Author:
Sarah Smith

Sarah is a lover of all yarn, hooks and needles. She sells finished products, designs patterns, writes blogs, and makes YouTube tutorials. She is passionate about making quality knitwear items but also helping other makers be successful or encouraged in their maker journeys. When she’s not crafting she is chasing and cuddling her three children in her home in Whitby, Ontario, Canada with her husband.

Better Together Beach Blanket Tunisian Crochet Pattern

Maker
8/13/2019

Hi! My name is Sarah and I’m addicted to yarn. First step is admitting it right?  I am a wife and a mom to three young children who light up my life everyday. In the highs and in the lows - they are my world. I mostly stay at home, working occasionally as a substitute teacher by day, and mad crafter by night.

My maker journey started shortly after the birth of my middle child. This sweet precious girl right here. We struggled for many months to become pregnant again after our first so we were over the moon excited to find out we would finally be completing our family - or so we thought. (There eventually came a third child, who undeniably was what our family needed to be complete.) My pregnancy was normal with the usual ailments that go along with growing a tiny human. The minute she was born, things changed for us. We experienced the joy of that moment when meeting your newest family member and looking at them with a swollen heart and tearful eyes. However, within minutes of holding her for the first time, she was whisked away. “We just need to examine her, run some tests, take a closer look…” My “perfect” baby was in fact not so “perfect”. Our plan, our world, our ideas of the perfect life had all changed within minutes. We spiraled fast into re-evaluating everything, now facing a future of uncertainty, and having to alter our master life plan.  At one month our daughter was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal disorder called, “Kleefstra Syndrome”. Never heard of it? Us either. It’s an extremely rare disorder with minimal information and data about what we were to expect. What we did read was daunting and filled us with fear. So much fear, so many tears, and we wallowed in our circumstances. She would be faced with a life of cognitive and developmental hurdles and challenges. Around the time she was 7 months we said, ‘enough is enough’, and pulled up our big kid pants and decided that we can do this, and we’re going to do this with everything we’ve got!  We figured out really quickly that she would need close care and I would not be able to return to the career I had and the job I loved as an elementary school teacher. *Cue all the budget cutting and money saving efforts here.*

The first thing we cut to save a few bucks was our cable TV. I thought it would be a big deal - hello, avid PVR’er here - but it surprisingly wasn’t. I went out that first night without TV and purchased a “Learn to Crochet kit” from Michael’s. That’s right, I learned to crochet from a book - not YouTube - well at least not at first! Why did I choose crochet? My classmate from high school was posting all these beautiful creations on Facebook that she was making with a hook and some yarn. They were beautiful, modern, and fashionable. Thanks April @othcrochetnook - for giving me the inspiration to try crocheting! I picked it up quickly, settling into the repetitive stitches, learning new techniques and making some pretty amazing rectangular scarves for every single member of my family. But more than that, crocheting gave me a place to come to each day, that was just for me. It was a chance to refocus, to reflect, to be still, to pray and do something that brought me some joy and peace in the circumstances of life.

Soon crocheting became more than just a hobby. It went from making things for myself and friends, to selling to friends of friends, to participating in markets, to consigning for stores, to designing, and soon the sky was the limit! It wasn’t long before I caught the knitting bug and fell in love - and designed three knitting patterns. (This time I taught myself with YouTube.) Then not long after I wanted to try my hand at Tunisian crochet and fell in love again. I haven’t gone more than a few days without yarn and a project in almost 5 years. And with Netflix - who has time to miss TV?

We are a close knit family. Our favourite place to be is with each other, making as many memories and moments as we can together. We are better together. While this past year specifically has been a very challenging one for us as we navigate through unexplained health issues with our daughter, we have hope. We have hope that one day, she will be made perfect, flawless, and without pain. We trust in a Heavenly Father who knows her, loves her, and created her  - with NO mistake. Instead of listing the ways our life has been limited or changed because of her, there are so many amazing things about her that has opened our eyes to what really matters in life - family, kindness, love, patience, and joy.  Our daughter has the best smile, she loves tickles, she loves to be twirled around and pushed in a swing, she loves water, and she absolutely loves to be outside with the wind in her hair. The beach is most definitely one of her favourite places on earth and we ask ourselves daily why we don’t live near one. We figure Hawaii would be the best choice for her. We’d love for one day to be able to vacation there for an extended period of time and enjoy the wind and the waves.

This is what made it an easy choice for me to prepare a beach blanket pattern to accompany this blog post. While we are intending to use this blanket at the beach, it’s a versatile fabric that would be great for picnics or pool side. It’s made using one of my favourite yarns that is washable and durable. It’s a basic tunisian stitch making it the perfect project to mindlessly make while watching your favourite show or listening to your favourite podcast. I hope you enjoy it!

Supply List

This pattern uses Yarnspirations Home Dec yarn. This is a weight 5 bulky yarn. It uses approximately 775 yards (2.5 balls) of Colour A - Clay, 420 yards (1.5 balls) of Colour B - Cream, 405 yards (1.5 balls) of Colour C - Gold

10 mm Tunisian Crochet hook with 40” cable.

Darning needle

Scissors

Gauge

Gauge is flexible for this project.

