Thursday, March 22, 2012

Attic Dormitory Blanket

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We are having the most spectacular weather.  It was 80 degrees F yesterday.  In March!  In New York!  I have never seen anything like this before, and I spent much of the last few days just sitting on the patio with a book, going dormant and basking like a lizard on a rock.  This is vacation weather.  This is what you hope for when you book your winter break trip to Tampa.  Oh, it’s nice.  Of course, I also felt the insistent nudge of this pesky blanket, tapping away on my shoulder as I began to doze off.   It’s eighty degrees, who wants a lap full of wool?  Well, I do…

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Finally, it is finished.  I say this with a satisfied and weary sigh.  I do believe I might be cured of the grannies for awhile.  Maybe.  Don’t quote me on that.  But four hundred granny squares is a lot. 

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I’m always surprised at how much the different pinks assert themselves in the photos.  It seems so mostly-blue to me, in person. 

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Remember the Nanny McPhee blanket?  I know you do.  There have probably been thousands of Nanny McPhee-inspired blankets created since that movie sent everyone running for their hooks.  When I saw it, I sort of sucked in my breath.  Just thought, Oh Yeah!  I’m making that.  I loved the children’s attic bedroom under the eaves, with the beds all lined up and cozy with quilts and blankets, and the littlest girl had the best blanket, a scrappy granny made up of wee squares.  Deep sigh. 

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It was only a matter of time, really, before I succumbed to the yearning. 

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I loved making these grannies, sitting beside my basket of little balls of wool in every color, chipping away at the scraps all winter.  I begin to notice a few rules I seem to follow:  I have a deep aversion to the primary colors, I never put pink and blue directly beside each other, and I have a compulsive need to throw in a good measure of ugly neutrals, just to tone things down. 

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I also came up with a strategy for ensuring a more or less even distribution of color. I worked on the individual squares in batches of ten, making sure to use a variety of colors and values within those ten squares, and then I safety-pinned them together.  I kept these groups intact through the blocking process, re-pinning them together once they were dry.  When it came time to join them, I chose two stacks and spread the squares out beside me, making the decision about which square to add next based on which squares would be its neighbors.   This method also helped me easily keep track of how many squares I had made, and it helped keep them orderly until I was ready to hook them together. 

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Here are the stats:  I made 400 three-round granny squares (though I only ended up using 360 of them—it was big enough) out of scraps.  Lots and lots of scraps, lots of little balls of leftovers of leftovers.  I’m talking about balls of yarn the size of cherry tomatoes.  I don’t remember what any of them were, except that I use a lot of Cascade 220, Ella Rae Classic Worsted and Amity, Berrocco Vintage, and Patons Classic Merino, so you can be sure it is mostly comprised of those yarns, although there are quite a few thrifted oddments in my yarn basket, purchased for their weight and color, and I have no idea what they are.  The white yarn in the joining rounds and edging is Berrocco Vintage in “Snow Day”, and I think I used ten skeins of it.  The edging is two rounds of single crochet, finished with a picot edge. 

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It looks like a blanket you’d have in your attic dormitory, on an iron bed, possibly originally crocheted by the Ladies’ Aid Society to benefit an orphanage.  It looks like a blanket you’ve had your whole life.  It looks beautiful and thrifty and scrappy and full of love.  It looks right at home there.  I am happy.

62 comments:

  1. Well done Kristen - the blanket is beautiful. Did you also make the patchwork quilt? That is lovely too. After seeing what a terrible state my Nan's old sewing machine is in, I have just bought a modern one. I want to renovate my Nans but it will take ages and I so much have the urge to sew!! I think there is room for both in my life. What are you planning on next? Lily. xxx

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    1. Thank you, Lily. Yes, I did make the quilt, too, and of all the quilts I've made, it is my very favorite. I blogged about it here:

      http://www.cozymadethings.blogspot.com/2010/12/barnraising-quilt.html

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  2. Oh wow! It is just gorgeous!!! What a lot of love that looks like to me! Such loveliness!!! It looks perfect there at the foot of your bed. Love it!!

