Friday, August 4, 2017

Patchwork Puppy Project - The Planning

Start your own Patchwork Puppy Project!

Read about Materials and Color suggestions (this page)
Choose a Layout (go here)
Make your Squares (go here)
Make your Fillers (go here)
Assemble and Finish your Patchwork Blanket (go here
Choose your Puppy Patches!  (go here)


About this Project:
I just love the various blankets I have seen over the years featuring animal appliques set on hexes or squares. Sometimes they are just faces, sometimes full bodies... sometimes small, sometimes large. They look like so much fun to make! I always queue them, but never get around to it.

Well, I decided it was about time I gave one a go. Only instead of a lot of different animals, I would make mine just dogs. It's no secret I am obsessed with dogs. But dogs come in a lot of different sizes, so we couldn't put a Chihuahua and a Great Dane next to each other unless there was a noticeable difference in size. In a lot of dogs it is their size that is the most recognizable thing about them.

It was going to be impossible to make a truly faithful version of dog sizes to scale - not without incorporating an array of yarn sizes. So, I decided to aim for three general sizes - small, medium, and large and part of the time I actually managed it. What became more important to me, however, was the idea of small, medium, and large. I decided to put that idea into the blanket itself. What we ended up with was an array of simple shapes, when sewn together, was new, different, fun, and a little more interesting than just a bunch of identical squares sewn together. (Again - maybe it's just me but I tend to bore easily.) Here's what you will need:




Square and Filler Materials:
To make the squares, you will need #4 yarn and a J hook. This combination gives a nice drape to a less expensive yarn and is quick to work up.. Yardage given on The Layouts.

I chose 5 colors from my stash just because I liked how they looked together, but playing with layout possibilities, I found this is a good number that will allow you to arrange all sorts of combinations and never have two squares of the same color touching. I tend to worry about things like that, though you may not.

With these 5 colors I added a neutral color to fill in the gaps and make the border. I went with white because I like the way that white or black sets off whatever colors they are paired with. Feel free to express your own love of colors with your yarn choices. See Choosing Colors below.





Block Materials Recap:
J hook
#4 yarn in 5 coordinating colors See Layouts for yardage
#4 yarn in a neutral color to compliment
sharp tapestry needle
measuring tape or ruler
NOTE: The same hook and yarn combo is used for the border.
A blunt tapestry needle is useful for the recommended joining method



Choosing Layout Colors:
Dogs are often brown, black, gray, or white, or some combination of these. It's very easy to avoid these colors for your squares., but you can also use one of these colors but just plan carefully which dog will go there. It'd be terrible that you spent all that time making a Weimaraner, for example, and then it get lost on a square the very same color of gray.

I have also avoided very dark colors for this same reason. A black dog is going to be just as lost on a dark blue square as it would a black square. It you really want to use Navy or Emerald or some other dark color, save those squares for the lighter-colored dogs.

The same can be said about pastels - which dogs may not show up very well on very light-colored squares. This, however, might be the look you are going for. My granddaughter would be thrilled to have a baby pink blanket with all white dogs. She would want them all to have bows or tiaras as well.

So, don't think you can't use these colors... just think about it before committing to which patches you will use. A lot of dogs can just be changed to a different color, but some are just the color they are.



Patch Materials:
Here we are using #4 yarn again, as this is what is most widely available in the US and I like my projects to be accessible and affordable. I have used only an E hook or a G hook for the Patches. Only one hook is used per dog.

Doing what I do, the majority of my stash is made of dog fur colors, but for normal people I recommend gathering a variety of grays and browns, a gold, black, white, cream or beige, and a little pink for tongues. All of the Patches use very little yarn, so use up your scraps and leftovers as much as possible. Do be aware, however, that if you frog yarn for your Patches, probably best not to use it for fringe unless, of course, the dog is meant to have wavy fur!

The actual yarns I used were my usual yarns that I use: Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn, Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice Solids, Premier Deborah Norville Everyday Solids and Heathers, Red Heart Super Saver/With Love/Soft, and some other stuff in there I couldn't identify if my life depended on it. You use what yarns you have and love the most.

I recommend a very sharp tapestry needle for sewing in ends, embroidering the details, and attaching the patch to your squares. This will allow you to sew through strands and make your joins the most secure. A blunt needle is best for the recommended joining method.

You will also note in some of the Patch patterns I call for 'split' yarn for some of the embroidery. This is simply separating a 4-ply yarn into 2 2-ply sections to give a thinner strand for more precise details. If you happen to keep embroidery floss on hand, that works, too!

You will need a stitch marker or two for most of the patterns. And in at least one pattern so far I have frayed a fringe, so a wire brush is handy. Mine is a dog brush that came from a $1 store.

And definitely you will want to have some long straight pins or quilting pins. I can't recommend enough that you always pin things into place before sewing them.

Patch Materials Recap:
E/4 3.00mm hook 
G/6 4.00mm hook
Sharp tapestry needle
stitch markers
long straight pins
(optional) wire brush
A variety of #4 yarns in dog fur colors

Patch Color Ideas:
gray - light, medium, dark; brown - light, medium, dark, tan, beige, ecru, taupe, etc.; white; black;
pink; gold. Also useful: rusty red; light orange; twists or mingled colors to make brindle or merle


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