February 8 is fast approaching, which means that the start of the Marguerite Blanket CAL is almost here!
As I noted in my first post, this is the first CAL I’ve hosted, and even before it’s begun, I’ve learned a lot about how this process tends to go down. Most notably, I’ve learned about all of the things I should have or could have addressed before starting this whole endeavor.
I’m going to take a brief detour to talk about my process here, and then loop back to answer some frequently asked questions. Be sure to read the Introductory Post first for basic information about the CAL.
Progress vs. Perfection
As some of you might know, I work as a psychologist in my “day job,” providing psychotherapy to adults. I see people for a range of concerns, from mood disorders and anxiety, to relationship issues and trauma.
One of the themes that emerges frequently in my work is perfectionism.
It can manifest in people who struggle with anxiety as a need for control. People can fall into depression as a result of striving for and falling short of perfection. It’s closely linked with the experience of shame. And procrastination. I suspect that creative types can be especially prone to perfectionism, though I don’t have any references for that offhand.
Self-criticism goes hand-in-hand with perfectionism. The inner critic can be a vigilant beast when it feels like we’re falling short.
Why am I bringing this up? Starting this CAL has kicked off my inner perfectionist in a big way. And my inner critic. Realizing there are a hundred things that I could have done differently to make this a better, smoother process has been frustrating.
So I’ve sat myself down on a couple of occasions to kindly remind myself to practice what I preach. This is what I tell myself:
- I’m harder on myself than pretty much anyone else. Just because I feel critical doesn’t mean that others feel the same way.
- I know that self-compassion is a far more effective tool for motivating myself than self-criticism. It’s okay, even important, to be kind to myself.
- I’m not accustomed to having my “faults” on display for what feels like a fairly large audience. I can choose to shrink myself down (or puff up, but that’s not my default) in response. But choosing to continue to move forward while acknowledging imperfection is my best bet.
- Progress, not perfection. Progress, not perfection. Progress, not perfection.
And lastly, I tell myself that sharing in a vulnerable way, as it feels like I’m doing here, will lead to more connection. Which will lead to feeling better, and ultimately more confidence.
Ok, but really, why am I sharing all of this, you might be impatiently (or just curiously) asking?
If nothing else, my work as a psychologist has taught me that we all share essentially the same concerns. The same secrets, the same shame, the same struggles. To a greater or lesser degree, of course, and not in the exact same way. I know that many, if not most of my readers can relate to what I’ve discussed here.
I’ve decided I want to show up throughout this CAL as a real person. Building and participating in community are among my core values. And I find there’s no better way to build community than to share openly and honestly around a common interest. It’s a good thing we’re all here for the same reason! I’d love to hear from you too throughout this CAL! Everyone’s voices are welcome.
By the way, if you’d like to read more about the perils of perfectionism, I highly recommend The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.
All right, all right, now what about those FAQ?!
Will there be charts for the patterns?
Unfortunately, no. I don’t have the first clue about how to create a chart, and don’t have the resources to figure out how at this time. I know that many people prefer charts to written patterns. My apologies on this one.
Is the pattern available in other languages?
As of now, the pattern is only available in English. If anyone is interested in translating, please feel free to get in touch with me by email, and we can see about working something out.
Will there be video tutorials?
Yes! While there won’t be full videos showing how to work the entire blanket, there will be videos demonstrating some of the tricky bits in the pattern. I will make videos for topics including how to carry your yarn, how to join the motifs, and how to sew the triangles.
Are there kits available for the blanket?
No. See: list of things I wished I’d considered. I looked briefly into trying to source kits before releasing the pattern, but didn’t really have enough time to make that happen.
What does the back of the blanket look like?
The main blanket motifs are worked in tapestry crochet, with the carried yarn covered by the working yarn. So the back looks similar to what the wrong side of any piece worked in the round might look like:
What if I don’t want to join as I go?
I understand that sometimes half of the fun in constructing a blanket is playing around with the placement of the motifs. Because the pattern is written to be joined as you go, you need to be sure not to finish off (i.e., sew in ends) if you want to play around with the layout.
What I recommend is working your first full motif all the way to the end, then frogging back to the point where the motifs will be joined. The furthest you will need to pull out is five areas between “points” on Rnd 11 (see p. 7 of the pattern). This will leave enough yarn to finish the round and join the motifs.
Measure the amount of yarn that you’ve pulled back. You can roughly do this by wrapping it around your hand or a something small like a glass and count the number of wraps. For subsequent motifs, measure out this same amount, then cut your yarn.
Then shuffle around to your heart’s content!
How do I make a different size blanket?
There are basically three different ways to make a blanket that is a different size from that specified in the pattern:
- Use a smaller or bulkier yarn type with the appropriate hook.
- Change the number of motifs.
- Change the width of the border.
Using Different Weight Yarn
If you want to use yarn of a different weight to make Marguerite, you will automatically end up with a different size blanket. How different depends on your gauge.
The nerd in me wanted to figure out a way to calculate the size of any blanket, based on the size of a full motif. The cool little calculator below gives the approximate length and width of a blanket (excluding the border).
Here’s how to use it:
- Measure the diameter of one full motif. It doesn’t matter if it’s in inches or centimeters.
- Measure the length of the chord of the circle in a straight line between four “points.” (See photo below for clarification)
- Count how many motifs wide you would like your blanket to be.
- Count how many full motifs long you would like your blanket to be. Do not include half motifs in this number.
For my blanket, the diameter of the full motif is 10 in, the length of the chord is 7.5 in, the number of motifs wide is 4, and the number of full motifs long is 5. Plugging the numbers into the calculator gives me a 40 by 52.5 in blanket. Remember, this does not include the border.
Using a Different Number of Motifs
The more dramatic way to change the size of your blanket is to use a different number of motifs. Again, based on the size of a full motif, you can get a general sense about how large your finished blanket will be, using the calculator above.
The pattern calls for 18 full motifs, arranged in a 4/3/4/3/4 pattern from top to bottom (i.e., 4 motifs across the top row, 3 across the next row, and so on).
If you want to size your blanket up, consider adding another full motif on each row. This will give you a 5/4/5/4/5 configuration, for a total of 23 full motifs. In this example, you will need to make 12 half motifs, 4 quarter motifs, 54 full triangles, and 12 half triangles. This configuration will be slightly more square than the original shape.
And of course, if you want to size your blanket down, you can subtract a full motif from each row. This will give you a 3/2/3/2/3 configuration, for a total of 13 full motifs, 8 half motifs, 4 quarter motifs, 30 full triangles, and 12 half triangles. This configuration will result in a long, thin shape.
If you have a bullet journal, or graph paper, it can help to draw out the motifs to get a feel for the general shape of the blanket based on the number of motifs you choose.
Alternately, you can rotate the blanket so that the rows become columns and vice versa.
Changing the Border Width
Perhaps the easiest way to nudge the size of the blanket up or down is to change the width of the border. The directions for the border are written such that they can be adapted to a blanket of any size. You can add or subtract rounds to slightly change the size of the blanket.
Now that you’ve had a chance to choose your yarn, your colors, and your blanket size, you’re all set to start the CAL on February 8! I’ll be back with another post on the 8th with the CAL timeline to kick us off. Don’t worry, I’ll also keep addressing questions along the way, including tips on tapestry crochet, what to do if your motif curls (hint: don’t worry too much about it), and so on. Until then!