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Thursday
Nov152012

Whit's Knits: Bear's Rainbow Blanket

Like many parents, I soon discovered after having a baby that I'd never actually been busy before. Basic things like taking showers and returning phone calls suddenly seemed overrated. But for me, one thing that has never been dispensable is crafting things for my son, Bear.

I'm not saying that I sit around for hours, dreamily stitching away. No, it's more like a stolen moment here and a quick minute there; a few squares at jury duty, a couple more in a waiting room, and two years later a blanket is born!

As drawn out as the process was, making Bear's Rainbow Blanket was always an exhilarating ride. Each step contained a world of wonderment, from Koigu Premium Merino's incredible hand dyed colors to this fascinating stitch pattern that magically turns a circle into a square; from the arrangement of dozens of colors and 108 squares to the daydreams of Bear dragging his Rainbow Blanket off to college!

I think I could have crocheted these squares for the rest of my life, but I finally stopped myself when I had enough to make a 40 x 54-inch blanket, the perfect size for my four year old. The bed pictured here is a queen, but this blanket is also right at home on a twin bed... or under a circle of picnicking stuffed animals!

I've crafted quite a few things in my life, and though I have so much fondness for many of those things, this is perhaps the dearest to my heart. This blanket expresses not only my love for my son, but for crafting too. To pursue a grand plan to its very end is the chocolate cake of crafting: a rich and deeply satisfying experience!

To start concocting your own grand plan, read on! -Whitney

 

The Materials

To Make the Exact Same Blanket

FINISHED SIZE: 40 x 54 inches (9 squares x 12 squares)

To make your blanket just like mine you can order our Complete Rainbow Blanket Kit right here. It includes 52 skeins of Koigu Premium Merino (KPM), 100% Merino Wool. They are:

  • 11 skeins of color #00 for the borders.
  • 41 skeins for the inside squares. One skein of each of the following colors:
    • First column (far left, from the top):1175, 1173, 1155, 1145, 1143, 2121, 1100, 2227, 2229, 2220, and 1195
    • Second column: 1110, 2200, 1240, 1200, 2180, 2100, 2335, 2423, 1521, and 1521.5
    • Third column: 2339, 1520, 1051, 1532, 1504, 1500, 2130, 1045, 1043, and 1010.5
    • Fourth column: 3016, 2405, 2403, 2390.5, 2290, 3003, 2164, 2416, 1156, and 1400
    (The blanket is made up of 108 squares, but this is enough colored yarn to make over 400 inside squares! [You would need more yarn for the outside borders.])

You will also need:

 

To Make a Crib Size Blanket

FINISHED SIZE: 32 x 41 inches (7 squares x 9 squares)

To make a smaller version of the Rainbow Blanket, you can order one of our Rainbow Crib Blanket Kits right here. It includes a total of 13 skeins of Koigu Premium Merino: 7 colors for the inside squares and 6 of color #00 for the outside borders. Arrange the 63 finished squares however you want!

Choose from six different Rainbow Crib Blanket Kits (shown above):

  • Pebble (top left): 2390.5, 3003, 1156, 2403, 2164, 2416, and 2290 + 6 skeins of 00
  • Kitchen Garden (top right): 1195, 1240, 2200, 2339, 1521.5, 1051, and 1521 + 6 skeins of 00
  • Dolphin (middle left): 1500, 2130, 1043, 3016, 1504, 1045, and 1010.5 + 6 skeins of 00
  • Mineral (middle right): 2335, 2403, 3003, 2180, 1200, 2290, and 2390.5 + 6 skeins of 00
  • Pixie (bottom left): 1240, 1173, 2200, 1143, 2121, 1155, and 2100 + 6 skeins of 00
  • Pickup Truck (bottom right): 2403, 2229, 2390.5, 2405, 1010.5, 3016, and 2227 + 6 skeins of 00

You will also need:

 

To Design Your Own Blanket

Here is what you need to know to:

  • Each skein of KPM is 50 grams and 175 yards.
  • Bear's Rainbow Blanket is 9 x 12 squares (108 squares total). To make the same size, you'll need at least a total of 22 skeins of KPM. If you want a border color, you'll need 11 of it, plus at least 11 more skeins for the inside squares.
  • Each square uses about 32-34 total yards of KPM; 17-18 yards for the inside square and 15-16 yards for the outside border. 
  • 1 skein of KPM can make 10 inside squares or 11 outside borders.
  • Each square measures 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.
  • A skein of KPM Needlepoint Yarn is 3.125 grams and 10.9 yards, so for 1 inside square you need 2 KPM Needlepoint skeins.
  • Purl Soho always has a beautiful selection of Koigu's KPM. Click here to see it all, and have fun!

