Holey crochet blanket, Batman!
November 21, 2017 2:16 PM   Subscribe

How warm/useful is this chunky v-stitch afghan likely to be?

It doesn't get very cold in SoCal, but I would like a blanket to provide some warmth on chilly nights. I can't tell if the bulkiness of the blanket will make up for the size of the holes.
posted by moira to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have a wool-blend cowl scarf I crocheted in a slightly more open lace version to that shawl, and it keeps me warm in NYC winter - I think the key is the yarn material you use, rather than the density of the weave. A linen or cotton lightweight yarn probably won't be very toasty, but a heavier-weight or wool-based yarn likely will.
posted by Mchelly at 2:24 PM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yeah, for SoCal? No problem. Plus what Mchelly said about the yarn material.
posted by Melismata at 2:32 PM on November 21, 2017

Wool? Should be nice and warm.
posted by lilies.lilies at 2:39 PM on November 21, 2017

A friend made me a crocheted blanket. Despite the fact that that crocheted afghans seem to be more holes than blanket, it was very warm and cozy!
posted by latkes at 2:43 PM on November 21, 2017

I think it will get pulls fairly easily.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:45 PM on November 21, 2017

I've done a similar one with multiple strands held together (though as an enormous granny square rather than v-stitch). It's wool and it's reasonably warm for what it covers, but mine's not especially big and its comfort is more in its weight than its insulation. It'd be more warming if it covered me better, so if you don't think 45" x 60" will cover what you want covered, consider making it larger.

For reference, mine's pretty well bomb-proof and I would expect throws made with this pattern to wear well over time as long as all ends are woven in properly. Here's the pattern on Ravelry.
posted by asperity at 3:27 PM on November 21, 2017

I agree overall that even hole-y blankets can be surprisingly warm. However, the yarn that's specified in the pattern, "Vanna's Choice," is a worsted-weight acrylic, which isn't going to be as warm as a wool or wool blend. You can substitute a different worsted-weight yarn, though, for better warmth. I'd go with a washable wool blend.
posted by spamloaf at 3:31 PM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I’ll say that acrylic yarns like Vanna’s (what’s recommended in the pattern) may make the user more sweaty than warm. For a couch blanket, it’s great stuff. Machine washable (have a place where you can lay it flat to dry) economical to buy in quantity, and hard wearing.

The bulkiness will definitely make up for the size of the holes if the blanket is bunches up. This is counterintuitive but my understanding is that what the holes do is help trap air, making the blanket somehow more insulating - If the blanket is kind of bunched up around you. If it’s laying perfectly flat, all bets are off, though probably still surprisingly warm.
posted by bilabial at 3:34 PM on November 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

To echo what bilabial says about insulation, when I really get cold, I put my crochet blankets under my main comforter on my bed. They're just your average holey acrylic crochet, but they keep me really warm!! This in addition to just using them on the couch, of course.
posted by 8603 at 3:45 PM on November 21, 2017

The yard recommended looks a little thin. This is similar but is made with a thicker yarn and has a much denser texture. Many moons ago I made a couple of similar afghans with a Lion Brand Homespun yarn, and while they were very warm, they're not everyone's cup of tea, as occasionally a toe can pop though the blanket.

If you're set on the pattern you've chosen, you can always increase the warmth and comfort by sewing on a thin backing of fleece. The crochet hook pokes right though the fleece!
posted by defreckled at 5:45 PM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have an acrylic one my grandmother made on top of my bed right now (in Toronto). It wouldn’t keep me warm by itself but I'm always amazed what a difference it makes on a cold night; being able to pull it over me without adding the weight of another blanket.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:32 PM on November 21, 2017

I remember once reading that heavy blankets in openwork patterns are actually warmer than blankets with solid patterns. Something about air circulation; it didn't seem rational to me, but a lot of counterintuitive things are true, so this might be too.
posted by jackbishop at 6:24 AM on November 22, 2017

I have a big heavy giant crochet blanket in Bernat Blanket that's basically half holes and half yarn, and it is super warm and cosy and squishy. I agree that the holes add loft that traps heat. (As a bonus it was super quick to work up with a giant hook!)
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:58 AM on November 22, 2017

Lofty and/or openwork items help to keep you warm by trapping warm air next to you, so the warmth level will depend on how the holes are deployed. Basically, if you have big holes in a crocheted blanket, my experience is that they are pretty warm if they are either wadded up or an additional layer, but if they are spread flat your toes poke through and get cold, or the cold air gets on your bare skin if there are drafts.

So, if you use the holey blanket as an extra layer either over or under something else (another blanket or either a sheet) you will get a lot more warmth. This also works over your clothed body pretty well.

The final experience will have a lot to do with your yarn selection. Acrylic doesn't breathe by itself, so it can be kind of sweaty. (So the holes in the blanket can help compensate for the non-breathability of the fiber.) Wool breathes really well, so it makes you warm but not sweaty, but enough chunky wool yarn to make a blanket could be pricey if you're buying fancy stuff.

If you want to multiply the warming effect, use a yarn that is "hairy" or has a halo around it or what is sometimes called "bloom" - think angora or mohair. The little extra fine fuzzy hairs go into the spaces and help trap the warm air. This is why a lace weight wool or alpaca shawl can actually be significantly warm.
posted by oblique red at 8:44 AM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

As others have mentioned, fiber counts.
I have a skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick that I have been meaning to turn into a scarf at some point. The label says 80 percent acrylic, 20 percent wool and it is machine washable and dryable. It recommends an N / 9.00 mm crochet hook.
I usually use Red Heart acrylic yarn for blankets and then layer a sheet over the top to trap heat. I have made projects with two or three strands of yarn and a J or K hook (center pull the yarn from the skein and set them on end inside a box to keep them tangle-free). Thicker yarn and bigger hooks will make the project work up faster.
Also, I have tried the V-stitch and found that it is a bit fussy to create the first row, but then it zips along on later rows. Try a small swatch first and if the first row is puckered, try again with a larger hook or make your foundation chain looser. I often start and end with a single crochet or half double crochet foundation row to stabilize the edges, particularly if I am adding a fringe.
Here is a tutorial on a double crochet variation of the V-stitch which may help.
If the V-stitch seems too open, here is a Lacy Shell pattern that uses six double crochets. Other variations only use four double crochets per shell.
Good luck!
posted by TrishaU at 2:21 PM on November 22, 2017

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