Hexagonal thoughts

Well, hello there. Did you think I had forgotten you? I talked before Christmas about how I had so many things to show you and not enough time to do it in, and then I showed you a couple of things and pretty much disappeared. I’m having trouble getting back into the swing of everyday life after the holidays. Last week was such a short week, I think my brain decided before it even started that this was not going to be a week of normal routines.

So, the laundry is piled up, the dishes are piled up, and I’ve got hexagons on my mind.

Aidan saw a hexagon blanket in a magazine a few months ago and requested one. We are all enjoying Eamonn’s granny square blanket so much (all except for Neil who believes that granny squares are the ultimate expression of terrible style – it’s ok, more for us!), that I agreed it would be nice to try a granny hexagon variation. It seemed like a good after-Christmas kind of project.

So here we are. After Christmas. We’ve discussed color schemes (blues and greens – anyone surprised?) and I’ve gone into the basement and found the box of leftovers from Eamonn’s blanket. I originally wanted to approach this blanket as a slightly greener, more hexagonal version of Eamonn’s. I wanted to construct each hexagon in the same way as I constructed the squares: a large center of blue/green, a round of a complementary color like red/gold, a round of a different blue/green, and a final round of yet another blue/green.  Aidan didn’t like that plan.

So together we came up with another approach that I think we are both really going to like.

I have ordered some yarn, but while I wait for it to get here, I’ve been playing with some of the bits and bobs I had in my stash, and I have to say I am struck by just how mathematical this crochet stuff can be.  I mean, I am not entirely surprised. The geometry of it all is probably what appeals to me in the first place. But it has been a bit of a revelation that I had to actually do a little division to get my hex to come out properly.

Before I made my first hexagon, I searched the web. I know that there are many types of crocheted hexes, but I had a very particular vision for mine. It was to be a granny hex, in that it was to look exactly like a granny square, but it must have six sides. I didn’t think this was too much to ask, but google failed to find me a single tutorial for that.

So I put on my “how hard could it be?” hat, and just made one.

(I almost always find out just how hard it could be when I do that.)

The trouble with adding an extra two 3dc clusters to the first round of a granny square in order to turn it into a granny hexagon, is that the extra two clusters translate into an extra four on the next round, and an extra six on the round after that. All of these extra rounds don’t fit nicely in the space provided, and you end up with a hex that’s as wavy as all get out.

Now, I know I could finesse it into working. I could block them all flat, or I could enlarge the center hole. But neither of those options would make me particularly happy. I want a blocking-free blanket, and one that doesn’t have huge holes in the center of each motif. So I pondered the problem mathwise, and I came up with a solution.

It involved compromising some of the granny-ish-ness of the center of the hex, but I find that it’s close enough to make me happy.

Next problem? squaring off the edges of the blanket. That’s going to require some half hexes, and a few smaller hex portions. I experimented a little bit on that last night, and while I think I might have found something that will work for the small hex portions, I kind of hope that I didn’t. These things are a pain in the neck to make. I’m going to keep playing a little bit. Maybe something easier will occur to me.

I am beginning to see why it is so hard to find online tutorials for squared-off granny-hexagon blankets – effective construction of one is fraught with math! Both from the point of view of creating the hexagon itself, and that of dealing with the blanket’s edges so that they’re straight. So many people appear to just leave them jagged. Neither Aidan nor I really care for that look, so good thing I like math!

Figuring out how all of the pieces should fit, what shape they should be, and what stitches I need to use in order to make that happen, while still maintaining the granny-esque-ness of the blanket is going to be fun, I think.  And because such a thing has been hard to find online, I am even more determined to publish the pattern when I’m done with this blanket a few months down the road. Hopefully it can help those who are less-mathematically-inclined. I’ll share how to make a granny hexagon, how to attach them together, how to make the partial hexes that will serve to square-up the edges, and how to add a border to the whole thing. Meet me back here for that in, oh, April? May? Fun times.

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About Lisa

I raise boys, take pictures, knit sweaters, keep a less-than-perfect house, blog memories, sew skirts, play with clay, daydream about beach weekends, avoid home improvement projects, crochet blankets, and spend slightly more time looking at screens than I probably should.

25 thoughts on “Hexagonal thoughts

    • You can totally get away with crocheting without math – just let somebody else do the pattern-making work :-)
      Aidan wants to be reminded of forests and lakes, so we’re going with blues and greens. I like it too!

  1. I gotta go with Neil in his opinion of granny squares. Hexagons are fine (I’ve made two afghans with hex motifs), but granny squares are one of those things that give crochet a bad name. They always look so tacky. Unless they’re part of a quilty pattern.

    :-)

  2. Phew thought we lost you there Lisa. Great to see a post. I love granny squares, but I’ve never crocheted one yet. My nanny used to make loadsof granny square blankets. We got them for Xmas and when ever a baby was born. She taught me to crochet. But I never used it a few years after she died I took it up again. I realised if I didn’t then a lovely family tradition would die.. i’m hooked and this year I made my first blanket for my mum. For a few moments I gave her back her mum. It was wonderful. It’s why these blankets you make are so perfect and powerful gifts for your loved ones!

    • That’s such a sweet story. I’m sure your mother loved her blanket! I have to say, I am so glad I took up knitting and crocheting. I really feel connected to both of my grandmothers when I make things.

  3. I have several hexagons made. Can’t quite get the hang of putting them together. Should make myself learn to do it as I go.

    You always put such great color together!!

    • Join-as-you-go is definitely my preferred method. I would probably die of boredom at the end, otherwise ;-) I explained how to join granny squares as you go in this blog post. It’s the same concept with hexagons. Maybe it’ll help?

      RE: the colors, I’m afraid my son vetoed the use of some of my favorite colors in this blanket. The aquas I used for the sample? Rejected. So we’re going with greens, blues, and browns. It will still be pretty, I think, just not *my* colors.

  4. I will BUY that pattern. You’re genius at figuring this stuff out. I love the new blanket and the square one, too, because you’re so good at color. As to the love or not of granny squares… I was on the bandwagon in the 60s and 70s. Then I was in the “they’re tacky” camp. Now, with the revival of the granny square, I’m firmly back on the bandwagon!! Fickle me.

    • I’m excited to work on the pattern! I’ve been making notes in a spreadsheet this time around, and I’ve already got ideas for the next blanket after this one. I almost wish someone else would do all of the crocheting so that I could concentrate on designing it. But then, it’s not exactly a thoughtful mother-son gift anymore, if someone else does all the work!

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Can’t wait for you to figure out the pattern and share, pleeeeeease!

    Personally, I’d leave the edges pointy. I like that. I’d just go around the whole thing with DC’s — leveraging, say, a ripple pattern for how to turn the corners. I think it would look great.

    ~Angela~

    • Thanks! I’m so glad to see so much enthusiasm! It makes me eager to get going on this thing. Thanks for the suggestion, too. I’ve been considering looking at ripple blankets for some guidance on the edges.

    • LOL! Feeling dramatic? I said May or April, not NOVEMBER ;-)
      Don’t worry, I plan to post it here in dribs and drabs before publishing the full pattern. How to make the hexagon itself will be a post for sometime soon! Just need some time to snap some in-progress photos. I’ll share the other parts as I get to them, so it won’t feel like too, too long a wait.

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  7. Just in case this is of interest… one of the books I just purchased (200 crochet blocks by jan eaton) does have hexagonal blocks and half hexagons in it. I haven’t looked at it closely yet, but in case you think this would be useful. Of course, if you’d rather figure it out on your own, that is ok too!

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