I feel that there should be some sort of fanfare to announce this post, or possibly bunting. You are please to imagine one as appropriate because this is a finish I have waited a long long time to be able to share with you.
Yes, it’s true, I have finally, finally finished my Cosy Cottage Ripple Blanket (“ta da!”). This blanket has been 2 years and 4 months in the making; it’s the longest I’ve ever taken to make something, and that includes my children. Cumulatively. Even though they were all three of them late.
I started on Christmas Day 2014; itching to get into this enourmous squishy bag of yarn, armed with a crochet hook that seemed vaguely about the right size and my usual “how hard can it be?”. The answer, for the record, is that when your entire crochet experience to date comprises the bag you made in Learn to Crochet class, the odd edging on a blanket or jumper, a baby wraparound, and your swatch, the jump to a project that starts with “chain 213” is, shall we say, sudden.
That first precarious starting chain took several lots of counting, and the first row seemed to be the product of an entire day’s stern concentration; each stitch intensely executed. I can see from the tension in those first fews rows just how tightly I was holding onto everything as I figured out my crochet holds for yarn, project and hook.
And then, probably about the same time I finished the ripple pillow, it all seemed to click and I relaxed into the stitches. Suddenly it didn’t take an entire episode of Game of Thrones for just one row; I could feel my hands start to move instinctively, and with that came the speed. It became my non-thinking project, the piece I picked up just to do a couple of stitches of an evening to take the edge of the day off, and it perched on and under the end of the sofa for many months while I dipped in and out of other projects.
There’s a section just after the middle where suddenly it gets a big wider over a couple of rows. I lost my crochet hook, and for all the searching, and despite being certain that I’d found it on the lounge carpet and put it somewhere very safe, it continued to elude me. Of course only at that point did I discover that my hook, bought long ago on my first trip to the States, doesn’t match any of the UK sizes. We went up to the next size (and it got bigger), we went down to the size below (and it still got bigger), and then with relief I finally found the original hiding out inside a ball of yarn I’d last touched in the summer.
There comes a point with every project where it hits a curve, and suddenly the finish is in sight, and at that point, no matter how much I’ve dilly dallied in the past, or put it to the back of the cupboard, it becomes the one and only thing that I want to work on, a sprint finish to a marathon project. And so it was with the blanket. As I started the final column of colours in the pattern I could feel it gathering speed. When I got to the crease in the page that marked 7 rows to go, I started calculating the possible finish date, and then suddenly all the ripples were done, and all that was left was the border (and 168 ends to darn in but let’s not dwell on those).
It’s a beautiful border, but not a very big one; just enough to hold everything together and then it was done. So here it is, in full show off mode, my gorgeous blanket:
In terms of the knitty gritty we’ve already mentioned the changes in tension, and I’d be misleading you if I said that the result was anything other than a seriously trapeziodal creation. I suspect that when I started the hook was slightly too small, but by the time I finished it was a bit too big. That’s what happens when you learn on the go and while it’s rather noticeable if you try to fold it up, yuo’d never notice when you’re snuggled up underneath it, which is after all what really matters.
The tension issues also mean that it has a bit of a unique feature on the final border round.
As I started the final border I’d said to John how unusual it was for me to be making something exactly as written in the pattern, right down to the colours of yarn; in fact I would go so far as to say that I’ve never knit something that hasn’t had a bit of knitter input, even if it’s just adding length or changing the colour, and a little voice in the back of my brain wondered whether it’s somehow lesser for it. And so when the yarn ran out, I chose to audition leftovers rather than buy another ball. The winner is the nearest tonal colour (Magenta) and for all the pink to Lavender’s purple, you do have to look for it to see it, it doesn’t jump out at you. It’s the best of both worlds; a gorgeous exercise in colour from Lucy and a tiny tweak from me to make it my own.
As for the yarn itself, as acrylics go, it’s not bad. That there is very high praise from a self confessed yarn snob. It isn’t the same as working with wool, but it makes a soft warm blanket that the kids can haul around without my worrying too much, safe in the knowledge I can just bung it in the machine if I need to.
And speaking of the kids… when I first finished it it lived on the end of the sofa, and I happily snuggled up underneath with my knitting or a good book and it was mine. Pip liked to hide underneath it and poke his fingers through the holes, Kitty liked it because she could hide underneath but still see us coming in enough time to jump out, and Elma, the only one of my three children who has ever had a blankie (a now remarkably grey-beige Debbie Bliss Alphabet Blanket) observed, planned, and at one bedtime executed a graceful coup by declaring that there was no way she could ever ever get to sleep unless she had both her blankie and “Mama-blankie”. It’s been on her bed ever since.
Even though I’ve got more than enough projects around here to keep me busy, even though I’m making a little mouse, and I’m really enjoying knitting Kitty’s cardigan, there’s a part of me that misses the blanket. It was my companion for so many months; the thing I picked up when I didn’t want to think, I just wanted to do, and it honestly feels strange now that it’s all done.
And you know where this one’s going don’t you! I haven’t done any actual shopping just yet, but I have got the next blanket all picked out; and possibly the one after if Kitty has anything to say about it.