What does a woman do when she already has about a dozen half-finished project, and she is about to head to a 10-day trip to her in-laws? Of course, she takes on new projects with her!
Unless it is a work trip, travelling is a great opportunity for knitting and crochet. All those hours in airports and on planes, in buses and trains. All those long chatting sessions at cafes, or around living room tables.
The only problem is, that to actually get things done, one has to do some proper pre-trip planning. And as you can imagine, there is plenty of other things that need to be taken care of before getting on that plane. So, I had a whole 10 minutes to come up with something, and drew up a quick plan of:
- Something that is travel-proof, including getting-through-airport-security-proof. That generally means crochet with a bamboo hook, something quick and easy.
Please note the curve of this crochet hook. This thing is such an experienced traveller it should have its own frequent flyer membership.
- Something that actually fills up my time, meaning more mental effort.
My excuse to starting two new projects? No new yarn was purchased for either of them, so it is kind of a stash-busting trip 😛
I’ll let you know how it all goes… 😉
I can’t believe the blanket is finally done! I have decided to call it Dance Around the Globe, because here are just a few examples where those squares were made:
- A park bench at State College, Penn State;
- During a drive between Krk and Split, Croatia;
- On an overnight boat from Stockholm, Sweden to Tallinn, Estonia;
- At our friends’ summer kitchen in Toronto, Canada;
- On a 46th floor balcony in Dubai, UAE;
- In a funky-smelling hotel room in Bengaluru, India.
So, bits of this blanket got to travel a lot with me between August 2016 and February 2018. And finally, it has found its place in our bedroom!
8×11 squares, most of them from the original pattern. I left out the more airy squares. Where we live right now, we crave for everything warm. (My initial plan was to take photos of the blanket outside, but it is -17 degrees Celsius outside today!). When I ordered the colours, I picked them quite randomly, but I am very happy with the overall look.
But there’s no time for getting too proud of my work… there is a list of WIP’s that desperately need attention!
About 18 months ago my husband started his Master’s degree. And about 18 months ago, I started a big blanket project.
Last week, he started his last semester of school, and that made me realise that I need to up my game. So, for the past weekend you could see us either home or at cafes – one completely absorbed in his homework, the other vigorously crocheting (although, there was an hour or two where I too tried my hand at linear equations ;)).
Here’s my progress so far, 87 squares, all from the Last Dance on the Beach. Compared to the first blanket, where I had absolutely no say in picking the colours, this one looks so timid and calm. Maybe a bit too timid and calm.
Tonight will be all about that 1 last square, weaving in ends, and spending hours on obsessing over the right layout. And, as my husband will start writing his thesis, I will start joining the squares. Seems like an equal amount of work to me 😀
I read Agent Crochet’s post on how she has different crochet projects not only for when she is outside of the house, but also different projects for different parts of the house. And then I realised, I too have “assigned” projects to different circumstances. Here’s my current “pipeline”:
Hygge for evenings on my living room couch – colourful and cozy, requires a certain amount of attention and stability, and it goes well with watching the news or British crime series 😉
Haapsalu shawl for when I am travelling by land – is light and fits into a purse. As I am still working on the central part, which has a fairly basic pattern, I can knit and be sociable at the same time!
And for flights and long layovers – granny squares! I am using a bamboo hook, so no-one freaks out at the security control. There is absolutely no system to the colours, so it does not matter which ball of yarn I pull out of the bag next. And it really helps pass all the hours I spend travelling.
I’ll be absolutely honest, there are a few other works-in-progress here and there, but they are on hold for now… I guess until I find a time and place to assign for them too 🙂
I ´went to visit the expecting couple again, and sneaked upstairs to their nursery room to get a few pics of the blanket in its natural habitat. The photo shows only a bit, but apparently I really hit a colour jackpot! Somehow, without having any idea what their nursery would look like, I had picked the colours that really fit! The only way the blanket had been more harmonious with the room, would have been if I had stitched some monkeys on top of it. Yes, they have little monkeys on the walls of their nursery room! 🙂
By the way, I also listed the blanket on Ravelry. I am still very new to this, so I am not really sure how it works, but I’ll figure it our along the way.
