On Life and Love

Crocheting and Knitting: Having the MIPS

Um, that’s more this kind of MIPS, not that.

More like a Triple "Threat" than a Triple Treat.I haven’t been a heavy crocheter since shortly after I left teaching in early 2008, but way back then, I started a blanket. It’s a gorgeous design, and I picked the colors based on the decor of a friend’s house. I don’t keep up with him anymore–and he’s married, so no telling what his house is like these days–but I still love the blanket. It’s wide: wider than 6 feet, which makes doing each row a painfully long endeavor.

My favorite times to crochet (and knit, whatever) are when I’m watching television or on long car rides. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I’ve been wrapped up in a lot of computer-based volunteer work, which means my television time is spent on my netbook. In cleaning out my former office for our upcoming roommate, though, I tidied up all my yarn. I found the 10 skeins of midnight blue yarn for the cable-knit afghan I was going to make my father (I didn’t end up with very usable cable needles, alas), the little purple baby blanket that only needs about 5 repeats of its purl/knit checkered pattern to be done, and all my thick wool squares (presumably to be quilted into an afghan).

…I like blankets. Too bad they take longer than forever to do.

When Greg’s grandmother died, his parents gave me her knitting bag, a veritable treasure trove of goodies. Some cool old yarn in there, including one little skein of so-soft baby yarn that I need about 3 more of to make something decent with. The photo on that wrapper is straight up 70s, which means it may actually be from the 80s. …Or the 90s. Who takes those photos?

The bag included enough knitting needles for me to make a Lincoln Log cabin out of–some huge plastic ones, some long circular ones, used but still packaged, and some pattern books for things like socks and doilies. (Hopefully there are some afghan ones in there.) I haven’t cataloged everything, unfortunately, but I did put my two current projects in it: the one pictured above and my Endless Blanket.

I started the Endless Blanket senior year in college during Archeology, and I essentially started with one skein of black yarn, double crocheted for about 6-7 feet straight, and doubled back in a new line. Once the skein ran out, I got a different color of the same style of yarn (cheap worsted weight acrylic) and kept going. It’s pretty big now and very soft in the pillowy way of simple crocheting, but nowhere near square enough for actual use. I can warm my legs while I work on it, though.

I don’t know how big I want it to be. That’s what makes it “endless”, I guess.

Right now I’m on an abnormally-large, dull-but-pretty pink skein that may take until arthritis sets in to finish. I may run it until the stripe is as big as the normal skeins, then switch off to another color.

The kicker with crafty work like this is that I have to have the mental bandwidth for it. Not to write my own patterns or anything crazy, but the ability to turn off my brain enough to settle into the rhythm. It helps lower my stress to do it, but if I’m super wound-up I’ll be sitting around twitching, trying not to check my email compulsively and feeling like crocheting is wasted time.

Courtesy of working with a knitting pro (and only knitting for her, hmph!) who introduced me to Ravelry and my office clean-up (the huge desk is going away tonight!), I went through this weekend and started deciding what I want to do with all that yarn and my less interesting unfinished projects. Next comes cataloging and good storage, but that office is almost emptied of non-guest things.

The awesome thing is being able to cart that blue-grey quilted project bag downstairs or into the bedroom and make headway on my blankets and call it an okay use of my time.