circles blanket

Huzzah! It's finished, fifteen months and ninety-nine squares after it was begun, although it did take just a wee bit more yarn than I originally expected...

It was actually finished last week, but the light's been so poor that photography has been impossible - so we've had the chance to road-test it over the weekend and its woolly warmth proved just the thing for a dose of flu.

I have absolutely loved working on this blanket... the yarn is mostly wool or wool mix in aran weight... delightfully warm and thick, soft but not too soft. The pattern was dreamt up while finishing off my first dotty blanket a couple of summers ago... this time I wanted something with a more complex design and the opportunity to play around with the juxtaposition of colour. I was after a vintage, homespun feel with a heavy, workaday quality - the sort of rug or blanket that might be seen spilling out of an old Morris Traveller in a feature on autumn picnics in Country Living...

Circles have always fascinated me... I love the work of Sonia Delaunay and Patrick Heron... the simple repetition of shape and colour in different arrangements, creating different emotional reactions. I wanted this blanket to speak of all this, to be both the sort of blanket you might find in a little slate-roofed cottage in the country and yet to have associations with art and design... the sort of blanket that Barbara Hepworth's baby triplets would play on in her Cornish studio...

I know I am probably mad... how can one blanket be invested with all this meaning and significance?! Maybe crochet alters the mind... am I the only one who does this? I can invent a whole world around a cushion cover, a teapot, a jar of flowers... simple domestic items so easily transport me to a place, a time, a way of life...

It's endlessly absorbing producing the growing pile of squares, each one with a different feel, different combinations of the six colours. Only about four have doubles, although I didn't make any special effort to avoid duplication, it just worked out that way. I enjoy the gentle maths of a project like this, ensuring each colour is used enough times, assembling the final pattern with no matching neighbours, and then there is the thrill of seeing how the background colour draws it all together. There are never more than glimpses, visions or imaginings of the whole during the making process - it doesn't become itself until it is sewn together and is a whole soft cloth, heavy and warm.

The portability of crochet squares means that a blanket like this holds many memories... of home and holidays... New York City in the snow and ice... East Sussex in hot, hot sun... the Wye Valley in autumn... underneath the elm tree in the garden... in front of a roaring fire... 40,000 ft up in the air. All hooked in and captured so that it becomes part of life and living.
  • If you'd like to make a similar blanket I can do no better than direct you once again to the nimble-fingered Teresa who will show you on YouTube in five minutes what a book would take days to teach.
  • My blanket is made in a mixture of pure wool and wool blends, with some cashmere, merino, microfibre and acrylic, and in different weights, but mainly aran, a very little chunky and quite a bit of DK worked using two strands together... all using a 7mm hook.

25 comments:

Lyn said...

It's beautiful! I love the colours and the design of the squares.
Love
Lyn
xxx
PS my Mother-in-Law LOVED her bag I bought from your shop.

Gigibird said...

I so love your blanket Sue.
It is so rare to see crochet in quiet colours.....I think you should call it your serenity blanket.

greenolive said...

I CAN see it in a Country Living feature, and also in that stone cottage that I dream about...
You aren't mad - anything handmade is invested with meaning and significance because of the many choices you, the designer/crafter, make as you plan and create the item.

elsy said...

its beautiful and for all the reasons you described....feel rightly very pleased with yourself

andamento said...

Nice blanket! I love the muted, dusky tones of brown, grey, green and blue you've used though the colours are not what I would choose myself - that's what I love about crochet blankets - each one is unique, personal and special.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

I absolutely love this! Circles always appeal and the rug is so well made with wonderfully complementary colours. Clever you. Lesley

Marie said...

I've just found my way here, so thought I'd say hello and compliment you on your blanket, it's absolutely beautiful. One can tell how much thought and care has gone into making it, hope it will give you much pleasure for years to come.

ginny said...

it's gorgeous sue! and i LOVE this post and the idea that all those good times are worked into it ... may it keep you in wonderfully cozy memories x

Frances said...

Sue, I can really understand how you might collect all sorts of connections in your restful mind as that crochet hook continues linking loop to loop, subtle color to subtle color, turning circles into squares.

Lots of launching pads in all of that!

Your afghan (as we would call such a granny crochet over here) is fabulous. I can imagine the weight and texture, and the colors and shapes are so clear from your photographs.

Well done. Be warm in these winter months, and continue exploring all the connections that entered your mind as loop entered loop.

xo

AllyColl said...

totally stunning!...I so agree with youregarding your thoughts on crochet.

Doda said...

It was well worth all the time you spent on it! It's gorgeous! I'll need to check out that link!
Thanks

Gilly said...

You've finished it! Well, well done - it is absolutely beautiful. Although I have seen some of it in the making, the way you have put it all together is inspired! I love the slate grey - just like the wet roofs in the Pennines. And the other colours are just right with it. I do love the little bits of lichen-green - it all reminds me so much of the countryside round here.

Many, many congratulations!

sue15cat said...

Gorgeous blanket, beautiful colours and what a very precious and cosy holder of some lovely memories.

Sue xx

Pipany said...

It is so gorgeous! Love the subtle colour range Sue. well done x

Sue said...

Thank you all kindly, I haven't been able to reply to all your comments as lots of you are no-reply bloggers... if you'd like to change this and get personal replies, please see the link to my instructions above...

Heather said...

Oh WOW! it is so lovely! You should be so proud. 15 months, that's longer than a hollywood marriage ;) I love the muted colors you've used...what a treasure! I'd feel like throwing a party if I finished something like that ;)

Many A Mickle said...

What lovely colour combinations. This is quite the prettiest version I've ever seen!

Hollace said...

You have such an amazing eye for color and design. You truly are gifted in this way (I encourage you to add that thought to the ones you are mulling over about creativity in your previous blogs). Your work in color is breath-taking!

bad penny said...

totally stunning ! I adore the colour scheme & pattern.

It conjures up exactly what you describe - how lovely & well done

elizabethm said...

Love the colours and the length of time it took to make. I like carrying things around with me and weaving life into them. I have never got as comfortable with crochet though as I am with knitting. I think I associate it with the blankets my grandma made from vivid acrylic wool which she would give to me when I was at university and which I could never bring myself to use. It is good to be reminded that it can be used to produce beautiful things! I'd better have another go!

JP said...

It is really beautiful and is all the things you have described - really tranquil

vicki said...

Your blanket is amazing. You must feel such a sense of accomplishment after such a huge project - it is stunning. The colors that you have used are so soothing and lovely. I just love the blues and grays---

vicki

cocoa and blankets said...

I cannot tell you hgow much I love this blanket, the pattern the colours...its just delightful in every possible way and I am afraid makes me very dissatisfied with my own efforts...I know ....Jealousy is a terrible thing....

Jackie said...

I read a lot of blogs. I've seen a lot of crocheted blankets.
I have never seen one as beautiful as this.

Becca said...

I absolutely love the colors you have chosen for this blanket! :)