There is nothing better on a cold, rainy Alaskan day than curling up in the recliner with Netflix, a hot cup of Sleepytime tea, and a crochet project. It is more pleasurable to work with hook and yarn here in the last frontier than back in Phoenix where I had to sprawl out under the ceiling fan with AC running full blast to counteract the warmth of the blanket emanating from my hands and growing downward along my legs. Yes, I have been working on the same project for over a year now – blanket making.
It started innocently enough when a family member suggested I make a blankets for my grandkids. The plan was, and still is, to crochet a blanket for each of my grandchildren, oldest to youngest for their birthdays. After throwing in a couple of extra “grandkids”, a wedding afghan and twin baby blankies, I have 7 more blankets to go over the next year. It feels like a 2-year subscription to “blanket-of-the-month” club with only two members, me and Trixie. I include her only because she loves to nose her way under each blanket as I crochet.
When I started this project, I found an easy online ripple afghan pattern that stated it was quick and good for charity projects. http://www.handcraftingwithlove.net/yarn/pat-ripple.html I figured that creating 18+ birthday blankets, qualified as charity work, and I have been using the pattern ever since. I calculated my own version of the stripe sequence into the pattern so that it is virtually a no-brainer for me, and each child gets to pick his or her 2 or 3 favorite colors.
It has been very relaxing and therapeutic to crochet these birthday blankets. As I crochet I smile as I think about the child who will be receiving the blanket on their next birthday. Some colors are easier to work with than others, just like the children themselves. It is so meaningful to ponder the personality and character of each little person and remember times spent with each one – and future possibilities. When I give the child their blanket, I tell them to think of it as a hug from grandma when I can’t be there in person. This is in conjunction with the admonition to keep it away from the dog! We have already had a few casualties!
I know how it makes me feel to create a blanket, so when someone proposed doing a family service project, and the first thing that popped into my head was, of course, blankets. Maybe the children could pay forward their blankets and share with others in need. We decided to help the children make blankets and donate them to Project Linus, a nonprofit organization that donates homemade blankets to children http://www.projectlinus.org/. We felt it was something the children could do at home with their families and still contribute to other children in a meaningful way.
Although I didn’t have much time left in Phoenix, my youngest daughter helped me prepare some no-sew blankets that I could make with the grandchildren living there. I scheduled a visit with one family at a time to help them assemble their blankets. For some children it was a challenge, for others fun, and for others an actual experience of giving service. It gave opportunity for family dialog about the blessings we have in our family and discussion about the needs of the children who might receive the blankets we were making.
Now that I am living in a chilly place, I feel in need of a blanket. I don’t know if I could survive without one, so I feel more committed to making them. Maybe I will become more creative in my blanket pursuits or even take up quilting! On the other hand, maybe I will just spend extra time in my easy chair and crochet more of them to give away. 🙂
© 2015 to present Patricia J. Angus