When I decided I’d like to try my hand at designing a blanket inspired by Demelza Carne, from BBC’s Poldark (2015) and Winston Graham’s novels, I was absolutely terrified. Inspired and enthusiastic, but terrified.
I had never designed a blanket before.
I’d designed – badly – a square that I then used in different colour combinations to create a blanket. I’d ‘designed’ a little iPod cozy, and, in the course of working on a whole collection of crocheted toy food for a friend’s daughter, I’d designed a pizza. I’ve adapted patterns, in various ways – mostly smaller things, dolls and toys and things like that.
Nothing like this. This was an entirely different prospect. This was a blanket, from scratch. More than one square pattern. And I knew that I wanted more than one square size, too. I’m pretty sure I remember telling friends that I had gone insane to be thinking about tackling this.
This is how it started. I had the book ‘The World of Poldark’, published after series one aired. In it there was a gorgeous double-page of information about Demelza’s costumes and themes. For working out my colour palette, it was a blessing. I started with about fifteen potential colours, and slowly whittled them down to ten. Copper for her hair; two yellows, a red and a deep pink for her clothes; stone as a neutral to hold it together; and sage for that blue-green silk dress, the dress in which she seduces Ross. I had a layout, I had potential ideas for shapes, and I was ready to go.
It was, I don’t mind telling you, bloody hard work! Though I knew I wanted floral motifs, and petal shapes, getting that from my head into a workable pattern wasn’t easy.
There was an awful lot of ripping out, an awful lot of moaning and groaning, and and a huge amount of triumph at the end. I worked it up in one colour, as you can see – because I knew how much ripping out there would be! Doing it all in grey meant I didn’t have to worry about ‘wasting’ any yarn, or about how much of each colour I would end up using.
Then came the ‘fun’ bit. Working it up in colour. That was much more fun, writing up the pattern in a neat form, taking photographs of every stage and every bit that might be more complicated or need more explanation. And then, after I’d finished the central square, I worked on the same process for all the other sections…
It took a lot of mental energy. To have floral shapes and petals, but to have each square distinctive enough…it took a while! And I learnt a lot doing it – for example, I apparently have a love affair with post stitches. Those of you who have already worked on the blanket may have realised this. I adore post stitches. Couldn’t tell you why, I just do.
When I worked it all up in colour, I once again photographed everything as I went (for the first of each set of squares, anyway!) and wrote up my rough notes into a readable format.
The whole process took me roughly two and a half months, from start to finish.
I honestly and truly wasn’t expecting many people to be interested. My mother remembers me saying that I’d be really pleased if one or two people made the blanket. The near-instant positive reaction has completely taken me by surprise. Ravelry hits, comments, plans to do group CALs – a request to translate it into Dutch! And then Stylecraft Yarns picked up on it and posted about it on their FB page. I feel I’ve spent the last few months with my jaw constantly dropped, speechless at the reaction. Because you have to understand…this was my first blanket pattern. I’ve spent a long time crocheting, building up a skill level, but to have this kind of reaction to my first proper pattern…
It’s incredible. You’re all incredible, every one of you who has done the pattern or is planning to do the pattern. I look at every picture that comes my way, I ooh and ahh at colour choices – I’m just so thrilled that you’re all enjoying something that I made to challenge myself and because I’d fallen in love with a fictional character!!
I’m so pleased that the lovely people at Pippin Crochet Club, over on FB, are running a CAL for Demelza. I’m looking forward to seeing what you all come up with 🙂