Monday, October 25, 2010

Crochet Project: Tetris Afghan

As I mentioned in my last post, most of my crafting comes from knitting and crocheting. I knit more often than crochet, but it's nice to be able to do both. I like crochet for smaller projects, and I love making granny squares. For those not in the know, you've probably seen projects made from granny squares without knowing what they're called. Here's a nice simple one:


They're small, easy, and addictive. Even beginning crocheters can churn them out easily. There are whole books of granny square patterns--they can be plain, like that one, or have color changes and patterns in the middle--and are the building blocks for larger projects like pillows or blankets.

I was inspired by the simple beauty of the granny square to make some sort of picture...but what could you make with only squares? The answer came almost immediately: Tetris! I will admit that, when it comes to video games, I am usually pretty lost. Most of my video game knowledge is picked up by osmosis from my brother and/or my boyfriend, and my strategy usually consists of pushing random buttons and watching what happens. But Tetris is one game I actually enjoy. So I set out to design a Tetris afghan. After A LOT of design ideas, I finally came up with two that I really liked.

The one on the right could be an actual Tetris game...if you were really, really bad. It was easier to design one with black squares on every row than it was to design one with no black squares, but the neat thing about the one on the right is that there are exactly 20 squares of each color: 20 black squares and 5 of each Tetrimino shape. The one on the left is really more inspired by Tetris, because of course the shapes packed so closely together wouldn't be found in a real game. I turned the Tetris-game design into a real afghan for my brother's birthday last year.

The color scheme that I chose is from the iPod version of Tetris (SO addictive, aside from the finicky controls) except I realized, after the blanket was complete, that I'd mixed up the colors for the red and green pieces (the red ones are actually supposed to be green, and vice versa). Oh well.

It's 10 blocks wide and 16 blocks tall, which works out to 160 little granny squares. These are pretty small, and they work up quickly, but it was A LOT of work to assemble. I sewed the Tetriminoes together using the same color yarn as the block, and then I joined the different blocks and black squares together using black yarn and slip stitch. The slip stitch join is slightly raised, which gives it a bit of texture. I put a lot of work into the design, and I'm really pleased with how it came out.

You can use the granny square idea to assemble any kind of (small) picture...I think it works really well with 8-bit video game graphics. What next? My new favorite video game is Pac-Man...I swear those ghosts are ganging up on me!

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