Zooty Owl's Crafty Blog

Colourful Crochet, Craft, Cooking, and Contemplations

Friday, 28 April 2017

Rainbows After the Rain Blanket and Poncho CAL

Hello lovely (very patient) CAL-ers!    I know you probably cannot wait to run out and buy lots and lots (and lots) of lovely yarn for your blankets and/or ponchos.

I have been struggling a bit to get my ducks in a row.    Most days they head off into the dunes to go and nap (translate as I am feeling really ugh-y and have less than zero energy).

I have been keeping (hiding) a secret from you for a few years......... I have Fibromyalgia.    It flared up around the time my mom got sick.    I ignored it thinking that it was the stress of watching mom suffer.   Being a "pull yourself towards yourself" kind of girl, I was not going to let this get me down!   Besides, I was not going to complain about feeling horrid with mom suffering the way she was.   I also did not want to be "that girl" - the one people avoid because she is always yammering on about her health issues!   It turns out that the medical profession knows very little about this disease and has even less of an idea of how to treat it.    The side effects of the medications prescribed are even worse than the symptoms of Fibro - but enough about that!  (The following is very "tongue in cheek" - I would probably never again speak to someone who said this to me on a bad day!    But I am still allowed to say it to myself)

A few weeks back Andrea of  KOKOPELLI DESIGN shared a "memory" on Facebook - a photo of WADE'S BLANKET, a CAL we co-hosted a little over two years ago.

Wade was a beautiful little boy (a few months short of 4 years) who lost the battle against cancer two years ago. The blanket was intended as a comfort blanket for him in hospital - but sadly he passed away before his blanket was finished.

We all deal with loss and grief at some point in our life.   Although we usually associate loss and grief with losing a loved one to death, there are other kinds too, for example:

The single mom (good mom who always does the best she can) whose adult son has turned to drugs and lives off the streets - grieves for her lost child;

The young girl who has her dignity stolen by the unwanted and unwelcome attentions of a boy - grieves for her innocence;

Those who have been victims of hijackings or home invasions - grieve for the loss of their sense of safety;

Those affected by illness grieve the loss of their health and vitality.

I had promised my followers a 2017 Poncho CAL, but when Andrea posted the photo a lot of new followers wanted to make Wade's Blanket.   I did a quick poll on my Facebook pages - Poncho or relaunch of the blanket??    The votes were about fifty / fifty..... so we decided we would do both.  

RAINBOWS AFTER THE RAIN CAL is all about finding the rainbow after the rain.  To make it fun for those of you who have already made the blanket, I have designed 4 new squares, one of which is a simple slightly textured mandala in a square.   The mandala part of the pattern also makes super potholders or coasters!  Andrea has also designed her very first square - so there is a nice selection for you to choose from.   Each square will have a name to match the theme and a little story to go with it...... much the same as we did with the Seaside Winter Blanket.

The RAINBOWS AFTER THE RAIN CAL will be held over 16 weeks and we will post the NEW patterns every second week, with a link to the corresponding square in the Wade's Blanket CAL.  Links to both blogs will be posted in the Zooty Owl Crochet-a-Long Facebook Group every second Friday, starting 5 May 2017.

My blanket will be donated to a charity and my 2 married daughters will each be getting a "Festival" poncho.  Since the blanket and ponchos need to be able to take a bit of a beating I have used Elle Charity, which is a really robust chunky 100% acrylic yarn and so washing and caring for the finished item is not a complicated affair.   Charity Chunky is a fair bit thinner than Lollipop Chunky (150m of yarn per 100g ball) and Stylecraft Special Chunky (144m of yarn per 100g ball).    A 100g ball of Charity = 160m of yarn.


The blanket has undergone quite a metamorphosis since the start.    The idea was to make the patterns striking and interesting to make - but still easy enough for even beginners to join in!

The middle panel started out as a "shell stripe"

That was frogged because the sides were ever so slightly uneven and may have caused problems for inexperienced crocheters.

