The Picture Frame Square – making a blanket, a metaphor for diversity and inclusion

Arunima in her Tunisian Pocket Shawl

Last year I made a couple of squares of the Knitterknotter Tunisian Blanket CAL 2021, I loved to learn new techniques from my fellow Tunisian crochet designers. This year I have designed a square for the new 2022 blanket! Also, I have been talking to Arunima a lot (featured the Tunisian Rainbow Fringe Scarf on her blog). I have the pleasure to interview her about her Tunisian Blanket CAL journey and her views on the fiber community.

Arunima is originally from India and came to the US to get her Master’s degree in Computer Science. She has worked as a software engineer for over 6 years and then decided to take a break when her first son was born. That’s when she started designing and decided to do it full time. She is now mom to two little ones who keep her on her toes. Being a crochet designer gives her the flexibility to spend time with them and work around their schedules. It usually means that she gets very little sleep but she cannot complain! She is always excited to learn and tries to offer something new in all of her patterns. With her patterns, she hope you will be able to make memorable family heirlooms that will be cherished for generations.

You can find Arunima on Instagram: @knitterknotter and her blog.

Get the KnitterKnotter Tunisian Blanket CAL 2022 here! You will receive an update everytime a new square is published!

How/when/where did your fiber journey start? I was in high school when I learnt the basics of crochet from my mother. I come from the northern part of India and it gets really cold there in winter. Most of my elder female relatives know how to knit and crochet and it was something that I was always interested in. When I learnt it for the first time, I made a really big shawl. It was so big, it was almost a blanket! 🙂 Then, I got busy with school and didn’t really do much with it. Fast forward to 8ish years later – I had completed school, gotten a Bachelor’s degree, worked for two years, traveled to the US and was working on my Master’s degree (in Computer Science) and I was in serious need of something that would take me away from a computer because I was spending over 8 hours every day in front of a screen. That is when I bought myself a hook and some yarn and started teaching myself from YouTube and free patterns that I could find online. And that’s how it all started.

Arunima wrapped up in her version of the KnitterKnotter Tunisian Blanket CAL 2020

You are known for your Knitterknotter Blanket CAL, this is the third consecutive year you host this CAL. How did you start and what have you learned from this journey? This is an interesting story now that I am trying to recollect how I started my yearly CALs. My original idea was to introduce Tunisian crochet stitches to people who wanted to try Tunisian crochet but were intimidated by it. When I shared my tutorials with my audience, I didn’t see a lot of participation and I realized that it wasn’t working the way I had envisioned it. I have hosted CALs every year since I started designing (from my patterns with a limited but engaged audience) so I knew what it takes to host one and how it brings people together to try new things. I noticed that people are motivated to do something if there are others doing the same thing, the community gets together and pulls everyone upward. I saw that people were willing to try things they never thought they would be able to do just because others were doing it too. The idea for a blanket CAL began to take form and I decided to just go for it and see if it would make a difference. It did!! I had so many participants, people who would linger in my Facebook group or visit my blog but never tried Tunisian crochet were all buying new hooks and trying new stitches. It was wonderful! So, the first blanket CAL that I hosted in 2020 was just a collection of basic Tunisian crochet stitches that got more complex as you progressed. So, if you followed the order of the squares, you would always be learning a little bit more with every square and you would end up with a beautiful blanket with a feeling of great accomplishment of having built a full blanket while learning something new.

“There is no limit on age for learning”

When I was nearing the end of the 2020 CAL, I thought about hosting another one in 2021 and I took some inspiration from the yearly CAL hosted by Moogly and decided to rope in other Tunisian crochet designers. It was a great opportunity to bring the Tunisian crochet designer community together, explore new stitch patterns, and give people (and myself) something to look forward to as we all dealt with the effects of the pandemic. The interest in the CAL was beyond my expectation and we all ended up learning so many new stitches and techniques that I just had to do it again in 2022! What I have learned from this journey is that the maker community is incredibly generous, hard working, and creative. AND that age is no barrier in learning something new:

