Monday, 10 March 2014

Chilterns Ripple Rug

I have been fascinated with t-shirt yarn for some time, and bought some back in January with a view to making a blanket for the cat. It proved trickier than I had expected, and the cat had selected her bed before I got anywhere, but I am working towards finishing a long treatment at the moment and was thinking about a thank you present for the community that has supported me through it. I wanted to make something for one of the treatment rooms, and settled on a rug.

We are surrounded here in Bucks by the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (at least, so long as it's not driven through by a high-speed train, but that's another story). I was drawn to the idea of a ripple blanket - like the peaks of the hills - made in t-shirt yarn to be about 1.5m in diameter, and chose to use the 12-point Rainbow Ripple Blanket (Ravelry). I spent a bit of time in my stash and at Hobbycraft selecting just the right colours of Boodles to represent the Chilterns; grey for flint, two greens for the woodland and fields, two blues for the sky and water, and a white chalk border.

The Chilterns ripple rug: flint, water, fields, sky, woodland and chalk
Pattern, Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket (c) Celeste Young
The process of making a gift is always tied up in enjoyment and worry for me. I always worry about the recipient, and how they will react. In this project, I've also found the time I spent working was a good time to reflect on what this period of treatment has meant for me, and how I'm going to move on. Ending with a craft project gave me time to think that I might otherwise have not made space for.

I found it really easy to work up, and used a 12mm hook to make it slightly looser in texture. The nature of Boodles is that some skeins are very thick whilst others are very thin, and the thick yarn was far too thick for the 9mm hook they recommend. My only real problem has been blocking it; it takes blocking pretty well in the short term but will quickly shrink back. I'm not sure how well it will actually work as a rug but hope that when it's in situ it will wear in. I am still considering stitching it to a backing to hold the shape, but I like the effect of being able to see the floor through the holes.

If I were to make it again, I would probably choose an even bigger crochet hook, to try and avoid it folding in on itself.