Patchwork Heart are just two.) Here is my current work in progress. This will be washed and blocked when complete to make sure it lies flat. Keep an eye out for the final blanket photo on this post when it's done! Check out my crochet blankets for sale here.
Right now I have some gorgeous crocheted shawls to buy in my yay retro online shop. I always have an array of crochet shawls available to buy, which are both ready made or available to pre-order. The ones I want to talk about today are made from the V for Vintage pattern by Mijo Crochet. These include lots of detailed stitches and the yarn I use is ultra soft, light and airy. This means they are ideal for wear during any month of the year. They make a great little wrap in Spring and Summer and can be used as a cowl or scarf in Autumn or Winter. I found mine useful on the sun bed as a little cover up and also the perfect evening wear when out and about in The Canary Islands earlier in the year.
Choose from the red and yellow 'Sunset' shawl above or the ice cream tones of my 'Pistachio' shawl below. Or pre-order one and choose your own colours! Find out more here. These are both £32.50 inc UK postage.
Crochet shawls are so adaptable, and the ones I've made for the yay retro! shop are light, airy and the perfect thing to wear in Spring and Summer. These fabulous wraps can be popped around your shoulders to offer some sun protection and keep you looking stylish.
Super funky and pretty, these are the perfect way to finish off a summer outfit. Wear every day or to a special occasion such as a wedding or party. They can keep out chills in place of a cardi, or act as a light cover for your shoulders and arms.
They are ideal for festivals and outdoor events, and when not in use can be popped into your bag without getting crumpled oreven tied around your waist for another 'look'.
Set off a sundress and grab attention with a gorgeous crochet shawl from yay retro
I have several fabulous styles ready made in my shop, or you can pre-order a shawl and choose your colours.
Each shawl is handmade by me and completely unique. If you love arty clothes and want something made just for you, you are sure to love yay retro crochet shawls. Find out more here.
Right now I have this gorgeous flower power crochet shawl for sale in the yay retro shop for you. Made with super soft, light yarn this has 42 crocheted blossoms all along the edge and is ideal for special occasions, festivals or for every day wear - all year round! Keep warm, pretty & protect yourself from the sun with this super must-have item.
This would be perfect at a special day such as a wedding or party, or even getting down and dirty at a festival. Stand out with this unique handmade shawl!
Once winter comes around simply wind it around your neck as a super soft cosy cowl and pop inside your coat or wear over a jumper all day - I know lots of my customers never take theirs off! You can buy now or pre-order a shawl like this in the colour of your choice in the yay retro shop now.
If you are looking for the perfect Festival outfit then a crochet shawl from yay retro! is a fantastic starting place! I currently have 5 different designs which can be made in colours of your choice. I make these using brightly coloured yarn cakes which subtly change colour throughout the design. They are fabulous for Festivals as they can keep you warm, protect you from the sun, be worn in lots of different ways from a shawl to a wrap, a scarf to a cowl or even draped around your waist!!
Ideal for all year round wear, these are super stylish, soft and easy to wear. With the revival of crochet by all of the top Paris fashion designers, now is the time to invest in a handmade crochet shawl from yay retro! My prices start at just £22.50 and range up to £35 depending on the shawl design. Check my crochet shawls now.
Each crochet shawl is completely unique, so you'll know you will have something different to everyone else. Eye catching and flexible to wear these are a must have item at your next Festival and a fantastic gift idea for any Festival go-er!
From bright rainbows to more subtle colour ways, yay retro! has a huge yarn store of colours to choose from! You can pre-order a shawl from me here.
Check out my new Flower Power design crochet shawl!
Here in Totnes, Devon we have the fabulous Bodykind Festival on 3/4 May. The 2nd year this event has taken place, it's a fantastic celebration of body positivity and diversity.
Bodykind is about Body positivity and honouring our and other's bodies in all their various forms, rather than comparing them to an external concept of beauty. Empowering, liberating and brimful of the feel-good factor. There will be inspiring thought provoking speakers, workshops, art, film, dance, theatre, comedy, song, and more… I went last year and found it completely life changing!
Find out more and buy a ticket here: https://www.bodykindfestival.com/ or Bodykind Festival on Facebook. There is also a Bodykind Supporters Facebook group here for people to chat about Body positivity and the Festival.
See people such as Bodyposipanda, Bo-Po Boy and Anti Diet Riot Club as well as many, many more.
