How a Lumpy Couch Caused a Lovely Blanket

Last winter the springs in my recliner-couch lost most of their oomph and so I went online to buy a replacement. From a popular furniture store sale, I bought an armchair recliner and a loveseat to replace the uncomfortable old couch. I thought I had bought a matching set, but it turned out that the chair was a different colour brown from the loveseat. Online they look the same and have the same style name, but in real life they are of quite different hues.

For a while I contemplated returning them, but by the time my son had assembled the couch and I had broken down all the packaging ready for disposal it would have been too much trouble to disassemble the couch and to try to reuse the packaging. So, I decided I could live with the mismatched colours.

After a week or two, though, it was still bothering me. This doesn’t make much sense because my entire living room is full of mismatched furnishings collected from various houses and living arrangements I have had over decades. As I write this, I can see five different colours of wood, so obviously I can live with a lack of coordination. Even so, I felt the need to somehow moderate the chair/loveseat discrepancy.

My first solution was to buy a couple of throw pillows the same colour as the chair to put on the loveseat. Easy, right? Well, no. The colour I chose for the pillows had the same name as the colour of the chair but in fact the pillows were not the same at all. Now I had yet another colour to try to integrate!

Then, while checking out an advertisement for a knitting and crochet supply store I saw a blanket that was almost perfect for my needs. It had four different colours and I could pick and choose which ones I wanted from a wide selection. The pattern was designated as being for intermediate level hookers (yes, crocheters are called hookers), and I decided I could probably rise to that expectation. I have done a lot of beginner level crochet and thought I could probably qualify as being at intermediate level. So, that is what I did. I ordered the kit for the blanket and as soon as it arrived, I started figuring out the pattern.

That is when I ran into trouble. On the very first row I couldn’t create the pattern by using the instructions given. Uh oh. Maybe I am not at intermediate level after all. I tried multiple times to solve the problem and eventually emailed the supplier to ask for help. They did not respond.

After a couple of days, I typed the name and number of the pattern into the Google search box and added the word “Help!”.  Right away I discovered I was not alone. One advanced level hooker had been approached by her neighbour who couldn’t figure it out, so she took it away for a week and basically rewrote the whole thing. Unfortunately, she didn’t share her revised pattern.

“Well,” I thought, “I’m a smart woman. Maybe I can rewrite the pattern.” I have never tried writing a crochet pattern before, but there’s a first time for everything and I already knew some of the pattern-writing shorthand. First, though, I had to understand how the fan/shell shape was made, and for that I turned to YouTube. There I found several helpful videos and I selected one provided by a woman who gave a clear commentary as she showed the various steps in the process. 

I watched that video a gazillion times because I had to keep stopping it to write down the instructions in a sort of pigeon-crochet. I was using a combination of English and crochet shorthand that was far from legit, but it worked for me.

When I started to actually work on the blanket, I ran into trouble many times, I unpicked multiple rows about a dozen times, and I revised the pattern every time, but eventually I had it figured out. By then, though, several weeks had passed, the weather was improving, and the project had really tried my patience, so I put the whole thing away until this winter.

A few weeks ago, I picked it up again and had to remember how to do it all over again, but this time I had my own instructions to assist me. As the weather outside turned cold and the sidewalks became icy, I settled in to crochet the time away. Finally, this week, the blanket was finished! I think it turned out well, and like The Big Lebowski’s rug, it really ties the room together. Now, though, I have grown so used to the mismatched furniture that I don’t even notice it! Life’s like that.


  1. A few years ago I finished an Irish knit afghan that I had started at least 30 years earlier. Kids and life got in the way of my knitting. Your blanket is beautiful.

  2. I sometimes comment that although my mother is no longer here to help me with my knitting, crocheting and sewing, I can find most of the help I need on YouTube. I too, have watched a video, paused to write it down, watched again, etc. I have knitting and crocheting friends who can change, or create their own patterns, but I haven’t ventured there yet. Congrats on getting it figured out, and being able to understand your own instructions from last season! The afghan is beautiful!

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