Monday, January 26, 2009

2004 Was A Busy Year

This stack of blankets was a pretty ambitious goal for the year, since they all had to be done by Christmas. I don't have photos of all of them, but I have sent out word, and they trickle in from time to time.

There was this one for David. I didn't yet understand how to do Tapestry Crochet, much less that it even had a name, and so the change in color for the lettering was not done strictly the way it should be done. In true tapestry crochet, the color that does not show gets carried, unseen, through the fabric of the other color, and serves to strengthen the piece. I hadn't yet figured that out, so instead of carrying the inactive yarn across several feet of blanket, I carried it far enough to anchor it, then snipped it off. I wonder how long those blankets will hold up under this less-than-optimal workmanship. But I was getting the hang of it, and the technique would continue to develop over the next few years. Remember, I was not taught how to do Tapestry Crochet. As far as I knew, I had invented it. People who knew knit and crochet would comment on how even and tight my stitches were, but they all said they had never seen anything like this.

The big red M with the hearts for the Milner family had me tearing my hair out. It is a combination of two techniques: Tapestry Crochet and the funny double crochet stitch. Either one of these stitches is tricky, but by this time each had become relatively doable. What made doing both together crazy-making was trying to figure out when in the course of the individual stitch to change color! I swore I would never attempt this again. Until this year, I remembered that promise. Then menopause memory caught up with me and I tried it again. That attempt was all I needed to remind me of just how nutty this was.

Which brings us to Steven. He was kind enough to send me several photos, including close-ups of some sections. This zig-zag section was one that I had tried on the experimental blanket, and so I decided to try it once again. I like it! This is another reason to keep photos of what I have done before - so I can do it, or a variation, again.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Claudia and Jennifer get a blanket

Jennifer and Claudia got the first blanket of the new era. It has two types of eternity knot, each done twice. It is the only one if its kind so far, being square, and having no other pattern than the eternal knot.
Later on I would make them each their own blanket (you can see Claudia's blanket hanging, waiting to be photographed.)

This is the only blanket, other than the experimental one, where separate pieces were joined together. These were joined with a few rows of single crochet that include a zig-zag looking pattern.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Beginning of Patterns, er, Charts

Now we begin in earnest. This means making blankets for friends. And this also means continuing to make patterns. (I have since learned that these are called Charts.)

This is what is left of my original p
attern book:

The book has been through a lot since I began using it over thirty years ago. Nowadays I create patterns and graphs on the computer.

Fans of my work may recognize the third pattern in brown and yellow. It is a variation of a Finnish pattern, Hannun Vaakuna, or Saint John's Arms.

It is used in a lot of ways by many peoples, but in my usage it denotes an eternity symbol.

And when it is added to a blanket in the colors of Black and Gold, well, it is clearly a reference to the Steelers.

This pattern is another variation of that same eternity symbol, this time being tipped into a diamond. With this symbol begins my fascination with celtic knots and borders. This symbol, in various sizes, appears on many blankets. It is done in one color, with the stitches, not the colors, creating the pattern.

Here is one last page from the book, with some examples of Grecian keys. Working with these symbols has led me to do some research into their meaning. Grecian keys are an offshoot of the labyrinth, which in its true meaning was a one way path that meandered around so that it felt like a maze. But if one kept one's wits about them, proceeding at a steady pace, one would eventually emerge from the labyrinth. The Grecian key simply is a more orderly depiction of the concept.
Grecian key patterns can be found everywhere in architecture. Floor tiles, wall trim, window decoration, etc contain numerous examples of this type of ornamentation. Here is one example from wallpaper.
Both of these types of patterns are very painstaking to do, since one stitch in the wrong place makes it all come out wrong.