Beachcombing Blanket CAL – Introductions and Planning…

I’m super excited to introduce my next blanket crochet along (CAL) design – the ‘Beachcombing Blanket’! 🙂

This will be a 12 week crochet along that I will host here on my blog starting on Friday 10th April. Everything you need to know to get ready, including yarn packs, and all the details are in this blog post… enjoy! 🙂

This is a blanket inspired by time spent on the beach and the joy of beachcombing…

It’s amazing what the sea can wash up onto our shores and the array of beachcombing finds has provided inspiration for the colours, textures and shapes within this blanket design. From treasures to trash, from natural wonders to manmade objects, that line between land and sea is an ever changing place and each day provides new possibilities and discoveries…

This wonderful book ‘Beachcombing and the Strandline‘ by Steve Trewhella and Julie Hatcher describes beachcombing as “an activity to delight all ages, from toddlers picking up pretty seashells to hardened naturalists uncovering exotic creatures carried here from foreign shores, or artists collecting sea-worn driftwood and romantics decorating their garden with colourful fishing buoys“. I can recognise myself in all those descriptions! 🙂

Some beachcombing finds are wonderful, others less so. Some, like seaglass, shells, fossils and driftwood, you are actively searching for and can use in such beautiful and creative ways – it’s like beachcombing for treasure!

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But some finds, such as plastics, fishing litter and general rubbish, are a harsh reminder of the impact humans can have on our ocean ecosystem and wildlife.

It’s a wonderful pastime, beachcombing along the strandline, searching for and anticipating what your next find might be… I absolutely love it! 🙂 It can be so versatile too… Beachcombing for pleasure or Beachcombing with a purpose, such as taking part in a local beach clean.

And I just can’t resist taking home so many of these discoveries… Our garden is looking, well, like a beachcomber’s garden! I’m definitely the “romantic decorating their garden with colourful fishing buoys“! 😉

So onto the blanket that has been inspired by all this beachcombing activity… 🙂 My ‘Beachcombing Blanket‘ is a design I’m super happy with and I really am so pleased with how it’s come together.

Here are some preview photos which shows a lot but certainly not everything! After these photos there’s a link to click on if you want to see the blanket in full ahead of the CAL starting…

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I know some people prefer to wait for the CAL to start before seeing the whole blanket. But if you do want to see the blanket in full then click on this link…

CLICK HERE FOR FULL PHOTOS: Beachcombing Blanket Full Preview

My first blanket CAL, the ‘Seaside Stash Busting Blanket‘ was crocheted in rows, my second, the ‘Changing Tides Blanket‘ was crocheted in the round so it felt natural for me to do something with individual squares this time. But I wanted it to be different to only squares so it’s a combination of squares and rows to construct a rectangular blanket. I really am very excited by this design and what I’ve created and I hope you will love it too…

I’ve crocheted two versions of this blanket – one in an acrylic DK and the other in a cotton 4ply. And I’m very happy to announce that The Knitting Network are supporting me again to bring you yarn packs for this ‘Beachcombing Blanket’! The Knitting Network provide worldwide shipping, eco-friendly packaging and they have been brilliant in supporting my previous blanket designs. I earn a little commission from sales of the packs which is very much appreciated.

ACRYLIC yarn pack: Scheepjes Colour Crafter DK 100% acrylic Yarn Packs

COTTON yarn pack: Scheepjes Catona 4ply 100% cotton Yarn Packs

I have designed this blanket using Scheepjes yarns with a choice of either using their ‘Colour Crafter’ 100% acrylic DK or ‘Catona’ 100% cotton 4ply. Scheepjes is a Dutch yarn company and the name means ‘little ships’. Being half Dutch myself and having an affinity to little ships and all things nautical due to all my coastal inspirations, I felt Scheepjes was the perfect choice for my next CAL! Having used plenty of Scheepjes yarns over the years I know that the quality of the yarns is absolutely brilliant and the range of colours is just amazing!

The ‘Colour Crafter’ acrylic yarn is cost effective, hard wearing and easy to crochet with. Acrylic yarns are just perfect for the rough and tumble many blankets go through. Here’s the range of colours I’ve chosen…Using the DK acrylic will result in a blanket measuring approximately 130cm x 110cm (51 x 43 inch).