I am so pleased to say that I now have a new crochet shawl design ready to buy at yay retro! This one is very detailed and extremely soft and draping meaning that you can wear in all sorts of ways to create lots of lovely effects. I crocheted this from a pattern from Desert Crafts in the USA and the shawl design is called Waves. I've named the shawl Zing Zing due the fabulous colours which are sure to lift your spirits! It features open V stitches which surround a triangle of soft shell stitches which appear in a triangle across the shoulders of the shawl - see below.
Wear as a wrap or shawl or a cowl or scarf. This means it works all year round on chilly days inside your coat, or draped around your neck over a jumper. Then on warmer days use it as a shawl or to screen yourself from the sun on your sun bed. To be honest the options are endless with these must have items!! Pop in to the yay retro shop to buy this one that I've just made now, or to pre-order a shawl design of your choice.
I've just completed another rainbow coloured crochet shawl for a customer at yay retro! These are proving very popular and happily I have several rainbow styled yarn cakes to to choose from as well as a range of crochet shawl designs. This means that every shawl I make will come out different to the others.
Here is a rainbow coloured shawl using the Droplets pattern by Mijo Crochet, as you can see this lacy effect shawl can be worn as a cowl or scarf, yet unwound it works as a shawl or wrap. Perfect for any weather or time of year.
Check out my new Waves crochet pattern shawl...this one is currently available to buy in the yay retro! shop. Look at the incredible pattern on this one which has an inset textural triangle surrounded by open stitches! I've called this one Zing Zing as the rainbow colours are really bright and zingy!!
Here is another rainbow effect yarn cake shawl this time in the Secret Paths Mijo Crochet pattern. Again this can be worn in any way. I've seen my customers wearing their shawls in both of these designs and they look simply fabulous! Why not pre-order a shawl today? Simply opt for your design and choose a yarn cake from my huge range.
Here is my review of a 'Hand Operated Yarn Winder' which I recently bought on Ebay. It seems that there is one main type of yarn winder available to buy online, and they are very cheap ranging from £8 to £15 including postage. These are the cream and red plastic ones, which clamp to a table ahead of use.
Yarn winders are used to neatly wind left over yarn for storage or to divide up yarn cakes ahead of making an item so that you know precisely the colours and length of these that the cake has. Both knitters and crocheters would probably find a yarn winder useful. Up until now I've always wound yarn by hand, however if you have a lot of yarn to wind it can cause aches and pains - recently I had really sore arms after doing a large batch of winding!
As you can see the yarn winder creates very neat cakes or balls of yarn ready for storing in your yarn stash or for use in your current project. It's very easy to assemble. Simply put the spindle in place on the geared base and twist to lock. Then insert the wire yarn guide into the slot in the back. I must admit that initially I didn't get this locked into place hard enough and had to ask fellow crocheters what I was doing wrong. They advised to really pull it hard to lock into place, and since then I've had no problems.
The yarn can jump around and get a bit tangled if you wind the handle too fast, and I find it works best if you place your yarn in a bowl to allow it to move freely and without losing it on the floor under your chair! I also gently hold the yarn coming from the bowl with my fingers to guide it and keep a little tension in it.
To release your cake of wound yarn you simply lift it off the winder and you can then use yarn from the centre or outside of the cake.
I would thoroughly recommend investing in a yarn winder, it's very useful when you need to divide up a multi-coloured yarn cake to find the colour you require and to check on the length of that particular colour before starting the next section of your pattern. Additionally it means that less of your yarn goes to waste, as you can keep track of the left over and useful pieces you have across your projects. Having a neatly wound cake of yarn in your stash prevents jumbles and knots forming and encourages you to find ways of using your left over colours. Take a peek at the handmade crocheted items yay retro! has for sale right now!
I use yarn cakes to make crochet shawls, wraps, scarves or cowls like this one.
I have a lovely crocheted shawl ready for sale in my online shop right now. I've named this one 'Mint Cake' due to its gorgeous minty colour scheme.
This is super soft hand crocheted asymmetric shaped shawl is made using an ombré effect yarn cake with colours changing from grey through to cream and mint greens. Light, cuddly and warm this would be a pure delight to wear. As you can see, it has a range of lacy crochet stitches which creates lots of visual interest and you can use it as a shawl or cosy up, wrapping as a scarf or cowl.
You can wear this in all sorts of different ways with the point hanging down your back, or down your front to keep you warm inside a winter coat or as an airy wrap on Spring and Summer days. This design is called Droplets, a pattern by Mijo Crochet, and includes popcorn bobble stitches, as well as open work and decorative edges. If you missed out on this shawl, don't worry you can pre-order a shawl on the website, and get in touch to choose your colour from my extensive yarn collection.