Dark Shadows Afghans: The Two Graces

Dark Shadows the 2 graces

Isn’t it wonderful that Dark Shadows, the gothic soap opera that aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971, used two granny square afghans as props? Not only did they use them as props, but they turned up often, in almost every house in Collinsport! Were they placed as cozy homespun contrasts to the darkness and evil that relentlessly lurked in Collinwood? Or were they just an inexpensive prop used for convenience?

I like to think that these afghans, masterfully created with love (what crochet project isn’t?) lent comfort and security to whichever character needed it the most.

Afghans to sooth the pain

For example, are you incapacitated and near death from a vicious voodoo attack? Have Barnabus Collins cover you with a granny square afghan.

Dark Shadows Quentin, Barnabus, Maggie
Quentin in parallel time: the victim of voodoo

How about something to ease your mind after being possessed by a dying descendant? Cuddle up with a granny square afghan!

Dark Shadows Jameson Collins possessed by his dying descendant David
Jameson Collins possessed by his dying descendant David

Maybe you need something comforting that might calm your nerves when you’ve been enthralled by an evil spirit, bitten by a vampire or mauled by a werewolf. Whether you recover or expire from your affliction, you can at least ease your suffering with a cozy crocheted granny square afghan.

Blanket yourself in crochet

It’s obvious to anyone who enjoys handcrafting that crocheted afghans are a symbol of a secure and loving home. They’ve been used as home decor props in many TV shows including Roseanne and The Big Bang Theory. They’ve certainly graced the various couches in my living room over the years. However, my afghans were used to hide worn upholstery and to wrap up in when I caught a chill while watching TV.

Some sites like Dark Shadows Wikia refer to the black-joined granny square afghan aka the Collinsport Afghan (used more often than the yellow and red afghan) as  the “blanket of evil.” However, the Hoosier Lady of Ravelry refers to it not only as the Collinsport Afghan, but also as “the time traveling afghan” because the afghan appears in all of the different timelines visited by Barnabus Collins as well as the 1797 episodes that Victoria Winters experiences.

Snuggle your way to health

Because granny square afghans symbolize a warm, cozy, loving home, what are they doing at creepy Collinwood? Collinwood, the house of ghosts, curses and mental anguish. It seems like something way more powerful than a colorful afghan is needed to improve conditions there. But I suppose someone in pain will take whatever relief they can find. In that respect I like to refer to the two Dark Shadows afghans as the two graces.

In a town built by a family that lives in a haunted mansion plagued by curses, evil spells, treachery and grief the afghans represent a small opportunity for comfort. They offer a warm glimmer of hope for relief  from whatever you’re suffering. Crawl beneath a colorful afghan whether you’re overcoming a bad cold or healing from an abdominal stab wound.

Dark Shadows Count Petofi
Count Petofi recovering from a stab wound.

The Dark Shadows afghans don’t have any supernatural healing powers of their own.  But they do offer a little grace and comfort to the afflicted. For example, as they teeter on the brink of death, Count Petofi and Jameson Collins seem to find much needed comfort in the colorful afghan. In contrast, planning the death of his sister-in-law, Gabriel Collins covers his paralyzed legs with the yellow and red afghan.

Dark Shadows Gabriel Collins in his wheelchair
Gabriel Collins makes use of the yellow and red afghan.

Granny squares are far out!

Of course, during the run of Dark Shadows, the granny square was enjoying a surge in popularity. In those days my mother’s Woman’s Day and Good Housekeeping magazines ran lots of granny square articles. Woman’s Day even published at least one entire magazine of crochet patterns, many of them grannies.

When I first learned to crochet in the early 70s, I loved making lots and lots of granny squares! They were so fun and satisfying to make-and still are! I bet there were a lot of women crocheting granny square afghans while watching the show.

As the decades have passed, granny squares have become more delightful and elaborate in design. With all the beautifully creative granny squares available now for free, can you imagine what an updated Dark Shadows afghan might look like?