Friday, 29 June 2012

You will know the sort of

blanket or lap rug I mean. You see them in nursing homes covering the frail, spindly legs of the "old dears" sitting in their wheelchairs or the armchairs in the "day room".
They are crocheted in little squares or knitted in little squares. They are usually made from scraps of yarn or garishly coloured acrylic. They are often inexpertly made.
As a knitter I understand why people make these things. Knitters tend to use every scrap of yarn - or pass it on to other knitters to use. Even while I inwardly shudder at the design and workmanship I know why these things are made. Of course some of them are lovely.
Some are interesting too. I spent over an hour one afternoon listening to a very old woman telling me about her blanket. She had made it herself. It was made from the left overs she had saved from the garments she had knitted her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. She had an album with pictures of the garments she had made. They were often intricate works of art.
Each year another elderly woman I know contacts me about half way through autumn and says, "I think it might be about that time again if you have any wool."
So far I have found wool for her. People have given it to me or I have found wool in the charity shop. I pass it over and she knits plain garter stitch squares. Her knitting is exquisitely even. Her squares are square. They are all the same size. There are no problems about sewing them together.
She knits enough squares to make a blanket that will cover a single size bed. The bookshop knitting group is supposed to sew them together and put a border around the edge. It then gets raffled off for the Fred Hollows Foundation, the eye surgery charity the group supports.
I loathe sewing. I am not good at it. My paws are  much too clumsy. I usually resort to pulling the yarn through with a crochet hook. It works.
Somehow I seem to have put most of the squares together this year but a friend is coming this afternoon. I am taking time out and we are, I hope, going to finish the sewing. She will add the border.
Most of the squares are tan this time and the design looks intentional. It's fine but I think of the really scrappy blankets and lap rugs. Somehow they seem to have a special beauty of their own.

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