Sunday, May 4, 2014

40 year old blanket

I was cleaning out my linen closet and there it was. The granny square blanket I had crocheted forty years ago. The border was moth eaten in places as were a few of the squares. I put it aside. For a moment I thought about throwing it out, or recycling it. Just for a moment.

Because that blanket holds too many memories to throw away.

I was eighteen. My mother saw a flyer for the Bay, or it may have been Eatons, or even Woodwards. Wool was a dollar a ball. She got on the phone and order 30 balls. Assorted colours. Autumn shades.

I began crocheting granny squares until I had 88 of them. I whip-stitched them together and then crocheted a wide border around them. I remember sitting in the living room of my first apartment sewing those squares together. My then boyfriend, my first great love, encouraging me to keep going as the task seemed endless.

For years that afghan lived on the back of my antique rocker. A rocker I had purchased from an antique dealer in Gastown, and then realized I had no way to get it home. I had called my mom and down she drove in her Impala to rescue her daughter yet again. It is another story for another day but my mom and that Impala rescued me on more than a few occasions.

And then the afghan got put away, I am not sure why, and was out of sight and out of mind for many years.

So I couldn't throw it away. Not when it is stitched with memories of my mom, my first love, my nineteen year old self.

Last week I took it to my knit group and started to pain-stakingly unpick all those whip stitches. In the end I had 80 intact squares, all two-coloured except three solid red ones and one tri-coloured. I laid the squares out on the kitchen table to try to find a way to put them together. It wasn't working until I realized the three solid colours had no place there anymore, so away they went and now I had 77. Clearly the tri-coloured belonged in the middle! So instead of 8 x 11, as the original blanket was, it was 7 x 11. I fussed with the order for a while, with help from my husband, again remembering my first blanket laid out on the dining room table. My mother and I walking by and changing square for square until we felt it looked right.

I left it on the table overnight, and on morning light saw that it was good.

So now I had to decide how to put it back together. I decided on a crocheted join, in black, to set the squares off as if they were stained glass. Thank goodness for Ravelry and for Youtube as I finally found the join I wanted but needed a lot of instruction. I settled for a braided join because I didn't like the way the slip stitch, single, and double crocheted border made a raised join. I also settled on a continuous join which, for my slightly dyslexic self, was a challenge all in itself. However, old dog, new tricks and all that, I was determined.

So now I have attached 22 of the 77 squares. I have made a few mistakes, but they are part of the process. Some of my squares were four deep, instead of three deep (I will have to ask my nineteen year old self about that one day) so I have to fudge some of the joins to make them work. In the grand scheme of things only I will notice.

Blanket memories: squares crocheted in the den on 33rd Avenue sitting in my Dad's recliner, squares sewn together in my first apartment sitting on the brown sofa bed from my family's rumpus room, sitting beside a boy, watching an old black and white TV his mother has donated to me, a rocking chair that had held me and nursing babies.

Knitting and crocheting are not just my hobbies.

They are my lifelines to memories I would sooner not forget.


1 comment:

  1. Sweet memories, Mary-Anne. No wonder you couldn't throw it out! Pictures please when it's done, okay?

    ReplyDelete

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