Enter the perfect straight edged pattern, a simple no brain stripe called "Iris Stitch", to which my own little touch was added - "flower" rows with a puff stitch flower.   Hooray I was on a roll.    Then Lucy published her Hydrangea stripe - and OH darn, she also just did a variation of Iris Stitch.  Frogged again!!   So now you probably have an idea as to why it has taken so long for me to finish this blanket!

Good thing I had to frog the stripes - it made me think a bit more "outside the box (er stripe)", and I came up with the mandala square and stripe panel!   

The "Neonmelon" blanket measures measures 120cm x 110cm, was worked with a 5.50mm hook, and required 14 x 100g balls of Elle Charity Chunky in total:

3 x 100g White
3 x 100g Silver Grey
2 x 100g Tiger Cerise
2 x 100g Pink,
2 x 100g Tiger Lime
2 x 100g Limedrop.

Note:  I had just over 50g left of the White, Tiger Lime and Limedrop.    The other colours were used up to within about 2 or three metres.    Check the meterage / yardage on your yarn.   For 100g balls  measuring less than 160m you may have to purchase more yarn).

To make the 120cm x 110cm blanket in DK (8 ply / light worsted weight) you will need approximately 700g of yarn.

There are very few colours to choose from in the Charity Chunky range - so you will need to be quite resourceful with your mixes!     If I had the time (for the yarn to get here) I would have loved to make the blanket and ponchos with STYLECRAFT SPECIAL CHUNKY .  The yarn is excellent quality and just look at the gorgeous colours you can choose from!!


My daughters are "Irish Twins" and up until they were in their late teens people would often ask them if they were twins!  (I actually have "Irish Triplets" - yes people, three babies in three years!     It was and still is absolutely awesome!   Luckily for my son, he is a big lad and so he always looked a good bit older than his sisters).    The girls used to love dressing up in the same outfits, always just different colours.     We always made sure that each child got an equal share - and to this day - even though my son is almost thirty and both my girls are married - if I make (buy) for one, I make (buy) for all three.  (My son will be getting scarf and beanie sets to keep him warm during the cold and wet Cape Town winter).   The squares for the two ponchos are very similar with only a few colour variations.

My elder daughter will probably pick this one ("Silver Grey" and "Mauve").  

My youngest will probably want this one ("Pepper" and "Royal"),

The Ponchos were worked with a 6.00mm hook as I wanted a "softer" more "drapey" fabric, and each required just under 1100g of Chunky (I had not ordered enough Charity for both Ponchos and did not have time to order more, luckily there was some other Chunky yarn of more or less the same thickness in my stash)

For the Silver Grey and Mauve Poncho:
1 x 100g Tiger Lime
1 x 100g Limedrop
1 x 100g Banana
1 x 100g Mauve
3 x 100g Silver Grey
2 x 100g White
1 x 50g Elle Family Knit Chunky Print ("Florida")
1 x 100g Elle Saxony (a chunky boucle yarn)

For the Pepper and Royal Poncho:

1 x 100g Tiger Lime
1 x 100g Limedrop
1 x 100g Banana
1 x 100g Royal
2 x 100g Pepper
2 x 100g White
1 x 50g Elle Family Knit Chunky Print ("Florida")
2 x 50g Elle Family Knit Chunky Print (a discontinued colour)
1 x 100g Elle Saxony

The offical kick off for the RAINBOWS AFTER THE RAIN CAL is Friday, 5 May 2017.    I will be telling you more about the squares and providing the layouts for both my designs in the "Kick Off" post.

Looking forward to having you join us for RAINBOWS AFTER THE RAIN!!!

PS:   Hop on over to KOKOPELLI DESIGN to read Andrea's introduction post!! 


