A few months ago the UK knitting magazine Yarn Forward published a series of patterns for mystery blankets squares, 6 each month, which were shown only as charts or written instructions, with no pictures of how the finished squares would look. I thought this would be a good project for me as the mixture of lace, cables, colourwork, beading and textured squares would mean a lot of variety within the project, allowing the knitter to end up with relatively large finished object without too much boredom. As each square was to be 8Ã—8â€³ in size, it was quite easy to see that there was a large scope for making your own additional squares. I picked my colour palette (various browns and creams, and a pale turquoise) and cast on for my first squares toward making a large project.
I always like to have a blanket for comfort, so I decided to make this as a treat for myself, but soon my knitting had to be put aside for a while after the death of my beloved grandfather at the age of 97. I could not knit for a while, because my time knitting is a time when I can afford myself time to think, and to contemplate, and I could not bare to have that quiet reflective time when I was grieving.
When the occasion of the funeral had passed I slowly picked up my needles for time to time and dabbled in a square. Knitting became a comfort, as I hoped my blanket would be, but the thing I needed comforting from most was the loss my family had recently suffered.
I started to think of how I would like to knit a square in memory of my grandad, and how I would like it to symbolise what I loved about him. He was my father figure, mentor, teacher and greatest supporter. When I was young heâ€™d take me anywhere I wanted to go â€“ to the park, to the museum, to ride my bike. Heâ€™d fix the punctures in my tyres as well as the graze on my knee. One of the thing heâ€™d love to do most was to go out and watch wild birds. He bought a heavy old pair of binoculars and weâ€™d walk through fields, parks, woodlands â€“ wherever we could find them. Heâ€™d explain about their songs, their migration paths, and weâ€™d sketch them as he whistled their tunes back to them.
One of his favourite British wild birds was the bluetit, and I thought that this would make a fitting tribute to my beautiful grandfather. Iâ€™d already picked out my colour palette for the blanket, so some artistic license had to be taken with the colours, but as my box of crayons was always missing a few colours and we used what we could to make our sketches, I didnâ€™t think heâ€™d mind.
I think heâ€™d have loved this design if he was still alive, but I also think heâ€™d like me to have shared it, because heâ€™d always want more of his feathered friends in the world.
A larger version of the chart can be viewed here. Extra plain rows can be added to the top or bottom of the chart if you wish to knit it into a square.