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He-Man, Master of the Universe

I'm recovering from a nasty bout of flu (is there any other kind?), and didn't get a chance to update you with the good news: Yes, I'm officially Master of the Universe: Sophie's Universe, to be specific. Last week I successfully completed Round 113, the final official round of this project. I haven't blocked it yet (I'll explain why later--it's not just laziness), but otherwise, here it is:

I started this attractive monster last February, if I recall correctly. I'd walked into my LYS (Three Bags Full), and Melissa (the lovely lady who originally taught me stranded knitting and how to use double points) had left behind one of her projects, an unfinished Sophie's Universe in the official colourway, not the bold "Victorian Bordello" version that I've opted to go with myself.

It was love at first site. There were bobbles, and popcorns, and flowers with petals and leaves, and cords, and chains, and zig-zags. It was as enthusiastic, exuberant, and unabashed as I am. It was like looking in a mirror! I approached the staff and asked "what knitting pattern is this, I love it, I have to do it!" And the staff told me it was crochet.

Crochet! You might as well have told me the pattern was only available in Arabic. But I realised I would gladly learn Arabic to be able to master this--and how much easier, surely, would Crochet be, even though I had tried it twice before and found myself entirely unable to do it. No, this time I would conquer--I would succeed--I would be Master!

There were a few anxious days. I researched other people's projects and worked toward a sort of consensus of the colours I liked. Then I returned, and bought the book (there's an entire 200+ page book with the pattern in it), two crochet needles, and selected the yarn (there's a method to my madness--the colours are actually carefully chosen to go with a painting above my headboard):

I painted it in the late 80s (can you tell? And 1990 is the late 80s, it's pre-what-we-think-of-as-the-90s, I promise, and anyway the 80s didn't really kick in until 1983--the 60s started in 1967 and carried on through most of the 70s, so by contrast the 80s were well-behaved years), and I quite like it, The yarn colours aren't identical to the paint colours, but that was never going to happen, nonetheless they are all close cousins of each other and my blanket works quite well next to it.

Anyway, that's why the garish yarn choices, but to be honest, I love those colours. When in a sour mood, I go to Ravelry, look at the inferior colourways that other knitters have chosen, and chortle with glee that mine are so much prettier. A couple of crocheters have completed the entire blanket in a single colour, so that none of the details show up. A few have opted for an ombré effect, where all you notice is the colour changes, and not the pattern itself. I can spend hours giggling at these. You can too! Don't despair, the first few are quite nice, but you won't go too far without hitting a real clunker.

My first day, I tried to master Round 1.

My second day, I tried to master Round 1.

My third day, I actually mastered Round 1! And from there it was smooth sailing, as (until it got massive) I managed to stick to a one-round-per-day schedule. Along the way I learned ever-so-many crochet techniques, and would venture to say that "I Now Know How to Crochet." Here are some details:

Above, that's the outer border (the inside's on the bottom, the outside's at the top).

Apparently the pattern began as Sophie's Mandala, then Sophie's Garden, then finally became a CAL (that's a crochet-along) as Sophie's Universe: it got substantially larger with each iteration. Perhaps one day there will be a Sophie's Multiverse that's even bigger, but I wouldn't lay bets on it. I just love the three-dimensionality of it, compared to quite elegance of my ordinarily flat knitting:

It's like a mini-landscape (not that mini, either) waiting for intrepid adventurers to traverse it. Anyway, it's done. Mistakes? I've made a few. But in this kind of project they're easy to compensate for and impossible to find--again, compared to the stockinette front of a sweater, what a relief!

I'm waiting to block it until I'm really, really finished. I'm officially finished, but as I intend to make it large enough to act as a Queen-sized bedspread, I'm adding extra rounds (yes, I'm a confident-enough crocheter now that I can add to the pattern without any concern whatsoever). In about a month or two, give or take, it'll be finished-finished--I'll let you know! But in the meantime, I'm happy to crow that the blanket, as prescribed by the original designer (Dedri Uys) is done.

Off the Needles

Another bookmark, this time with fringe (my first fringe ... I got carried away). Really, if I want useful knitting for myself, these are all I should make!

On the Needles (and actively being worked on):

  • Sophie's Universe crochet project #1 (doing extra rounds, to turn it into a queen-size bedspread))

  • Persian Dreams Blanket (round 40 of Hexagon 7)

  • A Dream of Steam and Brass (close to binding off after adding a second ball and knitting further in established pattern)

  • Sophie's Universe crochet project #2 (Part 6: Round 46)

  • Ridiculous Giant Blanket, finished the border, on to the body.

  • GGN Norwegian Ski Sweater (finished the torso, currently well above the cuffs of Arms One and Two (I'm knitting both at once--but on separate needles, I'm not that clever yet))

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