Creating Crocheted Family Heirlooms Taking a modern twist on traditional Crochet Items
Come with me as I create a new Animal Crochet Blanket for my niece. Something she can cherish forever. This is in fact the first blanket I have crocheted. I going to share with you my ideas and inspiration for creating new crochet projects, and I will also take you behind the scenes of making the blanket by freehand crocheting. (This means I made the Blanket with no pattern) How I convert my ideas to my hook and yarn, and how the design comes together.
After the success of some of the crocheted toys and animals I gave to the kids for Xmas last year, they are all desperate to see what Aunty Lisa makes for them next. So I knew I had to come up with something pretty special for my Nieces birthday.
A beautiful Safari/zoo Animal Blanket.
I would hope after reading this page you will be inspired to create a one of a kind crochet masterpiece.
No Patterns, no rules just you your chosen yarn, colours and hook mixed with a little bit of imagination.
All photos on this page unless otherwise specified belong to LisaAuch.com
Creating Modern Family Heirlooms Stitches in Time
Handmade Crocheted items make a fabulous Gift
Most older generations remember or still have their crocheted christening blanket or gowns, some have been passed down from generations to generations, but there seems to be a gap in recent years and with more commercially available cheaper products and with the loss of teaching children crafts like knitting and crochet, family crocheted family heirlooms are very rare.
I love to crochet. In fact the Yarn has taken over my craft area, and no matter where I go I come home with ball of yarn or three. I love the colors and textures and the variety of stitches used in crochet make it such an addictive hobby.
When I first started I would make baby items, my niece loved bringing her dolls and dressing them up, so much so that when it was her birthday she asked for crochet baby doll clothes, and that is all she wanted. I was bursting with pride.
Not only at my niece asking for these handmade items over a bought present, but also because she found use out of the crocheted pieces.
When I gave her a cute teddy I made,, although she named it "ugly ted" more to do with the squint face I think, but she takes it everywhere.
It made me realize in today's world where everything is so much more affordable and accessible, how treasured these items really are.
Not only are they lovingly made they are loved by the recipient.
In today's modern world we hardly ever see new baby out in its pram with a beautiful hand crocheted layette set.
Recently my oldest Niece had a premature baby and we could hardly find anything to fit him, obviously he needed warm cardigans booties and hats, I was very busy and she loved the baby items.
So much so as baby grew she would ask me to make new things for him. She would take baby out in his going out crocheted outfit, and was delighted by the oohs' and ahhhs' at her baby in his gorgeous and very modern crochet outfits.
It made me realize that perhaps we have definitely lost a little bit of the older fashioned sentiment and nostalgia, when its easier and cheaper to go and just buy a baby blanket or outfit, instead of days gone by where beautiful creations were made and cherished by all the family, handed down over years and generations.
We sadly are losing that.
So with one stitch at a time I am trying to replace some of the lost heritage the newer generation seem to have skipped and crocheting like mad for the family. And teaching them to Crochet too.
The photo is of the cardigan for my nieces son andBaby Cardigan Pattern can be found here
Just because It is Handmade Does Not Make it Cheap
How I start my Designs
Many have asked me how I design or put together the ideas for patterns, well for one I am left handed so sometimes the patterns are for right handed. I also get carried away and forget to read the instructions,and end up with something completely different, so I like my patterns to be as straightforward and easy as I can possibly make them
So I find myself making something free hand with no pattern then finishing the item, posting the picture onto FaceBook and people asking me where can they get the pattern. So then I go back and working backwards from the item write out the pattern. A bit upside down as I am sure many would draw it out first perhaps, but my method is a bit more forgiving. I make the mistakes as I go along and tweak as I go along and works for me.
I am not sure whether People really know or recognize just how many hours and work goes into a Unique piece of Crochet. and I love the Quote
"Just because it is Handmade does not mean it is Cheap"
I like to think that each stitch is done with love for the recipient.
Traditional and Vintage Baby blanket Patterns - You can give a very modern twist to some of these patterns
There really are fabulous patterns available to buy online that give you the patterns that make beautiful Afghans and Baby blankets. Whether its for Adults or baby every one Just loves a hand crocheted blanket.
I love how I can browse online and have a crochet pattern at the touch of a button or 2 and get started making that blanket straight away.
Deciding How to Start Your Blanket - Choosing a practical design
When starting any blanket you need to work out, is it going to be in one piece. Squares.
How many how big to make them.
