Planning a Scrandom Ripple

My goal for French Country Sept (seven) is to use up these scraps, the partial skeins and small balls of yarn I have left from making French Countries One through Six. I’m also including some RHSS Light Raspberry I unraveled from a very large blanket
and a very large ball of light blue.

I want to share a way I’ve found to create a slightly random color plan for a striped ripple. which quite evenly distributes every color. Only a short planning session stood between me and the start of crocheting this new scrandom (scrappy random) ripple!

Amount of Each Color

My first step was to weigh each color. Although I have even more blue, I’m only including six ounces, enough to bring the total to twenty-four ounces, the usual weight of one of my kid-sized ripples.

2 Light Greens . . . 4    ounces
4 Roses  . . . . . . . . . 5
Dark Olive. . . . . . . .1 1/2
Variegated. . . . . . . .1 1/2
2 Whites . . . . . . . . .3
Cafe Brown. . . . . . .3
3 Blues. . . . . . . . . . .6

Total Weight:      24 ounces

I can imagine some of you are already saying, “What a waste of time!”, thinking it would be easier and faster to simply choose the color of each row while crocheting. Am I right?

Well, I find deliberating over color choices while I’m crocheting both distracting and tiring. Once I enter the ripple construction zone I like to shift into automatic, freeing my mind to listen to a book, watch a movie, talk, etc.

Also, I may have a lot of yarn in my charity stash, but I don’t always have a lot of each yarn. This is especially true when I’m working almost entirely from scraps, like in French Country Sept. It’s nice to know that there is very little chance that I will run out of any yarn when I use this method of planning an afghan. If I do somehow manage to run out of a yarn, it will only be by one row, not noticeable in a random design.

How Many Rows of Each Color

First I multiplied the number of ounces in each color group by 3.3 to see how many rows I could make of each color. (If an 84 row afghan weighs 24 ounces, I know I got about 3 1/3 rows from each ounce of yarn. 84 ÷ 24 = 3.33)

My yarn color groups again, now listed in order by number of rows:

Blues . .6 x 3.33 = 24 rows
Roses. . 5 . . . . . . . . 17
Greens. 4.. . . . . . . . 13
Whites . 3 . . . . . . . .10
Brown. . 3 . . . . . . . .10
Dark Olive 1 1/2 . . . .5
Variegated 1 1/2 . . . .5

Total Rows:              84

Frequency of Each Color

Next I divided each color’s number of rows by 84, the total number of rows in the blanket, to find out how often that color will appear:

Blues. .84 rows ÷ 24 = once in every 3 1/2 rows
Roses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Greens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1/2
Whites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1/2
Brown. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1/2
Dark Olive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Variegated. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Those that came out to an uneven number of rows will alternate between the next smaller number and the next larger number. Like in the case of blues, one in three rows and then once in the next four rows, averaging out to once in every 3 1/2 rows.

Chart of Row Colors

I numbered a sheet of notebook paper 1-84, representing my ripple’s rows, and then filled them in, plotting one color at a time. In the case of two colors that were to both occur at the same frequency, like one row out of every 17 for the variegated and the dark olive, I placed the olive, in rows 17, 34, 51, and 68, and the variegated in rows 8, 25, 43, 60, and 77.

When I came to a row already filled, like in the case of row 25, already filled by rose when I got to the variegated yarn, I just wrote the second color next to the first. After I had filled all the rows that I could, I moved these few stragglers into the nearest open row (follow the arrows).

What was that? I think I just heard someone say, “But Linda, if this ‘scrandom plan’ is so easy, what’s with all those marked out words?” Weeell, you see, at the end I still had a few rows open, so I filled them all with blue, knowing I had that great big ball of it, but then I realized there shouldn’t be any remaining slots! After all, I started this process knowing I had 84 rows worth of yarn, plus the extra blue.

Sure enough, when I double-checked how many rows I had used of each color, I discovered there were two rose, one white and one brown row left! No longer remembering where the empty slots had been, I randomly chose four blue rows and replaced with them with rose, white and brown ones.

My pattern ended up being written for an 86 row blanket, because for some reason I placed two rows, one rose, and one olive, before Row #1. But late in the blanket’s crochet, I decided I wanted the two ends of the blanket to match and did some subtle skipping and rearranging of rows, resulting in an 84 row finish.

Hey, that’s proof positive; writing a ‘scrandom plan’ still allows spontaneity! lol.

This Plan Works With Other Patterns

You can figure out the rows per ounce formula for any blanket pattern, as long as you know the total weight of the blanket and the number of rows.

Unfortunately, patterns usually only mention how many skeins of a particular yarn to buy, not how much yarn was actually used. But, sometimes, you can find this information in Ravelry by reading members’ project notes for a pattern.

You may also find a pattern that says how many pattern repeats to complete, not how many rows, requiring a little math. (number of rows in a repeat x number of repeats = number of rows in blanket)

Another tip: Remember to record the finished weight of the first blanket you make from any pattern, the number of rows you crocheted and the type of yarn you used (sport,worsted, etc). Then, if you should ever want to make a multi-colored blanket off that same pattern, you’ll have all the information you need!

In Conclusion

Thank you to all of you who stuck with me, reading this entire post. I, myself, like reading about how people solve their design puzzles. I hope at least some of you find this loooong, but hopefully clear, explanation useful. Please let me know.

Click HERE to see the finished blanket.

Let’s all get back to playing with our yarn, shall we? Ripple Away!!

This entry was posted in Afghan Techniques and Patterns, Design Process, Ripple Series - French Country and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Planning a Scrandom Ripple

  1. Margo says:

    Thank you so much for this interesting article. I am going to try this.
    I do something similiar if I want to make an afghan with a fibonnaci sequence, but I use an Excel spreadsheet. However I never thought about weighing my afghans to plan the stripes.

    • You’re very welcome! I hope it works as well for you as it does for me!
      An Excel spread sheet would definitely work for this too. I’m not a luddite; it just didn’t occur to me to do it on the computer! lol.
      Yeh, I’m big on weighing things. I use so many small lots of yarn. Weighing helps me use them up, without fear of running out – two very good things! 🙂
      Thank you for the thoughtful comment.

  2. creative pixie says:

    This is lovely, the colours really complement each other.

  3. I DID read all the way down, because I am in awe of folks with Number Knowledge! I am number dyslexic and often forget my own phone number. All my passwords must spell a word, or the ATM would deny me money every time. (Don’t get me started on computer passwords that require “at least one number “).

    However, I absolutely LOVE your ability to make these beautiful designs and am excited to learn your secret! Thank you for sharing!

    • I admire your determination! Reading all my math couldn’t have been much ‘fun’, but I’m very happy you now know some of my design ‘secrets’.

      Thank you! I don’t think every blanket I make is beautiful, but then I let myself off the hook with the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, and I have to hope there’s a foster child who’ll say – “I want that one!!” 🙂

  4. Well, good for you…but there’s far too much maths in that for me!

    It’s going to be a lovely blanket.

  5. I have referenced your process to a friend of mine. Now, I have posted a link in a FB group called SaSsy Stitchers who also have a Ravelry Group. I’m going to weigh the ripple I’m making now so I can plan for future ones! Linda, you are AWESOMe!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Melissa says:

    Hey again 🙂 I am doing a blog post about scraps and how to use, how to plan, etc and wondered if I could have permission to use this post as a link within my text?

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