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I delivered Barbara’s cabled afghan  at the end of August, 2012. I spent about a month, walking on knitting eggshells, waiting to pull into my driveway and see her waiting in the street with a kit she ordered and couldn’t complete. When October began, I took a deep breath and dared to think that my relationship with her had met its natural conclusion.

No such luck.

In February, I got the call. SIX MONTHS! I really thought I was free.  I picked up the kit and the cash. Here is how it came to me:

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And here it is unpacked:

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That’s a whole lot of yarn, and it’s cheap yarn (feel free to take offense, Vanna White). When I learned to knit, one of the first directives was, “Knit with the best yarn you can afford.”  This Vanna’s color stuff is waxy and thick and I don’t love it at all. But here I was, embarking on making this:

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You have no obligation to zoom in on the directions, but you should know that the first step is, “Octagons, make 99.”  That’s one shy of a hundred, and they are all separate pieces, as are the 116 mini squares that go in between them. This is the recipe for a homemade nightmare. The only upside was that the pattern was quickly memorized and I could crank out multiple octagons (and later, squares) in a single sitting. The enormous downside of this is that they all have to be sewn together after the crocheting is done.

Sidenote: I can’t imagine for the life of me why this is called a “Snowball Afghan,” unless the kind of octagon I was making is referred to in certain circles as a snowball. As I see it, there’s nothing wintry or white about it.

Piecing it together took about as long as making all the pieces and gave me backaches for which I needed medication.

Here is how it turned out:

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The jewel tones are lovely and it photographs well, but I will never make anything like it again. I delivered it in August and didn’t see Barbara when I dropped it off. I gave it to her son and ran.  I’m only two months out, but I’m starting to breathe easy, even though I know I’m never safe.