Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Patchwork Granny Afghan

Colorful Patchwork Granny Afghan

Earlier this year, I went in search of a bright, cheerful blanket pattern that I could crochet for our living room. I wanted something light, happy, and colorful for use in the spring & summer months.

Through the course of my search, I found some absolutely fabulous blogs, my favorite being Attic24...and I'm officially convinced that I was born in the wrong country. I should be living in a bright little English Cottage.

But anyway.

I fell in love with her Patchwork Granny, and wanted to make a similar version for myself.

I went to Joann's and over-spent on yarn that wasn't on sale, simply because the bright colors spoke to me. I learned the art and love that is the granny square, and I worked on my dazzlingly bright creation for weeks.

The very first square!

And the very first row!

I really wasn't sure how big I wanted the blanket to be, just that I was trying 10 rows across, with the colors in the same order in each row. I was only using 7 colors, so the colors were alternating and still very mixed in together, just in an organized way. I tend to operate in an organized chaos kind of way through all aspects of life, so this suited me. I liked the repetition of the colors being in the same order, but not looking too close together or far apart. At first, I drew a chart of squares and colored each one in a matching colored pencil so that I could follow along and not get confused. Soon enough, I was used to the order and had plenty of rows to use as a reference, so I didn't use the chart for long. The blanket grew big enough to use as I was working on it, and this was very welcome in the colder months!

I got pretty far after only a week or so, but of course, progress slowed down after this.
This picture gives you a good example of how I staggered the colors.
They ended up looking kind of diagonal, skipping a row each time.

To the left is the finished product! In this picture, it's folded in half length-wise, and the sides are tucked in as well, so you don't really get the full picture as far as size goes, but that's really up to you, too! I wanted something on the smaller side that would still cover me from my toes to my chin if I were lying on the couch or in the recliner. So if you make one, just measure as you go along and stop when you feel it's long enough for you! I love that the end result ends up feeling like it was tailor made just for me. Well, it was!

I ended up making it 10 rows wide by 14 rows long - so, 140 4-round granny squares. It was made slightly larger by a 3-row border. After running out of yarn (RIGHT at the very end) and not wanting to buy more, I adjusted my plans for the border and ended up doing 2 rows of grey and 1 row of purple. I love it more than my original plan, anyway, so it worked out! I don't remember the exact timing, but I think this project took me 1.5-2 months. It probably would have been a little bit quicker if I hadn't gotten distracted by other projects and books, but...such is life!

Grey & Purple Granny Afghan Border
Here's a close up of the finished border.

I like how simply & cleanly it edges the blanket. If you look around at many similar projects online, it seems like many crochet-ers like a much bigger, involved border. I didn't want mine to take away from the colors of the blanket - the squares were the star of the show, for me, so this suits me and my blanket perfectly!

When a blanket like this is finished, lots of times you'll find that the squares you made early on are a lot bigger than the ones you ended with. Not because you did anything differently, but because the yarn has relaxed with time, and if you use your blanket while you're making it (like I did), it starts collecting mileage while your new squares are just being born. To make your blanket more symmetrical, you can pin it to a rug or a carpet using a tape measure or yard stick as a guide to stretch the edges and get them all to be a similar size. Then spritz the whole thing down with a spray bottle filled with water, and let it dry completely. When it's dry, your yarn should be relatively uniform throughout your blanket.

Want to make one, too?

My Inspiration: Attic24's Granny Patchwork Blanket
One Color Granny Square Pattern: Renate Kirkpatrick's Freeform Crochet
Joining As You Go Tutorial: Attic24
Crocheting a Flat Granny Border Tutorial: BunnyMummy

I used all of these to create my finished product, and made a few of my own changes and adjustments along the way. If you follow those, be careful - most of them use the UK terminology, and it's easy to get your double and triple crochets confused! I used mostly Vanna's Choice yarn, but two of the colors weren't. I wasn't picky enough about them all being exactly the same - I was more concerned with the colors being right! My tip is to use whatever colors speak to you, and I wanted mine to be as bright and summery as I could! But of course, you could do this with any color scheme. I'm actually daydreaming about an autumn version...hmmm.

I'm really in love with my blanket - it's the first one I've ever crocheted from start to finish, and I still can't believe I did it! I loved every second of making it!

Let me know if you make one - I want to see it! 

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