crochet

Not just a blanket-5 things I’ve learned from one of my biggest projects

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For me, every project tells a story. In my last post I mentioned the blanket I’m crocheting for my little boy, who loves nothing more than a snuggle when watching TV. Progress is slow but steady at the moment but as I have been working on it I have been reflecting on what I’ve discovered along the way. I once said to my husband not all of my projects are perfect but each one teaches me something and helps me to build on my skills so that the next will be better.

The seed of an idea for the blanket was planted around a year ago when I was shopping in Aldi and saw some wool in the special buys section. I knew I needed it, no way could I just walk past-we’ve all been there! To be on the safe side I bought 2 large 200g balls of it, thinking that I could make a nice big project. Which leads me nicely into the first of the things I have learned.

1) Underestimating is a real issue! 

After completing a few rows of the blanket and using almost 200g of wool, I quickly realised that I did not have enough to make an almost single bed sized blanket! My lack of experience with larger projects was beginning to show. That was when I made my next discovery.

2) Just because it says it’s Aran weight it doesn’t mean it will be the same thickness

I checked the ball band of the mutlicoloured Aldi wool, found out it was aran weight, and merrily went off to the shop with ideas to pick out key colours from it. I found the aran wool and chose some that I thought would match nicely. Having also learned from mistake 1 I bought several balls, that wasn’t happening again. When I got home and began, I soon realised that actually it was considerably thinner than the original as it was a different brand. It was too late so I stuck with it on the basis that my 4 year old would probably not notice (or care about!) a slight difference in the thickness of his blanket.

3) Trust your instincts

After the first section I was convinced that one side of the blanket was not going straight up and was actually sloping. Initially I ignored it, after all I was following the pattern very carefully. There reached a point where it actually began to look wonky and my heart sank-I’d already put so many hours in. I decided to patch it up by rejoining the wool and crocheting from where it looked wonky and unless you look closely it is fairly hard to tell it has had minor surgery.

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4) You can teach an old dog new tricks!

I have always crocheted using the throwing method, however it is quite slow so I looked up some videos on Youtube, learned how to hold the hook more like a knife and how to weave the wool around my fingers. Initially this was a little tricky and my tension was ‘variable’! After a while, though, it felt more natural to work this way. I am so pleased that I have tried a new way to do it and I know that next time I choose a large project I have a better technique. There’s always a chance to improve!

5) Beauty comes from within

Mismatched wool, a patch up job and a change of technique half way through mean that the blanket may not appear to be a thing of great beauty. However, it has it’s own story to tell. My life has changed such a lot since I started it last October and it has memories and feelings intertwined within each and every stitch. The rows I crocheted so slowly, stopping half way through as  I had so much other work to do; the point after New Year where I changed colour (and job) and suddenly made much quicker progress, they are all preserved in one project. The look on my little boy’s face every time he sees it is priceless and he is very excited about it being eventually completed. He keeps tabs on progress by helping me to measure it with his own tape measure, yet another memory which I will always associate with it.

For now I shall keep going, one row at a time a treasure is being created and I hope it will be cherished for many years to come. I can’t wait to finish it and be able to photograph the finished article. It really is a labour of love!

Karen xx

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