• Nine Months with My Simple Striped Blanket

    Finally. All stitches are bound off for Purl Soho's Hudson Bay's Inspired Crib Blanket, and wow, I really love this blanket. It is so comfortable -- the drape and weight are perfect. Can you believe I used to not like knitting with cotton? A distant memory!

    Yup, it's 100% cotton. I had a large stash of the cream color and then used half of a 50g skein in each other color for the stripes. An easy space-out project. I miss having it in the basket next to my chair -- the perfect grab-and-let-go project for those awkward extra few minutes before heading out and the guilty pleasure TV shows that I can only "justify" watching by multitasking.

    Now, this blanket is very simple. Without stripes, it would be about as simple as it could possibly be. But it is very special.

    Remember when I started this? Yeah, you don't because it was last April. Eons ago. Well, let me tell you about last April. At the time, I was still in school, still living in the state I grew up in, still working and worrying over my honors thesis -- little idea of what I would be doing after graduation (or even what my graduation cap would look like) and where I would be in a year, who I would be.

    When I bound off the last stitches of this blanket, I was sitting in the passenger seat of a Penske moving truck next to my dad, listening to Pink Floyd while we crossed the Appalachians. Behind us were hours of packed boxes and padded furniture, in front was Washington, DC. And my stomach would tense and relax like a loose fist, like it did when I first came to Washington four months ago, except this time I wasn't nervous, I was... I don't know what. It wasn't excitement or fear or stress -- just exhilaration. It's funny how easily I can remember how it felt, weeks later.

    While this blanket was forming, I traveled 800 miles from the place that will always be home to my first real job, my first apartment. I flew in an airplane for the first time since I first experienced motion sickness. I moved to a city far from home for an internship and made lifelong friends. For two weeks, I drove to Canadian cities on my own. I lost loved ones. I graduated from college. I finished and defended my book-length honors thesis. I experienced heartbreak. I counted 160 stitches, and I began row 2.

    I've written before that one of my favorite parts of knitting is giving the finished piece away. Another part of knitting that I love is how it connects to things in life -- the major events, the book you listen to while working, the people you sit with, the movie you watch -- and it creates continuity between them. Like the binding of a book, where each row is like a page, back and forth, front to back, end to end.

    There's nothing like garter stitch to take you back and bring you forward. It is the first thing you learn and makes all of the harder stitches possible. How appropriate that such a basic project grew through so much. Simply garter stitch. Like an anchor.

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