Sadako’s blanket – pattern out now !…

It is time to announce a very special pattern. The theme for the pattern was on my mind for a long time. From the moment I visited Japan in 2017 and discovered the meaning of origami cranes and learned about the story of Sadako Sasaki and her memorial place in Hiroshima, it touched my soul. This story is so special and it gives the purpose of the art of origami such a deep meaning…that I felt I need to do something with it. So let’s start at the beginning with a explanation of Sadako’s story for those of you who still doesn’t know it.

photo is taken from Wikipedia

This is Sadako Sasaki at the age of twelve years old.

Sadako was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. She was two kilometers away from where the bomb exploded. Most of Sadako’s neighbors died, but Sadako wasn’t injured at all, at least not in any way people could see.

Up until the time Sadako was in the seventh grade (1955) she was a normal, happy girl. However, one day after an important relay race that she helped her team win, she felt extremely tired and dizzy. After a while the dizziness went away leaving Sadako to think that it was only the exertion from running the race that made her tired and dizzy. But her tranquillity did not last. Soon after her first encounter with extreme fatigue and dizziness, she experienced more incidents of the same.

One day Sadako became so dizzy that she fell down and couldn’t get up. Her school-mates informed the teacher. Later Sadako’s parents took her to the Red Cross Hospital to see what was wrong with her. Sadako found out that she had leukemia, a kind of blood cancer. Nobody could believe it.

At that time they called leukemia the “A-bomb disease”. Almost everyone who got this disease died, and Sadako was very scared. She wanted to go back to school, but she had to stay in the hospital where she cried and cried.

Shortly thereafter, her best friend, Chizuko, came to visit her. Chizuko brought some origami (folding paper). She told Sadako of a legend. She explained that the crane, a sacred bird in Japan, lives for a hundred years, and if a sick person folds 1,000 paper cranes, then that person would soon get well. After hearing the legend, Sadako decided to fold 1,000 cranes in the hope that she would get well again.

Sadako’s family worried about her a lot. They often came to visit her in hospital to talk to her and to help her fold cranes. After she folded 500 cranes she felt better and the doctors said she could go home for a short time, but by the end of the first week back home the dizziness and fatigue returned and she had to go back to the hospital.

Sadako kept folding cranes even though she was in great pain. Even during these times of great pain she tried to be cheerful and hopeful. Not long afterwards, with her family standing by her bed, Sadako went to sleep peacefully, never to wake up again. She had folded a total of 644 paper cranes.

Everyone was very sad. Thirty-nine of Sadako’s classmates felt saddened by the loss of their close friend and decided to form a paper crane club to honor her. Word spread quickly. Students from 3,100 schools and from 9 foreign countries gave money to the cause. On May 5, 1958, almost 3 years after Sadako had died, enough money was collected to build a monument in her honor. It is now known as the Children’s Peace Monument, and is located in the center of Hiroshima Peace Park, close to the spot where the atomic bomb was dropped.

photo rights belong to the guy with the hook
photo rights belong to the guy with the hook. However, the child on this photo is someone i can’t track down. If this is your kid or family and you don’t want this photo to be out in public, please let me know and I will remove it.

Well, as the story of Sadako is now told, it is time to show you some pictures of my private collection out of my time in Japan. Above, the first you see is a picture of the folded origami cranes which you can find at many sacred places like graveyards, temples and also in the Peace park in Hiroshima. I was so inspired by those little folded cranes and the colors made me so happy ! If you fold a thousand cranes it is tradition to use all the colors of the rainbow and above you can see it happens often. The second photo is from one of my travel periods in a bullet train. When I was on my way to Kyoto this little kid was next to me with his mother. The little fellow was folding all kinds of origami figures like it was the easiest thing to do. I was so fascinated by him as I just had experienced the Sadako monument, that I was staring at him in a almost rude way. As he did noticed I was looking at him, he was showing off his amazing skills even more and I couldn’t resist asking him to show me how to fold a crane. But as we had a language barrier it was hard to tell him what I wanted. So why not just showing him a pic ? He immediately laughed at me and showed me. Of course, I was terrible in learning it, the boy laughed at me so hard as it is one of the most simple figures to fold but on first hand I couldn’t complete it. But as we had a four hour train trip ahead of us…there was plenty of time to learn it. By the time I stepped on the platform of the train station in Kyoto, I managed to fold a origami crane.

