A couple of weeks ago while I was having a bit of a sort out of the cupboard in my work room, and the stacks of boxes and precariously balanced baskets and tins that hold wip’s and bits that I’m sure will “come in later”*, I found a bag full of crocheted granny squares that I’d made a couple of years ago (I’d been making them for a “welcome to the world” celebration blanket for our niece Eliza, and, as is often the way, once I started sewing them together realised that I’d made too many and then made a few more, just for good measure, with no real end in sight)
The granny squares were all made up of four rounds of crochet (UK triple stitch) with the fourth round being worked in cream….I’d already made a few blankets worked with this colour scheme and before I discovered (thanks to lovely Lucy of Attic 24) how to join as you go, used to lay all the finished squares out on the carpet and then sew them together……
Looking at all the little squares (of which there were over 200) I really didn’t feel motivated enough to sew them all together and ended up just cramming them back in the bag before I got on with the rest of the tidying….went for a walk out over the marshes all wrapped up and bundled in my Granny Scare scarf and I saw a lovely lady with her dog who said “ohh you look like you’re wearing a lovely blanket”….it was a light-bulb moment……
Back indoors, I put the kettle on, made a pot of tea, got the bag of granny’s out and took a deep breath…then unravelled off all the creamy white yarn used on the squares. I got a bit carried away as I then unpicked a load of little squares I’d sewn together for a cushion cover and had got bored with before it was finished so it had been sitting in a bag of things earmarked for the charity shop, but finally I sat, surrounded by a pile of unravelled yarn, and a stack of small and brightly coloured crochet squares.
More tea was required as I then began to unravel the wool in the third round, but instead of making it into skeins, I wrapped it round the remaining part of the square so it would be all ready to crochet up again.
Now when you join as you go it uses up a smidgeon more yarn as you work the joining round and as I began to join the squares together (no real colour planning, just a willy nilly randomness) I found I didn’t have enough yarn to complete the third round, so unravelled again and then used a slightly smaller hook (3.5 mm instead of a 4.0 mm) and this then worked fine…..
I thought it would be easier to handle (being portable enough to pop into my bag for when I’m on the bus) and not too overwhelming when it came to sewing in the tails (I keep trying to join the tails in as I go but I’m obviously doing something wrong as my attempts look like a proper dogs dinner, so for now am resigning myself to a few days of woolly tail sewing and re-watching The House of Elliot**) if I joined the granny’s in to little nine square patches and then when their tails are sewn in, join them together into 49 square patches and so on…..
The original little squares all had a yellow centre and although that was fine for the squares I’d already made, I thought any new ones could have a bit more variety in colour…..so now anything goes. I’m trying not to be too random in the colours, of the three rounds I’m trying to work round 1 and 2 (or 2 and 3) in same colour but different hues or brightness) then round 3 (or round 1) in a contrasting or complementary colour …whatever looks best. I am noticing the colours jar a bit more than when I use the tapestry wool but I’m sure it will look fine when it’s all finished….Bernard doesn’t seem to mind, he’s already nested on a pile of squares and the snoring seemed to say he approved.
When I first made these squares I think I used a 4 mm soft touch crochet hook by Clover (easy to throw in the handbag without worrying I’ll sit on it and snap it), but for the new squares I’ve been using a 3.75 mm Brittany wooden hook (looks pretty and feels lovely to hold) for rounds 1 and 2, then I swop to a 3.25 mm Brittany hook for round 3. It may be me but i find the wooden hooks a little bigger than the plastic ones….and using wooden hooks seems to stop the arcylic yarn squeaking, maybe I’m pulling it tight or something but when it squeaks it sets my teeth on edge……
Roughly planning (laying the patches of nine squares out on the carpet and then watching the cat stroll in and sprawl out in the middle of them) I’m thinking I need 36 (6 x 6 because I like a square blanket) patches of nine squares…and then will need some 190 squares to join the patches all together…….and I know I wasn’t going to start any new projects until the grannies paperweight blanket was all finished but good intentions and all that have gone out the window…the nice thing with this is that I’ve been able to work on it in the evenings when we tend to watch a film, and when I need to sew the tails in I can use a big fat needle that if it is dropped, I’ll see before the Arpette stands on it. I’m now working on my last nine patch and just need to crochet a bag of squares (2 rounds ) all ready for joining .
*occasionally they do “come in” but more often and not they sit there all forgotten about until next time I tidy.
**The House of Elliot is possibly my all time favourite go to television show….sadly it doesn’t feature Colin Firth but more than makes up for with the most beautiful costumes of any English television period drama. It’s set just after the first World War and goes on up til maybe late twenties. Sadly only three seasons were made and season three ends on a bit of a “oohh what will happen to The House of Elliot now cliffhanger…..which is very annoying, grr BBC for not making a fourth series….anyway it’s still utterly brilliant to watch (and watch and watch again…and the theme music is great, every time I hear it I have to do a little dance much to the horror of the cat and the boyfriend), lots of gorgeous clothes and lots and lots of sewing and sewing room intrigues….(if I ever need names for new cats then Miss Evie and Miss Bea have got to be top of the list)