 

Notes On Koigu

  •  Koigu Premium Merino is hand dyed in small batches so please know that each dye lot is unique. This means that if you use one of our kits, it will look a lot like ours but will have some variations. It also means that if consistency is important to you, buy enough!
  • KPM is machine washable on a cold, gentle cycle. However, I would recommend pre-soaking any dark or saturated skeins in a cold white vinegar bath before you roll them into balls.

 

Crocheted Square Pattern

Gauge

6 1/4 double crochets crochets = 1 inch

Finished Size

Each square is 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches

 

Inside Square

Round 1: With the Inside Color, chain 3 into an adjustable loop, make 15 double crochet (dc) into the loop...

... join to third stitch of beginning chain with a slip stitch. (16 stitches)

Round 2: Chain 3, [2 dc into next stitch] 15 times to beginning chain, 1 dc into base of chain...

... join to third stitch of chain with a slip stitch. (32 stitches)

Round 3: Chain 3, *2 dc into next stitch, 1 dc into next stitch, repeat from * to last stitch, 2 dc into last stitch, slip stitch into third chain. (48 stitches)

Round 4: Chain 4, (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc, 1 treble crochet [tr]) into the base of the chain...

..*skip 2 stitches, 1 half double crochet (hdc) into next 2 stitches, 1 sc into next 3 stitches, 1 hdc into next 2 stitches, skip 2 stitches, (1 tr, 2 dc, chain 2, 2 dc, 1 tr) into next stitch, repeat from * 2 more times, skip 2 stitches, 1 hdc into next 2 stitches, 1 sc into next 3 stitches, 1 hdc into next 2 stitches, slip stitch into 4th chain.

Round 5: Chain 3, 1 dc into next 2 stitches, *(1 dc, 2 tr, ch 2, 2 tr, 1 dc) into corner space, 1 dc into each stitch to corner (13 dc's), rep from * 2 more times, (1 dc, 2 tr, ch 2, 2 tr, 1 dc) into corner space, 1 dc into each stitch to beginning chain (10 dc's), slip stitch into 3rd chain. Cut the yarn and pull it through the last stitch.

Outside Border

Round 1: Join Border Color into a corner space. (Chain 3, 1 dc, chain 2, 2 dc) into corner space, *1 dc into each stitch to next corner space (19 dc's), (2 dc, chain 2, 2 dc) into corner space, repeat from * 2 more times, 1 dc into each stitch to beginning corner (19 dc's), slip stitch into 3rd chain.

Round 2: Chain 3, 1 dc into next stitch, *5 dc into corner space, 1 dc into each stitch to next corner space (23 dc's), repeat from * 2 more times, 5 dc into corner space, 1 dc into each stitch to beginning chain (21 dc's), slip stitch into 3rd chain. Cut the yarn and pull it through the last stitch.

Weave in whatever ends you didn't already crochet over.

Layout

If you are making the same exact blanket as this one, here is the layout of all the squares. (Note that in some of the story's photos the blanket is flipped over so that this layout is a mirror image of what you may see in the photos.)

Assembling

There are lots of ways to attach your squares together. Some people like to crochet them together using a slip stitch or even a single crochet, but I prefer to sew them together with a length of yarn and a tapestry needle. And again there are several of ways to do that: a running stitch, some variation on a blanket stitch, or my preferred method, a whip stitch. Experiment and decide what you like best!

To whip stitch, I brought the needle under both strands of the edge stitches. Instead of turning the needle around to come back the other way, I pushed my needle through in the same direction for every stitch.

Remember to save yourself some trouble and sew over whatever ends you can!

I hope you enjoy this project as much as I did! And happy hooking!