photo rights belong to Rene Mensen

After my return from Japan, it felt like origami cranes just popped up everywhere. Part of that fact was I recognized them better I guess. At home back in the Netherlands I also discovered a amazing project involving origami cranes. As we had some years ago a huge plane crash with flight MH17 to Indonesia, the plane was shot out of the air and instantly 279 Dutch people died in the air. Someone who lost a dear friend on that crash came up with a plan to fold down 1000 origami cranes for her lost friend as a tribute and honour. However, this idea became such a success that eventually it was decided to fold a 1000 cranes for each victim of this crash. Folded by people all over the country who shipped them in, in the end there was a exposition and memorial showing off all 279.000 cranes. The mid centre of this exposition you can see on the photo above.

And now it is finally time for the pattern. As one of the sentences Sadako said in the Red Cross hospital during her folding period : “I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world” , I felt the need to create something which represented those wings. And so I came up with a overlay design which had the shape of many, many wings…and for those of you who have a detailed eye…you might have recognized that the shape of the wings also is exactly the same shape as the folded wings of the origami crane.

The color use in the blanket wasn’t a real hard choice to make. It had to hold all the colors of the rainbow. And as Scheepjes has amazing colour packs holding 109 colors from different types of yarn I felt this was the thing to use. I used a Scheepjes Cahlista colourpack with little balls of 15 gram from each color. Besides that I took 16 balls of 50 grams Cahlista Ultramarine to use as contrast color between the colors of the little balls and for the border. The pattern holds clear instructions for the amounts of yarn needed in total and the use of the colors if your planning on using a colour pack. The Catona colourpack of Scheepjes would also work for this blanket as they hold the same colors – the blanket would only become a bit smaller. There is no problem in taking other yarns or less. As a Scheepjes colourpack is not available everywhere, you also could just take a gradient colored ball of yarn for it or maybe 6 or seven colors in rainbow colors which you change off between the Rows.

Dutch only : Voor alle Nederlandse lezers, als je een Cahlista colourpack wilt aanschaffen of wellicht ander garen voor dit mooie patroon, dan kan dit bij Caro’s Atelier. Door op deze link te klikken steun je mij hier ook een klein beetje mee zonder dat het U wat extra kost.

Some technical and practical details about the pattern :

  • the pattern holds written instructions, a guided photo-tutorial which takes you step by step through the pattern – and there are simple charts in the patterns which shows the repeat sections in the pattern and the border.
  • You will need a crochet hook size 5.0 mm and 5.5 mm. If you chose another type of yarn, please take the recommend size plus one hooksize up.
  • the patterns comes in a PDF file which you can purchase through my standard sales points which are Ravelry and my Etsy store. Please note t
  • the pattern is available in English (US terms), Dutch, German, French and Swedish. Thanks to my wonderful team of testers/translators : Tineke Tap, Christina Berberich, Celine Kavanagh and Anna Nilson.
  • The Finished size of the blanket will be 115 cm x 150 cm. (45 x 59 inches). But there are also easy options in the pattern to adjust your own size by adding or removing repeats.
  • The pattern is made up out of two colors – Color A and B. Color A is a contrast color of which you need 1300-1400 meters (1500-1600 yards) of yarn. Color B in the pattern will be the rainbow color for which I used the colourpack, however you can also chose your own gradient yarn or number of different colors to apply. For Color B you need 1500-1600 meters (1600-1700 yards) of yarn. These amounts include a border as well.
  • The pattern holds clear instructions about color changes and it is crocheted in Rows.
  • There are a lot of ends to weave in for this blanket ! But the result is so worth it.
  • The blanket holds a border at the bottom and top of the blanket.

Well I feel I have said most of this pattern and I told the story need to be told to understand this pattern better. This pattern in the end is a very special one for me as it became almost a recovering project. The colors brightened up my mood so much after some heavy and rough weeks. And with the message I intended to crochet this pattern it became a personal anthem for me. I hope it will be the same for you when you make it ! At last…some last photos as a inspiration.


3 gedachten over “Sadako’s blanket – pattern out now !…

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  1. Ik herinner me dat ik haar verhaal als kind las in een boek, ik heb het nog ergens in mijn boekenkast staan. Ik was niet goed van dat verhaal weet ik nog en nu ik het terug lees bij jou, pakt het me nog altijd…


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