Friday, 27 June 2014

The Surprise New Beginnings Blanket

I'm not sure if its just me, but I find as I get older I know lots of people, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I have lots of friends. Sure I have many acquaintances, but friends, the sort you would trust with your most personal things, very few. Friends come and go over the years, there are friends from school; from university; from various different work places; the ones I used to be out with drinking and singing along to Dolly Parton with in our favourite pub in my 20s; the ones who have had families at the same time in our 30's who we meet up with a children's birthdays, weddings etc. And a few who you just know will be friends for life, no matter what. There are a couple of people who I would include in that small group, and this post is, in part, about one of those.

We have been friends over 30 years now, our fathers were friends, the first time I remember meeting we, along with our younger sisters, were taking part in a charity raft race, memorable mostly for oversized life vests and the tying of one vests directly to the plastic seats we were all sitting on, much to everyone's amusement. I believe there are photographs of this event somewhere…..but fortunately since I was only 9 I don't have them.

As the years went on we went to university in different cities, made new friends and lives for ourselves, we settled on opposite sides of the country and by out late 20s were lucky if we saw each other once a year, and spoke maybe 3 or 4 times a year on the phone. But, she is one of those people who it doesn't matter if you haven't spoken in days or months, the conversation picks up exactly where it left off, and I just love that, I also love her individuality, in school she would turn up in the middle of winter in sandals and with no jacket, where I was in a thermal vest and woolly hat!

She has been there for the good times, and more recently has helped me through some tough times. So when she phoned me late last year to tell me about a life changing decision she and her family were considering making I was not surprised that she spoke about the impact and benefits for her husband, her children and the effects it could have on the rest of her family. Not once did she talk about herself in any of these conversations, they were all about everyone else.

They decided to go for it, a decision that would see their family move hundreds of miles to the the opposite end of the country. I would have loved to catch up and say goodbye properly but it never happened, so I determined to do something that was for her, to show her how proud I was of her. Now I'm not very imaginative, in fact I am quite predictable so the decision was not a hard one, it was time to make a blanket! and a surprise blanket at that….

I had recently 'acquired' quite a few balls of cotton from Lidl, it was just so pretty it kept slipping into my shopping basket, in fact I rather wish I had bought more. So I laid it all out and tried to decide what to do. I had loads of colours so decided just to go for it and see what happened.

Initially I planned a blanket about a metre square, one that could be used for picnics, or thrown over the back of a sofa, I know roughly for a blanket that size how many squares I need so I set out making the middles. My girls are used to me with a hook in my hand and we enjoy a 'crafter-noon' where we all get to do out own thing, whether with yarn, paint or something else.

Several of these January afternoons later and my squares were beginning to take shape, there were some colours I loved, some I wasn't too sure about, I felt more were needed so raided my cotton stash and found some red and a dark blue bamboo cotton that I added it, the colours reminded me of something, but I just wasn't sure what.

I am a working mum, with two kids so crochet is very much an evening activity for me, its a hobby, a past time, it helps me relax and de-stress, sometimes I do lots, sometimes not so much, I frequently get bored of a project half way through, or doubt myself and whether it is going to work and I always have more than one thing on the go at a time. That was definitely the case here, I was using so many colours, colours I had fairly randomly thrown together without too much thought, but I had gone too far to turn back, and anyway I was determined to finish, I was going into hospital mid february and had set myself a deadline of that date to be finished and posted.

The squares continued to grow round after round, and actually what I realised was that there were not enough of them, so I made more, and more. I had decided four round solid granny squares would be perfect, but actually once I reached that stage it all still looked a bit disjointed, so I added a fifth round, and, to my eye at least the repetition of colours involved in this seemed to help pull the squares together.


So I ended up with 120 squares, using 10+ different colours. decisiveness is not one of my strong suits so my daughters helped me decide how to arrange the squares for joining, and I have to say it came out so much better than I had hoped. Being cotton it has a softness and a weight to it that you just don't get with acrylic yarns.


I even eventually remembered what it reminded me off, my russian doll that my parents brought me from a trip to St Petersburg, in fact looking at it, I believe it may have subconsciously inspired me.

SO here it is the Surprise New Beginnings Blanket, can you see the pattern in the squares? and the one square that I put in the wrong place? I couldn't face ripping several rows back so there it will remain. It is bold and bright, and I hope beautiful.

I managed to keep it a secret. I got it posted the day before my operation and got a lovely phone call a couple of days later. I am happy to say it is now happy in its new coastal home in Cornwall, and most importantly, they liked it! If you have read this far….thank you, I promise the next one will be shorter, more crochet, less chat.



  1. I am loving your stories about how your projects evolve and your photographs are lovely

  2. Thanks Tricia, it's fun to be able to explain them more, I love your description 'evolve' makes it should like I almost know what I'm doing instead of just bumbling along hoping for the best

  3. What a lovely thing to do and it is gorgeous

  4. Another uncertain mind like me, have almost finished a baby mobile, bees hanging from a nest. Its not as neat as the picture on pattern, also not sure if flowers around the hive will be suitable if baby turns out to be a boy, haven't put them on yet but would like to get it finished