When I chose the yarn for The Hope Blanket, I had no idea what I was going to create. I only knew that I wanted to use one of my favorite yarns, Lion Brand's Homespun. I picked out three beautiful colors and carried them home to ponder the possibilities.
I first settled on a stitch pattern, opting for the "wavy chevron." I had tried the standard chevron pattern for the Ocean Lullaby blanket last year and was pleased with the results. But I wanted this blanket to be a little softer and more blended in the color progression, and the wavy chevron seemed perfect for that.
Then I needed to decide on the arrangement of colors and the length of each section. I didn't want the blanket to looked "striped" exactly, which meant varying the order of the colors as well as the size of each segment. To come up with a pattern, I shaded sheets of graph paper with colored pencils and cut them into strips.
After much deliberation (i.e., endless rearranging of paper strips), I came up with 18 sections and this order of colors:
My main goal in choosing color order was to find a pattern that allowed each color to be surrounded by the other two. For example, I wanted one section of pink to have purple on either side of it...
...while another section of pink had green on either side of it...
...and still another section of pink had green on one side and purple on the other.
And, of course, I wanted the same three scenarios for the purple...
...as well as for the green.
My purpose in this was to explore the variation in each color's appearance, as I am always intrigued by how the surroundings of a color influence how that color appears.
Now I needed to figure out the length of each section in the pattern, trying to vary not only the sizes but also the order in which those sizes appeared. I used one strip of paper to represent each inch of the final blanket length (originally 60 inches) and eventually chose sections of 2 inches, 3 inches, and 5 inches. And somehow I arrived at an arrangement that made me happy. It's still a mystery as to how I knew this collection of paper strips could turn into something beautiful.
Of course, no plan is perfect. Once I began stitching the blanket, I realized that the height of each row was less than an inch, so I had to adjust my section lengths to reflect that. I ended up converting the measurements to 3 rows, 4 rows, and 7 rows, which added about a half-inch to each section and 10 inches to the entire length of the finished blanket. And I carried an index card around with me to help keep it all straight.
Makes perfect sense, right? Or not.
With the hard work of blanket design completed, The Hope Blanket came together smoothly and steadily over the next five months. When I finally, finally reached the end of the pattern--and had a blanket that stretched to 6 feet long--I used what was left of the purple and pink yarns to add a simple border--one row of single crochet followed by two rows of half-double crochet.
Although the entire creation process for The Hope Blanket was rather long, it was mostly enjoyable. And I am exceedingly happy with the finished piece. I received a multitude of compliments along the way, many from complete strangers at the coffee shops where I regularly worked on The Hope Blanket. Those who know me well have remarked how very me this blanket is. And it's true.
Honestly, there is nothing I would change about The Hope Blanket. I love the colors themselves and the way they blend and shift and interact with each other. I love the softness of the waves and the warmth of the yarn. Most of all, I love everything this blanket represents: Hope healed. Faith finally returned. Saying yes to who I was made to be. God in all of it.
Hope is beautiful, beautiful thing. And oh so full of God.