Welcome to Part 13 of the Marine Life CAL! During the first 12 weeks of the crochet along, we made 12 different squares for our blankets featuring some pretty cute little marine critters. Over the next 3 weeks (this week included!), we’ll talk about some of the things that are useful when finishing your blanket.
Fallen a bit behind? No worries! You can find all of the parts of this blanket on the main project page here.
This week, we’re talking about borders, tails, and bonus graphs–oh my! In the post below, I’ve put together some tips and links to tutorials to help you manage your yarn tails and prepare your beautiful squares for joining.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Borders: Why You Need One
Simply put, adding a border to your squares (and your entire blanket) is the best way to make your project look nice and tidy. Even just a simple single crochet border can give your work that “finished” look, and it’s so easy to do!
More importantly, adding a simple border to your squares will help you when it comes time to join them together. For patchwork blanket projects like the Marine Life blanket (as well as the Harry Potter blanket and the Dino blanket, to name a few others), this step is particularly important.
By adding a simple single crochet border, you will ensure that the edges of your squares are crisp and clean, and you’ll also be making them so much easier to join later on.
Important note: for each of your squares, make sure you do one border row in the background color of the square, then do another border row in whichever color you plan to use when joining your squares (for me, this color was Petrol, because it was also the color I used for the interlocking ripple stitch panels, which we’ll talk about more next week).
If you’re feeling a bit intimidated, don’t worry! I’ve prepared a photo and a video tutorial that will teach you how to do this.
Click here to find the photo and video tutorials for adding a single crochet border to a C2C project.
Note: the video tutorial shows me working a border into a square for my Whovian blanket, which was also made with the C2C stitch. Though the project itself is different, the principle is exactly the same!
What to Do With Those Pesky Yarn Tails
When it comes to graphghans, we all know that the more color changes you make, the more tails you wind up with. Nobody likes weaving in those yarn tails (and if you do, come work for me!), but you’ve got to do something with them in order to make your blanket complete!
There are a few different things you can do with your tails. The most obvious choice is to weave them into the fabric of your work and trim the excess yarn. The benefit to weaving in your ends is that this makes your blanket reversible! The downside is that it takes forever. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have the attention span for that!
If you need a little help with this, click here.
The alternative choice (my personal favorite) is to carefully tie off the tails on the back side of the blanket, trim the ends (just a bit!), and to line the back of the blanket with some sort of fabric. This option, of course, only really works if you add a backing to your blanket. The up side is that this method is much quicker than weaving in your yarn tails, and I’ve personally never had any trouble with my tails coming untied in the wash. As long as you tie them with secure knots a few times and don’t trim the tails too short, you should be just fine. Another bonus is the fabric backing adds an extra layer of fun and warmth to your blanket!
To tie off my ends, I first make sure that all of my yarn tails come through to the back side of the blanket. Then, working with two tails at a time, I carefully tie them together, leaving enough slack in the tails so that the blanket does not pucker or pull. I tie several square knots, pulling the last couple of knots nice and tight. Then I trim the yarn tails until they measure approximately 2″ long. This way, if the knots ever come undone and my yarn tails poke out to the front of my work, I have a chance of fixing them later.
Whichever method you choose to work with your yarn tails, it’s time to buckle down and get to work. Working with tails isn’t exactly fun stuff, but it’s a necessary part of making any crocheted blanket.
Blocking is the last and possibly most important part of the entire graphghan process. There are a few different methods of blocking, but wet blocking is my favorite! It works wonderful for acrylic yarns like this Stylecraft Special DK yarn, and it’s very easy to do.
If you’re using a similar yarn as I am, here’s what I suggest:
- Get your squares completely wet
- Note: a quick submergence in a bucket of water will work just fine
- Tip: you can place all of your squares into a mesh garment bag and then toss them all in the washing machine for ease!
- Pin your squares onto blocking boards using rust-proof T-pins
- Leave until completely dry, then remove T-pins
Other methods of blocking include dry blocking (also called steam blocking) and cold blocking.
Dry blocking is great for yarns that tolerate both a bit of moisture and some heat (hence the steam). Just hold a steamer at least 1″ above your work (don’t press!) and then leave until cool and dry.
Cold blocking is similar to wet blocking, but you don’t submerge the crocheted work in water. To cold block your squares, pin to the blocking boards, spray with water from a spray bottle, then leave until fully dry.
Bonus Graphs: More Under-the-Sea Fun!
If you’ve been holding out for bonus designs for this blanket, then you’re in luck! I’ve made several alternate or “bonus” designs that can be used interchangeably with the primary designs for the Marine Life blanket.
Note: You can also use these bonus designs to add extra width or height to your blanket, but this will change the dimensions of your blanket and will alter your measurements for your interlocking ripple stitch panels, so do this with caution.
For these bonus squares, the graphs have arrows designed for use with the C2C or mini C2C stitch. There are two versions of each graph: a left-handed version (start in the lower left-hand corner) and a right-handed version (start in the lower right-hand corner).
Each page/graph also lists the colors required for the design featured; unfortunately, I am not able to estimate yardage requirements for the bonus squares at this time.
I’d love to see photos of your progress as you work on this project! Feel free to share on social media using the hashtag #marinelifecal.