Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A Granny Square Throw (Mollie Makes Magazine)


This throw has been many things; a stash buster, a lesson in colour and randomness, a lesson in planning seasonal projects and something to keep my knees warm throughout this cold spring. I enjoyed it, then I became bored of it, then I enjoyed it again. I liked the colours, I hated the colours. Now it's finished you'll be glad to know I like them again. Very much in fact.

The pattern is from issue 21 of Mollie Makes, an edition which has "Seasons Greetings!" on the cover, which gives you an idea of how long it's been sitting on my coffee table. I started it in February and, apart from a baby blanket and a snake, I've worked continuously on this project throughout these last four months. Is that a really long time or a not? I don't know. I tend to be a project finisher. WIPs annoy me, I like to start something and complete it. If things drag on I lose interest. But while crocheting this blanket it occurred to me that there is a reason why blankets take a year or more to make - you need other, smaller projects in between to maintain interest. And I mustn't always be in such a rush to finish - I need to slow down and enjoy the process more. For sometimes, when you are tired and there is something on tv to enjoy and you have a cup of tea next to you, there is so much pleasure in those rows of steady treble stitches. No pattern, no counting, just soothing trebles that go on and on for miles.


The colours were from a big bag of cotton yarn left over from two scarves and two baby blankets, a big mixture of different colours and lengths. I became obsessed with using every last scrap. I worked out how much yarn was in one treble cluster (about 30cm) and how many clusters were in a round, then calculated how much yarn I needed for a certain round, and measured how much I had left in each ball. (I'm not crazy, I just had to make sure I didn't run out of yarn three quarters of the way round!) And so the colour choices were genuinely random, for the most part.


There are areas which are bright with pinks and purples, then areas which are predominantly green, then blue. It was in danger of looking quite sludgy at one point - I started calling it my swamp blanket - but I found some more purple and pulled in back from the brink. Getting the colours right is hard. One colour will impact not only on the colours either side of it, but on those two or three ahead as well. It's tricky to make that randomness pleasing to the eye.

The colours - those deeper, slightly retro, muted tones I seem to favour - work in our house. 


The border was a pleasure because when you're working on a border you know the end is in sight. It's just treble stitches crocheted into the top of each individual stitch and chain space. I like the crisp definition it gives the edge of the throw.


It looks great in our living room and it's home will be here, thrown over the back or arm of the sofa, or folded like this. It is not huge - it measures 105cm by 120cm, so definitely a throw rather than a blanket. The wonderful thing about cotton is how it is soft and lightweight but also very warm. Perfect for keeping the chill off one's knees during the British summer.


Also - blocking! It makes such a difference!  This image below is of the blanket unblocked. See how the middle purple-edged rectangle is wonky and tilts in a clockwise direction? And how my corners are annoyingly pointed and twisty? (I have no idea why that happens)


This is the throw while being blocked - it is damp and pulled into submission with pins.


And after blocking. It's not totally perfect but see how the inner rectangle sits straight and the edges are more straight and even?


And something magical happens to the weight and drape of a blanket after blocking. It just feels lighter and softer somehow.

I've gone on long enough. I hope you like the throw as much as I do.




60 comments:

  1. It's great! I always wish I could crochet when I see posts like this, but if I learned to crochet, I don't have the creative sort of mind to make anything and I'd be too indecisive over colours! It looks good on your sofa - your house always looks so stylish :)

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  2. I love it very much. The colors look beautiful together and I really like the way you started with two granny squares in the middle; it's a very unique design. You did a beautiful job.

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  3. Well done! It looks great - especially draped over the back of your sofa. Your embroidery hoops and your fairy lights look lovely too. You have a real eye for colour. You have inspired me to make more of an effort to finish my blanket - thank you.

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  4. It's gorgeous, and those colours are definitely very pleasing to the eye. It can be quite hard not having a colour pattern, but it was worth it :) xx

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  5. I have started a new blanket/throw today in the hope that it will be ready for the colder months. 4 months seems just right :) This is a beautiful throw, I'm so glad you perceveired and finished it! x

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  6. it's perfect!! color, size, weight...everything! love it!

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  7. Gorgeous - really beautiful. I must block my next blanket, I always mean to but get too impatient. I am working on a large blanket that is a gift. I can't wait to finish as I am desperate to start one for me! So selfish!