  1. So looking forward to the start of this and again see a whole lot of beautiful crochet work! So please share a lot of photos. And thank you again, Zelna, for letting me be a co-host again! :)

  2. I'm sorry you have fibromyalgia. I too have it. Not fun.
    Your crochet is always beautiful.

  3. I know it won't make any difference, but I wanted to tell you, you are not alone in your Fibromyalgia life, nor in trying to hide it. I firmly believe "Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep along". Nobody can truly understand because it is such an individualized illness. I just say, "Keep on Keeping on" and put one foot in front of the other to keep going. I'm like the tortoise in the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, I'll get there eventually, maybe not as many stops along the way, but I'll get there. Thoughts and prayers are with you that your recent flare calms down a bit soon. Smiles, Sue C

  4. I love your blog and look forward to reading it everyday. I'm anxious to join the CAL and making these projects. I also deal with pain everyday and I sympathise with you. It is so frustrating when you cannot do the things you want to do and not deal with the pain. God bless you

  5. You are so brave my friend, and such a special person.
    I am definitely making a poncho .. my first ever!

  6. I enjoy your blog also. You are not alone on your Fibromyalgia journey, I'd like to suggest a book by Dr Devin Starlanyl, a lady who also suffers with Fibromyalgia and several other health issues. This book has helped me tremendously to understand a little better some of the mysteries of Fibro and how to cope and sometimes even overcome Fibro. She has a new book out as well which I just learned about, and I will be investigating that one as well. I don't discuss my Fibro with people either for the same reasons as you, I find it brings me down, and those listening too.
    Hang tough, and keep on crocheting, we out here in blogland love your work.

    From away in Canada!

    PS If you google Dr Devin Starlanyl's name, you will be able to check out more info about her.

  7. Thanks for sharing with us Zelna.... Now that you are coming up with a changed Wade's cal I will have to do the Rainbow one. I so loved doing the first one as does my granddaughter who I made it for. And the ponchos..... Smiles and hugs. Ursula

  8. Unfortunately....add another to Fibro. Believe it or not, it went away for several yrs...came back with a vengeance! Sometime it hurts to bad to crochet. 😢 We are STRONG women and will PERSEVERE!!! Hook on, Sisters!! 💗

  9. I have been following your blog for a few years now, and never once guessed that you have Fibro. As I read the first paragraph of this post, I thought to myself how much your zero energy sounded like my own struggles with the syndrome - and lo and behold, it is! I was diagnosed about 17 years ago and have learned to pace myself. However, I have recently had to start re-learning this as a flare-up has left me house-bound for a month. I truly admire your ability to continue to produce such beautiful pieces of crochet, and patterns for others, not to mention your ability to host and run a CAL! I am really looking forward to this blanket & ponchos CAL, and I wish you a speedy recovery from your own flare-up of symptoms xx

  10. Hi all! Another with Fibromylagia. It sucks, to be polite. I too would never has guessed our host was hurting so much.

    I attach a link, as an idea and source only. I was diagnosed in January 2017. For me, guaifenesin does the trick. I seem to need 1200mg, taken AM an PM. I tried it for 2 months, and felt some relief, then stopped for a month, and all my symptoms recurred! So it's not in my head. A friend of mine, diagnosed the same time, is integrating avoiding phosphorus in her diet with the other therapies she is using, like magnets and yoga.

    I agree with Vernagrace. There's no point in talking about Fibro. Sometimes all I can do with this disease is laugh, at myself, at the situation, at a stupid syndrome that keeps trying to knock me down.

    It sucks. Pain sucks. Fatigue sucks. Being so tired you can't lift your arms sucks. When you can't lift your crocheting, let alone work on it, it's hard to believe in better. But you are awesome. And you are stronger that this. Never forget that.

    One and all, congratulate yourself for keeping going. Notice all you do. Celebrate the victories, however small they seem to you. What we focus on expands, so focus on the positive.


  11. a lot of us crafters have fibromyalgia, its what keeps us sane in times of pain. ❤️❤️