Atlanticus by Hooked on Sunshine

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After the absolute ball I had making my Phoenix by Hooked on Sunshine (you can have a look at it here) I was itching to start a new HoS pattern. This time I wanted to make something for my Dad – he loves the ocean so Atlanticus seemed to be the perfect fit, and I had some water/sand coloured yarn in mind that I thought would work well.

I have to admit, after finishing Phoenix, I was feeling pretty confident and dove into Atlanticus head on. This was, uncategorically, a mistake. After 4 – yes FOUR – failed attempts at starting I was ready to give up. I actually started something completely different to convince myself that I could still crochet at all. (On the plus side, I now have another new blankie on the go, but that’s another story!)

I forgot one of the basic laws of crochet – not all yarn will work with every pattern. The yarn I had for Atlanticus, Caron x Pantone, is gloriously soft, squishy and just plain beautiful. And therein lies the problem. It was TOO soft and squishy to show off the stitch definition properly. Add in the fact that it comes in ridiculously tiny little skeins, is quite ‘splitty’, and is a total PITA to join, because it’s so slippery and it’s no wonder that I was ready to hand back my Crochet Card and donate my hooks to someone with more skill.

After walking away from it for a few days I decided to start again, but this time with yarn I had used before and knew would most likely be fine. What a revelation! What had given me so much trouble just a week earlier whipped up in no time at all with the new yarn. Of course, that might be because I’d had so many ‘practice runs’ at it already, but the less said about that the better …

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It was SO great watching this grow after so many failed attempts. I loved how different it looked depending on what colour was on the outside too.

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I alternated colours for each round to begin with, then once we got to the part of the pattern where it starts to square off, I decided to start using wider bands of each colour.

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I ‘ooopsed’ at one point and bought totally the wrong blue yarn, and was going to trek out to take it back but instead decided to introduce a lighter light blue into the design. It added an awesome lift to the overall look of the blanket so it actually turned out to be one of those happy mistakes.

What I used

Atlanticus was created using Marvel 8ply from Spotlight and a 4.5mm aluminium hook (another Dollar Shop cheapy, but so great). Here’s where I learnt another important lesson: if you’re going to switch to a new hook mid-project, make sure they’re both either tapered OR inline hooks – you can’t just interchange the two!

Almost the whole way through the blanket I visited a gorgeous little shop in Bateman’s Bay (NSW) called Whilby Loved – you can find them here on Facebook. I may at this point have gotten sidetracked by their beautiful yarns and selection of crochet hooks … you know how it is! So I bought a new 4.5mm hook. It’s dead sexy, but it’s also inline, whereas my ol’ trusty aluminium one was tapered.

Oh what a huge difference it made – and not in a good way. I don’t know if it was worse because the section I was working on had a lot of Single Crochets and a lot of Front Post crochets in it, but man, did Atlanticus pick up a nasty wave. Sadly, I was crocheting that part in the car on the way back from Bateman’s Bay and so didn’t lay it out flat between rounds like I normally do once a blankie gets to a certain size to make sure it’s all sitting nicely.

You can see the difference between the two types of hook in the photo. I seriously never guessed that it would have made that much difference, especially considering they’re the same size, but there you go.

 

 

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Enter a rather sweary session with our friend Mr Frog, as 3 hours of work (most of it SC) which was otherwise perfect had to get pulled undone and re-crocheted. I’m not saying that I invented entirely new sweary words during that time, but I did get awfully creative with some existing ones. Plus, you have to admit, that this little green tree frog that I found at Mum and Dad’s place is pretty adorable 🙂

Who would I recommend it for?

Once you complete the mandala in the middle Atlanticus is a pretty minimalist pattern that repeats stitch combinations without being a ‘repeat’ pattern (if that makes sense).

The minimalist look makes it perfect for gifting to a male recipient and I’d recommend the pattern for the ambitious beginner who wants to learn a bunch of new stitches and techniques – especially in the centre mandala.

