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Need help with a Granny Square Diamond


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So the main reason I joined this forum is looking for help on a new project I started. I found this: https://chrystalkay.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/squared-granny-throw-written-pattern/ free pattern for a granny square in a diamond thing and it looked so cool and basically simple that I had to try it. In retrospect, it probably is a little too graphic a pattern for a baby blanket (in colors that are a little too rich for a baby), but that was the original intention. Now, because I don't have patience with things like a slip stitch row (who needs that?) or trying to count my stitches in anything that isn't my founding chain or comes in numbers greater than 5, I kind of went a little freewheeling. So I made two basic mistakes in doing that:

 

1) I used the same size crochet hook as the pattern called for (I/9), but I didn't use yarn that was the same weight. I went for my personal favorite yarn Caron's Simply Soft... which recommends an H hook (but I usually use my J with). This becomes important to my second mistake:

 

2) The walkthrough youtube video specifically demanded that each cluster have a single chain between it. After doing my first granny square and the first diamond, I thought the pattern was too loose for my taste (especially since the Simply Soft yarn is quite stretchy), so I did the third diamond without the chain between each cluster... with what should have been predictable results. Now my internal diamonds are bunching up slightly.

 

Hopefully you can see in the pictures how the internal squares/diamonds are rumpling up. However, the yarn has enough stretch in it that you can stretch it to lay flat (also attached in an image). What I'm looking for is the best way to stretch the blanket out (I'm going to do one more set of diamonds--no chain between clusters on it--pretty sure two wrongs don't make a right).  If I can't figure it out, this may stay with me. My youngest keeps trying to steal it anyway, but I was hoping to have it as a gift for a friend for Christmas. Time's getting a little tight to do a whole new project instead. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

 

--AngelSelene

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I think the colors look fine for a baby blanket.

 

in my opinion/experience, things like this that use the same stitch pattern, but have rows going in different directions, can be difficult to get to be totally even and lying flat with the proportions correct.  I guess a lot of the problem is due to slight differences in stitch vs row gauge.  the methods and stitch count that worked for the originator may not work for me, if my stitch and/or row gauge is just a bit different than hers was.  

 

In this case you intentionally changed the pattern when you decided to leave out the chains.  Of course those sections are going to be tighter than the ones with the chains between the clusters, and that difference is what is making the middle buckle.  I think you should rip back the sections where you left out the chains between clusters and redo them with the chains in there.  that is likely to solve all of the problem or at least most of it.  if you add another section(s) without the chains that will only make it worse.  

 

to address other specifics in your post:

 

unless you are doing total freeform work where you let the process take you where it will, it is always necessary to count stitches to be sure that everything is lining up.  we don't always have to count every row but it is a good idea to check every so often so corrections can be made before it's necessary to rip out a large amount.  using removable stitch markers to mark every 10th stitch or so, can make it quicker to count.  

 

I don't know of any way to "stretch" sections of a piece and get it to stay that way forever.  with acrylic you could try "killing" it with heat (you can google for info on killing acrylic, i havent done it myself)  but i doubt if it is feasible to kill just certain parts, and to do so to exactly the extent you want would be hard i think.  Simply Soft is a pretty limp yarn to begin with so killing it might make it way too limp.  

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Interesting pattern!  I think the colors are great for a baby blanket.

 

The thing with granny squares, or doilies, or anything worked from the center, is that there is a plethora of things that can go wrong if (1) you do't follow the pattern carefully, or (2) don't have the same stitch proportion (height) as the designer.  Using a hook 1 size different, or slightly thicker/thinner yarn won't matter, as long the hook and yarn are in the neighborhood of working together--it would just make a stiffer or limper fabric but not cause 'bunching up' in spots.

 

Items worked from the center have to have a strict proportion of diameter to circumference to keep them flat.  If you have stitches that are too short or too many in a round, the circumference will be too big for the diameter and it will ruffle.  If you have stitches that are too tall, or too few, the circumference is too small for the diameter and it will cup (either curl up at the ends, or if you've made rounds that lie flat after the cupping, the cupped area bunches up).  

 

A slip stitch round does add a little height, and omitting it could cause an issue.

 

It's best to follow the pattern first (the designer has undoubtedly gone thru a lot of trial and error to get it to look right), and after doing this you find something to be 'off', then rip back and make changes to correct cupping (fix=add stitches, shorter stitches) or rippling (fix=reduce stitches or taller stitches) caused by your tension being different from the designer's.  For me, at least, I find patterns to lay flat as written much more often than have to rip and make adjustments to get them to lie flat.

 

It's not a good idea to freewheel or not bother to count stitches when working this type of pattern-- um, I don't know how to say this without sounding like I'm scolding a bit*, but in the long run 'not bothering' causes more work than 'bothering'; I'm afraid no amount of tugging is going to fix this.  The only thing I can think of is pinning it out on something not affected by heat and 'killing' it; purhaps instead of the sofa cushion it's shown on, lay a bunch of towels underneath and pin it to your mattress, hold a steam iron over it (a few inches a way - no touching the acrylic!) and give it some hot steam bursts evenly over the whole blanket. This melts/deforms the acrylic, it will become limp and cease to be stretchy but will hold its shape.  Warning, heat blocking is hard to well do on a large thing like this; and it can't be un-done.

 

* I'm just trying to help explain what went wrong and why; from the way you worded your post I think you know about the freewheeling part already

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Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I was rather flippant in my initial post about why I skipped the slip-stitch row. It was more than pure laziness that made me skip it.

