More than eighteen months ago, on a quiet summer day, I looked up from Marie Kondo’s book, and actually saw yarn peeping out of every drawer/cupboard /bookshelf/nook in the house. Oh yes! I was in definite danger of being pushed out of the house by all that peeping yarn.
Since yarn “sparks joy” in every cell of my body, I was not going to dump or donate a single hank of yarn. I wanted them all, but the thought of turning out a zillion hats (boring), or mufflers (even more boring), or granny squares ( my shoulders started protesting right away) had to be dumped immediately.
It’s a well known truth in this family that I remain sane when there is a big stash-busting project in progress. A project with lots of colours ( and lots of yarn), pieces and drama, underlined with a simple pattern which would allow me to watch TV, read, chat, and listen to my favourite podcasts.
Log cabin blankets, ripple blankets, granny square blankets, garter weaves…I had done them all. Something new had to be attempted. My favourite website for unique, smart and simple ideas has been the purlsoho site. They have a plethora of patterns, tutorials and projects in knitting, crochet, sewing and embroidery. The lovely yarns and kits are beyond my reach, but I can substitute my way through!
The Optic Blanket, done in black and cream, had been on my wish-list ever since it was published. But I wanted colour and energy and zing in the blanket. It could not be boring, and it should make me want to keep knitting.The rainbow spectrum of colours gave me the scope to knit up squares from leftovers of other sweater projects, play around with the background shades and ,the best bit, surprise myself after every knitted square.
Each square took 5 hours of knitting and twisting and twirling. Each square is made by picking up stitches from the adjoining one and then knitting towards the centre. It’s a simple pattern, with detailed instructions on the website, and its just the marathon-like feel of knitting one square after the other.
I knit the blanket through a year and more…through the quiet demise of two adored dogs…through happy evenings with the girls and other guests…through a year of our Ranikhet Knitters Group meetings…through summer heat, monsoon moisture and winter winds.
The squares went on train journeys, picnics, hospital visits and the Delhi metro.
The last days of 2017 were the last laps of this knitting marathon. The blanket had to go with my daughter to her flat, and though it was meant to be a birthday present in March, it seemed foolish to give a warm blanket just when the summer heat begins… so preponed birthday present.
Short cut meals for the girls, curtailed car drives, missed walks, and lots of frenzied knitting happened before this blanket was cast off, yarns woven and snipped, and the dirt of 18 months washed out carefully. Observe the neat side, which would be termed the “wrong side”. Perfect finishing is such a delight!
This blanket now lives with my daughter. I imagine how the colours would greet her at the end of a long work day, of how hand-knit garter textures would wrap up her tired body and let her sleep the night away. Its like sending a bit of maternal concern and love to be with her in the city, while her mother stays content in her beloved hills.