Wednesday, September 23

It's Like a Blanket?

I had friends over a few weekends ago. They all knew, vaguely, that I crocheted and while they were there I mentioned I was working on an afghan for my cousin's wedding. Only one of them knows anything about crochet so I dragged out what I had done so far so they could see what I was talking about when I mentioned strips and braiding. We were chattering blithely on when I caught the eye of my Chinese friend who asked "what's an afghan?" She's very Americanized in many ways (a right proper little Capitalist) but there are still things she's unfamiliar with that most of us take for granted. Which goes to show that you should never take for granted that everyone knows what you are talking about. Lesson learned.

Here it is, done at last. It's huge being nearly 6 feet long and approximately 5 feet wide. The afghan is made up of strips which are themselves composed of 3 separate strips braided together and held in place by 2 rounds of stitches. The main strips are stitched together with what's called a reverse single crochet, which makes a pretty, braided edging.
And a closer up view.

Tonight I'll double check for loose ends that need to be woven in, and make sure I got all the markers out. Then it will get washed and blocked. It's an acrylic yarn so it should wash up nicely.

Monday, September 21

Ties Abinding

My baby cousin is getting married this coming Saturday. J is nine years and eleven months younger than I, and the nearest thing I have to a brother. He is not my only cousin, but he is the one I have the closest ties with. Although my extended family is large, I grew up with only two aunts nearby, and only one had a child. He and my younger sister were especially close as kids, being less than two years apart.

A lot of family are gathering this coming weekend for the wedding. Some of them have never ventured more than 50-100 miles from home, so that tells you that this is a big deal. Partly it's because J is an only child. Most of the rest of them come from families of 5 or 6 kids, and I often think that the younger ones get the short end of the stick because by the time their big moment - be it wedding, graduation, or new babies - comes along their older siblings have already been there and done that and I think the extended family doesn't always make as big a deal out of it.

Probably I should explain what is meant by "extended family." Here's the deal: my mother comes from a family of 8 kids. Her oldest sister had 5 kids; the next oldest sister had 5 kids; the oldest brother had 5 kids; my mom, only two; the four younger siblings are 0, 3, 1, and 0. So that's 19 cousins just on my mom's side.

My dad was the baby of 4, but his sibs did their part to populate the world. His oldest sister had 4, his older brother 4, and his next older sister had 6 kids. That makes 14 cousins on my dad's side, or a whopping total of 33 in my generation alone. And I'm not even going to get into their kids and their kids' kids.

J appears to be the last of my generation to be getting married. Okay, there's me, and one or two other cousins about my age who are holding out; but we're a bit set in our ways at this point and nobody seems to be expecting announcements from us. J is also well liked in the family, and his wedding may be the last really good excuse for a clan gathering on my mom's side; so I think more people than usual are making the effort, even though it means going out into the big, bad suburbs.

I'm anticipating some family stories, and I'm also thinking that this might be a good time to get some of them written down. We'll see. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 2

Stopping By the Junkyard* on a Sunny Evening

I took this photo from the window of the subway, part of which is above ground, while we were stopped outside a station for a few minutes. It amused me, not for the first time, to look out on the length of track and see wood trestles holding the rails. I know nothing about railroad lore, but I presume the trestles used for our underground, highly electrified, modern commuter system are much the same as those used to build the First Transcontinental Railroad over 100 years ago.

*Not really a junkyard. Not what you would call a junkyard, proper. Just a lot of well-used looking vehicles. Probably the backlot of an auto repair shop, but that doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?