Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Big Reveal, Crazy Patchwork Blanket.

Finally, the big reveal on my crazy patchwork blanket!  I absolutely love how it turned out.  It was free form and no pattern to make this thing.  I hope you have a cup of tea ready, because this is a long post and you might just sit a while to read it.  I am so excited to be done with this even though I had a blast making it.  I am completely smitten with it and the variations in the square sizes and how it is sort of wobbly and such.  It for whatever reason reminds me a bit of Alice In Wonderland or if you have ever been in a Fluevog shoe store and how the doors and everything is purposely just off kilter.  

 I just let the blanket become what it wanted to become.  I started out with a basket full of scraps from other projects and went from there.  The final size ended up being 73x88 inches after I got the border put on it.  I decided to keep the border simple because the blanket is busy enough as it is.  I just looked in my laundry basket of yarn sitting next to me and pulled out the largest and brightest colors that I knew I could hook the  border all the way around in that color.  

The first 2 rows are a neutral grey that I have in spots of the blanket.  Then a few more rows until I had enough to frame it and make all the colors in the blanket pop. With this having so many different sized squares, 

I highly suggest doing a bit of blocking before putting the border on it.  I do not own blocking wires, so I do the "low rent" version of putting towels on the floor and smoothing the blanket out the best I can, and putting a wet towel over it, and then placing the iron down in a spot for about 2-3 seconds, and picking up the iron and placing it down next to that spot until the whole area has been steamed.  You do not want to "iron" it or it will stretch the acrylic in ways that you do not want it to be stretched.  See the area that I have steamed and the areas I had not and how it is all wrinkled?  The white block is a wet towel that I am using to do this technique. 
This is the blanket before I had a chance to "block" it and put the border on it.  Adding the border makes all the difference in the world, don't you think?

Originally I wanted to make a throw for the couch but once I started I just kept going and it grew and grew until it told me that it was done.  This was partly due to the fact that I had no real plan and this was my first one, and I didn’t know what I was really doing.  I added some large squares and then it would become lopsided a bit too much and I would flip the thing over and work from the other end and insert another large square in an attempt to rescue it and balance it out a little bit.  Next time, I will make a rough sketch on paper to figure out the placement of some of the large vs smaller squares.  I still want to make a throw for our couch.  

I have to give credit where credit is due here, if it were not for both the Babette and the lovely blogger that created the Klimt tutorial, I would not have made this.  This blanket is closer to a Klimt but it has a little bit of Babette in it too.

This blanket is not a Babette and it is not a Klimt blanket but it is kind of my version of both of those.  I downloaded the Klimt blanket tutorial and started on it, but then after about  half way through the first row I decided to add an odd numbered row to make the thing a little wider (hey the Babette has odd and even numbers, so I thought why not).

 That was, until I got to the next section and thought to myself “What have I done?  The count is all off and I don’t know what I can do to fix this and I don’t want a row of odd numbers exactly the same in every section repeating itself, oh great, I got myself into a pickle here!”.   Then I thought about it, and 2 odds together makes for an even number.  I quickly went back to that first row and added another section of odd numbers exactly the same and it all evened out, whew!  Saved!  That is really when something clicked in my head and it took off.   I can make sections in it that measure to an even number to keep the math simple. 

If you look at a Klimt blanket it is sort of like a grid within a grid, of all even numbers making up sections.  If you look at a Babette blanket, it is a mixture of odd and even numbered rows on the squares, all figured out in sections to assemble and it comes out one lovely blanket.  With a Babette it is an actual pattern on where to put the counted odd and even numbered squares for this to work.  With the Klimt blanket, it gives you more freedom to assemble large and small squares all even in count of the rows to make a blanket. 

Please excuse the sloppy artwork here, I put it together super quick on photoshop to kind of illustrate what I mean. 

Here is a detail on my blanket to kind of illustrate how I did this. 

