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.
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.
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)