As of March 2020 there is an Atlanticus CAL happening, along with a new compendium and a video ‘fairy’ to make it smooth sailing to get through. Plus – as with all HoS patterns – there’s loads of help and support to be had in the Facebook group.

You can get the pattern and join the video CAL here.

 

Phoenix by Hooked on Sunshine

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Last year I decided to challenge myself to make something that put me well outside my comfort zone. I saw a post on the Australian Crochet Community Facebook page about the Phoenix CAL by Hooked on Sunshine and decided that I would take a massive flying leap outside my comfort zone and give it a shot.

(You can find Phoenix here on the Hooked on Sunshine website, and here on Ravelry.)

Up until this point, the most complicated thing I’d made was a basketweave blanket. I’d followed video tutorials on YouTube to learn a few stitches and had only really ever looked at one pattern before (which may as well have been written in Kanji for all it made sense to me). So sure, jumping into a full-scale afghan CAL was a great idea … right?

What. A. Learning. Curve. I had missed the start of the CAL but that was fine because I knew I was never going to be able to keep up with it anyway. I think it took me about 3 weeks and several attempts to get through the Week 1 section!

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Part 3 – the Naughty Corner

Another few weeks and I was partway through Part 3 and struggling. I had literally never even heard of some of these stitches before and apparently had lost the ability to count at some point too. I decided that Phoenix and I needed a bit of time out and put it in the Naughty Corner for a while.

After finishing up the Tetris Blanket that I designed for my son, I decided to give Phoenix another go. I was still totally in love with how it was looking, but pretty daunted at the thought of getting through the rest of it.

A little back story : I had bought the sage green yarn for my Mum to use as she loved the colour. Turned out she hated working with it so she gave it back to me. After getting confident (somewhere around Part 4 of the CAL) that I was actually going to be able to make it through the whole pattern, I decided that Phoenix would be for my Mum for Christmas.

 

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Phoenix in progress

It was November when I made this decision. So totally no pressure. Oh lord, the things I do to myself. And it was summer here in Australia, so the perfect time to be making a huge Afghan (eye roll).

Enter several weeks of frantic crocheting (cue the Benny Hill theme song for those of us who are old enough to remember it).

In between all the Phoenix-ing, I was also making Xmas gifts, sewing and crocheting for animals rescued from the bushfires and generally trying to make it through the heat/ash/smoke and ick that was Sydney at the end of 2019.

 

I did not, I’m sad to say, make the Xmas deadline for this project. But I did get it finished and I am utterly besotted with it. I never thought I’d be able to make something quite so beautiful and complex, but the pattern was so simple to follow, even if not all of the stitching was easy to do.

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What I used

Phoenix was created with a 4mm hook (my favourite cheapo aluminium one from a Dollar Shop) and Marvel 8 Ply from Spotlight in Sage and Cream:

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Phoenix is now available as a complete pattern from Hooked on Sunshine: www.hookedonsunshine.co or from Ravelry : https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/phoenix-19

Final Specs

Phoenix used approximately 21-22 balls of yarn (I lost count somewhere in the middle) and measures just over 180cm wide. I didn’t complete the entire pattern – I went up to Round 105 of 108 and stopped because I wanted to have a more solid border on the blanket than the end of the pattern.

Why I recommend it

Basically, I’m obsessed with the Hooked on Sunshine patterns now – they are clearly written, have excellent photos to help with a visual guide and are easy to follow. Some of the patterns have video tutorials too, although I haven’t used these yet. There’s also an AMAZING Facebook group, with ‘Assist Fairies’ – experts on hand to help with questions pretty much 24/7 from  my experience. And all of the members of the group are wonderful and supportive.

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The detail in Phoenix is just staggering – so many different stitches and different combinations of stitches to play with. It’s just too much fun to make.

12 Point Star Baby Blanket

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I’ve wanted to make a 12 Point Star Blanket for a while now – I’ve seen some beautiful ones in a crochet Facebook group that I’m part of and was inspired by them to have a go at it.