  • The participating designers have offered some amazing patterns and I have learnt a lot of new stitches and techniques. Because of the pandemic, I have been the primary caregiver for my two kids (under the age of 4), and it has not been the easiest to keep things going on the business front. The participants of the CAL have been extremely supportive and encouraging and I’ve always felt like I am hanging out with my friends rather than working. 
  • I was pleasantly surprised by how creative people can get with their squares. Not everyone is a designer but I think everyone has a creative streak and, given the freedom to create, they build some amazing things. In my CALs, everyone has the freedom (and are encouraged) to experiment and that has resulted in so many beautiful squares!
  • I have had participants from all walks of life. One of them told me that they are over 70 years of age and are just starting to learn Tunisian crochet. One of the best lessons that I’ve learnt from this CAL is that there is no limit on age for learning. I really hope that I will be just as eager to learn and experiment when I am older.

Does the CAL reflect the fiber community, its diversity and inclusivity, in your opinion? Is it important to you to have designers from all over the world to participate? It is my hope that it does reflect the fiber community. In the CALs so far, I have had the pleasure to work with:

Arunima in her “I love you so much wrap”
  • designers from different parts of the world;
  • male and female designers;
  • designers from the BIPOC community (I identify as one myself too);
  • established designers and those who have just started their designing journey;
  • my testers who have started designing their own projects and sharing their patterns.

I would love to include designers from the LGBTQ+ community and any others that I may have missed. The Tunisian crochet designer community is not very large, and I keep looking for new designers all the time. To be as inclusive as possible, I am always happy to get recommendations from other designers and direct requests from designers who want to be a part of my CALs. 

“people are willing to try new things, just because others are doing it too”

It is very important to me to have designers from all over the world – every designer brings a little bit of their experiences, tradition and history in their designs. This is great since it translates to having unique patterns with something to learn from each one of them. The participants of the CAL are from all over the world so they also feel more connected to the project if they see a designer from their region. And, behind the scenes, I end up making so many friends from all over the world, I get to share stories, learn about new cultures, learn about the struggles of other designers, share our experiences and help each other grow. I think what the diversity in the CAL offers is priceless!

What have you learned from the fiber community and what do you think we can all take home from it? My biggest takeaway from being in the fiber community is that the best way to learn and grow is to do it with others. We bring out the best in each other and everyone has a place here. When I began my designer journey, I didn’t know where to start. I was not on Facebook or Instagram and I had only used written patterns with no real communication with anyone in the fiber community. I started reaching out to designers, and other bloggers and I’ve never been turned away. I’ve been supported, guided, and encouraged by other designers, testers, my sponsors, and my audience. It is amazing how much kindness we have in our community and that’s what I love about it.

This is exactly how I feel about the fiber community. When I first started posting pictures on Instagram, I only received encouragement and kindness. And with that in mind I designed my contribution to the #knitterknottertunisianblanketcal2022. I want to frame my image of the kindness that this community gives, into a picture frame.

Pattern: The Picture Frame Square

Buy the whole KnitterKnotter Tunisian Blanket CAL 2022 using this affiliate link.

The Honeycomb section of the Picture Frame Square

Notes: The first loop on the hook and the edge stitch each count as stitches. Upon completing a forward pass (FwdP), you should have 36 loops on your hook. I changed to contrast colour (CC) in the return pass (RetP) at the Honeycomb section: this is the atypical RetP (aRetP). Change for the honeycomb section only. You can either cut the yarn and weave in all the ends or use floats. When opting to do floats, make sure these do not pull the stitches and change the shape of your square. 

Materials needed:

  • Yarn: Wibra Anne, 100% Manufactured Fibers – Acrylic, 50 g = approx 219y/200m, worsted (or any other yarn with which you meet gauge; Knitpicks Brava, Red Heart Super Saver, Caron Simply Soft)
  • Yardage: main colour (MC): 110y/100m and contrast colour (CC): 11y/10m
  • 8 mm (US L-11) Tunisian hook (optional: with a 10-20” cord)
  • Darning needle
  • Scissors
  • Optional: removable stitch markers (2x)

Gauge: I used 36 st x 36 rows for a 12” x 12” square. The gauge square is completed in Tunisian Full Stitch (Tfs), and blocked.

