Sunday, January 6, 2013

Crooked Lake Cottage Blanket


Of all the blankets I’ve made, this one comes the closest to me. It puts me in mind of 1975, and of our cottage at Crooked Lake in Northern Michigan, where my grandpa had built everything and the curtains were plastic, and all the blankets and pillowcases and quilts and dishes had come from somewhere else, the way they usually do in cottages, but especially there because an earlier, older cottage which had stood for years on that spot, was struck by lightning when I was very young, and burned to the ground. Everything in every cupboard was mismatched, all stuff Grandma didn’t feel like having in her real house. Later, after the new cottage was built, I found a bent and blackened silver spoon in the sand on the beach, the only trace of the first cottage I ever found.  There was a dinged-up fishing boat with a motor that would hardly ever start, and my brother and I slept in twin beds in a room that looked out into the woods.  Owls kept me awake at night.  My imagination ran totally amok in that place, in those woods.  I thought there were fairies everywhere, and witches and dwarves and gnomes, living under red-topped toadstools, hiding just beyond every fallen tree. 


I wanted there to be old things, secret passageways and heirlooms and things mysterious, handed down, imbued with time.  I thought always of the old cottage I hardly remembered, imagined it brimming with big cupboards bulging with things like this blanket.  I guess that is what I am doing.  Filling the cupboards. 


Goodness, making it was fun.  Those five-round granny squares go so quickly.  I used all scraps and leftovers, which is why the edging is a little bit scant—there wasn’t enough of much of anything to go all the way around it.  That’s okay, it’s big enough for just me; long enough to cover my toes and pull up to my chin . 


I see I’m falling back on this picot edging pretty much all the time, which I swear I wasn’t aware I was doing.  Memo for next time:  avoid the picots, try something new, sheesh. 


This blanket is made up of 12 columns x 14 rows of 5-round granny squares, using worsted weight wool and a US F hook. I joined the squares as I went.  There’s a good tutorial for joining as you go here, but in a nutshell, all you do is replace the chain stitch between the granny clusters with a single crochet into the corresponding space on the adjoining square.  I think it makes sense when you get there, but Lucy explains it a lot better.  Anyway, then I worked a single round of granny clusters all the way around the border, then a round of single crochet, then a round of picots, which I think in this case is something like *5 sc, (sc, ch3 sc) in next sc, repeat from * to end, making sure the corners look good.  I always just kind of fudge the picots at the corners. 


Because these are all leftovers, this blanket goes with everything.  It just matches my whole life in this house.  Burnt orange, turquoise, taupe, peony, copper, lime, fucshia, silver gray, navy, lilac, gold, umber, eggplant, blush, geranium.  A muted folk palette.  My palette.  Which, I guess, is really why this one feels so much like me.