Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gramma's blankets

My great-grandmother used to make the most wonderful afghans. I inherited her crochet hooks, actually, when she died, but she didn't teach me how to make the blankets. We weren't close. At all. To be honest, I inherited her hooks from my grandmother, who gave them to me mostly because she didn't want them. But still - my great grandmother's hooks. They're the awesome steel kind. Most of them are little lace-making hooks, utterly useless to me since I don't have anything like enough patience to make lace things, but a few of them are big enough to make other things. Say, blankets.

Recently, someone gave me some yarn. Yeah. Enough yarn to make a pyramid. That's not all of the yarn, actually; I didn't include half-skeins because they were too floppy to support the pyramid. But anyway. I got some yarn from a lady at my church. And I thought, what the heck am I going to DO with all of this yarn?! As I've stated in previous posts, I live in a dorm! I don't even have enough room for the yarn I already have!

So, my yarn pyramid will stay at home, and while I'm home over breaks, I'm going to try and make blankets like great-grandma used to.

Before I jump in with this, let me say, I'm NERVOUS. These blankets (I think we have something like ten or twelve of the ones great-grandma made) are precious to my family. They're the closet thing we have to family heirlooms. The dog isn't allowed to touch these blankets for fear that she'll chew them up and/or get hair all over them. And now it's my turn. To possibly make something that my great-grandchildren will one day treasure and not let their dog sleep on.

Oh boy.

I've decided, for the first blanket, to use the variegated blue and the off-white. (Red Heart "Ocean" and Red Heart "Aran".) I'm using an H hook and the pattern my mother wrote down for me.

Here's the pattern I'm working off of:

Chain however many you like, depending on how long you want the blanket. 44 is a good number. Make two dc stitches in the fourth chain from the hook. Chain one time. Make three dc stitches in the next chain. Chain one. Make three dc stitches in the next chain, and so on until the last chain. Make four clusters in the last chain. Work around the back side of the chain with clusters in the spaces. Make a slip stitch into the top of the first cluster.

Chain three and make two dc stitches in the same space. Make two clusters in the next space. Make one cluster in the next space and two in the one after that. Make one cluster in each space down to the corner. Make two clusters between the first and second clusters of the corner. Make one cluster in the next space and two in each of the next two spaces. 

For future corners, make two clusters between the two clusters of the previous corner.

Clearly, my mother is not a pattern writer.

Did I already say "Oh Boy"?

Alright, the first instruction is easy enough. So let's get started!

Great-grandmother always did at least two colors, and usually a stripe of some kind. I thought I would do the middle section in blue, then a thick stripe of off-white, then another, thinner stripe, again in blue. I don't know how many rows of each I should use... I don't know how much yarn this is going to take, either. I've never seen anything but the finished blanket before, except for the tiny part my mom made when she was telling me how to do it. I'm flying by the seat of my pants.

1: 2 dc in fourth ch from hook. (ch1, 3dc) ea to last.

Right... well... I'm four clusters in and this thing is curving around itself in a spiral already! I'm really sure it's not supposed to do that. But I refuse to freak out just yet; I'll wait and see what happens. Except... now I'm eight clusters in and I don't remember my mom's looking like this. I think she meant for me to skip a chain between each cluster.

1: 2dc in fourth ch from hook. (ch1, 3dc) ea to last. 4 (ch1, 3dc) last. (ch1, 3dc) shall now be known as "cluster". 1 cluster in the ch sp along the back side.

Okay. Now I'm just about ready to join, except that... I don't have enough clusters in the very first chain. I misread mom's instructions and now I have to go back and do it all again! Also, skipping one chain between clusters looked strange... I'm still going to go with it and see if it will straighten itself out. For now, back to the beginning.

1: 2dc in fourth ch from hook. 3 clusters same st. (sk 1 ch, cluster in next) until last. 4 clusters in last. 1 cluster in each ch sp along the back side. Join to top of ch3.

And, uh, yeah. Still doesn't look anything like correct. So I asked my mom and guess what? The first row doesn't have clusters! Well then! Let's start over.

1: 2dc fourth ch from hook. (ch1. dc 3.) to last, do not skip any ch. 4 clusters last ch. (ch1, dc 3) to last. 3 clusters same ch as beginning. sl st to join. sl st 2 to next chsp.
2: 2 clusters in that chsp. 1 cluster next. 2 clusters next. 1 cluster each to last 4 in row 1. 2 clusters, 1 cluster, 2 clusters. 1 cluster ea back. sl st to join.
3: for all future rows, 1 cluster ea ch sp. For corners, 2 clusters between the 2 clusters of previous corner.

There! Now... just go. And go. And go. Until it's big enough or you run out of yarn.

Well, the pattern is figured out now! I'll have another blog post with my progress eventually.

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