Monday, October 30, 2006

Sooz Makes Stuff. Film at 11.

When I was a little girl, my brothers and I used to drape ourselves in Mom's huge, deep-pink-and-maroon ripple afghan and wander around the house, making fearsome ghostly noises. The afghan was soft and cushy, big enough to cover a double bed (or me and my two brothers at once). Mom had made it slowly, a bit at a time, while she was in college, in the midst of a minor love affair with all things pink. When she brought it home, her mother liked the pattern so well that she, in turn, made several ripple afghans in various colors. I remember there was always a ripple afghan draped over the foot of the bed in the guest rooms at Grandma's house.

Right now I'm working on a rainbow ripple afghan. (The photo isn't quite color-accurate -- the dark stripe is actually a deep navy blue, not almost black as it appears.) It began as a sort of stash-buster project in an effort to diminish the slightly ludicrous amounts of yarn in my house. I've tried to space the rainbow repeats far enough apart that it isn't obvious I'm using slightly different colors in each repeat. (Of course, any crocheter can tell you what happens when you work on one of these use-it-up projects -- you run out of a yarn color you need well before the project is done, so then you need to buy "just one more skein" to finish it properly, and then another, and another... it never ends.)

Ripple afghans are relatively easy to make, which is good, because that's about my speed. Some day, perhaps, I'll tackle the mysterious vagaries of crochet lace, cables and stranded knitting, but for now I'm sticking to simpler projects. The only problem with making afghans is that, unless you're the Fastest Crochet Hook in the West, they take time. Quite a lot of time. To give you an idea, I started a lap-sized ripple afghan a day or two after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and by the time I had it finished, the bulk of the relief work for that disaster was over and done with. If I were wiser, I'd plan ahead like my sister-in-law; she always seems to be working on a baby afghan while watching a DVD, and she therefore always has one in readiness for a baby shower. (That girl's a pretty smart cookie.)

And now, in honor of Halloween, a slightly ghoulish little short story in the public domain (and a personal favorite): Sredni Vashtar, by H.H. Munro (aka Saki). Enjoy!


tlawwife said...

When I was in college I was poor so I had to buy the yarn that I loved one skein at a time. Everytime I was depressed I bought another skein. I started making it for me and then I married a guy that is a foot taller than me and it had to get larger. Needless to say it is several different shades of the same color. We love it anyway.

I love your bright colors.

Soozcat said...

Aw, thanks. I'm kinda fond of them myself.

There's something deeply comforting about a homemade afghan; maybe it has something to do with the knowledge that it was made slowly by hand, usually by a loved one. Machines can create ready-made knit blankets, but nobody seems to have created a crochet machine yet. Somebody had to make those up-and-down ripples, or those granny squares. Somebody had to choose and match the colors. Somebody had to hoard the small balls of leftover yarn. It's a very hands-on, human process.

tlc illustration said...

I made granny square afghans when I was pregnant with my kids. That pretty much cured me of wanting to continue to crochet, although I love crocheted things.

Now I buy yards of fleece and edge it for throws. Less satisfying and homey perhaps, but quick and instantly gratifying! ;-)

Soozcat said...

It would've been much smarter and probably a better use of my time to make fleece throws for the Katrina relief effort! But instead, as I often do, I underestimated the time it would take. Ah well.