Last week I posted about five Circle of Friends Squares I made. This week I have 25. That means I've made 20 this week. I want them to all be different, but it's getting hard to determine which colors I've already used when I've made so many. I want to make a blanket with 7 x 9 squares, so I need a bit less than twice as many more. I decided to make a spreadsheet to keep track.

Here's a screen shot of the spreadsheet. Each row is a color of yarn that I'm using for this project. Since I'm using mostly Vanna's Choice yarn by Lion Brand, I copied the color swatches they have on their web site to place in the first cell of the row. This was a chore, but it is doable. "Format Picture" in Excel has an option to resize the picture in a cell every time the cell is moved or resized. It was very hard to get this to work at first. The instructions I found on the internet said to select the cell, add the desired picture, resize the picture to be the same size as the cell, and then choose the option "Format->Picture->Properties->Move and size with cells" (I have Excel 2010 on a Mac). This didn't work every time. Eventually I figured out that the size had to be exact. So I formatted the cells to be .25 x 1 inch, and I resized the picture to be exactly this size using "Format->Picture->Size." I had to unlock the aspect ratio first. The picture functionality is still a bit flaky, but with some care I was able to make it work.

Each column represents one square. Round 1 is the center round and round 7 is the outer round. I put the round number in the row of the color that I used for that round. So each column should have the numbers 1-7 in 7 of the cells. Finally I used the "countif" function in Excel to count the number of times a color appeared in each round, and added a total of these for the number of squares on the right-hand side of the row. I can add columns as needed. For two of the squares, I had repeated a color. So I only put the first occurrence of that color in the square's column, and I added one to the appropriate "countif" cell on the right for the second occurence.

Right now I'm using this quilt top for inspiration, though I haven't exhausted all the other ideas I have for my squares. The pattern is the quilt version of "granny squares." Each square gives me a suggested combination of colors, and I'll go through the process here to illustrate how this works.

This block has a mustard colored center with pale yellow and beige on the outer squares. The four middle squares are a light brown batik with some additional colors in the dots. At first this doesn't look promising. How interesting could a brown and yellow square be? So I decided to give the dot colors a prominent role.

Here are the colors I've chosen. The yellow and cream will be rounds 1 and 7. The bobbles will be radiant lime green and bright aqua, and the hint of dark in the batik fabric will be represented by eggplant. The gold and brown colors will be the flat rounds 3 and 5. In this picture, the yarn for rounds 1 to 7 are from right to left, with round 1 being the yellow on the right.

According to the spreadsheet, these colors appear in the rounds I've chosen for them 1, 0, 2, 0, 1, 0 and 0 times in rounds 1 to 7. So if I stick with this arrangement I will have three squares with gold in round 3. I prefer this to the alternative with yellow in round 3 and gold in round 1, even though I've never used the gold yarn in round 1. So I'll stay with the arrangement I chose.

Here's the finished square. In the final version, I switched the aqua and eggplant bobbles.

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