Inside – The Desertscape Crochet Blanket explores Textured Stitches and Intarsia Crochet while taking inspiration from the desert. Join this free crochet along here!

Winter without snow is the season I dread the most. What really is the point? Every day steeps in grey, cloudy skies. It makes the world look dirty, and steers my imagination to a warmer winter climate, like Phoenix or Tucson, AZ. So, I decided to bring a little of the sunny southern desert into my living room with the Desertscape Crochet Blanket.

The holidays made the grey winter tolerable, but now they are long gone. Without the sparkly clutter of festive decorations, our homes can finally take a full breath. But our homes may feel a little empty.

Are you considering a Spring pick-me-up decor refresh, also? This is exactly the place I found myself in January. My home craved something light + bright in the living room, just like my body needed to reduce its sugar cookie intake. That’s when the inspiration to design the Desertscape Blanket struck.

The desertscape crochet blanket adds a touch of the southwest to your home.

Inspiration for the Desertscape Crochet Blanket

Desert Living in the Desertscape Crochet Blanket

For the last decade, my family and I bounced around the American Southwest (plus, a short stay in Oklahoma). It took me a while to adjust to the dry air, intense summer sun, and the amount of sand/red dirt. But once I adjusted, I fell in love with the desert. The sounds, smells, plants, animals.. the High and Low deserts of Arizona. It all captured my full attention.

The Desertscape Crochet Blanket is an ode to all things lovely, prickly, and desolate in the desert. As you crochet, you’ll explore a saguaro forest (sa-WAH-ro) in bloom, the ribs of a barrel cactus, jagged mountains and monuments that lift to an unyielding desert sun. Once done, your blanket will capture the essence of desert life.

Getting Back into Colorwork Crochet

One of the most intriguing parts of crochet is the colorwork. There are several varieties to choose from – mosaic, intarsia, overlay mosaic, tapestry, corner-to-corner. Each technique holds its individual strengths, but the end result is the same – a beautiful image carved out of yarn.

Colorwork is a technique that drew me towards crochet from the beginning. However, over the last several years, my crocheting explored textured stitches in various home decor pieces, and dipping my toes into garments. The Desertscape Blanket is a project to reclaim colorwork crochet in my craft, and hone it to become a better teacher of it. My hope is that this project will do the same for you.

Colorwork and Textured Crochet in One Project

This blanket is designed in sections of alternating colorwork, and textured sections. Why?

  • Because it’s fun,
  • It keeps your interest throughout crocheting.
  • A whole Intarsia Crochet Afghan is daunting.

Making an entire blanket with an Intarsia crochet technique (colorwork) is a marathon project. It can be daunting for beginners, and less experienced, crocheters. (I’ve been there and done that.) So, the Desertscape Blanket is designed to introduce the Intarsia technique, help you practice it, and give you breaks with textured stitch sections. What we’ll do together is hone our crochet skills, avoid the burnout, and finish our blanket together.

The desertscape crochet blanket adds a touch of the southwest to your home.
For size reference – the Desertscape Blanket is laying on a queen sized bed.

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Blanket Material List

  • Yarn – worsted weight (category 4) in 2 colors
    • Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran in Champagne White + Pine
    • Approximate Yardage
      • Champagne (MC) = 2620yds or 13 skeins
      • Pine (CC) = 810yds or 4 skeins
  • Crochet Hook – H/8 (5.00mm)
  • Tapestry Needle
  • Scissors
  • Stitch Markers
  • Clothes Pins, Toilet Paper Rolls (or anything to make bobbins with)

Let’s Chat about Yarn

The Desertscape Blanket features the Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran. It is a 100% acrylic yarn that comes in a gorgeous color palette. I highly recommend giving this yarn a try. It’s one of the softer acrylics on the market, and machine washes beautifully.

Browse all the colors of Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran here.

Whichever yarn you choose, make sure it’s a WORSTED (category 4) weight yarn. I recommend NOT swapping the fiber content, unless you do some swatching and washing before starting the blanket.

Paintbow Yarns Simply Aran is used in the Desertscape Blanket Crochet Pattern.

Gauge and the Purpose of Swatching

After you pick out the yarn, let’s do some swatching!

First, doing a gauge swatch for this pattern is a must. Please do not skip this important step! I want you to be successful with the Desertscape Blanket, and not be ready to use it as a slim blanket for your dachshund after section two.

Gauge is based off of the colorwork sections. It not only determines the finished size of the Desertscape Blanket, but it also gives you an idea on what the colorwork sections will look like. So, to help you meet the proper gauge, I’ve created a mini swatch to work up.


14 STS x 15 Rows = 4″ x 4″ square

  • Create gauge using the Single Crochet Stitch
  • Gauge is measured BEFORE blocking

Finished Size of Blanket

51″ high x 65″ wide

Intarsia Crochet Practice Gauge Swatch

Also, this video tutorial will help you grow more comfortable reading a colowork chart, and determining how many bobbins to create. Grab the heart colorwork chart below, and watch with video to follow along.

Where to Find the Desertscape Blanket Pattern

The Desertscape Blanket is a free pattern on the High Desert Yarn Blog. It’ll be released one section at a time starting on April 10, 2023 when the crochet-along kicks off.

Do you want access to the whole pattern right now? You may also purchase the full eBook from my Etsy Shop or Ravelry store.

The Desertscape Blanket Crochet Pattern is now available in an eBook on Etsy and Ravelry.

Purchase on Etsy – – – Purchase on Ravelry

  1. Sign up for email reminders to never miss when the CAL updates.
  2. Join the HDY Handmade Community on Facebook to connect with crocheters working on this project.

Desertscape Crochet Blanket Sections

Section 1
Golden Barrel

Pattern Now Available

Click here for the free pattern.

Section 2
Saguaro Forest

Click here for the free pattern.

Section 3
Cactus Bloom

Click here for the free pattern.

Section 4
Catalina Mountains

Click here for the free pattern.

Section 7
Road Runner

Click here for the free pattern.

Section 8
Never Setting Sun

Click here for the free pattern.

Section 9
Diamond Dunes

Click here for the free pattern.

High Desert Yarn is made possible by YOUR support. Thank you for reading this blog post, and helping build High Desert Yarn. Happy Creating, Joanna

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  1. I just ordered my yarn. My oldest son moved to AZ and I have been wanting to make him a blanket and this will be perfect. Looking forward to crocheting with you.

    1. Carrie – excited to have you join the CAL! What a great blanket to make for your son. I bet he’ll love it!

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