Monday, August 23, 2010

Granny Square Blanket

At some point in the past few years (probably when she moved into her new house), my mother gave me a big shoebox full of her old needlepoint tapestry yarns. Of the crafts I do, needlepoint is not one, so this left me with a yarny conundrum. What do I do with hundreds of yards of (kinda crappy) yarn in a million different colors? Some of it I used for a Christmas-themed scarf in a 1x1 rib. I'm fairly certain I was working on this during a business trip to Dallas, which felt a little funny. Knitting a winter scarf in a place that only goes down to the 50s or 60s in January is pretty ridiculous.
The strategy was to always have green and red stripes, but to alternate which one ended its skein. So at any visible break point, the opposite color is still continuous. There were a variety of greens and reds to choose from, so this wasn't too difficult. All of the skeins were 40 yds - I suppose if I wanted to, I could then figure out the yardage that went into this scarf, but I don't care that much. It's about 6" wide and 70" long and after a bath in a some Eucalan wool wash and a little extra conditioner thrown in, it's quite nice. Again, since it's scratchy yarn, you wouldn't want to make an against-the-skin sweater with it, but for a decorative accessory, it's fine.

Still, that left me with dozens of these little mini-skeins. The next thing that occurred to me was to use them to make granny squares. I looked up a great series of videos on YouTube that helped me learn how to crochet them, and made a plan for how best to use the yarn. I selected 6 colors without any thought to coordination or matching and made the first square, then for the next, I shifted each color in towards the center by one space and added a new color to the outside. This way, each square was a little different and I didn't have to worry too much about having the right amount of any given color. I did try to vary the value of colors, so there wouldn't be more than a few pastels or bolds or darks in a row. Towards the end, I had to start reusing the ends and get a little creative with combinations that would allow me to use the most yardage possible, but I ended up with 52 squares.

The biggest rectangle I could make with those was a 6x8 blanket with a total size of about 4'x4'. It's good for the foot of the bed or on the couch, even though it won't cover your whole body. Wool in this form is amazing because the holes mean that it breathes like crazy, but amazingly it still traps a lot of heat. My local yarn store supplied some Nature Spun Sport in a lovely teal for me to slip stitch the squares into rows and the rows into a blanket. Then I did one border round to hold everything together.

I've been thinking that aestetically, I might want to go back and add a couple more rounds to the outside. The picture makes the blanket look much more asymmetrical than it is in person. Can you spot where there are clusters of related squares?

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