I knew my Nieces favorite animals were, Bears, Lions, Tigers, Penguins, Giraffes and Elephants, so I needed 6 Squares, Big enough to have a good sized animal applique© on each. Border in between and by the time the outside border is added. Would fit snuggly over the top of her bed.Once I had my rough guesstimate I set about creating 6 equal squares.
Using Double Knit wool in a girly pink.
Single Crochet and a size 4.00mm hook.
I knew this size of hook and stitch would create a good thick texture, which would be soft yet stretch, great for a kids blanket.
As I finished each Square I would pin it onto my blocking board (an old cork style notice board) and lightly spray with water and let it dry.
I keep all the blocks together in this fashion until I am ready to join the squares together.
This helps to ensure I have straight edges and all squares are the same size, as I find the longer I crochet in one go, my tension becomes slightly different than at the beginning of the evening.
Blocking your crochet work before finishing IS worth it and makes joining so much easier.
A simple Easy Crochet blanket
Crochet Zoo Animal Appliques
Our family enjoyed some laughs at my expense whilst I created these zoo animal appliques. From the Penguin who at first would not have looked out of place in the Horror Film Scream. To Sitting with a Box of Frosties trying to re-create Tony the Tiger.
Anyway these appliquÃ©s were all done free hand and using my imagination. I wanted to create the animals for the kids, so they all have a kind of cartoonist feel to them.
Now I don't feel I am an advanced crocheter. I just love how I can tangle the yarn and make shapes. If you have never tried this type of crocheting I really do recommend you just throw away the pattern books (well actually do not throw them away, I love my crochet books and use them for help and inspiration) However for this project no books.
Just start crocheting and see what happens.
Funnily enough the Giraffe which is my nieces favorite, so this was an important one, was the easiest.
Just think out the shapes you want to create and go for it.
You can always pull it out and start again if its not working out.
How to Create a Zebra Effect Border in Crochet Putting the blanket together - and How to Join your blanket
I wanted to have the safari zoo feel continued however, I did not have a clue what to do.
My daughter wandered through to my craft room that night with a pair of Zebra print pyjamas on, and Bingo I knew I wanted to finsih the blanket in zebra print.
Now I have already said I am not the most advanced crocheter, so how was I going to do this Design.
I worked out, for each row you do, you do the opposite in the next color. (pattern is created in 4 rows)
I always finished with a HDC at each end as that seems to flatten it all out. (this only works on strips not the border, which is worked continuously. Weird but true.
If you want to see a Zebra baby blanket Pattern I found one which is really easy to follow Here
As you can see I added 1 long vertical border down the middle of the blanket and 2 shorter side to side.
Each Square is affixed in matching colour to the border
I made the side to side borders bigger as they will be folded under the main outer border, YOu don't need to do them as long I just feel this gives the blanket extra stability when its all put together.
The Outer Border of The blanket - How to complete the border
by now your blanket really is coming together and I am about to start the outside border.
By Picking up stitches evenly all around your blanket in your chosen color . We will make the base for starting the zebra pattern all over again, all the way round.
The blanket is Huge now, as its nearly full size and heavy.
The Finished Zoo Safari Animal Blanket - One stitch at a time but we got there
Of course you have all the little ends to finish off and weave in and out, I think this is the most time consuming part. But worth taking a little time over to ensure these appliques are properly and securely affixed to your blanket.Especially if it is for a very young child.
Some of my crochet Patterns and Designs - enjoy looking at some of my favourite crochet pieces
Where can you find LisaAuchs crochet Patterns - find all my patterns
I mostly write on Squidoo. I love the community and have been here for nearly 5 years.
Many of my crochet pages are right here on Squidoo for you. But you can find me at my blog too.
- FREE Crochet Patterns
this is my own blog where I share lots of my patterns and more. hundreds of FREE Crochet Patterns, Beautiful Crochet patterns for Baby. Beginner Crochet Patterns
Zoo Animal Appliques to Buy
People have contacted me to ask for the patterns, I do not have patterns written out for my blanket, and unfortunately due to being so busy elsewhere it is just not on my to -do list at least for the foreseeable future.
However I can send you to a fellow crochet designer, who actually probably is responsible behind the actual applique blanket idea. When I first saw her Farm Animal Blanket on Facebook.
These gorgeous Zoo animal Appliques are by Teri Heathcote designer and owner of Knot your Nanas Crochet.
You can Buy the complete animal applique sets or choose which appliques, Check out the Farm blanket for specially for Girls The little Blossom Blanket, Its just too cute.
