Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hooked on Crochet, Yet Again

I don't know about you, but I hate WIPs. Call me OCD, but "works in progress" bug the heck out of me. If I start something, I usually have to finish it, even if it takes awhile. This peach crochet sweater/shrug was never really a WIP. I took a class a couple of summers ago, and made the whole thing during the three-week class, using Cotton Classic yarn, a granny square pattern, assembly instructions from the teacher and the subtle, simple encouragement of just being "in class."
So, why am I talking about WIPs then? Maybe it's the color that reminded me to find this thing to see if I could wear it. You see, the color, although not the yarn, is the same as an afghan I have been working on for nearly three years.
It was a dragonfly and bobble-stitch monotone stripe pattern I saw in Crochet! magazine that inspired me to search high and low for enough skeins to take on a big project. I'm much better suited to baby booties, baby-sized afghans, even a purse or sweater. But a full-size afghan was daunting and a challenge at the same time.
I found some yarn at a Ben Franklin store near the upper peninsula of Michigan while on a work-travel trip. Ben Franklin stores had gone out of business in my area years ago.
When I realized I didn't buy enough yarn (yes, I read the instructions), I was lucky enough to find the same lot number in the Herschner's catalog.
I thought I'd make a peach afghan to go with some new Lands End peach paisley bedding I had ordered. After completing about seven of the required 20 12-inch x 12-inch squares and taking on bobble stitches and front-post double crochet for hours and weeks on end, I was so sick of both peach and of crochet in general that I figured I could redecorate the bedroom again sooner and more painlessly than finish the darned afghan.
Still, the stack of finished squares has haunted me for years- every time I open the armoire holding my yarn stash in hopes of being re-inspired to make something, anything. Every so often I'd pull them out and look at them longingly, and admittedly, I'd admire my work. Some of those stitches were a real challenge for me! Making something uniform without losing count of rows and chains- also a challenge for me, since I hate making a gauge swatch. It always seems like such a waste of time!
So, a couple of weeks ago, while going through this very same exercise: take out squares, arrange, admire, repeat as needed, I realized if I just could finish the one that was half-done I'd have nine squares, not seven. That would be enough for a 36" square throw or baby afghan! Someone else could live with peach! Inspiration struck long enough to finish the square after reminding my clumsy fingers how to do the stitches again. I'd lost a lot of speed, confidence and deftness after three years. But I sailed through, no longer in love with the color or even the feel of the yarn (scratchy! what was I thinking?). Now I was motivated by the finish line and getting rid of the only WIP I had ever left unfinished.
I assembled the nine squares. Somehow, even though the original pattern of 20 called for four different kinds of squares, I had enough of each to make a uniform assembly: five stripe squares, two bobble squares and two bobble/stripe squares. Now that was a happy accident!
The squares, looking more like rectangles to me for my imperfect stitching, were sewn together during late-night DVD marathons of '24' the last two weekends. Nothing like Jack shooting and killing 2.3 people per minute to make one feel warm and cozy while assembling an afghan.
I'm down to just putting on the shell-stitch edging. I even did a search of pattern books for a more elaborate edging to celebrate my achievement. Not sure which I'm going to use, but I'm determined that in one more weekend I'll be washing (with lots of softener) the thing and blocking it. And then I'll be done and WIP-free! Free to start another less-daunting project! Free to sell all the left-over peach yarn in my stash, too! Might just pay for the other half that I used or perhaps a little of my time these last three years.


Beverly Ash Gilbert said...

The shrug looks great on you!

I can't believe you don't have a stack of WIP's (I call them UFP - unfinished projects)!!! I have too many to count.

Joanne Huffman said...

The shawl is lovely. I'm in awe that you have no works in progress.


Rebecca Ramsey said...

How pretty! I love that...and how satisfying that you made it yourself!

vivian said...

turned out so pretty and the color is great on you. You cracked me about feeling so warm and cozy while jack kills 2 or 3 people a minute! I know the feeling!
have a great week..
OH I wanted to ask you whats the name of the pinkeep book you told me about?

Amy Faith said...

You are so cute, Gina!

m i c h e l l e said...

What a lovely piece of art!!! Peach is such a nice color on you too!!! Great job, Gina!

Lilli said...

Good for you! It looks lovely, and so do you :) I have so many WIPS, waiting to be attacked, I try not to think about them

Nice and Easy Antiques said...

Hi Gina, just to let you know that one of your pieces has been featured in the etsy cottage style blog. Hope you like it! Marcela