Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Woodstock Blanket


I’ve never had to think so much before.   As you know, my usual way is to toss a bunch of yarn into a pile, grab whichever one rolls the closest to where I’m sitting, and just start.  You know, whatever happens, happens.  This time, I made some rules for myself, and it ended up being kind of a headache.  It really happened because of this.  The yarn happened to land that way when I dumped it on the table (see?  This is really how I work) and as I stood there looking at it, the idea for this blanket jumped into my head.  I wanted to move from one color to the next, allowing them to merge and overlap, and I didn’t want them to go in rainbow order, and I wanted it to go from cool to warm and I wanted the colors that were next to each other to look great and show themselves off to their best advantage, because that really is critical.  Trying to make leftovers and scraps gleaned from the back corners of the yarn cupboard conform to an intricate calculus of color theory and design was a lot trickier than I anticipated, but I love the way it turned out.


I more or less abandoned my plan somewhere between the green and the purple and went back to my usual method of just using the next color that looks good, though I did try to maintain the general move from cool to warm. 


I couldn’t believe how hard it was to move from one color combination to the next.  The first two rows of everything just looked completely wrong and I’d spend the next hour freaking out and ripping back and tearing at my hair and clothing.  (Blogless) Sara said, “Even if you think it is not right. By the time you have got some more rows down, it will be.”  Jacquie said the same kind of thing in this post, and they were both right.  But it was hard. 


The stitch pattern I used is a version of the Catherine Wheel, called Harlequin, so named (I guess) because an extra ch1 at the top of the clusters makes them square instead of round.  I started there, inspired by a design called Greenway, from the book Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghans by Norah Gaughan and Margery Winter.  If you follow that pattern, you’ll want to know that it doesn’t tell you what to do after you finish the last row of squares and the edge is all pointy, which doesn’t match the beginning edge.  I figured out on my own how to square it off—here’s what I did:  after finishing row 4, turn and ch 3.  Work a 3 dc-tog and then 3 sc in the side of the cluster.  (I think that would make sense to you when you got there.)  Now, work 1 sc in the ch 1 space.  Work a 6 dc-tog, 3 sc in the side of it, sc in ch1 sp, and so on, to the end.  I hope this works for you—let me know if it doesn’t and I’ll see if I can help. 

Anyway, I also didn’t like the edging the pattern suggested, a simple round of crab stitch, which looked great in the photo, but all the sc-ing into the side of my rows just looked awful and I couldn’t stand it.  I did want a plain little row of just one innocuous color so as not to compete with all the hectic color going on, so my solution was to work one row of ch3, skip next 3, sc etc. and one row of 2 sc, ch2, 2 sc in each ch 3 space.  (I’m sorry, I’m not great at writing down crochet directions.)


I love that depending upon how I fold it, it looks like a different blanket!


What, you feel like a little pink today?  No problem!


I’ll be honest;  that right there is the whole reason I keep making blankets.  I can’t even tell you how much I love looking at that teetering mountain of yarny, granny loveliness.  I also love that when my daughter’s friends visit for the weekend, she tells them, “If you get cold, there’s a blanket pretty much everywhere.”   That’s right, I’m keeping the whole world warm, one handful of college students at a time.100_8742a

I don’t know of anything more satisfying to make than a lovely cozy blanket, put together using accumulated detritus and a little brainpower.  This blanket is tie-dye technicolored, recycled and repurposed.  It was an experience.  Tell them about it, Jimi.


edited:  Neicee found the Greenway pattern free on Ravelry!  Here it is. It looks like there’s an errata page, too.  Ravelry, I love you so much.  Thanks, Neicee!