Sunday, 24 July 2011

Finally FINISHED!

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.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this project's journey, and that it leaves you feeling inspired to get on with your half-finished projects, too (or am I the only one who has them??).  ;)

Have a happy, hooky day,
Caz :)

34 comments:

  1. Yay!! It's done! It looks wonderful, too. Well done on persevering. I know what you mean about ends....that's why I did mine in rows so I could sew it together as I went. Mine was quite small too. I would hate to make a full sized blanket like this! Thanks for linking to my blog:)

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  2. Hello, I really think you ougth to get a medal for doing that blanket! Wow that is A LOT of work. I would never had finished it, I know becouse I started one to ....
    I threw it away :-)
    Hugs
    Susanne

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  3. Your not the only one with unfinished projects. I know exactly how you feel. A big project can become very boring so you throw it in a corner and don't look at it for months. Suddenly you get started again and you'll be happy when it's finished.

    I must say although your blanket is not that big it looks great. I like the zigzag multicolored rows in between.

    Have a nice day,
    Monique

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  4. Oooooh Caz, it's GORGEOUS!!! I loved Lucy's version too .Well done with keeping going to the end . I have several part finished projects that I've become disheartened with because they are too slow and there is too much great inspiration on the internet so you start another project :0)
    Your colour choices are perfect and the sewing together looks very neat....I love it and I'm not suprised your daughter loves it :0)
    Jacquie x

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  5. Kudos to you for finishing. My eyes glaze over when I read a detailed pattern or work on a project that is taking longer than expected. All those little squares. So fun and easy to make, but then putting it all together. I can see how it would drive you crazy but yea for finishing! And for figuring out how to sew it all together beautifully. Great job! Have a wonderful day. Tammy

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  6. I sometimes think the things that take the most out of us give the most back at the end of the journey!! Your blankie is truly scrumptious

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  7. the result of all that hard work is stunning !

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  8. Wow, it looks sensational! well done you for pushing through and getting it finished.

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  9. Thanks for the lovely comments, everyone! Like I said, I'm so pleased I actually finished it, and even more pleased to see it getting USED! And my little girl uses it a lot: as a blanket for her dolls, as a picnic rug in the lounge room, and when it's cold she cuddles up under it while watching tv - it's like a mini-lapghan for a mini-person. :)

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  10. Awesome work, Caz! Congratulations, you finished it! The blanket turned out fabulous!
    Please drop by my blog to get your Award, you had it! xo

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  11. Congratulations Caz!!It is a very pretty blankie!!Your little girl must be so happy.

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  12. örtüyü çok beğendim eline sağlık..

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  13. It's amazing! I love it. Funny how you can fall in love with an idea. Then fall out of love in the process of making it. And then fall in love again when you see it completed. Stunning! Thanks for your nice comment today Caz. :)

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  14. Well done, it's lovely! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you! We are twinkle twins and Elisabeth Cat is our twinkle twin too, there must be something about august the 4th and hookers, it's an auspicious day for crochet people to come to the planet!
    Have a great day!
    XXX

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  15. Oh, my --- you are not the only one with unfinished projects...come look in the dark corners of my craft room....

    All of the work that went into this ---- amazing. And sooooooo worth it! A beautiful labor of love!

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  16. Wow, isn't that COOL! Congrats,
    Esther.

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  17. ˛✿♫✿•.¸¸♪♫。˚ ˚ ˛✿♫✿
    NICE!!
    que linda!!
    me encantan las fotos
    gran idea!
    cariños
    c@
    ˛✿♫✿•.¸¸♪♫。˚ ˚ ˛✿♫✿

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  18. BELLO BELLISIMO.AMOR Y PAZ EN TU VIDA♥

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  19. I enjoyed reading this post about your adventures with this blanket. It turned out wonderful! I admire your perseverence!

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  20. Wow, that's great! Well done!
    Esther.

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  21. Woooow what a great protject.I love the colors sooo match.

    greatings from the Nederlands send you Conny

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  22. This looks amazing! I will be posting my finished granny blanket this week. Finally! Thanks for the nice bloggy birthday wishes. That was really nice!

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  23. Amazing!!It is a very pretty blanket.

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  24. So great, so wonderful blanket!!!So beautiful colors!
    Greetings from Germany Crissi

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  25. The blanket is beautiful. Well done!

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  26. Hi, i have just found your lovely blog and i have to say your blanket is beautiful it will be well loved and used im sure ;-) Well done you for staying with it. dee x

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  27. Oh my word that is really beautiful, I love it! I usually do a project to the last little bit like the borders or sewing in the threads, actually have two in the cupboard at the moment that jsut need boarders.... maybe i will finish them!

    Hugs
    Cxxx

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  28. Wow, what dedication and commitment to get this baby finished, it is truly wonderful. I made a king sized granny square throw for a friend recently, and was flagging somewhere around square ten (lol) What a wonderful project, and well done you.

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  29. Very nice, thanks for sharing.

    Anna @ rental mobil

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  30. Your story maken me smile . I had the name experience with crocheting a monkey , I went through all the name phases ! Meetings from the Netherlands, Yvonne

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  31. Hi Caz.. After reading this post and seeing what a lovley job you did with this little blanket I decided to join your blog so i can see what else you come up with.. Beautiful work.. Well done.. :)

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  33. Hello, I love your crochet, it is beauty, I love this colors, I follow your blog, I have a blog about crochet with free patterns and free crochet diagrams, visit me , hugs from Brazil.
    Visite meu blog - Tita Carré - Crochet

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