The Picture Frame Square by @sosewsally

Pattern: Start to chain 36, skip the first loop, Tunisian simple stitch (Tss) in the back loop of the 2nd chain and each stitch across. RetP (36 stitches). 

  1. Skip 1, Tfs 34, edge stitch. RetP (36).
  2. Tfs 34, sk 1, edge stitch. RetP (36).
  3. Repeat 1.
  4. Repeat 2.
  5. Repeat 1.
  6. Repeat 2.
  7. Repeat 1.
  8. Repeat 2.
  9. Skip 1, Tfs 34, edge stitch. Optional, but highly recommended: mark the 9th and the 28th loop on the hook. aRetP (36). Move the stitch markers to the 9th and 28th loops in the next rows. These are the stitches that mark where to start (after the 9th loop) and end (before the 28th loop) the honeycomb part. 
  10. Tfs 8, *Tss, Tps* repeat * to * 9x in total, (place the first Tfs in the space before the marked st) Tfs 8, sk 1, edge stitch. aRetP (see notes) (36).
  11. Skip 1, Tfs 8, *Tps, Tss* repeat * to * 9x in total, sk 1, (place the first Tfs in the space directly after the marked st) Tfs 8, edge stitch. aRetP (see notes) (36).
  12. Repeat 10.
  13. Repeat 11.
  14. Repeat 10.
  15. Repeat 11.
  16. Repeat 10.
  17. Repeat 11.
  18. Repeat 10.
  19. Repeat 11.
  20. Repeat 10.
  21. Repeat 11.
  22. Repeat 10.
  23. Repeat 11.
  24. Repeat 10.
  25. Repeat 11.
  26. Repeat 10.
  27. Repeat 11.
  28. Tfs 8, *Tss, Tps* repeat * to * 9x in total, place the first Tfs in the space before the marked st) Tfs 8, sk 1, edge stitch. RetP (36).
  29. skip 1, Tfs 8, Tfs across the Honeycomb section, skip 1, Tfs 8, edge stitch. RetP (36).
  30. Tfs 34, sk 1, edge stitch. RetP (36).
  31. skip 1, Tfs 34, edge stitch. RetP (36).
  32. Repeat 30.
  33. Repeat 31.
  34. Repeat 30.
  35. Repeat 31.
  36. Repeat 30. End with Tunisian bind off of your liking, fasten off, weave in ends, block according to fiber.

And that’s it! You have finished the second square of the #knitterknottertunisianblanketcal2022 🙂

You can find more of my designs on Ravelry or in my Etsy shop.

I need to extend a huge thank you to Arunima for having me as one of the designers for the KnitterKnotter Tunisian Blanket CAL 2022. I want to thank Sally (@sosewsally) for testing the pattern and making beautiful pictures. I want to thank Tiffany (@wootcrafts) for tech editing the pattern.

Buy the whole KnitterKnotter Tunisian Blanket CAL 2022 using this affiliate link.

Arunima also makes all the squares of the KnitterKnotter Tunisian Blanket CALs. This is her version of the The Picture Frame Square.

Published by roedivesintodiversity

Biology Teacher gone Yarnie. Passionate about diversity and inclusion where people work, play, make art or just are together

8 thoughts on “The Picture Frame Square – making a blanket, a metaphor for diversity and inclusion

  1. This is a wonderful square! So I have question. In the pattern it doesn’t say when to change the color for the middle part. Is it in step 10 on the reverse pass after the marker?

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    1. Hi Tara, yes it’s for the honeycomb part of the pattern. Start in row 9, you’ll start the honeycomb part in row 10, the honeycomb part will show the return pass in your contrast colour. I’ll update the pattern to clarify 👍🏻❤️

      Like

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