This is the tale of the granny square car jacket. A technicolor vision that took almost a year of dedication from a person I barely remember at the moment.
It all began with a pattern in a magazine and some yarn that had been bought in bulk and set aside for a special project. My favorite hues of red, purple, and blue, with a few accent shades. The model’s jacket was done in that awful 60’s combination of yellow, orange, and brown. It takes me right back to the apartment that we lived in for years after my grandparents had moved out. The kitchen was done in those colors with those 60’s flowers. The counters were orange; the cabinets dark brown. They even left us their yellow kitchen table. (The dinning room had a glass chandelier and velvet wallpaper. One of the bedrooms was puke green. There had definitely been some interesting choices made.) Needless to say, it is a color scheme I do not like and they used black as a border.
And so began the granny squares. I wrote my own color code to use and decided to stick with changing the yarns as the pattern called for. After a few squares the pattern was memorized and I fell into a rhythm each time I sat down. It was quite the sensation to be creating such a large piece for myself. And out of granny squares! I always loved the granny square clothes and blankets. There are over 200 squares in this jacket. Then the weaving began!
This pattern, like many in magazines, was off in a few places, I kept changing how many of each square I should make based on the picture, then on the written pattern, then according to the guide, then the picture again. After several months of crocheting and a couple for rest, I began sewing them all together, but first, I had to lay it all out because my self-striping yarn gave me a varied color palette to work with. I wanted to get the balance of colors right.
This is also where I sewed all the ends in. Usually that would drive me nuts, but it just became part of the process.
So I get the front panels all sewn together while I’m finishing a few of the squares for the back. Next I started putting the sleeves together. It was so much more relaxing than I have ever recalled. Then it was time to lay out the back panel to make sure the colors were balanced.
Yep. Apparently I made 5 of the wrong colors and had to make even more squares. By this point I was beginning to lose my patience, but I am determined. I switched between sewing and crocheting for the next couple weeks. Everything was coming together. I was getting closer to done and I noticed something funny. The front was longer than the back by one row. One row. I had to make 5 more squares when I thought I was done with them. I decided to try my hand at steam-blocking to give myself a break and it definitely calmed me down.
And then… And then it was done. Buttons and everything. My posture was slumped. My shoulders tight. But it was all worth it.
See, this jacket was more than just a challenging, frustrating, and rewarding project. It was me coming back to my craft. Coming back to myself. Not only had the difficulties of our lives been exhausting, but it had left me shattered into dust; barely holding shape. Everything and everyone else was my focus because the thought of actually dealing with myself was more than I could handle.
Creating the jacket was part of putting myself together again. Reshaping and reforming parts that belonged and were familiar and comforting. Then learning what had changed and what was new. When I wear this jacket I can feel myself again.
Since then I’ve been pretty unstoppable. I keep working on myself- as always. I’m still a bit dusty, some crumbling bits, but I have found myself. Again. And it feels good.