12 Apr

On Creativity, Productivity and a Ripple Afghan

I like to have several projects going at once. Preferably, different types of projects: something on the sewing machine, something to do by hand, something that requires deep thought, something totally brainless. I can’t move linearly from start to finish on one thing and then go to the next. I suspect most people are like this. That way, I have something creative to do no matter what the circumstances. That’s also why I don’t feel too bad when I drop one thing to pick up something new and shiny.

My mom was just here for a visit, and to help me out, and my dad spent time with us during the winter break. I did not do any art quilting during either of their visits. I did very little crafting as well. My head just wasn’t into it. That’s not to say that it wasn’t worth having them here to “help me out.” Other things get done. My dad fixed a furniture problem that I though was going to be big, but he made it small. He fixed a broken sprinkler too. Those count for peace of mind. My mom was in my corner versus the kids. I hadn’t really realized how nice it is to have someone on my side when it comes to chores and homework, but it makes a huge difference.

So, with Spring Break, my mom’s visit, and a long weekend, there hasn’t been much deep thinking art around here. No worries — the kids will be back in school Monday and I will have lots of alone time. Meanwhile, the Ripple Afghan is the perfect mindless thing to work on with kids and guests around. In fact, it’s downright addictive. As soon as I’m done with this post, Ripple and I are going out to the lanai.

Some Ripple details:

Jan pointed me to Attic24’s perfectly timed Neat Ripple Pattern. It is exactly the waves I wanted, and it comes with great step by step photos, perfect for people like me who haven’t picked up a crochet hook in 30 years! My specific yarn needs were that it come in lots of browns and a good orangey orange, that it be washable, and that it be cheap. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the Baby Cashmerino yarn that seems so popular for this project on sale and I wasn’t prepared to pay full price.

I visited one yarn store on the island, but they just didn’t have the selection I needed. In the end, I ordered online from Kaleidescope Yarns and was very happy with their customer service. This will probably make yarn purists cringe, but I ended up buying Plymouth Yarns’ Encore, a worsted weight 75% Acrylic/25% wool blend. It came in a good range of colors, is washable, and costs half as much as the other yarns I was looking at. I chose worsted weight over DK because I hoped it’s thickness would make the project go faster (not having crocheted in 30 years, I wasn’t sure how committed I’d be). I may regret this heavier yarn when the blanket is done, but as Gerrie said, I’ll have the blanket much longer than I expect to be living in Hawai’i. Funny thing is, the cream color is back ordered, but as I’ve been working away, I feel like I need to add cream and soon. I checked Plymouth Yarns’ site to see if there were any local retailers and sure enough, the other yarn shop on the island carries it. Should have gone there first. I can’t go until Tuesday though, so I’ll have to pace my crocheting until then.

I didn’t really believe other Ripple bloggers when they said they just couldn’t stop, but it’s true! You just have to keep going to see what the next stripe will add. One hiccup was a crisis of confidence last night. The blanket was looking more 70s and less contemporary and I suspect it’s because some of my yarns are a little heathered (or maybe it’s all the brown). I considered removing the heathered yarns, and making all my lights the cream, but then I thought about all the blankets in the Flickr pool that I like and I definitely think more color is better. So, I’ll keep going. If I get to the cream and it doesn’t help, then I’m prepared to rip out lots of stripes. This afghan really does go easily enough that I don’t think I’ll mind.