I guess I can post this blanket now that it’s been gifted and the recipient has been born. It made me so happy to think of the loving home she would grow up in as I worked on this blanket. I was also excited that her parents loved it because, guys, this was totally a case of me winging it with pretty colors, then pulling it all together with a tutorial and a how-to book.
Inspiration: I decided on a granny stripe afghan because they are all over instagram right now and so all of the various #rabbithole somethings have seeped into my subconscious. But as I worked on it, I thought of the precious baby that would be dragging it around one day and of my grandmother who made us crochet blankets all through our lives.
The first one she made me was in a seventies palette of yellow, orange, and cream. It was probably a baby gift. I would drag it to the living room with me to watch Saturday morning cartoons. That was when you could watch Bugs Bunny and Scooby. Sometimes I would throw it over me, ghost-like, and peek out through the holes to watch the show. It was also a picnic blanket for stuffed animals and dolls, during the brief period when I played with dolls. My daughter used it this way, too. It was an acrylic/ titanium blend.
Grandmommy made me a pink and white one when I was in fourth grade, and a solid cream afghan, as I neared adulthood. I still pull that one (above) up over the bedspread on cool nights. It has a burn hole in it from when my daughter sat too close to the chiminea, and there’s an old cat sleeping on it as I type this. Suffice it to say, it is much loved.
The green and orange one was made for my parents. My mom would fold it at the end of their bed. Somewhere along the way, I ended up with it and it has been used by everyone in my family at some point to cover with on the couch. I don’t mind the scratchiness of the acrylic. It’s a nostalgia trigger from childhood. (Remember how perfume companies were infusing perfumes with slightly plastic-like scents in the 90s to woo the Play-Doh generation with subliminal nostalgia? Well, it’s like that.) It feels soft to me because it was made by sweet hands for my sweet mother.
The one in the best shape has the orange and cream medallion design. She made this one for herself, but gave it to me when she sold her house. I doubt it was used very often because it’s pristine. Isn’t it glorious with that orange fringe?
These blankets were on my mind the whole time I crocheted my gift. When I was about halfway through, I took it with me on a visit to my grandmother’s. I wondered what she’d think of the scrappy stripes. She noticed it, peeking out of my bag, right away. It’s a different style than those she made, but she liked it. The variety in yarn color was amazing to her. This just wasn’t an option when she crocheted 40 years ago. I left that visit thinking of how I take my ability to use my hands in these fine motor movements for granted. Even being able to clearly see what my stitches look like is a blessing.
My Baby Granny Stripe: When I started this one, I was just testing out a granny stripe pattern I found on Ravelry. I used worsted weight, in case it made a good baby gift, but I didn’t expect it to look good. I spent a whole afternoon digging up all of my worsted scraps. I am so, so glad I kept them. There were plenty of times I wanted to chuck my leftovers because they weren’t even enough to make a hat, but a voice in my head said, “…save them…” This voice is the reason our garage is a wreck and everything in the crisper is rotten.
Once I got to like the third row, I could not put it down. It moved so quickly. I think I crocheted the whole thing in 10 days, working mostly in the evenings when my husband and I stare at the tv like zombies. No, make that 8 days because I had a migraine for 2 of them and, even for the daring, crochet is hard with crossed eyes.
Something about crochet makes me feel invincible. I don’t mind just fiddling until it looks pretty good. There’s no desire for perfection (and this blanket was not perfect), but still it enabled me to churn out a really fun gift in a craft I’m a noob in. It’s how knitting used to be before I knew much about it.
As I began, I couldn’t tell if it would be nice and square or veer off with accidental extra stitches. It veered, a little, but I corrected it with blocking.
Details: I think I already told you about my color scheme, which was basically 3 or 4 stripes in compatible colors, with a unifying stripe of Quince and Co wool in Clay, every once in a while.
The first thing I needed to learn to do was make a magic knot. Below is a reference for myself: lay old and new yarn ends next to each other. Tie the old end to the new yarn, then tie the new yarn end to the old yarn strand. Pull both yarns until the knots slide together tightly. Trim loose ends and crochet on. Below, is my photo shorthand. Google a video if you want something more complete.
I relied on Lucy, of Attic24‘s, pattern heavily. It’s a freebie, so click on it to get the basic gist of my blanket.
Since it was for a baby, I only ch 122 stitches with a size G hook. I made sure to make it a multiple of 3, plus 2.
After this, I switched to a size F hook and followed the pattern for rows 1-5. I kept this up until I had 79 “stripes”.
Here’s where it gets fuzzy. (Remember I fiddled a lot.) I didn’t know how to make my last stripe look like the first, which included the initial chain row. This might have been clear in the pattern, but it wasn’t to me. So after the last stripe in a green colorway, I continued using that color and worked a sc in 3 out of 4 stitches for one row.
At this point my blanket was a little wonky from changing tension, plus those few stitches I added on accident, in the beginning. It needed an edge to square it up some.
I ran out of Quince and Co Lark in Clay before the main blanket was finished, but I had ordered some Osprey in the same colorway. The difference between worsted and Aran was no big deal, but i was glad to have Aran for a nice, firm border.
I went down to a size D hook, tied the Clay into the last color of yarn and began working dc clusters in the spaces created along the left side by the ch 3’s.
At the first corner I ch 2, then worked sc in each stitch along the bottom edge.
At the next corner, I ch 2 again, then worked down the right side with dc clusters, as with the left side.
For the last corner, I ch 2 then worked a sc into each stitch along the top.
Again, I ch 2 at this last corner (where I had begun the edging) and started a second border.
Second border: I worked sc in 3 of 4 stitches along the sides and in every stitch of the bottom and top edges, always ch 2 at the corners.
This gave the whole thing more structure. Then I blocked it out to almost square. It took some work, but I think it’s decent.
I didn’t write down my dimensions, but it was a good size for really wrapping a little babe or for a child to drag around the house and make blanket forts with on Saturday mornings.
I’m not a natural crocheter. Even reading back on these notes I made looks a little Greek to me. But I’m sure I can fumble through a fingering weight one now. I have plenty of scraps for that and I won’t have to dig around for them. I also think I need to use that blessings hands that can craft and eyes that can help me see it to make my Grandmommy an afghan for Christmas.