 

It was the first pattern I'd found that required one, and I had difficulty finding any good instructions on how to do it (the instructions on the pattern itself were just "do a slip-stitch row.") It seemed to me like it's something so basic, it wasn't well explained in many places. I didn't do an exhaustive search--but after fifteen minutes trying to read various guides and glancing through some youtube videos, I rather threw my hands up. Even I had found good instructions, I wasn't sure about where on the row I needed to be working--the front or the back (from what I could see, it looked like it was almost on the front of the stitches-which didn't seem to make sense)?

 

One of the images of the pattern looked like it was built off the square instead of the mysterious slip-stitch row, so I thought it would be okay. Also, and this is probably why I like big blankets that don't require a lot of intricate counting typically, I absolutely suck at counting stitches unless I'm chaining something. Especially something with a chained corner. I can't seem to happily keep track of where I started counting or if I started counting correctly, and I lose count easily/am never sure I counted correctly. I find it obscenely frustrating--which rather takes away the enjoyment of the craft. In addition, although the written pattern specified counting, the youtube video was rather more loosey-goosey, eyeballing the center instead of counting. After searching fruitlessly for another pattern, I decided to try it. I had just figured out how to do to those frustrating dragon-scale fingerless gloves--piecing together a  genuine-looking article from three or four different tutorials, images, and freewheeling. How much harder could this be?

 

Removing the chain between each cluster was just stupid. I'm experienced enough to know better. I thought the yarn's stretch would make it work (it actually may have if I had started without the chain and added it...)

 

I also didn't account for apparently using a much stretchier yarn than the sample pattern. I think I could have skipped the chain between the clusters in the beginning and would have been okay because of how much give the Simply Soft has--particularly since I was working in a larger hook than the yarn calls for. There was way more space between my clusters than were in the sample images and videos.

 

As for pulling it all and redoing it... I'm much more likely to start a new one from scratch. All of the yarn is already cut, so if I have to redo all those sections, I'm going to have to either add more yarn in or scrap the yarn I pulled out for another project. I'd rather finish the imperfect one and let the baby keep it (he keeps trying to steal it anyway), and try it again from scratch. Call me stubborn, but I'm not convinced that it needs the slip-stitch row to work. I think it would have been fine if I hadn't messed with the chain between clusters. However, I will concede that I probably need to figure out how to actually count the stitches to get the diamonds centered properly. You skilled crocheters can probably tell it isn't quite right (and somehow I didn't notice till I was 2/3rds of the way through it).

 

Also, thanks for all the feedback about it being a suitable baby blanket. I was worried after the first diamond that the colors were too rich and dark to be appropriate for a baby. The third one added enough light colors with the gold and white that I felt better about it, but the extra confirmation is appreciated as well. Now just to start a new one...

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Magiccrochetfan, I didn't notice until now that we'd posted at the same time...duh.

 

To the OP --  Hang in there.  With all the piecing, I agree that it would be a pain to rip it at this point.  

 

Just throwing it out there, your pattern (and the colors, maybe) reminded me of this one.  It looks striking like your pattern, but less convoluted pattern-wise and with straight granny stitch would be easier to see where you are I imagine, and probably less counting needed.  This designer has some really good general tutorial videos out there, and this pattern has a good rating on Ravelry and lots of projects, which is a good sign.  

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/drop-in-the-pond-lap-blanket

 

Good luck!

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For counting I use the Clover locking stitch markers, you can get them at Joanns.   if you lose track of where you started counting, put a marker in that first stitch, then in every 10th or 20th.  then its easy to total it up and be sure you counted right.  

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Granny Square -- I had seen that pattern! But it had looked more complicated to me originally. Looking at it more closely, you're probably right--it's probably much simpler. I'll have to try that on the next new blanket... after I try this one again. 'Cause, you know... stubborn. I'll post pictures when both are done. It'll be interesting since I already had a hiccup on this one. >.<

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Call it a character defect--I had to try it again and see if it would work without the slip-stitch row. I did go back and watch the part about the slip-stitch row on the tutorial more carefully, and as far as I could tell, it ultimately serves to hide where the diamonds are anchored, so technically, it's not necessary to the pattern working correctly. I'm not an advanced enough of a crocheter to care about that kind of detail and I'm stubborn, so here's the second shot. Because I was excited to try it again, I forgot to do two rows of each color, then decided to just go with it since it was a test anyway. 

 

Thanks so much for the tip of using stitch markers to help count stitches. Such an obvious solution for the girl who can't count! It made all the difference! I was able to mark my centers exactly. Also, since the yarn is so stretchy, I skipped the chain between clusters in addition to using the correct hook recommended for the yarn. It did curl up a bit at the edges, but simply tugging it flat worked to keep it flat, and it wasn't any worse than the curling I'd encountered with normal granny squares. Came out perfectly. The clusters at the corners of the internal diamond are a little bunched together, but I think the clusters that get anchored there will help separate them. 

 

Now I'm debating between starting a new diamond section again, or doing rows in all 5 colors before starting the next diamond to give me more space to work (and make two rows for each color on the diamonds). I honestly haven't been crocheting seriously (only really in the past 5-6 months) for long enough to have a solid mental picture of how the different approaches will look, so I would be very grateful to any input!

 

Thanks to everyone for the feedback and tips!

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: woohoo  It looks great!

 

When I debate color placement, I get some graph paper and colored pencils and experiment... (actually sometimes I do that, but more often I open Excel, modify cells to look square, and use the format painter to color the cells, but I know not everyone has Excel handy).  I'm not that great at picturing that sort of thing in my head, either.

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