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!
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.
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 😀
Week 3: Sunset
Yarn: Scheepjes Colour Crafter, Leeuwarden
Hook size: 4
Sometimes I am good at sabotaging myself. Following the discussions I got the impression that this square was problematic to many. So, I mentally prepared myself for a challenge. And a challenge it was – it took me 45 minutes to complete the first line! I crocheted, and counted, and frogged. I read through tens of Facebook posts to see if everyone had the same problem as I did. I watched the instructional video over and over again, paying extra attention to the complicated bits.
And then I discovered that my problem had nothing to do with the complicated bits. I had just added an extra stitch to the pattern every single time I tried to complete the row. And it took me so long to notice that, because all my effort was spent on the “complicated” part. But after that, it was all smooth sailing!
Week 4: The Waves
Yarn: Scheepjes Colour Crafter, Delft
Hook size: 4,5
This poor square got no love from me. I struggled with the dark yarn, I struggled with getting the hook size right, I struggled with what seemed like never-ending rows of 28 half-trebles. Even though it is not a very complicated pattern, I estimate I frogged at least 4 full squares before I got 4 wonky squares that were more or less ok. Blocking helped a bit, but I think I overdid it with stretching a bit.
But look, put it all together, and it almost looks like a blanket already!!! 🙂