Here’s a little something fun I was working on last month. It’s a small granny square blanket with a totally vintage vibe. That vibe comes from the fact that it actually is vintage. Mostly. The majority of it was made over 50 years ago by my great-grandmother.
In it’s original state, it was a sweater for my mother:
It’s a shame that this picture is in black and white, because if ever anything needed to be photographed in color, it’s an awesomely kitschy granny square sweater.
I’ve daydreamed about having a granny square sweater of my own for some time. I love the idea of it with a pair of jeans and my shiny Dansko clogs. If I thought that there was any chance of me actually being brave enough to leave the house in it, I’d make one.
My mom has been hanging on to this sweater for decades, but couldn’t see herself wearing it anymore. She thought it could be re-imagined as a small throw blanket, so she took it apart at the seams, and gave me the pieces.
It amounted to one large panel and the three smaller ones you see here. You wouldn’t think a pullover meant to fit a slim teenage girl could have enough fabric in it to be repurposed into a throw, but you’d be wrong!
I took one of the small panels with me to Michael’s to pick out some yarn to use for joining and for a border. While I can be somewhat snobby about fibers, I wanted whatever I used to be as close to the original stuff as possible, and craft store yarn seemed to fit that bill well. Red Heart had the black that was truest to the original black, so I bought a big ol’ skein of that. $3 well spent.
We had 4 squares too many, so I took the larger of the three small panels and removed 4 of the squares from it. That allowed me to arrange the panels into an 8 square x 12 square rectangle. Perfect.
I studied the pieces to see how the squares had been joined. This was not an easy task because (1) the joins are black and very hard to see, and (2) this thing has been washed so many times that there is very little stitch definition left. I want to say it has felted a bit, but I’m pretty sure it’s made from acrylic yarn, and I don’t know… can acrylic felt?
I made a somewhat-educated guess that the squares had been single-crocheted together, and so that’s what I did to attach the small panels to the big one.
Voila! This was surprisingly simple and took only one evening in front of the TV.
I have to admit, now that it’s done, I’m not entirely sure anymore whether my great-grandmother attached the squares together the way I thought she did. Her joins lay completely flat, and mine have a ridge on the back.
My theory is that time and multiple washings have made her single-crochets lay flat, but it’s entirely possible that I got it wrong, she did it another way, and her joins have always been flat.
As for the joins I made, I pinned the blanket down to the rug, spritzed those spots with water, and tried to block the ridges out of them. I met with limited success, but I’m calling it “good enough.” You can only see the difference if you’re looking for it.
Mom and I agreed that this thing needed a decent-sized border, so that was next.
I crocheted around the outside, granny-square-style for 3 or 4 rows (I forget how many now, but I think it was 3) and then I decided it needed a cute little scalloped edge (a la the Mod Floral Blanket) to finish it off.
We’re both very happy with the way it turned out, although really neither one of us had all that much to do with it. Mom took apart the sweater and had the idea for the blanket, and I re-assembled the pieces into a rectangle.
The credit for the color choices, the crocheting of the grannies, and the arrangement of all of those squares goes to my great-grandmother. I’ve spent a long time staring at this blanket since putting it together, and I am impressed by the random-but-not-really arrangement. It’s exactly how I would have done it. The squares look randomly-placed, and yet the colors are very well-distributed. If it were truly random, you’d expect to find some colors clustered together here and there.
Anyway, I guess this type of thinking runs in the family 🙂