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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)

Hi there- when you suggest a white vinegar bath, how long do you recommend soaking and in terms of rinsing, I assume just warm water?
thanks!
March 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterella
Hi Ella,

I've always let my yarn soak in the vinegar bath for an hour or two, but researching an answer for you, I see that some reliable sources suggest overnight. You learn something new every day!

And, yes, warm water is fine for rinsing. I also throw some Soak soap in there because it doesn't need rinsing and it eliminates the vinegar smell. Soak can be found right here: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/105-notions-tools-accessories?company=240

Thanks for asking and good luck!

Whitney
March 26, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing!!
March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkellie
I just wanted to thank you for this project. Somehow, I have completed it using only leftovers (10 years of knitting + my friend's nan's leftovers!), and it makes me truly happy. I would never, ever have thought of such a simple, effective and beautiful design.

Thank you again,

Ann
April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnn
I am currently making the crib size blanket in the Kitchen Garden colors. I was thinking about making the blanket a little bit bigger and was trying to figure out some other colors that might go well with the current color scheme. Any ideas?
April 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJess
Hi Jess-

This sounds like a lovely idea! If you email customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com they will be happy to help you with picking out extra colors.

Thanks!

Molly
April 11, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello!
I was wondering if the complete rainbow blanket kits will be available for purchase again in the future? Thank you!
-Mary :)
May 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary
Hi Mary-

Please send customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com an email about this and they'll be happy to let you know when we expect more in stock!

Thank you for getting in touch!

Molly
May 25, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi, I want to reply to all the people asking for a similar knitting pattern. I didn't take the time to look through all the comments to see if someone wrote this already, but ANYWAY, the POP blanket by tincanknits has a very similar look. However, it may be somewhat advanced (it involves knitting squares from the center out).
Hope this helps!
Lovely blanket and tutorial!!! Thanks!
June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKendreaB
Thank you so much for this beautiful blanket and ... the way of crocheting it ... Is that good in english? I'm french and I am afraid of making mistakes ;o)
I'll try to show you the blanket I'm going to begin ...
Thank you !
June 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteragn├Ęs
hello whitney, although i don't crochet i am a rainbow-a-holic and NEED this blanket. as other readers have mentioned it is very expensive. but after researching other yarns i decided i just have to use kpm. since i figure it will take an eternity to make the blanket anyway i plan to purchase the 12 (yes an extra) of the 00 and buy a handful of the colors as i can. but looking at the current stock of colors it doesn't seem as extensive as the range you used in bear's blanket. and what is the second set of parenthesis in the color mean? thanks, leslie
June 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterleslie
oops, not the second set, the first.
June 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterleslie
hello again whitney, further reading the design your own section i decided to look at the needlepoint yarn selection. now we are talking about broad spectrum color! is this yarn the same as the yarn in the knitting section except in smaller packaging, in otherwords can i buy my 12 skeins of 00 from the knitting selection and go crazy picking the inside colors from the needlepoint selection? please say yes. leslie
June 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterleslie
Hi Leslie,

Yes!! The needlepoint yarn is exactly the same as the 175-yard skeins! Also, to answer your other question about the number in parentheses, that is the dye lot. Koigu's dye lots are often quite different from each other, so we like to let people know which lots are available in case they're trying to get more of what they already have.

Good luck with your Rainbow Blanket. I'm so glad you've found a yarn and color solution that works for you!

Whitney
June 23, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello!
I would like to do this beautiful blanket in worsted weight yarn. Can you recommend the correct hook size to use? Also, how big do you think will the squares will end up being? Thanks,
Lois
July 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLois
Hi Lois,

The hook size depends on the yarn you choose (even worsted weight yarns come in many weights, from "light" to "heavy"), but in general, a G, H or I hook would be a good place to start your experiments. And I don't know how big each square will end up, but I imagine about 7 inches...?? Try one out, and remember that if it feels too tight or looks too loose, try a different hook size.

Thanks so much for asking and please let us know if you have any other questions!

Whitney
July 7, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Whitney, after 6 months I've finally completed all the squares for the 3 rainbow blankets I am doing for my daughters!!! I just loved doing the squares and am so sad to be finished but of course am now faced with the task of sewing them all up!!! I've completed one blanket but am concerned that the squares aren't sitting nice and flat like yours, they're a little puckered. I attached squares using the single crochet method and am wondering if this (and it's tension) is the problem or is there something I should do such as iron it?

I'd really like to get this right before I move onto the next two, particularly after all the beautiful work I've put into them.

I don't know how to attach a photo so I hope you get what I mean!!

Thanks so much for the gorgeous pattern, it's been such a wonderful journey.

Kate
July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate
Hi Kate,

Wow, congratulations on coming so close to finishing such an endeavor! I hope you figure out how to attach photos so we can see all three blankets when they're done!

I would say that some puckering is normal (especially around the corners) and that as the blanket stretches and settles with wear, the puckering works itself out. However, if you're experiencing serious ripples and bumps, then yes, it could be a tension problem with your single crochets (maybe try a bigger hook).

It could also be that you haven't quite sorted out the way the four corners meet. I suggest starting and ending each side by crocheting together the center stitch of the two corners you're attaching. This means that each corner stitch will eventually get crocheted twice (one time for each adjoining square).

Please let us know if you need any more advice, because I want all of that hard work to end beautifully too! Thanks so much for your question and good luck!

Whitney
July 14, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Would the Cascade 220 Superwash Sport yarn work well for this? Is it a soft yarn? I would love to use the Koigu brand but I have 2 daughters who would love for me to make a blanket and I am looking for something a little less expensive without risking softness and comfort. Thanks so much!
July 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiana
What lovely blanket. Wonderful colors. Thank you so much for the easy to follow intruction. I already tried one square with a cotton yarn and love it. I willl be looking for to find the rainbow colors and make one for my dougther.
Is there any differences between merino wool and the wool?
http://artikkizimicinoruyorum.blogspot.com.tr/2014/07/battaniye-yapacagm-3.html
July 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHulya
Hi Hulya-

Thanks! I'm not sure I understand your question about the wool. Our version of this blanket is made with 100% merino wool, which is a soft and smooth and comes from a Merino Sheep, but the pattern will work with almost any fiber (like cotton, as you know!)

If I didn't answer your question please let me know and thanks for the kind words about this pattern!

Molly
July 22, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Diane,

Yes, I think that would be a very nice (and affordable!) choice! The Cascade Superwash Sport may be a little thicker than the Koigu KPM, but that just means you'll either make fewer squares or make a bigger blanket!

Thanks for your question and good luck!

Whitney
July 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpurlbee

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