The second time I learned how to crochet, I was a resident assistant in a dorm in college (the first time, I was sixteen, and I didn't know that what I was doing was even called crochet). My hall director's wife taught me, and she sent me to A.C. Moore to buy an afghan's worth of yarn and a pattern book.
The yarn I chose was truly hideous. The book was a collection of patterns I had no idea how to assess.
Which is how it ended up that I started in on a project that would be described by people inclined to rate the difficulty of patterns as capital-I Intermediate. It was like a 12-row repeated pattern that involved post stitches and crossed stitches and all manner of shenanigans like that.
I got the hang of it eventually and ended up making about two feet of blanket. I moved with the bag of yarn several times before realizing I'd never finish it, then I chucked it.
It was a few years after I parted ways with that beast that I learned how to crochet for the third and final time – the time that stuck.
Since then, I've written books about crochet and taught thousands of people how to do it, and I've made a few blankets. I've always preferred simple, repetitive, meditative projects, though. The kind I can relax into at the end of the day. The kind I can use odd balls for, both because I love using odd materials and also because this way I don't have to plan my colours in advance.
A few weeks ago, though, I stumbled onto a blanket pattern that – twenty years after I started the ill-fated project in college – led me to come full circle.
Not only does Sophie's Universe involve loads of post stitches and popcorns and clusters and all manner of complicated shenanigans, it's worked in the round then squared up.
The pattern was first released for free, in parts of several rounds at a time, over several weeks back in 2015 as a mystery crochet-along, and it became so popular that just recently the designer published the whole thing as a book. I ordered the book the same day I ordered my 4200 yards of yarn (I'm using Knit Picks Comfy Worsted). The book hasn't arrived yet, but the day my yarn got here I started working from the pattern online.
Above is the completed first part of the pattern. The first 25 rounds are a mandala; after that, you square it up and continue from there. I'm totally in love with this blanket already. Every round is different from the ones before it. The math of it is gorgeous. The cleverness involved in engineering such a thing is quite something to experience.
Here's the palette of colours I'm using – weighted heavily to the ivory colour. When I'm done, I should have a bed-size blanket.
I'm posting my progress somewhat frequently in my Facebook group, where some members are talking about joining in to make a blanket of their own. Come on over and crochet along with us!
And here's my project on Ravelry, if that's more your style.