Craft: Snuggly Pompom Blanket

20140426-134228.jpg
I know what you’re thinking… “She said this was going to be a crafty blog, but pretty much the only craft she’s written about recently involves getting overly competitive at Easter bonnet competitions!”

Yeah, I know. I’m not really that competitive, honest. I just like making things!

And I have been busy making behind the scenes. It’s just that I was knitting and, well, I’m not very good at knitting. And I haven’t figured out how to knit whilst feeding C, which is pretty much the only time I’ve had to do it.

So, a good 6 or 7 weeks after I first started it, and just in time for the long hot days of summer, may I present – the warmest, snuggliest, curl-up-in-front-of-a-roaring-fire-and-hide-underneath-it, pompom blanket!!
20140426-134109.jpg

Ok, I really need to think about making things for the season we’re going into, not the one we’ve (hopefully) just left behind, but I’m sure the British weather will ensure it doesn’t need to be packed away until next winter. I was inspired by a Mummy friend of mine who makes these gorgeous blankets, as well as seeing a few mums on our local pram walk with their little ones tucked up in similar ones, and then finally by picking up the yarn on a whim whilst wandering round our local Abakhan fabric store.

So, what do you need to know?

Well first up, I used Rico Pom Pon wool, which of all the ‘pom-pom’ wool I saw seemed to have the biggest and softest pom-poms. It comes in tons of colours – I used three balls of 032 ‘ice green’ which is a kind of pale aqua, almost duck egg colour, perfect to go with C’s nursery. It’s around £8 per ball depending on where you buy it from, so about £24 materials cost for a toddler sized blanket.

Secondly, if you’re going to make a biggish blanket, use circular knitting needles! I started off on normal needles thinking I could squish it on, but as I added more rows it got bigger and bigger and bigger, until I had no choice but to run out and buy some circular needles to move it all onto.

Thirdly, work out how big you want your blanket to be. The pom-poms themselves are about an inch in length, and because of them your knitting tension doesn’t seem to have a huge impact on the finished size. I cast on far too many really, 40 pom-poms (80 stitches) which made it about 100cm width. Once I realised this I made a tactical decision to use that as the long side of the blanket instead of the width, rather than unpick all the knitting I’d done and start again! Realistically about 30-35 pom-poms would probably have been right for a toddler sized blanket, and maybe half that for a pram blanket.

Fourthly (is that even a word?), I had the shop assistant’s words ringing in my ears as I left the store – “don’t try to follow the instructions on the packaging, look up some YouTube video instructions instead”. So I dutifully did, and the best, easiest one to follow that I found was this one by Hulu Crafts. It basically involves knitting two stitches inbetween each of the pom-poms, so you never actually have to pull the pom-poms through anything, but the video shows a useful technique for casting on as well.

It was surprisingly easy once I got going, and if you have some time to dedicate to it and knit at any speed then you could probably finish it in a week of evenings.

I’m not 100% happy with mine – there’s a few holes where I missed a couple of stitches, and it’s somehow a bit longer on one side than the other but the warmth and softness more than makes up for it. And I discovered the size I made has a benefit too, as whilst you’re knitting it handily doubles as a nice warm blanket for your knees!

Despite my slight reticence at doing more knitting I’ve ambitiously bought some more wool, in pink of course, to make a version for G as well. But I think I’ll try and get through a few other projects first, I can’t face another 7 weeks of knitting!

Of course you could always rope in a willing Grandma, Aunt or friend to do the hard work for you. Or ask my lovely friend Nina at So Snugglicious if she can make you one for you, much better and quicker than my effort!

And then instead of giving it to your toddler or baby as planned you can join me in secretly half wishing for some cold weather to put the fire on and snuggle up with it yourself.