I tend to be a bit of a crochet chameleon. I love all of the delicate, itty bitty newborn props. I also love bringing characters to life in the form of hats and stuffed animals. And baby blankets are some of my favorite things to make. All of that being said, I also tend to take on projects that are considered by many, to be just plain crazy. This Fall I decided to attempt a star wars blanket for my cousin who just loves Star Wars. Fortunately, I love my cousin like a brother, otherwise this blanket would not have happened, because this was definitely a labor of love!
When he received his blanket, all he could say was how much work it was, and how crazy I am (I’m assured that this means that he likes it). That is because, unlike a lot of people outside of the crochet world, he actually knows a bit about just how much work goes into something like this. When most look at something like this, all they think is how cool it is. For anyone that does yarn work, they see the endless hours of work that went into it.
Ever wonder what goes in to something like this? Well, here’s a little peek into the madness.
To start something like this, it takes days (weeks? months?) to plan out the blanket itself. Each square is actually started as a graph, and planned out precisely. Thanks to those that came before me, I got to skip this step. I got a huge head start because there was already a compilation of the graphs and color suggestions here, thanks to ahooka, and Courtney Laube and Angelfire before her!
Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about Star Wars, so I still had to research the characters to be sure the coloring was accurate and to see what were the more important elements, because I swapped out some of the squares from the original blanket and I wanted it to be just perfect. Once the research was done I scoured the city’s craft stores in an effort to find all of the best colors (I know, so rough, I had to go yarn shopping. But in reality this took 3 trips over 4 days to finally get all of the colors just right). When I finally had all of the colors (I ended up with 19), it was time to start working. Each graph was printed and then numbered so that I didn’t have to count out the stitches while working. Switching colors can be a bit of a pain, so I also wound my colors into smaller balls to make switching colors mid square easier.
I worked the squares up 6 at a time usually. It took anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to crochet each square. Once the crochet was done, there were all of the yarn ends all over the square. When you have ends like that, you have to secure them so that your work doesn’t come undone. First you knot it, then with a yarn needle you have to weave the end into the work. I generally weave my end back and forth 3 times. 3 times for each strand of yarn. This sometimes took just as long as crocheting the whole square!
Once you get all of those strings woven in (on both sides), the square looks a little more like the picture but the square still tries to curl up a bit and would make the finished blanket a bit wonky. So, before you can move on, you have to fix that. I start by adding a black border around each square.
Once the border is done, there is still a curl in the square so you have to use a technique called blocking to fix this. To do this you pin the work in place (I use foam floor mats for this all the time and they work great!) and saturate it with hot water and then allow to dry completely. If you have a hand steamer that works great! For these I just put hot water in a spray bottle and sprayed them down. Once they are saturated I left them pinned in place until they dried. This took about 2 days, but that was fine because I would just work on more squares while waiting for these to dry. This step is also helpful if some of the squares are slightly different sizes. The number of color changes and varying yarn thickness makes this pretty common. To make the finished blanket more uniform I marked each of my foam tiles with a grid and stretched each square to the same dimensions before soaking it.
It is a lot of work, and a time consuming step, but it adds so much to the finished product that it is worth it not to try to skip. Once the squares are dry they get unpinned and then they are uniformly sized, perfectly flat little squares.
Then I repeated this process 33 more times for each of the smaller squares. The bigger logo rectangle at the center of the blanket measured 32″ x 16″ and took the better part of 6 hours to crochet and weave in the ends. Once all of the pieces were done it was time to lay it all out and put it all together.
Once the layout is finalized it is time to connect all of the squares. Some people sew but I like to crochet my squares together. Once all of the square were attached I added a border around the entire blanket to make it a bit more uniform. Now, here I could have called it done. But for projects like this I like to put a fabric backing on just to make the blanket more comfortable (and I just think it looks cooler that way too). I really wanted something darker to compliment the front of the blanket, and I picked this fabric out and was having it cut before I realized that it was also glow in the dark. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty stoked about that. Once I found the perfect fabric I hand sewed it onto the back.
So, just to summarize:
One week prep work (research, gathering materials, and prepping grids)
100+ hours of labor
(and that was not including the many times my husband and daughter jumped in to help with
many steps of blocking after my hands would just quit at the end of the day)
21 skeins of yarn
4 yards of fabric
Copious amounts of caffeine
And so much love, it can only be expressed in the form of beings from a galaxy far, far away.
And you have the best, most perfect gift a crazy crochet lady could give a beloved Star Wars fan!