Tuesday, February 14, 2006

She Wants Pink, What a Surprise!

I am working on an afghan to give to some friends who are getting married in June. (Note to self: June of THIS year.) I have mentioned this, but I thought I'd say it again just in case you had forgotten. Mainly I say it again to remind myself that I have precious few months to finish, and that if I KEEP SCREWING IT UP, I’m not going to have it ready in time.

I had completed 8 rows but it still didn't look right. It wasn't because of mistakes, although I did find a few upon closer inspection. The pattern didn't look quite right, not like it did in the picture, although I was sure I followed the instructions perfectly.

Yesterday at my lunch break, I read over the instructions again. I tried an experiment, whereupon I learned that I had completed 7 rows of garbage. I had been reading the instructions incorrectly, although it turns out that it's not exactly clear, until you do the work, that they mean to alternate between working the next long double crochet into the row below with the row you're doing. Argh! I ripped it out, all the way down to the first row, which was right because it was the first row past the beginning chain and a different stitch. The good news is that since then I've been able to complete 7 rows, so I'm right back where I was. This time, it's right.

I'm glad I ripped it out, but as I looked at the huge pile of unravelled yarn at my feet, I fought the urge to cry. It was all very melodramatic, I know. I have precious few moments to myself in which to indulge in hobbies that I love, and having to start over again didn't do much for my relaxation level. I cannot tell you how often I had thought to myself, 'This pattern is so easy - crocheting is fun - such pretty yarn - I will get this done in no time - Ooooh, I'm about to change colors - la la la la la ’, and after I figured out what I was doing wrong, I felt like I had wasted so much time.

There are many generations of women in my family who crocheted, knitted, and sewed. I could feel their spirits laughing and then crying with me, sympathizing with my plight which they had experiences themselves many times. I could imagine their grandmotherly talks amongst themselves:

"Naomi, she must've learned from you! Look at how many mistakes she's made!"

"Oh, can it Maud. She liked me more than you, and you couldn't crochet a straight line to save your life!"

Or something like that. I learned to crochet from my mom when I was a kid, and she learned it from my Great Grandma Squeezie, who also sewed A LOT. I remember the huge quilt frame that she used to set up in her living room, how I could crawl underneath of it and marvel at all that fabric. I don't know if my mom's mom did much in the way of fiber arts. I associate her with high heels and nail polish, not yarn and thread. My mom still makes blankets, many of them for Project Linus, and has recently learned to knit.

I love this tradition of craft, done by my ancestors out of need. Most of them were farm wives, who made nearly all of the family's clothing and bedlinens by hand. This necessity led to an outlet of creativity and hopefully, fun, and I love that I am somehow a part of that. I like making something with my hands, and having something to show for it that will last.

I hope OC wants to learn these things, too, and I'll try not to be disappointed if she's not. She has already placed her order for things she would like me to make for her: a pink scarf, pink sweater, and a pink blanket.


JC said...

Don't forget, you have up to a year to get the couple a wedding present. : )

Occidental Girl said...

Thanks, you're right. I guess that gives me another winter to get it right.

But, giving gifts that late, even though it is technically okay, is that lame??