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05 January 2013 @ 04:58 pm
Crocheted goban blanket  

My girlfriend and I met many years ago through a Hikaru no Go roleplaying game here on livejournal, and the series remained very important to both of us. I picked up crochet two years ago and when it became obvious that it was sticking a lot better than all my pathetic attempts at knitting, I decided I wanted to make her a Hikaru no Go related blanket: that is, of course, a goban, bearing a game from the series that has significance to us.

It ended up being this game, for many reasons; most relevant here is that there's no full kifu for it, meaning a mostly empty board, meaning less work and, more importantly, less weight. That became much more of a factor than I'd expected.

I started this from scratch, with no pattern or yarn. It took me a while and a few tries to settle on a 6mm hook and truly ridiculous amounts of Caron Simply Soft in Bone, White, and Black.

I had to be able to work while commuting, which meant making a lot of squares and joining them. The go board's structure is obviously a bunch of squares joined together in black, and I went in that direction for a while, until I realized that meant I would have to sew every stone on. So I went for the less obvious option, which was that each square's center would be an intersection. That meant I'd have to sew in the lines, but between 38 straight lines and 70+ circles, the choice was easy.

Except that giving the stones the same center as the squares didn't really solve the problem of how to attach them. Eventually I settled for a pattern that remained a disk until the last round, where it turned into a square. That way, if I was working on a square that had a stone on it, I could make the stone, start the square, then crochet the last round into the back loop of the last round of the stone as well as the previous round of the square. This left me with easy construction blocks that I could then sew together.

The blanket is made out of 361 (19*19) squares in Bone. Nine of them have a first round in black, and about seventy are covered with a stone.

Exact gauge is not important, and depends on the size of the finished blanket. A square should be 1/19th of the complete length; mine are about 4in each.

Basic square:
Make a magic loop
Round 1: 16 dc in magic circle. join with ss (16 sts)
Round 2: 2dc in each st to end, join with ss (32 sts)
Round 3: *1 dc in next st, 2 dc in next st* to end, join with ss (48 sts)
Eound 4: *1 trc in next 2st, 1 dc in next st, 1 hdc in next st, 1 sc in next 4 st, 1 hdc in next st, 1 dc in next st 1 trc in next 2 st, ch 3, 1 dc in next 2 st, 1hdc in next st, 1 sc in next st, 1 ss in next 4 st, 1 sc in next st, 1 hdc in next st, 1 dc in next 2 st, ch 3* twice, join with ss (48 sts). This round turns the disk into a 'square', which is actually a rectangle, to reflect the shape of a go board.

Because go stone have volume, each stone here is made of two layers, joined together on the last round of the second layer.
Layer 1: follow first 2 rounds of Basic square pattern, fasten off.
Layer 2: follow first 2 rounds of Basic square pattern. Hold the first layer behind it and work the third round of the square through both layers.

Attaching stone
When working a square, after finishing the 3rd, hold the stone in front of the square and work the next round through the back loop of the last round of the stone and the previous round of the square.

Nine of the intersections on the goban have a wider black dot. This is done by replacing the first round of the square by two rounds in single crochet:
Round 1: in black, 8 sc in magic circle, join with ss
Round 2: change to board color, 2sc in each st to end, join with ss.

Joining squares, adding lines
Join the squares with the board color yarn, and your preferred method for joining (no specifics because I'm not all that happy with the way I did it, and it doesn't really matter). Check and re-check the kifu.

Once the blanket is put together, it's time to add the lines, which was my least favorite part. I wanted the back of the blanket to look like a blank board, which meant I had to work behind the stones. After brainstorming a lot, I decided to work in surface crochet on blank squares, and switch to sewing at the back of the blanket when I hit a stone.

I finished the blanket with a round of single crochet, which is completely optional.

There are many things that I decided midway through I should have done differently, but of course it was too late, and I never did any of them.
=> Use a lighter pattern. The pattern I chose for the squares was very dense, which ends in a blanket that weighs about 5kg. Starting with 12dc instead of 16 wouldn't have made significant holes, and would have made the blanket 1/4th lighter.

=> Stone position: I wanted the black and white stones to feel different under the fingers, so that it'd be possible to distinguish them by touch (playing 'blind Go', so to speak). I did this by turning the white stones before attaching them (so that the 3rd round of the stone and that of the square were going in opposite directions). But this served to make the white stones look slightly bigger. I learned later on that black stones are usually slightly bigger than white ones, to compensate for an optical illusion that make them look smaller. So now the black stones look extra small. :(

=> Weaving ends in: needlework is my least favorite part of crochet, and I kept putting that part off. Only it ends up being over a thousand ends to work in. Even after sneaking as many of them as possible under or inside stones, it still leaves a bit under 800 ends, and they should not be left for last. Urgh.

