A LONG, LOOONG time ago, about a year ago, actually, I was bitten by the inspiration bug when I saw this post by Lucy at Attic24. She was making all these lovely little squares using left-over yarn. She talked about how quick and fun it was to make these squares. And wow, didn't her blanket look great once it was all finished. So I gave it a go... and I thought it was quick and fun, too... for a while... then I got a little bored and so this project came and went over many months. They were a great thing to do while waiting in the car for the kids when they were at their many after-school activities - each square only took a few minutes.
But it does take a lot of time to make enough for a blanket. And to add to the seemingly never-ending-ness of it, I'd decided to use a smaller-than-recommended hook, a 3.5mm. And it was a spiky one at that, so it kept catching and splitting the yarn. Most annoying. And then there are all the ends to weave in - so many ends!
So after wandering away from this project and then returning to it many times, I finally had lots of lovely squares. Then came the problem of the half-squares. I couldn't for the life of me work out how they were done. After many internet searches and lots of enquiries, I finally found help on flickr, thanks to "hooked on yarn", who kindly told me how she had made hers. Here is the link to her beautiful blanket on flickr, and here is the picture where she explains how the half-squares were made. (And you can find her lovely blog here, something that I have only recently found myself!)
So then, I worked on half squares.
And eventually I used up all my yarn. I am pleased to say I used up almost every scrap of this yarn that was in my house. It is Carnival Soft 8ply, left over from my Lucy Bag that I made in late 2009. There is a little bit of the beige colour left, the rest is all gone.
And then I had to sew it all up.
Now, my mum taught me to sew (both with a machine and by hand) when I was a little girl. But that doesn't mean I like it. In fact, I avoid it like the plague. And, although I thought it might be different when crochet was involved, I quickly realised that whip-stitching dozens of little squares together was nothing different - it was just .... sewing. Boring old sewing. I hated this part of the project and had to make myself do it. First I arranged my squares into my over-all pattern/design (very tricky as I can't be "random" and I get all OCD about the squares being "fairly distributed"!).
Then, after finally telling myself to stop fiddling with the arrangement, I sewed up the 8 individual rows.
By now I had realised that it was all too small. It was going to be the Smallest Blanket in the History of the World. I did contemplate making it into a pillow instead, but eventually decided that it would do as a security/comfort "blankie" for my youngest and that it would work as a lap blanket for her in the car. So I pressed on.
Once the rows were sewed, it was time to do the zig-zag crochet. After more online research, I got enough ideas to give this a go. I had a cheap variegated yarn in stash that was very similar to the Carnival Soft so I decided it could be part of the zig-zags.
Lucy did a very small row of zig-zag between each row of squares. Because I had the smallest blanket in the history of the world, I decided to try to making my zig-zag rows a lot more substantial.
First I thought I'd see how the zig-zags looked in dc (UK tr). I didn't like it.
So then I went back to Lucy's idea of sc (UK dc). Better. A little tedious to do, but better. In back loops only, to create a lovely ridged look. And lots of sc rows, to make the blanket as big as possible.
Once my rows had their crochet zig-zags, it was time to sew the rows together. I again did not enjoy the sewing, but must admit this time it was a little more fun because I could see the end in sight.
One advantage of a sew-it-together-at-the-end project is that you can correct variations in tension a little bit. You can see here that at one point I was making squares much looser than at another time over the months, but once it was all sewn together, they flattened and evened out fairly well.
|You can see here how some of my squares are much bigger than others!|
I then added more zig zags to the top and bottom, and a simple sc edge down the longer sides.
I had started this blanket so inspired and excited, and then had moved through phases of boredom, avoidance, annoyance, frustration, exasperation, and then resignation and determination to get the darn thing finished. I was so happy to get to the end - to have this project done and OVER. I didn't really even like it anymore.
Until I looked at it. All finished and ends woven in and sewn up.
And then I thought, wow! It looks really great! And then I loved it again. :-)
And my little girl loves it, too. So nice that she can have blanket of her own, even if it's the smallest blanket in the world. (By the way, it probably isn't the smallest blanket in the world, but it is small. It measures 73 cm x 57 cm.)
So there you are. The story of my zig-zag blanket, all the highs and lows. It took an awful lot of hours to make, and I'm not sure I will ever make another sew-it-all-together-at-the-end blanket, but now that it is done I do feel mighty pleased with it all. And I'm so glad that I did persevere to the end.