Knitting a Welcome Blanket is art, politics… and a lot of fun.
If you’re reading this in 2017, then you’ve heard of Trump’s proposed boarder wall with Mexico. It’s almost 2,000 miles long. What if many crafters around the world, knitted and crocheted blankets from 2,000 miles of yarn? And these blankets were displayed in an art gallery, before being distributed to new arrivals to the United States?
You might think that this is an awfully political stance for a crochet and knitting blog to take up, and as a New Zealander living in Switzerland, what’s happening in America doesn’t affect me at all. Sure, I see that. But I’m an immigrant, and I know how much a warm welcome means. I’ll leave the politics there – it’s for people closer to it to comment further.
Any sort of blanket is, well, welcomed in the project, but there’s a suggested pattern (by Kat Coyle, the creator of the Pussy Hat!) and it’s delightful.
The Come Together blanket is knit on the bias, all in garter stitch. You cast on two stitches, increase every row, then switch colours and decrease every row. (Go read the pattern – it’s a free pattern, but I won’t give more details than that here.)
My friend and I agreed to make a blanket together, to a tight deadline – she has flights booked to the US, and can post it from there (much cheaper than international shipping!).
That was Wednesday. On Thursday we went shopping and picked out the yarn together.
We emailed back and forth a few times, and agreed on a gauge. In less than a week, I whipped through six of my eight squares, and was really disappointed that my part of the project was coming to an end.
So easy, so squishy. It’s the knitterly equivalent of colouring in, just pure, tactile play without worry about fit that you have when knitting hats or jumpers.
“Yeah… I changed needles,” said my friend. We compared finished squares. Hers were a good inch smaller than mine. “I don’t know what happened,” she was saying, “the decreases weren’t coming out right, so I sized down… what should we do?”
At the same time, we said, “Make two blankets.” So that’s what we did.
I picked up another six balls of yarn on Friday. I used cheap, bulky, acrylic yarn. It’s soft enough to work with, and washable. Just the sort of thing I’d use for a blanket for a friend or my sister. Not the fanciest, but easy care. I packed the yarn and my needles in my carry on (yes, you can knit on planes) for a weekend away. Knitting a Welcome Blanket is a great travel project. It’s easy, fast, and satisfying – if a little bulky.
Brussels is a beautiful city. We walked the cobbled streets of Old Town, took the train to see the Atomium, and skipped the beer museum in favour of drinking in a bar which sold over 3,000 different brews. Throughout it all, I knitted. On the planes and trains and over beer and brunch and lunch and dinner.
By the time we landed back in Geneva on Sunday, I was working on my backup knitting, and after unpacking the squares from my suitcase, started laying them out on the floor. Knitting a Welcome Blanket is only the first step. It took days to decide on a layout.
After many arrangements, I was ready for the blanket to come together.
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