Thursday, March 22, 2012

Attic Dormitory Blanket


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…


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. 


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


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. 


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


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. 


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. 


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. 


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.