This week I finally finished my Mandala Blanket and I love the result! I thought I would share my yarn choices and the alternate border I choose, and also make some comments on the pattern.
The Mandala Blanket pattern was released as a CAL by The Lavender Chair. You find the CAL main page here, with links to all squares, join and border.
My cat Smirnoff really loves it too and would not leave when I was trying to photograph it. In this image you can see the beautiful texture of the squares!
So what skill level would you need for this blanket? Due to the designer running into some personal problems and having trouble creating and releasing the patterns on time (she did not have them ready when the CAL started) there are some errors in the pattern you need to be able to spot and correct yourself. So I would say to get a really nice result you should at least be at intermediate skill level.
Yarn choice and colours
I really love working with Drops Merino Extra Fine and went with this yarn for this project. Only problem I have with the yarn is I have to be really careful with my tension since I tend to crochet tighter when stressed and the yarn is quite elastic.
The friend whom I crocheted if for wanted blue and pink together with a white and grey scale so I choose these colors:
- Light grey mix 05 (Instead of Silver Heather)
- Off white 01 (Instead of White)
- Pink 25 (Instead of Aquamarine)
- Denim Blue 13 (Instead of Peacock)
I do not remember how much yarn I ordered ( I really need to start writing this down but I usually do not start a crochet project intending to blog about it, I just blog the ones I am really happy with), but I tried to compare my yarn to the one stated in pattern and calculate amount.
I ended up having to buy more yarn and so did a lot of my fellow CAL crocheters, also the ones using the yarn in pattern, so my tip would be to buy som extra right from start.
I then needed even more when I decided on my alternate border (more on that later).
Making the squares
I really enjoyed making these squares. They are beautiful, fun to make and have fun and interesting textures. I used hook no 5,5 for all squares.
There was just one, number 7, Peony Mandala Square, I really did not like. To me this one did not fit in with the rest and came out so much bigger than the rest. Other people run into same problem with the square being to large as well according to posts in the Facebook group we connected in.
I decided to make two of my favorite square, number 9 Cascading Dahlia Mandala Square, and just inverted the colors for the second one, giving it a complete new look.
I also choose to start all square rounds in a corner, since I think this gives a cleaner look to the square. When possible I always start with standing crochet stitches instead of starting chains.
One thing I would change doing this again is that there are different color in last round of each square. I think it would be even more beautiful if they all had same color in last round so I would use off white for last round on each square.
I also wove in all ends and blocked each square once done so they would be ready for joining when all squares were made.
Here I am getting the evil eye for disturbing peace with my cell phone camera!
Using a different yarn I was not sure exactly how big my squares would be but after making the first one I blocked it using spray block method, measured it and made myself a cardboard template to block the rest of the squares with. For some I had to do a bit of stretching and for some I almost had to push them together a bit. I don’t know if this has to do with me crocheting with different tension or due to pattern. Quite a few of the other CAL crocheters experienced the same issue though. But in the end I got mine to acceptable size without altering the patterns.
I used the joining method suggested in pattern and also the layout suggested. When I join I always sew a small note on each square numbering them from 1 to whatever number of squares I have (20 in this case), number 1 being the top left square and last on being bottom right.
I then make a very simple drawing of the squares (just blank squares) on a paper numbering also them and then cross out the ones joined so I see what square goes where. I will take photos of this next time and show you, it is kind of hard just describing, but maybe you get me?
Hook no 5,5 for joining.
I wasn’t too impressed with the border suggested in pattern, I thought these beautiful squares should have something more extravagant. And when I saw a pic on Facebook of the blanket with The Vibrant Vintage CAL border I just knew that was the way to go!
Look at this corner, isn’t it beautiful? To me it feels a bit like Victorian lace but modern.
I ended up with 145 single crochets on short sides and 177 on long sides, not counting corner stitch. I still had to fudge a bit in part 3, round 4 so I probably did something wrong trying to get right stitch count but then math has never been my strong side. It still worked out fine in the end.
Since the pattern suggestiv going down a hook size for border I used hook no 5 for the whole border and that worked like a charm.
I had to buy extra yarn and of course I do not remember how much 😦 Promise to do better with that in future. But if you want to follow my color choice in rounds they are like this:
Round 1-6: Off White
Round 7: Pink
Round 8: Light Grey
Round 9: Pink
Round 10-11: Denim Blue
Round 12: Pink
Round 13: Off White
Here you see what the sides of blanket looks like, in between corners. The last round of picots was really fun to make, I have never made picots that way before.
The pattern released the border in 3 parts and starts with round 1 in each part that is why the numbers above do not match numbers in pattern.
This border would also be beautiful in just one color, I would then go with off white.
As you see from pictures my blanket almost covers a single bed. It is wide enough and adding one more row of squares would bring it up to size to cover it completely making it suitable as a bedspread with my border of choice.
So if you are looking for a fun and beautiful project and do not mind patterns not being totally perfect and sometimes a bit hard to understand I would totally go for this one! I am so happy with result I am thinking of making one for myself, and then maybe just doing 4 or 5 of my absolute favorite squares.