When a Blanket is More Than a Blanket

Nothing says crochet like a ripple afghan.
Nothing says crochet like a ripple afghan.

In so many ways, my husband and I are very lucky people. Despite each only having one sibling, we both have fairly large extended families that we are pretty close to. That includes a lot of grandparents. When our daughter was born almost four years ago, she had a total of 14 living grandparents, including two great-great grandmothers, one on each side of the family. Even better, she managed to meet all but one of them. Just over a year ago, my husband lost his beloved grandpa and his great-grandma within weeks of each other. And today I got the call I had been waiting on for a few days. My great-grandmother passed away early this morning. It was no big surprise…she was 97 and had been in declining health for quite a while. A few days ago, she refused to eat or drink anymore, so at least the whole family got a warning. But it still sucks.

Because of what happened today, I spent a lot of time sitting around being mopey under a pile of blankets. Yesterday my mom dropped off the baby blanket she finished and it got me to thinking. Our house is overrun with blankets, but they all get used and they all get loved and they all mean something. So today I wanted to share the blankets that are in my living room.

The blanket at the top of the page is one I made myself. When it became clear to my family that my great-grandmother might have been slipping mentally, they asked me to move in with her and gauge how bad things were. I spent the summer after my junior year of college living in her spare bedroom and working at Dairy Queen. We ended up spending a lot of time together. I won’t lie and say every bit of that summer was great, but it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. I got to know her a lot better, and also got to spend time with her before dementia hit full force. Because I had no friends in the area, I spent the majority of my free time at home with her, watching t.v. and crocheting. She was also a crocheter and had one hell of a yarn stash. For this afghan, I did buy cream and purple yarn to go with a single skein of mint green she gave me. This is the only ripple afghan I have ever made, and she helped me with it.

These quilts are so cool! My mom is just enough of a perfectionist to make these blocks line up perfect.
These quilts are so cool! My mom is just enough of a perfectionist to make these blocks line up perfect.

These are the blankets mom brought yesterday. She made a very large baby blanket for my son because I told her I like the large ones better. My daughter can still fit under her baby blanket, and I like it that way. Mom worked in fabrics that represent important parts of our lives. Best of all, she made my daughter a matching doll-size quilt to wrap her babies in. I know both of these quilts are destined to be very well-loved.

This chair is a mess, but I am using my baby pass to excuse it.
This chair is a mess, but I am using my baby pass to excuse it.

The other chair in our living room is also covered in blankets. It is a bit messy because I was cuddled up there while nursing. I love this chair, but the upholstery is not even close to comfortable. So I have the back and seat wrapped in the first afghan my grandmother-in-law made for me. She is a knitter and made this wonderful striped afghan out of scraps from all her other afghans. I love it so much because it’s light and perfect for taking naps in the middle of summer. When I got it, I knew she was accepting me as part of her family and her grandson’s life. Also on this chair is a pink quilt my mom made me. I don’t remember why she made it or when I got it, but I have had it for a long time. It’s the perfect size for one person. Along the edges, I can see parts of the fabric under the binding that haven’t faded. It shows this blanket has been well-loved. Because of its size and the color of the backing, it is also the backdrop for the monthly photos I am taking of my son to see how much he grows.

I have one spoiled baby.
I have one spoiled baby.

Nothing brings blankets into the house like a new baby. All three of these afghans were made just for my son. The blue one at the top was made by my grandmother. It’s light and has already been used enough to go through the wash twice. The green and blue one in the middle was made by a co-worker. I love the stitch she used, and this one is already a favorite for trips to the park. The pink and blue one at the bottom was made by my husband’s grandma. She mailed it to us before we even knew the gender of our baby. As soon as I opened it, I knew we were having a boy. This has been the one we cuddle up under in the middle of the night while he is eating.

All these blankets are so wonderful to have around. More than almost anything in the house, they make our space feel like home. So when I am feeling sad that my grandma is gone, I can just tuck in and be warm.


  1. My heart goes out to you – so sorry for your loss! I hope it’s a comfort to you to have so many generations of stitches and handiwork close by.

    Beautifully written post.

    1. Thanks. I am feeling a bit better today. Spending the night sleeping under a few of them with a warm baby helped a lot. 🙂 I actually thought of you when I wrote this. I was thinking about the orange and blue piece you just finished. You put so much effort into the quilts you sew and they have so much personality, I just know the people who get them feel really loved.

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