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  3. totally agree with Kris, and thank you for mentioning how many squares that is the bit that I can never work out.

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  4. Your blanket is beautiful ! I'm in love :) It made me want to crochet grannies :)
    Angie

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  5. Gorgeous Kristen! Lots of work and lots of scraps but so worth it!~Hugs, Patti

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  6. I am green with granny envy. It would look so good on my bed. 400 blocks is incredible! Love Berrocco vintage yarn, it is my new favorite. I have squirreled away a stash of it to make who knows what, who knows when. BTW have you seen the new trailer for Dark Shadows starring Johnny Depp? You will love him even more. Swear.

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  7. **WOW,WOW, and super WOW**, fabby blankey,, you must be absolutly thrilled to pieces with it, and probably can't stop looking at it either...just stunning AND so colourful.....

    Pixie x

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  8. It's really really beautiful! The colours are wonderful, the whole thing is perfect. Isn't it funny how colours you don't like so much mixed with those you love, make a better blanket than one full of colours you really like? The duller one's serve to make the others look even better I think.


    I'm really not keen on the primary versions of colours either. However, I do put blue and pink together. Different blues and different pinks.

    The Nannie McPhee blanket is lovely, I have a favourite version which I found and put on pinterest. There are so many inspiring things online - many of them yours! All your things are so very lovely.

    Sara

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  9. Twigwoman@gmail.comMarch 22, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    OH MY STARS!!!!!! SO beautiful... I am just about finished with a granny I am making as a wedding gift... in shades of greens,browns and multis.... I am so tired of looking at and had to take a few days off before I finish the final weave ins... from the border.. as I was working in a machine washable fiber I did not block as i went and now feel the need to... I can not wait to do so and send it off... and now without any hesitation I KNOW I Will be making more grannies as this is just so over the top Desirable!!!! Like you I did pin my rows together as I went, but I did not consider mixing dull and brights but likely because I had so many multis in my plan... A good idea to keep in mind for my next piece thanx!!!

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  10. Very pretty blanket Kristen! Must say, you are my blanket muse :-) Never seen the Nanny McPhee blanket (didn't see the movie) - would be nice to make.

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  11. Wonderful! I love it...and now yu hav eme wondering about the Nanny McPhee blanket LOL. Isn't it funny how movies can inspire us?

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  12. Crochet with RaymondMarch 22, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    it is absolutely gorgeous and inspiring... I think it is time for me to start a granny blanket now!
    XXX

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  13. Lovely :) And your bedroom looks so nice. Beautiful quilt, iron bed, books, pillows...Convicting me that I need to spend some time working on mine...Enjoy your 80s weather - I'm in the 50s and rainy today.

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  14. Oh Kristin, it's beautiful. And I have to say it: you have so much patience! In my opinion, a perfect addition to any room.

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  15. I remember voting for *pearl grey* to join, but the white is so swoony-fantabulous!

    so...you made 400 squares...and used 360...what will become of the remaining 40 squares? ~inquiring minds~ !!

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    1. I'm not sure yet what I'll do with the remaining squares--got a few ideas, though! :)

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  16. You should be happy! And so proud. It's a beautiful, beautiful blanket. And it looks like it's been there forever. What a lovely heirloom. I also love that Nanny Mcphee bedroom and have even paused the dvd to have a good look. xxx

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  17. Fantastic work! I'm so envious when I see granny blankets that look so fabulous as it's something I can't seem to achieve myself; I get bored before I get anywhere near 400 squares...

    Simply stunning and be justly proud of yourself!!!

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  18. I'm crazy for your white afghan and for your beautiful quilt and pillow on your bed. The whole look is spiritual, simple, wholesome and romantic. I am inspired by your work. I also have a white bedroom and when I wake up in the mornings I feel like I'm in heaven with the white light seeping through the curtains. I've actually looked on a stencil maniacs blog and she had put small disco mirror balls in a bowl on a table that gets the morning sun and her whole room gets transformed into hundreds of spots of light, it's really an awesome sight.
    I've just crocheted a little yellow cell phone holder with orange roses on to carry my $15 Tracfone SVC for seniors in. I like this phone because of the big keys and letters on the screen so that I don't have to strain my eyes & it only costs me $7/month for service.
    I'm tuned to your blogg, I can't wait to see more of your poetry in wool.

