The Grateful Dead Afghan

My next afghan is for a friend who likes going to concerts and being a hippie and shit. Well, and shitting. I mean, not shit. Let’s not talk about shit. She like’s stuff that has to do with The Grateful Dead. So, I thought I’d make her an afghan that reminded me of the Grateful Dead. We shall see how it goes. It’s still Lion Brand Amazing Yarn, in the Strawberry Fields, Arcadia, and Wildflowers colorways. I’m hoping this square, which contains a swirl, will have a kind of organic, quasi-tie-dyed feel.

Here’s what a “square” looks like:

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And the they’re supposed to be fit together, four small “squares” into a larger more square “square.”

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I have my doubts, but we shall see. Also, please ignore all the dog hair. It’s been a long, strange weekend. Sometimes the light’s all shining on me. Other times I can barely see, you know, for all the dog hair.

The Giant Granny Square Afghan

It turned out even better than I hoped. Something about the large scale of it makes it really look more like a piece of art than a useful afghan, but it also appears to be very sturdy and I can attest to its comfy warmth. I also think I really lucked out on the colors. I’m not exactly sure why they all work together so well, but they do. I think it may be because of how green that blue is, so you end up with two colors that compliment the red.

One Square Does Not Make the Cut

I’ve been fiddling around trying to figure out what my next couple of afghans are going to be like. I auditioned three squares this evening.

Family

My nephew didn’t sign his enlistment papers. And we all quietly cheered behind his back while pretending to be drinking our Diet Cokes and being distracted by some song on the radio.

And he has a girlfriend! And she is cu-ute.

I talked to my cousin and his wife last night and it was nice to hear them sounding so happy.

My New Year’s resolution is to not age into some anxious grouch. At least, not all the time. Ha.

I’m completely in love with this afghan I’m finishing up for Sam, the giant granny square one.

Um, the afghan being the giant granny squares. Sam is not, as far as I can tell, a giant granny square.

It just makes me laugh. It has all the charm of a regular granny square while also a certain preposterousness that makes me happy.

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Silent, Holy, Blah Blah blah

I stayed up so late last night finishing the afghan I was making for my dad for Christmas. I’m tired and grouchy and so tired. I hate this holiday. I truly do.

Giant Granny Square

When you decide you want to make a giant granny square afghan, it’s pretty hard to sit around finishing the Tunisian crochet afghan without wondering, “But how hilariously awesome is the giant granny square afghan going to be?”

Readers, it’s going to be this awesome:

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Just dwell on that. It’s one square. It covers my whole lap. It is hilariously awesome.

But no more until I’m done with the current afghan.

How It’s Going

I took these pictures last night and then forgot to put them up here!

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This is what it looks like when you have a row on the hook. If you look at the left edge, you can see how I’m working this new round into the old round.

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And this is what it looks like as a row comes off the hook. It’s okay if the sight of my plump, round fingers gives you fantasies about gently touching them with your tongue. Just don’t share those fantasies with me and don’t attempt to live them out while I’m crocheting, Quentin Tarantino. Christ.

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Seriously, you guys thought his foot fetish was bad. It’s all going to be women with pleasantly fat fingers doing crafts from here on out. Um, yes, anyway, this is what the back looks like.

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And this is what the front looks like. I bought 18 skeins of yarn and I have ten left, so I’m that far into it. Like half done I guess?

Crochet Question

I’m nowhere, I mean, nowhere near done on the Tunisian crochet afghan (though, wow, is it really calming and nice to do while watching tv or listening to podcasts), but I’ve been thinking of how cool/funny it would be to make a granny square afghan–like an old-school different color every row, traditional–granny square afghan with big bulky yarn and a huge hook, so that the squares are comically large.

But I can’t find any examples online of anyone else doing this, which makes me worried that there’s some unforeseen reason to not do this. Some terrible problem that can’t be overcome.

Do any of you know of one?

I suppose it’s also possible no one has pictures of this because it’s super easy and nothing special. But I’d still like to see one.

Oh, wait! I found this. Okay, so it can be done and I think would amuse me.

Update on Learning New Things

tunisian front

I love the texture of this so much. If I look too closely, I can still see how I kind of fucked up the early corners, but I think this stitch and this yarn is very forgiving of mistakes. It’s said to be a mixture of crocheting and knitting, but that’s only in technique, I think. This isn’t a texture I’m used to getting with either.

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On the back, if you don’t look at it too carefully, I think it’s easy to mistake this for knitting. But it looks very different up close. Also, weirdly, this side is really soft. I think the puffy loops must be the reason.

Tunisian Crochet

Since I finished up the surprise afghan, I set about teaching myself at least some basic Tunisian crochet. The important thing I think I learned is that my Grandma’s hook must be for sock-weight yarn. But I found this pattern on Etsy and it’s really easy to follow and the leftover yarn from the surprise afghan is working up really beautifully.

