The sun was shining inside the four walls and the high arch of blue sky over this particular piece of Misselthwaite seemed even more brilliant and soft than it was over the moor. The robin flew down from his tree-top and hopped about or flew after her from one bush to another. He chirped a good deal and had a very busy air, as if he were showing her things. Everything was strange and silent and she seemed to be hundreds of miles away from any one, but somehow she did not feel lonely at all. All that troubled her was her wish that she knew whether all the roses were dead, or if perhaps some of them had lived and might put out leaves and buds as the weather got warmer. She did not want it to be a quite dead garden. If it were a quite alive garden, how wonderful it would be, and what thousands of roses would grow on every side!
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Beginning in colour is always both exciting and daunting. Exciting because I love colour, and because it’s one step closer to a completed blanket, but daunting because this is where it has to be just right. (I am nothing if not a perfectionist).
Mistakes happened. My first iteration of the snowdrops was….well, not so good, really. I seem to recall being overly tired at the time. So I dithered over that for a couple of days then ripped it all out and started again. Sometimes that’s just what you’ve got to do.
But in all honesty, there were very few occasions when I looked at a completed square and doubted at all, even for a moment. Mostly I was really happy with how they turned out.
I took pictures of all the squares in silver as well as in colour. Can I find all of the pictures in silver? Can I heck. But here are the majority of them, in monochrome design and in fabulous colour.
Isn’t it incredible what a difference colour makes?
After the mistake with the snowdrops, the colours were actually pretty smooth sailing, and I whipped up squares really quite quickly – though not without a hitch. I remember one incredibly frustrating week when I realised I’d made a mistake in nineteen (of twenty) rose squares and needed to frog back – and in some cases cut back – two or three rows to correct the mistake. (Live with it? Are you kidding? I couldn’t do that, it would drive me nuts forever after!)
Every now and then I paused to lay out what I had. It was always terribly exciting doing that – seeing how my piles of squares were going to look once they were all joined together in blanket form.
I was helped in my photography efforts by the cat, of course. And once I got to the joining stage, I was helped even more! Yes, Bumble. So terribly helpful.
The last square I made was the central square: the key to the garden. It might seem odd to have the central square made right at the end, but to me it feels fitting that you near the end of the journey of this garden blanket with the key square. For Mary Lennox, finding the key and entering the secret garden isn’t the beginning of the journey. She has already begun that journey, just by going out into the fresh air and seeing the beginnings of spring growth in the other gardens. So I finished with the key, and then began the process of working the squares into a blanket.
For the border, I already had a clear idea of what I wanted: something to represent Mistlethwaite Moor, around the house and garden. The book describes the moor as golden and purple with heather and gorse, and so that’s what I tried to mimic.
And finally it was done. Four months in the planning and making, a lot of hours hooking (and sewing in ends!), and finally it was finished. My beautiful blanket. The Secret Garden.
Ready to publish? Not quite! A blanket this big and complex definitely needed testing, and I had a group of lovely ladies on Facebook who went through the pattern with a fine toothed comb. That’s why it’s taken so long to publish the pattern – they had to have enough time to work through it without being hurried. The result should hopefully be error-free, but we’re only human, so who knows, perhaps somebody will find something we all missed 😀
But now we’re nearly there. Tomorrow the pattern will be published on Ravelry, for free. I hope you’re all as excited as I am!
Don’t forget that you can buy the yarn packs here – though they are still showing as sold out (!)