There are a few more pictures on Ravelry (requires logging in)
Electric Sunshine Dimmer Switch: electricitydiamonddustshoe on January 7th, 2013 05:43 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's neat. Thanks for sharing. :)
factorielle on January 8th, 2013 10:05 am (UTC)
Thanks for the comment! Considering the size of the project, I'm really glad I'm not the only one who's pleased by it. :)
khemlab: happy sockskhemlab on January 7th, 2013 05:48 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's just gorgeous! FWIW, I can't see a size difference between the white and black at all - likely you see it as much worse than it actually is. ;)
Brokenapocalypticbob on January 7th, 2013 06:10 pm (UTC)
I agree with this. I would not have noticed any size difference, and even after you mentioned it, I still really don't.

Incredibly beautiful, and an amazing gift.
factorielle on January 8th, 2013 09:56 am (UTC)
That's reassuring. :)

Thank you! I'm very proud of it.
factorielle on January 8th, 2013 09:55 am (UTC)
It's nothing too obvious, and you probably wouldn't see it except by looking for Everything That Is Wrong With It. Which I obviously did. :)
Katherine: zarquons fishcactus_rs on January 7th, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
This is exceptional!! Wow! Your girlfriend must be thrilled. :)
A Fandom Butterfly: tw - woods - by werechihuahuaschinawolf on January 7th, 2013 10:25 pm (UTC)
I am indeed. :D When it was finally revealed what the present was, after many teasers that gave me not the slightest idea, I was just stunned. The pictures don't really do the blanket justice, it is truly awesome.
factorielle on January 8th, 2013 09:57 am (UTC)
factorielle on January 8th, 2013 09:57 am (UTC)
She's been very patient and understanding, considering this was nominally a present for her birthday last June and she still can't take it home because it's not finished yet.

But thrilled, yes, that too. ^_^
No True. Such Permit. Very Assassins. Wow.: Angrynaamah_darling on January 7th, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC)
That is jaw-dropping and utterly amazing! I'm just gonna sit here and stare for hours....
factorielle on January 8th, 2013 09:58 am (UTC)
I have been guilty of doing that too. And petting the stones, muttering my preciousssss... to myself.
literate packrat: worry birdthinkum on January 7th, 2013 07:02 pm (UTC)
Just favorited on Ravelry -- this is really a gorgeous piece of work!
factorielle on January 8th, 2013 10:03 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm hoping to put up the pattern there eventually, as soon as I clean it up some.
susako: Maya purplesusako on January 7th, 2013 07:19 pm (UTC)
Absolutely stunning! And the story behind it is sweet, too.
factorielle on January 8th, 2013 10:04 am (UTC)
Geeky love stories are the best! Not that I'm biased or anything. :)
Lady Diana: pic#114965449princessediana on January 8th, 2013 10:17 am (UTC)
HnG blanket *_____*... So much want !!!
Your GF is really lucky !

Edited at 2013-01-08 10:17 am (UTC)
factorielle on January 8th, 2013 11:25 am (UTC)
I was almost mean and decided to make her figure out what game it was (any excuse to reread/rewatch all the HnG ever), but in the end I decided to tell. Next time, though...
KMazzy: Vala = AWESOME!kmazzy on January 8th, 2013 10:48 am (UTC)
I don't know anything at all about Hikaru no Go but that is a VERY awesome blanket! I want to learn crochet and make a periodic table one. I think someone posted theirs here a little while ago.

My Granma tried to teach me crochet a long time ago but I forgot it all apart from making a chain. But I can learn I'm sure.

AWESOME blanket. It's great to have something that will last for many many years - worth all the hours of labour.
factorielle on January 8th, 2013 11:24 am (UTC)
I can only recommend checking it out if you have the time, it's a beautiful and engaging story.

After years of failing every attempt at knitting, I found crochet a lot easier! And there are a lot of tutorials online, in text or images or videos depending on how you learn best. Try it, you might find you remember more than you think. :)
craftychimera: ultroscraftychimera on January 10th, 2013 02:08 pm (UTC)
even though I don't know the reference, i am still very impressed by the work put into this! and it looks awesome. the biggest needle-work project i've worked on is an admittedly huge striped scarf for my boyfriend. still working on it...your note about weaving ends in is making me wish I had done the same thing haha