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As We Go….. into Obsession

I decided when I started the blog I would try and do a post a week. A good decent post with lots of content. I am aware I am straying from my path this last few weeks. I think the posts have been a bit skimpy and all about the same thing really…

The As We Go blanket.

Confession: it is because I am completely obsessed with it.

Normally I flit between about 5 main projects, all of varying complexity and purpose. Right now everything has gone into stasis in favour of the As We Go blanket. I suffer from a short attention span with crafty things sometimes. I can’t plod along doing something repetitive for days or weeks on end. I love making ripple blankets even though they are essentially doing the same thing over and over row after row, but I tend to stick to smaller cot sized ones so I can change colours often and enjoy the thrill of seeing them come together. The ripple also has the increase and decrease areas to keep your mind a little focussed. My ripples have all been made with a glorious bamboo and cotton blend and it feels like absolute heaven slipping over your hook and between your fingers. Basically the ripple makes up for what it lacks in variety of stitches by being a really enjoyable sensory experience.

This ripple blanket all wrapped around my bump the one I made for The Little Dark Star, she calls it her “made it” because I have always told her that Mummy made it when she was still in my tummy growing and she was wrapped in it when she was born. I deliberately chose random colour repeats so I’d have the enjoyment of deciding when to change colour and what to use.
Crochet ripple blanket
I love this picture because I can instantly still remember the feel of my round belly under the silky soft yarn and recall that ever growing excitement that I was making something for my soon to be born baby.

This is a little crib sized one I made that used regular repeats instead.

crochet ripple blanket

I think a project like the ripple blanket is an essential long term ‘go to’ project for when you’ve only got a small window of time for crochet and you wouldn’t be able to get stuck into something more complex and meaty you could get called away from. I think it is also good to have a more simple project you can turn to when you need to relax and use it as a kind of mindful meditation (which the ripple often is for me). Ripple blankets always have their own special project bag so they can be got out and put away quickly and a ball of each colour yarn needed is stored with the blanket at all times which is great for when you’re zooming out the door and want something to do in the car when you are not the designated driver.

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I always have lots things on the go that I dip in and out of frequently. I’ve recently written up the boot cuff pattern and made it ready for sale and I am about a quarter of the way into writing up and photographing the Star Poncho pattern. I’ve got a box with some half finished hand warmers, one bootee, two half made hats, then there is my hexagon blanket….. I am going to stop there, the list is shameful and there is a booby hat order still outstanding at the moment and that is making me a bit twitchy.

However….

Everything has stopped for the As We Go. It’s a bit like falling in love this feeling I have for it. When I am not actually making it, I am thinking about it. I wake up in the morning hoping to sneak a row in and I hesitate about whether I should go to bed at night and get enough sleep before the Little Dark Star gives me a 5am wake up or should I do just a row or two THEN go to sleep. I almost feel like I can’t ‘cheat’ on the blanket with another project. My house is becoming ever more a midden as I spend more and more of The Little Dark Star’s nap times crocheting. Even if I am not at home and able to see the blanket, I catch myself inexplicably with my phone in my hand sighing lovingly over photos I have taken of it.

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This really is a first for me this one project start to finish with no diversions. The pattern is wonderful though because it does about three rows of one kind of stitch then its time to change to something else. Almost every single row is a new colour so theres lots of excitement about starting a new shade and seeing how it will look once its married up with all the others. Some of the stitches are basic, a whole row (193 stitches) of double crochet followed by a row of half double crochet but then you’ll be doing the Catherine wheel stitch for a bit or a chevron or star stitch. Row on row as it grows it just looks more and more luscious.

I am going to shut up now. I am aware I sound like a crazy lady.

I do love it so so much though. So very much.

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The value of handmade things.

Crochet BedspreadThis monday I was on my way to meet some friends for brunch, I was running a little late and dashing along the high street like a mad woman with a buggy (I hate being late) when I spotted some yarn in the charity shop window *cue me screeching to a halt* I simply cannot resist having a look at yarn in charity shops. I am a yarn-a-holic I admit it, so I like looking at any of the stuff anywhere but charity shop yarn is extra special. Because it is generally quite inexpensive it sort of encourages a bolder level of creativity. You don’t have that same nagging fear that you’ll have ‘wasted’ money if you just go for it and experiment or use it for some random pattern you aren’t sure will work out as fabulous as you hope. It’s great tester yarn too, sometimes when I’ve bought a new pattern and its full of new stitches and techniques I like to have a go at it with cheapy yarn first to save costly mistakes.

The sign in the window stated “lots more yarn inside” Oh dear….

There were three huge boxes of yarns in cardboard skeins, you know the sort that get used on a machine. All very very fine, almost thread really. Not much use to your every day knitting and crochet work unless you have an urge to make some super delicate doilies or lace work. There was one I thought might be good for a laceweight shawl so I grabbed that and went to the counter to pay then there IT was, stuffed bulkily over a wooden hanging and bulging out into the aisle, a massive crochet blanket. I think anyone looking on may have seen my eyes actually pop forwards from my head momentarily as I scooped it up and put it on the counter without a single moments hesitation.

I didn’t care what it cost. I was having it even if that meant my sitting with a drink whilst everyone else tucked into their brunch (my phone was ringing “we are here, shall we order for you?” “just a pot of tea please…”) As it turned out it was £12. I consider that an absolute bargain. I still had enough in my purse for a pot of tea AND eggs on toast.

That blanket has really got me thinking though. Why was it in a charity shop? I showed the girls its loveliness when I got home and they too think it is amazing. You can see from the picture it is simple double crochets just going around and around with increases for the corners and colour changes. It must have taken someone simply ages to make. I keep wondering why someone would give such a lovely thing to a charity shop? It is in almost mint condition. I am left wondering who made this blanket? Did they make it for themselves and just got bored of looking at it? Did they spend months making it as a gift and the recipient just didn’t like it? The simplicity of the stitches just going around and around remind me of my Nan’s giant granny square blankets. I am both sad and glad it somehow made its way to the charity shop. Sad because I can’t think of any proper reason someone would want to give it away but glad because its now mine, all mine!

Dwelling on the idea that it might be an unwanted gift made me ponder yet again on how people do or do not value handmade/homemade things. Some people like me LOVE them. I absolutely love to be given things made just for me and I also love buying things someone has handcrafted, they feel special and honest and unique. I know I shall sound a little odd when I say they seem to radiate some kind of joyful or loving vibrations. Some people though just don’t seem to really like or value hand crafted items unless it is made by ‘A Name’ or it is ‘Art’ It’s odd but its almost as if unless there are several (million….) of something all exactly the same, all with a set manufacturers set price attached some folk just can’t feel comfortable with it or worse still see it as a bit second rate. I find it odd how this whole market has grown up of ‘hand made look’ items that are in fact all made in their hundreds and thousands by a machine or in some faraway country by people being paid a pittance. It’s kind of incomprehensible to me that there are people who regardless of cost would prefer a manufactured shop bought item to a handcrafted thing. They exist, I know I’ve met them. Enough thinking of it, it makes me heart a bit sad. I just don’t get it.

Back to the lovely blanket. I think fate threw a lasso from the charity shop doorway around my running form and dragged me inside this week. It brought that beautiful blanket and I together. It is now draped heavily over my daughters king sized bed and will be well loved for many many years to come. Welcome to our home beautiful blanket, I just wish whoever made you could see how loved you will be for many years to come.

Crochet BedspreadCrochet Bedspread

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