Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Studying My Craft

I have two colorful but scratchy (old acrylic yarn) Granny Square afghans, one from each of my grandmothers, I believe.  And even though that description covers them both, they are totally different. 
Hermione likes them both but not that I woke her up!

First, there is my paternal grandmother's with variegated rainbow squares outlined in black.  It's like a stained-glass window.  

Second, there is my maternal grandmother's with a variety of yarns--some variegated, some squares more solid--in all sorts of colors, outlined in gray.

And were we to put one of my afghans next to theirs, mine would be fluffier, looser, bigger stitches--but still with lots of colors.  And still acrylic yarn. I think I remember Grandmother's rainbow afghan on the back of her sofa at Raucous, their rural home in Denton; it was one of the things I asked for when she died when I was 14.  Except I never had thought how it was made.  And I didn't learn to crochet until I was an adult, from a friend of mine, Miss V, who stayed with us when her husband was in Iraq.  Though, I did fingerweave as a kid.  I didn't actually know the other afghan was from Bammie until a few years ago.  I know she was crafty, but I hadn't known she crocheted.

Closer inspection reveals that my maternal grandmother Bammie's stitches are small, tight, and very neat.  I can't imagine what small hook she used to crochet.  My other grandmother's stitches are looser and bigger, though still smaller than I like to crochet.

I think they're patterns are slightly different; the edging and connections definitely are.  The Rainbow afghan even has a diamond outline!





I'm told by dear Aunt Sis that my grandmother took up crochet late in life to keep her fingers nimble.  I'm not sure about Bammie.  Bammie's afghan seems more utilitarian, with its varied scraps and straight pattern.  She is also more precise and careful, down to the chain outlined round around the shell edge! Her pattern is also more challenging with a decrease from 4 to 3 double crochets after the first round, and the double crochet edge around each square.which gives it an airy feel.  And she even changed yarn between rounds sometimes--each square is a work of art.  Lots of hard work.  My paternal grandmother's rainbow seems more artsy, with the rainbow and black contrast and the diagonal diamond edge; otherwise, the pattern is very straightforward and the skill level is not as advanced.

Bammie's afghan is in fabulous shape; the rainbow one has some broken stitches.  Neither is soft at all, so I'm not sure I'm ever going to use them.  I'm considering making pillows and/or mounting some squares in a picture frames so that I can see and enjoy them everyday.  Though, now that I've studied the afghans, it might be hard to take them apart.  





These are my best bets as to the patterns: 

Rainbow Afghan
Each Granny Square:
Rnd 1: Working in rainbow variegated yarn, ch 4, join with sl st to first ch made to form ring. Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc + 2 chs),*work 3 dc in ring, ch 2, rep from *twice more, work 2 dc in ring; join with a sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-5. (four ch-2 corners) DO NOT TURN WORK.

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sl st into next ch-2 sp, ch 5, work 3 dc in this ch-2 sp, *ch 1(3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-2 sp, rep from * twice more, work 2 dc in final ch-2 sp (which is right beside the beg ch-5); join with sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-5.

Rnd 3: Ch 1, sl st into next ch-2 sp, ch 5, work 3 dc in this ch-2 sp, *work 3dc in next sp (side), work (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-2 sp (corner), rep from * twice more, work 3 dc in next sp (side), work 2 dc in final ch-2 sp (which is right beside the beg ch-5); join with sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-5. 

Rnd 4: Working in black, Ch 1, sl st into next ch-2 sp, ch 5, work 3 dc in this ch-2 sp, *work 3dc in next sp (side), work (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-2 sp (corner), rep from * twice more, work 3 dc in next sp (side), work 2 dc in final ch-2 sp (which is right beside the beg ch-5); join with sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-5. Finish off.

Make as many squares as needed for size desired.

To put together:  
Arrange squares on a diagonal, so that there is a zigzag edge.
I believe it is pieced together with a sewn seam (essentially, lay with squares right side facing and lace up like shoes, working through the stitches back to front.  Pull to draw together.)

Edging:  *Work 2 dc in each ch-2 sp, ch 3* repeat, (work 6 dc in corners)



Gray Scrap Granny Square Afghan
Each Granny Square:
Rnd 1: Working in colored yarn, ch 4, join with sl st to first ch made to form ring. Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc + 2 chs),*work 4 dc in ring, ch 2, rep from *twice more, work 3 dc in ring; join with a sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-5. (four ch-2 corners) DO NOT TURN WORK.

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sl st into next ch-2 sp, ch 5, work 3 dc in this ch-2 sp, *ch 1(3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-2 sp, rep from * twice more, work 2 dc in final ch-2 sp (which is right beside the beg ch-5); join with sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-5.

Rnd 3: Ch 1, sl st into next ch-2 sp, ch 5, work 3 dc in this ch-2 sp, *work 3dc in next sp (side), work (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-2 sp (corner), rep from * twice more, work 3 dc in next sp (side), work 2 dc in final ch-2 sp (which is right beside the beg ch-5); join with sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-5. 
Look!  I think that rainbow variegated
 is the same as my other grandmother's!

Rnd 4: (This is confusing) Working in gray, dc in top of first and third dc, ch 3, and repeat.  Finish off.

Make as many squares as needed for size desired.

To put together:  
Afghan is a giant rectangle.  I believe it is pieced together with a sewn seam (essentially, lay with squares right side facing and lace up like shoes, working through the stitches back to front.  Pull to draw together.)
Traditional shell edging (*sc, skip 1 sp, 4 dc, skip 1* repeat, with a ch round outlining (around shell:  begin in any space, sc with chosen yarn, ch 3, sc in next sp, repeat until end, sl st together and finish off.)

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