Last week, Abigail Holden – who reviews the sort of stuff for us that generally make me fall asleep before I’ve finished reading the back cover. For that alone, she’s awesome – but she recently elevated her awesome status by several levels when she posted a picture of her crafty handiwork on Twitter last week – a magnificent, pixel perfect Mario blanket.
The result of two years of knitting and stitching, the 8-bit blankie was lovingly handmade for her husband, our own Garth Holden – making him one lucky sonfofa, and Abigail just about the best wife ever. Yes, I’m jealous.
Filled with jealousy, and the hope that I could, y’know, steal it – I asked Abigail why she chose to make the Blanket.
“Two winters ago, “ she says “ I found myself wanting something to do with my hands. I often cross stitch while watching TV, but my winter-chilled hands wanted something… warmer. Knitting seemed the perfect option. Unfortunately, my knitting skills only extended as far as scarves, and I already had quite a few of those. Squares seemed like an easy option, and if they made a warm blankie, so much the better.
Since I prefer to make craft projects into gifts for my friends and family, I naturally thought of then-boyfriend (now hubby) Garth as the recipient of the blankie. With that in mind, I set about finding a suitably geeky design – I might as well buy an ordinary blanket from the shops otherwise. Given my background in cross stitch, I had the idea to knit small squares to imitate a cross stitch design. And who was the first ‘blocky’ character I could think of?
Why, Mario, of course!”
Was it worth the two years (on and off) and very sore wrists?
“I can’t begin to calculate just how many hours it took me, but the look on Garth’s face when I finally finished it and watching him snuggle under it while singing the Mario theme tune made it all worth it! “
Unfortunately – and yeah, I begged – Abigail won’t be making any more, any time soon, so stop throwing money at your screen.
“I won’t say I’ll never do something like this again, but I’m most certainly taking a break for the foreseeable future!”
If you’re keen on making one for yourself (or more likely, roping somebody else to do it for you) Abigails says it’s pretty easy – just time consuming, and has offered the following advice :
Making a blankie like this one is actually really easy – the biggest investment will be your time. I just grabbed a simple picture of the Internet and converted it to a cross stitch style pattern by adding a grid. This can be done in a program like Excel or Paint. If you use a really simple 8-bit image, each pixel can then represent a square.
Once you have your ‘pattern’, you need to count how many squares of each colour you’ll need. Then choose your wool. I used chunky wool, which makes for a nice thick blankie, but also limited my colour choices. My squares were plain knitting, ten stitches across and about 10 rows high (you’ll need to experiment to see how many rows make a square square, and then always stitch that many rows).
A final tip is to buy your wool in bulk (as it’s cheaper) and to make sure you have enough for the entire blankie. I ran out of skin-coloured wool part way through and discovered that the new wool in the shops was a slightly different colour (a year had passed and a different batch was now being sold!) I then had to search several wool shops to find one that still had the ‘old’ batch.