Well, here we are. The last little bit. All over except for the crying. I’ll have the specifics of the blanket over on the index page, but basically I’ve been working on this thing nonstop for fourteen months. Could someone else have done it faster? Of course. Could someone else have done it better? Definitely. Does any of that matter? Of course not! I’m the one who came up with the idea, and I set myself to do it. Now, if someone else comes along and decides they want to do the same and produces something better in the span of six months…
Then I’ll be very happy for them! I don’t own this idea. Do what you want.
Before we really get started, I wanted to include a little PSA:
Don’t Buy Fast Fashion Crochet Items
Honestly, the real PSA is ‘don’t buy fast fashion.’ Fast fashion are all those clothes from Shein, Wish, and even Amazon, Walmart, and Target. The really cheap clothes that chase fashion trends that only last for months. The clothes people buy, wear once, and then throw out or donate, which a lot of the time is just throwing it out with extra steps. Of course, as always, the damage done by the consumer is miniscule compared to the damage done by the corporations, who produce these clothes with slave labor, send them to other nations with a huge carbon footprint, and then often toss the tons of clothes they don’t sell directly into landfills. Or ‘donate’ them to African nations who have no use for several grosses of the same thin t-shirt with a pithy saying, so then all that tonnage ends up in African landfills.
What you can do to help is never buy from these brands, never buy a piece of clothing you can’t see yourself wearing for at least three years, and once you are done with a piece of clothing see if you can recycle it around the house. Oh, and vote for the people who might actually be able to stop these corporations from killing us all for profit. That’s standard, though.
Some of these fast fashion places have started to sell crochet pieces, and anyone who crochets is immediately cringing so hard their eyeballs have popped out of their skulls. People who don’t do fiber crafts often don’t understand the work and time that go into a single project. They know people will make their own clothes to save money, so they think that handmade stuff should be cheaper and never consider that the money saved is replaced with time. And while knitting can be recreated by machine, crochet can’t. Which means that someone, somewhere, spent their day in a sweatshop crocheting cardigans until their fingers cramped only for H&M to turn around and sell it for, like, ten bucks.
I have worked over four hundred hours on this blanket. If I’m getting paid federal minimum wage of $11.25 an hour, then already the blanket is worth $4,500. Meanwhile, AliExpress is advertising a ‘handmade afghan crochet blanket’ for less than a hundred dollars. Holy fuck. I know some people crochet fast, but no one is working that fast. Honestly, I wouldn’t buy crochet pieces from any major store.
Thing I Learned From this Project
You may not remember or know, but when I started this project I was still mostly a beginner. I had crocheted a few hats and scarves, and a table placement that quickly turned into a cat mat, but there were a lot techniques I still couldn’t master even after crocheting on and off for literal years. I figured a project like this would introduce me to lots of stuff, and I was right! Yay! The things I learned include:
- Reading written instructions. Up until I started working out of The Big Book of Granny Squares I was dependent on YouTube tutorials.
- Invisible increases and decreases
- Corner to corner
- Working in the round. I had done hats, but those are supposed to cup. Getting round pieces to lay flat is surprisingly hard.
- Granny squares. Obviously.
- Weaving in ends
- Specialty stitches. Including lattice, front post and back post, and double treble.
- How to join all of these squares together.
Speaking of that last one:
Joining the Squares Together
There’s a lot of techniques for this, and I went with one called zig-zag, although I kept thinking of it as braid.
There are some joins that are completely invisible, like the mattress stitch, and there are other joins that put a lot of distance between the squares, like the flat braid. Zig-zag is in the middle. It’s visible, but doesn’t add any space between the squares. I wanted something that would clearly separate the patterns, but this blanket is already so fucking big I definitely did not need any more length.
Something I noticed about this stitch that might entirely be me because I’m still not great at crocheting but I’ll mention it just in case: it can look a little wonky if the stitches of both squares aren’t lined up properly. This wasn’t a problem with my Carja and Shadow Carja squares that had been worked in rounds. But the Nora squares had all been worked in rows, and because of the patterns I had to connect them a little unevenly, so…
It also didn’t help that while all of the squares are roughly the same size, they all had a different amount of stitches on their outside. For instance, the Carja Blazon Master had twenty-eight stitches along each edge, but because the Carja Blazon had been worked with some of the biggest stitches in the blanket there were only twenty-three at each edge. When this mismatched happened, I did invisible decreases on the larger side, which is noticeable but only if you know what you’re looking for.
Like the rest of the blanket, not perfect but still my best work to date.
“How to Join Granny Squares”
I kept searching that, along with a few variations, but I kept getting results on different stitches and weaves. What I wanted was the next step: how to actually go about using the zig-zag stitch to get all the squares joined together as efficiently as possible. And by efficient I mean ‘with the least amount of ends to weave in.’ I never found it (maybe I never found the right search term?) but I figured something out on my own.
First, I stitched together the left border. In doing so, I also stitched every other square of the next row, like so:
Then, starting at the top, I went back and forth, stitching the squares in a sort of zig-zag (it’s zig-zags all the way down). Like this:
This way, I was getting all sides of the squares without having to cut the yarn repeatedly or cross my work. I had a single, unbroken piece of yarn going from top to bottom. I don’t know if it’s the best way to do it, but it worked for me.
I initially wasn’t going to do a border around the blanket. I had already made a border with the blackout squares and didn’t think it would need one. I quickly realized I was wrong, for two reasons:
- Some of the squares end up a little lopsided next to each other, and the border smooths them out.
- I didn’t feel like going around and weaving in all the ends individually. The border locks them all down.
This blanket is so big a simple double crochet border around the whole thing still took me three nights.
I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands
I’m trying to break before I start my next project but it’s like I don’t know how to live my life anymore without my hands tying yarn into knots. Do you…do you just sit there? And watch the television with idle hands? How? How? I’m trying to take a week’s break because the zig-zag join is so different from the usual way I crochet my hands are all cramped, but…I don’t know how. All I know is yarn now. It only matters for the next week, though, because come February 18th I only have my sights set on one thing.
Horizon Forbidden West
I know everyone says not to preorder games, and for, like, 99% of the time I totally agree. I was all aboard the Cyberpunk hype train but I never pre-ordered and, well…
But I was never not going to play Forbidden West, you know? Even if the reviews came out and said everything about it was terrible, bad story, janky as fuck…I would still play it. That’s how much I loved Zero Dawn. And while there’s always the chance Forbidden West could be disappointing, I doubt it’s going to be bad enough for me to be completely disappointed.
And I wanted more outfits, God damn it!
So, I’ve got my preorder. I got the PS5 (from PlayStation direct. I’d rather get kicked in the teeth than buy from a scalper). I even got the purple controller because I’m an adult and I fucking wanted one. I have taken off the following week from work. I plan on buying all the non-greasy snacks I can find, wrapping myself in my new blanket, and planting myself on the couch for the duration.
Will I make a blanket based on this game? Maybe? Definitely not for a while. You can be sure if I do, though, I’ll drag you all along with me again.
Thanks For Playing Our Game!
If you’ve been reading these since the beginning, or if you’ve just popped in, thanks for coming! My website doesn’t get a lot of traffic, so I appreciate everyone who took the time to follow me on this journey.
Happy gaming, and happy crafting!
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