Not too long ago, I decided to learn how to crochet. Do I need another craft right now? Absolutely not. But I decided to teach myself anyway because I cannot help myself.
The thing is though, I went a little too hard at my knitting and ended up hurting my hands. Like, I spent pretty much a full weekend binge-watching Netflix and working on a lace weight shawl After putting the knitting away for a few weeks and wearing wrist braces a few hours every day I’m back to like 95%, but I’m still trying not to overdo it. Crochet, however, uses the same sort of energy but requires different muscles and movements.
Now, I’ve taught myself plenty of crafty things based on the internet and I’ve always liked starting with a kit. I still only sort of understand how yarn types and weights work and a kit takes the guesswork out. In the before times I might have gone and pestered someone at my local yarn store, but that’s not really an option now. So, after spending a few hours searching the internet and social media for options, I ended up choosing the Daydream Blanket from Wool and the Gang.
Note: I purchased this kit on my own without any coordination with Wool and the Gang. However, this page may contain some affiliate links. If you purchase something through an affiliate link, I may receive a commission. See my full disclosure statement for details.
Wool and the Gang is owned by DMC Group, the company that also owns Sirdar Yarns and DMC, which is a dominant player in the embroidery floss and pearl cotton market. So, while Wool and the Gang feels like an indie start-up, they’re actually part of a large, well established conglomerate.
Browsing the company’s website, I noticed that most of the yarns offered include some brief mention of where they were made. The Take Care Mohair is made in South Africa “where there’s a 200-year tradition of goat farming.” Others, like the New Wave Yarn, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, highlight their sustainability. I’m hoping that including the country of origin means that the company is taking responsibility for the health and wellbeing of the people who make their products. A detailed[statement on the company’s website detailing their commitment to avoiding modern-day slavery in their supply chain can also be found on their website. I couldn’t find any corresponding environmental statement.
There was, however, a company Manifesto. This lists out four tenants that the company tries to operate by. The first one was a pledge of inclusivity, a desire for people to see themselves reflected on the site, which I found interesting. Looking around the website I found that Wool and the Gang was doing an OK, but not great, job of this. The models were a mix of races, but defiantly leaned strongly towards conventional western standards of beauty. I noticed one older model and the occasional model bigger than a size 4, but the young and thin look was very much dominant. They do, however, have a decent size range for their wearable kits, which go up to a US size 24.
Overall, this is a company I feel good about purchasing from. I’d like it if their website had a bit more size diversity so that I could get a better idea of what their sweaters and other clothing items look like on different people. And if they could be even more transparent about where their yarns and fibers were produced, I’d be super excited. Given that many other companies don’t seem to acknowledge these issues at all, I have to give Wool and the Gang credit for making a clear effort.
Shipping and Packaging
I was able to reach the free shipping threshold of $80 because I added on the crochet hook needed for the kit. Shipping was neither super-fast nor slow. It took just long enough for me to be excited when I got the package, but not so long that I started wondering if it got lost or damaged.
When I opened my box I was happy to see that that the packaging seemed to be plastic free. The kit was entirely contained within a large craft paper bag. The balls of yarn had paper labels and the instructions and tools were in a paper envelope. This was a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t seen anything on their website about a green packaging initiative, so I was expecting the standard “wrap everything in plastic!” treatment. What I got instead was a high-quality paper bag that was just the right size for stashing my project in as I worked. The packaging totally lines up with visual identity and ethical values promoted on the website, which is always nice to see.
The Daydream Blanket kit contains everything needed to make a small, six-stripe crochet blanket. This kit is categorized as “Beginner” and is very much simple enough to justify that rating. A printed copy of the pattern is included, which takes the form of a well-designed booklet. My favorite part of the pattern booklet is that one of the pages includes a small ruler marking out exactly the width the finished stripes should be. This is just the sort of thoughtful touch that makes me really excited.
Six balls of Wool and Company’s Shiny Happy Cotton yarn are included. You can pick any colors you like from the 20+ colors they make, depending on what’s in stock. The kit includes on ball of each, so if you change your mind about the order of your stripes it’s easy to rearrange them. I chose the Eagle Grey, Ivory White, Cameo Rose, Mellow Mauve, Moss Green, and Malibu. The colors were all pretty true to the website when looked at in natural light, though some of them tend to dull under the odd artificial lights in my house. My favorite by far is the Moss Green. It just seems to be a little more intense and silkier than the other colors I picked.
