Thursday, January 25, 2018

Big Gulp, the blanket



Well, in spite of my best intentions to get back to blogging, I've been failing rather miserably. I don't have a lot to say right now, I guess. The past couple of months were so stressful that I almost feel like I have a form of PTSD, like I need to come down from the stress and start thinking and reacting normally again. That has translated to not having much to say here or in "real life," either. It's all good, though. I'm rather enjoying a slower, sort of stripped-down life for now. Lots of time at home, watching shows I like (I started "The Office" from the series pilot again; I think this will be my fourth watching), reading books about royalty (as usual) and women in science, keeping warm since we seem to have decided to have winter after all (especially at night), and doing some cross-stitching instead of crochet (it's been a seriously crochet-filled year for me). It all feels right to me, for the moment.

School trundles on; we've finished a few major projects recently, which has been a relief all around. I've reached a milestone as a mother: I'm now leaving my 12-year-old at the library for a computer coding club, to be picked up when it's over. Up until now, I've always waited around while they participated in an activity. I realize that there are all different schools of thought regarding kids' independence, and I was definitely nervous at first, but for us, it's a very good idea at this juncture. He gets to do something he enjoys, gains some independence and responsibility, and I don't have to sit there waiting (nor does his sister). As a partial home-schooling family, it's particularly important to foster outside activities and chances to interact with new people. And we can split up the driving this way; I bring him down there, the Bear picks him up on his way home from work. I'm always happy to drive less.


So I finished another blanket a few weeks ago. I know, it's like a blanket bonanza around here. Let me explain. We were looking at ways to reorganize our home office, which is also my wannabe craft room. It was clear that I had a lot of yarn I wasn't using, which would be fine if we had tons of room to store it, but we don't and I decided it was time to blast through some of this yarn and get it made into something so we wouldn't need to worry about storing it. It sounds like an uninspiring way to start a crafty project, but there you go.

I decided to make a stash-buster blanket with my large supply of worsted acrylic yarn. I wanted something simple and easy, basically mindless, and went looking for ideas. On Pinterest, I came across a design for granny square potholders from a blog called knitpurlhook. This blogger, Aki, also made a blanket with the same design, which really spoke to me. I loved the idea of big squares joined simply. I didn't have enough of any one color to make a blanket like Aki's, but a multi-colored blanket suits me just fine, so I started making squares with any and all colors that I had. This blanket was wonderful for using up yarn. I decided to give my blanket a name related to drinking; well, guzzling, really. I named this blanket Big Gulp, after the giant sodas at 7-11. I also considered Slurpee.


I mentioned here when I first started this blanket that I enjoyed Aki's granny technique. She joins her rounds in a corner of the square, which helps keep the squares from "twisting" as you crochet them. I think you know what I mean if you're a crocheter. I'd previously only made grannies by turning the squares from one edge to another with each round, starting them to the left of a corner. This approach was new to me and I really liked it. I think it makes nice, neat granny squares and it's easier too. My squares have ten rounds and each measures about 12 inches without joining rounds.


The color I had the most of was cream, so I used that for joining. I actually joined as I went, edging each square in cream and attaching it with the same color as necessary. I love the way the center joins look in this design. I finally did them right, too. I have joined lots of granny squares but I've always been confused about which other squares to join to when I get to the center. The one above? The one diagonally? It has always been tricky for me. I think I'm finally getting it now, and I'm achieving the neat corners I've always seen in photos of other people's crochet. There's always something new to learn.


I always think I'm going to edge my blankets in some elaborate way, and I always end up doing something plain. I love the look of fancy borders in crochet, but I never end up wanting them on my blankets when all is said and done. I'm the same about home decor and clothes; I always think I would enjoy something frilly, but in the end, I go for straight, clean lines instead. Here, I did a round of granny clusters, splitting them up when I came to the join between two squares to avoid ruffling the edges. Then I did a round of single-crochet around the clusters. My border lays mostly flat and it's just a neat, tidy edge.


I made this blanket for the living room, where I had a crocheted blanket I didn't like very much. We've been keeping it on the arm of the couch and using it when we read or listen to the radio. The colors work well in this room; our furniture is a mixture of things we've bought and some hand-me-downs, including the couch, which is sort of an olive green-gray, and the chairs, which are a gold-camel color. I think the blanket ties everything together pretty well. Mostly, though, it's just a big, warm blanket that used up a LOT of yarn, which makes everybody happy. More room and a new blanket, what's not to love? All my yarn (stored in bins) fits in the closet now, by the way. The office feels huge; "so much room for activities!" like they say in one of my favorite movies.

