Sunday, 4 March 2007

Look What I Found in the Cupboard!

This is what I made with my wool stash. It measures about 6 feet wide and 8 feet long and contains 224 Granny Afghan crocheted squares!

I used to have a serious knitting habit, my Mother had a serious knitting habit, my Grandmother had a knitting habit..... As a child I was the recipient of all the odd balls of wool left at the end of each project so there were bags and bags full of all kinds of things - wool, mohair, ribbon yarns, acrylic, really nasty nylon - all kept under the stairs or in the bottom of the wardrobe.

During the 80s my mother had a thing for those really complicated 'picture sweaters' the ones where the entire front was a work of art in wool. They took about 20 balls in different colours and I ended up with the leftovers! As a child I would crochet and knit them into clothes for my teddies (never dolls - I wasn't a dolly kind of girl). Mine were the best dressed teddies in the United Kingdom and I had alot of them. I hated sewing up (still do) so things were either crocheted in the round or knitted and then crocheted together with slip stitch. Despite my best efforts there were still bags and bags of wool leftover and I added to it throughout my teens until I laid down the needles once I'd left university. There the poor stash of wool lay, forgotten and acquiring that damp, musty smell that wool takes on when it is unloved. In my early twenties I left my Father's house and bought my own flat - the wool went with me but was still untouched. It stayed that way until I was in my mid twenties and bored in the evenings.

I started to knit sample squares in different colours - one square of each pattern from the two or three stitch dictionaries I had. The trouble was that because each pattern has a different tension all the squares and rectangles were different sizes and piecing the thing together was impossible. So I unravelled it all and started this afghan.

I decided early on to keep the colours similar in each square as I didn't like the stripy multi-coloured version I'd seen in books. I did four rounds in colour and then threw the square on the pile. The pile of squares was stuffed in yet another bag and stayed there for many more months until I finally finished and then bought some black wool to join it all together. I worked another round in black and then joined the squares to make this rainbow afghan. My stash was all used up, the bags empty and the cupboard bare. But what a way to use up a wool stash!
In this blanket I can still recognise wools from different sweaters - my father's multicoloured ski sweaters, my teenage picture sweaters, my mothers posh mohair numbers, my Grandma's sock wool- they're all there and the longer I look the more I can remember what was knitted with each yarn. Some of them elude me - I can't remember what on earth was knitted in the pinky-mauve or that vile hot pink that really jumps out at you, but it must have come from somewhere.
And what did I do with this labour of love, oh go on have a guess.....
Yep I put it in a cupboard, then it went in my Mother-in-law's loft and there it stayed for years and years until last week when it came home again. I was going to give it away but now that I've seen it again, I don't think I can. I've put it here in the hope that others will see it and decide to make an afghan of their own with their own yarn memories in it! This is one item of clutter that I'll just have to keep.


Helen said...

It looks like the perfect size for a bedspread to me :)

BabyLongLegs said...

That is amazing...!!!
You are so clever!
Sarah xXx

Secret Squirrel said...

It's beautiful!
It is very inspiring! Don't you have any use for it in your home?

Nic said...

This is much nicer than mine - the black really pulls it all together. Instead of making lots of small squares, I just kept on crocheting (never did work out how to finish it, I guess!) It has moved around with me for the last 20 years or so, and has many memories - the yarns in the middle were my Mum's left overs, so I too can see jumpers and cardies in there. As I got further out, it became more of an obsession and I scavanged charity shops for yarn. I remember moments in time when I was working on it (at this time of year, my memories slip back to seeing a friend's face on the news as the first named victim of Hillsborough) I don't supposed I've worked on it since I went into teaching and it is a bit of a monster - I think it's reached 6 foot across now - that's one hell of a granny square!
I would keep it on a bed if that's practical. Don't give it away.

Shawnee said...

I absolutely love how you put together your afghan with the color bands. It makes something that could be totally random a work of art!