This blanket first appeared in my blog back in April 2012, during the third 'Knit and Crochet Blog week' - you can have a look at it HERE.
As I mentioned back
then, we had started a knitting and crochet group in work on a Tuesday
lunchtime, sharing whatever experience, skills and information we had. This ranged from zero
to over 30 years!!
Individually, everyone had their own projects and WIPs but it seemed like a good idea to do something
together and a blanket made from squares (be they knitted or crocheted) was the item of choice! This gave the
complete beginners in knitting, including myself, a chance to only have to create small individual shapes,
which would be at least achievable, but would also give the experienced folk an opportunity to try out new and complicated styles and other stitches to
extend their skills too. We just used the odd yarn that people already had, wool that was donated or whatever we could buy
quite cheaply. Even though the final item was going to be a bit random in both stitches
and colours, we would eventually pull the whole thing together with some sort
of border that was common to all.
The main source of the
patterns and styles for our squares came from a desk calendar containing a
different stitch or pattern for each day of the year. One of the group had kept
her calendar from several years ago, knowing that it would be extremely handy,
and we used it for teaching others how to read their first pattern
Over several months
the pile of squares grew until we had enough to cover the area of a single bed. These were then stitched together in the form long strips - ok, somewhat mismatched in length but this was something that could be easily rectified with additional crocheted areas when the border was eventually added.
Once the strips were completed, I had the honour of crocheting the whole thing together. This is not job that I recommend to anyone to do during the summer as the blanket was sooooo warm. The dog took a liking to it too and was quite often snuggled up in the middle of it if I left it for 5mins to go and put the kettle on!
Although I initially thought of hand tacking the strips together, I found that the use of long pins was a much better alternative because, as I crocheted, the squares needed to be eased into place and so the ability to take everything apart and reposition the strips was quite important.
Using a large ball of Aran acrylic, I joined each strip to the next with a long line of raised single crochet, giving a blanket-stitch effect. Whilst this divided the strips in a more visual way, it also covered any edge imperfections and mismatched areas of work on the squares.
One row of half treble crochet for the border turned out not to be anywhere near enough, so I added as I went, making the border on the longer edge a lot wider to balance things out. To finish the blanket I added a frilly picot edge.
And so the blanket sat in a carrier bag, in a cupboard, in work, for over a year.
Just before Christmas 2013, a request, in work, to donate items (toiletries etc) to the local Women's Refuge was posted around the building, so we responded.....
'Hi Anne. Just seen your notice in the ground floor kitchen. Our knitting/crochet group made a largish blanket (a while back) which we were going to give to charity. Is this something that you think may be of use in your collection for the refuge?'
The answer was a definite 'YES' and this was the response we got after the blanket was donated....
'The blanket is absolutely beautiful. Very warm and yet so attractive and decorative too - a real work of art. It will be treasured by a refuge family who are moving out to start a new life and have nothing - they have to set up a home from scratch. I will put a label on it with a message along the lines of 'Handmade by unknown friends who send their best wishes for your future. Happy Christmas.'
It might have taken a while for us to get there but, despite this, the final result really made the whole process totally worthwhile and it is so nice to know that our blanket will be of use to someone who really needs it.
We are thinking of doing something similar again quite soon.