A Much Bigger Mental Challenge Than I Expected

As I finished the last rows on the scarf I made for Dan for Christmas, I realized with a jolt that I haven’t made a scarf for MYSELF in a very, very long time. I used to crochet scarves a lot. Because crochet is so mindnumbingly relaxing. And because while I’m not the word’s best crocheter, I sure have mastered the long, narrow rectangle. Anyway. I looked back in the archives and discovered that I was right, and I haven’t made myself a scarf in four years. (Unless you count the only thing I ever made from the Happy Hooker book, which I don’t, not really.)

So it was past time to make myself a scarf. I decided it should be aqua and red, partly because it’s an awesome combination, and partly because I have a red winter coat and I have a brand new turquoise down vest waiting impatiently in my closet for the weather to get warmer and all this damn snow to melt. I’m nothing if not practical, people.

January 18, 2010

And as I polled the universe about how to arrange my stripes, a challenge emerged. My own mother dared me to crochet my scarf in a completely random pattern. I should toss my carefully randomized graph-paper rendering. And ignore mathematical sequences like Fibonacci numbers, or the random stripe generator. No, she dared me to just wing it. Because I think the thought of me struggling over what counts as really random made her giggle. Friends advised me to drink copiously while working. And I learned that I’m not the only one who feels a little creepy-crawly when thinking about a scarf whose ends don’t mirror each other.

Is my brain really that inherently ordered? (I’m of course thinking back to that fateful personality test we took at that librarian workshop. You know, the one where I was deemed to be the gold personality – the rule-following, order-loving, organized one. The geeky, stick-in-the-mud, no-fun-for-you one! Not the creative, emotional, sensitive one! Or the logical, questioning, scientific one! And surely not the outgoing, party-lovin’, loud one.)

random stripe scarf is ready for its closeup

Crocheting the scarf turned out to be quite the mental challenge. With each new stripe, my brain started whirring. “Okay, the red stripe you just finished was two rows. I did a blue stripe with two rows before that one. Am I putting in a pattern of two-row stripes here? Am I using red enough? Maybe I need a really, really big blue section here instead. And after that a short blue row with some longer red ones. No! Short red ones. No! One long red one and one short blue one and then a short red one and a short blue one. No! That’s a pattern!”

It was EXHAUSTING.

my brain horrifies even me sometimes

After I measured out to just past where I thought the middle should go, I decided it would be a good idea to count the rows of each color, just to make sure I wasn’t using way too much of one color or the other. So I counted the rows at the point where the above picture was taken.

And to my utter HORROR, there were EXACTLY 50 rows of red and 50 rows of aqua. And I DIDN’T DO IT ON PURPOSE. I was trying to be random! My brain IS that inherently organized?

I’m so embarrassed.

February 17, 2010

But I kept going, and at the very end counted the rows again to make sure I’d end up with the same number of rows of each color. I suppose that’s against the spirit of the project, but even I have my limits.

ready for its closeup

In the end, I’m pretty happy with the result. Is it a little TOO overly long? Yes. Does it need some breaking in thanks to the cheap yarn? Yes, especially compared to the pashmina style scarves I’m used to. Am I totally psyched with the random-ness of the stripes? Hell yes. Will I embark on another “random” project soon? Probably not, no. And that’s okay with me.

obligitory

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