Yarn packs are available here:

https://www.theknittingnetwork.co.uk/beachcombing-blanket-acrylic-colour-pack

I’ve used:

  • Yarn A: 2 x 100g balls Gouda (1081)
  • Yarn B: 1 x 100g ball Helmond (1724)
  • Yarn C: 3 x 100g balls Barneveld (1005)
  • Yarn D: 2 x 100g balls Den Helder (1068)
  • Yarn E: 1 x 100g ball Eelde (1422)
  • Yarn F: 1 x 100g ball Terneuzen (1821)
  • Yarn G: 1 x 100g ball Leeuwarden (1711)
  • Yarn H: 1 x 100g ball Urk (1034)
  • Yarn I: 1 x 100g ball Middelburg (1003)
  • Yarn J: 1 x 100g ball Texel (1019)

So 14 balls in total.

The ‘Catona’ cotton is a beautiful mercerised cotton in a 4ply weight. It has a beautiful lustre and even though it’s a thinner yarn than the acrylic it has a wonderful weight to it. I’ve matched the colours to the acrylic colours as near as possible but they’re not exactly the same. The yellow is less sandy than the acrylic version. Here are my choices…Using the 4ply cotton will result in a smaller blanket measuring approximately 115cm x 95cm (45 x 37½ inch).

Yarn packs are available here…

https://www.theknittingnetwork.co.uk/beachcombing-blanket-cotton-colour-pack

I used:

  • Yarn A: 3 x 50g balls Primrose (522)
  • Yarn B: 2 x 50g balls Lilac Mist (399)
  • Yarn C: 5 x 50g balls Bridal White (105)
  • Yarn D: 3 x 50g balls Vivid Blue (146)
  • Yarn E: 2 x 50g balls Tropic (253)
  • Yarn F: 2 x 50g balls Apple Granny (513)
  • Yarn G: 2 x 50g balls Royal Orange (189)
  • Yarn H: 3 x 50g balls Cyan (397)
  • Yarn I: 2 x 50g balls Cornflower (511)
  • Yarn J: 2 x 50g balls Sky Blue (510)

So 26 balls in total.

It’s always a good idea to get the yarn organised and labelled in advance…

TENSION

It’s also a good idea to work a tension square ahead of the CAL starting. This is really important in helping you choose the best hook size to suit your tension for this project. There’s more about this towards the end of this blog post.

The CAL will be 12 weeks long ending with the final instalment on Friday 26th June.

The blanket pattern will be published in weekly instalments here on my blog every Friday and will be free and accessible for everyone on my blog. It will be available in both UK and US crochet terms. I will also be offering a printer friendly PDF copy of the pattern which can be purchased for a one off payment at the start of the CAL over on my Ravelry. This pattern will be updated each week along with my blog and will include a text only printer friendly version too which I know is popular to save on printer ink.

I offer the pattern for free on my blog so that everyone can join in. I’m sure my love for crochet shines through but I do also need to earn a living! There are a few ways you can support my work: purchasing the yarn packs from The Knitting Network, purchasing the pattern from my Ravelry when the CAL starts or support me through my new Patreon membership page…
www.patreon.com/coastalcrochet

Thank you so much for all your support! 🙂

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The Beachcombing Blanket is the third CAL I have hosted here on my blog and I look forward to many of you joining in. These annual CAL’s really are very special… bringing people together from all over the world with a shared experience in crochet and creativity!!
It’s the community that builds up around a CAL that makes it so special and such an enjoyable crochet journey. The CAL hashtags for sharing on social media will be #beachcombingblanket #beachcombingcal and #coastalcrochetcal so please do get sharing with your photos! 🙂

And there’s a thriving Facebook group called ‘Coastal Crochet CAL‘ which is a brilliant place to connect with each other and ask questions or get support…

Join here: Coastal Crohet CAL Facebook Group

So that’s all the information about my ‘Beachcombing Blanket CAL‘… thank you so much for being interested and I hope that many of you will join me in this blanket journey.