So with a 13-hour road trip and some lovely thick SpotSaver yarn I gave it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was once you get the hang of the repeats and it worked up quite quickly.

I used a combination of a video tutorial by Bella Coco <here> and a written pattern by Celeste Young <here> (largely because the reception in the car was rubbish and the video kept dropping out) so I needed some written instructions. Bella Coco also does a great left-handed 12 point star tutorial, which is awesome if you’re a leftie like me.

For this blanket, which is baby size, I used most of one ball of Spot Saver in yellow and about half a ball each of Spot Saver in Silver and Cream from Spotlight. The cream is kind of more of a just-off-white than it looks in the image below, as you can see from the photo of my completed blanket so it actually all works really well together. Oh, and I used a 5mm hook.

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After a bit of a false start with getting the increase/decrease thing right to make the pointy bits of the star and a small learning curve to slip stitch into the corners before starting a new round (which I’ve never done before) I found this blanket to be a dream to work up.

All in all, if you’ve never made a 12-point star, I highly recommend it! Just count your increases carefully to make sure you don’t add too many in, which will make it buckle.

 

Tetris Blanket

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I designed this bright and happy Tetris blanket for my son – he used to love Tetris as a child (who didnt?) and I wanted to make him something that was special that he can keep forever. It features 228 solid granny squares, laid out to replicate the design of the old school game that was everyone’s secret favourite!

It was super hard to get a photo of it because of how large it is – it’s roughly 160cm x 230cm. I should have mentioned that my son is a grown man and I wanted to make it large enough to fit on a large couch or double bed. I was standing on a chair to get this shot but I was only just tall enough to get it all in frame!

If you want to skip straight to downloading the PDF pattern, click this link: Crochet-Translator-Tetris-Blanket-Pattern-PDF

To make the blanket, I used Marvel 8 ply from Spotlight and a 4mm hook. I probably would have liked to use a heavier weight yarn to be honest, but getting the right colours was super important. Here are the colours I used (which we matched as closely as we could to the original colours from the game):

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Marvel 1002 – Black

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Marvel 1003 – Red

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Marvel 1009 – Sun Gold

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Marvel 1025 – Purple

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Marvel 1061 – Charcoal

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Marvel 1065 – Orange

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Marvel 1066 – Royal Blue

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Marvel 1067 – Aqua

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Marvel 2005 – Lime

You really could use any 8ply you want – or any ply and a corresponding hook for that matter. It’ll just change the size of the finished blanket.

I averaged about 10-11 squares from each ball of yarn and then needed extra for all of the joining. How much you need will depend on your tension.

Crochet-Translator-Tetris-Blanket-Join-Close-UpEach square is 5 rounds, the final round has 19 treble crochets (UK)/double crochets (US) on each side. For the corners I only used a chain 1, as I wanted the squares to be quite solid.

Because I wanted the design to look as seamless as possible, I used Mattress Stitch to invisibly join the squares, changing colours to ensure that the yarn I was using to stitch with was the same colour as one of the squares that were being joined. You can see how well it worked in the image just here.

Once the entire thing was joined, I did one round of double crochets (UK)/single crochets (US) and one round of half treble crochets (UK)/half double crochets (US) as a border.

You can download the PDF pattern I created for this blanket by clicking the link below >>

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Fun Facts for the geeks out there (like me!):

  • There are 228 solid grannies (I actually made 230 by accident so had a couple of spares #forgothowtocount).
  • There are over 51,000 treble crochets, half treble crochets and double crochets (or double crochets, half double crochets and single crochets if you use US terms).
  • It took me 41 hours of invisible joining to join all of the squares together.
  • The blanket used 7,830 metres of yarn … give or take a bit!

If you need any help translating any crochet stitches from US terms to UK terms (or the other way around), head to the home page to test out out Crochet Translator – it’s a total lifesaver!

Happy Hooking 🙂