While it was fun to look back over all that Mollie Makes creativity (and thank you for all your kind comments) I am really enjoying a more long and leisurely sort of project at the moment. I feel like I've got that challenge out of my system now and this blanket is a no pressure, no deadline sort of project. It's a slow burner, where the act of making is as important as the finished item.
It is in my nature to be productive; I am busy and organised(ish), a starter and a finisher. I'm task focused, a list writer, and like to feel a sense of achievement at the end of my day. I'm also a "joiner", one of those trying-to-be-helpful people who volunteer for everything then regret it afterwards, but that's another story.
So I thought I would share my progress so far with you. The pattern is from here and calls for 196 granny squares in total. I have to say that I am loving everything about this blanket so far; the colours are rich, the yarn (Rowan Pure Wool DK) is smooth, and the pattern offers enough variety to stop it being dull but is easy to memorise. So far I've made 39 squares and this is what 35 of them look like laid out, to give you an idea of the pattern.
But the thing is, I'm not very good at being random. Getting the balance of colour right for these squares was bothering me so I attacked it from a very logical and boring perspective. I am working with 16 colours and so I made ten first rounds in each colour, giving me 160 tiny circles. I know it's not enough for the whole blanket but it seemed more manageable to do it that way. And you see, crocheting all those little first rounds at once stops me backing out of the project and saying, oh, you know what, I've made 39...I'll just make...a cushion! It means I've invested my time in it, and done the fiddly bit, and I'm committed now. The blanket will be a blanket, not a cushion or scarf or small throw.
Then I took each of those little circles and matched them with a different colour for their second round, so that no two were the same and the colours were contrasting and varied. So that's 160 slightly bigger circles I've made so far - 39 of them have had their third and fourth round added. The remaining 121 look like this:
But I can't just have this crazy mess of circles in a bag, ready to dip my hand in and randomly grab one ready to crochet the third round. No! The lack of control there would probably kill me! Which colour would I use? What if I used one colour too much? What if I ran out of a favourite colour? How would I carry it all around with me? These things bother me.
So, what I did was sort these circles into piles based on the colour of the second round - surely programmes like Downton Abbey are made for times like these? Then I chose the colour for my third round (purple in this case) and took one circle from each pile, like this, so I had my colours chosen and ready to go.
Then I threaded the ball of yarn with a needle...
...and threaded each little circle directly onto the yarn.
I pushed them all far down the thread, so that they wouldn't fall off if the yarn unraveled, and I wound the yarn tightly round all those little circles. I know this seems like madness but what I have now is a portable project, and my sanity. I have 16 little bundles of yarn in 16 different colours that look just like this one, and when I have a moment to do a bit of mindlessly enjoyable hooking in front of the television, or in the car, or at the school disco, or in the A&E waiting room where I was with Angus last night because he stuck a tiny plastic bead right up his nose...well, I just grab one of those balls and my 4 mm hook and I'm ready to go.
Then I'll add the fourth and final round (in white yarn) and darn in the ends as I go. If this all goes to plan I'll eventually have 160 finished squares. I know this isn't enough, so for the remaining ones, I might be really naughty and choose the colours I like best and just work with those. I'll ignore the forest green, tan, rust and pillar box red - the colours I don't particularly like but included because they balance out the others and add depth and variety - and play favourites with the heather-purple, olive green and dusky pink. And hopefully, I'll have a nice blanket at the end of it, too, in about four years from now.
And the other thing I'll have is a lot of these - yarn ends. My friend Rachel told me that you can turn wool yarn ends into felt balls. I've never done this before but I'm dying to find out if it's true, once I've sorted the millions of threads into separate colours...
So, am I alone in my controlling ways? How do you approach larger projects like this one? Do you like to impose order over those unruly colours or embrace a more spontaneous, carefree approach? And what do you think it says about us? I'd love to know your thoughts.