Reader Comments (122)

Do you know of any good knitting patterns where you could use the same colors and get a similar result.
November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConstance
Wow, Awesome, Love it, Brilliant, Gotta make one!
November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDenise
What a most amazing, beautiful and gorgeous blanket. I love it and would love to make my own. Love how you have arranged the colours. The crochet squares are divine too. Thank you very much for sharing its absolutely beautiful….
November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrieda
I love this! I'm don't crochet, but I was thinking this might be fun to knit as log cabin squares and sew them all together. It would probably give it different feel, though. But very inspiring, you have made a beautiful blanket!
November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSara
Ugh! I wish this was a knitting pattern! Would totally do this!! Ditto on knowing a pattern that might work for knitting?!
November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
Ugh! I wish this was a knitting pattern! Would totally do this!! Ditto on knowing a pattern that might work for knitting?!
November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
Ahhh! So SO beautiful, must show my rainbow loving 9 year old this!
I think I know what my next major project will be....
November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKrisha
Wow, I love this and immediately clicked over to the Purl Soho site to check out the kit....and then nearly fell out of my chair at the price! Koigu is wonderful stuff, but I don't think I could really justify an $800 blanket for my 3 year old.... I would love a less expensive yarn suggestion and echo the requests for a similar knitting pattern!
November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
Absolutely stunning work, beautiful. I love it! Now I will have to make another rainbow blanket, I like your variation of the bullseye square too. Thank you for the inspiration.

Fiona aka KnitKnatKnotUK
November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFiona
Hi everyone who wonders about a Rainbow Blanket for knitters,

I don't know of any specific knitting pattern that would recreate the Rainbow Blanket, but now may be a great time to learn how to crochet! About five years ago, I came across a crocheted blanket that inspired me to learn how to crochet, and I haven't looked back since! The learning curve for crochet is not as steep as for knitting, but it is an equally sophisticated craft with its own advantages. Plus, it's totally fun!

Play around with our Crochet Basics Tutorial, you may catch the bug too!: http://www.purlbee.com/crochet-basics/2007/4/12/crochet-basics.html

Whitney
November 16, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Amanda-

We understand the cost concern, that's why we offer the crib sized kits, which are much less expensive and make a fairly substantial blanket. You can see them here:

http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/8943

And of course you are always welcome to use whatever yarn you like! Any fingering weight yarn would work. Here is a link to all of our fingering weight yarn:
http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/3-knitting-crochet-yarn?filters[]=3

Thank you for your question!

Molly
November 16, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
By far, one of the prettiest projects I've ever seen. Although I knit, this makes me want to learn crochet! Lovely, just lovely.
November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTanya Hulbert
I love this quilt. I knit a similar quilt from Larissa Brown's book, Knitalong. It's called the barn raising quilt and you knit many many squares. I used beautiful sock yarns but it would be similar to the rainbow quilt using the yarns you've suggested. Here's a link to her page:
http://knitalong.net/?page_id=35
November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Brown
Could this blanket be made from Tosh Merino Light?

Thanks!
November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
Hi Amanda-

Madeline Tosh Merino Light would work well for this!
Thank you for your question!

Molly
November 16, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Wow this is amazing!
November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKylie Bowers
Stunning, absolutely stunning! There is nothing quite like Koigu. I knit the Purlsoho Granny Square blanket with it in a crib size and it is exquisite. The feel and luscious drape of this yarn is unlike any other. On a long car trip, it is the blanket that I used when it was a bit chilly. How I would love to make this Rainbow Blanket, but the price is just a bit much.
November 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpkett
Such delightful colours... Beautiful!
November 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRenée
I knit and crochet, and would love to make on of these. For all you who don't crochet, it's easy and as addictive as knitting with much faster results.

My question is about the amount of leftover yarn. I'm imagining one square of each color leaves most of the skein unused?

I love the use of all the colors. Although, I'm leaning more toward narrower down the color palette, so I wouldn't have so much left over.
November 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie
I've just inherited a stack of crocheted "rounds" from my Grandma - not enough to make something super large, but I think I could follow this sort of pattern to build something for a single bed.

thank you!
November 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralivicwil
I love this blog - it is so inspirational! I just got a book of crochet motifs, and I think I'll see if I have enough yarn running around to make something like this. It's gorgeous.
November 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for posting a stunning crochet project. I crochet. I do not knit, therefore, I am always thrilled to see a crochet project! on your site!
November 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim
Completely stunning! Hope you won't mind me linking up at Tangled Happy this week. Thanks for sharing this wonderfully colorful rainbow blanket inspiration. Love!
November 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSara
Hi Debbie,

Yes, each skein can actually make 10 inside squares. If you're interested in designing your own version, you'll find lots of helpful information like this in the Materials section of the pattern. Look for "To Design Your Own Blanket".