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  8. Dear Gillian
    What a fabulous throw and worth every precious minute you spent on it. Many congratulations on a lovely project.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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  9. Aw it's so lovely. I really like your colour combo too. What a lovely design it's nice having two granny's in the centre x

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  10. It's a real keeper Gillian and yes, the colour combination is perfect for your lovely home. I love pinning during the blocking process and waking up the next morning to something even more brand new. I have had a straight line granny blanket on the go since the beginning of this year and I really dislike the colours I have combined,it's also a using up scraps blanket and I think it will only be used for camping or Winter days on the beach with a flask as it's not something I want to look at all the time.i feel I can't give up on it now that I am half way there...it's called the ugly blanket :o( despite being made with love it's just not pretty!
    Lets hope that the rest of our Summer will be hot and not require too much snuggling under blankets :o) I wonder what you might have up your sleeve for your next hooky endeavour? xxx Penny

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  11. Your throw looks lovely :) I know what you mean how you change how you feel as you work through a project. I like having a big WIP to go back to, and like to add some little interest projects in between.
    You'll have to find a new project now! x

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  12. I love it! And yet again I find myself thinking that I really must nail this crochet lark!

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  13. It's wonderful. A beautiful addition to any home xx

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  14. It's gorgeous Gillian. I love that its a rectangle and the colours you chose are perfect.
    Jacquie x
    P.S. I was terrified on the Yorkshire wheel too....terrible creaky noises !

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  15. You did a magnificent job on it! I think it sits perfectly on the back of the sofa there. The colours really are a triumph against the dark upholstery. Beautiful job, as always Gillian :)

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  16. Your throw is absolutely gorgeous and I bet you are glad you took your time with it. As to your rounds of colour, I have actually seen something similar where the lady just started her next colour when it was needed and it still looked good and very scrappy. I'd love to crochet as well as you do.

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  17. I love it Gillian. It's so beautiful. You nailed the randomness perfectly and it looks so great on your extremely nice sofa. I haven't used cotton before but it's probably a good choice for kids, yes? Straight in the wash when it gets grubby. Is it Dk/8 ply? I can only seem to find very thin stuff at our local yarn store....Mel x

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    1. Yes, the cotton is machine washable and very easy to care for, thank goodness. The yarn I used is Annell cotton which, according to Ravelry, is sport weight and 5 ply. I used a 3mm hook. The yarn is quite thin which is probably why it seemed to take forever to make! x

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  18. I have throw envy! Love the colours. Love all the cushions and bits n pieces you have shown xo

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  19. Your Granny square throw is gorgeous! Well done you - it's always a bit of a mission keeping going with large projects, I find and yes, I agree with you, smaller interim projects do help to provide leavening alternatives on the way! I also recognise what you say about the way colours work together not being always easy to anticipate and about them not just playing off their immediate neighbours but with ones further away. Makes colour choices and combinations, to begin with, a bit of an uncharted voyage of discovery! E x

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  20. I love the colours, very autumnal. I started a small granny square blanket two years ago and it's still not finished! I'm determined its going to be done this year.

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  21. That does look rather perfect on your sofa. Isn't blocking the most magical thing?

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  22. Oh, Gillian, I love your throw! Great that it's finally done!
    I have 2 giant square throws, though I didn't bother with calculating the yarn usage and sometimes my rows consist of two colous (though always close in shade). And yes, choosing colours is so difficult. As I learned to crochet in Lucy's blog (attic24), and her colour schemes were always so harmonic, I really thought at first that she's picking colours randomly and they sit so nice to each other. And only after a long time I realized that there was no randomness in her projects, that colours had been balanced from the beginning.

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  23. Hi Gillian,Don't you find it so totally gratifying when a blanket like that, one you have a love hate relationship with for months, is finally done and you end up loving it!!! I've had that happen to me so many times,even with small projects!!! Have a happy week!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  24. Gillian that throw looks fantastic. I love those colours. I have resigned myself to buying my granny blankets from FOSS, the charity stall at my dr's surgery. Mrs Budd, who is 93, makes their blankets. At £5 a pop they are very reasonable, and I'm giving money to a good cause.

    I do love those hoops onthe wall too. I think I could probably manage that kind of crafty exercise.

    Lovely post, as always.

    Leanne xx

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  25. You colour combination is lovely, the tones are very warming, just right for a snuggly item for the sofa.
    Lisa x

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  26. Gorgeous throw, the colours work brilliantly. All your calculations have paid off - there's nothing worse than running out of a colour!!

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  27. How good does your couch look with all the cushions and that throw! Just lovely.

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  28. Absolutely beautiful. As a total scatterbrain with too many WIPs do so admire your tenacity and commitment to a project. Its certainly paid off

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  29. Very elegant! And perfect in its home on your gorgeous sofa. I have knitted for a long time but am determined to learn to crochet SOON! So many beautiful projects for inspiration....I haven't commented before but discovered bloggyland earlier in the spring and am loving yours (a fave, thank you!) Jen

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  30. Goodness me I feel like I could've written this post. I can really identify with your comments on losing interest if I project drags on too long and the need to slow down and enjoy the process more. I mean, I do enjoy it, of course, or I wouldn't do it. But to simply take pleasure without fretting over when it'll be done would be good. Anyway, I love your finished version and I think your colour choices are absolutely spot on, really very effective. Random but some gorgeous and different combinations too. Well done you!