Big Gulp Blanket
Yarn: I Love This Yarn worsted-weight acrylic in the following colors: Old Rose*, Rosy Cheeks, Lavender Smoke*, Sea Blue, Glacier, Arctic, Antique Teal, Stonewash, Dark Denim, Graybeard, Light Gray, Graphite, Coffee, Linen, Sungold, Dark Olive, Mid Green, Ivory (*discontinued)
Hook: Clover Amour I/9 (5.5mm)
Size: approximately 65 by 78 inches
Started: November 2017
Finished: December 2017

20 comments:

  1. Love this blanket Jennifer and what a great way to use up stash. I have quite a few weird colours so reckon a weird blanket would work lol Nice to see you here and may your week continue as stress free as possible xo

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  2. What a great way to use up your yarn and I really like the way it's joined.

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  3. It turned out so nice, and it just looks like one that's perfect to wrap up in! I hope your life is a little less stressful!

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  4. Great way to use up your stash. I've got so many random granny squares made that I need to do something with. It's the joining that I don't much like. But I need to make stuff and either use it or give it away because I'm trying to clear things out around here, too.

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  5. What a good way to use up your stash! The blanket is so colorful and cheerful! I love the Granny square pattern.

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  6. Hi Jennifer. It’s good to have you back visiting with us. I understand that sometimes it’s hard to blog. We just enjoy having you pop in now and again when you feel like it and want to share with us. There’s never any pressure. With that being said, your blanket is absolutely beautiful. I know a lot of people don’t like granny squares because they say they’re old-fashioned. Well, that’s precisely why I like them. It reminds me of my grandma who taught me to crochet. You did a beautiful job with the joining. I still sometimes wonder whether to join the squares above and below or diagonally. Yours looks perfect and so does the border that you chose to make. I’m trying to use stash up this year too. I have so much of it and if we are seriously thinking of downsizing in the next year or two I need to get rid of some of it. I would much rather use it up instead of just giving it away.
    Blessings, Betsy

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  7. What a great looking blanket Jennifer, and a good way to use up the stash. I really like the way your corners join, it looks wonderfully neat and much better than any of my granny square efforts. Always something new to learn!

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  8. Such a beautiful blanket and a great colour combination, I liked the simplicity and straight lines of the border. A great stash buster that is elegant and stylish. Its always hard to let our children go so you have done really well letting him have a little independence at the Library. Look after yourself.

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  9. Love the new blanket and that you've made is using yarn from your stash, I know what you mean about blankets eating through the wool. Lovely to have a new blanket for these winter evenings, the colours are gorgeous and I like how the cream pulls them all together. Squares are my favourite, they always seem so perfectly balanced and calming. Nice job my friend. Glad you are doing okay and hunkering down a little. Look after yourself, and have a good weekend. CJ xx

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  10. The blanket looks fabulous, Jennifer. I think there's something special about granny squares - they just feel so right somehow.

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  11. Really pretty blanket, Jennifer! I'm sure it's cozy and warm on these cold, winter nights - which I am loving. Hope you have a great weekend!

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  12. I find myself without many words at the moment, too. I am glad you have the opportunity to retreat and relax. Your blanket is really beautiful. I find squares really soothing and the cream border works really well to set each square apart. A slightly denser variation of granny squares works really well, I must remember this for the event I decide to make granny squares. It is nice to see children develop more independence although it can be quite stressful for us mum's. My boys now often play outside and neither has a phone. I do find myself peering out of the window more than I would normally do. Have a lovely, peaceful weekend. xx

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  13. what a stunning blanket! it must be good to use up some of the stash! It is good to spend time at home relaxing, getting thoughts together and with children becoming more independent. As we say in New Zealand "kia kaha" (te reo Maori for stay/be strong)

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  14. a beautiful blanket! love the colours, the cream really brings the 'cozy' out in it.
    thanx for sharing

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  15. That is one useful blanket. I hope there is no fighting to get under it! Well done for completing it in such a short space of time. Love Jo xx

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  16. Wow, you whizzed through that blanket, it look lovely and cosy. It's great when you manage to make something from stash, I've got lots of leftover yarn from blankets which I'd like to make into something, I need to get my thinking cap on.

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  17. Hey Jennifer,
    A bit of hunkering down is good for the soul I reckon. I've been doing very much the same. Although I've not been as productxive. Your blanket really is lovely. I'm always amazed that you can just whip one of these up. I can barely be arsed to get the vacuum out at the moment. Take care of yourself, my friend.
    Leanne x

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  18. a big comforting blanket sounds like just what you need. take care lovely friend x

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  19. Wow -- that was a speedy finish! It's beautiful and it looks so warm and cozy -- perfect for our winter weather!

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  20. It's beautiful. It looks like everything a blanket should be, warm, cosy and practical. I'm in the mood to make another crochet blanket I think. X

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