TENSION

Here’s a little more about tension to help you choose the best hook size for you…

Tension can vary so much from person to person. Some of us crochet tight, others much looser. There’s no right or wrong, it just means that many of you will need to use a different hook size to me to achieve the same results. It can be personal preference as to whether you want your stitches to be loose and give lots of drape or whether you prefer them a little tighter. A blanket of course needs drape but I do prefer the stitches not to be too loose because the weight of a finished blanket will pull the stitches apart.

I tend to crochet tighter than many people. Someone with a looser tension using the same hook size will use more yarn. The yarn quantities in the yarn packs are what I used with yarn left over to allow for tension changes but it’s best to match my tension as near as possible to avoid running out of yarn.

Here is my tension square for the Colour Crafter acrylic yarn. I used a 4.5mm hook but I know that many people will benefit from a smaller hook size to me and I recommend a 4.0mm hook as a starting point. This square is 20 double crochet (US single crochet) stitches across and 20 rows.

As you can see 11 stitches across and 12 rows measures 5cm x 5cm. If you have less stitches then your tension is looser than mine and you should go down a hook size to a 3.5mm or 4.0mm.

The stitches should feel quite firm. This won’t be what the end blanket will feel like because most of the stitches used in the actual blanket are taller stitches which are looser and will naturally result in more drape. Here is a smaller tension square of just 10 stitches across and only 6 rows in treble (US double crochet) stitches. I used the same hook size and as you can see it looks looser due to the taller stitches…

Here is my tension square for the Catona cotton yarn. I used a 3.5mm hook but again I know that many people will benefit from a smaller hook size to me and I recommend a 3.0mm hook as a starting point. This square is 20 double crochet (US single crochet) stitches across and 20 rows.

As you can see 12 stitches across and 13 rows measures 5cm x 5cm. If you have less stitches then your tension is looser than mine and you should go down a hook size to a 2.5mm or 3.0mm.

The cotton yarn will feel harder than the acrylic yarn and the double crochet (US single crochet) stitches will feel firm. The finished cotton blanket is heavy and the taller stitches used shouldn’t be too loose or the weight will pull them apart.

Enjoy getting ready… I’m really looking forward to sharing this blanket journey with you all… 🙂

Happy Crocheting Everyone… 🙂 🙂

85 comments

  1. Wow, it’s really beginning! I’m afraid I won’t have time to start a new blanket (I’m trying to finish one which was waiting in the drawer for 2years) but it’s so exciting to wait here for new blog posts and I’m excited to see what people will be doing every week. Thanks for this organization and all your efforts. You are really inspiring us.

  2. Oh Eleonora. I LOVE your beachcombing blanket. What a fabulous design and beautiful colours. And it looks so tactile too. I am SO looking forward to this CAL. Now all I have to decide is whether to go for the acrylic or the cotton version. Well done you. Xx

  3. Amazing , I loved the “changing tides cal ” my hubby has almost claimed it for himself , so ,I need one for me , only I’m not sure which yarn to go for

  4. Mine is going to be Catona. I love the colours and am trying where possible to move away from acrylics as an environmental choice while hoping the processing of cottons is becoming more earth friendly. Excited. 💚💚💚💚💚

  5. I absolutely love it – I hope to make it my next big project – stunning photography too – really gets me in the seaside mood 🙂

  6. Thank you for your beautiful design! Even though I have a lot of projects in the pipeline this is an absolute must to do!

  7. Hi Eleonora- I love this blanket but would like to make it a bit bigger. Looking at the finished blanket it looks like I could double the blue waves at each end and the blue border. What do you think? And do you have an idea of how much extra yarn to buy. Ps love your Instagram posts too.

  8. Lovely made the other two enjoyed every day Thank you for the heads up on the amount of yarn. I use 4 ply acrylics

  9. This looks like another fun cal. I’m not good at putting blocks together but can’t resist your cal’s. I’m in!!! Will the knitting network ship to U.S.A.?? Is the acrylic yarn soft?

  10. I love it. I have many projects going but I can’t resist this beautiful blanket. Hooking squares together is not my favorite but here I go once again!

