This Christmas I decided to make a unique blanket for my brother who loves deciphering codes. I got the idea from Wooly Thoughts, a great website with a ton of really cool ideas for mathematical knitting. But wanted to make something that I had designed myself, so I started from scratch and put together a pretty cool afghan, if I do say so myself! 🙂
There are probably a million ways to put together a blanket like this, but here is the method that I used.
1. Decide on a size for your code blanket. This is an important step because it will directly affect the size of the phrase you will be able to use for the code. I used 3 inch by 3 inch squares for my blanket, but you could use any size you wanted. A 1 inch by 1 inch square would obviously make a smaller blanket with the same phrase.
2. Decide what your code blanket will say. You need to pick something that will have the correct amount of characters to fit right on your blanket. For instance, my phrase was 323 characters long (including spaces), so I was able to make a 19 square by 17 square blanket. If the phrase you choose isn’t quite right, you can play with the number of rows versus the number of columns to see if you can make it work. Or you could add a few “space” squares to either end of the phrase.
3. Decide on the colors of your code blanket. Once you have chosen the size of each square and the phrase you will use, the next step is to pick out colors. I used yarn that was in my stash, so I made sure I had enough for the more frequent letters such as “e” and “s” and “space”. But if you don’t have a large stash, or if you want to buy all new yarn, you can pretty much make whatever colors you desire. You could even theoretically make a monotone blanket, with just different shades of the same color. But bear in mind that you will probably need at least 24 distinctly different shades depending on the size of your phrase and what letters are used in it. (Q and Z are hardly ever used, hence 24 and not 26.) Don’t forget about the “space” squares, either. They need to be a different color than the rest of your letters, too.
In my case, I only used 11 different colors. But I was able to get away with that because I used knitting as well as crocheting. For example, the letter “E” was a bright knitted blue, while letter “C” was a bright crocheted blue. Same yarn, just different method. I also turned the crocheted squares on their sides so that the difference would be even more obvious.
4. Start making the squares! Count out how many squares you’ll need for each letter, and begin making each individual square. Make sure you note how many stitches and how many rows you use, so that your blanket will be uniform. It will be much easier to piece together if each square is the same exact size. If you are using different kinds of yarns, as I did, you will need to adjust the gauge accordingly.
5. Sew rows together. Lay out two rows of your phrase and take the yarn that you have chosen for the background color. Using a crochet hook, sew the two rows together. Always start at the same end for each row, so that the ridge of crocheted stitches where you sewed the two rows together will be going in the same direction for the length of the blanket. For now, you will just be sewing in a horizontal direction. Don’t worry about the vertical “holes” left between each square. That will taken care of next.
6. Sew columns together. Now that all your rows are together, your blanket looks pretty much like it will when it is completed. Except that there are lots of holes! So now you will be sewing the vertical columns together. Remember to start at the same side, either top or bottom, to give your blanket a nice finished look.
7. Make an edging for your code blanket. You could just leave your blanket how it is at this stage, after weaving in the ends, of course. But I like to give my blankets a nice edging. It’s very easy to do and gives that added finished look. You can use any edging you like, but for my code blanket, I used a reverse crochet stitch. It’s basically the same as a regular crochet, except that you are going from left to right, instead of the normal right to left.
Guess what! You’re done! Now you get to have the pleasure of giving it to a loved one and watching them try to figure out the code! This code blanket was one of my favorite gifts to give this year, because of the joy I gained from seeing how much fun my brother had figuring out the code.
Here’s a little challenge for all you code busters out there! See if you can figure out what my code blanket says! (I already gave you a clue with the “E” and “C”!) Here are a few more pictures of it to help you see the detail. Have fun!
P.S. If you just can’t figure it out, and are dying for the answer, I’d be happy to give you some more clues. Just contact me or leave a comment. Happy decoding! 🙂