Thank you for asking!
Whitney
November 19, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
If anyone's interested, I designed a knitted version of the blocks - posted here on my blog: http://blueberryhillcrafting.com/2012/11/21/rainbow-blocks-blanket-the-beginning/
November 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Hungerford
Wow, what a beautiful blanket! Thanks for sharing and the great photos!
November 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlison
I love this blanket! Do you happen to know of a good way to join the squares as you go? I can't seem to find any instructions on how to join as you go if the granny squares don't have the traditional 3 dc cluster border and I am at a loss!
November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSara
Hi Sara,

Wow! I didn't even know such a thing existed! I always want to lay my squares out before i sew them together, so your technique never even occurred to me...

I'm sorry I'm not much help, but maybe some of our vastly experienced readers will see your question and have some good advice for you! I also found this link which may be illuminating: http://crochet.about.com/od/motifs/tp/join-as-you-go-crochet-motifs.htm

Thanks so much for asking (and teaching!).
Whitney
November 26, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello!

I love your blanket! It´s beautiful!
I work like you, first I make the grid and then I make the blanket.

Kisses
Néné
November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChuva de Cores
Hey there!
I love this blanket! I tried to crochet the square but I am having problems as it keeps curling. Is there are a reason why it keeps doing that? Is the tension too tight?

Many thanks!
Aliye
December 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteraliye.imam@gmail.com
Hi Aliye,

Hmmm....I wouldn't say that my squares were perfectly flat when I was done them, and I did block a lot of them before I sewed them together (careful of bleeding though!), but it sounds like you might have a more extreme case. So, yes, maybe your tension is too tight. Try going up a hook size or two and see if that fixes the problem!

Thank you so much for asking and good luck!
Whitney
December 10, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Beautiful blanket! And it's in crochet too! I crochet faster than I knit, so I'm always happy to see crochet projects. And I've been wanting to try out Koigu yarns; their colours are gorgeous and have been catching my eye for some time now. Definitely keeping this in mind for a project next year ...
December 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarissaFH
Love the blanket... I too can't really afford to go with Koigu and really loved the colour variation. I ended up purchasing Cascade superwash sport yarn and a few balls of Patons new Classic Wool DK Superwash and it's working up lovely. Both are affordable alternatives to Koigu although I would have preferred Koigu.
December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Hello! I bought one of the kits to this project with the KPM yarn in it. I started this project and I just saw the notes about the yarn. Is it really necessary to soak the yarn in warm vinegar before starting?
December 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
Hi Elizabeth,

If you want to be able to safely wash your blanket in the future, it is necessary to soak some of the colors. With softer, less saturated colors it's totally fine to not pre-soak them, but deep, rich colors will bleed a bit into the white if you don't give them a vinegar bath.

I hope you haven't gotten very far! Thanks for your question and good luck!

Whitney
December 31, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you so much!!! What is the best way to soak the yarn and how long does it need to soak? I appreciate all of your help!! Thank you again!!!
December 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
Hi again Elizabeth,

Well, since I've never actually pre-soaked yarn (that's just the way I am!), I just went on a bit of a research expedition for you and all the other readers who are more patient and conscientious than I am!

It seems that vinegar wins out over salt in the dye-fixing department and that you can either soak the yarn in a bath or wash it in a washing machine. In both cases you should use COLD water (I changed my original instructions in the pattern). For the bath, I read somewhere to use 4 parts water to 1 part white vinegar, and I read somewhere else to use 2 cups of vinegar in the wash. And either way, be very sure to rinse out ALL of the vinegar and to air dry your skeins flat.

The other solution is to wash the skeins with a Color Catcher Cloth (I know that Shout makes one) or with a color fixative called Retayne.

I hope this helps and that it's not too long before you're on your way!

