Getting Closer

I have three projects that are 95-98% complete, and I’m trying my darndest to push through the final bit of finishing. One is the Manon sweater… I want to do something a little special with the button closures, but I haven’t figured out exactly what to do yet. I want to use an i-cord to “embroider” a pattern on either side of the ribbed band, but I just can’t seem to make up my mind how thin/thick to make the cord and what design to set that won’t overwhelm the beautiful peplum.

And I have this little baby sweater needing trim and buttons… and I also want to make up a bitty hat as well.

And of course there’s the hexagon blanket. I can’t believe that thing isn’t done. All I have to do is stitch up all the hexes together, which I actually kinda like doing, but somehow, it hasn’t been touched for the past month at least. Of course, having my mom stay with us to babysit me while I wait out these last few weeks (only days now!) definitely complicates things, but still!!

I did a design test strip to see how I should attach them, so at least that decision was made:

hex5
First attempt, a single crochet… or was it a double chain? I have no idea… I’m not really an experienced crochet-er.

hex6
The cross stitching looked great on one side…

hex2
but I didn’t really like the opposite side.

hex3
Then I tried chaining around the hexes and linking those together, but I was completely unhappy with the results. I think part of the problem is my lack of experience, but this made the hexes look so wonky and out of shape, I couldn’t imagine putting in all the extra time to make the blanket look even less polished. Rustic, fine… unshapely, uh, no thanks.

hex1
I don’t even remember what I was doing here… but I definitely didn’t like it.

hex4
For me, the mattress stitch really kept the focus on the hexes, so it became the obvious choice.

I have three rows complete, which leaves only, uh, how many does that leave? I’m busy counting something else at the moment.

A Progress Report

I am up to 134 octagons. I need 204 total, so it looks like I’m making real progress, woo-hoo!

I might actually finish a crocheted afghan. And I might even finish it before the Olympics are over.

Guess I should figure out how I’m going to connect them all… any suggestions?

Meditation

Because of the lust I feel for the Haverhill Throw from Garnet Hill, I have started to crochet an afghan…

This is big news as, for the most part, I hate to crochet. And I have tried several times to knit a blanket, even a scarf–and please don’t mention that stole right now–and have never managed to finish a single one of those projects. Every one that was begun, has been ripped apart and the yarn recycled for something else. Now I am crocheting an afghan. It’s a crazy world.

When I first started, all I could think about was how many hexagons I had to make before I would be finished, and then I would sink into feeling overwhelmed at the sheer enormity of the task, a habit to which I have consistently conformed. I had never crocheted before this, and it has taken me a while to get started as I had to teach myself both how to crochet, and how to crochet this particular shape, the hexagon. Once the learning curve began to even out and I made it past twenty octagons, I found a rhythm and now I have at least seventy completed. Seventy! By concentrating on one row, one shape, one color, at a time, I got over that hump of stagnating inertia crippling any progress that might have been in favor of anxiety. It is a huge relief to know that I am trudging along at a steady clip and enjoying the work as I go.

It also helps that the fiber is delicious. I’m using Alpaca with a Twist’s Highlander, a blend of alpaca, merino, microfiber and viscose. I’m loving the little bits of tweed as well as the colors. Being able to switch from color to color in a short amount of time and chosing the combinations for each little guy has definitely kept my interest, and when I do make mistakes, it normally doesnt’ take so much time to correct.

Speaking of mistakes, this experience has been an excellent exercise in letting go of my perfectionist ways. Not that they’re entirely eliminated, but it seems that crochet is a little more forgiving than knitting. There are a few things I won’t let slip, but if I miss/add a double crochet here or there, I’ve found that it doesn’t really matter all that much, especially since I’m planning on making close to two hundred or so. Actually, I’m still not sure how many I’m going to make… enough to make a good sized afghan, but not a bed spread I guess.

One of the things I love most about knitting is how relaxing, and significantly mind-quieting, I find the repetition. It helps with the insomnia I’ve suffered for years, and it takes the edge off when my emotions get the upper hand and I lose my calm. It’s something I can do when the kids are playing and still manage to be somewhat present, and it makes those few shows that I do watch feel a little less like such a wasteful time sink. And these are things I never managed to feel while crocheting before, but that have now, thankfully, crept into this project. Everyday, this afghan is feeling less like a labor of love, and much more like a meditation.

Now, if only I could figure out what to do with that craft room!