Friday, January 20, 2012

The Blanket

I finished making a baby blanket for my agent’s newborn son. I was so inspired by completing something, I began to look around at my many abandoned UFOs (unfinished objects) stuffed into drawers and bags.

I came across an afghan I’d started when I first took up crochet around six years ago. I’d already finished about two thirds of it. It was simple enough - just single crochet on size q hook. I wondered why I had stopped working on it when I was pretty close to finishing. Then it came back to me there was some issue with lost stitches. When I counted, I saw that I had started with 63 stitches and somewhere along the way had lost a bunch of stitches so I was down to 55 stitches.

I debated about what to do. It seemed I’d only kept the 63 stitches going for a short time, so if I was going to unravel, it would be almost the whole thing. The sides were a little wobbly and my stitches weren’t the best, but it seemed a shame to throw away all that work.

So, I decided to just keep going. By now, I have figured out how not to lose stitches. I just mark the first and last stitch in each row with a little plastic stitch marker. And my stitches are more confident than when I started the small blanket. So the part of it I’m doing now won’t quite match the earlier section. Whatever pattern I was using has long vanished, but it doesn’t matter, I will use up the yarn and finish with a nice edging.

As I began to work on it and saw how differently I crocheted now, I had a thought that turned everything around. Instead of being upset by the slightly misshapenness of the blanket, I saw it as a measure of my progress. Once finished, I would always be reminded that by sticking with something and working at it, I’d gotten better. So, instead of being bothered by it’s imperfection, I would be inspired by it. I know I’m going to love that afghan for always.

Do you have something that reminds you of how much you’ve improved at doing it? I hope that sentence makes sense. It’s been a long day and my pillow is calling.

10 comments:

Linda O. Johnston said...

How fun that you have evidence of how much you've improved your crocheting, Betty. I suspect that I'd feel similarly if I ever went back to reread some of my earliest writing but don't think I have the nerve to do it!

JanG said...

Funny you should ask that particular question. My grandmother crocheted, knitted, and tatted and made them all look so easy. When I wanted to knit a scarf for a boyfriend in high school, I thought I could pick up needles and just whip one out. I was wrong, of course, but no one corrected my impression. That's why I can't knit or crochet -- I didnt understand for years that I had to learn how. I may yet start again, 45 years later!

Dru said...

I have the very first quilt that I made and when I look at the quilts that I make now, I can see the improvements. I still can't stitch a straight line, but everything else has improved.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I bet your earlier writing is better than you suspect.

Betty Hechtman said...

Jan, it's never to late to learn.

Betty Hechtman said...

Dru, it's nice you saved the first quilt you made. It's easy to want to hide our first attempts at things because they are so far from perfect, but really they just show our starting point.

Planner said...

Betty, your blanket is indeed a wonderful celebration of progress, of learning, of discovery, of skill, and of pleasure. I always love your perspective toward--well, really, life in general. I probably wouldn't have thought of options other than ripping out and starting over, but your way is much better, and the border will probably mask any "flaws." Enjoy your treasure.

Anonymous said...

I also have the first quilt I made, machine stitched (with my Mother's old Singer machine which had straight stitch only) and hand quilted. That was 20 years ago. I no longer hand quilt and I have definitely improved over the years!

Gwendolyn P.Labarbera said...

Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write on my blog something like that. Can I implement a portion of your post to my website?
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Betty Hechtman said...

Gwendolyn, you could add the below link to my blog, if you wish.

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7731159552335760887&postID=6269013000763611769