As a break from the high-level design of my Woollypoles pieces 🙂 I have been churning out some blanket squares for a charity blanket to be auctioned for Breast Cancer Research. No rules except they must be 6″ x 6″ square and include some (or predominantly) pink. The project is organised and compiled by Crochet Crafter who I found on facebook, and it seemed like such a simple and nice group project to join in with.
My first square was knitted and I didn’t really have any plan for the design, so after a chunk of bright-pink garter stitch, I settled down to do a coloured pattern in a stocking-stitch panel. Picked red for the contrast colour, staying within the colourway, and I wanted it to be only subtle in standing out. Having wondered if I should try to make breast designs (somebody else is, apparently) thought that might be the last thing people want to see (and might be vulgar), so what would be comforting for women who’ve had life-threatening tumours? Went for a simple ‘kiss’ design, in little pairs – the maths of where to start and how much gap to leave needed some head-scratching at this point. After another garter-stitch panel I realised it was a bit late to add another line, but not to do so would also be assymmetrical, so did it anyway. The result is odd but hopefully charmingly so in the way that random afghans are. Also encapsulating the observation that you never know what is going to happen in life. The red hardly showed up at all in the artificial light of the evening when I was doing it, but next morning I could see it more clearly.
I went straight on with a traditional crocheted square in pink, with maroon trim and pink edging. This square came with me on travels and it felt good to dive in with something easy and familiar (even though I have developed a new way of starting the next round, slipstitching along and then doing 3 ch up as the first of the new group – better than 3 ch as part of the previous group + 1 ch for the gap, as this never looks convincing). Very little drama except that the final edging round is double crochets instead of trebles, in order to make it the right 6″ size. Worked out why traditional squares keep you warm despite having holes in – they are lovely and thick compared to (stocking-stitch) knitting!
My next knitted square was all in bright pink, using again the big ball I’d bought from my LYS (local yarn shop) in preparation for this project. For a stitch I wanted something that would lie flattish and be interesting to do but not too much faff. So this is in what I’m thinking could be called ‘half triple moss stitch’: knit one row, then on the next row *k3 p3* rep; knit the next row, then on the next row * p3 k3*. You get how it works. Was careful to do the fancies on what would be the purl row, as I always feel any pattern that includes more purl than knit is just pointless masochism. I like the square, although there is one stitch near the middle that is flat instead of lumped (I must have k2 p4); I can see it but my boyfriend can’t, so I wonder if anyone else (e.g. other knitters) would have it leap out at them.
Another crochet square, easy and satisfying to do: some white rows, which won’t clash with the pink blanket, then some scrummy mottled pink-maroon yarn that I lovingly picked up in a little yarn shop in Scarborough. (They had a ‘naughty corner’ where two ladies giggled as they sorted out patterns, and a friendly man with local radio behind the counter.) This yarn is not actually as pink as I thought now that I see it worked up! But I think they’ll recognise that the general intension was there – there are pink mottles. I’m not a big pink fan in general and had only recently busted the stash of all the pink I had gathered as inheritance from Nan; but this has been a reasonable change and this yarn is lush. In this case I managed to think early enough to make the four stripes about 1.5 inches deep each, using a chunky set-square that I find harder to lose down the side of the settee.
Finally a bits-and-bobs crochet-in-the-round without a pattern: a big twelve dc over a loop to use up some mauve-white in the first round, then trebles to use up as much as poss of bits of pink I had knocking around. This involved some ‘pulling back’ (‘frogging’ / unravelling) as my judgement of how much yarn crochet will take is much worse than for knitting. I had been intending to make some rounds dc and some rounds tr, but then worried the dcs would throw off the number of trebles. Here spontaneous design came in, because I noticed to some annoyance that after the first four rounds it had become ‘convex’, bulging out in a rounded way. So then I thought of those ace patterns that have ‘a circle in a square’, and did the next (white) round with trebles at the edges, and half-trs and dcs in the middle of the edge flaring back out to htrs and trs towards the corner each time. The second white round I did the same and was pleased that I had over-done it so that the square was now ‘concave’ with dips in each side, so that I could do one final pink round compensating for this with a few double-trebles in the middle of each edge. So it was a jazz-like ‘get yourself into a hole and then get yourself out again’ form of creativity, and I like the optical illusion quality of the finished product.
Well that’s it for now, I’d better get them posted off, if only so that I’ve got room to start new projects amongst the heap of bags and stuff overtaking the corner of the settee! There is going to be a second blanket made out of ‘babette squares’, aka any size or colours, so I’m going to think about what to do for that – should be a chance to try out all sorts of new colour approaches. Good luck to the lady putting them together! – I don’t know how it can be done without an advanced computer programme to set out the geometries!