Process vs. Product

Sometimes you make something and it just isn’t what you envisioned. It’s hard to know what to write about it in this case: “here is a thing, and it disappointed me” is not the tone I usually strive for. But here we are! I made a thing! It wasn’t fun to make and I don’t like the outcome. TA-DAA.

I mean, it’s not objectively hideous. But I am very conscious of the following things:

  • I had forgotten how much I dislike making amigurumi. It’s all small hooks and super-tight hand-hurting tension and counting, counting, counting all day. Forget it!
  • Because I don’t like crocheting ami, I shortened the ears by a good ten rows and completely omitted the arms. The pattern was for a sleepy bunny, rather than the… generic animal head? that I ended up with.
  • I didn’t have any polyfill and didn’t feel like driving across town to get some, so I stuffed the head with scrap cloth. In many ways that’s fine, but it kind of throws off the balance (though with a heavier head and the blanket trailing behind this would probably be great for throwing).
  • The ears appear to be different lengths. An optical illusion? Did I add or omit an extra row? I don’t know, man, counting stitches is annoying.
  • Also I’m not crazy about spirals. Working in the round is fine, but I’d much rather join at the end of each row than work continuously.
  • I used some of the crappier acrylic from my stash and it’s just not that nice to work with.

What this all boils down to, I guess, is that I am even more of a “process” crafter than I realized. It was already obvious to me that I’m not attached to my finished products — I have no qualms about giving things away or chucking them into the back of a closet no matter how much work I put into them. Out of sight (or perhaps, off of hook), out of mind. But what’s clear now is that whether a project is a success or a failure in my eyes has almost everything to do with how much I enjoyed the creative process and almost nothing to do with the actual result.

For my own records; I used Bernat Super Value yarn in white, Red Heart Super Saver in “Monet” (leftovers from Perpetua’s blankie), and the eyes and nose were done with Stylecraft Special DK leftovers from my Eastern Jewels blanket. I used a 3.75mm hook for the animal parts and a 6mm hook for the lovey portion.

Anyway, this was supposed to be a gift for someone’s baby… but I feel weird enough about it that I’ll just make something else. This can go into the toy bin for my daughters to fight over and I’ll pretend it never happened.

Oh well. At least someone likes it.

Perpetua’s Blankie

When I was pregnant with Anselm, some old friends sent me a package for him with a few hand-knitted items, including a sweet little blue blanket. We didn’t use it for quite a while since he wore sleep-sacks to bed, but at around 18 months he found it and grew quite attached to “Bankoo” (now “Blankie”). He now totes it around the house with him, and occasionally brings it on outings — though we try to keep that to a minimum since we don’t want to lose it!

Perpetua has also spent most of her sleep life in sleep-sacks, and I haven’t given much thought to a blanket for her. But a few weeks ago I peeped in on her during a nap and found her curled up cuddling her pyjamas. Clearly, it was time.

I had a little trouble getting yarn, though. I went to Joann and found some Red Heart in a colourway I really liked — called Water Lily — but found when I went to pay that their point-of-sale system was down, and they could only accept cash or personal cheque, neither of which I had on me. (Would something like a sign on the door have been useful? Yes, yes it would have been.) I didn’t want to do another trip home and back with the kids as it was nearly lunch, so I handed the yarn back to the cashier and went on my way. They expected their systems to be up by the next morning, but I had been bit by the project bug and really wanted to start right away. Amazon had the yarn, and I could have gotten it with one-day shipping — but it was about $4/skein more expensive than Joann and I wasn’t into that. So I went to Wal-Mart (whatever) that afternoon to see what I could find.

Wal-Mart didn’t have Water Lily — but they had something similar called Monet which I liked well enough, so this is what I brought home:

It’s a pretty, highly variegated acrylic in a worsted weight which I thought would do the trick. I chained what seemed like a reasonable length to start with (I only counted after; it ended up being 99 stitches), and started. Now, I was so tired when I began that I somehow forgot how to single-crochet — this despite the fact that 1) single is the easiest crochet stitch in existence and 2) the last project I worked was done entirely in single-crochet, start to finish. I ask you. After pulling out most of that false start, I settled on a pattern of 3 rows single-crochet followed by 4 rows of triple, repeating until I felt that it was wide enough (I worked starting on a long edge). The two different stitches give it a modest amount of visual/structural interest, which may or may not be discernible here:

The colour changes are very close together — each one only lasts about two inches, and so the overall effect is rather speckled. It also made it difficult for me to figure out what the dominant colour was while I was mid-project; it wasn’t until I got a look a the whole finished piece (from some distance, which helped) that it sprung into focus as a largely purplish-bluey sort of thing. The colours are very suitable for Perpetua; she looks best when we dress her in blues, and the variegation in yarn reflects the variegation in her temperament — she can be remarkably intense for such a wee person.

I am fairly pleased with how it turned out, though mostly relieved that it’s finished after my inevitable project-boredom set in around 2/3 of the way through.  Since triple stitch is such a yarn-muncher it took nearly the whole of two skeins to finish, despite being only about lap-blanket sized. The blankie was delivered to Perpetua with some ceremony by Anselm, who has been very anxious for me to finish. I have no idea whether she’ll get attached to the blanket or not, but the main thing is that it’ll be there if she wants it. And in the mean time, it’s good enough for peek-a-boo, and that’s good enough for us!