The kit includes six balls of the brands Shiny Happy Cotton Yarn. Made from Pima cotton grown in Peru, this loosely twisted, single ply yarn has a slight sheen and a soft but solid hand when crochet. Pima cotton is what is known as a long-staple variety of cotton, meaning that the fibers are longer than standard cotton. Long staple cottons tend to be smoother and have a bit more sheen than standard cottons. They also can create yarns that are a bit stronger, less prone to abrasion. Given the loose twist of this yarn, the use of pima cotton makes sense.
The kit also comes with a few additional tools. A large yarn needle, just the right size to use for weaving in the ends of the piece was included. This was nice, because even though I have a lot of needles, I don’t think I had one quite big enough for this yarn. I also got the optional crochet hook. It wasn’t anything special, just a standard metal hook, but again, it was nice not to have to track down the right one. Finally, a “Made by Me” label is included. The label is intended to be sewn on to the finished project but honestly, I felt it was kind of a waste. Avoiding itchy labels is one of the perks of making things by hand.
The Daydream Blanket kit was $75 without the crochet hook and $83 with the hook. Shipping was free on orders over $80 when I bought it, so it’s worth adding on the hook if you need one. Buying the kit isn’t significantly less expensive than buying the yarn balls individually. The yarn goes for $12.50 a ball, which works out to $75 for the six balls in the kit. So, it’s like the pattern and needle are free with the yarn. The pattern is well produced but not particularly complex, so this doesn’t feel like an amazing deal. The hook is about $1 less expensive when purchased with the kit. Again, not a huge savings. So, getting the kit doesn’t result in any significant savings in terms of money, but it does mean that you don’t need to do all the labor of project planning. Plus, all the materials in the kit are of good quality and nicely packaged. So, I think it is very much worth the price.
Making the Blanket
Since I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I took advantage of some of the basic tutorial videos on the Wool and the Gang website to get me started. The instruction booklet includes the direct URL to their video page, which was nice. The videos don’t have the highest production value, but it’s easy to see what’s going on. They made a nice supplement to the written instructions.
Learning to cast on and starting the first row were both a bit challenging, but once I got going it was pretty easy. The entire blanket is just the same single crochet stitch over and over again. The best thing about this pattern was how forgiving it was. After the first row, I didn’t need to keep a careful count of anything, I just needed to measure my rows to see when I was done with each color. This had none of the stress that comes from working on a more complex project.
Once I got the hang of it, I didn’t even need to pay that close of attention. This was a really great project to work in front of the TV. It also would be ideal for someone who is constantly being interrupted. I never lost my place and was always able to pick up right where I left off.
I did make a mistake while turning into a new row once or twice, but that didn’t result in any fatal errors. There’s just a little wonkiness at the very edge. I considered ripping my work out and redoing it, but in the end I decided to just go with it. Little errors are part of what make hand made things special, right?
I also had a bit of an issue getting my tension right, but after the first stripe I got into a groove, but before that, I wasn’t quite sure how tight to make my loops. The first stripe of my finished blanket looks a little stretched out because of this. I’m hoping that with some use and maybe a wash it will even out. Otherwise, if it bothers me, I can always unravel it and remake the blanket.
The last issue I had was that after the first stripe, I found myself wishing that there was a different stitch or some other, slightly more complex technique I could be practicing. I tend to like projects best that help me build a lot of skills all at once. Projects that get progressively harder as I go are very much my jam. On the other hand, the tension issues I was having indicate that maybe I did need a bit more practice before moving on.
The Finished Project
According to the pattern, the finished crochet blanket should be 70 x 84 cm, or about 29 x 33 inches. My completed blanket was about the size it was supposed to be, but I was still a bit surprised at how small that really was. At first, I thought it was going to be too small to be useful, but after living with it for a bit I’ve come around and I find myself using it as a lap blanket a lot while I’m working. The small size means my feet are still exposed if I’m sitting properly, but it also means that I’m not constantly rolling over it whenever I move my chair. I think I will get a fair amount of use from this finished project. If I want a larger crochet blanket in the future, I may look into getting a similar but less expensive yarn like this Scheepjes Cahlista Aran Natural Cotton Yarn.
So, if you’re looking for a simple beginner crochet project that will result in a useful object and uses materials from a company that is making an effort to be inclusive and ethical then I very much recommend the Wool and the Gang Daydream Blanket.
Have you made the Daydream blanket? Or any other beginner crochet project or crocheted blankets? Let me know in the comments or head over to my insta!