There's projects going on left right and centre here, including some super exciting stuff that we can't talk about yet ;)
So for today, I'm going to share my finished Peacock Double Spiral Afghan with you!
My friend Lori wanted a snuggly blanket to go along with the ones I have made for her children, in peacock colours, and something a bit crazy and possibly paisley inspired. After some thought, I remembered buying this gorgeous Kaye Adolphson Double Spiral Throw pattern aaaages ago because it was so beautiful, but hadn't had the opportunity to make it yet - this was the moment! Lori also loved it, and after much discussion we came up with the colour selection in my very favourite (and colourful and hardwearing) Stylecraft Special DK. The colours are Mustard, Gold, Grass Green, Green, Teal, Empire, Royal, Turquoise, Emperor and Lobelia.
The next challenge was randomising the colours! As you know, making something look actually random takes a lot of preparation - I made up a table of colours, and when I needed extra spirals I outsourced to a wonderful engineer friend who is pretty amazing at spreadsheets!
The double spirals were lots of fun to make (despite all the ends), and I got into an excellent rhythm working on those while watching tv, and my siblings playing the new Zelda Nintendo game.
Rather than 5 x 5 spirals, I ended up making it 7 x 5 (so 35 double spirals) to make it a bit longer and more cuddly for an adult to snuggle under on the couch. It finished up about 1x1.5m.
I decided to do the joining before the slipstitch detailing, in case blocking required more stretching and persuasion than the slipstitching would allow. And... oh man, the joining. I won't lie, the blanket very nearly got tossed off the balcony a few times!
After doing a practice join 4 times, having it not sit even close to flat each time, and frogging whilst doing lots of swearing, I reached out to the designer for help. Kaye kindly sent me some higher quality, more detailed photos of the joins, which really helped. Thanks Kaye! I am hoping she will add those photos to the pattern as well so that future crocheters will have an easier time of it. The key was giving up any expectation I had of being able to do it evenly and regularly, and embracing the fudge. I do not like fudgy crochet.
After a preliminary block (just with water, which did very little), I worked the slipstitch detailing on the double spirals and the mini-spirals that fill the space between the double spirals. Using one colour cut down on the ends, but it still took a long time, and many many many more ends. I need a new yarn needle as all the silver has come off!!
Final blocking time! I read up online about steam blocking acrylic, as this blanket was going to need some pretty intense help to get it to sit even vaguely flattish. I borrowed my Mum's steam iron, washed the blanket, slithered around on the floor on my stomach getting it all viciously pinned out, and started steaming... and brown lumpy goop splattered out along with the steam. Plus, it seemed to all be rising rather than going into the blanket. It was time for some creative thinking!
My husband sprayed the blanket generously with cool water, and we let it soak in for a while. Then I put on a podcast, stuck my headphones in, and let rip with the hairdryer on high, moving slowly across each section until they felt warm and less damp under my fingers. We then left it all pinned out and went away for the Easter long weekend...
And, it worked! The edge is still frilly (but was impossible to block, so I'm calling that a feature), and it's not 100% flat but looks much less like a coral reef!
The slipstitching looks so good contrasted with the royal blue joining colour, and really brings it all together.
So, in summary: I'm glad I made this once, but I am in no hurry to make another one!