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Seven Hills

Boston-area exploration, travel notes, crafty things, and other Somervillainy.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Autumn-Palette Granny Squares

Rounding out the recent crafting binge is this work in progress, a granny square afghan that I started this fall in a burst of crochet enthusiasm.

I'm still enthusiastic, but this is a big project, and it's been interrupted several times by the arrival of various friends' babies (see baby surprise jacket, previous) and the necessity of making Christmas presents. At this point I'm about halfway done.

I started the project in part because I wanted to try to use up a bunch of random bits of spare yarn I had. That's the whole point of granny squares, right? But I also wanted a sophisticated palette, and before I knew it I was going out to buy new skeins of yarn to keep the color scheme harmonious and consistent. I still have ended up using a lot of that leftover yarn, but I am probably generating a near-equal amount in its place.

I had a lot of charcoal gray alpaca lying around so that's what I chose as the background color. I've had to buy lots more skeins of that, too, as it turns out, which makes this quite the luxurious (and expensive) afghan, but it really is fantastically soft and toasty. The yarns I'm using for the squares include some mohair blends and heather tweeds, which create interesting variations in the texture of the blanket. I love the names of some of these colors, too. Like the tweedy beige yarn is called "Biscuit," and it's true, the color and texture of it look exactly like a McVitie's Hobnob biscuit.

Just like a quilt of cloth scraps, this blanket carries its own personal memories and associations. The charcoal alpaca is from a pair of socks I knit for my dad, after many years of him wistfully hinting, "I've always wanted a pair of hand-knit socks." I bought the fuzzy Rowan kid mohair on a solo trip to England, when Rowan yarns were harder to find in the U.S. I didn't have any particular project in mind for it, but I loved the colors so much I had to buy some of it. There are remnants from that baby surprise jacket in there, too.

I am not a greens-and-browns kind of girl generally speaking, mainly because yellow-based colors look bad on me, so it's been fun to spend time with this family of hues. I was heavily influenced in this choice by the excitement of my first autumn back in New England, and anticipating the need for cozy blankets to get us through a winter of cold-night movie-watching.

The first granny square afghan I encountered was one made, appropriately enough, by my own grandmother. She had come to visit us in Chicago from Michigan, and in my memory she crocheted and stitched up an entire blanket in the course of the week she was with us, which may be possible but probably is not an accurate memory. That visit was also memorable because she and my dad got in an argument about something and she went home in a huff.

That part of the memory is not so pleasant, but I do remember enjoying having my grandma stay with us. I am one of several dozen grandchildren, and was the only grandchild living in another state, so I didn't often get her all to myself. I was fascinated that she could make all those scattered pieces into something whole, and by the way the border of each square receded once the seams were stitched, leaving the bright centers of the squares to pop against the dark background. The colors she was working with were pretty garish on their own, but once she'd ordered them into the right pattern something shifted, and suddenly they were like a stained glass window.



At 3/10/2006 5:27 PM, Blogger JessRedRose said...

Wow, nice yarn choices, beautiful colors and textures - I also (appropriately enough) associate granny square afghans with Grandmas. My grandmothers always seemed to have extremely scratchy crocheted blankets hanging over the back of their sofas. I think your choice of nice natural-fiber yarns will make it a very lovely afghan!

At 3/13/2006 12:03 PM, Blogger Chrissa said...

Yes, my grandma's blankets were heavy on the acrylic ... it's all about keeping the original aesthetic but making it a better overall sensory experience! I know you love the Lamb's Pride, so I bet you can relate ;)


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