The first finished project of 2017 is done! It is a bit wonky, but I am happy and proud! Even the colour scheme, that seemed loud and conflicting in the beginning, does not bother me that much any more. At first it was because me and that blanket went through so much together, that of course we bonded over that. Suffering does that to you 😀 But when I showed it to my other half, his first reaction was, “So beautiful!”, followed by, “Wait, is that the ugly blanket?! It is beautiful though!”
So, we’re calling it the Ugly Blanket. With a lot of love, of course. I also refer to it as the biggest swatch I have ever made. This CAL taught me a lot, and I will probably be making some more squares some time in the future. But until then, me and my Ugly Blanket will snuggle up on the sofa. And yes, you can see it right, I am knitting for a change.
Last night I went out to dinner with a friend, and finished it up with a coffee. Of course it resulted in me staying up until 1am, watching the news and crocheting. My hands were also fuelled by the weather forecast that promised sunshine for the next day. This meant, that if I could get the Last Dance on the Beach blanket done, I could wash it in the morning, and it would have a full sunny day to dry up on the balcony.
And here it is today, sunbathing on the balcony. I still can’t believe it is finally done! The realisation hits me every time I pass the window and see it hanging out there! I won’t consider it completely done just yet – I want to press it a bit, and then I can present it to you in its full glory. Until then, however, I can share the key learning points from joining the squares:
- If there is an instruction, I should never improvise! I don’t know where my confidence comes from, but every now and then I look at the pattern or instruction and decide that I know a better or an easier way. About 95% of the times this does not prove to be true.
- The best protocol for joining, especially if I am doing the type of join for the first time goes like that: count, pin, re-count, re-pin, re-count, crochet. I can’t tell you how many times I frogged, because a) it is just embarrassing, and b) I don’t think there is enough characters in the blog post available.
- I have said it before, and I’ll say it again… never ever ever try a new technique with dark-coloured yarns. Because this is a guaranteed way of going blind. Or mad. Or possibly both.
The baby blanket is coming along nicely. It is already too big, so I can’t fully spread it out on the sofa for photographing, nor can I fit the full picture into the blog post 🙂 Don’t you just love knitting or crocheting a piece when it is big large enough to keep your knees warm at the same time?
However… I ran out of yarn… AGAIN!
If I have an unpleasant or scary task ahead of me, there are usually two great forces that give the best results. One of them is procrastination, meaning you have to have a task even more unpleasant or scarier facing of you. You can’t imagine how spotless and tidy my home was back when I was writing my thesis 😀 And the second one is desperation.
I was working on my current pet project, the baby blanket, and ran out of yarn. So, the first night I just replaced it with reading a book (I am currently in the middle of Kafka by the Shore). The second day I did not have time to go downtown to stock up, so I kept on reading and trying not to think of my itchy hands… the last thing I need right now is to start on a new project.
And then, on the third day, I finally get to the store, and they are closed for inventory! I go back home empty-handed, pull out the pile of unfinished projects, and start working on the Last Dance on the Beach blanket. I have most of the squares ready, but the thought of joining seemed so daunting that I hid them all under my stash. And now it is out in daylight again… scary. Maybe I should go and clean the kitchen instead 😀
These past days we’ve been having snowstorms and cold temperatures in double digits, so I’ve really only went out of the house for the inevitable – work, gym, and a few meetups with friends that were long overdue. The rest of the time I have mostly spent wrapped up in blankets, with my back against the heater and a hook in my hands.
The picture above is the colour scheme for a baby blanket, which I need to finish by end of January. This is when I get on a plane to visit family friends, who are expecting a baby! They have told us the gender of the baby, but I tend to prefer gender-neutral colours for bay stuff. So this time, the blanket will have natural greens, beige, and a little bit of sunshine tied in. We all need a bit of sunshine these days.
I am using the Neat Ripple pattern from Lucy of Attic24. I love her work. What she does is so simple, but at the same time her colour combinations are an instant cheer-up!
Now, who wants to be my cheerleader, so I can get this thing done by January 24th? 😀