As my teasing (and teasing) can attest, this blanket/bedspread has been a real obsession of mine for a very long time. I had just taught myself how to crochet and decided to make a Mario granny square blanket for my brother- this was over a year and a half ago. My husband saw it and wanted one of his own. However, I could not let my husband have the same blanket I made my brother....oh no, my friends. His had to be so much....MORE. I woke up in the middle of the night and had the beginnings of the blanket in my head. I scribbled out a rough draft of a map and was so giddy, I had a hard time falling asleep. I had never used Tunisian crochet before, so I had to practice. This was the result of that first practice:
My husband wanted a hat with Mario on it-I was unable to get my idea for a hat to work, but I thought, I could so do it as a scarf! Thus the Mario scarf was born.
Even though I had the concept down correctly, I did not know how to change colors correctly- there were huge holes in between my color changes. I'll show an example of this in just a bit.
I soon started on my blanket with this panel- The Beginning of a Journey:
Then, I did the second panel- needed to have a Goomba and a Koopa Troopa!
I fell in love with these two! I kid you not- I would wake up in the morning, see them on the floor, and bust out with a smile and a laugh. My husband thought I was nuts....
Well, I continued on, making 7 panels total throughout the months. Each panel took about a day to complete and, since I was working part-time, I could dedicate my days off to making them. But, I was suffering migraines from having my head hunched over all the time.....so I put off the blanket and started other endeavors.....
With each blanket or purse I finished, my husband would sigh, look longingly at my Mario panel pile, and say, "One of these days, I'll have a blanket of my own...." I wanted to finish this blanket soooo badly, but was not satisfied with some of the panels. The last one I worked on was the underwater panel; however, when I counted the rows (height) after completing it, one side had 50 rows and the other had 49....oops. I had mistakenly started a first pass with a row when I hadn't finished the second pass of the previous row. (Each row of Tunisian crochet has 2 passes- the forward pass and the backward pass- in order to make the stitches square.) I was sooooo bummed. As I mentioned before, if something doesn't come out right, I put it aside. Well, I put this blanket aside for about 8 months because of that. I didn't have the heart to tear back 15 rows and re-do them.
Well, all that changed at the beginning of 2009. I decided that this was the year I was going to finish this blanket, so I started in earnest. Well, now that I knew how to change colors correctly, I had to redo 4 of the previous 7 panels that came out all wonky. Ugh. But, it really was soooo worth it! There were 2 other panels that I had to redo- not because of the mistakes in color changes (I had learned how to do it with the underground coin panel), but because I found the right colors to use for Mario's skin and for the "skin" of the enemies. So, even though I started a year and a half ago, every single panel that is now on the blanket, except for the coin cache one, has been completed since February 2009.
Here are side-by-sides of the panels:
This first panel actually didn't look so bad. However, I did have some issues with my tension, which is why it's so much smaller than the newer one. However, the character definition, and even the cloud, is so much better in the newer one. Changing colors correctly is soooo important!
This second panel really shows how having the correct colors makes the image POP. Also, the first one was sooo wonky! I was so incredibly proud of it when I first did it....now, I feel like a kid proud of a stick drawing. I am proud to say that, by changing colors correctly, the goomba no longer looks phallic...
This one I knew I had to redo....if only to correct Luigi's hat. Erg. You can see how malformed the pipe is (due to incorrect color changes) and how much more the color pops in the second one. Also, I had originally crocheted the turtle shell by using a screen shot of the whole turtle and taking off the head and legs. I then found this awesome site that has all of the characters on there...including the correct turtle shell!
Next comes the underground coin cache. This is the only "original" panel on the blanket. I learned how to color change correctly with this one; however, I didn't have the right color for Mario's skin tone. Though you can't really tell in the picture, he's my Chicano Mario on the blanket. :)
Mario comes out of the coin cache and steals the star Luigi was about to use. Life isn't fair for Luigi.... This is actually the first of the new panels that I made in February.
Ever since the beginning, I knew that Luigi couldn't stay forever....this was Mario's quest. I loved the idea of him being trapped between a Bullet Bill and a Buzzy Beetle! However, the star panel above was not part of my original design. I decided to add that during the blanket reboot. So, since I had to redo this panel anyway due to the wonkiness, I decided to replace the question block with a brick, and to have Mario as star Mario. Oh yes- Luigi has to take one for the team!
This panel makes me laugh- poor Luigi! Game over for you, chump! And, to add insult to injury, that innocent looking brick actually contained a 1UP mushroom for Mario- hahahahaha!
Awww yeah! Hammer time!! This was a new one that I did in February and also had to redo. I used the peach color for the Hammer Bros. skin when this color really popped. So, I ripped out allllll of those rows and redid it....this one took me 2 days to do. *Sigh*
This is one of my favorites- not only do you get a Piranha plant, but also a squished goomba!!! Ahhh...I love this game. :)
The Lakitu and Spiny panel. The original is on the right and was my favorite of the original panels. I did the color changes correctly and I LOVED it. Then, I realized that the colors weren't correct....then I realized that I had Mario in that same pose for a few panels in a row....BORING. So, I changed the colors (MUCH better!) and put Mario in a skidding stop right before he could slide into a Spiny. Whew!
After surviving Lakitu, Mario goes underwater. The original one is on the left. I ripped back the 15 rows to correct my goof from a year ago....then I realized that I needed to change the Cheep Cheeps' color to make them pop. But, the good thing is that I got to add the air bubble that I wanted to add originally but forgot and, again, didn't want to rip back so many rows to fix. I changed the red and green Cheep Cheeps' positions b/c of the following panel.
Flying Cheep Cheeps! Since the red one was on the bottom left, I decided to have the green underwater Cheep Cheep on the bottom right....crazy? Maybe.... I LOVE this panel. The bridge just makes it....WOW.
I LOVE THIS ONE! This is the cutest of the bunch. :) Mario now gets to go to Coin Heaven...atop the "teeth clouds" as my mom would call them. :) Now, astute gamer geeks will know that in world 3-1, just prior to hopping the turtle (next panel), Mario does get to go to Coin Heaven. I debated whether or not to make this a black panel since world 3 is a night-time world. However, I had always pictured this blue! I LOVE IT!
Awww yeah....my true SMB geekiness shines through. Getting infinite free men by hopping the turtle. I LOVE THIS GAME!
Mario finishes the world by getting 5000 points off of the flag pole. He even ended the world with 1 second on the clock, thus the 1 fireball. :)
Here are the first 3 rows complete. Honestly, this could have been a blanket just by itself! You got the beginning of the adventure at the very top and end with Mario on the Flag Pole, beating the level. If you can see, I have Gilmore Girls on DVD scattered on the floor. Oh yes. Tons of GG time spent on this blanket....kinda poetic, don't ya think? :)
I'm going to continue the story in one more post. This one is just about filled to the brim.....The end of the quest is in sight!
PS: A FAQ can be found here.