Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tetris Afghan Ta-dah!!

This past week the weather was cold and gloomy, with Tuesday being bone-numbing cold. I couldn't fathom being anywhere but curled up in a corner of the couch under an afghan. It just so happened that I was on the home stretch with Z's afghan, and self-imposed sofa hibernation was the perfect opportunity to finish it up. I had one blanket to snuggle under, with the one I was working on atop that for maximum warmth. Stitching and stitching, round and round, weaving in ends and sipping on tea was a cozy winter activity. I worked in the very last end on Thursday night, and it got its trip through the washer/dryer, and now it's folded and waiting for a certain nephew to come 'n get it.

I tried to think of the last time I made Z a blanket (not counting the giant piece of fleece he had me cut straight and that qualifies as a blanket to him). It was when he was about two. And it was made to fit a two year old. He told me recently he went through his things and got rid of old stuff, but he kept that because I made it (even though he probably doesn't use it). I love that he kept it. Anyway, while Z is a kid who loves his sports and can repeat stats back to you (like his father) until your eyes glaze over and you start thinking about cake, he adores video games.

After pondering his favorites, and considering my "skills," I decided anything that could be replicated in stripes or squares would be best. One classic game sprang to mind--Tetris. All squares, bright colors, and easily identifiable. Once I figured out the measurements of everything, I practiced with a few different kinds of granny squares. I didn't want one that was loose and floppy with big gaps. This one here, the perfect granny square, ended up being...well, perfect. It kept a lovely square shape instead of getting pulled and wiggly, and had gaps just the size I wanted. Once I had made a sample square in the size that I wanted it, I pulled it apart and measured how many yards it took to make one square. Then I figured out how many squares per skein I could get, and how many squares of each color for the design I had (which came from Google Images), and so on and so forth so I could order just the right amount of yarn. It worked out perfectly. I have a few teeny wads of some colors, and more of others, but not a single skein went untouched. The moral of this paragraph is--sometimes I can do math.

One reservation I had was that all of the yarn was of one type, except for the charcoal gray that makes up the background. It was a bit differently textured, which is fine as it was the background and it helped differentiate it, but I was worried about it working up too large or small even though gauge was similar. All worked in the end, and you can barely see the difference, but the gray is a weensy bit rougher in texture.

OK, enough blathering. Ready to see it?

Didn't that turn out pretty stinkin' cool? The colors are so vibrant, and almost exactly match the picture I had (except for the purple, which looked darker online, but I ordered it from Deramores in UK--it's their King Cole DK weight yarn--and I wasn't getting into more shipping and all that jazz so I went with it). I think my favorite thing is that when it's slung across you, it looks like a random rainbow granny square blanket, but when you have it laid out flat it's very obvious that it's a Tetris board in progress. There's even that bit next to the strip of blue that gives me angst to look at--

-- and then that strip of blue that came just in time so that things wouldn't stack up crazy fast and end your game--

As I made square after square (150 in total) I wondered about the border. What was the best way to go? I knew it would be the same method of doing a granny square, but what colors? Should I do colors? Just black and gray? Thick? Thin? I decided to just go with it and see how it worked out. I had a lot of red and yellow left, so I threw those in, and then the gray and black to tone it down a bit. I didn't lay it out and take a look until the last end was woven in. I can be really reckless and adventurous, y'know. Happily, it looked just how I wanted. It was a pure Goldilocks moment--not too bright, not too light, not too dominant/submissive. It was almost its own element and reminded me a bit of another game (remember Centipede, anyone? Or am I dating myself by letting you all know I had an Atari that didn't come from eBay?).

I couldn't believe how much fun I had making this. Whenever I make something for boys/guys, I worry as my inclination is towards pink and flowers and more girly things. But some of my favorite things I've made have been guy-oriented. I think it's because I don't have to worry about embellishments and ruffles and how to make it sweet and precious. While colorful and fun, it's still kind of minimalist in its construction. I already know what my next blanket will be and I'm excited for it, but it's super secret so you'll just have to wait :)

OK, so here's the skinny on the whole thing:
  • 150 squares, each made using this pattern and being joined with this technique, achieving a lay-flat border with this tutorial
  • The image I followed was from Google Images (I searched Tetris and found this). I hacked off a few rows at the top but the rest is the same.
  • The yarn I used is from Deramores--King Cole Pricewise DK for everything but the dark charcoal, which is King Cole Big Value DK. Though different yarns the gauge did end up being the same, though the texture is a bit different. I also used a G-hook.
  • I put this in the washer and dryer and it came out very soft. Acrylic won't shrink up as wool and cotton do, and the process actually helps to relax the fibers. Pre-wash it had a crinkly look in some parts as sometimes I have a tighter hand, but post-wash was perfectly flat and straight.
  • It finished up at about 45 x 65 inches, give or take--a great couch snuggler size.
So that's that! Kind of fun, right?

Linking up here:


  1. It's a very cool boy blanket I think! Your nephew will LOVE it :-)

  2. Brilliant, I know lots of grown men who would love that blanket! I bet he'll be thrilled with it :)

  3. The blanket looks fab! Your Tetris skills though... That green 2 block should have turned to fill in that gap in the bottom row ;o)

  4. Now that is pretty cool - and it's huge! What a fun idea!

  5. Now you're making me want to go play Tetris, can you wait til I get back? No? Okay, the blanket is awesome, it's a perfect Tetris game, the kid is going to love it and Aunt Bee will be his heroine forever. I mean, how cool is it that he threw out a lot of things but kept that tiny blanket you made when he was tiny? Isn't being an auntie the greatest?!

  6. this is hilarious and totally creative. love it.

  7. OMG I LOVE THIS! It reminds me of playing Tetris on my old school Game Boy when I was a wee lass!

    I'm one of the hosts over at the Awesome Things Tuesday blog hop! Feel free to check out other projects and link up yours while you're at it! We'd love to have you!


  8. Wow! Gorgeous! I love the boarder and the way you joined the squares together! Awesomeness!!!!!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party

  9. Awesome! A very dude-friendly project. :)

  10. I love this! Tetris is definitely one of my favorite games.

  11. What a labor of love. I can't even imagine how long this took. I am sure it will be loved and treasured.

  12. Great project! And how appropriate a finish for a cold winter day :o)



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