I will admit to being a little over obsessed with granny squares and crochet motifs in general over the past few weeks. In times of stress (and there has been much of that lately) I turn to simple motifs to relax, to empty my mind and to feel the joy of hook in hand with no deadline pressures and no anxiety about writing up patterns.
I came to granny squares late in my crochet life – I had always believed them to be too simple, too obvious – and I’d grown up in a house adorned with motif blankets and cushions so I felt like I’d had my fill of them!
Then I realised how many crocheters (and customers in the yarn shop where I worked) loved the simplicity of the granny square. They sought out other motifs and looked for projects that would allow them to indulge their love of colour. Crochet blankets were always popular, and they still are. I am constantly overwhelmed by the popularity of blanket CALs (crochet alongs) and while I’ve never felt the need to join in or to buy huge quantities of colourful acrylic and crochet the latest “must have” blanket. I will admit to a growing collection of indulgent throws and covers (let’s not mention my crochet cushion cover habit – fed by dozens of magazine commissions and a desire for instant colour updates in my living room).
I am often tempted to sell them as they take up so much space and Mr T is reluctant to turn the house into a crochet show room! Instead they lurk under beds or in cupboards, occasionally allowed to adorn a sofa or spare bed. The truth is, there are so many, in so many colours and styles that I really don’t have anywhere to do show them off properly.
The latest addition to my collection is the “grannytastic” stashbuster, a true “zero waste” blanket, made up scraps too small for other projects, but which I cannot bring myself to throw away. My annual project to use up all the yarn left over from magazine and book commissions usually becomes a baby blanket. I hate waste of any kind and yarn “leftovers” are an occupational hazard. Unused balls are donated to charity of seized on by ladies at knit group (we have a thriving sideline in yarn swaps). These blankets have their origins in times past, when patchwork throws or rag rugs would be made from worn out fabrics. Starting with the smallest quantities, each round is worked in a different colour.
The sequence moves from pinks and mauves, through to cream, yellow and mustard. I set out with no plan in mind, just a desire to use up the odds and ends. It now measures 120 x 120cm and shows no sign of ending. It is made in 100% natural fibres. Pure wool, superwash merino and a little bit of alpaca; yarns that cannot be composted. I could not bear to think of these scraps going to landfill, so they sit in a box until I can no longer find room to store them. I wrote on Instagram today that I’m tempted to keep on going until it covers my king size bed, but that would involve the purchase of more yarn as I have now used up every scrap large enough to complete a round and so it would no longer be a true “stashbuster”… For now, I have “parked” it, a new set of commissions and deadlines approaches and “real” crochet must take over for a while. On sunny days, I shall take my grannytastic blanket outside, enjoy the colour and the comforting warmth it provides when there is a chill breeze and contemplate adding just one more round…