As a knitter and generally enthusiastic though amateur ambi-crafter, you’d think I spend rather a lot of my time creating things. That is true, of course, even if a lot of the time the main thing that is created is an almighty mess. I knew I wanted to use something I had made as the topic for this post, but I spent an awful lot of the week wondering what would be most appropriate.
Somehow, it didn’t really feel right to use one of my more standard projects as a subject: how far does making something count as creation when all you have done is followed somebody else’s instructions? There had to be some element of independent thought, some drive to make the thing your own, or in some way unusual. The more I thought about it, the more I realised only one thing would do.
This is my version of the Traveler’s Life Afghan, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, AKA the Yarn Harlot. It’s a pretty simple project, generally made entirely from remnants: you work in garter stitch, changing your yarn every row or two, mixing weights and colours as you go. Somehow, the clashing colours and incongruous fibres blend together into a harmonious fabric, into which even the smallest scraps can be integrated. All those half-balls, leftovers, and flawed early attempts at hand-spun which you thought were destined to sit in your stash pile for the rest of eternity get woven together into a huge, multi-coloured blanket, bursting with interesting textures and knitterly memories. Because every knitter has a different history of work, and a different stash of remnants, no two blankets will ever be alike. It is a chance to make something unique, to create a useful object out of what would otherwise have gone to waste, and to create order out of chaos.