It's always a mixed blessing when you come to the end of a big, happy crochet project. There is so much rejoicing when a pile of squares finally becomes a blanket after many months of work, but also a little sadness. A weeny bit of bereavement as you say goodbye to the blissful crochet hours that filled your days and weeks.
I have really enjoyed making this blanket, although to be honest it has at times proven very challenging. I have loved the colours, oh how I have adored working with these bright, happy shades! They have given me a whole lot of visual feel good through some very dark, dreary Winter weather. They have kept my spirits aloft when life has been a little tough at times.
Working these squares as a crochet-a-long has been such a blessing. This hasn't been a totally relaxing pattern for me to work as there has been a lot of brain power behind both the design elements and the colour choices. I have really had to think hard about every stage of this blanket. But being able to come here every Sunday to share my progress has been great, and has kept me going when perhaps I might have pushed this project to one side in favour of something simpler.
If you've been following along with me since the start of November, you will have already seen a lot of these squares. I finished making them (sixteen in total) just after Christmas. They sat in a stack whilst we celebrated New Year and returned to routine after the holidays. After a few delays, I finally got around to joining them together last week - it was exciting to bring the squares together and start to feel an actual blanket forming in my hands.
I started out by crocheting the seams together, but although I like the crochet joining process, the finish wasn't quite right for this blanket. When you crochet squares together you end up with a ridge and the squares don't lie completely flat. I wanted something smooth and seamless so that the squares would appear effortlessly joined, and crochet didn't work for this. So I abandoned my hook and adopted my tried and trusted sewing method (the same one I used for stitching my colourblock cushion) and it worked a treat.
Stitching each seam with a length of yarn the same colour as one of the squares gives a near invisible join....
....see? See that invisible seam running down between the turquoise and meadow strips? The squares lie beautifully flat and the overall finish is very neat indeed.
As is my usual thing, I approached the joining in a very methodical way to make it as easy as possible to photograph and explain in a tutorial. I stitched all the vertical seams first, creating four long strips. These strips were then joined together in a series of horizontal seams, one, two three, completing the transformation from squares to blanket.......
....oh what a moment! As soon as my last end was darned in, I grabbed the blanket and ran upstairs so that I could drape it over my bed and dance around it. I smoothed it and smooched it, marvelling at its very blanketness, delighting in the colours and the magic of the log cabin diamond pattern that had emerged from the sunshine and shadow. This is a bold design, and I think it looks at its very best when it is horizontal, laid out on a bed, showing off the glorious pattern.
But the blanket still wasn't finished, there was more work to be done, an Edge to be pondered over. I decided to keep the Edge very, very simple for this blanket. I wanted a subtle frame, something that would be gently there to contain the squares but in a very understated way. I chose six colours to echo the hot/cool design of the log cabin squares, and worked some simple rows of treble crochet.
Half the blanket is edged in Aster/Turquoise/Sage (the cool half), the other half in Lisptick/Bright Pink/Magenta (the hot half).
The overall look is pretty neat when you see it all spread out (I'll show you in a bit what I mean), and compliments the log cabin design rather nicely.
By the way, I've written a full tutorial for joining the squares and crocheting the edge, you can find it in the usual place in the left hand sidebar...
One thing I've noticed since the squares became a blanket is how much I love the play of colours when the blanket's in use. I've spent so much time concentrating on the two dimensional design aspect of each individual square that I almost lost sight of the blanket I was making. It is wonderful to simply gaze at the ridges and folds, the undulating dashes of colour and the crazy energy of it all. The whole log cabin design thing can be forgotten for a while, just soak up that colour and enjoy the feeling............mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!! Scrumptious!
Back down to Earth, and there is a final bit of work to be done - the Sunny Log Cabin blanket is in need of a little steam spa treatment to soften the seams and calm the corners. Lucky for me, I have an area of floor space in the Attic where I can lay out my blanket and leave it to dry overnight. It was great using my attic floor as the old carpet up there seemed to grab a hold of the crochet like a fuzzy felt board which meant I didn't need to use pins as all. I simply spread the blanket out, smoothed out the corners and edges, straightened seams and generally eased the blanket into the perfect finished size and shape. I plugged in my steam iron with the setting on low, then went right around the whole surface of my blanket, hovering the iron about 2 cm above the surface of the crochet so that the steam could do it's magic.Give some extra steamy puffs over the places where four squares join, and at the corners and edges, then stand back and take a look.....................
........oooooooooooooooooooooooooo, looking mighty fine!
Looking glorious actually, a real stunner.
This blanket design is not for the faint hearted - it is bold and feisty and just a little bit over the top with it's stunning visuals.
I know there have been a good many of you who have watched me making these squares week in, week out and not shared my enthusiasm. Many of you told me outright that you really didn't like the Sunny Log Cabin Square at all. That's absolutely OK - I knew from the start that this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, that this would be a very self indulgent project for me to play out my own personal colour addiction.
I had a vision you see, an idea that making sixteen squares and bringing them together to form a whole bigger pattern would be a fun thing to try.
Squares can make diamonds.
Clever use of colour can create lines and shapes, can divide and direct the eye.
Hot and cold, sunshine and shadow. Squares and diamonds, lines and shapes.
It's a whole lot of fun to use colour in this way.
Would you care to see how the arrangement of squares looks in it's entirety?
My Sunny Log Cabin blanket is complete, and I love it very, very, very much.
You can see the Edge properly now too - see it is just the right amount of something? Just enough. Sunshine and Shadow.
Yes, this is a beauty. It sings and dances before my eyes, it vibrates with energy and light. It never looks still, always there is movement there don't you think?
But lets not forget that blankets are to be used, they aren't show-pieces, they are practical objects which give warmth and snuggles.
Blankets are made to be draped and layered and provide a whole lot of cosy pleasure. I have so enjoyed sleeping beneath these crochet layers during the past week - it's been below freezing here at nights and so two layers of blankety goodness has been entirely necessary (Big Blanket, made in 2009 is still going strong). I originally thought this might be a back-of-sofa throw, but I much prefer seeing it horizontal rather than vertical so it now belongs to my bed. It measures roughly 145 cm square and it sits squarely on my bed like a wacky, modern day eiderdown.
I like waking up in the mornings and seeing it all scrunched up like it's had a hard night keeping me warm and cosy. And I get the pleasure of making my bed each morning and restoring it to it's smoothed out log cabin glory. It sings to me every time I bob in and out of the bedroom during the day, a bright, happy, sunny song.
Love love love love love. I love this blanket!
ps thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has joined in with the Sunny Crochet a Long during the past few months, I have LOVED sharing my journey and I hope you've had fun embarking on yours too.
Here are some links to all the CAL posts and tutorials ::
♥ SUNNY YARN PACK - 18 x 100g Stylecraft Special DK.