Sunday, 11 November 2012

A Crochet Nana Blanket to Make Grandma Proud

Oh what dedicated women our forbears must have been. Its easy to forget that once upon a time, the only way to get most things was to make them yourself. Many skills now forgotten by the general populous were basic requirements for every household, and a matter of intense pride for those that mastered them. Every woman could knit a cardigan, darn a sock, crochet a blanket or sew themselves a stylish dress to wear to the town dance on a Saturday night. The skill of the crafts woman was evident in the clothes they and their family wore everyday, the furnishing of their home and the food on the table. There was no alternate place to source the basics of life. No high street shops or handy takeaways for those girls to turn to after a particularly hectic day. I am by no means suggesting we go back to that way of life. While it might sound distantly romantic, it was in reality just darn hard work for the average woman.

Now that most of the developed world has the benefit of an automatic washing machine, electric stove and other various assorted appliances, why not connect with social history and spend some of your spare moments indulging in an old fashioned craft?

See my previous blog for instructions on how to complete the Nana squares that are the foundation of this blanket. You can either plan the dimensions before hand, or just make as many as you feel like and decide on the size later. The choice of colours is completely optional. I chose to limit the colour palate and then randomly combine the colours of each square.
 Once you have all your squares, lay them all out in the required order. I arranged mine so no boarder colours repeated side by side. Time to get sewing...
The weather was so nice on Saturday I sat under the umbrella in the garden.

I used a simple lashing stitch to sew each square together using a wool darning needle. Use a colour that matches one of the squares. Start at one end of the blanket and sew around two or three sides of each square until most of the sides are connected. Then go back and sew up the odd ones that have been missed.

With all the sewing up completed, crochet a boarder around the outside. I used three rows of double crochet stitch - alternating the colours of each round. Be sure to crochet three extra stitches in the corner or they will curl inwards.
While this blanket was thrifty in terms of materials - using left over balls of wool and various oddments, it was labour intensive. The squares themselves are quick to crochet, but it takes quite a few to fill out a reasonable sized blanket. If you add up the number of squares x the time spent on each one the result might be surprising. The sewing up takes some time; however it's worth spending a little longer to ensure a tidy end product.
Good work Grandma. I'm not sure how you found the time to make whole bedspreads of squares; especially with the coal range to stoke, scones to make, lambs and chooks to feed, butter to churn, workers to feed and five children to look after.
And we thought we invented multi-tasking.    

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