Whoops! A Counterpane Follow-up

Do you remember Grandma Anna’s Counterpane?  I spent hours reverse-engineering one of my great-grandmother’s bedspreads from a little snapshot my Mom sent me.  I even posted a pattern.

It turns out, I didn’t have to.  (Insert sad noise here.)

I received a package from a great-aunt a few weeks ago (one that also included a few of my great-grandmother’s crochet hooks).  In the package was also a couple of my grandmother’s old craft magazines.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis booklet, the Learn How Book, was published in 1952 by Coats & Clark.  It has a few simple projects and extremely thorough instructions on crochet, knitting, embroidery and (very usefully) tatting.  (The projects are actually pretty and practical, especially considering the publication date.  There’s even a sweater that I would totally make for myself, if I wore a girdle.)

But, right at the end of the crochet section, something popped out at me and literally made me do a double take.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s the counterpane!  The counterpane!  I couldn’t believe it!  Not more than a month after spending all that time working out the pattern from a tiny, blurry, cell-phone picture, and the pattern lands in my lap!  I couldn’t believe it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt even used the word “cluster” for the bunches of stitches, just like I did.  Weird, right?  (Sure, the big clusters were called popcorn stitches in this pattern, but hey.  Close enough.)

I scanned through the pattern, and it looks like we both did mostly the same things, which is amazing.  Although, it’s a little hard to read the pattern in the booklet… look at that block of text!

The biggest difference I saw, though, was that they used a much, much finer gauge on their bedspread than I did.  I used a size H crochet hook, which is about 5 mm in diameter.  The booklet calls for a size 7 steel crochet hook, which is super tiny!  It’s actually less than 2 mm in diameter.  That means that instead of the blocks being about 10 inches across, like mine turned out, the original counterpane squares were only 5 inches by 5 inches!  That means, if you’re following the original pattern, you’ll need 260 squares just to make a twin-bed-sized blanket.  Talk about dedication!

I’m glad I got to see the original pattern, and I love seeing my great-grandmother’s old-fashioned handwriting in the margins of some of the patterns.  But one thing is for sure, I definitely won’t be making this bedspread at the original gauge.  That’s just crazy!

7 thoughts on “Whoops! A Counterpane Follow-up

  1. madeye2

    And guess what? The counterpane that Grandma made was a double not a twin. So she made twice as many squares as the pattern called for. Yikes!

  2. S

    You are not going to believe this but a friend of mine just gave me an enormous bag of crochet thread and over 100 crochet squares. The squares were made in the 1950s by her great Aunt and the squares were made with the exact same pattern as your Grandma Ann’s!!! The counterpane is not finished but I am going to use the squares for something else. Another coincidence, my mom has the same “Learn to Knit” book that you have! I can’t wait to look at it the next time I visit mom. What a small world!

    You can have a a look at the squares that I received here http://thinknit.net/2014/08/11/over-100-crocheted-squares/
    and online here: http://carolynmurphy.tripod.com/pcbs.html

    1. onemilljellybeans Post author

      Amazing! They’re so teensy! I made a half-dozen large ones while I was figuring out the pattern, and I got bored halfway through. I can’t imagine making so many tiny little ones. Do you think you have enough for a useable throw?

      1. S

        Inspired by a traditional japanese bag that I bought at Muji, I’m planning to make a bag with the squares. (Did your great-grandmother by any chance live on the east coast near NYC?)

  3. Donna nutt

    Oh, good grief. My husbands gm other gave us a bedspread of that very pattern for a wedding gift. That was 40 years ago and I no longer use it due to a small hole in one of the panes. I’ve been looking for someone to fix it for me but if I could the name of that pattern maybe I could find a vintage seller and order one and fix it myself. I was just talking to SIL about this last week. she is in the same boat I’m in and Gracie gave her the same spread she gave me.


    could you send me the name of the counter pane and any publishing info listed on it?

    Thank you
    Donna Nutt

    1. onemilljellybeans Post author

      That’s amazing! The booklet is the “Learn How Book, vol. 1,” published by Coats and Clark in the early 50s. The pattern is the “Popcorn and Cluster Bedspread.”
      If you want, my version of the pattern is available in my pattern library, as “Grandma Anna’s Counterpane.”
      I don’t feel comfortable copying the original pattern and putting it up on my website, but if you wanted to email me (knittingontheneedles@gmail.com), I would scan a copy for you.


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