Friday, May 14, 2021

Handmade havoc

by ELENA JOHNSON/Coeur Voice contributor
| March 27, 2021 1:00 AM

Crocheting is supposed to be calming. Yarn over pick up loop, yarn over pull through one, yarn over pull through two, yarn over pull through two again. Yarn over. Repeat.

Methodically the stitches stack into neat, even rows of twisted cords, yarn slipping over the hook softer than rustling pages. Quiet, peaceful.

Unless you’re a poor planner – and ambitious at the same time. Then you hook manically, frenetically laying down stitches one after the other, building on row after row until a sizeable chunk of blanket grows into a more useful size.

It’ll be done in time, no sweat. March 31 is ages away still…

Hand-made gift giving is not the pleasant process it’s made out to be. I am simply not like the mental image of my great grandmother, ticking away at a giant, growing granny square one loop at a time, steadily but gently growing it into a blanket. My “Nomo” probably had a better head for calendars and dates and would probably have laughed at my wild pace. She’d tease me for holding my hook crooked, too.

But I’m a pantser (as in “fly by the seat of” it) so my blanket making progresses in bursts of frantic activity interspersed with moments of calm.

I have plenty of time. Oh good, I’ve only added another half inch.

I’ve done six rows this week already. Oh no, the rows get bigger so my next 10 will take way longer than the last eight!

Granny squares grow from a central nugget outward, in case you are unfamiliar with the ways of The Hook. But this pattern only grows by about 12 stitches each round. It’s a back and forth of terror and confidence.

The rows of purple are almost done (phew), but I still have whole skeins of turquoise and aquamarine to use up (yikes)!

It’s a process.

When you up the tempo and slow it back down at regular intervals, it still counts as a steady rhythm, right?

Well, we’ll call it adding a little harmless drama to life. Something to spice up routine work days with zero consequences – except the soul-crushing defeat of not finishing a birthday blanket on time. (When is the British television competition crochet show coming? If we can watch amateur bakers on the Great British Bake Off slap challah bread together with rapt fervor, I promise you there’s an audience to follow a knitting circle’s frenzy to finish a bunch of socks for the whole family by holiday time – making up patterns by pictures of finished pieces. Or maybe PBS will finally air recordings of Sweden’s heavy metal knitting competitions.)

Anyway, when all is said and stitched I can at least take a breather and relax with some knitting.

I’m sure I can finish a cardigan by September.