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  19. This blanket is sooo stunning! Isn't it lovely to have colored squares bordered in white? I think it's absolutely perfect, you will love and use it forever! Great work!!!

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  20. Your blanket...WOW! So beautiful!!
    I actually watched Nanny McPhee for the first time the other week and had a similar gasp moment when I saw the attic bedroom with the blankets. Best thing in the film :)

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  21. Gorgeous! I really need to get my white one finished.

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  22. Kristen it is amazing!!!! What an accomplishment and it is so beautiful;. Well done!!!
    Meredith

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  23. You are my hero (or should I say heroine?) Kristen! Making granny squares is the reason I learned to crochet this winter but so far I've only made a couple of doilies. Could you tell me where you get your yarn? And what kind a beginner crocheter should start with? Only have the ugly yarns from Hobby Lobby around here and I have no clue as to what weight yarn goes with what size hook! Like I said, I'm a newbie! I've seen so many wonderful, creative items here on your blog and my fingers are itching to make something too! I'm a new follower!

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    1. Thanks very much! I'm a big fan of my local yarn stores, although www.jimmybeanswool.com came through for me in a big way when I ran out of the white border yarn. I always buy my yarn locally if I can, and if I can't, there are a lot of great online resources. Jimmy Beans is my current fave. Hobby Lobby does have a few good blanket yarns--I've used their "I Love This Wool" for blanket-making, and I think they carry Patons (do they? Now I don't remember...) JoAnn Fabrics is now carrying a nice line called "Stitch 'n Bitch" by Debbie Stoller, too, which are mostly wool blends in really lovely colors. I always feel free when making a blanket to use yarns I probably wouldn't use in a garment.

      I use a 3.75mm (US F)or 4.0mm (US G) hook with worsted weight yarn, but you may find you like a denser fabric--meaning you'd want to use a smaller hook--or a looser fabric, meaning you'd want to use a larger hook.

      The best part is that you can hardly go wrong. You're the boss, and crochet is forgiving. Good luck! :)

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  24. congratulations! it's stunning..what more can i say?

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  25. Wow, great job!! Lovely!! J.

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  26. Absolutely love your blanket just finished a ripple was wondering what to do next. Can you tell me how large is your blanket?

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    1. Hi, thanks very much! The finished size is 80" x 72",although the joining method allows a little extra stretch, so when it hangs over the sides of the bed, it's a little larger. :)

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  27. Beautiful! And how inspiring. I have a blanket with 375 squares waiting to be finished, and seeing yours done is just the type of help I need :).

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  28. Bright, fresh, sunny, beautiful!! I too LOVE that Nanny McPhee (what crochet addict doesn't!!??) and have a selection of yarns waiting to be hooked up just for said project. Love your photos too!

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  29. 400!!!! Wahou..... Makes me feel dizzy! But worth the result... Bravo!

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  30. Absolutely beautiful blanket. I just love it on your bed, it is perfect.

    Here in the UK it's been a beautiful week of warm sunny days, so not as much crafting has been going on as usual as we've been out in the garden catching up after the winter while the weather is nice.

    Fleur xx

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  31. Que linda sua manta.
    Parabéns.

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  32. This is an utterly gorgeous blanket. So much work has gone into it... fantastic!
    Victoria

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  33. Wonderful blanket can you tell me the pattern you used?

    Thanks

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    1. Thanks very much! This is just a classic granny square blanket, made up of 360 four-round granny squares in a configuration of 20 x 18. Nothing fancy, just all the grannies you can stand, and then about ten more. ;)

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  34. Wow, lovely work! I admire your willpower...whenever I set out to make a very large blanket of squares I always manage to convince myself that it's "big enough" before it really is, and then I'm always disappointed afterward, haha!
    -Angie

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    1. I totally almost fell into that trap this time, too! I really had to muster the strength.

