Friday, January 21, 2011

Not My Knits: Pink Zig Zag Blanket

The other day I got to thinking about where my crochet/ knitting obsession originated. It feels like it was an overnight thing: one day I was a normal young (ish) woman, minding my own business, and the next thing you know I was tackled by this tremendous urge to crochet/ knit. All the time.

I started to feel victimized by the power of this addiction.  And if it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone.

Then I realized that I'm probably not that "normal" in the first place (but who is?) And that the obsession wasn't an "overnight thing" at all. In fact, the groundwork had been laid in my childhood. Maybe even in my very DNA.

I mentioned before how craftiness is in my blood. Clearly being surrounded by such talented ladies--or more truthfully--being surrounded by the finished objects of such talented ladies had a huge influence on me and my appreciation for handmade things. You can't spend years under the blankets that someone has spent literally hours and hours crocheting for you without thinking about the artistic decisions and skill that went into them.

This is one such blanket. The Pink Zig Zag blanket that spent some time at the foot of my childhood bed, and spent much time in my parents' TV room. It's a blanket that both of my childhood pets loved (by the way, ever notice how cats and dogs are instinctively drawn to knitted or crocheted throws? It's like a magnet) and I have vivid images of them curled up on top of it. I borrowed it from my parents this month to take a photograph of it. As it sat folded up in my house while I waited to give it back to them, I was astounded to discover how much it felt like "home" to me. It was such a comforting object and had such a nostalgic "home" feeling to it. Some things can be very powerful like that. But I hadn't really ever experienced that feeling to such a degree before with a physical object. It's fitting, I suppose, because this is a blanket that was made by my own grandmother's hands. Each stitch crocheted by her.

I know that this blanket is one of the stops along the way on my crochet/ knitting journey. Now that I know more about the craft I can appreciate my grandmother's sense of color (she stuck to a pink hue and alternated three colors, one being a variegated yarn which brought in a touch of light brown); her consistency (I can't see any mistakes, her gauge doesn't change, and she single crocheted a border around the entire blanket using a pattern instead of just going about willy-nilly, which I unfortunately tend to do); and her pattern choice. I know zig zags or chevrons have been very popular in the past. They have a more modern feel to them today (sometimes softened into ripples instead of zig zags). They could even be considered quite fashionable since they are always visible when it comes to the design house Missoni ( a beautiful, Missoni-inspired, knitted chevron blanket pattern can be found here). It's a pattern that I know my grandmother must have enjoyed making because there are several more of these blankets at my parents' house that I grew up with. From my own experience with the earflap hats, I know that you only revisit a pattern if you really like it.

I plan on showcasing these blankets here in the future. I've decided to periodically highlight some of the crocheted and knitted pieces that have surrounded me as a child and as an adult in a series of posts titled "Not My Knits." It's a way for me to pay homage to the people--both living and deceased--who have made these items, and it's also a way for me to understand how they influenced me directly or indirectly.

Who knows, but after studying my grandmother's blanket for so long I'm kind of wanting to make one myself now! Remember, it's in my blood. 

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