Whitney
January 3, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Lovely blanket. I have made a couple of these squares ow in a slightly thicker double knit wool, on a uk size 4.0 needle. I also find that each square curls. The inside round needs a smaller round of 8dcs before beginning the pattern here. My problem is working in a thicker gauge wool, I am struggling with what needle size to use. a 4.0 is too small, a 5.0 doesn't work either. Surely this pattern is transferable to a more realistic wool type and needle size? #frustrated
January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
Hi Jennifer,

There is a 4.5mm hook size between the two sizes you've tried (http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/3450-Skacel-Addi-Color-Coded-Crochet-Hooks), so that may be an easy solution to your problem!

Also, my squares didn't hook up perfectly flat either, but they did block out very nicely. So maybe you can try blocking a finished square to see if that fixes the curling.

I hope this helps! Thanks for your question and please let us know if you have more!

Whitney
January 7, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks Whitney. I did try a 4.5 as well :) I think it's all a bit of trial and error isn't it? I've figured out a square I am happy with now but huge thanks for inspiring a modern approach to colour in crochet. If Bear doesn't take this blanket to uni, then i am sure generations will appreciate the work you have influenced for years to come! xx
January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
Hi!
I love this blanket! I'm trying to use up some yarn I have. How many squares did you make for each color? I saw on the map that there were multiple squares of the same color. I know the yarn I'm using doesn't have that many colors. It's Vanna's color yarn.
Also is the border an ivory or a white?

I love your website!

Thank You!

Tiffany :-)
January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany
Hey! I love this blanket and I'm attempting to try it on my leftover yarn I have at home, but I'm net to crocheting and I have a few questions. What do you mean by skipping a stitch? This has completely baffled me! and I also am confused by the parenthesis that tell me number of stiches. Is this how many I should have already done, or is it telling me to make an additional number of stiches?
January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
Hi Stephanie,

Skipping a stitch means that you don't work a stitch from the previous round. This is what creates holes in the corners.

And the number of stitches in parentheses is how many stitches you should have at the end of the round. That number is included so you can double check that you're following the pattern correctly.

Thanks for these questions! Please let me know if you have more... I'm so happy to help someone discover the fun of crocheting!

Whitney
January 31, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Tiffany,

I made between one and four squares of each color. And the border color is closer to ivory than white!

Thanks so much for your nice comments and good luck!

Whitney
January 31, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello,

I started working on this pattern last night but I keep running into the same problem. When I do the first round of the "square" stitching, I keep ending up with 4-5 stitches left before it meets up with the original corner. I double counted my stitches and everything but every time I end up with the same extra stitches. The square still comes out right except for th big holes where I skipped all those stitches. Am I missing something?
February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLillian-Marie
Hi Lillian-Marie,

You should have two stitches left before you meet up with the original corner, but not 4 or 5. Somehow you're using up 2 or 3 fewer stitches than you should. Hmmm.... Are you definitely making a half double crochet into two stitches each time? And are you properly counting the two stitches you skip each time? Maybe you're just skipping one?

If you still can't figure it out, please send us a picture of what you have for further diagnostics! Thank you for your question and good luck!

Whitney
February 11, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Whitney,

I just finished my FIRST square and it looks lovely!!!

I have never crochet in my entire life and just started taking it up, so I could do my son a rainbow blanket like yours. I had no problems with the instructions and can't wait to do the rest of them (107). You inspired me, I have never picked up any needle/hook in my life before ;-) Thank you for sharing your project!!!
February 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNadine
This is one of the most gorgeous blankets I've ever seen -- but as mentioned here, the price is a little prohibitive. KPM actually seems to be the least expensive fingering gauge yarn you guys have, so here's a question: If one KPM skein of any color gives you enough colored squares for 3 blankets, wouldn't it be possible to just go "in" on a kit with three people and split the cost? Or would that not work?

If someone is up for it, let me know!
February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate
Hi Kate-

That would certainly work! If you can find 2 people to split it with it sounds like a good plan!

Molly
February 28, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Such a beautiful and inspiring project! Questions - Will the kits for the large blanket be available again? and What about the Koigu needlepoint yarn in the 11 yard skeins? Is that the same yarn and would one skein make one of these squares? I learned to crochet so that I could make this blanket, and I can't wait to start! Thank you for the inspiration!
March 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

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