  11. Hello,
    What is the level of difficulty for the Beachcomber blanket you’ll start in April, 2020.
    Your work is breathtaking!

  12. Good evening Eleonora. I am so excited to begin the Beachcombing Coastal blanket. I see that the yarn is showing out of stock and I am not surprised by the huge number of people signing up. My question is if there is a waiting list for the kit? If so, would you please add my name or let me know what I need to do in order to obtain the yarn kit? Finally, could you give me a quote on shipping to: Plano, Texas 75024 USA?
    Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.
    Sharon H Gregg

    1. Hello Sharon,
      The Knitting Network offer very reasonable worldwide shipping… it’s only £7.49 (GB pounds) to Texas! If you click on the link below it will take you to their site and you can click on ‘email when back in stock’ to be among the first to know when they are available again. I’ve been told early next week at the latest! Thank you so much… 😊🧡🧡 https://www.theknittingnetwork.co.uk/beachcombing-blanket-acrylic-colour-pack

  13. Hi! I tried to sign up for your emails but I received nothing, not even in the spam file. Any ideas what I’m doing incorrectly? Thanks!

  14. This looks like a really lovely blanket! Is the card you used for yarn organising one you can buy online, or did you make it yourself? Looks like a very handy tool.

  15. Hi Eleonora, I’m looking forward to joining in. I have never participated in a CAL before. The colors are lovely for my Florida home. I am going to order the cotton kit and make it larger. Thank you for sharing! Gina

  16. Hi Eleanora ! Beautiful name by the way ! I’m so excited as this will be my first CAL ! Your design is stunning!! Looking forward to starting !! I’m still learning to read patterns so I’m wandering if there will be any video tutorials as well as the written pattern? Thank you so much !! Can’t wait to start ❤️

  17. I just found this on Pinterest & I LOVE -LOVE -LOVE your Beachcombing blanket! I want so badly to join in the CAL as both the Beach & Crochet are my 2 passions!

  18. Hi Eleonora. I’m from Alberta, Canada. This will be my first CAL. I love the colours. Just received my yarn. Can’t wait to start.

      1. Hi Eleonora, I’m from Sydney, Australia. I have ordered my wool from the UK store and fingers crossed it will arrive in time for the start of your beautiful blanket ( the virus may cause delays!). It represents all that surrounds me over here too! So excited to be apart of my first CAL project.

  19. Oh my – this is SO gorgeous! I have treated myself to the Catona – it’s going to be my Covid-19 isolation project! Can’t wait to start, wish it was sooner!

  20. Have ordered both acrylic and cotton. My daughter is unexpectedly home from medical school due to covid19, so we’re going to do one each

  21. Hi, I was going to share a picture of my colors – I have them ready to go – but it seems I can’t do that here. Well anyway, I’m ready! 😁

  22. I only started crocheting a month or so ago and already hooked! I’ve had a friend teaching me over the Internet and also using books and YouTube – I’ve decided to give this a go just hope I can manage it!

  23. Thank you for designing such a beautiful Afghan. It is lovely. I purchased the acrylic kit and have decided that I would like to do the cotton version also. Do you have any idea when the store can mail to the United States? Thank you.

  24. I so want to do this, but due to the current situation, my yarn is taking forever to arrive. How long do you leave the tutorials up? I’ve never attempted anything quite like this before, and I so want to make a success of It! But I really will need those videos.

  25. I just wanted to tell you that I love your designs. They are clever and fanciful and I have the patterns for many of your creations. I wish I had your talent but since I do not, I am glad to have your creativity available. I live on the west coast (California) and the ocean is a very important part of my life…. your designs mimic my deep feelings for the coast and it’s many changing moods. Thank you.

  26. Thanks to you for creating this beautiful blanket! I love your videos with the sounds of the sea and great tips and clear instructions, as well as the patterns you provided. I have just started and this will be my first CAL. I am in Italy and I am thoroughly enjoying this challenge, and learning a lot in the process. I am making it for my granddaughter. Thank you Eleonora 🤗🌺☀️🐬🦀

  27. I just found this and bought the pattern. Sad to have missed the CAL. Now just need some yarn. Really lovely!

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