Getting Started (Tips & Videos!)

So you’re going to make the Solar System Blanket…YAY! *throws confetti*

confetti GIF by MailChimp

I’m so excited that you’re going to join me for this out-of-this-world adventure! This page is designed to help guide you through the whole “getting started” part of the Solar System blanket. If you’ve got questions, you’re in the right place!

Here are a series of short(ish) videos that explain some useful pieces of information and display some helpful techniques used in making the Solar System Blanket.

Please watch these videos in their entirety before starting on your blanket! I’ve also typed up the main points from the videos into bullet points, which are located below each video. That way, you can refer back to this page and just skim through the main points of the videos later without having to re-watch them (but you can re-watch if you need to!).

UPDATE 1/8/18: A lot of people have been having some trouble with their sun rounds curling. On January 7th, I made a video addressing this issue and how you might be able to resolve this. You’ll find this video at the BOTTOM of this page.

These videos and written tips should help answer many of your questions on how to make this blanket. Of course, if you have questions after watching these videos, please leave a comment on this page and I’ll try to help!


Video #1: Continuous Rounds vs Joined Rounds (PLUS How to Do the Magic Circle)

  • Most of the rounds in this blanket will use the continuous spiral method. Video #2 will talk more about the rounds that will be joined.
  • Start your blanket at round 1 using the continuous spiral method, working in a spiral.
  • Use a stitch marker to mark the first stitch of the round, and remember to move it up as you go!
  • At every increase, place a stitch marker. This will give you a visual reminder of where your increases are (and it will come in handy later, as described in video #3).

 

Video #2: Color Changes and Joined Rounds

  • As mentioned in video #1, most rounds of the blanket use the continuous spiral method. However, some will need to be joined.
  • To do this, you will work a round as normal. Instead of continuing to work in a spiral when you get to the end of that round, you will join to the first stitch at the beginning of that round with a slip stitch. You will then chain the number of times indicated in the pattern (ch 1 if you’re working in sc next, ch 2 if you’re working in hdc next).
  •  These are the kinds of rounds that will be worked using the joined method:
    • Any round in which you begin working with a new color
    • The round preceding that round of the new color
    • The first round following that round of the new color, working in that same new color
  • This joined round method will primarily occur every time you do an orbit round.

 

Video #3: Using Stitch Markers (PLUS Working with Increases)

  • Make sure to use a stitch marker in a unique color to mark the first stitch of the round (this is very important!). Move this stitch marker up every round as you go. It will always go in the first stitch of the round.
  • Use a set of 6 stitch markers in a second color to indicate your increases. I’d recommend you start using these stitch markers at about round 3 or 4 once you’ve started a few rounds and it becomes easier for you to see the sun as you work on it.
  • Use a second set of 6 more markers in a third color to indicate your increases on the next round.
    • The first set of stitch markers (let’s call them Set A) will be used in the first round you decide to start using stitch markers for your increases. In the next round, you’ll use Set B for your increases (which are a different color). In the next round, you’ll alternate back to Set A—and so on.
  • Traditionally, working in the round asks you to work your increases every round on top of the increases of the previous round. This results in your “circle” becoming more like a hexagon.
    • To avoid this, try rotating where you place your increases every round. Don’t work your increases on top of the ones from your previous round. Even if you only push your increases forwards a few stitches every round, it will help you to avoid that hexagon shape and make your blanket more of a circle!
    • This also helps with counting the number of stitches in between each increase, which is especially helpful when your blanket gets larger and larger!

 

Video #4: Curling? Here’s how you can fix it (and a few other tips).

Please note that this video was a live Q&A session hosted on Facebook, so please excuse my floppy hair and raggedy sweatshirt!

If your sun is starting to curl (upward, in a bowl-like fashion), here are a few things you can try to get it to stop:

  • Go up a hook size. I’m a fairly tight crocheter, so while the gauge listed in this pattern worked for me, it might not work for you. Try going up a hook size and give it another shot.
    • Additionally, you can try using a different type of crochet hook (in-line vs. tapered head, for instance). This has made a difference for some people!
    • Gauge reminder: using a size G 4.0mm hook and Stylecraft Special DK yarn, the first 10 rounds (the “sun”) should measure 4.75″ across in diameter.
  • As you complete each round, gently tug on the stitches. This will help the fibers to relax a little bit from their tight and twisted shape, which could help with the curling issue.
  • Try blocking the first 15 rounds or so of your blanket (you could block after you’ve finished week 1 if you prefer). I’ve been told that this has worked well for many people who have either blocked it using traditional blocking boards and even those who have just placed something heavy on top of their sun overnight.
  • If none of the options above have worked for you, I recommend that you use more increases in every round. For example, use 8 increases instead of 6.
    • Be careful with this! When I first started my Solar System Blanket, my sun started to curl, too. So I frogged it and started using 8 increases in every round. It worked great!…for the first 10 rounds or so. At that point, instead of curling, my blanket started to become kind of ruffly–as in it had ruffles…like the potato chip! I tore it out again and went back to 6 increases. It still curled, but I stuck with it. After several rounds (and after using the “tugging” method described above), my blanket started to flatten out.
    • If you decide to use more increases in every round, keep in mind that your stitch counts will be different than what the pattern says! You will also need to use more yarn for your blanket.
    • Example of pattern instructions using 8 increases instead of 6 increases:
      • 6 increases: Round 2) *hdc inc* x 6 (12 sts)
      • 8 increases: Round 2) *hdc inc* x 8 (16sts)

Ready to get started?

Click HERE to check out the pattern for Week 1 of the Solar System CAL!

12 thoughts on “Getting Started (Tips & Videos!)”

  1. Your videos are great! Thanks for sharing these tips, I couldn’t wait to watch all of them before I started so when you started in video 1 I dug in!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Following your pattern and videos…feeling a little frustrated, my yellow sun doesn’t lay flat, I have a feeling it may eventually, but I don’t see that spiral in my sun! I’ve torn it out 5 times, using markers and have correct stitch count. I started out with 4.5 hook, now using a 4.0…sigh!

    Like

  3. Thank you for these videos. I will be sure to use stitch markers with this project. I started my blanket last night, but it’s curling and doesn’t lay flat. I tried going up a hook size, but it still curled. It looks like a sombrero. Lol….any tips on getting the circle to lay flat?

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  4. This is great – I can’t find any of my stitch markers (I blame the 2 year old!) so just ordered 100 from ebay. Now to wait for them to arrive so I can get started

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  5. Thank you for making the videos they are great! I love how you start the magic circle I am going to try your method. I like the idea of using the stitch markers for the increases so much easier than going back to count when you get distracted.

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  6. My sun was curling, too. I remembered that the planets will be crocheted separately and added to the blanket, so I made a separate sun (11 single crochet rounds an a round of crab stitches) and fixed it on the curling sun – it works perfect.

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  7. I frogged this twice to see if I could fix this myself. I do not crochet tight at all, but I went up a size anyway…did not work…also tried two different hooks. What I ended up doing was put 12 stitches in the magic circle and proceeded to do the increases from there…I think the spiral effect is created when you put your hook in into the “hole” and not under the two strands of the stitch. It creates a larger hole than normal…

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