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  35. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!incredible,I love it so much.I know I was enchanted by the nanny pcphee film and the blanket and the quilts and that attic bedroom and there will most certainly be a nanny mcphee blanket in my future. Yours really is a beautiful work of art, very inspiring xxxxx

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  36. Hi Kristen,
    Looooooove your blanket :0) The colours are perfect, just the right mix of bright and muted tones...gives it a timeless feel. well done on such a big project.....love the picot edge too .
    Jacquie x

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  37. hi
    just wondering if you could tell me where you found the pattern for the quilt. I know it is barn raising but I've never seen it done the way yours is. It along with the granny throw is WOW.
    Thank you
    Peg

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    1. Hi Peg, thanks very much! The barnraising quilt was inspired by a photo I saw in an old book; one of those "Treasury of Needlework" type things, you know the kind I mean? There wasn't a pattern, just a picture, but it's really just squares and triangles made into squares--I think you could suss it by looking at my photos. Feel free to run with it! :)

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  38. oh my goodness kristen!! your blanket is gorgeous, pefect and upon your bed, exquisite! now how will i ever make one of these? because i need to now. i love your bedroom too.

    p.s. the bathing suit i made was sent to my daughter in nyc, because you know, 80 degree weather in march is normal there. amazing!

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  39. You should be proud and very happy...it's beautiful. Enjoy it forever. lol x

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  40. It is so so so beautiful! I bet your great-great-grandchildren will still have fun with it and tell stories about it :)
    xo Hilde

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  41. Love your blanket. You're so right, it looks like you have had it for years. What a wonderful family heirloom!
    (((Hugs)))
    Eileen

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  42. your blanket is gorgeous, you have inspired me to begin one of my own.

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  43. Gorgeous girl - I have been away from my computer for a few weeks now and am absolutely loving visiting your beautiful blog again. What I am really, really loving is seeing your stunning blanket in all its finished glory!! She is a beauty!! Boy you must be so very chuffed with it. It's just fabulous. You know that you have made a lot of people completely green with envy now don't you??!! I especially love that last pic with your amazing quilt too. Clever, clever woman you are.

    Have a wonderful week - hope your good weather continues!
    Leah
    xx

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  44. Agreed! The blanket is stunning! And now I DO want to make one too! I may have to start with green due to my jealousy. ;)

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  45. Hi Kristen, not so long ago I came across your blog throungh Attic 24 and I have kept coming back since, to see and admire all your beautiful work. I just officaly became one of your followers. I am very new to crochet but I set myself a challenge to do a blanket inspired on this blanket of yours, it will probably take me some time to finish but as soon as I get there I will do a post on my blog and I will let you know.Thanks for sharing.
    Warmly,
    Edina

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    1. I'm so glad to hear you've been inspired! Take your time with your blanket, and have a great time with the process. One square at a time. I can't wait to see how it turns out. :

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  46. Kristen, this is absolutely one perfect blanket.
    I really, really love it!!
    Just like Edina I am pretty new to crochet, too, but I can't wait to try to create such a gorgeous little piece of art and coziness like you did...
    Thank you for sharing these inspiring photos of your incredibly beautiful work!

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    1. Hi Tracy,

      Thanks very much! For this blanket,I used Lucy's join-as-you-go method--here's a link:

      http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/joining-asyougo-sqaures.html

      Good luck! :)

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  49. Hello!
    I discovered your blog today and I can't stop looking.
    I love the things you make.
    Have a nice day!

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  50. Oh my! How beautiful! I've been a knitter all my life but have JUST learnt to crochet for the sole purpose of making a granny square blanket! I love it! Always wanted to make one!
    To be cheeky, you said it took 360 squares (I'm up to about 40 at the mo! But how big was each square (roughly ish!) please?
    And where did you get the picot edge pattern its divine!

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    1. Thank you very much! Each of my three round grannies was roughly 3 1/2" across, and I just made up the picot edging using my usual strategy of winging it until something looks good! :D

      Good luck with your blanket--bet it's lovely.

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