Tag Archives: bedspread

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!

Pattern: Grandma Anna’s Counterpane

My Great-grandmother Anna was a remarkable woman. She was married at 16, lived through the Great Depression and World War II, and raised 11 children (and nearly a hundred grand-children). And through it all, she spent every free moment knitting and crocheting to keep her family warm. She even won a blue ribbon at the Wisconsin state fair for her knitting!

I never got to meet my great-grandmother, but her legacy lives on in the projects she has left behind. I like to imagine that every piece of her knitting is a friendly little “hello” through the decades to me and her other descendants.

Zimmer CounterpaneThis counterpane is based on a bedspread that one of my mother’s cousins inherited from Great-grandma Anna. The pattern has been lost, so I decided to come up with my own. The original was made with white worsted-weight cotton, like most traditional counterpanes. Feel free to substitute your favorite fiber, or change the color to give the blanket a more contemporary feel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGet the pattern here:

Grandma Anna’s Counterpane

Inspiration: Counterpanes

Ever since I saw that picture of my Grandma’s counterpane, I’ve had counterpanes on the brain.  They’re so charmingly old-fashioned, but still manage to combine the elegance of a monochromatic palette  and gorgeous textured stitching with the coziness of a snugly soft blanket.

Let’s indulge my new minor obsession, shall we?

Bedspread (Counterpane with Leaves) by A.M.

bedspread_close__003_medium[1]dogwood by tincanknits

9M-dogwood-00_medium[1]Marguerite by Priscilla Publishing Company

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