Vacation project!

I just returned from a week-long vacation to my aunt and uncle’s farm in rural Maine. Naturally, I’m incapable of traveling without a large bag of yarn. The drive from Minnesota to Maine isn’t exactly short, so I used the car time to start a Christmas afghan for my parents.

IMG_20150625_163105I decided to go with another C2C (corner to corner) design, but will actually be making TWO small afghans and stitching them together at the center. This should (if I do it right) make a lovely chevron pattern for them.

My parents have differing opinions on colors; Mom is jewel tones and high-contrast while Dad is earth tones and low contrast. I opted to split the difference and go with high contrast earth tones. I’m using Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in Oak Tweed and Maple Tweed for this project.

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Here are the beginnings of the project. It’s much larger now–one side of it is about half done–as C2C works up quickly and I spent about 2 solid days working on it. Eventually, the blanket will fit a queen-sized bed with significant overhand. (Dad complains that Mom is a blanket thief, so extra blanket is good.)

The other nice thing about this particular vacation is that I got to spend some time with my aunt. Now, my aunt is a pretty talented lady–she sings beautifully, sketches, makes ceramic, and both crochets and knits.  Between idolizing her as a child and having an indulgent mother feeding my curiosity about crafting (as well as my craft store addiction), I ended up learning a lot of different crafts in an attempt to emulate her. (In the interest of accuracy, my aunt inspired my initial interest in crochet. My mother taught me the basics of crochet from a book, despite the fact that she doesn’t crochet herself. Many years later, my aunt, YouTube videos, and the /r/Crochet subReddit helped me refine the skill.)

About 7 years ago, I brought her a crochet project with requests for help; I really sucked at crochet at that point as I’d only played at it for years. She took one look at it and told me I’d failed to maintain consistent tension. It was that kind of help that got me rolling on what is now my primary craft, so it was nice to be able to spend some time crafting with her in the same room. Even better, I was able to show her some new patterns!  There’s something very satisfying about being able to trade craft tips and tricks with one of the people who initially taught you about crochet.

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My aunt is working on a bobble afghan for a friend’s child.

The problem with an aunt who crafts, however, is that sending her a handmade gift becomes pretty difficult. I’m a subscriber to the belief that handmade gifts trump the store bought, even if they’re not always as “perfect”. They show the love you have for that person, and giving them brings a lot more pleasure than the alternative (IMO). Pretty much any crafter knows this feeling, so they’ll understand that I was overjoyed to find many of the things I’ve made my aunt and uncle over the years in their house. Things like a hand painted Kleenex box and recipe card box…and things like the green blanket in the background of the photo above. One of my experiments in non-crochet textile crafting has been Swedish weaving. These green and lavender blankets (still in their nascent forms) were my first experiments in this craft, and something that I’m reminded I should do again.

2013-12-04 14.16.562013-12-04 14.15.23So all in all, it seems that my family vacation turned into a bit of a walk down crafting-memory lane. I’m happy to be back home and re-entrenched with some of my larger projects for a bit…but now I have requests for funky hats to send to Maine! Something to keep me busy when I get bored with the big projects.

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