    S x

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  31. wow that looks fantastic!!!! perfect for your sofa!!!
    have a nice time,
    love regina

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  32. I love it the colours are fab. Can't believe you actually measured out the wool though, far to organised for me ~ Sarah x

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  33. You must be so proud it's such an achievement to finish a big project. It looks lovely on your sofa and is something you will treasure for ever.
    Sue x

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  34. Love it. It looks great in situ. Jo x

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  35. It looks very much at home in your living room! I've recently discovered your blog and I love it!! It's filled with a lot of inspiration. This weekend I used your rhubarb and vanilla jam recipe and it was a success and I will be tackling the lemon curd (one of my favourite things ever!) soon.
    Thanks!! Have a lovely day, Pati x

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  36. Perfectly perfect in every way! Hazel x

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  37. This is really beautiful! It looks fantastic on your sofa.
    Marianne x

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  38. It's gorgeous, I love the retro colour combination- very envious- it would help if I could crochet too!- but then I would still never manage anything as good as this. Well done :)

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  39. So lovely, I must learn to crochet!

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  40. It's gorgeous, I love the colours. I'm a bit like you, I don't like projects hanging around, but I don't feel that way with my One A Day blanket. It's like I've given myself permission to work slowly on that blanket as I'm only crocheting one granny square each day. It's quite nice to be able to take my time on it.

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  41. Sweetheart, it's beautiful! That blankets been on a journey with you hasn't it, a creative journey! Thanks for the blocking tip, something I need to do.....must find out more! :) x

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  42. It's absolutely gorgeous... the colors are perfect in your living room! I just love it draped across your grey sofa!!

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  43. It looks amazing, congratulations! And the blocking made such a difference, that's amazing. Really stunning, I'm sure lots of people will be inspired to try their own :)

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  44. A wonderful blanket! Doesn't it feel great to have it finished? I too am a project finisher--so I know exactly what you mean about needing to slow down. I have a way of doing a long project and then several short ones. I think you are right about doing short ones in the midst of a long one. Not sure if I can actually DO it though . . .

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  45. What a beauty ... thanks for sharing the blocking process ... it really makes such a difference ... I never really knew how it was done until now ... thanks for enlightening me ... Bee xx

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  46. What a gorgeous throw, Gillian! I love the centre - so quirky. So agree with you about the work involved. I have one (or two!) on the go from last Winter, and am trying to get more done this Winter. I'm thinking it might even go into Winter 2014. Obviously I'm not as good a finisher as you!

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  47. It looks lovely! So worth all the effort and it looks like it's always belonged in your lounge!

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  48. Wow what a masterpiece Gillian!! It's stunning!! I love the colours you chose and it works so well in your house. I have a similar one which my granny crocheted and I love that it's been around for so long and that my kids now get to use it. It also sits in one if our sofas. Just think your grandchildren might be able to use that one day! You should be so proud. Doing blankets are hard work and its a long and tiring process. Like you I'm a finisher and get quite grumpy if I can't finish things. I know how annoyed I got whilst working in my blanket, but I soon figured out other small projects helped me through it. It is most definitely the answer going forward. Such an amazing difference blockkng it wow, I must remember to do that next time. Well done you for a truly gorgeous blanket!! Xoxo

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  49. It's really very lovely. Very tempted... Rounds and rounds of lovely soothing trebles really appeals at the moment.
    www.blackberryandcrumble.blogspot.co.uk

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  50. it's lovely Gillian. It looks just perfect on your couch. Very well matched. I must do more blocking! it looks great. I can just imagine your journey with the colour. One moment going one way and then it all changes! It's actually quite tricky. It's a journey!! Heather x

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  51. Thank you all SO MUCH for such nice comments. :-) xx

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  52. Coming back to comment - I did enjoy the photos earlier but didn't have time to say so. Your blanket looks fabulous! You've taken such gorgeous photos of it too. Your interior pics are really excellent, do you use a tripod? What camera do you use? Lovely, lovely blanket!

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    1. Hello Anne, and thank you. We have a DSLR, a Canon EOS 1000D - it was a sale bargain about 3 years ago when they'd just brought out a newer model. I just play about with settings until I find something that works and I take about ten photos for every one that I use. A bit trial and error I'm afraid. I don't have a tripod although I've toyed with the idea of buying a cheap one a couple of times. One day I will go on a course or something and learn about the technical side of cameras... x

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  53. Love the blanket. It looks perfect on your living room Gillian. Great pictures !

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  54. it is fantastic. I have been toying with the idea of a giant granny square blanket, you might just have convinced me!

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