Have you ever been enchanted by the colorful appearance of a variegated yarn — only to get it home, knit or crochet with it and discover that the results were disappointing? Have you ever wanted to cry because you spent a small fortune on what looked like gorgeous variegated yarn — but when you actually tried to find a use for it, you couldn’t? Swatch after swatch, project after project turned out wrong until you were tired of unraveling projects and feeling completely disheartened?
Or maybe you never got that far, because you’ve found variegated yarn so intimidating that you’re too cautious to buy it yet. You’re waiting to learn a little bit more about needlecrafts before you’d feel comfortable diving in and buying some.
Or maybe you ADORE variegated yarn, and you simply can’t get enough of it. You find it addicting to work with, because it’s so interesting to see how the next stitch will look, and the next one after that, and the next one after that. You’d love to have some new patterns that could enhance your variegated yarn and make it look its coolest!
If any of the above scenarios describes your relationship with variegated yarn, there is a lovely pattern booklet from Lion Brand Yarns and Leisure Arts that you absolutely need to know about. It’s called Ice Cream Baby Afghans. If you have any interest at all in knitting with variegated yarn, or if you simply want to knit some truly appealing baby blankets, this is a book you’re going to want to add to your library.
What You Need to Know About This Knitting Pattern Book:
Publisher: Leisure Arts
Copyright Date: 2018
ISBN 13: 978-1-4647-6585-8
This book is available in the following format(s):
- Small, Portable, Purse-Sized Softcover Booklet With Staple Binding (Available from the publisher’s website plus numerous other retailers); this is the version of the book I’m reviewing.
- Digital download: Kindle e-book edition (available from Amazon)
- >Digital download: Kindle e-book (available from Amazon)
Number of Pages: 48 — but don’t let the short length fool you. This book is absolutely packed with value.
Topics Covered in This Book:
- Pattern and instructions for knitting 9 different baby blankets using variegated yarn. 7 are square receiving blankets for babies; the other 2 are different shapes including one round baby blanket pattern and one hexagon baby blanket pattern.
- Brief general instructions for following these patterns including an abbreviation list, gauge information, etc.
- A brief introduction to Lion Brand Company.
Skill Level: Beginner — This baby blanket pattern book is suitable for total beginners to knitting. However, this book will not teach you how to knit; so if you need to brush up on your knitting skills, you’ll either need to find some videos and tutorials, or buy a beginner’s knitting manual.
Author: ??? It isn’t entirely clear who wrote this book and designed these patterns. Maybe it was the Lion Brand design team? Maybe it was someone at Leisure Arts? No author was definitively credited, although the Lion Brand logo is displayed prominently on the front cover of the book.
The Focus of This Book:
This book is exclusively focused on giving you a variety of 9 different baby blanket patterns to knit. These designs all utilize Lion Brand’s Ice Cream Yarn, which is a variegated acrylic yarn that comes in a baby-friendly color palette comprised mostly of pastels and brights mixed with some white.
Knitting Projects Included in Ice Cream Baby Afghans:
You’ll find the following baby blanket patterns included in this book:
1. Log Cabin Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern
Skill level: Easy
2. Four Square Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern
Skill level: Beginner
3. Triangles Squared Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern
Skill level: Easy
4. Hexagon Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern
Skill level: Easy
5. Mitered Squares Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern
Skill level: Easy +
6. Right Angles Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern
Skill level: Easy
7. Simple Diagonal Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern
Skill level: Beginner
8. Round Ruffled Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern
Skill level: Easy
9. Happy Valley Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern
Skill level: Easy
The Best Things About This Book
The 9 outstanding baby blanket patterns are the #1 reason you’d want to buy this book. Every single one of them is colorful, attractive and appealing. They ALL look like they’d be fun, engaging and interesting projects to work on. The design work here is super creative.
This book is accessible to knitters of all skill levels. It’s rare to find such easy patterns that still manage to look intricate and sophisticated. A lot of beginner-friendly patterns end up looking basic and sort of boring. Not these!
If you’ve never knitted before, this book gives you some excellent motivation for trying out the craft to see how you like it. If you’re an advanced knitter, you won’t find anything terribly challenging in this book, but it’s a great option for those times when you need to speed-knit a quick baby shower gift or you just want to kick back and relax with your knitting.
Speaking of baby shower gifts — are you in need of one? If so, this is a booklet you’ll definitely want to own. The projects in Ice Cream Baby Afghans are all gift worthy.
The colorways in this book are perfectly balanced between boy-friendly and girl-friendly colorways — and there are also some gender-neutral colorways in case you have no idea whether a baby boy or girl is on the way. The colorways are all lively and attractive.
The photography and styling in this book are done incredibly well. The blankets are laid flat on the floor and photographed straight on, apparently from overhead (how did they do that?! Scaffolding???) in such a way that you can see the important details.