Suggested gauge:

10 stitches x 10 rows in TSS = 4” x 4” square

Final Measurements

Length: 60”

Width: 40”

Notes

This is a simple Tunisian crochet project that uses only the Tunisian Simple stitch (TSS) with colour changes

All colour changes will happen on the forward pass. Please wrap(lock) your yarn on the return passes to avoid gaps and to carry up the unused colour along the back instead of having to break the yarn each time. You will break the yarn to begin a new square in the pattern.

If you would like to see a helpful tutorial on how to change colours in Tunisian Crochet visit THN Maker, TLYarnCrafts, tutorial here.

This pattern can be easily modified for different sizes by casting on a different number of stitches and completing a different amount of rows.

The foundation row will count as Row 1 for this pattern

A return pass is always ch1, *yarn over pull through 2 loops* repeat from * to * across until one loop remains

Key

CH - chain

TSS - Tunisian Simple Stitch

CA - Colour A

CB - Colour B

CC - Colour CC

Pattern

CH 56 stitches using CA, continuing in the same chain, CH 56 more using CB - Total of 112 chain stitches

Row 1(foundation row): With CB insert your hook into the back bump of the second stitch and pull up a loop. Continue this for the first 56 stitches, switch to CA for the remaining 56 stitches. **You will complete a TSS row here for all other rows in the pattern. Return.

Be sure to wrap your yarn when you get to the colour change. Do this for all return passes at a colour change.

Row 2:  with CB TSS across switching to CA half way. Return.

Rows 3 - 5: Repeat Row 2.

Switch to CC on the last return pass from Row 5.

Row 6: TSS across switching to CA halfway. Return. Wrap CB on your final return pass to begin carrying it up the back of the project. Do this for all rows in the striped sections. See Photo.

Rows 7 - 10: with CC TSS across switching to CA halfway. Return.

Switch to CB on the last return pass from Row 10.

Rows 11 - 15: Repeat Rows 1 - 5

Rows 16 - 20: Repeat Rows 6 - 10

Rows 21 - 25: Repeat Rows 1 - 5

Rows 26 - 30: Repeat Rows 6 -10

Rows 31 - 35: Repeat Rows 1 - 5  

Rows 36 - 40: Repeat Rows 6 -10

Rows 41 - 45: Repeat Rows 1 - 5

Switch to CA on the last return pass of Row 45. (You will have to break your yarn)

Rows 46 - 50: with colour CA TSS across switching to CC halfway. Return.

Switch to CB on the last return pass of Row 50.

Rows: 51 - 55: with colour CA TSS across switching to CB halfway. Return.

Rows 56 - 60: Repeat Rows 46 - 50

Rows: 61 - 65: Repeat Rows 51 - 55

Rows 66 - 70: Repeat Rows 46 - 50

Rows 71 - 75: Repeat Rows 51 - 55

Rows 76 - 80: Repeat Rows 46 - 50

Rows 81 - 85: Repeat Rows 51 - 55

Rows 86 - 90: Repeat rows 46 - 50

Switch to CA on the last return pass of Row 90. (You will have to break your yarn)

Rows 91 - 95: Repeat Rows 1 - 5

Rows 96 - 100: Repeat Rows 6 - 10

Rows 101 - 105: Repeat Rows 1 - 5

Rows 106 - 110: Repeat Rows 6 - 10

Rows 111 - 115: Repeat Rows 1 - 5

Rows 116 - 120: Repeat Rows 6 - 10

Rows 121 - 125: Repeat Rows 1 - 5

Rows 126 - 130: Repeat Rows 6 - 10

Rows 131 - 135: Repeat Rows 1 - 5

Cast off all stitches with appropriate colour changes by inserting into the next stitch and pull up a loop and slip stitch it through previous loop on the hook. Break yarn when one loop remains and weave in all ends. Blocking is recommended.

I want to end with a heartfelt thank you to Jessica Carey and the Hook Nook Blog for giving me this space and platform to share my maker journey. As you have read along I wish that you can have hope to pursue your dreams and goals in whatever craft or passion you have. Life can be hard, so very hard, and while I don’t have the physical time right now (or maybe ever) to take this small business of mine to places other people have, I am so content to be where I am now, doing what I love, and being present and involved with my little family at the same time. I hope you find contentment in whatever your life allows you to do in your craft and you continue to always enjoy the maker life. I only opened my IG account for it to be a place to record what I had made. I never intended it to become what it has, and I am beyond grateful for all the opportunities I have had so far. You know, the crafting community is a truly magical place. The people, the connections, the support, and the understanding of the love for yarn is indescribable.

There are so many people who have touched my life not just through crochet, but personally. Encouraging me to be the best I can be not only in business but in life. I probably would not be where I am today without being so inspired by all I see and experience through this community.  My most sincere thank you’s go to some really special people who I have met, and others I hope to meet one day. I hope you all have the chance to find a group of makers that see the best in you and encourage you in your maker journeys. Thank you to my friend Jen @laineandlotus for being my sounding board for everything, for calming me down, for refocusing my anxieties, for making me laugh, and for just being straight up amazing - all the time. Thank you to April @othcrochetnook for telling me that I, in fact, can do it. Of course, I owe so much to my biggest fan, Ryan @virtusleather, my husband - who fully supports my business venture and has recently taken to his own. Self-Employment, here we come!

Yours in yarn and craftiness,

Sarah

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