Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Big Surprise Project Revealed - Part 1

Ok, so it's early October 2012, and I've been working on this surprise project since the end of August (see this post). Since this project is a surprise I won't post these entries until I've already given it away, in May 2013.; but since this is the largest crochet project I've ever done on my own, I wanted to keep track of my progress along the way.

One of my very best friends (she's in the picture with me above) is getting married in May 2013 in Europe. Our plan is to attend the wedding, but as my husband and I are both starting new jobs in the next few weeks, we don't know for sure if we'll be able to get the time off yet. Just in case we can't attend, I wanted to have an amazing and personal gift to give them to make up for not being there. And if we can go, well it will still be an amazing and personal gift, but I'll get to see them open it!

Back when I was working on blanket squares for the group blanket that my handcrafts group Stitch for Good was making together, the bride-to-be mentioned how lovely it would be to have a blanket like that one. At the time I said something non-committal but I mentally filed it away as an epic gift idea.

When she announced that she was engaged (to a lovely guy who is perfect for her, happily) and they set the date, I began plotting to make them a blanket from squares like the one she had commented on. Nine months should be enough time... right?

The biggest crochet project I had done to date was that group blanket project, for which I only made about one quarter of the squares. So this will clearly be a bigger undertaking (especially since this one will be a larger blanket too), but also I'll be able to avoid some of the headaches that came with that group project (much more consistent gauge, for one), so overall I was excited to get going.

First I needed to choose colours for the blanket, get the yarn, select which patterns I would use for the squares, and then decide how to arrange them into a coherent pattern for the overall project.

Let's start with colours. They are both very down-to-earth people, they both do research on plant genetics, and they enjoy being outdoors, so greens and browns (earth tones) came to mind, and so I decided that the "main" colours would be several shades of greens and browns. They also both have a lovely sense of humour and are a bit quirky, so I also wanted to include some brighter highlight colours. Her favourite colour is orange, so that had to be included of course.

So with these general ideas in mind, I started poking around in yarn shops and craft stores to see what options would be available, without breaking the bank. While I was considering this, one of our local craft stores had a big sale on mill-end bags of yarn – which is already the cheapest way to get yarn - a discount of $2 off each bag. So I went to have a look at their offerings (the biggest selection of mill ends I've ever seen) to see if I could find anything that would work for me.

They had a couple of shades of green, and a nice orange, and also some blues and a pink that I thought would work well. They didn't have any browns though, so I settled on getting some "big ball" skeins of two different browns, to go with the mill end yarns. As far as I could tell all of the mill end bags seemed about the same weight and same fibre content, but they never tell you anything on those bags, so it was a bit of a gamble, but what's life without a little risk, right?

To be continued...

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