Blandala in the making: Stylecraft blog tour 2016

Blandala pattern featured

It seems like more than a few months since I visited the Stylecraft mill over in Slaithwaite near Huddersfield to see the new yarns that were due to be launched. As well as working with the lovely new Batik yarns I’ve also had a chance to play with the new colours in the Stylecraft Special Aran range and this is my post for this year’s blog tour with the big reveal of my new circular blanket pattern.

More blandala reveal

But important things first. This post includes a competition and giveaway to win LOTS of lovely Stylecraft goodies. You can win a complete pack of 10 x 100g balls of Stylecraft aran yarn with which you can make the new blandala. Just click on the button below to go off and enter then come back and read on… There are also free copies of the blandala pattern up for grabs AND stylecraft vouchers available to spend in UK-based bricks-and-mortar yarn shops.

Congratulations to Georgina Lambourne who won the aran pack!! Competitions now closed and thank you so much for taking part.

The new colours in aran and chunky

These were chosen by a public vote among the Stylecraft followers and it was nearly pistols at dawn when duck egg missed being an aran and a chunky yarn by just a few votes 🙂 The colours that have been launched are equally lovely and its great to see such an expansion of colour choices. I have loved using Stylecraft Chunky in the past, most memorably for my retro granny stash bag.

The aran yarns have been in my stash for a while but I hadn’t got round to using them with some of the colours of the Stylecraft Carnival chunky that go so well together. I therefore jumped at the chance to take part in this year’s blog tour as the challenge was to come up with a new project that used 10 colours in the aran weight yarns:

Blandala range of colours in Stylecraft aran

These included pale rose, saffron, denim, aster, pistachio*, storm blue*, sage*, meadow, silver and empire*. The newly launched colours are starred.

Starting out on the blandala journey

I began making the blandala in September and remember making some of it over at the knit and natter group at Cooper’s in Skipton with the lovely Lucy from Attic24, Tracey of Handmadeoveryonder, Julie and Sheila and some of the other regulars. It grew quite fast in the beginning as the first few rounds follow much the same pattern of increases as my mega granny mandala that has been available since January.

Early blandala

I had much bigger plans for the blandala though. Instead of having just over 30 rounds, I was going to aim for at least 60. And in the lovely aran weight yarn, I expected to be able to make a blanket sized circle ready for snuggling under when the weather started to change in autumn. I managed quite a few more rounds while I was away at the end of September, enjoying the Yorkshire Dales and Yarndale.

Blandala progress at Yarndale

Enter the competition to win the aran pack now!
Note that the competition will open at about 10am UK time on Weds 2 November and run until midnight UK time on that day

Blandala maths

As the blandala grew, I had to do some experimental rounds, loads of calculations and make pattern notes as I went along. Working with an aran weight yarn rather than a DK meant that the pattern changed quite quickly from my previous mega granny mandala. When crocheting any circle, its really important to increase so that the circle stays flat. Do too many increases and you get a ruffled effect that’s difficult to block out. Do too few increases and the circle curls up at the edges like a big saucer.

I also wanted to make the pattern really easy to make – so no counting at all. And I’m really pleased to have achieved that. I’ve added the stitch count at the end of each round, but there really is no need to count as long as your circle is coming out reasonably flat. If you have problems, its most likely  because you’ve missed a row or put some extra stitches in, so you have a benchmark stitch count to check against to find out where the problem started.

On the edge…

As I carried on working, I realised how relaxing this blandala-making is. Just as meditative as any mandala but you are making something that is a useful blanket, not just a decoration. I love the big mandalas that Lucy made for Yarndale but can’t really see any of them being for ‘home’ – they are HUGE and need to be hung up to make the most of their beauty. But making a circular blanket… very practical 🙂

As the blanket grows, the number of stitches grows too, so you use more yarn in each round. I kept a close eye on my 10 balls of aran yarn and made sure that I used them evenly in the design. When I got to the border I decided on a simple linen stitch to give the blanket a more solid edge. I was getting quite low on yarn by then, so I decided to use each colour up and just carry on doing rounds. It didn’t matter if a colour ended, I just rejoined the next colour and carried on with the round. I LOVE this effect!

Blandala

To bring it all together, I dug out one of my stash balls of Stylecraft Carnival Chunky in the Paris colourway as it has all the same kinds of colours as my aran pack, but is quite a bit darker. I completed the border with three rounds of Paris and it just finishes it off nicely. A sort of visual full stop. And the crab stitch edging (reverse single crochet for those of you who use US terms) is a perfect, non-fussy edge.

So here it is… the big Blandala reveal

Blandala reveal

Blandala

More blandala reveal

Blandala entire blanket

The blandala makes a great lap blanket but because its circular it works very well on a circular table too… or a sofa… or inside a tub chair all ready to wrap up over you…

Blandala garden

Blandala garden room

Congratulations to Georgina Lambourne who won the aran pack!! Competitions now closed and thank you so much for taking part.

Blocking the blandala

I did block the blandala by laying it out on my blocking mats, smoothing it and then steaming it but I didn’t go to all the effort of pinning it. The circle was pretty flat and smooth and as its going to be in use as a blanket, it will probably only need to be at its most perfect for the pictures for this post!