I guess, if you’re going to learn any kind of crocheting, I have two recommendations for you. 1. It’s easier to learn on bulkier yarn. 2. It’s easier to learn on wool.

The parts of the stitch are easier to see on bulkier yarn. Plus, it works up quicker, and when you first start out, you’ll need some early victories to keep going. And wool. Okay, it’s expensive. I don’t recommend you buy a whole project’s worth of wool yarn if you don’t know what you’re doing. But having a skein of wool yarn, the kind that’s fairly stiff, to try out new stitches on is really invaluable. Wool holds its shape where as a lot of other, softer, types of yarn don’t. Soft yarn is awesome. Don’t get me wrong. And, once you know what you’re doing, floppy stitches aren’t going to stop you from finding the parts of the stitches you want. But man, to have a yarn that holds its shape, that has the stitch parts right where you’re looking for them as you’re trying to learn a pattern? That makes a huge difference.

So, needless to say, I spent a big part of the afternoon trying to learn this Tunisian crocheting with soft, acrylic yarn. It was brutal.

Switch to wool? Suddenly, everything is right where the directions said it would be and it’s coming together. Or at least I can see how it will come together.

The Surprise Afghan is Complete!

Secret Squares Done

The squares for my secret project are done. I just need to tuck tails and put them together.

When I’m done, I’m going to teach myself Tunisian crochet, since that is, apparently, what the long hook my Grandma gave me a million years ago is for.

The Australian Zigzag Afghan

I’m sending this to my friend in Australia. I tried to surprise her with it, but I can’t keep secrets. I had to send her a picture of it a while ago. But, finally, it’s done!

Back to the Black Book

If you want an illustration of how Ashland is going, I set aside my baby blanket after a gross miscalculation about how much yarn I would need and started an old-fashioned granny square, something that would sit in my hands and require no thought.

Reports from my readers are coming in and, I swear, even when you say to yourself, “Yeah, something’s not quite right here and here and here but I can’t figure out what it is” and then you say “Hey, guys, can you help me?” when they say “Yeah, something’s not quite right here and here and here and I think it’s this and this and this,” my immediate reaction is “Why does everyone hate me and think I suck?” Like, seriously. At this point, having been through this a few times, I know the feeling will pass. But it’s ridiculous.

I’m going to say that, in a way, I kind of get the Puppies. Not in the slating or the cozying up to that Nazi, but I get the massive amount of pouty hurt that they run around with. I feel that same pouty hurt. I totally get the impulse to say “Well, why can’t my shitty thing be good enough? Lots of shitty things are good enough! Fuck it! My shitty thing is good enough and I will destroy everyone who says it isn’t!”

Plus, that approach has its victories. It’s satisfying.

Whereas, the thing I have to do now is not satisfying. It’s scary. I have to crack this thing open and fix a lot of things. And, at the end of all that work, there’s no guarantee that it will be good enough.

That sucks and, like I said, is scary. But that’s the way to get to where I want to go.

So, I’m moving the black book full of notes back into my purse and I’m back to mulling and mulling and making granny squares with my hands so my mind can focus on other crap.

The Tripping Jaguar Dries on My Bed

HOLY SHIT! I want to make ten of these. Maybe not ten. But damn. Damn. Damn.

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Here’s the whole thing, laying on towels, drying out.

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Here it is up closer. You can see that some of the squares aren’t lying flat, which is probably always going to be a slight issue for the afghan, unless it surprises me in the next few hours.

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I think what I really like about it is how the self-striping yarn and the imperfect nature of the squares works together to really make it seem as if all parts are interesting to look at.

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Even the back turned out really lovely.

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But see what I mean? Here’s the exact same yarn, just worked up into rows. And it’s fine, possibly lovely, even. It will make a cheery baby blanket for a winter baby. But it doesn’t quite do it the way the squares do.

A Little Pride

I’m done with the tripping jaguar afghan except for the blocking (and the bragging, of course), which I will do tomorrow. I haven’t spread it completely out, but I feel like it’s amazing.

I took the left over yarn and started a baby blanket for a friend and I must say that one thing that makes me proud is that, though the baby blanket will be lovely–because it’s a lovely yarn–I don’t think it quite has the wow of the tripping jaguar afghan. So, it’s not just the yarn that makes the afghan, it’s also picking the right thing to do with the yarn. And the perfect thing to do with self-striping yarn, it turns out, are squares.

So, good for me!

Border

I finished piecing the afghan together last night and I’m into the border. I’ll be able to block it this weekend! I’m pleased with both how light it is and how warm. I guess that’s wool for you.

It’s really beautiful. I am pleased. Anyway, pictures when it’s done.