Blankets old and new – plus surgery on an old (knitted) friend

I’m the crafty type who always has a stupid number of projects on the go, but there’s one work in progress that’s been around for so long that I usually forget to count it: my knitted squares blanket. I don’t remember exactly when I started making squares for this project, but it was probably in my mid-to-late teens. As the blanket still isn’t finished nearly twenty years later, you can probably guess that progress was a bit slow!

knitted patchwork blanket long term WIP

I do have a surprisingly clear memory of knitting the green square with the uneven stripes, because I was showing off my knitting skills to my friends after an evening at the pub. The next day I realised that although the tension was fine and I hadn’t dropped a stitch, the stripes were slightly different sizes.

Drunken stripe square

Frogging anything was unthinkable at this early stage in my knitting life so the mistake stayed, both as a warning not to knit whilst under the influence (still good advice!) and as a reminder of a good night out with my friends. Oh,and they were impressed, by the way! Long haired goths and punks the lot of them, except the buxom childcare assistant with the tigger tattoo. I was “well weird” even for them, but we were all striving to find new ways to be non-conformist in the post-Grunge 90s. Sigh.

The blanket came to university with me and saw  things I wouldn’t dare write about on a blog that my mum reads (just normal student stuff, mum, I promise!) and it’s been in almost constant use since it was big enough to keep my lap warm. I can’t believe its still in one piece! I was too lazy to sew the ends in properly, so most of them were just knotted and snipped off 1 cm away from the knitting! (Shudder.) I spent no time or effort on finishing things properly, and all the squares are different shapes and sizes, and the yarn different weights and fibres!

Somehow, it still works and I love its scrappy mismatched appearance. There was only one square that really stuck out as an ugly mistake, and that was the pink striped one I’d knitted out of left over tapestry wool. It was fine until the blanket was washed for the first time, at which point it shrunk and started to felt. Oops.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

I looked at my scrappy, knitted patchwork a year or so ago with the certainty that I’d never feel like knitting squares for it again, and I decided I’d give it a wide crochet border to make it a more useful size and give it a more finished look. It was a good idea in theory, but the result was not what I’d planned.

dodgy crochet border

The tension was all wrong and the crochet was far too bulky for the knitting. It might have been alright if I hadn’t chained one between each cluster of three trebles, but I doubt it! It just wouldn’t lie flat or behave itself at all.

squiffy blanket

I left the border for months with the vague hope that it might just magically sort itself out. It didn’t. So I frogged the crochet and rewound the yarn, which even with a yarn winder took hours! I used some of the frogged yarn to knit a replacement square for the semi-felted one,and although I was nervous about removing a square in the middle of the blanket, it all went quite smoothly.

The offending square

The offending shrunken square

With the new square in place

With the brand spanking new square in place

So, new plan: knit strips of garter stitch in DK 40 stitches across to sew on as a border (and put up with constant “oh, are you knitting a scarf?” questions!). Ever the bad influence, I’m drawing inspiration from The Twisted Yarn’s take on the Arne and Carlos knitted blanket, which involves alternating between colours every two rows.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This may take some time, but hopefully not the years it’s taken to get me this far with the blanket!

In contrast, the star ripple blanket that I made for the birthday nieceling number 1 hooked up in near record time!

Star shaped ripple blanket

It’s very similar to the first blanket I made with Celeste Young’s Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket pattern (available free on Ravelry). Three of the colours, Lavender, Aspsen and Aster, are the same, but I used White instead of Cream, and the colours are in a slightly different order.

My original blanket on the left and nieceling number one's blanket on the right.

My original blanket on the left and nieceling number one’s blanket on the right.

As predicted, nieceling number 2 looked at her sister’s blanket, looked at the Hulk inspired one I made her brother for his birthday last month, and decided she would like one too. Oh well, at least that’s her Christmas present sorted then! And after that, I’m going to concentrate on finishing the Attic 24 Granny Stripe blanket I have been neglecting since spring!

Granny Stripe Blanket WIPOne way or another, I will be snuggled up under a handmade blanket this winter! But whether it is knitted or crocheted, finished or in progress, still remains to be seen.

Beth 🙂

16 thoughts on “Blankets old and new – plus surgery on an old (knitted) friend

  1. gladeridercrafts says:

    I love that story about your knitted squares blanket! It’s always lovely to hear about such history, and the stories it could tell! Good luck finishing it (and there’s nothing wrong with knitting a stripy scarf!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • bamcrafts979 says:

      Thanks! And no, there’s nothing wrong with knitting a stripy scarf, but it’s like when people ask what I’m knitting when I’m actually crocheting; I end up boring them with a detailed answer when they were only trying to be polite! 🙂


  2. AUNTIE SHAN says:

    My “LEGACY”-Blanket – as I like to call IT, or “The CASSANDRA-PROJECT” – is single-crocheted with regular SEWING-THREAD! It “first” began with a fistful of knotted threads that I UNdid when I was 12. FORTY-PLUS years, two or three “incarnations” and countless MILES of thread later… IT’s still NOT finished, but big enough to cover a large bed. Two strands of thread are chained together, then that continuous-multi-coloured chain is single-crocheted to make 2.5 inch squares that are attached as I go… Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to work on IT for a few years. Half of the thread is well over 50 years old! And bits & pieces have travelled the WORLD with me! Although, not so much anymore as IT now weighs over 10-pounds!! — Meanwhile, I still buy Thrift-Shop-Yard-Sale Spools for IT…


  3. Ali says:

    It was lovely to read the history of your blanket. I bet it would have lots of stories to tell if it could talk 🙂 I really liked your crochet border, I hope you like it when you add the garter strips.
    Ali xx


    • bamcrafts979 says:

      Thank god that blanket can’t talk! Progress on the garter stitch edging is slow to non-existent whilst I work on the star ripple blanket for nieceling no 2. Sigh. Maybe after xmas. 🙂


  4. sunmoonstars134 says:

    I love the random, colourful loveliness of your knitted blanket! Although the pink square that’s been relegated looks so forlorn… Do you have plans for it?!

    You also make me feel much better about some of my long-standing WIPs… I’ve only been crocheting for around a year so none of them outdate that 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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