As you can see, the Klimt blanket has a count of either 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and assembled together.  With the Babette they have a mixture of both and since math was not one of my strong suits in school, I decided that I can still do something to mimic the odd and even in the final blanket like a Babette but keep it simple.  All you need to remember is that 2 odd numbers make for an even number.  I put together groups of 3 to create a “6” or groups of 5 to make a “10” and randomly placed these in with all the even numbered squares so they would fit and give it more of that wobbly non grid type feel to it. 

In the Klimt you work in rows of 12 or 18 (I think those were the numbers, anyhoo, I suggest you go download her tutorial as it is excellent and make her blanket as this blanket is a Klimt in reality with my added spin on it but you don't make a giant row and put it together in sections.  You keep adding and going across and down until you get close to the bottom and then square it off). .  Once I made my first row of 12 when I started off following the Klimt, I just kept going and tried to keep it kind of even as I went across so I did not get ahead of myself.  I just mixed things randomly and tried to put dark and light colors together and big and small squares together in various areas. 

When adding the squares with rows I tried to mix up the rows in each square something like in this diagram.  Some squares got a different color on one row, and some others got 2 rows of the same color to just mix it all up.  I also did not make the big solid centers like on the Klimt.  I had a lot of small scraps I wanted to mix up.   

The best way I can describe how I do this is to take 2 baskets.  I made 10 centers for each color and then I tried to mix both dark and light when doing the first rows.  I would take dark colors out of the basket as I did the 2nd row and and when I was done, throw that in the other basket.  I kept going down the line and then switched to dark centers and kept going until I used up all I could.  Then I would start on another section of colors, and continue out of that same basket until they were all used up and start on the other basket, back and forth.  I used this technique all the way through the blanket so it was sort of random and at times would pick colors that I thought needed to go into an area as well.  So it was random, but kind of planned random all at the same time. 

After the first two rows of doing this, I would line up the squares by their outside color and group them together in a 3rd basket to keep sort of organized and I would try to pull a new color from a different stack as I went along. 

Sometimes when I made a big square size “12” rows I would assemble several “2” squares to make a “4” for the center and add to it.  With these the stitch count will be different as it kind of makes for a larger square if you actually made it “12” rows.  This actually is “11” rows but big enough to fit the same exact size as a “12”. 

Here is one more photo of some of the stitch detail

While this isn’t exactly a “tutorial” it is a description of how I assembled the blanket to make it a little different than the Klimt pattern and give it a bit of a less structured “grid”.  It is still on the grid, but it gives it more of the feeling that a Babette has with the odd and even numbered squares.  So, before anyone calls it in, this is a Klimt blanket that has been modified somewhat to just make it different with the freedom of adding squares at random both odd and even instead of making sections to give it a less of a grid type feeling to it.  If you want the pattern for the Klimt go here and download it.  It is a wonderful tutorial in which this blanket would have never been created without it, because it inspired me to do my thing.  I would have sat and stared at my computer screen while browsing google images of Babette blankets and wondering where to start… I found the Klimt which gave a tutorial for total freedom to do what you want and I then added my own spin to it. I made it through about 1/2 of the first "row" on the pattern, and just closed the pattern on my computer and never looked back.  I just kept going and going and doing my own thing without a pattern of any sort.  If you download the Klimt, you will see how it is a pattern and how it is done in rows.  

This was made from many scraps.  I started out with 22 colors and some of the balls of yarn were quite small.  This is why I make the centers the way I do, it helps distribute the colors in splashes through the blanket more and then I get to use up balls of yarn, and have the colors lopsided if I happen to run out of one half way through making the blanket.  Most all of the yarn is just Red Heart Super Saver.  If you want to go more expensive then by all means go for it!  Just have fun and add some color to your world ;) 

If anyone has any questions that I did not cover here, please by all means leave a comment and I will either answer you there or if I feel that it will help anyone reading this, I will update this posting.    I hope that anyone reading this feels inspired to go out and create their own crazy patchwork blanket.  I had loads and loads of fun making it and will be enjoying it’s warmth for many years to come.  

If you would like to see previous posts about this blanket, then please just hit the tag at the bottom of this post for "Crazy Patchwork" and all the pages will come up in your search.  

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