The great thing about this blanket too, is that it looks good from both sides – it has a wrong side because all of the stitches are made on the right side, but the differences are hard to spot…

Blandala right and wrong sides

The Blandala pattern and giveaways!!!

The Blandala pattern is published (just £2)
A total of 20 free copies will be given away today, Weds 2nd NovemberI really love it and I’ve now finished the pattern, which is published today. Its on Ravelry and is only £2 but I have free copies to giveaway. 10 copies will be chosen from people who comment on this blog post and guess the final number of rounds in the blandala. Add a comment with your number below! The 10 correct or nearest answers will win!

Five more free copies will go to members of The Crafternooners group who comment on my post there today. And 5 more copies will be up for grabs in a thread in my Ravelry group.

Competition now closed – winners announced Friday 4th November 2016.

And more giveaways!

In July I was given a small stash of Stylecraft vouchers to giveaway so I thought I would add them into the mix in this special blog tour post. If you are IN THE UK ONLY though, sorry. They can only be spent at real, bricks-and-mortar yarn shops and I will give them away by using the random number generator to pick the winners. Competition now closed – winners announced Friday 4th November 2016.

 

Blandala giveaway vouchers

Congratulations to Georgina Lambourne who won the aran pack!! Competitions now closed and thank you so much for taking part.

And finally…

Its great to be part of the blog tour again this year and to be in such talented company. So far, we’ve seen blog posts from the fabulous (all of them) Heather of Keep Calm and Crochet on with a beautiful hexagon patchwork blanket,  Sue Pinner with her Spinning Top Pattern, Sandra of Cherry Heart with a lovely ripple blanket, Angie at Lemondedesucrette,  Phil of The Twisted Yarn and yesterday it was the turn of Sarah at Annaboos House with her gorgeous granny wrap. After me still to come are Julia of Hand Knitted Things who I had the great pleasure of meeting again at Yarndale this year and the lovely and talented Heather of The Patchwork Heart who has just moved house a few miles away from where I am. Hopefully meeting up for some crafternoon treats are in the offing…

Blandala garden room

63 thoughts on “Blandala in the making: Stylecraft blog tour 2016

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  4. Caroline partridge says:

    46 rounds and 14 for border is my guess !
    It’s turned out very well and I remember my mum has a tub chair that she asked me to make a throw for – another thing for the list !!

  5. Mandy Morley says:

    Oh wow this is fabulous & on my ever growing to do list! I’m so pleased that more colours are now available as this yarn is a pleasure to work with! I’m guessing around 80 rounds altogether! Keep up the brilliant work xxx

  6. Kathleen says:

    I love to crochet mandalas, for all the reasons you describe. This one is very pretty and inviting looking. I’ll guess 70 granny rounds, with another 12 or so border rounds.

  7. Mary-Anne Haupt says:

    I am totally in love with this blanket! The colours are all my favourites! I am guessing 62 rounds in total. Good luck to everyone!

  8. Catherine Shearer says:

    Gosh, I love this blanket. I have been looking forward to its release since seeing it on your podcast, Kathryn. As I have already tried the wonderful Mega Granny Mandala pattern, and loved it, the Blandala is a natural progression. I think it has 60 rounds, it’s quite difficult to guess! Thank you for producing this lovely pattern.

  9. Susan Lord says:

    Hard to count but I think it may be 69 rows, what a lot of work, so satisfying when you get such a fabulous result. Well done Kathryn.

  10. Charmian says:

    I think 69 rounds. the colours are so bright and beautiful and I bet the blanket feels beautifully warm and drapey when wrapped around oneself. Love the idea of keeping it on a chair and then wrapping oneself up in it! Perfect for my wing chair.

  11. Charmian says:

    I think 69 rounds. The colours are so lovely and I bet this blanket has a beautiful drapey feeling when wrapped around you. I love the idea of it on a tub chair – or for me a wing chair and then wrapping it around you.

  12. Bekki says:

    This is such a great blanket. I love mandalas but, like you, can’t see them going on the walls in my home. a blanket though, would be great. I can imagine how squishy it would be in aran too.

    • Crafternoon Treats says:

      No Jean – if you think about it, you could make it in 11 x 100g balls of DK and the size would be very similar (more rounds but each one not quite as deep) and the entire thing would still weight the same at 1.1kg. It doesn’t feel heavy but it has a nice cosy weight to it and the aran yarn is lovely and plump and squishy xxx

  13. Fiona Murray says:

    Beautiful blanket, superb colours, being new to crochet I am not very good at counting rows but I am guessing 100!!!!

  14. Nicola says:

    I think there are 63 rounds in the blandala. I am on the ball today – it’s still Nov 1st here in Canada and I’m reading your post dated the 2nd but of course the competition isn’t open yet. I will have to remember to come back in the morning (my morning)!

    • Crafternoon Treats says:

      Thanks Nicola – the competition opens at 10am UK time and runs until our midnight but hopefully you will be able to pop in again and get in an entry or two for the pack xxx

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