Behold The Blanket

Happy Thursday, people. WordPress tells me that yesterday’s post was my 400th. I feel like that is the sort of milestone that should have been celebrated with trumpets and fanfare. But the world didn’t end because I only fussed about a UFO, so stay with me and we’ll pull out the party hats for 500.

Four hundred posts encapsulate six years of blogging (clearly, I have untalkative periods). In six years, I’ve gotten a lot of experience as a knitter. Sure, I still make stupid mistakes, but I am experienced enough to diagnose when my mistakes are the result of me not paying attention to the pattern and then cramming my knitting in my purse with my keys and goodness knows what else. In six years, I’ve learned how to choose yarn based on its fiber, construction, and appropriateness to the finished product. I’ve gotten into single-breed yarns and American-wool yarns. I regularly polish off lace patterns that were as attainable as the moon six years ago.

It is ironic, then, that the project I am about to show you is a blanket knitted in garter stitch with acrylic.

Large orange knitted blanket
Over 3/4 of a mile of yarn.

Lots and lots of acrylic.

Yes, the Ground Cover Blanket is done!!!

This project was massive in every way. It measures 70″ by 40″ (in the picture above, I’m holding my arms as high above my head as I can reach), weighs 28.25 ounces (1.77 lbs), and, even when folded as small and tidy as possible, will only fit in my largest knitting bag. That is over 3/4 of a mile of yarn right there, people.

Small brown dog under an orange blanket
Melba wanted to know why I was holding my knitting and not her.

(Melba took the opportunity during the photo shoot to remind me how neglected she was while I worked on the blanket)

Towards the end, the heavy, seemingly endless garter stitch started to wear on me. Ann Morton came to the rescue with a terrific Ground Cover Meetup at Burton Barr Library that was equal parts pep talk and showing off. Quilters wearing tailored jackets out of what I imagine is the sewing equivalent of cashmere oohed and aahed over me knitting without looking, and I in turn oohed and aahed over the finished blankets and quilts. People did a good job, getting fancy with quilting patterns and knitting or crocheting every square of their blankets in different patterns.

One very late night later, I got the beastie off the needles.

For all my fussing, I do not regret any part of this project. My blanket will go to a very good cause, and in the knitting of it, I feel like I developed a stronger connection to my new city. I love the conversations the project has inspired, too. Throughout the process, Ann has made the crafters who made the blankets very visible, through meetups and listing our names on the blanket diagram on the Ground Cover website. I love this aspect of the project. We have all heard about how historic crafters were by and large nameless, but the same thing is often true for modern crafters creating pieces for charity. As Ground Cover has shone a light on homelessness in Phoenix (300 blankets will only help a small fraction of Phoenix’s homeless population), it has also shone a light on crafters. The blanketeers, as Ann calls us, come from all across the US, and from the UK too. They have names, and stories.

I felt like I became more visible while knitting my Ground Cover blanket, too. It was hard not to be: I knitted mostly on public transportation. When you’re knitting on public transit, people tend to ask questions. When you’re knitting something huge and bright orange on public transit, they almost always ask questions. Top of the list, as always: “Is that knitting or crocheting?” Shortly thereafter: “What are you making?” For once, I did not mess with their expectations of what crafters do by informing them I was knitting a nautilus or a romper. Blanket fits very well within Crafting Stereotypes. Lucky for those instances when People Who Do Not Appear Trustworthy wanted to chat, saying “blanket” and looking like it took lots and lots of concentration to knit my bazillionth row of garter put the kibosh on Further Conversations With Potential Victim. I am happy to report, though, that many people seemed to want to know if I was knitting, or what I was making, so they could tell me about their mothers or grandmothers, and how these women would make blankets and sweaters. Always women, always nameless, always making expected things, but my fellow public transportees seemed happy that they had the occasion to remember their relatives, and the handmade things they’d received.

Taking on a big project imbued with great significance has been rewarding, but I am happy now to go back to knitting little things for the sake of knitting. When the time comes to make something else big and important, I want to be rested up.

4 responses to “Behold The Blanket”

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