The blanket that made itself, almost!
I have loved this project from the start.
Look at all those gorgeous squares, those pretty colours...
Do they make you feel as happy as they make me?
I've had this on the creative to do list for a while. Inspired by this gorgeous cushion by Tipsy Tessie. (Which is a gorgeous account and well worth following by the way.)
It's been an especially nice project too because I feel like I've hardly worked on it at all and yet somehow, a blanket has appeared. I'm not sure how that is possible, maybe just because I enjoyed making those squares so much. But after testing things out by making a few and then settling on the final colours, I decided to get all those pretty little centre rounds, or flowers, as I prefer to think of them, all made up first.
It always reminds me slightly of a factory production line when sit I crank out so many of the same little shapes at once and then set them all out in neat orderly ranks of colour! But a factory sounds like a rather grey and dreary place and not something I associate with the joy of making, so maybe Santa's workshop would be a better analogy. A much more colourful and fun place, with toys all lined up ready to bring joy. Yes that's much more like it!
Once those little 'forget me not dot' centres (as I'm calling them) had all been made, it was really just the most pleasurable thing in the world to sit with my duck egg yarn, dip my hand in to my colourful bag of middles and then work up the rest of the squares. So beautifully simple, mindless and soothing. Something I can't seem to get enough of just lately.
I originally came across the pattern for this twist on the regular granny square many years ago, when my Nan shared one of her crochet projects with me. She'd started making these very squares from some old crafty magazine from her stash. I can't remember the name of the magazine, but it was in black and white and the pages were very well thumbed.
She was getting a little older then and tended to just make patterns that she could remember off by heart. But she wanted to continue making more of these squares, so she asked me to read the pattern and show her what to do. It was written in entirely different language than we would use for directions now, but we managed to figure it out and the pattern obviously stayed with me.
So these squares are ones that I have made from that memory and as well as being a very pretty pattern, that makes it just that little more special.
Many of you have been asking me for the pattern for this square, but at first I wasn't sure quite where to direct you. Although this is a common enough pattern, I had no idea of the name. In fact, I still don't. Searching through on Ravelry, I have found versions of it and there seems to be no consistent name for it. I also think I altered the pattern very slightly in my mind as I tried to recall it, as it differs very so slightly from any others I found.
I do plan on writing up the pattern for this blanket, so I will include the way I make my squares, as well as all the joining and border directions for you. In the meantime, if you don't want to wait and would like to look at the patterns I did find, then I'll pop links at the bottom of the post.
I've been working on these squares just here and there between other projects. Sometimes for several nights in a row, sometimes just one or two a week. I took them to Yarndale with me, and I made them at the lovely meet up at Black Sheep Wools, when the A Spicier Life CAL was on. And so, somehow without me really noticing, I found myself with 143 squares all ready to join.
I had planned, all along, to have a nice wide border, all in the same duck egg colour and so I'd naturally assumed that I would be joining in the same colour too. But just as I reached the end of those squares a rebellious little voice in my head piped up with the notion of making the joins in a contrasting colour to stand out. In fact, in several contrasting colours as I ended up using all the various centre colours to make the joins.
I'm not sure where the idea came from, but it wouldn't go away and so I decided to go for it. A quick little Insta poll confirmed my choice, but by quite a narrow margin. 58% to 42% at last count, if I recall. It was a surprising little twist and a choice that I wasn't expecting to make, but I'm still happy with it.
Everything was smooth sailing in fact until it came to the border. This is were the work began! The blanket may have made itself, but the border did not. The border was a little bit of a slog. I knew what I wanted to achieve, so I thought it would be easy but I was very wrong. The first part of it, mimicking the pattern of the squares was fine. A little trial and error soon had that decided. But how to actually finish the border, the very last edging part. That was a lot trickier.
I tried out many different variations and samples before I found something I was happy with and thought I was home free. So, I started working round and round. I normally enjoy the border, it's like the home straight of the project, but this was a little more tense as I couldn't wait to see how the overall effect would look. Each of those border rounds took quite some time too.
Eventually though, I had finished and my blanket was complete...
Or was it?
I sewed in the ends, laid it with pride on my bed, smoothed it out, stood back, admired, considered. I carried on 'considering' for a good few days, each time looking at that pesky border. I didn't want to admit it, but something about it just wasn't right.
After much pondering, and much staring and mulling over what might be done, I finally came up with an idea of how to change it and decided to give it a quick try. At first I was afraid I'd have to frog quite a lot, but I wanted to try something with just the last round first.
I ripped back a little way and tested out an alternative last round.. yippee and hip hooray, it worked! It looked so much better straight away and I knew I'd found the answer. So I ripped back all the way round and re-crocheted and fixed with glee.
Now my blanket is finished. Now I am very, very happy!
Forget Me Nots Dots Blanket
In the meantime, here are the links I have found for the square pattern (or very similar):
Cluster Crossed Square
Fill'er Up Square
Flower Cluster Cross Square
Crossed Clusters Square
(Thank you to my lovely podcast viewers who helped me find some of these!)
I'll include all the yarn, yardage and colour info when I release the pattern in the New Year, but I do have some details on my 'Forget Me Not Dots' Ravelry project page now.