Random planning

My pile of Granny flower squares is blooming almost as fast as the real flowers in the garden. No surprise, really, as they have become my default relaxation activity. Time for a tea break? Time for a quick Granny square while my favourite Assam brews and cools.

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A few minutes sitting in the sunshine before dinner? A few minutes busy with hook and yarn, blissfully happy in my little world of colour and warmth.

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The only rule I set myself at the start of this project was to weave in all the ends of yarn after finishing each square. Dull and boring – oh, yes! Far more exciting to rush on to the next square. However, it didn’t take very tricky maths to work out that a hundred squares with six tails each to deal with would be a pretty soul-destroying task all at once so I’ve stuck to my rule with every single square. The little tails are very pretty in themselves; I’m surprised those twine-stealing blue tits aren’t eyeing them up for their nestbox.

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Despite my original happy-go-lucky approach, I have noticed that the more squares I have made, the more I felt the need for a bit of organisation. This isn’t because I want to abandon the idea of  ‘random’. Quite the opposite, in fact: I really want to preserve the sense of colourful pick ‘n’ mix but I wasn’t sure anymore that just randomly making squares was going to work. I know this probably sounds completely irrational but please bear with me. I know what I mean. Honest. So . . . at the fifty squares mark, I sorted them into piles according to their edging colour to help me keep a balance where I had definitely been favouring the blues, greens and purples.

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Ten more squares and I began to wonder about my colour choices for the first and second rounds, too. To be completely honest, I had to admit my hand probably reached for those blues and greens rather too often, I just love those cool shades. I decided to weigh each ball of yarn to see how much of the 100g I had used . . . and the results were quite surprising.

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The good news is that I had used a similar amount of most of the colours – even the so-bright-it’s-almost-fluorescent pink which I’m not overly keen on – but far less lilac and way more orange and yellow than anything else. Wow! Personally, I blame the powerful influence of sunshine and marigolds in my work space for that one. Back to crocheting squares with lots of lilac and no sunny colours for a while.

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Seventy squares done and I felt the pressing need for a Construction Plan. (Much as I love spontaneity and going with the flow, there are times when nothing beats a good plan and my experiences of making patchwork quilts suggested this might just be one of those occasions.) I lined up my piles of squares in the evening sunshine and started piecing them together in rows of ten with different edging colours where they met.

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Trying to keep a balance horizontally and vertically became more difficult the more squares I added, and I decided that if the same colour (but different shade) met diagonally then that would have to be alright – otherwise I could be at this for years.

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All seven rows done and I set to work inventing Row 8 in true designer style; well, okay – I chewed my pencil for a long time then scribbled notes on the back of an old envelope. This was far more difficult than I imagined! I found myself working from the outer edge of each square and trying to visualise colour combinations that would fit, then scanning all the other squares to check I wasn’t repeating myself. I swear it took more time to plan those ten squares than to actually make them!

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Now obviously in order for this Grand Plan to work for Row 9 and Row 10 in the same way, it was important to keep the blanket pieced in exactly the same way, otherwise this would all be a pointless exercise. I carefully gathered up each row from left to right, labelled the top square and piled them in a storage basket (yes, another one . . . I now have four baskets of woolly things on the go, it’s all getting a bit out of hand).

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That way, in theory, I should be able to lay them out quickly in the same arrangement, adding Row 8 to the bottom in order to plan Row 9. Guess what? It worked!

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So now I am very, very close to planning Row 10, the last row of squares I need to create my blanket. Please, please, please just don’t let me drop that basket . . .  🙂

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