There also is a puppy dog Applique in the Farm blanket Collection, you must check it out
Free Zoo Animal Crochet Blanket Patterns and Animal Applique Patterns - Kids will love these crocheted Animal Aplliques
I must admit I have not found many free crochet pattern's for animal blankets, But if I find any I shall post them here for you
- Baby Zoo Animal Afghan (Crocheted)
|Talk to the Animals Afghan measures approximately 34" x 42" Materials: 4-ply worsted weight acrylic yarn 24 1/2 oz. Yellow or Main Color...
- Free Monkey Applique and Blanket Pattern
Free crochet pattern for the Delightful Monkey Blanket
- Free 3-D Sock Monkey Applique Crochet Pattern
- Whale crochet applique free pattern
- Whale crochet applique free pattern
- Crochet Kitten Applique Free Pattern - KarensVariety.com
Crochet these cute little kittens with embroidery floss in any colour you wish to use as applique trims on clothing, linens or accessories. - KarensVariety.com
— Free Crochet Patterns
I love to hear what our readers have to say. Please note all comments are moderated.
© 2013 Lisa Auch
Do you think my Niece will like her Crochet Zoo Animal Blanket - Have you been inspired to go and create something unusual
Elizabeth Lynn Westbay from United States on October 05, 2013:
just stopping by for some inspiration
Ruthi on August 26, 2013:
I love your Zoo Animal Blanket and I see from comments below that your Niece does too! Great crochet tutorial for animal lovers, Lisa!
blue22d on August 24, 2013:
Wow, great jobs in showing the instructions for the animal blanket. I am passing this lens around.
Lisa Auch (author) from Scotland on August 23, 2013:
@TeresaMercer: Thanks for stopping in Teresa, my neice loved it! I just finished a spiderman blanket for my nephew and boy it took ages, but worth it to see the smile on his face.
TeresaMercer on August 22, 2013:
It was so fun seeing your process! Your niece will surely love her blanket! I agree with you about handmade not being cheap. I just crocheted my newest nephew a blanket, and the yarn itself cost about $30, let alone all the hours it took to make! I think many times people don't stop and consider the cost of supplies plus all the time that went into creating a beautiful finished product.
dorchi2 on August 21, 2013:
that is so adorable!! Congratulations, the colors, the patterns...they all fit together perfectly!
anonymous on July 30, 2013:
I think she will love her blanket!
Lisa Auch (author) from Scotland on July 27, 2013:
@anonymous: thanks Teri! And I Love your Zoo animal Blanket Appliques
anonymous on July 26, 2013:
This blanket turned out super cute!
ChocolateLily on July 18, 2013:
I like your animal appliques. Good job!
savateuse on July 18, 2013:
I am impressed!!
Scott A McCray on July 16, 2013:
Beautiful work, Lisa! That is awesome...
Lisa Auch (author) from Scotland on July 15, 2013:
@Wednesday-Elf: You were indeed the first person to introduce me to the concept of crochet and thankful every day you sent that gorgeous crocheted penguin to us!
katiecolette on July 08, 2013:
Wow, Lisa, you are getting really awesome at crochet! Keep it up!
lesliesinclair on July 08, 2013:
This demonstration is going to make it so much easier for a novice to undertake such a project. Kudos to you! I like the organic way of working.
Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on July 08, 2013:
Very cute... and really clever of you, Lisa, to come up with just the right design for your animal-loving niece. I'm also delighted that my 'encouragement' is what got you started on crochet. As the song goes "You've come a long way, baby!". :-) You know I usually crochet plush animals, but I actually just finished a Panda Bear Baby Blanket. It was fun to crochet, as yours was for you. Well done.
noner on July 06, 2013:
That blanket is adorable! I tried crochet once, but lack the knack for it.
Sharon Bellissimo from Toronto, Canada on July 06, 2013:
I think she will love it!! You are very talented and the design is stunning. I was drawn to read this just from your intro pic alone. Beautiful.
ChristyZ on July 06, 2013:
The blanket is so beautiful, your niece will probably keep this long after she's grown.
Elizabeth Lynn Westbay from United States on July 06, 2013:
Love this blanket, so cute. I try an put down my hook and just fiddle as I call it. I can see what I want to do in my mind but I just cant seem to make it happen with my hook.
poppy mercer from London on July 06, 2013:
That really is sweet Lisa. I love the giraffe especially. I imagine your niece will treasure it always. Lucky girl!
Lorelei Cohen on July 05, 2013:
I was wondering how you got the animal pattern onto the quilt. I would not have thought of crochet appliques. Very nice.
LouiseKirkpatrick from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on July 05, 2013:
That is soooooooo cute Lisa!!!!!!
Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on July 05, 2013:
Such a sweet baby blanket!!