The Horizon Zero Dawn Blanket: The Carja Blazon

The HZD Blanket

First, a few updates:

Horizon Forbidden West

We finally have a release date for Horizon Forbidden West: February 18th, 2022. Guerilla is acting like it’s set in stone, but anyone who pays attention to video games knows anything can happen. It certainly won’t be coming out any earlier than that, so I’m treating this date as my deadline for the blanket.

I generally do not pre-order video games as we’ve all seen how that can turn out, but there is absolutely no way I’m not playing this the day it comes out. I plan on taking that entire week as a staycation. Still, I told myself I would only pre-order if it came with an exclusive outfit.

So, when pre-orders released and I found the Digital Deluxe Edition came with three outfits, and a face paint, and a photo mode pose, I repeatedly threw my credit card at the computer screen until I remembered how online purchases work. Also, I’m pretty relieved I’m beyond the part of my life where I’m collecting tchotchkes, because the Collector’s Edition and the Regalla Edition both were wicked expensive and sold out wicked fast. I’m happy for the people who bought it, and I’m also happy the extras I crave are only ten bucks more than standard price.

I Got My New Yarn Ball Winder, And It Is Glorious

Man, I’m just an advertising machine today, huh? Too bad none of these people are paying me for it.

Look at this thing:

I love it so much I want to cry.

I specifically didn’t want something made of plastic again, and looked for something I could conceivably repair instead of having to replace outright. This thing is heavy, quiet, and smooth like butter. The most important question: does the yarn wind?

You bet your ass it does.

I got mine from the theknitstore on Etsy, and it came with easy-to-follow instructions on how to put it together.

Okay, now that we’re done with the housekeeping, let’s talk about

The Carja

If you’ve been reading through my posts on making this blanket, you may have started to pick up on a theme: none of the other tribes really like the Carja. What hasn’t come up is the corollary fact: the feeling is sort of mutual. What happened to create this resentment?

First of all, the Carja are pretty different compared to the other tribes we’ve talked about. They are far more technologically advanced and have a long-established writing system. Their capital city, Meridian, is built of stones on top of a giant mesa in the middle of the Utah desert and it has two working elevators. They are a patriarchal kingdom with separated classes of people that used to use slave labor. They value art and artisans and their clothes are very detailed and colorful (at least the nobles and the artisans are). You can already tell where this is going: the Carja think of the other tribes as squatting in ditches poking berries up their noses and the other tribes think the Carja stand around all day smelling their own farts and pulling a muscle just going to the toilet.

Second of all, and way more important, are the Red Raids. Twenty years prior to the beginning of the game the Derangement started. Normally docile machines started to go aggro and new machines whose sole purpose appeared to be Tearing Shit Up began to show up. The Carja king at the time, Jiran the 13th Sun King, was already a little fucked in the head and decided that the only way to stop the Derangement was some good, old fashioned blood sacrifice. Can’t sacrifice your own people, that’s how revolution starts, so Jiran ordered that the other tribes be raided both for blood sacrifices and slavery (those elevators were actually built by Oseram). This went on for over a decade before his son did start a revolution.

So, yeah. Everybody still’s a little pissed about that.

Carja Fashion

While the rest of the tribes dress primarily for survival – the Nora for hunting in forests, the Banuk for hunting in snow, and the Oseram for smelting and smithing – the Carja mostly seem to dress specifically to look fly as hell. They wear a variety of bright colors with intricate designs and machine pieces woven in not as armor, but as decoration. The higher standing you have, the more color you wear. Even the guards and their holy men dress like ‘ostentatious’ is less an adjective and more a competition.

Something I haven’t talked about because its only outfit-adjacent are the face paints the tribes sometimes wear. The Oseram don’t have any while both the Nora and the Banuk have face paints that indicate role in the tribes or wreaks. Meanwhile, the Carja have several face paints that straight up look like make-up.

Most of the disparaging things other tribes say about the Carja – when they’re not, you know, talking about the time the Carja kept showing up to drag them away and kill them – is talking shit about how fucking fancy they dress. When you’re wandering around Meridian dressed in Nora outfits the Carja NPCs will shit-talk your outfit to your face, and if you’re wearing a Carja outfit they’ll compliment you. It’s a backhanded compliment, but still.

The Outfit

You may be able to figure out what the Carja Blazon outfit is going to protect you from. Hint: It’s fire. It’s protecting you from fire. Now, how is this outfit, which reveals a completely bare stomach area, protecting you against fire? Who knows, but it a great example of what I’ve been saying: the Carja are willing to sacrifice a lot of function to look a little bit better. Who gives a shit if you suffer third degree burns to your abdomen if you look like hot shit when it’s happening?

The Square

I have been explicitly avoiding doing center-out granny squares for the other tribes (except in the case of certain cities) because I wanted them for the Carja for two reasons:

  1. They worship the sun.
  2. A lot of center-out granny squares are really intricate and use a lot of colors, which matches their style.

This pattern is called Geisha in The Big Book of Granny Squares, and I chose it because I thought the large ‘petals’ looked like the vest piece of the Blazon outfit. I modified the stitches in the petals, making them fuller and more solid, and obviously changed the colors to match the outfits style. The colors (from center) are currant, whirlpool, hyacinth, and brass heather.

My favorite part of this pattern are the stitches done in brass, where you loop down and catch all the chains connecting the petals to give each section a more separated look:

It looks downright messy beforehand, and afterward it really gives each section the illusion of being a part from the others. As I’ve said (a lot) before, The Big Book of Granny Squares has a lot of great patterns once you get past the crazy amount of mistakes (to be fair, I didn’t catch any mistakes in this particular pattern).

The other part I enjoyed doing in this square are the outside blue and maroon pieces, which include double, triple, double treble, and triple treble stitches. These are longer-than-average crochet stitches, and when done as loosely as I did (not by choice, btw, I’m just still learning) they come out nice and soft and squishy.

Overall, A+ square, very fun.

That’ll do it for now! I counted it up, and I’ve got roughly eighty more squares to crochet, plus stitching them all together (thank fuzzy God I weave in the ends as I go), and about one hundred and fifty days to get them done. That sounds like enough time, but with me, who the hell knows. Let’s find out together.

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