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Once I started to learn to crochet I was definitely hooked (pardon the pun). In fact, I started my second project before I’d even finished the first. I heard that Grandad needed a new blanket and immediately set to work making one (what else do you do while you’re waiting for more yarn to arrive for your other project?). Everyone was telling me that if I could crochet a granny square I’d be able to crochet anything, so a granny square blanket it was.
Still feeling rather new and nervous when it came to crochet I decided I should run off a few practice squares before truly getting started. There was a random bag of yarn scraps that had been sitting on my wardrobe since long before I moved back home. When rummaging through that bag looking for some practice yarn I found two whole balls of grey James C Brett Top Value yarn. An idea began to form.
Once I’d gotten a few squares started I decided to look at other colours to add some variety (although I wasn’t so lucky that they were sitting in the bag, begging for me to use them). After much deliberation I decided upon a teal and a blue. I also grabbed a few balls of Sidar Hayfield Bonus DK in Navy to join them all together at the end. I really had no plan and no clue how much yarn I’d actually need.
Crocheting the squares was a mission in mass-production: first the greys, then the greens, then the blues. Each square was six rounds with two single crochet in each corner (although in hindsight I think I probably should’ve done three). I was stacking the squares in shoeboxes and it was quite satisfying seeing those piles grow.
I started to think about joining the squares together and toyed with the idea of the join as you go method but it didn’t sit quite right with me. I wasn’t keen on how flimsy the joining looked in all the pictures. I did, however, give me the idea of finishing each square with two rounds of the Navy. I picked a different style of join which I could run off at the end and just carried on making (and bordering) those squares.
I knew that for this project to look any good I was going to have to block all of those squares. When I’d blocked my Waffle Stitch Baby Blanket I’d done it on a towel on the table and hadn’t pinned it down. It wasn’t a terribly good method so this time I went hardcore. I bought blocking mats (read: foam play mats) and an obscenely large amount of T-pins. I started by pinning each square alongside a ruler to get the shape and dimensions identical but it was a huge faff. Next off I tried making square templates with greaseproof paper which I could then lay each square upon before pinning it. Much better idea!
The second time I ran out of yarn (see, I told you I had no clue how much I’d need!), I calculated that I wouldn’t need enough to get free delivery if ordering online (yes, I’m a tight-ass and don’t like paying delivery fees). I decided to try a local yarn store to see if I could get the Navy and Grey. Although the store didn’t carry the brands I’d originally started with, they assured me that Stylecraft’s Special DK (Grey and Midnight) was a colour match for the two I needed. I took a chance. I’m not entirely sure it panned out. The grey definitely wasn’t a match. That said, the original balls and the newly purchased ones were a different dye lot so those squares didn’t match in colour either. While the Midnight and Navy did seem to match in colour you could definitely tell the difference in the quality of the yarn. Lesson learned (although I’m sure I said that last time around).
After a long month’s slog I’d finally produced 121 granny squares, each one blocked to exactly the same dimensions. Every square was arranged carefully over the dining room table to get the pattern right (and mix in those different shades of grey randomly). I’d planned to use a completely flat zipper method to join the squares but when it came down to it, I couldn’t see the stitches probably with the dark yarn and just felt completely overwhelmed by the whole thing. I ended up using the Grey yarn to join them with single crochet and then add a reverse single crochet border.
At the time I was glad to finish what seemed like a mammoth project. After having worked on a few more blankets since, that granny square blanket doesn’t seem so mammoth after all!
I’d given myself a deadline of my Grandad’s birthday to finish the blanket, giving me about a month after I’d finished the waffle stitch baby blanket. Unfortunately I was a week late but I still think five weeks for a 2m x 2m blanket done by a beginner wasn’t a bad amount of time. Even arriving late, the blanket was really well received by one happy Grandad.