Friday, February 08, 2013

A Comfort Blanket

Dear friends, thank you so much for all your kind words.
Dexy Day came and went without too much trauma this week, but we still have the crash to come tonight and tomorrow.
One day at a time.

Meantime... I have been thinking about what I value.

My resolution to “do things for keeps” this year hasn’t come to much so far. I have been hesitant to start a long-term project, preferring to fritter my time away on quick projects, for instant gratification. But I know in my heart of hearts that these sugary treats will not have long-lasting value. I really really want some sense of creating permanence. Home-comforts, if you like.

Until Wednesday evening, we hadn’t had hot water coming out of our taps since early December.
We haven’t had proper seasoned logs for weeks.

The cold has been a physical ache in my bones. I cannot imagine what FL is feeling like, but he will never admit it, since the organisation of utilities (water, fuel and the tradesmen who provide them) is a task he guards jealously.

Having hot water again feels like the height of luxury, but I can't actually stand with my hands under the tap until the boiler runs dry in the evening.  So now is as good a time as any to start work on a blanket or a quilt. If only so that I can cuddle up underneath it with my book after FL has gone to bed with his hot water bottle!

How much better to spend my crafting time on something that will make a real difference to my quality of life, instead of a flimsy frippery of a garment that I cannot imagine having the courage to wear in this climate?

There were some pictures on Stephen West’s blog recently which caught my imagination. There he was, the rock-star knitter, huddled under a pile of rugged blankets. Not a crocheted ripple in sight! No flowers or granny squares. And I realised that the femininity of so many blankets has been inhibiting me. I want to make something more… utilitarian. Rustic. Tweedy.

Picture copied from Stephen West's Ravelry pages
And I remembered my Japanese knitting book and the wonderful combinations of fair-isle and cables and textures in the garments, not unlike Mr West’s latest designs. And I realised that I have the answer right there in front of me: make a multicoloured blanket that celebrates my favourite sorts of knitting.

Stop struggling with incy-wincy barn-raising squares made of sock yarn. Don’t even think about footering about with cotton and a crochet hook. Instead, I hatched a plan to gather together a great big heap of woolly sheepiness and make myself a blanket to enjoy for years to come.

So you can imagine my JOY when Stephen West released sneak peaks of a pattern from the Westy's Besties knitalong, going live next Friday - a tartan blanket!  The Kex Blanket

That's me sorted for the next few knitting weeks / months / hopefully not years!

P.S.  If anyone has any unwanted Rowan Scottish Aran Tweed or Rowan Harris Tweed Aran, please get in touch - I will pay a fair price for your odd balls!


Janey said...

Wow, I can't believe you have been without how water for that long! That blanket looks lovely though, I love the colours of it. Part of me wished you were going to announce that you were going to make a blanket of squares - and ask readers to knit or crochet a square using certain colours and send it to you to join up! That would've been awesome!

beate grigutsch said...

this sounds like a great idea!
and once your grandchilds will be happy draping grannys beautiful blanket over a sofa in 2050 :-)
i cant knit - so i will buy me some army blankets. real wool but affordable.

sophie (monbouton) said...

That's a beautiful blanket! And it will give you work for some months :) I understand your lack of interest for granny squares, the only thing I like in them is the portable aspect of crocheting little squares, but the aesthetics of a granny blanket absolutely do not appeal to me

Sew little time said...

wow - that is a lovely pattern!
i also like the portableness of knitting squares but not so keen on the look. what colours are you planning?

Sarahel said...

Wow indeed - gorgeous blanket. I like the free Rowan 'Hambleton Throw' pattern but I can see it languishing in a corner after initial enthusiasm. The Kex has more interest and I wish you more stamina. It will certainly be worth it.

Anonymous said...

"I will pay a fair price for your odd balls!"

Not to be read while eating a muffin lol.

Judith said...

Glad you have a knitting focus to run with - and something a little different as well!
Back in the late 60's when I began crocheting squares, I made a blanket from multicoloured squares for my Grandmother. Every colour under the sun, with the last row of each square completed in black. On her passing it was passed back to me, and I still have it...blankets are forever...J

Mary in TN said...

Glad you have hot water again! I cannot imagine a month in winter without hot water. That blanket looks like a great project to start.

Scruffybadger said...

I've decided I need a blanket made of wool as I hate the way our leather sofa is slippery ( cushions never stay put ) and cold. But the idea of evening snuggling is also very appealing. Your choice looks stylish...has made me rethink what blanket look I should think about. ( I expect I'll crochet though... )

LinB said...

Elizabeth Zimmerman has a pattern for a Mystery Blanket, in her Knitter's Almanac. It involves knitting squares from the inside out, putting final row of stitches for each square on a string, and at the end ... weaving all the squares together with Kitchener stitch. Gah! Then she knitted a border around the joined squares and cast off with a "casting on" cast off, so that it is nearly impossible to tell how the blanket is accomplished. I've admired the photos for years, but never had the courage to attempt the blanket. You might look it out, just for grins and chuckles.

acharmofmagpies said...

This sounds very you, very practical, and very therapeutic. Best of luck!