At Kitty’s first Christmas I seem to remember that not only did we take her with us when we went Christmas shopping for her present, and showed it to her to gauge her reaction, but I wrapped up each and every little trinket, teether and soft toy while she lay on the floor beside me kicking her legs and giggling at the Christmas tree – and then I suspect unwrapped it myself a few days later. Oh how the times have changed.
Now all parcels have to be brought into the house under the false pretences of just being from H’s work, or just laundry liquid or something really boring. The bits and bobs that have arrived so far have all been stored up in our tiny little office/garret/general dumping ground/spare room (all of which descriptions give it more credit than it deserves), awaiting the onslaught of wrapping paper and wash tape.
And it’s requiring a new degree of subterfuge on the festive knitting. I can’t make their presents entirely during the brief periods of time in which they’re all asleep but I am trying to be a little bit subtle; I embroidered the blocks for Elma’s quilt while the girls built Duplo castles but when it came to turning them into something actually resembling a quilt that became an evenings only job, and it’s been the same with their hats; until they actually looked like hats I’d knit in front of them – although Kitty is far too clever by half and has definitely sussed out that they might be hats; hopefully she’ll not think about it too much until the day itself – I’ve finished both and added giant pompoms but as they really need models to look good you’ll have to wait until after Christmas for a big reveal.
And so in the gaps, in the brief moments of quiet when Pip is contentedly sitting in my lap and the girls are climbing on H, or when they’ve all got deeply into whatever craft project we’re planning, I’ve pulled out my ripple blanket/cushion/whatever it turns out to be big enough to be/just keep crocheting until you run out of yarn.
Last time this rather ill-defined magnum opus made an appearance here I think I was on the third row, and I’m happy to report that it’s been growing gently one ripple at a time. I know I’ll probably be excommunicated from the knitting community for saying so but I do love the way that crochet looks in ripples; it’s got such a tactile appeal. I find I can’t really pass it buy without wanting to lay it out and run my fingers over it, and usually add a couple of stitches along the way.
Up to now I’ve simply been pulling another colour out of my little bag of Baby Cashmerino leftovers and going with it, or even better, asking the girls to choose one for me; which might just account for the number of times pink has cropped up, but looking at the content of the bag and the various amounts of yarn I’ve got in each colour I think I need to do a little planning ahead.
The big decision has been that I’m not going to use any of the white/off white/cream. I gave it a little audition row but it just looked all wrong, there was too much contrast in both colour and tone to the rest of the ripply colours. I know I’ve got some colours in here that are stronger than others but I’m finding that I’ve either got a strong colour that’s balanced by a lighter version of the same colour, or if the colour itself is quite a jump, it’s actually tonally very similar.
And once I’d ruled out the white (and friends) I started playing with everything that was left, testing out the colour combinations and trying to line up at least the next six or so ripples.
Lucy at Attic24 (whose pattern this is) has a great technique of wrapping project yarn around clothes pegs and writing the name on the peg and then using the pegs to set out her next few colours which (a) looks gorgeous in photos (b) would mean that you don’t have to remember what colour you’d decided to do next and (c) most importantly, rather reduces the chances of becoming utterly entangled in the loose ends of a gazillion and one squishy half balls of yarn which, despite being neatly wound and packed away tidily the last time they came out to play have by some sort of impish magic all escaped and wrapped around each other in a way that defies unravelling.
I’m not sure I’ve got enough yarn to justify it, and for some reason in this family clothes pegs are constantly in short supply (maybe there’s a connection to the yarn tangling? – wool gnomes that like clothes pegs??) so I’m still lining things up and then taking pictures to help me remember.
This is, in some sort of order, definitely intended to be the next seven rows. I think I can still remember in which order. Maybe.
But it doesn’t really matter. This project has always been intended to have a fluidity about it, I didn’t want it to look overly planned out, largely because there’s going to come a point at which I have to change colour half way through a ripple, or when one colour makes an early appearance and then is never seen again (that would be the dark pink, now completely used up by one bobble hat plus giant pompom).
Right now I still have no idea just how big this is going to turn out to be. Despite all this rippling, despite taking the white out of the equation and despite new bobble hats for both girls it still feels like my little stash bag is pretty full. I doubt I’ll get a full sized baby blanket out of what’s left, but I’ll be really pleased if I can get it to a square-ish sort of shape and turn it into a snuggly giant cushion for the girls when we put their rooms together.
And it’ll be even better if the last few ripples aren’t all mid green.
The ends are nye!