Small items like blocks and dolls (and sometimes even an entire baby) are included in each photograph, so you can intuitively get an accurate idea of the scale of each blanket without having to invest any brainpower at all. The dimensions for each blanket are also included in case you want to compare the size of the finished blanket against the size of the recipient’s crib or bassinette to ensure that you’re knitting a blanket in a size that will work for you.
If you opt for a physical copy of this book instead of one of the digital editions, you get a small, portable booklet that’s easy to…
- … fit in your purse or project bag if you take your knitting with you when you go out to do errands, hang out with friends or take your kids to ball games and other activities.
- …fit on your bookshelf or in another handy nook, even if your shelf or nook is already crowded to full capacity with other books and assorted items.
- …hide from your husband / roommate, for those of you who happen to have husbands or roommates who subtly (or maybe not so subtly) hint that you need to declutter. This little booklet barely takes up any space at all, yet it’s packed with a surprisingly large number of patterns considering the tiny footprint. We’re talking 9 full patterns in 48 pages!
Of course, the digital PDF and Kindle editions of this book take up ZERO physical space, so if space is a big concern for you, definitely keep those options in mind, too.
Other Observations About This Book
These blankets are mainly sized for being receiving blankets and swaddling blankets. There are no rectangular, crib-sized baby blankets or twin-bed-sized baby blankets in this book. However, if you want to make rectangular blankets, two of the patterns in the book could easily be modified and extended to make rectangular shapes by simply repeating the pattern for more rows than the original design calls for. You’d need more yarn than what’s suggested in the pattern, obviously.
The patterns for those two designs — the Mitered Squares blanket and the Happy Valley blanket (pictured on the front cover of the book) — could also both be modified pretty easily to make larger, grownup-sized blankets if you were inclined to do so.
These blankets are almost all nice sizes for preemies — so if you want to knit preemie projects for charity or for a beloved little sweetheart in your own family, this is a fantastic book to have in your pattern stash.
The suggested yarn for all these patterns is Lion Brand’s Ice Cream yarn. If you love that yarn, you just hit the jackpot for baby blanket patterns you can use with it.
If you don’t like that yarn, don’t worry, this book is still a treasure trove of fantastic ideas that could be used with other variegated yarns. I don’t personally knit with acrylic yarn, so I’ve spent a ton of time looking at these patterns and pondering whether they’d work as well with different yarns than the ones suggested — and I came away from the thought process convinced that these designs are purely genius.
It looks to me like you’ll get the best results if you use these patterns with self-striping yarns that have looooooooooooong color repeats. But even if that doesn’t precisely describe the variegated yarns you have stashed, it looks to me like you could maybe enjoy success using them in these patterns. If you were to pick a bunch of random variegated yarns in the right weight to use with these blanket patterns, I’m betting that your resulting blankets would turn out SPECTACULAR in all but a few cases (more on that below).
If you have some other brand of variegated yarn that you need to use up, I think your best bet for substituting yarn would be the Happy Valley blanket. Without having actually tried it, it looks to me like you could put just about any three contrasting colorways of the same weight variegated yarn into this pattern and come out with an interesting and well-balanced blanket design.
Notice I did say contrasting — if you choose yarns that are too similar in color, that most likely wouldn’t work well — but assuming you choose 3 distinctly different yet harmonious yarn colorways with no overlapping colors, I’m guessing your results would be pretty cool.
I’m itching to swatch some color combinations to test out this theory; I don’t happen to have any variegated yarns in my stash at the moment, or I’d be casting on right now to give it a try. But for that matter, you could even use this pattern with solid-colored yarns, and it would more likely than not turn out gorgeous.
The Hexagon, Four Square and Round Ruffled blanket patterns all look to me like they could also be successfully used with a broad variety of other variegated yarns. If you have skeins of light weight variegated yarn that you’ve been frustrated with and haven’t found just the right project for yet, try them in any of these patterns — perhaps you’ll be pleased with the results.
I think it would take some careful planning to succeed with creating pleasing colorways for any of the other patterns, but it would be worth investing the brainpower to make it happen. The key to success would be preserving the color relationships in the other designs — for example, in areas that are light colored, you’d most likely want to substitute a different light-colored yarn color combination.
Do keep in mind that, even if you use exactly the same yarns suggested in the pattern, your blanket is likely to turn out looking different than the project samples you see pictured in the book. That is the nature of working with variegated yarns — it’s always a little surprising how they’re going to turn out. That helps to keep your knitting interesting, even if you are knitting the easiest and most repetitive of stitches (and in this book, you will be — there’s a lot of garter stitch going on here).
This is a truly amazing little booklet, and I am delighted to recommend it to other knitters. If you pay the cover price of $5.99 in the USA or $7.99 in Canada, you get much more than your money’s worth (assuming you want to knit receiving blankets or swaddling blankets for babies using variegated yarn).
Where to Buy Ice Cream Baby Afghans:
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