Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Comfort Zone

Emboldened by the completion of the Colour Play crochet blanket, and in the spirit of this year's resolution of 'no more UFOs' (and finish the WIPs), I picked up a project which had been hibernating since May 1996.  Yes, really, 16 years!  My first thought on opening the bag again was: What was I thinking?  Luckily, I had left myself some design notes.  The idea was to knit shapes in autumn shades of red, gold, brown, beige and orange mohair, then sew them together to create maple leaves, then the leaves as if they were patchwork to create a throw.  The original maple leaf shape was a design from a 1993 issue of Patchwork and Quilting.  My Mum bought me a selection of odd balls of mohair yarn as an early Christmas present - the receipt dated December 1995 is still in the bag.  I had also added an odd ball left over from a mohair jumper (I wonder where that went?) I knitted during rehearsals for Barnum at the local arts centre where I used to live.  It was meant to be a project to take my mind off impending surgery and convalescence, but after surgery I couldn't sit up for long.  By the time I could sit up supported without too much discomfort, it was time to go back to work. Then I had more surgery a couple of months later, after which I couldn't sit up unsupported at all.  I think I came to associate the project with that less-than-pleasant period and it remained a UFO.

It looks as though I was initially going to do 4 leaves in each of 9 colours and managed to do about half before I put the project down. The leaves end up about 6"/15 cm high and 8"/20 cm wide, so a throw 6 x 6 leaves would be quite small.  Perhaps I was going to do 8 of each colour, then I would get a throw big enough to be worthwhile.  I noted that I did a test swatch and worked out the shapes from there, but the resulting leaf should be as long as it is wide, so something didn't go to plan.

But, really, what was I thinking?  Surely it would have been easier to chart out the design and learn to do colour work? Or even, if I wanted to go with leaf shapes, to learn how to increase and decrease properly to make a whole leaf, instead of piece work?  Evidently I wanted to stay in my comfort zone, doing what I thought I knew how to do.  The trouble with comfort zones is that you can end up doing things the hard way.  And now - Do I really want to finish this? Can I bear to create another 18 leaves, and if so, what do I do with them?  And the idea of unpicking and frogging, especially mohair ....  Felt?  The mohair is pretty hairy and looks like it might felt as soon as it's washed.  The yarn from the jumper I knitted is a little finer and is the only one with a ball band.

I think I will pick this up again, do all 36 leaves and see what occurs to me.  36 is an interesting number; 2 x 18, 3 x 12, 4 x 9, 5 x 7 (with one over) and 6 x 6.  Or perhaps a triangle 8 leaves high and 8 leaves across the top ....

A few weeks ago, my right knee (which I wrenched back in February during a dog attack on my poultry) has become horribly painful, especially at night.  I haven't slept properly for 3 weeks now, despite painkillers.  While I'm waiting for the results of X rays and blood tests, I'm trying to carry on regardless.  This is a busy month, with the usual weekly lessons, extra workshops, a hafla this weekend, a brief performance next week as part of Adult Learners Week and a show in the Torch Studio Theatre on 25th.  Even sitting here at my desk, my knee is painful, so my comfort zone is currently sitting on the sofa with my leg up, hot water and blanket keeping my knee warm.  Might as well have a cup of tea and get knitting!

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