Sunday, August 29, 2010


I received the following text message first thing yesterday morning: "Hey - what's the pattern for that striped afghan you made? I bought some yarn and a crochet hook yesterday, and have relearned single & double crochet, but I'm not quite ready for granny squares (stymied by the going around in circles part) so I thought rows of stripes might be easier." This came from my dear friend, college buddy and wing man Big Genny (as opposed to Little Genny, my daughter - qualifiers refer strictly to chronological age and seemed much more appropriate when the latter was in diapers) who had no idea that I had begun this blog less than 12 hours earlier.

It is heartening to me that my latest obsession is in any way rubbing off on Big Genny (you know, I'm just going to refer to her as Murph from here on out - don't ask) because for years I have observed her crafting beautiful, ambitious, intricate cross stitch projects, nay works of art, and have admired her dedication and steadfast work. Where needlework projects are concerned, she succeeds in two areas where I have always faltered in the past: 1) as far as I'm aware, Murph takes on only one project at a time and actually finishes everything she starts, and 2) she tackles incredibly time consuming projects and completes them little by little, one step at a time, without becoming totally consumed or obsessed and burning out. For the woefully insufficient 15 days or so a year that we're together, whether we're down the shore or in Florida or at her family's lake cottage, our mornings usually begin slowly and leisurely with coffee and needlework, then it's time to put that aside and move on to something else (usually involving sun, beach and beverages). Come to think of it, it's probably not an issue of admiration and inspiration at all, but rather that Murph has noticed it's a lot easier to see big bulky crochet stitches with 47-year-old eyes than it is to work that tiny little aida cloth with minuscule strands of floss in 13 different shades of blue.

Anyway, here's a photo of the afghan to which Murph refers:
I worked on this during my time at Long Beach Island this summer and finished it up a couple weeks ago, just in time to send it off to Ithaca College with an enthusiastic and gratifyingly appreciative young man. In general I knit more than I crochet, and I find knitting more versatile, but this pattern was a freebie in the yarn department at Michael's last spring, and the yarn was yummy soft, and it looked simple enough. And boy was I thankful for my iphone that day because I could have sworn that Ithaca's colors were blue and white, but something told me to double check, and a quick on-the-spot google search right there in Michael's turned up blue and gold as the official school colors.

Anyway, back to Murph's request for the pattern. Alas, as soon as I wove in the last loose end I threw away the instructions and returned the extra yarn, eager to move on to my next creation. I was unsuccessful in my attempt to find the pattern online so I've been looking for something similar and found this one:
Dubbed, appropriately enough, "Easy Striped Afghan", the pattern can be found here, a delightful little website called Yarn Art put up by an 18 yo knitter. I discovered the pattern and site via Crochet Pattern Central, an online directory of free patterns - more than you could ever imagine - complete with tutorials, tips, vendor links, etc. I had already discovered its sister site Knitting Pattern Central last week when I was searching for a baby hat pattern. ( In fact, the numerous websites and blogs that I visited during my search reminded me that I had conceived of and named this blog months and months ago, and I was encouraged to revisit it and actually launch something.) Hate to say it out loud (if you're a craft publisher, cover your ears), but with the wealth of resources on the internet I see no reason to ever pay for a pattern or instruction book again. I can put all that money toward my yarn stash.

So Murph, you're on your way! Make sure you send me a photo of your snugly masterpiece when it's finished, and I'll post it for all to admire. Now get to work - you only have 8 days left of summer vacation!

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