Inspired by looking back at the Avatar Blanket, I decided it was time to make another large blanket this year. This time, I took my newly acquired crocheting skills and made this monster. This project went from May 2014 to January 2015. The finished product is about 6′ x 5’6″. And I ran into quite a few problems along the way with this one.
For starters, I made this whole thing in one shot. As in, I chained 299 stitches and just crocheted off of them. No individual pieces to be sewn together, so no boring part stitching it together, right? Well, on the one hand, that’s true, but at the same time, my crocheting does not like to hold the same tension throughout. I have to say that that is one thing that knitting has over crochet–tension is just so much easier with knitting, since you can’t be any tighter than the diameter of the needles. Anyway, the tension apparently got tighter the longer the blanket got, so the top is definitely narrower than the bottom. Mostly that just annoys me, since the blanket is so big that you wouldn’t normally see the entire piece at once, but still. It’s there. On the other hand, doing it in one big piece was the only way I could think of to get all of the names on it, so it worked beautifully to accomplish what I was going for.
Tension was my main issue, but even before I started, I struggled pretty hard trying to figure out what kind of crochet stitch to use. I was trying single crochet, double crochet, I even learned Tunisian, but nothing was giving me the look I wanted. I finally decided to single crochet in back loops only, and just cut the yarn once I got to the other end of the blanket. Which worked pretty well, since the design came out legibly, which was really all I wanted. This method gave everything a slight tilt to the right, which nicely turned out to make the names pop a bit more and look more intense and comics-like. Plus, it left fringes at the edges, which at first I figured I’d just cut later, but now I kind of like them. They give the whole blanket a more substantial, rug-like look.
My method to do color changes on this blanket was to use two colors at a time, with the hidden color going through the middle of the outer color. This is a very good method for two colors, and I strongly recommend it (just be cautious with pulling the hidden color through; if you pull too much, the whole piece gets too tight and then you end up with all the fun problems of the piece shrinking in width every time you add a layer of stitches). However, I started using this method and thinking that I could just pull as many colors through the middle as I wanted. I soon learned that you’re pretty much limited to two inner colors, max. If you try more, they just don’t fit. And if you alternate, like one row with two inner strands and one row with one inner strand, the rows turn out to be different heights. Plus, every inner color can be seen at least slightly through the outer color. So after realizing all of that in my initial experimentation, I decided to only have one inner color strung through at a time and just cut and tie the next color to it. This is how I ended up with a perfectly legible front with rows all the same height, but a back full of knots and other interesting looking things:
Finally, after the troubles I had with the Avatar blanket, I thought I’d solve the distortion problem by actually paying attention to how wide and tall my stitches would be. Crochet stitches are taller than they are wide (the opposite of knitting), so I tried to measure my stitches and distort the pattern to compensate. But I think I overdid it, so this blanket also has distortion by way of being too wide. That bothered me at first, but again it looks fine thanks to what the brain is expecting to see and I’m still learning as I go.
So this is it, my most recent big project. I probably won’t be posting anything else any time soon, but I do have another blanket in the works, so check back in a few months to see it! And let me know what you think of this one, if you want to learn more, or if you have any questions regarding what I did; I’m sure I’m not nearly as detailed as I think I am on these posts.
“‘Nuff Said!” -Stan Lee