This week, I finished a thing.
Is it just me, or does everyone have a Guilt Project languishing in a basket somewhere? I’m talking about the mega-project that seemed like a r-e-a-l-l-y good idea several years ago when you bought/inherited/spun-from-raw-antelope-fibre the 80 balls of yarn that it requires.
The Guilt Project is always three quarters complete – you’ve come too far to frog it – and it nudges you into a flicker of shame every time you trip over it on your way to the
If anyone else mentions your lack of progress, you’ll defend this thing to the hilt, because you’re definitely going to finish it really, really, soon, just as soon as you get a spare moment. DOES NOBODY UNDERSTAND QUITE HOW BUSY YOU’VE BEEN RECENTLY?!
But in rare moments of honesty, you admit to yourself that what was once a shiny new idea has long since tarnished. (Why-oh-why were you so interested in making a lace-weight, cabled, entrelac, afghan, anyway?) It now feels like a chore. You’re starting to resent this thing, because its nagging, sulking, presence makes you feel ashamed to begin work on any of the other ideas that are fermenting in your VERY, VERY BUSY brain. Make no mistake, though: you’re definitely going to finish the Guilt Project, because YOU ARE NOT A QUITTER. So you sigh, and then you accidentally-on-purpose give this hulking heap of shame a swift kick as you walk past its sprawling unfinishedness. Ha, that’ll teach it.
My own Guilt Project was the product of chance rather than planning. And it’s a simple beast. As part of an award four years ago, I won a stonk-load of yarn, some needles, and a pile of Arne and Carlos books. In one of the books was this pattern:-
That’ll be super-quick to knit, I thought, being all sensible for once. I planned it as a giant blanket for the twinnage to use for den-building, or to snuggle under.
So I cast on. I stuck to the essence of the pattern, rather than its actual specifications. Hang on, I’ll see if I can dig out some old pictures.
Being made entirely of garter stitch, it became my mindless background project, for times of illness, tiredness, or long car journeys.
After a year or two, it reached the stage where it could keep me warm whilst I knitted it.
Progress slowed, I’ll confess. It spent many a month squished into a basket in a corner of the bedroom, staring at me accusingly whenever I cast on something more interesting. It had become a Guilt Project. Occasionally I’d drag it out and work on it in a burst of I-should-finish-this mania. But then I’d get distracted, and back into its corner it would go. Part of the problem was that it had grown too big to be portable.
There wasn’t a particular plan to its size or proportions. I just kept knitting. It got big. One day, I noticed that its length was getting out of proportion to its width, so I cast off, then picked up 354 stitches down one side to add some stripes perpendicular to the original pattern. I’ve been working on it quite a bit recently, because four years is ridiculous for a simple garter stitch blanket. And one day earlier this week, I finished a stripe and thought, ‘You know, I reckon this beast is done’.
And so it is.
I’ve been sharing the occasional picture over on my Instagram account (do come and follow along for the ride!) and the lovely @julbailey16 there suggested calling it The Crop Blanket, in honour of diagrams of Medieval crop plantings. I’m taking her suggestion. Do you know how much time I’ve spent on this thing?! Nope, nor do I, but I can tell you that it comprises 185 148 stitches, and it weighs in at a hefty 1.2 kilograms. It’s plenty big enough for a double bed. The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK.
It’s tricky to photograph something this big. (I know that sounds ridiculous: it’s not as though this thing is so large that you can see it from space.) So I took it to the park for a quick photoshoot yesterday, and the very few people who were out there braving the extreme cold gave me odd looks as I laid out what must have looked like the blanket for a solo, sub-zero, picnic. (No, we don’t have snow. Yes, that is a very sore subject.)
The twinnage are so used to this thing being a never-ending work-in-progress (and thus not eligible for being played with), that even now it’s done, it hasn’t occurred to them that they’re allowed to run off with it and make a den.
I’m going to tell them when they get home from school tonight.
Guilt Project no more.