I'm crocheting a vintage afghan. Yes, I do believe that, even though I'm making it right now, in 2012, it counts as vintage, not retro. Why? Because these seven balls of yarn and the accompanying instruction sheet have spent the past forty years or so up in the top of a closet in my Grandmother's house. My aunt, who taught me to crochet, was the original purchaser of this kit, and she apparently got as far as winding the skeins into balls. (Why people used to do that, I'm not entirely certain. Skeins are certainly easier to keep in one place when you're working with them.) Grandmother was recently going through her closets, getting rid of stuff, and asked if either of us wanted this. My aunt doesn't crochet much any more, but I'm never one to turn down free yarn, even if it's in such terrible mid-1970s colors!
I've made some modifications to the pattern. First, it calls for a "size 5" hook. It obviously doesn't mean a 5mm hook--that worked up way too small in the gauge sample. I tried a size N hook (9mm). That was a bit too big, but I couldn't find an in-between hook when I was starting the project, so size N it is. I made up for the slightly larger gauge by eliminating one "ripple" worth of stitches from the foundation chain. I also discovered that I'm missing one ball of green yarn. I should have eight colors, but I only have seven. Hopefully the missing ball of yarn won't be enough to make the resulting afghan incredibly short--we'll see. As for colorway instructions, apparently I should start with the "dark avocado," proceed through "med. dk." and "medium avocado" to just plain avocado, then repeat with "dark gold" through to gold. No telling if I'm missing "med. dk. avocado" or "medium avocado." But I thought the stripey look of green-gold-green-gold would look nice, with the whole thing going from light to dark. Granted, that does mean I have two different golds next to each other, but I think the light and dark gold colors are different enough that the stripe effect will still work.
The yarn is rather different from anything I've ever used before. It's even thinner than the sport-weight yarn I was using a few weeks ago. It's definitely all synthetic, but it almost seems like the yarn used for needlepoint work--thin, and not very highly twisted. But it does seem stronger than needlepoint yarn, which is definitely a good thing!
I've been working on this thing for the better part of a week and have not quite finished working through all seven colors. (I have about 3/4 of the second row of my seventh color left.) I've only once tried to make a whole afghan, and I did finish that one, but it took me fifteen years! Hopefully this one will not take nearly that long. I'd really like to get it done within this year.
What do I plan to do with it once I'm finished with it? Certainly not lay it over my sofa! I suppose I might put it into my linen closet as a "blanket of last resort" for when the weather is really cold, or I might see if by some chance any of my friends actually like this color combination. (Anyone?) But I'm thinking I may just donate it. I've seen groups that collect handmade blankets, or old blankets, or any blankets at all, and give them to homeless people. While this may not be the warmest blanket ever, it will be pretty lightweight, so perhaps a homeless person might like it...maybe. We'll see. I guess the first step is to finish it!