Two Ways Not to Finish a Blanket (And Three More That Actually Work)

card trickMy sister was in the throes of middle school. I probably wasn’t much better: just out of college. And our grandmother was trying to teach us to quilt.

So there we stood in the middle of JoAnn’s, looking at patterns and trying to pick out fabric.

I don’t even remember why we started looking at actual sewing patterns for the quilt. I do remember that Granny kept telling us we should really do a nine-patch quilt for our first one. And I remember my sister throwing a fit because she didn’t want that; she wanted the Card Trick quilt pattern she found in the book.

Oh, and it should be king-sized also.

Granny finally gave in. Her only hard rule, apparently, was “no curves”. So we bought an enormous amount of blue and white patterned fabric, and went home to start our quilt.

Fast forward: fifteen years later. Granny is not with us anymore.blue fabric The quilt is still sitting in my basement.  Has been sitting in my basement, untouched, since the first year. We have about 12 partial blocks pieced and at least 47,560 squares cut, reflecting the division of labor in our family, or perhaps the number of sewing machines available to us.

I contracted someone on Etsy to finish it for us.

Verdict: Picking a complex, exciting pattern and doing lots of it is NOT the way to finish a quilt.image_medium2

But what is? I enjoy crocheting a lot more than sewing. When I got engaged, I wanted to make my future husband an afghan as a wedding gift. Knowing that I don’t like to do blankets, I decided to keep it as simple as possible. Granny squares, solid colored and lots of em, with a cream border.

We’re celebrating our third anniversary this year, and I’m still trying to get the world’s most boring blanket done by Christmas.

Hard or easy, sewing or crochet, I seem to have a really hard time finishing blankets. It’s a lot easier for me to finish one or two skein projects – I probably finish several blankets’ worth of small projects in one year.

I know of three ways to answer the Blanket Question:

1. Do a project with individual, different squares

2. Do a super-fast Q-hook afghan. I finished the below project this summer by working with a giant hook and four strands of yarn at one time.

3. Recognize your own tendencies. If you really don’t like doing blankets, don’t do them.

Readers, what are your tricks for starting a blanket and sticking to it?

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5 thoughts on “Two Ways Not to Finish a Blanket (And Three More That Actually Work)

  1. The q-hook afghan is lovely. For me, I have an impossible time finishing big projects that I start. I started forcing myself to have no more than three projects going on at once, so I am motivated to finish one so that I can do something new. I also try to do something new and exciting so that it will keep my attention. Follow-through is tough!

    • everydayhas says:

      That’s a great technique! I’m not sure I’m that disciplined though. Let’s see… I think I have 4 projects going right now if you include the blanket.

  2. What an interesting topic (and honest). I’m reminded of ‘in-over-one’s head as a leading factor in procrastination self help book. lol. It’s not uncommon. This year, on ebay, I bought two unfinished craft items. One was a crewel embroidery purse from the 50’s that probably took a lifetime to make and someone started late. It was 3/4 done. I gave it as a gift to my sister because she likes to sew and is learning embroidery. Another one, just arrived by post today (yea!) it’s an unfinished table cloth with the 1930s pattern (and thread) I’m so hoping it’s enough thread to finish the project…. just what I needed another project. I wondered, when I go gently into that night how many unfinished projects I’ll have. Anyway, thanks for your post. I enjoyed it. – Ann

    • everydayhas says:

      What an interesting idea – buying others’ unfinished craft items! You are my hero. Do you ever find it difficult to figure out what they were doing?

      • Not so far. I think sewing, embroidery, crochet and knitting would be started with techniques others could continue. Art projects and paintings might prove more difficult. Cheers!

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